Pengerang residents were pulled out of the designated press conference (PC) area at the Parliament lobby when they tried to address the media about a signature campaign to stop the forced removal of burial sites of their ancestors.

Parliament guards pulled out NGO leader Sim Seng San, who refused to budge at first, and later tried to do the same to his colleague Yap Lay Yen.

NONE“This are is only for parliamentarians. Get up,” the guard said, while tugging at Sim’s (sitting, left in photo) arm.

However, DAP’s Bakri MP Er Teck Hwa (centre in photo) stopped the guard from doing the same to Yap.

“She is a woman, you cannot touch her,” he told the guard who was trying to implement the new ruling by the Dewan Rakyat speaker to disallow non-Parliamentarians from holding press conferences in the designated area.

NONESim and Yap later took questions from reporters outside the designated press conference area, but were again stopped by the guard.

“This area is still in Parliament jurisdiction,” another Parliament guard said, but the guard left when reporters pointed out that the speaker’s ruling only applies to the designated area.

Sixty tombstones more than 120 years old

According to Sim, the nationwide signature campaign to protest the forced removal will be launched next month.

“We hope the people of Malaysia can help us,” he said.

NONEAccording to Yap, the Pengerang NGO coalition had done a survey of the area and found that in the five cemeteries, 1,566 graves were to undergo forced removal to make way for the petrochemical project.

She said that all the graves belong to individuals with living relatives whom the NGOs have traced, and that 60 tombstones are more than 120 years old.

She said that while the government has informed them of the move, it is uncertain when the move will be done or the relocation site. Compensation has also been offered but the quantum has yet to be determined.

“We want to know why only a few graves had to be relocated for the Ulu Tiram-Desaru Highway but none are to be spared in Pengerang...

“If they move the Pengerang graves now, then other graves around the country can also be forcefully moved,” she said. - Malaysiakini, 21/11/2012, Pengerang residents pulled out of Parliament PC area