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(Updated July 22) Asia-Pacific socialists demand: 'Free all political prisoners! Democracy for the Malaysian people!'
[Urgent appeal for protest letters to be sent to the Malaysian government, please visit http://www.parti-sosialis.org/en/en/articles/1585 for details of where they can be sent. See also "Malaysia: Protests demand release of democracy activists".]
Regional left statement in solidarity with PSM: Free all political prisoners! Democracy for the Malaysian people!
July 8, 2011 -- On June 19, 2011, a campaign called Bersih 2.0 was called by the Malaysian people for a free and fair elections in the country with the 13th General Election around the corner. Bersih 2.0 also called a gathering for July 9, 2011. On June 24, the Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM, Socialist Party of Malaysia) launched a Udahlah BN, Bersaralah (Enough BN, retire now) campaign. The PSM campaign aimed to expose the corruption of the Barisan Nasional (BN) government and also to drum up support for the Bersih 2.0 rally.
Since June 22, more than 100 individuals have been arrested because they have expressed their support for a mass rally on July 9, called for by the Coalition for Free and Fair Elections (Bersih). As of now, 81 people have been arbitrarily arrested and detained by the police at various locations in the country before the Bersih 2.0 rally. A further 15 people have been called or summoned by the police for their statements to be recorded in relation to the Bersih 2.0 rally. The police harassment and intimidation included 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, denying access to lawyers and medication during the detention period and the sexual harassment of women activists.
On July 3, six PSM members, including Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj (a member of parliament), have been rearrested under the Emergency Ordinance (EO), which allows for 60-day detention without trial, renewable for up to two years at the discretion of the home minister. The six were part of a group of 30 PSM activists who were remanded on June 25 for allegedly “waging war against the king”.
We view these acts of the Malaysian government as the suppression of the democratic rights of the Malaysian people. This is part of an attempt to protect the elite power that has been in power for years in Malaysia through the United Malays National Organisation-Barisan Nasional (UMNO-BN) regime.
We strongly condemn the Malaysian government for using harassment, arrest and intimidation as a method to try to silence opposition to the anti-democratic, anti-poor and anti-working-class policies of the Malaysian government.
a. That the government of Malaysia immediately and unconditionally release all the PSM activists in detention.
b. That the government of Malaysia must stop all forms of repression and intimidation against the Malaysian people from expressing their democratic rights.
c. We call on all the socialist and pro-democratic movements, in South East Asia and all the world, to build and give solidarity to the PSM and to the Malaysian people who are being repressed and arrested.
We also declare our fullest support for the ongoing campaign and the struggle of the Malaysian people for democracy.
Socialist Alliance (Australia), Reorganize Committee-Working People Association (KPO-PRP Indonesia), Resistance (Australia), Labour Party Pakistan (LPP), Party of Labouring Masses (PLM, Philippines), Socialist Aotearoa (New Zealand), Solidarity (Australia), Peoples Democratic Party (PRD Indonesia), Political Committee of the Poor-People’s Democratic Party (Indonesia), All Pakistan Federation of United Trade Unions, Radical Socialist (India), Nava Sama Samaja Party (NSSP, Sri Lanka), All Together (South Korea), Revolutionary Socialist Party (Australia), Australia Asia Worker Links, Vi Pham (Vietnam), Partido ng Manggagawa (Philippine), Herlounge (Indonesia), Empower Foundation (Thailand), Confederation Congress of Indonesia Union Alliance (KASBI), Vipar Daomanee, Turn Left Organisation Thailand, Turn Left Organisation Thailand, Socialist Alternative (Australia), Socialist Worker-New Zealand, International Marxist Tendency.
Toronto New Democrats (Canada), Fightback journal (Canada)
Left Party (Sweden), Communist Party of Sweden (SKP), Partido Obrero Revolucionario (POR, Spain).
Union de Militantes por el Socialismo (UMS, Argentina).
If your organisation would like to sign this statement, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ka Romy Castillo released, campaign for Malaysian six continues
July 7, 2011 -- Romy Castillo, deputy general secretary of Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM), was finally released by Malaysian authorities yesterday morning. He came home via an Air Asia flight to Clark airport at around 12 noon and was met by a delegation from PLM.
A victory party will be held at the PLM office on Friday, July 8, at 3 pm. There will also be a meeting to discuss the continuing campaign to free the remaining six Malaysian pro-democracy leaders of Parti Sosialis Malaysia.
Sonny Melencio, chairperson of PLM, said that the release of Ka Romy was only a “partial victory since six of the previous 30 Malaysian jailed socialists are still languishing in jail”.
Melencio also thanked all those who called for Ka Romy’s release, including various human rights groups and Philippine authorities such as the Philippine Commission on Human Rights and the Philippine Embassy officials in Kuala Lumpur.
A day before Ka Romy’s release, more than 100 PLM members marched to the Malaysian embassy in Makati City to protest Ka Romy’s detention and the 30 jailed Malaysian activists. The PLM declared Malaysian ambassador to the Philippines, Ibrahim Saad, as persona non grata for refusing to meet with the PLM delegation a number of times and for doing nothing to assist in the release of Ka Romy.
After the picket at the Malaysian embassy, the PLM rallyists went to the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila to appeal to Secretary Albert del Rosario to prioritise Ka Romy’s release. The DFA was having its anniversary party with President Ninoy Aquino as guest when the PLM rallyists arrived.