An Increase of 14-fold Refugee Population for the past 10-year provokes government’s stereotype

 

JOINT STATEMENT BY: SUARAM AND LFL

An Increase of 14-fold Refugee Population for the past 10-year provokes government’s stereotype

Today, in commemoration of the World Refugee Day, SUARAM and Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) strongly urge the Malaysian government to immediately ratify the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol to promote, respect and provide coherence protection framework that upholds their principle human rights and dignity in the country.

In light with the alarming global trend of forced displacement[1], In Malaysia, statistics as of April 2013 recorded by UNHCR has shown an increase of almost 14-fold (or 1390%) from 5, 311 refugees and asylum seekers registered in year 2003 to 103,010 people (2013).[2] Meanwhile, Myanmar origin remains the largest proportion of recognized refugees and asylum seekers with share of 92% (absolute number 94, 760) from the total numbers.

It is stated that despite Malaysia’s reluctance to ratify 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol, the number of vulnerable people seeking sanctuary in the country escalated overtime. This also provokes government’s stereotype over the implication of having ratify the convention will encourage the new influx of refugees. Such argument is highly irresponsible for a country that have strong role on United Nations Human Rights Council hence shall not be an ultimate determinant factor for government’s continuous refusal to such instruments.

Countries around the world have taken more progressive position using regional solidarity and burden sharing with multi party arrangement with United Nations and the humanitarian and rights base agencies to manage the influx. We strongly state that refugee and asylum seeker phenomena is not a country concern but it’s an important regional and international phenomena that impose an obligation on nations states.

Refugees and asylum seekers are classified as illegal immigrants by the Immigration Act 1959/63 and can be arrested, detained and sentenced, which usually involves judicial caning by the authorities. Discrimination, Intimidation and threats of violence against refugees and asylum seekers continue unabated in some pockets of our communities. This can been seen in the latest act by government, where the Malaysian government has sternly warned Myanmar communities in Kuala Lumpur that they could face deportation back to Myanmar in the wake of recent violence between some Myanmar communities in Kuala Lumpur.

SUARAM and LFL also urge the Malaysian government to halt all form of arbitrary deportation of Myanmar refugees especially those from the Rohingya community as they are refugees fleeing persecution in Myanmar. SUARAM and LFL want to make it clear that such force deportation is wrong and unacceptable in a constitutional democracy as well as a violation of international customary laws.

We call upon the Malaysian government, as well as other governments across the world, to re-affirm the values upon which international agreements of refugee protection are based. It is also a time for all sectors of society to reflect on their role, to examine, form and strengthen partnerships on how best to find lasting solutions to the challenges faced by refugees and asylum seekers in Malaysia.

Eric Paulsen

Co-founder & Adviser

of LFL

 

Police Reform: Discuss and Strengthen it

 

STOP STATE VIOLENCE MOVEMENT
Secretariat : Suara Rakyat Malaysia
433A, 1st floor Jalan 5/46, Gasing Indah, 46000 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
(T) 603-7784 3525 (F) 603- 7784 3526 Email : [email protected]

Press Statement: 20 June 2013

Police Reform: Discuss and Strengthen it

The Stop State Violence Movement would like to applaud the rakyat for the pressure mounted on the government that moved the cabinet to act fast on the issues regarding the Royal Malaysian Police and its reform in particular the setting up of IPCMC.

The Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said today that the government will implement a centralized lockup system where interrogations of suspects will take place. A permanent coroner’s court in every state in the country will also be established.

We welcome the setting up of the coroner court. This is also in line with SSV’s demand on setting up of an independent and competent Coroner’s Court system to replace the current Magistrate’s Inquest which is extremely problematic and ineffective. We do strongly believe that a coroner court system will only be effective if the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commissions (IPCMC) is formed.

This is because an independent investigation body like the recommended IPCMC will investigate any death in custody cases and provide the investigation report to the coroner for further action on prosecuting officers involved. If this is not established, we end up sitting in a coroner court listening to the investigation papers done by the police against their peers themselves. This strongly drops the credibility of the court on being independent. The concept of independence for accountability must be the common thread pulling together the various reforms required for the police force as a strong, credible and effective institution.

The government should make some study on the coroner court in other countries to understand the international standards available and applicable to our country. The appointment of the coroner itself should create a sense of trust among the people where the judge must be independent without any political appointments or political involvement. Countries such as Canada, United Kingdom, Japan and few more have already established coroner court in their countries and their experiences both the positive and negative, can be used as a research point to establish a similar one in Malaysia.

On the idea of setting up more lock ups, it will not be helpful in tackling the fundamental issues of lack of understanding of rights and standards; where there is lack of accountability; and absence of independent investigations on commissions and omissions of the police force. Having centralized lockups with CCTV and other gadgets are cosmetic touch ups on this issue. Recently, when activists were arrested and placed in the Jinjang lock up, the CCTV was not functioning. CCTV too can be manipulated. Such acts can only be eliminated if the police are conscious of the fact that there can be independent investigations and that they would be made accountable.

Police lack human rights education and understanding of Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) as well as inability to conduct an investigation objectively accordance to the human rights principles. Our police officers fail in recognizing the notion of presumption of innocence of an individual and always treat all the suspects who are arrested as criminal. The reform must be grounded with human rights education and the need to maintain standards.

We encourage the ministry to engage with the civil society to discuss and further strengthen the suggested reforms. This is also in accordance to the Recommendation 10 of the Police Royal Commission of Inquiry back in 2005, where the PDRM should engage with the local Non Governmental Organizations (NGO) with the support of the government.

We are ready to work closely with them in reforming the Royal Malaysian Police for the betterment of our country.

Released by,

Thevarajan R
Secretariat SSV
SUARAM

 

Bukapuasa and Fundraising Dinner 19 July 2013, Dewan Sivik MBPJ

 

 

 

19 JUNE 2013

THE SCORPENE STING:

DIVING CLOSER TO THE TRUTH!

 

BUKAPUASA AND FUNDRAISING DINNER

19 JULY 2013, DEWAN SIVIK , MBPJ

 

Despite the return of the Barisan Nasional (BN) into power following the 13th GE, more than 50% of the Malaysian electorate opted for a clean and transparent government. Only a fraudulent system could stop this unstoppable desire for change! With the help of a mal-apportioned system and a biased election commission, a minority BN government was formed without the backing of more than half of its populace.
Interestingly, in the lead up to the election campaigns across the nation, corruption issues took centre stage, dominated many election campaign speeches and shouts for an end to corruption were heard almost everywhere. The SCORPENE SCANDAL was singled out as the mother of all corruption scandals, in a sea of other high profile scandals. SUARAM campaigners toured the nation from North to South, East to West, speaking to thousands of Malaysians on the urgent need to fight corruption that has plundered our nation and shattered the lives of ordinary Malaysians.

 

The international nature of the SCORPENE scandal, the millions of ringgit siphoned off through kickbacks and bribes, the procurement of faulty and second grade battleships, the sensational murder of a Mongolian woman and the direct and purported involvement of Najib Razak, the Defence Minister at that time and the incumbent Prime Minister, had captured the imagination and hearts of Malaysians everywhere. This was a case of sheer abuse of power, and it become more evident with each passing day that the scourge of corruption, could no longer be tolerated.

 

Many dug deep into their pockets to sustain the agenda for change and support wholeheartedly the need to usher in a two party system that would ensure greater checks and balance, transparency and accountability. As such the outcome of the GE, have left many Malaysians disenchanted and let down, leaving us with little choice but to ensure those guilty of corruption crimes cannot escape unpunished!

 

SUARAM PUNISHED FOR BLOWING THE WHISTLE

Following our last fundraising efforts, exactly a year ago last June 2012, where we garnered a generous RM 240,000 from Malaysians, to announce and sustain the legal inquiry in the French judicial courts (Tribunal de Grande Instance), SUARAM had very soon after come under intense scrutiny and attacks by the Malaysian government agencies and the mainstream media.

 

So afraid were the Malaysian government leaders in the expose of the truth, as the inquiry was progressing in France, that 6 government agencies came together to intimidate, question and harass SUARAM officials and leaders, in a bid to discredit our good reputation, and blacken our name in the eyes of all Malaysians. However, until today, these agencies have failed to bring any charges against SUARAM as everything they accused us of, were utter fabrications.
THE FRENCH INQUIRY MUST CONTINUE

SUARAM is proud that today we continue to stand tall as a leading voice for human rights and good governance, and are here to announce our next and continued attempts to keep the inquiry in France alive! Let us be clear that the ongoing inquiry is not and cannot be a SUARAM commitment alone. We are now close to finding the truth as the developments and evidence in the ongoing inquiry are compelling; we now must fight this together and push for closure in this scandal that has dogged Malaysia for more than a decade now.

