Wednesday, April 06, 2016

The arrest of Rafizi Ramli has once again proven that BN government will use whatever means to stifle dissent.

Media statement by DAP ADUN for Kampung Tunku Lau Weng San on 6th April 2016 in Petaling Jaya:

The arrest of PKR Secretary-General and MP for Pandan, Rafizi Ramli, under the Official Secrets Act, has once again proven that the current BN government under PM Najib will use whatever means to stifle dissent.

The Official Secrets Act of 1972 offers a broad range of interpretations regarding what is considered a state secret and allows for arbitrary detention and arrest without a warrant for the mere assumption of possibly breaching the act, under section 18(1) of the Act.

In addition to this, the act also reverses the burden of proof normally requires to prosecute a criminal case; instead of “innocent until proven guilty”, the Act states the suspect is “guilty until proven to the contrary”. This is provided under section 16(3) of the Act.

The enforcement of this law to cover up information regarding 1MBD is evidence of the poor regard for human rights by the Barisan National government. The manner in which Rafizi Ramli was arrested just adds to the fact that the situation for human rights in our beloved country is deteriorating. 

The arrest was made pre-emptively right outside parliament, and according to the media he was not even allowed to go and pick up his son and surrender himself to the authorities afterwards. This is not only unreasonable on the part of the authorities but also degrading.

There has not even been arbitrary evidence of Rafizi Ramli refusing to cooperate with the authority in any investigation, rather the government is abusing the powers of this act to arrest and detain prominent opposition members for speaking up about the controversy regarding 1MDB.

I strongly condemn the arrest of Rafizi Ramli and call for his immediate release from arbitrary detention. We also condemn the introduction of a system whereby the government can arrest and detain individuals at its own discretion without judicial oversight as this goes against basic principles and established standards of human rights throughout the world.

If nothing is done to counter these measures, Malaysia will be a repressive regime which will continue to trample of the rights and liberties of its citizens. The enforcement of the Official Secrets Act of 1972 in this manner must be regarded as a retrograde step by making Malaysia less democratic and thus less free in the eyes of the international community.

Harry Truman said “Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear."

This is increasingly true for Malaysia, we as citizens must unite to prevent such a fate from befalling our beloved country. The people of Kampung Tunku, my staffs and I would like to extend our heartfelt support and prayers for Rafizi Ramli and his family who is enduring this blatant act of injustice.

Lau Weng San
ADUN Kampung Tunku

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