PPIM chief activist Datuk Nadzim Johan stressed that his group did not spark the brawl that broke out along racial lines and left two people hurt, and denied that their visit to Kota Raya to extract refunds from a mobile phone store constituted a “raid”.
“We don’t want this to become a race issue. This has nothing to do with race because we helped the Chinese, the Indians, the Bangladeshis; there were many being cheated at Kota Raya.
“So we’ve handled it the best we can and sincerely,” he said during a press conference today, which was also attended by over 20 other non-governmental organisations in support of PPIM.
PPIM special action unit chief Muhammad Yusuf Azmi, who was arrested over the incident, today explained that his presence at Kota Raya on the day of the brawl was only to help secure a refund for a consumer who had obtained an order from Consumer Claims Tribunal.
He alleged that the consumer in question had been unlawfully detained during a previous attempt to obtain his money back.
“So I went with victim and he showed who cheated him. I spoke to the manager, Jack, and he helped me settle everything and paid the refund,” Yusuf explained.
He added that after getting the refund for the man he accompanied, seven others approached him asking for help to get refunds for their purchases as well.
“Then others began shouting because seven others were also cheated and had gotten their passport confiscated.
“If they come and ask me to help them, how can I say no?” he said.
Yusuf was arrested four days after the incident and held overnight at the Dang Wangi district police headquarters under Section 506 of the Penal Code for criminal intimidation.
He insisted that he did not threaten any of the traders or conduct an unauthorised raid on his own, and that he legitimately negotiated the refunds for all 12 handphones amounting to RM11,900.
“I never did anything wrong. I was just standing up for the consumer. So I want to ask the IGP, what did I do wrong?” he queried.
Nadzim added that the fact that no Kota Raya traders have been arrested, despite claims they unlawfully withheld customers’ ATM cards and passports as collateral of payments, indicated that there is a conspiracy.
“I really believe it. It’s true. But at which level, I don’t know,” he said.
On December 20, a brawl broke out at the mall when some 20 men armed with sticks and helmets stormed the handphone shop to seek refunds over an alleged cheating case, and got into an argument that turned violent and left two people injured.
According to reports, the victim in the Kota Raya incident ― who was purportedly forced to pay RM5,000 for four mobile phones that he said was initially offered for RM800 but was later raised to RM10,000 ― lodged a report with the Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism Ministry..
Despite reports that the Tribunal for Consumer Claims had ordered the shop in question to return the sum, the complainant still went to PPIM which allegedly took it upon itself to “raid” the outlet and take RM12,000 in “compensation”.
A 38-year-old parking attendant, Khairuddin Arbi, was found guilty by the Magistrate’s Court of criminally intimidating five salesmen by threatening to destroy their premises, New Straits Times reported last Thursday.
Former soldier Mohd Ali Baharom, also known as Ali Tinju, is under investigation for sedition over remarks he made outside Kota Raya following the PPIM visit