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Malaysia police detain activist after protest call

Malaysia police detain activist after protest call

Malaysian police have detained an anti-government activist for alleged sedition in what a colleague said Wednesday was an attempt by the new prime minister to crack down on dissent.
Wong Chin Huat, an activist with the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections, took part in a news conference Tuesday urging Malaysians to wear black to protest the ruling National Front coalition's takeover of the legislature in Perak state.
He was arrested at his home later Tuesday under the Sedition Act, said Dzulkifli Ahmad, an opposition lawmaker and Wong's colleague at the activist group. Sedition is punishable by up to three years in jail.
Police could not immediately be reached for comment.
The takeover in Perak has become a major headache for new Prime Minister Najib Razak, with critics saying the National Front violated the constitution when it unseated the state's opposition-led government through party defections.
Dzulkifli said Wong's arrest in Najib's first month in office "spells doom for us."
"It really came as a shock," Dzulkifli said. "We are simply asking the nation to show support for (our protest of) how the Perak state assembly has been trampled upon. This is a very sad day for Malaysia and democracy."
Najib is fighting to regain voters' confidence in the ruling coalition, which dropped to an all-time low last year amid complaints of corruption, economic mismanagement and racial tensions.
The People's Alliance, the main opposition coalition which made tremendous gains in general elections last year, says it fears Najib will crack down on dissent in a bid to shore up support and silence criticism.


Updated : 2021-05-14 15:14 GMT+08:00