Yoges Palaniappan | Dec 10, 07
Parliamentary Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang will move an emergency motion tomorrow in the Dewan Rakyat to debate the arrest of eight people, including five lawyers, during a human rights march yesterday.
Reading from the proposed motion during a press conference at the Parliament lobby today, he said the Malaysian Bar’s Human Rights Day celebration yesterday had turned into a ‘Black Sunday” for Malaysia with the arrests in Kuala Lumpur.
Also detained in Ipoh and Johor Bahru respectively were PAS vice-president Mohamad Sabu and PKR information chief Tian Chua – and 12 others elsewhere – in connection with the Bersih rally for electoral reform on Nov 10 in Kuala Lumpur.
“The arrests […] including Malaysian Bar Council Human Rights Committee chairperson Edmund Bon and leading Bersih leaders […] showed utter contempt and disregard of human rights by the police and the government,” Lim said.
Bon was arrested for blocking KL City Hall officials from removing human rights banners outside the Malaysian Bar building, where the Festival of Rights had been relocated yesterday.
“The arrest of the eight persons yesterday in totally unprovoked circumstances is a blot on human rights in Malaysia, as the 100 people who had gathered for the (lawyers’) march (in Kuala Lumpur) posed no threat to anyone, let alone national security, public order or peace.”
Lim was of the view that the arrest and manhandling of Bon at the Bar Council premises were “clear abuses of police powers, excessive use of force and public display of police contempt for human rights”.
He said the cabinet should respect peaceful demonstrations and not equate these to violence.
‘Violation of pledge’
Urging the government to stop its rampage against human rights, Lim said: “This is very shameful for Malaysia and is the total opposite of Abdullah’s four-year premiership pledge.
“Has the Abdullah premiership finally taken off is velvet glove to show the iron first within to crush human rights?”
Lim (photo) also cited a newspaper article featuring former Human Rights Commission chairperson Musa Hitam.
Musa, in the article, said Malaysia is ready for peaceful assemblies after 50 years and demonstrations should not be equated to violence.
In an unrelated development, Lim urged Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail to drop the attempted murder charge against 31 individuals.
“With a manhunt for another 30 people, it’s outrageous to say 61 people had attempted to murder one policeman,” he added, referring to the alleged incident at Batu Caves in the early hours of Nov 25, ahead of the rally in Kuala Lumpur.
Rights abuse: Opposition to move emergency motion