PETALING JAYA, 7 May 2009: Human rights organisation Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) today slammed the police for their ongoing arrests and attacks on freedom of expression.
Suaram coordinator Tay Moon Hui said more than 50 people have been arrested in Ipoh for breaching the police warning against gathering near the state secretariat building.
“We strongly urge the police to release all the individuals arrested immediately and unconditionally,” said Tay.
Those arrested in Ipoh this morning included Members of Parliament, state assemblypersons, and members of the public.
Among them are Dr D Jeyakumar (Parti Sosialis Malaysia-Sungai Siput, Perak), Zuraida Kamaruddin (Parti Keadilan Rakyat-Ampang), Salahuddin Ayub (PAS-Kubang Kerian), and Mujahid Yusof Rawa (PAS-Parit Buntar).
In addition, state assemblypersons Jenice Lee (DAP-Teratai), Khoo Poay Tiong (DAP-Ayer Keroh), and Tey Kok Seong (DAP-Bahau) have also been arrested.
Those arrested are now being held at Sungai Senam Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) contingent headquarters and have all been denied access to lawyers, Tay said.
He added that freedom of expression is a fundamental right guaranteed under our Federal Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
“We demand that the police stop harassing the people from excising their right to assembly and stop the assault on freedom of expression,” said Tay.
Meanwhile, another human rights organisation, Amnesty International Malaysia (AI), is calling for the release of government critics who have been arrested since 6 May.
They include political scientist and Coalition for a Clean and Fair Election (Bersih) spokesperson Wong Chin Huat and PAS vice president Mohamad Sabu.
“This wave of arrests is part of a crackdown on dissent by the new government of prime minister Najib Razak.
“The authorities appear to have arrested people merely for expressing their political views or gathering peacefully to protest government actions,” said AI in a statement today.
Mohamad Sabu, better known as Mat Sabu was arrested yesterday afternoon in Kuala Lumpur. His arrest is believed to be related to his plan to hold a mass prayer session today at a mosque 2km away from the Perak state legislative assembly.
In a related development, Solidariti Anak Muda Malaysia (SAMM) activists Sani Md Shah, Saufi Mihat and Yasir Sheikh Abdul Rahman, who were arrested yesterday at 11.15am, were released on police bail this morning.
The trio were detained when they attempted to deliver a cake commemorating murdered Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu’s 31st birthday and a letter written by her father to the Prime Minister’s Office in Putrajaya.
PKR supreme council member and SAMM coordinator Badrul Hisham Shaharin and another unidentified person were also arrested when they tried to deliver food to the three SAMM activists yesterday.
However, both have also since been released.
In addition, the police arrested 14 people during a candlelight vigil held in support of Wong at Brickfields police station last night. They were released a few hours later.