Malaysia

Release the 30 PSM members, DAP demands

Kit Siang said in a statement tonight that the situation had “swiftly descended into such a macabre farce.” — file picKit Siang said in a statement tonight that the situation had “swiftly descended into such a macabre farce.” — file pic

KUALA LUMPUR, June 26 — The DAP has demanded for the immediate release of the 30 Parti Sosialis Malaya (PSM) members, including Sungai Siput MP Michael Jayakumar, who were arrested in Penang, and has dispelled claims that they were trying to revive communism.

“I call on the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to ensure that good sense prevails in his government despite facing the mortal challenge of a peaceful Bersih 2.0 rally on July 9 calling for free, fair and clean elections — as such a proposed peaceful rally cannot, under any stretch of the imagination, be equated to a ‘war against the King’,” said the DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang at the DAP Ubah Dialogue organised by the DAP Socialist Youth of Johor (Dapsy) at Hotel Li Gardens in Masai, Johor Baru, tonight.

The police said yesterday they were probing an alleged attempt by some Bersih activists to revive communism, and are investigating 30 PSM members for “waging war against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.”

Deputy Penang police chief Datuk Abdul Rahim Jaafar was quoted by Astro Awani as saying that remand orders would be exercised to detain the 30 activists under Section 122 of the Penal Code.

Section 122 of the Penal Code states: “Whoever collects or attempts to collect men, arms or ammunition, or otherwise prepares to wage war with the intention of either waging or being prepared to wage war against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or any of the Rulers or the Yang di-Pertua Negeri or abets the waging or the preparation of such war, shall be punished with imprisonment for life or imprisonment for a term not exceeding twenty years, and shall also be liable to fine.”

“In fighting for his political survival, the Najib government and ministers should not undermine public confidence in the independence, impartiality, integrity and professionalism of the key national institutions that these pillars of the national system of governance destroys all public and international confidence in them, resulting in loss of foreign investment and a precipitate economic decline,” Lim said.

The first rally in 2007 saw up to 50,000 people take to the capital’s streets before they were dispersed by police with tear gas and water cannons.

Malay rights group Perkasa has threatened a counter rally if Bersih continues with its plans while Umno Youth said it would hold a rally in support of the Election Commission, which is the subject of Bersih’s demands.

PAS has asked for one million members to take to the streets on July 9 to support Bersih, which has also organised rallies in several cities around the world.

“The Yang di-Pertuan Agong, the prime minister and the government-of-the-day can count on my loyalty and patriotism and that of the DAP in any treasonous war against the king, but we will not lend ourselves to any fictitious claims to justify gross abuse of power and blatant human rights violations against patriotic Malaysians to prevent them from a peaceful and democratic exercise of free speech and free assembly.

“I read with consternation The Malaysian Insider report and I believe this is also the shocked outrage of Malaysians — with the question bulking large as to how the country has swiftly descended into such a macabre farce,” the Ipoh Timor MP said.

It is understood that the 30 activists were detained at the Sungai Dua toll plaza near Kepala Batas in Penang while on their way to a gathering in support of the Bersih rally planned for July 9.

The government has said it will not issue permits for Bersih’s planned rally on July 9, which calls for free and fair elections.

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