Unbridled use of CMA violates Article 10 of Federal Constitution

For Immediate Release
27 May 2016

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) is appalled by the recent arrest of Masyhur Abdullah and strongly condemn the rampant use of Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 (CMA) against authors of online postings perceived as offensive.

Recalling the arrest and detention of Khalid Ismath, Wan Fatul Johari, Muhamad Isyraf Shamsuddin and many others, there is a clear trend of CMA being used in an impulsive manner against those perceived to have intended to annoy or cause hurt online. The trend where CMA has been increasingly used against members of publics is worrying and carries severe implication to freedom of expression in Malaysia.

Acknowledging the need to regulate online postings that can cause serious hurt or damage, SUARAM finds the current use of CMA to be excessive, ill-justified and does not meet the necessary threshold for state sanction. The use of laws that curbs freedom of expression must be stringently regulated and only used in the direst of circumstances. Of all of those mentioned, none of their online postings have shown any clear threat to security and does not have the capacity to cause any damage to those that was supposedly offended by the remarks made online.

The use of CMA in such a manner can only be described as excessive and must not be allowed to continue unabated. SUARAM reiterate our stance that freedom of expression must be protected and practiced so far as possible and can only be restricted in the direst of circumstances as recognized by United Nations. Failure to adhere to this would be a clear violation of the rights enshrined in Article 10 of the Federal Constitution.

In Solidarity,
Sevan Doraisamy
Executive Director
SUARAM

Media must be independent and free from threats of repressive security laws

For Immediate Release
27 February 2016

Media must be independent and free from threats of repressive security laws
Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) strongly condemn the blocking of news media website, the Malaysian Insider and the investigation of editors and officers of the Malaysian Insiders under security law.

The blocking of any website should only be permitted under the direst of circumstances and must only take place after thorough and transparent investigation by relevant authorities. The swiftness in which the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) took action and blocked the Malaysian Insider website implies that MCMC did not conduct any investigation into the matter and made an arbitrary decision to block the Malaysian Insider.

Further, considering the importance of independent media and news reports, editors and officers of any news or media group should not be subjected to investigation under security laws for the publication of news articles. The use of Section 124(I) of the Penal Code should not and must not be interpreted and used as a law to supress the media. The invocation of Section 124(I) in this context can only be seen as a blatant act of intimidation and a direct threat against media and news groups with detention without trial.

If any of the allegations reported by the Malaysian Insider is false as alleged by MCMC, the party taking actions against the Malaysian Insider should be by the aggrieved parties and not the Government of Malaysia. On this note, SUARAM calls for the unblocking of the Malaysian Insider and demand that investigations under Section 124(I) be stopped immediately!
Considering the standing of Malaysia as a member of the United Nations Security Council and the upcoming Human Rights Council sitting in which Malaysia would undoubtedly be under scrutiny, the Government of Malaysia must take proactive steps to fulfil its international obligations and maintain a positive image in the international community. The blocking of the Malaysian Insider and the investigations against its editors and officers would result in a failure by the Government of Malaysia in fulfilling the recommendations adopted by the Government of Malaysia in the Universal Periodic Review and undermine Malaysia’s standing and image in the international community.

In Solidarity

Executive Director
SUARAM

Government of Malaysia Must Stop Threatening Freedom of Expression and Information

For Immediate Release
11 February 2016

Government of Malaysia Must Stop Threatening Freedom of Expression and Information

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) condemns the statement by the Attorney General of Malaysia Mohamed Apandi Ali in regards of his proposal to amendment the Official Secrets Act 1972, his ‘threat’ against the media and the Royal Malaysian Police’s undue warning against artists and activists through social media.

Official Secrets Act 1972 and Threat against Media

The strengthening of the Official Secrets Act 1972 and the propose curb and threat of prosecution against the media can only be interpreted as an assault on the freedom of expression and freedom of information.

The importance of the freedom of expression cannot be discounted. The importance of this right is repeated in various international documents and bill of rights. The Freedom of expression is not only enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; it is also enshrined in the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration which Malaysia is a party to. Furthermore, freedom of expression is also provided for under Article 10 of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia. Beyond human rights, the freedom of expression and information serve as the foundation of any democratic state. The denial of these rights can only be permitted with the direst of circumstances with no better alternatives available.

