Media statements issued never do get media coverage, and if it does it often does not report all that is stated. Given the fact, there seem to be no real documentation of all these civil society voices, this Blog has been started hoping to capture and preserve the voices of civil society for all. Appreciate it if you could forward me ( statements that have not been picked up by this Blog.

Saturday, July 31, 2010



The Internal Security Act (ISA) has been the most draconian law in this country. Thousands of people have been arrested without trial, tortured, humiliated and denied their rights to defend themselves. It has been used against leftist, politicians, trade unions, academicians, students, NGO  leaders, environmental activist, mother tongue activist, religious organizations, bloggers and many others. It cuts across race,  religion and nationality.
It has been used by all the previous Prime Ministers to remain in power. ISA is a threat to democracy and human rights. It is a weapon used to curb dissent and it is designed to be used on anybody at anytime.

As long as ISA is there, this country is deemed to be under “martial law”. The last emergency ended on 31 July 1960 and the following day 1 August 1960, ISA was enacted and since then it has become the de-facto emergency. This undeclared emergency for the last 50 years today has to end. It should not be continued in any other form. PSM calls for the abolishment of ISA and all other laws which allows detention without trial.

Released by

Secretary General,
Parti Socialis Malaysia (PSM)


Media Statement – 11/6/2010


We, the undersigned 65 organizations, groups and networks, concerned about migrant and worker rights, are appalled at the treatment of workers at Maxter Glove Manufacturing Sdn Bhd (229862-H), at its factory at  Lot 6070, Jalan Haji Abdul Manan, 6th Miles off Jalan Meru, Klang, Selangor, Malaysia.

We are appalled at the dismissal of Thu Maung, a Burmese migrant worker, who courageously lodged a complaint at the Labour Department to claim his rights as a worker. Claiming worker rights by lodging complaints against errant employers at the Labour Department is the proper and legally recognized procedure in Malaysia. It is very wrong for employers to discriminate against and/or terminate workers who are exercising their legal rights. It is also wrong for employers to discourage and/or threaten workers from seeking justice, when worker rights are being violated.

Maxter Glove Manufacturing Sdn Bhd is a subsidiary of Supermax Corporation Berhad. Maxter Glove Manufacturing Sdn Bhd is a gloves manufacturer that makes Latex Powdered Examination gloves, Clorinated & Polymer Coated Latex Powder Free gloves, Nitrile Gloves and Sterile surgical gloves which is also exported overseas. Supermax Corporation Berhad is an established company, that according to their 2009 Annual Report made an after-tax profit of about RM126 million.

On 23rd March 2010, Thu Maung and another Burmese migrant worker from Maxter Glove Manufacturing Sdn Bhd lodged a complaint at the Subang Jaya Labour Department.  Their complaints, amongst others, was that the employer:-

a.         had wrongfully deducted levy, that employers have to pay when they employ migrant workers, from the worker’s wages,
b.         had unlawfully deducted the medical check-up fees of RM1000 from the worker’s wages,
c.         had wrongfully withheld 2 months wages,
d.         had failed to provide the migrant worker with accommodation,
e.         had not been giving the workers one rest day per week,
f.          had made the workers work overtime(sometimes up to 13 hours per day), and  also on public holidays and rest days, and had thereafter failed to  pay overtime wages and wages for working on rest days and/or public holidays at the statutorily stipulated rates.

On 23rd March, Thu Maung and another had also lodged a complaint at the Malaysian Human Rights Commission (SUHAKAM).

On 12 April 2010, Thu Maung went again to the Labour Department in Rawang and gave a detailed complaint, whereby the Rawang Labour Department did record the complaint and forward the same to the Labour Department office in Port Klang, because they said that the Port Klang Labour Office, has the requisite jurisdiction since the employer, Maxter Glove Manufacturing Sdn Bhd, is in Klang.

According to Thu Maung, after about 1 month since the lodging of the complaint at the Subang Jaya Labour office, company’s representatives started intimidating workers individually by asking them who had complained to the Labour Department, and whether they were also going to complain to the Labour Department. This form of intimidation of workers is deplorable. This kind of actions by employers has the tendency of instilling fear and preventing workers from claiming their legally recognized labour rights.

On 28 April 2010, Thu Maung’s supervisor at the company, for no reason, suddenly asked him to return the worker’s pass and not to come back to work. Thu Maung was wrongfully terminated, and he verily believes that this was done just because he had complained to the Labour Department, and was perceived as the leader of the workers who wanted to claim their rights.

It is even worse when the worker is a migrant worker, for a termination will usually mean a cancellation of the work visa, and deportation back to their home country. This also would mean that they would not be able to even pursue their claims at the Labour Department, Labour Courts, Industrial Relations Department, Industrial Courts and/or Civil Courts as the physical presence of the complainant and/or litigant is necessary for the continuation of process of claiming rights.

The practice of terminating, cancellation of work visa and immediate deportation is a blatant disregard of the laws in Malaysia that exist to protect worker rights.

Work passes in Malaysia allow workers to work only for a specific employer – and hence a termination would leave the worker with no ability to work and earn a living legally in Malaysia, while he awaits the determination of the process that may give the worker justice. Cancellation of the work pass also makes his stay in Malaysia illegal, and he risk being arrested, detained and deported.

It is sad that the current laws and practices of Malaysia, which used to employ more than 2 million migrant workers have not been amended yet to ensure that workers who claim their rights are not wrongfully terminated and sent back.

Whilst there is a clear provision in the Industrial Relations Act 1967, that is section 5, which explicitly prohibits employers (or persons acting on behalf of employers) from discriminating, threatening, dismissing or acting negatively against workers who are interested in forming, joining, and/or encouraging other workers to join trade unions, there is no similar clear provision in law protecting workers who want to claim their worker rights through the Labour Departments and other available avenues. As an example, section 5(1)(c) and (d) of the Industrial Relations Act 1967is as follows:-

(1) No employer or trade union of employers, and no person action on behalf of an employer or such trade union shall -
…. (c) discriminate against any person in regard to employment, promotion, any condition of employment or working conditions on the ground that he is or is not a member or officer of a trade union;
(d) dismiss or threaten to dismiss a workman, injure or threaten to injure him in his employment or alter or threaten to alter his position to his prejudice by reason that the workman -
(i) is or proposes to become, or seeks to persuade any other person to become, a member or officer of a trade union; or
(ii) participates in the promotion, formation or activities of a trade union; or…
There should be a similar clear provision in law that will prevent employers from harassing, threatening, discriminating and/or dismissing workers that claim their worker rights using existing avenues of complaints and remedies. The act of employers impeding, dismissing (or threathening to dismiss) workers who claim their worker rights should also be made an offence with a hefty fine. Workers should also receive a significant sum in exemplary damages, over and above their claim. Deterrence is needed to stop this unhealthy practice of employers violating worker rights, and preventing them access to justice.

In the case of Thu Maung, we call for the immediate reinstatement of Thu Maung without any loss of benefits.

We call on Dato' Seri Stanley Thai, Executive Chairman cum Group Managing Director of Supermax Corporation Berhad, to ensure that the wrong done by their subsidiary, Maxter Glove Manufacturing Sdn Bhd, to Thu Maung and other workers in the said company is ended, and that all workers are paid forthwith what has been wrongly deducted from their wages, monies that have wrongly been withheld returned, outstanding overtime payments, and that all legitimate claims are settled.

We call on the government of Malaysia to do the needful, including enacting laws that will deter employers in Malaysia from exploiting workers, and also protect workers that claim their worker rights from the negative acts of repercussion and/or ‘revenge’ by some bad employers.

We also call on the government of Malaysia to ensure that all migrant workers can continue to stay and work legally in Malaysia until their cases in the Labour Department, Labour Courts, Industrial Relations Department, Industrial Courts and/or Civil Courts, and appeals thereafter are completed.

Charles Hector
Pranom Somwong

For and on behalf of the following 65 organizations

ALIRAN, Malaysia
Alliance of Health Workers Philippines
Arakan League for Democracy (ALD-LA-MALAYSIA)
Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD)
Asian Migrant Centre (AMC)

Asian Migrants Coordinating Body-Hong Kong (AMCB)
Association of Indonesian Migrant Workers in HK (ATKI-HK)
BOMSA, Dhaka, Bangladesh 
Burma Campaign, Malaysia
Burma Partnership
Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights (Vancouver, BC Canada)
Center for Japanese-Filipino Families
Clean Clothes Campaign -International Secretariat
Committee for Asian Women (CAW)
Communication Union of Australia (Vic Branch)
Empower, Chiang Mai
Filipino Migrant Center
Frank-Hubner-Scholl Resistance Movement of the White Rose
Free Burma Campaign Singapore (FBCSG)
Friends of Burma, Malaysia
IMA Research Foundation, Bangladesh
Institute for National and Democratic Studies of Indonesia (INDIES)
Interfaith Cooperation Forum
KAFIN-Migrante (Saitama)
Kafin Migrant Center, Japan
Labour Behind the Label, United Kingdom
MADPET - Malaysians against Death Penalty and Torture
Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC)
May 1st Coalition for Worker & Immigrant Rights, USA
Migrante Aotearoa New Zealand
Migrante B.C. (Canada)
Migrante Denmark
Migrante Europe
Migrante International
Migrante-Middle East
Migrante Nagoya
Migrante Taiwan
Migrante UK.
Migranteng Ilonggo sa Taiwan
National League for Democracy [NLD (LA)], Malaysia
National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (NNIRR), U.S.
Network of Action for Migrants in Malaysia (NAMM)
PAN Asia and the Pacific
Parti Rakyat Malaysia (PRM)
Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER)
Persatuan Masyarakat Malaysia & Wilayah Persekutuan (PERMAS)
Philippines Australia Union
Philippine Society in Japan
PINAY (Filipino Women's Organization in Quebec)
Pusat Komas
Rights Jessore, India
Shan Refugee Organization, Malaysia
Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM), Malaysia
The Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants (APMM)
The Best Friend Library - Chiang Mai, Thailand
The Hong Kong Coalition for Free Burma Campaign
Think Centre Singapore
United Indonesians against Overcharging (PILAR)
United Filipinos in Hong Kong
Workers Hub for Change (WH4C)
YASANTI, Indonesia
ZOMI National Congress- Malaysia

