In June-July 2011, 6 leaders from PSM were detained by the police under the Emergency Ordinance. In this 10-year anniversary of the struggle to free them, we are publishing a series of accounts of this historic event when people power was victorious.
Click here to read part 1 of this series
Click here to read part 2 of this series
Click here to read part 3 of this series
Here we will publish statements of support and solidarity we received from domestic and international organizations in this struggle ten years ago
SOLIDARITY FROM ZIMBABWE!
The International Socialist Organisation [ISO] Zimbabwe extends solidarity to the 30 Malaysian comrades unjustly arrested and held at Penang Police Headquarters and Kepala Batas detention centre as well as to the entire Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) who are suffering the onslaught of the fascist police of the out-dated tsarist Malaysian regime.
We fully understand that the evil alliance between the King and the forces should be resisted by all means. We are together in the struggle.
Your struggle is not isolated as many across the globe are also flames up against the rotting capitalist system which has detained humanity to abduct poverty and unworthy wars. Presiding capitalist regimes of the world realize that their time is up and they have decided to give their last kicks, be it in Yemen, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, UK, Tunisia, Egypt, and Swaziland and even here in Zimbabwe where our comrades are facing similar charges for defending democracy and freedom of expression.
As revolutionary socialists we remain committed to the resolve and commitment that there is only one solution to capitalism. That solution is a revolution.
Smash Capitalism! Viva Socialism!
National Coordinating Committee (NCC)
INTERNATIONAL SOCIALIST ORGANISATION (ISO) ZIMBABWE
MCLM Calls on the Prime Minister to Release all Detainees and Stop Harassment of BERSIH 2.0 Supporters
Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak,
The Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement (MCLM) was most disappointed to read that you have completely abrogated your responsibilities with regards to those who have been arrested or detained in connection with BERSIH 2.0, saying that you will leave it to the police to decide on their release. You also said that it was up to the police whether the arrests of people wearing BERSIH T-shirts or displaying BERSIH paraphernalia would continue.
In light of the intercession of DYMM Yang di Pertuan Agong and the subsequent concessions made by the BERSIH 2.0 steering committee, your non-committal position is weak, indecisive and most ungracious.
Over the last two weeks, we and all the Rakyat have witnessed our elected government, in particular the Ministry of Home Affairs, and Polis di Raja Malaysia, trample on our civil liberties in a bid to crush the BERSIH 2.0 spirit.
PDRM have arrested people on the most spurious charges, like wearing yellow clothing or having T-shirts bearing pictures of old CPM members. They have floated the idea that Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) is waging war against the Agong by plotting to revive communism. They have attempted to link BERSIH 2.0 movement to this allegation.
The Deputy Prime Minister accused “major powers” of supporting BERSIH 2.0. Disregarding the clearly worded demands of the movement’s planned “Walk for Democracy”, the Home Minister declared the movement illegal claiming that it was inciting people to create an atmosphere of unrest.
The upshot of the relentless spinning by your administration and PDRM is the arrest of more than 200 people, including opposition politicians and activists, in connection with the BERSIH 2.0 rally, and that number appears to be growing by the hour.
Of greatest concern is the detention of six members of PSM under the Emergency Ordinance (EO), including Sungai Siput MP Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj, PSM deputy chairperson M Saraswathy, central committee members Choo Chon Kai and M Sukumaran, Sungai Siput branch secretary A Letchumanan, and PSM Youth leader Sarat Babu.
We were very disturbed to hear reports that the detainees, in particular, the PSM members, had been ill-treated while in custody and deprived of their right to legal representation.
Datuk Seri Najib, these actions by members of your Cabinet as well as the PDRM are completely unacceptable and have tarnished your administration not just in the eyes of the Rakyat but also the international community.
The Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement urges you to step up as the head of the elected government and do your part in restoring good sense and civility to your administration. Show the Rakyat that you, your cabinet and PDRM respect the Federal Constitution and the laws of the country which emanate from it. Release all the detainees unconditionally and drop all unfounded charges against them. Stop the harassment of BERSIH 2.0 and its supporters.
