SINGAPORE TRADER ARRESTED UNDER THE ISA: RELEASE OR CHARGE HIM!

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!!!
Close KEMTA!!!

Released by,

Nalini.E
GMI Secretariat and SUARAM Coordinator

PRESS STATEMENT: 9 May 2011 Asylum-Seekers trapped under poor human rights treatments in Malaysia

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]

Web: www.suaram.net

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.

Released by,

Andika Ab. Wahab

Refugee Coordinator

SUARAM

URGENT MEDIA RELEASE: 29 APRIL 2011 STOP POLICE BRUTALITY: ALLOW LEGAL ACCESS TO MUHAMAD ARIF BIN ABU SEMAH

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.

Released by,

Nalini.E
SUARAM

Legal Challenge on Taib Mahmud’s Abuse of Power on Immigration Control

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.

Endorsed by:
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

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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