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(From left) Malaysia Trades Union Congress (MTUC) secretary-general J Solomon, Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) central committee member S. Arulchelvan, Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) executive director Sevan Doraisamy and activist Fadiah Nadwa Fikri speak during the press conference in SUARAM’s office ion Petaling Jaya. - NSTP/SADDAM YUSOFF

PETALING JAYA: Several non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have urged the police and the government to stop intimidating human rights activists.

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) executive director Sevan Doraisamy said there were cases where human rights activists were called in by police to give their statements to assist in investigations on peaceful assemblies.

“The authorities intimidate human rights activists by calling in the rallies’ participants.

“I have been questioned three times after the new government was formed. Latest, I was summoned to Dang Wangi district police headquarters to give my statement yesterday,” he told a press conference at SUARAM office here today.

Sevan said the so called standard operating procedure (SOP) of the authorities was selective.

“For example, the now Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu had attended a peaceful rally at Sogo before the May 9 polls.

“When I asked the police why he was not called in by the police, the policeman told me that was because he is a minister. That’s very selective,” he said.

Meanwhile, Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) central committee member S. Arulchelvan said the act of intimidation against human rights activists by the new government was no different from what the former government did.

“The authorities are using Section 111 and Section 112 to investigate peaceful assemblies even though they have been given the notice as requested.

“What’s bizarre is that the police report is lodged by the policeman. They lodge a police report, then they do the investigation,” he said.

Arulchelvan said activists could accept actions taken if there were any incidents or disruptions during the gathering.

“But what is frustrating is that the participants only hand over a memorandum and march, but they (policeman) lodge a police report and investigate the rally.

“It’s okay if the report is made by normal people for public disturbance, but the report is normally made by policemen.

Hence, he said several NGO groups had called on the authorities under the new government to stop police intimidation against human rights activists.

“We also hope that the new government will abolish the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 and allow the people who wish to gather peacefully to express their opinions.

“The police should help in this and not use security and SOPs to restrict freedom of speech,” he said.

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