Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Witch-hunt of Bersih Leaders A Cynical Attack on Accountable Government

Witch-hunt of Bersih Leaders
A Cynical Attack on Accountable Government

4 November 2015

Maria Chin Abdullah (left) and Jannie Lasimbang (right)
We, the undersigned civil society organisations, condemn in the strongest terms the witchhunt of Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections 2.0 (Bersih 2.0) leaders for successfully organising the the historic Bersih 4 rally on 29-30 August, a cynical attack on right to dissent and the very idea of accountable government.

The witch-hunt of the two Bersih leaders -- and possibly more political activists -- is a cynical mockery of Article 10(1)(b) of the Federal Constitution which provides for the freedom of peaceful assembly.

The electoral lobby's chair Maria Chin Abdullah and its vice chair (Sabah) Jannie Lasimbang were charged respectively on 3/11/2015 and 21/10/2015 under Section 9(5) of the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 (PAA 2012) for failure to serve the police a 10-day notice.

When the communication between Bersih and the Police not only took place but was even reported widely in the media, when the Bersih rally was amazingly peaceful despite its scale (accumulatively 500,000 participants) and its length (34 hours), these prosecutions are nothing but persecution of those who dare to exercise their constitutional freedom.

The real “crime” that Maria and Jannie committed together with 500,000 Malaysians is demanding an accountable government, and believing that citizens have the right to call for a government that betrays their trust to resign.

When demanding an accountable government is a crime, Malaysia is pushed towards worsening economic lethargy and political instability.
Citizens are pushed to either give up on changes or believe that changes can never happen under peaceful means. The former response leads to brain drain and capital flight while the latter makes them susceptible to radical means.

Ironically, the witch-hunt validates the Bersih 4 rally's demands for institutional reforms, most notably, the right to dissent.

We urge millions of Malaysians who support the Bersih 2.0's cause for democratisation to stand firm with Maria and Jannie, who are now the face of Malaysians' moral courage and determination for change at the nation's trying time.

For both the sanctity of the Federal Constitution and political stability, we call upon the Attorney General's Chambers (AGC) to come to their sense and withdraw the charges.


Endorsed by:

1. All Women  Action Society (AWAM)
2. Anak Muda Sarawak (AMS)
3. Angkatan Warga Aman Malaysia (WargaAman)
4. Council of Churches Malaysia (CCM)
5. ENGAGE
6. Federation of Malaysian Indian Organization (PRIMA)
7. Green Friends Sabah
8. Himpunan Hijau
9. Institute for Development of Alternative Living, (IDEAL, Sarawak)
10. Institut Rakyat
11. Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF)
12. Japan Graduates’ Association of Malaysia (JAGAM)
13. Jaringan Orang Asal Semalaysia (JOAS)
14. Jawatankuasa Bertindak Kuala Lumpur Tak Nak Insinerator (KTI)
15. JIHAD for JUSTICE
16. Kajian Politik untuk Perubahan (KPRU)
17. LLG Cultural Development Centre (LLG)
18. Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture (MADPET)
19. Malaysian Indians Progressive Association (MIPAS)
20. Malaysian Indian Transformation Action Team (MITRA)
21. Malaysian Physicians for Social Responsibility
22. Malaysian Youth Care Association (PRIHATIN)
23. Malaysian Youth & Students Democratic Movement (DEMA)
24. National Indian Rights Action Team (NIAT)
25. Negeri Sembilan Chinese Assembly Hall (NSCAH)
26. Oriental Hearts and Mind Study Institute (OHMSI)
27. Partners in Community Organising (Pacos Trust)
28. Perak Women for Women Society (PWW)
29. Persatuan Aliran Kesedaran Negara (Aliran)
30. Persatuan Bekas Siswazah Univesiti dan Kolej di China, Malaysia (LiuHua)
31. Persatuan Dayak Sarawak (PEDAS)
32. Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER)
33. Persatuan Masyarakat Selangor dan Wilayah Persekutuan (PERMAS)
34. Persatuan Rapat Malaysia (RAPAT)
35. Pertubuhan IKRAM Malaysia (IKRAM)
36. Projek Dialog (PD)
37. Pusat KOMAS
38. Research for Social Advancement (REFSA)
39. Rise of Sarawak Efforts (ROSE)
40. Sabah Women's Action-Resources Group (SAWO)
41. Sahabat Rakyat
42. Sarawak Access (Saccess)
43. SAVE Rivers (Sarawak)
44. Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM)
45. Selangor And KL Hokkien Association Youth Section
46. Sisters in Islam (SIS)
47. Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
48. United Chinese School Alumni Associations of Malaysia (Xiao You Lian Zong or UCSAAM)
49. Tamil Foundation
50. Teoh Beng Hock Trust for Democracy
51. The Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH)
52. Tindak Malaysia
53. WE ARE MALAYSIANS
54. Women Centre’s for Change (WCC), Penang
55. Women Development Organization of Malaysia, PJ Branch
56. Writers' Alliance For Media Independence (WAMI)

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通告 Notification

人民之友 对我国下届大选意见书
(华 巫 英)3种语文已先后贴出

作为坚守“独立自主”和“与民同在”的立场的一个民间组织,人民之友在今年9月24日对即将来临的第14届全国大选投票,发表了一篇以华文书写的“意见书”,题为:投票支持"反对国家伊斯兰化的候选人": 反对巫统霸权统治!莫让马哈迪帮派"复辟"!

