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Debate with Mat Sabu, not prosecute him!

21 September 2011

Civil Society Joint Press Statement

We, the undersigned civil society organisations, collectively register our utter disgust over the prosecution of PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu under Section 505 of the Penal Code with uttering statements tantamount to public mischief. He was even briefly arrested last night.

Charging Sabu goes against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s pledge to promote openness and democracy on Malaysia Day.

It raises questions over the sincerity of PM Najib in announcing a series of reforms including amendment of the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA), whether he has full control on the police or both.

We urge the government to immediately drop the politically-motivated charge of Sabu and stop intimidating dissidents who oppose and challenge official history and ideology.

We urge the PM and DPM, instead of using government machinery to criminalize Sabu, to take up the challenge posed by him by having a no-holds-barred TV debate on the Bukit Kepong issue. 

Likewise, politicians, retired police and military personnel as well as groups like Perkasa can debate with Sabu or expose the flaws of his views in media or in forums. They should respect Sabu’s right to have opinions from theirs.

Resorting to the state power to silence an opponent’s view is an act of cowardice. It shows only insecurity and no confidence to win a debate with facts and reason.

Such suppression of freedom is in fact an insult to independence of this country. For with independence, Malaysians should enjoy human rights and freedoms, unlike subjects of colonies or one-party states.

Endorsing Civil Society Organizations :

1. Writers Alliance for Media Independence (WAMI)
2. Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
3. Tenaganita
4. Persatuan Masyarakat Selangor dan Wilayah Persekutuan (PERMAS)
5. KOMAS
6. Civil Rights Committee of KL & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (CRC-KLSCAH)
7. Civil Society Committee of LLG Cultural Development Centre
8. National Interlok Action Team (NIAT)
9. 528 Media Action Group
10. Centre for Policy Initiatives (CPI)
11. Malaysia Youth & Students Democratic Movement(DEMA)
12. Community Action Network (CAN)
13. Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM)
14. Monitoring Sustainability of Globalisation (MSN)
15. Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (JERIT)
16. Youth Section of KL & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall
17. Student Progressive Front USM
18. Student Progressive Front UPM
19. Student Progressive Front UUM
20. Student Progressive Front NEC 
21. Persatuan Komuniti Prihatian Selangor (PRIHATIN)
22. Persatuan Bahasa Tionghua UPM
23. Solidariti Mahasiswa Malaysia (SMM)
24. Youth for Change (Y4C)
25. New Era College Alumni Association
26. Federation of Malaysian Indian NGOs (PRIMA)
27. Persatuan Alumni PBTUSM Selangor & Kuala Lumpur
28. Northern Region PBTUSM Alumni Association
29. Solidarity for Civil Rights in China (Malaysia)
30. Kempen Sejarah Malaysia Sebenar
31. Kumpulan Aktivis Mahasiswa Independent (KAMI)
32. KOLEKTIF 50B 
33. Generasi 709
34. Kajian Politik untuk Perubahan (KPRU)
35. Suaram JB
36. Center for Orang Asli Concerns 
37. All Women’s Action Society (AWAM)
38. Rainbow Genders Society
39. social imagination workshop
40. Malaysians for Beng Hock Movement
41. Save Vui Kong Campaign
42. Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF)
43. Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor
44. T’anda Tanya of DurianFM.com
45. PertubuhanWartawan dan Jurugambar Akhbar Cina Pulau Pinang (PEWAJU)



Endorsing Political Organizations:

1. Parti sosialis Malaysia (PSM)
2. Selangor Pakatan Rakyat Elected Representatives’ Officers Association (SELPROA)