By Dr Kua Kia Soong, Director of SUARAM, 13 May 2011

When the May 13 Incident broke out in 1969, Said Zahari wrote these lines while under ISA detention in Singapore:

“Once again
History repeats itself
By savage deeds
In a civilized age

Once again
Hidden hands appear
Seeking the blood
Of the poor and the wretched

Once again
Colour, race, religion and language
Become sharp blades
To use in the carnage

It has happened
In every corner of the earth
Where the few eat bread
And the rest sand

It has happened
Where the few clothed in velvet
Sleep in palaces
The rest go naked, squeezed into shacks

It has happened –
Then hidden hands reappear
Spilling the blood of the poor
To cling on to power…”

Said Zahari certainly did not buy the official line that the riots had broken out spontaneously. The thesis of my 2007 title May 13: Declassified Documents on the Malaysian Riots of 1969 was that the pogrom was orchestrated by these hidden hands to facilitate the rise of the Malay state capitalist class in UMNO and to topple the aristocratic class headed by the Tunku. This opportunity presented itself after the devastating results for the ruling coalition in the 1969 general elections.

It was not until July 1969 – a lapse of two full months – that the security forces played their expected role of restoring order. It was not as if the Malaysian security forces were inexperienced in the role of maintaining order. They had successfully contained the armed insurgency during the Emergency from 1948 to 1960 under more difficult circumstances. Allowing the riots to continue for so many weeks provided an excuse for the new UMNO ruling class to make use of the state of emergency to implement their agenda for political and economic dominance through the New Economic Policy. In this plan, they received the full backing and connivance of the police and military.

Before the publication of my book, UMNO had all along been using “May 13” as a spectre to frighten voters of another pogrom whenever a strong political opposition had arisen to challenge the ruling coalition. This was seen in various general elections such as the one in 1990 when the public broadcasting media RTM was used to purvey scenes of carnage to remind voters of the consequences.

Even the Tunku could see through the ploy. In 1988, he gave short shrift to the Government’s White Paper on Operation Lalang:

“For the Prime Minister (Dr Mahathir) to repeat (the story of) the violence of the May 13 Affair as a warning of what would have happened if the Government had not taken appropriate action immediately is like telling ghost stories to our children to prevent them from being naughty. This is not a childish matter but a matter of national importance. The tale should not be repeated because it shows us to be politically immature.” (SUARAM, “The White Paper on the October Affair and the Why? Papers”, 1989: 5)

The prelude to Operation Lalang saw the UMNO leaders orchestrating racial tension over the transfer of non-qualified administrators to Chinese primary schools. They held a rally in Kampong Baru at which then UMNO Youth Chief and present prime minister was one of the chest thumpers on stage while banners called for “Chinese blood” and “May 13”.

Since then, UMNO has unleashed its Youth group to harass any groups which question UMNO policies such as the mob assault on the East Timor Conference in 1996; the demonstration against the Chinese associations’ Suqiu appeals and threat to burn down the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall in 2000, among others.

Orchestration of the UMNO- Controlled Media
The UMNO-owned and controlled press, especially Utusan Malaysia and Berita Harian have been indispensable accessories in the orchestration of communalism and racial tension to justify authoritarian measures such as was seen in Operation Lalang, 1987 and to frighten the voters into supporting the status quo.

I have monitored the way “The UMNO Media Communalises” in Media Watch: The Use and Abuse of the Malaysian Press, 1990, in order to show you how the trick is done . For example, when the Government was being criticized for the BMF scandal in the eighties, Berita Harian (19.9.86) featured the UMNO president, Dr Mahathir’s veiled threat at the UMNO general assembly: KESABARAN MELAYU ADA HADNYA (“There is a limit to the patience of the Malays”). Utusan Malaysia (19.9.86) would not be outdone: JANGAN AMBIL MUDAH ORANG MELAYU (“Don’t take Malays for granted”)

