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

Awal Suku Tahun 2015 Kematian Dalam Tahanan Menunjukkan Angka Amat Membimbangkan

AWAL SUKU TAHUN 2015, KEMATIAN DALAM TAHANAN MENUNJUKKAN ANGKA AMAT MEMBIMBANGKAN

Tidak sampai suku tahun 2015, kes kematian dalam tahanan menunjukkan statistik yang serius dan amat membimbangkan. Kes pertama yang berlaku pada 9 Januari 2015 di Lokap Ayer Molek, Johor seperti “pemecah ruyung” kepada kes-kes seterusnya. Sehingga 5 Mac 2015 sebanyak 5 kes kematian dalam tahanan telah direkodkan oleh SUARAM.

Nama

Umur

Tarikh Kematian

Sebab Ditahan

Sebab Kematian

R Sivan

31

9 Januari 2015

Dadah

Ulser peptik berlubang

Phill Phot Fred

63

18 Januari 2015

Dadah

Komplikasi Jantung

Fahruz

28

22 Januari 2015

Dadah

Jangkitan Paru-paru

Sharam Hassan

45

26 Januari 2015

Dadah

Ulser Duodenum  Dengan Septik Kejutan

K Elumalai

43

18 Februari 2015

Dadah

Tidak diketahui

Jadual 1: Rekod kematian dalam tahanan sejak Januari 2015 sehingga kini.

Kematian dalam tahanan adalah kehilangan nyawa secara paksa bermaksud seseorang itu hilang hak untuk hidup dan merupakan antara pencabulan hak asasi manusia yang paling serius. Hak untuk hidup juga dijamin di bawah Perkara 5 Perlembagaan Malaysia.

Komitmen yang ditunjukkan oleh pihak kerajaan dan polis itu sendiri dilihat tidak serius dalam menyelesaikan isu ini. Pada tahun 2009, kerajaan telah menubuhkan Suruhanjaya Integriti Agensi Penguatkuasaan (EAIC) untuk memantau pelbagai agensi kerajaan termasuk polis tetapi badan ini tidak mampu untuk menyiasat kes kematian dalam tahanan kecuali dua kes iaitu N. Dharmendran dan R. Jamesh Ramesh.

Pada 5 Jun 2013, Ketua Eksekutif Suruhanjaya Integriti Agensi Penguatkuasaan (EAIC), Nor Afizah Hanum menyatakan bahawa EAIC akan menyiasat kematian Dharmendran dan R Jamesh Ramesh yang juga mati di bawah tahanan polis di Pulau Pinang. Bagaimanapun hanya R. Jamesh Ramesh sahaja laporan siasatan dikeluarkan oleh EAIC, itupun setelah lebih daripada setahun setengah.

Lebih mendukacitakan apabila keputusan mahkamah membebaskan empat orang pegawai polis yang menjadi suspek kes N. Dharmendran dilepaskan walaupun secara jelas terdapat kekerasan yang digunakan oleh pihak polis iaitu sehingga mengakibatkan 52 kesan kecederaan di badannya. Sehingga hari ini, pihak EAIC tidak mengeluarkan sebarang laporan terhadap kematian N. Dharmendran.

Jika diukur dalam bentuk peratusan sepanjang penubuhan EAIC hanya menyiasat sebanyak 2.86% kes sahaja dibandingkan dengan jumlah kes kematian dalam tahanan yang direkodkan oleh Suaram. Ini sudah agak jelas menunjukkan bahawa EAIC tidak efektif dalam menanggani masalah salahguna kuasa oleh pihak polis.

Pada 20 Oktober 2014 yang lepas, Panel Penasihat Perundingan dan Pencegahan Rasuah (PPPR) Suruhanjaya Pencegahan Rasuah Malaysia (SPRM) meminta Polis Diraja Malaysia (PDRM) melihat semula cadangan penubuhan Suruhanjaya Bebas Integriti Polis (IPIC) yang pernah dikemukakan pasukan itu sebelum ini semasa kunjungan rasmi di Bukit Aman.

