DAP calls on Malaysian Government to heed the adverse international reactions on the arrest of Anderson Mutang Urud

by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Friday, 14th February 1992:

DAP calls on Malaysian Government to heed the adverse international reactions on the arrest of Anderson Mutang Urud

DAP calls on the Malaysian Government to heed the adverse international reactions to the arrest of Anderson Mutang Urud for his opposition to deforestation and involvement in the struggle of indigenous communities in Sarawak to protect their land and cultural rights.

It is clear that the detention of Anderson Mutang Urud in Miri at 11.30 p.m. on February 5, 1992 under the Emergency (Public Order and Prevention of Crime) Ordinance 1969 as deliberately timed after the ASEAN Summit Meeting in Singapore to avoid the maximum international publicity which it would otherwise attract.

However, the Malaysian Government must be aware that international reactions to Anderson’s arrest have been adverse and are now mounting.

DAP opposes Anderson’s detention and calls for his immediate and unconditional release for the following four reasons:

1. There is no justification or legitimacy whatsoever to invoke Emergency Ordinances and powers enacted in 1969 when the 1969 Emergency has long become a 23-year-old history;

2. It is undemocratic and a gross abuse of the human rights guaranteed in the Malaysian Constitution and the international human rights declarations to detain a person for exercising his right to protect land and cultures of indigenous communities in Sarawak;

3. If Anderson had committed any offence under the laws of the land, then he should be charged in court so that he could defend himself in an open trial; and

4. The arbitrary and undemocratic detention of Anderson would aggravate Malaysia’s poor international human rights image and runs contrary to the effort of the Cabinet in trying to project an improved international human rights image.

DAP therefore calls on the Malaysian and Sarawak Governments to heed local and world-wide calls for:

1. The immediate and unconditional release of Anderson Mutang Urud;

2. Immediate suspension of any actions taken against Sarawakians on anti-logging blockades who have consistently voiced their willingness to negotiate with relevant authorities for the protection of their lands and cultures;

3. The Malaysian Government and the Sarawak State Government to recognise indigenous land rights and cultural rights, and to review completely their logging policy so that both people and environment are protected;

4. The repeal of the Internal Security Act, the Emergency Ordinance and all other legislation which deprives an individual of the right to have charges levelled against them in a court of law.