At dawn a company of the Federal Reserve Unit police personnel with their shields marched into position along Jalan Padang, next to the Padang Merdeka where an expected Bersih gathering was supposed to be held today and then march for less than one km to the Istana to hand over a Bersih petition to the Sabah Governor as the DYMM Agong’s representative to mirror what was planned in Kuala Lumpur.
Some have ‘KB’ stenciled on their helmets which could mean that they were seconded from Kota Belud, a town north of Sabah.
FRU command truck and other police vehicles including an armoured police Land Rover with multiple gas discharger nozzles on its swivel turret occupy the roads.
One FRU Land Rover with six armed personnel blocks one lane of the two lanes Jalan Istana with the other lane manned by half a dozen traffic policemen with their superbikes.
The Sabah Police Commissioner said no permit would be issued for any Bersih event ever.
The city’s premier field Padang Merdeka is surrounded by policemen. The eastern approach roads Jalan Istana and Jalan Bendara from Signal Hill to the city is cordoned off with road blocks manned by policemen randomly
checking cars and passengers.
A police vehicle was parked along Jalan Pinggir next to the entrance into the Istana compound.
Police on motorcycles are patrolling the city’s streets and roads scanning the working Saturday crowd.
The heavy police presence is unsettling for some city folks as it is unprecedented after last Thursday mock riot exercise by the police with a helicopter flying for hours overhead from 10 am to 3 pm that caused angst amount the uninformed as FRU chased their own head wearing blue ribboned goon actors through the city’s streets.
Many five day week workers are giving Kota Kinabalu Central Business District (CBD) a miss today to avoid any congestion.
The northern and southern approach roads are also under police surveillance with checkpoints. There is no western approach into the city as the South China Sea is a natural boundary.
In Foh Sang where the Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) Headquarters is located, a Police Land Rover and two trucks of policemen rolled into the vehicle parking lots at dawn.
The SAPP has invited some Bersih activists to attend its launching of the party’s Internet TV portal channel at noon today.
Police superbikes are seen parked at road junctions leading into and out of Foh Sang, a commercial centre in Luyang, some 5km east of Kota Kinabalu CBD with some real mean looking uniformed policemen loitering around shop corners with some in plain clothes wearing police vests.
The atmosphere of their presence with self-absorbed stern eye-balling, some behind dark sunglasses and their disconcerting incessant loud chattering on walkie-talkies is seemingly unfriendly if not menacing to the local populace.
No one is arrested yet at this point in time.