MALAYSIAN BAR RESOLUTION FOR THE END OF THE STATE OF
(passed unanimously at the 61st Malaysian Bar AGM held on 17/3/2007)
1. On 31st August 2007, it will be 50 years since Malaysia achieved its independence and has been for over 30 years been a peaceful democratic nation.
2. It is sad that
3. Since independence, five states of emergency have been declared under Article 150 of the Federal Constitution. The first was the only one to have been revoked. The remaining four are still in operation. The second state of emergency was proclaimed in September 1964 when the country was faced with a campaign of violence from
4. The next state of emergency was declared on
5. The fourth proclamation came on
7. By reason of the proclamation of emergency, numerous legislations were enacted and are still in force, including also :-
a) Emergency (Essential Powers) Act, 1964 (30/64), today known as the Emergency (Essential Powers) Act 1979;
b) Emergency (Public Order and Prevention of Crime) Ordinance 1969;
c) Essential (Security Cases) Regulations 1975
8. For example, Section 6 of the Emergency (Essential Powers) Act 1979, states that “"For so long as the Proclamation of Emergency referred to in the preamble to this Act remains in force, the regulations made under the Emergency (Essential Powers) Act, 1964 (30/64) (except those regulations which the Yang di-Pertuan Agong may by notification in the Gazette declare not to be in force) shall be in force and shall have effect as if they have been made under this Act; and the regulations may be amended, modified or repealed as if they have been made under this Act.". [The proclamation of emergency referred to in this Act was the proclamation issued on
9. The Ikatan Relawan Rakyat or better known as RELA (a People's Volunteer Corps) came into being by virtue of Essential (Ikatan RELAwan Rakyat) Regulations 1966 [P.U. 33/1966], under Emergency (Essential Powers) Act, 1964 (30/64), and continue to be in force by virtue of Section 6 of the Emergency (Essential Powers) Act 1979.
10. By virtue of the Essential (Ikatan RELAwan Rakyat) (Amendment) Regulations 2005, which came into operation on 1 February 2005, the powers of the Rela, have been dangerously over-extended giving RELA personnel the right to bear and use firearms, stop, search and demand documents, arrest without a warrant, and enter premises without a warrant. and all these powers can be exercised the RELA personnel has reasonable belief that any person is a terrorist, undesirable person, illegal immigrant or an occupier. Illegal immigrant and occupier (which would be Malaysians usually) was added on by this 2005 amendment.
11. These not-professionally trained volunteers has also now been accorded protection by the new amendments whereby it is stated that "…The Public Authorities Protection Act 1948 shall apply to any action, suit, prosecution or proceedings against the Ketua Pengarah Ikatan RELAwan Rakyat, Timbalan Ketua Pengarah Ikatan RELAwan Rakyat or any member of the Ikatan RELAwan Rakyat in respect of any act, neglect or default done or committed by him in good faith or any omission omitted by him in good faith, in such capacity."
12. Noting also that there has been numerous complaints that have surfaced in the media about the RELA not just from migrants but also Malaysians ranging from torture, gangster-like behavior, damage to property, wrongful arrest and detention and even the causing of deaths.
13. Its was reported that RELA arrested a total of 17,700 people believed
to be illegal immigrants and screened 94,010 people up to September
2006, and that means 94,010 people (or 76,310) with proper documentations were subjected to unnecessary harassment and their right to a remedy in law is difficult. Of the people arrested, recent reports in the media indicate that many may even not be “illegal” or “undocumented” migrants at all.
* “…six foreign workers, all with legal travel and work documents, were whisked out of their quarters in a resort in Cherating in the wee hours of the morning on Dec 28 last year when RELA members "literally broke into their chalet and ordered them out." (The Star,
* “…a team of 30 to 40 RELA members (half not in uniforms) turned up to look for foreign workers, assaulted some and allegedly stole cash and valuables during the raid. The companies, who lodged police reports, said that all the workers had legal work permits…..”(The Star,
* “22 workers of an IT company were beaten and made to do a 50m "duck-walk" at Section 30 in Shah Alam…” (The Star,
* Residents of about 10 households in Taman Anggerik, Cheras,
14. There have also been report of beatings and even deaths caused by RELA volunteers. As an example, in early 2006 it was reported that Ahmad Apik, 35, and Edy Sathurrohman, 26, both Indonesians, lost their lives, and they each left behind a wife and 2 young children. (Star,
15. The policy and practice of paying members of the People's Volunteer Corps (RELA) RM80-00 for each undocumented migrant must be stopped (The Star,
16. Some migrants may be undocumented, but they are still human beings and deserved to be treated humanely and should be accorded equal protection under the law.
17. Malaysia, a party to the April 1999 BANGKOK DECLARATION ON IRREGULAR MIGRATION, which clearly states “Irregular [undocumented] migrants should be granted humanitarian treatment, including appropriate health and other services, while the cases of irregular migration are being handled, according to law. Any unfair treatment toward them should be avoided” must adhere to its commitments.
18. New laws can always be enacted by a parliament in times of peace if needed.
IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED:-
a) That we, the Malaysian Bar, call upon the Yang Di-Pertuan Agung to revoke all existing Proclamations of Emergency in Malaysia;
b) That we, the Malaysian Bar call for the repeal all legislations and Acts that were enacted and continue to be in force by reason of the now existing unrevoked Proclamations of Emergency;
c) That we, the Malaysian Bar reiterate our call for the repeal of Emergency (Public Order and Prevention of Crime) Ordinance 1969 and the Essential (Security Cases) Regulations 1975;
d) That we, the Malaysian Bar specifically call for the repeal of the Emergency (Essential Powers) Act 1979 and all Regulations and Rules made thereunder, in particular Essential (Ikatan RELAwan Rakyat) Regulations 1966 [P.U. 33/1966], as amended by the Essential (Ikatan RELAwan Rakyat) (Amendment) Regulations 2005;
e) That we, the Malaysian Bar call for the employment and usage of only properly trained professional law enforcement personnel in
f) That we, the Malaysian Bar urge that inquests be conducted for Ahmad Apik, Edy Sathurrohman and for the other persons who have died as result of alleged RELA actions;
g) That we, the Malaysian Bar urge that all persons including undocumented migrants and/or refugees be treated humanely and accorded equal protection of the law;
h) That we, the Malaysian Bar call on the Malaysian government to immediately ratify the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families;
i) That we, the Malaysian Bar call on the Malaysian government to immediately ratify the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment