Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) strongly condemns the prosecution of Maria Chin under Section 9(5) of the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012, writes Sevan Doraisamy.
Under Article 10 of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia, the right to peaceful assembly must be provided for so far as possible. In light of this enshrined right, the existence of the need for an official notice for any peaceful assembly as required by the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 is highly peculiar by nature.
The earlier decision by the Court of Appeal in 2014 which challenged the constitutionality of Section 9(5) of the Act should have been the conclusion of the matter. Unfortunately, that was not the case.
Despite the contrary interpretation of Section 9(5) of the Act in the recent Court of Appeal case, it is illogical and unjustifiable for any charge to be made against Maria Chin with regard to the Bersih 4 rally. In the light of the fact that the required notice was given to the Royal Malaysian Police, there is no legitimate justification for Maria Chin to be charged under Section 9(5) of the Act.
Any charges levelled against Maria Chin under Section 9(5) of the Act are either frivolous in nature or a despicable act of moving the goal post in an attempt to subvert the legal system of Malaysia in order to prosecute vocal civil right activists in Malaysia.
Either way, the charges made against Maria Chin are a clear abuse of power by the government of Malaysia.
Recalling the series of violations of human rights by the government of Malaysia and the series of unfortunate decisions by the Federal Court of Malaysia, it is clear that the government is neither interested nor sincere in improving the poor human rights record achieved under the guidance of the current prime minister.
On this note, Suaram calls for the government to immediately cease and desist the undue and unjust prosecution of Maria Chin and all other civil rights activists and to comply with the rights and liberties guaranteed to all Malaysians under the Federal Constitution of Malaysia and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Sevan Doraisamy is executive director of human rights group Suaram.