Memorandum SUHAKAM

SUARA RAKYAT MALAYSIA(SUARAM) & GERAKAN MANSUHKAN ISA (GMI)
ADUAN SALAHGUNA KUASA POLIS DAN TUNTUTAN SATU PENYIASATAN TERBUKA TERHADAP PIHAK POLIS.

12 OGOS 2010

Kami dari SUARAM (Suara Rakyat Malaysia) bersama dengan Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI) dan para tahanan yang ditahan pada 1 Ogos 2010 lalu ingin membuat aduan pada hari ini terhadap pasukan Polis DiRaja Malaysia (PDRM) yang dipimpin oleh Ketua Polis Negara Tan Sri Musa Hassan kerana telah menyalahgunakan pasukan polis dan Light Strike Force (LSF) pada 1 Ogos 2010 dalam satu program Vigil yang aman dan teratur.

1.0 ANTI ISA VIGIL SEMPENA 50 TAHUN ISA
Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI) telah mengumumkan kepada media bahawa satu program Vigil Lilin serentak akan diadakan pada 1 Ogos 2010 sempena 50 tahun ISA[1]. GMI bersama dengan kumpulan NGO yang lain seperti SUARAM, Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (JERIT), Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM), Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM), Parti Islam Semalaysia (PAS), Jamaah Islah Malaysia (JIM), Student Democratic Movement (DEMA) dan Solidariti Mahasiswa Malaysia (SMM) telah membuat perancangan untuk mengadakan program tersebut pada 1 Ogos 2010, pukul 8.00 malam serentak di beberapa tempat di Malaysia sejak bulan Jun yang lalu.

Vigil Anti ISA serentak yang diadakan di Petaling Jaya (Selangor), Pulau Pinang, Perak, Kedah, Kelantan, Negeri Sembilan, Johor, Sabah dan Sarawak adalah untuk menuntut agar kerajaan mansuhkan ISA dengan segera, bukan hanya pinda, kerana ia adalah sebuah akta yang membenarkan penahanan tanpa bicara dan ianya mencabuli hak asasi manusia untuk mendapat perbicaraan yang adil.

2.0 POLIS: PEMENANG ANUGERAH PENCABUL HAK ASASI RAKYAT
Sempena dengan 50 tahun ISA, GMI telah memaklumkan tentang program ini kepada Jawatankuasa Hak Asasi Manusia, Majlis Peguam Malaysia; Pusat Bantuan Guaman; SUHAKAM dan juga kepada Ketua Polis Negara, Tan Sri Musa Hassan. (Sila Lihat Lampiran 1)
Pada 1 Ogos Timbalan Ketua Polis Negara, Tan Sri Ismail Omar telah memberi amaran kepada orang awam supaya jangan menyertai[2] Vigil aman ini walaupun notis pemberitahuan sudah diberikan kepada KPN pada 28 Julai 2010. Malah, semua tempat yang dirancang untuk diadakan Vigil telah disekat oleh pihak Polis dengan sepenuhnya walaupun kebanyakan tempat-tempat tersebut adalah tempat persendirian. Misalnya, di Padang Timur Petaling Jaya, pihak polis telah menutup keseluruhan padang tersebut walaupun pihak penganjur mempunyai permit yang diluluskan oleh Majlis Bandaraya Petaling Jaya (MBPJ) (Lihat lampiran 2). Amaran dan perbuatan menutup jalanraya dan tempat pertemuan adalah sesuatu yang tidak masuk akal dan sekaligus melanggari hak asasi rakyat untuk berkumpul secara aman seperti yang termaktub dalam Artikel 10, Perlembagaan Persekutuan.

Pada jam 8.00 malam 1 Ogos, kebanyakan negeri telah menghadapi intimidasi yang tinggi daripada pihak Polis. Namun, ”Pemenang/Champion” sebenar pencabulan Hak Asasi pada hari tersebut adalah OCPD Petaling Jaya, ASP Arjunaidi Mohamed. Beliau telah menunjukkan sikap yang tidak profesional dalam menangani situasi pada hari tersebut. Beliau[3] langsung tidak memberikan masa yang mencukupi untuk memberikan laluan kepada pihak penganjur untuk beredar secara aman. Malah, beliau sebenarnya tidak tahu proses untuk menyuraikan para peserta. Beliau menggunakan LSF untuk menyuraikan para peserta yang berada dalam keadaan aman.

Walaupun Majlis Peguam Malaysia dan SUHAKAM berada di sana sebagai pemantau namun pihak Polis tidak mempunyai tanggungjawab dan kepekaan terhadap hak asasi manusia.

2.1 ANTARA KESALAHAN YANG DILAKUKAN OLEH PIHAK POLIS DAN SALAH DI SISI HAK ASASI MANUSIA ADALAH SEPERTI BERIKUT:

1. Kebanyakan rakyat yang hadir telah dikasari, ada yang dipukul, dicederakan dan kekerasan digunakan serta seramai 39 orang ditangkap di seluruh negara tanpa sebab yang munasabah. Insiden penangkapan ini berlaku di Petaling Jaya[4], Kelantan dan Pulau Pinang[5].

2. Ini termasuk dua juvana di bawah umur (di Petaling Jaya dan Kelantan) ditahan selama beberapa jam di balai Polis.

3. Membuat tangkapan yang berniat jahat seperti menahan mereka yang memakai baju t-shirt berwarna merah dan hitam.

4. Salahguna kuasa oleh pihak polis yang tidak memaklumkan kepada pihak peguam atau pun orang kena tahan bahawa mereka ditahan.

5. Penggunaan LSF yang sangat keterlaluan menyebabkan para peserta mempunyai kesukaran untuk bergerak serta mengganggu orang awam yang berada di sekitar tempat perhimpunan

6. Pihak polis turut menyukarkan orang awam dengan membuat sekatan jalan di semua kawasan di seluruh negara yang menganjurkan vigil Anti ISA

7. Pihak polis turut mengancam mengambil kenyataan daripada para peguam yang mewakili orang kena tahan. Ini adalah satu pencabulan hak asasi yang serius dan initimidasi polis yang keterlaluan.

8. Wartawan Harakah suami dan isteri serta anak mereka yang berumur 16 tahun turut ditahan semasa menjalankan tugas mereka sebagai wartawan yang membuat liputan di Kelantan.

2. 2 BERIKUT ADALAH INFOMASI TEMPAT-TEMPAT YANG MENGANJURKAN VIGIL DAN MENGALAMI PENANGKAPAN:

Bilangan ditahan/initimidasi polis Lapor balik kepada polis
Selangor
Dataran MBPJ, Padang Timur [6]
• Seramai 400 orang hadir di PJ
• Seramai 29 orang ditahan termasuk juvana bawah umur
• Ramai yang dikasari dan dipukul oleh polis (Lampiran 3: Disertakan Video) Perlu lapor di Mahkamah pada 16hb Ogos 2010

Penang Speakers Square[7]
• Seramai 5 orang ditahan
• Terpaksa menukar tempat lain kerana intimidasi polis yang tinggi
• Dikasari oleh polis Perlu lapor di Mahkamah pada 14 Ogos 2010

Perak Dataran Bandaraya Ipoh
• Seramai 200 orang hadir diIpoh
• Tiada tangkapan tapi initimidasi polis sangat teruk sehingga terpaksa menukar tempat lain untuk teruskan Vigil .Tiada

Kedah Dataran Zero KM, Sungai Petani • Tiada tangkapan tapi initimidasi polis sangat teruk sehingga terpaksa menukar tempat lain untuk teruskan Vigil. Tiada

Kelantan Taman Hijau, Jalan Sultanah Zainab, Kelantan
• Seramai 30 orang menyertai Vigil
• 5 orang ditahan termasuk dua wartawan Harakah dan kanak-kanak bawah umur yang 16 tahun. Lapor kepada polis pada 1 September 2010

