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(Updated July 3) Malaysia: Protests demand release of democracy activists


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July 1, 2011 -- Emergency protest outside Malaysian Airlines offices in Sydney to demand the release of 30 Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) detained since June 25 and accused of waging "war against the king"... the "evidence" a few political t-shirts in their posession! These arrests are part of a crackdown on oppositionists in the lead up to the July 9 Bersih 2.0 democracy march in Kuala Lumpur. Photos by Peter Boyle.

See "Malaysia: Government arrests socialists ahead of Bersih 2.0 pro-democracy rally" for the background to the arrests.

Manila, June 28, 2011 -- Partido Lakas ng Masa -- Around 70 members of Partido Lakas ng Masa (Party of the Labouring Masses) -- held a picket in front of the Malaysian embassy in Manila (pictured above) to protest the arrests and detention of 30 activists belonging to the Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM, Socialist Party of Malaysia).

Sonny Melencio, chairperson of PLM, submitted a letter to a representative of the Malaysian embassy expressing the PLM’s outrage and condemnation to the ongoing crackdown against Malaysian socialists. The letter also stated that the latest actions constituted attempt by the Malaysian government to intimidate Malaysian citizens from exercising their civil and political rights.

Melencio said that the PLM would organise more and bigger solidarity protests until the 30 activists are released.

Suara Rakyat Malaysia  urge end to crackdown on the people of Malaysia

Address:  433A, Jalan 5/46, Gasing Indah, 46000 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia.
Telephone: +6 03 7784 3525                                Fax: +6 03 7784 3526
Email: suaram@suaram.net                                Web: www.suaram.net

June 28, 2011 -- SUARAM strongly condemns the highhandedness and the excessive use of force by police in the roadshows and public talks to support the BERSIH 2.0 Rally which will be held on the 9th of July 2011. SUARAM as a member of the Bersih 2.0 coalition condemns the police and the government under the Najib administration for disallowing people of Malaysia to practice their fundamental human rights.

BERSIH 2.0: BN paranoid!

As for now, 81 people have been arbitrarily arrested and detained by the police at various locations in the country before the Bersih 2.0 rally. On the other hand, 15 people have been called or summoned by the police for their statement to be recorded in relation to the Bersih 2.0 rally. The police harassments and intimidation such as arresting people for wearing Bersih 2.0 T-shirts, distributing Bersih 2.0 leaflets, holding and carrying Bersih 2.0 T-shirts, taking 112 statements for more than one time, access to lawyers and medication have been denied, during the detention period.
Below are the details that have been collected by SUARAM from its monitoring since the launch of the Bersih 2.0 rally on 19 June.
No
Date
Arrest or call for record statement/summoned
Location
Status
Reason of the Arrest
1.       
22 June 2011
PKR Youth member Razali Abd Ghafar
 
 
Sepang
Released on 22 June 2011
Selling Bersih T-shirts during a Pakatan ceramah at Sepang.
 
2.       
24 June 2011
PKR Youth deputy chief Khairul Anuar Ahmad Zainuddin
Shah Alam
Released on 25 June 2011 around 1am
Taken to Shah Alam police headquarters. Was not informed on grounds of arrest. Arrested for doing nothing. Wearing Bersih T-shirt at that time.
3.       
24 June 2011
2 individuals arrested
 
Kg Padang Jawa, Shah Alam
Released on 25 June around 2am
Wearing and carrying Bersih t-shirt. Their t-shirts were confiscated
4.       
24 June 2011
7 PSM activists arrested at the Kluang, Johor
 
Kluang, Johor
Released on 25th June around 12am
For leafleting Bersih 2.0 leaflets and Udahlah, Bersaralah campaign
5.       
25 June 2011
6 Bersih 2.0 leaders, activists and political party leaders summoned by police for questioning
KL
 
The leaders are Ambiga Sreenevasan, Maria Chin Abdullah, Hishamuddin Rais, S. Arutchelvan, Teresa Kok and Fadiah Nadwa. They were summoned for investigations but they postponed the date.
6.       
25 June 2011
 
 
28 PSM activists of the Udahlah Bersaralah campaign arrested at Tangkak, Johor
Tangkak, Johor
Released on 26th june 2011 around 4am in the morning
Those arrested were brought to IPD Ledang. At 4am, all 28 were released on police bail. It is believed that they were investigated under Sedition Act and Printing Presses and Publications Act.
7.       
25 June 2011
 
 
31 PSM activists arrested at the Sg. Dua toll at Kepala Batas
 
-          On 26/6, the remaining 30 were remanded for 7 days (until 2 July)
-          One minor was released.
PSM activists of the Udahlah Bersaralah campaign were stopped at Sg Dua toll. They were brought to IPD Kepala Batas. Bus was searched and Bersih and Udahlah leaflets were found. Probed under S.122 of Penal code. .
8.       
25 June 2011
5 PKR Youth Hulu Selangor including its deputy chief, Hafiz Abdul Rahman summoned for questioning
Petaling Jaya at Felda Gedangsa
 
