GHAH: MEMORANDUM kepada Peguam Negara mengenai penyalahgunaan Akta Hasutan 1948

Sejak beberapa bulan yang lalu, terdapat peningkatan yang membimbangkan dalam siasatan dan pendakwaan di bawah Akta Hasutan 1948, yang mana sasarannya termasuk wakil-wakil rakyat dan aktivis-aktivis hak asasi manusia yang mempunyai tanggungjawab awam untuk bersuara mengenai perkara-perkara yang melibatkan kepentingan awam.

Sejak 27 Julai 2015, dua orang Ahli Parlimen pembangkang dan lima orang aktivis telah didakwa di bawah undang-undang tersebut. Sejak tahun 2013, terdapat peningkatan sebanyak 1,700 peratus dalam pertuduhan hasutan berbanding tempoh di antara 2007 dan 2012.

Tidak dapat dinafikan bahawa Akta Hasutan juga ditakrifkan secara luas dan ianya terbuka kepada penyalahgunaan. Di bawah Akta Hasutan, hampir apa sahaja yang disuarakan atau diterbitkan yang menjurus kepada perbalahan boleh dianggap sebagai menghasut.

Perdana Menteri telah pada 11 Julai 2012 dan 3 Julai 2013 berjanji untuk memansuhkan Akta Hasutan. Adalah mengecewakan dan membimbangkan bahawa walaupun beliau telah berulang kali berjanji kepada rakyat Malaysia, penggunaan Akta ini  telah sebaliknya meningkat dengan mendadak sehingga kini.

Kedudukan sebagai Peguam Negara diwujudkan oleh Perlembagaan Persekutuan, dan kami menggesa Tan Sri untuk memainkan peranan sebagai pelindung Perlembagaan Persekutuan pada setiap masa. Penggunaan berterusan Akta Hasutan ini tidak akan mengundang keyakinan orang ramai terhadap pejabat Peguam Negara.

Ia juga merupakan suatu perkara yang membimbangkan bahawa kebanyakan mereka yang didakwa di Mahkamah adalah dari golongan pembangkang, masyarakat madani, penentang atau mereka yang dilihat sebagai pro-pembangkang. Tindakan pantas telah diambil terhadap mereka ini termasuklah tangkapan, reman dan di dalam banyak kes, pendakwaan jenayah, sebagai contoh di dalam kes Adam Adli, Tian Chua, Tamrin Ghafar, Haris Ibrahim, Safwan Anang, Hishamuddin Rais, N. Surendran, Khalid Samad, RSN Rayer, Azmi Sharom, Wan Ji Wan Hussin, Eric Paulsen dan Zunar.

Sebaliknya, individu-individu yang telah membuat kenyataan yang bersifat amat provokatif dan mengapi-apikan perasaan tetapi kebetulannya adalah individu-individu UMNO atau pro-UMNO seperti Ibrahim Ali, Masitah Ibrahim, Jamal Yunos, Ismail Sabri dan Mohd Ali Baharom (lebih dikenali sebagai Ali Tinju, yang mana pertuduhan hasutannya telah ditarik balik), tidak didakwa.

Sejak Tan Sri telah mengambil jawatan pada 27 Julai 2015, kami perhatikan pendakwaan pertuduhan-pertuduhan berikut telah dimulakan:

  1. Mohd Fakhrulrazi Mohd Mokhtar, Ketua Pemuda Parti Amanah Negara
  2. Khalid Mohd Ismath, Aktivis (3 pertuduhan hasutan; 11 pertuduhan di bawah seksyen 233 Akta Komunikasi dan Multimedia 1998);
  3. Sivarasa, Ahli Parlimen PKR dan peguam;
  4. Ng Wei Aik, Ahli Parlimen DAP;
  5. Lawrence Jayaraj, Aktivis;
  6. Hassan Karim, Ketua PKR Johor & peguam (4 pertuduhan hasutan);
  7. Arutchelvan, Pemimpin PSM.

Kami perhatikan bahawa penggunaan berterusan Akta Hasutan ini telah memberikan gambaran negatif terhadap negara kita di peringkat global dan mengundang kritikan antarabangsa. Kebanyakan negara moden dan berdemokrasi di dunia telah memansuhkan atau tidak lagi menggunapakai undang-undang yang menindas ini.

Kami seterusnya perhatikan bahawa kebanyakan kes di atas adalah melibatkan pendakwaan-pendakwaan kritikan terhadap kerajaan atau pentadbiran keadilan yang mana telah dilupuskan di bawah pindaan pada tahun 2015.

Peguam Negara memikul tanggungjawab yang berat dalam menegakkan kedaulatan undang-undang dengan membekalkan negara ini dengan perkhidmatan pendakwa raya yang bebas dan profesional, yang beroperasi dengan integriti, memberi keyakinan awam dan melindungi pentadbiran keadilan.

Kami menuntut:

  1. Semua pertuduhan hasutan yang sedia ada dikaji semula dan digugurkan dengan serta-merta;
  2. Moratorium atau penggantungan ke atas mana-mana pertuduhan hasutan lanjut sementara menunggu kajian penuh Akta Hasutan dan pemansuhannya;
  3. Bahawa pejabat Peguam Negara mengakui bahawa Akta Hasutan adalah kuno, bersifat tidak liberal dan tidak demokratik, dan kekurangan unsur niat dalam kesalahan ini melanggar prinsip-prinsip asas keadilan dan kesaksamaan.

GHAH: Memorandum to the Attorney General on the Misuse of the Sedition Act 1948

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Over the past months, there has been an alarming increase in investigations and prosecutions under the Sedition Act 1948, whose targets have included elected representatives and human rights activists who have a public duty to speak on matters of public interest.

Since 27th of July 2015, two opposition members of Parliament and five activists have been charged under this law. Since 2013, there has been an increase of 1,700 percent in sedition charges compared to the period between 2007 and 2012.

It is undeniable that the Sedition Act is too broadly defined and open to abuse. Under the Sedition Act, almost anything said or published that is remotely contentious can be deemed seditious.

The Prime Minister had on 11th of July 2012 and 3rd of July 2013 promised to repeal the Sedition Act. It is disappointing and disturbing that despite these repeated promises to the Malaysian public, the usage of the Act has greatly increased until today.

Your position as the Attorney-General is created by the Federal Constitution, and we urge you to play the role as the guardian of the Federal Constitution at all times. Continued usage of the Sedition Act will do little to regain public confidence in the office of the Attorney-General.

It is also a matter of grave concern to us that most of those charged are from the opposition, civil society, dissidents or those seen to be pro-opposition. Actions were swiftly taken against them including arrest, remand and in many cases, criminal prosecutions, for example in the cases of Adam Adli, Tian Chua, Tamrin Ghafar, Haris Ibrahim, Safwan Anang, Hishamuddin Rais, N.Surendran, Khalid Samad, RSN Rayer, Azmi Sharom, Wan Ji Wan Hussin, Eric Paulsen and Zunar.

On the other hand, individuals who have made incredibly provocative and inflammatory statements but happened to be UMNO or pro-UMNO individuals, such as Ibrahim Ali, Masitah Ibrahim, Jamal Yunos, Ismail Sabri and Mohd Ali Baharom (better known as Ali Tinju, his sedition charge was withdrawn) just to name a few, were not prosecuted. Since you have taken office on 27th of July 2015, we note the following sedition charges have been instituted:

  1. Mohd Fakhrulrazi Mohd Mokhtar, Parti Amanah Negara Youth Chief;
  2. Khalid Mohd Ismath, Activist (3 sedition charges; 11 charges under section 233 Communications and Multimedia Act 1998);
  3. R. Sivarasa, PKR MP and lawyer;
  4. Ng Wei Aik, DAP MP;
  5. Lawrence Jayaraj, Activist;
  6. Hassan Karim, Johor PKR chief & lawyer (4 sedition charges);
  7. S. Arutchelvan, PSM leader.

We note that the continuous usage of the Sedition Act has placed our nation in a negative light globally and opened us up for international criticism. Most modern and democratic states in the world have either repealed or put such oppressive laws into disuse.

We further note that the majority of the above cases deal with criticisms of the government or of the administration of justice which have been repealed under the 2015 amendments. The Attorney-General carries a heavy responsibility in upholding the rule of law by providing the State with an independent and professional public prosecution service that operates with integrity, inspires public confidence and safeguards the administration of justice.

We call for:

  1. All existing sedition charges to be reviewed and dropped immediately;
  2. A moratorium on any further sedition charges pending a full review of the Sedition Act and its eventual abolishment;
  3. That the office of the Attorney-General acknowledges the Sedition Act’s antiquated, illiberal and undemocratic nature and the lack of the intention element in the offence is in breach of basic principles of fairness and justice.

