Police Acting Unreasonably, Undemocratically and Unconstitutionally

 

SUARAM and BERSIH 2.0 strongly condemn the police’s violent behaviour, excessive use of force and ill-treatment against those who demonstrated at the Customs Department office in Kelana Jaya. The police had acted unconstitutionally when they did not informed the detainees of the grounds of their arrest. Instead, they resorted to inhumane and forceful behaviour. Further, the decision to deny the detainees of legal representative is unacceptable and goes against the every known legal principle guarding rights to liberty internationally and nationally.

Refusal of access to lawyers

Article 5(3) of the Federal Constitution provides that “where a person is arrested he shall be informed as soon as may be of the grounds of his arrest and shall be allowed to consult and be defended by a legal practitioner of his choice.” This very core principle in our Federal Constitution guarding our liberty was blatantly ignored by the police and the lawyers’ request to meet the detainees was casually dismissed by police with nonsensical and unacceptable answer – “tak ada arahan (no instruction was given).” In their attempt to get access to the detainees, lawyers were forcefully pushed out by the police. The detainees were only allowed access to lawyer 5 minutes before the remand hearing on 24 March 2015 morning, more than 16 hours after the arrest.

The principle of right to legal practitioner is long carved in stone and has been the past practise in the country. The authorities must remember that the Federal Constitution is the supreme law of the land and the police’s blatant disregard of Article 5(3) is a severe violations of the civil liberties of Malaysians.

Detainees not informed of grounds of arrest

The detainees arrested were given absolutely no explanation of the arrest even when the detainees repetitively asked for it. They only found out about the grounds of arrest and investigation the next day during the remand process.

Further, Khalid Ismath was detained by police on 23 March 2015 at 11.00 am and was only released the next day at 7.00 pm, an excess of 8 hours than what was lawfully permitted. Article 5(4) of the Federal Constitution provides that “where a person is arrested and not released he shall without unreasonable delay, and in any case within twenty-four hours be produced before a magistrate and shall not be further detained in custody without the magistrate’s authority.”

The police behaviour amounts to arbitrary arrest and detention. It clearly contradicts Article 5 of the Federal Constitution and the core principle of rule of law established to ensure democracy. It is akin to the characteristic of dictatorships and police states which we all so despise. The right to freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention is a very fundamental principle recognised the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, namely in Article 3 that “[e]veryone has the right to life, liberty and security of person,” and in Article 9 that “[n]o one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile. Malaysia, as a member of the United Nations, has the obligation to prevent the commission of such grave human rights violation.

Police’s extrajudicial use of force

It is extremely unacceptable and disappointing that the police Light Strike Force personnel has resort to extrajudicial physical violence and extreme force against the defenceless protestors. Informants had claimed that the detainees were forcefully pushed and beaten during the arrest. The abusive behaviour went on even after the police had secure the arrest – some of the detainees’ face were covered with clothes and beaten on the face by the police.  In addition, the female detainees had claimed that they were denied access to water when asked for it. The police swiftly dismissed their request with an unacceptable answer – “tak ada budget (no budget).”

SUARAM and BERSIH are extremely appalled by such sickening abuse of power by the police and gross violation of the people’s rights to liberty as guaranteed in the constitution. This incident raises yet again the question of police accountability and further heightens public mistrust of the police force. We reiterate the public demand for an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC). The government and the police cannot act without accountability and transparency for this is a democratic country and the people’s demand should always come first. Those who participate in the rally are not criminals, they are people with genuine concern of the future of the country and the welfare of the people, especially those who will be seriously affected by the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax. It is ashamed that the government has chosen to resort to such disgraceful method in addressing the issue that most Malaysians so concerned and worried about.

SUARAM and BERSIH 2.0 hereby demands the authorities to:

1. Immediately release all 25 detainees from Shah Alam detention centre and cease investigation against all those involved in the demonstration.

2. Conduct investigation against police officers who broken and violated the standard operation procedure in handling public gatherings and those who committed unlawful extrajudicial use of force; and to hold the police accountable.

