Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) is not impressed by the cosmetic touches put forward in the National Human Rights Action Plan (NHRAP) launched by Prime Minister Najib Razak. Its biggest failure is its omission of the human rights violations of the government thus far and in so doing, fails to bring forth the urgent reform needed to improve human rights in Malaysia.
SUARA RAKYAT MALAYSIA (SUARAM) LAWYERS FOR LIBERTY (LFL)
URGENT MEDIA RELEASE: 29 APRIL 2011
STOP POLICE BRUTALITY:
ALLOW LEGAL ACCESS TO MUHAMAD ARIF BIN ABU SEMAH
SUARAM and Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) was informed by a family member of Muhamad Arif bin Abu Semah, detained under the Emergency Ordinance (EO) since 19 March 2011 that he has been tortured badly under detention.
According to the family members and friends, Muhamad Arif has lost a lot of weight and is currently being denied access to his lawyers at the Rawang police station.
Laywer Edward Saw and Muhamad Arif’s family members went to the Rawang police station to meet him earlier today. When they arrived, the police refused to give Edward access to Muhamad Arif they had not received any instructions from IPD Gombak. Edward tried to negotiate with the police officers, but was unsuccessful. He was told to contact the officers from IPD Gombak.
Muhamad Arif’s family members only managed to spend 3 minutes each with him as the police had only allowed two family members in at a time. During one of these sessions, Fuqran, a family friend, was stopped by a plain clothes police officer, asked his identity card, had his hands restrained and was pulled him out of the room. This act shocked the family members present and the police officer disappeared without apology or explanation.
The continuing descent of the PDRM into lawlessness has been graphically demonstrated by the actions of the plain clothes officer who did not properly identify himself and acted with impunity. SUARAM and LFL condemn the brutal behaviour of the police officer and the silence of his fellow officers who did not stop or restrain him at all. This clearly illustrates the fact that the Malaysian police force is in need of an immediate and true reform.
SUARAM and LFL demands that the Inspector General of Police must:
a) Release Muhamad Arif 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 Muhamad Arif and Fuqran;
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 of changing the attitudes and methods of law enforcement personnel.
PRESS STATEMENT: 27TH OCTOBER 2010
27th October 2010, marks the 23rd Anniversary of one of the countries biggest political crackdown; the infamous Operasi Lalang, The Operasi Lalang saw the arbitrary arrests and detention without trial of 106 persons ranging from the Parliament Opposition Leader and members of Parliament to trade unionists, Chinese education movement leaders and non-governmental organization (NGO) activists who were working on the issues of environmental protection, women, workers rights etc under the Internal Security Act (ISA). Other victims of the Operation were two dailies, The Star and the Sin Chew Jit Poh and two weeklies, The Sunday Star and Watan which had their the publishing licenses revoked.
Until today, the 1987 mass arrest remains as the pillar of political arbitrariness and injustice in a democratic nation that have achieved its independence 53 years ago. It’s an affront to our democracy and independence that ISA were engineered by the colonial masters continues to be used on its citizens and people for their legitimate political and dissent activities.
This year mark the 50th year of the draconian act being in power with the scope of the ISA broadened and the list of its “victims” has grown ever longer. Over the years the ISA was amended 19 times with every amendment further diluting the fundamental rights and incrementally extended Executive powers and judicial safeguards. In 1989 the government has amended Section 8B of the ISA to deny legitimate legal redress for a Judicial Review. The ISA also since then have been used to arbitrarily detain people said to be members of alleged religious groups, students, professionals, politicians, political and human rights activists and even journalists. The 1987 Operasi Lalang marks the significance of being the single most operation that have detained and incarcerated people from the full spectrum of the political citizens of the country.
The ISA has since become a convenient political tool to clampdown on dissent where the Executive continues to enjoy permanent, unfettered discretion to determine, according to their subjective interpretation on any activity and person as a potential threat to national security and of their detention. The unjust law has also created a climate of impunity and abuse of power with arbitrary powers extended to the police to arrest, detain and torture any person without being subjected to any accountability or judicial check and balance. The ISA in its investigation have often clearly contravened international humanitarian standards and religious principles of humane treatment of a person with dignity.
As such the ISA is contrary to fundamental principles of international law, including the right to liberty of the person, to freedom from arbitrary arrest, to be informed of the reasons for arrest, to the presumption of innocence, and to a fair and open trial in a court of law. The ISA is also prejudicial to development of human rights and democracy with its wider, intimidating effect on civil society, and a marked influence on the nature of political participation, democracy and accountability in Malaysia .
It’s a shame that despite 53 years of Independence from the British Colonial Masters, the government continue to defend the ISA and turning the blind eye on the critics and calls made by many Malaysian to repeal this draconian law. The act reveals the lack of political will to address the view of the people and its commitment to human rights and democracy. This is seen with the futile and failing effort by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to review and amend the ISA that remain a mystery and merely as a political gesture.
SUARAM is of the view that all detention-without-trial laws are a gross human rights violation and goes against the spirit of the Federal Constitution, as well as contravene Articles 9, 10 and 11 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1981). We on this 50the Anniversary of Operasi Lalang hereby demand that the government:
1. Abolish all existing unjust laws such as the ISA, EO (Emergency Ordinance), DDA (Dangerous Drugs Act), and the RRA (Restricted Residence Act AND to release, or charge all those detained under this laws in an open court) with an immediate effect.
2. Close down immediately all detention centres for detainees held without trial, such as Kamunting and Simpang Renggam.
4. Awards compensation to all those who have been detained without trial, for being unjustly deprived of their liberty and denied their due rights.
5. Makes a public apology to all such detainees, past and present, and compensates them for the injustice, abuse and suffering inflicted on them during and as a result of their detention.
6. Investigates all complaints and cases of abuse, torture, inhuman treatment and abuse of power perpetrated on any detainees, past or present; prosecutes those responsible and sets up the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission as proposed by the Royal Commission on Police in 2005.
7. Recognizes respects and restores the proper powers of the judiciary, as an independent body, to provide a check and balance on the power of the police and executive, and repeals all laws which have removed such judicial oversight.
Regards to above matter, SUARAM would like to invite the press to the urgent press conference today to address the above matter. Selvarajah Khrishnan is on of the witness of the Gunasegaran (who died in police custody) case. Yesterday he was arrested by the police at his house and he has been brought to IPK KL.
Therefore, the family and SUARAM inviting the press to help to expose the issue to the public.
The details as below:
Date: 26 10 2010
Place: Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (Ground floor)
Please call Nalini at 03 7784 3525 for further info
- Choo Chon Kai
- Kris Khaira
- Darshan Singh
- Ong Jing Cheng – Suaram Penang branch Coordinator
Please write protest letters to the government and the police to express your strongest condemnation of the arrests and the ongoing denial of rights of expression. Please also demand the Malaysian government to allow Malaysian citizen to practice their freedom of expression as stated in Federal Constitution.Please call and send your protest letters to:
Tan Sri Musa Hassan
Ibu Pejabat Polis Diraja Malaysia,
50560 Bukit Aman,
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Fax: +603 2272 5613
Tan Sri Musa Hassan
Ibu Pejabat Polis Diraja Malaysia,
50560 Bukit Aman,
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.Tel: +603 2262 6015
Fax: +603 2272 5613Dear Sir,Re: Release the 25 persons arrested
We are appalled by the police’s latest actions and view this as yet another attempt to intimidate Malaysian citizens from exercising their freedom to express their views.
We demand that the two to be released immediately and unconditionally. We further demand that the police force should stop the assault on freedom of expression and focus on fighting of crime.