GEORGE TOWN, Sept 5 — Police should arrest the state government leaders including the Penang chief minister if they insist on continuing the crackdown on the volunteer patrol unit (PPS) here, Lim Guan Eng said today. Saying his administration will not succumb to what he described as “bullying tactics” that caused 155 PPS members to be arrested after a Merdeka Day parade, he said it was only right for leaders to lead by example. The Penang lawmaker said that since the PPS was formed by the state government, he and the state leaders are willing to face any action against them on the issue. “There should be no fear when we are right, so don’t think that by launching massive arrests, we will bow down to the pressure,” Lim said in a press conference at his office today.
“If you want to arrest PPS members, then arrest the state leaders, including myself, because as leaders, we will lead from the front and not from behind,” he added later. Today, Lim also denied that he had challenged the authorities by insisting that the PPS was not an illegal entity, which was previously described by Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi as the trigger for the mass arrests. The Penang chief minister today questioned the need to detain the volunteer patrollers over allegations that the unit was illegal. He said now that the case will go to court, the state will leave it to the judiciary to decide the unit’s legitimacy.
“Whatever the court decides, we will accept. For example, we feel that we have the right to organise local elections, but since the court decided otherwise, we accept the court decision,” he added. The police launched a crackdown against PPS beginning Sunday, Merdeka Day, after declaring the group illegal for not being registered with the Registrar of Societies (RoS). A total 155 people, all PPS members, were detained on Sunday. State executive councillor Phee Boon Poh was detained on Sunday too and yesterday, Tanjung MP Ng Wei Aik was also arrested in relation with the case. The police crackdown on the PPS is still ongoing, with authorities saying they may go after the remaining 9,000 volunteers. Legal experts have also questioned the arrests, pointing out that the PPS has not been gazetted as an illegal organisation.