SUARAM CHALLENGES THE ROS TO STATE ITS JURISDICTION
Press Statement: 7th November 2012
Suara Inisiatif Sdn Bhd (“SUARAM”) strongly condemns the Registrar of Society (“RoS”) for the reckless issuance of notices under S111 of the Criminal Procedure Code (“CPC”) to Executive Director of EMPOWER, Maria Chin Abdullah, President of Malaysian Bar, Lim Chee Wee, human rights lawyer, Syahredzan Johan and opposition Members of Parliament YB Chua Tian Chang (Batu) and YB Tony Pua Kiam Wee (Petaling Jaya Utara) on 5th of November 2012.
The RoS has also issued a S111 notice to Parti Sosialis Malaysia Secretary-General, Arutchelvan. However, attempts to serve the said notice on him have failed and officers from the RoS has informed him that the notice will be served to him personally at a later time.
For the record, SUARAM is a duly registered company under the Companies Act 1965 and by no means under the purview of the RoS. Section 2 of the Society Act 1966 clearly defines a “Society” to inter exclude “any company registered under the provisions of any written law relating to companies for the time being in force in Malaysia”. SUARAM had since the beginning of RoS’s investigation provided its full cooperation in good faith despite RoS’s refusal to respond to SUARAM’s letters requesting them to state their jurisdiction and powers over SUARAM.
RoS’s attacks on SUARAM and human rights defenders cannot be said to be lawful under the law and in any other imaginable legitimate ways. The concerted attacks on SUARAM by RoS based on a malicious report lodged in Muar were disproportionate and irrational. In contrast, various reports made by human rights defenders on real issues which affect lives, properties and livelihood of the people were often binned. Surely, these reports cannot be less important than the Muar report which cried “SUARAM causing dissatisfaction”.
Despite having no jurisdiction and powers to investigate SUARAM, and perhaps sensing an embarrassing exit, the RoS next launched a wholesale attack on all parties which they deemed are related to SUARAM. The RoS, whom we suspect are taking direct instructions from the top shall resist and stop being a political tool to the ruling party. As repeated on numerous occasions, in a modern democracy, the civil servants must be free from all political agendas of the government, let alone allowing themselves to be tools of the government. Government may come and government may go but the civil servants must remain independent.
SUARAM is still waiting for a written response from the RoS and verily believe that the RoS had acted beyond its legal threshold in its investigation on SUARAM. In view of the above, SUARAM hereby demands the government to immediately stop its senseless witch hunt on SUARAM and other individuals deemed to be related to SUARAM. We detest the intimidation and harassment on human rights defenders who believe, promote and protect the values of civil liberties and human rights in Malaysia.
Please contact Nalini Elumalai (Executive Director) 03 77843525 for any inquiries.