Any act of curbing or limiting freedom of expression and information must be justifiable. The recent suggestion put forward by the Attorney General of Malaysia is not only unjustified but a blatant attempt to silence dissent and prevention revelations that would harm the present ruling party of Malaysia. The Attorney General would do well to remember that any attempt to utilize the Attorney General’s power to protect and preserve the integrity of a political party is a blatant misuse of power and must not happen in Malaysia.

Monitoring of Artists and Satirical Materials Shared on Social Media

The surveillance and monitoring of social media posting of satirical materials by artists and activists is excessive and unjustified. The recent statement issued by the Royal Malaysian Police against artist and activist, Fahmi Reza for his posting of a satirical image of select leader of the Government of Malaysia is a clear attempt to intimidate the public against any dissent and criticism against the Government of Malaysia.

Recalling the nature of office hold by any government official, public scrutiny and criticism is part of the democratic process that serves as the foundation of Malaysia. Satirical images and comments made against government official should not be considered as a crime.

The statement issued by the Royal Malaysian Police would directly and indirectly prevent positive discourse on matter relating to national interest and jeopardize the democratic space and freedom of expression of all Malaysians.

SUARAM condemns all unjustified attempts to limit and curtail the freedom of expression and freedom of information as suggested by the Attorney General and strongly condemn the act of intimidation by the Royal Malaysian Police through its warning to Fahmi Reza.

SUARAM reminds the Government of Malaysia and all enforcement agencies of the promises made by the Government of Malaysia in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) specifically in the context of the abolition of the Sedition Act 1948 and the protection and promotion of Civil and Political Rights. Failure to ensure the protection and promotion of the Freedom of Expression and Freedom of Information would most certainly be contrary to the promises made during the previous UPR and devastate what is left of Malaysia’s dignity and respect in the international arena.

 

In Solidarity,

Sevan Doraisamy
Executive Director
SUARAM

Reminding the Government of Malaysia since 1989. 50 Years of International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights. Time to ratify and implement.

50 years of ICCPR

CARTOONIS ZUNAR ARRESTED: RELEASE HIM IMMEDIATELY!

URGENT APPEAL: 24 SEPTEMBER 2010

CARTOONIS ZUNAR ARRESTED: RELEASE HIM IMMEDIATELY!

Suaram strongly condemns the arbitrary arrest of cartoonist Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque – better known as Zunar. The Police raided his office premises and seized about 70 copies of his latest book, Cartoon-o-phobia, due to be launched tonight. 10 police officers led by ASP Arikrishnan Apparau from the Brickfields police station raided the premises at about 4pm. Currently Zunar is being held in Brickfields police station and he is accompanied by human rights lawyer, Latheefa Koya. The reason of his arrest is still unclear.

We express our profound disappointment over the abuse of powers by the police and for their ongoing attacks and intimidation on freedom of expression, a fundamental right which is guaranteed under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Federal Constitution of Malaysia. We demand the police to release Zunar immediately and without any conditions.

Background

Cartoon-o-phobia features a collection of political cartoons that have appeared on the Malaysiakini website as well as unpublished cartoons and fresh artworks.

Urgent Action Needed:

Please write protest letters to the government and the police to express your strongest condemnation of the arrests and the ongoing denial of rights of expression.

Please call and send your protest letters to:

1. Inspector-General of Police

Tan Sri Ismail Omar,
Ibu Pejabat Polis Diraja Malaysia,
50560 Bukit Aman,
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Tel: +603 2262 6015
Fax: +603 2272 5613

2. YB Hishamuddin Hussein,

Home Minister,Blok D1 & D2, Kompleks D
Pusat Pentadbiran
Kerajaan Persekutuan
62546 Putrajaya

Tel: 03 8886 8000
Fax: 03-88891613/03-88891610

SAMPLE LETTER

[Letterhead of your organisation]

Inspector-General of Police
Tan Sri Ismail Omar,
Ibu Pejabat Polis Diraja Malaysia,
50560 Bukit Aman,
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Tel: +603 2262 6015
Fax: +603 2272 5613

Dear Sir,

Re: Release Zunar Immediately!

We are writing to you once again to express our outrage and our strongest condemnation over your government’s ongoing crackdown on freedom of expression.

