against Enforced Disappearances
August 30, 2019
International Day for Victims of Enforced Disappearances.
to observe the day, Citizens against Enforced Disappearances (CAGED) hosted a
regional conference on enforced disappearances. We invited the foreign minister
to give the keynote speech at a hotel in Kuala Lumpur to 120 attendees.
We did so
because while he was in the Global Movement of Moderates funded by the Najib
government and again, soon after he became foreign minister in the “New
Malaysia”, he made noise about Malaysia ratifying international covenants
including ICERD, the International Convention On the Elimination of All Forms
of Racial Discrimination.
that under him, Malaysia would be the second-last of the 57 Organization of
Islamic Countries to ratify ICERD – presently, only Malaysia and Brunei have
not ratified the treaty. We hoped that under him, Malaysia would also ratify
the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced
Malaysia would stop being a left-behind state. We hoped Malaysia would move
into the ranks of enlightened nations which give more than lip-service to
didn’t even bother to reply to us, neither did he make any statement about the
day. We expect he will remain similarly silent this year.
is remarkable since Malaysia, this year, joined the ranks of certified police
states – states in which the government reserves the right to abduct and
disappear “inconvenient persons”.
joined the ranks of Argentina, Chile and Israel when, on April 3, the Human
Rights Commission of Malaysia or Suhakam concluded its 18-month inquiry into
the disappearances of social activist Amri Che Mat and Pastor Raymond Koh with
a damning conclusion.
inquiry panel, comprising a retired judge of the Court of Appeal (Mah Weng
Kwai) and two law professors (Aishah Bidin and Nik Salida Suhaila binti Nik
and circumstantial evidence… proves, on a balance of probabilities, that [Amri
Che Mat and Raymond Koh were] abducted by state agents namely, the Special
Branch, Bukit Aman, Kuala Lumpur.”
our Cabinet dispatched the minister for religious affairs to Christchurch, New
Zealand, to commiserate with the survivors of the brutal killings of members of
a tiny minority, in two mosques. The minister even held a “peace rally” in KL
in response to the Christchurch shootings. The de facto leader of PKR, “the
Justice Party”, tabled an emergency motion in Parliament to debate the
Christchurch shootings by a lone actor.
our Cabinet disdained from even expressing shock at the abduction and
disappearance, by the state, of an alleged Shiite social activist and a
Christian pastor, under the previous government. Our prime minister brushed off
Suhakam’s conclusion as “based on hearsay”.
the Cabinet has not acted on the recommendation of Suhakam to appoint
investigators to do the basic investigative work which the police failed to do
in these two cases. The original investigating officers apparently continue to
have charge of the cases.
the home minister has appointed a bogus task force with no published terms of
reference and two members who have conflicts of interest. Appointees to the
bogus task force even include a person who represented the police at the
inquiry. Unlike the other two members, this member responded honourably to
public clamour. He withdrew.
bogus task force appears complicit in a bogus claim included in an appeal
released by the police this week.
statement, the police claim Suhakam accused the police of not cooperating with
the inquiry because one Saiful Bahari, a civilian employee of the police,
failed to give evidence at the inquiry.
the investigating officer in Amri’s case was cornered into disclosing the
identity of Saiful after a police whistleblower revealed that Saiful worked for
the police in Kuala Lumpur. The police even admitted to having approved an
absurdly large number of leave days for Saiful in 2017 and gave conflicting
testimonies about what work Saiful did for them. Saiful worked for the police
for 18 years.
cases of misconduct of police officers were indicated during the inquiry,
including the fabrication of evidence and making of false police reports. Yet
the police disciplinary authority appears to have taken no action against any of
the complicit officers.
scope was restricted to the disappearances of those named in the inquiry’s
terms of reference. We know others have disappeared in Malaysia, including
Turkish nationals whose “return” to Turkey by Malaysia has been publicly
announced by the Turkish authorities.
So, we have
a government which either appreciates the extra-judicial work of the police or
chooses to be in denial about enforced disappearances in Malaysia while
clamouring for the safety of minorities in other nations.
Today is a
day of shame for Malaysia. Will it remain so next year?
Against Enforced Disappearances (CAGED) is a civil society group.
Headline: A day of shame for Malaysia
Source: Free Malaysia Today