Saturday, September 26, 2009

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Thank You God. Mat Sah is FREE !!!!!

PUTRAJAYA: The Government released five alleged Jemaah Islamiah militants detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) after they “responded positively to rehabilitation” efforts, said Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein.

With this, there are only nine ISA detainees remaining, of which five are Malaysia, he said on Tuesday.

The rest are from Thailand, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Singapore.

Two of the men released on Tuesday -- Mat Shah Mohd Satray and Abdullah Daud -- were detained in 2002. The other three, Mohd Nasir Ismail, Mohd Kamil Hanafiah and Mohd Amir Hanafiah, have been in detention since 2007.

Earlier this year, the Government released 13 ISA detainees including five leaders of the outlawed Hindu Rights Action Force movement.


Monday, August 31, 2009


From Uncle zorro

I thought this was the opportunity to take our proposal one-on-one with Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng. I proposed that all the states ruled by Pakatan Rakyat should declare on billboards the state’s anti-ISA stand. I told him that I had commissioned Penang Blogger Daniel Yong HERE to design such billboards that each PR state could be responsible to put up at strategic entrances to their state. I noticed Deputy Chief Minister I YB Mansor Othman nodding affirmatively. I could not catch the reaction of Deputy Chief Minister II, Prof. Ramasamy as we sat on the same side of the conference table. What was the reaction of the Chief Minister. “Show me the design” he said. “Tomorrow, Sir, I will get it for you”, I promised.

Here they are Sir, for the consideration of your Executive Council. Feel free to add or improve but most importantly we need you to take PERSONAL OWNERSHIP of this.




Monday, August 24, 2009

"Keeping The ISA Is A Senseless Move"

The next day Star report on the front page:
"Street protest senseless move, says Prime Minister"
but if I am the PR(Public Relation) for the PM, this heading will be more appropriate:

"Keeping The ISA Is A Senseless Move"

There were few reports on the group marching from Central Market and the National Mosque. I was at the Central Market around 12:30pm and already the police and their trucks were already there plus a group of reporters. Not a big crowd, people walking here and there going on with their business. My thought was that there ain't going to be any rally after all.

Suddenly, a crowd gathered around the police truck and this was what happened. The arrest spree had begun. Within half an hour over 30 people were arrested.

The first group, 4 females and one male were arrested.

I am not local, so I cannot provide the names of the roads where I am at as I joined in the march.

At exactly 2:00pm I started to see people coming in groups walking towards the Pos office building.

This group coming out from the Central Market areas was only about 200 odd people. As we reach the main road, I saw a large group of people already walking towards Dartaran Merdeka. They are from the National Mosque area.

These were waiting for us besides the Selangor Club.

These group estimated at between 5,000 to 8,000 people did not realized that they were walking into a trap.

As we reach the Selangor Club, we were suddenly hit by salvos of tear gas, landing right into the groups. Everyone panic and started to run helter skelter. The tear gas canisters kept dropping down from the sky and I was overwhelmed by the gas. I could not open my eyes, my face burning and I had to squad beside the roadside parapet to overcome the stinging gas barring me from taking any further shots of the evil actions by the najib regime.

Feeling not satisfied with the tear gas, they move in their water canon and started to spray the chemically laced water onto the crowd. I was lucky, they miss me a couple of meters away but the fume itself causes some difficulty in breathing.

After about fifteen minutes they stop their actions and the people started to regrouped. They cannot move forward and they have to go back the way that we came not realizing that by now the police and fru had also block the road preventing them from going back the way that they came. They were trapped, the police move in on all sides preventing anyone from leaving the trap zone. I was slow in joining the group and seeing what the police were trying to do I took refuge at Dartaran Merdeka.

The water canon truck were seen moving towards the crowd and the fru getting ready to fire the tear gas. Then the "slaughter" begins. They keep on firing the tear gas and water jet the trapped people. These continues and you can see the people trying to break away but the police and fru keep pushing them back into the trap zone.

After half an hour they stopped, they stopped because they ran out of tear gas and the chemically laced water canon. The people then find ways to get out of the trap zone. During the inhumane attack an ambulance was seen entering the trap zone.

Half an hour later a helicopter landed at the dartaran merdeka field bringing in more tear gas canisters and chemical for the water canon. Luckily, most of the people had escaped from the trap zone. I overheard one of the fru leader command his subordinates to load up the weapons and get ready to move on to Sogo.

As I gathered back my strength and breathing normally, I started to walk back. Along the way, I can see those people that had been attacked and their sufferings. Other brave ones are heading towards Sogo where the non provoked attack by the fru and police had yet to end.

In conclusion, from my observation of the event live, the police had already put in place their plans. First, they must ensure that the crowds do not reach the Istana. Second, to prevent all the groups from merging together. Third, trap the people and bombard them with tear gas and spray chemically laced water onto them. Fourth, catch as many people as possible and fifth push the blame of what had happened onto the leaders of the oppositions.

One blogger had used mathematical calculations to estimate that over 100,000 people attended the Anti ISA peaceful rally. Go here for more details.


An Account of 1st August, 2009 – ISA Demonstration

Cherubim was there. This is a witness account.

Like any other sane protester, Pewaris and GMI alike, all of us took the LRT. It’s kind of amusing to watch a bunch of middle-aged to elderly men wearing ketayaps and white T-shirts proclaiming their affiliations and riding the same train with black and red-clad folk to pretty much the same destinations, when we were supposed to oppose each other. Along the way, I saw at least 50 blue-clad policemen and their tents, chilling at Masjid Jamek. Even around KL Sentral, I saw more policemen under a brige.

Okay, I thought. Paranoid, much?

At around 1:30pm Cherubim and her fellow protester walked to Istana Negara, but since it was too early we were blocked by a significant number of police and too small number of us. So we walked to SOGO instead. That was around 2:30pm (yes, we walked a lot) when we arrived at Pasar Minggu Jalan TAR. The usual crowd; kids, families, keropoks, air nenas, and oh, the odd FRU truck and police vehicles or two.

Make that a fully loaded water cannon vehicle, several trucks filled with FRU troops fully equipped with gear from SWAT (we girls thought it cool) and they were shooting not merely at us, but at innocent bystanders, patrons of pasar minggu and hawkerstalls alike!

I was lucky, when I was about to go onto Jalan TAR, in a bizarre Cloverfield like feel, I saw the water that was shot at the people in the main road, then I saw everyone running my way. Stunned, I stood aside and just stood beside an equally clueless tourist where we witnessed the police vehicles and policemen in a crowd of 20 or so coming in and grabbing any poor fellow wearing black, red and having anti-ISA emblems on their Ts. Mostly young Malay men tho.

After they were gone, we continued our chant and went on the main road, and heard a few shots of tear gas. I got my very first taste of the day. My eyes burned, my face burned, my nose burned, my throat burned. Some children were crying. Some families were in fear. A friend handed me some salt, which I gratefully ate to remove the sting of the gas, and washed my face thoroughly. Like many others, we covered our noses and our mouths, but those things are stubborn, and made in Arizona USA. During the last BERSIH demonstrations, I heard tell the pellets were from Israel.

