The armed revolution that did not take off (part 2)


The seven Internal Security Act (ISA) arrests so far, and with more to follow, is to curb the reformasi movement from toppling the government using bombs and grenade launchers, the Inspector-General of Police Norian Mai said in a press statement today. Norian, who read out the statement at a news conference in Bukit Aman this afternoon, said the police had information that these individuals were involved in militant activities which could undermine the security of the country. 


Raja Petra Kamarudin

Ezam rubbishes RPK’s claim of an ‘armed struggle’

Former PKR Youth chief denies blogger’s allegation of an armed revolution plot in 2001. 

(Free Malaysia Today) – Senator Ezam Mohd Nor today denied any knowledge of an armed revolution plot during his period as PKR Youth leader, as alleged by blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin.

“There was not a single armed revolution meeting in my presence,” said Ezam in response to claims by Malaysia Today editor Raja Petra better known as RPK yesterday.

Until today, RPK alleged that Ezam and current Umno youth exco member Lokman Adam had never rebutted claims that PKR Youth had planned for an armed revolution.

RPK said that he came to know of the plot when he was detained the under ISA along with Ezam, Lokman, Tian Chua, Saari Sungib, Hishamuddin Rais and Dr Badrul Amin Bahron in 2001.

All of them were detained under the ISA for two years over the alleged plot. Ezam was then PKR Youth leader from 1999 to 2005 before quitting the party altogether.

He started his political career with Umno, but left the party to join Anwar Ibrahim’s PKR and his Reformasi movement in 1998.

In the interim, before rejoining Umno in 2008, he formed an anti-corruption NGO called Gerak. Ezam was made a senator in 2010.

RPK yesterday claimed that there was a series of more than 10 meetings held in Ampang in 2001 on ‘the armed revolution’, the first of which RPK said he attended.

Ezam said RPK’s claim that he (Ezam) was in Kamunting because of the ‘armed revolution plot’ remains unproven.

Current PKR vice president, Tian Chua also denied the allegation.

“Raja Petra forgot that we were arrested together. I don’t know why he is rehashing this matter at this point in time,” said Tian Chua.


Bombs and grenade launchers to topple government: IGP

(Malaysiakini, 11 April 2001) — The seven Internal Security Act (ISA) arrests so far, and with more to follow, is to curb the reformasi movement from toppling the government using bombs and grenade launchers, the Inspector-General of Police Norian Mai said in a press statement today.

Norian, who read out the statement at a news conference in Bukit Aman this afternoon, said the police had information that these individuals were involved in militant activities which could undermine the security of the country.

“The reformasi movement which began in September 1998 plans to topple the government through massive street demonstrations and is prepared to use militant tactics,” he said.

Keadilan vice-president Tian Chua, Youth leaders Mohamad Ezam Mohd Noor and N Gobalakrishnan, chairman of the Committee for the People’s Memorandum of April 14 Saari Sungib and Malaysiakini columnist and film maker Hishamuddin Rais were arrested by police under the ISA yesterday. webmaster Raja Petra Raja Kamarudin and Keadilan youth executive councillor Abdul Ghani Haroon were arrested today.

Molotov cocktails

The militant tactics the police chief listed to be used by the reformasi movement were:

– taking various steps to get explosives including bombs and grenade launchers;

– using molotov cocktails, ball-bearings and other dangerous weapons to attack security forces and create chaos during street demonstrations around Kuala Lumpur such as during October 1998; and

– acquiring the assistance and support of silat (martial arts) instructors and influencing a big number of former officers and members of the security forces to join the movement.

“In an effort to curb the militant trend, police took action against 28 activists under Section 73 (1) of the Internal Security Act (ISA) 1960 between Sept 20 and Dec 24 in 1998.”

Political facade

Norian said the reformasi movement returned in mid-1999 behind the facade of a political party platform, adding that a large number of the reformasi activists had been involved in activities to create racial tension using religious and racial issues. 

“This includes the dissemination of false information that many Malays had been converted to Christianity during the Lunas by-election,” he said.

He said the militant tactics during the Lunas by-election included reformasi activists who violently threatened, harassed and frightened voters and the public.

“In late 2000, reformasi activists decided to get involved in the democratic process and election system to realise their goals. They have also decided to use unconstitutional ways to trigger massive militant-style street demonstrations nearing the 2004 general elections,” the Inspector-General said.

Secret group

A secret group made up of 20 reformasi activists had been set up in Kuala Lumpur to realise their plan to topple the government, he said.

According to the police chief, between Jan 6 and April 4 this year, 12 secret meetings were held to plan ways to influence the people to engage in street demonstrations and illegal assemblies using militant tactics as part of their campaign.

“One of the most important plans of the reformasi movement in the near future is to organise a big street demonstration called the ‘Black 14’ assembly in Kuala Lumpur on April 14,” Norian said.

In an effort to confuse the authorities, the gathering has been termed as ‘The Gathering to Handover a People’s Memorandum on Human Rights’ – where they plan to gather 50,000 people around Kuala Lumpur. This gathering and march has the potential to turn into a riot,” said Norian.

Power to detain

He explained that the police had taken action under Section 73 (1) of the ISA because they believe they have grounds to arrest those involved in the group under Section 8 of the Act for putting the country’s security at risk.

Section 73 (1) provides the police the power to detain and arrest any person without a warrant pending enquiries if it is believed that there are grounds which would justify the person’s detention under Section 8; and that the person has acted or is about to act or is likely to act in any matter prejudicial to the security of Malaysia.

Section 8 allows the Home Affairs Minister power to order the detention or restriction of persons as a preventive measure to safeguard the security of the country and the person may be detained for any period not exceeding two years.

