Malaysia must end unprecedented crackdown on hundreds of critics through Sedition Act – Amnesty International

Source: Amnesty International US

Press Release, January 26, 2016

Malaysia must end unprecedented crackdown on hundreds of critics through Sedition Act

Malaysia’s government has launched an unprecedented crackdown through the Sedition Act over the past two years to silence, harass and lock up hundreds of critics, Amnesty International said in a new briefing today.

Critical Repression: Freedom of Expression Under Attack in Malaysia shows how the use of the Sedition Act – which gives authorities sweeping powers to target those who oppose them – has skyrocketed since the Barisan Nasional coalition government narrowly won the 2013 general elections, with around 170 sedition cases in that period.

In 2015 alone, at least 91 individuals were arrested, charged or investigated for sedition – almost five times as many as during the law’s first 50 years of existence.

“Speaking out in Malaysia is becoming increasingly dangerous. The government has responded to challenges to its authority in the worst possible way, by tightening repression and targeting scores of perceived critics,” said Josef Benedict, Amnesty International’s South East Asia Deputy Campaigns Director. Read more

Repression and regime survival – Khoo Ying Hooi

Source: The Malaysian Insider

BY KHOO YING HOOI

In my November column, “Malaysia’s vote on protecting human rights defenders, diplomatic window dressing”, I raised the question of the commitments of the 117 countries which voted “yes” to the United Nations’ Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, including Malaysia.

The question was raised mainly due to the consistency of the authorities in cracking down on those who speak against government policy, which at this stage could suggest that such forms of intimidation are at the heart of the administration’s tactics.

There are various levels of repression. In Malaysia, repression has its own dimension. For the most part, it sets restrictions on individuals’ civil rights which anticipate the limiting of coordination and mobilisation capacity of groups and individuals, as we have witnessed in many recent cases on human rights activists.

Jakarta Globe reported last week’s deportation of an Indonesian rights activist, Mugiyanto Sipin, who was supposed to speak at a forum titled “People’s movement can bring change” held by the Bersih group in conjunction with its Yellow Mania event. Read more

Activist on trial for showing unapproved film slams Putrajaya for human rights hypocrisy

Source: The Malaysian Insider

Local activist Lena Hendry says the government must not put on a different mask on the international front by promising to uphold the freedom of speech, yet still charge her in court over a charge of screening a film which had not been passed by the censorship board. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, December 14, 2015.

Local activist Lena Hendry says the government must not put on a different mask on the international front by promising to uphold the freedom of speech, yet still charge her in court over a charge of screening a film which had not been passed by the censorship board. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, December 14, 2015.

Malaysian activist Lena Hendry today said Putrajaya was continuing to persecute her and was being hypocritical about human rights with the charge against her for screening a film on the Sri Lankan civil war that was not approved by the Film Censorship Board.

She told Malaysiakini at the first day of her trial today that Putrajaya had pledged support at the United Nations for the freedom of expression, and had even voted “yes” on a resolution to protect human rights defenders.

Hendry, 30, a coordinator with civil society group Pusat Komas, said she felt her freedom of expression was being curtailed and she did not understand why the case against her was still being dragged on.

She said Malaysia had gone back on its promise at the United Nations by continuing to persecute her.

“This has to stop. Because they (the government) cannot put on a different mask as soon as they leave Malaysia. Then, when they come back to Malaysia, they continue to prosecute them (human rights defenders),” she told Malaysiakini outside the Kuala Lumpur Magistrate’s Court today. Read more

At UN general assembly, Malaysia says yes to protection for human rights fighters

Source: The Malay Mail Online

United Nations General Assembly – pic taken from FIDH – International Federation for Human Rights

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 27 — Malaysia voted in favour of a United Nations resolution to protect human rights activists worldwide at the general assembly yesterday, even as civil society leaders back home kick up a storm over a raft of reforms on politics, socio-economics and elections.

Malaysia was one of the 117 countries that gave its nod, amid a global crackdown on civil societies in several countries.

“117 Member States voted yes on the resolution, entitled ‘Recognising the role of human rights defenders and the need for their protection’ calls for accountability for attacks on human rights defenders (including attacks on their family members) and urges states to release defenders who have been arbitrarily detained for exercising their fundamental rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association,” the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders said in a statement, commending the UN for getting the resolution passed.

The group added that the resolution would be an “important tool” to offer protection to human rights activists that have been “unjustly targeted” for their work. Read more