May is Media Freedom Month, declares Pewaju, Suaram Penang, and Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ), which will be hosting a series of activities in Penang in support of media freedom.Continue reading ““World Press Freedom Day”in Penang”
SUARA RAKYAT MALAYSIA &
GERAKAN MANSUHKAN ISA
PRESS STATEMENT: 10 MAY 2011
SINGAPORE TRADER ARRESTED UNDER THE ISA: RELEASE OR CHARGE HIM!
Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI) and Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) express its protest and disappointment over the latest arrest of Abdul Majid Kunji Mohamad (60 years old) alleged suspicion of channeling funds and providing logistic support to a militant group in Southern Philippines and to be linked to the Islamic militant group Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). The police arrested him on the 6th of May 2011.
GMI and SUARAM strongly condemn the new arrest under the ISA. This year alone, 5 people including Abdul Majid Kunji Mohamad has been arrested under the ISA.
According to the police they have keep an eye on Abdul Majid Kunji Mohamad since he has been moved to Malaysia two years ago. We would like to know why the government invoked ISA against him now? If the police already have enough evidence against Abdul Majid Kunji Mohamad, why they never charge him in court? Seems the government and the police continuously looking for more and more labels and victims to justify the existence and usage of the ISA.
We are very concern about the condition and safety of Abdul Majid Kunji Mohamad. We urge the Government to allow the lawyers and the family to visit Abdul Majid Kunji Mohamad immediately! We also would like to invite the family of Abdul Majid Kunji Mohamad to contact GMI and SUARAM and fight for the Abdul Majid’s rights.
GMI & SUARAM views that the usage of ISA against Abdul Majid Kunji Mohamad are against the fundamental principles of human rights, justice and international human rights standards and pose and inherent danger of abuse of power particularly in terms of torture or cruel and degrading treatment of detainee.
GMI and SUARAM values that the security of the country is of utmost importance but one’s entitlement to a fair trial should not be deprived on any basis.
We strongly criticize the Government for practicing double standards on issues related to ISA. On one hand, it plans to review the ISA but on the other hand, new detention is carried out discreetly as no prior announcements were made. This incident exhibits that the ISA, is an arbitrary law and has been abused in the pretext of national security for political reasons. We urge the government to charge the said detainee in an open court; otherwise, he should be released without any delay and unconditionally.
Abolish the ISA!!!
Release all ISA detainees!!!
GMI Secretariat and SUARAM Coordinator
SUARA RAKYAT MALAYSIA
Address: 433A, Jalan 5/46, Gasing Indah,
46000 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia.
Telephone: +6 03 7784 3525
Fax: +6 03 7784 3526
Email: [email protected]
PRESS STATEMENT: 9 May 2011
Asylum-Seekers trapped under poor human rights treatments in Malaysia
Malaysia will be housing more asylum-seekers under poor human rights treatment with the implementation of the agreement to send 800 asylum seekers (to Malaysia) who previously attempted to make their way to Australia by boats. The transfer deal announced by the Malaysian and Australian governments on 7 May, will see the 800 asylum seekers sent to Malaysia in exchange for resettlement of 1,000 registered refugees every year within four years to Australia.
This strategy undertaken by the Australian government to stop the flow of asylum seekers to its country via non-legal channels does not provide any solution to the situation of asylum seekers and refugees in Malaysia. Even though the agreement will see the resettlement of 4,000 refugees from Malaysia to Australia, the agreement falls far from “burden sharing”, as mentioned by the Australian government. Instead, this move is more of a “burden transition” from Australia to Malaysia.
Malaysia already has an appalling track record of handling asylum seekers and refugees. As a state party to the 1951 Convention relating to Status of Refugees (1951 Convention), the Australian government is showing a bad example of treatment of asylum seekers and refugees to Malaysia and other states in the region that have not ratified the 1951 Convention.
This arrangement also does not take into account the realities and limitations of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) office in Malaysia. As of today, there remain thousands of asylum seekers waiting for indefinitely for their refugee status from the UNHCR. UNHCR does not have the administrative resources to effectively provide protection for refugees, including processing asylum claims as these are responsibilities that states should undertake. If the agreement takes place without any legislature and administrative reform for the recognition of refugee status and the protection of this group, it will bring greater pressure and desperation to asylum-seekers in Malaysia.
Apart from that, SUARAM is of the view that Australia has disregarded Malaysia’s record of poor treatment of asylum seekers and refugees, and status as a non-state party to the 1951 Convention and its 1967 Protocol. This joint agreement is “illegal” as Malaysian laws do not recognize both asylum-seekers and refugees but blanket them as “undocumented immigrants” and eligible to be charged under Malaysian Immigration Act 1959/63. Based on this, the Australian government is effectively violating the international customary law of non-refoulement, which prohibits the return of people to places where they may face persecution or threats to their life or freedoms.
SUARAM is of the view that the first step to a “burden sharing” solution is for Australia to urge the Malaysian government to ratify the 1951 Convention and its 1967 Protocol and/or at least to enact domestic laws to protect and promote the rights and security of asylum seekers and refugees. The Australian government cannot combat trafficking in persons with methods that disregard and violate the rights of asylum seekers and refugees.
About 142 are state parties to the both instruments, but Malaysia remains reluctant to accede it. This year (2011) marks the 60thanniversary of the 1951 Convention and it is the right time for Malaysia to accede the instruments.
SUARAM demands that the Malaysian government immediately accede the convention and protocol in order to improve and demonstrate its commitment in human rights issues. Ratifying and implementing the 1951 Convention will go a long way in the management of asylum seekers and refugees in the country.
