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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. [Volume 39, Number 19, 1976.]

No Justice in Malaysian Laws — International Commission of Jurists Severly Criticise/Malaysian Laws

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No Justice in Malaysian Laws

International Commission of Jurists Severly Criticise/Malaysian Laws.

The International Commission of Jurists based in Geneva has severely criticised the restrictive nature of Malaysian laws.

In its annual report the ICJ takes issue with three Malaysian Government regulations passed last year. It notes that the Essential (Security Cases) Regulations passed under the continuing State of Emergency in Malaysia permitted the detention of suspects up to 60 days (2months) without being brought before a magistrate. The assets and property of the suspect are confiscated if he fails to surrender.

A variety of measures prevent a suspect from having a fair trial. He is tried before a judge with no jury and evidence of identity can be very slack.

It is the opinion of the ICJ that such regulations may be considered more as protecting the might of the government in power than the security of the nation, a trend which regretably seen in other countries as well as in Malaysia.

Equally disturbing in the view of the ICJ are the provisions of the Malaysian Community Self Reliance Regulations which make every member of a household above the age of 14 responsible for the family's activities.

The review of the Commission published here (Geneva) comments: 'This is either to be regarded as a form of guilt by association or as a kind of reprisal. In either case, it is a serious violation of basic principles of justice."

In addition and in response to widespread student demonstrations in support of striking Malaysian farm labourers, it noted that students in that country had been singled out for restrictions under the University and University Colleges Act 1975. This prohibits students from joining any or supporting any society, political party or trade union inside or outside Malaysia, even if lawfully established. In addition students charged with any criminal offence are automatically dismissed or suspended from their college or university.

The ICJ based here in Geneva comments that such measures are bound to drive underground a great deal of student activities and to create conditions for the spread of "subversion" which the State of Emergency in Malaysia is supposedly intended to avoid. One encouraging element is that Malaysian lawyers have spoken out against the harsh regulations.

Transcription of a Radio Australia broadcast monitored on 28/7/76 on 30 metre band wavelength (shortwave).

The criticism of the ICJ is significant in that for the first time, a body of international standing has been moved to draw to the attention of the world the harsh and terroristic nature of Malaysian security laws.

As if to affirm the comments of the ICJ, the Malaysian government recently announced new amendments to these laws. The amendments will allow the government to deny the arrested suspect access to legal representation and knowledge of the allegations against him. The meaning of these amendments is very plain, whatever the "Rule of Law" is, all the underlying principles of justice concerning the trial of an accused have been dispensed with.

It is important to see this as part of a whole scheme where-by the "Rule of Law" is used to safeguard the power of the ruling class under the guise of defending the country agianst "communism".


Since 1948, the Law in Malaysia has been systematically forged into a Weapon of Oppression to terrorise citizens, as a means of controlling them and to contain the progressive social development of the Malaysian people. If Malaysian lawyers have just begun to criticise the "harsh regulations", this move is over twenty years too late.

"[unclear: ferrorism]" as a technique of government was first developed and systematically used by the French from 1793 to 1798, a period which became known as the "Reign of Terror". Under the Law of Suspects during this period, the French authorities could arrest, detain and execute people without trial.

"Terror" as used by the Malaysian government is all embracing. Security laws cover every citizen; industrial and labour alws - inhibit workers and unions; and students are totally bound and gagged by the University and University Colleges Act 1975, whose effects are noted by the ICJ.

These and other fascist laws have created an atmosphere of insecurity and terror throughout the land and even among citizens abroad. It is felt most by people who have lost all their freedom and national independence at the hands of those who have betrayed the country to foreign interests and masters.

The most insidious thing about government terrorism is that it has the force of law, backed by armed might to enforce it.

The laws carry a two pronged penalty which directly and indirectly threatens all would-be law breakers or otherwise:
1.Those who break these laws or are suspected of breaking them will be punished without due process (i.e. a fair and open trial) by imprisonment or death in the most arbitrary fashion.
2.Any criticism of the validity of these laws is proscribed by the Malaysian Constitution in Secitons 4(2)(a) and 10(2)(a) which is subtitled "Freedom of speech, assembly and association."

The ICJ made a very succint observation that in general the more severe, repressive and terroristic the law, the more Malaysians will go underground to plan ways of chainging the situation.

In fact, the Malaysian government is more dangerous than the communist and is the main danger to the freedom of the Malaysian people. As the Civil War between the CPM and the Malaysian Government intensifies, so will the government intensify its use of terror to keep down an increasingly rebellious population. It will be a dark period of Malaysian history which will be known as its Reign of Terror.

This is terrorism pure and simple. Alongside this form of terrorism, "communist terrorism" pales into insignificance. The Malaysian government has more control and power over the lives of citizens than the communist ever had or have in Malaya, by virtue of its ability to legalise its acts of repression. Further, "communist terrorism" is a myth founded on the fact that the communist revolutionaries did carry out reprisals against civilian waverers and informers between 1948 and 1950. This senseless period of destruction lasted for a short time in the 45 year old history of the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) compared with the more thorough going terrorism of the government, which has continued without abating since 1948.

In the final analysis, Malaysians will have no choice but to follow the dictum in the preamble of the UN Charter of Human Rights, that if the laws are excessively repressive, the government a tyranny, the oppressed people have the right to rebel against their oppressors.