Many local and international condemnations rain down on the BN government which try to supppress Bersih’s campaign for free elections:
URGENT APPEAL: 1 July 2011
STOP THE CAMPAIGN OF INTIMIDATION AND HARRASMENT
OF HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS
SUARAM condemns the on-going campaign of intimidation and harassment of human rights defenders by United Malay National Organisation (UMNO) linked organisations and individuals. In the space of less than a week, more than 100 individuals have either been arrested or ‘detained for questioning’, peaceful gatherings have been dispersed, yellow t-shirts have been ‘outlawed’, and threats of violence have been uttered; all because the Coalition for Free and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) has called for a mass rally on 9 July to demand electoral reforms. This intimidation campaign appears to have the tacit approval of the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) government, as seen in incidents where the Royal Malaysian Police (RMP) allowed thugs to intimidate and harass peaceful gatherings.
Collusion and Tacit Approval?
Several incidents over the past few days point to collusion between state institutions and UMNO to intimidate human rights defenders and the general public from participating in the Bersih 2.0 rally.
The media reported that UMNO youth members had gathered late at night and threatened to burn down the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) headquarters. 300 individuals wearing ‘Patriot’ t-shirts and waving UMNO flags demanded that PKR withdraw its support for the Bersih 2.0 rally. Threats were also made against Anwar Ibrahim (PKR’s de facto leader) and S. Ambiga (Bersih 2.0 steering committee member). No action was taken by the police despite there being a police station just a few doors down the road from the party headquarters.
About 40 Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) supporters were subjected to taunts and verbal abuse from a group of 100 individuals outside the Kepala Batas police station in Pulau Pinang around 9pm. The supporters included families of PSM members who had been remanded for “waging war” against the Agong. The PSM members had been on a roadshow to expose the corruption of the BN government and also to drum up support for the Bersih 2.0 rally.
The 100-strong group identified themselves as ‘residents’ of the area, but local eyewitnesses have identified them as UMNO members. Media reports indicate that the police did nothing to protect the PSM supporters, in addition to denying the families visitation rights. The PSM supporters were finally forced to seek shelter at a Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) markas when the situation became tense.
Bersih 2.0 Press Conference Disrupted
A Bersih 2.0 press conference conducted near the Pulau Pinang state police headquarters was interrupted by several members from the Suara Anak-Anak Mamak Pulau Pinang, led by its chief, Mohamed Ghani Abd Jiman. The group hurled abuses at members of the civil society coalition, including former state executive councillor Dr Toh Kin Woon. Some of the abuses, as reported by the media were “Go back to your country if you want to complain”, “Don’t eat shit eat rice”, “You seem old and about to die, go home” and “We are here to protect the law and order, and sovereignty of the country”. Police initially did nothing to defuse the situation until George Town police chief ACP Gan Kong Meng intervened much later and asked both parties to leave the area. Mohamed Ghani and his group continued to harass when Dr Toh tried to continue his press conference elsewhere. Earlier, Mohamed Ghani’s group had scared off a Bersih 2.0 activist as she was distributing leaflets. She was forced to leave the area, fearing for her safety.
Bersih 2.0 Secretariat Office Raided
Police raided the offices of Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (Empower), seizing Bersih 2.0 related material, which included t-shirts and leaflets, and also arrested 7 individuals for their part in organising an “illegal rally”. As the raid was conducted without a warrant, the Bersih 2.0 activists did not allow the police to enter the building. The activists finally allowed the police to enter after police officers threatened to force their way in. After being detained for 8 hours, all were eventually released on police bail and will have to report to the district police headquarters on 6 July.
SUARAM is appalled by the arrests and the on-going crackdown on freedom of expression, a fundamental right which is guaranteed under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Federal Constitution of Malaysia.
SUARAM is also extremely disturbed by the lack of civil engagement on the part of the authorities. Very little has been said or done to address the core issue, which is the need for electoral reform to help provide a level playing field for all parties. Instead, the mass media and other government institutions are continually confusing civil society demands with a ‘hidden opposition agenda’. Ministers and supposedly independents institutions such as the Election Commission are going out of their way to paint Bersih 2.0 as ‘troublemakers’.
SUARAM is also appalled by the attitude shown by the Police in its practice of selective persecution, only targeting those who are in opposition to their political masters. This is unbecoming of a law enforcement agency that is supposed to serve all and protect all, without regard for political affiliations.
SUARAM demands that the government stop this campaign of intimidation against human rights defenders and allow them to continue to exercise their right to freedom of expression.
Hasbeemasputra Abu Bakar
Urgent action needed:
Please write protest letters to the government and the police to express your strongest condemnation of the arrests and the on-going campaign of intimidation against human rights defenders and ordinary citizens. Please also demand the Malaysian government to allow Malaysian citizens to practice their freedom of expression and assembly as stated under Article 10 of the Federal Constitution.
Please call and/or send your protest letters to:
1. 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
2. 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
[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
Re: STOP THE INTIMIDATION AND RESPECT CONSTITUTIONAL FREEDOMS
We are writing to you to express our outrage and our strongest condemnation over the on-going campaign of intimidation against human rights defenders and ordinary citizens who wish to exercise their rights to freedom of expression and assembly.
