Crackdown widens, cops comb hotels

By Andrew Ong, Malaysiakini

The authorities are further tightening the screws on Bersih 2.0 supporters, checking several hotels in the Klang Valley. 

Thus far, Malaysiakini has been informed of police presence in three hotels.

At the Puteri Park Hotel in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, PKR member Vernon Kedit reports that the police conducted inquiries into their party function there. 

He said that the event was a training session for polling agents. He said that the police left before midnight but came back at about 1am. 

“They are patrolling the corridors,” he said.

Another occupant at the hotel was former Perak Menteri Besar Nizar Jamaluddin.

He said that he was awokened by the police who took down his particulars, but did not arrest him.

“One female police personnel walked in my room and took a picture of me while I was in my sarong,” Nizar said.

Room to room checks

Meanwhile, at the Swiss Inn along Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, lawyer HR Dipendra reports that he saw the police enter two rooms.

“They checked the adjacent rooms but not mine,” said Dipendra, adding that two police personnel were in uniform, another two were in mufti. 

It was uncertain what they were looking for or if anything was confiscated. 

Another occupant of Swiss Inn, on condition of anonymity, said that he spotted the police at the reception screening the guest list. 

“There was a police personnel taking our photos as we walked in. On the way to our rooms, we saw one of them knocking on room doors. But no one has knocked on ours yet,” he said.

Some forced to flee

Over at Subang Jaya, Ayer Keroh state assemblyperson Khoo Poay Tiong said five uniformed police personnel were checking the hotel guest list. 

“So I immediately ordered my men to leave the hotel. We are still outside,” he said when contacted.

He does not know whether the police had entered their room.

Over at Lotus Hotel in Medan Tuanku, near Tune Hotel, the several uniformed policemen were seen entering the premisses with what appeared to be a list in hand. 

Former PKR supreme council member Badrul Hisham Shaharin confirmed to Malaysiakini that the police had tried to arrest him at the Brisdale Hotel, for breach of the restriction order. 

However, he said he managed to flee the scene unscathed. 

On Thursday, the police obtained a court order, restricting 91 individuals from entering Kuala Lumpur tomorrow. It was supposed to be enforced from 8am onwards.

Eerie calm in KL

Meanwhile, an eerie calm shrouds downtown Kuala Lumpur as the usual Friday merrymakers stay away from the city. 

Eye-witnesses said that local are avoiding the city’s numerous nightspots and the majority of patrons are foreigners. 

It is a different story altogether in the city’s outskirts. Roadblocks are being erected in major arteries throughout the city and some cars are being randomly checked. 

A Malaysiakini reader submitted video footage taken yesterday evening depicting a major crawl caused by the roadblock along the Sungai Besi highway toward the city. 

The roadblock was mounted after the Plus Highway toll both.

But such measures extend far from Kuala Lumpur, as the authorities step up efforts to stop people from participating in the Bersih 2.0 rally tomorrow. 

According to citizen journalist Dave Kameron, there are roadblocks near the Sungai Petani toll booth near Alor Setar. 

“A Canadian academic Dr Adam Tyson who entered Malaysia through Bukit Kayu Hitam told me that he and his colleagues were stopped at the border, ostensibly to be checked for weapons. 

“Leslie Daniel, a local councillor, told me that his bus was boarded by the police and some bags were inspected,” said Kameron.

Additional reporting by Abdul Rahim Sabri, S Pathmawathy and Kuek Ser Kuang Keng.