Malaysia: One year after activists' release, questions remain unanswered

Celebrations following the release of the EO6. Ex-detainee Choo Chon Kai in centre. Photo by Alex Cheong.

By S.Arutchelvan, secretary general, Socialist Party of Malaysia

July 29, 2012 -- Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) -- Today marks the first anniversary of the release of the PSM EO6 [Emergency Ordinance 6] who were robbed of their freedom on June 25, 2011, when they were detained with 26 others. On July 2, 2011, they were technically released but rearrested under the Emergency Ordinance. The six, M. Saraswathy, Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj,  Choo Chon Kai, Sarat Babu, M. Sukumaran and A . Letchumanan were detained for another 28 days in solitary confinement without the right to trial. Their release came about exactly one year ago, only after a massive local and international campaign which saw people from all walks of life standing together against injustice and tyranny.

As we commemorate their release one year ago, we would like to thank all those who stood in solidarity with justice, fairplay and democracy. Without the intervention of the many, their release would not have been possible.

One year has passed. Under pressure, the ruling party has dismantled some draconian laws such as the Internal Security Act, lifted the three emergencies as well as enacted the freedom of assembly bills and other bills. These bills were replaced with new bills and laws with new names. Yet we remain sceptical that real change has taken place.

One year later, we still seek justice on the many allegation and fabrication levelled at us. Among them, we were accused of waging a war against the Agong, planning to bomb police stations, it was claimed our buses carried weapons, that we were part a conspiracy with International terrorist groups, that we possessed subversive documents, that we planned to revive the Malayan Communist Party, that we posed a threat to public order and that we were the key organiser of BERSIH 2 [democracy protest].

Meanwhile detained PSM members, besides being deprived of the freedom, have also been subjected to insults, assaults, humiliations and trauma. The scars will remain forever.

One year later, the questions remain unanswered. Until today, we continue to seek answers and justice. While we await our court date, the perpetrators have yet to apologise nor have they answered to our questions raised in letters, memorandums, parliamentary questions and police reports.

One year later our quest to seek a better Malaysia and a better world continues. We remain steadfast in our struggle and in our socialist ideology. We will march on until real changes occur.

Udahlah tu, Bersaralah. It is time for change.