Memorandum: Global Day of Action on Military Spending

Memorandum to the Malaysian Defence Minister

By Malaysian NGOs on the Global Day of Action on Military Spending,

April 12, 2011

In 2009 alone, global military spending rose to an all-time high amount of $1.53 TRILLION! Because we encounter countless crises in today’s world -poverty, hunger, lack of education, poor health care, and environmental issues – it is essential that we come together and create a global movement focusing on what IS important: human lives and their needs. It really is up to us… if not, then who? But we must act NOW!

A Global Day of Action on Military Spending on April 12, 2011 has been organized to coincide with the release of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s (SIPRI) new annual figures on world military expenditures. On this day, people on all continents will join together in joint actions to focus public, political, and media attention on the costs of military spending and the need for new priorities. Such events will help us to build the international network around this issue.

Join us in this historic Global Day of Action on Military Spending. This day of action has been coordinated by:

The International Peace Bureau (IPB), dedicated to the vision of a World without War. IPB are a Nobel Peace Laureate (1910); over the years, 13 of its officers have been recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize. They have 320 member organisations in 70 countries, together with individual members from a global network, bring together expertise and campaigning experience in a common cause. Their current main programme centres on Sustainable Disarmament for Sustainable Development.

The Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) is a community of public scholars and organizers linking peace, justice, and the environment in the U.S. and globally. They work with social movements to promote true democracy and challenge concentrated wealth, corporate influence, and military power. As Washington’s first progressive multi-issue think tank, the IPS has served as a policy and research resource for visionary social justice movements for over four decades.

Statement by Malaysian NGOs on Military Spending, 12 April 2011

Malaysian NGOs on Military Spending are concerned about the carte blanche given to the Ministry of Defence for arms purchases while health, education and other social services are still so deplorable. The total security allocation under the Tenth Malaysia Plan is RM23 billion. Through the years, the allocation for security (internal security + defence) has been as high as 15.9% and 15.0% under the 3rd and 6th Malaysia Plans while the allocation for health has been as low as 1.6% and 1.0% under the 4th and 5th Malaysia Plans respectively. The Education Minister said recently that 600 schools in the country are in critical condition, most of these in East Malaysia.

The arms race among the Southeast Asian countries seems the most pointless after all the talk at conferences on ASEAN integration. Even so, each country’s attempt to be ahead in the race is self-defeating.

In 1997, Malaysia was described as one of “East Asia’s Big Eight” countries devoting “lavish resources” to develop its military industries. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists said that these countries – China, Japan, Taiwan,Indonesia, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia – were enhancing their capabilities in military organization, arms purchases, and military industrialization.

Malaysia’s rivalry with Singapore springs not from ideological differences but from the latter’s forced separation from the Malaysian federation in 1965, after a crisis emanating from the racial politics of their ruling classes. From this rivalry we can see how the ensuing arms race has burdened the peoples in the two countries with billions in arms spending.

Many are not aware of the rapid growth of Malaysia’s domestic military-industrial complex. The top brass of the military guard their power and privilege and this is nourished by easy access to the defence budget and the simple justification of “national security”. Today we have seen the growth of such a complex in many countries, including Malaysia. An offshoot of the arms purchases is the race to develop domestic defence equipment industries in each of the S.E. Asian countries.

It is clear that the BN Government could get away with such huge defence budgets during the last few decades because of the erosion of these safeguards in our democratic system, viz. dominance of the executive over parliament; loss of public accountability; absence of Freedom of Information legislation; inadequate separation of powers between the executive and the judiciary; poor safeguards for civil rights. The National Defence Policy is as good as giving a carte blanche to the Ministry of Defence for “deterrence and forward defence”.

The Non-Aligned Movement was founded upon the principles of peace, neutrality and impartiality to the Superpowers. A genuine non-aligned policy can therefore go a long way toward ridding us of the need to procure expensive arms.

Disarmament must ultimately be inclusive of all the nations within ASEAN. The peoples in ASEAN deserve a better quality of life compared to the status quo which is committed to an irrational arms race among the ASEAN countriesthemselves and deprives their peoples of valuable resources for social development.

Minimising the defence budget in Malaysia and throughout ASEAN can free more valuable resources into urgently needed social services and socially useful production. Wasting money on arms prevents it from being spent on health, education, clean water or other public services. It also distorts the economy and diverts resources, such as skilled labour and R&D away from alternative economic activity.

Leaders have the responsibility to initiate that fundamental change and involving everyone in that peace-building process. It involves overcoming the fears, prejudices and other contradictions that give rise to misunderstanding, violence and conflict. It involves re-ordering our financial priorities away from wasteful and destructive arms to the social well-being of all our peoples.

Facilitating greater democracy in our society also creates a culture of peace since the more that citizens have the opportunity to participate in the running of their society and the freedom to express their aspirations and criticisms, the less likely are they to take up arms to overthrow the government.

To achieve a culture of peace would require a profound reformation but reform we must. Cooperating in shared goals and nurturing positive interdependence can help to build this culture of peace. A culture of peace should be our nation’s vision. It is a vision that is only attainable in a society that respects human dignity, social justice, democracy and human rights. It is an environment that can settle conflict and differences through dialogue and democracy and not through threats and repression.

Social change will only happen when the people are mobilised in a movement for peace. Only such a movement and consciousness can divert the billions spent on unnecessary and wasteful armaments to peaceful and socially useful production. Malaysian NGOs on Military Spending have a responsibility for initiating this movement.

Signatories:

1. Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)

2. Kuala Lumpur Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH)

3. Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM)

4. Food Not Boms (FNB)

5. Parti Socialis Malaysia (PSM)

6. Community Action Network (CAN)

7. Pusat Komunikasi Masyarakat (KOMAS)

8. Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (JERIT)

9. Pusat Kesedaran Kommuniti Selangor (EMPOWER)

10. All Women Action Society (AWAM)

11. Persatuan Masyarakat Selangor & WilayaH Persekutuan (PERMAS)

12. Centre for Orang Asli Concerns (COAC)

13. Malaysia Youth & Students Democratic Movement (DEMA)

14. Child Development Initiative

15. Group of Concerned Citizens

16. Ikatan Hak Rakyat

17. Johor Tamizhar Sangam

18. Klang Consumer Association

19. Malaysian Dravidian Association

20. Malaysian Indian Business Association

21. Malaysian Indian Development & Unity Association

22. Nationwide Human Development And Research Centre

23. People Service Organization

24. Persahabatan Semparuthi

25. Persatuan Kemajuan Pendidikan Malaysia

26. Persatuan Prihatin Belia Malaysia


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Home Ministry to embark comprehensive investigation on the cause(s) of the incident.

Press Statement: 6 April 2011

Home Ministry to embark comprehensive investigation on the cause(s) of the incident.

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) urges the government, in particular, the Home Ministry to embark on comprehensive investigation on the cause(s) of the riot and detainees’ escape from the Lenggeng Detention Centre on 4th April, 2011.

According to the statement made by the Deputy Police Chief Datuk Abdul Manan Mohd. Hassan, investigations showed that the indefinite detention period, overcrowding and poor immigration management, including dissatisfaction with the food provisions were among the root causes. Also, it was stated that some of the escapees had lost patience in waiting to be resettled to a third country by United Nations of High Commissioner of Refugees (UNHCR).

SUARAM believes that there may be other contributing factors as to why the detainees had set the building on fire and escaped from the detention centre.

According to a joint investigation by SUARAM, TENAGANITA and Bar Council on a similar fire incident at the same detention centre on 21st April 2008, the abuse of power and physical abuse by Immigration officers and People’s Volunteer Corps (RELA) were the main reasons for the incident. Amongst other reasons were cramped living conditions, unhygienic living conditions, prolonged and indefinite detention periods and outbreak of diseases.

Based on the report published by the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) which was released last February, similar problems such as abuse of power, overcrowding, poor sanitation and unhygienic conditions, and indefinite detention periods are still prevalent in many Malaysian immigration detention centres. The working group visited Malaysia on its country mission from 7 to 17 June 2010.

This latest incident, which involved 109 detainees who set the building on fire and escaped from the Lenggeng Detention centre, proves that the problems highlighted by the WGAD are still occurring.

