Letter from Tian Chua


Urgent Appeal Case: UA981214
ISSUES: Arbitrary arrest & detention,

Dear friends,

Got into PJ (Petaling Jaya) lock-up about 4:30 pm. Met Nusrat briefly at the police office, then the SBs quickly took me into the lock-up. The conditions – cleanliness wise – here are much better, at least the groud is lined with plankwood, instead of cement as in Dang Wangi. As soon as I got in, I was greeted by several ‘reformasi’ people. One of them was Zulkifli, some one I met earlier in one of the gatherings. There were about 5 of them, caught in Serdang. I haven’t had a chance to speak to them yet. I was shocked at the extent of the arrest of the ‘reformasi’ people. It is obvious that crackdown on the supporters for refom is very widespread. When I was in the courtroom waiting for the bail, I also met 2 other Indonesians who were caught in Kampung Baru during the October demo and had been sitting in Sungai Buloh prison for a month.

They said their cells were near to Datuk Nalla. They have another 4 friends who could not be bailed out because of no valid documents. Here I met another Indonesian who is kept opposite my cell, told me that when he was in Sg. Buloh prison, he met Anwar and shook his hand. As a result he was hit by the guard with a stick. But he said that was worth it because he supported the cause of ‘reformasi’. He had been in Malaysia for 13 years and married with a pregnant wife. However he would be deported for no valid documents. He said Mahathir is no different from Suharto; they are both dictators who refuse to give up power and allow the emergence of new leaders.

\"Power would corrupt if it stays in the same hand for too long\", he said.

The support for change really goes right through to the base of society. In the lock-ups (here and Dang Wangi), even drug addicts and robbers talked about corruption of Mahathir regime. They also talked a lot about justice for Anwar. I tried whenever I can to interact with all these detainees. It is important to let them see that ‘reformasi’ is not something distant from their lives. The prevailance of justice must also bring fundamental change to these detainees – whom almost all end up in the lock-ups because they are poor or powerless.

Tian Chua

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID : UA981214
Countries : Malaysia,
Issues : Arbitrary arrest & detention,