Witch Hunt

    13 July 2000

    Press Statement:
    Barisan Nasional Latest Witch Hunt

    It is disturbing to see that the Government crackdown against the Al Maunah
    group is turning into a political witch hunt to create fear in the society.
    The Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir has not let off this opportunity
    to attack the political dissidents against his autocratic rule. Not only
    that the Prime Minister is insinuating the Al Ma'unah cult is linked to t he
    mainstream political party such as PAS, he also tries to intimidate the
    Non-Muslim into staying loyal to the Barisan Nasional.

    KeADILan condemns such sinister political maneuvers. There are still many unresolved miseries and inconsistencies surrounding the case. The Governmen t
    needs to provide an honest and transparent account of the whole sequence of
    events to the public. We fear that the mass arrest of the alleged Al Ma'u nah
    members is used as intimidation and persecution against legitimate
    organizations or innocent individuals.

    The draconian Internal Security Act (ISA) is again being justified as a too l
    for national security. Individuals suspected linked with deviant cults are< BR> now targeted victims of the ISA. KeADILan strongly opposes the detention of
    alleged Al Ma'unah members under the ISA. At the same time, the Governmen t
    should not be evasive in investigating flaws within the security system.
    Slacken security procedures in the camp and incompetence of the IGP had
    resulted the deplorable death of two servicemen.

    The use of ISA by the Barisan Nasional (BN) Government is not only a
    violation of basic human rights. As the process of inquest conducted under< BR> the ISA is non-transparent, we fear that the authorities may use this
    pretext to cover up irregularities, loopholes or wrongdoings in the nationa l
    security system to avoid embarrassment.

    So far, the authorities concerned is yet to make public the names of the
    accused members of the Al Ma'unah group who are held under ISA. There hav e
    been no statements from the police forces to assure that their safety and dignity would be respected and that their interrogation would be free from< BR> torture and violence.

    From the tract records of police, ISA detainees have been subjected to all< BR> forms of tortures, intimidation and humiliation throughout the process of inquiries. We suspect many of the detainees would again victimized by the authorities. We believe the existing Criminal Codes and the Firearm Act are
    sufficient and appropriate to handle culprits in the arms heists incident.< BR> People who are not connected to the incident should be released immediately
    or charge them in open court.

    It seems that the Government has conveniently widened the persecution
    targets to legitimate political dissents. Evidently, the Prime Minister and
    several other BN leaders are exploiting the situation to justify a larger campaign against the opposition. However, the BN leadership should not
    underestimate the intelligence of the people. The people could see through< BR> the real intention of the Government's futile actions is nothing but to divert public attention from widespread abuses of power in the government and the mismanagement of the national economy.

    Tian Chua
    Vice President Parti KeADILan

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