 

This is a cause in which is ultimately in the hands of the Malaysian people as without your continued monetary and moral support SUARAM would not have the means to proceed in the quest for Justice and truth. Let us face these hurdles together, to free Malaysia from the clutches of corruption, once and for all.

 

Individual tickets are priced at RM 150 and RM500 and Tables are priced RM 1500 and RM 5000 each. Online payments and pledges can be made out to SUARA INISIATIF SDN BHD  MBB a/c no: 5122 9582 0324.

 

For further enquiries, contact  tickets@suaram.net or contact SUARAM at 03 77843525/ Sarah +013-3470860

For further info and details you may visit

Website: www.suaram.net

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/suararakyatmalaysia

Twitter: suaramtweets

 

 

 

QUOTE : “I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can only rest for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended” – Nelson Mandela

 

 

GMI Konsisten Bela Mangsa ISA: Anjur Lawatan Untuk Bawa Isteri Tahanan ISA Ke Kem Tahanan Kamunting

 

 

GERAKAN MANSUHKAN ISA

KENYATAAN MEDIA : 11 JUN 2013

GMI KONSISTEN BELA MANGSA ISA : ANJUR LAWATAN UNTUK BAWA ISTERI TAHANAN ISA KE KEM TAHANAN KAMUNTING

 

 

 

22 Jun ni, genap setahun ISA dimansuhkan secara rasminya. Pemansuhan ISA itu berlaku serentak dengan pewartaan Akta Kesalahan Kesalamatan (Langkah-langkah Khas 2012) atau dikenali juga dengan ringkasan SOSMA.

 

SOSMA dikuatkuasakan dalam keadaan Kerajaan masih belum memperbetulkan segala kesilapan sepanjang ISA digunakan. 15 orang tahanan ISA masih mendekam di Kem Tahanan Kamunting, Daripada jumlah itu, 8 orang merupakan warga tempatan, 3 Sri Lanka, 3 Filipina dan seorang Indonesia. Di Tawau Sabah, ada 6 orang isteri masih terpisah daripada suami  dan 20 orang anak kecil masih terpisah daripada ayah mereka. Lebih perit, Sehingga ke hari ini masih tidak ada alasan jelas mengapa tahanan ISA terus dikurung sedangkan akta  yang digunakan untuk menahan mereka telahpun dimansuhkan.

 

Tahanan ISA yang paling akhir akan dibebaskan ialah tahanan dari Tawau Sabah. Mengikut perintah tahanan, mereka hanya akan dibebaskan pada Januari tahun depan setelah genap 2 tahun tempoh tahanan. Biarpun masa penahanan tinggal  kurang lebih 7 bulan, SUARAM dan GMI tetap konsisten mendesak pembebasan awal kesemua tahanan ISA.

 

SUARAM dan GMI ingin mendesak Menteri KDN yang baru, Dato’ Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi agar segera membebaskan kesemua tahanan ISA. Menteri KDN yang baru tidak wajar meneruskan kegagalan yang lama kerana tidak wujud istilah terlambat untuk membetulkan segala kesalahan yang berlaku.  Bekas Menteri KDN Dato’ Seri Seri Hishammuddin Hussein semasa mengetuai Kementerian Dalam Negeri tidak langsung menunjukkan kesungguhan untuk memperbetulkan kezaliman ISA walaupun banyak kali menerima tuntutan dan protes dari rakyat.

 

Oleh itu, sebagai usaha untuk membela keluarga mangsa ISA, GMI akan mengadakan lawatan ke Kem Tahanan Kamunting bersama 5 orang isteri tahanan ISA dari Tawau Sabah. Lawatan akan berlangsung pada 15 dan 16 Jun ini. Turut hadir dalam rombongan lawatan tersebut ialah dua orang anak kecil yang belum pernah bertemu dengan ayah mereka kerana semasa ayah mereka ditahan, mereka masih di dalam kandungan.

