Home Media statements Aliran calls on police to respect people’s constitutional rights 

Aliran calls on police to respect people’s constitutional rights 

Suaram executive director Sevan Doraisamy

Follow us on our Malay and English WhatsApp, Telegram, Instagram, Tiktok and Youtube channels.

Aliran endorses the call by MP Charles Santiago, the chairperson of the parliamentary Select Committee on Human Rights and Constitutional Affairs, to the police to respect the people’s constitutional right to engage in open discussions and constructive debate.

Article 10 of our Federal Constitution spells out our rights to “freedom of speech, assembly and association”.

Santiago had criticised the police for calling in Suaram executive director Sevan Doraisamy for questioning after the human rights NGO had organised a forum entitled “The LTTE conundrum, Sosma and a draconian law” on 25 November.

As Santiago pointed out, we expect the Pakatan Harapan government to be more open and progressive as the coalition had openly campaigned to usher in legal reforms to Malaysia prior to the 2018 general election.

We expect this government to provide space for public discourse and create an environment for democracy to thrive.

So it is disheartening to note that the police have called in Sevan for questioning “six or seven times” since PH came to power. This is not what we expect from good governance practices of a reform-minded government that values openness, constructive criticism, healthy debates and differences of opinions.

Perhaps, as Santiago suggested, what the police are doing is not in line with the wishes of the government. If that is the case, then the home affairs minister must reach out to the police and brief them about its reform agenda. 

Aliran reiterates its call to the PH government to fulfil its electoral pledge to repeal oppressive laws especially those that allow detention without charge or trial such as the Sedition Act, the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma) and the Prevention of Terrorism Act. 

READ MORE:  G25 supports Anwar's stance on constitutional protection for all

In this connection, we support the attorney general’s decision not to contest the High Court’s position that the denial of bail under Sosma is unconstitutional. The High Court ruled that Section 13 of Sosma, which prohibits the judiciary from even considering bail, violates the concept of the separation of powers and undermines the role of the judiciary.

The judgment and the attorney general’s decision not to appeal is a step in the right direction – but it is not enough. Parliament must review all existing laws and immediately repeal any provisions that allow for detention without trial or without due process. Lawmakers must ensure the laws they draft do not usurp the powers of an independent judiciary in a democracy.

Since the PH government took over, we have been looking forward to progressive legal reforms in line with its pledge – but there has been precious little progress in that direction. The common excuse we hear is the government needs more time. 

Well, close to 18 months have passed and this ‘excuse’ is fast wearing thin. 

Aliran executive committee
19 December 2019

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

AGENDA RAKYAT - Lima perkara utama
  1. Tegakkan maruah serta kualiti kehidupan rakyat
  2. Galakkan pembangunan saksama, lestari serta tangani krisis alam sekitar
  3. Raikan kerencaman dan keterangkuman
  4. Selamatkan demokrasi dan angkatkan keluhuran undang-undang
  5. Lawan rasuah dan kronisme
Support our work by making a donation. Tap to download the QR code below and scan this QR code from Gallery by using TnG e-wallet or most banking apps:
Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Ravi Nair
Ravi Nair
23 Dec 2019 5.40pm

Prior to GE 14 Mahathir promised plenty of festive goodies. Now all rights are being removed.
The country is more racially divided & plagued with rotten politics.
Present Law & System is ; ONLY I WILL DECIDE & I SHALL SPEAK THE REST SHUT UP & FOLLOW. Malaysians generally jumped from the frying pan to fire due to outright lies.

ambigapathi samarasan
ambigapathi samarasan
21 Dec 2019 8.57am

PH goverment were using their manifesto to win now they have won,they can go and do whatever they want,as they know the people cannot do anything until the next election.The Rome Statue,and protection of minority rights were not accepted after some protest

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x