Seremban Dataran Seremban
• Seramai 100 orang menyertai di Seremban
• Tiada tangkapan tapi initimidasi polis sangat teruk sehingga terpaksa menukar tempat lain untuk teruskan Vigil. Tiada

Johor Plaza Seni, Johor Bahru
• Tiada gangguan yang teruk melainkan beberapa amaran untuk bersurai dengan awal
• Vigil dijalankan tanpa sebarang gangguan yang teruk dan di tempat yang dirancang, Tiada

Sibu No. 25, Pusat Tanah Wang, Jalan Perdada, 96000 Sibu, Sarawak • Tiada gangguan yang teruk melainkan beberapa amaran untuk bersurai dengan awal
• Vigil dijalankan tanpa sebarang gangguan yang teruk dan di tempat yang dirancang Tiada

Kuching Lots 468-469, Bangunan Al Idrus Commercial Centre, Jalan Satok, 93400Kuching.
• Tiada gangguan yang teruk melainkan beberapa amaran untuk bersurai dengan awal
• Vigil dijalankan tanpa sebarang gangguan yang teruk dan di tempat yang dirancang, Tiada

2.3 PERLEMBAGAAN PERSEKUTUAN VS AKTA POLIS
Pihak Polis sekali lagi telah melanggar hak asasi dan juga menyalahguna kuasa dengan menggunakan keganasan dan kekasaran terhadap para peserta Vigil Anti ISA. Kerajaan gagal untuk melihat kepentingan dan kebebasan rakyat Malaysia yang menggunakan ruang demokrasi mereka untuk berkumpul secara aman seperti yang termaktub dalam Artikel 10 Perlembagaan Persekutuan Negara. Malah penggunaan Akta Polis khasnya seksyen 27 (Perhimpunan Haram) adalah amat bertentangan dengan perlembagaan Persekutuan.
Kami ingin imbas kembali pendirian yang diambil oleh SUHAKAM semasa kejadian Lebuhraya Kesas (2001), Bloody Sunday di KLCC (2006), serta insiden Bandar Mahkota Cheras (2008). Salah satu pendirian dan cadangan yang disarankan oleh SUHAKAM semasa penyiasatan umum kejadian Bloody Sunday di KLCC[8] adalah pihak penganjur hanya perlu memberikan notis awal kepada pihak polis berkenaan dengan sebarang perhimpunan aman seperti yang termaktub dalam Deklarasi Hak Asasi Sejagat Manusia (UDHR).

Penggunaan LSF secara rambang adalah satu tindakan yang tidak releven dan seharusnya boleh dielakkan sekiranya pegawai polis bersedia untuk berunding dengan pihak penganjur. Pihak polis melakukan pelbagai kesalahan atas nama ketenteraman awam dan menurut arahan. Antara kesalahan yang mereka sering lakukan adalah menghalang perhimpunan awam, hak untuk mendapatkan khidmat peguam, menahan juvana dan kanak-kanak, dan penyeksaan terhadap tahanan. Namun mereka tidak sekalipun berubah selepas setiap kesalahan yang dilakukan oleh mereka sentiasa dikritik secara nasional dan antarabangsa.

3.0 PERKARA YANG PERLUKAN PERHATIAN
SUARAM dan GMI amat mengalu-alukan inisiatif SUHAKAM yang telah turun sebagai pemantau semasa program Vigil Anti ISA di Petaling Jaya. Ini adalah suatu langkah yang amat progresif dan perlu diteruskan. Malah kami juga menyokong kenyataan akhbar yang bertarikh 3 Ogos 2010[9] yang dikeluarkan oleh SUHAKAM sejurus selepas insiden tersebut bahawa pihak polis tidak memberikan masa yang secukupnya untuk bersurai dan menyifatkan tindakan polis sebagai pencabulan Hak Asasi.
Sehubungan itu, kami ingin membawa perhatian SUHAKAM kepada beberapa isu yang memerlukan tindakan segera:

1. Penyalahgunaan kuasa oleh Polis semasa menyuraikan para peserta semasa perhimpunan Vigil:

a. Menggunakan LSF (khasnya di Petaling Jaya) secara ganas dan kasar semasa menyuraikan para peserta
b. Penangkapan dibuat secara ganas dan kasar
c. Wartawan Harakah ditahan di Kelantan adalah mala fide
d. Sesiapa yang memakai baju warna merah dan hitam menjadi sasaran
e. Semua penahanan di Petaling Jaya, Pulau Pinang dan Kelantan adalah tidak releven dan mala fide

2. Kebebasan untuk Berhimpun dirampas
a. Polis menutup jalan ke arah semua kawasan yang dirancang untuk mengadakan vigil
b. Amaran daripada Timbalan Ketua Polis Negara yang melarang orang awam menyertai Vigil adalah tindakan yang melampau dan melambangkan pihak polis tidak mendukung prinsip Hak Asasi dan Demokrasi.
c. Penangkapan orang awam dan penganjur Vigil sebelum program bermula.

3. Peguam diinitimidasi oleh Polis
a. Sekumpulan peguam daripada Majlis Peguam Malaysia, Pusat Bantuan Guaman dan Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) yang mahu mewakili anak guam mereka diganggu pihak Polis dengan pihak peguam juga diminta memberikan keterangan.

4. Hak Kanak-kanak dirampas
a. Dua juvana di bawah umur di tahan selama beberapa jam di balai Polis (di Petaling Jaya dan Kelantan). Pihak Polis telah melanggari peruntukan dalam Akta Kanak-kanak seksyen 19(5) dengan tidak memaklumkan kepada Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat tentang penahanan kanak-kanak bawah umur.
b. Malaysia telah menandatangani Konvensyen Hak Kanak-kanak (Pertubuhan Bangsa-bangsa Bersatu) yang bertanggungjawab dalam memastikan bahawa hak kanak-kanak yang ditahan atau berada dalam penahanan polis harus dijaga dengan rapi. Namun, ianya dilanggari oleh Polis apabila mereka tidak mengambil inisiatif untuk maklumkan kepada ibu bapa atau Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat.

4.0 TUNTUTAN KAMI
SUARAM dan GMI berpendirian bahawa penindasan, penyalahgunaan kuasa dan keganasan Polis semasa Vigil di seluruh negara adalah kesalahan Hak Asasi yang teruk dan mereka harus dibawa ke muka pengadilan.
Oleh itu, kami ingin menggesa SUHAKAM agar:

1. Melaksanakan Penyiasatan Umum dan terbuka terhadap kesalahan dan tindakan Polis yang melampau pada 1 Ogos 2010.
2. Memberikan laporan akhir kepada Kerajaan Malaysia untuk mengambil tindakan disiplin terhadap pihak Polis yang melakukan kesalahan dan tindakan melampau mereka ke atas para peserta.
3. Memberikam tekanan kepada Kerajaan Malaysia untuk mengkaji kembali Kanun Keseksaan (Penal Code) dan Akta Polis 1967 dan mencadangkan kepada mereka agar membuang semua bahagian yang menghadkan kebebasan berhimpun dan bersuara.
4. Meneruskan kerja pemantauan dalam setiap perhimpunan aman. Malah pada masa yang sama, kami juga ingin menggesa SUHAKAM untuk lebih proaktif dengan cuba menjadi orang tengah antara pihak penganjur dan pihak Polis sebelum sebarang perhimpunan supaya boleh mengurangkan tekanan antara Polis dan pihak penganjur.
5. Mengambil inisiatif untuk mengaktifkan Bahagian Human Rights Defenders dalam SUHAKAM dan melindungi semua aktivis dan pendukung Hak Asasi daripada seringkali menjadi mangsa keganasan, kekasaran dan intimidasi polis dan kerajaan.
Diserahkan Oleh,
Nalini Elumalai, Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh, Pengerusi Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI)

