Bersih ‘balloon girl’ to be charged tomorrow

Bilqis Hijjas was detained by police on Aug 31, 2015 for distributing Bersih 4 balloons at an upscale shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur. — Picture courtesy of Bilqis Hijjas’ Facebook page
Bilqis Hijjas was detained by police on Aug 31, 2015 for distributing Bersih 4 balloons at an upscale shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur. — Picture courtesy of Bilqis Hijjas’ Facebook page

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 22 — Bilqis Hijjas, the dancer in the soup for dropping yellow balloons near Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his wife during a recent function, will be charged in court tomorrow over her “insulting behaviour”.

According to a media alert from Lawyers for Liberty (LFL), Bilqis will be charged for the offence under Section 14 of the Minor Offences Act 1955 which, if convicted, will see her liable to a maximum RM100 fine.

Responding to the news, Bersih 2.0 said in a statement that its chairman Maria Chin Abdullah will make an appearance in court tomorrow to show support for Bilqis.

The polls watchdog said it is believed that the dancer intends to plead “not guilty” to the offence, believing that dropping balloons is not a crime.

“Bersih 2.0 condemns the charge against Bilqis as one that is intended to punish a youth for a ridiculous offence, even as the real rogues robbing the nation’s riches roam free,” the group said.

Bilqis was initially probed under Section 504 of the Penal Code for “provoking a breach of peace” by distributing the balloons at the Pavilion shopping mall in Bukit Bintang during the DiverseCity International Art Festival which PM Najib had attended.

It is understood that Bilqis had dropped the balloons from the top floor of the mall, which later fell behind the stage where Najib and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah were seated.

The seven balloons were decorated with the words “Free media”, “Democracy” and “Justice”, among others.

Najib and Rosmah were said to have ignored the balloons.

The balloons were also seen being distributed at the 34-hour Bersih 4 rally which took place on August 29 and 30, and which saw tens of thousands take to the street calling for a electoral process among others, and for Najib to step down.

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