IPOH, Oct 2 — The Magistrate’s Court here today granted a discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA) to five activists, who were arrested and charged with picketing outside Hospital Raja Permaisuri Bainun (HRPB) in June.
Magistrate Umzarul An Nur Umar allowed the DNAA to the activists after the prosecution team decided not to continue the prosecution after going through the representations submitted by the activists’ lawyers.
The five include National Union of Workers in Hospital Support and Allied Services (NUWHSAS) executive secretary M. Sarasvathy, 67, who is also a Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) committee member; NUWHSAS officials L. Danaletchumi, 35 and V. Santhiran, 52; PSM member P. Jody, 61; and PSM activist C. Subramane, 60.
In the representation letter submitted by counsel K. Kunasekaran and KS Bawani, the defence team had asked the prosecution team to withdraw the charges against the five activists.
Bawani said that the picketing carried out by the activists could not be classified as a rally or parade whether for economic, religious, educational and learning, sports, recreation, social or cultural purposes under Rule 7(1) of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures within Infected Local Areas) Regulations 2020.
She also said the picketing conducted by the activists does not fall under “prohibited activity”.
“The activists went to the HRPB only to submit a memorandum to the management of Edgenta UEMS Shd Bhd, a private contractor company that hires cleaning workers in government hospitals, in relation to the welfare and safety of workers, who are at the forefront of the Covid-19 outbreak.
“The protest was also held in compliance with standard operating procedures (SOP) such as recording participants’ information, measuring participant body temperature, practicing physical distancing, and wearing face masks,” she said.
The prosecution team then requested to discharge the accused from the charges not amounting to the acquittal and Magistrate Umzarul granted the request.
The case will not be continued.