MALAYSIA: Family of ISA Detainee refused entry and detained


Urgent Appeal Case: UA-25-2001
ISSUES: Legislation,

UA-25-2001 – Family of ISA Detainee refused entry and detained 

MALAYSIA: Denial of right to freedom of association and expression, denial of prisoners’ right to family visits to 

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The Malaysian government has stepped up yet again its deprivation and violation of the basic rights of the ISA detainees. Ms. Mabel Au, fiancee of Mr. Tian Chua (one of the six men detained for 2 years under ISA), has been denied entry into Malaysia. Ms. Au – a Hong Kong resident and coordinator of the Committee for Asian Women Workers (CAW) based in Bangkok – has visited Mr. Chua at the Kamunting Detention Centre in Malaysia once previously since his arrest under the notorious Internal Security Act (see BACKGROUND), but this time was refused entry for unspecified ‘security reasons’. Not only was she not allowed to enter the country, she herself was detained in an airport lock-up for 13 hours pending her deportation flight. She was denied the right to contact her embassy. Her mobile phone was rendered inoperable by the guards after she managed to make a brief call to other family members waiting outside. 

This is how Ms. Au described her detention in immigration: 
“Basically the lock-up was a freezer. There were two rooms in the female lock-up. People had to sleep on the hard concrete floor. At the most they got some cardboard to sleep on. Then I had no food and not even water to drink. I informed the officers that I wanted to make a phone call but those people were so good at ignoring people as if they were deaf.” 

Ms. Au said that she was surprised to find even pregnant women and children were detained for long periods in the immigration area, and that the conditions in the men’s area was even worse than the conditions she endured. She went on to comment on her deportation: 

“According to the immigration officer, the reason for not allowing me to go into Malaysia is security reason. Is the Malaysia government saying that by visiting my fiancee would bring a big impact to Malaysia’s security situation? It is very obvious that the Mahatir government wants to put pressure on Tian by depriving his rights to see me. Besides the government also want to put off the participation of the family committee in the AIM (Anti-ISA Movement) as the government has found that the families are successfully getting support from the public. However the 13 hours illegal detention and the groundless deportation is irrational. It only showed that the Mahatir government is in deep trouble. Mahatir is so anxious to suppress criticism from the people. All the suppression from the government will not stop our struggle. On the contrary, the suppression is holding us together to fight against this brutal and corrupted regime until justice is attained.” 

The following comments were recorded in 
Tian’s sister Chua Thien See: 
“Au is on the black list because the Malaysian government is fearful of her presence. She is very popular with the Chinese media and she is a woman of substance. The treatment received by my brother’s fiance?is inhumane and illogical.” 

Parti Rakyat Malaysia (PRM) Youth secretary Latheefa Koya: 
“Families of ISA detainees are now being treated like criminals. We told the officers (Immigration) that this was a form of victimisation but they replied that they were following orders.” 

DAP Member of Parliament for Seputeh Teresa Kok: 
“The Home Affairs Ministry must state a proper reason for barring her. Au is a foreigner and works for an international organisation. Banning her from Malaysia will give this country a very bad image. If the government thinks that Au can create chaos in this country, something must be very, very wrong and the government must be very, very weak.” 

Families of the ISA Detainees movement: 
“The government should act in a ‘wise and rational manner?by withdrawing its decision on Au. Nothing can break the spirit of the families of ISA detainees and this will instead strengthen their resolve to free those detained and seek the abolishment of the ISA.” 


The UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (1955) affirms that prisoners – including untried prisoners and persons arrested or detained without charge – have the right to visits by family members and friends: 

Para 37. Prisoners shall be allowed under necessary supervision to communicate with their family and reputable friends at regular intervals, both by correspondence and by receiving visits. 

Para 92. An untried prisoner shall be allowed to inform immediately his family of his detention and shall be given all reasonable facilities for communicating with his family and friends, and for receiving visits from them, subject only to restrictions and supervision as are necessary in the interests of the administration of justice and of the security and good order of the institution. 

Para 95. Without prejudice to the provisions of article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, persons arrested or imprisoned without charge shall be accorded the same protection as that accorded [in the other relevant sections of the ‘Minimum Rules’] 


The Malaysian Internal Security Act (ISA) is one of a many National Security Laws in Asia that are used to arbitrarily arrest political opponents, journalists, activists and organisers. It can be applied even on the subjective assumption of the possibility of future crime and used to detain without trial for long periods of time. It is often used in conjunction with torture to create terror and prevent 

The following people in Malaysia have been served with detention orders that will imprison them for two years without trials under the ISA, an act which violates all international norms related to arrests, detentions and fair trials: 

– Mr. Mohm. Ezam Mohamad Nor, national youth chief of the National Justice Party or Parti Keadilan Nasional 
– Mr. Tian Chua, vice president of the National Justice Party 
– Mr. Hishamuddin Rais, a columnist and social activist 
– Mr. Saari Sungip, chairperson of the April 14 People Memorandum Rally 
– Mr. Badrul Amin, National Leader of NJP 
– Mr. Lokman Adam, Youth Leader of NJP 

The use of the ISA comes after many detentions and the harassment of many people who have been demanding democratic reforms in Malaysia. These detentions indicate the decision of the Mahathir government to implement a strong crackdown on the democratic movement. 

The ISA has been used on many other occassions, including the initial detention of Anwar Ibrahim, the then Deputy Prime Minister (who is currently in jail under politically motivated criminal charges), and most recently two student activists on 5-6 July, one of whom – Khairul Anwar Ahmad Zaenuddin – remains under incommunicado ISA detention in an undisclosed location. 


Write to the Minister of Home Affairs, who is responsible for the Department of Immigration, demanding that: 
– Ms. Mabel Au be allowed to enter the country and visit her fiance, according to the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (1955) 
– Mr. Tian Chua and the 6 others currently being detained under the ISA be released immediately, as their arrest is arbitrary and politically motivated 
– The ISA be abolished, as it is a tool for preventing freedom of association, expression and assembly. 


Hon’ble Datuk Abdullah Ahmad Badawi 
Minister for Home Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister 
Aras 13, Blok D1, Parcel D 
Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan 
Alamat Kawat : “KDN, Putrajaya” 
Fax: 603 8886 8014 


Department of Immigration 
Aras 1-7, Blok 1 
Pusat Bandar Damansara, 
50550 Kuala Lumpur 
Fax: 03 256 2340 

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID : UA-25-2001
Countries : Malaysia,
Issues : Legislation,