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Vigil for jailed Tian Chua shines light on his courage

October 7, 2017 1:58 AM
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"Solidarity4TianChua" shows drawings by Batu MP of life in his cell, as PPBM chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad says he was 'unlawfully jailed'.

KUALA LUMPUR: A peaceful candlelight vigil was held for PKR’s Tian Chua last night after he was sentenced to one month in jail on Sept 29.

The event called “Solidarity4TianChua” held at Jalan Sentul saw supporters, PH leaders and activists describing Tian Chua as a brave man.

One of the speakers, lawyer Latheefa Koya brought several sketches drawn by Tian Chua describing his prison cell, food and clothing. The cell was made up of a mattress, toilet bowl and a tap while his lunch was the same almost every day with soup, vegetable, carrot, salted fish and rice.

As for clothing, she said Tian Chua was given two sets of prison uniforms, a blanket, soap, toothpaste and toothbrush.

“He is not complaining even though he has to be in his cell for 23 hours in a day. He takes it with good stride.

“He wants people to know that they don’t have to be afraid of being in prison. But he said he is having some withdrawal symptoms of not having his cell phone with him.”

PPBM chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad addressing the crowd during “Solidarity4TianChua” candlelight vigil.

Pakatan Harapan chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad, after putting his signature on a banner displaying Tian Chua’s photo, told the crowd gathered at the vigil that he feels Tian Chua’s jailing was not according to the laws of the country.

“If anything happens, an individual may not be able to depend on the laws of the country except if the government was changed,” Mahathir said.

The former prime minister then called for the people to vote for change and “retain the good and get rid of the bad laws in the country”.

He also spoke on the impact of the National Security Council Act (NSC) that was passed by parliament last year.

“With the NSC, Najib Razak can declare an area as a security area. He can arrest anyone. If there is a death, no post-mortem or inquest is required,” Mahathir said of the NSC which is led by the prime minister and includes the home minister, defence minister, inspector-general of police and the chief of the armed forces.

Batu PAS Youth chief Nurul Islam Mohamed Yusoff was also present to lend his support to the plight of Tian Chua, who is Batu MP.

Nurul Islam told the crowd that PAS and PKR have a special relationship.

“We worked together to help Tian Chua win in the past elections. We sympathise with what has happened with him.

“We hope when he is released he will continue to fight for the country,” he said.

Others who attended the vigil were DAP’s Zaid Ibrahim, PKR’s Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, R Sivarasa, activist Hishamuddin Rais, human rights lawyer Ambiga Sreenevasan, Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin, and Bersih 2.0 committee member Mandeep Singh.

Tian Chua was jailed for refusing to obey a police order to leave a restricted area following the Bersih 3 rally in 2012.

He was arrested along with 500 other people during the Bersih rally on April 28, 2012, and sent to the Police Training Centre (Pulapol) in Cheras, which was a restricted area.

Tian Chua said he had participated in the Bersih rallies as part of the struggle for a fairer and better Malaysia.

Last year, the Kuala Lumpur High Court upheld the Sessions Court’s 2014 decision to fine and jail Tian Chua for refusing a police order to leave the Pulapol premises.


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