Saturday, February 19, 2011

Are the Police more powerful than PM?!

Press Statement: 18 February 2011

Are the Police more powerful than PM?!

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) and Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI) are shocked with the exposé by the former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad on his claim that he had once tried to abolish the Internal Security Act (ISA) while he was in power but blocked by the police. [1]

This exposé poses many questions? If Dr Mahathir’s claim is true (that he is for the repeal of ISA but blocked by the police), why did he vehemently defend ISA all this while? Why the continuous and wide use of ISA throughout the years, during Operasi Lalang in 1987, Reformasi movement in 1999 to 2001 and war against terror after 911? What triggered Dr Mahathir to suggest the repeal of ISA? Is the police so powerful to block PM’s ruling?

Is Dr Mahathir trying to be a hero yet cynical and try to deny all human rights violations committed by him? The question is why now? If he really had the intention to abolish the ISA, he was never supposed to use the ISA and should reveal his stand to the whole world that he was stopped by the police. Why did he not?

Ironically, former prime minister, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi also called for the repeal of ISA when not in power anymore, just like Tun Dr Mahathir. Question is, will their call be taken seriously?

Suaram and GMI believe the principles of justice, fair trial and innocent until proven guilty must be uphold at all times without fear or favour. These principles should not be violated at the expense of national security or political interests. ISA violates basic principles of human rights, rights to fair trial and rights to be innocent until proven guilty. If these principles were held dearly by Tun Dr Mahathir, ISA would not exist anymore today.

We would like to remind Dr. Mahathir that if he still has the intention to abolish the ISA, we would like to invite him to voluntarily participate with SUARAM and the Abolish ISA Movement (GMI) to jointly support the demands of the people to abolish the ISA. If Dr. Mahathir sees ISA is actually allowing human rights violations and abuses of power by those in power then he should immediately call for abolishment of the draconian ISA.

Reform Police Force and End to Detention without Trial!

If the claim by Mahathir is true on the police then Dr, Mahathir and the Malaysian government need to be answerable for giving absolute power to the police to use the ISA and to detained people without trial.

Until this moment, ISA detainees continue to be subjected to arbitrary detention, physical abuse, and ill treatment and without any effective judicial review on the merits of their detention. The political detainees have undergone days and nights of endless interrogation which have inflicted grave toll on the mental condition of many detainees; during interrogation, they have been handcuffed, had their abdominal parts kicked, their heads bashed against the wall until they bled, and some have had to be hospitalised.

The police force in Malaysia should be reformed immediately. Although there were recommendations from the Malaysian Royal Police Commission in 2005, to reduce and monitor the power of police but yet the recommendation remain as it is. The only reason the police abused their power is because the government failed to implement the check and balance monitoring system on the overall police force in Malaysia. Preventive laws such as ISA will always ‘allow’ the Special Branch (SB) to do more violations and they will not be questioned for their actions as they are protected by the government of Malaysia and the bad law. The Barisan National government is to be totally blamed for the abuse of police power and for creating a police state!

Released By,


GMI Secretary and SUARAM Coordinator

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