Understand that BERSIH 2.0 is a civil society initiative and that it has the support of the majority of Malaysians who desire nothing more than clean and fair elections. Opposing BERSIH 2.0 sends the message that you are against the most fundamental democratic principles that underpin the formation of our beloved nation.
RAJA PETRA KAMARUDIN, CHAIRMAN
HARIS M. IBRAHIM, PRESIDENT
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL URGENT ACTION:
MP, ACTIVISTS DETAINED FOR PROTESTING
An opposition MP and five other activists calling for reform to Malaysia’s electoral system have been detained without charge, and are at risk of torture.
The Malaysian authorities used the country’s Emergency Ordinance on 2 July to keep a member of parliament, Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj, and five other activists in detention. This law allows for detention without charge and prevents judicial review.
The six men are among 30 arrested in the city of Penang on 25 June en route to an event for an electoral reform movement, Bersih 2.0 (“Clean”). Police held them for seven days on suspicion of “waging of war against the King”. The other 24 were released on 4 July but charged with associating with Bersih 2.0, which was not declared an illegal organization until after their arrest.
On 4 July, police barred lawyers from meeting with the six men, who have not yet been allowed to see a lawyer.
Prompt access to legal counsel is a key right of detainees, and an important safeguard against torture and other ill-treatment. According to credible local sources, one of the 24 released detainees said she was forced to stand for seven hours during interrogation.
The UN Committee against Torture and the Special Rapporteur on torture have found that painful stress positions such as these constitute cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and, in particular when combined with other methods, may amount to torture. Torture and other forms of ill-treatment are prohibited absolutely under customary international law, which is binding on all states.
Another detainee said that a police officer punched her when she and other female detainees protested against being ordered to undress in front of male officers. A male officer videotaped the women as they undressed, and officers made sexually degrading comments to the women.
Please write immediately in English or your own language:
– calling on the authorities to guarantee that the six detained men (naming them) will not be tortured or otherwise ill-treated;
– urging them to allow the men immediate and regular access to lawyers of their choice, their families and an independent court as well as any medical attention they may require;
– urging them to charge the men promptly with a recognizably criminal offence and bring them before a court of law, or else release them;
– expressing concern that the Emergency Ordinance violates human rights, as set out in the Universal Declaration of Human rights, including the right to liberty, the right to a fair and public trial and the right to be presumed innocent;
UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
Mandates of the Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression; and the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association
REFERENCE: UA G/SO 218/2 G/SO 214 (67-17) Assembly & Association (2010-1)
6 July 2011
We have the honour to address you in our capacity as Chair-Rapporteur of the
Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; Special Rapporteur on the promotion and
protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression; and Special Rapporteur on
the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association pursuant to General
Assembly resolution 60/251 and to Human Rights Council resolutions 15/18, 16/4, and
In this connection, we would like to draw the attention of your Excellency’s
Government to information we have received concerning reports of harassment,
intimidation, arrest or questioning by police of over 170 members and supporters of
the Coalition for Fair and Free Elections (Bersih). Bersih advocates for the reform of
the electoral process in Malaysia, which includes inter alia the use of permanent ink to
ensure that voters only vote once, and equal access to print and broadcast media for all
candidates and political parties. It is planning to organize a demonstration on 9 July 2011,
known as “Bersih 2.0”, in advance of the general elections expected to take place in 2012
The first demonstration was held in November 2007 prior to the 2008 general
elections. According to information received:
On 23 June 2011, Ms. Ambiga Sreenavasan, chair of Bersih and former
President of the Malaysian Bar Council, allegedly received a death threat via text
message. The Minister of Home Affairs has reportedly pledged to investigate the
On 24 June 2011, at least ten individuals, including seven members of the
Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) and the People’s Justice Party (PKR), wereallegedly arrested for distributing Bersih 2.0 leaflets and wearing or carrying
Bersih 2.0 t-shirts. These individuals have reportedly been released.