________________________________________
[1] http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/138332
[2] http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2010/8/1/nation/6776657&sec=nation
[3] http://www.klik4malaysia.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3660%3Anationwide-anti-isa-rally-in-conjuction-with-50-years-of-isa-success-despite-of-police-brutality&catid=94%3Asuaram&Itemid=195〈=en
[4] http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/138896
[5] http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/Police-break-up-anti-ISA-vigils-arrest-30-in-PJ-3-in-Penang/
[6] http://www.aliran.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1435:anti-isa-vigils-held-across-the-nation&catid=63:gmi&Itemid=48
[7] http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/Police-break-up-anti-ISA-vigils-arrest-30-in-PJ-3-in-Penang/
[8] Suhakam (2006) ‘Report of Suhakam Public Inquiry Into the Incident at KLCC on 28 May 2006’.
[9] http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2010/8/3/nation/20100803145014&sec=nation

Federal Court Decision on Former ISA Detainee Abdul Malek Husin: A Negative Development on Human Rights Development in Malaysia

Press Statement: 12 August 2010

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) expresses its grave disappointment and expresses serious concern over the Federal Court judgment today which overturned a RM2.5 million award to former Internal Security Act (ISA) detainee Abdul Malek Husin following an appeal by the Malaysian government.

The Federal court reversed the High Court decision and the Federal Court has upheld the Court of Appeal ruling to overturn a High Court decision his suit against the government. The Federal Court thus ruled that Malek Husin will not receive the damages awarded to him by the High Court and ordered Malek Husin instead to pay RM20, 000 in costs. It’s a total setback to the former detainee and also for the rest of the Malaysians. He was detained without trial for 57days under the ISA; he was tortured, beaten up & now to pay costs RM 20k. Something is really wrong with our judges and judiciary system in Malaysia!

Suaram is of the view that the judgement sets a negative bench mark on human rights development in Malaysia as the court refuse to even hear a fundamental question pertaining Article 5 of the Federal Constitution as it went on to reject the leave application citing Court of Judicature Act. Suaram feels that courts failed to exercise its jurisdiction to address fundamental constitutional rights and civil liberties by choosing to adopt technical grounds per se.

The judgement reaffirms the current worsening culture of impunity and torture by further granting a 20,000 RM cost over a public interest litigation seeking justice over his rights and fundamental liberties that was purportedly violated by the most notorious undemocratic law of the nation. The message sent by the courts is that the only mechanism available to make police actions accountable is laden with risk of reverse punishment in form of a cost. Suaram views that all public interest litigations should not burden litigants with cost or fear of cost in addressing the legal remedy over one’s Constitutional rights and freedom.

The Federal not only refused to hear a question of fundamental rights enshrined in the Federal Constitution but it also went on to punish the person for raising it. The judgement is the biggest blow to our judicial integrity since the controversial Lingam Tape and the controversial appointment of UMNO linked lawyer Tan Sri Zaki Azmi as the Chief Justice of Malaya.

Court Rules In Favour of Human Rights Violators!

SUARAM also views this as another dire attempt by the government to defend the indefensible ISA which allows detention without trial. It is a known fact that all ISA detainees are subjected to severe psychological torture and put in solitary confinement in their 60 days detention. Detention without trial for such a long period without any access to lawyers, family and the outside world is itself a cruel maltreatment to the detainees. Many amongst them, like Male Husin, have been subjected to physical torture while in detention.

Malaysia Accepts Torture?

The Federal Court judgement today, rejecting the findings of the High Court that Abdul Malek was indeed tortured while in detention, did nothing more than to reaffirm the acceptance of torture in the country not only by the Malaysian government – which has still to date refused to ratify the UN’s Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) – but also by the Malaysian judiciary!

SUARAM strongly urges the Malaysian government to immediately ratify the CAT. SUARAM finds no reason for the refusal of the government to do so but for its acceptance of torture as a punishment in the country!

Abolish the ISA!

