Stop ISA Arrest Now!

PRESS STATEMENT: 13 October 2010

Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI) and Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) express its protest and disappointment over the latest arrest of seven immigration officers and two foreigners alleged for being involved in human trafficking activities (Source: Berita Harian Online). The detention of the nine under the infamous Internal Security Act (ISA) is yet another attempt by the government to legitimize the usage of detention without trial despite the public criticism and upon the Prime Minister’s public admission that the ISA is indeed problematic and need to be reviewed.

GMI & Suaram views that the usage of ISA against these individuals 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 detainees.

GMI and SUARAM strongly condemn the new arrest under the ISA. GMI and SUARAM would like to know why the government invoked ISA against them even though the country have specific law being the Human trafficking law to curb the Human trafficking activities? GMI and SUARAM values that the security of the country is of utmost importance and does not condone any human trafficking activities, but one’s entitlement to a fair trial should not be deprived on any basis.

In the interim, the Government must immediately guarantee safety of the detainees and he/she should be allowed legal assistance immediately. Under the ISA, detainees can be held for up to 60 days in secret locations and in solitary confinement, often in a windowless cell where they lose all sense of time and are at risk of torture and other ill-treatment.

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 detainees in an open court; otherwise, they should be released without any delay and unconditionally.

GMI and SUARAM urge the people of Malaysia to demand for the release of all ISA detainees and for the abolition of this unjust law left behind by the colonial masters once and for all. For 50 years the ISA has been the symbol of injustice and torture in Malaysia.

Abolish the ISA!!!

Release all ISA detainees!!!

Close KEMTA!!!

Released by,

Nalini.E

GMI Secretariat and SUARAM Coordinator

Lawyers Arrested: Police Denying Citizens The Right To Know Their Rights

Press Statement: 11 October 2010

SUARAM strongly condemns the police for the arrest and detention of 4 legal aid volunteers who were distributing pamphlets on police remand powers.

Those arrested were lawyers Jason Kong & Chan Khoon Moh; and chambering students Norashikin & Mohd Azwan, from the Bar Council’s Legal Aid Centre (LAC). They were arrested while distributing the Bar Council’s “Red Book: Police and Your Basic Rights” to members of the public at a mall in Bukit Jalil, part of the activities of the National Law Awareness Week recently launched by the Bar Council.

The four volunteers had received permission from the mall management for their leafleting but were stopped by the police officers and asked if they had a permit. After examining the “Red Book”, the police officers deemed that it was an “anti-police” publication, requested their ICs and asked them to come to IPD Sungei Besi to give their statements. They were taken to the Sungei Besi IPD around 3:00pm and were released some three hours later without charge. No statements were taken and earlier confiscated copies of the “Red Book” were returned to them

It should be noted that the police officers did not follow procedures in their questioning of the volunteers by forcibly compelling the volunteers to follow them to IPD Sungei Besi by holding onto their identification cards. This is a clear violation of police procedure, since the four of them were not suspects in any criminal case.

SUARAM is concerned with the arbitrary arrest and detention of the volunteers as it is a blatant abuse of power and shows disregard for the human rights principles enshrined in the Federal Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 19 of the UDHR states that “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; …and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media… regardless of frontiers.” Article 10(1) of the Federal Constitution also guarantees the freedom of speech and the right to assemble peacefully of every Malaysian citizen.

SUARAM is also disturbed to learn that the reason given in arresting the lawyers was having materials deemed to be “anti-police”. SUARAM is of the view that it is the right of citizens and organisations to hold and impart critical opinion on a public administration due to the fact that the police are directly accountable to the public. The practice of deeming a document “anti-police” and subjecting the persons to arrest and detention is unacceptable in a democratic country like Malaysia.

SUARAM demands that the newly appointed Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Ismail Omar to walk the talk of his 4P (Proactive, Protective, Performance-oriented and People-oriented) plan by stopping the use of intimidation by police officers in the discharge of their duties. The IGP should also ensure that police officers practice the principles of human rights in their duties and also that policing is more compliant to the standards of human rights and prescribed laws.

SUARAM also calls for the implementation of the IPCMC as recommended by the Royal Commission on Police to hold the police accountable over their abuse of power and human rights.

If anything, the PDRM should realise that any initiatives to empower citizens with the knowledge of their rights in terms of police powers would also benefit the PDRM in the long run, at the very least in lessening the instances of people impersonating police officers.

SUARAM also hopes that the irony of the lawyers’ arrest for distributing a pamphlet; launched in 2006 by de facto Law Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz; and which provides information on what to do when stopped, arrested or questioned by the police; is not lost on the IGP.

Released by,
Hasbeemasputra Abu Bakar
Coordinator

3 Arrested During Villagers’ Protest at Kampung Sungai Terentang, Rawang

 

Urgent appeal: 07 October 2010

The authorities’ intolerance towards peaceful assembly continues with the police arresting 3 persons at Kampung Sungai Terentang, Rawang. The arrest occurred at 9.30am during a protest by the villagers against the intended installation of high-tension electric cables and a transmission towerby Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB). Today, TNB brought more than a hundred staff and police personnel to Kampung Sungai Terentang, Rawang Selangor forthe planned installation.

Those arrested are currently detained at Balai Polis Rawang.

