Federal Labor MP Anna Burke captured the Gillard government’s increasingly right-wing refugee policy when she said plans to reopen the Manus Island detention centre in Papua New Guinea would be “going back to something we said we wouldn’t do, which is the Pacific solution”. Burke told ABC news on August 15 she had raised concerns in caucus about an overseas detention centre as well as the “Malaysia solution”, which faces a legal challenge in the High Court and could also be subject to a parliamentary inquiry.
About 200 people have arrived on boats to claim refugee protection in Australia since the Australian and Malaysian governments signed a deal to “swap” refugees on July 25. The countries agreed to exchange up to 800 refugees in Australia for 4000 refugees registered with the United Nations in Malaysia. The immigration department has refused to look at the new arrivals’ claims for asylum, but is holding them in an isolated compound of the Christmas Island detention centre. A boat that arrived on August 11 carried more than 100 refugees, many of them children.
The PSM 6 — six leading members of the Socialist Party of Malaysia — were released from prison on July 29 after a national and international campaign for their release. Malaysian authorities had held the six democracy activists — Choo Chon Kai, Sarat Babu, M Sarasvathy, M Sukumaran, A Letchumanan and parliamentarian Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj — since July 2. Malaysian police arrested the six in the lead up to a large July 9 protest organised by the “Bersih 2.0” democracy movement. Bersih 2.0 demanded the government commit to free and fair elections.
Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj, a federal member of Malaysia's parliament, is one of six activsts from the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) being held without trial since June 25. The arrests, under Malaysia's draconian Internal Security Act, were part of a crackdown ahead of the 50,000-strong march through Kuala Lumpar on July 9 for democracy. Protest letters still are urgently needed to be sent to be Malaysian government. Please visit here for details of where they can be sent. See also:
A week after Malaysian authorities failed to stop people taking to the streets of the capital Kuala Lumpur on July 9 to demand free and fair elections, six activists from the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) remained detained without trial. The detainees include federal member of parliament Dr Jeyakumar Deveraj, who has been hailed by a prominent local writer as “the Malaysian saint of the poor”.
Dr Jeyakumar Deveraj, a federal member of parliament in Malaysia, was one of 30 activists of the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) detained without trial on June 25. The activists were arrested as they were travelling the country campaigning against the repressive and corrupt Barisan Nasional government headed by PM Najib Razak.
Before they could have a face-to-face meeting with the Australian mining company company Lynas Corporation, a dozen resident activists from Kuantan, Malaysia, took a journey all the way to Sydney to launch a protest outside Lynas headquarters on July 5. Lynas is building a radioactive waste-producing rare earth refinery in their coastal city of 500,000 people. Some 700,000 people live within a 30km radius of the Lynas refinery site.
The message below from Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj, MP for Sg Siput, was dictated to Edmund Bon and Mohd Redzuan Yusoff on July 5 at Jinjang police station. --- I would like to thank everyone who is supporting us by their letters, prayers and urgent appeals, etc. The six of us being detained under the emergency ordinance have not broken any laws and our crime is that we are socialists, and we are attempting to put the issues affecting the poorer 60% of Malaysians on the national agenda. For example, issues of hospital privatisation, and decent and minimum wages.
Joint international solidarity statement On June 19, a campaign titled Bersih 2.0 was called by the Malaysian people for free and fair elections as the 13th General Election is around the corner. Bersih 2.0 also called for a gathering on July 9. On June 24, the Parti Sosialis Malaysia (Socialist Party of Malaysia) launched a Udahlah BN, Bersaralah (Enough BN, Retire Now) campaign. The Socialist Party of Malaysia campaign aimed to expose the corruption of the Barisan Nasional (BN) government and also to drum up support for the Bersih 2.0 rally.
More than 500 Malaysians and their supporters gathered in Melbourne's Federation Square on July 9 to call for free and fair elections in Malaysia. They were decked out in yellow shirts and held banners and placards. The rally, called in solidarity with the Bersih 2.0 democracy movement in Malaysia, chanted slogans in Malay and English, ranging from "Bersih bersih" (Clean, clean) to "change is possible".