Release Dr Jeyakumar and 5 others immediately !


The Barisan Nasional Government by detaining Dr Jeyakumar Michael Deveraj, Member of Parliament for Sungai Siput together with five others under the Emergency Ordinance has committed a deplorable abuse of power.

The Emergency (Public Order and Crime Prevention) Ordinance has been used as a shortcut by police to detain persons suspected of criminal offences when there is insufficient evidence to convict them in a court of law. The EO itself is therefore an unjust law as it allows a person to be detained indefinitely without trial. It is now used not against persons suspected of committing crimes but for political purposes. The detention of these persons under the EO is therefore all the more reprehensible for this reason.

Dr Jeyakumar and the others namely; M Saraswathy, Choo Chon Kai, M Sukumaran, A Letchumanan and Sarat Babu were detained on the ground that they were promoting Bersih 2.0. Bersih 2.0 is a rally organized by a non-government organization calling for clean and fair elections. It is a call to ensure that the electoral system is not manipulated. A government is not democratically elected just because the motions of carrying out elections are held. When elections are manipulated to defeat the will of the people then the very essence of democracy is nullified.

Bersih 2.0 is held to call on the Election Commission to ensure that the government to be elected by Malaysians will be done by those who are doing the voting and not those who are doing the counting. All political parties who uphold democracy should support Bersih 2.0. However Barisan Nasional has not only objected to the call for clean and fair elections but has used the police as a tool to stop the rally. Unless this is rectified immediately the police force will be seen to be an instrument for political oppression. It is wrong to take away the liberty of an innocent person without just cause. It is evil when it is done for the purpose of maintaining in power a regime that has lost its popular support. If the Barisan Nasional is confident of its popular support then there is no cause for stopping the Bersih 2.0 rally.

I call on the Barisan Nasional Government and the Police to release Dr Jeyakumar and the others immediately. Failure to do so will mean that the Government has used the law not for the purpose of maintaining the security of all its citizens but to maintain itself. Such conduct by a government amounts to the repression and oppression of its citizens.

I wish to remind the Barisan Nasional Government that history shows us that all repressive regimes can only maintain a grip on power for a limited time. A Government that seeks to cling on to power through electoral fraud and police repression has no moral authority to govern and is illegitimate. The limits of an oppressive regime are prescribed by the endurance of the people oppressed and the tipping point is reached sooner than later.

The action taken in the past few days to arrest and detain those wearing yellow or who referred to Bersih 2.0 in their speeches have caused the people to think that the Government has lost its mind. The thought that so many innocent people are being punished without just cause is intolerable. It is hoped that sanity and good sense will prevail and the Barisan Nasional Government reconsiders its position, permit the Bersih 2.0 rally to be held peacefully and release all those arrested.

William Leong Jee Keen
Member of Parliament for Selayang
2 July 2011


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