Friday, July 30, 2010

Media Statement: CIJ supports Zunar’s court challenge against ban on cartoon books

Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) Malaysia
27C Jalan Sarikei, off Jalan Pahang
53000 Kuala Lumpur
Website: cijmalaysia. org
Email: cijmalaysiaATgmail. com
Tel: 03 4023 0772
Fax: 03 4023 0769

Media Statement: CIJ supports Zunar’s court challenge against ban on cartoon books
31 July 2010

The Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) applauds and supports cartoonist Zunar and "Malaysiakini"'s legal challenge of the Home Ministry ban on his books "1Funny Malaysia" and "Perak Darul Kartun".

The two publications, a compilation of cartoons satirising mostly political norms and events in Malaysia, were banned under the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA) for being “prejudicial to public order”. The order was signed by Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Abu Seman Yusop and gazetted on 17 June 2010.

On 26 July, Zunar and "Malaysiakini", the publisher of "1Funny Malaysia", filed separate applications at the KL Federal Court for leave for a judicial review of the Ministry’s decision. According to their press release, the ban was illegal as it infringes their constitutional right to free speech and falls outside the scope of the PPPA. They also stated that the ban breached the rules of natural justice since neither prior notice nor reasons were given. Zunar and Malaysiakini view the ban as disproportionate to the ‘challenge’ posed by the publications and are claiming damages for losses incurred from loss of income from the books.

Zunar, whose real name is Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque, claimed that his is the first political cartoon book to be banned, and he is the first cartoonist to challenge a ban by the Home Ministry.

CIJ reiterates Zunar’s right to publish his cartoons. An important aspect of freedom of expression, satirical cartoons lampooning politics are no stranger to Malaysians, generations of whom are well acquainted with the works of our foremost cartoonist Lat. Essentially social commentaries laced with humour, with an occasional sting that comes from the biting truth revealed, satirical cartoons that beget any overreaction – such as a ban – is bound to invite the impression that “the lady doth protest too much” or, its Malay equivalent, “siapa makan cili, dia terasa pedas”.

It is worth noting the results of two such court challenges in recent years. On 25 January, Sisters in Islam (SIS) succeeded in getting the KL High Court to overturn the 2008 ban on its book, "Muslim Women and the Challenge of Islamic Extremism". Although the court found the ground of the book being “prejudicial to public order” as “something that cannot stand to objective scrutiny”, the Ministry has brought the matter to the Court of Appeal where it is now pending.

The second challenge by SUARAM chairperson K Arumugam against the 2006 ban on his book "March 8" was quashed on 12 February by the same KL High Court, which found that the contents of the Tamil-language book about the 2001 racial clashes in KL touched on “social and cultural sensitivities of the various communities in Malaysia”, and upheld the Ministry’s ban made on the same ground.

http://www.cijmalay view/580/ 8/

PRM: Mansuh ISA bukan pinda [Abolish the ISA not amend] 废除内安法令,不是修改

Media Statement - 31/7/2010 [Bahasa Melayu, English, Chinese]

Mansuh ISA bukan pinda

Akta Keselamatan  Dalam Negeri atau lebih dikenal dengan nama ISA harus hendak dimansuhkan, bukannya dipinda. Inilah pendirian Parti Rakyat Malaysia (PRM) terhadap ISA semenjak ISA diperkenalkan dan dikuatkuasakan pada 1 Ogos 1960. Pada 1 Ogos 2010, ISA  genap dilaksanakan selama 50 tahun. Pelaksanaan ISA sendirinya  sudah memperlihatkan warna sebenar ISA.