 

MEMORANDUM MENGGESA DAN MENUNTUT POLIS YANG BERTANGGUNGJAWAB DALAM KES KEMATIAN DALAM TAHANAN SYED MOHAMED AZLAN KE MUKA PENGADILAN

Setahun yang lepas iaitu pada 27 November 2014, SUARAM telah mengeluarkan kenyataan media menggesa pihak polis yang terlibat dalam kematian dalam tahanan Syed Mohamed Azlan agar dibawa ke muka pengadilan. Bagaimanapun sehingga hari ini walaupun sudah setahun si mati telah mati dalam tahanan iaitu pada 3 November 2014 masih tiada sebarang tindakan diambil oleh pihak polis untuk membawa orang yang bertanggungjawab ke muka pengadilan.

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Bahkan tiada sebarang inkues dilakukan bagi mencari punca sebenar kematian mangsa. Pada 1 November 2015, pihak Suruhanjaya Integriti Agensi Penguatkuasaan (EAIC) telah mengeluarkan laporan berkaitan dengan siasatan mereka berkenaan kes kematian Syed Mohamed Azlan dengan menyatakan:

“Kematian Syed Mohamed Azlan bin Syed Mohamed Nur (si mati) mempunyai kaitan dengan penggunaan kekerasan secara fizikal oleh pihak polis yang menjalankan tangkapan dan soal siasat ke atas si mati”

Memorandum penuh boleh dimuat turun di capaian di bawah:

Memorandum kepada Ketua Polis Negara – Syed Mohamed Azlan

MEMORANDUM to the Australian High Commission in Malaysia on the Australia-Malaysia Agreement on the Transfer of Asylum Seekers

MEMORANDUM to the Australian High Commission in Malaysia on the Australia-Malaysia Agreement on the Transfer of Asylum Seekers

25 May 2011

We, the undersigned civil society organizations, wish to express our opposition to the proposed Australia-Malaysia bilateral agreement, in principle, to transfer the next 800 asylum seekers seeking asylum in Australia to Malaysia.

Although the terms of the joint agreement remain vague, we are of the view that the Australian Government is making a mistake in arranging this joint agreement with the Malaysian Government which is not a signatory to the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (“Refugee Convention”). This proposed exchange is a misguided approach in dealing with a complex issue that will cause serious ramifications as Malaysia has a long record of abuse and mistreatment of people seeking protection. This arrangement, if implemented, may lead to the violation of the rights of transferred individuals to Malaysia.

Australia has ratified the Refugee Convention and is obliged to promote and protect the rights of asylum seekers and refugees. Under the convention, Australia may not transfer any refugee who is lawfully present in its territories. Australia may also not transfer refugees who are not lawfully present its country where the transfer may result in violation of the rights of those transferred refugees. Australia may only transfer refugees and asylum seekers to states where there are procedures for the recognition of their status and rights.

Malaysia has no domestic act to protect the rights and security of refugees and asylum seekers as well as no legal recognition of their status. This creates significant barriers in their livelihood options in accessing their right to work, education and health. Furthermore, asylum seekers and refugees live in constant fear of the authorities, in particular, the police, Immigration authorities and the People’s Volunteer Corps (Ikatan Relawan Rakyat, RELA). as they are treated as undocumented migrants and subjected to harsh immigration laws and policies. We question the Australian government’s silence towards Malaysia’s mistreatment of undocumented migrants and refugees while outsourcing its responsibility without seriously taking into consideration the rights, well being and safety of the refugees.

Even though the agreement will see the resettlement of 4,000 refugees from Malaysia to Australia, the agreement falls far from “burden sharing”, as mentioned by the Australian government. Instead, this move is more of a “burden transition” from Australia to Malaysia. The Australian Government should not show a bad example of treatment of asylum seekers and refugees to Malaysia and other states in the region that have not ratified the Refugee Convention.

We emphasise that the Australian Government must first urge the Malaysian Government to ratify the Refugee Convention before making any agreements with regards to refugees and asylum seekers.

We, the undersigned organizations, call upon the Australian government to;

• Immediately withdraw the asylum agreement.

• Urge the Malaysian Government to establish domestic legislation to promote and protect the rights of refugees and asylum seekers who are already in Malaysia and to ratify the 1951 Convention and its 1967 Protocol.

• Respect its international obligations in relation to asylum seekers that enter its country. These obligations include Australia’s commitments under the Refugee Convention and a few other international instruments, including International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT).

Increase its humanitarian programme, in particular, to resettle more refugees from Malaysia and the Southeast Asia region to Australia.