When there was widespread opposition to the Official Secrets Act Amendment Bill in 1986 by all ethnic groups, Utusan Malaysia (6.12.86) chose to feature this headline quoting the UMNO Youth Chief Datuk Seri Mohd Najib: NAJIB INGATKAN ANGGOTA-ANGGOTA UMNO KEPIMPINAN MELAYU SEDANG DICABAR (“Najib alerts UMNO members Malay leadership being challenged”)

During the orchestrated “crisis” over the posting of unqualified administrators to the Chinese primary schools, the banner headline in Berita Harian (19.10.87) read: KEKAL KETUANAN MELAYU – PEMUDA (“Defend Malay dominance – UMNO Youth”)

Then when Tengku Razaleigh was leading the Opposition Front in the 1990 general elections, the editorial headline of Berita Harian (20.4.90) read: POLITIK TENGKU RAZALEIGH MERUGIKAN MELAYU (“Tengku Razaleigh’s politics – Malays lose out”)

One really needs to go further back to the Sixties to monitor how the UMNO media has deliberately communalized issues. It all gets rather tedious to even the most weathered media watcher because they carry on ad nauseum to serve the UMNO agenda for political and economic domination by playing on Malay chauvinism.

As the young generation can see with their own eyes today, the UMNO media have not stopped. The latest caper by Utusan Malaysia alleging a plot to make Christianity an official religion is probably one of the crudest yet in its arsenal of orchestrated untruths.

Yet, has any Utusan Malaysia editor been sacked by their political masters for all these deliberate attempts at stoking racial tensions? So much for Najib’s “1Malaysia” caper! And they wonder why Malaysian professionals are leaving the country…

Demands for the 13th General Elections
Calling upon UMNO and the UMNO-owned and controlled media to be more responsible is like asking a leopard to change its spots. Bumiputraism has been part and parcel of UMNO’s ideology and method for maintaining political and economic power. Demands for social responsibility and ethical standards in the media will not be heeded unless these are enshrined in new democratic institutions.

Therefore, as we mark this 42nd anniversary of May 13, we reiterate the call for:

– A Truth & Reconciliation Commission to honour those who lost their lives in 1969 and to learn the lessons of that dark episode of Malaysian history by pointing the way forward toward national reconciliation;
– An independent Press Council and Broadcasting Authority, whose members and Chair are seen to be truly independent, acceptable and respected by civil society;
– A Race Relations Act to outlaw racism, racial discrimination, hate crimes and other related intolerances and an Equal Opportunities Commission;
– Ratification of the International Convention on the Eradication of Racism, Racial Discrimination and all forms of Intolerance.




Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI) and Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) strongly condemn the two-year detention order of Mohamad Fadzullah Bin Abdul Razak made by the Home Minister. Fadzullah was transferred to Kamunting on 2nd September 2010 without the knowledge of his family and lawyers. His lawyers had already informed Bukit Aman on their representation on behalf of Fadzullah.

Fadzullah, 28, was arrested under the ISA on 15th July 2010. He is alleged to be involved in international terrorist networking. But these allegations have not been proved in any open court in Malaysia since the day he was detained under the ISA. In fact, we are doubtful that these allegations would even withstand the test of an open and independent trial.

The Executive order for a two year detention without trial is a gross travesty of justice. Fadzullah has been denied basic human rights as enshrined in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, namely the right to a fair trial, the right to defend oneself in an open and independent court, the right to legal counsel and the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

We believe the invocation of Section 8 of the ISA for a two-year detention period was calculated to impede the lawyers’ effort to file a writ of habeas corpus to challenge Fadzullah initial detention under the Section 73(1) of the ISA. He has not given an opportunity to question his detention under the ISA. This is an old tactic and modus operandi has been used in many cases to ensure that any writ for habeas corpus will be deemed academic since the detainee has been detained under a different Section of the law and by a different arm of the executive government.

On a related development, GMI and SUARAM have been informed that Sheikh Abdullah Sheikh Junaidi (70), a Malaysian who was detained on 11th August, has been released from the detention on 25th of August. He had been arrested together with Mustawan Ahbab (34), an Indonesian, and Samsul Hamidi (34), a Malaysian; both of whom are still serving their 60 days detention under Section 73(1) of the ISA.

Although GMI and SUARAM welcome the release, we view this as yet another selective release and stand strongly with our principal value that no one should be detained under the ISA or any form of detention without trial laws.

Clearly, despite the recent appointment of Malaysia to the United Nations Human Rights Council and the pledge by the Malaysian government to promote and protect human rights vis a vie its plans to amend the ISA remains mere rhetoric and empty promises to the Malaysian Rakyat and the international community. The people of Malaysia are against the ISA, torture and other forms of human rights violations. We demand that the government abolish the ISA and put an end to violations of the fundamental rights of human beings!

Released by,
GMI Secretariat and SUARAM Coordinator

Memorandum SUHAKAM


12 OGOS 2010

Kami dari SUARAM (Suara Rakyat Malaysia) bersama dengan Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI) dan para tahanan yang ditahan pada 1 Ogos 2010 lalu ingin membuat aduan pada hari ini terhadap pasukan Polis DiRaja Malaysia (PDRM) yang dipimpin oleh Ketua Polis Negara Tan Sri Musa Hassan kerana telah menyalahgunakan pasukan polis dan Light Strike Force (LSF) pada 1 Ogos 2010 dalam satu program Vigil yang aman dan teratur.

Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI) telah mengumumkan kepada media bahawa satu program Vigil Lilin serentak akan diadakan pada 1 Ogos 2010 sempena 50 tahun ISA[1]. GMI bersama dengan kumpulan NGO yang lain seperti SUARAM, Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (JERIT), Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM), Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM), Parti Islam Semalaysia (PAS), Jamaah Islah Malaysia (JIM), Student Democratic Movement (DEMA) dan Solidariti Mahasiswa Malaysia (SMM) telah membuat perancangan untuk mengadakan program tersebut pada 1 Ogos 2010, pukul 8.00 malam serentak di beberapa tempat di Malaysia sejak bulan Jun yang lalu.

Vigil Anti ISA serentak yang diadakan di Petaling Jaya (Selangor), Pulau Pinang, Perak, Kedah, Kelantan, Negeri Sembilan, Johor, Sabah dan Sarawak adalah untuk menuntut agar kerajaan mansuhkan ISA dengan segera, bukan hanya pinda, kerana ia adalah sebuah akta yang membenarkan penahanan tanpa bicara dan ianya mencabuli hak asasi manusia untuk mendapat perbicaraan yang adil.

Sempena dengan 50 tahun ISA, GMI telah memaklumkan tentang program ini kepada Jawatankuasa Hak Asasi Manusia, Majlis Peguam Malaysia; Pusat Bantuan Guaman; SUHAKAM dan juga kepada Ketua Polis Negara, Tan Sri Musa Hassan. (Sila Lihat Lampiran 1)
Pada 1 Ogos Timbalan Ketua Polis Negara, Tan Sri Ismail Omar telah memberi amaran kepada orang awam supaya jangan menyertai[2] Vigil aman ini walaupun notis pemberitahuan sudah diberikan kepada KPN pada 28 Julai 2010. Malah, semua tempat yang dirancang untuk diadakan Vigil telah disekat oleh pihak Polis dengan sepenuhnya walaupun kebanyakan tempat-tempat tersebut adalah tempat persendirian. Misalnya, di Padang Timur Petaling Jaya, pihak polis telah menutup keseluruhan padang tersebut walaupun pihak penganjur mempunyai permit yang diluluskan oleh Majlis Bandaraya Petaling Jaya (MBPJ) (Lihat lampiran 2). Amaran dan perbuatan menutup jalanraya dan tempat pertemuan adalah sesuatu yang tidak masuk akal dan sekaligus melanggari hak asasi rakyat untuk berkumpul secara aman seperti yang termaktub dalam Artikel 10, Perlembagaan Persekutuan.

