~ Joint Statement of 33 Civil Society Organisations on 10 February 2015

We, the undersigned civil society organisations, call upon the federal government to stop crackdown on separatist lobbies like ‘Sabah Sarawak Keluar Malaysia’ (SSKM).

Instead, it should appoint a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) to investigate the resentment of Sabahans and Sarawakians to invalidate the rationale for any call of secession.

We call upon the Police to immediately release the five SSKM activists detained in Lahad Datu on Sunday and drop all investigations on them as well as nine other SSKM activists arrested in Tuaran on February 1.

We do not at all support the allegedly call for secession but we stand up for the activists’ right, as fellow citizens, to peaceful advocacy of changes on two grounds.

First, insofar that violence is not employed and employment of violence is not advocated, Malaysians’ right to free speech is enshrined in the Article 10(1)(a). Leafleting, signature collection or possession of “seditious” materials cannot constitute any threat to national security unless we think Malaysia is widely rejected by Sabahans and Sarawakians and therefore cannot withstand any call of secession.

Second, cracking down on peaceful advocates of separatism only sweep under the carpet resentments held by many Sabahans and Sarawakians, and deny the nation the opportunities to make herself more inclusive and more just.

A PSC should be set up to find ways to improve East-West relation and national cohesiveness by reforming our federal arrangement and realising the promises laid down in the Malaysia Agreement and the Intergovernmental Committee Report.

The PSC’s terms of reference should cover scopes from regional imbalance, petroleum royalty, poverty, cultural and religious freedom, natives customary right (NCR) land, environmental destruction, carbotage policy, to influx of illegal immigrants,

Suppression of East Malaysian dissent instead of addressing them will only fuel alienation and validate the call by groups like SKMM. The Police must immediately stop their crackdown which is unwittingly undermining the legitimacy of Malaysia.

  1. Teoh Beng Hock Trust for Democracy
  2. Solidariti Anak Muda Malaysia (SAMM)
  3. Kelab Bangsar Utama (KBU)
  4. Research for Social Advancement (REFSA)
  5. Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (Empower)
  6. Focus on Sarawak
  7. KL & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall Women Section
  8. Women Development Organization of Malaysia PJ Branch
  10. Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
  11. Persatuan Promosi Hak Asasi Manusia (PROHAM)
  12. Oriental Hearts and Mind Study Institute (OHMSI)
  13. Borneo’s Plight in Malaysia Foundatio (BOPIM)
  14. Aliran
  15. Writers’ Alliance for Media Independence (WAMI)
  16. Pusat Komas
  17. Youth Section of Selangor & KL Hokkien Association
  18. Parti Sosialis malaysia (PSM)
  19. Save Open Spaces, Kota Kinabalu
  21. National Indian Rights Action Team ( NIAT )
  22. We Are Malaysians
  23. Ipoh Tamil Muslim Development Association
  24. Penang Tamil Muslim Development Association
  25. Persatuan Masyarakat Selangor & Wilayah Persekutuan (PERMAS)
  26. Save Sarawak Rivers
  27. Persatuan Mahasiswa Universiti Malaya
  28. University of Malaya Association of New Youth (UMANY)
  29. UPM student progressive front
  30. Persatuan Bahasa Tionghua USM
  31. Persatuan Alumni PBTUSM Selangor dan Kuala Lumpur
  32. Damn the Dams Action Group
  33. Civil Rights Committee of KL & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall