Malaysia ‘falls far short’ on rights vows

AFP/Herald Sun
January 22, 2012

MALAYSIA has fallen “far short” of upholding its pledges to allow civil liberties ahead of elections widely expected to be held soon, Human Rights Watch says.

Prime Minister Najib Razak has promised to grant greater civil rights by revising or abolishing several security laws, including the Internal Security Act which allows for detention without trial of those deemed security threats.

But activists and opposition leaders have dismissed his vows as ploys to regain at fresh polls expected this year votes lost in the last general election, where Najib’s Barisan Nasional had its most narrow ever win.

Human Rights Watch said on Sunday in its annual world report that the South-East Asian nation had last year “arbitrarily” detained critics, broken up a peaceful march for electoral reforms and replaced restrictions on free assembly “with even more draconian controls”.

“Malaysia’s leaders are fooling themselves by thinking they can backtrack on public promises to respect the rights to demonstrate peacefully and criticise the government without fear,” the group’s deputy Asia director, Phil Robertson, said in a release.

“The more Prime Minister Najib and government politicians play their game of big talk, little action on rights, the more they should expect popular pushback.”

A government spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comment.

In its report, the New York-based group said that, despite government promises, human rights in Malaysia “remain tightly constrained”.

It also criticised the trial of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who was acquitted by a high court this month of having sex with a male former aide.

Government lawyers are appealing against the verdict.

Human Rights Watch said the law, which makes sodomy a crime punishable by up to 20 years in prison, should be repealed, and Anwar should never have been tried.

Najib’s Barisan Nasional has ruled Malaysia since independence in 1957 but suffered unprecedented losses to Anwar’s opposition during the last elections in 2008 amid complaints of economic mismanagement, corruption and racial discrimination.

  1. #1 by k1980 on Monday, 23 January 2012 - 3:24 am

    According to Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) executive director E Nalini, the ceramah was disrupted by several youths sporting T-shirts with BN and Umno logos.

    “The ceramah was to start about 9pm last night. As we were driving to the hall, there were about six or seven men beating up a boy with sticks,” said Nalini.

    This was confirmed by ABU coordinator Haris Ibrahim, who added that one young man was taken to the hospital.

    But Selangor police chief Tun Hisan Tun Hamzah refuted the allegations that a person was injured.

    “Where got? Who told you?”

    Someone replied: “Ananthan Kugan!”

    “Hah, only one! Unreliable lah. It’s just his words!”

    “There was also Francis Udayappan.”

    “Err … you bullshitting me? It’s an offence to tell lies to the police. What’s your name?”


    “Teoh what?”

    “Beng Hock! And Aminulrasyid Amzah, Johari Abu Bakar and Ahmad Sarbani Mohamed here are all willing to testify .”

    Tun Hisan Tun Hamzah gasped, turning pale. “And…and who’s that lady behind you all?”

    “Oh, that’s Altantuya from Mongolia”

  2. #2 by Jeffrey on Monday, 23 January 2012 - 4:24 am

    ///MALAYSIA has fallen “far short” of upholding its pledges to allow civil liberties ahead of elections widely expected to be held soon, Human Rights Watch says///

    Falling short on civil liberties pledges is an understatement. The greatest threat, confronting the nation in the aftermath of a resurgent opposition leading to 308 tsunami and increased clamour for civil rights is aggravation of insecurities and the concomitant breakout from their closet into the open of all shades of race/religious based fascists, coalescing under different groups, to intimidate and attack (in complicity with those of their ilk within institutions and govt bureaucracy) the opposition and civil society advocates and with voices stentorian to silence all moderate voices in Malaysia, whether they are moderate voices from NGOs individuals or political parties, irrespective whether from opposition or ruling coalition’s side….The fact that due to party factionalism and weak political leadership, their rise is unchecked augurs very unfavourably the destination to which this country is fast hurtling towards. Those who think that the coming GE by the ballot could arrest this bludgeoning problem may be more optimistic than realistic. The situation cannot get better until things got very much worse.

  3. #3 by Joshua on Monday, 23 January 2012 - 6:46 am

    Except for a few socalled dedicated leaders we have, those socalled leaders are into personal agenda and riding on some dubious bias and rotten secret societies which do not work for the good of the society at large, resulting in the destruction of the free societies every where.

    We know who they are and yet most people are fooled by them.

  4. #4 by yhsiew on Monday, 23 January 2012 - 7:39 am

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