Called by the police to give statements when they gave a talk to invite people to join Bersih 2.0 rally
9.       
26 June 2011
7 arrested by police for wearing yellow Bersih T-shirts
Taman Kosas, Ampang
Released on 27th June around 2am.
They were found wearing yellow T-shirts with 'Bersih 2.0' written in the Malay Jawi script at Taman Kosas.
10.   
26 June 2011
One person arrested for  wearing yellow Bersih T-shirts
 
Gombak, Selangor
Released on 27th June around 12.45am.
Arrested at a ceramah in Gombak and brought to Balai Polis Gombak. His statement was taken, and shirt was confiscated.
11.   
26 June 2011
4 opposition members called by Police to record their statements.
KL
No update
For allegedly promoting an illegal rally in their speeches or activities.
They include Negeri Sembilan PKR Youth chief Nazree Yunus, Sepang PKR division chief Borhan Aman Shah, PKR Seri Muda state assemblyperson Shuhaimi Shafie and PAS Bukit Gantang MP Nizar Jamaluddin.
12.   
27 June 2011
2 opposition leaders arrested and called by police to record statement
Banting , Selangor
Released on 28th June
Police arrested Senator Ramakrishnan for promoting Bersih in Banting. YB Philip Tan arrested for wearing Bersih T-shirt

SUARAM condemns all the harassment and tactics by the government to stop the people from practicing their fundamental liberties. The government is clearly using the police force to intimidate supporters of Bersih 2.0 which is calling for free and fair elections in the country as the 13th General Election is around the corner.

Najib should not interfere with and give instructions to the Election Commission (EC). The interference of the Executive in the EC’s decision making has been criticised by the civil society in Malaysia. The EC has lost its credibility of its independence and ability to command public confidence after it failed to act on recommendations towards strengthening and improving electoral processes. The failure of the EC has led to the peaceful assembly known as Perhimpunan Bersih 2.0.

It is unfortunate that our mainstream media has not questioned the abuse of powers by the police in rejecting the assembly a permit before an application was made, and denying the constitutional rights of freedom of assembly. Instead, the mainstream media chose to unleash its spin doctors in full force by painting the assembly and its organizers to be unruly when in reality the only chaos that has taken place was an outcome of the brutal crackdown of the police.

The clampdown on PSM Activists: Blatant and Mala fide

SUARAM views that the charges against the 30 Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) members under Section 122 of the Penal Code – for “waging war against the Yang DiPertuan Agong” and  propagating  Communism  is ridiculous, blatant and mala fide.  Section 122 allows for life imprisonment or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 20 years and also liable to a fine. Currently they are being remanded for 7 days and are now being detained at the Penang state police headquarters and at Kepala Batas district Police station.

PSM held Phase 1 of the Udahlah BN Bersaralah (Enough BN, Retire Now) campaign from 24 to June 26, 2011 at Perlis and Johor. The campaign is aimed at exposing worsening corruption, growing gap between the rich and poor, increasing racial tension and deteriorating condition of democracy in Malaysia. The campaign is to promote national awareness on these issues and to ask people to make bold changes in the upcoming elections.

SUARAM reiterates that all the "unruly" scenes published in the mainstream media on propagating communism is a ploy to divert the real issues of police and government abuse of power in curbing fundamental human rights and to create fear amongst Malaysians. We would like to remind the government that these tactics are outdated and will no longer work to cower Malaysians into submission.

Therefore, SUARAM calls on the Attorney General (AG) to drop the charges against the 30 PSM members and release them immediately without any conditions.

Respect feedom of assembly, repeal the ISA!

SUARAM as the Secretariat of Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI) expresses condemnation towards the statement made by Home Minister Hishamudin Hussein that the ISA could be used on the organisers of the Bersih 2.0.

We strongly condemn any use of the draconian ISA against them as any arrest and detention made without trial is a violation of basic human rights and blatantly circumvents the rule of law.

SUARAM strongly reiterates its stand that the people have the right to participate in peaceful assemblies, as all citizens have the right to assemble peaceably and without arms as guaranteed by Article 10 (1) (b) of the Federal Constitution. The right to freedom of assembly is also guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), Article 20 (1). We urge the government and the police to respect fundamental liberties of every citizen of Malaysia.

SUARAM would like to remind the government that the ISA makes a mockery of the principle of presumption of innocent until proven guilty; it unjustly denies our civil liberties; it allows for detention without trial and thus denies natural justice. Worse still, it creates conditions for torture and other degrading forms of treatment while under detention.

SUARAM calls upon the government to stop arresting people under the ISA, abolish the draconian law, and release all ISA detainees or charge them in court.  SUARAM also calls upon all lawmakers and politicians to stop propagating the use of ISA and to propagate for the abolition of ISA instead.

