8 Nov 2011

Marina Mahathir: Why go after Ambiga, come after me if you dare!

Marina Mahathir, the high-profile daughter of ex-premier Mahathir Mohamad, has warned the authorities and troublemakers alike not to make Bersih chief Ambiga Sreenevasan and other activists scapegoats for the Seksualiti Merdeka event slated for November 9 to 13.“For the struggle, ask me. I have been defending the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community’s rights for over 20 years now. In fact, I defend the rights of all who have been discriminated against, the poor and everyone else. So if there is any discrimination or violence against anyone, I will continue to defend their rights. That’s it. Do you understand?” a seething Marina told a press conference on Monday.

So far, Ambiga has been the especial target of the police and other Umno-led groups, which have been accused of stirring up a ruckus in a bid to make use of the country's homophobia to galvanize the conservative Muslims to their side.Indeed, it has been an eye-opener to watch rival Malay parties Umno and PAS trying to out-Islamize each other over the event until both sides unwittingly revealed their extremist selves. Some of their leaders even questioned the LGBT's right to call itself a community.

Free sex festival? I'll sue!

In fine fettle, Marina also threatened to sue Umno-controlled TV3 for describing Seksualiti Merdeka as a "free sex festival".“I have been looking at your face and we know who you are,” said Marina, warning the reporter from the TV station not to misreport her remarks.Marina said she was there to show her solidarity with 4 activists hauled up by the police for questioning over the event. They are Bersih 2.0 chairman Ambiga Sreenavasan and steering committee member Maria Chin Abdullah, Tenaganita director Irene Fernandez  and Seksualiti Merdeka founder Pang Khee Teik.
“I am here only as a supporter because two years ago, I officiated Seksualiti Merdeka without any incident. It is an event to explain and educate them of their rights within the laws, and not outside," said Marina.
“So I am very angry, very angry, there are no words to describe, at certain parties calling this a free sex festival. You have nothing better to do? Nowhere here is free sex allowed. Are you crazy to imagine this?”

Bersih deja-vu

In a series of moves reminiscent of the Bersih crackdown, police had banned the event, summoned Ambiga and the others to be questioned while the BN-controlled press especially Utusan rushed to paint the LGBT community as  being 'animals' without morals. While Malaysia is for most part is largely homophobic, there is growing disquiet that the Umno groups as well as PAS have over-reached their boundaries, and needed to be reined and taken to task for their fanaticism.

Perkasa and other Umno-linked groups have held noisy protests, hurling nasty invective against them including calling them 'animals'.Seksualiti Merdeka has been holding its yearly event since 2008 and the unprecedented attacks by the police and Muslim groups have shocked its organizing committee. Police have already banned their event, citing a threat to public order.

Dishonest charade

Inspector General of Police, Ismail Omar, has agreed to meet the organizers of Seksualiti Merdeka. The organizers on their part have also agreed to stop all public events pending the meeting. But pundits warned that Ismail was unlikely to give the organizers a fair hearing."This meeting is a dishonest charade on the part of the police. This show is put on to pretend to the people that they are not high-handed," PKR vice president N Surendran told Malaysia Chronicle. 

"Police had no business banning the event in the first place. They acted unlawfully and stupidly. The BN Home Ministry and police leadership are a major threat to the freedom of the people. They treat the Constitution like trash, while pretending to uphold the law. In due course, they will have to answer for their misdeeds."

Source :  http://www.malaysia-chronicle.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=22513:marina-mahathir-why-go-after-ambiga-come-after-me-if-you-dare&Itemid=2

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