KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 1 — The #Lawan rally in the city yesterday was uneventful and consistent with Malaysians’ right to assembly, the Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) said today based on its monitoring of the event.
The commission commended both the event’s organisers and the police for ensuring that the rally went smoothly despite a late decision by the authorities to prevent the demonstrators from gathering at Merdeka Square.
“We call on the police to desist investigating and charging anyone merely for exercising their fundamental rights.
“Instead, Suhakam would like to propose for the authorities to emphasise on developing and strengthening the SOPs to enable such gatherings by mitigating the risk of the Covid-19,” the commission said in a statement.
The commission said it deployed seven observers to monitor the protest yesterday, which it said had been attended by approximately 1,000 people.
The observers also found attendees to have complied with the standard operating procedures in place to minimise the risk of Covid-19 infection, Suhakam said.
Suhakam repeated its view that the right to gather peacefully was guaranteed under Article 10 of the Federal Constitution.
Yesterday, Dang Wangi police chief Mohamad Zainal Abdullah confirmed that Sekretariat Solidariti Rakyat (SSR), the rally’s organisers, would be investigated for allegedly violating Covid-19 SOPs with the event.
He said that while the event was peaceful, there was a prohibition against mass gatherings under the movement control order (MCO).
The rally that ran from 10am to 1pm yesterday was to express dissatisfaction with the federal government over its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, among other things.