Jika seseorang memandang balik ke masa perdebatan dan hujah-hujah perkenalan ISA pada 1960, adalah amat nyata ISA adalah untuk menangani perjuangan bersenjata komunis. Oleh sebab kerajaan Barisan Nasional telah menandatangani perjanjian damai dengan Parti Komunis Malaya pada 1989, dan Parti Komunis Malaya telah menghentikan perjuangan bersenjatanya, ISA sepatutnya sudah hilang sebab musabab dan asas untuk terus wujud.

Akan tetapi, Kerajaan Barisan Nasional tidak ada  niat untuk memansuhkan ISA. Sebaliknya, Kerajaan Barisan mengemukakan pelbagai dalih untuk menjustifikasikan perlunya ISA supaya kewujudannya disambung-pakai walaupun 50 tahun penggunaan ISA oleh kerajaan Barisan telah menceritakan semuanya iaitu undang-undang boleh menahan seseorang tanpa pembicaraan itu sudah tanpa segan-silu dan terang-terangan disalahgunakan dengan sewenang-wenangnya dan ISA adalah bertentangan dengan  semangat pemerintahan undang-undang (rule of law).

PRM adalah satu-satu party  dengan pendirian konsisten atau tidak berubah-ubah  menentang habis-habisan pelaksanaan ISA. Oleh itu, adalah tidak hairanlah dalam masa 50 tahun pelaksanaan  ISA, beribu-ribu anggota PRM daripada presiden nasional ke lapisan akar umbi menjadi mangsa kezaliman  utama ISA.

Pemimpin-pemimpin nasional PRM seperti Allahyarham Ahmad Boestamam (Presiden, Ahli Parlimen), Tajuddin Kahar (Setiausaha Agung), Hasnul Hadi (Presiden Barisan Sosialis, Pengerusi Majlis Perbandaran Melaka yang dipilih oleh pengundi), dan mendiang Karam Singh (ahli Parlimen), Sivasubramaniam (Adun), dan Tan Hock Heng (Adun) meringkuk bertahun-tahun dalam kem-kem tahanan, antara contohnya Tan Hock Heng  telah ditahan selama 16 tahun dan dibebaskan tanpa syarat)  . Bahkan kebanyakan anggota PRM  sekarang  seperti Pemangku Presiden Ariffin Salimon, Naib Presiden S K Song, Setiausaha Agung Koh Swe Yong dan Bendahari  Teh Soon Ming juga  menghabiskan masa hidup yang terbaik dalam kem tahanan.

Oleh itu, PRM mendesak supaya kerajaan Barisan di bawah kepimpinan Najib Razak memansuhkan  dan bukan membuat pindaan kepada ISA, dan juga undang-undang boleh menahan tanpa pembicaraan lain. Dengan berbuat demikian, kerajaan Barisan boleh menunjukkan amalan bikin serupa cakap dan   memperlihatkan kesungguhan dan betul-betul komited  pada usaha  mentransformasi Malaysia kepada  negara  yang maju dan demokratik.

Yong benar,

Koh Swe Yong
Setiausaha Agung  PRM

21B(F) Jalan SJ 6 Taman Selayang Jaya 68100 Batu Caves Selangor Malaysia


Abolish the ISA not amend

The Internal Security Act or the ISA must be abolished and not amended. This is the  stand of Parti Rakyat Malaysia (PRM) or The People’s Party of Malaysia towards the ISA   since the ISA was introduced and in force on the 1 August 1960. By tomorrow, the 1st of  August 2010, the ISA will have been in force for 50 years and 50 years of the implementation of the ISA   truly reveal its  colours.

If one were to look back into the debates surrounding the arguments for the introduction of the ISA in 1960, it was very obvious that the ISA were meaned to deal with the communists’ armed sstruggle. Since the Barisan Nasional or National Front government had signed a peace accord with the  Communist Party of Malaya in 1989, and the Communist Party of Malaya  ceased its arms struggle,  the ISA has lost the very pretext and reason for its continued existence.

But, the Barisan Nasional Government has no intention to abolish the ISA. Instead, the Barisan  Government looks for   excuses to justify  the need of the ISA and its continued existence eventhough 50-year of the uses of the ISA by the Barisan Government tells all that this peace of the detention without trial law has been grossly and starkly abused and   against the very spirit of rule of laws..

PRM is the only political party that has consistently opposed the ISA and it is no wonder that in the past 50 years thousands of PRM members right from the top national presidents to the very grass roots were the main victims of the ISA.  

