26 May, 2009

Fasting is an offence in Malaysia !!

Nineteen people, including an MP and seven Perak assemblyman, were arrested over a planned hunger strike they organised in Wisma DAP near Jalan Istana here.

The seven assemblymen are former state assembly speaker V.Sivakumar (Tronoh) , Leong Mee Meng (Jalong), Chan Ming Kai, (Simpang Pulai) Thomas Su (Pasir Pinji), Keshvinder Singh (Malim Nawar), Lim Pek Har (Menglembu), Chang Leh Kang (Teja) and Ipoh Barat MP M. Kulasegaran.

The remaining 12 people arrested are DAP workers and staff members of an events management company hired to organise the event which was a call for the dissolution of the state assemby.

Sungkai assemblyman and former state exco member A. Sivanesan. who was in the Ipoh police headquarters seeking to meet the detainees in his capacity as a lawyer expressed disappointment.

"The police have denied those detained of legal representation by disallowing lawyers to meet them. They are yet to be remanded and we want them released.

"The whole detention is wrongful, it is a breach of freedom and rights. Do we need a police permit even for a hunger strike. This is a sign of great fear by Barisan Nasional (BN). The more they do this, the more we will too," he said.

So when has fasting become an offence? – P. Ramakrishnan

MAY 26 — Aliran is terribly perturbed by the increasing role the police are assuming which is perceived to be undemocratic and very unfair. They have intervened whenever peaceful activities such as candlelight vigils are organised by civil society groups.

These activities have not threatened the security of the nation neither have they caused any traffic congestion. And yet, participants have been dispersed and arrested in a regrettable manner, causing pain and anguish for concerned citizens who mean well for this nation.

Recently, the police have become so intolerant that they have intruded with impunity into the harmless individual actions of Malaysians. According to the Taiping MP Nga Kor Ming, “put up tent cannot, gather cannot, wear black cannot, hold candles cannot, drink teh tarik also cannot”.

Indeed, the police action has only accentuated the political problem and added tremendously to the Barisan Nasional’s (BN) headache. It is unfortunate that the police are viewed negatively and no longer come across as a ‘people-friendly’ force.

It is of utmost importance that civil society must have some space to articulate and demonstrate their grievances to make known to the authorities what their complaints are. In all civilised and civil societies, this democratic space is accessible and even recognised as a matter of right.

This is why we are disturbed that the police deployed so much manpower and equipment to disrupt the fast that was scheduled to be launched today.

According to The Malaysian Insider, “a total of 40 policemen, two jeeps, four police cars, two vans and seven trucks were seen in the area”. Most people will view this as a waste of police resources when the rate of serious crimes is escalating and requires urgent attention. The police should be tackling this serious problem instead of harassing ordinary Malaysians.

It is also unfortunate that people are beginning to view the police as taking sides in the clash of wills between the BN and the Pakatan Rakyat (PR).

People are wondering whether the BN is putting pressure on the police, making it difficult for them to be neutral and to concentrate on their primary task of maintaining law and order. It would be more than a pity if Malaysians become disillusioned with the police.

The prime minister must ensure that as long as the peace is not breached and law and order is respected, the democratic space, which is a fundamental right, must be guaranteed to all Malaysians.

The PM should allow harmless activities, like fasting, to take place. The BN leadership must take note that the political turmoil resulting from the illegal takeover of the legitimate government of the people is unlikely to abate. If anything, it will continue to escalate to the detriment of our young nation.

The only way to overcome the Perak crisis is to dissolve the Perak State Assembly and to hold fresh elections so that the people of Perak can choose their government they want to administer their state. Anything short of a state-wide re-election is travesty of democracy.

* P Ramakrishnan is president of Aliran.




Anonymous Semut Api said...

when it is politicised...

May 30, 2009 7:15 AM  

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