The investigation of organisers of the International Women’s Day March on March 9 yesterday, purportedly for their failure to comply with the 10 day notice period as required under the Peaceful Assembly Act, 2012 is regrettable and unnecessary.
There seems to be confusion on whether such notice was given as the organisers of the said march are reportedly adamant that same was given.
The position is further compounded by lawyer Gurdial Singh Nijhar’s claim that his client (one of the organisers who was questioned at the Dang Wangi Police Station yesterday) was asked many questions during the said investigations.
However, according to Gurdial, none of the said questions had anything to do with the issue of whether the 10 day notice was given.
This raises questions as to the bona fides of the said investigations and the claim of Inspector General of Police Mohamad Fuzi Harun that investigations are ongoing over the matter because the organisers of the event had not complied with the said 10 day notice requirement.
Furthermore, the possibility that the organisers of the event may be charged under the Sedition Act, 1948 is most disturbing, to say the least as the Pakatan Harapan government has committed to abolish the said Act.
The march was a peaceful one which was attended by people from different walks of life, including some from the LGBT community.
With respect, the mere participation of the LGBT community at the march ought not to trigger a criminal investigation into the matter.
They were at the event to further various common causes with the rest of the participants and to celebrate an international occasion calling for the end of the marginalisation and victimisation of certain groups and gender and sexual-orientation based violence, amongst others.
Investigating the organisers now for organising the said event is reminiscent of BN rule when many in government today were harassed for participating in peaceful assemblies.
PH must be better than BN in this regard and I urge the authorities to end these unnecessary investigations into the matter as I believe that the issue of whether the organisers complied with the 10 day notice requirement has been adequately explained.
There is no reason to further prolong the matter.