PRM national leadership like the  late Ahmad Boestamam( President, MP), Tajuddin Kahar (Secretary General),  Hasnul Hadi (President Sosialis Front, elected Malacca Municipal Council Chairman) , Karam Singh (MP), Sivasubramaniam ( State Assemblyman), Tan Hock Heng (State Assemblyman) have spent years in the detention camps, some as long as 16 years like Tan Hock Heng who was finally released  unconditionally after spending 16years under the ISA detention. Presently, even many of the present members like acting President Ariffin Salimon, Vice President S.K. Song, Secretary General Koh Swe Yong and  Treasurer  Teh Soon Ming and many others  have spent the best part of  their life in detention camps.

Thus, PRM demands that  the Barisan Nasional Government under Najib Razak leadership to abolish and not amend the ISA together with the other detention without trial laws to show that the Barisan Nasional Government walks the talk, and is seriously and genuinely committed to wanting to transform Malaysia into an advance and developed democratic state.

Yours truly,

Koh Swe Yong
Secretary General PRM

21B(F) Jalan SJ 6 Taman Selayang Jaya 68100 Batu Caves Selangor Malaysia






但是,国阵政府没有任何废除内安法令的意愿,反而提出种种理由和借口作为支持内安法令不能废除的论据,内安法令必须继续存在和使用,虽然国阵政府用了内安法令50年本身 已经说明一切,无需审讯扣留的内安法令已经在毫无羞耻和赤裸裸的状况下,随心所欲被滥用,内安法令也完全违反法制精神。






21B(F) Jalan SJ 6 Taman Selayang Jaya 68100 Batu Caves Selangor Malaysia

HRW: Malaysia: Trial of Opposition Leader Proceeding Unfairly

For Immediate Release

Malaysia: Trial of Opposition Leader Proceeding Unfairly
With Anwar Hearings Set to Resume, Evidence Withheld From the Defense

(New York, July 30, 2010) – Government prosecutors in the trial of Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim should turn over their evidence to the defense before hearings resume in order to comply with fair trial requirements, Human Rights Watch said today. The government has charged Anwar, head of Malaysia’s opposition coalition Pakatan Rakyat (People’s Alliance or PKR) with “sodomy” for alleged consensual homosexual conduct.

Anwar, 63, faces a possible 20-year prison term and whipping under a colonial-era law that criminalizes “carnal intercourse against the order of nature.” Even if he is imprisoned for only one day or fined as little as 2,000 ringgit (US$625), Anwar would be forbidden by election law from running for office for five years. In 2008, the PKR had made political gains that ended the two-thirds parliamentary majority long enjoyed by the ruling coalition, Barisan Nasional (National Front or BN).

“Basic fair trial rights require giving Anwar access to the prosecutor’s evidence so he can defend himself,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Unfortunately, the prosecutors have tilted the playing field against Anwar by keeping key documents from his lawyers.”

Human Rights Watch said that the government has yet to fulfill a February 9, 2010 promise by Nazri Abdul Aziz, a senior government minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, that the "rights of both the accuser and the accused will be respected during the trial of Mr. Anwar.”

Since Anwar’s arrest on July 16, 2008, the case has featured repeated court rulings denying defense requests to provide crucial prosecution documents. The courts have denied access to the list of proposed prosecution witnesses and their statements to prosecutors, including those of Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, a former aide to Anwar and his accuser. They have also denied defense access to a security video recording from the condominium where the alleged crime occurred.

The courts have also denied defense requests for copies of clinical and other notes, reports, materials, and specimens related to Saiful’s examination by three Kuala Lumpur Hospital doctors on June 28, 2008, two days after the alleged incident. Additional requests for the accuser’s complete medical history, for the doctors’ qualifications and experience, and for the standard sexual assault equipment and kits used to examine alleged victims were also denied. A forensic expert hired by the defense complained that lack of such evidentiary materials would hinder his ability to assist the defense during the cross examination of the three doctors.

In the latest development, the Court of Appeal has scheduled a hearing for August 6 on Anwar’s appeal seeking access to the medical records, which will be several days after the three doctors are scheduled to be cross-examined by the defense.

General practice in Malaysia is for the prosecution to make all evidence available to the defense during the pre-trial period. In Anwar’s case, the court concluded that the defense could request the information during the course of the trial. However, when the trial got under way on February 2, 2010, and the defense asked for disclosure, the judge said he was restricted by the pre-trial disclosure decision. The only information available to the defense comes from the in-court testimony of prosecution witnesses.

“Anwar’s lawyers have been forced to defend their client with one arm tied behind their back,” Robertson said. “By failing to turn over critical evidence, the courts and the prosecutors are only raising doubts about the fairness of the proceedings, and demonstrating again that the charges are politically motivated.”

The proceedings appear to contravene section 51A, a March 2006 amendment to Malaysia’s Criminal Procedure Code designed to encourage wider access to prosecution evidence. The section includes a provision for the prosecution to turn over “any” document that it will use as evidence and a written statement of facts favorable to the defense with the exception of any fact that “would be contrary to public interest.”