When that cooled down, we peeked outside and hung out in front of SOGO, watching the police watching us there. Me & my friends amused ourselves checking out whether any of the younger policemen are cute. Heck, we wanted to take pictures, but was declined the request. Anyways, we got hungry, a little pissed that Secret Recipe (and their delicious frosty ice lemon tea) was closed, and went to this nice little cafe across the street.

We ate happily, some PKR dude apparently belanja all us citizen journalists there, we chatted with the people from Malaysiakini and others.

That’s when it really happened. I don’t recall exactly how many times the FRU cannon truck went back and forth, but I do recall that during one of the lulls we saw several people carrying effigies and picket signs “Mansuhkan ISA”. Also, they were joined slowly by people who were taking refuge, though when we heard the siren and the sight of FRU troops going in we had good sense to return inside the cafe. There were children and families inside the cafe, some of the kids were hit with the tear gasses that was repeatedly shot by the FRU. People escaped through the back door.

Around what, 4pm or 5pm or so, the FRU decided to spray the corners of the ends at Jln TAR, pretty much near the old cinema (ground zero of 13th May, according to my dad, who was a young man then), and I thought it had some ironic implications. Violence seems to like Jalan TAR. I heard the voices of many, I couldn’t determine where, but there were first screams, then outraged outcry, probably Mansuhkan ISA again. Then I heard more tear gas pellet shots.

So, anyway, I was chilling nearby the police, thinking, this was highly excessive. The policemen was nice to me and my friends, we’re technically media, but I thought to myself, I know they are following orders not necessarily in line with their personal opinion, I saw some of them hesitate before aiming and shooting. During the whole event, Pertahanan Awam knocked on shopgrills asking whether anyone was hurt, evacuating the injured, watching out for civillians with a seriously worried and slightly angered look on their faces. What I cannot and will not remove out of the equation is this excessive force and collateral damage.

Look, we all know that on Saturdays, SOGO is a family oriented go to place, as I have all my life with my own parents, we know that most likely there’d be families, not demonstraters there. Plus, in my long involvement with this kinda thing, when the police doesn’t come, after chanting for an hour we all get tired and go to the mamak stalls to chill before going home after 2 hours max. Thanks to the police and especially FRU, we have sufficient warped entertainment for 5 hours to 6 hours. Wow, talk about efficient crowd control.

Again, Cherubim argue that the authorities (we all know who runs the cops) should have let the protesters be. Make sure they don’t hurt anyone, and bonk a few belligerant heads, and things would have been fine. What’s happening now is that even shopkeepers, hawkerstall owners, etc etc are getting pissed off at the gomen. We each protect each other, blind for once to the idea of race and religion, but conscious of the idea of humanity. Otherwise apathic and apolitical folk are now getting more and more involved.

Well, more fodder for the 14th GE.

P.S = Waaaaah, so many police, meh? How come crime rate still so high?


Tuesday, August 4, 2009


The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) regrets to note that in the process of dispersing the 15,000 stronghold of crowd marched in protest of the Internal Security Act 1960 (ISA) in Kuala Lumpur on August 1, the police have used teargas and water excessively, which has also affected the bystanders.

The day of the public assembly ended with the police reportedly has arrested 600 people and 44 juveniles aged between 13-17 years old at different locations in the city. In this regard, SUHAKAM strongly maintains its stand that the people have the right to participate in peaceful assemblies. SUHAKAM has consistently urged the Government to consider and take into account the recommendations made by the Commission on freedom of assembly as enunciated in the reports of the Kesas Highway and KLCC Bloody Sunday Public Inquiries. It is therefore recommended that in the event where the police find it necessary to control or disperse a crowd, proportionate and non-violent methods should be invoked.

In addition to that, it is also SUHAKAM‘s grave concern that the children who were arrested during the rally were handcuffed, detained and held under remand together with the rest of the adult protesters. SUHAKAM would like to draw the Government’s attention to its obligations to observe and protect the rights of the children in conflict with law as stipulated under the Child Act 2001 and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

Consequently, in view of the whole situation which took place last weekend, SUHAKAM urges the Government to seriously consider SUHAKAM’s recommendation made since 2003 to repeal the ISA due to its nature of detention without trial, which is clearly an infringement of the principles of human rights. SUHAKAM would like to reiterate its stance that the ISA should be repealed and be replaced by a new comprehensive legislation that balances national security and human rights as a specific Anti-Terrorism Act to deal with anti-terrorism and mass acts of violence.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Come Join us NOW for the New Malaysia. Let's Hear Our Last Message !!!!!

Let's change for the New Malaysia,
Let's change for the sake of Our Children,
Starting with the Man in the Mirror !!!!!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Do We Need Unjust and Draconian Laws?

Benjamin Franklin is said to have stated that "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." Most Malaysians would prefer to contest that sentiment.

After all, for decades we have tolerated draconian and unjust laws foisted upon us by the government. We have always accepted them as necessary for our safety and wellbeing.

Perhaps this was true for a time. At the time of independence, up till the later 1970s, we were faced with the threat of a communist insurgency (described as an Emergency, but according to some historians, a civil war given an euphemistic name to avoid causing jitters in the commercial establishment).

When top-ranking national police officers and British High Commissioners are being picked off by terrorists, you've got to admit that it might be handy to have a law permitting the police to detain someone without charging them with any crime.

Indeed, that's exactly what countries like the United States and United Kingdom are doing right now in order to combat terrorism. While I have my doubts about the efficacy of these measures, they do provide for the police to temporarily detain people without charging them with anything (although they do force the police to get a court order for slightly extended periods of time).

But here's the rub folks: they only do it temporarily. If the police can't find anything to charge you with, they have to let you go after a set period of time. There is no leeway for infinite renewals of your detention order. And even while you are in jail, you will generally have access to legal counsel.

What happens in Malaysia? Apparently a comment posted on a blog constitutes an official secret posing a grave threat to national security — a threat so grave that the blog owner has to be held for 14 days (though the judge wisely reduced it to 4) for questioning, and denied access to legal counsel for most of the time — even in court proceedings.

But what happens if the government doesn't like you for some reason? No problem — all it has to do is detain you under the Internal Security Act. The Home Minister can renew your detention order ad infinitum so that you spend decades in jail. You don't need access to lawyers because you probably won't appear before a judge, detentions under the Act being free of judicial review.

Tell me, do we really need all this bullshit to keep us safe from terrorism? Do we need an Official Secrets Act worded so terribly that anything a Minister wants kept secret becomes a secret, regardless of its value to the public or its lack of importance to national security?

Do we need an Internal Security Act that allows the government to lock up anyone it doesn't like and throw away the key, without even a peep from the courts?

What is wrong with an OSA that is tightly phrased to ensure only secrets related to national security are kept secret? What is wrong with an ISA that only permits temporary detentions and allows the courts to examine the legality and justice of a detention?

Malaysians truly deserve neither liberty nor safety, and that is exactly what is happening. We are so constrained by censorship that we dare not even say what we think, and yet we can't even sleep soundly at night.

We have to abolish or amend the ISA. We have to promote accountability and transparency in the government — why let the government proclaim toll tariffs an official secret?

