On free speech and police power – Proham

    Proham reiterates the rights of citizens to participate and speak on public matters as a fundamental human right. The actions by authorities to restrict public participation in forums and public places, especially for individuals to speak up, are a major restriction on human rights and a practice which contradicts democratic principles in a modern society.

    Published: 10 June 2015 8:13 AM

    Proham also reiterates that it is the duty of the police to protect human rights and ensure the safety and security of all.

    According to media reports at the Nothing2Hide Forum held on June 5, 2015 at Putra World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur, police stepped in to stop Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad from speaking at a forum on 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

    It was also reported in the media that it was the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar who issued an order on Twitter for the forum to be shut down in the interest of public order.

    Proham’s review of the media since that incident also indicates that the police have not provided the Malaysian public any clear explanation on the nature of the security threat as well as the justification for preventing the event from continuing in the interest of public safety.

    Proham calls on Suhakam to undertake a public enquiry on this incident as it sets an unhealthy precedence in restricting the fundamental right of a citizen of Malaysia of speaking up on a matter of public interest.

    It is important for all Malaysians to know if the police have violated basic human rights and exercised powers beyond the legal provisions. The general public also needs to know if such an act by the police was justified.

    Proham is of the opinion that this incident sets a dangerous trend and can be constructed as a new wave of restrictions by authorities on free speech and fundamental liberties in the context of increasing issues pertaining to good governance. It contradicts our aspirations of becoming a fully developed nation by 2020, especially as a matured democracy. – June 10, 2015.

    * Proham is the Society for the Promotion of Human Rights, Malaysia.

    * This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.

    SOURCE www.themalaysianinsider.com