PRESS STATEMENT BY THE WOMEN’S WING OF PARTI KEADILAN NASIONAL (NATIONAL JUSTICE PARTY) ON THE ARREST OF OPPOSITION YOUTH LEADER, MOHD. EZAM MOHD. NOOR
Wanita KeADILan condemns the arrest of our national Youth leader, Mohd. Ezam Mohd. Noor and nine others who were detained on Tuesday night, March 6, 2001 at Jalan Stadium, Kuala Lumpur. The arrest of Ezam and all other nine persons is indeed a violation of fundamental rights of leaders to inform the people on issues of corruption, of abuse of power and of mismanagment of the finances of the country and of people's money.
Wanita KeADILan recognizes the rights of women and of all people to know whether the current regime under the leadership of Dr. Mahathir Mohamed is accountable, transparent and responsible in managing the country, its finances and its resources. Thus the national campaign on "Save the People's Money" is an effort by Party KeADILAn, led by the Youth wing to create a conscious polity, to ensure accountability and good governance.
This is indeed very much lacking in the current Barisan National led government.
In the absence of a free and democratic mainstream media which is controlled by various draconian laws like the Printing Presses and Publication Act or the Sedition Act and the continued repression of the right to freedom of expression, this campaign can only be realised through public peaceful gatherings and ceramah.
The arrest of Ezam arising from the Utusan Malaysia headlines of Party KeADILan wanting to topple the government through violent means, further accompanied by a police report by UMNO Youth is nothing but a well orchestrated strategy to divert the people's attention from the core concerns and national crises confronting the country and Malaysians today.
Dr. Mahathir and the Barisan Nasional have constantly attempted especially during the last one year to create fear among the people and thus attempt to sustain an environment of subservience and control.
Wanita KeADILan demands that Dr. Mahathir and the current Barisan Nasional leaders to be accountable and reply to the people of Malaysia to the following core issues:
- Crony bailouts especially the most recent bailout of Tajuddin Ramli and Malaysian Airlines.
- The abuse of people's money and savings in Armed Forces Pension Fund and the consequent low dividends.
- The reports made on corruption on Daim Zainuddin, Rafidah Aziz, Rahim Tamby Chik, Mokhtar Abdullah and Dr. Mahathir himself.
- The rising costs on water, transport, electricity and rising prices of goods in the market.
The mass retrenchment of workers in the manufacturing and services sector where women are most affected.
A responsible and accountable government will take these issues seriously and address them effectively. But a ruling party that abuses its power and arrests leaders of the opposition party who are working towards developing a conscious polity, ensuring good governance, is a government that is authoritarian, corrupt with the sole aim of strengthening cronyism and nepotism. It is a government that marginalizes the people. Thus this government under the leadership of Dr. Mahathir has failed and has lost the
confidence of the rakyat. Dr. Mahathir must resign and be accountable for the current state of affairs of the country.
To state that democracy comes once in five years and is practised only at elections, is to make a mockery of democracy. Democracy is in essence, the continued participation of the pople in the decisions of the country, is to ensure that checks and balances work and good governance practised where fundamental rights are protected and justice reigns.
We, therefore call for the immediate release of Mohd. Ezam and all other nine detained during the peaceful candle light vigil at Jalan Stadium on March 6, 2001. It is only in releasing those detained can this government speak of democracy, of fundamental rights of people to express, assemble and associate.
HAJJAH FUZIAH SALLEH
KETUA WANITA keADILan
March 7, 2001