Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) strongly condemns the arrest of youth activists and political leaders in the past week and the threats issued by the inspector-general of police against opposition Members of Parliament.
The arrest of Shazni Murni and Shukri Kamarudin under the Sedition Act 1948; the arrest of Muhammad Zhafran under Section 504 of the Penal Code; the arrest of YB Rafizi Ramli under the Official Secrets Act 1972; and the arrest of YB Chan Ming Kai under Section 186 of the Penal Code can only be described as the start of a political crackdown against youth activists and political leaders.
There is no legitimate justification for the arrest and the detention of these individuals. The Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) as the keeper of peace and security should not be exercising their power for political reasons as they have in these cases.
Further, Members of Parliament are elected representative of the people and must be allowed to perform the duties expected of them. These duties would naturally include the protection and promotion of their rights as Members of Parliament. The protest against the treatment of a fellow parliamentarian and the show of solidarity expressed by opposition Member of Parliaments should not and cannot be subjected to threats by the inspector-general of police.
Threats issued against any Members of Parliament in such a manner should be construed as threat to Parliamentary democracy as it posed a direct and immediate threat to the Parliament and those who sit within. The inspector-general of police would do well to remember the role of the Royal Malaysian Police and put an end to the unnecessary interference against parliamentary activities.
Recalling Malaysia’s support shown by the government of Malaysia for the United Nations General Assembly’s resolution on the protection of human rights defenders, Suaram reminds the government of Malaysia and all associated government agencies to remember the obligations it has undertaken by supporting the said resolution and take immediate steps to fulfill their obligations.
On this note, Suaram urges the immediate release of all activists and opposition leaders arrested and detained by the Royal Malaysian police and for the Royal Malaysian Police to cease with its crackdown against human rights and democracy.
SEVAN DORAISAMY is executive director, Suaram.