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Nov 14, 2008

Arrests raise fears of return to bad old days

malaysianinsider | ..."We fear with Abdullah's departure and the return of hardliners like Dr Mahathir to prominence, political repression is back on a scale not seen in the last five years," said opposition lawmaker M. Kulasegaran.

"The recent spate of arrests is just the beginning."

On Tuesday in parliament, opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim described Najib as a dictator like Dr Mahathir, who would not tolerate dissent and would use security powers to crack down on the political opposition.

On Sunday, police with batons charged a group of lawyers, opposition lawmakers and writers who were holding a candle-light vigil for victims of detention without trial.

More than 25 of the protesters were arrested, held overnight and questioned.

Lawyers acting for the protesters said the 25 were likely to be charged next week with taking part in an illegal assembly, a serious charge in Malaysia that is punishable by one year in jail. Any gathering of five or more people requires a police permit, which is often refused, forcing dissenters to risk arrest if they continue to protest.

Lawmakers involved in the vigil would be disqualified if they are found guilty.... selanjutnya.


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