Recent arrests stifle freedom of expression

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Oppression and intimidation will not succeed, because Malaysians will rise up and not relent, says Bersih.

Democracy for all

Bersih 2.0 views with grave concern the recent spate of arrests of politicians, including elected peoples’ representatives, social activists and student leaders under the obnoxious Sedition Act.

First, it was Saudara Adam Adli bin Halim, a fine young and patriotic student leader from Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris in Tanjong Malim, who was remanded and subsequently charged under the act.

On the day he was released to be brought to court, three others were arrested under the same act. They are Tian Chua, who was re-elected as a Member of Parliament in the just concluded 13th General Election; Tamrin Ghafar, a former Member of Parliament, and Haris Ibrahim, leader of Anything But Umno or Abu.

Official police sources alleged that they have been detained and charged for inciting people to take to the streets in a bid to overthrow the elected Barisan Nasional (BN) government. Bersih 2.0 holds these as just trumped up charges calculated to stifle freedom of expression.

The truth is those detained were merely exposing the fraud and manipulations perpetrated by the BN and the Election Commission (EC) in the recently concluded general election, which was marred by rampant vote-buying by the BN, its abuse and misuse of government machinery, and the distorted reporting by the mainstream media in its favour. But for these fraudulent practices and rampant cheating, Pakatan Rakyat (PR) would have won both a majority of the popular vote and seats in the Lower House of Parliament.

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Those detained are Malaysians who dare to voice out what have frustrated and angered most Malaysians since the conclusion of the 13th general election. Bersih 2.0 sees these recent arrests as a move on the part of the Najib regime to silence critics of the recent election, which was tainted by irregularities, unethical practices and blatant cheating. We thus call upon the BN government and the police to immediately end all persecution.

Further, the same regime has resorted to other tactics to oppress, intimidate and create a climate of fear among Malaysians. Party organs of the three parties of PKR, Pas and DAP have been confiscated. Thugs sympathetic to BN have been to open air gatherings organised by civil society to create trouble and to scare speakers and participants from further engaging in their struggles for a clean and fair electoral system, deemed so key to a genuine democracy.

Bersih 2.0 is, however, confident that such oppression and intimidation will not succeed. On the contrary, Malaysians will rise up to oppose oppression, intimidation, corruption, torture and gross violation of human rights as perpetrated by the Najib regime. They will not relent until there is justice, democracy and equality in Malaysia.

Salam Bersih!

BERSIH 2.0 Steering Committee
Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections 2.0 (BERSIH 2.0)

The Steering Committee of Bersih 2.0 comprises:
Dato’ Ambiga Sreenevasan (Co-Chairperson), Datuk A. Samad Said (Co-Chairperson), Ahmad Shukri Abdul Razab, Andrew Ambrose, Andrew Khoo, Anne Lasimbang, Arul Prakkash, Arumugam K, Awang Abdillah, Dr Farouk Musa, Liau Kok Fah, Maria Chin Abdullah, Matthew Vincent, Niloh Ason, Richard Y W Yeoh, Dr Subramaniam Pillay, Dato’ Dr Toh Kin Woon, Dr Wong Chin Huat, Dato’ Yeo Yang Poh and Zaid Kamaruddin.

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