We, as progressive political parties in both government and opposition worldwide, are deeply concerned about the imprisonment of Malaysia’s opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim. His case raises internationally worrying questions about the independence of the judiciary and rule of law in Malaysia.
The selective and politically motivated prosecution of members of the opposition has a dramatic detrimental effect on political and social development in Malaysia.
We call for fairness, transparency, and the rule of law. Malaysia’s government has to recognize the importance of confidence in its judicial system and has to restore trust in its commitment to human rights.
Likewise we urge the Malaysian government to repeal the Sedition Act, a promise made by its leader in 2012 but now overturned, which systematically suppresses freedom of speech and assembly in the country. This suppression of dissent by the opposition and the Malaysian people in general violates political rights.
We express our full solidarity with the People's Justice Party, the Democratic Action Party, the family and friends of Mr Anwar Ibrahim, the people of Malaysia, and Mr Anwar himself. We have and will never stand inactive in witness of injustice and violation of human rights.
We will work more closely with our Malaysian alliance partner, the Democratic Action Party, in upholding the truth and delivering equal justice for all. We stand together for the principles of social justice and human rights, towards a more democratic and progressive Malaysia.
SocDem Asia expresses its grave concern for the recent ratification of Thailand’s new constitution. From its appearance this democratic process has ushered in a new political order with the support of the Thai people. But the low voter turnout of just over 50% shows the lack of trust in this new Constitution.
More troubling are the provisions of the new constitution which institutionalize military supremacy over civilian rule. The creation of a military-backed senate and appointment of military representatives in the legislature is simply creating the legal framework and justification for the ruling military junta.
This new constitution cannot be countenanced as a welcome development for the Thai people. Instead of serving as a solution towards political stability, it has become a tool for the Thai military leadership to perpetuate their grip on power.
As part of the international community committed to democracy and human rights, we stand by democratic forces in Thailand. Dissent or opposition must not be suppressed. We are aware of the threats to imprisonment and intimidation and call for all parties to uphold human rights. We support the Thai people’s aspirations for the return of a civilian-backed and democratically elected constitution and government. Currently such a government seem not to exist.
In the last two decades, the vast regions of Asia and Europe have moved closer to each other, resulting in the establishment of a number of cooperation and coordination mechanisms, including the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM). Bringing together the 28 members of the European Union (EU), the 10 members of the Association for Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), China, Japan, and the South Korea, India, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Switzerland, Norway and Bangladesh, the ASEM represents one of the biggest and most consequential global platforms for inter-regional dialogue. Put together, Asia and Europe represent 52% of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP), 68% of global trade, and 60 % of the world population.
The increased mutual interest between Asia and Europe has also brought progressive forces from both regions closer together. The upcoming ASEM Summit in Milan 16-17 October has created the momentum to unite SOCDEM Asia and the Global Progressive Forum (a cooperation between the Party of European Socialist and the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament) to discuss a common progressive agenda.
ASEM cooperation, up until today, had a very strong focus on economic recovery, trade liberalization and sustained growth. Social protection and decent work is mentioned only in the fringes of the ASEM Chair’s conclusions, and marginal attention is given to the plethora of measures that can be implemented to promote equality.