POLICE have released photographs of those believed to have been involved in the Merdeka Day eve incident

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POLICE have released photographs of those believed to have been involved in the Merdeka Day eve incident at Dataran Merdeka on Thursday and want them to turn themselves in as soon as possible.

The photographs were made available on the city police Facebook page. Federal Criminal Investigation Department director Datuk Seri Bakri Zinin said those who demanded that the Jalur Gemilang be replaced and others who stepped on a picture of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak during the incident were being probed primarily under the Sedition Act.

“We cannot elaborate on our exact actions as this would reveal our hand, but we have a strategy, which is based on the rules and scope of power of the police force,” Bakri said, adding that they would decide to what extent the acts of these individuals were seditious.

He, nonetheless, said police were investigating the flag incident as an attempt to incite hatred with intent to create a public disorder under Section 4 (1)(a) of the Sedition Act 1948.

He said that stepping on the pictures of Najib and his wife was considered an offence under Section 290 and Section 504 of The Penal Code for being a public nuisance and provoking breach of public peace respectively.

Several individuals among the Bersih movement supporters present at the Merdeka Day eve gathering were photographed waving a flag identified as the Sang Saka Malaya, which they allegedly demanded as a replacement to the Jalur Gemilang.

Some others from the movement, which claims to promote a better electoral system in the country, were recorded tearing up posters bearing images of the prime minister, his wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, and Election Commission chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof.

They performed vulgar actions directed towards the posters before stepping on the one with the prime minister’s image.

A recording of their actions was made available on YouTube.

Bakri said a blogger, identified only by his online pseudonym Singa Selatan, should cooperate with the police after he claimed responsibility for displaying the Sang Saka Malaya flag during the incident.

“The blogger has to see the investigating officer concerned or the city CID chief and assist in investigations. If he does not come forward, we will take action against him based on the law.”

Meanwhile, DAP Socialist Youth (Dapsy) chief Anthony Loke raised the possibility that “agent provocateurs” could be involved in the Merdeka Day eve incident.
“We (DAP) are not sure if the individuals involved are members of any of the Pakatan Rakyat parties or if they are saboteurs (planted by the Barisan Nasional).”

Loke said it was also unfair for the government to accuse the opposition alliance of wanting to replace the national flag. To prove his point, he criticised the individuals involved in the incident, calling their actions unwarranted and uncalled for.

“The authorities should deal with them in accordance of the law. Such unruly behaviour must not be condoned.”

Deputy MCA Youth chief Dr Mah Hang Soon, in an immediate response to Loke’s statement, said it was common for the opposition to pin the blame on the government when events went awry.

“This (Loke’s allegation) is to be expected. It is very common for the opposition to use the words ‘agent provocateurs’ when things don’t go their way.”

He said Loke’s statement was a sign that the opposition was desperately trying to deflect the flak they received over the incident, which could tarnish its image.

In Ipoh, the Perak BN youth wing yesterday lodged a police report against those involved in the incident.

Led by state BN Youth secretary Syamsul Baharin Putra Ahmad Shibi, they lodged the reports at the Sungai Senam police station here.

“These people were trying to provoke and incite hatred and cause disunity among the rakyat,” said Syamsul Baharin.

In Alor Star, Kedah Umno Youth lodged a similar police report yesterday.

Kubang Pasu Umno Youth chief Aminuddin Omar, who acted as the movement’s spokesman, said most Malaysians were extremely appalled by the behaviour and actions of those involved in the Merdeka Day eve incident.

Kedah PKR also yesterday distanced itself from those involved in the incident. Its chairman, Datuk Wan Salleh Wan Isa, described their actions as being “very childish” and “despicable”.

In Johor Baru, a police report was lodged against the distribution of posters by unknown individuals who allegedly tried to cause a split within Umno following the Merdeka Day eve incident.

Johor Baru Umno Youth chief Khaled Mohamad, together with representatives from the Pulai and Gelang Patah Umno Youth divisions and 12 non-governmental organisations, yesterday lodged the report at the Johor Baru south district police station.

“The culprits had wanted to sow discord and create bad blood among Umno members.”

Police have so far received 39 reports lodged by various parties on issues which arose from the Merdeka Day eve incident. Additional reporting by Chuah Bee Kim, P. Chandra Sagaran, Mohd Adib Povera and Zahratulhayat Mat Arif – NST