We, the undersigned civil society organisations, are outraged and deeply concerned with the decision by the police to investigate activist Fadiah Nadwa Fikri under section 9(1) of the Peaceful Assembly Act.
This follows a solidarity gathering on the afternoon of Wednesday, 11 July, outside the Brickfields District Police Headquarters, where Fadiah was due to be questioned under Section 4(1) of the Sedition Act and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act regarding an article she had written.
This first investigation was spurious enough, and the use of the archaic, draconian Sedition Act was certainly uncalled for. The fact that the police would take this a step further by opening yet another investigation into what was clearly a peaceful gathering of concerned citizens defending their constitutional right to free speech is most deplorable. Furthermore, Fadiah was not even the organiser of the solidarity gathering that day, making the reasoning for the latest investigation even more suspect.
Malaysians throughout the nation have been filled with hope that 9 May marked the beginning of a genuinely new Malaysia – the Malaysia baru which we were promised. Unfortunately, these heavy-handed actions of the police are anything but new and are instead vividly reminiscent of Barisan Nasional-era abuse of power and the use of unjust laws to oppress constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech and the right to assemble peacefully.
In Promise 27 of the Pakatan Harapan manifesto, the Sedition Act, the Communications and Multimedia Act, and the Peaceful Assembly Act are all specifically mentioned and unambiguously earmarked for abolition or amendment.
If the government has any sincerity whatsoever regarding these promises, all government agencies – especially the police – should be properly briefed and prohibited from infringing on the rights of concerned Malaysians through these repressive laws until they have been repealed in Parliament.
We call for all these unnecessary investigations to be dropped immediately. We hope this new government is in fact new and will back up their rhetoric with committed and decisive action. In these crucial early days, as the government sets the tone for its administration, we hope to see a genuine departure from the old oppression and a transition into a Malaysia where all ideas can be discussed peacefully and our constitutional rights exercised maturely.
1. Women’s Aid Organisation
2. Association of Women Lawyers
4. Sisters in Islam
6. Pusat Komas
7. Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (Empower)
9. Malaysia Muda
11. Friends of Kota Damansara
13. Society for the Promotion of Human Rights (Proham)
15. C4 Center
16. Childline Malaysia
17. Persatuan Sahabat Wanita, Selangor
18. Freedom Film Network
19. Justice for Sisters
20. People Like Us, Hang Out! (Pluho)
23. Bersih 2.0
24. The KL and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall women’s section
25. Women’s Development Organisation of Malaysia
26. North South Initiative
27. Writer Alliance for Media Independence
28. Centre for Independent Journalism
29. Tindak Malaysia
34. All-Women’s Action Society (Awam)
35. Persatuan Sains Sosial Malaysia (PSSM)
36. Community Action Network (CAN)
37. Campaign for Equality and Human Rights Initiative (Pelangi Initiative)
38. Projek Dialog
39. Suara Kolektif
40. Buku Jalanan UIA
41. Malaysian Athiest and Secular Humanist (Mash)
42. The Malaysian Feminist
43. Queer Lapis
44. Art for Grabs
45. Sosialis Alternatif