In Johor, youth arrested for rioting, arson at protest against government

Police arrested a 21-year-old man for rioting and setting off a flare at two separate incidents to protest against the government in Parit Raja, Johor— File picture by Hari Anggara

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BATU PAHAT, May 13 — Police arrested a 21-year-old man for rioting and setting off a flare at two separate incidents to protest against the government in Parit Raja here today.

It is understood the man was detained for investigation into the chaotic protest early this morning that was recorded in a video that went viral on social media.

Batu Pahat police chief Assistant Commissioner Ismail Dollah said the incident is being investigated under Section 144 of the Penal Code for unlawful assembly, Section 269 of the Penal Code for a negligent act likely to spread infection of any disease dangerous to life, and Section 8 of the Explosives Act 1957 for the possession of firearms, ammunition or explosives.

“Police will also track down the remaining individuals involved in the illegal gathering to assist in a thorough investigation.

“Currently police will take preventive and enforcement measures in the Batu Pahat district, especially the Parit Raja area,” said Ismail in a statement issued late tonight.

Ismail explained that authorities were alerted of the first incident after the district police received several complaints of illegal motorcycle racers (Mat Rempit) in the Parit Raja area.

He said initial investigations revealed that the incident took place between late yesterday night and midnight at a bridge area in Parit Raja where a banner bearing the words “Kerajaan Gagal (Failed Government) was shown.

“In fact, investigators believe that the same banner was also hung later today on the overhead bridge along Jalan Parit Raja towards Ayer Hitam,” said Ismail, adding that at present police have only arrested one suspect to assist investigations.

In the latest incident, police were informed by the public of a similar banner at the Jalan Parit Raja Bridge towards Ayer Hitam, Batu Pahat.

However, policemen from the nearby Parit Raja police station found that the banner was already taken down by the public when they arrived at the location to investigate the complaints.

On the first incident, Ismail said police were informed of it after receiving a report on an illegal gathering involving Mat Rempits after the complainant stated that he was disturbed by the video footage of the gathering that had flares burning and also the raising of the anti-establishment banner.

“We (police) understand that the complainant also found that the illegal assembly did not comply with the current Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOP) by the government,” he said.

Ismail urged the public who have information related to the two incidents above to contact the Parit Raja police station at 07-4541222 or the Batu Pahat district police headquarters at 07-4363300.