Not Much Thought For SOSMA-Held Maria In Sabah, Save Bersih Die-Hards

Maria Chin aka ‘Yellow Lady’ is being held under SOSMA which is meant to be used against terrorists and not harmless activists

Beverly Joeman
Beverly Joeman at Anjung Todak/Swordfish Walk at Segama Complex Monday night, cuts a forlorn figure while she ponders what happened to the hundreds of Bersih supporters.

KOTA KINABALU – People in Sabah remained indifferent to the fact that a woman activist – who has led the good fight for all Malaysians is being held under the Special Offences (Security Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA) in Kuala Lumpur.

At a candlelight vigil at Anjung Todak (Swordfish Walkway) opposite Hyatt Hotel Monday night, only a handful of Bersih Sabah die-hards were spotted with their candles and little placards to show their support for Maria and to protest against her detention.

Led by Bersih 5 steering committee chief, Beverly Joeman and her reporter-turned-activist number 2, Matthew Yong, there were less than a dozen yellow-shirts at the popular walkway in Segama.

Later they were joined by two members of the public. Even the publicity-hungry politicians were missing.

Call it “none-of-my-business” or lack of concern, it was unlike Saturday afternoon at Rimba Ujana where hundreds turned up for the peaceful rally.

Or perhaps there was just a lack of publicity.

The small Bersih Sabah group was joined by two members of the public at Monday’s candlelight vigil for Maria Chin who is being held under SOSMA.

Anyway, similar vigils were held in Kuching, Penang, Johor Bahru and Kuala Lumpur.

Even former premier, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad turned up at the “Solidarity for Maria Chin Abdullah” event at Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur.

Mahathir joined about 400 supporters donning Bersih yellow t-shirts, which included Maria’s three sons Azumin, Asiman, and Azemi.

The event started at 8pm and the former prime minister was seen arriving an hour later. He was accompanied by his wife, Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Ali.

Mahathir delivered a 10-minute speech, urging the crowd to continue protest every night until Maria is released from detention, as well as criticising the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak on his leadership.

Maria Chin aka 'Yellow Lady'
Maria Chin aka ‘Yellow Lady’

Earlier in the day, in Petaling Jaya, Azumin, Maria’s eldest son, lodged a police report over the alleged conditions in which the Bersih 2.0 chairman is currently being detained.

Azumin Mohamad Yunus, 23, claimed his mother was being kept in solitary confinement in an unknown location while suffering from hypertension, high blood pressure and osteoarthritis.

“She needs to take her medication to keep her condition under control. She had a check-up scheduled at Universiti Malaya Medical Centre on Sunday for her osteoarthritis,” he was quoted as saying in the media.

Azumin claimed his biggest concern was that Maria would be taken away before her children would be able to see her.

“She’s basically in solitary confinement. The lights are on the whole time. She can’t tell the time of the day. Her sleep is messed up because of that. She only received two sets of clothing and sleeps on a wooden floor,” he claimed.

“Her own family members don’t know where she is being detained. We don’t even know when we will see her or what is happening to her now. Maybe Sunday is the last time we will ever see her, we wouldn’t know. That’s what scares us the most,”said a visibly emotional Azumin.

Azumin said Maria seemed strong-willed when the family met her on Sunday at the Dang Wangi police headquarters despite looking tired.

“We are just heartbroken right now. She is fighting for fair and clean elections. But she is rewarded by going to prison. Why is my mother being treated like a terrorist? She hasn’t done anything wrong,” he said.

Also present at the police headquarters with Azumin were his aunt Cynthia Chin, lawyers N. Surendan, Melissa Sasidaran and Eric Paulsen.