Monday, 1 September 2014

Karim: FAM and police should have been better prepared

September 1, 2014

‘FAM, cops should have been better prepared for any untoward incident’ - Tuan Haji Abdul Karim Rahmah Hamzah

The burnt police vehicle.
KUCHING: Police have caught five youths for allegedly sparking a riot at the State Stadium here on Saturday shortly after the Sarawak-Perak Malaysia Cup match ended 1-1.

Eleven people, including five policemen, were hurt in the mayhem that resulted in seven police vehicles damaged, including one overturned and another burnt.

Four of the six females, aged between six and 15, who were hurt while helping to man their family stalls. The other two were spectators.

The five male suspects, aged between 17 and 20 are now placed under remand until Sept 4. Two of them are from here and the rest from Samarahan.

Kuching District deputy police chief Supt Fauzilan Abdul Aziz said the case was being investigated under Section 148 of the Penal Code for rioting. The penalty upon conviction is imprisonment for a term which may extend to five years, or with fine, or both.

A police vehicle was torched outside the stadium.
He said the suspects would have to undergo urine tests for suspected drug use.

They were detained after the fracas broke out purportedly due to the fans’ anger over what they claimed as unfair decision by the match official for allowing Perak’s equalising goal. Fans felt the scorer was kicking offside.

The result that night eliminated Sarawak from the Malaysia Cup campaign.

The episode, which may result in Football Association of Sarawak (FAS) getting punished by the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM), erupted at about 11pm, shortly after former Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Datuk Patinggi Muhammad Salahuddin left the stadium.

Approximately 2,000 fans vented their frustrations by burning flares and fireworks, and threw objects at policemen on duty. Others stormed the football pitch and wreck havoc on public properties and police vehicles outside the stadium.

Members of the Public Disorder Riot Unit (Poru) and Light Strike Force (LSF) teams fired tear gas and smoke bombs after initial warnings for the rioters to disperse were not heeded, and police managed to gain control of the situation after about 30 minutes.

Petra Jaya Fire and Rescue chief Mohd Rafi Saibi said two fire engines were rushed to the stadium to put out the flames.

Meanwhile, Assistant Minister of Youth Development, Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, said the incident was unfortunate, and he hoped good fans would not be punished for the acts of a few.

The ugly scene at the State Stadium after the riot erupted on Saturday.

This young girl was hurt in the mayhem.
‘FAM, cops should have been better prepared for any untoward incident’

He said FAM and the police should have been better prepared for any untoward incident since several Sarawak supporters were beaten up in Ipoh during the previous meeting between these two teams.

“The tension had built up (from the previous encounter). If the authority cared to look and monitor the situation, they would have noticed that users of social media had played up the incident and that aroused the emotions of Sarawak fans. Measures should have been taken instead of treating the match just like any other.”

Abdul Karim said he was saddened by the ugly incident.

“Acts of rioting, vandalism, and destroying public property are definitely wrong, and whoever did it must be penalised.

“Soccer fans must know how to control their temper and emotion. They are supposed to go to the stadium to watch and enjoy the match. If one comes with intention to bash up opposing players or supporters, or to create trouble, then better don’t come at all.”

Civil Defence Department personnel attend to the injured.

Flares were set off as angry fans run riot.

The overturned police car.

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