Failure to provide a fair and transparent trial for all those accused would irreparably ruin Malaysia’s image as a democratic country, says Sevan Doraisamy.
Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) welcomes the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention’s stance on the detention of Anwar Ibrahim and fully supports the call for the government of Malaysia to release Anwar Ibrahim and to reinstate all of his political rights that were denied following his conviction.
Arbitrary detention of any individual should not be the norm of any state and government irrespective of their political ideology and must not be the tool for government to suppress political dissidence. The idea that a person’s right to liberty and security of person can be compromised based on the whims of those in power is highly unconscionable and must be condemned and stopped whenever possible.
Recalling the politically motivated arrests and prosecution of Anwar Ibrahim, Khairuddin Abu Hassan, Mathias Chang and many more, Suaram calls on the government to immediately release all political detainees and ensure that these cases would be the last in Malaysia.
To achieve this, the government must take sincere steps in repealing all laws that permit detention without trials and other repressive laws – such as the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012, the Sedition Act 1948 and the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 – and ensure that all those who have been detained under the Special Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012, Prevention of Terrorism Act 2015, Prevention of Crime Act 1959 and Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measures) Act 1985 have a chance to stand trial in a court of law without further delay and detention.
On this note, Suaram calls for the immediate release of all political detainees, including Anwar Ibrahim, and for the dropping of all politically motivated charges against politicians and human rights defenders including Sivarasa Rasiah, Zunar, Maria Chin, Azmi Sharom, Khalid Ismath, Eric Paulsen, Jannie Lasimbang, Adam Adli and Lena Hendry.
Suaram also demands that the government provide a fair and transparent trial for all those accused of a crime under the repressive laws mentioned above and take positive steps in repealing these laws and replace them with laws that are in line with the democratic principles enshrined in Malaysia’s Federal Constitution.
Failure to do so would only condemn Malaysia as an authoritarian states in the eyes of our peers on the international stage and irreparably ruin our image as a democratic country.
Sevan Doraisamy is executive dirrector of Suaram.