Free Maria Chin, abolish Sosma! — Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia

Source: The Malay Mail Online

NOVEMBER 24 — We, the undersigned civil society organizations, strongly condemn the detention of the chairperson of Bersih 2.0, Maria Chin Abdullah, on November 18, 2016 for 28 days under the new Internal Security Act (ISA) – the draconian Security Offence (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma).

We reiterate that the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression of the people are guaranteed by the Federal Constitution. The Bersih 5 rally had been very peaceful and conducted without any untoward incidents despite repeated violence and provocation from the red shirts before the rally. The act of the police in arresting leaders of civil society movements and opposition parties before they could exercise their constitutional rights is not only mala-fide, but also a blatant abuse of powers in violation of the Federal Constitution.

We are further outraged with the use of the draconian Sosma against Maria Chin Adullah. When Sosma was legislated in 2012 to replace the infamous ISA which was abolished after widespread opposition from the people, the government assured the public that the new legislation that gave extensive powers to the police would only be used against terrorists and that “no person shall be arrested and detained for his or her political beliefs and activities.” Those members of parliament that ignored the criticism of the civil society and passed the law should now be held accountable.

Clearly, Maria Chin Abdullah is no terrorist. The use of Sosma against Maria Chin Abdullah to stop her from leading the Bersih 5 rally, and previously against Khairuddin Abu Hassan and Matthias Chang to stop them from lodging complaints of corruption in 1MDB overseas, have proven that when such a powerful legislation is given to the government, it will not hesitate to use it to cover-up the abuse of powers and corruption in the government.  Read more

LPA amendments an open attack on independence of M’sian Bar

Source: Malaysiakini

Pic taken from FMT News

Pic taken from FMT News

21 July, 2016. Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia (GBM) and the following civil society organisations are gravely concerned with the decision of the government to make several amendments to the 1976 Legal Profession Act (LPA). Such amendments are open attacks on the independence of the Malaysian Bar and blatant violations of the right to freedom of association as guaranteed in the Federal Constitution.

It sets a dangerous precedent of government interference in the operations of independent statutory bodies and civil society organisations. We urge the government to withdraw such proposals immediately.

The amendments, due to be tabled in parliament in October 2016, empowers the government to abolish the current direct elections of 12 members of the Bar Council through postal votes and replace it with elections at the state level, the appointment of two representatives by the minister in charge of legal affairs to sit in the Bar Council and to increase the quorum of the annual general meeting of the Malaysian Bar from 500 to 4,000 members.

The government purportedly made the amendments to improve transparency and representation of the Bar Council, when in reality, it does the exact opposite. Read more

The National Security Council is an abhorrent license to retain power — Coalition on Plan of Action for Malaysia

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Source: Mkini

Source: Mkini

DECEMBER 7 — warns that the National Security Council (NSC) could be a license for the Government to impose martial rule, nationally or partially, when it sees fit. It is not inconceivable that in the event of its electoral defeat, the NSC could impose martial law to prevent public protests.

GBM opines that the overwhelming powers given to the NSC to effectively suspend parliamentary government, civilian rule and rule of law in ‘security area’ goes way beyond what is needed to fight terrorist attacks. These powers may even be used to effectively take over state governments.

Where an area is declared as a “security area”, members of the security forces can arrest individuals, search premises and seize “suspected dangerous objects” with little if any legal constraints, and enjoy immunity over errors. This is but a horrifying list of unprecedented human rights violations waiting to happen.

The NSC – chaired by the Prime Minister, consisting of three ministers (Defence, Home and Communications and Multimedia) and chiefs of three government services (military, police and civil service) – cannot but reminds us of the Majlis Gerakan Negara (MAGERAN). Read more