SUARAM Human Rights Award 2015

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) congratulate, ‘Jaringan Kampung Orang Asli Kelantan (JKOAK)’ and ‘Gabungan Selamatkan Petani dan Penternak Perak’, the joint winners of the SUARAM Human Rights Award 2015! Their unique and much needed contribution to their local community and Malaysia as a whole, SUARAM offer the highest praises possible for the joint winners of the award.

JKOAK have extensively campaigned for the welfare of the indigenous people of Kelantan and have bought stories of land grabs and other violations of indigenous peoples’ rights in Kelantan to the forefront of public attention. Beyond their contribution in Kelantan, their courage and dedication in furthering human rights have undoubtedly empower many more to stand up against human rights violations in their own community and in Malaysia.

Gabungan Selamatkan Petani dan Penternak Perak have shown great tenacity in fighting for the land rights and for the right to livelihood of farmers and breeders in Perak. Despite the importance of their contribution to our way of life, the plight suffered by farmers are often neglected. The campaigns by Gabungan Selamatkan Petani dan Penternak Perak have uplifted the farmers that have suffered from human rights violations and empower them to take positive action to safeguard their human rights and their livelihood.

We hope that both the winners will continue their fight for human rights and continue to be the shining beacon of hope for all Malaysians!

In Solidarity,
Sevan Doraisamy
Executive Director
SUARAM

*For those interested to know more about these organizations and to contact them, please feel free to drop us an email at [email protected]!

SUARAM Human Rights Report Overview 2015

SUARAM launched its Human Rights Report 2015 Overview in conjunction with the International Human Rights Day which falls on the 10th December 2015.

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Suaram Human Rights Overview 2015 – [Download]
Bahasa Malaysia Executive Summary – [Download]

It noted that 2015 marks the beginning of a new dark age for Human Rights in Malaysia. Throughout the year, SUARAM observed the increasing political crackdown against dissenters and civil activists such as, Zunar, Khalid Ismath, Eric Paulsen, Maria Chin, Arutchelvan, Jannie Lasimbang, YB Sivarasa and many more. These human rights violations that took place in 2015 were not limited to politicians and civil activists but extended to various vulnerable groups in Malaysia.

In the myriad of human rights violations that were documented in 2015, SUARAM highlighted six worrying trends:

1. The rapidly shrinking space for dissent in 2015 rivals that during the dark days of the Internal Security Act 1960. With the exposure of the 1MDB Financial Scandal and the fallout that resulted from the revelations, the Government of Malaysia under Prime Minister Najib Razak opted for the widespread use of the Sedition Act 1948 and the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 against politician and civil activists. The Government of Malaysia also actively took steps to criminalize and harass organizers and participants of public protests and rallies that took place in 2015. The draconian manner in which the Government cracked down on political dissent is eroding what is left of our democratic institutions and setting Malaysia on a clear path to tyranny.

2. With the security threat posed by the Islamic State and other terror cells, Malaysia has introduced more legislation that undermines civil liberties in Malaysia. From the introduction of Prevention of Terrorism Act 2015 to the passing of the National Security Council Bill, the executive of Malaysia now holds unprecedented powers purportedly to ‘maintain peace and security’ in Malaysia. With the abuse of power (affirmed by the use of SOSMA against Khairuddin Abu Hassan and Matthias Chang), many have voiced their concerns against these legislations. On this note, SUARAM have documented 46 cases of detention under SOSMA in 2015 and notes that hundreds more have been detained under the Prevention of Crime Act 1959.

3. The situation faced by refugees and victims of human trafficking continue to deteriorate without any government intervention. With the mass graves discovered in May and August and the rejection of refugee boats by the Government of Malaysia, it was surprising that the United States decided to upgrade Malaysia’s standing in their human trafficking report.

4. Gender discrimination remained at an all-time high with little to no concrete steps taken to rectify the situation. From ill-thought out jokes to crude and debasing slurs uttered in Parliament by representatives from the Government, it has reinforced the perception that the Government of Malaysia is not sincere in fulfilling their obligations under Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

5. Indigenous peoples of Malaysia continue to suffer from various human rights violations. With the introduction of various ‘mega’ projects and deforestation for commercial purposes by various corporations, land grab is a common occurrence in the indigenous tribes’ customary lands. General apathy of relevant government agencies remains prevalent and was reflected in the various plights including but not limited to the case of 7 missing children in Kelantan; the poor condition of the transit centre in Gua Musang and the health problem suffered by the Jahai Tribe in Perak.

6. After the months of secrecy, the terms of TPPA were finally made public. With the wide reach and the monumental impact posed by TPPA, it is unconscionable for the Government of Malaysia to sign the TPPA without conducting a Human Rights Impact Assessment to evaluate the potential consequences posed by the TPPA. Further, with the increasing influence of corporations in Malaysia, active steps must be taken to ensure that these corporations comply with international human rights standards.

SUARAM urges the Government of Malaysia to take proactive step in safeguarding the human rights for all and take effective step to cease and desist with the human rights violations taking place in Malaysia and provide due remedy for those that have suffered as a result of the human rights violations. Laws that are incompatible with recognized international human rights listed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other Bill of Rights must be repealed immediately.

