MARCH 1 — The Centre for Independent Journalism and the undersigned civil society organisations (CSOs) stand in strong solidarity with Fadiah Nadwa Fikri and others over peaceful activities exercising their freedom of assembly and freedom of expression.
In this regard, we condemn the move of the Bukit Aman’s Criminal Investigation Department director Datuk Huzir Mohamed who was reported as investigating Fadiah Nadwa Fikri, for inviting the public to attend the rally, under Section 4(1) of the Sedition Act for alleged incitement, and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 on alleged “improper use of network facilities or network service”.
The Dang Wangi Police chief ACP Mohd Fahmi Visuvanathan Abdullah has also purportedly stated that the organisers of the Save Malaysia gathering on 1 March 2020 are being investigated under the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012.
These actions by the authorities are seen as a form of intimidation and reprisal against activists, who in this case were exercising their constitutional right to freedom of expression and assembly through peaceful gatherings in condemning the ‘backdoor’ dealings which had resulted in the overthrowing of the Pakatan Harapan government, which was clearly against the will of the people who had exercised their voting rights in 2018 to determine the government of their choice.
Similar investigations have been launched by the authorities against Gavin Lee, Haizad Azhar and Aaron Yee for posting statements on social media allegedly insulting the King.
Coming almost immediately after the announcement of Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yasin as the 8th Prime Minister this can clearly be seen as the return of the regressive regime that we had just started to transform since May 2018. These actions are further aggravated by the damning statements in the media portraying, especially Fadiah, as being “wanted” by the police. This attempt at demonising activism is seen as being used to turn public narrative against human rights defenders and is highly condemned.
The civil society organisations have repeatedly advocated that use of repressive and draconian laws, such as the above, should be repealed as it is clearly a violation of the right to freedom of expression and freedom of speech which is guaranteed in Article 10 of our Federal Constitution.
There is no derogation of this demand regardless of which government is in power and all the more reason to accelerate and deepen the reform agenda so that the will of the people is not thwarted again! As such, we would like to urge the police to stop the use of repressive laws and actions against those expressing their constitutional right to expression and speech.
We would also like to reiterate our position taken on 24 February 2020 rejecting any backdoor government that undermines and betrays the people of Malaysia who voted in 2018 on the basis of a manifesto focused on reforms premised on eradication corruption, improve
economic conditions of people and institutional strengthening centred on rule of law and human rights.
1. Centre for Independent Journalism
2. Freedom Film Network
3. Sisters in Islam
4. KRYSS Network
6. Pusat Komas
7. The Society for the Promotion of Human Rights (PROHAM)
8. EMPOWER Malaysia
9. Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor
10. Sinar Projek
11. Justice for Sisters
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.