We warn you Mr. Prime Minister!

SUARAM urges the government to look into the demands of the Bersih 2.0 instead of clamping down on their freedom of expression and assembly.  If the Prime Minister Najib is sincere in listening to the people and practicing the slogan “People First”, then he should not curb people’s rights and freedoms.

We call on the government, as a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council, to end the crackdown immediately and to adopt the core principles of human rights in all laws and policies. We also call on the government to stop placing its influence on the EC and employing dirty tactics during elections. Instead, the government should be pressuring the EC to ensure clean, free and fair elections. This is a national challenge that the country will have to confront if it wishes to move forward in creating genuine racial harmony and open democracy.

If the Prime Minister is adamant in misusing public institutions to ensure BN-UMNO to remain in power, we would like warn and remind the Prime Minister that the people of Malaysia has awakened and will no longer buy the BN-UMNO’s lies which has been ongoing for 54 years. It is time to end the undemocratic nightmare in this country and call for a change for betterment for all Malaysians.

Released by Nalini E.,
Program manager
SUARAM
019 3758912

Statement by PKR regarding use of Section 122 of Penal Code against PSM members

June 27, 2011 -- KEADILAN [the opposition People's Justice Party or Parti Keadilan Rakyat] is outraged with the use of Section 122 of the Penal Code against 30 individuals, including two 16-year-olds in Penang yesterday, and a serving MP, Dr Michael Jeyakumar, whilst on their way to attend a gathering in support of the Bersih 2.0 rally planned for July 9.

The allegation of waging war against the King is a malicious attempt to link these dedicated actiivists with the Al-Maunah militant terrorist group  It is unfathomable how the police came to this conclusion when PSM had clearly made known their support for Bersih 2.0's efforts – as clearly spelt out during the launch last week. This unjustified, malicious and disproportionate clampdown on Parti Sosialis Malaysia activists smacks of a government that is bent on silencing political dissent without regard to the truth and the rights of Malaysians as enshrined under the Federal Constitution.

What we fear is that this irrational and extreme move by the police – clearly under instructions of the powers that be – will only be the beginning to further clampdowns, even possibly under the Internal Security Act. The Home Minister has already threatened to use the ISA against the organisers of Bersih 2.0. It is worth reminding all Malaysians that Section 122 under the Penal Code carries with it the punishment of imprisonment for life or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 20 years. The usage of Section 122 is a clear attempt to intimidate and silence activists, opposition parties and the Rakyat.

We urge all Malaysians to fully and completely reject such a cruel clampdown against known and dedicated activists, especially in light of the failure of the Najib administration to take action against groups closely connected to the ruling party for publicly inciting violence. We call for the immediate and unconditional release of all those now being detained.

Y.B. Nurul Izzah Anwar
MP for Lembah Pantai and vice-president of KEADILAN

Y.B. Chua Tian Chang 
MP for Batu and vice-president of KEADILAN

N. Surendren 
Vice-president of KEADILAN

Socialist Alliance (Australia): Stop the crackdown on Malaysian socialists!

Dato' Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak,
Prime Minister of Malaysia,
Prime Minister's Office,
Main Block, Perdana Putra Building,
Federal Government Administrative Centre,
62502 Putrajaya , MALAYSIA
Tel: 603-8888 8000
Fax: 603-8888 3444
E-Mail: ppm@pmo.gov.my
cc Mr. Frank La Rue, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression
Palais des Nations

Dear Prime Minister

Stop the crackdown on Malaysian socialists

I am writing to you on behalf of the Socialist Alliance in Australia, to express our members' outrage and strongest condemnation of your government's recent crackdown and the arrest of 30 Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) activists simply for participating in a peaceful bus tour of the country to express their political views.

Many of our members have met some of the PSM activists who have been detained, including MP Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj and PSM National Deputy Chairperson M. Sarasvathy, and respect them as outstanding world citizens and freedom fighters.

We are all appalled by your government and its police force's latest actions and view this as an attempt to prevent and intimidate Malaysian citizens from exercising their elementary civil and political rights. As the world has seen in Egypt and elsewhere, ordinary people are standing up for their democratic rights and attempts to deny them the right to exercise those rights only led to bigger and bigger mass protests.

We are deeply concerned at reports that Dr Jeyakumar and Ms Sarasvathy have had to be taken, under detention, to Penang General Hospital because of their health conditions. We are also outraged that friends and family were denied access to the remand hearing for these detainees.

We have communicated with Australian Members of Parliament, human rights activists and trade union leaders in Australia over this matter and they too share our outrage and concern about this matter. We will be closely following the reports about this case and keeping the Australian media, prominent persons and public informed of all progress.

Our Europe Office is doing the same with all our contacts within the European Union countries and you should expect to get messages of protest from those countries soon.

We demand that your government stops this assault on freedom of expression and release all the 30 PSM activists immediately.