On 25 June 2011, 30 members of the PSM party, including two minors, were
allegedly taken off a bus and arrested on the way to a political rally in Penang. By
virtue of allegedly restarting the Communist Party of Malaysia, they have
reportedly been charged under section 112 of the Penal Code with “waging war”
against the King of Malaysia. Violation of section 112 of the Penal Code carries a
sentence of up to life imprisonment and an undefined amount of fines. The
Penang police have reportedly presented the possession of t-shirts with leaders of
the former Communist Party of Malaysia and several leaflets promoting political
change as evidence against these individuals. They were held in remand for seven
days while the police investigated the charge.
Upon the end of the seven-day remand order on 2 July 2011, the following six
individuals were allegedly re-arrested at the Seberang Prai Utara district police
headquarters, under the Emergency Ordinance:
Mr. Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj, PSM Member of Parliament;
Ms. Saraswathy Muthu, Deputy Chair of PSM;
Mr. Chon Kai Choo;
Mr. Munisamy Sukumaran;
Mr. Letchumanan Aasirpatham; and
Mr. Sarat Babu Raman
The Emergency Ordinance allows police to detain suspects for up to 60 days.
Reports indicate that the remand for the other 24 individuals may be extended,
and they are expected to stand trial on 21 July 2011.
On 26 June 2011, the Minister of Home Affairs reportedly stated that the
Government will not permit the planned march on 9 July 2011, and has indicated
that the authorities may apply the Internal Security Act, which provides for
indefinite detention without trial, to prosecute the organizers of the march.
On the same day, seven people were arrested by police in Taman Kosas, Kuala
Lumpur, for wearing Bersih 2.0 t-shirts and allegedly “disrupting public order”.
On 27 June 2011, Ms. Ambiga Sreenevasan, Chair of the Bersih 2.0 organizing
committee, and Mr. A. Samad Said, prominent poet and novelist, were
summoned to Dang Wangi police station. Both are reportedly being investigated
by police under section 27(5) of the Police Act and section 27(5) of the Sedition
Act for organizing an “unlawful assembly”.
On 29 June 2011, 14 members of the Perak State Legislative Assembly were
arrested while they were wearing Bersih 2.0 t-shirts and distributing Malaysian
flags in Sungai Siput, Perak State.
2On the same day, police officers from Selangor State Headquarters allegedly
raided the office of the Bersih 2.0 secretariat without a warrant, and arrested
seven individuals and confiscated laptops, cameras, and rally materials. The seven
individuals were released on bail the same day at 11:00 p.m.
It has also been reported that the Registrar of Societies has declared Bersih an
unlawful organization, effective as of 1 July 2011. The request was allegedly
made by the Minister of Home Affairs, who made the order under Section 5 of the
Societies Act, which states that “it shall be lawful for the Minister in his absolute
discretion by order to declare unlawful any society or branch or class or
description of any societies which in his opinion, is or is being used for purposes
prejudicial to or incompatible with the interest of the security of Malaysia or any
part thereof, public order, or morality.” He has reportedly stated that Bersih’s
activities are threatening public order, security, economic prosperity and national
On 2 July 2011, three PKR Youth members were arrested in Batu Gajah, Perak at
the town market for wearing the yellow Bersih 2.0 t-shirts despite wearing these
garments under other clothing. According to PKR Perak Deputy Secretary, Mr.
Tan Kar Hing, the three were having tea when the police asked them to open their
shirts to reveal the t-shirts.
