Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) strongly condemns the recent arrests of youth activists and political leaders and the threats issued by the inspector general of police against opposition Members of Parliament.
The arrest of Shazni Murni and Shukri Kamarudin under the Sedition Act 1948; the arrest of Muhammad Zhafran under Section 504 of the Penal Code; the arrest of Rafizi Ramli under the Official Secrets Act 1972; and the arrest of Chan Ming Kai under Section 186 of the Penal Code can only be described as the start of a political crackdown against youth activists and political leaders.
There is no legitimate justification for the arrests and the detention of these individuals. The Royal Malaysian Police, as the keeper of peace and security, should not be exercising their power for political reasons as they have in these cases.
Further, Members of Parliament are elected representatives of the people and must be allowed to perform the duties expected of them. These duties would naturally include the protection and promotion of their rights as Members of Parliament. The protest against the treatment of a fellow parliamentarian and the show of solidarity expressed by opposition Members of Parliament should not and cannot be subjected to threats by the inspector general of police.
Threats issued against any Members of Parliament in such a manner should be construed as a threat to parliamentary democracy as it poses a direct and immediate threat to Parliament and those who sit within. The inspector general of police would do well to remember the role of the police and put an end to the unnecessary interference in parliamentary activities.
Recalling Malaysia’s support shown by the government for the United Nations general assembly’s resolution on the protection of human rights defenders, Suaram reminds the government and all associated government agencies to remember the obligations they have undertaken by supporting the resolution and take immediate steps to fulfil their obligations.
On this note, Suaram calls for the immediate release of all activists and opposition leaders arrested and detained by the police and for the police to cease their crackdown on human rights and democracy.
Sevan Doraisamy is executive director of Suaram.