No Rule of Law and Fair Trial if SOSMA Stays

We, the undersigned civil society organizations are gravely concerned with the continued use of the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA) in spite of Pakatan Harapan’s election manifesto to abolish the draconian provisions of this law that permits detention without trial. In addition, Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad stated in July 2018 that SOSMA would be abolished.  The dragnet that led to the arrest and detention of at least 12 individuals with alleged link to the long-defunct Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) is not only a betrayal of these promises  but stands as yet another failure by the Pakatan Harapan administration in upholding fundamental principles of the rule of law and the right to fair trial. The Royal Malaysian Police has revealed that it has conducted an investigation into the alleged support for LTTE before conducting its operations and detaining the 12 individuals under SOSMA. This claim by Ayob Khan only puts the further question as to why SOSMA was even invoked to address the possible threat to the safety and security of Malaysia.

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Joint Media Statement: Imminent executions in Singapore and Indonesia must be halted

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Imminent executions in Singapore and Indonesia must be halted

We the undersigned, human rights organizations, and concerned human rights defenders condemn the imminent executions of Kho Jabing in Singapore and at least 15 individuals which apparently includes, 4 Chinese nationals, 2 Nigerians, 2 Zimbabweans, 1 Senegalese, 1 Pakistani and 5 Indonesian nationals in Indonesia. We call on the authorities of the two countries to halt the impending executions.

On 12 May 2016, the family of Kho Jabing, a Malaysian national on death row in Singapore, received a letter from the Singapore Prisons informing them that Kho Jabing would be executed on 20 May 2016. Kho Jabing was convicted of murder in 2011. Of particular concern is the fact that there was a lack of unanimity in sentencing Kho Jabing to death, which demonstrates that reasonable doubt exists as to whether Kho Jabing deserved the death penalty.

As regards the imminent executions that will be taking place in Indonesia, Indonesia would contravene her own international obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Right by executing these individuals.

The Association of South East Asian Nations Member States (“ASEAN”), including Singapore and Indonesia, have continuously emphasized the importance of the rule of law and the protection of rights. The death penalty therefore stands out as an aberration.

In December 2014, the United Nations General Assembly adopted its latest resolutions calling on all States to adopt a moratorium on the use of the death penalty, with a view towards abolition. A record number of 117 Member States supported the Resolution. Regrettably, Indonesia abstained and Singapore voted against the Resolution. The ASEAN Member States must use the opportunity presented by this Resolution to align themselves with the global movement towards abolition.

Singapore has recently undergone its second Universal Periodic Review in January 2016. The continued use of the death penalty was one of the key highlights of the review, with Singapore receiving over 30 recommendations related to the death penalty, including recommendations to abolish the death penalty.

In 2015, Indonesia, a United Nations Human Rights Council Member until 2017, executed 14 individuals convicted of drug-related offences amid strong international opposition. The imminent executions would further damage Indonesia’s human rights record and erode her standing in the international community.

The death penalty has no place in the 21st Century. Not only is there a real possibility of wrongful executions, it deprives inmates of their life and dignity, and creates new classes of victims. We strongly urge the governments of Singapore and Indonesia to halt the upcoming executions, immediately impose a moratorium on the use of the death penalty and take meaningful steps towards its eventual abolition.

List of Signatories:
Anti-Death Penalty Network Asia (ADPAN)
Center for Prisoner’s Rights Japan (CPR)
Community Action Network (CAN, Singapore)
Free Community Church (Singapore)
Function 8 (Singapore)
MADPET (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture)
Maruah (Singapore)
International Commission of Jurists (ICJ)
Journey of Hope
Legal Aid Community (LBH Masyarakat, Indonesia)
Murder Victims’ Families for Human Rights (MVFHR)
Pusat Studi Hukum dan Kebijakan Indonesia (The Indonesian Center for Law and Policy Studies)
Reprieve Australia
Sayoni (Singapore)
Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign (SADPC)
Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
Taiwan Alliance to End the Death Penalty (TAEDP)
The Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS, Indonesia)
The Indonesian Center for Law and Policy Studies (PSHK, Indonesia)
The Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (ICJR, Indonesia)
The Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy of Indonesia (ELSAM)
The National Human Rights Society, Malaysia (HAKAM)
Think Centre Singapore
We Believe in Second Chances (WBSC, Singapore)


Dobby Chew, SUARAM
[email protected]

Priscilla Chia, We Believe in Second Chances (Singapore)
[email protected]

Bernhard Ruben, The Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy of Indonesia (Indonesia)
[email protected]

Puri Kencana,The Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS, Indonesia)
[email protected]

Sam Zarifi (International Commission of Jurists, Bangkok)
[email protected]

CPC Amendments Violates Human Rights

For Immediate Release
6th May 2016

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) is appalled by the proposed amendment to the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) that threatened to undermine fundamental rights enshrined in the Federal Constitution of Malaysia and strongly condemn the attempt to restrict human rights and the malicious intent to devastate the ever shrinking democratic space.

The proposed amendments to the CPC that will be tabled in the upcoming Parliament session in May 2016 includes a shocking amendment that would restrict bail for ALL offences under Section 124 of the Penal Code. Section 124 have been invoked countless times over 2015 against civil activists and politicians during the #KitaLawan rallies and subsequently invoked against media such as the Malaysian Insider earlier this year.

Reflecting on the unjustifiable definition of public order and national security by the Government of Malaysia in 2015 and the arrests and investigation of civil activists, politicians and journalists under Section 124 of the Penal Code, it is self-evident that the Government of Malaysia have chosen to crackdown against dissenters through Section 124. The amendment to CPC and the denial of bail for offences under Section 124 would greatly strengthen the ‘bite’ of Section 124 and grant the Government of Malaysia power to imprison, punish and silent dissenters.

If the amendment to the CPC is allowed to pass, the farcical detention of Khairuddin Abu Bakar and Matthias Chang would no longer be an exception. It is likely that such detentions would become the norm with the denial of bail for those charged under Section 124 of the Penal Code. As such, it would not be wrong for us to consider the amendment of the CPC to be no more than an attempt to revive power akin to those granted by the Internal Security Act 1960.

SUARAM call for the Government of Malaysia to retract the introduction of this ludicrous amendment and cease with its blatant attempt to stifle civil liberties and human rights in Malaysia. Failure to put an end to this obtuse move would only put Malaysia one step closer to becoming a failed state and a laughing stock among our international peers.

In Solidarity,
Sevan Doraisamy
Executive Director