KUALA LUMPUR: Parti Socialis Malaysia (PSM) has alleged that the arrest of Penang Voluntary Patrol Unit (PPS) members is part of a crackdown motivated by Prime Minister Najib Razak’s desire to please former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad.
In a press statement released last night, PSM Secretary-General S Artuchelvan condemned yesterday’s arrest of 156 PPS members and their chairman, Phee Boon Poh, linking the action to the recent spate of prosecution of opposition leaders under the Sedition Act.
He said the show of force appeared to be a response to Mahathir’s recent announcement that he had withdrawn his support for Najib, partly because he had allegedly been soft on the opposition.
“Now Najib seems to be showing that he also can be ruthless,” he added.
Arutchelvan said the arrest of PPS members was “uncalled for, high handed and an abuse of power. It goes against common sense and seems to be designed to create fear and anxiety.”
“If voluntary work such as done by PPS is a crime, then there are many more voluntary groups doing more or less what PPS is doing,” he said.
“The arrest looks like yet another bad publicity stunt by the government, which recently wanted to crack down on the homeless and soup kitchen volunteers in the city.”
Arutchelvan rebuked Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar for calling for the investigation of netizens who attacked him on Twitter.
He called for the immediate release of all detained PPS members, adding: “We also demand that Najib fulfil his promise to repeal the Sedition Act. Merdeka has no meaning as we continue to live under such restricted freedom and liberty.”