The absence of judicial checks and balances in ISA detentions has also exacerbated the abuses of power by the police who can get away with impunity. Malaysia cannot call itself a democratic country when there is such a law that permits detention without trial and gross violation of human rights.

SUARAM reiterates its demand that the government abolishes the ISA frees all detainees or accords them a fair trial. SUARAM stands strongly against any law that provides for detention without trial.

Last but not least, SUARAM reaffirms that it will build on the struggles, sacrifices and perseverance of the numerous courageous ex-ISA detainees and their families who have stood up against the draconian law. With the support of the people, SUARAM will continue the struggle until the ISA is finally abolished.

Released by,

Nalini, E.
SUARAM Coordinator

Background

Abdul Malek Husin was arrested on the night of September 25, 1998 after addressing a demonstration earlier that afternoon in Masjid Negara. He accused the police of severely assaulting him, physically and mentally.

In the past trial, Malek Husin told the court that he was slapped by the respondent, Borhan bin Haji Daud when he was arrested. Then he was stripped naked and blindfolded during the interrogation period. He was physically assaulted for about 60 times, beaten-up and hit hard on the head until he passed out. He was also forced to swallow liquid with terrible stench, which deemed to be urine. His interrogators also threatened to inject him with the HIV/AIDs virus.

Malek Husin filed his suit civil suit in March 1999, naming special branch officer Borhan Daud, the then police chief Abdul Rahim Noor and the government as respondents. On 18 October 2007, then Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Mohd Hishamudin Mohd Yunus, ruled that Malek Husin’s detention during the Reformasi demonstrations in 1998, were made in bad faith under Article 5 of the Federal Constitution. He was rewarded RM 2.5 Million for the damages.

On the 25th March, The Court of Appeal’s convened by a panel of three judges, reversed the High Court decision and ruled that Malek Husin detention was lawful and rejected his allegations of torture while in custody. The Court of Appeal thus ruled that Malek Husin will not receive the damages awarded to him by the High Court and ordered Malek Husin instead to pay RM50, 000 in costs.

SUHAKAM’s Positive Efforts Must Continue

SUARAM commends the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) for sending an official monitoring team to the Anti ISA candlelight vigil on 1 August 2010 at Padang Timur Dataran MBPJ, Petaling Jaya. This was in response to an earlier request by SUARAM and Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI) to send a monitoring team for the vigil. The vigil was held to commemorate the passing of the Internal Security Act (ISA) 50 years ago and to call for the abolition of the ISA.

SUARAM notes that SUHAKAM Commissioners James Nayagam and Muhammad Sha’ani, accompanied by their five officers, were present before the vigil began and also at the Petaling Jaya police headquarters where those arrested were brought. They continued monitoring at the police station until the last person was released at approximately 4.50am.

This is indeed a positive step forward following SUHAKAM’s refusal to do the same exactly one year ago, in the massive anti-ISA rally in August 2009, which subsequently saw 589 individuals being arrested.

Such renewed efforts in SUHAKAM’s work is indeed welcomed and is especially timely in view of the continued occurrence of grave violations of human rights in the country. SUHAKAM’s latest effort is a glimpse of what the Human Rights Commission that Malaysia could and ought to do to fulfil its mandate as a credible national human rights institution and expected role as a public defender of human rights.

Notwithstanding this, SUARAM expresses concern over the government’s disregard of SUHAKAM’s previous recommendations. The arrests made during the anti-ISA candlelight vigil on 1 August 2010 were the latest of the many instances of the government’s refusal to comply with SUHAKAM’s numerous recommendations on peaceful assembly, including those contained in the Commission’s reports of its public inquiries on the cases of the Kesas Highway incident (2001), the “Bloody Sunday” incident in KLCC (2006), and the Bandar Mahkota Cheras incident (2008). In the report of the public inquiry into the “Bloody Sunday” incident, for example, SUHAKAM recommended that “peaceful assemblies should be allowed to proceed without a license”. However, through the excessive use of force by the police and FRU personnel in dispersing participants of the candlelight vigil and previous peaceful assemblies, it is evident that SUHAKAM’s repeated recommendations to the Government have fallen on deaf ears.

