Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) Human Rights report Overview 2018 is now available to the public. 2018 has been a monumental year for Malaysia. With the first change of administration in the nation’s history, the Malaysian peoples’ aspiration for change and political reform is given an opportunity to flourish.Continue reading “SUARAM Human Rights Report Overview 2018”
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For Immediate Release
8 December 2016
Launch of SUARAM Human Rights Report Overview 2016
In conjunction with Human Rights Day, SUARAM launched its Human Rights Report Overview for the year on 8 December 2016.
2016 was a dark year for Malaysia. The Malaysian public witnessed the indifference and injustice in the manner in which the Malaysian government openly violated and ignored human rights. In this overview for 2016, SUARAM highlights six key issues among the myriad of documented human rights violations.
First, laws which permit detention without trial continue to be used by the government. The use of SOSMA, POCA, POTA and DDA has been especially frequent with ‘wholesale’ arrests recently by the Royal Malaysian Police. In the name of terrorism and crime prevention, many victims were held for prolonged periods under remand and there have been reports of torture. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has said that he does not regret the passing of security laws even though these may have adverse effects on the wellbeing of detainees.
Secondly, the government now suppresses the freedom of expression by using the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 (CMA) instead of the previous Sedition Act 1948. While the Sedition Act 1948 continues to be in use against members of opposition and human rights defenders, CMA is now used against the general public to suppress any comments made online which the authorities consider ‘offensive’ or ‘seditious’.
Thirdly, relating to the abuse of power by the Royal Malaysian Police, while on the one hand cases of deaths in police custody have reduced noticeably in 2016, there has been a sharp increase in documented cases of fatal police shootings, with claims of foul play by families of victims against the Royal Malaysian Police.
Fourthly, organizers and participants of peaceful assemblies continued to be harassed and persecuted in 2016 with a large numbers of individuals called for questioning for allegedly organizing an illegal rally, Bersih 5. The Bersih 5 convoy and main event were subjected to varying degrees of harassment and physical intimidation by a neo-fascist group called the ‘Red Shirts’ led by a known UMNO leader Jamal Yunos. Then chairperson of the Bersih steering committee, Maria Chin was detained under SOSMA for 10 days by the Royal Malaysian Police on the eve of the Bersih 5 rally. Furthermore, civil servants were threatened with the prospect of losing their jobs and students were also threatened with disciplinary actions if they were to participate in the peaceful rally.
The status of religious freedom in Malaysia became a topic of controversy again in 2016. For decades, the jurisdiction of the civil courts and the syariah courts in the case of unilateral conversion was a conflict that had not been resolved. In May 2016, the Federal Court ruled in the case of M. Indhira Gandhi’s children that unilateral conversion can be challenged. Following this decision, a non-practicing Muslim was able to exercise her freedom of religion by reverting to the religion she had been practicing during her life.
Lastly, gender discrimination continued to be rampant in 2016 with sexist remarks made by politicians with impunity. The reversal of the damages awarded to Noor Fadilla by the court was a major disappointment for the human rights defenders. The LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community also faced discrimination when it was openly announced that they will not be recruited into the Royal Malaysian Police force if they are identified with any one of the LGBT community.
SUARAM calls upon the Government of Malaysia to cease its violations of human rights and adopt laws which are compliant with recognized international human rights standards and practice an inclusive and fair enforcement of the law to safeguard the rights of the people of Malaysia. Acknowledging the growing security threat posed by extremist groups, SUARAM urges the Malaysian Government to understand that human rights and security are not mutually exclusive but complement each other. Without human rights and civil liberties, all attempts to nullify the threat of extremism brought on by any terrorist groups will only be doomed to failure.
Download for SUARAM Overview Report 2016: Overview 2016 Digital Edition
Untuk Hebahan Segara
8 Disember 2016
Pelancaran Laporan Overview Hak Asasi 2016 SUARAM
Bersempena dengan Hari Hak Asasi Manusia, SUARAM melancarkan Laporan Hak Asasi Manusia (Human Right Overview Report) bagi tahun ini pada 8 Disember 2016.
2016 adalah tahun yang muram bagi Malaysia. Rakyat Malaysia telah menyaksikan ketidakprihatinan dan ketidakadilan di mana Kerajaan Malaysia secara terbuka telah melanggar dan mengabaikan hak asasi manusia. Dalam laporan keseluruhan pada tahun 2016, SUARAM mengenengahkan enam isu penting di dalam semua pencabulan hak asasi yang terdapat di Malaysia.
Pertama, undang-undang yang membenarkan penahanan tanpa bicara yang boleh digunakan oleh kerajaan. Penggunaan SOSMA, POCA, POTA dan DDA sangat kerap digunakan dalam siri tangkapan berkelompok oleh Polis Diraja Malaysia. Di atas nama pencegahan keganasan dan jenayah, ramai mangsa telah ditahan untuk tempoh yang panjang di bawah tahanan reman dan terdapat laporan tentang penyiksaan semasa penahanan mereka. Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Razak telah berkata behawa beliau tidak menyesali undang-undang keselamatan yang telah diluluskan walaupun terdapat kesan buruk yang dihadapi oleh tahanan di bawah undang-undang ini.
Kedua, kerajaan kini cuba menekan kebebasan bersuara dengan menggunakan Akta Komunikasi dan Multimedia 1998 (CMA) selain daripada Akta Hasutan 1948. Sedang Akta Hasutan digunakan keatas kumpulan pembangkang dan aktivis hak asasi manusia, CMA digunakan keatas orang ramai bagi mendiamkan sebarang komentar yang dibuat atas talian (online) yang mana pihak berkuasa merasakan terdapat unsur ‘menghina’ atau ‘meghasut’.
Yang ketiga, berkaitan dengan salah guna kuasa oleh pihak Polis Diraja Malaysia, walaupun jumlah kematian di dalam tahanan yang dilaporkan menurun, namun terdapat peningkatan mendadak kes tembakan oleh pihak polis yang melibatkan kehilangan nyawa, dimana terdapat unsur yang mencurigakan oleh keluarga mangsa.
Status kebebasan beragama di Malaysia menjadi topik yang sensasi semula pada tahun 2016. Setelah sekian lama, bidang kuasa mahkamah sivil dan syariah dalam pertukaran agama sebelah pihak pasangan yang sudah berkahwin masih lagi menjadi konflik yang belum selesai. Pada May 2016, Mahkamah Persekutuan telah membuat keputusan di dalam kes anak M. Indhira Ghandi bahawa kes yang melibatkan penukaran agama sebelah pihak boleh dicabar. Berikutan keputusan ini, Muslim yang tidak mengamalkan agamanya boleh menggunakan hak mereka bagi menukar semula agama kepada agama asal mereka.
Akhir sekali, diskriminasi gender masih lagi berleluasa pada tahun 2016 dengan kenyataan berunsur seksis dilakukan oleh ahli politik dengan sewenang-wenangnya. Pengurangan pampasan yang diberikan kepada Noor Fadilla oleh mahkamah merupakan satu kekecewaan kepada aktivis hak asasi. Komuniti LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Biseksual dan Transgender) juga menghadapi diskriminasi apabila secara terbuka diumumkan bahawa mereka tidak akan diambil jika didapati salah seorang daripada komuniti LGBT.
SUARAM menyeru agar Kerajaan Malaysia supaya menghentikan pencabulan hak asasi dan mengambil pakai undang-undang yang mematuhi standard hak asasi manusia yang diiktiraf di peringkat antarabangsa dan mengamalkan penguatkuasaan undang-undang yang inklusif dan saksama untuk melindungi hak-hak rakyat Malaysia. Mengambil kira ancaman keselamatan yang semakin meningkat oleh kumpulan ekstrimis, SUARAM menggesa Kerajaan Malaysia supaya memahami bahawa hak asasi dan hal keselamatan bukan merupakan perkara yang berbeza, namun merupakan sesuatu yang saling melengkapi antara satu sama lain. Tanpa hak asasi manusia dan kebebasan umum, segala usaha untuk menyahkan ancaman daripada mana-mana kumpulan pengganas akan hanya menemui jalan buntu.
SUARAM launched its Human Rights Report 2015 Overview in conjunction with the International Human Rights Day which falls on the 10th December 2015.
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.