Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Students - human rights defenders for the poor and marginalised in Malaysia?

Human Rights and  the Student Movement? The students and the youths generally have been in the forefront of the struggle for human rights especially for the poor and marginalized...the landless poor, poor farmers, urban settlers...

The Teluk Gong struggle began as a struggle by poor landless peasants to obtain land. In 1967, the peasants, led by Hamid Tuah, cleared some forest land in the Teluk Gong region of Selangor where they tilled the land and built houses.Not long afterwards, the government destroyed the crops and demolished the houses of the peasants. Hamid Tuah and his followers were arrested.The cruelty inflicted by the government upon the poor peasants of Teluk Gong was angrily denounced by the students of the University of Malaya.
 
Fighting four your own rights when you are affected is good - but Human Rights Defenders who struggle for rights and justice of others, where victory will really not bring them any benefit safe the satisfaction of upholding the cause of justice and human rights is better.
The Tasik Utara incident occured in September 1974. It involved poor, predominantly Malay squatters who openly opposed the government. in the case of Teluk Gong, the Tasik Utara incident virtually invited student involvement. Tasik Utara is situated about three miles from the centre of Johor Baru where housing is a serious problem.The houses in the town are expensive to rent, which workers cannot afford...However after the Barisan Nasional emerged victorious in the General Elections, the leaders appeared to forget the promises they had made to the squatters.The residents of Kampung Barisan Nasional got a rude shock when they received eviction notices from the land office warning them that their homes were to be demolished.
In Malaysia, being a HR Defender is tough - you may end up arrested, imprisoned, expelled or suspended from university, terminated from your employment, ridiculed.....yes, a lot of RISKS but still many are willing to take the risk for a better world...a better Malaysia. The risks will always be there ...and one can choose indifference or self interests, or we can be Human Rights Defenders...for the greater good of the human community...

The Baling events began on l9th November 1974, when more than 1,000 peasants demonstrated.Their demonstrations continued on the 20th and 21 st November. On the 21 st, more than 13,000 people from Baling and the surrounding areas....Why did the farmers in Baling demonstrate? the answer lies in the misery and suffering they were facing. Inflation from 1973 had caused the prices of food and other basic necessities to soar....They bravely took to the streets to protest and urge the government to raise the price of rubber and lower the price of food and other necessities within 10 days...The struggle of the peasants was supported by students from the universities and other institutions of higher learning throughout the country.A big demonstration by 5,000 students was held on 3rd Decernber 1974...
In any struggle for justice or rights - it is always best to struggle with others (in solidarity) - though at times, it still may boil down to acting alone if others are simply too fearful or disinterested in struggling for justice and human rights/.  
Of late, students in large numbers seem to missing in the struggle for human rights ...Now, even the issues that they seem to be taking up are issues of personal concerns as students - 'academic freedom', scholarship/student loans ... What happened? Are they no longer going to champion causes of the poor and marginalized? 


The Student Movement In Malaysia, 1967 - 74



From: Hassan Karim

The student movement in Malaysia has its origins before the second World War. In the early 1930s, teacher trainees from the Sultan Idris Training College established the KMM or Kesatuan Melayu Muda (Young Malay Union), which opposed British colonialism and desired independence.

In the fifties, students at the University of Malaya (established in 1949), then located in Singapore, enjoyed close relations with the anti-colonial movement, including nationalist journalists and unionists.

Thus, university students were actively involved in the struggle for independence. The development of the student movement at the University of Malaya in Singapore continued until the university moved to its Kuala Lumpur (K.L.) campus from 1959. In the early K.L. years, the character of student activities was different.

Students focussed instead on campus issues, especially in connection with student welfare matters. The emergence of the social and political dimensions of the student movement began around 1967.

Various events during that year distinguish it as a year of transition in the history of the student movement. From 1967, the student movement gradually advanced once again. In the following years, as it became more vocal, it became a force to be reckened with in the political upheavals of the country.

Several more universities were set up from 1969, a development which helped to strengthen and increase the influence of the student movement, The universities formed were Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) and Universiti Pertanian Malaysia (UPM).

The increase in the number of universities meant an increase in the nurnber of university students. At the same time, more and more students from poor and rural backgrounds obtained places in universities.

These students were to play an important role in the student struggles in the years to come.

1967: The Year of Transition

1967 is regarded as the transition year for the student movement as students began to raise vital issues relating to the lives of the people.

In the historic Teluk Gong landless squatter struggle, both the University of Malaya Students Union (UMSU) and the University of Malaya Malay Language Society (PBMUM) were directly involved.

In 1967 also, a symposium on problems faced by rural communities was held at the University of Malaya.

The fact that this symposium was sponsored by the PBMUM is significant, as prior to this, the PBMUM had mainly confined itself to issues of Malay culture and language.

In addition to this, 1967 saw the founding of the Socialist Club of the University of Malaya, the only political club in the University.

Its founding represented a new era for the student movement, and its influence on the Ma.laysian student movement was not insignificant.

In 1967, the student movement was still concentrated in the University of Malaya, though teacher-training colleges had their own student organizations.

This can be explained by the fact that conditions in the University of Malaya differed from the conditions in these colleges.

Various student bodies were to be found in the University of Malaya. The largest of these was UMSU, which represented all students of the University of Malaya.

By virtue of this, it had members from all racial groups. Other important student bodies included the PBMUM, th.e Chinese Language Society (CLS), The Tamil Language Society (TLS) and the University of Malaya Islamic Students Society (PMIUM) all of which were affiliated to UMSU.

Only the Socialist Club maintained autonomy. In 1967 too, several student bodies were led by progressive individuals like Syed Hamid Ali, who became the Secretary General of UMSU, and Sanusi Osman, who became President of the PBMUM. Both were also members of the Socialist Club.

The Teluk Gong Struggle

UM students listening to Sharifah Mahani Syed Hamzah talking about the oppression of the peasants inTeluk Gong.

The Teluk Gong struggle began as a struggle by poor landless peasants to obtain land. In 1967, the peasants, led by Hamid Tuah, cleared some forest land in the Teluk Gong region of Selangor where they tilled the land and built houses.

Not long afterwards, the government destroyed the crops and demolished the houses of the peasants. Hamid Tuah and his followers were arrested.

The cruelty inflicted by the government upon the poor peasants of Teluk Gong was angrily denounced by the students of the University of Malaya.

Both UMSU and the PBMUM came out in open support of the unfortunate peasants. Several lecturers followed suit and also supported the struggle of Hamid Tuah and the peasants.

The involvement of students in the Teluk Gong incident was an important event in their struggle to uplift the poor, though their awareness of the life of the poor had previously been expressed in the form of seminars and symposiums.

The Teluk Gong incident enabled them to come forward to declare their stand. The Teluk Gong events clearly and dramatically highlighted the problem of rural poverty.

