Malaysia: 134 Arrested at Peaceful Rally Including Two Human Rights Defenders


Urgent Appeal Case: UA981020
ISSUES: Arbitrary arrest & detention,


The ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION urge you to continue your support for justice and human rights in Malaysia. One more person arrested under the Malaysian detentions Internal Security Law. Two human rights activst arrested over the weekend. Further update on AHRC Urgent Appeal on Malaysia 980922, updates 980923, 980925 and 981005.

10 October 1998: Five traders were detained in Ipoh, Malaysia, for selling books and tapes supporting former duty prime minister Anwar Ibrahim. The police also seized pro-Anwar audio and video tapes during a 30-minute operation at the state mosque .

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 was held in 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. Jemaah Islah Malaysia (JIM) is an NGO belonging to a new opposition groupthe "Malaysian People’s Justice Movement".

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.

17 October 1998: Human rights activist Rajendra Devraj and Stephanie Bastiam both were arrested while observing the peaceful "reformasi" protest calling on Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed to resign. A total of 134 persons including 17 women were arrested at the rally of about 10,000. Observers allege that the police used unreasonable force on those arrested. The detainees were transported by van to the Police Headquarters. The rally proceed from Dataran Merdeka [Freedom Square] towards the Istana Negara [palace] to give a memorandum to the Yang di-Pertuan Agung [the King]. This was stopped violently by the police. The police disperse the crowd with rattan charges and water canons. The police claim the protestors were detained as they did not have permits and refused to disperse when ordered.

Rajendran is lock up at the Dang Wangi Police Station and Stephanie is lock up at the Wangsa Maju Police Station together with 16 other women.

17 October 1998: Malaysia’s former deputy premier Anwar Ibrahim from released his first message from prison since his arrested in 20 September 1998. The message was read by his wife Wan Azizah at the "reformasi" rally. Anwar who is still remanded in jail after his ISA order was lifted claims the lifting of the Isa – was a "gimmick" by Mahathir to avoid "the people’s wrath and the reaction of the international community" before the 17 November 1998 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Kuala Lumpur. Anwar further claims that it is a "desperate act of Mahathir to maintain power and hold office so as to save his family and cronies." Anwar condemns the use of ISA detention without trial, on the pretext of safeguarding national security and treatment of ISA detainees including solitary confinement and forcing detainees to issue conciliatory statements as conditions for release is "inhumane".

ISA Detainees Four still being held under the ISA in incommunicado detention at an unknown location: Parti Islam Semalaysia executive secretary Abdul Malek Hussein, former Negri Sembilan Umno Youth chief Ruslan Kassim, lawyer Zulkifli Nordin, and Jemaah Islah Malaysia president Shaari Sungip.

S. Nallakarupan, arrested under the ISA in July 1998 also remains in detention and is currently facing charges of illegally possessing ammunition. He has access to lawyers.

Asian Goverments reaction: According to reports Japan is considering 2.7 billion dollars in aid to Malaysia. Meanwhile, Indonesian President Bacharuddin Habibie and Philippine President Joseph Estrada both have expressed sympathy for Anwar Ibrahim and have voiced their concern regarding the detention and beating by police. President Estrada thinks Anwar should not waver in his fight for reforms. Estrada gave this message to Nurul Izzah, the eldest daughther of Anwar to bring to her father.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: WRITE AND FAX APPEALS: Further to our earlier request we ask you to write urgent letters to the Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohammed of Malaysia, Dato’ Tajol Rosli Ghazali Deputy Minister of Home Affairs and United Nations secretary-general Kofi Anan, requesting them to intervene to:

1. Release immediately and unconditionally all Internal Security Act detainees of Ruslan Kassim and Haji Saari Sungib , who continues to be held in incommunicado detention under the ISA at an unknown location;

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

Dato’ Tajol Rosli Ghazali Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Jalan Dato’ Onn 50502 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Faxes: + 60 3 230 1051

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.

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID : UA981020
Countries : Malaysia,
Issues : Arbitrary arrest & detention,