Target: Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak
Goal: Continue to address human rights issues in Malaysia
The Malaysian government has made some progress in past years with increasing citizen’s civil liberties. Administrative detention without trial was eliminated, as was the requirement to obtain police permits for public assembly. Restraints on the freedoms of press were relaxed, but new laws are beginning to rescind these short-lived freedoms.
A new ordinance eliminated the presumption of innocence and once more allowed detention without trial. The law also allowed electronic monitoring of any citizen during their trials. Though a permit from police is no longer required to assemble, a new law prohibits moving assemblies, limits possible areas for protest, requires the police to be notified of the assembly, and even limits what can be said on protest signs.
Now, more new bills continue to abridge the freedom of Malaysian civilians. Recently, amendments were passed that allow detention for up to two years upon simply being accused of a ‘serious crime.’ Activists are increasingly being prosecuted for supporting opposition forces or questioning the ruling party. A trial is currently underway to prosecute an activist who held a screening of a film highlighting war crimes committed by the Sri Lankan government during the 2009 civil war. If convicted, this activist faces three years in prison and a $9,500 fine.
After some improvement, human rights and civil liberties in Malaysia have begun to take a turn for the worse. The Malaysian government has gone back on every bit of good it has done, and even gone further backward. Your signature will demand that Prime Minister Najib Razak follow through with his electoral promises to improve the liberties of Malaysian citizens.
Dear Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak,
Over past years, there have been improvements to the civil liberties of Malaysian citizens, such as the elimination of police permits to publicly assemble and the elimination of detention without proven guilt. Over the past six months, however, new ordinances have allowed these and more abridgements of freedom legal again.
New laws once again allow prisoner detention and electronic monitoring without proven guilt. Though a permit is no longer required to assemble, police must still be notified, while allowable areas are limited. On top of this, new laws allow the detention of anyone merely accused of a serious crime, for up to two years.
It is of the utmost importance that the Malaysian ruling party keep their promises to their citizens by improving the state of human rights and civil liberties in the country. I urge you to move forward, rather than backward, to end detention without trial, limits on public assembly, and the censorship of government critics and political activists.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: yoshiffles via Creative Commons