SUARAM urges the government, especially the Home Ministry to initiate a comprehensive and transparent investigation on the incident and to act on the recommendations by NGOs and the WGAD in order to ensure that detention centres are managed in line with international human rights principles. SUARAM also urges the government to investigate previous allegations of human rights violations and abuse of power by related authorities in detention centres.

SUARAM also urges the Immigration Department to immediately provide asylum seekers access to the UNHCR and to allow the UNHCR to process their asylum claims. Upon verification of their asylum claims, the Government must immediately release the asylum seekers into the UNHCR’s official care.

SUARAM strongly urges calls on the Human Rights Commission on Malaysia (SUHAKAM) to conduct an independent and open inquiry into the incident.

SUARAM further urges the government to accede both the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol to recognize and establish a domestic act to protect refugees and asylum-seekers in Malaysia.

Released by,

Andika Ab. Wahab

SUARAM

Coordinator

0163723699

ALL THOSE 52 INDIVIDUALS HAVE BEEN RELEASED!

UPDATED URGENT APPEAL: 5 DECEMBER 2010

52 individuals who have been arrested for participated in a peaceful public assembly; to protest the proposed water tariff hike in Selangor have been released around 8pm today. 50 were released from the PGA Headquarters and two other individuals have been released from Bukit Jalil police station. The two were brought to Bukit Jalil Police Station for not bringing their Identity cards (IC).

Earlier in the morning, 3 persons – Dr. Nasir Hashim (PSM Chairperson and Kota Damansara state assemblyman), S. Arutchelvan (PSM Secretary-General) and A. Sivarajan (PSM Treasurer) – were arrested even before the rally started, which was scheduled to start at 12.00 noon. They were arrested for wearing red t-shirts and on the suspicion that they might be involved in an illegal assembly. They were released around 3pm before the other arrests took place.

SUARAM condemns the brutal actions of the police, who attacked the crowd with tear gas and water cannons. SUARAM further condemns the actions of the police for their continued attacks on freedom of expression and assembly, fundamental rights guaranteed under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Federal Constitution of Malaysia.

SUARAM also would like to thank all those concern citizens who had called the police and demand for the release of the individuals.

Please continue send protest letters to IGP and to the Prime Minister to condemn the arrest and continuous assault on Freedom of Expression and assembly in Malaysia.

Released By,

Nalini.E

SUARAM Coordinator

video relate to protest today:

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=22YdfcNJGK0&feature=player_embedded’]

photos during protes: (photo’s by Abah Anas Facebook)

RELEASE ALL 52 INDIVIDUALS IMMEDIATELY!

URGENT APPEAL: 5 December 2010

The authority’s intolerance to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression continued, when the police arrested at least 52 individuals, including a 15 year old minor, in and around the vicinity of the Masjid Negara (National Mosque) in Kuala Lumpur for participating a peaceful public assembly; to protest the proposed water tariff hike in Selangor; and to hand over a memorandum to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong regarding the water issue. They have since been brought to FRU Headquarters.

Earlier in the morning, 3 persons – Dr. Nasir Hashim (PSM Chairperson and Kota Damansara state assemblyman), S. Arutchelvan (PSM Secretary-General) and A. Sivarajan (PSM Treasurer) – were arrested even before the rally started, which was scheduled to start at 12.00 noon. They were arrested for wearing red t-shirts and on the suspicion that they might be involved in an illegal assembly. Three of them were released around 3pm before the other arrests took place.

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SUARAM condemns the brutal actions of the police, who attacked the crowd with tear gas and water cannons just moments after Selangor Menteri Besar, Khalid Ibrahim and state EXCO members left in their cars to head to the Istana Negara to hand over the memorandum. Reports also indicate that the police stepped up their violent actions even as the crowd tried to disperse, resulting in some injuries among the participants of the rally. The Inspector-General of Police, Ismail Omar, even went so far as to threaten Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim with arrest if he rejoined the rally after handing over the memorandum.

The participants of the rally were finally allowed to disperse at around 3:45pm.

SUARAM further condemns the actions of the police for their continued attacks on freedom of expression and assembly, fundamental rights guaranteed under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Federal Constitution of Malaysia.

Released By,

Hasbeemasputra Abu Bakar

SUARAM Coordinator

Urgent action needed:

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 and peaceful assembly. Please also demand the Malaysian government to allow Malaysian citizen to practice their freedom of expression and assembly as stated under the Article 10 of the Federal Constitution.

