Annual Report: Malaysia 2010

May 28, 2010

Annual Report: Malaysia 2010

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  • Wong Chin Huat was arrested in May under the Sedition Act after calling for a protest against the government over the Perak crisis. That same month, Mohamad Sabu, the Vice-President of the opposition Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS), and at least 14 others, were arrested for participating in or planning protests over the Perak crisis. Five lawyers representing the latter 14 were also arrested. They were all released after being held overnight.
  • In August, almost 600 people were briefly arrested following an anti-ISA rally. Sixty-three were held overnight, including PA Vice-President Sivarasa Rasiah.
  • In September, 16 members of HINDRAF, including former ISA detainee P. Uthayakumar, were briefly detained while attempting to hold a candlelight vigil in Kuala Lumpur.

Deaths in custody

  • Extensive signs of torture were discovered on the body of Kugan Ananthan, who died in police custody in January. In October, one police officer was charged with causing him grievous bodily harm.
  • In July, Teoh Beng Hock, political secretary to an opposition leader, died after falling from an upper floor of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Selangor headquarters. The previous evening, the police had taken him for questioning as a witness in an investigation into the abuse of state funds by the opposition state government. An inquest into the death was ongoing

Violence against women and girls

Reports of sexual abuse, including rape, by timber company workers against Penan women and girls in Baram village, Sarawak state, formed the basis of a report published in September by a government task force investigating the issue. The report confirmed that women and girls as young as 10 had been raped by timber company employees. However, state officials denied the involvement of company employees in the rapes and police dropped further investigations.

Cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment

People continued to be caned for various offences.

  • In June, the government announced that since 2002 they had sentenced 47,914 migrants to be caned for immigration offences, with 34,923 canings already carried out by 2008.
  • In July, the Shariah High Court in Pahang state sentenced Kartika Dewi to six strokes of the cane and a fine for consuming alcohol. In September, Nazarudin Kamaruddin was sentenced to six strokes of the cane and one year's imprisonment for drinking alcohol. Mohamad Shahrin and Nadiah Hussin were sentenced by the Selangor state Islamic court to six strokes of the cane for trying to have premarital sex. All were Muslim.

Refugees and migrants

Migrants, including asylum-seekers and refugees, were often arrested and detained for long periods. The government made no distinction between migrant workers, asylum-seekers and refugees. UNCHR, the UN refugee agency, had registered 49,000 people of concern as of May. Eighty-nine per cent were from Myanmar. An estimated 45,000 asylum-seekers remained unregistered.

Conditions in detention centres remained far below international standards. Reports of insufficient food, poor nutrition, poor sanitation and physical abuse persisted.

  • In May, two inmates from Myanmar died from leptospirosis, a bacterial infection caused by contact with water contaminated by animal urine, at the Juru Immigration Depot. In August, a detainee at the KLIA Immigration Depot died after contracting the H1N1 flu virus. Other inmates were hospitalized in both instances.

Death penalty

At least 68 people were sentenced to death by the High Courts while the number of executions was unknown. Malaysia did not support UN UPR recommendations to introduce a moratorium on the death penalty or abolish it. It also did not disclose the number of executions carried out.

Amnesty International visits/report

Amnesty International delegates visited Malaysia in July and August.

Malaysia: End caning as a punishment for all offences (20 August 2009)