3. Address the issue of systematic abuse of power by police by establishing an independent oversight mechanism to investigate police malfeasance and take necessary disciplinary measures.

 

Released by,

Maria Chin Abdullah
Chairperson,
BERSIH 2.0

 

Serene Lim

Program Coordinator

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)

 

GHAH urges Twitter users to report the IGP to Twitter for harassment

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Gerakan Hapus Akta Hasutan (GHAH) today launches a campaign, urging Twitter users to report the Inspector General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar to Twitter for harassment following months of threatening behaviour online.

Since the crackdown under the Sedition Act began in August last year, the IGP has, through Twitter, taken it upon himself to dictate what can or cannot be said online, to the point of likening himself to a social media ‘referee’.

His tweets, urging the Royal Malaysian Police Force to investigate people such as Zulkiflee Anwar Haque (Zunar), YB Tony Pua and Eric Paulsen for expressing their views on current issues, are an abuse of social media.

Social media has created a new space for participatory democracy, where citizens can interact with those in power on an equal footing. The freedom to voice opinions in this online sphere must be protected. Contrary to this spirit, the IGP is using Twitter to issue personal threats of police investigation against individuals. The IGP needs to be reminded that to criticise or to question authorities such as JAKIM, the police force and the judiciary is not a crime, it is an integral part of a democratic society and a right enshrined in the Federal Constitution.

Last week, the IGP made a number of statements defending his harassment on Twitter and admitted he is targeting politicians and NGO leaders with large numbers of followers. In fact, it appears the IGP acts on the demands of UMNO cybertroopers, even without proper verification of the reported posts, as was the case with a fabricated tweet implicating Penang Deputy Chief Minister P. Ramasamy. GHAH demands the IGP act impartially and professionally when directing his officers to investigate crimes, instead of pursuing specific individuals simply for their opposition to the authorities.

In an effort to protect Twitter users from this ongoing harassment, Malaysians should lodge a report against the IGP’s Twitter handle, @KBAB51, by following the simple steps on the Twitter page for reporting online abuse.

Twitter’s Rules and Policies clearly state users “may not engage in targeted abuse or harassment” and it takes into account if “the reported behaviour is one-sided or includes threats”. The IGP has violated these rules and in banning him, Twitter will be making its platform safer for Malaysians to freely express themselves without fear of persecution by the chief of police.

***

GHAH is a movement supported by 133 civil societies in Malaysia spearheaded by SUARAM, Lawyers for Liberty, IKRAM, among others. The objective of GHAH is to carry out a national campaign to bring to an end to the ever present threat against freedom of expression and opinion by the Sedition Act 1948 that hangs over every Malaysian.

 

Abuse of Power and Criminal Procedure Proves Draconian Law A Threat To Human Rights in Malaysia

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) expresses our utmost concern and outrage towards the recent arbitrary crackdown against participants of #KitaLawan rally by police . Not only does it mark a severe infringement on our constitutional rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, it is an abuse of power and the criminal justice system by the authorities in this country, whose rightful duty is to serve and protect the interest of the public.

The police has disregarded the Court of Appeal’s ruling on Section 9(5) of the Peaceful Assembly Act which held that the 10-days notice requirement is unconstitutional and what is “fundamentally lawful cannot be criminalised“. They have gone ahead with their subjective interpretation and still maintain that the law remains applicable. Furthermore, despite Section 7 of the House of Parliament clearly provides that no Member of Parliament is liable for civil or criminal proceedings for things said within the Chambers, yet the police had arrested MP Nurul Izzah for an allegedly seditious statement she made in Parliament.

It has been more than a month after the Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy conviction was upheld by the Federal Court and he was sentenced to 5 years’ imprisonment on 10 Feb 2015. Given the momentous interest in the Anwar’s Sodomy II verdict, discussion and discourse on the Federal Court’s decision is not only inevitable, but a right that every citizens in a democratic society is entitled to. Instead of opening up the space for a healthy public discourse and debate on the issues, the authorities have resorted to threats and criminal prosecution.