Pada jam 8.00 malam 1 Ogos, kebanyakan negeri telah menghadapi intimidasi yang tinggi daripada pihak Polis. Namun, ”Pemenang/Champion” sebenar pencabulan Hak Asasi pada hari tersebut adalah OCPD Petaling Jaya, ASP Arjunaidi Mohamed. Beliau telah menunjukkan sikap yang tidak profesional dalam menangani situasi pada hari tersebut. Beliau[3] langsung tidak memberikan masa yang mencukupi untuk memberikan laluan kepada pihak penganjur untuk beredar secara aman. Malah, beliau sebenarnya tidak tahu proses untuk menyuraikan para peserta. Beliau menggunakan LSF untuk menyuraikan para peserta yang berada dalam keadaan aman.

Walaupun Majlis Peguam Malaysia dan SUHAKAM berada di sana sebagai pemantau namun pihak Polis tidak mempunyai tanggungjawab dan kepekaan terhadap hak asasi manusia.


1. Kebanyakan rakyat yang hadir telah dikasari, ada yang dipukul, dicederakan dan kekerasan digunakan serta seramai 39 orang ditangkap di seluruh negara tanpa sebab yang munasabah. Insiden penangkapan ini berlaku di Petaling Jaya[4], Kelantan dan Pulau Pinang[5].

2. Ini termasuk dua juvana di bawah umur (di Petaling Jaya dan Kelantan) ditahan selama beberapa jam di balai Polis.

3. Membuat tangkapan yang berniat jahat seperti menahan mereka yang memakai baju t-shirt berwarna merah dan hitam.

4. Salahguna kuasa oleh pihak polis yang tidak memaklumkan kepada pihak peguam atau pun orang kena tahan bahawa mereka ditahan.

5. Penggunaan LSF yang sangat keterlaluan menyebabkan para peserta mempunyai kesukaran untuk bergerak serta mengganggu orang awam yang berada di sekitar tempat perhimpunan

6. Pihak polis turut menyukarkan orang awam dengan membuat sekatan jalan di semua kawasan di seluruh negara yang menganjurkan vigil Anti ISA

7. Pihak polis turut mengancam mengambil kenyataan daripada para peguam yang mewakili orang kena tahan. Ini adalah satu pencabulan hak asasi yang serius dan initimidasi polis yang keterlaluan.

8. Wartawan Harakah suami dan isteri serta anak mereka yang berumur 16 tahun turut ditahan semasa menjalankan tugas mereka sebagai wartawan yang membuat liputan di Kelantan.


Bilangan ditahan/initimidasi polis Lapor balik kepada polis
Dataran MBPJ, Padang Timur [6]
• Seramai 400 orang hadir di PJ
• Seramai 29 orang ditahan termasuk juvana bawah umur
• Ramai yang dikasari dan dipukul oleh polis (Lampiran 3: Disertakan Video) Perlu lapor di Mahkamah pada 16hb Ogos 2010

Penang Speakers Square[7]
• Seramai 5 orang ditahan
• Terpaksa menukar tempat lain kerana intimidasi polis yang tinggi
• Dikasari oleh polis Perlu lapor di Mahkamah pada 14 Ogos 2010

Perak Dataran Bandaraya Ipoh
• Seramai 200 orang hadir diIpoh
• Tiada tangkapan tapi initimidasi polis sangat teruk sehingga terpaksa menukar tempat lain untuk teruskan Vigil .Tiada

Kedah Dataran Zero KM, Sungai Petani • Tiada tangkapan tapi initimidasi polis sangat teruk sehingga terpaksa menukar tempat lain untuk teruskan Vigil. Tiada

