Greens Back Protest Against Malaysian Crackdown

The Green Party is calling for New Zealand to join the United States’ protest at the arrest of Malaysian opposition leaders.

Malaysian authorities last week arrested a lawyer, two leading opposition politicians, the editor and the printer of an opposition newspaper, charging them with sedition and releasing classified documents.

“If we don’t protest now, it will give the Malaysian Government a green light for more arrests,” said Green Party Foreign Affairs and Defence spokesperson Keith Locke.

Mr Locke said the previous National Government sat by while former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim was tried on trumped-up charges in a Malaysian court.

“The whole world watched as Jenny Shipley refused to back US Vice-President Al Gore when he protested at Malaysia’s treatment of Anwar Ibrahim. Now the Malaysian authorities have been emboldened to arrest his lawyer, Karpal Singh, and four more prominent people who oppose their rule.”

Mr Locke has written Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff, encouraging him to make a strong protest to Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

“We owe it to the Malaysian people to speak out on their behalf,” said Mr Locke. “We should join the US in expressing our deep concern about these human rights violations.”