Investigation under the Sedition Act 1948 for comments made on Federal Court’s decision

No

Name

Investigated On

1 Zunar – Cartoonist 10 Feb 2015
2 2 university students 18 Feb 2015
3 Fariz Musa – Activist Feb 15
4 S. Arutchelvan – PSM Secretary-General 19 Feb 2015
5 Lawrence Jayaraj – Activist 20 Feb 15
6 Nga Kor Ming – Taiping MP 23 Feb 2015
7 Rafizi Ramli – Pandan MP 23 Feb 2015
8 Dr Afif Bahardin – PKR Deputy Youth Chief 27 Feb 2015
9 Ng Wei Aik – Tanjong MP 6 Mar 2015
10 Nurul Izzah – Lembah Pantai MP 16 Mar 2015

 

Investigation for involvement in the #KitaLawan Rally

No

Name

Investigated On

1 Saifullah Zulkifli – Activist 7 Mar 2015
2 Nik Nazmi – Selangor EXCO 8 Mar 2015
3 Fariz Musa – Activist 10 Mar 2015
4 Rafizi Ramli – Pandan MP 10 Mar 2015
5 Mohd Fakhrulrazi – PAS Member 11 Mar 2015
6 Teo Kok Seong – Rasah MP 14 Mar 2015
7 Adam Adli – Activist 14 Mar 2015
8 Mandeep Singh – Activist 14 Mar 2015
9 Jayathas – Activist 17 Mar 2015

SUARAM reiterates that there is absolutely no legitimate grounds for the investigation of those allegedly involved in the #KitaLawan rally under Section 143 of the Penal Code and Peaceful Assembly Act. It was a peaceful gathering among Malaysians who shared the same sentiments for reform in the country. And that the Sedition Act is an absolutely archaic piece of legislation that left an excessive amount of discretion in the hand of authorities to criminalise even the slightest voice of dissent.

How then can we expect that the passage of the new Prevention of Terrorism bill (POTA) and amendment to the Sedition Act, which would essentially expand the power and discretion exercisable by the police, be used responsibly and not to clampdown on dissent?

The Home Minister has felt obliged to add that “the Prevent of Terrorism Act would not be used as a political tool to silence critics.” For the thousands of victims of detention without trial in Malaysia who number more than 10,000 since 1960, his assurance in an interview rings hollow. The recent crackdown against those involved in the #KitaLawan rally and remand process is yet again another explicit example of gross abuse of Criminal Procedure Code by the police. While anti-terrorism measures are necessary in light of the rising global threat by radical extremist, we fear that if POTA and amendment to the Sedition Act were to be enforced, the new law will bring about even more transgressions of human rights that are already severely violated in this country. Therefore,

1. SUARAM hereby calls on the police to cease all forms of harassment against Malaysians for practising their rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly and to stop abusing the criminal procedure;

2. We urge the government to repeal the Sedition Act that is susceptible to abuse by the authority, to halt investigations and to drop charges against those who merely express their opinions;

3. We further call on the Home Minister and Parliament to review the new bill on POTA and to re-evaluate its consequences to the rights and freedom of the people in this country.

 

Released by,

Serene Lim

Program Coordinator

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)

[SUARAM PRESS STATEMENT] – Stop Criminalising Peaceful Assembly

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) strongly condemns the Inspector-General Police (IGP) Khalid Abu Bakar’s decision in invoking Section 9 (5) of the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 and Section 143 of the Penal Code in effecting the arbitrary arrest of,  PKR Youth Leader Saifullah Zulkifli, Seri Setia Assemblyman Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad and PKR’s Jingga 13 head coordinator Fariz Musa. We further express our strong objection towards the unreasonable crackdown against the organisers of last Saturday’s #KitaLawan rally in Kuala Lumpur as it violates our very constitutional right to freedom of peaceful assembly.