Poverty, which had its roots in landlessness or land hunger captured the attention of students, and became an important issue in the student struggle in the years to come.

1968: National & International Issues

An important national issue raised in 1968 was the National Education Policy; the PBMUM held a symposium on this subject.

For the PBMUM and many Malay students, the struggle for the sovereignity of the Malay language and the National Education Policy were important dimensions of their struggle.

In 1968, while the PBMUM was involved in the above causes, UMSU the National Union of Malaysian Students (PKPM) and the Socialist Club to raise such issues.

The invasion of Czechoslavakia by the Soviet Uniori in 1968 was met with widespread international opposition.

The students of the University of Malaya joined the protest and staged a demonstration outside the Soviet Embassy in Kuala Lumpur. Being the first demonstration by the students outside the campus, this was a historic event.

For the first time too, students were confronted with police brutality and tear gas. Undeniably, events outside the country contributed to increasing political awareness amongst students.

The revolt of French students against De Ganlle in 1968, for example, had a big impact on students all over the world.

So it was to be that in the years that followed, international issues were raised by students from time to time.
In 1971, the oppression of Muslims in Pattani was championed as was the Palestinian issue in 1973.

1969: A Year of Upheaval

Student became increasingly involved in national politics from 1969. In the months of April and May, before the May General Elections, PMUM held several public rallies throughout the country.

As many as 13 rallies were held, with a total attendence of 100,000 people. Over 100,000 PMUM manifestoes were distributed at these'rallies.

The contents of the PMUM manifesto for 1969 are important as they represent the issues that students were then championing.

Democracy was an important element in the manifesto as students wanted the people to be more involved in the decesion-making processes and for national politics to be truely based on democracy.

They demanded that freedom and justice be guaranteed, an improvement of the economic status of the people, land reform and a truely national education policy.

Students also demanded the unconditional release of all political detainees and called for the withdrawal of foreign military bases on Malaysian soil.

The demands of the 1969 PMUM manifesto clearly reflect the progressive character of the student movement then, which had also become a political force to be reckoned with.

The government was unhappy over the good response the rallies received in several big towns, and disallowed students from holding rallies in towns, particularly on the East Coast.

The rallies organised by UMSU were an important development in the history of the student struggle. It involved a direct involvement by students in the political process in Malaysia.

Students raised the issues of democracy and social justice, and STUDENT MOVEMENT TODAY 5 denounced political parties that capitalized on racial issues. Students who were socialists formed the backbone of these UMSU rallies.

After May 13: The Campaign to Topple the Tunku

The period after May l3th was one of great challenges. In the aftermath of May l3th a campaign to replace Tunku Abdul Rahman, the Malaysian Prime Minister erupted.

In this heated campaign, students particulary Malay students urged the Tunku to step down. The students were forthright and brave in their demands.

A series of demonstrations were held within the campus as part of this campaign. UMSU, led by Syed Hamid Ali, and the PBMUM, led by Anwar Ibrahim, played important roles in this cam~paign against the Tunku.

The efforts of the students were not in vain, and finally the Tunku was forced to relinguish his Prime Ministership. Historically, the fall of the Tunku was connected in no small way, with the opposition of students to his continued leadership.

In fact Syed Hamid Ali and Anwar Ibrahim had different reasons for wanting to see the last of the Tunku Anwar Ibrahim's opposition was mainly based on the Tunku's and not on the weaknesses of the system of government led by the Tunku.

He felt that the Tunku had conceded too much to the Chinese Community and had not endeavoured enough to overcome the problem of the Malay Community. He saw the Tunku as failing to advance the status of Bahasa Malaysia sufficiently and the implementation of the National Education Policy.

Anwar at no time actually opposed the system of government led by the Tunku. Syed Hamid Ali and the Socialist Club, on the other hand, were particularly opposed to the Tunku's political, and economic, and social policies.

The socialist students opposed the capitalist system, which they saw as being the root cause of poverty.

They were opposed to the influx of foreign investment, which still dominated the economy and wealth of the country and left the majority of the rakyat living in poverty and misery.

They also felt that it was his leadership that had led to racila riots. Students And University Autonomy On the 29th August 1969, police invaded the University of Malaya campus with the intention of disrupting an anti-Tunku demonstration. This was the first time that the police had ventured on to the campus to disrupt student activities. Several students, involving Syed Hamid Ali, then UMSU president were detained. The students protested against the police action, emphasizing that it was a violation of university autonomy.

In the years following, students have always opposed attempts by the government to encroach upon university autonomy.

1970: The Malay Language And The National Education Policy

The struggle by the Malay students of the University of Malaya to advance the Malay language had been underway from at least 1966.

However, it was only in 1970 that the issues of the Malay language and the National Educational Policy emerged as central issues.

These twin issues also caused a racial rift, among students at the university. Even the PMUM and PBMUM differed on these issues.

The struggle to secure the position of the Malay language as the National Language and the National Education Policy have to be viewed in a wider context.

The language issue was symbolic of the opposition to the rule of the Tunku, who was deemed to have failed in improving the lot of the Malay community.

By raising the question of language and education, it was easy to draw the support of the Malay students and also of the Malay community at large. In 1970, the National University of Malaysia (UKM) was founded.

The setting up of this university was viewed as the culmination of efforts to ensure the sovereignity of the Malay language and the implementation of the National Education Policy.

1971: The University Act

The growth of the student movement in the campuses threatened those in power. In 1970, two new universities - the Science University of Malaysia (USM) and the National University of Malaysia (UKM) - were set up.

There was a general increase around this time in the number of universities and institutions of higher learning in Malaysia, many of which were concentrated around Kuala Lumpur: The implications of this for the growth of the student movement alarmed the political elite.

The government began to fear student opposition to government policies as had happened in 1969, and felt that its position would be threatened if the student movement was not curbed.

In 1970 the post-1969 National Operations Council (NOC) formed the Campus Investigative Committee. 

The results of the investigations carried out by this committee became the basis of the University And University Colleges Act, 1971.

Among other things, the Act sought to control and weaken the various student organisations. On l8th March 19?1, the UUCA was passed by the Parliament.

Students rose in unison from all communities and universities, to oppose the Act. They criticised the government for promulgating an Act that underrnined the principles of democracy and freedom of speech.

The students were not alone in their bitter opposition to the Act. Opposition political parties too opposed the Act from within and outside parliament.

Students felt that their basic rights were violated by the Act. Even after the UUCA was implemented as law the students continued to protest against it.

Demonstrations opposing the Act were held within the campus in 1971, 1972 and again in 1973. In 1971, the Act was openly challenged at a massive demonstration to oppose the Thai government's oppression of Muslims in Pattani.

