Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Zaid Ibrahim writes open letter to PM

In our proclamation of independence, our first prime minister gave voice to the lofty aspirations and dreams of the people of Malaya: that Malaya was founded on the principles of liberty and justice, and the promise that collectively we would always strive to improve the welfare and happiness of its people.

Many years have passed since that momentous occasion and those aspirations and dreams remain true and are as relevant to us today as they were then. This was made possible by a strong grasp of fundamentals in the early period of this nation.

The federal constitution and the laws made pursuant to it were well founded; they embodied the key elements of a democracy built on the rule of law. The Malaysian judiciary once commanded great respect from Malaysians and was hailed as a beacon for other nations.

Our earlier prime ministers, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak and Tun Hussein Onn were truly leaders of integrity, patriots in their own right and most importantly, men of humility. They believed in and built this nation on the principles and values enunciated in our constitution.

Even when they had to enact the Internal Security Act (ISA) 1960, they were very cautious and apologetic about it. Tunku stated clearly that the Act was passed to deal with the communist threat.

“My cabinet colleagues and I gave a solemn promise to Parliament and the nation that the immense powers given to the government under the ISA would never be used to stifle legitimate opposition and silent lawful dissent”, was what the Tunku said.

Our third prime minister, Tun Hussein Onn, reinforced this position by saying that the ISA was not intended to repress lawful political opposition and democratic activity on the part of the citizenry.

Gov’t has failed the people

The events of the last three weeks have compelled me to review the way in which the ISA has been used. This exercise has sadly led me to the conclusion that the government has time and time again failed the people of this country in repeatedly reneging on that solemn promise made by Tunku Abdul Rahman.

This has been made possible because the government and the law have mistakenly allowed the minister of home affairs to detain anyone for whatever reason he thinks fit. This subjective discretion has been abused to further certain political interests.

History is the great teacher and speaks volumes in this regard. Even a cursory examination of the manner in which the ISA has been used almost from its inception would reveal the extent to which its intended purpose has been subjugated to the politics of the day.

Regrettably, Tunku Abdul Rahman himself reneged on his promise. In 1965, his administration detained Burhanuddin Helmi, the truly towering Malay intellectual, a nationalist who happened to be a PAS leader. He was kept in detention until his death in 1969. Helmi was a political opponent and could by no stretch of the imagination be considered to have been involved in the armed rebellion or communism that the ISA was designed to deal with.

This detention was an aberration, a regrettable moment where politics had been permitted to trump the rule of law. It unfortunately appears to have set a precedent and many detentions of persons viewed as having been threatening to the incumbent administration followed through the years.

Even our literary giant, ‘sasterawan negara’ the late Tan Sri A Samad Ismail was subjected to the ISA in 1976. How could he have been a threat to national security?

I need not remind you of the terrible impact of the 1987 Operasi Lalang. Its spectre haunts the government as much as it does the peace-loving people of this nation, casting a gloom over all of us. There were and still are many unanswered questions about those dark hours when more than a hundred persons were detained for purportedly being threats to national security. Why they were detained has never been made clear to Malaysians.

Similarly, no explanation has been forthcoming as to why they were never charged in court. Those detainees included amongst their numbers senior opposition members of parliament who are still active in Parliament today.

The only thing that is certain about that period was that Umno was facing a leadership crisis. Isn’t it coincidental that the recent spate of ISA arrests has occurred when Umno is again having a leadership crisis?

‘Militant’ Ezam back in Umno

In 2001, Keadilan ‘reformasi’ activists were detained in an exercise that the Federal Court declared was in bad faith and unlawful. The continued detention of those that were not released earlier in the Kamunting detention facility was made possible only by the fact that the ISA had been questionably amended in 1988 to preclude judicial review of the minister’s order to detain.

Malaysians were told that these detainees had been attempting to overthrow the government via militant means and violent demonstrations. Seven years have gone and yet no evidence in support of this assertion has been presented. Compounding the confusion even further, one of these so-called militants, Ezam Mohamad Noor, recently rejoined Umno to great fanfare, as a prized catch it would seem.

At around the same time, members of PAS were also detained for purportedly being militant and allegedly having links to international terrorist networks. Those detained included Nik Adli, the son of Tuan Guru Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, the menteri besar of Kelantan. Malaysians were made a promise by the government that evidence of the alleged terrorist activities and links of these detainees would be disclosed. To date no such evidence has been produced.

The same formula was used in late 2007 when the Hindraf 5 were detained. Malaysians were told once again that these individuals were involved in efforts to overthrow the government and had links with the militant Liberation Tiger of Tamil Eelam of Sri Lanka. To date no concrete evidence have been presented to support this assertion.

It would seem therefore that the five were detained for their involvement in efforts that led to a mobilisation of Indian Malaysians to express, through peaceful means; their frustration against the way in which their community had been allowed to be marginalised. This cause has since been recognised as a legitimate one. The Hindraf demonstration is nothing extraordinary as such assemblies are universally recognised as being a legitimate means of expression.

In the same vein, the grounds advanced in support of the most recent detentions of Tan Hoon Cheng, Teresa Kok and Raja Petra Kamarudin leave much to be desired. The explanation that Tan Hoon Cheng was detained for her own safety was farcical. The suggestion that Teresa Kok had been inciting religious sentiments was unfounded as was evinced by her subsequent release.

As for Raja Petra Kamarudin, the prominent critic of the government, a perusal of his writings would show that he might have been insulting of the government and certain individuals within it.

However, being critical and insulting could not in any way amount to a threat to national security. If his writings are viewed as being insulting of Islam, Muslims or the Holy Prophet (pbuh), he should instead be charged under the Penal Code and not under the ISA.

In any event, he had already been charged for sedition and criminal defamation in respect of some of his statements. He had claimed trial, indicating as such his readiness and ability to defend himself. Justice would best be served by allowing him his day in court more so where, in the minds of the public, the government is in a position of conflict for having been the target of his strident criticism.

Law used against dissidents

The instances cited above strongly suggest that the government is undemocratic. It is this perspective that has over the last 25 plus years led to the government seemingly arbitrarily detaining political opponents, civil society and consumer advocates, writers, businessmen, students, journalists whose crime, if it could be called that, was to have been critical of the government.

How it is these individuals can be perceived as being threats to national security is beyond my comprehension. The self-evident reality is that legitimate dissent was and is quashed through the heavy-handed use of the ISA.

There are those who support and advocate this carte-blanche reading of the ISA. They will seek to persuade you that the interests of the country demand that such power be retained, that Malaysians owe their peace and stability to laws such as the ISA. This overlooks the simple truth that Malaysians of all races cherish peace. We lived together harmoniously for the last 400 years, not because of these laws but in spite of them.

I believe the people of this country are mature and intelligent enough to distinguish actions that constitute a ‘real’ threat to the country from those that threaten political interests. Malaysians have come know that the ISA is used against political opponents and, it would seem, when the leadership is under challenge either from within the ruling party or from external elements.

Malaysians today want to see a government that is committed to the court process to determine guilt or innocence even for alleged acts of incitement of racial or religious sentiment. They are less willing to believe, as they once did, that a single individual, namely the minister of home affairs; knows best about matters of national security.

They value freedom and the protection of civil liberties and this is true of people of other nations too.

I attempted to push for reform

Mr Prime Minister, the results of the last general election are clear indication that the people of Malaysia are demanding a reinstatement of the rule of law. I was appointed as your, albeit short-lived, minister in charge of legal affairs and judicial reform.

In that capacity, I came to understand more keenly how many of us want reform, not for the sake of it, but for the extent to which our institutions have been undermined by events and the impact this has had on society.

With your blessing, I attempted to push for reform. High on my list of priorities was a reinstatement of the inherent right of judicial review that could be enabled through a reversion of the key constitutional provision to its form prior to the controversial amendment in 1988.

I need not remind you that that constitutional amendment was prompted by the same series of events that led not only to Operasi Lalang but the sacking of the then Lord President and two supreme court justices.

Chief amongst my concerns was the way in which the jurisdiction and the power of the courts to grant remedy against unconstitutional and arbitrary action of the executive had been removed by Parliament and the extent to which this had permitted an erosion of the civil liberties of Malaysians.

It was this constitutional amendment that paved the way for the ouster provision in the ISA that virtually immunises the minister from judicial review, a provision which exemplifies the injustice the constitutional amendment of 1988 has lent itself.

I also sought to introduce means by which steps could be taken to assist the judiciary to regain the reputation for independence and competence it once had. Unfortunately, this was viewed as undesirable by some since an independent judiciary would mean that the executive would be less ‘influential’.

I attempted to do these things and more because of the realisation that Malaysia’s democratic traditions and the rule of law are under siege. Anyway, there is nothing wrong with giving everyone an independent judiciary and the opportunity to a fair trial.

