SUARAM and WAO denounce acts of violence against migrant workers

10 May 2013

For Immediate Release

SUARAM and WAO denounce acts of violence against migrant workers

On the day of the 13th general election, evidence emerged, including videos circulated on social media, depicting violent acts committed by some members of the public towards individuals thought to be migrants in an attempt to stop them from voting.

While the efforts undertaken by the public to contribute towards clean and fair elections are commendable, SUARAM and WAO condemn all acts of intimidation and violence targeted at any community, including migrants.

There was a high sense of anxiety prior to the 13th general election, touted by many as Malaysia’s most highly contested election ever. Legitimate concerns arouse over allegations of vote buying in exchange for the issuance of MyKads. Vote buying is unacceptable and illegal, and actions should be taken against the individuals and institutions who have abused their power in doing so.

The groundswell of support shown by the public to push for clean and fair elections has been unprecedented. Many reports have surfaced of fraud taking place during the 13th general election. But in our fight to achieve clean and fair elections for the betterment of our country, we must not resort to violence and intimidation as a means.

Additionally, as we combat racism in our country, let us not commit acts and rhetoric that contribute towards xenophobia.

Towards this end, we urge all Malaysians to respect the rights of other human beings, including migrants, to security of person and to be free from discrimination.

– Ends –

For further information, please contact:

Ivy Josiah

Executive Director

Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO)

Phone: 03 7957 5636

Nalini Elumalai

Executive Director

(SUARAM)

Phone: 03 7784 3525

RACISM REARS ITS UGLY HEAD IN BAYAN BARU

Press Statement: 10th May, 2013

RACISM REARS ITS UGLY HEAD IN BAYAN BARU

The racist article published by UTUSAN MALAYSIA and Najib’s shocking “Chinese Tsunami” statement had gained momentum amongst the racists in Bayan Baru, Penang.

On 9/5/2013,  a group consisting of multiracial students from Bayan Baru’s Universiti Sains Malaysia became victims to violence perpetrated by an unknown racist group. The students were entering into the compound of USM to present an anti-racism petition when they were stopped and violently assaulted by a group of about 100 men.

The aggressors were witnessed to have attempted to disperse the multiracial group of students with pepper spray, some even resorted to physical assaults against the students and had called the Chinese students among the group as “Cina Babi”.

The fracas took place in the presence of the police and campus’ security personnel but no actions were taken to disperse and ensure the safety of the students. Instead, the students were chased out of the campus by the security to face the wrath of the violent racist group.

Desperate and feared for their lives, the students sought refuge in SUARAM’s office across the campus but instead of dispersing the violent group, the police saw it fit to knock on SUARAM’s office together with members of the group to search for the students for questioning.

SUARAM strongly condemns the complicity of the police and the incomprehensible actions and/or inactions by the police in defusing a potentially life threatening situation faced by the students. More shocking, several students were questioned by the police but none of the thugs were reprimanded.

It is saddening to see how responsible adults could easily be incited by racial sentiments and resorted to violence against a harmless group of students. The students were merely playing their part in fighting racism, which should be admired and encouraged as a noble cause. It should even be participated by all peace loving Malaysians across the country.

SUARAM demands the police to immediately reprimand the aggressors and provide an explanation on the police’s ridiculous and incomprehensible actions taken against the students. SUARAM also urge for an explanation from USM on their failure to protect the students from the dangerous group.

On this note, SUARAM reminds the mainstream media and the Barisan Nasional to stop playing into racial sentiments and take concrete steps to eradicate racial violence.

Released by,

Nalini Elumalai
On behalf of SUARAM

ALLOW THE PEACEFUL ASSEMBLY AND RESPECT THE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS

 

PRESS STATEMENT: 8 MAY 2013

 

ALLOW THE PEACEFUL ASSEMBLY AND RESPECT THE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS

SUARAM urges the Malaysian government to respect the fundamental right to peaceful assembly by allowing the opposition rally today at the Kelana Jaya Stadium. The rally is being held in response to allegations of election irregularities and fraud that happened on Election Day.

SUARAM also condemns the statement by the IGP Ismail Omar who stated that the rally is illegal (7 May 2013, an article in news portal Malaysiakini titled “Rally illegal, participants face arrest, warns IGP”). SUARAM‘s position is that there is no need for an application of a permit by the organizers which is in line with provisions in the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 (PAA), .  As far as SUARAM is concerned, the organisers only need to notify to the police of the assembly.

The right to freedom of peaceful assembly is guaranteed in Article 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Further, the right of every Malaysian to assemble peacefully without arms is also enshrined in the country’s highest law, the Federal Constitution.

SUARAM continues to call for abolishment of the Peaceful Assembly Act as many of the provisions in the Act contravenes international human rights standards and provides the police with excessive powers to restrict peaceful assemblies

As a member of the UN Human Rights Council, Malaysia has made commitments on numerous occasions, in various international fora to protect human rights. If the government does not intend to make a mockery of its own international commitments, it must allow the rally to proceed without any disruption, and ensure that the police manage the rally in compliance with international human rights standards.

Released by,

 

Nalini Elumalai

Executive Director

SUARAM