Dong Zong should have been allowed to hold conference.
The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) says Chinese educationist group Dong Jiao Zong (or Dong Zong) should not have been stopped from holding a peaceful assembly as this right is enshrined in the Federal Constitution.
“We are deeply concerned by the threat of violence against Dong Jiao Zong as the right to freedom of assembly and freedom of speech is guaranteed by Article 10 of the Federal Constitution,” the human rights group said in a statement today.
“Suhakam views seriously the actions of the state in the deprivation of Dong Zong of their rights by cancelling the conference through a court injunction.
“The commission is concerned that the authorities are giving into inciters of violence at the expense of the protection of the fundamental rights of Malaysian citizens,” it added.
“We believe the Dong Zong conference, as well as the subsequent protests by Dong Zong detractors, should have been allowed to proceed, and for authorities to ensure that both groups could safely and fully complete their activities to satisfy their rights to freedom of assembly and freedom of speech, which is vital for the realisation of a free and open democracy,” Suhakam said.
It urged the police to investigate threats of violence as they could amount to incitement to hatred, sectarian riots, and threaten the rule of law in the country.
Suhakam also said the police’s failure to act on violent threats against the aborted Dong Zong rally last week could be seen as encouraging such behaviour.