GHRF president summoned for probing PM’s role in Hindu man’s conversion

GLOBAL Human Rights Federation (GHRF) president S. Shashi Kumar has been called in for investigation by the Shah Alam district headquarters (IPD) following his TikTok video in which he questioned the role of Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in the conversion of a young Hindu man.

The video, which also addressed issues of racism and unilateral conversions, garnered attention and led to a police report being lodged against Shashi.

In the video, Shashi raised concerns about the PM’s involvement in the conversion process, suggesting that such conversions should be managed by authorised Islamic departments to ensure proper adherence to processes, procedures and documentation.

He also questioned the PM’s commitment to addressing matters of racism and unlawful conversions that have been affecting the unity and harmony of Malaysians.

“On March 10, despite submitting three memoranda endorsed by 62 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) including Sabah and Sarawak to the PM’s department but till date there has been no reply or action taken on this matter,” claimed Shashi.

The USJT represented by a D5 investigation officer has indicated the existence of a police report filed against the GHRF president in relation to the video.

However, the content of the report did not entirely align with the points raised in Shashi’s video.

The GHRF president pointed out that Article 10 of the Federal Constitution explicitly outlines the right to freedom of speech and expression.

He argued that the confiscation of his phone by the police was an invasion of privacy, especially given the extensive personal and work-related data stored on it. He criticised the overreach of authorities, stating that the video in question was only five minutes long and didn’t warrant such measures.

“For the police to take one’s mobile phone is not proper as this is not a heavy criminal offences and I’m not being charged with any hefty crime. In today’s world, android phones are being used for work purposes, such as storing important documents, transferring money, back accounts, emails, personal photos and etc.

“Taking one’s phone just like that is definitely an invasion of one’s privacy. It’s unreasonable to seize someone’s phone for a whole month over just a five-minute video.”

Accompanied by his lawyer Rajesh Nagarajan, Shashi is facing investigation under various sections of the law including Section 504 of the Penal Code, Section 233 of the MCMC Act and Section 14 of the Minor Offences Act.

Rajesh condemned the investigation as baseless and an unnecessary drain on police resources. He asserted that Shashi had exercised his constitutional right to question and criticise the PM emphasising that leaders should be open to critique without resorting to police involvement.

“Are we living in a police state? Why are there such draconian fetters on our freedom of expression? We call upon the PDRM and the Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail to immediately drop this unwarranted investigation,” added the lawyer.

Moreover, Shashi urged the PM to honour his promises of reform and take proactive steps to address the concerns raised by citizens.

He noted the importance of open dialogue with human rights activist groups like GHRF and underscored the need for a government that is responsive to its people, especially those who are marginalised.

“The PM should stand on his promises of ‘Reformasi’ which he has been calling for decades and now is the time for him to prove it and put it on action as he is leading a multiracial, multicultural and multi-religious Malaysians.

“Anwar and the unity government need to accept the critiques of the people and address the issue and that’s how a good reformation government should act.”

Furthermore, Shashi pointed out that Malaysia is part of the United Nations Human Rights Council since October 2021.

“If the government continues to clamp down on activists and the voice of the media, then it has clearly violated the 30 articles enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948.”

Shashi stressed the importance of allowing freedom of speech and expression for all, including the media and press. He called for the unity government to embrace criticism rather than employ legal action against activists who are speaking out. – Aug 24, 2023

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