Endorsed by:
Health Equity Initiatives (HEI)
Lawyers for Liberty (LFL)
Malaysian Social Research Institute (MSRI)
Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
TENAGANITA

Memorandum of protest to the IGP on the arrest and detention of inquest witness K.Selvach Santhiran

Bukit Aman, 30 October 2010

Introduction

The continuing descent of the PDRM into lawlessness has been graphically demonstrated by the 25 October beating and abduction of K. Selvach Santhiran by men in plainclothes claiming to be police personnel who did not properly identify themselves. Selvach was one of the key witnesses who testified against the police in the recently concluded R.Gunasegaran death in police custody inquest.

On the very day the verdict was delivered in the inquest, the police moved against Selvach and came to his home to arrest him. When Selvach’s children asked the police why their father was being dragged away, the police answered by beating Selvach in front of his own children. In a twisted perversion of conjugal love, the police tried to make Selvach’s wife S.Saraswathy kiss him before beating him up in front of her.

Selvach, who did his duty as an upright citizen by telling the truth at the R.Gunasegaran death in police custody inquest, is now being held at an unknown location with no access to his family or lawyers despite several efforts to meet him or ascertain his whereabouts.

It is believed that he is being detained without trial under the draconian Emergency (Public Order and Prevention of Crime) Ordinance 1969 or the Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measures) Act 1985 that allow the police to detain a person for 60 days with no recourse to judicial safeguard and thereafter 2 years’ detention on the order of the Home Minister.

Our Protest

Whilst we understand that the police have an important and onerous job to prevent and combat crime, the police must understand that the wide powers of arrest and detention cannot be abused and used arbitrarily. As a professional police force, they should be guided by the law and legal processes in the country and not act with impunity and complete disregard for constitutional and judicial safeguards.

This is unfortunately symptomatic of the police’s inability to act professionally as a police force that can work within a modern criminal justice system and not resort to preventive measures that do not require any real police work and diligence. The police should instead strive to be a modern and professional force that conform to international standards and best practices and not regress to wrongful practices that have caused the public to lose so much confidence with the police force.

The aggressive and unlawful response of the police is a reflection of the general arrogance and lack of respect for the Federal Constitution, the rule of law and other legal procedures. This is not an isolated incident but a continuation of a long standing series of acts by the police that showed their contempt for the rights of the people that have resulted in gross abuse of police powers leading to brutality, torture, arbitrary arrest, prolonged detention, shooting, custodial violence and death.

The arrest and detention of Selvach is gravely aggravated by the fact that he was arrested on the same day – after the outrageous and scandalous “open verdict” delivered by Coroner Siti Shakirah Mohtarudin in the R.Gunasegaran death in police custody inquest. Selvach was one of three persons who were in police custody with R.Gunasegaran and they have consistently identified Lance Corporal Mohd Faizal as having physically assaulted the deceased. They did so despite threats to their safety by the police and despite the inducement that their cooperation would secure their immediate release.

It cannot be a mere coincidence that Selvach was arrested so soon and further more he was detained under unspecified accusations under draconian provisions that allow the police to detain a suspect without trial for up to two years. It goes without saying that whistleblowers should be protected by the administration of law rather than punished by law enforcement officers. This is a blatant abuse of police power and a serious criminal act that can be prosecuted under the Penal Code and may further be subjected to contempt of court proceedings. Further, these actions point to police retaliation and clearly intended to intimidate those who speak up against injustices or wrongdoings perpetrated by members of the police force.

Uncivilised and unjust laws like the DDA and EO have no place in a modern and democratic state like Malaysia. These oppressive laws and methods violate the constitutional and human rights of the people and are contemptuous of the judicial authority and the legal process. The Malaysian Bar and civil society have forcefully and repeatedly called for the repeal of all preventive detention laws and for such arbitrary arrests and re-arrests to cease.

The police cannot be permitted to continue to operate in an environment of impunity but as this tragic episode has explicitly illustrated, the police has just sent a strong message that they can act as they please with no regard to the rule of law, police professionalism and the law and procedure governing their conduct.

Our Demands

The Inspector General of Police must:

a) release Selvach immediately and issue a public apology to him and his family;

b) take stern action, including criminal prosecution and disciplinary action against the policemen who assaulted and arrested Selvach;

c) support the establishment of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC), to function as an independent, external oversight body to investigate complaints about police personnel and to make the police accountable for their conduct;

d) stop the unjust practice of arresting and re-arresting under preventive detention laws;

e) undertake to respect the right of the people for unimpeded and free access to lawyers at all times;

f) require the police especially those in plainclothes to identify themselves and display their authorisation when affecting their powers;

g) support human rights education and training programmes, with a view to changing the attitudes and methods of law enforcement personnel.

Submitted by Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) and Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) on behalf of the family of K. Selvach Santhiran