Joint Press Statement
BERSIH 2.0 and Suaram
12 November 2015
End the drama, stop all political persecution
Human Rights Watch, in its special report on fundamental right in Malaysia, has outlined a series of persecution aimed towards a specific group of government critics, including those from Civil Society Organisations and political parties.
HRW sees it as a vindictive act by a brittle administration, in hopes of silencing dissent and criticisms voiced out by many.
Aside from the escalated series of selective investigations and prosecution by the authorities, the Coalition of Free and Fair Elections (BERSIH 2.0) together with Suaram, sees a trend of targeting and persecuting specific political leaders being carried out.
Such acts are effectively aimed at killing off political opponents and potential candidates in the upcoming general elections, aside from being an effort of political persecution to deny the right to dissent as demanded in the recent Bersih 4 peaceful assembly.
A long list of Members of Parliament and State Assemblymen investigation and prosecuted under various Acts include: Dr Ko Chung Sen (Kampar), Nga Kor Ming (Taiping), Rafizi Ramli (Pandan), Dr Afif Bahardin (Adun Sebarang Jaya), Ng Wei Aik (Tanjung), Nurul Izzah (Lembah Pantai), Tony Pua (PJ Utara), Lim Kit Siang (Gelang Patah), R Sivarasa (Subang), Teresa Kok (Seputeh), N. Surendran (Padang Serai), Khalid Samad (Shah Alam), RSN Rayer (Adun Seri Delima), Dr P. Ramasamy (Deputy Chief Minister of Penang), Phee Boon Poh (Adun Sungai Puyu), Tian Chua (Batu), Azmin Ali (Gombak), Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad (Adun Seri Setia) and also not forgetting the late Karpal Singh.
All of them have either been investigated or prosecuted under the Sedition Act 1948 or the Peaceful Assembly Act 2011, and if found guilty, they may be disqualified from contesting in the next general elections, thus denying the right of the voters to elect a representative of their own choice.
Ironically, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak himself has repeatedly promised to abolish the Sedition Act, while it is still being used against his political enemies.
BERSIH 2.0 and Suaram see this as a despicable tactic to kill off the opponents of the ruling party, and undermine the democratic process that elected them as representatives of the the people in their respective legislative institutions. Instead of defeating them during the elections, legal means are presumably being abused to ensure that they lose even before standing in elections.
BERSIH 2.0 and Suaram thus express our greatest worry, that these sly tactics taken by the government would result in the nation having a weakened opposition, as a result of its main leaders being put in jail or being disqualified from standing in the elections.
In light of the ASEAN summit and the scheduled visit by United States President Barack Obama, we urge the government to drop all politically motivated investigations and prosecutions against activists and members of the opposition, as a solid gesture to demonstrate that the country truly practices real democracy.
The government should stop acting as though the country practices democracy when facing the international community, while they are quietly sowing the seeds of tyranny in lieu of healthy democratic practices in the country. The government is therefore strongly urged to stop all acts of persecution by misusing laws, and concentrate instead on institutional reforms for the sake of the people.
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