In political retaliation, police remand children over ISA rally

By Wong Choon Mei, Suara Keadilan

In a move smacking of political vengeance and in gross violation of international rules on children’s rights, Malaysian police have detained three youths aged 16 and below without giving any reasons, neither allowing their parents nor legal counsel access to them.

Despite a barrage of civil society leaders, children NGOs and lawyers rushing to the scene, Prime Minister Najib Razak’s administration has refused to give an inch, even forbidding the government-run welfare department from assisting in the case.

“The children are being used as bargaining chips. It is a violation of the International Convention of Children’s Rights of which Malaysia is a signatory,” human rights lawyer and PKR communications director Jonson Chong told Suara Keadilan.

On Friday, police arrested 16-year old Faizudin Hamzah at the central station at 11.55pm. They did not give any reasons. Yet the magistrate went ahead and gave a 4-day omnibus remand order without seeing the boy, who was sleeping when he was detained.

The other two youths – one aged 16 and another only 13 – are being taken to the Bukit Jalil police station where they will be remanded.

Growing civil unhappiness, rising police brutality


It is believed that the arrests were part of the police crackdown against the mammoth anti-Internal Security Act rally held on Saturday.

Ten of thousands of Malaysians from all walks of life and all parts of the country had flooded the city centre to hold a peaceful demonstration against the oppressive law. They wanted to present a memorandum to the King but were crushed by unprecedentedly harsh police violence and attacks.

The authorities began setting up massive roadblocks on Friday night to corral the city, causing a traffic gridlock unseen for years.

Throughout Saturday, sirens tore into the air and round after round of tear gas and chemically-laced water were fired without any consideration for the health or safety of the crowds, who were mostly peaceful and whose aim was merely to be a part of a democratic march to better their society.

In its 49th year, the ISA allows the Umno-BN government to detain civilians especially political foes for indefinite periods without trial. Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department was defiant, refusing to show any remorse for the display of brutality.

“As long as Barisan Nasional is leading the government, the ISA will not be abolished,” Nazri told reporters on Saturday.

Who will be responsible?

Unsurprisingly, while the police used their batons on the anti-ISA groups, they allowed representatives that supported the continuance of the law to hand their letter to the King’s aide.

Such is now the level of bias openly extended by the police and other key institutions including the courts to Najib’s regime – a main factor for the rising civil unhappiness as Malaysians disdain the deteriorating quality of fair-play in their country.

Meanwhile, welfare officer Daing Terpateh Khairi would only repeat that he could not help the children without getting the green light from the police.

Faizudin has been placed in a cell with adult prisoners, bare-footed and made to wear inmate uniform. No investigating officer has come to see him yet. Neither has any statement been recorded from him so far.

“This is terrible. It is the welfare department’s duty to come immediately to the scene, but they are saying they don’t have any instructions from the police to do so,” said an irate lawyer at the scene.

“Who will look after these kids then? They are now in jail with all the adult criminals. Who will guarantee their safety, who will be responsible? Will PM Najib take responsibility if they are beaten or even raped by the hard-core ones?”