KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 23 ― Dancer and Bersih 4 supporter Bilqis Hijjas claimed trial today to a charge of “insulting behaviour” for balloon bombing Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his wife at a function both attended last month.
The daughter of famed architect Hijjas Kasturi was charged under Section 14 of the Minor Offences Act 1955, which carries a maximum fine of RM100 for those convicted.
Bail was set at RM500 by Magistrate Nur Azura Murah as suggested by deputy public prosecutor Shukor Abu Bakar, and was paid by her father.
Michelle Yesudas, Bilqis's lawyer said that they would be fighting the case instead of paying the fine, because to do the latter would set a bad precedence.
“Our client maintains her innocence, and as her lawyers we will stand by that,” she told reporters outside of the Magistrate court.
“It is very frightening how people are starting to define crimes associated with these balloons, because all that were written on the balloons were words like 'democracy' and 'free media'.
“If these things can lead to a person being charged, then we could say we are heading for very worrying times, and we should continue fighting for a democratic space,” the lawyer said.
Bersih 2.0 chair Maria Chin Abdullah also turned up in court today in support of Bilqis, along with Bersih 2.0 secretariat member Mandeep Singh.
Friends and family showed their support in the lobby, carrying yellow-coloured balloons, similar to the ones that Bilqis had used.
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 Mansor 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.