SUARAM thus strongly calls upon the police and the Malaysian Government to respect SUHAKAM’s decisions and actions following the Anti ISA vigil and to implement all recommendations made by SUHAKAM.

Encouraged by the positive efforts by SUHAKAM, SUARAM lastly urges the Commission to revisit all recommendations made to the government with increased vigour. SUHAKAM must ensure that its improved efforts in the protection and promotion of human rights do not end with this instance.

OPEN LETTER

Arjunaidi Mohamed
Ketua Polis Daerah Petaling Jaya
Ibupejabat Polis DaerahPetaling Jaya
Polis Diraja Malaysia
Petaling Jaya
Jalan Penchala
46050 Selangor
Tel: 03-79662222
Fax: 03-79548740
5 August 2010

Sir,

We are writing to you to express our outrage and our strongest condemnation over the brutality and misuse of power by your personnel at the Anti ISA candlelight vigil on 1st August 2010 at Padang Timur MBPJ, Petaling Jaya. The candlelight vigil organised by Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI)

On 1st August, 29 persons were arrested at around Amcorp Mall Petaling Jaya and IPD Petaling Jaya for exercising their right to assemble peacefully as guaranteed under the Federal Constitution. As the Officer in Charge of Police District (OCPD) Petaling Jaya, your violent and heavy handed tactics in dispersing the peaceful assembly was highly unprofessional and uncalled for. Instead of acceding to the organisers’ request to negotiate terms for the vigil and providing time for the crowd to disperse peacefully, you ordered your officers to move in forcibly on the crowd which resulted in a situation of chaos and fear. In your arrogance, you even denied the legitimacy of the permit given by the Majlis Bandaraya Petaling Jaya (MBPJ) to the organisers.

Violence was brutally deployed when your officers moved in to arrest participants of the vigil. Those arrested were shoved, beaten, slapped, dragged, choked and verbally abused by your police officers. Even women were not exempt from the violence. Such extreme use of violence was highly unnecessary as those arrested would have cooperated when informed that they were being arrested. You exercised your powers arbitrarily and as such, you are to be blamed for the human rights violations that occurred on that night.

In addition to that, we condemn your various intimidation tactics such as deploying water cannon trucks and the Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) to frighten the good citizens who gathered outside the District Police Headquarters (IPD) Petaling Jaya in solidarity with those arrested. Vindictively, you also arrested another 3 individuals outside the IPD and deployed traffic police in the wee hours of the morning to summon the vehicles of those who were waiting outside the police station for the arrested to be released. However, we regard the intimidation of the highest order to be your action to compel the lawyers representing those arrested to give a separate witness statement. We condemn outright violation of the right to seek counsel and the rights of the lawyer when representing their clients.

Even though Section 27 of the Police Act provides police with arbitrary powers to allow or refuse permits for public gatherings, this provision is in contravention of Article 10 of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia which guarantees civil liberties with regards to the right to assembly and free speech.

As an OCPD, you should be ashamed of yourself for being a poor example as a leader to the younger and lower ranking police officers under your charge. As a member and leader of the police force, you should be setting an example to the officers under your charge by respecting fundamental human rights in your endeavours to protect the public from crimes. Contrary to this, you have shown not just your officers but the people of Malaysia that you exercise control over the public by inflicting fear and terror.

Due to the above, SUARAM demands that you publicly apologise to the participants of the candlelight vigil, those who were abused by your officers and the lawyers whom you have intimidated. We also urge you not to press charges against those who were arrested as they were merely exercising their Constitutional rights to assemble peacefully.

Like the activists and participants of the candlelight vigil, you are also a citizen of Malaysia. We believe that you would equally benefit from the preservation of the right to assembly and free speech that are essential in a democratic society.

Thank you.
Sincerely,
Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)

NATIONWIDE ANTI ISA RALLY IN CONJUCTION WITH 50 YEARS OF ISA: SUCCESS DESPITE OF POLICE BRUTALITY!