Is this truly necessary for our safety? Must we tolerate such blatant infractions and infringements of what our Constitution itself states to be "fundamental liberties"? Do we really need these draconian laws to keep us safe?

Draconian Laws: the Truth and Our Economy

Draconian legislation has come under the spotlight again in Malaysia as of late, now that the government has been actively using repressive statutes to round up journalists and politicians. It is wrong, no doubt, to arrest people without the benefit of due process, and to jail them without a fair trial. But what is really wrong, and what can almost never be justified, is the suppression of the human spirit: of the right to think for yourself, and to seek the truth.

We all search for truth in our lives, be it in the realm of the rational or the spiritual. We implicitly assume that the truth is desirable, that if the government will not help us in finding the truth, it will at least not hinder us. But laws which crush the human spirit, laws which let the government detain anyone for any reason it likes — or no reason at all — these are laws which suppress the truth, and which break our spirit.

We often bemoan the faltering and falling position of our universities compared to their international counterparts. We wonder what can be done to rectify this terrible state of things; we pour money and people into our education system, and hope for better results. But if you do not let people seek the truth, what is the point of having an academic system? If we feed our students lies, how can we hope to succeed when the international benchmark is one of truth?

I often come in contact with people who are shocked at how outspoken my writing can be. I always tell them that it is nothing compared to some of the rubbish morons on the internet regularly spew. But I respect those morons' right to be foolish and ignorant; if they want to believe Islam or Christianity or secularism have nothing of value, if they want to believe all Malays are lazy or all Chinese are greedy, I can't do anything about that, beyond giving my point of view. I believe we all have the right to an opinion of our own, and the right to continue developing our opinions as we find out more about our world, and get closer to the truth.

The search for truth goes to the very fundamental nature of the human spirit. Whether you are a rational academic or emotional dreamer, no matter how you perceive the world, you are looking for truth. But like any dictatorial government, ours seeks to suppress the search for truth by imposing its own truth on us.

A friend conducted some research into the economy and education system over the summer; I suggested he look into publishing his work in a local academic journal. His response: "Thanks but no thanks John — I'm not like you, I'm not interested in running afoul of the ISA." When academics refuse to publish their work because they fear the consequences, it is hard to see how our laws and our government promote or even tolerate the search for truth.

And the same goes for spiritual truths. The government insists only its reading of Islam can be tolerated; Shia Muslims, and really, any sort of Muslim who deviates from the brand promoted by the government, can expect nothing but harsh treatment from the authorities. Now, I am not a Muslim, and I don't think I have a right to tell Muslims how to practice their religion, but how can any of us pursue the truth when we are intentionally suppressing others in their own journey?

This climate of fear we live in is not something we can tolerate just because we can still put food on the table and send the kids to school. It cuts to something fundamental about us as human beings. We have a right to know, and a right to believe.

When you reject the notion that people have the right to seek the truth, you are not just rejecting some artsy-fartsy Western liberal ideas. You are rejecting the enrichment of human life, the spirit which has governed the growth of both religion and science over the millenia. You are rejecting economic development, because you have rejected the exposure of lies and corruption, because you have rejected the growth of human knowledge.

Ultimately human rights issues do boil down to economic realities. Like it or not, greater freedom of thought and expression will be a boon for our economy and the general state of our country. It is impossible to expose corruption if nobody wants to hear it because the truth is too harsh. It is impossible to carry out research if you fear you will end up in jail for your conclusions about the truth. Laws which fight the truth, be they the ISA, OSA, Sedition Act, PPPA, whatever you call them — these laws ultimately hold us back from growing as a society and as an economy.

These issues are not about the right to strip naked in public or to commit immoral acts; they are about the right to say what you think and express how you see the truth. If we cannot do that, we cannot grow. Truth compels us to abolish these laws which stand in the way of our growth, as individual human beings, and as a nation.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Why the ISA Must Go??!!!

I am not particularly enthralled, excited or thrilled by the human rights issues often raised by Malaysian liberals. If you ask me, these issues are not nearly as relevant as some truly pressing and fundamental issues, such as education.

But that does not mean we should totally ignore the problem of human rights in Malaysia. Our rights may not be directly infringed — this website is evidence of that — but they are indirectly curtailed by the chilling and self-censoring effect of laws like the Internal Security Act — the dearth of other websites like this is evidence of that.

(I have no evidence at all to support this, so this is purely a conjectural hypothesis, but I suspect that most intelligent and moderate Malaysians are afraid to voice their views, thus ceding the debate to the fearless extremists from both sides.)

I have already dealt with the subject of freedom of speech and how it destroys the higher education of our country. But the ISA too is an issue worth discussing, even though I do not rank it high on my priority list. (If you ask me, if we can only fix our education, the next generation can fix almost everything else.)

What is the ISA, you may ask? The ISA is a law allowing the government to detain for a practically indefinite period anyone who it suspects may pose a threat to national security.

The actual wording of the law sounds more liberal, but as it has been interpreted and applied, the ISA is basically a free pass for the government to arrest anyone it likes, without any judicial review whatsoever.

This mentality has pervaded our society to the extent that a leader of the Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI, or Movement to Abolish the ISA) actually called for the ISA to be used to detain Muslim heretics.

This represents the most obvious danger of the ISA, in my view — the slippery slope it poses. First, you're just rounding up communist terrorists, next, you're arresting infidels and political dissidents.

This is why the ancestor of the ISA, a law written along similar lines, had to be renewed every year by Parliament — to check abuse. The government removed this check by passing a permanent ISA in the early 1960s.

So, at the very least, we should be curtailing the ability of the executive to simply arrest whoever it likes for whatever reason. We must confine the ISA to its original purpose — national security.

But is the ISA even necessary in the first place? Does it not run counter to the idea that one must be considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law?

The British themselves have something along the lines of the ISA, but the most the executive is allowed to summarily detain anyone before charging them with a crime in court is a few weeks. Proposals to extend this period to a few months have been struck down by Parliament.

So, we ought to further curtail the ISA's reach and not allow the Home Minister to detain anyone he likes for as long as he likes. That makes sense.

But this does not answer the question of whether preventive detention can ever be justified — that you should be allowed to arrest someone before that someone commits a crime.

To me, the answer is simple — yes, but provided you can present evidence in a court of law that shows there was an attempt to commit a crime. Attempted murder is as much a crime as real murder.

At the moment, the ISA has no need for evidence because the Home Minister's decisions are not subject to judicial review. This is wrong, and has to end.

We either have enough evidence to convict someone of a crime, or we do not. The purpose of the British law is to allow the police to gather evidence while the suspect sits in jail, which makes a lot more sense than the approach some law enforcers in America have taken, whereby the suspect is arrested on petty crimes while evidence is rounded up. (Amerian gangster Al Capone was arrested for activities unrelated to his involvement in the gang scene.)

