1. BERSIH 2.0 is increasingly concerned by the continuing harassment of our activities and our supporters by the Royal Malaysian Police Force.


  1. From 1 October 2016 until 30 May 2017, the police have conducted 119 arrests or investigations related to BERSIH 2.0 activities. The breakdown of this harassment is as follows:


  1. 63 investigations or arrests over the BERSIH 5 Convoy, from 1 October 2016 to 18 November 2016.
  2. 36 investigations or arrests over the BERSIH 5 rally on November 19, 2016.
  3. 14 investigations related to Maria Chin Abdullah’s detention under Section 124C of the Penal Code.
  4. 7 investigations over the Bebas Maria vigils.


  1. All of the 119 investigations (see Appendix 1) have focused on the following allegations:


  1. Alleged violations of the Peaceful Assembly Act (77 cases)
  2. Alleged violation of the Printing Presses and Publications Act
  3. Alleged violations of the Sedition Act
  4. Alleged violations of Section 147 of the Penal Code (rioting)
  5. Alleged violations of Section 504 and 505 of the Penal Code
  6. Alleged violations of Section 124C of the Penal Code (attempting activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy).


  1. The Peaceful Assembly Act is repeatedly used as an excuse control the right to peaceful assembly. In particular, criminalizing the requirement to give 10-days notice has rendered this right illusory, especially in urgent scenarios, such as the Bebas Maria vigils or if there are sudden changes to planned Convoy routes. This requirement was proven to be overly burdensome in the BERSIH 5 Convoy, which visited over 230 areas in a seven-week period.


  1. BERSIH 2.0 believes these investigations have been conducted without regard for the individuals’ fundamental liberties guaranteed under Article 10 of the Federal Constitution and Article 19 and Article 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This harassment is in itself a violation of freedom of expression as the arbitrary attempts to instill fear and the financial burden incurred by BERSIH volunteers and staff creates a chilling effect for people to continue to speak out and voice their dissent.


  1. The harassment and intimidation of BERSIH 2.0 and its supporters is further in contravention of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders. The 119 investigations or arrests have occurred as a result of individuals’ work against corruption, electoral fraud and abuse of power:


  1. The purpose of the BERSIH 5 Convoy and BERSIH 5 rally was to start a national conversation on clean governance, clean elections, the right to dissent, strengthening parliamentary democracy and empowering Sabah and Sarawak.
  2. The investigations related to Maria Chin Abdullah’s detention under Section 124C of the Penal Code focused on the source of funding for legitimate activities as Non-Governmental Organisations and work as Human Rights Defenders.
  3. The Bebas Maria campaign was to demand the immediate release of Maria Chin Abdullah from arbitrary detention without trial and the abolishment of the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act.


  1. BERSIH 2.0 therefore calls upon SUHAKAM to exercise its functions and powers pursuant to Sections 4(1)(d), 4(2)(b) and 4(2)(c) of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia Act, read with Sections 4(4) and 12(1) of the same Act, to carry out an inquiry into the continued state harassment of Human Rights Defenders involved in BERSIH 2.0’s activities by the Royal Malaysian Police Force, the Inspector General of Police, the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Government of Malaysia.


  1. BERSIH 2.0 further asks for this inquiry to include:


  1. A review of laws that have been abused to curb freedom of expression and assembly, including the Peaceful Assembly Act, the Sedition Act, the Printing Presses and Publications Act, Sections 147, 124C, 504 and 505 of the Penal Code and SOSMA.
  2. A recommendation for a Parliamentary Select Committee to be established to continue the review of protections for and abuses of freedom of expression and freedom of assembly.


  1. This Memorandum can be read together with the BERSIH 2.0 Memorandum submitted on 20 December 2016, titled, “Aduan kepada Suruhanjaya Hak Asasi Manusia (SUHAKAM) tentang pencabulan hak asasi manusia oleh polis dalam mengendalikan perhimpunan aman BERSIH5.”

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