Investigate violent threat against activist

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Social media has been used to spread slander - Graphic: Wikipedia

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) is appalled by the personal attack and threats made against human rights activist Heidy Quah in response to her sharing on refugees.

The vicious campaign against refugees and migrant workers in Malaysia is not a natural occurrence but a driven hate campaign that attempted to divert Malaysian’s attention from the political instability resulting from the coup in February and the inevitable economic fallout from the Covid-19. This is abundantly clear from the false and misleading narratives consistently put forth by bots and fake accounts prevalent on social media.

It seems the proliferation of disinformation is no longer adequate for the perpetrators as they have now escalated to personal attacks and issuance of threats against personal safety. Such threats cannot be tolerated, and swift action must be taken by the authorities to deter the normalisation of hate speech and violence in society.

Failure to act will have dire consequences for the physical wellbeing and safety of those affected.

The police and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission have consistently shown that they are equipped and able to track down individuals posting ‘offensive’ materials against politicians.

It is time the authorities use the investigative tools available to them to tackle an actual crime where a person is subjected to criminal intimidation and threat of violence.

Suaram calls on Communications and Multimedia Minister Saifuddin Abdullah to take the lead in this matter and ensure the perpetrators advocating violence are brought to justice.

Sevan Doraisamy is executive director of Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram)

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