“The Malaysian government asks the international community to honor its democracy and commitment to rule of law, but there is a wide gap between government rhetoric and the reality,” Robertson said. “If the government is sincere about holding a fair trial, then it needs to order the prosecutors to turn over the documents Anwar’s lawyers have requested immediately.”

For more Human Rights Watch reporting on Malaysia, please visit:

Thursday, July 29, 2010

CIJ : Don’t deny public right to access all media, including party organs

Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) Malaysia
27C Jalan Sarikei, off Jalan Pahang
53000 Kuala Lumpur
Website: cijmalaysia. org
Tel: 03 4023 0772
Fax: 03 4023 0769

Media Statement: Don’t deny public right to access all media, including party organs
29 July 2010

The Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) view with concern the recent delay in the renewal of the licences of three main federal opposition parties’ organs, Suara Keadilan, The Rocket and Harakah, under the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA). These licences have yet to be resolved except for Harakah’s.

The general public has the right to know the stand and opinions of all political parties on current affairs. Denying the federal opposition parties their own publications and the right to have them distributed freely casts a further blight on Malaysia’s image as a modern democracy.

The Home Ministry has cited violation of the members-only circulation ruling as one of the reasons for its delay in renewing the permit. CIJ is of the opinion that this restriction puts the federal opposition on an unlevel playing field in the present context of media ownership and control. The ownership of mainstream media – print, radio and TV – is by the State or is linked to the ruling Barisan Nasional. In addition, mainstream media themselves are restricted by the same draconian PPPA.

The delay on the Home Ministry’s part appears to be yet another politically motivated action, given that the divisive NGO Perkasa, which espouses for the dominance of Malay rights, was given the licence to publish its mouthpiece Suara Perkasa without any impediment.

A politically motivated licencing regime has no place in a democratic system, where every citizen, organisation and political party is free to express their view in any media. We urge the Ministry to immediately allow Suara Keadilan and The Rocket to resume publication and to refrain from further actions that may harm Malaysia’s standing with regard to the democratic and fundamental right to free expression. 

For the longer term, CIJ reiterates its call to Parliament for media law reform, so that together Malaysians can realise Prime Minister Najib Razak’s vision to free media, which he shared with journalists soon after taking office in 2009: “If we are truly to build a democracy that is responsive to the needs of all the people, we need a media – both old and new – that is empowered to responsibly report what they see, without fear of consequence, and to hold governments and public officials accountable for the results they achieve or do not achieve.”

Chuah Siew Eng
Publicity Officer

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Malaysian Bar : 50 years is more than enough: Abolish the ISA and other detention without trial and outdated security laws

Press Release: 50 years is more than enough: Abolish the ISA and other detention without trial and outdated security laws
Monday, 26 July 2010 12:41pm
Image 1 August 2010 marks the 50th Anniversary of the coming into force of the Internal Security Act 1960 (ISA).  ISA allows for power to detain a person without trial and contravenes the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

On 19 July 2010 the Bar Council submitted a memorandum to the Ministry of Home Affairs calling for the abolition of ISA and other laws that allow for detention without trial, namely the Emergency (Public Order and Prevention of Crime) Ordinance 1969 and the Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measures) Act 1985.  The memorandum also calls for the Malaysian Government to abolish the Restricted Residence Act 1933, Prevention of Crime Act 1959 and Banishment Act 1959.

The Bar Council’s memorandum draws attention to the archaic nature of these laws.  It highlights how laws that allow for detention without trial offend the fundamental principles of human rights provided for within the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 and subsequent international conventions.  It further draws comparisons with anti-terrorism legislation in other jurisdictions such as Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and USA, all of which provide for comprehensive protection of the security of their respective nations without foregoing safeguards to individual liberties and protection of basic human rights.  This has been achieved through a combination of automatic sunset clauses, strict judicial oversight and supervision with secrecy provisions and right to counsel.  Malaysian laws must provide no less protection and safeguards.

The Bar Council memorandum points out that Malaysia’s own enhanced counter-terrorism provisions within the Penal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code, couple with present immigration and anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism financing legislation, provide our law enforcement agencies with sufficient powers to confront the challenges posed by such criminal activity, and to subject a person so suspected to prosecution within the due process of the law.  The power to detain without trial and to restrict free movement is wholly unnecessary and only leads to lackadaisical investigations, and misuse and abuse of the law.

The memorandum can be downloaded from here.