For this reason, I think the ISA must be abolished. It cannot sit well with any Malaysian who respects the law and the principles it is founded upon that you can be thrown in jail for an indefinite period without any hope of release, when there is not a shred of evidence against you.

internal security act,ISA,Malaysia,Politics

Monday, July 27, 2009

Time to get rid of draconian ISA - Assoc Prof Azmi Sharom

Brave New World (The Star)
September 18, 2008

"The preamble of the Internal Security Act is crystal clear in that it (ISA) was intended to be used for violent threats to the country."


On June 21, 1960, in the Dewan Rakyat, then Deputy Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak said: “The Government has no desire whatsoever to hinder healthy democratic opposition in any way. This is a democratic country and the Government intends to maintain it as such. It is the enemies of democracy who will be detained.”

He said this during the debate on the Internal Security Bill and it is reported in the Hansard.

The Bill of course went on to become our infamous Internal Security Act (ISA).

It is a tough law but it must be remembered that as broad as the powers given to the Government are; the preamble of the Act has this to say:

“[This is] An Act to provide for the internal security of the Federation, preventive detention, the prevention of subversion, the suppression of organised violence against persons and property in specified areas of the Federation and for matters incidental thereto”.

The late Hugh Hickling, the drafter of the ISA, had said in interviews shortly before his death, that the preamble is crystal clear and that the ISA was intended to be used for violent threats to the country.

The late former Deputy Prime Minister Tun Dr Ismail Hussein, when confronted with the draconian nature of the Act, admitted that it was so.

However, he also pointed out that the normal workings of a democracy, such as a free press, would keep the Government in check and be a disincentive for them to abuse their powers.

What we have here is a forgotten little piece of history.

The ISA was drafted to battle the violent communist insurgency, and, one presumes, other threats of the same ilk.

As stated by the father of the current Deputy Prime Minister, it was not meant to stifle democracy. And furthermore, it is the very mechanisms of democracy, such as a free press, that will keep the use of the ISA in check.

In this light, we can see that the powers provided by the ISA have been severely abused over the decades.

The latest example of course is the arrest of Raja Petra Kamarudin, Teresa Kok and Tan Hoon Cheng.

The reasons for the detention of the three have nothing to do at all with any sort of violent action or even proposed violent action on their part.

In the case of Tan, the justification for her 16-hour detention was so ludicrous and so obtuse, that it beggared belief.

The ISA was not meant to be used as a personal protection device. And pray tell how a 16-hour detention after which the individual was released back into the public sphere can be considered “protection”?

Raja Petra is currently being charged for criminal defamation and sedition.

He is facing the law in open court where he shall be accused and he shall have the opportunity to defend himself or he would have done if he was not locked up right now.

Why on earth is he being detained? Is he planning some sort of armed rebellion? There is no evidence at all to indicate even the slightest hint of that.

And Kok is being detained because some political opponents have decided to accuse her of offending Islam.

If these accusations are false, and there are indications that they are, then there is a term for this kind of behaviour – fitnah.

Fitnah is the most despicable crime committed only by the most despicable of creatures.

I am disgusted by the latest use of the ISA. It is undoubtedly going against the spirit and the intention of the ISA.

The arrest of Raja Petra, Kok and Tan also shows that the law is so open to abuse that we have no other choice but to get rid of it. There can be no room for amendments.

The ISA must go.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Memo to the king to abolish the ISA & Please sign Petition,Justice For Teo Beng Hock.

We, the undersigned, hereby demand :-
(1) The establishment of a Royal Commission of Inquiry to independently and thoroughly investigate this tragic incident.
(2) The immediate resignation of the Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) National Director.
(3) The unconditional apology by Minister in the Prime Minister Department Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz over his remarks on Beng Hock’s death.


The Undersigned

Please click the above picture to sign the petition for beng hock.Thanks.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Anti-ISA rally on Aug 1 to kick off at 2pm

Anti ISA protest in Jakarta

Islamic Party of Malaysia(PAS) central committee member Mohamad Sabu has urged the public to turn up on Aug 1 to participate in a peaceful rally to call for the Internal Security
Act(ISA) to be abolished.

”We hope everybody could come out to stand against (the injustice of) the ISA,” Mohamad said.
When contacted today, Mohamad said the rally on Aug 1, could be an opportunity for the country to start the process of getting rid of the notorious act that has chained the country for the past 49 years.

”We are the only country to have this act apart from Singapore, Israel and Brunei,” he said.
The ISA allowed for indefinite detention without trial with several detainees currently being held for almost eight years.

The Act which originally aimed to counter communist insurgency in the 60s had turned into what several quarters described as a “political tool” for the ruling coalition to silent dissenting voices.

Mohamad said those participating should wear black and red as proposed by the organiser and he expressed confidence that the rally would proceed peacefully without any untoward incidents.
Three meeting points have been allocated for the rally namely in front of shopping complex Sogo, Masjid Jamek and the National mosque before participants march to the National Palace at 2pm.

Abolished ISA Movement(GMI) working committee chairman Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh said the rally aimed to mobilise the masses to call for the draconian act to be abolished, for all ISA detainees to be released and for Kamunting Camp in Perak to be closed down.

He said the rally in conjunction with 49th anniversary of the draconian act would culminate with a people declaration being handed over to the Yang diPertuan Agong, the King.
He said the secretariat of the rally would be sending a letter to the National Palace seeking audience.

In a statement distributed July 10, Syed Ibrahim said the rally is part of GMI continuous effort to highlight the injustices of the ISA.

”The pressure from the people (to the government) play an important role in this effort (to repeal the draconian act),” he said.

”The people has once again call for change,” he said hinting that people power and “makkal sakhti” would be the battlecry for the rally.

”We are calling for bloggers, reformists and social activists to support this rally,” he said.
He said in the presence of ISA, everyone could be detained at any time and their freedom being taken away.

Syed Ibrahim said a series of rally would also be held nationwide in the run up to Aug 1.
He said updated information could be obtained from the rally’s official blog at

There will also be banner, posters and fliers to be distributed nationwide.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Journalism's For Me Despite ISA

When I was out for assignments or conducting a telephone interview over the past two weeks, my interviewees would asked: "Are you all right? Is eveything ok?"

Three weeks after I was being arrested under Internal Security Act, many are still concerned about me. Some asked me whether I have been scared and thus, going to give up journalism. As you can see I am still running around for assignments, you will know that I do not give up my job because of the incident. As many people showed their support during that time, I must adhere to my ambition. At the same time, I am responsible to work side by side with you all so that the country will move towards democracy, the judicial system will be improved, and the people will rationally overcome racial issues.

Since the moment when I was released, many readers and friends sent messages to advise and encouraged me. They asked me to see the incident as a precious experience. We must move forward instead of backwards. Indeed, all of us should adopt a positive attitude when we are facing with setbacks and injustices in life.

To me, the 18-hour experience was not a trauma or "glory". Instead, it was an opportunity for the people to see the unity spirit of the media, as well as the power of public opinion.

I would like to see a through investigation into my arrest and find out the crux of the problem, so that the same incident would not happen again. (By Tan Hoon Cheng/ Translated by SOONG PHUI JEE/ Sin Chew Daily)

( The opinions expressed by the writer do not necessarily reflect those of MySinchew )

MySinchew 2008.10.13

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

ISA - Malaysia’s symbol of injustice and torture.

