Media statement by Lim Kit Siang in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday, 2nd August 2011:
Drop the charges against the PSM6 - as if Police and Najib administration have not made enough spectacle of themselves both nationally and internationally in their disastrous mishandling of the 709 Bersih 2.0 rally and EO6 detention
The Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) Six, including the MP for Sungai Siput Dr. Michael Jeyakumar, who were released on Friday after 27 days of detention under the obsolete 1969 Emergency Ordinance after a week’s remand under the Penal Code for “waging war against the Agong”, have been informed that they will be charged in Butterworth tomorrow with “possessing subversive material”.
The Attorney-General, Tan Sri Gani Patail should drop the charges against the PSM6.
They must release that the public reaction is whether the Police and the Najib administration have not made enough spectacles of themselves both nationally and internationally in their gross and disastrous mishandling of the 709 Bersih 2.0 rally and the EO6 detention.
The PSM6 are expected to be charged under Section 48 of the Societies Act and Section 29 of the Internal Security Act (ISA).
Section 29 of the ISA on “Possession of subversive documents” provides that an offender is liable on conviction to a maximum fine of RM10,000 or five years’ jail or both.
It provides that “subversive document” means “any document having in part or in whole a tendency” (3a) “to excite organized violence” or (3b) “to support, propagate or advocate any act prejudicial to the security of Malaysia or the maintenance or restoration of public order therein or inciting to violence therein or counseling disobedience to the law thereof or to any lawful order therein”.
Section 29 of the ISA is a most oppressive and draconian provision as sub-section (4) reverses the presumption that a person is innocent until proven guilty, providing that “Every document purporting to be a subversive document shall be presumed to be a subversive document until the contrary is proved”.
After the gross and disastrous mishandling of the Bersih 2.0 rally and EO detentions, which have made the Najib administration the laughing stock not only in the country but also internationally, the wisest and most prudent course is for the authorities to drop the entire matter – including the charges which have been preferred against the other 23 PSM activists in Butterworth.
Instead the authorities seem bent on extracting their “pound of flesh” which will keep the issue alive in national and international consciousness.
This is only compounding the host of mistakes committed in the gross mishandling of the Bersih 2.0 rally and EO6 detention – before, during and after.
What the Najib administration and the police should do is to review the disastrous mistakes they have made in failing to discharge their duty and responsibility to protect the human rights and uphold the democratic space of Malaysian citizens to peaceful assembly to demand for free and fair elections in the country and learn the right lessons from the Bersih 2.0 and EO6 detention episodes.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor