KOTA KINABALU, April 29 — UK-based activist Doris Jones hit out today at the “shocking” ban on Sabah Bersih 2.0’s May Day rally, claiming it was not in line with the current law of the land.
The founder of the controversial social media movement Sabah Sarawak Keluar Malaysia said the move contradicts the Sedition Act and the Peaceful Assembly Act, which she pointed out do not prohibit peaceful protests, even if they are to criticise government policies.
“The government is now back stepping on the newly amended Sedition Act by not even allowing the event to go on. What is the point of the law? They are stifling freedom of expression, by persecution before any offence has actually been committed.
“In west Malaysia, organisers would be hauled in for questioning at least after a rally has occurred to investigate whether an offence has been committed,” she said when speaking to Malay Mail Online.
Jones, who is wanted by Malaysian police under the Sedition Act for promoting secession, said that the authorities needed to give an acceptable reason as to why the rally was not granted approval when it went through the proper legal procedure.
“It looks bad in the international arena. Stifling peaceful protests using the excuse of a security threat is not acceptable. The police are meant to maintain peace and order during a peaceful protest, not banning them even before anything untoward has happened.
“If they can do this, then they can do anything they want next time,” she said.
Jones, who said she has worked in the legal fraternity, also questioned the court order which required signatures from the named leaders but not the unnamed 17th respondent — “members of the public”.
“How can you ban someone from entering the city? It seems unfair that the political leaders are meant to voice public opinion, and they have to sign the court order, but not others?” she asked.
Jones, who has been identified by police as Doris Yapp, said she had volunteers from her non-governmental organisation “Sabah Sarawak Union” who were planning on attending the rally to support the cause.