Amnesty International Malaysia views with concern the statement made by Deputy IGP Tan Sri Ismail Omar on 23.2.09 on the relevance of the Internal Security Act 1960 (ISA). Amnesty regrets that the Deputy IGP being the guardian of public interest and rights had given blanket approval to the most draconian and unjust law in Malaysia. It does not reflect the aspiration of Malaysian public and are misleading. Public protests and critics on the ISA had risen to an unprecedented level, reemphasizing the concerns and arbitrariness of the ISA.

The Internal Security Act is an unjust law as it provides for an indefinite detention without trial purely at the pleasure of the police and the Home Minister. Previous arrests of Selangor State Exco YB Teresa Kwok, Blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin, Sin Chew Jit Poh journalist Tan Hoon Cheng and many others shows the potential for this unjust legislation to be used at any time against anyone without just grounds or reasons.

The ISA, through a series of amendments, has incrementally extended Executive powers, while stripping away the judicial safeguards designed to protect against their abuse. Now, once a person is detained under the ISA, he or she has no effective recourse to legal protection, nor any opportunity to establish their innocence of the accusations leveled against them. As such the ISA is contrary to fundamental principles of international law, including the right to liberty of the person, to freedom from arbitrary arrest, to be informed of the reasons for arrest, to the presumption of innocence, and to a fair and open trial in a court of law.

The broad terms of the ISA also fails to provide any precise definition or criteria for determining which individuals pose a danger to state or public security and a judicial explanation of what should be termed as a real threat to the public and the security of the nation. The Executive has been given permanent, unfettered discretion to determine, according to their subjective interpretation, who, what and when a person or activity might pose a potential threat to national security or public order.

Amnesty International in the past has repeatedly called for the repeal of the ISA. For over twenty years the organisation has called for the immediate and unconditional release of scores of ISA detainees whom it considered to be prisoners of conscience held solely for the peaceful expression of their political or religious beliefs. It has called for those detained to be either granted a fair, speedy and open trial, or else released. The organisation has also raised persistent serious concerns about patterns of grave ill-treatment, at times amounting to torture, of those detained under the law. The recent judgment in Malek Hussein’s case is a clear example of existence of torture and ill-treatment during the 60 days in-communicado period under police custody.

Amnesty International Malaysia views that ISA is irrelevant to address concerns of national security and highly prejudicial to development of human rights and democracy in Malaysia. We urge the government to reconsider Suhakam’s proposal for the ISA to be repealed and be replaced by a specific Anti-Terrorism Act as reported in its 2003 Report titled ‘’Review of the Internal Security Act 1960. Amnesty International also hereby note that since the arbitrary and unjust detention and its facilities of Guantanamo Bay is now coming to close, its now time for the ISA and Camp Kamunting being the other symbol of injustice and torture right at our home to be repealed and be shut down as well.

Nora Murat
Executive Director

Monday, July 13, 2009

Please ! Please! Please! Himpunan MANSUH!

Dear all,
Please care to pass the massage on this banner to everybody. Please also care to paste it in your blogs .... care to share with others that we have only 20 days away to Himpunan MANSUH which is schedule on Saturday , first August(1 ogos) 2009 , 2 pm at one of these chosen locations ie Masjed Jamek, Masjed Negara and SOGO.

Lets spread the massage around .... we still have ample time to do it insya Allah.

Abolish ISA, Not Amend It! – Hanipa Maidin

JUNE 29 — The government is looking into a proposal to reduce the detention period under the Internal Security Act from 60 to 28 days, said Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein. The home minister said this was among the suggestions made to review the controversial Act, which is up for review in the next Parliament meeting.

However, he cautioned that the revision of the ISA could not be rushed as there were many things that needed to be sorted out, such as getting feedback from related government agencies, such as the Immigration Department, prison authorities, police and non-governmental organisations.

He further said that “the opposition is afraid because once we amend these laws, they will be out of bullets to accuse the BN of not being serious in helping the people. They only want to politicise the issue.”

He added that the opposition was welcome to submit proposals on the matter but that the government would not engage them in discussion.

PAS has never agreed with the ISA since this “satanic” legislation was born. Thus the question of agreeing to the proposed amendments of this draconian law does not arise at all. For us there is only one solution to the ISA — that is by abolishing it. Period. PAS believes that the ISA is a wicked law and only needed by a wicked government in order to protect and hide its wicked acts.

National security mantra has been used again and again to justify the existence and continuity of this law. When BN claims that this law is necessary for national security it is in fact driving home various implicit points inter alia it is all right to detain a person without trial. In other words a trial is not important at all to ISA detainees.

It is also all right not to give a person a right to be presumed innocence until proven guilty for the ISA presumes him or her to be guilty forever.

It is also all right to incarcerate a man in a solitary confinement and subject him to interrogation for very long hours (some are even denied sleep) by several policemen.

All these inhumane and degrading treatments are acceptable and tolerable in the interest of “national” security. Human dignity is irrelevant and immaterial when it collides with national security. Islam says God has dignified the sons of Adam. The ISA on the other hand says get lost with human dignity. National security is everything.

I am not sure whether Hishammuddin has read all the books written by those who had been detained under the ISA. I am equally unsure whether he has read any court judgments on cases involving the ISA. If he has, he should be able to know that in many circumstances the purported reasons of national security are merely lame excuses created by the government. BN security has always been camouflaged as national security.

If he does not believe that national security threats are only lame excuses created by the BN government I strongly recommend him to read a judgment given by a Federal Court in the case of Ezam Mohd Nor, Tian Chua, Saari Sungib and Hishamuddin Rais vs Government of Malaysia . The judgment was given on Aug 6, 2002.

The Federal Court judgment demonstrates beyond any doubt that the reason of national security was only fake. The Federal Court, encompassing four unanimous judgments, held that the police had acted mala fide in detaining the four because of their political beliefs and not because they were a threat to national security as required by Section 73(1) of the ISA. The court thus held their ISA detention was unlawful.

Hishammuddin Hussein’s argument that this law has proven successful in stamping out communism must be held against him. In fact his argument serves as a good reason for the government to repeal this obnoxious law. Was not the very purpose of this Act to stamp out the communist threat? The very fact that the country no longer faces a communist threat clearly shows that this law has outlived its purpose. It has lost its raison d’être.

PAS has been advocating the abolishment of the ISA simply because this law is glaringly against the teaching of Islam. Thus it is sinful to preserve this dreadful Act. Injustices are deeply ingrained in this obnoxious law. Injustice is an antithesis to Islam. As Winston Churchil rightly pointed out, injustice everywhere threatens justice anywhere.

There are a plethora of Quranic verses enjoining believers to do justice. God asks us to be just at all times, not only occasionally, and to refuse to accept oppression. “O believers! be steadfast before God, witness in justice” (5: 8). Muslims are constantly reminded that “My Lord hath commanded justice” (7: 29) and that “You should be kind to them and act justly towards them” (60: 8).

Fighting injustice, oppression and evil doing is itself just and the means of establishing justice. The word for injustice, oppression or evildoing in Arabic (zulm) is used as the opposite of justice and is in its various forms one of the most frequently used terms in the Quran, which states, “God wisheth not injustice for (His) creatures (3: 108).

