NOVEMBER 3 — Today, one of the leading women human rights defenders in our country was charged under the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012. As current chairperson of the Bersih 2.0 movement, Maria Chin Abdullah’s only “crime” is refusing to be silenced by an arbitrary set of laws set up to curb our rights to freedom of speech, expression, and to assemble – rights which are guaranteed under the Federal Constitution.
Maria is a beacon of hope for many Malaysian both home and abroad. She has been pivotal in encouraging us to speak out in the face of injustice. She gives us the belief that in a democratic nation such as ours, we the people can peacefully demand for institutional reforms, for integrity and for accountability, as is our right as voters in Malaysia. She gave us, the citizens of Malaysia, an avenue for our rights to be heard. It is richly ironic that the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012, with its purported intention as stated in its preamble is “to protect the rights and freedoms of other persons”, is being used to try to silence the woman who led one of the largest peaceful assemblies in Malaysian history. Read more