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Monday, February 14, 2011

Civil Society Joint Press Statement

12 Febraury 2011

Civil Society Joint Press Statement

*Drop Charge Against Suhaimi Shafiei, Uphold Citizens’ Freedom of Expression
*

We, the undersigned organizations, strongly condemn the Attorney General
Chamber’s prosecution of Seri Muda Assemblyman Suhaimi Shafiei under the
Sedition Act. This is an infringement of Malaysians’ freedom of expression
and against the spirit of Article 10 of the Federal Constitution. It also
contradicts the Universal Declaration of Human Rights ratified by Malaysia
government.

We urge the AG Chamber to drop the charge against Suhaimi Shafiei
immediately to show respect of the people’s freedom of expression. We call
upon the government to repeal the sedition act and immediately and
unconditionally withdraw charges against all persons charged under the
draconian sedition act.

As freedom of expression is the foundation of a democratic society,
crackdown on free speech only makes check and balance impossible and opens
up opportunities for abuse of power and violation of rule of law, bringing
our society to a dark age.

Suhaimi has a legitimate right to comment on the appointment of Selangor
secretary Khusrin. All citizens – not even exclusive for elected
representatives - have right to criticize the decisions and acts of any
public institutions – the Executive, the Judiciary, the Legislative,
the Election
Commission and the Palace – for the health of our democracy, federalism and
constitutional monarchy. This is the essence of freedom of expression

We hold that the police report against Suhaimi accusing him of “traitor” is
devoid of common sense. What the former Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir has done
decades ago with constitutional amendment to curb the royal power was far
more serious than Suhaimi’s comment.

The AG Chamber must therefore stop selective prosecution of opposition
politicians and netizens on their legitimate comments related to the health
of democracy, federalism and constitutional monarchy. It must act
independently rather than becomes a tool of political persecution.

We categorically refute the view of Gerakan Kedah Youth Chief Tan Keng Liang
that Suhaimi’s case is a “personal case”. The prosecution of Suhaimi is
clearly a case of political persecution. We applaud the Selangor State
Government for providing legal aid to defend the freedom of expression of
its state assemblyperson. It is a noble act to uphold human rights and
social justice in the state of Selangor.

Tan must remember, the responsibility of having the Selangor tax payers to
pay for the legal cost lies solely with the Barisan Nasional Federal
Government, in which his party participates. If conscience can be his guide,
Tan should instead demand the BN Federal Government to drop the charge or
demand his Gerakan Party to provide legal support.

The Najib Administration must understand that people demand real democratic
reform, not a flowery slogan of political propaganda. If the PM is serious
about “People First”, he must immediately stop the persecution of Suhaimi,
and also abolish all draconian laws designed to control and censor the
media.

Endorsing Organizations :

1. Civil Rights Committee of KL & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall

2. Civil Society Committee of LLG Cultural Development Centre

3. Writers Alliance for Media Independence

4. 528 Media Action Group

5. Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia

6. Suara Rakyat Malaysia

7. Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture (MADPET)

8. *Perak** *Youth Graduate Association

9. All Women's Action Society (AWAM)

10. Youth Section of Negeri Sembilan Chinese Assembly Hall

11. Youth for Change

12. Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER)

13. Women's Aid Organistion

14. Malaysia Youth & Students Democratic Movement(DEMA)

15. New Era College Alumni Association

16. Bahagian Pemuda Persatuan Murid-murid Tua Sekolah Serdang Bharu

17. Persatuan Komuniti Prihatin Kuala Lumpur & Selangor

18. Amnesty International Malaysia

19. Persatuan Alumni PBTUSM Selangor & KL

20. Pusat Komunikasi Masyarakat (KOMAS)

21. Persatuan Masyarakat Selangor dan Wilayah Persekutuan (PERMAS)

22. Community Action Network (CAN)

23. Friends of Suaram Johor

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