When the law is utterly unjust, reducing the period of detention from 60 days to 28 days does not remove the evilness of such a law. ISA is not opposed because it detains a person for 60 days or 28 days.

It is opposed because such a law endorses a person to be detained without any trial thus extinguishing his prime right to challenge his innocence in a court of law.

Be that as it may even if the period of detention is reduced to one day or one minute justice demands people to rise and oppose such a law so long as it deprives a detainee of his day in court. By denying a person his right to be tried in any court of law, how are we going to know a person is guilty or not?

It is interesting to know how Umno perceives the notion of justice. Does Umno’s version of justice include the government’s unchecked prerogative not to give a person his day in a court of law.

It seems that Umno’s notion of justice does not permit a detainee to challenge the police version of “national security” in any court of law. One wonders whether Umno is really aware that a person detained under this law is legally prohibited from challenging the discretion of the minister.

It means that even when the minister is completely wrong, nobody — not even the court of law — can question his decision. How then can we associate justice with this law?

It is common knowledge that the execution of this law has been tainted with utter discrimination. Who created the trouble prior to the massive arrest and detention of opposition leaders in the Ops Lalang in 1987? When Lee Kim Sai, a MCA leader and Najib Razak, an Umno leader, were playing with racial cards it was PAS and DAP leaders who were incarcerated in Kamunting. And thanks to the indiscriminate action by the police when an Umno leader in Penang made racial remarks and the same were reported by a woman journalist of a Chinese newspaper, only the latter was detained under this law.

But it must be understood here that ISA is not condemned because the victims of this evil Act used to be PAS or DAP or Keadilan leaders or supporters. Rest assured that even if Umno leaders are detained under this law we will condemn it as the British used to say what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

Friday, July 10, 2009

ISA do or die?

0200200201511ISA means Internal security ACT purpose to do pre-emptive strike againts communist during the 1950’s.

Malaysia is a unique country which have act like the ISA, OSA,Hasutan, AUKU,police. I really admire the government trying hard to preserve the unity and peace in Malaysia.

The question now , is all this ‘akta’ relevent in the present days? Policeman detaining a chinese reporter ‘dengan alasan her keselamatan reporter itu tidak terjamin’? Detain mainly opposition leaders? All this are rubish and abuse of power. I did not see an UMNO leader caught with this act anymore.

I remember an incident in Sabah during the mid 80’s, this ISA act were used to nabbed Catholic politicians and priests in my hometown during the PBS time to pressure the state government. I can still remember a lot of ’semenanjung salesman’ in a dark suit went to our mission school during that time looking for our parish priest selling books and etc. We all know that those salesman were not who they are. Using the railway track and making his hair curly,and wearing jeans (priest that time never use jeans) he manage to reach the old KKIA airport and flew into exile to the states. Tip off mention that the priest telephone conversation were ‘recorded’ and the Federal government have prove that this priest involve with a ‘keningau’ politician have the intention to bring Sabah out of Malaysia.

Imagine that! If the government have enough evidence, why not charge that person in court?

Regarding the AUKU act. Stated in the act that thou shall not involve in politics as a student. This act is also stupid. A lot of YB’s are infact pursuing their first degree and masters during they become a MP or ADUN. Where is the logic of this? Are wepractising double standard here?

Information I receive that the goverment are in process to ammend the AUKU act, minus consultation with the relevent College board and student body. Is this right?

Najib, please dont sale ‘kueytiau goreng’ regarding ammending the ISA act. Abolish it once and for all to show your sincerity in bringing change to Malaysia.What are you waiting for? BN credibility is at stake.

My friend from SABAH.Nice to meet you.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Petition to UN Human Right Commission to Abolish ISA

To: UN Human Right Commission, Geneva

30 March, 2008.

Ms Louise Arbour
Office of the United Nations
High Commissioner for Human Rights UNOG-OHCHR
1211 Geneva 10,

Dear Ms Louise Arbour,

Re: Appeal for the immediate release of ISA detainee Mat Sah Bin Mohammed Satray whom been detained for 6 years and all other detainee under draconian law ISA.

I am writing to strongly urge you to lobby for the immediate release of Mat Sah Bin Mohammed Satray,who has been detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) since 17 April 2002.He is currently being held at the Kamunting Detention Centre in the state of Perak, Malaysia. He and 100 other ISA detainees have been accused of being members of Jemaah Islamiyyah(JI) and of participating in subversive activities against the government.However, no evidence has been produced to substantiate these allegations.

Mat Sah and hundred other ISA detainees must be given recourse to a fair trial in conformity with international standards of due process and access to full legal repsentation and family members. We are against any act of terrorism,whether perpetuated by Muslim or Non Muslim. But if no evidence is found against a detainee, he/ she should be released without delay, as holding them indefinitely merely on the basis of suspicion is a blatan violation of due process.

I am also quite concerned about the fact that the ISA detainees have been physically abused and harassed in the past and being forced to live in small cells and under strict regimes.I ask that you ensure that Mat Sah and the rest of the ISA detainees are treated according to the international human rights standards. Human rights organizations and NGOs should be given immediate and full access to the Kamunting Detention Centre.

Most importantly, I strongly urge you to lobby the Malaysian government to abolish the ISA under which many such innocent people have been held in the past and are still being currently detained without charge, or legal representation, merely on the basis of suspicion.

I look forward to hearing from you on this matter.


The Undersigned

Please click to sign our petition.Thanks for your support.

Oral statement delivered by Norlaila Othman during 11th Session of the UN Human Rights Council

My name is Norlaila Othman. I am a Malaysian. I speak on behalf of my husband, Mat Sah Bin Mohd Satray, who has been detained by the Malaysian government under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for more than 7 years. Under the ISA, the government can detain persons without even the most basic of due process rights. The ISA is extremely broadly worded and allows for indefinite detention without trial. He was detained in April 2002 and is now occupying a cell at Kamunting Detention Camp, deprived of his liberty. He has never been charged and has not had the possibility of a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal.

Under the ISA the Malaysian judiciary has been systematically excluded from playing any meaningful role in ensuring that those detained are treated in accordance with international human rights norms. There is no effective judicial review. Habeas corpus is only available on narrow and technical grounds. Judges cannot review grounds of detention, and are not shown the purported evidence against detainees.

The ISA allows for review of detentions by an executive-appointed Advisory Board. The Advisory Board has no power to free detainees. It can only make non-binding recommendations to the government. Appearances before the Advisory Board are a farce because the authorities never disclose evidence or documents to the detainee.

My husband was first accused of being the member of one terrorist organization, then later another. However during the 7 plus years he has already spent in detention, no evidence has been produced to substantiate the accusation. Instead he is required to attend counseling programmes and encouraged to admit the allegations against him. The authorities have yet to prove he actually engaged in any illegal activity. Persons arrested at the same time as him have long been released. He has been told the only reason he is still detained is due to my activism.

The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has stated that the detention of my husband is arbitrary and contravenes Articles 9 and 10 of the UDHR. I strongly urge the Human Rights Council to visit Kamunting Detention Camp and meet my husband personally. I call on the Malaysian government to facilitate this visit.