Tan Sri Johan Jaafar yang juga merupakan Pengerusi PPPR turut mencadangkan agar Bahagian Displin dan Integriti Polis dikembangkan kepada Bahagian Hal Ehwal Dalaman yang fokus memainkan peranan dalam menangani rasuah. Tan Sri Johan juga percaya bahagian ini boleh memainkan peranan yang penting bagi mengawasi dan memantau sebarang bentuk salahlaku, penyalahgunaan kuasa dan rasuah di dalam pasukan polis.

Bagaimanapun di peringkat SUARAM, saranan seperti Jabatan Integriti dan Pematuhan Standard (JIPS) di dalam pasukan polis ataupun Suruhanjaya Bebas Integriti Polis (IPIC) tidak akan efektif kerana amat sukar bagi polis menyiasat polis sendiri, terutamanya jikalau kes-kes salahguna kuasa atau rasuah melibatkan pegawai-pegawai polis atasan, termasuk Ketua Polis Negara. SUARAM percaya bahawa kewujudan JIPS hanya “indah khabar dari rupa” dan tidak efektif.

Ini disebabkan, kebarangkalian kes salah laku polis disenyapkan dan disembunyikan adalah tinggi.  Tan Sri Johan berpendapat Suruhanjaya Bebas Integriti Polis (IPIC) mampu memainkan peranan yang sama keberkesannya dengan Suruhanjaya Bebas Aduan dan Salah Laku Polis (IPCMC). Persoalannya, IPIC adalah cadangan daripada pihak polis manakala IPCMC merupakan cadangan Suruhanjaya Diraja (RCI). Sekiranya benar IPIC memainkan peranan sama seperti IPCMC mengapa tidak ditubuhkan sahaja IPCMC?

Bagaimanapun terdapat dua kes yang mendapat maklum balas positif daripada pihak Mahkamah Koroner iaitu kematian P Chandran dan Karuna Nithi. Kedua-dua kes ini telah diputuskan bahawa terdapat kelemahan pihak polis sehingga menyebabkan kematian mangsa. SUARAM tidak berpandangan bahawa mesti pihak polis disalahkan barulah sesuatu kes itu dianggap adil tetapi bagaimanapun pihak SUARAM mengharapkan setiap kes perlu didedahkan kepada masyarakat awam supaya pengurusan kes lebih telus.

Apabila berlakunya kes kematian dalam tahanan kebiasaannya pihak polis akan melaporkan bahawa tidak terdapat kesan kecederaan fizikal dan mayat dihantar untuk bedah siasat. Bagaimanapun pihak polis tidak memberikan sebarang maklumat terbaru kepada masyarakat berkaitan dengan keputusan bedah siasat yang dijalankan. Ini adalah satu perkara yang sewajarnya tidak dipandang enteng oleh pihak polis.

Kes kematian dalam tahanan terus meningkat dengan pantas tetapi perubahan yang cuba dilakukan oleh pihak polis dan kerajaan nampaknya terlalu perlahan. Kita memerlukan satu mekanisme yang mandiri untuk memantau dan mengadili pihak polis supaya setiap kes yang berlaku tidak disenyapkan begitu sahaja. Mekanisme yang sepatutnya diwujudkan adalah IPCMC dan tidak sewajarnya pihak polis memberikan pelbagai alasan untuk menidakkan pentingnya wujud IPCMC.

Pada masa yang sama Mahkamah Koroner perlu terus diperkasa dan diperbaiki dari semasa ke semasa kerana ianya adalah satu mekanisme yang baik untuk mengadili kes kematian dalam tahanan. Perlu juga lebih ramai hakim dilatih untuk mengadili kes kematian dalam tahanan kerana kes seperti ini merupakan kes kepentingan awam dan memerlukan analisa yang kritikal daripada pihak yang mahu mengadili dengan adil dan saksama.

Untuk sebarang maklumat lanjut sila hubungi:

Tarmizi Anuwar

Koordinator Hak Untuk Keadilan

+60136848313

[email protected]