Kelantan Taman Hijau, Jalan Sultanah Zainab, Kelantan
• Seramai 30 orang menyertai Vigil
• 5 orang ditahan termasuk dua wartawan Harakah dan kanak-kanak bawah umur yang 16 tahun. Lapor kepada polis pada 1 September 2010

Seremban Dataran Seremban
• Seramai 100 orang menyertai di Seremban
• Tiada tangkapan tapi initimidasi polis sangat teruk sehingga terpaksa menukar tempat lain untuk teruskan Vigil. Tiada

Johor Plaza Seni, Johor Bahru
• Tiada gangguan yang teruk melainkan beberapa amaran untuk bersurai dengan awal
• Vigil dijalankan tanpa sebarang gangguan yang teruk dan di tempat yang dirancang, Tiada

Sibu No. 25, Pusat Tanah Wang, Jalan Perdada, 96000 Sibu, Sarawak • Tiada gangguan yang teruk melainkan beberapa amaran untuk bersurai dengan awal
• Vigil dijalankan tanpa sebarang gangguan yang teruk dan di tempat yang dirancang Tiada

Kuching Lots 468-469, Bangunan Al Idrus Commercial Centre, Jalan Satok, 93400Kuching.
• Tiada gangguan yang teruk melainkan beberapa amaran untuk bersurai dengan awal
• Vigil dijalankan tanpa sebarang gangguan yang teruk dan di tempat yang dirancang, Tiada

Pihak Polis sekali lagi telah melanggar hak asasi dan juga menyalahguna kuasa dengan menggunakan keganasan dan kekasaran terhadap para peserta Vigil Anti ISA. Kerajaan gagal untuk melihat kepentingan dan kebebasan rakyat Malaysia yang menggunakan ruang demokrasi mereka untuk berkumpul secara aman seperti yang termaktub dalam Artikel 10 Perlembagaan Persekutuan Negara. Malah penggunaan Akta Polis khasnya seksyen 27 (Perhimpunan Haram) adalah amat bertentangan dengan perlembagaan Persekutuan.
Kami ingin imbas kembali pendirian yang diambil oleh SUHAKAM semasa kejadian Lebuhraya Kesas (2001), Bloody Sunday di KLCC (2006), serta insiden Bandar Mahkota Cheras (2008). Salah satu pendirian dan cadangan yang disarankan oleh SUHAKAM semasa penyiasatan umum kejadian Bloody Sunday di KLCC[8] adalah pihak penganjur hanya perlu memberikan notis awal kepada pihak polis berkenaan dengan sebarang perhimpunan aman seperti yang termaktub dalam Deklarasi Hak Asasi Sejagat Manusia (UDHR).

Penggunaan LSF secara rambang adalah satu tindakan yang tidak releven dan seharusnya boleh dielakkan sekiranya pegawai polis bersedia untuk berunding dengan pihak penganjur. Pihak polis melakukan pelbagai kesalahan atas nama ketenteraman awam dan menurut arahan. Antara kesalahan yang mereka sering lakukan adalah menghalang perhimpunan awam, hak untuk mendapatkan khidmat peguam, menahan juvana dan kanak-kanak, dan penyeksaan terhadap tahanan. Namun mereka tidak sekalipun berubah selepas setiap kesalahan yang dilakukan oleh mereka sentiasa dikritik secara nasional dan antarabangsa.

SUARAM dan GMI amat mengalu-alukan inisiatif SUHAKAM yang telah turun sebagai pemantau semasa program Vigil Anti ISA di Petaling Jaya. Ini adalah suatu langkah yang amat progresif dan perlu diteruskan. Malah kami juga menyokong kenyataan akhbar yang bertarikh 3 Ogos 2010[9] yang dikeluarkan oleh SUHAKAM sejurus selepas insiden tersebut bahawa pihak polis tidak memberikan masa yang secukupnya untuk bersurai dan menyifatkan tindakan polis sebagai pencabulan Hak Asasi.
Sehubungan itu, kami ingin membawa perhatian SUHAKAM kepada beberapa isu yang memerlukan tindakan segera:

