Bilqis Hijjas freed of insulting behaviour charge

KUALA LUMPUR: A dance producer was acquitted of behaving in an insulting manner in public when she allegedly dropped yellow balloons at an event attended by the Prime Minister and his wife.

Magistrate Muhamad Faizal Ismail said that the prosecution failed to prove a prima facie case against Bilqis Hijjas (pic), the daughter of prominent architect Hijjas Kasturi.

“Such a case was rare to have had a full trial as most would have just admitted guilt.

“Nonetheless, as there was no previous cases of similar judgment to refer to, I had made careful consideration from both the prosecution and the defence,” Muhamad Faizal said on Friday.

He said the statements of witnesses could not prove that Bilqis intended to provoke and infuriate anger.

He said no witness could show that the incident resulted in a breach of peace as the event proceeded as planned.

Bilqis’ counsel, Eric Paulsen, said he was pleased with the judgment as the case had been exaggerated.

“The judgment shows that Malaysians have the right to protest peacefully and the act of throwing balloons should not be criminalised,” he said.

Bilqis, 36, said she was grateful to the judge for having considered the case with great seriousness.

“It is a very minor event and it is a dangerous precedent that such a minor offence can be taken as a crime,” she said.

Bilqis was accused of dropping the balloons from the fifth floor at the Pavilion shopping mall in Bukit Bintang at about 3.15pm on Aug 31, while Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor were attending the DiverseCity 2015 Kuala Lumpur International Arts Festival on the ground floor.

The balloons contained the words “democracy”, “free media”, and “justice.”

She was charged under Section 14 of the Minor Offences Act 1955 for behaving in an insulting manner with the purpose of stirring anger which would likely cause disturbance.

The offence carries a fine of not more than RM100 upon conviction.