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  • The Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 Charges Against 3 Individual Undermines Right to Peaceful Assembly

    Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) is concerned with the called for investigation and subsequent charges laid against Youth Chief of AMANAH, Hasbie Muda, International Islamic University Malaysia Student Union’s president, Aliff Naif and finally the PKR’s Youth Chief for Batu, Lestari Yahya. The charges under the Section 9(5) of the Peaceful Assembly Act laid against the 3 individuals were pertaining to the peaceful protest over rising prices held on 23rd July 2022 even though it was held peacefully and monitored by the police. Therefore, the charges laid are an assault to the right of peaceful assembly as enshrined under Article 10 of the Federal Constition. While the recent amendment in 2019 has tried to address the shortcomings of the act; the act, having been amended, are still susceptible to abuse where countless of activists including those from SUARAM were harassed by police investigations whenever a public assembly is called. According to SUARAM’s documentation, there have been no recent charges under Section 9 Notification of assembly under the said act for the year 2020 and 2021. Yet, most assemblies happened during the pandemic era have been conducted in a civil and peaceful manner. Therefore, SUARAM questioned the necessity of these charges and given that the timing of these charges also coincide with the date of an impending general election, SUARAM does wonder whether these charges are applied for political expediency. The charges are only possible in the first place because of the feeble amendments to the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 in the 2019 during the Pakatan Harapan regime. The act in its present form fails to address long-standing criticism from the civil society; therefore it still remains as a harassment tool subject to abuse from the state. For instance, the recent amendment has shortened the 10 days’ notice to 5 days. While this is an improvement, it does not address the fundamental issue with the 10 days’ notice and the room for spontaneous assemblies. Public rallies are often spontaneous and reacting to current events and it may be impossible or unfeasible for a 5 days’ notice. A notice period is acceptable for pre-planned rallies and gatherings as organisers would have ample time to coordinate themselves and liaise with the police. However, additional provisions must be made available for rallies of spontaneous nature such as the protest of rising prices recently. The curtailment of the right to peaceful assembly in Malaysia certainly does not bode well with the fact that Malaysia remains as a member to the United Nations Human Rights Council. This is all the more concerning when the same Human Rights Council in the recent 50th session had called for the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of peaceful protests. It is imperative that the government should walk the talk by realizing its commitment that they are promising internationally. Therefore, SUARAM calls on the government to retract the charges laid against Lestari Yahya, Aliff Naif and Hasbie Muda and to amend the Peaceful Assembly Act to ensure it is an act that truly facilitates assembly rather than a political tool to stifle dissent.

  • BERNAMA Should Cease All Legal Actions Against Miss Sydney Yap Xi Ni

    [Press Statement] Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) is aware of the recent posting made by Miss Sydney Yap Xi Ni’s Facebook post regarding the working condition as a journalist in BERNAMA and the latter’s impending legal action against Miss Yap for defamation. SUARAM is concern the legal action would create a chilling effect in the whole reporting scene and media environment which may do further damage to the already backsliding free press in Malaysia. SUARAM, therefore, urge BERNAMA to retract all legal actions against Miss Yap and instead focus its attention to address the issues that have been raised by Miss Yap. Some of the issues that Miss Yap has raised in her Facebook post includes the welfare of news reporters, wage cuts, downsizing of the news programme, staff shortages and a bureaucratic hiring process. From a labour point of view, we believe that these are entirely appropriate and legitimate issues to be raised pertaining to worker rights especially when previous effort by Miss Yap to reach out to the President of Bernama, Senator Ras Adiba, was ignored. Furthermore, Miss Yap’s posting has also indicated that she will not be continue working in the media industry, and thus she is merely sharing her personal work experience and comment about the deteriorating media industry in Malaysia. It is common knowledge that working as a reporter and journalist in Malaysia is challenging and has proven to be no easy task. Malaysia’s press freedom performance is still only rank 119 among 180 countries according to Reporters Without Borders. Aside from working in an environment where press freedom is not guaranteed, the Covid-19 pandemic and the recent economic downturn has also pushed the media industry into more perilous state where the welfare of reporters are regularly being cut or not prioritized. It is also time Malaysians must recognise the importance of journalists and reporters where they have been performing the duty of the watchdog to those that wields significant political power. A healthy and independent media industry would effectively allow the public to make informed decisions, hold leader accountable and ensure a diversity of opinions and information. It is with that we hope that the media would continue to listen to the voice of fellow journalists and reporters for they are the one working on the ground and reporting on news to the wider public. SUARAM stands in solidarity with Miss Sydney Yap Xi Ni and once again, urged BERNAMA to retract all legal actions against its departing worker.