1. Penyalahgunaan kuasa oleh Polis semasa menyuraikan para peserta semasa perhimpunan Vigil:

a. Menggunakan LSF (khasnya di Petaling Jaya) secara ganas dan kasar semasa menyuraikan para peserta
b. Penangkapan dibuat secara ganas dan kasar
c. Wartawan Harakah ditahan di Kelantan adalah mala fide
d. Sesiapa yang memakai baju warna merah dan hitam menjadi sasaran
e. Semua penahanan di Petaling Jaya, Pulau Pinang dan Kelantan adalah tidak releven dan mala fide

2. Kebebasan untuk Berhimpun dirampas
a. Polis menutup jalan ke arah semua kawasan yang dirancang untuk mengadakan vigil
b. Amaran daripada Timbalan Ketua Polis Negara yang melarang orang awam menyertai Vigil adalah tindakan yang melampau dan melambangkan pihak polis tidak mendukung prinsip Hak Asasi dan Demokrasi.
c. Penangkapan orang awam dan penganjur Vigil sebelum program bermula.

3. Peguam diinitimidasi oleh Polis
a. Sekumpulan peguam daripada Majlis Peguam Malaysia, Pusat Bantuan Guaman dan Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) yang mahu mewakili anak guam mereka diganggu pihak Polis dengan pihak peguam juga diminta memberikan keterangan.

4. Hak Kanak-kanak dirampas
a. Dua juvana di bawah umur di tahan selama beberapa jam di balai Polis (di Petaling Jaya dan Kelantan). Pihak Polis telah melanggari peruntukan dalam Akta Kanak-kanak seksyen 19(5) dengan tidak memaklumkan kepada Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat tentang penahanan kanak-kanak bawah umur.
b. Malaysia telah menandatangani Konvensyen Hak Kanak-kanak (Pertubuhan Bangsa-bangsa Bersatu) yang bertanggungjawab dalam memastikan bahawa hak kanak-kanak yang ditahan atau berada dalam penahanan polis harus dijaga dengan rapi. Namun, ianya dilanggari oleh Polis apabila mereka tidak mengambil inisiatif untuk maklumkan kepada ibu bapa atau Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat.

SUARAM dan GMI berpendirian bahawa penindasan, penyalahgunaan kuasa dan keganasan Polis semasa Vigil di seluruh negara adalah kesalahan Hak Asasi yang teruk dan mereka harus dibawa ke muka pengadilan.
Oleh itu, kami ingin menggesa SUHAKAM agar:

1. Melaksanakan Penyiasatan Umum dan terbuka terhadap kesalahan dan tindakan Polis yang melampau pada 1 Ogos 2010.
2. Memberikan laporan akhir kepada Kerajaan Malaysia untuk mengambil tindakan disiplin terhadap pihak Polis yang melakukan kesalahan dan tindakan melampau mereka ke atas para peserta.
3. Memberikam tekanan kepada Kerajaan Malaysia untuk mengkaji kembali Kanun Keseksaan (Penal Code) dan Akta Polis 1967 dan mencadangkan kepada mereka agar membuang semua bahagian yang menghadkan kebebasan berhimpun dan bersuara.
4. Meneruskan kerja pemantauan dalam setiap perhimpunan aman. Malah pada masa yang sama, kami juga ingin menggesa SUHAKAM untuk lebih proaktif dengan cuba menjadi orang tengah antara pihak penganjur dan pihak Polis sebelum sebarang perhimpunan supaya boleh mengurangkan tekanan antara Polis dan pihak penganjur.
5. Mengambil inisiatif untuk mengaktifkan Bahagian Human Rights Defenders dalam SUHAKAM dan melindungi semua aktivis dan pendukung Hak Asasi daripada seringkali menjadi mangsa keganasan, kekasaran dan intimidasi polis dan kerajaan.
Diserahkan Oleh,
Nalini Elumalai, Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh, Pengerusi Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI)

[8] Suhakam (2006) ‘Report of Suhakam Public Inquiry Into the Incident at KLCC on 28 May 2006’.

