END VIOLENT INTIMIDATION, SET UP NATIONAL HARMONY BILL WITHOUT DELAY

END VIOLENT INTIMIDATION, SET UP NATIONAL HARMONY BILL WITHOUT DELAY

​I am shocked by the news that a group of about 200 individuals had targeted and intimidated Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, members of BERSATU and his parents as they were having a meeting in Ulu Tiram last night. This is not the first time that the Minister has been targeted and attacked by a large crowd.

The attack last night was violent, reeks of criminal behavior and is an assault on the safety of our citizens. I can recall the same tactics being used by Red Shirt supporters to intimidate Bersih supporters during the Bersih 5 convoy. If we do not act quickly, we are sending a message that such acts of hooliganism have a place in our society. We cannot allow this to happen.

There’s a thin line between bullying and constructive criticism of other people’s actions, within the scope of democratic rights. What took place went beyond appropriateness and has encroached into the realm of intimidation and the obstruction of our democratic right to assemble without interference both publicly and privately.

There have been an ever-growing number of incidences where the fundamental freedom of our citizens have come under attack. During the protests by University Malaya students last March, we have already seen how easy it was for such incidences to turn violent.

The abusive and threatening nature of such incidences is a dangerous assault on our fundamental right to safety, which includes from physical, social or emotional harm. This criminal behavior is a form of extremism and those responsible must be brought to justice immediately.

The local police must act quickly to arrest the troublemakers and the IGP must set up an SOPs to avoid such incidences from occurring again.

The Government should also immediately enact the National Harmony Bill and set up the National Harmony and Reconciliation Commission without any further delay to put an end to such acts of hooliganism and intimidation.

If we do not act quickly against hate crimes and violent behavior, we are giving into the illusion that “every voice is equal”, and allowing the voice of some to threaten, suppress and intimidate others. This is also dangerous especially when it is being disrespectful, hypocritical and leading or inciting possible violence.

It is imperative that we create a safe space for all Malaysians to practice our fundamental rights. Or else, we will risk ending up losing our democracy.

MARIA CHIN ABDULLAH
PETALING JAYA MP