The Court of Appeal has in April 2014 ruled that it is unconstitutional to criminalise public assembly in breach of the 10-day notice required under Section 9(5) of the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012. It is unattainable that the Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIGP) Noor Rashid Ibrahim would label the “KitaLawan rally as illegal for failure to submit a formal notice. The same law was then use to arrest Nik Nazmi on 8 March 2015. Until the decision by Court of Appeal is overturned by Federal Court, unconstitutionality of Section 9(5) of the PAA remains good law and ought to be followed by everyone, police including. The police by blatantly ignoring a provision that has been outlawed by the Court of Appeal, is committing contempt of court and has abused the statutory power entrusted upon them as enforcers of the rules and law of the land.

The 7 March 2015 rally was well attended by about 10,000 Malaysians who shared the same sentiments over the disheartening judiciary verdict against Anwar’s Sodomy II appeal and the degrading human rights and economic situation in Malaysia. It was a peaceful assembly and an expression of the people’s dissatisfaction towards the ruling coalition that has systematically suppressed the people and violated all fundamental principles in a democracy.

The use of Section 143 of the Penal Code against Saifullah Zulkifli, Nik Nazmi and Fariz Musa is again an illustration of police harassment against citizens who courageously challenged the establishment and oppressive regime. Section 143 applies to violent assemblies with criminal elements. Any sane person who had participated in the rally or had observed the process, would reasonably conclude that it was a peaceful assembly joined by passionate Malaysians seeking for a better country. Then why is the police, invoking Section 143 to arrest and criminalise organisers of #KitaLawan rally when no actual harm, violence or criminal offence caused or committed?

The IGP had on 9 March 2015 announced that the organisers of the rally will be arrested and investigated. It is extremely worrying that the police has systematically clamped down on those who criticised Federal Court’s decision on Anwar’s Sodomy II appeal, most notably with the use of the Sedition Act. SUARAM has recorded 7 individuals hauled up over their expression on the court decision. And just last month, Adam Adli, Fariz Musa and Nik Nazmi were arrested under Section 143 of the Penal Code for a separate #KitaLawan assembly held on 21 February 2015 at Sogo KL.

The unrelenting clamp down by police has had a chilling effect on all Malaysians. The police has demonstrated how they can blatantly disregard our rights under the Federal Constitution and the very fundamental principle of rule of law to not arbitrarily criminalise anyone – that application of law must be fair and predictable. The rulers of this country must remember that freedom of speech and freedom of assembly are the basic pillars of a democracy and should be upheld by a government that is sincere about promoting accountability and improvement.

SUARAM  urges the police to cease all forms of harassment against Saifullah Zulkifli, Nik Nazmi, Fariz Musa and other #KitaLawan rally particiapnts under the Peaceful Assembly Act and Section 143 of the Penal Code. We further urge the police to respect our rights to freedom of expression and assembly and to stop harassing those who seek reform for this country.

 

Released by,

 

Serene Lim

Program Coordinator

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)

Penyerahan Memorandum Menuntut Siasatan Segera Kes Kehilangan Tharmalingam a/l Sangar Pillai

Suaram telah membuat satu penyerahan memorandum kepada IPD Bukit Aman seperti butiran di bawah:

Tarikh   : 25 Februari 2015 (Rabu)
Masa    : 2.30 petang
Tempat  : Pintu A, IPD Bukit Aman.

Untuk makluman pihak Tuan, penyerahan memorandum ini adalah berkenaan dengan kes di mana seorang lelaki bernama Tharmalingam a/l Sangar Pillai yang hilang sejak Januari 2013. Anaknya Rajev a/l Tharmalingam telah membuat 3 kali laporan polis dalam tempoh dua tahun tetapi maklum balas yang didapati daripada pihak polis IPD Kajang amatlah mengecewakan. Maka, pihak Suaram akan menghantar satu memorandum menuntut agar siasatan kes ini disegerakan agar kondisi mangsa dapat diketahui. Ianya juga penting bagi ahli keluarga supaya tidak ternanti-nanti dan tertanya-tanya apakah sebenarnya status ayah mereka yang hilang. Sama ada masih hidup ataupun sebaliknya.
Untuk sebarang pertanyaan dan maklum balas sila hubungi penyelaras projek Suaram:  Tarmizi Anuwar emailkan kepada [email protected].
Memorandum boleh dimuatturun di capaian ini: Memorandum kepada Ketua Polis Negara