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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

WHY IS PROBE TAKING SO LONG? Cops extend bail of PPS members for another month

The police have extended the bail of 154 Penang voluntary patrol unit (PPS) members, as well as two DAP elected reps over their involvement in the "illegal" organisation.
Bail was extended for another month starting today.
Seri Delima assemblyman R. S. N. Rayer, whose police bail was also extended with Sungai Puyu assemblyman Phee Boon Poh's, said all 157 of them will be reporting to the northeast district police headquarters in batches from today to Thursday.
He said the extension ends on October 29 and the police can only extend the bail up to three times.
"This is the first extension. After that, the police will have to decide whether to charge us or not," he said outside the district police headquarters in Jalan Patani this morning.
Rayer also said they have to wait for the police to inform them of the latest developments in the investigations.
"We are not sure why there is a delay. We just learned that the investigations have not been completed," he added.
Besides Rayer and Phee, 30 other PPS members turned up at the district police headquarters this morning.
It is understood that police bail for Tanjong MP Ng Wei Aik, who was also detained for his involvement in the unit, will be extended later. His bail ends on October 3.
On Merdeka Day last month, the police arrested members in the unit after they took part in a parade organised by the state. All those detained were released on police bail after their statements were recorded.
In the crackdown on the unit, Phee and Rayer were detained for their involvement in it. Phee is the state welfare executive council member and chairman of the PPS, while Rayer is deputy PPS chairman.
Ng, who is the unit's vice-chairman, was arrested three days later.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, who was present at the district police headquarters' entrance to show moral support for the group, said the state government will continue to stand by the PPS members as they had served the community well.
"We will stand by them... we ask them to be patient while the police investigates," he said, adding that the state and the PPS's legal team were ready if the case went to court.
"We will fight for justice and truth in court. The PPS was set up by the state according to powers granted to the state."
Lim said the PPS was formed four years ago and encountered no problems. The unit even received cooperation from the police.
He said the state had documents showing this.
"Why is the PPS suddenly a problem now? Is it because it is multiracial and we have the support of all community members?"
He said the entire unit of more than 9,000 members should not be punished or demonised just because a few of them had made mistakes.
"We hope they will not be persecuted because of the Barisan Nasional government's political jealousy.
"The PPS members' contribution to society has been acknowledged and we hope we can bring this to court to defend the people who have done no wrong and give them justice."
Lim said since the incident on Merdeka Day, most PPS members have stood their ground and were eager to return to action. Only a handful of members have stopped serving in the unit.
Police action on PPS came after the unit sparked controversy when two of its members were accused of beating up a social activist at a Hungry Ghost Festival dinner in Farlim on August 17.
All three men, including the social activist, were charged with committing affray at a George Town Magistrate's Court earlier this month, but the damage to PPS had been done.
The alleged “assault” led the Pakatan Rakyat government's detractors to question the legitimacy of the state-funded unit.
Lim has argued that the unit was like the Village Development and Security Committees (JKKK), which did not require registration with the Registrar of Societies. But the authorities have deemed the PPS illegal.
Following the troubles faced by the PPS, the state has since suspended the unit's activities, which included aiding emergency response and community policing.
On a separate matter, Lim welcomed the action by the police to investigate a man who allegedly cheated a group of people of gold bars worth more than RM4 million.
He had highlighted the case and the plight of the 18 victims on Sunday. He said the suspect was formerly an Umno Youth branch and Gabungan Pelajar Melayu Semenanjung (GPMS) leader in Penang.
"I welcome state police chief Datuk Abdul Rahim Hanafi's statement that the police are looking at the case seriously.
"We are glad that the probe is 70% completed and the suspect had been called up. This is a good job by the police and a good development for the victims.
"The victims only want justice and hopefully also regain the RM4.2 million they lost in the gold bar transactions."
The suspect allegedly offered to buy gold bars from the group above the market price in October last year for over RM4.9 million. He issued them post-dated cheques for the bars, but the group could only cash in over RM710,000. –TMI

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