This is consistent with the universal norms of human rights as it is with the tenets of Islam, the religion of the federation. Unchecked power to detain at the whim of one man is oppressiveness at its highest. Even in Israel, a nation that is perpetually at war the power to detain is not vested in one man and detention orders require endorsement from a judge.

If there are national security considerations, then these can be approached without jettisoning the safeguards intended to protect individual citizens from being penalised wrongfully. In other jurisdictions involved in armed conflicts, trials are held in camera to allow for judicial scrutiny of evidence considered too sensitive for public disclosure so as to satisfy the ends of justice.

If this can be done in these jurisdictions, why not here where the last armed struggle we saw, the very one that precipitated the need for the ISA, came to an end in the 1980s?

ISA was never intended to be permanent

Any doubts as to the continued relevance of the ISA in its present form should have been put to rest by the recommendation by the Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) that the ISA be repealed and an anti-terror legislation suited to the times enacted in its place. Containing as it did a sunset clause in its original times, the ISA was never intended to be a permanent feature on the Malaysian legal landscape.

Through its continued use in the manner described above and in the face of public sentiment, it is only natural that the ISA has become in the mind of the people an instrument of oppression and the government is one that lends itself to oppressiveness.

Its continued use does not bode well for a society that is struggling to find its place in the global arena. It does not bode well for the democracy that is so vital for us to develop sustainably.

Mr Prime Minister, I remember very clearly what you once said; that if one has the opportunity to do what is good and right for the country, then he must take on the task. I respect you deeply for that and if I were confident that I would have been able to do some good for Malaysia, I would have remained on your team.

Sir, you are still the prime minister and you still have the opportunity to leave your footprint in Malaysian history. I urge you to do so by repealing the ISA once and for all.

Let us attempt to fulfil that solemn promise made by our beloved first prime minister to the people of this country.

Yours sincerely

Zaid Ibrahim

Monday, September 29, 2008

Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Fitri

Selamat Hari Raya to all my friends and readers. Hari Raya is a festival that is celebrated by all Malaysians. Wishing everyone the best of luck. I'm in the midst of shifting home so wishing you all in advance Selamat Hari Raya.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Gerakan mulls quitting Barisan, may join Pakatan

Reported in Star by my pal Lisa Goh

KUALA LUMPUR: Gerakan is considering the option of leaving Barisan Nasional and joining the Pakatan Rakyat opposition alliance.

Gerakan acting president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon said this was among three options for the party - the other two being to either stay with the ruling coalition, or leave and become independent.

“We are not ruling out any possibility at this moment. We have to assess the situation, but we are not closing any doors.

“Neither are we saying we will definitely leave. It’s something we need to assess but we cannot do it based on sentiments alone,” he told reporters after launching the KL-Federal Territory (FT) state delegates conference here on Sunday.

Dr Koh said the party was examining how the political scenario in the country would continue to change, and had been getting feedback from the grassroots.

“If you go on sentiments alone, I would say more than 60% (want us to leave), but we are taking a lot of factors into consideration, and a decision cannot be based just on sentiments.

“It’s a very trying time, and there is need for a lot of rational, objective analysis. It cannot be a straightforward simplistic decision,” he said.

In his opening speech, Dr Koh also announced that he would be contesting for the president’s post in the October party elections.

“I am offering myself for the post, but I also set a timeframe for myself, and it is unlikely that I will go beyond two terms. I would like to have younger and newer leaders to continue the process of political commitment,” he said.

Asked if he would name his deputy, he replied: “We will let the delegates decide.”

He was also asked to comment on some 20 FT Gerakan members who had defected to Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), including former FT Gerakan information bureau chief Gan Kok Keng and former Setiawangsa Gerakan chief Li Tiam Chai.

“I feel surprised because it was only last week when Li Tiam Chai was with me in a meeting and there were no signs that he was not happy.

“We were talking about how to strengthen the party. So I am surprised but I will continue with the veterans, and new members are committed,” he said.

Dr Koh also commented on the Umno leadership transition, which he hoped would be “smooth and peaceful.”

“Even though the change in Umno leadership is an internal party matter, but we are also concerned because the Umno leader also becomes the leader of Barisan and the Federal Government,” he said.

Earlier this month, Gerakan became embroiled in the controversy over former Bukit Bendera Umno division chief Datuk Ahmad Ismail’s alleged racist remarks in which he purportedly described Malaysian Chinese as “squatters.”

