Human Rights Day rally postponed in Malaysia after police warn of 'serious security risks'

Human Rights Day rally postponed in Malaysia after police warn of 'serious security risks'

Malaysia KLCC
Traffic signs in front of Malaysia's iconic landmark Petronas Twin Towers point to different streets in downtown Kuala Lumpur. (Photo: AFP/Saeed Khan) 

KUALA LUMPUR: A rally in Malaysia to mark International Human Rights Day will take place on Sunday (Dec 9) instead, a day later than planned due to "serious security risks".

Organiser Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) announced this on Friday, saying it was told to postpone the rally. 

"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," said Suhakam chairman Razali Ismail in a media statement. 

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad had been due to attend the event, which was scheduled to take place on Saturday at Padang Timur in Petaling Jaya.

International Human Rights Day 2018 falls on Dec 10. 

“Suhakam is disappointed that a government that is committed to human rights would seem to be influenced by tactics of pressure and extremism,” said Razali, adding that the event had been planned a few months ago.

"We apologise profusely to the public, our guests, the participants and volunteers to our celebration." 

Another high-profile rally is taking placing on Saturday - in the capital Kuala Lumpur - with large crowds expected in attendance.

The anti-ICERD (International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination) rally will take place at Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur. This despite the Malaysian government's announcement that it was no longer going to ratify ICERD

"I don't see the need for the rally to continue," said Dr Mahathir on Friday. "But several parties have said that they are continuing with their plans as a sign of appreciation for the decision made by the government."

He added that organisers should ensure that the rally is peaceful. 

"We just ask for one thing - that organisers help police and other authorities in ensuring that there are no disturbances or damage to public property. If possible, don't throw rubbish carelessly and take care of the cleanliness of the surroundings," he said.

"I pray that the rally takes place smoothly. Let us celebrate democracy in Malaysia."

Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday issued a travel advisory urging Singaporeans to defer all non-essential travel to Malaysia's capital city this weekend.  

Source: CNA/ad(rw)