by Giam Say Khoon
KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 7, 2008) : Five major non-governmental organisations (NGOs) jointly launched a petition campaign today to urge the government to repeal the Internal Security Act (ISA) and release all detainees.
The five are the the Bar Council, the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH), Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI), Dong Jiao Zong (United Chinese School Committee’s Association of Malaysia and United School Teachers’ Association of Malaysia).
KLSCAH secretary-general Tan Chin Chee said the ISA has been crippling the fundamental freedoms and rights of Malaysians for the past 48 years and more than 10,000 citizens have been deprived of their liberty under the law.
“No democratic country can function properly in an environment where preventive detention laws such as the ISA are in place,” he told a press conference together with representatives of the other four organisations.
The five have drafted a memorandum for presentation to the Prime Minister and Home Minister.
Tan said a mass endorsement ceremony will be held from 9.30am to 1pm on Oct 19 at the KLSCAH. So far, they have received endorsement from 30 organisations. ( Click here for Map of KLSCAH )
GMI chairman Syed Ibrahim Noh said: “For such demand to come from such a big group, the government must now take serious consideration (on whether the law should be abolished). We will give full support to the campaign and hope all NGOs can also come forward to show their support.”
Bar Council’s human rights committee chairman Edmund Bon said the council’s stand has always been clear that it wanted the law to be abolished.
“We want to let the detainees know that they are not alone in this fight and we want to keep their spirit up by giving our support,” he said, adding that he hoped the Malaysia’s Human Rights Commission will also support the campaign.
On the visit by Hindraf supporters to the prime minister’s Hari Raya open house, Syed Ibrahim said the feeling of the supporters could be understood as they had no choice but to hand over their memorandum to the prime minister at the open house.
“GMI itself has requested an appointment with the prime minister more than 20 times and with the Home Minister more than 30 times, but our requests were never considered.”
On Monday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had expressed his disappointment with the conduct of the Hindraf supporters who visited him at his open house on the first Hari Raya last week. — theSun
This article is taken from Sun2surf.