这篇意见书的英文译稿(标题是:Vote for “candidates who are against State Islamisation”: Oppose UMNO hegemonic rule! Prevent “the return to power of Mahathir’s faction”!)已于10月22日张贴在本部落格。马来文译稿(标题是:Undilah "calon yang membantah pengislaman negara": Menentang pemerintahan hegemoni UMNO! Mencegah puak Mahathir kembali kepada kuasa!)也已接着在11月13日在此贴出。

此外,人民之友也将通过电子邮件、微信、WhatsApp等方式,尽可能向全国各民族、各阶层、各行业、各宗教的团体和个人,传送我们的这份“意见书”供参考。我们欢迎跟我们对下届大选的立场和见解一致的团体和个人,将这份“意见书”传送到更多的人手中去!

我们希望,我们在意见书内所表达的对下届大选的立场和观点,能够准确而又广泛地传播到我国各民族、各阶层的人民群众中接受考验,并接受各党派在这次全国大选斗争和今后实践的检验。


Pandangan Sahabat Rakyat terhadap PRU akan datang telah diterbitkan dalam tiga bahasa (Melayu, Cina dan Inggeris)

Sebagai sebuah pertubuhan masyarakat yang berpendirian teguh tentang prinsip "bebas dan berautonomi" dan “sentiasa berdampingan dengan rakyat jelata”, Sahabat Rakyat telah menerbitkan kenyataan tentang pandangan kami terhadap Pilihan Raya Umum ke-14 yang bertajuk "Undilah calon yang menentang Pengislaman Negera: Menentang pemerintahan hegemoni UMNO! Jangan benarkan puak Mahathir kembali memerintah! " (投票支持"反对国家伊斯兰化的候选人": 反对巫统霸权统治!莫让马哈迪帮派"复辟"!)dalam Bahasa Cina pada 24hb September 2017.

Penterjemahan Bahasa Inggeris kenyataan tersebut yang bertajuk Vote for “candidates who are against State Islamisation”: Oppose UMNO hegemonic rule! Prevent “the return to power of Mahathir’s faction”! telah diterbitkan dalam blog kita pada 22hb Oktober 2017 manakala penterjemahan Bahasa Melayu telah diterbitkan pada 13hb November 2017.

Selain daripada itu, Sahabat Rakyat juga akan menyebarkan kenyataan ini seluas mungkin kepada pertubuhan dan individu semua bangsa, strata, profesyen dan agama seluruh Negara melalui email, wechat, whatsApp dan pelbagai saluran lain. Kami amat mengalu-alukan pertubuhan dan individu yang berpendirian dan pandangan sama dengan kami untuk turut menyebarkan kenyataan ini kepada lebih ramai orang!

Kami berharap pendirian dan pandangan kami berkenaan pilihan raya kali ini yang dinyatakan dalam kenyataan tersebut dapat disebarkan dengan tepat dan meluas untuk diuji dalam kalangan rakyat semua bangsa semua strata sosial melalui penglibatan mereka dalam amalan pelbagai parti politik dalam pertempuran pilihan raya umum kali ini mahupun amalan masa depan.


The Chinese, English and Malay renditions of Sahabat Rakyat’s opinions about next election have been published consecutively

As an NGO which upholds “independent and autonomous” position and "always be with the people" principle, on 24 September 2017, Sahabat Rakyat had released a Chinese-written statement of views with regard to the voting in the upcoming 14th General Election, entitled “Vote for candidates who are against State Islamisation: Oppose UMNO hegemonic rule! Prevent the return to power of Mahathir’s faction!” (投票支持"反对国家伊斯兰化的候选人": 反对巫统霸权统治!莫让马哈迪帮派"复辟"!)

The English rendition of this statement entitled "Vote for “candidates who are against State Islamisation”: Oppose UMNO hegemonic rule! Prevent “the return to power of Mahathir’s faction”!" and the Malay rendition entitled "Undilah "calon yang membantah pengislaman negara": Menentang pemerintahan hegemoni UMNO! Mencegah puak Mahathir kembali kepada kuasa!" had been released on 22 October and 13 November respectively.

Apart from that, Sahabat Rakyat will also make every effort to disseminate this statement as widely as possible to organizations and individuals of all ethnic groups, religions and all walks of life throughout the country via email, WeChat, WhatsApp and other channels. We welcome organizations and individuals with the same position and views to spread this statement to more people!

We hope that our position and views pertaining to the next General Election expressed in the statement will be accurately and widely disseminated and also examined by the popular masses of various ethnicity and social strata through their involvement in the struggle of the next General Election carried out by various political parties and their practices in all fields in future.

Malaysia Time (GMT+8)