Thursday January 17, 2013
Penang Govt finally boots out patrol volunteer over assault
GEORGE TOWN: Faced with mounting pressure from the media fraternity, the Penang Government finally relented by sacking a voluntary patrol unit (PPS) member who assaulted a journalist covering an apparent suicide case.
The state government caved in after more than 200 media practitioners, unhappy over the three-month suspension meted out to Lim Ah Chye, called for the vigilante’s expulsion from the PPS.
In a strong protest against the “slap on the wrist” punishment announced just three days ago, media representatives here handed over a petition to Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng before the weekly exco meeting at Komtar yesterday.
Presented with a petition containing 201 signatures collected by the Penang Chinese Newspaper Reporters and Photographers Association (Pewaju), Journalists Union of North Malaysia, Penang Press Club and Penang Press Employees Co-operative Society, the state government decided to expel Ah Chye from the Jalan Makloom PPS unit with immediate effect.
However, it is believed that Ah Chye had voluntarily resigned earlier in the morning.
Guang Ming Daily deputy crime chief Ang Kean Siang, 32, who sustained injuries to his lips, chest, abdomen and groin during the incident on Dec 30, had reportedly claimed that he was punched and kicked by two PPS members and that one of them damaged his camera by slamming it on the floor.
Perak Lane PPS squad leader Khoo Eng Chong had said that one of the attackers was confirmed to be a member while another was a former prison inmate.
Penang PPS chairman Phee Boon Poh told a press conference here yesterday that the 52-year-old paint shop worker was given the boot after the state exco reviewed the earlier punishment.
“I don’t know why he came here this morning but (as far as the state exco is concerned), he is expelled as of today and will not be eligible to join any other PPS unit in the state.
“Another PPS member from Rifle Range who claimed to have witnessed the incident has given his statement to the committee.
“In the interest of transparency, we will arrange for another meeting and ask him to explain what he saw to Pewaju,” he said.
Pewaju secretary Ooi Choon Nam, 27, welcomed the move.
“We had called on the state government not to condone violence, especially in an incident involving a member of a disciplined body set up by the state government.”
The PPS was formed in 2010 as part of community policing efforts to reduce crime in the state.
National Union of Journalists (NUJ) general-secretary Schave Jerome De Rozario lauded the sacking, saying it would deter others from behaving in such an aggressive manner.
Ah Chye has since apologised and was fined RM3,000 by the magistrate’s court on Jan 4.