Malaysiakini NEWS

Drop charges against duo who obstructed Penang eviction, PSM urges AG

Published:  |  Modified:

PSM has urged the Attorney-General's Chambers to drop charges against two individuals who purportedly defended a low-income family in the Padang Tembak People's Housing Project (PPR) from eviction last year.

The individuals are PSM activist R Karthiges and M Nathan, who is a friend of the family.

Last June, seven families were evicted by the Penang Housing Department due to rental arrears.

According to a statement released by PSM today, Karthiges and Nathan were charged under Section 186 of the Penal Code for voluntarily obstructing a civil servant in the discharge of his public functions.

The issues affecting the seven evicted families were resolved last July, but the trial for the duo has been postponed to July this year.

"With the help from NGOs such as Aliran, the residents managed to hold a meeting with Penang exco Jagdeep Sigh and officers from the Housing Department.

"They were offered alternative housing at Seberang Perai Selatan. So the issue was solved. But the arrested duo was subsequently charged at the Georgetown Magistrates' Court."

'No-brainer'

Since the eviction issue was resolved, PSM said, it is a "no-brainer" to drop the charges against Karthiges and Nathan.

"If the alternative housing was offered to the affected families earlier, the incident could have been avoided.

"The charge against the duo is now trivial, and it's a waste of energy for the prosecutors and the judiciary. They should focus on other important cases instead," read the statement.

PSM secretary-general A Sivarajan told Malaysiakini that Penang PSM chief Choo Chon Kai handed over a memorandum on the matter to a representative of the attorney-general at Putrajaya this morning.

He added that Karthiges was also present at the handover.

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