SUARAM: 14 Charges against Khalid Ismath an attempt to intimidate the public

SUARAM is shocked that Khalid Ismath was charged with 11 counts under section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 and 3 counts under the Sedition Act 1948 for a statement he made on social media. The 14 charges levelled against him is unacceptable and cannot be considered as anything but a gross abuse of power. In light of the flawed charge, there is no justification for the denial of bail for Khalid Ismath.

SUARAM reiterate our stance that the excessive remand of Khalid Ismath for post made on social media is on its own excessive and unnecessary in upholding law and order. The extraordinary amount of charges made against him under the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 and the Sedition Act 1948 is even more so excessive and unnecessary. This deplorable state of affair further condemns itself when the officers in question tried to coerce a confession by offering Khalid Ismath a chance to speak to his family if he confessed to the alleged crime.

When we consider the excessive detention of Khalid Ismath when he was first arrested, the absurd amount of charges level against him and the shocking behaviour of the police during questioning, it is difficult for anyone to consider the actions against Khalid Ismath as anything but malicious in nature. The clear intent to intimidate the public and possible dissenter is outrageous and should not be permitted in any democratic nation.

The criminal justice system should not and MUST not be a tool to stifle political dissent. The abuse of these laws against a political statement and the usage of Special Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 against political dissenter cannot and MUST not be an established practice of Malaysia.

On this note, SUARAM calls for the police and the public prosecutor to put an end to this farce and release Khalid Ismath or at the very least amend the charges levelled against Khalid Ismath to something more reasonable and proportionated to the alleged crime and allow him to be released on bail.

 

Sevan Doraisamy,

Executive Director

SUARAM

Repression. Repression of Freedom of Expression Everywhere

Updates
13 October – Khalid Ismath faces 3 charges under Sedition Act and 11 charges under Communications and Multimedia Act. He was also denied bail and trial resumes on 3 November 2015.

—–

12141748_1062574310433109_3282349350042554427_n

SUARAM is surprised and concerned at the extended detention and remand of Khalid Ismath for investigation under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 and his subsequent rearrests and remand under the Sedition Act 1948.

While we cannot discount the importance of reasonable control over selected content harmful to vulnerable groups posted on the Internet, SUARAM do not believe the content posted by Khalid Ismath can be considered as such content. On this note, SUARAM is genuinely surprised that such a statement made on twitter would warrant arrests and extended remand for purpose of investigation.

SUARAM believes that an extension of remand for such matters is excessive and unnecessary in enforcing section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998. Unless Khalid Ismath is a known flight risk, there is little reason why he must be incarcerated at this juncture. The re-arrest under the Sedition Act 1948 is equally excessive in light of the earlier arrests made under the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.

Further, the rearrests and detention of Khalid Ismath under fthe Sedition Act 1948 after the failure to obtain the court’s approval for remand reflects the Royal Malaysian Police’s callousness and apathy for the Malaysian Legal System and their actions should not and cannot be considered as anything less than contempt for the court’s decision.

SUARAM also notes the worrying trend of concurrent application of the Sedition Act 1948 and Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 in persecuting individuals exercising their freedom of expression. The case of Khalid Ismath clearly highlights the danger of such practice and SUARAM is strongly in opposition to such practices.

SUARAM reaffirm our stance that the Royal Malaysian Police have had sufficient time to conduct investigation on Khalid Ismath during his first arrests under the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 and should not require any further remand under the Sedition Act.  SUARAM implore the officers in charge of his case to put an end to his remand and proceed with investigation without further unnecessary incarceration.

On this note, SUARAM calls for the immediate release of Khalid Ismath, Matthias Chang and Khairuddin Hassan and cease all unjust prosecution and persecution of other individuals in Malaysia.

 

In solidarity,

Sevan Doraisamy

Executive Director

SUARAM

Cease all political detention under SOSMA immediately!

SUARAM is disgusted at the blatant disregard for human rights and rule of law shown by the Government of Malaysia and the Royal Malaysian Police and strongly condemn the detention of Matthias Chang under Special Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA) for sabotage and attempted sabotage under Section 124K and 124L of the Penal Code.

This pathetic display of desperation by the Government of Malaysia and the Royal Malaysian Police makes it clear that they are willing to ignore the laws of Malaysia in order to safeguard their political survival. The act of silencing political dissidents with such laws cannot be anything less than a blatant threat and intimidation against those who dare challenge the current status quo.

SUARAM demands the Royal Malaysian Police to immediately release both Khairuddin and Matthias Chang and cease all harassment against political dissenters that are speaking out against their political master.

With this in mind, SUARAM call for all Malaysian Civil Societies and NGOs to stand in solidarity and stand fast against the impunity displayed by the Government of Malaysia and the Royal Malaysian Police!

 

In Solidarity,

Sevan Doraisamy

Executive Director

SUARAM

Malaysian Civil Societies and NGOs Joint Press Statement on SOSMA

12113387_10152995651256152_564289011111022520_o

JOINT PRESS STATEMENT

Malaysian Civil Society Strongly Condemns the Abuse of SOSMA by PDRM

Malaysian Civil Society strongly condemns the high-handed action of the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) in detaining Datuk Seri Khairuddin Abu Hassan under the Special Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA).

Originally presented by the government as a national security and anti-terrorism measure, SOSMA provides for up to 28 days’ of detention without trial. There is no allegation or evidence of Khairuddin having any credible terrorist background. Instead, the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar has made it clear that Khairuddin was arrested for lodging reports with investigators in Hong Kong, Switzerland, France and the United Kingdom over the financial scandal involving 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

Adding to the abuse of power is the fact that Khairuddin was arrested immediately when he was released by the court after six days’ remand following arrest on Friday 18 September under section 124C of the Penal Code for “activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy”. His re-arrest under SOSMA was under sections 124K and 124L of the Penal Code, which deal with sabotage and attempting to sabotage the state. If found guilty under 124K he faces life imprisonment.

This pattern of arrest and re-arrest following attempts in seeking justice and information on 1MDB through other jurisdictions clearly signals persecution by the state.

Detention without trial is highly repulsive to all democratic nations, the detention of political dissenters under such repressive legislation further highlights SOSMA’s unbridled scope for abuse under its draconian measures.

Clamp down on whistle-blowers

The detention of Datuk Seri Khairuddin Abu Hassan under SOSMA has undermined whatever progress Malaysia has made from the dark days of Operasi Lalang. The conduct of the Royal Malaysian Police can be seen as a pathetic attempt to answer the call of its political masters in the current turmoil. The failure to obtain the court’s permission in extension of the remand and the failure to produce any legitimate charge despite the time available for the police should have been a sufficient notice for the police to cease and desist from their harassment against Khairuddin. The decision to re-arrest Khairuddin under SOSMA immediately after the court decision to deny the extension of Khairuddin’s remand shows the true colours of the Royal Malaysian Police. The deplorable course of action shows callous disregard for the rule of law and the role played by the judiciary in the Malaysian legal system.

Corruption by any governmental body is a grave threat against the economic stability of any nation state. Further, in an environment rife with corruption, rule of law that serves as the cornerstone for any democratic nation cannot be practiced. To ensure the continuity and survival of Malaysia as a democratic state, those who have committed act of corruption must not be left unscathed. Allowing those who have conducted themselves in a corrupt manner only allows them to act with impunity and emboldens them to further destabilize and damage the beautiful country that our forefathers have built.

Can PDRM be impartial?

If we account for the gravity of the allegations made in relation to the 1MDB scandal and the great sum in question (RM 2.6billon and rising), it does not take a savant to understand that transparent and impartial investigation by all agencies involved is paramount in ensuring that the truth would prevail and justice would be served. With this in mind, the Malaysian Civil Society seek to remind PDRM of their duties and suggest that they conduct themselves in an impartial and respectable manner and provide adequate assistance to facilitate the investigation. As fellow Malaysians, the PDRM owe themselves and the country a moral and legal duty to act in an impartial manner. The potential economic damage of the alleged corruption revolving around 1MDB is not something that can be brushed off with a wave of a hand and the detention of individuals. Any attempt to further subjugate investigation would only come back to haunt Malaysians today and our future generations. As fellow Malaysians, members of the PDRM would not be safe from the repercussion and fallout from a failed investigation into the 1MDB scandal.

