Stop Intimidating and Punishing Human Rights Defender

For Immediate Release
11 January 2016

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) condemns the arrests of Sivarajan Arumugam, Silvarajah Erusam, Saiful Adli Jamian dan Mohd Afiq Bin Ayob under Section 9(5) of the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 for attending a candle light vigil in Johor Bahru.

As the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 is in general a non-arrestable offence with power to arrest only in selected circumstances, the fact that some of them were arrested and detained overnight under the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 was a clear abuse of power by the authorities. Based on this fact, the arrests and detention of those attending the candlelight vigil for Khairul Nizam can only be interpreted as an unconscionable attempt to intimidate and punish human rights defenders! Such an attempt to normalize such intimidation and abuse of power must be rejected and condemned!

On this note, SUARAM reminds the Royal Malaysian Police regarding Government of Malaysia’s commitment to the United Nations General Assembly’s resolution on Human Rights Defenders and our constitutional right to have peaceful assembly and demand the Royal Malaysian Police to cease with the campaign of intimidation against civil activists and stop the extrajudicial punishment!

In Solidarity,

Sevan Doraisamy
Executive Director

Systematic Violations of Human Rights & Selective Prosecution of Civil Activists

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) strongly condemns the prosecution of Maria Chin under Section 9(5) of the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012.

Under Article 10 of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia, the right to peaceful assembly must be provided for so far as possible. In light of this enshrined right, the existence of the need for an official notice for any peaceful assembly as required by the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 is highly peculiar by nature. The earlier decision by the Court of Appeal in 2014 which challenged the constitutionality of Section 9(5) of the Act should have been the conclusion of the matter. Unfortunately, that was not the case.

Despite the contrary interpretation of Section 9(5) of the Act in the recent Court of Appeal case, it is illogical and unjustifiable for any charge to be made against Maria Chin in regards to the Bersih 4 Rally. In light of the fact that the required notice is given to the Royal Malaysian Police, there is no legitimate justification for Maria Chin to be charged under Section 9(5) of the Act.

Any charges levelled against Maria Chin under Section 9(5) of the Act is either frivolous in nature or a despicable act of moving the goal post in an attempt to subvert the legal system of Malaysia in order to prosecute vocal civil right activists in Malaysia. Either way, the charges made against Maria Chin is a clear abuse of power by the Government of Malaysia.

Recalling the series of violations of human rights by the Government of Malaysia and the series unfortunate decision by the Federal Court of Malaysia, it is clear that the Government of Malaysia is neither interested nor sincere in improving the poor human rights record achieved under the guidance of the current Prime Minister.

On this note, SUARAM calls for the Government of Malaysia to immediately cease and desists on undue and unjust prosecution of Maria Chin and all other civil rights activists and comply with the rights and liberty guaranteed to all Malaysians under the Federal Constitution of Malaysia and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Sevan Doraisamy
Executive Director