  • Serahan Memorandum: Kes Kematian Dalam Tahanan Kim Shih Keat Di Bawah Jagaan Penjara Kluang

    Pada jam 12 tengah hari 4 Ogos 2022, pihak SUARAM bersama-sama dengan ahli keluarga mendiang Kim Shih Keat telah menghantar memorandum kepada Ahli-ahli Parlimen berkenaan kes kematian dalam tahanan ketika berada di bawah jagaan Penjara Kluang. Tujuan memorandum ini dihantar adalah untuk menggesa pihak Jabatan Peguam Negara (AGC) dan Kementerian Dalam Negeri (KDN) untuk mengambil tindakan yang serius dan segera terhadap kes kematian dalam tahanan. Wakil Ahli Parlimen yang turut hadir ketika sidang media termasuk Ramkarpal Singh (Bukit Gelugor) yang merupakan peguam mewakili keluarga mangsa serta Charles Santiago (Klang), Kasthuri Patto (Batu Kawan), Maria Chin (Petaling Jaya), Boo Cheng Hau (Bekas ADUN Skudai), Chew Chong Sin (ADUN Mengkibol) dan juga Wong Shu Qi (Kluang). Kim telah dijatuhi hukuman tujuh hari penjara dan denda sebanyak RM15,000 serta lesen memandunya digantung selama dua tahun selepas didapati bersalah memandu dalam keadaan mabuk oleh Mahkamah Sesyen Johor Bahru pada 22 Jun lalu. Walau bagaimanapun, pada tarikh yang sepatutnya Kim dibebaskan, ahli keluarganya mendapat panggilan daripada pihak ketiga, bukan daripada pihak penjara atau hospital bahawa Kim telahpun meninggal dunia. SUARAM menerima maklum balas daripada ahli keluarga mendiang Kim dan mendapati hak-hak mereka telah dinafikan. Antaranya adalah hak untuk melawat dan hak untuk mendapatkan maklumat kesihatan Kim ketika di dalam penjara. Mereka tidak dimaklumkan tentang masalah kesihatan yang dihadapi oleh mendiang Kim dalam tempoh masa terdekat. Maklumat berkenaan kematian Kim diterima melalui pihak ketiga, dan bukannya daripada pihak Penjara Kluang dan hospital. Ini adalah satu keganjilan dan tidak mengikut prosedur yang betul. Ahli keluarga Kim mahu mengetahui apa yang berlaku dalam tempoh 7 hari tersebut sama ada terdapat kecuaian atau salah laku. Pihak Penjara Kluang perlu telus kerana sekiranya tidak, ia memberi ruang kepada seseorang untuk mengubah bukti dan mencemarkan tempat kejadian. SUARAM memandang serius terhadap isu kematian di dalam tahanan, sama ada ia disebabkan salahguna kuasa, kecuaian mahupun kesihatan. Kami berpendapat bahawa kebajikan tahanan sewaktu ditahan adalah tanggungjawab penuh pihak berwajib yang menahan mereka, ini bertepatan dengan undang-undang Malaysia mahupun antarabangsa. Berikut merupakan tuntutan yang dibawa: 1. Pihak bertanggungjawab menyerahkan dokumen berkaitan seperti laporan bedah siasat dan laporan toksikologi kepada ahli keluarga Kim Shih Keat dan wakil peguam dengan serta-merta. 2. KDN harus berjumpa NGO hak asasi manusia dan juga pemegang taruh yang lain untuk bekerjasama mencari jalan terbaik menyelesaikan kematian dalam tahanan kerana apa yang dilakukan sekarang jelas tidak mengurangkan kematian dalam tahahan, malah bilangan kes semakin bertambah. 3. Pendakwa raya menggunakan kuasa beliau di bawah Seksyen 339 Kanun Tatacara Jenayah untuk mengarahkan koroner menjalankan siasatan ke atas kematian dalam tahanan. Manakala, koroner perlu menjalankan prosiding inkues dengan segera mengikut Seksyen 334 Kanun Tatacara Jenayah (Akta 593). 4. Kerajaan dan pihak berkaitan perlu memberi sokongan dan pampasan yang sewajarnya kepada ahli keluarga dalam bentuk kewangan serta kaunseling, bagi membantu mereka mengharungi cabaran ini. 5. Kerajaan menggubal Akta Mahkamah Koroner bagi memperkukuhkan peranan koroner dan memastikan badan koroner bebas seperti mana di United Kingdom yang termaktub di Coroners and Justice Act 2009. Tonton sidang media di Parlimen: https://youtu.be/0rzGAhwd4EQ Serahan memorandum juga turut dilakukan kepada pihak Jabatan Peguam Negara dan Kementerian Dalam Negeri.

