Malaysia's New Year's Eve protest group leader arrested

PETALING JAYA - The leader of a group planning to protest against price hikes on New Year's Eve has been arrested in connection with a plot to overthrow the Government.

Azan Safar, 24, was picked up by police at about 11.35pm on Monday while he was having supper at a restaurant in Kampung Baru.

City deputy CID chief Asst Comm Khairi Ahrasa said the suspect, who is from Terengganu, would be remanded today.

"We are investigating him under Section 9(5) of the Peaceful Assembly Act and Section 124B of the Penal Code for activity detrimental to parliamentary democracy.

"We expect to make more arrests soon ahead of the planned gathering in Dataran Merdeka on Dec 31," he told a press conference yesterday.

He added the suspect would be remanded to facilitate investigations into the planned New Year's Eve rally.

Azan, who is the chairman of Gerakan Turun Kos Sara Hidup (Turun), had previously launched the rally in front of Sogo shopping mall and planned a Dec 31 rally in Dataran Merdeka to protest against the price hikes of goods and services.

The price hikes include the reduction in fuel and sugar subsidy while the rise in electricity tariff is expected next month.

There are also talks of an increase in toll rates.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar has previously labelled the "Himpunan Guling Kerajaan" (Rally to Topple the Government) a threat to national security.

He added that police have taken steps to make sure the gathering would be stopped.

Khalid has urged the public not to attend the rally, adding that those involved with the gathering would be investigated under the Penal Code and the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012.

Become a fan on Facebook