Home Minister: Sedition probe against Women's March organisers dropped

Demonstrators take part in a march in conjunction with International Women's Day in Kuala Lumpur March 9, 2018. ― Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Demonstrators take part in a march in conjunction with International Women's Day in Kuala Lumpur March 9, 2018. ― Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, May 29 — The police have dropped a sedition investigation against the organisers of the International Women's Day March (IWD), who held a peaceful assembly in March this year.

Malaysiakini reported Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin confirming the matter in a written reply to Senator Siti Fatimah Yahya, who had reportedly asked to know the latest development on the case.

The news portal reported Muhyiddin telling Siti that the case has been classified as 'no further action' (NFA) and dropped.

“The police conducted an investigation under Section 9(5) of the Peaceful Assembly Act (PAA) 2012 and Section 4(1) of the Sedition Act 1948 after receiving reports from the Dang Wangi police headquarters.

“The organisers of the march were summoned to Dang Wangi for questioning on March 18, and no arrests have been made in connection with the case thus far.

“Investigation papers were referred to the deputy public prosecutor and the case was classified as NFA," Malaysiakini quoted Muhyiddin as saying.

In March, organisers of the IWD march, which was held in the city, said they were being investigated by the police under PAA 9 (5) and Sedition Act 4 (1).

The organising committee said public statements by police, politicians and various parties had mischaracterised the march as an “illegal LGBT assembly”, which had caused multiple forms of backlash and had shifted the focus away from the five demands made on the day.

The participants on the gathering held in Kuala Lumpur had included members of Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) and Sisters in Islam (SIS), activists, students and various people from all across Malaysia.

Bernama previously reported Muhyiddin saying that no permit was issued by the authorities to allow the IWD organisers to hold their event.

He reportedly said that the government strongly rejects any move to organise an assembly without a permit, as it would be in violation of PAA 2012.