Yours sincerely

Peter Boyle
National Convenor
Socialist Alliance (Australia)

KPO-PRP (Indonesia): Release all PSM activists and stop repressing the democratic rights of the Malaysian people!

Jakarta, June 28, 2011 -- The Reorganize Committee-Working People Association (Indonesia) express our outrage and our strongest condemnation over the Malaysian government's on-going crackdown and the arrest of the 30 PSM activists. They are being held in three different place, namely Balai Police Sungai Dua, IPD Kepala Batas and IPK Pinang. Besides intimidating, the police of Malaysia is harassing women activist that is being detained.

Meanwhile UMNO’s thugs are mobilised to intimidate the activist’s family member. Socialist Party of Malaysia is currently leading a campaign called “Udahlah-Bersaralah” (Enough -- Retire). Campaign in the framework to rise people awareness and to bring change in the next Malaysian election.

Reorganize Committee-Working People Association view this act by the Malaysian government as an attempt to protect the elite power that has been in power for years in Malaysia thru Barisan Nasional. The act of Malaysian government is suppressing the democratic rights of the Malaysian peoples.

Therefore we, Reorganize Committee-Working People Association (KPO-PRP) demand:

  1. The government of Malaysia immediately and unconditionally release all Socialist Party of Malaysia activists.
  2. The government of Malaysia must stop all form of repression and intimidation against the Malaysian people expressing their democratic rights.
  3. We support the call and campaign of Socialist Party of Malaysia, “Udahlah-Bersaralah”, which is intended for the ruling regime and their cronies to resign and put their power in the hand of the Malaysian people.
  4. We calls all the pro democratic movement in Indonesia, to build and give solidarity for Socialist Party of Malaysia that is being repress and arrested.
Democracy which is a rights of all the people in the world will only be achieve with the struggle of the people themselves. Not with the power of the bourgeois political elite but by believing their own power, believing in their unity as well as their own organisation.
 
Socialism, the True Liberation for Working People!
Socialism, the Solution for Global Crisis of Capitalism!
Unite, Build Working Class Party!

National Working Committee
Reorganize Committee-Working People Association
(KPO-PRP)
 
Chairperson National Working Committee
Mahendra Kusumawardhana

General secretary Asep Salmin
Address: Jl. Kawi-kawi Sawah no. 18, Johar Baru, Jakarta Pusat 10560
Email: kpo.prp@rakyatpekerja.org
Website: http://www.rakyatpekerja.org or http://english.rakyatpekerja.org

Statement of the Working People's Association (Indonesia) on the crackdown on Malaysian socialist

By the Working People's Association (Komite Pusat Perhimpunan Rakyat Pekerja, KP-PRP)

July 1, 2011 -- On June 25 officials and members of Socialist Party Malaysia (PSM) were detained at Kepala Batas, Penang, while they were distributing leaflets to inform the public in their campaign “Udahlah-Bersaralah” (It is Enough, Time to Retire) national awareness campaign.

Accusation against them: Waging war against the king and attempt to revive communism.

Ground for accusation: t-shirts of left leaders found in the bus carrying the PSM activists.

The PSM is a respectable party, not only in Malaysia but also among the global community. Through PSM the working people in Malaysia voice their demands. And PSM has been truthfully defend and fight for these demands through their exercise of freedom of expression and other justified actions. Because of their consistency in defending the voice of the voiceless PSM has won the heart and mind of many working people. The very existence of PSM in Malaysia is also unquestionably legal for the party is registered and acknowledged by the state in 2008. However, the ruling regime (the UMNO-BN) has managed to pervert reason and –- with wide array of media at their disposal -- to twist informations in order to create black propagandas against PSM and, therefore, the working people.

It is clear as daylight that the accusation against PSM is a desperate attempt by the ruling regime to shut down the struggle of the honest working people of Malaysia. Since the neoliberal Malaysian regime cannot comply with the demands of the PSM or provide a solid reasonable argument to counter the campaign of the PSM, they are using blatant lies. If that's not enough they will soon resort to violence. Such method is not uncommon among oppressing capitalist states. The history is full of similar sad – if not humiliating –- stories.

We, the Indonesian Working People's Association (PRP Indonesia) refuse to forget history. We will never forget that the proponent of capitalism and/ or neoliberalism represented by the ruling class will always utilise the perversion of reason, intimidation and –- finally -– violence to defend their unquenchable thirst of libidinal lust and to oppress the working people who stand in their way.

Through this open letter we express our outrage and our strongest condemnation over the arrest of and the government's accusation against officials and members of the PSM.

We demand the Malaysian government to immediately stop the assault on freedom of expression of the working people and to release the arrested officials and members of the PSM!

We urge Indonesia government as the head of ASEAN for 2011 to make a positive engagement to ensure the realisation of commitment from the last ASEAN People Forum toward democracy and human rights.