Please call and/or send your protest letters to:

1. Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak,
Prime Minister of Malaysia,
Prime Minister’s Office,
Main Block, Perdana Putra Building ,
Federal Government Administrative Centre,
62502 Putrajaya , MALAYSIA
Tel: 603-8888 8000
Fax: 603-8888 3444
E-Mail: [email protected]

2. Inspector-General of Police
Tan Sri Musa Hassan
Ibu Pejabat Polis Diraja Malaysia,
50560 Bukit Aman,
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Tel: +603-2262 6015
Fax: +603-2272 5613

3. Markas Brigade Tengah Cheras,
Pasukan Gerakan Am (PGA),
43200, Cheras
Selangor
Tel: +603-9086 2222
Fax: +603-9075 6732

SAMPLE LETTER
[Letterhead of your organisation]
Inspector-General of Police
Tan Sri Ismail Omar,
Ibu Pejabat Polis Diraja Malaysia,
50560 Bukit Aman,
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Tel: +603 2262 6015
Fax: +603 2272 5613

Dear Sir,
Re: Release the 52 Persons Arrested
We are writing to you to express our outrage and our strongest condemnation over the arrests of 52 individuals at Masjid Negara (5 December 2010). They were arrested for participating in a peaceful public assembly; to protest the proposed water tariff hike in Selangor; and to hand over a memorandum to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong regarding the water issue. They have been brought to FRU Headquarters.
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 condemn the brutal actions of the police, who attacked the crowd with tear gas and water cannons just moments after Selangor Menteri Besar, Khalid Ibrahim and state EXCO members left in their cars, to head to the Istana Negara to hand over the memorandum. Reports also indicate that the police stepped up their violent actions even as the crowd tried to disperse, resulting in some injuries among the participants of the rally.
We demand the unconditional and immediate release of the 52. We also demand that the Welfare Department be involved immediately ensure the minor’s well being. We further demand that the police force should stop the assault on freedom of expression and assembly.
We would like to remind you that freedom of expression is guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as the Federal Constitution of Malaysia.
Yours sincerely,
[Name]

Shot dead by cops: Nameless no more

It has long been known that of those shot dead by police, ethnic Indians made up a disproportionate number of the fatalities. Based on the recently released statistics by the police, that is true.

rights groups on shooting deaths 041210 posingBut for the first time, details such as the age, ethnicity and nationality of almost all 279 people – citizens as well as foreign nationals – who have been killed by the police from 2000 to 2009 were today revealed by human rights groups.

Malaysiakini has earlier reported that since 2001, there had been a 17-fold surge in fatal police shootings up to 2009, when as many as 88 persons were killed by police as compared to five in 2001.

According to statistics provided by police at the sedition trial of Hindraf chief P Uthayakumar earlier this week, there were a shocking 82 cases of fatal police shootings in 2008, followed by 88 such incidences in 2009.

Revealing the statistics today were Lawyers For Liberty (LFL), Suaram and opposition political party PKR, who pointed out that of the 279 persons shot dead, 21.8 percent (61 deaths) were ethnic Indians.

Malays and Chinese, on the other hand, made up 15 percent (42) and 18.6 (52) percent respectively.

Shooting deaths according to ethnicity

2000: Malays (4); Chinese (2) Indians (0)
2001: Malays (0); Chinese (1) Indians (3)
2002: Malays (6); Chinese (12); Indians (6)
2003: Malays (2); Chinese (4); Indians (7)
2004: Malays (2); Chinese (7); Indians (1)
2005: Malays (1); Chinese (4); Indians (4)
2006: Malays (2); Chinese (0); Indians (3)
2007: Malays (3); Chinese (4); Indians (4)
2008: Malays (7); Chinese (9); Indians (11)
2009: Malays (15); Chinese (9); Indians (23)

Total: Malays (42); Chinese (52); Indians (61)

A culture of impunity

Included in the statistics issued by the police on Nov 29 were Vikines Vesuanathan shot dead in 2003 in Nilai, Negeri Sembilan; Muhamad Nir Oth (sic) killed three years later in Kepong, Kuala Lumpur; and Mohd Arifudin Mohamad who was shot dead in Kuantan, Pahang, two years ago and Rames Raman killed in 2008 in Kulim, Kedah.