We call on the government to be accountable to the people and to place human rights and democracy on top of any government and political agenda. Anything less would undoubtedly jeopardize the future generation of Malaysians and lay waste the sacrifices made by our forefathers.

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National Security Council Bill a Threat to Parliamentary Democracy!

For immediate release
3rd December 2015

Suara Rakyat Malaysia strongly condemns the introduction of the National Security Council Bill and the attempt by the Barisan National to bulldoze the Bill through Parliament.

Between the power given to the Prime Minister to declare an effective ‘state of emergency’ in a ‘security area’; the wide ranging power given to security forces; and the absence of any form of check and balance would allow the Prime Minister and his chosen cabal to act with absolute impunity as a dictator in Malaysia.

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While, the Government of Malaysia justified the Bill as a necessary provision to safeguard national security, it is irrational to think that we need such measure despite the absence of any large scale conflict or threat on Malaysian soil. Even in the days of conflict with the Communists and the confrontation with Indonesia, Malaysia had no need for such draconian measure. Certainly we do not need it now!

The only reason why the Government of Malaysia wish to implement this legislation is to provide its leaders with unparalleled power to control the country and silence all form of dissent with violence and threat of violence.

Further, the execution of this act would undermine what little human rights Malaysians enjoy at this juncture. The proposed bill also clearly contradicts the United Nations General Assembly resolution on human rights defenders that Malaysia agreed to last week.

If this Bill was passed, it is likely that Malaysians today will stand witness to the killing blow against democracy in Malaysia! Rather than protecting Malaysia from the security threat from the Islamic State terrorists and incidents like the Sulu Invasion, the National Security Council Bill will become the real security threat to Malaysia’s national security and Parliamentary Democracy and set Malaysia on the path of tyranny!

Say no to the National Security Council Bill!  

 

In Solidarity,

Sevan Doraisamy
Executive Director
SUARAM

We agree! Now stop the record breaking persecution of human rights defenders!

For immediate release
28th November 2015

We agree! Now stop the record breaking persecution of human rights defenders!

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) applauds the decision by the Government of Malaysia to vote in favour for the United Nations General Assembly resolution on the protection of human rights defenders[1]. By voting in favour for the resolution, the Government of Malaysia is obliged to ensure that the resolution is put into practice in Malaysia.

Recalling the rapidly declining state of affairs in regards to human rights in Malaysia within the last few years and the prosecution of human rights defenders such as Adam Adli (sedition), Arutchelvan (sedition), Eric Paulsen (sedition), Jannie Lasimbang (PAA), Khalid Ismath (sedition and CMA), Lena Hendry (Film Censorship Act), Maria Chin (PAA), Zunar (sedition) and countless others, it is of paramount importance for the Government of Malaysia to act in a manner that reflects the stance they have adopted in the United Nations General Assembly.

If the Government of Malaysia fails to honour the obligations it has undertaken by voting in affirmation, there would undoubtedly be severe repercussion against the Government of Malaysia and jeopardize the time dedicated by the Prime Minister in improving Malaysia’s international standing.

On this note, SUARAM calls for the Government of Malaysia to:

  1. Drop all criminal and civil charges against human rights defenders in Malaysia;
  2. Repeal the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012, the Sedition Act 1948, The Communications and Multimedia Act 1948, and all other legislations that are recognized as incompatible with recognized international human rights;
  3. Establish a moratorium on the use of such provisions; and
  4. Take action against the head government agencies that are actively violating human rights in Malaysia
In Solidarity,
Sevan Doraisamy
Executive Director
SUARAM

The full text of the resolution can be found at: http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/LTD/N09/611/58/PDF/N0961158.pdf?OpenElement



[1] Full Title of Resolution: Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms

Court says SOSMA not applicable, SUARAM calls it abuse of power! SOSMA must go!

For immediate release
18th November 2015

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) welcomes the decision by the High Court in the case of Datuk Seri Khairuddin Abu Hassan and his lawyer Matthias Chang.

The decision to reject the charges against Khairuddin Abu Hassan and Matthias Chang is a courageous step forward for the Judiciary of Malaysia. While it is unfortunate that Khairuddin and Matthias would still have to stand trial for the crime of highlighting possible corruption in Malaysia, the small victory is still a welcomed news in these turbulent times.

Further, SUARAM call for the Attorney General to consider dropping the charges filed against Khairuddin and Matthias as the court have rejected their ‘crimes’ as an security offence. Failure to do so would contravene the Attorney General’s statement that prosecution would not take place unless he is certain of 99% chance of conviction. In this case, the decision by the High Court clearly sided the 1% and should thus be an end to this ill-advised misadventure.

On this note, SUARAM reiterate our stance that laws such as SOSMA that permits detention without trial is a draconian and unconscionable law that should not exist and MUST be repealed. The abuse of such laws in Malaysia is not uncommon and the case of Khairuddin and Matthias highlights the danger. Lastly, draconian laws such as SOSMA is not the way to protect the safety and security of Malaysia but the first step in converting Malaysia into a police state. As Malaysians, we must not allow this to be our future!

 
In Solidarity,
Sevan Doraisamy
Executive Director