We, the undersigned, strongly condemn the violent assault and attack by former Prime Minister Najib Razak’s followers and supporters on seven University of Malaya students who staged a peaceful protest on 22 March 2019.
The students were merely exercising their rights to freedom of assembly and freedom of expression as enshrined in our Constitution.
Unedited video images of the incident show the students were demonstrating peacefully and exercising their constitutional right to express their opinions and views on the performance of the former prime minister during his tenure. They were then harassed, attacked and assaulted by a group of Najib’s followers and supporters.
We also condemn the justifications given and used by these attackers who framed the students’ action of criticising Najib as “menghina orang Melayu” and labelled them as “DAP students”. Such justifications are improper; they are not in any manner acceptable excuses for their attack and assault on the students.
Moreover, the justifications given are misleading. One needs to differentiate between criticism of a public figure and insult to a person’s religion and race. The former is clearly within the constitutional right of any citizen to express their perception and views of the former prime minister as a public servant in his performance and discharged of his duties during his tenure in office.
The attackers also threatened two journalists with violence to stop them from discharging their duties as reporters in reporting the incident.
Further, it is regrettable to note that the police have not acted to arrest the attackers. We call upon the authorities to act swiftly by investigating this incident and bring those involved to justice.
Malaysians of all walks of life came together on 23 March 2019 at a Peace Walk to affirm their solidarity for peace and rejection of all forms of violence. It is therefore most regrettable that such attacks and assaults took place.
We call upon all Malaysians irrespective of political affiliations and ethnicity to reject all forms of violent behaviour and action that threaten, intimidate, attack and prevent fellow Malaysians from exercising their right to freedom of expression in a public space.
This is also in line with two of the affirmations of the KL Peace Declaration 2019 released during the Peace Walk, that put forward “condemnation of any act of discrimination, violence and killing in the name of religion or ethnicity; and total rejection of any act or culture based on hatred in the name of religion or ethnicity”.
Endorsed by the following groups:
- All Women’s Action Society (Awam)
- Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (Abim)
- Angkatan Gerak Minda Malaysia (Agra)
- Association of Toy Libraries Malaysia (ATLM)
- Association of Women Lawyers (AWL)
- Bersihkan Malaysia Perth
- Bersih Sydney
- Bersih Timor Leste
- Beyond Borders (BB)
- Buddhist Missionary Society Malaysia (BMSM)
- Buku Jalanan Chow Kit (BJCK)
- Centre for independent journalism (CIJ)
- Challenger Malaysia (CM)
- Childline Malaysia (MCTF)
- Community Integration Movement (CIM)
- Damn the Dams (DTD)
- ECCE Council
- Education Welfare Research Foundation (EWRF)
- Foreign Spouses Support Group
- Gabungan Pembebasan Akademik (GPA)
- Global Organisation Of People Of Indian Origin (GOPIO)
- Green Friends Sabah (GFS)
- Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF)
- Justice for Sisters (J4S)
- Knowledge and Rights with Young People through Safer Space (KRYSS)
- Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH)
- Kumpulan Aktivis Mahasiswa Independen (Kami)
- Liga Pemuda
- LLG Cultural Development Centre (LLG)
- Malaysia Muda (MM)
- Malaysian Association of Social Workers (MASW)
- Malaysian Progressives in Australia (MPOZ)
- Merdeka University Berhad (MUB)
- Monsoons Malaysia (MM)
- Movement for Change, Sarawak (MoCS)
- Muslim Professionals Forum (MPF)
- Negeri Sembilan Chinese Assembly Hall (NSCAH)
- North South Initiative (NSI)
- Partners in Community Organising, Sabah (Pacos Trust)
- People Like Us Support Ourselves (PLUsos)
- Pergerakan Tenaga Akademik Malaysia (Gerak)
- Pemuda Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM)
- Persatuan Aliran Kesedaran Negara (Aliran)
- Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (Empower)
- Persatuan Masyarakat Selangor dan Wilayah Persekutuan (Permas)
- Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor (PSWS)
- Persatuan Sains Sosial Malaysia (PSSM)
- Pertubuhan Ikram Malaysia (Ikram)
- Pertubuhan Pembangunan Kebajikan dan Persekitaran Positif Malaysia (Seed)
- Pusat Komas
- Sabah Women’s Action Resources Group (Sawo)
- Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM)
- Save Malaysia, Stop Lynas (SMSL)
- Sisters In Islam (SIS)
- Society for the Promotion of Human Rights (Proham)
- Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram)
- Tamil Foundation Malaysia (TF)
- Teoh Beng Hock Trust for Democracy (TBH Trust)
- Tindak Malaysia (TM)
- United Chinese School Alumni Associations of Malaysia (UCSAAM)
- Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO)
- Women’s Centre for Change (WCC)
- Women’s Development Organisation of Malaysia (WDO, Malaysia)
- Yayasan Aspirasi Rakyat Amalan Malaysia (Aram)
- Youth Era (YE)
- Youth Section of the Malacca Chinese Assembly Hall (YSMCAH)