Flying buckets at Umno Youth-led water protest

Alyaa Azhar

Modified 1 Nov 2016, 6:02 am

A group of some 150 protesters led by Umno Youth leader Armand Azha Abu Hanifah threw empty buckets and mineral bottles at the Selangor secretariat building in Shah Alam this morning to protest water shortages in the state.

Some in the group also rattled the gate, which was locked.

The protest, scheduled to start at 9am, did not start at the time stated in the press invitation which called on supporters to gather in front of Wisma MBSA.

Instead, a group of about 50 youths, some even looking as young as teenagers, loitered around the area.

The group of youths hung atop their motorcycles while the girls could be seen scribbling typical protest signs on multicoloured manila cards.

By 10.30am, the group looked to be more coordinated with the arrival of Armand and Selangor Umno Youth chief Zainuri Zainal.

Armand in a short speech to some 80 people who had gathered by then near Wisma MBSA cautioned against “breaking the gates”.

“But that’s what I say, if you want to do it, you have to be responsible for it.

“Do you dare to do it?” he asked the group, to yells of "yes".

Branding Selangor Menteri Besar Azmin Ali a “cicak mengkarung” (gecko), Armand said they needed water especially so on a Thursday night.

“We ‘fight’ on Thursday nights and we need water on Friday mornings,” he said, to sniggers from the crowd.

In Islam, having sexual intercourse with one’s spouse on Thursday night is a recommended act.

Soon after, the group marched on to the Selangor secretariat building about 1km away, "armed" with water buckets.

Chanting "air, air" (water, water), the group carried placards with words such as "mana hak kami" (where’s our right), "kami mangsa keadaan" (we are victims of circumstances) and "sabotaj atau gagal urus" (sabotage or failure to administer).

It was then that the group turned rowdy once they reached the building, yelling for the gate to be opened.

Despite the many buckets and bottles thrown, no one was injured in the process.

Several officials, including security personnel and media practitioners who were covering the state assembly remained on the other side of the gate.

Urging for a people’s representative to meet them, Armand said they would not accept anyone less in position than that of a state assemblyperson.

“We don’t want anyone from the office of cicak mengkarung. If no one comes, we won’t disperse!” he yelled.

A team of officers from the Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) were then assembled, forming a line beyond the gate.

Forty-five minutes later, Azmin’s political secretary and Sri Muda state assemblyperson Shuhaimi Shafiei came down and Armand as well as a few others were let in through the gate.

Speaking to the press 10 minutes later, Zainuri said the group wanted to urge the state government to resolve water issues plaguing the state as soon as possible.

“Don’t politicise this issue, don’t indulge in play acting on such a critical issue.

“And there is no element of sabotage. If there is, we ask that the police investigate the menteri besar and prove that sabotage efforts were indeed done by Umno/Barisan Nasional,” he said.

Armand, on the other hand, when asked why he had branded Azmin as “cicak mengkarung” said that this is because the menteri besar had “many faces”, just like a chameleon.

“If he really fights for the rakyat, he would solve the water woes.

“We are labelling him cicak mengkarung because he doesn’t solve the rakyat’s problem, he’s just a chameleon.” 

Water supply in various parts of the Klang Valley resumed yesterday after the Semenyih water treatment plant opened again.

The PKR-led Selangor government said the plant was closed following pollution traced to upstream Sungai Buah in Negri Sembilan.

The Negri Sembilan government has denied claims of sabotage.