Tuesday, 3 February 2015

‘Nations Without States’ deplores Tuaran arrests

“Their only crime it seems is attempting to collect signatures for a petition.”

KOTA KINABALU: Nations Without States (NWS), a UK-based organisation supported by the National Liberal Party, has issued a statement deploring the arrests of nine Sabah Sarawak Keluar Malaysia (SSKM) activists in Tuaran on Sunday.

SSKM is a movement headed by the Sabah Sarawak Union (UK) led by UK-based activist Doris Jones. Both are members of NWS.

“Their only crime it seems is attempting to collect signatures for a petition calling upon Malaysia (read Malaya) to put back their rights and the wealth they are extracting from their country (Sabah),” said NWS Director Graham Williamon in the statement which was also signed by Doris Jones as head of the NWS Committee and Diaspora for North Borneo.

“The Malayan authorities (where the central power resides) clearly do not like their policies to be criticised, especially within the nations they control.”

While they might like to act like a dictatorship, added the statement, “they are a part of the Commonwealth which is supposed to promote freedom of expression”.

“Either, Malaysia must leave that body or the Commonwealth must act against them.”

The nine SSKM volunteers including three women, arrested and detained at the Tuaran Police Station, were released after their statements were recorded, according to eye-witnesses at the scene who uploaded an update via WhatsApp.

It’s not known whether they will face any charges.

Earlier, the arrests and detention went viral on social media, especially WhatsApp and Facebook which had pictures uploaded. Apparently, they were picked up at the tamu (fair) grounds while handing out a petition for signatures.

There was some kind of stand-off outside the gates of the police station, according to these reports, “and riot police were mobilised to block the entrance”.

Inspector General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar had this tweet in his account on Sunday night: “Well done @Sabah police arrest nine individuals in Tuaran for distributing brochures instigating the people to get Sabah out of Malaysia. WELLDONE Boys,” he said.

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