PDRM must be acutely aware of the role that they play and the power they hold in such times. PDRM should strive to be the independent and impartial police force that Malaysia desperately need and cease to be a political tool of those who walk the corridors of power. The decision to detain Khairuddin under SOSMA as part of this ongoing 1MDB scandal shows the world the desperation by those who walk to corridors of power today. PDRM should not debase themselves and serve as tools of such despicable acts.

Political Arrest

To the Government of Malaysia, it is clear that the promises made when SOSMA was first tabled in parliament were nothing but false promises to the people of Malaysia. The Government of Malaysia have clearly reneged on their promises and turned SOSMA into the vengeful spectre of ISA. Detention without trial on its own is repulsive enough that any individual that value freedom in a democratic nation cannot in good conscience be agreeable to legislations that grants such power to enforcement agencies and the government. The application of such measures against political dissenter marks the danger of SOSMA in modern Malaysia and cannot be anything less than a first step back to the dark ages of ISA. The chilling experience and lesson from the dark days of Operasi Lalang should have been a sufficient lesson for all. Lest concrete actions are taken, Malaysia would undoubtedly sink back to the dark days of ISA.

The act of Khairuddin as a whistle-blower does not make him a threat to Parliamentary democracy of Malaysia. If anything at all, his action should be taken as a concern for the

state of affairs in Malaysia and plea for international intervention into a corrupted and failing system. The acts of intimidation through detention under SOSMA would not preserve the national sovereignty of Malaysia. Such acts would only act as a deterrent to potential whistle-blowers that seek to inform Malaysians of the wrongdoing of others. The act of penalizing the messenger and not the wrongdoer cannot be the Malaysian way of tackling wrong-doing in Malaysia. With this in mind, we call for the Government of Malaysia to enact adequate protection of whistle-blowers and cease its detention and harassments against whistle-blowers.

Legal and moral duty of the government

On this note, we, the Civil Society Organisations of Malaysia would like to remind the government of the Right to Liberty of Person guaranteed under the Article 5 of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia and the Right to Freedom of Expression provided for under Article 10 of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia. These are rights that are paramount to the continuity of the democratic practices valued by all Malaysians. Any actions to subjugate these values and rights would by default be the true threat against Parliamentary democracy. Irrespective of the prevailing threats by various quarters, the rights paramount to the practice of democracy in Malaysia must never be subject to undue control. The Government of Malaysia would do well to remember the freedoms provided for and guaranteed by Federal Constitution of Malaysia must not be denied to Malaysians with such callousness and apathy.

May we also remind the Government of Malaysia of the obligation of Malaysia as part of the international community. As a member state of the United Nation and a representative in United Nation Security Council, the Government of Malaysia have the legal and moral duty to adhere to the human rights values espoused by international norms and the human rights conventions that they have signed. Further as a member of the United Nation Security Council, Malaysia must conduct itself in a manner that would make Malaysia an exemplary model for human rights for the rest of the world. This can only be achieved if the Government of Malaysia conduct itself in a respectable manner that would not put the nation to shame.

As a society of conscience, we Civil Society Organisations of Malaysia beseech our fellow citizens of Malaysia from all walks of life to unite against these irresponsible and reprehensible actions by governmental agencies. In these trying times, Malaysians must stand in solidarity against these actions that threaten to undo the effort of our forefathers and destroy all that we love and cherish. Malaysian Civil Society must take up the mantle of leadership in such times and show our dissent against such vile and deplorable actions by governmental agencies. Like the anti-Nazi movement at the height of the third Reich, the citizens of Malaysia have a similar duty to show the world that not all Malaysians are content with the present state of affairs and that we will not permit such acts of impunity against the rule of law and personal freedom.

