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Women’s Agenda For Change Joint Press Statement on the Recent Arrests Under ISA


The Women’s Agenda for Change (WAC) condemns the arrest of the six political activists under the Internal Security Act (ISA). We urge the government to release them immediately. They are:

  1. Tian Chua, Parti Keadilan Nasional vice-president;
  2. Mohamad Ezam Mohd. Nor, Keadilan Youth president;
  3. N. Gobala Krishnan, Keadilan Youth secretary-general;
  4. Saari Sungib, ‘People’s Memorandum’ organising committee chairperson;
  5. Hishamuddin Rais, media columnist and social activist;
  6. Raja Petra Kamaruddin, the international Free Anwar Campaign director;
  7. Abdul Ghani Harun, Kadilan Youth central committee member.
  8. Syed Mokhtar A – Hadad, Shia
  9. Syed Hassan Alattas, Shia
  10. Mustapha Sahar, Shia
  11. Norman Batcha, Shia
  12. Zainal Talib, Shia
  13. Ahmadi Asab, Shia

We are outraged over the government’s recent and insistent usage of the ISA to suppress opposition and debate. The ISA, which provides for indefinite detention without trial, is a draconian law that severely infringes the fundamental liberties of a citizen in a democratic country. Our government should not feel intimidated by the expressions of their citizens of their opinions and concerns. Likewise, there should be no corresponding fear of intimidation by the citizens of Malaysia to articulate these expressions. Instead, the ISA threatens the primary rights of freedom of expression and freedom from fear of the people and should be abolished.

Second, if indeed the thirteen who have been detained have committed any offence, they should be charged and tried in an open court in accordance with the Rule of Law. Under the Rule of Law, everyone has the basic right to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial court, in the determination of his/her rights and obligations and of any charges against him/her. Everyone charged with an offence also has the basic right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. The ISA is an outright violation of these rights.

We strongly urge the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia to intervene in this matter and play its proper role to promote and protect the Rule of Law and respect for human rights in this country. We also call upon the Minister of Home Affairs to account for these spate of arrests and to immediately charge and trial these detainees in an open court.

Women’s Agenda For Change
Women’s Agenda for Change is supported and endorsed by 90 organisations from a variety of interest areas, including women, youth, consumer, environment, unions, indigenous, religious, peace health, human rights, lawyers and grassroot groups.

Women’s Agenda for Change
Women’s Development Collective
All Women’s Action Society
Women’s Aid Organisation
Wanita JIM
Persatuan Sahabat Wanita
Sisters In Islam
Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall – Women’s Section
Metal Industries Employees’ Union.

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