We call network of people's movement of the south to be in unity and solidarity to help our comrades in Malaysia to be free from repression and intimidation and successfully get their true democracy and freedom.

In solidarity,
Central commitee, Working People's Association (Komite Pusat Perhimpunan Rakyat Pekerja, KP-PRP)

KPRM Indonesia: Solidarity support in ensuring the safety and release of Socialist Party of Malaysia activists

June 28, 2011 -- The Political Committee of the Poor (KPRM) Indonesia gives our fullest support for immediate release of 30 PSM activists who have been arrested and detained under Penal Code 122 (waging war againts the Agung) since last Saturday (25th June) as they were taking part in the campaign "Udahlah ...Bersaralah BN..." (Enough ... Retire).

We are agree that this arrest is part of the government's crackdown of Bersih rally and demonise the PSM activists. From news updates we're following from PSM Facebook two hours ago, the detainees family under attack from UMNO (the rulling party) thugs.

From the news released by comrade Kohi, the police are treating the detainees very badly where women detainees complained to lawyer of being kicked and punched. Also police are taking video of women detainees changing clothes and ask women detainees to change when male police are present. Also, police are denying

OUR SOLIDARITY SUPPORT FOR DETAINED 30 PSM ACTIVISTS IN PENANG.

Only determined struggle will win! Our fullest support for your struggle and consistency.

Zely Ariane, International Affairs KPRM-PRD Indonesia.

Joint statement: Stop repressing the democratic rights of the Malaysian people!

July 1, 2011

Release all those detained and stop ongoing crackdown on Malaysian socialists!

To: Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato' Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak

Cc. Malaysian Ambassador in Jakarta

We are protesting to you, to express our outrage and our strongest condemnation over your government's ongoing crackdown and the arrest of the 30 PSM (Socialist Party of Malaysia) activists.

We are appalled by your government and the police's latest actions and view this as an attempt by your government to intimidate Malaysian citizens from exercising their civil and political rights.

We consider it important to uphold the protection of the right of Malaysian people, civil organisations and political parties to exercise their freedom of expression and ideology as very basic human right.

We reject and condemn the violence and harassment conducted by the police of Malaysia toward women activists who are being detained and intimidation by UMNO's thugs to the family of all detained activists.

We further demand that your government:

  • Stop the assault on freedom of expression and release all the 30 PSM activists immediately and unconditionally.
  • Stop all form of repression and intimidation against Malaysian people expressing their democratic rights.

We support the call and campaign of the Socialist Party of Malaysia “Udahlah-Bersaralah” (Enough- Retire) and we consider there is a political motivation behind the crackdown of Malaysian socialist activists by Malaysian government since PSM is currently leading the campaign. This national awareness campaign is in the framework to raise the people awareness and bring change to the next Malaysian election against the ruling anti democratic power UMNO-BN regime.

We consider the use of Malaysia's draconian Penal Code section 122 (waging the war against the monarch and trying to revive the communist ideology) against the activists is a typical and outdated anti-democratic war against the freedom of expression and ideology.

We realise that democracy, as a basic right of all people in the world, will only be achieved by the struggle of the people themselves, not by the will of ruling class and the elites but by relying on the power of the unity and self-organisation of the people themselves.

Our solidarity for the ongoing struggle for democracy and welfare by all socialist activists and people of Malaysia.

Jakarta, July 1, 2011

We are the undersigned:

Political Committee of the Poor-People’s Democratic Party (KPRM-PRD)
Reorganize Committee - Working People Association (KPO-PRP)
Union of Politic of the Poor (PPRM)
Across Factory Labor Forum (FBLP)
Women Mahardhika (Perempuan Mahardhika)
Centre of Student Movement for National Liberation (PEMBEBASAN)
Bingkai Merah

Please email to kpo.prp@rakyatpekerja.org to add your name/organisation if you’d like to support this solidarity statement.

Thailand: Protest letter to Malaysian prime minister

July 1, 2011 -- This Memorandum was presented to the Malaysian embassy in Bangkok following a solidarity protest in support of arrested democracy campaigners.

* * *

To the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak

We, human rights organisations, activists, students and people of Thailand hereby condemn Malaysian police and government for suppression of Malaysian social activists who are running the Free and Fair Elections Campaign (Bersih 2.0). As the rights to peaceful assembly is protected in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and should be respected by the governments all over the world. The action of the police in Penang and Kepala Batas to the members of Malaysian Socialist Party (PSM) is considered harsh as they were accused for waging war against the monarch which contains the maximum punishment of life imprisonment according to Section 122 of Malaysian Penal Code.

We understand that Malaysian government needs to sustain the national security, but all the activists have done is campaigning for changes in elections, the concerned laws and the government’s opinion on the freedom of political speech. The campaign may criticise the government, but that is a lawful action in democratic countries in the world. The national security and the government’s stability should be clearly separated. Just the symbols of ex-Communist Party of Malaya’s members should not be considered as an attempt to overthrow the regime, as Malaysian government has signed Hat Yai Peace Accord in 1989.

