Malaysia: Launch of the White Ribbon Campaign


Urgent Appeal Case: UA981015

Malaysia: Launch of the White Ribbon Campaign

October 14, 1998

AHRC UA981015 Malaysia 15 October 1998

The ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION urge you to SUPPORT THE WHITE RIBBON CAMPAIGN launched by our Malaysian networks on their current situation. One more person arrested under the Malaysian detentions Internal Security Law. Further updates on AHRC Urgent Appeal on Malaysia 980922, updates 980923, 980925 and 981005.

10 October 1998: Mr.Mahinder Singh Randhawa was detained under section 73 (1)(a) of the Internal Security Act (ISA)during a peaceful rally. The 55 year old civil and structural engineer is presently being held incommunicado detention. He was released after 48 hours of detentions.

12 October 1998: Jemaah Islah Malaysia (JIM) President, Mr. Haji Saari Haji Sungib is detained under the Internal Security Act.

14 October 98: The Malaysian authorities lifted Anwar Ibrahim’s detention under the Internal Security Act. After 24 days of solitarity confinement in the police headquarters he is now moved to the maximum security Sungai Buloh Prison on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The prison rules will allow him to weekly family visits and regular consultations with his lawyers.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Condemn the continuous abuse of power by the government of Prime Minister Mahathir. Many questions are raised why the ISA was used to detain Mr. Mahinder Singh Radhawa, who was released after less than 48 hours of detention. The frequent use of arbitrary detention under ISA shows that Dr. Mahathir is losing his legitimacy as the leader of Malaysia, and only maintain his power through repression. Continue to request for the immediate and unconditional release of all ISA detainees.

WRITE AND FAX APPEALS: Further to our earlier appeals, we request you to write urgent letters to the Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohammed of Malaysia and United Nations secretary-general Kofi Anan, requesting them to intervene to:

1. Release immediately and unconditionally all Internal Security Act detainees 2. Provide immediate medical care to detainees 3. Release immediately and unconditionally all political detainees 4. Provide immediate medical care to all political prisoners 5. Investigate the offense committed by State Officers and take appropriate action against them 6. allow independent team of psysicians to examine all ISA detainees to ensure they are not being subject to torture or physical assault 7. Abolish the Internal Security Act which contravenes UN Human Rights Standards 8. Provide security to peaceful protesters.


Dato Seri Mahathir bin Mohamad Prime Minister’s Department Jalan Dato Onn 50502 Kuala Lumpur Malaysia Faxes: 603 – 298 4172

Mr. Kofi Annan Secretary-General of United Nations D-519 Palais des Nations Geneva 10, Switzerland Fax: 41 – 22 – 917 0022 (Hotline – Human Rights)

And to the diplomatic representative of Malaysia accredited to your country


13 October 1998 Launch of the White Ribbon Campaign

The Council of Gagasan Demokrasi Rakyat on October 8 decided to adopt the white ribbon campaign. The concept of white ribbon was originally an initiative of the International Movement for a Just World (JUST). Today is the official launch of the white ribbon as symbol of Malaysian people’s struggle for justice.

The struggle for justice, democracy and human rights is not something recent. All the members of Gagasan Demokrasi Rakyat have been engaging in the struggles long before the issue of Anwar Ibrahim. The Gagasan is a coalition of NGOs with political parties who share the same goal of creating a Malaysia that is devoid of injustice and that subscribes to the basic principles of democracy and freedom. The process of our formation began in September 1998.

In this light, Gagasan views that laws that forestall and hinder the full exercise of freedom and democracy (such as the ISA) should be abolished or repealed. In the same light, we demand that all those who are incarcerated under these unjust laws should be freed immediately. They include members of our coalition such as: Lim Guan Eng, the MP of Kota Melaka and Haji Saari, the president of JIM.

Gagasan also believes that freedom of peaceful protest and assembly is one of the most fundamental human rights. The growing incidents of police abuse and brutality of late also call into question the leadership of the police force. We observe a trend of deterioration of professionalism in the police force in the recent year. The IGP has demonstrated that he is not in a position to check such abuses. We believe that IGP should be accountable and call on him to step down if public confidence were to be restored.

The political and economic events of late have created a crisis of confidence in the leadership of Dr. Mahathir and his government. Gagasan therefore calls for his immediate resignation. Failing this, Dr. Mahathir should call for fresh and free election to establish his mandate.

The white ribbon campaign aims at mobilising the population of Malaysia to resist the tyranny and oppression imposed by Dr Mahathir’s government. Dr. Mahathir continues to stay in power by instilling a culture of fear among the people. However as we have seen in the past few weeks, the people have not been frightened. The people continue to rise up against injustices.

Gagasan calls upon the people of Malaysia to join in the white ribbon campaign. The small white ribbon is a way to show our longing for justice. It can be a powerful message to the authorities that the people are defying the culture of fear.

Besides the white ribbon, we also call on people to continue to switch off their lights for 10 minutes at 8.00pm every Tuesday, and turn on their head headlights the next day. Gagasan urges the people to continue to resist injustice by initiating and participating various forms of peaceful protests.

Tian Chua Chairperson
* * * * * * * * * ** ABOLISH I.S.A.! MANSUHKAN I.S.A! * * * * * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * * SIGN JUST WORLD’S WHITE RIBBON/SIGNATURE CAMPAIGN FOR JUSTICE! * ****************************** * * * * * * * *

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID : UA981015
Countries : Malaysia,