We are appalled by your government and the police’s latest actions and view this as yet another attempt by your government to intimidate Malaysian citizens from exercising their freedom to express their views.

We demand that Zunar to be released immediately and unconditionally. We further demand that your government stops the assault on freedom of expression.

We strongly urge you, once again, to stop bringing shame to Malaysia, a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council. We would like to remind you that freedom of expression is guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as the Federal Constitution of Malaysia.

Yours sincerely,

[Name]

Urgent Appeal Released by,

Nalini Elumalai,

SUARAM Coordinator

Police intolerance to freedom of assembly, 25 arrested at vigil to oppose ISA

Urgent appeal: 01 August 2010
The authority’s intolerance to peaceful assembly continued, when the police arrested 21 persons at Padang Timur, Petaling Jaya and 4 at Penang during a nationwide candle light vigil in conjunction with 50 years of ISA before the event started. Police had move into Amcorp Mall to arrest most of the peoples.
Those people arrested at Petaling Jaya are:
  1. Syed Ibrahim – chairperson of GMI
  2. Suresh Kumar
  3. Mohd Fiqtriey
  4. Naqiuddin Sahar
  5. Albert Ang Yik Chuan
  6. Yew Hun Ng
  7. Bahrulhisham
  8. Enalini Elumalai
  9. Arulchevan
  10. Mien Lor
  11. Thilaga Sokiapillay
  1. Tsuing Han See
  2. Kohila Y.
  3. Bawani K.
  4. Parames E.
  5. Sivaranjani
  6. Lee Wei Ni
  7. Ng Yap Hwa
  8. E. Sarawanen
  9. Xavier Sim Yoon Han
  10. Aiman Siew Teck Meng
Those peoples arrested at Penang are:
  1. Choo Chon Kai
  2. Kris Khaira
  3. Darshan Singh
  4. Ong Jing Cheng – Suaram Penang branch Coordinator
Beside the above, the Kelantan vigil’s coordinator Zaidi Musa and Hamidi Musa were hold by police for investigation after the vigil successful reach to the end.
SUARAM strongly condemns the police for their continued attacks on freedom of expression, a fundamental right which is guaranteed under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Federal Constitution of Malaysia.
Released By,
Moon Hui
SUARAM Coordinator
Urgent action needed:

Please write protest letters to the government and the police to express your strongest condemnation of the arrests and the ongoing denial of rights of expression. Please also demand the Malaysian government to allow Malaysian citizen to practice their freedom of expression as stated in Federal Constitution.
Please call and send your protest letters to:
1. Ketua Polis Daerah Petaling Jaya
Ibupejabat Polis DaerahPetaling Jaya
Polis Diraja Malaysia
Petaling Jaya
Jalan Pencala
46050 Selangor
Tel:  03-79662222 
Fax: 03-79548740
2. Ketua Polis Negeri Selangor
Ketua Polis Negeri Selangor
Ibu Pejabat Polis Kontinjen Selangor
Polis Diraja Malaysia
40000 Shah Alam, Selangor
Tel: 03-55145222
Fax: 03-55195175
3. Inspector-General of Police
Tan Sri Musa Hassan
Ibu Pejabat Polis Diraja Malaysia,
50560 Bukit Aman,
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Tel: +603 2262 6015
Fax: +603 2272 5613
 SAMPLE LETTER[Letterhead of your organisation]Inspector-General of Police
Tan Sri Musa Hassan
Ibu Pejabat Polis Diraja Malaysia,
50560 Bukit Aman,
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.Tel: +603 2262 6015
Fax: +603 2272 5613
Dear Sir,Re: Release the 25 persons arrested

We are writing to you to express our outrage and our strongest condemnation over the arrests of 25 individuals at Padang Timur and Penang just now (01 August 2010). They were arrested for attending to the nationwide candle light vigil in conjunction with 50 years of ISA. They had brought to the Petaling Jaya district police headquarters and Pulau Penang Jelutong police station.

We are appalled by the police’s latest actions and view this as yet another attempt to intimidate Malaysian citizens from exercising their freedom to express their views.

We demand that the two to be released immediately and unconditionally. We further demand that the police force should stop the assault on freedom of expression and focus on fighting of crime.
We would like to remind you that freedom of expression is guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as the Federal Constitution of Malaysia.Yours sincerely,[Name]