The recent police charge at NGO’s offices and arrest of people wearing the symbol of Bersih 2.0 shall be denounced by the global society. Some of the detainees in Penang has stated that they were abused by the officers, which the government should be responsible for.

Therefore, we hereby request Malaysian government and the police to release the detainees from Bersih 2.0 campaign unconditionally or at least drop the accusation of waging war against the monarch on them. The peaceful assemblies and demonstrations shall be permitted as they should not be considered as harmful to the national security. We are looking forward to your cooperation as this can determine the future and the sustainability of human rights in the Southeast Asia region.

* * *

ถึง นายกรัฐมนตรีมาเลเซีย ดาโต๊ะ ศรี โมฮัมหมัด นาจิบ บิน ตุน อับดุล ราซัก

เรา องค์กรสิทธิมนุษยชน นักกิจกรรม นักศึกษา และประชาชนของประเทศไทยขอประณามการกระทำของตำรวจและรัฐบาลมาเลเซีย ที่ปราบปรามนักกิจกรรมสังคมในมาเลเซียซึ่งกำลังจัดการรณรงค์เพื่อการเลือกตั้งที่เสรีและยุติธรรม(Bersih 2.0) ซึ่งการรวมตัวกันเพื่อทำกิจกรรมเป็นสิทธิที่ระบุไว้ในคำประกาศสิทธิมนุษยชนสากลและควรได้รับความเคารพจากรัฐบาลของทุกประเทศทั่วโลก การกระทำของตำรวจที่ปีนังและเกอปาลา บาตาสต่อสมาชิกพรรคสังคมนิยมมาเลเซียถือว่าเป็นการกระทำที่รุนแรง พวกเขาถูกขอกล่าวหาประกาศสงครามต่อกษัตริย์ซึ่งมีโทษสูงสุดถึงจำคุกตลอดชีวิตตามประมวลกฎหมายอาญามาตรา122ของมาเลเซีย

เราเข้าใจว่ารัฐบาลมาเลเซียมีความจำเป็นที่ต้องรักษาความมั่นคงของประเทศ แต่สิ่งที่นักกิจกรรมเหล่านั้นได้ทำคือการรณรงค์เพื่อการเปลี่ยนแปลงระบบการเลือกตั้ง กฎหมายที่เกี่ยวข้อง และทัศนคติของรัฐบาลที่มีต่อเสรีภาพทางการพูดในเรื่องการเมือง การรณรงค์นี้อาจมีการวิพากษ์วิจารณ์รัฐบาล แต่นั่นก็เป็นการกระทำที่ถูกกฎหมายในประเทศที่เป็นประชาธิปไตย ความมั่นคงของประเทศกับความมั่นคงของรัฐบาลควรถูกแยกจากกันให้ชัดเจน เพียงสัญลักษณ์ของอดีตสมาชิกพรรคคอมมิวนิสต์มลายาไม่ควรที่จะถูกตีความว่าเป็นความพยายามที่จะล้มล้างระบอบการปกครอง ตามที่รัฐบาลมาเลเซียเคยเซ็นข้อตกลงหาดใหญ่เมื่อปี2532แล้ว

การบุกเข้าจับกุมในสำนักงานของเอ็นจีโอ และการจับกุมผู้คนที่สวมใส่สัญลักษณ์ของ Bersih 2.0 จะถูกประณามจากสังคมโลก ผู้ถูกจับกุมบางคนที่ปีนังได้ระบุว่าพวกเขาถูกละเมิดสิทธิโดยเจ้าหน้าที่ ซึ่งรัฐบาลควรเป็นผู้รับผิดชอบในเรื่องนี้

ดังนั้น เราจึงขอให้รัฐบาลและตำรวจมาเลเซียปล่อยตัวผู้ถูกจับกุมจากการรณรงค์ Bersih 2.0 อย่างไม่มีเงื่อนไข หรืออย่างน้อยก็ต้องยกเลิกการฟ้องข้อหาประกาศสงครามต่อกษัตริย์ต่อพวกเขา การรวมตัวกันและการชุมนุมอย่างสงบจะได้รับการอนุญาตและไม่ควรถูกพิจารณาว่าเป็นภัยต่อความมั่นคงของชาติ เราคาดหวังในความร่วมมือจากท่าน ในฐานะที่เหตุการณ์นี้สามารถแสดงถึงอนาคตและความมั่นคงของสิทธิมนุษยชนภูมิภาคเอเชียตะวันออกเฉียงใต้

Sri Lanka: NSSP

June 29, 2011 -- The NSSP condemns strongly the arrest of 30 activists from Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) - including two juveniles- on the 25th June at Kepala Batas, Penang.

