The fight to free the PSM EO6, part 3

In June/July 2011, in anticipation of the Bersih 2 rally, the police under the direction of the UMNO-BN government detained 6 PSM leaders under the Emergency Ordinance (EO). For this 10-year-anniversary of this detention, Thinkleft will run a series of articles documenting the struggle to free the six from unlawful detention.

Click here to read part 1 of this series
Click here to read part 2 of this series

On the other side, the Utusan propaganda kept increasing by the day. On the 28th of June, Utusan went on another rampage with their foreign agent theory where they accused two people in the southern bus of being part of a larger conspiracy to destabilize the country. They were referring to PSM’s guest from Philippines Romy from the PLM (Party of the Laboring Masses) and another intern Song Min Young, an intern with the National Institute of Electoral Integrity (NIEI). Immediately on the same day, we responded and went on the offensive as we lodged a police report against Utusan. Our strategy was the counter every negative statement which was said by the mainstream media immediately especially Utusan. We immediately countered every allegation – big or small. That was another strength in our campaign – the ability to immediately respond to BN lies. The alternative media especially Malaysiakini and FMT played very crucial parts in highlighting our plight.

On the 28th, PSM deployed its old tactics in getting families of detainees to lodge police reports to pressure for release and better treatment. We wanted to make as many reports and there were lots of family members who came forward to lodge police reports. We made much gains in the morning but as the evening came, a group linked to UMNO, Pekida and others came in their hundreds to attack and provoke us. They marched towards the police station where we were gathered and were provoking us. We seeked police protection but the police did not come to our defense and in fact chased us away. It seems the police and the provocateurs were working hand in hand to disperse us.

It was one of the most challenging times for us because we were faced with fascist goons from the ruling party and their disturbances increased by the day and were destructive. They were calling us for a fight. We changed our tactics. We retreated that night and decided that gathering in Penang was difficult because of these groups. We also realized that if there was a fight because of their provocation, then it would be the excuse needed by the Police and the state to further justify their resolution to end the BERSIH rally. We did not want to give them the ammunition to finish us and fall in their trap.

To be continued…

S. Arutchelvan
Deputy Chairperson
Parti Sosialis Malaysia


The following is a statement by the National Institute for Democracy and Electoral Integrity (NIEI) on Tuesday, June 28, 2011 at 5:01pm

NIEI DEMANDS THE IMMEDIATE RELEASE OF MS. SONG MIN-YOUNG

28 June 2011:

 National Institute for Democracy & Electoral Integrity (NIEI) would like to counter the allegations made by main stream media, Utusan Malaysia about NIEI and our visiting intern Ms. Song Min-Young. NIEI is a non-profit, impartial, independent and neutral non-government organization (NGO) where we work closely with government agencies, NGOs, political parties and the public at large.

 Ms. Song is a South Korean student and also involved in volunteer work in The May 18 Memorial Foundation. She is currently helping NIEI to help our research work on electoral system and is not in any way a foreign spy; observing the roadshow is part of NIEI work. We deplore the action taken against her by the Royal Police Force and demand for her immediate release.

 NIEI was informed on 25th June, 2011 on the arrest and detention of our visiting intern Ms.  Song Min-young at Ledang, Johor for participating in BERSIH but was released the following morning along with others who were detained.

 On 27th June, 2011 evening, Ms. Song was re-arrested in Bangsar and detained at Bukit Jalil police station and has been charged for violating the Immigration Act.  She has also been accused by mainstream media of threatening national security with communism via BERSIH.

 NIEI strongly dismisses these accusations as baseless and totally incorrect. Ms. Song Min-young, a student at Chonnam National University, South Korea and interested in election and democracy. She has  been helping NIEI and our research entitled “Election in Malaysia: Comparison studies between Malaysia and South Korea” . Her work required her to communicate with government agencies, non-governmental organizations as well as political parties. During her arrest in Ledang, Johor, Ms. Song was observing the work of Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) in line with her duties at NIEI.

 As a matter of fact, NIEI is working closely with the Election Comission (EC) to improve the electoral system of the country and was not a part of BERSIH 2.0 coalition.

 We are disappointed and sad with the accusation made by the police and Utusan Malaysia that Ms. Song is a foreign agent to disturb peace in Malaysia. We demand that Ms. Song be released and charges dropped immediately and that the Malaysian Police Force and Utusan Malaysia issue a public apology for this unlawful act.

 Background of NIEI

 National Institute for Democracy and Electoral Integrity (NIEI) of Malaysia began in 1999 as an informal group of like-minded activists for genuine democracy. On 4th July 2007, NIEI was officially registered.

 NIEI works to enhance development of democracy in Malaysia, especially areas related to election issues and problems. Thus, NIEI is active in monitoring election processes and conducting programs on voters’ awareness.

 In 2007 and 2008, NIEI was involved in voters’ education program for natives in the states of Sabah and Sarawak. This activity was about bringing awareness on the rights of voters and on making informed choices/decisions.

 Since 2004, under the umbrella of ANFREL, NIEI has also participated in monitoring numerous elections in other Asian countries as observers. Among countries where NIEI has sent its observers to are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Nepal, Thailand, Cambodia, Singapore, Indonesia, South Korea, Aceh and the Philippines.

 A substantial proportion of young population of Malaysia do not register as voters and many more do not participate in election, NIEI now is working among youth for their active participation in processes of Malaysian democracy

The following is a report by Malaysiakini on 28 June 2011.

COMMUNIST PLOT: PSM REPORTS UTUSAN TO POLICE

Parti Sosialis Malaysia has lodged a police report against Umno-owned Malay daily Utusan Malaysia, over an article headlined ‘National security threatened’.

The report was made at the Kepala Batas police station at 10.46am today.

PSM secretary-general S Arutchelvan said the claims in the article were not only “false” but could incite chaos and threaten national security.

He urged the police to investigate the article and writer for attempting to raise tensions, also saying he hopes for a “transparent and independent” probe.

In his report, Arutchelvan noted that the writer Mohd Asron Mustapha did not cite any sources for the information published.

The article had “falsely claimed” that two individuals – Filipino Romea Castillo and South Korean Min Young Song – have been spreading “evil propaganda” to topple the government.

Arutchelvan said Castillo is deputy secretary of Partido Lakas ng Masa, a socialist party in the Philippines.

PSM had invited him to participate in its congress from June 3-5, and he was to have stayed on for a month but left Malaysia on Sunday.

Min is an intern with well-known South Korean human rights NGO May 18 Foundation, and is in Malaysia for a stint with the National Institute for Democracy and Electoral Integrity.

Arutchelvan said the duo were not involved in any gathering or distribution of leaflets, as claimed.

During PSM’s ‘Udahlah tu… Bersaralah’ roadshow in Johor, he said, the police had been trailing the campaigners and taking their photos.

“There is no photo that will show them involved in any such activities. The accusation is wild (and made) with evil intentions.

“The two persons were detained with 26 others including myself and we were released at 4am on police bail after we gave our statements at the Tangkak police station on Monday.

“If they were agents, … how come they were released? The … Utusan article is malicious and has tried to create tension while belittling the work of the police force.”

Claims ‘comical’

The Utusan article claimed that Castillo is aligned to a left-wing communist party in the Philippines, while Min is said to be linked to a right-wing organisation in the US.

“The article is not only false but comical because these two organisations have opposing ideologies, so how can they work together to topple our government?” asked Arutchelvan.

“The other big lie is that Bersih is led by PSM (just) because the initiative is organised by NGOs, not political parties. PSM supports the rally, it does not lead or organise it.”

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