Those arrested are:

1. Wan Han Ming

2. Alex Gan

3. Kumaran

SUARAM strongly condemns the police for their continued attacks on freedom of expression, a fundamental right which is guaranteed under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Federal Constitution of Malaysia. SUARAM condemns the police for misusing their power by colluding with corporations instead of maintaining peace in this situation.

Released By,

Yap Heng Lung

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. Please also demand the Malaysian government to allow Malaysian citizen to practice their freedom of expression as stated in Federal Constitution.

Please call and send your protest letters to:

1.Balai Polis Rawang

Polis Diraja Malaysia

Rawang,

48000 Selangor.

Tel: +603-60916222

2.Ibupejabat Polis Daerah Gombak

Polis Diraja Malaysia

53100 Gombak,

Selangor.

Tel: +603-61385222

Faks: +603-61369408

3.Ibu Pejabat Polis Kontinjen Kuala Lumpur

Polis Diraja Malaysia

Jalan Hang Tuah,

51100 Kuala Lumpur

Tel: +603-21460522

Faks: +603-20726786

4.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

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 3 persons arrested

We are writing to you to express our outrage and our strongest condemnation over the arrests of the 3 individuals at Kampung Sungai Terentang, Rawang9.30am, 7 October 2010. They were arrested during a protest by the villagers when Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) brought more than a hundred workers and police personnel to Kampung Sungai Terentang, Rawang, forinstallation of high-tension electric cables and a transmission tower.

Those arrested have been brought to the Rawang district police station.

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 demand that the three are released immediately and unconditionally. We further demand that the police force should stop the assault on freedom of expression and focus on fighting of crime instead of colluding with corporations in matters such as this.

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]

10 Kumpulan masyarakat sivil menghantar surat untuk berdialog dengan Ketua Polis Negara, Tan Sri Ismail Omar

6hb Oktober, Sepuluh kumpulan masyarakat sivil telah menghantar surat perjumpaan kepada Ketua Polis Negara (KPN) dan diterima oleh wakilnya iaitu Inspektor Khairil Azuad dari Pejabat Urus Setia KPN pada pukul 11pagi hari ini. Antara kumpulan masyarakat sivil yang hadir termasuk; Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM), All Women’s Action Society Malaysia (AWAM), Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ), Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (JERIT), Pusat Komunikasi Masyarakat (KOMAS), LLG Cultural Development Centre, Persatuan Masyarakat Selangor dan Wilayah Persekutuan (PERMAS), Pusat Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER), Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM), dan Malaysia Youth and Students Democratic Movement (DEMA).
Duabelas kumpulan masyarakat sivil menghantar surat kepada KPN untuk mandapatkan satu tarikh perjumpaan dengan KPN berkenaan beberapa isu yang kami sentiasa mengambil berat. Antaranya adalah:
  1. Isu mengenai rekod hak asasi polis
  2. Isu tembak mati yang dilakukan oleh polis
  3. Kes kematian dalam tahanan polis
  4. Isu siasatan,
  5. Isu perhimpunan awam,
  6. Setakat mana cadangan-cadangan Suruhanjaya Diraja untuk menambah baik PDRM diambil kira,
  7. Penubuhan Suruhanjaya Bebas Pengaduan dan Salah Laku Polis (IPCMC) dan
  8. Isu penggunaan senjata api oleh polis.
Penyelaras SUARAM, Yap Heng Lung menyatakan bahawa mereka juga akan mengutarakan cadangan dan tuntutan keseluruhan masyarakat sivil semasa berdialog dengan KPN nanti.
Inspektor Khairil Azuad dari Pejabat Urus Setia KPN menyatakan kepada wakil Kumpulan Masyarakat bahawa pihak polis akan mengambil masa sebulan untuk memberikan maklum balas berkenaan perjumpaan dengan KPN. Tindakan susulan daripada pihak Polis akan dibuat oleh pihak SUARAM.
Dikeluarkan oleh,
Yap Heng Lung
Penyelaras SUARAM

LIFT BAN AND REPEAL THE PPPA

PRESS STATEMENT: 1 OCTOBER 2010

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) condemns the Ministry of Home Affairs’ banning of the book, ‘The March to Putrajaya – Malaysia’s New Era is at Hand’. The ministry’s secretary-general Mahmood Adam said the book, written by author Kim Quek, is “not suitable for general reading”; contains elements of “baseless accusations and speculations” against national leaders; and could incite public hatred and anger. The Home Ministry is being unreasonable and defensive by linking criticism of the ruling government with public disorder when criticism of those in power is a hallmark of a functioning democracy.

SUARAM believes that no books should be banned to prevent the circulation of ideas, and that the people should be free to seek and receive them. A representative of the book’s distributor, Gerak Budaya, said that some copies of The March to Putrajaya were seized by the authorities from a Popular Bookstore outlet in Kuantan Megamall, Pahang on 19th August. The undemocratic measure of confiscating the books is clearly a move to intimidate retailers from selling them.

SUARAM calls for an immediate lifting of the ban and the repeal of the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA), under which the ban is being imposed. Once again, application of the law is arbitrary and is being abused by the state as a political tool for hegemonic purposes rather than to maintain social order.

The government should respect Article (10) of the Federal Constitution and Article (19) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights(UDHR) which clearly state that, everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Released by,

Nalini.E

SUARAM Coordinator