Corruption of any form has always been criticized across the world by many civil society activities, and in Malaysia, the chaotic scene has the same story. Maria Chin Abdullah, the chairperson of Bersh 2.0, was arrested weeks back and her mobile, computer, and other documents were seized. Then last week, hundreds of women marched in yellow t-shirts towards the parliamentary building in Kuala Lumpur, seeking her release.
Apart from Chin, nine other workers of Bersih were also arrested. Chin, was detained under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act, or SOSMA that is an antiterrorism law allowing detention for up to 28 days without trial. China, a 60-year-old activist already suffers from hypertension, high blood pressure and osteoarthritis, was reportedly being held in solitary confinement without light, or windows. It is not the first time that she has been arrested, but may face up to fifteen years if charges against her are proven. Many believe that such arrests are a sign that Prime Minister Najib Razak is under pressure.
Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, Josef Benedict said, “These arrests are the latest in a series of crude and heavy-handed attempts to intimidate Malaysian civil society activists and other human rights defenders. They must be released immediately and unconditionally, and tomorrow’s rally must be allowed to go ahead peacefully.” Josef terms those arrested as prisoners of conscience and sought support for freedom of expression throughout Malaysia.
A crowd of over a hundred thousand protestors has been seeking the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Razak, over the Malaysia Development Berhad Scandal in which he has reportedly channeled over $700 million to his personal accounts. The scandal has been linked with various global investment banks and financial intuitions that are also under scrutiny for their role in the scandal.