Stand Up For Suaram

Press Statement

18 September 2012

Launch of “Stand up for SUARAM” campaign

We, the undersigned NGOs, wish to invite all Malaysians who support the promotion and protection of basic human rights to join the “Stand up for SUARAM” campaign which will be launched this Tuesday (18 September).

The campaign is aimed at mobilising support for SUARAM in the face of the unjust persecution launched against them by the government who persists in investigating the human rights organization in unprofessional and irregular ways beginning early July.

Organisations both within Malaysia and around the world have recognized SUARAM as a key NGO that constantly pushes for greater awareness of human rights in our country. Yet our government appears intent to harass them, seemingly due to the ongoing Scorpene submarine investigations which are taking place in France. However, as we stated last week, the authorities should focus on ensuring that justice and integrity prevail in the Scorpene investigations, instead of trying to shoot the messenger.

SUARAM has given its full cooperation to the investigations and has thus far only been rewarded with an even greater amount of unwarranted prosecution from government agencies who surely have many more important public interest issues to focus on.

Thus, we ask that the public stands up in solidarity with SUARAM, to counter the many half-truths being reported in the government-controlled media. We also hope to see a strong show of support at the launch, which will be held at the agency which begin the witch-hunt against SUARAM, the Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM).

Other ways to support SUARAM are:

1) Add this PicBadge [ http://www.picbadges.com/badge/2772872/],

2) ‘Like’ the FB page [https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stand-Up-4-Suaram-Bangkit-Bersama-Suaram/156249814513967],

3) Tweet your support using the hashtag #StandUp4SUARAM and please follow @StandUp4SUARAM

4) Email your stories of how SUARAM has helped you/someone you know [suaram@suaram.net]

For more information, please contact E. Nalini : 019 375 8912

Thank you

…more
Launch of “Stand up for SUARAM” campaign
September 17, 2012 – Suaram

 

Attacks on Suaram an admission of guilt?

COMMENT

Suaram stands for Suara Rakyat Malaysia (The Voice of the Malaysian People). No one organisation can represent the voice of an entire nation, but no one organisation has likely done more for the voiceless of Malaysia than Suaram.

Who is Suaram?

Born in the aftermath of Ops Lalang, Suaram has been at the forefront of defending human rights in Malaysia since 1989 (when this author was only nine years old).

Suaram was formed by ex-ISA detainees and their family support groups to campaign for the abolition of the ISA. Over the years, its issues of concern grew to encompass a much wider scope.

In recent times, Suaram has been among the most vociferous advocates for fundamental human rights in Malaysia, such as the right to assemble freely, the right to free and fair elections, the rights of indigenous peoples, the rights of refugees, the right not to be detained without trial, the right not to be beaten to death in a police lock-up and so on.

As an organisation like Malaysiakini is the grande dame of online news in Malaysia, so is Suaram – along with organisations like Aliran – the grande dame of Malaysian civil society, possessed of a solid track record in the best traditions of human rights advocacy.

Ever at the front lines, anyone who has ever been to a human rights forum, candlelight vigil or street rally over the years will recognise the familiar faces of Suaram staff.

Suaram also publishes the Human Rights Reports, which for many years has been the authoritative document of Malaysia’s human rights record, and perhaps the only locally produced systematic, consistent analysis of human rights abuses in Malaysia.

Witchhunt

Ever since it was formed, Suaram has been fearlessly critical of any and all government action that ran counter to the principles of human rights. Time and time again, they have named and shamed abuses of power from the lowliest constable or civil servant to the prime minister himself.

Yet, it is only now, in what seems to be the first time ever, that a “council” has convened consisting of no less than six government agencies – the Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM), the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), Bank Negara, the Registrar of Societies (ROS), the police and the Home Ministry – with the sole purpose of prosecuting Suaram.

Why is Suaram being attacked now?

“Altantuya” and “Scorpene” seem to the two words that first come to mind.

Over the last year or two, Suaram began working on the Scorpene commission scandal. They led the effort to initiate proceedings in French investigative courts that are now examining the case in great detail.

The scandals surrounding the company that sold us these Scorpene submarines, DCNS, is no stranger to the French public.

In two separate cases, the sale of similar naval craft by DCNS and the commissions that surrounded these sales were widely suspected to be linked to the deaths of eight and 11 people in Taiwan (1993-1994) and Pakistan (2002) respectively.

Could Altantuya, Malaysia (2006) be the latest death on that list?

The Scorpene case and its hundreds of millions of questionable commissions is a matter of grave public interest. There are issues surrounding the practice of massive corruption as well as what Malaysian courts decided was a murder by two low-ranking policeman (with no apparent motive).

Unable to find either truth or justice in the Malaysian courts, Suaram took the case to France, where it has brought unprecedented international shame upon Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, who was both deputy prime minister and defence minister at the time the Scorpenes were purchased.

The desperate viciousness of the guilty?

A guilty conscience can drive a person to do increasingly desperate things.

The Malaysian government apparently fails to see how its unprecedented, unjustified and heavy-handed action against Suaram following their recent work on the Scorpene scandal will likely be seen as an admission of guilt to the Malaysian public.

If indeed the prime minister and his government have nothing to hide, what can possibly explain their desperate use of every available means at their disposal in attempt to discredit Suaram?

Why not simply refute all their allegations with transparent facts, and answer French subpoenas to prove their innocence in courts with a smattering more credibility than say, the courts of Malaysia?

Malaysians are sick and tired of political leaders that pilfer the nation’s coffers and abuse their power to enrich themselves and their cronies.

The government’s attempt to intimidate and bully Suaram into silence merely because they cannot bear to see their actions being exposed to the cold light of day will no doubt incur even more public wrath and electoral repercussions.

Standing together with Suaram

Malaysian civil society rallied quickly to the defence of Suaram. In a show of strength and solidarity, it soon became clear that the message to the government was: if you mess with one of us, you mess with all of us.

This solidarity is real and deeply felt within this community, and the word community here is not used lightly.

…more
Attacks on Suaram an admission of guilt?
Nathaniel Tan
Sep 13, 2012 – Malaysiakini

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