Press Statement: 5th August 2013
2nd ROUND of Harassment against SUARAM:
Silent Critical Voices proved that the Government is Desperate
SUARAM condemns the recent selective investigation by the Malaysian police against SUARAM secretariat member Miss Cynthia Gabriel. We believe that the Malaysian government is determined to clamp down on human rights in Malaysia through a sustained campaign to intimidate and harass SUARAM in retaliation for SUARAM’s whistleblowing role in the Scorpene submarine scandal, involving at least RM500 million in suspected kickbacks.
This second round of political intimidation and harassment against SUARAM is proof that the government is determined to silence any form of criticism from human rights and civil society activists, following SUARAM’s last Ops Scorpene fundraising dinner which was held on 19th July 2013. Miss Cynthia will be issued notice 111 under the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) and a statement from her is due to be taken. We were informed that a police report has been lodged against SUARAM in relation to the fundraising dinner.
From July 2012 till February 2013, SUARAM was severely harassed and faced a barrage of investigations from the Company Commission of Malaysia (CCM), Registrar of Society (RoS) and the Police. The RoS by a letter dated 6 March 2013, have now withdrawn all pending notices against SUARAM. Recently the Home Minister said there is no further action against SUARAM.
Throughout the period between July 2012 and February 2013 however, SUARAM was investigated under at least three legislations, namely the Companies Act 1965, the Societies Act 1966 and the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012. We were accused of being foreign agents and furthering Jewish interests in Malaysia and SUARAM was also accused by Jaringan Melayu Malaysia (JMM) of allegedly bribing top government officials, including officials from the CCM in the midst of the CCM investigation. The world must view these worrying trends as a signal of a potentially broader crackdown against critical activists and human rights defenders and organisations in Malaysia.
We urge the government and its agencies to stop any further selective investigations in bad faith against SUARAM and other human rights defenders and human rights organisations that have fundamental duties to promote and protect the human rights. This is pure harassment and police actions constitute mala fide.
We challenge the police to spend time and energy to curb serious crime in this country rather than trying to intimidate and harass SUARAM. We also urge the police, Malaysia Anti -corruption Commission (MACC) and the CCM to investigate companies connected to the Scorpene Submarine Scandal such as Perimekar and Terasasi, as recently highlighted in the French media. Stop harassing the whistle-blowers, investigate the corrupt suspects.