Activist Lashed Out At Prime Minister ond Anwar’s Trial


Urgent Appeal Case: UA990106

Malaysia Press Conference: Malaysian Activist Lashes Out At Prime Minister and Anwar’s Trial

Dear Friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission had organised a Press Conference and RoundTable on 30 December 98 on theme \"Malaysia:Human Rights Situation.\" The keynote speaker: Mr. Tian Chua the Chairperson of the newly formed Gagasan Demokrasi Rakyat (Coalition for People’s Democracy) and a member of SUARAM in Malaysia.

5 December 98: Mr. Tian Chua was freed on police bail from his seconddetention as the Attoney General Chambers [Malaysia] have yet to consider charges against him. The Malaysian government is cracking downhard on dissidents – \"reformasi\" activist. There are 5 persons detained under the Internal Security Act still imprisoned without charges or trial and many more are just lockup in prison. While the former deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim was initially detained under the Internal Security Act – Anwar is still imprisoned and charged in court. The trial of Anwar Ibrahim has drawn attention to the legal system, police brutality and corruption.

Below is a article written by AP on the Press conference in Hong Kong. Tian Chua – Press Release available on request.

Date:Wed Dec 30 05:22:37 1998

Hong Kong: Malaysian Activist: Malaysian activist lashes out atprime minister, Anwar trial


A top Malaysian activist on Wednesday reiterated his call for the removal of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad but said Malaysia needs even broader reforms to avoid sliding deeper into a political and economic morass.

Tian Chua, who recently got out of jail after his latest arrest without charge, also called the sex-and-corruption case against sacked deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim a \"comedy\" that is amusing the populace at a time when Malaysians should be focusing on broader issues.

Tian said the only way out of Malaysia’s mess is a radical shakeup of what he characterized as a corruption-ridden political and legal system.

\"We must have a steady and constant change of new blood that can guarantee transparency and accountability in government,\" said Tian, chairman of Malaysia’s opposition Coalition of People’s Democracy.

Tian, 36, who was freed on bail Dec. 5, met Wednesday afternoon with journalists in Hong Kong to discuss the human rights situation in Malaysia. Relaxed and soft-spoken, Tian said his interrogations by Malaysian authorities were harsh, but he said he was only slightly beaten, compared to some prisoners who were more severely abused.

He added that political detainees were placed in overcrowded cells without access to clean water. \"We were jailed with drug addicts and common criminals,\" Tian said.

Tian’s coalition, composed of 20 human rights and opposition political groups, has demanded reform and protested against Mahathir’s 17-year rule.

Tian said Mahathir may call snap elections within six months, but Tian did not name an alternative political candidate that the opposition would back.

Tian cautioned that Mahathir’s removal alone would not ensure a viable leadership. The immediate concern of the reform movement or \"reformasi\" as it is called was the abolition of laws that restrict political freedoms.

\"We must look into the constitution itself so that civil and human rights may be better integrated,\" Tian said.

Tian said ongoing Anwar trial was a sham that the Malaysian people found \"extremely amusing.\" \"The government is determined to sentence Anwar regardless of what the independent courts say,\" Tian said.

Mahathir fired Anwar on Sept. 2 after deeming him morally unfit to lead the country. Anwar was arrested on Sept. 20 and badly beaten while in police custody.

Anwar now is on trial for abuse of power and will be tried separately on charges of engaging in illegal sex acts, including sodomy. Prosecutors are trying to prove Anwar had sex with the wife of his former secretary, sodomized his family driver and abused his powers to cover up the affairs.

Tian called for an independent judiciary that did not condone intimidation of lawyers, a fair and honest electoral system, and an investigation into the business practices of Malaysia’s politicians.

Because Asia’s financial crisis shows little sign of abating, Tian called for loosening the ties between the political and financial communities to better position Malaysia for recovery.

\"Economic affairs must be as transparent as possible,\" Tian said.

Tian also said the recently concluded summit of the 11-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations did little to further a reassessment of the organization’s founding policy of non-interference in each others’ internal affairs.

\"Human rights and civil liberties transcend national borders,\" Tian said.

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID : UA990106
Countries : Malaysia,