The Coalition of Malaysian Human Rights NGO for the Universal Periodic Review process (Comango) has denied that it had provoked Muslim NGOs to cause a fracas at the Palace of Justice yesterday.
Referring to an Utusan Malaysia report, its spokesperson Yap Swee Seng said that the act of giving flowers, which allegedly sparked the commotion, was not its initiative.
“It is not an initiative of Comango and the hearing was not in our plans. However, we welcome initiatives that promote human rights, dialogue and tolerance,” he said when contacted.
He added that activist Siti Kassim , who allegedly “provoked” the NGOs by handing out flowers to individuals at the courthouse yesterday, did not do so as a representative of Comango.
“Comango is a coalition of organisations, not individuals,” he pointed out.
Utusan today reported that the fracas happened because Muslim NGOs heard that a representative of Comango was inside the courthouse giving flowers.
“We heard that a representative of the organisation was committing provocation and giving flowers to the public inside the courthouse while Muslim NGOs had to sit outside.
“Why was she able to do so? This made us angry and we wanted to bring her out,” Malay rights NGO Perkasa Youth Chief Irwan Fahmi Ideris was quoted as saying.
The daily said Siti was “believed to be a Comango representative” and had “provoked” the crowd by giving out flowers and questioning the Muslim NGOs' stand on the use of the word 'Allah'.
The report, entitled 'Comango cetus kekecohan' (Comango causes commotion) also noted that a Sinar Harian reporter suffered minor injuries when she knocked her face on a microphone in the fracas.
The Star, meanwhile, published a photograph of Siti and other individuals handing daisies to The Herald editor Father Lawrence Andrew outside the courthouse's main entrance.
The incident happened during the The Herald's appeal on the use of the word 'Allah'.
Meanwhile, Utusan reported that Kedah Umno Youth wants a “special law” to deal with the maligning of race and religion on social media, to avoid friction in Malaysia's multiracial society.
Kedah Umno Youth chief Shaiful Hazizy also called for action against Comango for allegedly spreading hatred between races.
Comango has been declared illegal by the Home Ministry – an act which was condemned by the United Nations.
However, a statement later uploaded on the official ministry website omitted the line which stated: "Comango is therefore declared an illegal organisation", causing many to question if the coalition is still banned.