Tian Chua slams ‘blatant use of power’ over PKR congress

(FMT) – PKR activist Tian Chua has questioned Putrajaya for stopping his party’s online congress, stating “it is a blatant use of power” by the National Security Council (MKN).

He said MKN was infringing on human rights as the congress was held online to ensure physical distancing.

Tian Chua, who is a PKR vice-president, accused MKN of “going overboard with the use of emergency powers”.

He said the decision sets an unhealthy precedent as MKN could now ask anyone to stop virtual press conferences, webinars or meetings. “It also means, anytime they don’t like a certain type of people or meeting, they can just instruct it to be stopped,” he told FMT.

PKR said yesterday that the party’s national congress had been postponed following instructions from MKN.

Tian Chua, the former Batu MP, added that party members were puzzled with the instruction as the congress was being held online. “In fact, they should be encouraging online meetings.”

“Are they afraid what we will say during the congress? But that is also preemptive as they do not know what we will say,” he said, adding that the government should be open to all views even if it is a criticism.

He said it was clear that the emergency was being used “beyond its boundaries.”

“They are using it for all sorts of purposes. Not to combat Covid but instead to infringe basic human rights.”

Tian Chua added that the party had decided to avoid any major confrontation with MKN, and had agreed to postpone the congress until the MCO is over.

“We have decided to wait until the MCO is over. We will try again. Let’s see what they say (then),” he said.

Political analysts had also expressed shock over MKN’s move to postpone the online meeting yesterday.

They had told FMT that it was “strange and odd” for the authorities to stop an online meeting as they could now ask anyone to stop their online meetings.

On May 19, the party announced that the national congress would be held entirely online, starting with the PKR women’s congress, followed by the PKR Youth congress. It was supposed to end with the PKR national congress.

All 2,400 delegates and leaders were expected to participate through the Zoom application from their homes, with no physical gathering. The decision to hold the congress online was due to the surge in Covid-19 cases and to comply with SOPs consistent with the ongoing lockdown.