Federal Court Decision on Former ISA Detainee Abdul Malek Husin: A Negative Development on Human Rights Development in Malaysia

Press Statement: 12 August 2010

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) expresses its grave disappointment and expresses serious concern over the Federal Court judgment today which overturned a RM2.5 million award to former Internal Security Act (ISA) detainee Abdul Malek Husin following an appeal by the Malaysian government.

The Federal court reversed the High Court decision and the Federal Court has upheld the Court of Appeal ruling to overturn a High Court decision his suit against the government. The Federal Court thus ruled that Malek Husin will not receive the damages awarded to him by the High Court and ordered Malek Husin instead to pay RM20, 000 in costs. It’s a total setback to the former detainee and also for the rest of the Malaysians. He was detained without trial for 57days under the ISA; he was tortured, beaten up & now to pay costs RM 20k. Something is really wrong with our judges and judiciary system in Malaysia!

Suaram is of the view that the judgement sets a negative bench mark on human rights development in Malaysia as the court refuse to even hear a fundamental question pertaining Article 5 of the Federal Constitution as it went on to reject the leave application citing Court of Judicature Act. Suaram feels that courts failed to exercise its jurisdiction to address fundamental constitutional rights and civil liberties by choosing to adopt technical grounds per se.

The judgement reaffirms the current worsening culture of impunity and torture by further granting a 20,000 RM cost over a public interest litigation seeking justice over his rights and fundamental liberties that was purportedly violated by the most notorious undemocratic law of the nation. The message sent by the courts is that the only mechanism available to make police actions accountable is laden with risk of reverse punishment in form of a cost. Suaram views that all public interest litigations should not burden litigants with cost or fear of cost in addressing the legal remedy over one’s Constitutional rights and freedom.

The Federal not only refused to hear a question of fundamental rights enshrined in the Federal Constitution but it also went on to punish the person for raising it. The judgement is the biggest blow to our judicial integrity since the controversial Lingam Tape and the controversial appointment of UMNO linked lawyer Tan Sri Zaki Azmi as the Chief Justice of Malaya.

Court Rules In Favour of Human Rights Violators!

SUARAM also views this as another dire attempt by the government to defend the indefensible ISA which allows detention without trial. It is a known fact that all ISA detainees are subjected to severe psychological torture and put in solitary confinement in their 60 days detention. Detention without trial for such a long period without any access to lawyers, family and the outside world is itself a cruel maltreatment to the detainees. Many amongst them, like Male Husin, have been subjected to physical torture while in detention.

Malaysia Accepts Torture?

The Federal Court judgement today, rejecting the findings of the High Court that Abdul Malek was indeed tortured while in detention, did nothing more than to reaffirm the acceptance of torture in the country not only by the Malaysian government – which has still to date refused to ratify the UN’s Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) – but also by the Malaysian judiciary!

SUARAM strongly urges the Malaysian government to immediately ratify the CAT. SUARAM finds no reason for the refusal of the government to do so but for its acceptance of torture as a punishment in the country!

Abolish the ISA!

The absence of judicial checks and balances in ISA detentions has also exacerbated the abuses of power by the police who can get away with impunity. Malaysia cannot call itself a democratic country when there is such a law that permits detention without trial and gross violation of human rights.

SUARAM reiterates its demand that the government abolishes the ISA frees all detainees or accords them a fair trial. SUARAM stands strongly against any law that provides for detention without trial.

Last but not least, SUARAM reaffirms that it will build on the struggles, sacrifices and perseverance of the numerous courageous ex-ISA detainees and their families who have stood up against the draconian law. With the support of the people, SUARAM will continue the struggle until the ISA is finally abolished.

