Earlier on Tuesday (29th June), several families who were running out of food supplies in Bukit Setongkol, Kuantan, raised their white flags, in hopes of receiving aid from the public.
However, a man appeared at the settlement the next day and asked the families to take the flag down, much to the surprise of the residents. When they refused, the man allegedly came back with a few policemen.
One of the residents, Ana, said when the individual turned up in the area at about 4pm on Wednesday (30th June), most of them thought that the man was “bringing them some good news”. Instead, the man “threatened” them to take down the flags.
“He was not happy with our action (of raising the white flag) and told us to bring it down. He described it as a shameful act,” the 43-year-old resident told NST. “Why do we need to be ashamed? We’ve lost our source of income and are running low in food supplies.”
She also claimed that the man left and returned 30 minutes later with several police officers. “They told us to remove the flag or we would be compounded if we choose to remain stubborn. We are not allowed to raise the flag or seek any help, so what are we supposed to do?” questioned Ana, who sells pisang goreng near the main road of the area.
In response, the Pahang authorities has since refuted the allegations that the officers ordered the residents to remove the white flags that were hoisted in front of their houses. According to Pahang police chief, some were ordered to be taken down as they were pinned on electric poles.
“The police didn’t threaten (the residents). What happened at that time, as reported by the Kuantan district police chief, was because the individual had placed the flag on an electric pole. The police have no objection for the white flags to be displayed, as there are no law provisions or SOPs which state that such an act is a violation of the laws so far,” he said in a statement.
In addition, Ramli also asserted that no action should be taken if white flags are displayed at “its proper place”. “Of course if it obstructs traffic and others, it is an offence. But for the sake of flagging and not obstructing or others, there is no objection,” the police official said.
The affected residents in the area, however, have already received basic needs from Teruntum ADUN, Sim Chong Siang, yesterday (Thursday, 1st July).