By Fion Yap | Malaysiakini
Refugee rights activist Heidy Quah said that she was treated professionally by Bukit Aman but still considers her questioning over a Facebook post exposing the alleged mistreatment of refugees at Immigration detention centres to be “upsetting and hurtful”.
“The police are very professional but yet it is still really upsetting and really hurtful that something like this has happened,” the director of NGO Refuge for the Refugees told the media after being called to Bukit Aman this afternoon to give a statement on the matter.
“This has really blown up in such a (bad) way. My role is really just to amplify and dignify the voices of the most vulnerable communities,” she said.
“Even during the movement control order (MCO), we have been feeding over 50,000 people regardless of their status. How was it that trying to do good can end up with us getting into trouble?”
“We are fully heartbroken with the police action but as an activist, I continue standing by my convictions and amplifying the voices of the most vulnerable,” added Quah, who also said that her handphone had been confiscated, giving the police access to all her social media channels.
“This incident makes me question – what is freedom of speech?” she said.
Quah’s lawyer New Sin Yew confirmed that she is being investigated under Section 500 of the Penal Code for criminal defamation and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act (CMA) 1998 for the improper use of network facilities or network service.
“It was a report made by (the) Immigration (Department) on her Facebook post. It wasn’t that clear which post was it as the police did not specify, but we know that it’s probably related to the treatment of detainees in the immigration detention centre,” New explained.
New added that this latest investigation was similar to a number of recent investigations involving activists or those who speak out.
“This shouldn’t happen. Everyone is just trying to highlight certain issues which could be done better,” he said.
Regarding the confiscation of Quah’s phone, New said it was a normal practice.
“They normally do this as part of their investigation but the way we see it is that it is a form of harassment when there is no offence being committed,” he said.
Earlier last month, Quah shared her experience in helping a woman who struggled to care for her baby at the detention centre.
Her writing also exposed allegedly horrific conditions of the immigration detention cells.
Quah’s Facebook post on the issue had earned her a barrage of hate comments and harassments, including threats to her safety.
Her questioning today came in the wake of a police probe on an Al Jazeera news documentary episode that allegedly misrepresented facts surrounding the treatment of migrants detained around Covid-19 red zones in Kuala Lumpur.
The disputed post can be accessed here.