UPDATE (MALAYSIA): Abolish the Internal Security Act (ISA) Campaign


Urgent Appeal Case: UP-36-2001
ISSUES: Legislation,

UP-36-2001 (RE: UA25/01: National day greetings to the people and the government of Malaysia

UPDATE (MALAYSIA): Abolish the Internal Security Act (ISA) Campaign 


Today, August 31, 2001 is Malaysia’s 44th National Day. 

The last year has been an eventful year for Malaysians and seen a tremendous growth of the resistance of the people against a government which became more oppressive as it became more insecure of its support from the people. 

The most blatantly repressive acts of the government have been in the use of the Internal Security Act, since April this year, to arrest and detain several groups of people without form of process. 

The first round of ISA arrests in 2001: political leaders and activists 

Ten people were arrested under the ISA in what is now revealed as the “Omega Operation” in April 2001. Those arrested were prominent political and social activist. Currently six of them are being detained without trial for two years in Kamunting Detention Camp. Two were released by the police while two others were released by the landmark ruling on 30th. May 2001, by Justice Mohd. Hishamudin Mohd Yunus of Shah Alam High Court, who ruled that the detentions under the ISA were unlawful, and ordered the police to release them immediately. 

The six currently serving a two years detention without trial period are: 

Chua Tian Chang, Vice President National Justice Party 
Mohd Ezam Mohd Noor, National Youth Chief of National Justice Party 
Saari Sungib, Central Committee Member National Justice Party 
Hishamuddin Rais, Social Activist/Free Lance Columnist 
Badrul Amin Baharom, Central Committee Member National Justice Party 
Lokman Nor Adam, Youth Leader of National Justice Party 

Though the Government made serious allegations on the above six such as being involved in illegal activities including having links with guerilla movements outside the country, no evidence was forthcoming to prove these allegations. 

In fact, as has appeared, in the affidavits of the 10 detainees, none of them had been interrogated on the allegations which were the basis of their arrests, which calls into question the government’s claim that the arrests were made on grounds of national security. 

Second Round of ISA arrests – students 

A second round of arrests was carried out resulting in a crack down on student activism. Two student leaders were arrested under the ISA, seven students were detained overnight and eventually charged for illegal assembly, progressive student movements were monitored, several homes of student leaders were raided and show-cause letters send to respective leaders. Lately, a number of students who have been earlier charged for illegal assembly have been suspended by their respective universities even before they have been found guilty by the courts. 

Third group of ISA arrests : Muslim militants or Islamic opposition? 
The latest victims of the draconian ISA are those detained May and August 2001. They have been accused for being involved in ‘militant?activities to overthrow the government. 

Of these detainees, 3 have been sent to Kamunting detention centre for 2 years detention without trial. They are: 
Murad Halimmudin Hassan, Muhammad Azian Andul Rahman Nazri and Uztaz Mohamat Iqbal B. Abdul Rahman – 

One – Nazri Romli – was put under restricted residence orders for 2 years. 

The rest are still in the first 60 days of detention without trial. They are: 
Mohd Rashid Ismail, Jaafar Karamah, Abu Bakar Che Dol, 
Asfawani Abdullah, Zainun Ismail @ Cikgu Nan, Solehan bin Abdul Ghafar 
Alias bin Ngah, Noor Ashid Sakib, Ahmad Pozi Darman 
Ahmad Tajuddin Abu Bakar, Mohd. Lotfi b. Ariffin, Nik Adli Nik Abdul Aziz 

The police have linked this group of arrests to three incidents: 

i. A foiled robbery at Southern Bank Jalan Gasing on May 18th. which the police claim is linked to a Jihadi group. 
ii. Members of a group which the police claimed the name of KMM (Malaysian Mujahideen Group) which is alleged to have intentions to overthrow the government by violent means. 
iii. Members of Jemaah Tabligh Malaysia (JTM) an unregistered Muslim Organisation with 15,000 members and having its headquarters in India and Pakistan. 

However, the current ISA arrests seems to target Muslim groups accused of being militant, armed and dangerous, and includes some members of the opposition Islamic party PAS, who have been or are currently involved in these groups. 

Political observers in Malaysia suggest that they could be intended to create fear among non-Muslims on the existence of militant Muslim groups and reduce the popularity which PAS has gained among non-Muslims. Such action would divert the attention of the nation on the serious economic crises being faced by the nation, and consolidate Prime Minister Mahathir’s position until the next General Election. 

ISA is nothing else than violation of basic human rights 

Whatever the allegations of the government, AHRC, together with all human rights loving people in Malaysia, holds that the ISA like all such national security laws around the world is in itself, and leads to, violation of basic human rights. 

Since 1960, thousands of people including trade unionist, student leaders, labour activist, political activist, religious groups, academicians, NGO activist have been arrested under the ISA. The ISA has been consistently used against people who criticise the government and defend human rights. It has been the most convenient tool for the state to suppress opposition and open debate. The Act is an instrument maintained by the ruling government to control public life and civil society. 

The ISA provides for ‘preventative detention?without trial for an indefinite period. The ISA violates fundamental rights and goes against the principles of justice and undermines the rule of law. 

The ISA goes against the right of a person to defend himself in an open and fair trial. The person can be incarcerated up to 60 days of interrogation without access to lawyers. A person is presumed innocent till proven guilty but under the ISA the person is deemed guilty until she/he toes the line of the government of the day. 

The ISA is immoral and cruel. It condones torture and humiliation. It is opposed by all major religions practiced in the world. 

The National Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) has clearly condemned the use of ISA and called for those arrested to be charged in court. 

We call upon the Malaysian government on the occasion of this auspicious National Day, which should be a time of celebrating MERDEKA for everybody, to give a token of good faith to the people of Malaysia. You can show this by the following: 

?Release all those detained under the ISA unconditionally 
?Repeal the ISA 
?Condemn the abuse and disrespect on freedom of assembly and expression demonstrated by the police and other law enforcement agencies, as reported by the Human Rights Commission, Suhakam. 
?Heed the recommendations of Suhakam, regarding police behaviour, and regarding ways to ensure the rights to unrestricted and legal peaceful assemblies, which are necessary for restoring democracy and human rights in Malaysia. 

Yours Sincerely, 


Datuk Abdullah Ahmad Badawi 
Home Minister, 
Aras 13, Block D1, Parcel D, 
Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan, 
65202 Putrajaya. 
Fax-603-8886 8014 
email: tpm@smpke.jpm.my 

Tan Sri Norian Mai 
Inspector General of Police, 
Ibupejabat PDRM, 
Bukit Aman, 
50560 Kuala Lumpur 
Fax 603-22731326 

Ybhg Tan Sri Musa Hitam 
Malaysia Human Rights Commission, 
29th. Floor, Menara Tun Razak, 
Jalan Raja Laut, 
50350 Kuala Lumpur. 
Fax- 603-26125620 
email: humanrights@humanrights.com.my 

And the Malaysian Consulate in your country, 
You can also send the letter from AHRC’s on-line Abolish ISA Campaign site at : http://www.ahrchk.net/ua/malaysia/isa/index.html 

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Update
Document ID : UP-36-2001
Countries : Malaysia,
Issues : Legislation,