Andika Ab. Wahab
SUARA RAKYAT MALAYSIA (SUARAM) LAWYERS FOR LIBERTY (LFL)
URGENT MEDIA RELEASE: 29 APRIL 2011
STOP POLICE BRUTALITY:
ALLOW LEGAL ACCESS TO MUHAMAD ARIF BIN ABU SEMAH
SUARAM and Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) was informed by a family member of Muhamad Arif bin Abu Semah, detained under the Emergency Ordinance (EO) since 19 March 2011 that he has been tortured badly under detention.
According to the family members and friends, Muhamad Arif has lost a lot of weight and is currently being denied access to his lawyers at the Rawang police station.
Laywer Edward Saw and Muhamad Arif’s family members went to the Rawang police station to meet him earlier today. When they arrived, the police refused to give Edward access to Muhamad Arif they had not received any instructions from IPD Gombak. Edward tried to negotiate with the police officers, but was unsuccessful. He was told to contact the officers from IPD Gombak.
Muhamad Arif’s family members only managed to spend 3 minutes each with him as the police had only allowed two family members in at a time. During one of these sessions, Fuqran, a family friend, was stopped by a plain clothes police officer, asked his identity card, had his hands restrained and was pulled him out of the room. This act shocked the family members present and the police officer disappeared without apology or explanation.
The continuing descent of the PDRM into lawlessness has been graphically demonstrated by the actions of the plain clothes officer who did not properly identify himself and acted with impunity. SUARAM and LFL condemn the brutal behaviour of the police officer and the silence of his fellow officers who did not stop or restrain him at all. This clearly illustrates the fact that the Malaysian police force is in need of an immediate and true reform.
SUARAM and LFL demands that the Inspector General of Police must:
a) Release Muhamad Arif immediately and issue a public apology to him and his family;
b) Take stern action, including criminal prosecution and disciplinary action against the policemen who assaulted and arrested Muhamad Arif and Fuqran;
c) Support the establishment of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC), to function as an independent, external oversight body to investigate complaints about police personnel and to make the police accountable for their conduct;
d) Stop the unjust practice of arresting and re-arresting under preventive detention laws;
e) undertake to respect the right of the people for unimpeded and free access to lawyers at all times;
f) Require the police especially those in plainclothes to identify themselves and display their authorisation when affecting their powers;
g) Support human rights education and training programmes, with a view of changing the attitudes and methods of law enforcement personnel.
Joint Press Statement
Legal Challenge on Taib Mahmud’s Abuse of Power on Immigration Control
We, the undersigned civil society groups, condemn in the strongest sense the denial of electoral reform activist cum political scientist Dr Wong Chin Huat’s entry into Sarawak last Friday.
It is a blatant abuse of immigration power and an insult to Sarawak’s 18-Point Agreement upon the formation of Malaysia by the Sarawak’s caretaker Chief Minister Taib Mahmud.
This and the earlier barring of native rights activist Steven Ng, on the April 3, must be challenged legally in the court. We support fully such legal action, which is now being prepared, to protect Malaysians from violation of fundamental human rights and abuse of federalism.
Wong, Ng and others who have been barred earlier like Dr Kua Kia Soong, MP Sivarasa Rasiah, Cynthia Gabriel and Tan Seng Hin, have all been served a simple notice citing Sub-section 65(1)(a) of the Immigration Act which only states that the State Government has instructed the Director of Immigration Sarawak to deny their entry, without giving any reason.
Caretaker CM Taib Mahmud has shown complete contempt of the Section 67 of the Immigration Act which specifically provides for a citizen’s right of “entering the East Malaysian State for the sole purpose of engaging in legitimate political activity”.
Dr Wong’s trip to Sarawak was to observe the state elections and convey to the Sarawakian electorate two important messages: (a) that some 200,000 Sarawakians living outside Sarawak should have the right to vote via postal ballots – a demand which has been ignored by the Election Commission; (b) that bribery in elections is an criminal offence which may bring the maximum penalty of 2 years in imprisonment and a fine of RM 5,000, and provides no exemption for government officials.
We urge the Sarawakian electorate to hold accountable Caretaker CM Taib Mahmud on denying the entry of Wong, Ng, Kua, Rasiah, Gabriel, Tan and the likes. Is Wong’s advocacy of franchise for Sarawakians and against bribery illegitimate in the eyes of Taib Mahmud?
The Sarawakian electorate should condemn Taib’s abuse of power, which has damaged Sarawak’s legitimacy in maintaining its immigration control. This power was meant in the 18-point agreement to protect Sarawak from undesirable transmigration from West Malaysia and Sabah.
1. Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections 2.0 (BERSIH 2.0)
2. Bar Council Malaysia
3. Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF)
4. Muslim Professional Forum (MPF)
5. Kong Min School Old Pupils’ Association
6. Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH)
7. Lawyers for Liberty (LfL)
8. LLG Cultural Development Centre
9. Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement (MCLM)
10. Negeri Sembilan Chinese Assembly Hall
11. Penang Chinese Independent Schools Education Society
12. Persatuan Alumni Han Chiang, Pulau Pinang
13. Persatuan Alumni Han Chiang Malaysia
14. Persatuan Kelab Kawan Pulau Pinang (Lao Yew Lian Ye Hui)
15. Pusat Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER)
16. Research for Social Advancement (REFSA)
17. Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM)
18. Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
19. The Micah Mandate
20. Community Action Network (CAN)
21. Kumpulan Anak Muda Independen (KAMI)
22. Kolektif LimaPulohB