participants treated like ‘criminals’
Tue: The participants of the Save Our School walkathon last
Sunday complained that they were treated like criminals by the police upon
One of the detainees, Lim Soon Hong, 45, told journalists at a press
conference today that the fingerprints of all 10 digits of those arrested
were recorded in three separate documents. In addition, police also took
mugshots of each participant.
About 100 people took part in the 18km walkathon, organised by Bukit
Bintang DAP and the Red Rose Youth Centre. It kicked off from Jalan Pudu
in the city to Damansara, where the Chinese school for which it is being
held is located.
A total of 46 participants were arrested, 29 of whom were brought to the
Dang Wangi police station while 17 were sent to the Brickfields police
The event was organised to support SRJK (C) Damansara in Petaling Jaya,
the Chinese national-type primary school that was closed last month.
The students at the school had been directed by the Education Ministry to
temporarily transfer to SRJK (C) Puay Chai (II) - a few kilometres away -
while awaiting the completion of a new school in Tropicana.
However, the authorities have been unable to provide clear explanation as
to what would happen to the 70-year-old school and its abandoned site.
While the majority of the students have moved to Puay Chai (II), 67 have
stayed put and are continuing their classes in a temple near the old
Ng Chan You, 62, who was arrested for the first time, said that
the participants were “frightened, hungry and thirsty”.
“We are not criminals, we merely want to save the school,” said Ng.
According to Lim, the participants were also ordered to give their Save
Our School T-shirts they were wearing to the police as evidence.
Lim said that when the walkathon began at the Pudu Jail, a police officer
warned the organisers that the distance between the walkers were too
Police officers were stationed along the route. A participant, requesting
anonymity, said that the walkers were closely monitored.
“We were walking two by two and the distance between each couple was 20
feet. Suddenly, at one point, the police stopped us,” he said.
Ng added that it was natural that when walkers in front were stopped,
those at the back would catch up with them.
“When we gathered around, the police quickly took photos of us,” said
Lim stressed that the participants were not holding any banners or
“We came to show our support to the parents and the teachers who are
fighting to keep the old Damansara school,” he said.
Walkathon organiser David Mah said that the issue of police
permit did not arise as it was only a walkathon. Nevertheless, he said
that the police were informed about the event.
He said, the Dang Wangi police station did advise them not to proceed with
the walkathon in a Feb 16 letter. However, the police did not give any
reason for their disapproval.
“We did not accept the advice as we thought it was very irrational,”
The 17 who were detained at the Brickfields police station were granted
RM2,000 bail, while those in Dang Wangi were granted RM500 bail. Both
groups must report to the police on March 4 an