Friday, July 5, 2013

Screening of No Fire Zone- The raid and arrest are totally unnecessary and unacceptable and are clearly acts of intimidation

Media Statement by M Kula Segaran, DAP National Vice Chairman and MP for Ipoh Barat in Ipoh on Friday, 5.7.2013

Screening of No Fire Zone- The raid and arrest are totally unnecessary and unacceptable and are clearly acts of intimidation

The screening of the film " No Fire Zone" has been a discussion among NGOs for the last two weeks.

The Caucus for the Displaced People of Sri Lanka of the Malaysian Parliament went ahead and screened the documentary film  in Parliament House during the lunch time on Wednesday 3 thJuly2013.

 Over 15 MPs of all races attended the screening and saw for themselves the atrocities of war crimes.

The documentary by Callum Macrae tells the story of the last 138 days of the Sri Lankan civil war in 2009 and uses video evidence to show what took place in the “no fire zone” that resulted in the deaths of an estimated 40,000 to 70,000 civilians.

The organisers , Pusat KOMAS, were initially worried if the screening would be stopped . I told them that it would be safe  to do so in Parliament House.

Screening was later carried out at Kuala Lumpur Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall in the evening .

At about 8.30pm , an hour after screening had started,  the organisers budged in asking if any lawyer could come out off the theatre area to speak to some " government agencies" which wanted to stop the screening.

I went out to meet the "raiders" .I introduced myself and asked under what authority the officers had come.

To my shock,  they were from the Home Ministry’s  Film Censorship Board , Immigration department and the police.

The presence of over 70 government  personnels shocked me. Why the raid over a private screening and a raid of such scale?  

One officer from the Home Ministry said they had  received a complaint that we were screening a movie which infringes the Finnas Act( Multi Media Act etc) .

I immediately asked him if he could produce the necessary documents for him to carry out the raid . His reply was that this is not a must under the Act.

I asked him who had made a complaint and he said this could not  be divulged. I retorted that it is in public domain that the Sri Lanka and its local connections are the ones. He just smiled and refused to say any further.

Thereafter I said to the officer whether he was aware that the movie was screened in Parliament House earlier and he nodded his head.

I asked him why " your chaps did not raid Parliament" and he replied how can they raid into Parliament. I further retorted that whatever that was being screened was already available in You tube. He declined to say anything.

As the argument was proceeding , we invited the "raiders" to go to the adjoining office to discuss further. He agreed.

At the adjoining office, a deal was struck. The screening would proceed uninterrupted  and at the end , the officers  would enter the theatre and take the soft copy of the film . They would also check the identities of those present.

I realized that they had felt many foreigners especially Sri Lankan Tamils could be there.

When the nearly 100 plus people were allowed out of the theatre, the foreigners present were only one Sri Lankan who had a valid work pass and two elderly Americans. Even this Sri Lankan was invited by a friend who accidentally met him at 6.30pm in town!

Thereafter 3 members of Pusat KOMAS were taken into for questioning.
The three who were arrested were Anna Har (a member of its board of directors), Arul Prakkash (Executive Director) and Lena Hendry (Programme Officer). They were later released on police bail.

Pusat KOMAS had
screened many human rights documentaries over the past 11 years without problem.

The raid and arrest clearly show the operations of the Sri Lankan government’s ambit of influence.

The raid and arrest are totally unnecessary and unacceptable and are clearly acts of intimidation.

It is deplorable  that our authorities can work with one of the most heinous regimes of this modern era.

The film speaks volumes of the war crimes, ethnic cleansing, genocide and crimes against humanity have been committed without an iota of doubt!

Clearly , the Sri Lankan political leaders must be brought to the International Criminal Court to be appropriately investigated and sentenced.

Why is Malaysia collaborating with war criminals?

In 2004 in a written reply to my parliamentary question if the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam was prohibited in Malaysia , the Government empathically stated it wasn't. 
Further, I had moved an adjournment speech on the lack of Malaysia's involvement in the peace process in Sri Lanka.

The then Minister of Foreign Affairs Syed Albar said that in his recent visit to Colombo then , he had met top officials and was satisfied with how the authorities were handling the local situation. I asked if he  had visited the north and north east to see the predicaments the Tamils  were undergoing. He replied he was advised not to. He said Malaysia would assist in what ever it could to bring peace there.

Last year, many MPs raised the failure of the Government to vote in favour of the US sponsored resolution against violations of human rights in Sri Lanka. United Nations Human Rights Council  adopted the resolution  which noted with concern that an internal inquiry report in Sri Lanka did not adequately address "serious allegation" of violations of international law.

Malaysia’s failure to support the motion is unacceptable. We know the real reason is because of its business links with the Sri Lanka.

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