Membungkam kebebasan bersuara adalah simptom kegagalan demokrasi (Malay/English)

[ENGLISH VERSION BELOW] Gabungan Pilihan Raya Bersih dan Adil (Bersih 2.0) menzahirkan kebimbangan terhadap tindakan keras polis baru-baru terhadap aktivis sosial yang membangkitkan isu-isu rakyat dan rakyat Malaysia yang hanya menzahirkan keterdesakan mereka ketika krisis ekonomi dan kesihatan ini.

Siasatan terhadap aktivis dan Pengarah Freedom Film Network Anna Har dan kartunis Amin Landak oleh polis adalah disebabkan filem pendek yang dilancarkan mereka baru-baru ini yang menceritakan penyeksaan seoarang budak dan dua rakannya semasa di dalam tahanan.

Ketua Pegawai Eksekutif Galen Centre for Health and Social Policy Azrul Mohd Khalib juga sedang disiasat berikutan ciapan beliau tahun lalu yang menzahirkan kebimbangan beliau berkenaan penggunaan data aplikasi MySejahtera bagi penguatkuasaan undang-undang.

Mereka disiasat dibawah Seksyen 233 Akta Komunikasi dan Multimedia kerana menyebarkan kandungan yang dikatakan mengancam dan menyakitkan hati dan Seksyen 500 dan 505B Kanun Keseksaan bagi jenayah fitnah dan menyebarkan kandungan dengan niat menyebabkan ketakutan atau kegentaran awam kepada golongan awam.

Laporan media berkenaan arahan polis kepada orang kampung di Kuantan untuk menurunkan bendera putih mereka juga amat membimbangkan. Gerakan #BenderaPutih muncul sebagai cara untuk mengenalpasti dan membantu mereka yang terdesak akibat perintah kawalan pergerakan penuh di mana jutaan rakyat kehilangan pendapatan dan kebanyakanya hilang upaya untuk menyara diri mereka sendiri. Ekspresi keterdesakan ini dianggap memalukan oleh sesetengah ahli politik namun untuk rakyat Malaysia yang penyayang, ianya adalah kaedah menyokong satu sama lain semasa tempoh krisis ini.

Bersih 2.0 berpandangan tindakan terhadap rakyat yang hanya mengamalkan hak perlembagaan untuk menyatakan pandangan dan situasi mereka adalah satu simptom kegagalan demokrasi. Proklamasi darurat dengan alasan melawan Covid-19 oleh kerajaan Perikatan Nasional pada Januari tahun ini telah melempar Malaysia ke lembah autoritarianisme, dan dengan toleransi yang nipis akibat kebimbangan dan paranoia kerajaan, Malaysia semakin menghampiri juang itu.

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Kami mendesak pasukan polis untuk segera hentikan segala intimidasi kepada aktivis dan marhaen yang sedang berhadapan keadaan terdesak. Desakan untuk membuka Parlimen, Dewan Rakyat, telah datang dari pelbagai pihak termasuklah Yang di-Pertuan Agong dan raja-raja Melayu. Adalah mustahak bagi perdana menteri mengembalikan demokrasi dengan menamatkan darurat dan membuka Parlimen segera.

Sekiranya kerajaan berterusan mengabaikan kesengsaraan rakyat dan polis berterusan menggunakan kaedah kekerasan untuk membungkam kebebasan bersuara yang sah, kemungkinan pelanggaran arahan sivil tidak dapat dikesampingkan lagi terutama apabila rakyat sedang murka dan lapar. – Bersih 2.0

English version

Crackdowns on freedom of expression symptomatic of failing democracy

The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) views with grave concern the recent various crackdowns by the police on social activists who raised issues of public concern and ordinary Malaysians who expressed their desperation during this health and economic crisis.

The investigation of Freedom Film Network’s (FFN) director Anna Har and cartoonist Amin Landak by Bukit Aman Police is in relation to a short film they released recently about the torture of a boy and his two friends while in police custody.

The CEO of Galen Centre for Health and Social Policy, Azrul Mohd Khalib, is also being investigated for a tweet he made last year expressing his concern over the use of data from MySejahtera app for law enforcement.

They are being investigated under Section 233 of the Communication and Multimedia Act, for allegedly sharing menacing and offensive content, and Section 500 and 505B of the Penal Code, for criminal defamation and publishing content with intent to cause fear and alarm among the public.

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Media reports of police ordering villagers in Kuantan to take down their white flags also raise concern. The #BenderaPutih (WhiteFlag) movement arose as a way to identify and help those who are in dire need due to the current full movement control order, under which millions of people have lost their incomes and for most, the ability to feed themselves. Their expression of desperation is viewed by some politicians as an embarrassment, but for caring Malaysians, it is a means of supporting each other during this time of crisis.

Bersih 2.0 views these and many other recent crackdowns on people who are exercising their constitutional rights to express their views and situation as another symptom of a failing democracy. The declaration of emergency on the pretext of fighting Covid-19 by the Perikatan Nasional government in January has already thrown Malaysia into a state of authoritarianism, and now the growing intolerance driven by the government’s insecurity and paranoia moves the nation further down the slippery slope.

We call on the police to cease immediately all intimidation of activists and people who are facing desperate situations. The call to reconvene Parliament, the House of Representatives of the people, has come from many quarters, including the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the Malay rulers. It is imperative that the prime minister acts to restore our democracy by ending the emergency and convening Parliament immediately.

If the government continues to ignore the plight of the people and the police continue to use high-handed means to stifle any legitimate expressions, the possibility of a total breakdown of civil order cannot be ruled out when people are hungry and angry. – Bersih 2.0

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