Aliran calls on police to respect people’s constitutional rights 

2
232
Suaram executive director Sevan Doraisamy

Aliran endorses the call by MP Charles Santiago, the chairperson of the parliamentary Select Committee on Human Rights and Constitutional Affairs, to the police to respect the people’s constitutional right to engage in open discussions and constructive debate.

Article 10 of our Federal Constitution spells out our rights to “freedom of speech, assembly and association”.

Santiago had criticised the police for calling in Suaram executive director Sevan Doraisamy for questioning after the human rights NGO had organised a forum entitled “The LTTE conundrum, Sosma and a draconian law” on 25 November.

As Santiago pointed out, we expect the Pakatan Harapan government to be more open and progressive as the coalition had openly campaigned to usher in legal reforms to Malaysia prior to the 2018 general election.

We expect this government to provide space for public discourse and create an environment for democracy to thrive.

So it is disheartening to note that the police have called in Sevan for questioning “six or seven times” since PH came to power. This is not what we expect from good governance practices of a reform-minded government that values openness, constructive criticism, healthy debates and differences of opinions.

Perhaps, as Santiago suggested, what the police are doing is not in line with the wishes of the government. If that is the case, then the home affairs minister must reach out to the police and brief them about its reform agenda. 

Aliran reiterates its call to the PH government to fulfil its electoral pledge to repeal oppressive laws especially those that allow detention without charge or trial such as the Sedition Act, the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma) and the Prevention of Terrorism Act. 

READ MORE:  Should the police be in business?

In this connection, we support the attorney general’s decision not to contest the High Court’s position that the denial of bail under Sosma is unconstitutional. The High Court ruled that Section 13 of Sosma, which prohibits the judiciary from even considering bail, violates the concept of the separation of powers and undermines the role of the judiciary.

The judgment and the attorney general’s decision not to appeal is a step in the right direction – but it is not enough. Parliament must review all existing laws and immediately repeal any provisions that allow for detention without trial or without due process. Lawmakers must ensure the laws they draft do not usurp the powers of an independent judiciary in a democracy.

Since the PH government took over, we have been looking forward to progressive legal reforms in line with its pledge – but there has been precious little progress in that direction. The common excuse we hear is the government needs more time. 

Well, close to 18 months have passed and this ‘excuse’ is fast wearing thin. 

Aliran executive committee
19 December 2019

(Visited 232 times, 1 visits today)
Thanks for dropping by! The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

Our voluntary writers work hard to keep these articles free for all to read. But we do need funds to support our struggle for Justice, Freedom and Solidarity. To maintain our editorial independence, we do not carry any advertisements; nor do we accept funding from dubious sources. If everyone reading this was to make a donation, our fundraising target for the year would be achieved within a week. So please consider making a donation to Persatuan Aliran Kesedaran Negara, CIMB Bank account number 8004240948.

2
Join the conversation

avatar
750
2 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
2 Comment authors
Ravi Nairambigapathi samarasan Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Ravi Nair
Ravi Nair

Prior to GE 14 Mahathir promised plenty of festive goodies. Now all rights are being removed.
The country is more racially divided & plagued with rotten politics.
Present Law & System is ; ONLY I WILL DECIDE & I SHALL SPEAK THE REST SHUT UP & FOLLOW. Malaysians generally jumped from the frying pan to fire due to outright lies.

ambigapathi samarasan
ambigapathi samarasan

PH goverment were using their manifesto to win now they have won,they can go and do whatever they want,as they know the people cannot do anything until the next election.The Rome Statue,and protection of minority rights were not accepted after some protest