CIJ appeals to gov’t to stop using intimidating tactics to silence the people’s voices

Loudspeakers. — file pic. // Photo: Pixabay

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By Adrian Lim

KUCHING, March 29: The Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) is appealing to the government not to use intimidating tactics to silence the voices of the people.

CIJ executive director Wathshlah G. Naidu in a media statement today said the organisation strongly condemns the use of intimidation tactics by the government to silence dissenting voices.

Following reports that several organisers and participants of the Undi18 protest in Kuala Lumpur will be questioned by the police tomorrow (March 30), she said the use of investigation tactics by authorities is seen as a form of intimidation against dissenting voices and voicing of alternate opinions.

Hence, she urges the government to put an end to stifling the people’s right to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly.

She noted the freedom of expression is enshrined under international human rights law, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and in the country’s Federal Constitution.

“Article 10 of the Federal Constitution guarantees all citizens the fundamental right to form associations, to engage in peaceful assembly and promotes freedom of expression.

“Any restrictions to these rights must be legitimate, necessary, or expedient and proportionate in the interest of maintaining public order, morality, and national security.

“The peaceful gathering held outside the Parliament building on March 27 was to demand the government to honour its promise to lower the voting age to 18-years-old, as well as implement automatic voter registration by July this year,” Naidu said.

She said the passing of the Undi18 legislation in Parliament will ensure that all Malaysians above the age of 18 have the constitutional right to vote.

On another note, she opined that the federal government used the Movement Control Order (MCO) and the Covid-19 pandemic as excuses to deny the constitutional right and was an attempt to undermine the fundamental principles of human rights.

Hence, Naidu said CIJ stood in solidarity with the Undi18 participants and organisers and called on the authorities to unconditionally end any harassment or scare tactics against any protestors, for the Malaysian government to safeguard and respect the right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression for all. — DayakDaily