Residents in Kuantan, Pahang who raised white flags to call for aid were ordered to take them down by the police yesterday, said a state assemblyperson.
This happened as the white flag movement gains traction with more people struggling to make ends meet amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to PKR’s Teruntum state assemblyperson Sim Chon Siang, residents claimed police officers threatened to issue a fine of RM50,000.
He told Malaysiakini he went to visit 13 families living in wooden houses in Bukit Setongkol, Kuantan, today.
The families raised two white flags at the main road near their houses on Tuesday (June 29), he said, adding that they then received assistance from local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) the next day.
However, the local village chief asked them to take down the flags yesterday afternoon, he said.
Failing to persuade the residents, Sim said the village chief then brought along police officers to the houses and again asked them to take down the flags.
The residents claimed that the police threatened to fine them, he said.
“The village chief went over and told them to take down the flags. He said that it was wrong. The residents said they really had nothing to eat, so they asked for help. What was wrong?
“The village chief went out. Less than five minutes after, he came back with the police officers. The police ordered the villagers to take down the flags, as it was wrong.
“The police also said that if the issue goes viral on the internet, they will be fined RM50,000,” he said.
Sim added that most of the residents there are hawkers or labourers who have lost their income for around two months due to the movement control order.
“The question is which law or provision says that raising white flags is an offence?
“The people out there are really staving, so they raised the flags pleading for help,” he said.
He added that while the residents took down the flags yesterday after the police’s arrival, they raised another white flag again today during Sim’s visit as he believed the police order was unreasonable. – Malaysiakini