Malaysia: Call for release of anti-GST protesters

March 23, 2015

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.

On March 23, the Coalition against GST, which is led by Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM), Oppressed People's Network (JERIT) and a number of civil society groups, staged a sit-in protest at the Customs Office in Kelana Jaya, to demand answers to more than 100 questions raised by many Malaysians regarding the GST. The Director of the Customs Office refused to answer these questions and the police reacted violently against the peaceful sit-in.

Eighty people were arrested during the violent clampdown at the Customs Office. Over 50 protesters were later released but another 26 anti-GST protesters are still being detained by the police. The police have even applied for a further remand of these 26 anti-GST protesters.

The 26 detainees are:
1. Megat Khairul Anuar b. Razali
2. Suhail bin Wan Azahar
3. Azhar bin Achil
4. Md.Sani b Md.Shah
5. Mohd Nasaie Ismail
6. Ahmad Syukri Ab Razab
7. Arutchelvan (Secretary-General of PSM)
8. Suresh Kumar (PSM Cameron Branch Seretary)
9. Muhammad Safwan Anang
10. Akmal Noradzmi
11. Edy (SAMM)
12. Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj (MP Sungai Siput, PSM)
13. Nasir
14. Khairol Najib
15. Dr Hatta Ramli (MP Kuala Krai, PAS)
16. Che'gu Bard (SAMM)
17. Pian (SAMM)
18. Tan Chee Hooi
19. Nagenteran (PSM)
20. Bawani KS (PSM Youth Chairperson)
21. Sarasvathy (PSM Deputy Chairperson)
22. Soh Sook Hwa (PSM Deputy Treasurer)
23. Auntie Ann aka Auntie Bersih
24. Nashita Md Noor
25. Kogi
26. Khalid Mohd Ismath (PSM)

The GST is a regressive tax which will force all the people in Malaysia, including the poor, to pay more taxes in order to reduce taxes on the rich. The GST will burden the low income population and worsen the widening gap between the rich and the poor in Malaysia.

We hence call upon fraternal organisations around the world to send protest letters to the following:

Dato' Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak
Prime Minister of Malaysia
Office of The Prime Minister of Malaysia
Main Block, Perdana Putra Building
Federal Government Administrative Centre
62502, Putrajaya
Twitter: @NajibRazak

Dato' Seri Dr. Ahmad Zahid bin Hamidi
Minister of Home Affairs
Ministry of Home Affairs
Block D1 & D2, Complex D,
Administrative Center,
Federal Territory, 62546

Tan Sri Dato' Sri Khalid bin Abu Bakar
Inspector-General of Police
Ibu Pejabat Polis Diraja Malaysia,
50560 Bukit Aman,
Kuala Lumpur
Twitter: @KBAB51

Press Statement

Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) is disturbed by the IGP statement on the events at the Customs Office in Kelana Jaya. He claimed that our group were “barbaric” and were “trespassing” into the Customs Department.

PSM is puzzled how we can have been trespassing into a government building when we were visiting the public information GST counter available on the ground floor of the building! Does it mean all citizens visiting the public information counter are trespassers? Do we have to get prior entry permit from the Customs Department and probably the police to get our queries answered at an information counter, which is supposed to give information to the public in the first place.

We too condemn the IGP declaring us as “barbaric”. We peacefully walked into the Customs Department directly to the information counter. But unfortunately it was the police whom behaved barbarically and pulled and shoved many of us in an attempt to arrest us. The doors of the information counter were closed on purpose and the Light Strike Force was called in to guard the entrance. What is the point of having a public information counter when it is locked and guarded by the red hat FRU with shields and batons! Who has acted unreasonable and barbaric here, the police or us?

How can the IGP call us barbaric when we negotiated peacefully with the Petaling Jaya OCPD to arrange for dialogue session with the Pengarah Customs since the information counter was closed by FRU. The OCPD obligingly arranged En. Abdul Ghani bin Osman, Pengarah Customs, to meet us and answer our questions. Does this seem barbaric to the IGP!

The dialogue started smoothly with the En. Abdul Ghani bin Osman responding to our questions. But after the first two question from the floor he refused to answer any further and left the meeting. We waited for him for 4 hours to give us further clarification on the matter, or at least confirm that he will be replying to us in another meeting, but unfortunately he never turned up. Our delegation made several attempts to meet him, but we were obstructed by the police again.

The police then acted barbarically by arresting us. Most of us were handcuffed and then punched and kicked before we were thrown into the police truck. It was unnecessary for such a high handed tactics by the police as we were not resisting arrest.

The police have further aggravated the matter by detaining 26 of our members overnight at the Shah Alam Detention centre in IPD Shah Alam. We have been made known that police will seek for remand and throw heavy chargers on our members whom only wanted to seek clarification from the Customs Department.

The police actions are totally uncalled for, as the whole meeting could have been successfully held with a proper dialogue session. But neither the Customs Department nor the police were sincere in assisting the people in getting crucial information on the GST, which is only one week away from its implementation.

Currently , there are two Members of Parliament , Dr.Jeyakumar Devaraj (Sg. Siput) and Dr.Mohd Hatta Ramli (Kuala Krai) being held in detention with another 18 male and 6 female activists and party members at Shah Alam.

PSM and the civil society condemn the police abusive arrest and mala fide by the IGP, deliberately distorting the events to justify their arrest and charge. We demand the immediate release of all those arrested with no charges as the only party that acted barbarically and unreasonable today were the police.

Sivarajan Arumugam
on behalf of Central Committee

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