They have been charged under the Section 122 of Penal Code (waging war against the Monarch and trying to revive the communist ideology) while they were distributing leaflets to inform the public of their campaign Udahlah-Bersaralah (It is Enough, Time to Retire), a national awareness campaign that PSM recently conducted from 24 to 26 June 2011.

They are accused to revive communism based on common t-shirts of left leaders found in the bus carrying the PSM activists and which are sold everywhere in the country. This tactic is commonly used to crackdown on activists.

The NSSP urges the police to release all detainees and leaves activists practice their legitimate freedom of expression.

The Section 122 of Penal Code should be abolished as it is used against citizen’s rights and freedom of expression. It is used to create a culture of fear among the population.

For the NSSP Dr Vickramabahu

Colombo, Lanka

From the New Anti-Capitalist Party (France)

Paris, June 28, 2011 -- The NPA (New Anticapitalist Party – France) condemns strongly the arrest of 30 activists from Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) - including two juveniles- on the 25th June at Kepala Batas, Penang.

They have been charged under the Section 122 of Penal Code (waging war against the Monarch and trying to revive the communist ideology) while they were distributing leaflets to inform the public of their campaign Udahlah-Bersaralah (It is Enough, Time to Retire), a national awareness campaign that PSM recently conducted from 24 to 26 June 2011.

They are accused to revive communism based on common t-shirts of left leaders found in the bus carrying the PSM activists and which are sold everywhere in the country. This tactic is commonly used to crackdown on activists.

The NPA urges the police to release all detainees and leaves activists practice their legitimate freedom of expression.

The Section 122 of Penal Code should be abolished as it is used against citizen’s rights and freedom of expression. It is used to create a culture of fear among the population.

For the NPA, Danielle Sabai and Pierre Rousset

Fourth International

Paris, June 29, 2011 -- The Fourth International was alerted that 30 activists from Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) have been arrested on the 25th June at Kepala Batas, Penang.

They were distributing leaflets to inform the public of their campaign Udahlah-Bersaralah, a national awareness campaign that PSM recently conducted from 24 to 26 June 2011. PSM members were just exercised their citizen’s rights and freedom of expression.

They have been charged under the Section 122 of Penal Code as they are accused to revive the communist ideology.

This Section of the Penal Code is a shame for a country that pretends to be a democracy. It is used to create a fear among the population and to restrain political activities that not suit the ruling power.

The 30 PSM activists has been arrested because they were in possession of common t-shirts of left leaders which are sold everywhere in the country. Beyond this ridiculous police operation, it is a common tactic used to crackdown on activists.

The Fourth International urges the police to release all activists arrested.

The Section 122 of Penal Code must be abolished as it is used against citizen’s rights and freedom of expression.

FI Bureau

 

Comments

Sydney solidarity action

Sydney action: Free the Malaysian activists!
Please join an emergency solidarity picket outside Malaysian Airlines (MAS) office to demand the immediate release of pro-democracy campaigners, including 30 Malaysian Socialist Party (PSM) members, 6 staff and one volunteer from the BERSIH 2.0 Secretariat, who had their offices raided and materials confiscated (all without a police warrant), and members of Anwar Ibrahim's Keadilan (Justice) Party opposition.

Friday July 1, 4.30-5.30pm, outside MAS Sydney offices, 16 Spring Street, Corner Pitt Street Sydney.

Fired-up police are arresting anyone who promotes the huge pro-democracy rally (Bersih 2.0) planned for July 9 in Kuala Lumpur.
The Inspector-General of Police has said. “Not just T-shirts but shoes, cars, buses. If these are the tools used to encourage people to gather (illegally), this amounts to sedition". They are threatening to deregister any NGO associated with the pro-democracy protest.
Malaysia is obviously not safe for its own citizens, yet the Gillard government thinks it's OK to deport asylum seekers there, assuring us that the Malaysian government's will guarantee that they are treated with dignity.

For more information contact Mark Goudkamp 0422078376 or Peter Boyle 0401760577.

Also see:

AFP: Malaysia makes more arrests ahead of demo (Wed, Jun 29, 2011):
http://www.asiaone.com/News/AsiaOne%2BNews/Malaysia/Story/A1Story2011062...
BBC report: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-13923599
UK Guardian report: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jun/27/malaysia-activists-arrested-...
Wall Street Journal report: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405270230431440457641111060824947...

Human Rights Watch calls for activists' release

Free 30 peaceful political activists

By admin, on 29 June 2011

The Malaysian authorities should order the immediate release of 30 members of the opposition Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) who were pulled off their bus and arrested on the way to a political rally in Penang on 25 June 2011, Human Rights Watch said. They were charged with “waging war” against the king of Malaysia.

Some of the detained PSM activists in a police truck.

The authorities are holding the 30 in remand for seven days while the police investigate the charge that the party was restarting the Communist Party of Malaysia, a long vanquished communist movement that signed a peace treaty with the government in 1989. The Penang police publicly presented as evidence against the activists a few shirts with photos of former Communist Party of Malaysia leaders and several leaflets promoting political change in the next election.