I hope the visit will lead to the release of my husband and others who are enduring the same experience. In my case, the most affected victim is my only son, Suhaib, aged sixteen. The ISA separated Suhaib from his father since the age of 9. For 7 years he has been waiting everyday for his father’s release. It is very sorrowful to see him grow up with this uncertainty for such a long time, and being deprived of the love, care and guidance from his father. Not one person should be held in detention without trial as it violates basic human rights. I am appearing here today not just for the sake of my husband but also for all who continue to be detained without trial under the ISA and their family members.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

“Proof Unnecessary, Suspicion is Enough”

KUALA LUMPUR, Sat: The Kuala Lumpur Bar Criminal Practice Committee organised a Forum entitled “Preventive Laws – Past, Present & Future” at the Tun Mohamed Suffian Auditorium, Universiti Malaya today at 9.00 a.m.

The speakers were Dato’ Muhammad Shafee Abdullah (representative from SUHAKAM), Professor Dr. Shad Saleem Faruqi (from Universiti Teknologi Mara UiTM) and Mr M.M. Athimulan (Advocate & Solicitor). The Forum was moderated by N. Sivananthan, Chair of the Kuala Lumpur Bar Criminal Practice Committee.

After the opening address by R. Ravindra Kumar, Chairman of the Kuala Lumpur Bar, Dato’ Shafee was called upon to give his views on the state of preventive laws in Malaysia.

Dato’ Shafee, formerly with the AG’s Chambers, formerly a Deputy Public Prosecutor and currently a member of the Bar Council, did not mince words. He said that the official position of SUHAKAM is that all preventive laws should be repealed. He however said that the preventive laws which were in ‘danger’ in the 1990s, took on a new life after the events of 9/11 with increasing pressure from the USA and other western nations for South East Asian countries to implement and enforce preventive laws for counter-terrorism purposes. And he said that the government of Malaysia is seizing on worldwide attention on terrorism to justify detention without trial.

Dato’ Shafee expressed his view that, given the circumstances, preventive laws will stay for quite some time in Malaysia. And he said it may be time to look at the alternative of amending the provisions of the respective preventive laws in order for it to operate in the fairest of conditions.

He then outlined the historical background of the preventive laws such as the Internal Security Act, 1960 (ISA) and the Emergency (Public Order and Prevention of Crime) Ordinance, 1969 (POPO). He also commented on the recent legislation such as the Anti-Money Laundering Act 2001, the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act 2002, the amendments to the Penal Code and to the Criminal Procedure Code. He commented that such legislation and amendments were a result of pressure from overseas and concerns about terrorism originating from the South East Asia region. But he said they were largely impotent in terms of enforcement.

He then delved extensively into the problems pertaining to the preventive laws and the manner in which they are implemented in Malaysia. He said that, when appearing before the Advisory Board, the standard of proof was completely lacking and it was the most deplorable state of affairs with breaches of every aspect of natural justice.

Dato’ Shafee also said that one of the biggest problems was that investigations were conducted by the Special Branch, who were trained for investigative work but not geared towards collection of evidence for prosecution. As a result, he said the evidence adduced was grossly unsatisfactory and suffer greatly in terms of credibility. He said, within the Special Branch, it appeared that the ends justify the means and that lying is not necessarily a bad thing. He said proof appeared to be unnecessary, suspicion was enough.

He said that, right from the beginning, the charges were extremely vague without any particulars, no names of the victims or the identity of the witnesses, dates were stated within a wide range and no explanation was given in what way national security was compromised. This continued right up to the representations before the Advisory Board. Dato’ Shafee said that there is new trend to disallow counsel to cross-examine witnesses and most of the time the witnesses were not present when counsel was called upon to address the Advisory Board. Sometimes the evidence is read out quickly during the representations before the Advisory Board so as to make it difficult for counsel to take down even the gist of what is being read out. There have also been cases where counsel makes representations before the Board only for the Investigating Officer to come in later before the Board after counsel had been asked to leave.

Dato’ Shafee said that many measures could be implemented to reduce the draconian nature of the preventive laws. He said that a proposal prepared by SUHAKAM on this was complete and thorough and urged the public to review this. He also said that the Courts must be given specific powers to review whether the matter is actually of national security and threshold evidence must be adduced to support this. He said that there must be amendments to reflect basic principles such as right to counsel and next of kin and reasonable access to counsel. He said that pre-trial discovery must also be put in place.

Professor Dr. Shad Saleem Faruqi was then invited to speak. Prof Shad started by saying that despite the events of 9/11, this was still the age of human rights and preventive laws are contrary to human rights. He agreed however that we need to forge a middle path if the preventive laws could not be abolished. He agreed that amendments could be made to provide safeguards to ensure fairness and justice. He said that the preventive laws permit a tremendous possibility for abuse of power and government interests are often confused with national interests. He said some detainees were persecuted for their political beliefs.

Prof Shad said that he was not particularly bothered by the preventive laws themselves but more about what happens before and after preventive detention. That, he said, was the main problem. He said that there is a lack of efficacy of judicial review and this is a sad problem worldwide. Courts abdicate their responsibility of standing between the state and its people.

He said that the Courts were unwilling to go behind the ministerial discretion exercised under section 8 of the ISA and the Courts were not willing to examine the substance of the decision of the Minister. He then outlined the case law on preventive detention and how rarely the Courts have decided against the Minister. Prof Shad made it a point to mention that the Malaysian Bar ought to be credited with continuing to advance the interests and rights of the detainees and to push for fairness and justice for them. He said the role of lawyers in making law is not given adequate credit.

In outlining the amendments that he believed would make preventive laws fair and just, Prof Shad said that the enquiry under section 73(1) of the ISA must be a pre-requisite to section 8. He also said that the enquiry must be subject to review by an independent board. He said that the Minister’s decision must be open to review by the Courts as no person ought to be allowed to be accuser, adjudicator and executioner without any check and balance. He said that the 90 day limit must be reinstated and strictly applied. As for the Advisory Board, Prof Shad’s view was that the Board must be totally reconstituted. He suggested a special court or tribunal comprising men or women of integrity and independence. He said that should also be no denial of access to information and evidence to the Advisory Board. He also suggested that the minister’s decision be subject to review by the Board every 6 months and the period of detention should be reduced from 2 years to 1 year and with only one extension possible thereafter. Prof Shad also said that the public should consider taking out actions in tort for unlawful detention and cited Abd Malek Hussin’s case as an example.

Mr Athimulan, a member of the Penang Bar, also agreed that the preventive laws appeared to be here to stay. He said that existing safeguards should be strictly enforced and where there are no safeguards, measures must be taken to implement them. He stressed the critical importance of judicial review to ensure that basic human rights are not violated. He advocated the abolishment of all provisions prohibiting judicial review. He was also of the view that Judges must be more vigilant in interpreting the law to see the intent of Parliament when dealing with preventive detention. Judges must be bold enough to check any abuses.

