Press Statement: 18 March 2013
RoS withdrew notices, SUARAM withdrew Judicial Review
The RoS (Registrar of Society) by a letter dated 6/3/2013, had withdrawn all pending notices against SUARAM. On 11/3/2013, as requested by the RoS, SUARAM withdrew its application for Judicial Review against the RoS and 4 others with no order as to costs. The CCM however, had not withdrawn any pending notices against SUARAM.
The exercise of freedoms in Malaysia comes with a caveat. Because of SUARAM’s resolute stance on defending human rights and civil liberties, the organisation was subjected to continuous harassment by a six-member taskforce orchestrated by the government since July 2012. Throughout the period, SUARAM was investigated under at least three legislations, namely the Companies Act 1965, the Societies Act 1966 and the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012.
GONGOs flocked to the orchestra and blew whistles by the side. Apart from being accused of being agents and furthering Jewish interests in Malaysia, SUARAM was also accused by Jaringan Melayu Malaysia of alleged bribery to government top officials, including officials from the CCM in the midst of CCM investigation. Of late, Jaringan Cina Malaysia accused SUARAM of providing USD 2million to the Suluks in Lahad Datu. SUARAM had issued a challenge to them to substantiate their claims; however the whistles are now alarmingly silent.
Now that the RoS had withdrawn all pending notices and the AG had classified the case as No Further Action, SUARAM is still waiting for CCM’s withdrawal of its pending notices. The seven-month harassment had not only wasted SUARAM’s time and resources but also of the taxpayers’ monies. Now, who is going to compensate for the peoples’ losses just because of the government’s vindictive persecution?
Perhaps, it is apt to remind the government of the recommendations made by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association, Maina Kiai, in his report, A/HRC/20/27 dated 21st May 2012.
1) Any associations should be allowed to function freely, and their members operate in an enabling and safe environment;
2) Associations should be free to determine their statutes, structure and activities and to make decisions without State interference;
3) Associations should enjoy the right to privacy; and
4) Associations should be able to access domestic and foreign funding and resources without prior authorization.
Despite the clear harassment of SUARAM, to date, no enforcement agencies have taken up the responsibility to publicly acknowledge that SUARAM had not committed any offences, let alone reveal the results of the investigations. SUARAM expresses its deepest gratitude and appreciation to all who had stood by SUARAM and will still do for many years to come. STAND UP 4 SUARAM!