- Updated with comments by Umno Youth, and Pakatan Harapan lawmakers and secretariat.
Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman and his parents were allegedly forced to flee last night when a large group surrounded their table during a Johor Bersatu Youth gathering last night.
According to the minister, who is Bersatu Youth chief, a group of about 200 people allegedly gatecrashed the function and surrounded him and began heckling and shouting.
He and his family were at the gathering at a restaurant at Ulu Tiram last night, together with members from the Youth, women and division wings as well as their families.
Malacca exco member Mohd Rafiq Naizamohideen and Puteri Wangsa assemblyperson Mazlan Bujang were also reportedly in attendance at the time.
“Gangster(s) and disrespectful.
“They stood surrounding our dining area, disturbing all other guests in attendance. They yelled and shouted all manner of coarse words. My parents were also witnesses last night,” he alleged in a Facebook posting.
In videos allegedly of the incident circulating online, the group could be heard yelling for the Muar MP to leave the state.
“What is this? There were small children, women at the function...Worse, they demanded the minister (himself) apologise to TMJ, if I were to leave. What happened? I do not know,” he further claimed.
He did not elaborate as to whom he meant by TMJ, although that is the popular moniker for Johor Regent Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim.
Syed Saddiq further claimed he, his family, the two assemblypersons and others had to “jump the fence” to get away.
In a later posting, the minister said a police report has been lodged. He also claimed that he now suspected the group to be linked with Umno.
Denial by Umno
The latest allegation was swiftly denied by Umno Youth chief Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki.
Calling Syed Saddiq’s allegations “overboard”, Asyraf instead claimed the ruckus was the result of internal squabbles within Bersatu Youth.
“You have gone overboard Syed Saddiq. You (Bersatu Youth) fight amongst yourselves in the Bersatu Youth election season (and you) accuse Umno of causing it.
“If you dare, lodge a police report and state your accusations (in the report) as clearly as you are writing it in the Facebook post. It will be easy for Umno Youth to sue you for making a false report.
Meanwhile, fellow Pakatan Harapan lawmaker Maria Chin expressed support for Syed Saddiq and urged the police to take immediate action.
In a statement, the Petaling MP said swift action would send the right message that such acts of hooliganism have no place in society.
“The attack last night was violent, reeks of criminal behaviour and is an assault on the safety of our citizens. I can recall the same tactics being used by the Red Shirt supporters to intimidate Bersih supporters during the Bersih 5 convoy.
“There’s a thin line between bullying and constructive criticism of other people’s actions, within the scope of democratic rights,” she said.
The PKR lawmaker further urged the government to immediately enact the National Harmony Bill and set up the National Harmony and Reconciliation Commission “to put an end to such acts of hooliganism and intimidation”.
Fellow PKR MP Hassan Karim pointed out this was not the first time the minister had been targeted and called on all 222 lawmakers from both sides of the political divide to defend the rights of parliamentarians to carry out their duties peacefully.
In a separate statement, the Harapan secretariat said the political 'samseng' culture did not belong in Malaysia Baru.