PETALING JAYA: The Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) has slammed the government for harassing women human rights activists and peaceful protestors.
Commenting on the peaceful rally held in conjunction with International Women's Day on Saturday (March 9), JAG expressed its disappointment by the backlash from the government on rally-goers supporting the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.
"Civil discourse is the essence of a democracy. In a democracy, every person (and groups of persons) must be able to peacefully express their interests – to have a say in policies affecting them.
"If we do not uphold the rights of certain group of persons – to the extent that individuals cannot peacefully express their interests – our credibility as a democracy is diminished. The government must guarantee 'democratic space' for everyone," JAG said in a statement on Sunday (March 10).
The group urged the government to reaffirm the rights of all Malaysians to peaceful assembly and expression, instead of harassing women human rights activists and peaceful protestors.
JAG is a coalition of 12 women's rights organisations.
Earlier, social activist Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir criticised Pakatan Harapan leaders, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia supreme council member Wan Saiful Wan Jan – for condemning the LGBT community during the Women's March on Saturday.
It was reported that Dr Mujahid had criticised the Women's March for defended LGBT rights, adding that it was an abuse of democracy.
He added that the government would never accept LGBT practices in the country.
Wan Saiful said the combination of the Women's March and the LGBT agenda was "disgusting".
He said that fighting for the rights of women were respected and a noble action, which should be supported.
However, he said, combining a noble cause with the LGBT agenda was a provocation towards the county's stability, which should be rejected by all parties.