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SUHAKAM fears authorities encouraging violence

Graphic: Photo of the Malaysian flag

A failure by police to act on violent threats against the aborted Dong Zong rally could be seen as encouraging such behaviour, the Commission said.

The failure by the police to act on violent threats against the aborted Dong Zong rally last week could be seen as encouraging such behaviour, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) said.

SUHAKAM said in a statement that the failure to act was also compounded by the police's decision to seek a restriction order preventing the Chinese education group's rally over the introduction of jawi lessons in 'vernacular' schools.

SUHAKAM said the combination simultaneously undermined civil liberties guaranteed under the Federal Constitution and enabled those who used violence to impose their will on others.

"The Commission is concerned that the authorities are giving in to inciters of violence at the expense of the protection of the fundamental rights of Malaysian citizens," the statement said.

"SUHAKAM believes that the Dong Zong conference, as well as the subsequent protests by Dong Zong detractors, should have been allowed to proceed, and for authorities to ensure that both groups could safely and fully complete their activities in order to satisfy their rights to freedom of assembly and freedom of speech, which is vital for the realisation of a free and open democracy."

According to media reports, Dong Zong said it would hold a mass gathering of Chinese organisations on 28 December to urge the government to cancel the teaching of the jawi script in the Bahasa Melayu subject in vernacular schools.

A day before the gathering, Malay-Muslim groups announced they rally outside New Era University College where the event would be held and also hold a separate rally at the nearby Kajang stadium.

The police obtained a court order on the same day to bar Dong Zong from proceeding with the conference, citing a danger to public order.

"SUHAKAM views seriously the actions of the State in the deprivation of Dong Zong of their rights by cancelling the conference through a court injunction," the statement said.

"SUHAKAM also hopes the police will fully investigate threats of violence, as they could

amount to incitement to hatred, sectarian riots, and threaten the rule of law in the country."

Date: 30 December 2019

Source: Human Rights Commission of Malaysia

Image credits

  1. Photo of the Malaysian flag - mkjr on Unsplash