Crackdown in Malaysia

July 22, 2011

By Jeanne Marie Stumpf, Malaysian Country Specialist for Amnesty USA

As a current member of the UN Human Rights Council, the Malaysian government should be setting an example to other nations and promoting human rights. Instead they appear to be suppressing them, in the worst campaign of repression we’ve seen in the country for years.

malaysia protests
Protesters are met with excessive force by police on 9 July rally (c)Mohd Fazrul Hasnor/Demotix

A peaceful rally addressing election reform in Kuala Lumpur resulted in mass arrests on July 9th.  All of the 1,667 people detained on the day of the march were later released, but days earlier the Malaysian government arrested around 40 people including six members of the Socialist Party.

The detainees, including Socialist Party MP Dr. Jeyakumar Devaraj are being held under an Emergency Ordinance at an undisclosed location.   Others arrested before the rally, most for possession of illegal materials such as rally t-shirts, could be imprisoned for up to five years and fined for having exercised their right to peaceful expression and assembly.

Amnesty International has joined other human rights organizations in a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressing concern over Malaysia’s actions

Claudia Vandermade contributed to this post.