PETALING JAYA: Rights group Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) has called on the country’s top cop to halt investigations into a rally held over the weekend and come up with a “win-win” solution to allow for peaceful assemblies to be held.
Its executive director, Sevan Doraisamy, said while he welcomed the inspector-general of police’s statement on the people’s right to freedom of expression and assembly, it should not be “arbitrarily or whimsically denied” by the police.
Claims that the police investigation was prompted by failure to give proper notice were absurd as any urgent or developing situation was often unplanned, he said.
The police, Sevan said, should aim to facilitate these gatherings to maintain the peace, and not waste time investigating the organisers.
“The IGP should put an end to investigations and develop a win-win situation where the right to peaceful assembly is upheld.
“The police should not stand as an opponent of fundamental freedoms enshrined within the Federal Constitution but as ardent defenders of Malaysians’ right under Article 10 of the Federal Constitution,” he said in a statement.
Sevan also urged Inspector-General of Police Abdul Hamid Bador to meet stakeholders and interest groups to develop internal guidelines to support and facilitate such gatherings.
Police recently said it was investigating participants of a rally held on Sunday, which was attended by the likes of activists Marina Mahathir and Ambiga Sreenevasan.
It was held following the appointment of Muhyiddin Yassin as the country’s eighth prime minister, in the wake of a political crisis which saw the collapse of the PH government.
Pakatan Harapan and former federal minister Mohamed Azmin Ali have since condemned the move to probe the rally and its organisers.
Hamid has since said that while police will not curtail the people’s right to gather, it must follow the letter of the law.