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Malaysia will become the pariah of the international community on human rights if  reformasi activists continue to be detained under ISA


Media Conference Statement
- when leading a DAP delegation to demand immediate and unconditional release of reformasi ISA detainees outside Kamunting Detention Centre

by Lim Kit Siang

(KamuntingSunday):  DAP leaders, including Perak DAP State Chairman Ngeh Koo Ham, Perak DAP State Secretary, M. Kulasegaran, DAP MP for Batu Gajah, Fong Po Kuan, Perak Assemblyman for Pasir Bedamar, Seah Leong Peng, Central Executive Committee member Abdul Rahman Said Alli and former DAP Vice Chairman Lim Guan Eng are gathered here to express support and solidarity with the reformasi activists on the final day of their two-year detention under the Internal Security Act (ISA) and  to demand their immediate and unconditional release. 

There can be no justification for any extension of their detention, when they should not have been deprived of their fundamental right to the liberty of the person in the first place, a right upheld by the Federal Court last September when it unanimously held that the police had acted mala fide in detaining them and by the ISA Advisory Board twice in their recommendations for their release. 

In failing to act on the Federal Court judgment and the ISA recommendations, the government had flouted the rule of law, violated human rights  and been guilty of arbitrary governance. 

Furthermore, Suhakam as well as an ever increasing chorus from the  national and international civil society, including Parliamentarians from the European Union,  had been making their voices heard demanding their immediate release and the end of the repressive and draconian ISA. 

It is sad that MPs from foreign countries could be concerned enough to demand the release of the reformasi activists while Malaysian MPs from the Barisan Nasional could be so indifferent and contemptuous of human rights and the rule of law as to be totally unmoved on the issue. 

The continued detention of the reformasi activists will be bad news not only for Malaysia but also for the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, who is currently in France to attend the G8 Summit Informal Dialogue.  

Let there be no mistake Malaysia will become the pariah of the international community if the reformasi activists continue to be detained without trial and the ISA continue its tyranny to stifle legitimate dissent and the democratic rights of Malaysians.

We are gathered here to demand the immediate and unconditional release of the reformasi activists,  as we are patriots who do not  want Malaysia to become an international pariah because of our dismal human rights record.

(1/6/2003)


* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman