17 Dec 07
Leaders from the SDP presented a letter to the Malaysian High Commissioner today, calling on Malaysia to stop its persecution of human rights defenders in the country.
Malaysia has seen a spate of protests by different sectors of society including the opposition, legal community, and civil society who are demanding democracy and human rights in the country.
Mr Gandhi Ambalam, Dr Chee Soon Juan, Mr John Tan, Ms Chee Siok Chin, and Mr Charles Tan were present at the embassy at Jervois Road to present the letter of protest (see below).
The High Commission had expected the visit and promptly ushered the Singapore Democrats into its premises. The SDP leaders were received by a senior official, Counsellor Zainudin Abdul Shukor.
A few journalists and members of SgHumanRights activists were also present to cover the activity but they were not allowed in.
During the meeting SDP Chairman Ambalam expressed the party’s concern at the undemocratic actions of the Malaysian Government. He then handed the letter over to Mr Zainudin who assured the delegation that it would be given to the High Commissioner.
Mr Ambalam stressed on the need for Malaysia to release those presently detained under the ISA and for its government to respect the rights of its citizens.
Members of the ethnic Indian community have also protested against government policy that they say discriminate against them. As a result five of their leaders have been detained under the Internal Security Act.
Letter presented to the Malaysian High Commission
17 December 2007
The High Commissioner
Malaysian High Commission
30, Hill Street #02-01
Dear Mr High Commissioner,
We are extremely perturbed by the recent crackdown on opposition leaders, civil society activists, members of the bar council and peaceful protesters in Malaysia. These persons have been detained without trial, arrested, and harassed for exercising their rights to peaceful assembly.
For the Government of Malaysia to treat such acts the way that it did is to signal weakness, not strength. The brave protesters and their leaders want a democratic Malaysia which can only mean long-term security and stability for the country as well as for the region.
With Burma in turmoil, Singapore as repressive as ever, and Thailand trying to regain its democratic footing ASEAN seems like a bad thing waiting to happen. A region where systems that guarantee peaceful and orderly transitions of power are absent is a region of weakness and uncertainty.
ASEAN recently signed its charter where member states promised to respect the fundamental freedoms of their citizens. Let this not be an exercise in dishonesty and hypocrisy. Let ASEAN not become the laughing stock of the world.
We, therefore, call on His Excellency, Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi, to immediately and unconditionally release the five leaders of HINDRAF currently under ISA detention, stop arresting leaders of Malaysian opposition parties and the bar council, and cease all harassment of peaceful protesters.
For the sake of a democratic and peaceful Malaysia and Southeast Asia, we call on you to respect the civil and political rights of all Malaysians.
Singapore Democratic Party