 

Lawatan ini juga bertujuan ingin mendedahkan kepada masyarakat umum mengenai sandiwara pemansuhan ISA yang masih menzalimi rakyat walaupun setelah setahun dimansuhkan. GMI konsisten dengan tuntutan agar kesemua tahanan ISA dibebaskan segera dan Kerajaan perlu mewujudkan Suruhanjaya Rekonsiliasi bagi menyiasat semua salah laku di bawah ISA dan mengheret individu terlibat ke muka pengadilan serta memberi pampasan yang setimpal kepada mangsa ISA dan keluarga mangsa.

 

Sekian.

 

Stop More Deaths! Stop State Violence! Nothing Less Than the IPCMC!

Press Statement: 11 June 2013

STOP MORE DEATHS! STOP STATE VIOLENCE! NOTHING LESS THAN THE IPCMC!

Death List of 2013

The latest list of deaths under police custody for year 2013:

Date Name Age Location
14-Jan-13 Chang Chin Te 30 USJ 8
23-Jan-13 Sugumaran 39 Batu 14 Cheras
01-Feb-13 Mohd.Ropi 43 Temerloh, Died at the Sultan Ahmad Shah Hospital
10-Mar-13 M.Ragu 47 Kampar
17-Mar-13 UNKNOWN 55 Seri Alam Johor
21-May-13 Darmaindren 32 IPK KL
27-May-13 Jamesh Ramesh 40 Penang
01-Jun-13 Karunanithi 42 IPD Tampin
08-Jun-13 Nobuhiro Matsushita 33 USJ 8

9 cases of custodial death within 6 months of 2013. Comparing the total 9 deaths for the full year of 2012. Will the figures escalate for 2013 with the government and specifically the police force resisting any form of reform through an independent commission? Has the government and in particular the police believe that they are above accountability and thus continue to act with impunity? The rakyat says otherwise.

Revamping EAIC is the wrong road map for reform and accountability.

The Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) clearly has proven by its commissions and performance that of issuing warnings is a toothless tiger without any power of enforcement of decisions taken.. Its CEO Nor Afizah Hanum Mokhtar acknowledged that only one investigating officer was assigned to probe 19 agencies (4 June 2013). She also suggested the need to increase the annual budget to at least RM25 million in order to perform well. However, the Stop State Violence movement believes that it is not just a question of more money or personnel for investigations, but the powers given to them to conduct effective investigations as well as to enforce their decisions. The EAIC can only give recommendations and then it is up to the police force to act on it. In spite of calls by the rakyat and civil society for the last ten years, the police force has not made any changes. It will continue to do so as it believes that it has wide powers in itself to act with impunity and the government of the day – BN government needs it to maintain power.

PKR in a press statement yesterday 11-06-13, stated that a member of the Enforcement Agencies Integrity Commission (EAIC), Salehuddin Saidin is representing one of the 3 police officers charged as a lawyer for the murder of death in custody victim N Dhamendran. This is indeed a conflict of interest. How can he be expected to be independent and objective in his EAIC duties while defending his client.

With the revelation and the failure of the EAIC, it is indeed ridiculous for Datuk Paul Low, particularly as a former President of Transparency International Malaysia to continue to harp that it is better to revamp the EAIC than make all efforts to establish the IPCMC.

We would like to remind Datuk Paul Low to get his facts and analysis right. The Royal Commission on the Police force took a lot of effort, study and investigations to come up with a solid proposal for the oversight called Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission that can, and will bring about a reformed, disciplined and corrupt free police force that will be the pride of our nation.

SSV would also like to remind the new Minister in the Prime Ministers Department that it is not the issue of staff shortage or annual budget problem. The root issue of the EAIC is, the absence of power namely the prosecution power. The EAIC only has the power to investigate complaints and the finding of its investigation will be referred back to the police force.

Comparatively, the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) has more power as an oversight mechanism as it can initiate legal action against any officers for abuse of power. IPCMC was one of the 125 recommendations made by the Royal Commission of Police back in 2004.

Another power that IPCMC has, is to initiate its own investigation into any police power abuse cases without the need for a complaint to be made. EAIC on the other hand, waits for a complaint to be made before starting the investigations. If the EAIC was indeed an oversight mechanism for the agencies, it would have immediately launched an independent inquiry to get to the truth of the complaints of police power abuses that occurred.