We are appalled by the police’s latest actions in arresting and detaining anyone apparently supporting Bersih 2.0. We view this as yet another attempt to intimidate Malaysian citizens from exercising their freedom to express their views. We condemn the actions of the police, who are seemingly practising selective prosecution in the discharge of their duties.
We would like to remind you that freedom of expression and assembly is guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as the Federal Constitution of Malaysia.
from Amnesty international:
30 June 2011
Malaysia: End mass repression of pro-reform activists
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 recognizably 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.
For more information please call Amnesty International’s press office in London, UK, on +44 20 7413 5566 or email: email@example.com
International Secretariat, Amnesty International, 1 Easton St., London WC1X 0DW, UK
|No||Date||Arrest or call for record statement/summoned||Location||Status||Reason of the Arrest|
||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.|
||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.|
||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|
||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|
||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.|
||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.|
||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. .|
||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|
||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.|
||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.|
||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.
||27 June 2011||Banting , Selangor||Released on 28th June||Police arrested Senator Ramakrishnan for promoting Bersih in Banting. YB Philip Tan arrested for wearing Bersih T-shirt|
||27 June 2011||Datuk S.Ambiga and A Samad Said been questioning by police under Police Act and Sedition Act, with accompany by the lawyer N Surendren and Fadiah Nadwa.||IPD Dang Wangi,230pm,||Both of them charge under Police Act 1967 27(5) and Sedition Act 1948, section 4(1).Ambiga was charge because of giving talk on the event below:-Wisma Pandu Puteri(1 2June);
-Dewan Perhimpunan Cina Selangor;(19 June)
-Balai Polis Travers ( 23 June).
A Samad was charge because of writing poem to support Bersih.
Surendren was given notice 111 by the police in the same time.
||27 June 2011||A Korean citizen Miss Min Song Yeong was arrested and detained by police at the Bukit Jalil Remand centre. She was arrested at her house In Bangsar around 10pm. She was alleged for holding fake passport and currently she is being detained at the Bukit Jalil remand centre.||Bangsar, KL.||Still in detain in Bukit Jalil Remand centre.||Previously, Min Song (24) joined the PSM campaign of the Udahlah BN Bersaralah (Enough BN, Retire Now) at Johor. She was an observer at the campaign and she was also among those arrested and summoned for questioning at Tangkak Johor on the 25 June 2011.|
||28 June 2011||One of the Besih T-shirt seller arrested by polis at Gombak and he was detain from 2am until 8am on that day.Name: Mhd Asri bin AhmadI/C:791120-02-5303||Gombak, Selangor||Released on 28 June 8am.||Selling the Bersih T-shirt.|
||28 June 2011||Nurul Izzah and N Surendren called by police to go IPD Dang Wangi to give statement.||IPD Dang Wangi, 230pm||Both of them charge under Police Act 1967 27(5) and Sedition Act 1948,section 4(1).|
||29 June 2011||14 Pakatan Rakyat members including two Perak State Assembly Representative Leong Mee Meng and Chang Lih Kang (PKR-Teja) have been arrested.||Singai Siput, Perak.||Released on 29 June , 8pm.||They were distributing Malaysian flag wearing Bersih 2.0 T shirt at the Sungai Siput.|
||29 June 2011||BERSIH 2.0 Secretariat (EMPOWER Office) have been raided, materials confiscated and 6 staffs and a volunteer arrested
without a warrant by the police!!The people including:1.Lau Shu Shi
(Staff &SUARAM Member)
|Petaling Jaya, Selangor.||Released on 29 June , 11pm.||The police went to Bersih 2.0 office without a warrant and threaten to break in if they are not allowed entry. They then confiscated all of Bersih 2.0 materials. They denied entry of the other NGOs and BERSIH 2.0 Steering Committee members into their office.|
||29 June 2011||Chai May Har staff from KL & Selangor Chinese Assembly has been called by police to give statement at IPD Dang Wangi.||IPD Dang Wangi, KL.||She gave the statement by noon and leave police station around 5pm.||Chai May Har received a order letter from police IPD Dang Wangi and police was going to the office to ask her to go IPD Dang Wangi.Police take the statement because Assembly hall give the rent for Bersih 2.0 rally launched.|
||29 June 2011||Five peoples going to IPD Dang Wangi to give statement.They including:1.Irene Frenandez2.Maria Chin
5.Teresa Kok Suh Sim
|IPD Dang Wangi||Peoples under Police Act 1967and Sedition Act 1948:1.Irene Frenandez2.Maria Chin
(Previously police call her to give statement because of the death treat issue , but when she go to the IPD the police was questioning under the 2 laws)
5.Teresa Kok Suh Sim
||30 June 2011||Four more individuals have been arrested earlier this morning in relation to an on-goingcrackdown on the civil society initiated Bersih 2.0 rallyThe four are:1. YB Dr Lee Boon Chye (Member of Parliament for Gopeng)
2. YB Chan Ming Kai (Simpang Pulai ADUN)
3. Loke Sai Kau
4. Johnny Tan Kar Chock
|IPD Ipoh, Perak.||Still under detaining.(30 Jun /2pm)||No reason for the arrest was stated by the police, but three of the four were wearing yellow t-shirts, while Loke Sai Kau had a yellow t-shirt in his handsPolice told that they were arrested under the Police Act to prevent an illegal assembly.