ISA detention of Six Sabahans receiving increasing international attention as latest example of violation of human rights in Malaysia

By Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Friday, November 9, 1991:

ISA detention of Six Sabahans receiving increasing international attention as latest example of violation of human rights in Malaysia.

The detention of Six Sabahans without trial under the International Security Act is receiving increasing international attention as the latest example of violation of human rights in Malaysia.

The Six Sabahans under detention in Kamunting Detention Centre are accused of involvement in a conspiracy to take Sabah out of Malaysia but this serious allegation had never been backed up with one iota of evidence, whether in the courts or at the bar of public opinion or in Parliament by way of a Government White Paper.

Amnesty International, which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for its fight for prisoners of conscience throughout the world, has issued an eight-page report entitled: “Malaysia: Administrative Detention of Sabahans” where it said:

“The Federal authorities have not presented any evidence to substantiate its public accusation that the seven ISA detainees (one of them, Maximus Ongkili was released at the edn of the initial 60-day custody) was engaged in a plot to take Sabah out of the Fedaration of Malaysia. None of them have been charged or tried.”

The Amnesty International special document on the Sabah detentions concluded: “In the present case, the opportunities open to the Sabah detainees to seek redress from the courts and to seek an independent appeal or review of their case in extremely limited.”

The Washington-based human rights organisation, ASIA WATCH, also issued a special report on October 18, 1991 on the Sabah detentions entitled: “Malaysia: Detainees in Sabah.”

ASIA WATCH states in its Report that it “believes they (the Sabah detainees) were arrested for the peaceful expression of their political views and association with a political party that had run afoul of Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir.”

Right form the beginning of the Sabah detentions, starting with the arrest of Damit Undikai, 54, Benedict Topin 37 and Albinus Yudah, 41, in May 1990, the DAP had pretested against the gross violation of human rights and consistently demanded their unconditional release or being charged in open court to give them a chance to defend themselves. The other three Sabahans still under detention are Abdul Rahman Ahmad, 51, Vincent Chung, 48, and Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan, 43.

The DAP has also repeatedly pressed the Federal Government to issue a White Paper to substantiate its allegation of a plot for the secession of Sabah from Malaysia which it had used to justify the continued detention of the six Sabahans under the ISA.

I call on Members of Parliament from all political parties to express grave concern at the continued detention of the six Sabah detainees when the Government is unable to give one iota of evidence to substantiate its serious allegations, which has gravely damaged Malaysia’s international reputation.
All MPs concerned about human rights should act in unison regardless of party affiliation to press for the immediate and unconditional release of the six Sabah detainees.