An activist has accused police of intimidating Rama Ramanathan for reporting his disappearance in police custody after questioning and seizing the latter’s mobile phone and laptop.
Jufazli Shi Ahmad, who was arrested for allegedly criticising and insulting Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, accused police of following direct orders from certain leaders.
“It is intimidation. The government is not satisfied after I was acquitted by the court. They need to look for other ways to get to me,” 28-year-old Jufazli told The Malaysian Insight.
“Mr Rama was highlighting my case. I was abducted by police on March 16, 2019. For four days, no one knew where I was.
“This is nothing more than an order coming directly from certain quarters in the government and the police are simply following it.”
Police summoned Rama of the Citizens Against Enforced Disappearances (CAGED) last week and questioned him over a blog post on Jufazli, whom he said had almost been a victim of “enforced disappearance”.
Rama had written extensively on the enforced disappearance cases of pastor Raymond Koh and Perlis Hope activist Amri Che Mat.
Both were allegedly taken by Special Branch in commando-style operations, an inquiry by the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) found.
In his latest article, Rama said police could have abducted Jufazli and his sister, Nurazimah, had she not alerted friends and taken several steps to ensure that others knew their whereabouts when they were arrested.
Rama Ramanathan (left) with Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Hannah Yeoh and Deputy Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Sim Tze Tzin at Bukit Aman police headquarters in Kuala Lumpur last Thursday after he was questioned over a blog post on enforced disappearance.
Jufazli was accused of criticising the prime minister via Facebook for abuse of power.
He had been supportive of Pakatan Harapan’s bid to replace Barisan Nasional but said he was now dissatisfied with the way PH was handling corruption in the country.
Jufazli said while 1Malaysia Development Bhd was a huge scandal, there were other cases that PH was not addressing, such as those involving Sarawak Yang di-Pertua Abdul Taib Mahmud, while he was chief minister.
“You have a prime minister (Dr Mahathir) who was and maybe still is, friends with Taib Mahmud, (former Sabah chief minister) Musa Aman and these people are known for their multi-million corruption scandals. It has been almost two years, but not a single charge against these big fish,” Jufazli said.
The activist, who did his master’s thesis on corruption in Malaysia, said he was fascinated with the subject, but his research had also shown him how governments handled cases selectively.
Jufazli’s particular interest was Taib, who led Sarawak for 33 years, during which time local and international activists have accused state leader of making billions off land grabbed from native people.
Taib’s tenure as chief minister overlapped with Dr Mahathir’s as prime minister for around two decades.
Jufazli has published a book on Taib, titled Membina Empayar: Governan Abdul Taib Mahmud di Sarawak.
His first brush with the law was in 2017, when he criticised then Sabah chief minister Musa for corruption in timber projects. Nothing came out of it, as the investigation was dropped after PH took over the federal government last year.
For criticising Dr Mahathir under the new government, he was remanded for four days from March 16 to 19 and was only allowed to have legal representation on March 20.
Jufazli was released after a court rejected an application from police to extend his detention.
Investigation is pending into the March 16 incident, while a court acquitted Nurazimah of allegedly obstructing officers from arresting her brother.
The court also found that police had “no authority” go into Nurazimah’s house and arrest them. – TMI