Tuan Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh, Chairman of Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI), was one of those who spoke out during the question and answer session. He pointed out that in August, we would have been living with the ISA for 48 years. He said that there is evidence way back in time of torture and abuse during preventive detention and he did not agree that amending the preventive laws was the way forward. He reminded the speakers that the official position of SUHAKAM and the Bar Council was to call for the repeal of all preventive laws.

Tuan Syed then asked the speakers what they thought was needed to have the preventive laws repealed - was it political will, the judiciary or the people’s will ? Before sitting down, Tuan Syed invited everyone present to attend the Malam Himpunan Rakyat Anti-ISA at Stadium Melawati, Shah Alam at 8.30pm that night.

In answer to Tuan Syed’s query, Prof Shad said that academics and the public have in the past been largely apathetic and that reliance only on the judiciary was unrealistic. Dato’ Shafee agreed that to repeal the laws would require the will of the people. But he said that the role of the Judiciary on the other hand is also equally crucial. He said that Judges must breathe life into the provisions of the laws to give effect to the real intention of the laws and to protect the public against unfairness, injustice and abuse of process.

Leena Ghosh from the International Committee of the Red Cross, Malaysia also rose to highlight that the discussions at the Forum concentrated only on the implementation and enforcement of the laws but what was equally important was that the treatment of detainees during the period of detention must also be seriously looked into.

At 12.15pm, the Moderator thanked the audience for their attendance and thanked the speakers for generously making time to attend and speak at the Forum.

credit to The Malaysian Bar

What?! More new Detentions

Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI) is astonished to learn of the latest arrest under the infamous Internal Security Act (ISA) in the midst of Government’s talks about reviewing the Act. According to the information received, Sulaiman Bin Bukhari, Latif Bin Omar and Samsudin (full name was not able to be obtained) were arrested under the ISA on 25th June 2009 at Ulu Tiram, Johor Bahru. They were alleged to be members of Jemaah Islamiyaah (JI). GMI calls on the government to verify this latest arrest.

If the information received by GMI is true then we completely condemn the arrest and demand for the detainees to be put on trial or released immediately. If the information is true, it is ashamed that the government is again practising double standards and double talks in issues related to ISA. On one hand, review of ISA and releases of detainees were announced in April and May but on the other hand, new detention were carried out and mind you, discretely at that as no announcements were made.

GMI finds it astonishing that the arrests were made on the same day (25th June) the Home Minister mentioned in Parliament of the government’s “plans” to review the draconian ISA. He also mentioned that there were 12 people serving detention orders under ISA. The secrecy and unscrupulous practice that surrounds the use of ISA goes against the principles of justice, truth and transparency. It again exhibited the true colour of the ISA, which is extremely arbitrary and has nothing to do with national security. It has further confirmed that the ISA is only a political tool to silence dissidents and critics of the government. We demand the government to release them immediately or charge them in open court.

GMI urges the people of Malaysia to demand for the release of all ISA detainees and abolish the ISA once and for all. We would like to invite all the concerned citizens of all races, religion and culture to come and join us in the Abolish ISA Rally on the 1st of August 2009 in Kuala Lumpur in conjunction with 49th year’s existence of ISA. Lets us fight for our rights and for a better Malaysia without the ISA which allows detention without trial.

My Hero

Oral statement delivered by Norlaila Othman during 11th Session of the UN Human Rights Council

My name is Norlaila Othman. I am a Malaysian. I speak on behalf of my husband, Mat Sah Bin Mohd Satray, who has been detained by the Malaysian government under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for more than 7 years. Under the ISA, the government can detain persons without even the most basic of due process rights. The ISA is extremely broadly worded and allows for indefinite detention without trial. He was detained in April 2002 and is now occupying a cell at Kamunting Detention Camp, deprived of his liberty. He has never been charged and has not had the possibility of a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal.

Under the ISA the Malaysian judiciary has been systematically excluded from playing any meaningful role in ensuring that those detained are treated in accordance with international human rights norms. There is no effective judicial review. Habeas corpus is only available on narrow and technical grounds. Judges cannot review grounds of detention, and are not shown the purported evidence against detainees.

The ISA allows for review of detentions by an executive-appointed Advisory Board. The Advisory Board has no power to free detainees. It can only make non-binding recommendations to the government. Appearances before the Advisory Board are a farce because the authorities never disclose evidence or documents to the detainee.

My husband was first accused of being the member of one terrorist organization, then later another. However during the 7 plus years he has already spent in detention, no evidence has been produced to substantiate the accusation. Instead he is required to attend counseling programmes and encouraged to admit the allegations against him. The authorities have yet to prove he actually engaged in any illegal activity. Persons arrested at the same time as him have long been released. He has been told the only reason he is still detained is due to my activism.

The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has stated that the detention of my husband is arbitrary and contravenes Articles 9 and 10 of the UDHR. I strongly urge the Human Rights Council to visit Kamunting Detention Camp and meet my husband personally. I call on the Malaysian government to facilitate this visit.

I hope the visit will lead to the release of my husband and others who are enduring the same experience. In my case, the most affected victim is my only son, Suhaib, aged sixteen. The ISA separated Suhaib from his father since the age of 9. For 7 years he has been waiting everyday for his father’s release. It is very sorrowful to see him grow up with this uncertainty for such a long time, and being deprived of the love, care and guidance from his father. Not one person should be held in detention without trial as it violates basic human rights. I am appearing here today not just for the sake of my husband but also for all who continue to be detained without trial under the ISA and their family members.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Release Mat Sah NOW

"No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile."
(Article 9, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

The United Nations Commission on Human Rights has addressed the disturbing expansion of the practice of administrative detention without charge or trial since 1985. Then in 1991, the the former Commission on Human Rights in its resolution 1991/42 set up the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and entrusted with the investigation of instances of alleged arbitrary deprivation of liberty, according to the standards set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the relevant international instruments accepted by the States concerned.

The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has stated that the detention of
Mr. Mat Sah bin Mohammad (in picture below) the husband of unfortunate Mrs. Norlaila Othman is arbitrary and contravenes Articles 9 and 10 of the UDHR (classified it under categories I and III).

The Working Group considers the question of detention in the context of counter-terrorism. As such, the Working Group considers it necessary to reiterate the prominent concern that, in the counter-terrorism context, some States continue to use deprivation of liberty without charges or trial or other applicable procedural guarantees against persons accused of terrorist acts; a practice the Group considers as contrary to international human rights instruments. Specifically, the Working Group considers that detained persons suspected of terrorist activities and/or acts shall be immediately informed of such charges in line with relevant national legislation; they shall be brought before a competent judicial authority; and they shall enjoy the effective right to habeas corpus. The Working Group deems it appropriate to put forward a list of principles in conformity with articles 9 and 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and articles 9 and 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which may be used in the context of measures countering terrorism.

Article 10 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights establishes that “all persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person”, but reality looks different in some parts of the world.

We Malaysians must now support Kak Laila Merah Hitam and will be echoeing her demands to Malaysian government to accept and implement the recommendations of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention requesting the Malaysian government to take necessary steps to remedy Mr. Mat Sah bin Mohammad her husband’s situation to conform with provisions and principles enshrined in the UDHR.