The Malaysian Bar calls on the Malaysian Government to respect and uphold the human rights of its people.  As a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council from 2010-2013, Malaysia has committed herself to maintaining the highest standards of human rights.  This can only be achieved by removing all laws contravening basic human rights principles, such as ISA and other legislation that provide for detention without trial and restrictions in the free movement of peoples within our borders.  50 years of living under ISA (and longer under some of the other legislation) is more than enough.  The time to free Malaysians from such unjust and unfair laws is now.

Ragunath Kesavan
Malaysian Bar

26 July 2010           




Malaysiakini and Zunar have today filed two separate applications to challenge the Home Ministry’s ban of the political cartoon books, “1 Funny Malaysia” and “Perak Darul Kartun”, both of which feature the political cartoons of Zunar.


The ban was effected by the Printing Presses and Publications (Control of Undesirable Publications) (No.5) Order 2010 [P.U.(A) 208 / 2010] which was published on 17th June 2010 in the Government Gazette. The ban was made by the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Datuk Wira Abu Seman bin Yusop, “on behalf and in the name” of the Minister of Home Affairs.

The only ground for banning the book is stated in the Order itself. Both books are said to be “prejudicial to public order”. The Order is said to be made pursuant to Section 7 of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984.

“1 Funny Malaysia” was published by Malaysiakini in November 2009. Almost all the cartoons in this book were featured in the Malaysiakini website from October 2006 to November 2009. “Perak Darul Kartun” was published by Zunar himself through his publishing company Sepakat Efektif Sdn. Bhd. in November 2009. This book features political cartoons of many different artists led by Zunar.

Since the books are different, and are published by two different companies, we have been advised that we should file separate applications for judicial review.

Both Malaysiakini and Zunar contend that the banning of these books by the Government is an attempt to suppress political expression and to curtail the free exchange of opinions and ideas between the citizens of Malaysia, a right enshrined by Article 10(1)(a) of the Federal Constitution. It is our view that such a ban is unnecessary in a democratic society like Malaysia. 

We have alleged in our Court proceedings that the ban is an abuse of power by the Government to stifle legitimate criticism of the ruling Government’s policies and the current Prime Minister. We are at a loss to understand how these political cartoons giving fair comment and satire of Malaysian politics and politicians can pose a threat to public order. No evidence of any disturbance or alleged disturbance has been shown to either of us. Neither of us were given an opportunity to be heard before the decision to ban the books were made.

Neither of us were never given any reasons for the banning of the book aside from the statement that the book is prejudicial to public order.

The Government’s action in banning these cartoons is inconsistent with the representations it makes to the world about promoting human rights. This is particularly disappointing considering that Malaysia is a member of the United Nation’s Human Rights Council for the term of 2010 to 2013.

We are challenging the ban on the following grounds:-

a)            The ban is illegal, as it is an infringement of our rights of free speech guaranteed by the Federal Constitution and is ultra vires (outside the scope) of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 since the books are not prejudicial to public order

b)            The ban was made in breach of the rules of natural justice and not done fairly as we were not heard before the ban was made and we were not given the reasons for the ban

c)            The ban is a wholly disproportionate response to our booksWe are therefore asking the Court to make the following orders:
1.            An order of certiorari to quash the ban on the 2 books.
2.            A declaration that the ban is null and void and of no effect as it is ultra vires section 7 of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 and against our constitutional right under Article 10(1)(a) of the Federal Constitution.
3.            Damages for the losses we are incurring because we cannot sell these books.

En Fahri Azzat from the firm of Azzat & Izzat is acting as our solicitor, and we have a team of lawyers who have agreed to act as counsel for us in this public interest litigation, namely: Edmund Bon Tai Soon, Amer Hamzah Arshad, Edward Saw, K Shanmuga and Aston Paiva.

The Court is expected to fix a hearing date for the application we are filing today for leave to apply for judicial review. The application is heard “ex parte” (one side only) but must be served on the Attorney Generals Chambers 3 days before the hearing date. If leave is given, the main substantive application for judicial review will then be heard.

Date: 26th July 2010.

Zunar (Political Cartoonist)
(full Name: Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque)
Tel: 03 22724045

Premesh Chandran (On behalf of Malaysiakini)
Tel: 03 22843367

Malaysiakini dan Zunar hari ini memfail dua permohonan berasingan kepada mahkamah untuk mencabar keputusan Kementerian Dalam Negeri yang menharamkan dua buku, “1 Funny Malaysia” and “Perak Darul Kartun” yang mana kedua-duanya menampilkan kartun-kartun politik karya Zunar.
Pengharaman tersebut adalah di bawah Akta Mesin Cetak dan Penerbitan (Kawalan penerbitan tidak sesuai) (No.5) Order 2010 [P.U.(A) 208 / 2010] yang digazetkan pada 17 Jun 2010.  Pengharaman ini dilakukan oleh Timbalan Menteri Dalam Negeri Datuk Wira Abu Seman bin Yusop "bagi pihak dan atas nama Kementerian Dalam Negeri."
Satu-satunya alasan pengharam tersebut dinyatakan dalam arahan itu sendiri, iaitu kedua-dua buku dikatakan “boleh mengencam ketenteraman awam”. Arahan tersebut dikatakan dibuat mengikut
Seksyen 7 Akta Mesin Cetak dan Penerbitan 1984.
1Funny Malaysia adalah koleksi karya-karya pilihan kartun Zunar yang tersiar dalam ruangan Cartoonkini dalam portal web Malaysiakini dari tahun 2005 hingga 2009. Perak Darul Kartun buku terbitan syarikat yang dimiliki Zunar sendiri, Sepakat Efektif Sdn Bhd menampilkan karya-karya Zunar bersama beberapa kartunis dan penulis tempatan.
Oleh kerana kedua-dua buku tersebut adalah berbeza dan diterbitkan oleh dua syarikat yang berbeza, kami dinasihatkan untuk memfail dua semakan kehakiman yang berasingan.

Kedua-dua Malaysiakini dan Zunar berpendapat pengharaman tersebut adalah percubaan kerajaan untuk mengekang hak kebebasan bersuara dan menghalang hak kebebasan untuk bertukar-tukar pendapat serta idea diantara rakyat Malaysia. 
Kerana kedua-dua hak ini dijamin dalam Artikel 10 (1) (a) Perlembagaan Persekutuan, kami berpendapat pengharaman ini adalah tidak wajar dalam sebuah negara demokrasi seperti Malaysia.
 Kami juga berpendapat pengharaman ini adalah satu bentuk penyalahgunaan kuasa oleh kerajaan untuk membisukan kritikan terhadap polisi kerajaan dan Perdana Menteri sekarang. 

Kami tidak dapat memahami bagaimana kartun-kartun politik yang secara satira memberi komen mengenai politik serta ahli-ahli politik Malaysia boleh mengancam ketenteraman awam. Tidak ada bukti bahawa mengenai ternacamannya ketenteraman awam yang ditunjukkan kepada kami (oleh pihak kerajaan). Begitu juga kami tidak diberi peluang untuk memberi penjelasan sebelum
pengharaman tersebut dibuat. 

Kami juga tidak diberitahu sebarang alasan mengenai pengharaman tersebut melainkan melalui kenyataan media bahawa buku-buku itu mengancam ketenteraman awam.
Tindakan kerajaan mengharamkan buku-buku ini tidak konsisten dengan representasi yang dibuat kepada dunia mengenai hak asasi. Tambah mengecewakan Malaysia adalah ahli The United Nation’s Human Rights Council bagi penggal 2010 hingga 2013.

Kami mencabar pengharaman ini atas alasan berikut: 

a. Pengharaman ini tidak sah, kerana ia bertentangan dengan hak kebebasan bersuara yang dijamin oleh Perlembagaan Persekutuan.
b. Pengharaman ini tidak sah kerana ia bersifat ultra vires (tidak terdapat dalam skop) Akta Mesin Cetak dan Penerbitan 1984 memandang buku-buku tersebut tidak mengancam ketenteraman awam.
c. Pengharaman ini melanggar undang-undang sejagat dan tidak dilakukan dengan adil kerana kami tidak diberi peluang memberi penjelasan sebelum pengharaman ini dibuat dan tidak diberitahu mengenai alasan pengharaman.
d. Pengharaman ini adalah satu bentuk tindak balas yang tidak wajar terhadap buku-buku kami.
Kerana itu kami memohon arahan mahkamah seperti berikut:

1. Arahan untuk membatalkan pengharaman ke atas kedua-dua buku tersebut.
2. Pengistiharan bahawa pengharaman tersebut adalah tidak boleh diterima pakai dan tidak sah serta tidak boleh dikuatkuasa kerana ia bersifat ultra vires bagi Akta Mesin Cetak dan Penerbitan 1984
dan bertentangan dengan hak kami yang dijamin dalam Artikel 10 (1)
(a) Perlembagaan Persekutuan. 

3. Kos Kerugian dan kerosakan kerana tidak dapat menjual buku-buku tersebut.

Kami diwakili oleh Edmund Bon Tai Soon, Amer Hamzah Arshad, Edward Saw, K Shanmuga, Aston Paiva dan Fahri Azzat.

-Tarikh: 26 Julai 2010.

Zunar (kartunis politik)
(full Name: Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque)
Tel: 03 22724045

Premesh Chandran (Bagi pihak Malaysiakini)
Tel: 03 22843367