Govt files appeal against balloon woman Bilqis

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PETALING JAYA: The Federal Government has filed a notice of appeal against the acquittal of dance producer Bilqis Hijjas on a charge of insulting behaviour by dropping yellow balloons at a function attended by the prime minister.

A copy of the notice was sent by post to Bilqis, who received it on Friday, according to Malay Mail Online.

She said she was disheartened by the Attorney-General’s decision to pursue the case. “I believe the judge in the first trial provided a very clear and comprehensive ruling. This appeal seems like a nuisance suit, and a continuing waste of public resource, with very little hope of public gain,” she was quoted as saying.

Bilqis, 37, the daughter of prominent architect Hijjas Kasturi, was charged under the Minor Offences Act in September last year for dropping several yellow balloons from the fifth floor of Pavilion shopping centre in Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur.

The balloons bore the words “Free media”, “Democracy” and “Justice”, and were dropped during the opening ceremony of the Kuala Lumpur International Arts Festival, attended by the Prime Minister, Najib Razak.

The charge carries a maximum of RM100 fine for “insulting behaviour with the purpose of inciting anger that may cause a disturbance of peace”.

She was acquitted by the magistrate’s court on July 1, after a full trial. The magistrate, Muhamad Faizal, was reported to have noted that it was rare to have a full trial for such a case as most of those charged would have just admitted guilt. He also noted that he could not refer to any previous cases of similar judgment.

The magistrate said the witnesses’ statements did not show that Bilqis had intended to provoke anger, and there was no witness to show that the incident had resulted in a breach of peace, as the event had proceeded as planned.