Substantiate allegation

In an immediate reaction to the police statement, Barisan Alternatif leaders said the Inspector-General of Police should substantiate his allegation that the seven arrested under the ISA (six of whom are Parti Keadilan leaders and members) were planning militant actions to topple the government. 

“It is a pity the IGP’s allegation against the seven cannot be examined by a court of law since the ISA denies them an open trial,” said Keadilan deputy president Chandra Muzaffar in a press statement released tonight. 

He said since its launch two years ago, Keadilan together with its BA partners have consistently adhered to peaceful, constitutional, democratic processes to bring about political change in the country. “Keadilan is convinced that this latest manoeuvre by the government to tarnish our party will not work. The masses who support us know our struggle and waht we stand for,” he said. 

Meanwhile, Parti Rakyat Malaysia (PRM) president Dr Syed Husin Ali said by using ISA, the IGP “thinks he can get away with murder because he knows under the ISA the detainees will not be brought to court to defend themselves”. 

“The IGP should not allow the police force to concoct far-fetched accusations in order to justify detaining people without trial under the draconian ISA.

“PRM is most concerned that the IGP seems to have allowed himself and the police force to do the bidding of the Prime Minister who is concerned about his political survival,” added Syed Husin.



Nine detained under the draconian ISA in Malaysia


Following the latest detention of Lokman Nor Adam on 24 April 2001, nine pro-reform activists in Malaysia have been detained under the draconian Internal Security Act (ISA), which allows for indefinite detention without trial.

The arrest started just days before the 2nd anniversary commemorating the conviction of former Deputy Prime Minister and Amnesty International’s prisoner of conscience, Anwar Ibrahim on 14 April 2001. The nine men, together with pro-reform activists, NGOs and political parties were preparing an event to forward a formal complaint and memorandum to the National Human Rights Commission (SUHAKAM) on April 14, 2001, on the state of human rights in Malaysia. This event and intention was made known to the public and the mass media. The organising committee had also notified the Commission of their intention to submit the memorandum on April 14th, in which an appointment was approved by the Commission to receive the memorandum.

The first arrest took place on 10th April 2001. Since then, activists have been picked up one at a time. The Inspector-General of Police stated on many occasions that they will continue to detain more people without trial under the ‘alleged’ threat to national security has ceased. This threat from the police also serves as a ‘warning’ to any pro-reform activists and human rights defenders that many more may be detained under the ISA.

Justification for detention without trial?

The Inspector-General Police, Tan Sri Norian Mai, came out with a statement on the arrests on 11 April 2001, alleging that the detainees were attempting to buy grenade launchers, with a sustained programme (running up to the 2004 elections) of using street demonstrations to gather support, and riots to destabilise the country.

He said that the public was being misled by the activists with an event being planned for April 14, the anniversary of the verdict on ex-Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. The confusion in the minds of the public was due to a change of name, from ‘Black 14’ to a handing over of a ‘Memorandum Rakyat’ (People’s Memorandum) to Suhakam. It was on these grounds that they were detained, without trial.

Government politicians, including both the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister, spoke in favour of the detentions. The Prime Minister was also quoted in the media that the arrests without trial were necessary, as the authorities do not have enough evidence to charge them in court! The National Human Rights Commission was condemned by de facto law minister, Rais Yatim, for coming out with a statement against the use of the ISA. 

On Saturday (14th April), various NGOs and political parties handed in several memoranda to the National Human Rights Commission. The police estimated that 1,500 people showed up, with organisers estimating the numbers were closer to 4,000. The event proceeded and ended peacefully and several of the human rights commissioners came down to address the crowd.




Urgent Appeal: Release Political Prisoners Under ISA in Malaysia

On 6 September 2002, the Federal Court ruled that the first 60 days detention of five reformasi leaders, namely Tian Chua, Mohad Ezam Mohd Nor, Hishamuddin Rais, Saari Sungib and Raja Petra under the Internal Security Act (ISA) by the police is UNLAWFUL. They had unanimously agreed that the detentions in April 2001 by the police were made in bad faith.

The Federal Court is the highest court in Malaysia and the judgement was made by Chief Justice Mohamed Dzaiddin Abdullah, Chief Judge of the High Courts of Sabah and Sarawak Steve Shim, Justice Siti Norma Yaakob and Justice Abdul Malek Ahmad.

The ISA provides the government with power to arrest anyone suspected to be prejudicial to national security without charge or trial.


As the habeas corpus application is filed against the detention made by the police under section 73 of the ISA, which empowers the police to arrest up to 60 days those suspected of committing activities prejudicial to national security, the Federal Court ruled that the judgement would not affect the two-year detention orders signed by the Home Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi under Section 8(1) of the ISA. The Federal Court adviced the lawyers of the political prisoners to file in a fresh habeas corpus application to challenge the two-year detention.

Tian Chua, Mohad Ezam Mohd Nor, Hishamuddin Rais, Saari Sungib and Raja Petra were arrested in April 2001 for allegedly trying to topple the government through militant means. The lawyers filed in the habeas corpus application in April 2001 to challenge the detention. Before the first 60-day detention lapsed, Raja Petra was released on 2 June 2001 while the other four were served an order to extend their detention to two years at the Kamunting Detention Center.

Until today, the government has not produce any evidence to substantiate their allegations thrown at the political prisoners. Amnesty International has declared the detainees as prisoners of conscience.

Two other political prisoners who were arrested together with the five reformasi leaders in April 2001 and are still being detained under the ISA at the Kamunting Dteention Camp, are Dr. Badrulamin and Lokman Nor Adam. They did not file in habeas corpus application.

We call upon you to give solidarity support to these political prisoners and to pressure the Malaysian government for immediate and unconditional release of these political detainees.