We would like to provide a brief on the IPCMC as below:

1. Appointment of commissioners are done by Agong
2. IPCMC must be an independent body formed under the Parliament Act.
3. Commissioners durations are limited for 3 years only
4. Commissioners should not be from the police force- current of former.
5. IPCMC needs to submit its report to Seri Paduka Baginda Yang di-Pertuan Agong
6. IPCMC needs to present its report in the Parliament.

We would also like to list some of the powers of IPCMC that was recommended by the Royal Commission of Inquiry back in 2005:

1. Power to initiate its own investigations without any complaints
2. Power to order PDRM or other agencies to provide any documents related to investigations.
3. Not subject to any secrecy law including the Official Secrets Act (OSA).
4. Power to initiate legal action on its own via its legal counsel.
5. Power to call up witness to hear their testimonies.
6. Power to enter premises including government offices for investigations purpose.

However, the police force needs a comprehensive and total reform. The Royal Commission did address it in totality and thus made various recommendations. We cannot just address death in custody but also how do we prevent torture while a person in custody. There is a dire need for better ways of investigations and accompanying procedures. There is a need for special courts as well. The SSV movement sees that there is a need to make the reforms collectively for a genuine change to be realized.
At the minimum, the following seven demands need to be taken up immediately and acted upon:

1. Without fear or favor, bring all offenders among the police, MACC and other enforcement agencies, to justice.
2. Immediately establish the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC)
3. Institute an Ombudsmen system that enforces human rights practice in all enforcement agencies and their places of detention such as prisons, immigration detention centers and lockups;
4. Review and make public the law enforcement agencies’ standard operating procedures including the Inspector General Standing Order on police guidelines on discharge of firearms and detention and interrogation;
5. Support the setting up of an independent and competent Coroner’s Court system to replace the current Magistrate’s Inquest which is extremely problematic and ineffective;
6. Ratify the Convention against Torture and the Optional protocol” followed by necessary laws to eliminate torture.
7. Support human rights education and training programs, with a view to changing the attitudes, perceptions and methods of law enforcement personnel.

The SSV Coalition will begin an intensive campaign to end state violence against people with a initial series of actions:

1. On 13 June 2013, Thursday, a Public Forum “Stop State Violence” IPCMC Now. Will be organized at the Bar Council auditorium, KL
2. We will come up with a pledge for a commitment from MP’s to support the implementation of IPCMC
3. Online petition to support the implementation of IPCMC
https://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/minister-of-home-affairs-igp-and-chief-commissioner-stop-state-violence
4. Putting up banners on implementing the IPCMC.

This Coalition is supported by the following 30 organizations signed below.

Stop State Violence Movement

1. SUARAM

2. Tenaganita

3. Lawyers For Liberty
4. Malaysians for Beng Hock
5. Pusat Komunikasi Masyarakat (Komas)
6. Amnesty International Malaysia
7. Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Masyarakat (Empower)
8. Malaysia Youth And Student Democratic Movement (DEMA)
9. Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM)
10. Civil Rights Committee of KLSCAH
11. EMPOWER
12. Civil Society Committee of LLG Cultural Development Centre
13. KL Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall Youth
14. Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (JERIT)
15. Community Development Centre (CDC)
16. Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture (MADPET)
17. Persatuan masyarakat Selangor dan Wilayah Persekutuan (PERMAS)
18. Community Action Network (CAN)
19. Serdang Bahru School Alumni Youth Section
20. Persatuan Komuniti Prihatin Selangor & KL (Prihatin)
21. Angkatan Warga Aman Malaysia (WargaAMAN)
22. MALAYSIAN INDIANS PROGRESSIVE ASSOCIATION (MIPAS)
23. PEOPLE’S WELFARE AND RIGHTS COALITION (POWER)
24. MALAYSIAN INDIANS TRANSFORMATION ACTION TEAM (MITRA)
25. ANGKATAN NASIONAL INDIA MALAYSIA (AGNI)
26. Sunflower Electoral Education Movement (SEED)
27. Japan Graduates’ Association of Malaysia
28. Persatuan Sahabat Wanita
29. Writers Alliance for Media Independence (WAMI)\
30. Kelab Bangsar Utama