Malaysia: ISA Detentions and More Than 230 Detained for "Illegal Assembly"


Urgent Appeal Case: UA981026
ISSUES: Arbitrary arrest & detention, Legislation,

The ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION urge you to continue your support for justice and human rights in Malaysia. Five persons are still detained under the Malaysian Internal Security Law. Further updates on AHRC Urgent Appeal on Malaysia.

People are defying the police as the government declared illegal any pro-Anwar Ibrahim demonstrations. These week police have threathen that illegal protester could be arrested under the Internal Security Act which allows for indefinite detention without trial. The Malaysian law states that any public meeting of more than three people without a police permit can be declared an illegal assembly, punishable by a fine of up to 10,000 ringgit (2,630 dollars) and a year in jail. At present, those arrested in anti-government rallies are detained for several days then released on bail pending trial.

1. The ISA Detentions The Internal Security Act (ISA) detention which started in September still continues. 13 persons detained under ISA have been released.

14 October 1998 former deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s ISA detention was lifted and he is now remanded in custody at Sungei Bolah prison on 10 charges of corruption and sexual offense [annal sex]. He still remains in solitary confinement.

2 November 1998 Mr Anwar is due to go on trial on charges of corruption and sodomy which he denies. Prime Minister Mahathir has now alleged that Anwar wants to topple the Malaysian government. Anwar claims that he a victim of a high-level conspiracy to prevent him from revealing corruption and cronyism within the government.

Those detained under the ISA often remain in incommunicado detention at an unknown location.

2. Update on ISA detainees

1. S Nallakarupan, Ex-director of Public Relations Magnum Corp *arrested in July, access to lawyers, location known, charged

2. Ruslan Kassim, President, Negri Sembilan United Malays National Organisation *incommunicado, no access to lawyers, location unknown, no charges

3. Abdul Malek Hussein, executive secretary, Parti Islam Semalaysia *incommunicado, no access to lawyers, location unknown, no charges

4. Zulkifli Nordin, Member of Malaysian Bar Council’s Human Rights Committee and Defense Lawyer *incommunicado, no access to lawyers, location unknown, no charges

5. Haji Saari Haji Sungib, President, Jemaah Islah Malaysia (JIM) [*arrested on 12 October 1998’s – new detentions] *incommunicado, no access to lawyers, location unknown, no charges

3. "Illegal Assembly" Detainees of 17 October 1998 Released

21 October 1998 Human rights activist Rajendren and Stephanie Bastian were released from police custody at 8.00pm.

22 October 1998, at the magistrate court before Puan Musalmah the 127 persons were charged with illegal assembly all claimed trial except one who plead guilty. The one who plead guilty was fine RM 2000 [which is the mandatory minimum sentence]. The rest were allowed bail of RM 1000 with one surety. An estimated 40 were sent to Sungei Buloh prison because they did not have any sureties. More then 80% of the detainees arrested claimed they were beaten, slapped, punched and/or kicked.

Released earlier were a juvenile aged 15 and a journalist and both claimed to have been beaten up too.

4. 23 October 1998: "Illegal Aseembly" at least 50 detained

Two persons were detained as riot police dispersed about 300 persons with water cannon and teargas before Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad present the1999 budget in Parliament. At the national mosque, in the morning, several hundred people called for "Reformasi".

In the evening, police used water cannons to quell an estimated 3000 people including bystanders and members of the public in the rally. Its alleged the police sprayed the rally with water and stinging pepper. Police detained about 50 persons for "illegal assembly".

5. 24 October 1998: ‘Illegal Assembly" more then 232 persons detained

The 232 men arrested for illegal assembly and rioting were brought before Magistrate Azhaniz for remand. A team of lawyers from the Bar Council Legal Aid Centre are representing the 232 suspects.

25 October 1998: All women and young persons arrested were released from detention.

26 October 1998: The Magistrate ordered the released of 52 persons including Hishamuddin Rais, a former student activist, and Ronald Takashi, a reporter with AFP. The Magistrate remanded180 persons for three days [from 25 1098 to 271098] including Ahmad Bongsu, the son of Hamid Tuah who was a land rights activist in the early 1970s. Many of the detainees were beaten andsome had stitches on their head.

