The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) wishes to inform the public that our Chairperson Thomas Fann received a call from the police (PDRM) to be investigated under Section 9(5) of the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 in relation to a posting on our official Facebook page on 29th February 2020, urging citizens unhappy with the betrayal of the people’s mandate brought about by the “Sheraton Move” to attend a protest called “Turun Ke Jalan: Demokrasi Mati” at the Dataran Merdeka that night.
Fann will present himself at the IPD Dang Wangi to be questioned on the 7th of July 2020 at 11am. He will be accompanied by a lawyer when he gives his statement to the police.
Bersih 2.0 reminds the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government that the right to peaceful assembly as well the right to free speech, expression and association is enshrined under Article 10 of our Federal Constitution. It should also be noted that our call for people to join peaceful protests was well before the Movement Control Order (MCO) was implemented.
We regret that under the new PN government of Muhyiddin Yassin, the era of political intimidation and silencing of dissent that was so common under Barisan Nasional (BN) seems to have returned in full force.
Apart from Fann, in recent weeks others have been similarly called in for questioning. Founding director of Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism, Cynthia Gabriel for a press statement entitled “Anti-corruption will never purify the unelected Perikatan Nasional government”, Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh for a Twitter message, Muar MP Syed Saddiq for his TV interview on Al-jazeera, activist Siti Kasim for a Facebook posting and journalist Tashny Sukumaran for reporting the crackdown on undocumented migrants during the MCO.
On 14th June, well-known disc jockey and actor Patrick Teoh was charged under section 233(1)(a) of the Communication and Multimedia Act (CMA) for allegedly making an insulting Facebook post about the TMJ of Johor with the intention to hurt the feelings of others.
Legal action was also taken against news portal Malaysiakini for allegedly offensive comments posted by its subscribers against the judiciary, and book publisher Gerakbudaya was raided by the police over a book cover with an image that resembles the national coat of arms.
Bersih 2.0 views such restrictions on fundamental liberties as symptomatic of an insecure government who has not established its own legitimacy after the political coup that took place four months ago. Till today, Muhyiddin has denied the Parliament the opportunity to affirm his claim that his government commands the support of the majority of MPs.
Bersih 2.0 calls on all Malaysians to stand in solidarity with all those who are being intimidated and defend our fundamental liberties that is guaranteed by our Federal Constitution. As for us, we will not be intimidated nor defeated.
Statement issued by:
The Steering Committee of Bersih 2.0