In a statement on Thursday, the former Bersih 2.0 chairman voiced her strong disagreement with the newsman facing investigation for sedition, stating that he was merely expressing his opinion on the monarchy.
According to Maria, one of the key promises of the Pakatan Harapan coalition in their manifesto is to uphold freedom of expression.
“This is a very important consideration if we are truly serious about institutional reform,” she said.
To her, Kadir should have the right to express his thoughts without fear of being prosecuted, no matter how much people may disagree with his statement.
To cultivate such fear in Malaysian society would mean that “nothing has changed” from when Barisan Nasional was in power, she cautioned.
“If we are ever to become a mature democracy, we must be allowed to speak out without having to fear police investigations,” said Maria.
Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy and the rights and importance of the Malay Rulers is already guaranteed in our constitution.
“Investigating Kadir for sedition would only imply that the Royal Institution is not strong enough to receive criticism which I believe isn’t the case here,” she said.
“We should never practice the same tactics that the previous government used against many of us. We cannot strengthen our democracy if we continue silencing those who are trying to voice out their opinion. This is not a step in the right direction,” she added.
Maria also called on the Government to repeal such laws like the Sedition Act that limit the right of all Malaysians to free speech.
“No matter the cost, we must stand firm in our determination to guarantee freedom of expression for all,” she concluded.
Kadir, who is also a Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia supreme council member, in his personal blog post said that some RM257mil was spent for the upkeep and personal expenditure of Sultan Muhammad V in the 16 months since he became the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.