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  • HOME | SUARAM

    The Peaceful Assembly Act Charges Against 3 Individual Undermines Right to Peaceful Assembly The charges under the Section 9(5) of the Peaceful Assembly Act laid against the 3 individuals were pertaining to the peaceful protest over rising prices held on 23rd July 2022 even though it was held peacefully and monitored by the police Find out more WORKING FOR HUMAN RIGHTS RIGHT TO TRIAL Read More FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION Read More RIGHT TO JUSTICE Read More PEOPLE BEFORE PROFIT Read More DOCUMENTATION & MONITORING Read More SUARAM YOUTH Read More Human Rights Abuses Recorded To Date. PRESS STATEMENTS CAMPAIGN MATERIALS Contact Us Submit Thanks for submitting!

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  • Our History | SUARAM

    OUR HISTORY In 1987 ​ Malaysia witnessed one of its darkest moments in history when Operasi Lalang was unleashed. The crackdown resulted in 106 persons being detained without trial under the Internal Security Act (ISA). Not only did this cause grave distress to the detainees and their family members, Operasi Lalang also generated a sense of indignation among many Malaysians who uphold human rights. After their release, several of these ISA detainees and their family members, lawyers, and social activists came together in 1989 to found SUARAM with the vision to protect and promote human rights in a society that is just, equal, and democratic. ​ Through these 30 years of deteriorating human rights conditions ​ SUARAM has expanded its work beyond the Internal Security Act (ISA) to include reform of the police force, deaths in custody, refugees and migrant workers, indigenous peoples’ rights, free and fair elections, local democracy, corruption, environment, workers’ rights, death penalty and freedom of expression, assembly and association. ​ SUARAM has been instrumental in forming major coalitions such as Gagasan Rakyat, the opposition to the Bakun dam and has played key roles in various movements including the Reformasi movement in 1998. ​ The repeal of the ISA and the Emergency Ordinance (Public Order and Prevention of Crime) in 2011 was a major milestone for SUARAM and its partners after a long arduous battle against the oppressive law. SUARAM has also contributed to research and publications on important Malaysian public policies and peoples’ history through the years, notably on arms spending and energy policies; on May 13, Kampung Medan and the independence movement; People Before Profits, Policing the Malaysian Police, the ISA and Operation Lalang, GE13 Malaysian Civil Society Demands. ​ In 2014, SUARAM celebrated its 25th anniversary. While there have been successes over the years, we are still faced with many human rights challenges. Detention without trial now comes in the guise of new draconian laws such as the Prevention of Crimes Act, Security Offences (Special Measures) Act, and Peaceful Assembly Act. The Malaysian police still get away with impunity by refusing to accede to the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Committee. Our basic freedoms of expression, assembly and association continue to be violated. Freedom of religion is still elusive as the “Allah” and “hudud” controversies rage. Corruption remains one of the major problems in the public arena. The rising cost of living requires reform of strategic public policies and we are still far away from achieving the objectives of good governance and electoral reform regardless of which coalition is in power. In 2018 ​ Malaysia underwent the first historic change of administration following the 14th General Elections. The Pakatan Harapan coalition led by Mahathir Mohamad won the election on a manifesto of reform. The euphoria from the change in administration swiftly evaporated when key institutional reforms were delayed by Mahathir’s administration. The administration was soon challenged by a growing rhetoric of race and religion by political opposition and the uncertainty of the leadership transition promised leading up to the election. It was in the midst of these uncertainty, SUARAM celebrated its 30th Anniversary. ​ SUARAM vows to continue to campaign for civil rights, rule of law, freedom of expression, association and assembly, mother tongue education, freedom of religion and the ratification of international human rights treaties, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and International Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. ​ ​

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