“Charging the political opposition with restarting a movement that died with the Cold War 20 years ago is more than a little absurd,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “These arrests show the government’s fundamental disregard for the democratic process and its willingness to go to great lengths to frighten Malaysians with political bogeymen from the distant past.”

The charge of “waging war” against the king, section 122 of the Penal Code, carries penalties of up to life in prison as well as fines.

General elections are not slated for Malaysia until 2013, but the government has tightened repression on all election-related activity. The Coalition for Free and Fair Elections (Bersih) 2.0, a civil society coalition urging electoral reforms, announced a major public march and assembly for 9 July. The home affairs minister, Hishammuddin Hussein, responded that the government would not permit the march and the Minister of Information, Communication and Culture, Dr. Rais Yatim, called the event an “evil and unlawful rally”.

Prime Minister Najib Razak accused Bersih 2.0 of trying to “wrest back political momentum” from the ruling Barisan Nasional, a charge that Bersih’s steering committee immediately rejected.

According to a media account, 81 opposition activists have been arrested since June 22. They include 28 PSM members arrested in Johor on 25 June, who were reportedly charged under the Sedition Act and the Printing Presses and Publications Act. Police also arrested a number of activists in various locales for selling or wearing yellow Bersih 2.0 shirts.

In November 2007, the first Bersih march and rally for clean and fair elections brought together approximately 60000 participants.

The Malaysian government’s actions to deny the rights to freedom of association, expression, and peaceful assembly run counter to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the government’s commitments to respect international human rights standards as a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council. The government should heed the call of the governmental Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) and permit the Bersih rally to proceed, as well as possible counter-marches to Bersih being planned by United Malays National Organisation (Umno) Youth and Perkasa, Human Rights Watch said.

“Rather than trying to silence peaceful critics, the Malaysian government should be working to ensure that election processes are fair and that they fully protect the civil and political rights of all Malaysians,” Robertson said. “Arresting people for wearing t-shirts and distributing leaflets simply shows the depths of the government’s intolerance of opposing viewpoints.

Amnesty International: End repression of pro-reform activists

30 June 2011

http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/malaysia-end-mass-repression-pro-reform-activists-2011-06-30

Malaysian authorities are arbitrarily arresting and detaining scores of peaceful electoral reform protesters in the worse repression of free speech and freedom of assembly in recent years, Amnesty International said today.

Among those currently detained are 30 peaceful activists from the Socialist Party who were denied review of their detention today under accusations of “waging war against the king”. 

Since 24 June, more than 100 activists have been arrested or questioned by police over their support of an electoral reform rally. The demonstration is being planned for 9 July by the Coalition for Fair and Free Elections, also known as Bersih 2.0, meaning ‘Clean’.

“The Malaysian authorities are muzzling calls for electoral reform by throwing peaceful protestors in jail,” said Donna Guest, Deputy Asia-Pacific Director at Amnesty International. “We have not seen such a crackdown on political activists across Malaysia in many years.”

People have been arrested for as little as wearing yellow (the colour of Bersih 2.0), are being held without charge, and face investigation for sedition and unlawful assembly.  The government has also threatened to invoke the draconian Internal Security Act over the rally, allowing for indefinite detention without trial.

“Malaysia is undermining its claim to be a moderate democracy through this campaign of repression,” said Donna Guest.

Amnesty International is calling for Malaysia to immediately release all activists or charge them with a recognizable criminal offence, drop unfounded charges, and respect the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

Today, the Penang High Court dismissed a review of the arbitrary detention of 30 Socialist Party activists, remanding them without charge for “waging war against the king,” which is punishable by life imprisonment.  The activists, including two children, were arrested en route to a Bersih 2.0 event in Penang on 25 June.

Among these detainees is Socialist Party member of parliament Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj, who was denied access to essential heart medication for 15 hours while in detention, before being sent to a hospital for treatment.

Four more people were arrested and released today, including a Perak state assemblymen and a member of parliament, for wearing yellow.

On 29 June, police raided the office of the Bersih 2.0 Secretariat without a warrant, briefly detaining seven people and confiscating laptops, cameras, and rally materials. 

The chair of the Bersih 2.0 Organising committee, prominent lawyer Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, and Malaysian Poet Laureate A. Samad Said are both being investigated by police under the Sedition Act and Police Act for organising an “unlawful assembly”.

Malaysia’s home minister, Hishammuddin Hussein, threatened on 26 June to invoke the Internal Security Act against rally organisers, on the grounds of national security.

“This repression is clearly politically motivated to intimidate people from marching for electoral reform,” said Donna Guest. “The use of repressive laws to criminalise peaceful political activism is appalling.”

Bersih 2.0 plans to hold the 9 July rally to demand a set of electoral reforms. These include fair access of all political parties to the media, reform of postal ballots and revisions of the electoral roll to address irregularities.

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