Call on Abdullah to repudiate  Chor’s statement and give an assurance that there would be no “kangaroo court” proceedings to penalise or victimise the  reformasi six for the anniversary hunger-strike to demand for public trial or immediate  release

Media Statement 
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya,  Saturday):  The Deputy Prime Minister cum Home Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should repudiate the statement by the Deputy Home Minister, Datuk Chor Chee Heung that the anniversary hunger strike by the reformasi six ISA detainees is a violation of detention  regulations and  procedures. 

Abdullah should instead give a categorical assurance that the reformasi six - Mohamad Ezam Mohamad Nor, Hishamuddin Rais, Chua Tian Chang, Saari Sungib, Badrulamin Bahron and Lokman Noor Adam - would not be penalised or victimised in any manner for the anniversary hunger strike to demand for public trial or immediate release. 

Chor was biased and arrogated to himself the roles of prosecutor, judge and jury   in jumping to the conclusion that the anniversary hunger strike by the reformasi six is  ipso facto a violation of  Rule 73(h)  of the Internal Security (Detained Persons) Rules 1960 which defines  “refusing without reasonable excuse to eat the food provided in the place of detentions” as a “minor offence” punishable by confinement or deprivation of the detainee’s privileges “relating to food, books, clothing, luxuries of any description, letters, visitors or  any other matter whatever, of which he may be in enjoyment”. 

This is because Chor had overlooked Rule 71 of the Internal Security (Detained Persons) Rules 1960 which entitles a detainee to a full and proper “due enquiry” before he could be found guilty of  any “minor offence” under the Rules, especially as the reformasi six have  strong and powerful  grounds for their hunger strike supported not only by the Federal Constitution, Malaysia’s international obligations as a member of the United Nations and participant in various international Human Rights Conferences  but also by  a whole bundle of   international human rights declarations and covenants.   

In October/November 1988, when 18 Operation Lalang detainees staged an anniversary week-long hunger strike to protest the gross injustices and the democratic farce of their  continued detention, the detainees were deprived of visitation rights with their families and lawyers, newspapers and letters without any “due enquiry”, and when the detainees protested at such a flagrant violation of the detention Rules, a “kangaroo court” was hastily convened where the detainees were found guilty of infringing the Rules without giving the detainees  a chance to be heard - an unlawful act as it was  a blatant violation of the rules of natural justice. 

Abdullah should give an assurance that there would be no  repeat of such “kangaroo court” proceedings in the case of the anniversary hunger strike of  the reformasi six to find them  guilty of a  “minor offence” under the detention Rules to  justify the imposition of illegal and inhumane punishments, and that any such  “due enquiry” would not only comply fully with the rules of natural justice but the detainees would be properly represented by counsel. 

What is urgent and imperative, however, is that Abdullah should give personal attention to the hunger strike by the reformasi six and the national and international calls for their immediate release and the repeal of the draconian and iniquitous Internal Security Act.  For a start, Abdullah should agree to the sending of an independent panel of medical officers to visit and monitor the medical conditions of the six hunger strikers in Kamunting Detention Centre, as it will be a serious blot on Malaysia’s international reputation if anyone of the reformasi six suffer serious injury to health or life while under ISA incarceration. 


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman