Contempt Charge Against Chandra Thrown Out!

Aliran Media Statement

Contempt charge against Chandra thrown out:
Victory for freedom of expression

Aliran welcomes the court's decision this morning to dismiss the contempt proceedings against Chandra on technical grounds relating to the admissibility of evidence over the Internet.  The decision is good news for those who cherish freedom of expression and the right to fair comment. Aliran also salutes the 20 other groups and the dozens of concerned individuals who courageously endorsed the Internent statement "Confession and Conspiracy" of 31 July 1999 in a joint statement (below).

Aliran Executive Committee
21 August 1999

We Are Greatly Troubled

We, the undersigned concerned individuals and NGOs, are greatly troubled by the turn of events in this country. It is becoming a fashion these days either to cite for contempt of court or file mega defamation suits for any critical comment made in the larger interest of the nation and in the cause of justice.

All these actions, unfortunately, have the tendency, as envisaged, to silence critics and stifle honest criticism.

The latest victim in this unhealthy development is Dr Chandra Muzaffar, an eminent critic who has been championing social issues without fear or favour for more than two decades.

It is ironical that he is being cited for contempt for expressing his concerns for justice. What Dr Chandra has stated in writing is no different  from what is being expressed by a  large section of concerned Malaysians across the country. They are gravely disturbed by the system of justice and the role of the police as evidenced over the last year.

We share their sentiments. As the Internet statement reflects the perception of a large segment of thinking Malaysians, we - concerned NGOs, groups, and individuals - would like to endorse the views expressed in the statement of 31 July 1999 titled "Confession and Conspiracy."

1. Alaigal
2. Aliran
3. All Woman's Action Society of Malaysia (AWAM)
4. Angkatan Pemuda Insaf (API)
5. Borneo Resources Institute Malaysia Sarawak (BRIMAS)
6. Centre for Orang Asli Concerns (COAC)
7. Indigenous People's Development Centre (IPDC)
8. International Movement for a Just World (JUST)
9. Jawatankuasa Sokongan Peneroka Bandar (JSPB)
10. Jamaah Islam Malaysia (JIM)
11. Labour Resource Centre (LRC)
12. Malaysian Graduates Council (MGM) - ad hoc committee
13. Malaysian Muslim Youth Movement (ABIM)
14. Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) Human Rights Committee
15. Malaysian Socialist Party - pro-tem committee of the
16. Parti Rakyat Malaysia (PRM)
17. Perak Consumers Association (PCA)
18. Pusat KOMAS
19. Suara Rakyat Malaysai (Suaram)
20. Urban Resource Unit
21. Women's Development Collective (WDC)