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.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

BAR: Acquittal on charge of consensual sex between adults is in accord with evidence

Press Release: Acquittal on charge of consensual sex between adults is in accord with evidence

Monday, 09 January 2012 03:07pm
ImageThe Malaysian Bar welcomes the decision of the High Court in acquitting Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim.  The principles of natural justice call for nothing less, in light of the grave concerns over whether the accused’s right to a fair trial was preserved.
Based on news reports of the trial, it is clear that the High Court decision is in accord with the evidence for, amongst others, the following reasons:

(1) The lack of full disclosure: Both prior to and during the trial itself, the legal team for the defence was denied access to certain documents and physical evidence in the possession of the prosecution, which disadvantaged the accused in the preparation of his defence.

(2) Unreliable DNA evidence: There were obvious concerns that the DNA sample submitted as evidence was unreliable or may have been compromised.

(3) Certain unusual findings during the trial proceedings: 
(a) The trial judge made an unprecedented finding at the end of the prosecution’s case that the complainant was a truthful and credible witness, without the benefit of having heard the defence.

(b) While the court allowed the Prime Minister and his wife to be interviewed by the defence legal team, the subpoena issued by the defence compelling the attendance of the Prime Minister and his wife was set aside by the High Court upon the application of the prosecution.  The absence of curiosity in this regard casts grave concerns on the credibility of the complaint in the first place. 

(4) The unrefuted relationship between the complainant and a member of the prosecution team, which raised serious questions whether the complainant had access to investigation papers, which would have enabled him to tailor his evidence at trial.

The charge against Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim, which is based on an archaic provision of the Penal Code that criminalises consensual sexual relations between adults, should never have been brought.  The case has unnecessarily taken up judicial time and public funds. 

The Malaysian Bar hopes that the Attorney General would not pursue any appeal, and will instead focus the valuable resources of the Attorney General’s Chambers on more serious crimes.
Lim Chee Wee
Malaysian Bar

9 January 2012

SUARAM: Government must Repeal the UUCA Now!

Press Statement: 10 January 2012

Government must Repeal the UUCA Now!

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) condemns the suspension of student activist Adam Adli by the University Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI). He has been suspended for three semesters, amounting to a total of 18 months over charges of damaging the reputation of Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI).

Adam’s disciplinary action was taken under the infamous Universities and University Colleges Act 1971 (UUCA) in reaction towards his act of lowering a flag bearing Prime Minister Najib Razak’s portrait to replace it with a flag which bears the words “Academic Freedom”. The UUCA restricts students from participating or getting involved in any political or human rights related activities. SUARAM views that the suspension of Adam Adli is a violation of freedom of expression and is politically motivated with the intention to use his case to serve as a warning for other students who may be involved or intend to get involved in the academic freedom movement. The incident reflects on the lack of freedom and independence by the students in expressing their view without prejudice and fear.

SUARAM views this development as a serious concern to the development of human rights in Malaysia. The recommendation to suspend Adam reflects the practice of selective punishment on university campuses. There is a double standard which insists that one can protest to support the university to take action against Adam but one cannot voice disagreement on university policies or to defend academic freedom in the campus. This gross injustice undermines the fundamental values of academic freedom, critical thinking, and freedom from discrimination, all of which are presumably the hallmark of higher learning and democratic society.

SUARAM calls upon the Chancellor of UPSI to withdraw this unjust decision and to restore the integrity of the academy. The Chancellor of UPSI should be mindful that this decision will establish the university’s reputation as the university that silences dissent and represses student activism. We also call for an end to the continued harassment, threats and intimidation against student activists, which became apparent after a recent student-led protest.

We also urge the government to repeal the UUCA and recognise students’ right to participate in the democratic processes and any right guaranteed to all under the Malaysian Constitution.

Released by,

Program Manager

On 17 December 2011, Adam Adli a second-year student at Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI) had lowered a flag bearing Prime Minister Najib Razak’s portrait to replace it with a flag which bears the words “Academic Freedom”. Reports stated that the protest flag was raised for five minutes, taken down and the flag with the PM's face was raised again. Many UMNO supporters denounced the action, targeting their fierce criticism at Adam. Since then, Adam has been attacked and threatened by some group of individuals via SMS, phone calls and videos.

On 19 December 2011, Adam lodged a police report at the Bukit Aman police headquarters with regards to the said harassment including threats to his personal safety. After speaking to police officials about the harassment, he held a press conference at the entrance to the Bukit Aman headquarters. A minor scuffle broke out, during which an unidentified man who later introduced himself to be Ruslan Mokhtar, tried to punch Adam. Adam suspected that the assailant was a plainclothes policeman who was present when Adam met with the police officers earlier. He also noted that none of the uniformed personnel tried to break the scuffle.

He lodged a report with the Tun HS Lee police station in regard to the scuffle as well as the harassment he and his family in Penang are facing.

On 9 January 2012, he was suspended for 18 months by the university administration.