Malaysia

Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, of the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) ,was acquitted on January 9 by the country’s High Court of the second round of politically motivated “sodomy” charges. He was jailed for six years under the former Barisan Nasional (BN) government of Mohamed Mahathir on similar charges.

Police dispersed jubilant opposition supporters outside the court using the excuse that three small bombs had exploded nearby.

Since 2008, Seksualiti Merdeka (Independent Sexuality) festival, the LGBTiQ's main vehicle for awareness raising and education made its contribution to Malaysian society in a beautiful, intellectually artistic manner, devoid of vulgarity.

It made “straight” heterosexual society realise and appreciate that other forms of sexual love existed and that these could be as genuine as a woman-man love. It had been and still is a struggle for gay men and women to survive even in apparently liberal-minded societies.

A confidential United States cable released by WikiLeaks on July 29 documents the arrest of controversial Malaysian blogger and Malaysia Today editor Raja Petra Kamaruddin.

Kamaruddin had been outspoken in his criticism of the government.

On September 12, 2008, Kamaruddin was arrested at his residence under the Internal Security Act (ISA) ― which allows for detention without trial.

Kamaruddin’s arrest came days after Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi threatened to use the ISA to repress those purportedly stoking racial and religious tensions.

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”.

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.

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.

Pages

Subscribe to Malaysia