Released by,

Nalini, E.
SUARAM Coordinator


Abdul Malek Husin was arrested on the night of September 25, 1998 after addressing a demonstration earlier that afternoon in Masjid Negara. He accused the police of severely assaulting him, physically and mentally.

In the past trial, Malek Husin told the court that he was slapped by the respondent, Borhan bin Haji Daud when he was arrested. Then he was stripped naked and blindfolded during the interrogation period. He was physically assaulted for about 60 times, beaten-up and hit hard on the head until he passed out. He was also forced to swallow liquid with terrible stench, which deemed to be urine. His interrogators also threatened to inject him with the HIV/AIDs virus.

Malek Husin filed his suit civil suit in March 1999, naming special branch officer Borhan Daud, the then police chief Abdul Rahim Noor and the government as respondents. On 18 October 2007, then Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Mohd Hishamudin Mohd Yunus, ruled that Malek Husin’s detention during the Reformasi demonstrations in 1998, were made in bad faith under Article 5 of the Federal Constitution. He was rewarded RM 2.5 Million for the damages.

On the 25th March, The Court of Appeal’s convened by a panel of three judges, reversed the High Court decision and ruled that Malek Husin detention was lawful and rejected his allegations of torture while in custody. The Court of Appeal thus ruled that Malek Husin will not receive the damages awarded to him by the High Court and ordered Malek Husin instead to pay RM50, 000 in costs.

SUHAKAM’s Positive Efforts Must Continue

SUARAM commends the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) for sending an official monitoring team to the Anti ISA candlelight vigil on 1 August 2010 at Padang Timur Dataran MBPJ, Petaling Jaya. This was in response to an earlier request by SUARAM and Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI) to send a monitoring team for the vigil. The vigil was held to commemorate the passing of the Internal Security Act (ISA) 50 years ago and to call for the abolition of the ISA.

SUARAM notes that SUHAKAM Commissioners James Nayagam and Muhammad Sha’ani, accompanied by their five officers, were present before the vigil began and also at the Petaling Jaya police headquarters where those arrested were brought. They continued monitoring at the police station until the last person was released at approximately 4.50am.

This is indeed a positive step forward following SUHAKAM’s refusal to do the same exactly one year ago, in the massive anti-ISA rally in August 2009, which subsequently saw 589 individuals being arrested.

Such renewed efforts in SUHAKAM’s work is indeed welcomed and is especially timely in view of the continued occurrence of grave violations of human rights in the country. SUHAKAM’s latest effort is a glimpse of what the Human Rights Commission that Malaysia could and ought to do to fulfil its mandate as a credible national human rights institution and expected role as a public defender of human rights.

Notwithstanding this, SUARAM expresses concern over the government’s disregard of SUHAKAM’s previous recommendations. The arrests made during the anti-ISA candlelight vigil on 1 August 2010 were the latest of the many instances of the government’s refusal to comply with SUHAKAM’s numerous recommendations on peaceful assembly, including those contained in the Commission’s reports of its public inquiries on the cases of the Kesas Highway incident (2001), the “Bloody Sunday” incident in KLCC (2006), and the Bandar Mahkota Cheras incident (2008). In the report of the public inquiry into the “Bloody Sunday” incident, for example, SUHAKAM recommended that “peaceful assemblies should be allowed to proceed without a license”. However, through the excessive use of force by the police and FRU personnel in dispersing participants of the candlelight vigil and previous peaceful assemblies, it is evident that SUHAKAM’s repeated recommendations to the Government have fallen on deaf ears.

SUARAM thus strongly calls upon the police and the Malaysian Government to respect SUHAKAM’s decisions and actions following the Anti ISA vigil and to implement all recommendations made by SUHAKAM.

Encouraged by the positive efforts by SUHAKAM, SUARAM lastly urges the Commission to revisit all recommendations made to the government with increased vigour. SUHAKAM must ensure that its improved efforts in the protection and promotion of human rights do not end with this instance.