KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia--Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) is outraged at the vicious attacks directed against environmental activist Shakila Zen. Threats made against Shakila Zen are unacceptable. Authorities must investigate this matter urgently and hold those responsible for the threats accountable.

On 30 August, Ms Shakila received a package from an anonymous sender that contained a letter that threatened her with an acid attack and a replica of a bloody severed hand. In addition, the threats have been received via text messages with violence, and untoward sexual elements. Her personal details were exposed without her consent.

Shakila Zen believes the series of menacing events began because of a viral video on TikTok showing the #Lawan rally that took place on 31 July. She has since made 2 police reports on these incidents at the Klang Utara Police District Headquarters on 30 and 31 August.

We are very concerned about Shakila Zen’s safety and we see the attacks, threats, intimidation and policing of women human rights defenders as alarming. The intimidation against Shakila Zen and others who are related to the #Lawan rally must end immediately.

Attacks against Shakila Zen are a part of the larger issue of gender-based violence. It is our collective responsibility to condemn, address and take appropriate action to end this. Women human rights defenders and activists must be protected, and we need a comprehensive protection and reporting mechanism to improve the situation of women human rights defenders and activists in Malaysia.

PSM urges the police to investigate this with utmost care and ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice swiftly. We stand in solidarity with Shakila Zen and all women human rights defenders and activists. No one should be targeted as a direct consequence of their gender and activism.

*Chong Yee Shan is the Parti Sosialis Malaysia’s Gender Bureau chief*