They were all 19 years old. Several more were listed as having been killed at the age of 20.

In 2009, furthermore, Lobanarthan Gobi was 17 when he was killed together with 18-year old Vissvalingam Mookayah Devar in Klang.

rights group on shooting deaths 041210 n surendranAmong the more recent fatalities are the fatal shootings in April 26 of 14-year-old Aminulrasyid Amzah, and of Mohd Shamil Hafiz Shafie, 16, Mohd Khairul Nizam Tuah, 20, and Mohd Hanafi Omar, 22, on Nov 13 in Shah Alam.

Pinning the blame squarely on the police and the Home Ministry for the tragic deaths of these youths, LFL member N Surendran (right) said the only reason these yet unaccounted for killings have occurred – and many more will occur – is the unwillingness of the authorities to deal with the culture of impunity and ‘trigger-happy’ elements in the police force.

Wording it more bluntly, Surendran said: “Aminulrasyid was seven years old and in primary school, when Vikines was killed in 2003. If the authorities had taken action to prevent these extrajudicial killings since then, Aminulrasyid might be alive today.

“If they don’t put a stop to these killings happening now, children who are in kindergarten this year may in just a few years down the road end up dead from being shot by police,” the lawyer added.

rights group on shooting deaths 041210 fadiah nadwa fikriSurendran was speaking to reporters after a press conference on the issue with Suaram coordinator Lucas Yap Heng Lung, PKR’s Subang MP R Sivarasa and LFL member Fadiah Nadwa Fikri (right) at the KL-Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall in Kuala Lumpur.

Almost half killed were foreigners

Also revealed by the rights groups today was the large number of foreign nationals shot dead by police, whose cases rarely see the light of day in newspaper reports, if at all their identities are made known.

Almost half of those killed by the police in the last decade were foreign nationals – a total 121 or 43 percent.

Of these, slightly more than 40 percent (113) were Indonesians. The largest number of such fatalities took place in 2008 when 54 Indonesians (up from two in 2007) were killed by the police.

Unlike the case with the Malaysians, the majority of the Indonesians killed, or about 60 percent, were not properly identified other than by their nationality. Those unidentified are without names and age.

“In short, human beings are being shot, being bundled up, and buried somewhere without even their identities being discovered. This shows that what has taken root in the police force is lawlessness,” said Surendran.

Other nationalities who have suffered the same fate over the last 10 years, according to the statistics, are Vietnamese (5), Filipinos (1), Thai (1), and 1 African (categorised as ‘Negro’ in the police statistics).

Need to set up IPCMC now

Comparing the numbers to the incidence of police shootings in other countries, Sivarasa said the lack of an independent body in Malaysia to investigate complaints against the police and police misconduct have resulted in the rot.

In New Zealand, for example, that has a population of four million, there had been only 22 persons killed in police shootings over 70 years since 1941, said Sivarasa.

In UK, that has almost twice the population of Malaysia, there have been 48 deaths from police shootings over a period of 22 years, between 1985-2007, he added.

rights group on shooting deaths 041210 r sivarasahSivarasa (left) said the issue stems from the culture of impunity that has set into the police institution whereby a shoot-to-kill policy appears to have the consent, if not encouragement, of the upper levels of the force as well as the ruling politicians.

“This means that the police officers on the ground feel they can do whatever they want because they know they will not be held to account. Shoot, kill, and there will be no questions, no probe, so they continue.

“The inspector-general of police, the people responsible for the PDRM, will not raise these issues, and the politicians in charge – the home minister – will also not question them,” lamented the PKR leader.

NONEHe was referring to Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein’s (right) denial that there had been a surge in police shooting fatalities when asked about it earlier this week.

On the lack of transparency on the issue, Sivarasa noted that the statistics were released by deputy director of the Criminal Investigations Department Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani at Uthayakumar’s trial only after constant pressure from the latter’s lawyers and a directive from the court itself.

Sivarasa said he and the Pakatan Rakyat coalition will be raising the issue and will step up pressure on the government to put in place the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC), that was recommended by a royal commission in 2005.

news source: malaysiakini (4 Dec 2010)