6. 24 October 1998: Forum on ISA stopped

The police stopped a forum calling for the Internal Security Act (ISA) to be abolished. The forum held at the e Malaysian Trade Unions Congress [MTUC) headquarter was declared illegal by a police officer. The police officer ordered the 200 people to disperse in 10 minutes or action will be taken. The participants peaceful walked out of the building and no one was arrested.

7. Police Stop Peaceful Public Meetings

The police often interfere and disallow peaceful political meetings. When applications for holding political meetings were submitted to the police permission was no granted. 15 October 1998 the police even set up two road blocks leading to stop citizens from attending the Gerak’s organised meeting at Pokok Sena, Kedah. Several police trucks were lined up along the road close to the meeting location. The Police had laready stopped several political meetings organised by Gerak at Batu Pahat, Johor; in Melaka and in Kelang. Its the citizens no longer enjoy their rights to freedom of speech and freedom of peaceful assembly to express their opinions. The Malaysian government seems to be using the laws to disrupt and prohibit people from having peaceful public gatherings.

8. 24 October 1998: Munawar Ahmad Anees appeals against conviction

Dr. Munawar Ahmad Anees, a Pakistani speech writer of Anwar Ibrahim, has alleged the police of humiliating and brainwashing him before he confessed to homosexual acts with Anwar.

14 September 1998: Munawar Ahmad Anees was arreted under Internal Security Act (ISA). He was shaved bald, often blindfolded, handcuffed and interrogated by unidentified security officers who systematic humilated, degraded, broke down his resistence and brainwashed him . 19 September 1998 he was sentenced to six months’ jail after his "involuntary" confession of sodomy with Anwar. Both Munawar Ahmad Anees and Sukma Darmawan Sasmitaat Madja were sentenced for alleged acts of sodomy with Anwar.

Lawyers for both Munawar Ahmad Anees and Sukma Darmawan Sasmitaat Madja are appealing their conviction.

9. Support for Justice

In the past weeks we have been sending you information on the situation of Malaysia. One of the factors that have been happy to the masses engaged in protests, are the stand taken by some of the local governments in the region, expressing support at personal level to the former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim, and expressing concern over the situation of the country.

It is quite disturbing to see that crowds of about 200 people have been gathering to protest at the philippines embassy in Malaysia. In these circumstances, we thougt it will be useful, if letters of support can be send to the President of Philippines, expressing solidarity with his stand to suppport democracy movement in Malaysia and requesting him to maintain the stand.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: AHRC condemns the use of Internal Security Act (ISA) as a violation of the rule of law, human rights and the principles of democratic government and calls on the Malaysian government to repeal the ISA in total. AHRC is very concern on the frequent unreasonable force used by the police to disperse rallies and protests. Stress that amid allegations that Anwar Ibrahim was beaten while in police custody the presence of. competent local and foreign observers will make the trial process more transparent and fair.

Please continue to send your appeals letters and faxes to the Malaysian authorities urging: – all ISA detainees be released immediately without conditions including Anwar Ibrahim who is now remanded; – condemn the use of the ISA on legitimate expressions of dissent; – that police brutality at peaceful gatherings of citizens be curbed immediately;and the right to freedom of assembly and expression be respected. – release all those arrested in the streets immediately or charge them immediately; – condemn the use of force and intimidation on detainees and condemn police intimidation on family and friends of the detainees; – ensure that all medical assistance will be made available to detainees; – urge that bail be given to Anwar Ibrahim for the duration of his trial. – called for foreign observers to be allowed to attend the trial of Anwar Ibrahim.


Dato Seri Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad Prime Minister and Minister of Home Affairs Jalan Dato’ Onn 50502 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Faxes: 603 – 238 3784, 2984172,

Dato Tajol Rosli Ghazali Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Jalan Dato Onn 50502 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Faxes: 603 – 230 1051

Datuk Mokhtar Abdullah Attorney General’s Chambers Jabatan Peguam Negara Malaysia, Tingkat 20, Bangunan Bank Negara Malaysia Jalan Tangsi, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Fax: 60-3-2984172

Tan Sri Rahim Noor, Inspector-General of Police Ibu Pejabat Polis Persekutuan, Bukit Aman, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Fax: 603-2910707

send copies to diplomatic representative of Malaysia accredited to your country.

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID : UA981026
Countries : Malaysia,
Issues : Arbitrary arrest & detention, Legislation,