PRESS STATEMENT: 2 AUGUST 2010

NATIONWIDE ANTI ISA RALLY IN CONJUCTION WITH 50 YEARS OF ISA:  SUCCESS DESPITE OF POLICE BRUTALITY!

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) and Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI) strongly condemns the abuse of police powers in cracking down on peaceful Anti ISA candlelight vigils held simultaneously at several states such as Selangor, Penang, Perak, Kedah, Kelantan, Negeri Sembilan, Johor, Sabah and Sarawak.

POLICE BRUTALITY – A NEVER ENDING STORY!

The nationwide Anti ISA vigil was organized by GMI and SUARAM to oppose the Internal Security Act (ISA) in conjunction with the 50th anniversary since the ISA was enacted on 1st of August 1960. In total, 38 participants were arrested during the Anti ISA vigil including GMI Chairperson, Syed Ibrahim, and SUARAM Coordinators Nalini Elumalai, Ong Jing Cheng, Kohila (Secretariat Member), Choo Chon Kai (Penang Branch Secretariat Member) and Arutchelvan (Director of SUARAM). Although this number is comparatively lower than the Anti ISA Rally last year when 589 people including minors were arrested; the 38 arrests by the police yesterday were unnecessary as it was a peaceful vigil.

The police in Petaling Jaya, Penang and Kelantan were far more brutal and arrogant compared to the other states. Although intimidation by the police occurred in other states, the real “champion” of the brutality was the Petaling Jaya Police Chief Arjunaidi Mohamed. Arjunaidi was arrogant and completely unprofessional when dealing with the crowd. He did not allow time for the crowd to disperse or to put it bluntly; he did not know the proper process to disperse a peaceful assembly. In addition, his police officers were brutal and violent when arresting participants. Although the Bar Council and SUHAKAM Commissioners were monitoring the situation at the vigil, the actions of the police proved that they had complete disregard for the basic human rights.

These arrests are a case of abuse of power by the government machineries and a failure to protect and uphold the fundamental rights enshrined in the Federal Constitution. We are deeply shocked and disturbed by this blatant transgression of the rule of law.

THE ISA SHOULD BE REPEALED WITH IMMEDIATE EFFECT

Facing widespread criticism both at home and abroad, the ISA has badly damaged Malaysia’s reputation and this lead the government to finally propose a review of the ISA. However, it is clear that they have no intention of relinquishing this formidable and invaluable crutch of power. They are going all out to sell the idea of amendment, rather than repeal. Considering the history of the ISA, it seems very likely that these amendments will be minor and merely cosmetic, and will not achieve anything in terms of removing its elements of injustice and violation of human rights.

In conjunction with 50 years of ISA, we challenge the Prime Minister Najib Razak to abolish the ISA immediately. SUARAM and GMI will never compromise on the issue of detention without trial. All Acts which allow or have resulted in oppression, torture and abuse of people should have no place in the statutes, and should be abolished without delay. We once again remind the government that we will not stay quiet until we witness the draconian ISA abolished!

Demands Reiterated

SUARAM strongly urges the government to repeal all detention-without- trial laws as these legislations severely violate fundamental human rights. SUARAM also reiterate several other longstanding demands to the government, including:

The immediate establishment of an independent and effective oversight monitoring body to ensure accountability in the police force such as the Independent Police Commission on Misconduct and Complaints (IPCMC) as recommended by the Royal Police Commission

SUARAM and GMI also would like to take this opportunity to thank all the brave Malaysians who turned up yesterday to support the call of the abolition of the ISA. In addition, we would like extend our gratitude to SUHAKAM and Bar Council Human Rights Committee for sending official monitoring teams and finally, to the lawyers from the Bar Council Legal Aid Centre for their roles in upholding Human Rights in Malaysia.

Salam Perjuangan.

Released by,

Nalini.E
SUARAM Coordinator and GMI Secretariat