Endorsed by:

Akademi Belia

ALIRAN

All Women’s Action Society (AWAM)

Angkatan Warga Aman Malaysia (WargaAMAN)

BERSIH 2.0

Persatuan Kesedaran Kommuniti Selangor (EMPOWER)

ENGAGE

Federation of Malaysian Indian Organisation (PRIMA)

Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia

Gerakan Hapuskan Akta Hasutan (GHAH)

Institute Rakyat

Islamic Renaissance Front

Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia (JOAS)

Kajian Politik untuk Perubuhan (KPRU)

KL Tak Nak Insinerator (KTI)

Malaysian Indians Progressive Association (MIPAS)

Malaysians Indians Transformation Action Team (MITRA)

Malaysian Physicians For Social Responsibility

Malaysian Youth Care Association (PRIHATIN)

National Human Rights Society (HAKAM)

Negeri Sembilan Chinese Assembly Hall (NSCAH)

NGO: SHIELD

Oriental Hearts and Mind Study Institute (OHMSI)

Perak Women for Women Society (PWW)

Persatuan Rapat Malaysia (RAPAT)

PROHAM

Project Dialog

Pusat KOMAS

Sahabat Rakyat 人民之友

Saccess

SAVE Rivers

Sisters in Islam (SIS)

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)

Teoh Beng Hock Trust for Democracy

The Malaysian Youth and Students’ Democratic Movement (DEMA)

The Selangor & Kuala Lumpur Foundry & Engineering Industries Association (SFEIA)

Tindak Malaysia

University of Malaya Association of New Youth (UMANY)

The Spectre of ISA: Broken Promises and Freedom Forgone

SUARAM would like to express our concern in regards to the regrettable usage of the Special Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 and other legislation that permits detention without trial in the recent days.

Legislation that permits detention without trial is not unheard of elsewhere abroad. In light of the threats posed by terrorism following the incidents on the 11th of September 2001, it is unsurprising that many would opt for preventive measures that would be distasteful and morally bankrupt in another era. With the rise of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, it is unfortunate that Malaysia chose to take a step further backward and strengthen such preventive measures.

Malaysia had a cause to celebrate in 2012 when the Internal Security Act 1960 (ISA) was repealed. Despite the merry and festive mood it had created, we must face the grim reality that the victory for civil and political freedom was nothing more than a symbolic victory as other legislation that permits detention without trial still operate with impunity. The victory was naught but a mirage when the government tabled SOSMA in Parliament. Irrespective of the threat posed by terrorists across the globe, preventive measures such as these should not be the norm and our ‘go to’ plan for tackling the issue of terrorism.

Terror threats aside, the misuse of ISA during its prime should have been an adequate lesson for all. The dangers of anti-terrorism legislation being used for political gain was a real danger and not a fictional one. While we acknowledge that SOSMA have been utilized to address terror threats and genuine threat to national security in the past, the recent usage of SOSMA may be the first step back into the dark days of ISA. The detention of Khairuddin Abu Hassan under SOSMA in conjunction with chargers under Section 124K and 124L of the Penal Code is a regrettable incident highlighting the dangers of SOSMA and its similarity to ISA.

With our competent and adequately trained police force, we see no reason why the Royal Malaysian Police cannot conduct fair investigation and press chargers without resorting to SOSMA. Further, the decision to re-arrest Khairuddin after his release by the court shows little to no regards to the decision made by the Judiciary of Malaysia. As a country that practices rule of law, the police force must take into the account of the decision made by the courts and not act with impunity and forcefully overturn the court’s decision.

SUARAM would like to reiterate our stance against ALL form of detention without trial and we do not condone nor support the usage of ANY legislation that grants such powers to any or all governmental agency. With this in mind, SUARAM would like to reiterate its call for the:

  1. Abolishment of SOSMA and all other legislation allowing detention without trial; and
  2. The immediate release of all detainees held under such legislations
Released by,
Sevan Doraisamy
Executive Director
SUARAM