PETALING JAYA: Lawyers for Liberty has called on the authorities to take immediate action against perpetrators behind a threat to inflict violence on lawyer and civil rights activist Siti Zabedah Kasim, saying the matter can be investigated under the Penal Code.
Its legal and campaign coordinator Melissa Sasidaran said the NGO was appalled by news reports that Siti had received online threats to rape, behead and attack her with acid, apparently over her alleged views on Islam and LGBT issues.
“It is unacceptable and shocking why the authorities are not taking such threatening and bullying behaviour against women with the seriousness it deserves,” Melissa said.She claimed that in the past no action was taken in cases involving Group of 25 eminent Malays member Noor Farida Ariffin, former Bersih chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan and Bersih 2.0 chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah.
“On the other hand, the authorities have been quick to act against social media comments that are critical or deemed offensive against the government or its interests,” Melissa said in a statement today.
“Needless to say, such selective and double standard policies can only reflect badly upon the enforcement authorities PDRM (the police) and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC),” she added.
Siti had yesterday lodged a report at the Sentul police station against a man for calling on Muslims to behead her.
The first threat was reportedly posted online on July 3. The man had attached an article quoting her stand on the LGBT community, as reported by an online portal but which she claimed had misquoted her.
On July 19, the same man wrote another post, attaching yet another article from the same portal, stating that Siti had allegedly said, “Not to follow Arabic Islam, but follow the real Islam”.
Siti said among the responses on the website were calls to behead, rape and splash acid on her face.
Melissa said the NGO condemned such “threatening and bullying behaviour” against women, including those made with a view to suppress a women’s right to speak up.
“Any disagreement on any issues, even controversial ones, should be debated and discussed, not threatened or bullied into silence,” she said.
She also said the case can be investigated under Sections 506 and 509 of the Penal Code, respectively for criminal intimidation and for word or gesture intended to insult the modesty of a person.
She added that Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 which prohibits the improper use of network facilities to abuse, harass or threaten any person could also be applied.