The l4th June 1971 Demonstration The demonstration of l4th June 1971 was the first one to be held outside the campus after implementation of the UUCA.

It was also the first major demonstration of the 1970s. On that day, 2,000 predominantly Malay students - from the National University of Malaysia and the University of Malaya campuses - demonstrated.

Their demonstration was to protest the visit of the then Thai Prime Minister, Thanom Kittikachorn, who was due to arrive that day.

Those who were involved charged the Thai government with responsibility for the ill-treatment of Muslims in Pattani.

Their protest were a sign of their support for the struggle to liberate Muslims in Pattani. The students waited for the Thai Prime Minister on the main roads outside their campuses.

This historic demonstration was organized by the PMIUM, and hence not many non-Malay students were involved.

The demonstration enabled students from the University of Malaya and the National University of Malaysia to show their unity for the first time.

The demonstration saw students in physical confrontation with the police. More than 12 students were injured, and 19 were arrested at the University of Malaya.

This was the first time a university student demonstration in the country had resulted in injury to the students involved.

The demonstration of June l4th continued the following day, when students demonstrated against police brutality and demanded that the government immediately release all the detained students.

1972: Crisis Within UMSU and the PKPM

In 1972, UMSU and the PKPM were in a state of turmoil. The crises within these organisations were the The Teluk Gong struggle began as a struggle by poor landless peasants to obtain land. In 1967, the peasants, led by Hamid Tuah, cleared some forest land in the Teluk Gong region of Selangor result of a lack of basis for unity.

In the absence of rallying points, in-fighting emerged as students tried to capture power in their respective organisations. Whatever the setback caused by this turmoil, it showed that the democratic proses was alive and well in the student movement.

On l9th June 1972, the l4th Council of UMSU, under the leadership of Sim Kim Chiew, was toppled by the Council members themselves.

The conflict between the l4th Council and the editorial board of the UMSU newspaper, Mahasiswa Negara, represented a serious setback to the student left of the university, as many council members were members of the Socialist Club as well.

The students who opposed the l4th Council used racial issues to garner support to topple the council.

Hence, the fall of the l4th Council was tantamount to a defeat for the student left. In 1972, the left failed to maintain leadership of the PKPM.

Hishamuddin Rais, a dynamic leader of the student left, who had become the Secretary-General of the PKPM, was replaced in, 1972.

Traditionally, the PKPM had been led by student leaders from the University of Malaya. However, with the establishment of more universities in the 1970s, many student leaders from other universities came to the fore and broke the previous UMSU monopoly in the PKPM.

1972 also saw the decline in the influence of the Socialist Club. Many of its important members left the university on completing their studies, and at the end of 1972, the strength of the club was at its weakest.

Thus, in early 1973, the club was thoroughly reorganised after a membership drive. The drive strengthened the club with new and dedicated members, and the Socialist Club emerged once again as an important force in the University of Malaya campus politics.

The emergence of the Socialist Club was evident in the UMSU elections of 1973, when many Socialist Club members were elected into the Council and Hishamuddin Rais became UMSU Secretary-General.

Furthermore,1973 also saw growing co-operation among student orgarrisations from the various universities. Student bodies from UM, UKM, USM, UTM, UPM and ITM united to oppose the government on issues such as corruption and the UUCA.

1973 : Anti-American Demonstration

Malaysian student opposition to U.S. imperialism has long been strong. Students from different political tendencies could unite to oppose U.S. imperialism, as happened in 1973.

The Arab-Israeli war erupted in the Middle-East in October 1973, drawing the attention of the whole world. The struggle of the Arab and the Palestinian people to regain Palestinian and Arab territories occupied by Israel was supported by the people of Malaysia.

In Malaysia, students were the first to express their support for and solidarity with the Palestinian and Arab people.

Israel was openly supported by the U S.A., the great imperialist power. U.S. support was opposed not only by the Arabs, but also by all freedom-loving people in the world, including Malaysian students.

On l3th October 1973, students from the University of Malaya under UMSU's leadership, staged a demonstration in front of the U.S.

Embassy in Kuala Lumpur to oppose the U.S. role in the Middle-East war. The police broke up this peaceful demonstration. Tear gas was fired at the students, forcing them to withdraw temporarily.

On l6th October, three days after the peaceful demons tration had been dispersed, 4,000 students demonstrated again outside the US Embassy: As this demonstration was much larger than the one preceding it, the police did not dare interfere.

The PLO representative in Malaysia addressed the students at this historic demonstration, following which students took to the streets and headed for the Lincoln Cultural Centre.

The students charged that the Lincoln Cultural Centre was actually a CIA centre involved in espionage, and urged the government to close it down.

The demonstration on 16th October clearly showed the hatred of the students and the people of Malaysia towards U.S. imperialism.

The students threatened to burn down the centre if it was not closed down. Not long afterwards, the US Embassy changed the location of the Cultural Centre.

It must be noted that students from various universities and institutions of higher learning participated in the anti-U.S. demonstrations.

It is interesting to note that on one occassion the police were too afraid to take any drastic action against the students.

1974: The Peak of Student Activism

1974 is regarded as the peak year for Malaysian university student activism in the 1970s as students were increasingly invol- ved in the people’s issues.

Their slogan, “Students and People Unite”, became a reality.The National Front — comprising a coalition of political parties, including some which had previously been in the opposition, i.e. PAS, Gerakan and the PPP — won the 1974 General Elections, as expected.

As many of the former opposition parties were now on the side of the government, the ranks of the opposition in Malaysia dwindled.

The various student organisations filled this vacuum that had been created by the withering of the parliamentary opposition.

Student organisations emerged as a pressure group and were highly critical of government policies.Perhaps because of their non-partisan approach towards issues, they were able to draw the attention and gain the support of the population at large.

1974 was also a year of great hardship for the people of Malaysia. Inflation had increased rapidly from 1973 and the price of rubber had fallen to record low.

The livelihood of rubber small holders was seriously threatened. The people faced many difficulties as the prices of basic necessities soared. Shortages in housing and jobs further exacerbated the situation.

September 1974 Tasik Utara

The Tasik Utara incident occured in September 1974. It involved poor, predominantly Malay squatters who openly opposed the government.

As in the case of Teluk Gong, the Tasik Utara incident virtually invited student involvement. Tasik Utara is situated about three miles from the centre of Johor Baru where housing is a serious problem.

The houses in the town are expensive to rent, which workers cannot afford. As the government had not taken any steps to provide low-cost housing for the urban poor, many of them were forced to become squatters.

Not long before the General Elections of 1974, several poor families set up squatter houses in Tasik Utara. They were not stopped, not even by Land Office officials.

News of this spread and not long afterwards, more poor families, including factory workers, "we want justice,we want land"Tasik Utara demonstration,1974

government labourers, hawkers, taxi and lorry drivers, moved in.

