Section 4(2) of the Human Rights Commission Act empowers SUHAKAM “to issue public statements on human rights as and when necessary” in the discharge of its functions and powers to protect and promote human rights in Malaysia - and if there is a time when it is necessary for SUHAKAM to make a stand on human rights in Malaysia since its formation last April, it is now when the country has been plunged into a new Dark Age with the new crackdown against the political opposition and civil society dissent by the massive and arbitrary resort to the ISA detention without trial powers.
The ISA crackdown makes a complete mockery of SUHAKAM as those arrested are the key personnel organising the People’s 14th April Memorandum addressed to SUHAKAM, and SUHAKAM has confirmed the meeting with the People’s 14th April Memorandum delegation on Saturday in conjunction with the second anniversary of the jail sentencing of former Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim for corruption.
Among those who have been arrested under the ISA are Saari Hj Sungib, Chairman of the People’s 14th April Memorandum Committee, and committee members Hishamuddin Rais and Tian Chua.
Is the police targetting to arrest all the committee members of the People’s 14th April Memorandum Committee as announced on the Internet, which would include Abdul Malek Hussin, Norazimah Mohd Nor, Nasir Md Isa, Azwandin Hamzah, Tan Soi Kow and Fadil Hj. Abu Bakar.
I find the police statement that the ISA arrests were made to stop the planning of activities to carry out protests until 2004 when the general election was expected totally contradictory to another police statement that the arrests were made to stop the planning of a series of demonstrations to “topple the government”.
Those detained under the current ISA dragnet cannot on the one hand be preparing for the 2004 general elections and on the other hand planning for the toppling of the government before 2004.
In any event, is the reference to 2004 an indication that the government is likely to detain the seven and others on the police wanted list until 2004 without trial?
I have just been told of the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Norian Mai’s allegation at today’s media conference that those arrested under the ISA were involved in negotiations to buy arms to topple the government. This allegation is most preposterous and completely unbelievable.
Norian Mai must prove to the hilt his claim that he had "received intelligence reports that the activists were in the midst of buying grenade launchers and explosives” as well as prove that they were indeed involved in such activities, or he should stop making such unsubstantiated preposterous claims which can do no credit to the professionalism of the Malaysian police or the country’s international reputation.
If what Norian Mai said is true, then all the persons involved should be charged for treason and not being detained under the ISA.