UPDATE: SUHAKAM has just announced that their event will now be held Sunday.
Many are protesting today’s announcement from the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) that their pre-planned celebration of Human Rights Day this Saturday will now be postponed due to “serious security risks.”
Although a planned gathering had actually been in the works and given approval months ago, over the last week the celebration took a more poignant turn, as it would be help at the same time as an anti-ICERD rally on the same day, across town.
Razali Ismail, SUHAKAM’s chairman, released a statement revealing that police had relayed a warning:
The Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) has informed SUHAKAM and the Prime Minister’s Office without divulging details that there will be serious security risks arising out of tomorrow’s events that borders on national security.
“SUHAKAM is disappointed that a government that is committed to human rights would seem to be influenced by tactics of pressure and extremism that has resulted in the need to postpone the celebration that was planned a few months ago.”
Prime Minister Mahathir had been slated to speak at the event, that had been scheduled to occur between 9am and 3pm opposite AmCorp Mall.
Ambiga Sreenevasan, chairman of the National Human Rights Society (HAKAM), took issue with the authorities’ vague warning, and their subsequent request for the event to be canceled, Tweeting to followers:
A gathering of anti-ICERD rabble-rousers descending upon Kuala Lumpur in protest-slash-celebration of the government’s turnaround on ratifying the UN’s International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination will continue as planned, with most of the city’s main motorways being closed off from 6am Saturday morning in anticipation for an event none of us really asked for, or need, but are getting anyway.
This article, Human Rights Day celebration (an actual celebration) postponed due to ‘security risks’, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. For more Coconuts stories, you can download our app, sign up for our newsletters, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.