Malaysia: Release Maria Chin Abdullah, Bersih 2.0 Chairperson!

Date : 21st November, 2016




Maria Chin Abdullah

Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) condemns the arrest of Bersih 2.0 Chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah under Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 - SOSMA as cowardice and yet another betrayal by Najib that this Act won’t be used against his political opponents.

This is yet another story of Najib’s continuous U-turns in abolishing Laws, only to replace it with new ones. Najib has told previously that the SOSMA won’t be used against his political opponents. In Fact Section 4(3) of Sosma clearly states that no person can be arrested and detained “solely for his political belief or political activity”. This section was specifically inserted to prevent such abuses like the one now used against Maria.

With the arrest, Najib has re-enacted the misuse of ISA. SOSMA is yet a no trial legislation as no bail is allowed pending trial and appeals. This is an act supposedly to fight terrorism but has history has shown, it will be used by the ruling party to stay in power and use it to fight its political opponents. That is the legacy of the ISA used by all the UMNO Prime Minister to stay in power which was so unpopular that it needs to be repealed.

What is so spineless is the fact that after the failure to stop BERSIH using various legal and illegal methods, it has now resorted to the SOSMA. The Red Shirt movement which is led by an UMNO leader has failed in stopping BERSIH using provocation as well as its failure to mobilise a huge counter crowd on 19 November. The Traders who is yet another group always supporting UMNO also failed to obtain a court injunction against BERSIH. BERSIH has also successfully won most of court cases filed against it by its opponents. With all the above failure, Najib has gone back to the old books in using the new version of ISA; SOSMA to go for BERSIH. That is why it has now resorted to the no trial law so that it cannot be tried.

PSM has already experienced the misuse of Emergency Ordinance in 2011 when 6 of our members were arrested known as the EO6 to the run up to BERSIH 2. We see this as nothing new and call upon the Government to immediately release Maria Chin. It is also very clear that at no specific time has BERSIH or Maria even abandoned their trust on the electoral system. That is why BERSIH has always campaigned for free and fair elections.

We call upon Najib not to hide behind these draconian laws and face BERSIH in a more decent way. PSM will stand in solidarity with Maria Chin and BERSIH and campaign for her release.

S.Arulchelvan, PSM Central Committee Member
(detained for BERSIH 5 last 18/11 till 20/11)

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