Barisan Nasional leaders canvassing votes at Tasik Utara assured the squatters that their homes would be protected. The 134 families who set up their homes in Tasik Utara called their village, Kampung Barisan Nasional.

However after the Barisan Nasional emerged victorious in the General Elections, the leaders appeared to forget the promises they had made to the squatters.

The residents of Kampung Barisan Nasional got a rude shock when they received eviction notices from the land office warning them that their homes were to be demolished.

The residents appealed to the government against the demolition. They called upon the government to provide them with an hering of the parliamentary OPPO alternative site on which they could build their homes.

Their appeals fell on deaf ears. In despair, the squatters got in touch with UMSU hoping that UMSU would come to their aid. The hopes of the squatters were not in vain.

As soon as UMSU received the telegram from the squatters, several students, including UMSU leaders, made their way to Johore Bahru.

On the morning of September 15th, several police trucks arrived at Tasik Utara. The squatters homes were demolished.Students of the University of Malaya led by Hishamuddin Rais pleaded with the authorities to call off the demolition, but their protests were in vain.

Nine people, including Syed Hamid Ali, the Secretary General of the People's Socialist Party of Malaya (PSRM), were arrested. They were released the following day however after interrogation.

After the Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) personnel and the demolition teams had departed, the squatters rebuilt their homes.

However, on l6th September, the FRU and the demolition squad descended once again on the kampung and demolished the rebuilt homes. They carried out their work with brutal efficiency.

Planks and posts were split so that they could not be used again as building materials. They destroyed the atap (roofing material) and were rude to the squatters, who included women and children.

The students personally witnessed these brutal actions with their own eyes. On the l6th of September, after their homes had been demolished for the second time, the squatters - 60 families and about 300 people consisting of men, women, children and a baby camped outside the Johore State Secretariat Building, where they picketed day and night.

They put up banners, one of which read "We demand justice. We want land." At 3.15 a.m. on the l9th of September, the police and the FRU quietly entered the camp site and arrested 5 people.

Those who were detained included: Kaliman Jaya, a squatter leader, Hishamuddin Rais, Secretary-General of the PMUM, Yunus Ali, an exco member of the PMUM, Syed Hamid Ali, Secretary General of the PSRM, and Mohammed Amin Ahmad, Secretary of the PSRM, Johore.

The just struggle of the squatters was supported by student organisations in all the campuses. UMSU, PMUKM, KSITM, PMUSM, PMUPM, the Socialist Club and the CLS of the University of Malaya all released press statements in support of the squatters.

The University of Singapore Students Union(USSU) also came out in their support. Students in Malaysia and Singapore collected funds to aid the unfortunate squatters of Tasik Utara.

The detention of several student leaders on l9th September provoked and deepened the students' struggle, particularly in the University of Malaya.

On the 20th of September, more than 2,500 students from the University of Malaya demonstrated outside the Prime Minister's Department.

They urged the authorities to release Hishamuddin Rais, Yunus Ali and the others who had been detained in Johore Bahru. This demonstration was indicative of widespread student supporf for the struggle of the Tasik Utara squatters.

When their demands fell on deaf ears, the students planned to demonstrate again on the 21 st of September. More than 2,000 students took to the streets peacefully, making their way to Kuala Lumpur.

The FRU confronted them on their journey and fired tear gas. They also fell upon the students with batons, and many were injured. More than ten students were detained, but they were released soon afterwards, as the authorities were afraid of growing student agitation.

The Power Struggle In The University of Malaya Following the brutal action of the police, UMSU called for an emergency meeting.

The meeting held on 21 st September was attended by all the Residential College Committees and other component bodies of UMSU.

Following an in-depth discussion, it was unanimously agreed that to avoid further police aggression, demonstrations would be held within the campus.

The students also decided to take over the administration of the University of Malaya. The students formed a co-ordinating body called the Majlis Tertinggi Sementara (MTS) or Provisional Supreme Council.

At 2.30 p.m. on 21 st. September the MTS officially took over the UM administration in a peaceful and organised manner. On the same afternoon, however, several self proclaimed `patriotic' students met at the Arts Faculty and formed a `Majlis Tertinggi Nasionalis (MTN) (Nationalist Supreme Council).

They opposed the UMSU decision to form the MTS to take over the university. At 8.30 p.m., members of the MTN advanced to strategic positions held by the MTS, including the UMSU secretariat, the university gates and the security office.

Members of the MTS were forced to leave the UMSU secretariat. They used iron rods, bicycle chains and nailed sticks in their attack. The UMSU president and several other MTS members were kidnapped and forceably taken to the Dewan Tunku Chancellor.

The MTN leaders tried to divert the attention of the students from the real issue at hand. Even the vice-chancellor of the university attempted to break the unity of the students by playing up racial issues.

The Struggle Continues

Even though the leaders of the squatters and the students had been detained, the squatters of Tasik Utara continued to picket in front of the Johore State Secretariat building.

At 5.30 p.m. on 22nd September, the FRU surrounded the picket site and arrested 41 squatters and 7 students.

The squatters and students demonstrated in front of the Johore court-house to protest the arrests. At this demonstration, 3 more students were arrested.

UMSU Suspended

UMSU was to pay a high price for its involvement in the Tasik Utara incident and their decision to take over the university administration.

The government which for a long time had been trying to crush the student movement now had an excuse to act against UMSU.

Several days after USMU took ovesr the campus, the government suspended it.

The Baling Events

If the Tasik Utara incident was the prelude, the Baling incident was "The people suffer,the rulers forget their obligations"

s surely the climax of the student struggle in the post-1969 period.While Tasik Utara is in Johore, in the south, Baling is up north, in Kedah.

The Baling events are important not only in relation to the student's struggle, but also in relation to the history of the present struggle in Malaysia.

The Baling events began on l9th November 1974, when more than 1,000 peasants demonstrated.

Their demonstrations continued on the 20th and 21 st November. On the 21 st, more than 13,000 people from Baling and the surrounding areas of Weng, Bangar, Lanai, Pulai, Kupang, Tawar, Parit Panjang, Kuala Pegang, Siong and Sungai Lalang staged mass demonstrations, which converged on Baling.

Why did the farmers in Baling demonstrate? the answer lies in the misery and suffering they were facing. Inflation from 1973 had caused the prices of food and other basic necessities to soar.

Sugar, which had cost only 30 cents a kati, cost 60 cents; the price of flour rose from 20 cents to 50 cents.

As these prices increased, the price of rubber was falling; affecting a majority of the residents of Baling distriet, who were mostly rubber smallholders.

The price of a kati of rubber could not purchase half a kati of sugar or flour. As a result of their hardships, the peasants were forced to voice their sufferings.

They bravely took to the streets to protest and urge the government to raise the price of rubber and lower the price of food and other necessities within 10 days.

When it became clear that the government was not going to act positively on the demands within the given period, 30,000 people demonstrated in Baling on the 1 st of December 1974.

The people were angry indeed. The struggle of the peasants was supported by students from the universities and other institutions of higher learning throughout the country.

A big demonstration by 5,000 students was held on 3rd Decernber 1974. At a rally held on the same day at the Selangor Club padang in Kuala Lumpur, the students made several demands on the governrpent including.
  1. the government must solve the problem of inflation immediately.
  2. the price of rubber must be raised to reasonable levels.
  3. all corrupt ministers and chief ministers must be exposed and punished.
The government ignored the demands of the students.

The authorities used the police to disperse the demonstration, and students who had gathered peacefully at the Selangor Club field were attacked with tear gas.

The students retreated to the National Mosque, but the FRU even fired tear gas into the mosque and entered it. Altogether, the FRU arrested 1,128 students.

The arrest of the students reignited the students' strug,gle. On the campuses, students continued to demonstrate, and this went on for a few days until the police entered the campuses early in the morning of the 9th of December 1974.

Many of the student leaders were arrested. At the same time, the government also apprehended university lecturers who had supported the struggle of the students and the peasants.

Among those detained were Prof. Syed Husin Ali from the University of Malaya, Anwar Ibrahim, a youth leader; Kamarulzaman Yacob, UMSU President, Ahmad Kamal Selamat, President of PMUSM, Ibrahim Ali, President of KSITM, Rahman Rukhaini, President of PMUKM, and Adi Satria, UMSU's Assistant Secretary-General.

Amendments to the University and University Colleges Act, 1975

Student resistance did not end even with the arrest of so many of its leaders. However, pressure from the government in the form of threats and manipulations and the use of racial issues to undermine student unity resulted in the weakening of the student movement.

The government capitalized on these weaknesses and vulnerability to table new draconian laws in Parliament. The 1975 amendements to the UUCA 1971 were passed by Parliament.

Despite protests from students and opposition parties,the amendments were bull-dozed through Parliament. With the enforcement of the Act, all student organisations were dissolved.

This marked the end of an era when the student movement in Malaysia grew to become an important social and politacal force.

As a substitute, the government set up Student Representative Councils, student bodies which have little power, freedom and authority.

Weaknesses in the Student Movement

Every movement has its weaknesses; the following were some of the weaknesses of the MaIaysian student movemerit which was crushed in the mid 1970s:

The Race Problem

The race problem has always been a factor weakening the Malaysian student rnovement. This was paiticularly evident in the case of the universities which have a large multiracial student population, like the University of Malaya. Despite this, there were many issues on which students from the various races united. Such issues incIuded the struggle for university autonomy, opposition to U.S. imperialism, and popular stntg,gles such as Teluk Gong, Tasik Utara and Baling.

Lack of Experience

The tradition of students struggte in Malaya is still young. Hence, students have Iacked experience in facing challenges that have come their way.

Moreover, the length of courses of study i.e. over 3 or 4 yearss limited student involvement. When good leaders graduated on completion of their studies, continuity and experience were often lost, and not easily replaced.

Lack of Contact With the People

Although the student movement championed peoples' issues from 1967 to 1974, a close study would reveal that the contact After the demonstrations

between students and the people, particularly those in the ruraI areas, was far from being close or intimate.lt was only in 1967 , 1973 and 1974 that efforts to bridge this gap were given more serious attention.

An Issue-Oriented Straggle

A clear weakness of the Malaysian student movement was its heavy issue-orientation, such that activities were only organised as issues came up. Thus, much student activity was spontaneous in nature, and not well-planned. Leaders seldom planned activities with a long term perspective. Many students and their Ieaders were prone to complacency and many developed a care-free, and sometimes even irresponsible attitude. This may be due to the fact that student movements are, by nature, not well-disciplined organizations. This lack of discipline contributed to this negative feature of the student movement.

Lack of Support from Intellectuals

The student movement seldom got support from academics and intellectuals. While it cannot be denied that there were lecturers and intellectuals who supported the students' struggle, their numbers were smalI. The majority of intellectuals were silent and were usually unwilling to be vocal. Because of this lack of involvement by the inteIlectual community, the student movement was unable to analyse issues with sufficient depth.

Conclusion

The extent of the contribution of the student movement to society at large is a difficult question.

Despite this, the importance of a strong student movement must be recognised, especially in a young country like ours, where a large proportion of the people are poorly-educated and poor, and where political consciousness is rather confused.

We cannot deny that Malaysian students have a social responsibility. At the zenith of their strength, they emerged as champions of the people.

The present curbs on the student movement also stand in the way of the development of an independent, progressive intelligentsia in our country which can contribute to solving some of our fundamental problems. 

Source:-  http://idealis-mahasiswa.tripod.com/artikel-harian/jan2002/11jan02.html


Note:- More University students today...but alas, what has happened to them? Can the poor, marginalised and victims of injustice still be able to rely on Malaysian students to champion their cause for justice?



 

Sunday, December 10, 2017

DDA amendments better, but anti-drug policy needs overhaul(Malaysiakini)


DDA amendments better, but anti-drug policy needs overhaul

Published:     Modified:


COMMENT | Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture (Madpet) welcomes the fact that the government has amended the Bill to amend Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952, which now provides for the mandatory death penalty for drug trafficking. The Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act 2017, as amended, was passed after the third reading on Nov 30 at the Dewan Rakyat.

This amending Bill has been amended to remove the earlier precondition of a Public Prosecutor’s written certification of assistance before judges had the discretion in sentencing, that will allow the imposition of the life imprisonment sentence instead of the death penalty. This amendment vide Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Bill - Amendment in Committee (D.R.45/2017) amended the Bill entitled the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act 2017.

After the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act 2017, a number of groups and persons including Madpet expressed dissatisfaction that judges, according to Section 2 of the original amendment Bill, would only be able to exercise discretion during sentencing if and only when the "Public Prosecutor certifies in writing to the court, that in his determination, the person convicted has assisted an enforcement agency in disrupting drug trafficking activities within or outside Malaysia".

Proving 'assistence'

On Nov 30, the need for the public prosecutor's certification was removed. The words “the Public Prosecutor certifies in writing to the court that in his determination” was removed and replaced with the word “that”.

This would mean that one of the points that the judge now must consider before sentencing is passed is that "the person convicted has assisted an enforcement agency in disrupting drug trafficking activities within or outside Malaysia".

Whilst this is better, there still remains the concern whether persons convicted would really be able to provide such assistance, and when will such assistance be required to be provided.

Rightly, that assistance should be provided only after one has been tried and convicted. To suggest otherwise would be most prejudicial to the accused person, and it may be seen as forcing accused persons into doing things that are self-incriminatory, including statements that will assist the prosecution to get a conviction in the face of a threat of being sentenced and put to death.

This is most unacceptable especially in capital cases, where if one is convicted, it may result in the imposition of the death sentence.

We know that many a time, drug trafficking is usually carried out by kingpins and their criminal organisations, and as such, there is also a real risk that any such "assistance" by the convicted person may bring to them and/or their families retaliation and/or harm, more so when the fact of this assistance is made known.

As such, Malaysia must develop a substantive witness protection scheme that will ensure the safety of the convicted as well as their families, if need be.

The other concern is the fact that some of the convicted may have very little information, not sufficient to have "assisted an enforcement agency in disrupting drug trafficking activities within or outside Malaysia", noting that the words used on the face of it indicate assistance was given "...has assisted...".

One can only provide assistance as much as one is able to, and it may sometimes be seen as not being useful or sufficient to assist any enforcement agency. As such, what is expected to escape the death sentence may still be unreasonable.

It may have been better, if all that is required was what a person reasonably could have done to assist, irrespective of whether it really assisted the enforcement agency or not. Until there is an amendment, it is hoped that when judges do consider this element of "assistance", reasonableness and reality is also considered.

Also, it was also disappointing to note that the new amendments to the Bill did not address the concern as to what will happen to the 800 or more still on death row for drug trafficking. It was best that all their sentences be forthwith commuted to imprisonment.

Retrials likely

If and when this amendment comes into force, it will apply also to cases where the trial had started but the accused has not yet been convicted.

There are serious concerns about trials that are already started. Evidence will have been adduced, challenged and/or rebutted in these trials where both the accused and prosecution were operating under the belief that on conviction, there will only be the mandatory death penalty.

As such, even when the amendment comes into force, it will only be just if there be a new trial before a new judge, given the fact that the strategy and conduct of the trial would most likely be very different given the fact judges would now, after the amendment comes into force, the discretion to not sentence the convicted to death.

In light of the upcoming amendment to Section 39B, Madpet calls for the immediate stop of all Section 39B trials pending the coming into force the amendment that gives judges the discretion to impose a sentence other than the death sentence. There should be new trials before different judges for all these cases.

It was also revealed by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Azalina Othman Said, that prison department statistics revealed that from 2000 until 2017, of 113 persons were sentenced to death under Section 39B, only 11 were executed, whilst another 122 persons have been pardoned and had their death sentence commuted to life imprisonment.

There was, however, no disclosure as to why some were executed and others had their sentences commuted. Did diplomatic concerns or other unacceptable considerations have a part to play in these decisions as to who lives and who is hanged to death?

Madpet urges that the death sentence of all persons on death row, especially for drug trafficking, be immediately commuted to imprisonment.

Death penalty is not a deterrent 

The minister also stated that the police statistics reveal an increase of drug cases every year despite the drastic measures taken by the police, which we could take as including the fact of the existence of the mandatory death penalty for Section 39B.

Since January 2014 until October 2017, 702,319 individuals have been arrested by the police for the offence of trafficking and possession of drugs.

A total of 21,731 persons were arrested under Section 39B, whereby investigation papers were opened for 13,036 persons and 10,878 persons were charged in court. The minister also revealed that 68 drug kingpins were arrested during this period, while 106 illegal laboratories were raided, resulting in the arrest of 409.

The death penalty for drug trafficking came into being in 1975, and in 1983, there was an amendment that brought in the mandatory death penalty. It is clear now that even the mandatory death penalty has not deterred people from committing the offence. On the contrary, there has been an increase of persons committing the crime.

As such, merely giving the judges the option of handing out the death sentence or life imprisonment (with at least 15 strokes of the whip) needs to be reviewed. Severe punishment does not serve as a deterrent, and as such, we should be looking at rehabilitation and second chances to persons convicted of even the crime of drug trafficking.

Our concerns should be rehabilitation, and it is certainly most unjust to be sentencing a first time offender or a young person to life imprisonment.

Madpet would suggest that Section 39B should be further amended setting a minimum sentence of 5 to 10 years, as this will be more just. Judges will then have discretion to impose the appropriate sentence depending on the facts and circumstances of each case.

Malaysia also needs to look at the reasons why people commit this mandatory death penalty crime. One of the main causes may be poverty. Hence, the way forward in reducing the crime of drug trafficking (or other crimes driven by poverty) may be addressing the socio-economic conditions that drive people to be willing to risk their life and liberty for monies.

Madpet also urges that all persons arrested for drug offences be accorded the right to a fair trial and that detention without trial laws like the Prevention of Crime Act 1959 (Poca) and the Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measures) Act 1985 not be used.

Madpet also would like to remind the Malaysian government that they are looking at abolishing the death penalty, especially the mandatory death penalty, for all crimes, not just drug trafficking. Whilst we welcome this move to abolish the mandatory death penalty for Section 39B, we urge that the abolition of the mandatory death penalty is expedited.

Madpet reiterates its call for the abolition of the death penalty in Malaysia, and for the imposition of an immediate moratorium on all executions pending abolition.


The views expressed here are those of the authors/contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.



See related posts:- 

Sometimes the government listens - PP's green light before judge exercise discretion removed?

MADPET - JUDGE’S DISCRETION TO NOT IMPOSE DEATH PENALTY ONLY IF PUBLIC PROSECUTOR GIVES CERTIFICATION IS WRONG


 
 

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Singaporean Jolovan Wham - 52 Malaysian Groups Speak out & Urgent Appeal by the Observatory

URGENT APPEAL - THE OBSERVATORY

 

SGP 001 / 1217 / OBS 117
Judicial harassment
Singapore
December 8, 2017


The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Singapore.

Description of the situation:
 
The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the judicial harassment against Mr. Jolovan Wham, social worker, human rights advocate, and former Executive Director of the NGO Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (HOME)[1], and eight other activists for the exercise of their right to peaceful assembly.

According to the information received, on November 28, 2017, Mr. Jolovan Whan was detained at the Central Police Station in Singapore, and released on bail later that day.

On November 29, 2017, the State Court charged Mr. Jolovan Wham with: 1) "organising public assemblies without a permit", under the Public Order Act (three charges); 2) "vandalism", under the Vandalism Act (one charge); and 3) "refusing to sign statements", under Article 180 of the Criminal Code (three charges). The seven charges are related to three peaceful gatherings held by various activists, including Mr. Jolovan Wham, in Singapore between November 2016 and July 2017 without obtaining prior permission from the police.

Under Article 16(1)(a) of the Public Order Act, organising a public assembly without obtaining police permit is an offense that is punishable with fines of up to SGD 5,000 (approx. 3,140 Euros). Repeat offenders can be fined up to SGD 10,000 (approx. 6,280 Euros) or imprisoned for up to six months, or both. Under Article 3 of the Vandalism Act, the offence of vandalism is punishable with a fine not exceeding SGD 2,000 (approx. 1256 Euros) or imprisonment not exceeding three years.

The three peaceful gatherings from which the charges under the Public Order Act stem were: 1) a forum to discuss civil disobedience and social movement (held on November 26, 2016); 2) a silent protest on a Mass Rapid Transport (MRT) train to mark the 30th anniversary of the detention without trial of 22 people under the draconian Internal Security Act (ISA) as part of Operation Spectrum in May-June 1987 (held on June 3, 2017); and (3) a candlelight vigil outside Changi Prison to support the family of Prabagaran Srivijayan, a Malaysian national, awaiting execution for drug trafficking (held on July 13, 2017)[2].

Moreover, on December 5, 2017, eight other activists who took part in the three above-referenced peaceful assemblies reported themselves voluntarily to the police and were given warnings that may be facing charges should they participate in other gatherings.

The Observatory denounces the judicial harassment of Mr. Jolovan Wham and the other above-mentioned activists, which only aims at punishing them for their peaceful and legitimate human rights activities and the exercise of their right to peaceful assembly.

Actions requested:

Please write to the Singaporean authorities to urge them to:

i.     Drop all charges against Mr. Jolovan Wham;

ii.   Put an end to all forms of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Mr. Jolovan Wham, the above-mentioned demonstrators and all human rights defenders in the country so that they are able to carry out their work without hindrance;

iii. Ensure full respect for the right to peaceful assembly in accordance with relevant international human rights standards;

iv. Comply with the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, in particular with its Articles 1, 6(c) and 12.2;

v. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.

Addresses:

·     Mr. Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister of Singapore, Fax: +65 63328983/68356621, Email: pmo_hq@pmo.gov.sg; Twitter: @leehsienloong
·     Mr. Kasiviswanathan Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs, Minister of Law, Fax: +65 62546250/ 633 28842, Email: mha_feedback@mha.gov.sg;
·     Mr. Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Fax: +65 64747885, Email: mfa@mfa.sg;
·     Mr. Lucien Wong, Attorney General, Fax: +65 6538 9000
·     H.E. Mr Foo Kok Jwee, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Singapore in Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41-22-796 8078, E-mail: mfa_geneva@mfa.gov.sg;
·     H.E. Mr. Jaya Ratnam, Ambassador, Embassy of Singapore in Brussels, Belgium, Fax: +32 2 660 8685; Email: singemb_bru@mfa.sg

Please also write to the diplomatic representations of Singapore in your respective countries.
 
***
Paris-Geneva, December 8, 2017

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). The objective of this programme is to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
·   E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
·   Tel and fax OMCT +41 22 809 49 39 / +41 22 809 49 29
·   Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80


Joint Statement: Malaysians in solidarity with Jolovan Wham

We are a group of concerned Malaysian citizens who are alarmed and disappointed by Singapore’s prosecution of the renowned social worker and activist Jolovan Wham.

Jolovan was charged with 7 offences under the Public Order Act, Vandalism Act, and the Penal Code for his peaceful and non-violent acts. He was alleged to have organized three unlawful assemblies, which involves holding a vigil outside Changi Prison for Malaysian death row inmate Prabagaran Srivijayan who was to be executed at dawn, organising an assembly without permit in a train and a forum involving Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong through skype.

In the alleged silent protest on an MRT train, Jolovan and eight others hold the book 1987: Singapore’s Marxist Conspiracy 30 Years On to commemorate “Operation Spectrum”, a security operation initiated by Singapore government in 1987. Jolovan faces a vandalism charge for sticking two A4 size papers on the train during the event. He also faces three counts of refusal to sign his recorded statement under the Penal Code.

Jolovan is a renowned social worker and activist. He bravely speaks up for the voiceless, the weak and the oppressed - no matter what race, class or gender. Jolovan was recognized for his excellent social work, for he received “Promising Social Worker Award” in 2011, and the award was conferred by the President of Singapore. When he was serving as the executive director of HOME (Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics), he fought for the rights of migrant workers in Singapore who suffered abuse and ill-treatment by employers. At the same time, he has been a staunch advocate of free speech and a human rights champion who speaks against death penalty and detention without trial.

Jolovan also initiated solidarity activities in Singapore to support social movements in other parts of Asia, such as Hong Kong and Malaysia. For example, after the 13th Malaysian general election, he organized cross-border solidarity activities to support fair and clean elections in Malaysia, not to mention his support for Malaysia’s largest rally in recent years, Bersih. He also shows untiring supports for Malaysian death row inmates in Singapore such as Prabagaran Srivijayan.

We believe that Jolovan is the conscience of Singapore who bravely speaks up for the voiceless, who opposes unjust treatment and policies towards the marginalized. What is even more admirable of Jolovan is that, while fighting for minority rights in Singapore, he always goes beyond national borders and boundaries. His solidarity activities show that Singapore’s civic movement not only fights for Singaporeans, but also speaks for worldwide democracies and marginalized foreigners in Singapore. He demonstrates how Singaporeans and Singapore civil society can join forces and unite with democratic movements around the world.

The prosecution of Jolovan is a scare tactic to silence dissidents in Singapore. Non-violent and peaceful assembly is meant to raise awareness among the public to achieve a democratic society, and thus it is not reasonable for Singapore government to charge him with these criminal laws.

Recently, we find that Singapore government is acting more actively to suppress dissidents. Besides Jolovan, other individuals are facing arrests and investigation include editor of The Online Citizen Terry Xu and journalist Kirsten Han, who were investigated for participating the vigil activity for Prabagaran Srivijayan; activist Rachel Zeng also faces investigation for organizing the skype forum with Joshua Wong; and artist Seelan Palay, who was arrested for his performance outside parliament to commemorate the 32-year detention of Chia Thye Poh.

Singapore ranks No. 1 in the world in many sectors, but its disregard of freedom of speech and assembly and its harsh actions towards dissidents are utterly disappointing. We support Jolovan and other human rights advocates in Singapore, and condemn the use of draconian laws against dissidents. We urge the Attorney General of Singapore to drop the charges against Jolovan and cease all proceedings against him.

We also call for Singapore to review its law to protect freedom of speech and peaceful assembly, to show the world that Singapore government is committed to democracy and the protection of the rights of its citizens.

We refuse to keep silent when confronted with injustice. As issues of human rights and humanitarian ideals transcend national boundaries, we urge citizens of Singapore and Malaysia to stand in solidarity with Jolovan Wham.

联署声明:谴责新加坡政府无理提控,大马人声援范国瀚

我们是一群关心新加坡人权和公民社会状况的大马公民团体。对于新加坡社运工作者范国瀚(Jolovan Wham)被控7项罪,我们感到惊讶与失望。

范国瀚因“无准证举办集会”在公共秩序法令下被控三项罪:他被指在樟宜监狱外为将被绞刑的大马死刑犯普拉巴卡兰(Prabagaran Srivijayan)举行烛光会;在地铁上组织“无声抗议”活动,以及通过skype与香港社运分子黄之锋进行连线对谈时,无准证举行室内集会。

在地铁上的无声抗议活动中,范国瀚与其他八人在车厢里沉默站着,拿起《1987:新加坡的马克思主义阴谋30年后》(1987: Singapore’s Marxist Conspiracy 30 Years On)一书阅读,抗议新加坡政府在1987年发动的“光谱行动”。范国瀚也因当时在地铁上贴上两张A4纸而被控破坏公物。他也因数次拒绝签署警方的口供声明,而被控触犯刑事法典。

范国瀚是新加坡知名社工和社运人士,长期无畏无惧为新加坡各种族、阶级和性别弱势发声,甚至获得新加坡总统在2011年颁发“有为社工奖”(Promising Social Worker Award)。他担任移工人道组织“情义之家”(HOME)执行长期间,竭力为被雇主虐待的移工谋取福利,多次与无良雇主和新加坡人力资源部斡旋;同时,他也是反对死刑和无审讯拘留的人权斗士,积极争取司法正义。

范国瀚长期关注亚洲各地如大马和香港的人权状况,并在新加坡发起连带声援活动,例如支持香港2014年的民主运动。而在2013年大马全国大选后,他在新加坡芳林公园演说者角落举办 “新加坡人声援大马”活动,抗议选举不公,跨界支持大马民主进程。他也在新加坡声援净选盟集会,以及如普拉巴卡兰等被判死刑的大马人。

我们认为,范国瀚是新加坡的良心,勇敢为弱势发声,反对不公不义的政策和状况。更令人钦佩的是,他过去在争取各弱势阶层权利之时,超越新加坡国界和各种藩篱,让新加坡的公民运动不止为新加坡人发声,也为境外民主人权发声,为境内弱势群体发声,展现世界各地民主运动积极连带的团结意识和行动。

新加坡政府对范国瀚的严厉起诉,是杀一儆百的做法,只为了让异议者噤声。范国瀚是以非暴力的和平手段发声,旨在提高人民醒觉,达致民主社会,新加坡政府不应以严厉的刑事罪提控他。

近年来,新加坡政府对异议分子的打压更趋严厉,除了范国瀚以外,不少进步人士也受到调查和对付,例如独立媒体《线上公民》(The Online Citizen)编辑许渊臣(Terry Xu)和独立记者韩俐颖(Kirsten Han),也因参与声援大马死刑犯的烛光会而被调查;社运分子Rachel Zeng因和范国瀚共同举办黄之锋连线活动也被调查;而艺术家 Seelan Palay也因在国会外举着一面镜子纪念被监禁32年的谢太宝,而被逮捕。

虽然,新加坡在国际多项指标位居第一,却无视人民的言论和集会自由,以高压手段对付异议,令人失望。我们支持范国瀚和其他新加坡的人权斗士,谴责新加坡政府以严刑峻法对付异议,并呼吁新加坡总检察长撤销对范国瀚的所有起诉。

我们也呼吁新加坡政府修法保障言论自由与和平集会活动,让世界各地关心民主的人士看见新加坡政府为民主付出的努力。

面对不公不义,我们拒绝沉默。人权与人道精神超越国界,我们呼吁新马支持民主人士,与范国瀚站在一起!

联署团体 Endorsed by:
1. Aliran 国民醒觉运动
2. Amateur业余者
3. Angkatan Warga Aman Malaysia (WargaAMAN)
4. Baramkini 当今峇南
5. Buku Jalanan Shah Alam 街头书坊沙亚南分部
6. Center for Orang Asli Concerns (COAC) 原住民关怀中心
7. Center to Combat Corruption & Cronyism (C4) 反贪污与朋党主义中心
8. Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) 独立新闻中心
9. Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH 2.0) 干净公平选举联盟2.0
10. Community Development Centre (CDC) 社区关怀中心
11. Damn the Dams Action Group 反水坝行动小组
12. ENGAGE愿景工程
13. Federation of Malaysian Indian Organisation (PRIMA)
14. Imagined Malaysia
15. Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (JERIT) 受压迫人民阵线
16. Johor Yellow Flame (JYF) 柔南黄色行动小组
17. Kedai Buku Mak Ali
18. KLSCAH Civil Rights Committee 隆雪华堂民权委员会
19. KLSCAH Youth Section隆雪华堂青年团
20. Lawyer for Liberty捍卫自由律师团
21. Let's Art At Sawit Center沙威文创社
22. Malaysia Christian for Justice
23. Malaysia Muda 马来西亚青年
24. Malaysia Youth & Student Democratic Movement (DEMA)马来西亚青年与学生民主运动
25. Malaysian Indians Progressive Association (MIPAS) 大马印裔进步协会
26. Malaysian Indians Transformation Action Team (MITRA)
27. Malaysian Youth Care Association (PRIHATIN)
28. Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture (MADPET)大马反死刑与酷刑组织
29. Meonet 大马选举监督网络
30. Monitoring Sustainability of Globalisation (MSN)
31. National Human Rights Society (HAKAM) 大马人权协会
32. North South Initiative (NSI)
33. Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) 马来西亚社会主义党
34. Perak Civic Forum 霹雳公民论坛
35. Persahabatan Semparuthi 大红花之友
36. Persatuan ALUMNI PBT USM Bahagian Utara 北马理华同学会
37. Persatuan Komuniti Prihatian Selangor dan KL
38. Persatuan Masyarakat Selangor dan Wilayah Persekutuan (PERMAS)
39. Persatuan Pendidikan Du Zhong Pulau Pinang 槟城独中教育基金会
40. Persatuan Rapat Malaysia (RAPAT)
41. Persatuan Sahabat Wanita, Selangor (PSWS)雪兰莪妇女之友协会
42. Pusat Komas 社区传播中心
43. Pusat Sejarah Rakyat 人民历史中心
44. Sahabat Rakyat 人民之友
45. Selangor & Kuala Lumpur Hokkien Association Youth Wing雪兰莪暨吉隆坡福建会馆青年团
46. Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) 人民之声
47. Sunflower Electoral Education Movement (SEED) 向日葵选举教育运动
48. Tenaganita Womens Force 大马妇女力量
49. Teoh Beng Hock Trust for Democracy赵明福民主基金会
50. Thinking Society思辨会社
51. Writers' Alliance for Media Independence (WAMI) 维护媒体独立撰稿人联盟
52. Yayasan Usman Awang 乌士曼阿旺基金会