Malaysia

Burma: ‘Stop violence against the Rohingya’

The Rohingya are an ethnic group facing extreme persecution in Burma (Myanmar). Australia has been criticised for failing to accept Rohingya asylum seekers as refugees.

The statement below was released on October 18 by 35 groups in Malaysia and the Asian region, including human rights groups and political parties such as the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM).

 

Thousands of students took to the streets on August 27. Photo by Dinesh Selvarajoo. Students took to the streets of Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur on August 27 to call for the immediate arrest of Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak for corruption.
Reacting to what is reportedly the biggest financial scandal in history, US authorities have subpoenaed documents from Goldman Sachs relating to the dealings of the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). Set up in 2009 by the Malaysian government, 1MDB is supposed to generate growth and establish the country as a financial hub. However, according to the Wall Street Journal, at least US$1 billion has gone into the pocket of a person referred to in Department of Justice documents as “Malaysian Official 1” — widely reported to be Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.
PKMM rally, 1946. Radicals: Resistance & Protest in Colonial Malaya By Syed Muhd Khairudin Aljunied Northern Illinois University Press (NUI), 2015 228 pages On a night in 2010, a crowd of onlookers gathered to watch the demolition of a 300 metre wall of the century-old Purdu prison in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s capital.
Malaysian human rights group SUARAM says that several members of the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) and other human rights activists were subjected to arbitrary arrests simply for attending a peaceful candlelight vigil in the city of Johor Baru on January 10. The vigil was called to protest the second-time arrest on remand of PSM Central Committee member Khairul Nizam (also known as Aduka Taruna).
Khalid Ismath, a member of the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM), was arrested on October 7 and later charged under Malaysia's sedition and communication acts for posting allegedly offensive comments on social media. He was initially denied bail over posts relating to the arrest of lawyer Kamal Hisham Jaafar, a former legal advisor to the Johor royal family. As of October 27, Khalid had been held in solitary confinement for 18 days. His lawyer had not been permitted to visit him.
An international campaign has been launched to call for the release of Khalid Mohd Ismath, a Malaysian student activist and a member of the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM), who has been detained since October 7. Khalid has been active in highlighting human rights violations and misuse of power by the authorities in Malaysia. He was arrested on October 7 under the Malaysian Multimedia and Communications Act 1998 for allegedly posting offensive comments on social media.
Malaysian democracy activists estimate that between 300,000 and half a million people peacefully took to the streets of the capital Kuala Lumpur for 34 hours from August 29 to 30. This is much larger than the previous mobilisations by the BERSIH (literally meaning “clean”) movement for free and fair elections.
Bersih 3.0 mass protest for democracy in Kuala Lumpar, April 2012.
The toll of Australia's bipartisan anti-refugee policies in death and suffering is rising. In the past fortnight more than 3000 Rohingya refugees from Arakan state in Burma (Myanmar) have turned up on the shores of Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, having either swum ashore or been rescued by local fishing boat crews. An estimated 7000 more are trapped on boats that have been described as “floating coffins”.
Malaysian police have arrested Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) secretary-general S. Arutchelvan, formal President of Malaysian Bar Council Ambiga Sreenevasan and member of parliament for Seremban Anthony Loke at a May Day demonstration on May 1. The arrests are part of the recent wave of crackdown on anti-GST (anti-poor goods and services tax) and aim to further curtail dissent in the country. Another 29 young people were arrested soon after the May Day rally. More people have been call to report themselves to the police otherwise will be subjected to arrest.
In the early hours of the morning on April 7, the Malaysian parliament reintroduced powers of indefinite detention without trial in the form of a new Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA). Such powers, previously under the Internal Security Act and Emergency Ordinance — which were repealed in 2012 under popular pressure — have a notorious history of being used by British colonial and, after independence, Malaysian authorities to detain political dissidents.
Update: All the Malaysian anti-GST protesters who were detained on Monday have now been released on RM3,000 bail. They are to appear in court again on May 14. Thanks for all the protest letters! Police used excessive force in the recent crackdown on protesters against the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which is scheduled to be implemented on April 1.
About 10,000 people took part in a peaceful demonstration in Kuala Lumpur on March 7 against the jailing of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, Malaysian Socialist Party (PSM) leader S. Arutchelvan (Arul) told Green Left Weekly. Anwar was jailed for a second time on trumped up “sodomy” charges. The protest was called by a new coalition called KitaLawan (“We Fightback”). Authorities responded by arresting Nik Nazmi, the youth leader of the opposition Justice Party (PKR), and Saifullah Zulkifli, a PKR organiser.
Fifteen police descended on the home of Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) general secretary S Arutchelvan (Arul) in Kajang, a suburban satellite of the capital city Kuala Lumpur, on February 19. They detained him under the Sedition Act for a statement he issued on behalf of the PSM after opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s conviction on a sodomy charge.

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