On 2 July 2011, police arrested 11 men and three women political activists at a
coffeeshop for conspiring to plan a rally in Kuala Lumpur on 9 July, including
Mr. Gooi Hsiao Leung, PKR Kedah Legal Bureau Chief who is involved in the
On 3 July 2011, 17 Pan-Malaysian Islamic Members (PAS) leaders and members,
between 30 and 72 years-old, were arrested for possessing Bersih 2.0 t-shirts and
have been detained for three days for investigation under Section 47 of the
Societies Act. Police have reportedly confiscated 113 banned Bersih t-shirts and
On 6 July 2011, three individuals were reportedly arrested in Subang Jaya for
possession of Bersih 2.0 t-shirts.
On 7 July 2011, police obtained court orders to prevent 91 persons associated
with Bersih, Umno Youth and Perkasa from entering Kuala Lumpur on 9 July,
and to shut down city roads. According to the court orders, the people named can
be arrested on sight, which includes Ms. Ambiga Sreenevasan, Bersih chief; Mr.
Ibrahim Ali, Perkasa chief; Mr. Khairy Jamaluddin, Umno Youth chief; and
Ms. Maria Chin Abdullah, Bersih steering committee member.
3In addition, roadblocks have allegedly been set up in many parts of the country
along highways and transport hubs to prevent people from travelling to Kuala
Lumpur before and after the planned demonstration of 9 July 2011.
Concern is expressed that the above-mentioned allegations constitute undue
restrictions of the rights to freedom of opinion and expression, freedom of assembly, and
freedom of association.
Without expressing at this stage an opinion on the facts of the case and on
whether the detention of the abovementioned persons is arbitrary or not, we would like to
appeal to your Excellency’s Government to take all necessary measures to guarantee their
right not to be deprived arbitrarily of their liberty and to fair proceedings before an
independent and impartial tribunal, in accordance with articles 9 and 10 of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
We would like to appeal to your Excellency’s Government to take all necessary
steps to secure the right to freedom of opinion and expression in accordance with
fundamental principles as set forth in article 19 of the UDHR, which provides that
“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom
to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and
ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
We would also like to appeal to your Excellency’s Government to take all
necessary steps to ensure the right to freedom of assembly, as recognized in article 20 of
the UDHR, which provides that “Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly
We urge your Excellency’s Government to take all necessary measures to
guarantee that the rights and freedoms of the above mentioned persons and members and
supporters of the Coalition for Fair and Free Elections (Bersih) are respected and, in the
event that your investigations support or suggest the above allegations to be correct, the
accountability of any person responsible of the alleged violations should be ensured. We
also request that your Excellency’s Government adopt effective measures to prevent the
recurrence of these acts.
We appeal to your Excellency’s Government to cease the use of preventive
detention in violation of fundamental due process rights. We note that the UN Working
Group on Arbitrary Detention in their report following their June 2010 mission to
Malaysia (A/HRC/16/47/Add.2) called for the repeal of provisions allowing for
preventive detention under the Emergency (Public Order and Prevention of Crime)
Ordinance 1969, the Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measures) Act 1985, and the
Restricted Residency Act 1933.
In view of the urgency of the matter, we would appreciate a response on the initial
steps taken by your Excellency’s Government to safeguard the rights of the above
4mentioned persons and members and supporters of the Coalition for Fair and Free
Elections (Bersih) in compliance with the above international instruments.
Moreover, it is our responsibility under the mandates provided to us by the
Human Rights Council, to seek to clarify all cases brought to our attention. Since we are
expected to report on these cases to the Human Rights Council, we would be grateful for
your cooperation and your observations on the following matters, when relevant to the
case under consideration:
Are the facts alleged in the above summary of the case accurate?
Please provide detailed information on how the alleged violations
mentioned above are compatible with Malaysia’s obligations to promote and protect the
rights to freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and freedom of association,
Please provide information on the measures taken to ensure the safety of
the above mentioned persons and members and supporters of the Coalition for Fair and
Free Elections (Bersih).
We undertake to ensure that your Excellency’s Government’s response to each of
these questions is accurately reflected in the report we will submit to the Human Rights
Council for its consideration.
Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of our highest consideration.
El Hadji Malick Sow
Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention
Frank La Rue
Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of
opinion and expression
Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of