Urgent Request to Government of Malaysia on the Crackdown and possible violence by United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) sponsored underworld “3 Line”, Pekida and Extremist Perkasa on Human Rights Advocates
I write to you with the utmost urgency for your attention on the above matter.
HINDRAF is a Human Rights organisation that advocates the rights of the marginalized Indian community in Malaysia. Although the Government of Malaysia has banned this movement without well-founded reasons, it has continued to organise various activities affecting human rights issues nationwide and as of late 2007, the movement has been operating from London.
Recently, the Malaysian government took a decision to approve the use of a novel entitled “Interlok” as part of compulsory curriculum material for 5th Form pupils in selected areas in Malaysia but the ethnic Indian community and HINDRAF take exception to the use of the novel because it contains racially insensitive, degrading, humiliating, and disrespectful use of adjectives that is extreme racist nature and on behalf of the Indian community HINDRAF has called for a total ban of the novel. The government has chosen to ignore our compliant but insist that the material will go into circulation once amendments to the material are passed sometime next month.
In response to the recalcitrant attitude of the government, HINDRAF passed a motion to stage a Solidarity March against Racism on 27th February 2011 and in furtherance to the said event, we also organised various road shows, forums, car drive campaigns and such like at national level. We have managed to amass a total of more than 200 Hindraf Human Rights campaigners to carry out grassroots campaigns including distribution of posters and fliers regarding our intention.
However since 10th February 2011, the Government began a crackdown on HINDRAF Human Rights campaigners using harassment, threat of violence, arbitrary arrests and detentions, torture, inhumane and degrading treatment including the demand that female activists remove their Orange Hindraf T-Shirts in public.
On 13th March 2011, a total of 59 Hindraf leaders and volunteers were arrested nationwide for taking part in an Anti Racism (car drive campaign). Police subjected one volunteer to inhumane ill treatment by placing him in a dark room for almost 19 out of 26 hours he was under arrest and detention. More than 120 other volunteers were prevented from continuing their campaigns nationwide.
The Police harassment continued from 13th February with:
a) Intimidation used against venue owners for allowing us to use their halls to conduct our forums;
b) Threatening venue owners with arbitrary arrest;
c) Threatening HINDRAF volunteers with arrests if they were to continue with forum discussions nationwide;
d) Placing HINDRAF volunteers under surveillance and making unannounced visits to their work places to intimidate and put pressure on employers to terminate HINDRAF volunteers from their jobs;
e) Road blocks at strategic points leading to venues of our nationwide forums thus preventing these forums from taking place.
f) Using the Police Federal Reserve Units (PFRU) in full riot gear to carry out a “baton charge” at a function Hall in Penang thus endangering the safety and security of vulnerable individuals such as the elderly, women and children at the anti racism forums.
g) Further arrests of 16 Hindraf leaders and volunteers also took place on 20th February 2011.
The Government of Malaysia is fearful that our road shows and ground campaigns over the last 3 weeks is likely to draw a large crowd for the Solidarity March on 27th February and is thus threatening us with the possible arrests under the draconian Internal security Act which may be a repeat of similar arrests which took place in 2007.
Despite the threats from the Government, we are undeterred as we are committed in our pursuit to continue with our peaceful Solidarity March scheduled on 27th February 2011. We have made an application for a Police permit; although we do not require one under the Federal Constitution, which guarantees Freedom of speech and assembly. We however anticipate that it is very unlikely that the Police would approve our requests for Police permits.
The March on 27th February 2011 would begin at KLCC and terminate at the Jalan Dang Wangi Police Station where more than 1000 people would lodge reports against the current Government which has been ruling for 54 years and its Primer Minister for practising Institutionalised racism in Malaysia.
We write to urge you to make an urgent representation to the Government of Malaysia to respect the citizens’ universal standards of Human rights, as well as the right to assemble and express feelings of discontentment and allow us to proceed with the March peacefully.
We fear the UMNO led Government would engage its agent provocateurs namely, the notorious 3 LINE and Pekida underworld gangs and its outsourced far right extremist wing such as the Perkasa to cause trouble on the said day.
We attach herewith our letters to the Inspector General of Police seeking his protection and co-operation (which thus far has been ignored) and a copy of the Memorandum of Complaint to the Human Rights Commission Malaysia, which is self-explanatory.
Your kind indulgence and urgent action is very much appreciated.