KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 29 — Rights group Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER) said the police is trying to tarnish its work for women and marginalised communities with its raid yesterday.
The group added there was nothing secretive about its work and it has always been transparent about its activities.
“Our efforts toward securing equality and democracy for all, especially for women and marginalised communities, is out there for the world to see.
“EMPOWER condemns in the strongest terms the attempts to tarnish our work,” president Janarthani Arumugam said in a statement here.
Raided under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma), EMPOWER also insisted that there is no law that forbids civil society organisations from receiving funds whether local or foreign.
“We would like to stress that all funds received are expended based on our stated objectives and activities under our constitution,” it said.
“In fact, we have submitted annually all documents required by the Registrar of Societies in reporting on our yearly activities, including audited financial reports.”
The investigation on EMPOWER is under Section 124C of the Penal Code for activities detrimental for parliamentary democracy and which can be punished with imprisonment up to 15 years
Throughout the raid, the officers locked EMPOWER’s staff in the office while refusing to let those who had come to the offices after the raid started to enter. The police eventually left with about six boxes of documents.
EMPOWER also praised its staff for being resilient during the police raid, although stressing that members of civil society should not be put into such a position in the first place.
“We commend the conduct of our staff, who kept calm and cooperated with the police despite the threats made against them. They, and all of civil society, should never have been put in this situation in the first place,” it said.
The raid comes 10 days after a similar search of Bersih 2.0’s office, where the police arrested its chairman Maria Chin Abdullah under the same law.