KUALA LUMPUR, March 1 — The Joint-Action Group For Gender Equality (JAG) has called on the police to drop the case against activist Fadiah Nadwa Fikri over the peaceful gathering held at Dataran Merdeka last night.
The women’s rights coalition, in a statement endorsed by 11 other organisations, said the police should stop investigating Fadiah under the Sedition Act 1948 or any other law.
“We also urge the government to uphold and protect our citizens’ rights to freedom of expression and freedom of association and assembly, more so during this critical time in our country,” it said.
It noted that the police are investigating Fadiah under Section 4(1) of the Sedition Act 1948 and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act (CMA) 1998 as “deeply troubling”.
“It has been less than a day since Tan Sri Muhyiddin was announced as Prime Minister. For the people, the political situation in the country appears to be regressing,” it said.
It stressed that the people have a right to be heard to ensure that the people’s views are not sidelined and ignored.
It claimed Fadiah is the first casualty of the political crisis and that such conduct by the power that be is unwarranted and unacceptable.
“It is the right of the rakyat to respond to the perspective that our democracy has been stolen, and we are angry,”
“All of us Malaysians have the right to assemble and freely express this in a peaceful and democratic manner,” it said, adding that this is a constitutional right.
JAG also condemned the online intimidation and harassment against other individuals who participated in and spoke at the gathering.
Fadiah, in a statement, said she was singled out from a gathering last night.
“I have been summoned by the Classified Criminal Investigation Unit, Bukit Aman and will be there on Tuesday, March 3 at 11am,” she said.
She said this incident is not about her or any one person.
“As yesterday’s gathering showed, we have strength in our solidarity,” she said.
She pointed out that activists, civil society and the people have pushed against the government that had tried to divide and silence their voices and deny their rights for decades.
“But we have persevered and we will continue to do so. Now, more than ever, we must find and create spaces, knowledge, comfort and strength together,” she said.
She tells everyone not to be intimidated as it was a matter of their rights, dignity and lives.
“Standing up for ourselves and each other is not, and cannot, be harmful or “seditious”,” she said while calling for all to stand together in solidarity.
Muhyiddin was sworn in as the 8th prime minister this morning after a week of political quagmire following the resignation of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad from the position.
A group of activists have since announced another rally calling for the public to “Save Malaysia” this evening at 6pm at the Sogo Mall at Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman.