(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): I wish to confirm that one of the three Malaysian activists among the 18 arrested by the Burmese military authorities in Rangoon on Sunday is See Chee How, who is a long-time DAP member and former political secretary to Sim Kwang Yang when the latter was MP for Kuching. See was a DAP candidate in the Sarawak State general elections in the eighties.
I am not aware that See Chee How is part of the multi-national peace-making
team to promote democracy in Rangoon during the 10th anniversary of the
August 8, 1988 pro-democracy uprising until I read of his name among the
list of detainees. The multi-national peace-making team distributed
thousands of name-card-sized four-line goodwill message to the people of
Burma, which said:
For several years, See Chee How has been inactive in DAP focussing more on non-government organisation (NGO) activities.
However, DAP will give all legal and other forms of support to See Chee How, as well as to the other two Malaysians detained in Burma and I am seeking an urgent meeting with the Foreign Minister, Datuk Abdullah Badawi and the Burmese Ambassador to Malaysia, U Saw Tun, to ensure his immediate and unconditional release from Burmese detention.
The Malaysian Ambassador to Burma should demand immediate access to See Chee How and the other two Malaysians detained in Rangoon, Chong Kok Ywei and Ong Ju Lin to give them all assistance and representation.
The latest report that I have received is that the Burmese military junta had relented to mounting international pressure to allow diplomats to visit 18 foreign activists in their third day of detention and facing criminal charges for handing out leaflets promoting human rights and democracy.
Diplomats have been quoted as saying that the activists appeared to be in good health and spirits from meetings between consular officials and their detained nationals. A United States embassy spokesman reported that the six Americans detained by the Burmese authorities were in good health, but there have been no reports so far from the ASEAN embassies, although eleven ASEAN nationals are in detention.
It is a matter of grave concern that the Burmese military authorities appeared quite stubborn in wanting to follow "established legal process and bringing the 18 before the courts" - to be charged under three separate laws allowing for hefty prison terms and tried and sentenced, even if they are to be subsequently deported.
I call on the Attorney-Generalís Chambers to set up a special task force to give all legal assistance and representation to the three Malaysians detained in Burma.