You know the ones wearing Parti Keadilan Rakyat t-shirts who were reported to have attacked two photographers - Mohd Sairien Nafis, 26 of NST and Halim Berbar (foreign media).
This is not the first time we've got reports that supporters purportedly from PKR had roughed up Press photographers as well as Barisan Nasional campaigners.
I say purportedly until it has been proven that these guys are PKR supporters.
It's good to know that PKR is taking a serious view of the matter. If these guys are PKR's members, then Anwar, PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and the party's leaders should get tough on them.
PKR de facto leader and a Permatang Pauh by-election contender, Anwar Ibrahim said that the party will launch an investigation into this latest attack on the two photographers outside the nomination centre in Permatang Pauh Friday.
Malaysiakini quoted him in in Penang yesterday, saying that no one should jump to the conclusion that the perpetrators are PKR members.
Here's the report:
“The mainstream media, (such as state-owned) RTM, will immediately apportion the blame to us. I say, let us investigate and punish those perpetrators, irrespective they are from Pakatan Rakyat or Barisan Nasional,” he said when asked to comment on the incident.
Anwar, who is PKR candidate for the Aug 26 by-election, held a 45-minute press conference at the Yayasan Aman building in Permatang Pauh this morning.
The building is the party’s main election operation room for the by-election, where Anwar is seeking to make a comeback to Parliament after an absence of 10 years.
Referring to a similar incident earlier this month where a female photographer was assaulted by alleged PKR members, Anwar said an investigation later found the perpetrators were not linked to the party. (See photo by TheSun)
He said despite the culprits were not PKR members, his wife and party president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail had apologised to the victim in recognition of the importance of the media.
“My point is that the mainstream media is at fault for presenting a biased case, not only that, but malicious attack (against PKR),” said Anwar, before he spoke at length on how the media had been unfair to him and the opposition.
Photographer injured, lost his camera
He took a journalist from Berita Harian, an Umno-linked Malay daily, to task when he asked Anwar whether the ‘samseng’ (gangster) culture was now prevalent in PKR.
“Berita Harian said this ‘samseng’ culture is now prevalent in PKR (but) when (Umno Youth deputy chief) Khairy Jamaluddin and gang threw bottles, they were not at fault,” the PKR leader shot back.
“This is the Berita Harian culture which must be corrected because it is slanderous and treacherous to defend corruption and cruelty,” he added.
Anwar was apparently referring to the incident of throwing mineral water bottles, sticks and flag poles during the nomination of the hotly contested Ijok by-election in Selangor in April last year.
In the latest assault yesterday, a New Straits Times (NST) photographer and a French photo-journalist were attacked by a group of people allegedly to be opposition supporters.
The 26-year-old NST photographer Mohamad Sairien Mohamad Nafiz, who suffered bodily injuries, also lost his RM15,000 Canon digital camera, according to a NST report today.
The French journalist meanwhile were said to have sustained head and leg injuries.
The incident took place when the duo were leaving the nomination centre at around 1.30pm and was attempting to take photos of a rowdy group harassing several BN workers in a pick-up truck.
The attack continued until a PKR member came to their rescue, said Mohamad Sairien.
Police: We’ve five witnesses
State PKR secretary Abdul Malik Abdul Kasim was quoted in the NST report as saying that he regretted the incident but added that the party could not ascertain who the assailants were.
He however added that they have reasons to believe that there could be groups which wanted to implicate the party in the attack.
In a related development, a police spokesperson said that they were still in the midst of identifying the assailants of the two photographers but no arrest had been made.
Penang police’s public relation officer Shaharon Anuar Abdul Latif told a press conference at the Central Seberang Perai district police headquarters today that the police have received two complaints in relation to yesterday’s incident.
He said there were five witnesses of the attack.
You can also read the NST reports here and here.