Early this morning, Kluang municipal council (MPK) dismantled and confiscated banners and flags surrounding the venue where Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) president Muhyiddin Yassin is scheduled to give a talk, later tonight.
The reason given was that Johor crown prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim will pass by the venue, and may not be pleased to see the banners and flags.
However, the items confiscated at 2am, comprising two banners and 65 flags, were returned to the organisers at 11am today, who promptly put back into place.
Apart from Muhyiddin, the ceramah will feature Johor DAP chief and Kluang MP Liew Chin Tong, Johor PKR chief Hassan Karim and Amanah deputy president Salahuddin Ayub.
The talk, titled “A talk with people forum” will be held at the Kluang DAP Community Centre, at 8.30pm.
According to Bersatu Kluang coordinator Radzali Mohd Noor's police report, MPK officials had initially requested organisers to voluntarily disassemble the banners and flags at 10.30pm yesterday.
“They claimed they received an order from the MPK chairperson, who asked that the flags to be taken down as the Johor crown prince will pass by the area.
“They claimed that the prince may be displeased to see the materials, but as far as we know, the prince has an open mind and loves the rakyat," wrote Radzali in his report.
He further claimed, that the enforcement officers failed to show a written copy of the order despite request from organisers.
Radzali related that at 2.30am, an MPK enforcement team led by an officer confiscated all flags, banners and backdrop banners without providing rooms for negotiation, though he promised to give copy of the order later.
“We, from Kluang Bersatu, as a registered party, regret the incident as it seems as there is an external order that instructed to seize our assets, to the extent that MPK may be seen to have been manipulated by certain parties."
In his police report, Radzali also called for all the confiscated assets to be returned and warned all not to use utilise the name of Johor crown prince arbitrarily.
In a two-minute-and-50-second video uploaded on Liew's Facebook page, MPK enforcement officers were seen carrying the dismantled flags into a four wheel drive vehicle with the municipal council's markings, as opposition supporters present argued in protest.
Later, a supporter asked whether Tunku Ismail's impending visit caused the dismantling of the materials, an MPK officer agreed by nodding.
Radzali told Malaysiakini that he lodged a police report at 3.41am, immediately after this morning's incident.
Meanwhile, special officer to Kluang MP, Sheikh Omar Ali questioned whether MPK was pressured by the ruling party to sabotage the ceramah.
“The officers dismantled at 2am but returned it by 11am. We have to redo the work again. This caused us problems. We suspect MPK has abused the name of the Johor crown prince,” he told Malaysiakini.
When contacted, MPK secretary Mohd Radif Kosnin refused to comment on the matter.
Malaysiakini was informed that Tunku Ismail does not have any public appearance scheduled in Kluang, though it is not certain whether he has a private function or unofficial visits to the area.- Mkini