MALAYSIA: Denial of right to freedom of association and expression, continuous arrests under the ISA

Dear Friends,

Regarding continuous crackdown in Malaysia, we are forwarding the following appeal by SUARAM, one of prominent human rights group in Malaysia. Recently two student leaders were arrested under the ISA. The students join the six other political prisoners (Tina Chua, Mohamad Ezam Mohd. Nor, Saari Sungib, Hishamuddin Rais, Lokman Adam and Badaruddin Ismail) who remain in custody under the ISA.

Please send your protest letter to stop the continuous crackdown on opposition, human rights and student group.

Thank you for your action.

Urgent Appeals Desk

Asian Human Rights Commission


Second Student Leader Arrested under ISA!


Mohamad Fuad Mohd Ikhwan, president of the Student Representative Council of University Malaya, was arrested at about 4.30pm yesterday (6 July 2001) under the Internal Security Act (ISA), which allows for detention without trial!

According to information received by Suaram, Mohamad Fuad’s family received a phone call from DSP Lee of the Bukit Aman Police Headquarters at about 5.45pm yesterday informing them that Mohamad Fuad was arrested under ISA section 73(1). Mohamad Fuad is believed to be arrested while driving his motorcycle alone. His vehicle is believed to be kept now in the Travers police station.

This is a second ISA arrest on student activists following the recent crackdown on student movement against the notorious ISA and the deteriorating human rights and democracy situation in Malaysia by the government.

Earlier, a student leader from Institut Kemahiran Mara, Khairul Anuar Ahmad Zainuddin was arrested under ISA on 5 July 2001 at the Dang Wangi police station. He was accompanying six student activists who were told to present themselves there in connection with an anti-ISA demonstration in front of the National Mosque last June 8.

The student’s anti ISA demonstration was held on June 8 and participated by around 400 students from different universities all over the country. The demonstration ended up with seven student activists arrested by the police. They were beaten under police custody. They were released on June 9 on police bail and asked to report back to the police station on July 5.

In a report today, the Inspector General of Police, Norian Mai was quoted that Khairul Anuar was arrested because he is suspected to be involved in activities posing threats to the national security and a fire, which razed Tunku Canselor Hall in University Malaya on July 2. However, the Fire and Rescue Department has yet to complete their investigation on the fire.

Both Khairul Anuar Ahmad Zainuddin and Mohamad Fuad Mohd Ikhwan are now being held incommunicado by the police at undisclosed detention center. Both are denied of their rights to legal representation and access to their family.

It is believed that more students will be arrested under the draconian ISA as the police have started to raid a few students?residence in Bangi and Kelana Jaya area since last Wednesday.

Suaram believe the ISA arrests are made to crackdown on the student movement and silence student activism in campus. Suaram is very concerned with the safety and well being of the students detained incommunicado under ISA as ISA detainees had been subjected to serious physical and mental torture in the past.

The Internal Security Act, 1960

Section 73(1) Internal Security Act:

“Any police officer may without warrant arrest and detain pending enquiries any person in respect of whom he has reason to believe-

a. that there are grounds which would justify his detention under section 8; and

b. that he has acted or is about to act or is likely to act in any manner prejudicial to the security of Malaysia or any part thereof or to maintenance of essential services therein or to the economic life thereof.”

Sect 8. Power to order detention or restriction of persons.

“(i) If the Minister is satisfied that the detention of any person is necessary with a view to preventing him from acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of Malaysia or any part thereof or to the maintenance of essential services therein or the economic life thereof, he may make an order (hereinafter referred to as a detention order) directing that person be detained for any period not exceeding two years.”

(Note from SUARAM: the detention order can be renewed by the Minister, which is not uncommon, hence making detention indefinitely.)

Why the ISA is a Draconian Law

Since 1960 when the Act was enacted, thousands of people including trade unionists, student leaders, labour activists, political activists, religious groups, academicians, NGO activists have been arrested under the ISA. The ISA has been consistently used against people who criticise the government and defend human rights. It has been the most convenient tool for the state to suppress opposition and open debate. The Act is an instrument maintained by the ruling government to control public life and civil society.

The ISA provides for ‘preventative detention’ without trial for an indefinite period. The ISA violates fundamental rights and goes against the principles of justice and undermines the rule of law.

The ISA goes against the right of a person to defend himself in an open and fair trial. The person can be incarcerated up to 60 days of interrogation without access to lawyers.

A person detained under the ISA is held incommunicado, with no access to the outside world. Furthermore, lawyers and family are not allowed access to the detainee.

Torture goes concurrently with ISA detention. Former detainees have testified to being subjected to physical and psychological torture. This may include one or more of the following: physical assault, sleep deprivation, round-the-clock interrogation, threats of bodily harm to family members, including detainees’ children. Prolonged torture and deprivation have led to detainees signing state-manufactured ‘confessions’ under severe duress.


– Demand for the immediate release of all those detained under ISA.

– Express gravest concern over their well-being.

– If those detained have violated any laws, charge them in an open and fair court.

– Condemn the use of ISA and call for the Government to repeal the ISA immediately.

– Condemn the abuse and disrespect of the right to assemble peaceably.

– Call on the Malaysian Human Rights Commission to intervene and restore democracy and human rights.

Letters can be addressed:

Ybhg Tan Sri Musa Hitam


National Human Rights Commission,

29th. Floor, Menara Tun Razak,

Jalan Raja Laut,

50350 Kuala Lumpur.

Fax: +603 2612 5620

Tel: +603 2612 5600


Datuk Abdullah Ahmad Badawi

Ministry of Home Affairs (Menteri Dalam Negeri)

Aras 13, Blok D1

Parcel D, Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan

65202 Putrajaya, Selangor


Fax: +603 8886 8014


Tan Sri Norian Mai

Inspector General of Police

Headquarters of Royal Police of Malaysia

Bukit Aman

50560 Kuala Lumpur


Fax: 603 22731326

Kofi Annan


United Nations Room S-3800,

New York NY 10017

Fax: +1 212 963 4879/2155


Mrs. Mary Robinson

Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Palais des nations

8-14 avenue de la Paix,

CH 1211 Geneve,


Fax: +41 229170213



(Please cc. a copy of your letter to the above authorities to SUARAM at, if possible, for documentation purposes.)



Document Type : Forwarded Urgent Appeal
Document ID : FA-05-2001
Countries : Malaysia,
Issues : Legislation,