Gerakan leaders had demanded an apology and for action to be taken against the Umno man, who in turn blamed Gerakan for Barisan’s poor showing in the March 8 general election, which saw the state of Penang fall to to the opposition.

The war of words even saw Ahmad’s supporters tearing down a picture of Dr Koh after a press conference.

Confused HINDRAF spouses plea

Confused HINDRAF spouses plea does not dampen struggle to repeal ISA
Now, if you are the spouse of an ISA detainee - then your concern generally is for the immediate and unconditional release of your spouse.

After the release, of your spouse you may not even be bothered to campaign further for the release of the others detained under the ISA or other Detention Without Trial laws... let alone continuing to campaign for the repeal of such laws...

We have to ask ourselves the question whether we were even bothered about those under detention without trial laws before this - before our spouse, friend, acquaintance, our 'leader', our fellow fighter for rights, our church member, our ... was arrested and detained under these laws.

In fact for many, after our 'people' are released - the ISA just is no more a priority. For some, it will be worse - they just become indifferent to it.

Now the police or their agents may be telling family and friends of the detainees - stop the campaigning, stop the protest...etc and then your loved one will be released. They will also say that the continuous campaigns, protest... is actually the cause of your 'loved one' continued detention. STOP it all and they will be released...

This tactic of the police is not unique to the ISA arrests - it is also used commonly by the police whenever they arrest persons. They would say that there is no need for a lawyer - just be patient and the arrested will be released soon after investigations.

If you protest...get a lawyer, etc - then it will be long....it will become complicated...difficult.

If not, it will be settled soon --- and that is the reason WHY many persons, when arrested, do not engage a lawyer as soon as the arrest happens... they(and their families) wait believing the police and hoping for a quick release --- and sometime it does not happen.

And within 24 hours after arrest, when the police take the detainee to the Magistrate to get a remand order, the detainee is most of the time not represented -- and in fact, without contest, the police usually get their way most of the time when it comes to remand applications...

I say, it is very important to engage a lawyer when you get arrested - and choose a lawyer, who is not afraid of the police and who will really fight for the rights of the arrested person. Sadly, there are many lawyers who are afraid of the police or are not interested in challenging the police because they are worried that their 'rice bowl' will be affected..

In Malaysia, sadly most people only start looking for a lawyer after they get charged in court - and that delay is sometimes bad for the person charged.

Not knowing the law, he/she may have done things after their arrest and during detention, which they would not have done if they had early legal advice and representation, may in fact be the very things that will ultimately be the things that will cause them to be found guilty...

Why do they do this? Why do they risk it? Why do they prejudice themselves by their ignorance or by reason of not having a lawyer? To save money - for after all, if I am not charged - then the money spend on a lawyer could have been better spent for other important matters...

I read with interest a recent report in Malaysiakini entitled "ISA detainees' wives: Hindraf has changed"

The struggle of the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) is different now compared to when it started some 10 months ago under the leadership of the five who are currently under Internal Security Act (ISA) detention, said the wives of two leaders today.
Dr M Kalaivani and B Buvaneswary, the wives of K Kenghadharan and V Ganabatirau, respectively, said they were not comfortable with the direction in which the movement has taken.

Speaking at a press conference in Kelana Jaya, Kalaivani said aside from the goal of obtaining the release of the Hindraf leaders, what is of utmost importance is that the Indian community's problems are alleviated.

Both these goals can be affected without rallies planned by those now coordinating Hindraf activities.

On the contrary, they said the rallies may actually serve to harm the chances of the five's release. - Malaysiakini, 26/9/2008 ISA detainees' wives: Hindraf has changed

They want it all to stop - the rallies, the protest --- and the authorities seem to have convinced them if this happens, then, their spouses will be free..., and so 2 spouses call a press conference (which is not that easy to do) and say things that can be very damaging for the HINDRAF movement and struggle...

Commenting on the anti-ISA vigil planned for tomorrow night, she said as long as the organisers have obtained the required permits to ensure the gathering is legal, she appreciates the effort of all quarters to highlight the plight of her husband and other Hindraf leaders.

"If they are going to do it legally, if they've got a permit, I really appreciate the efforts taken by these individuals. The vigil will be peaceful, so I don't think there is anything wrong with it - as long as they do it legally," she said.

Echoing her statements, Buvaneswary said she too disagreed with the planned gathering at Abdullah's Hari Raya open house as it may be detrimental to her husband’s chances of being released.

Contending that the rallies organised after the detention of the Hindraf five had deviated into becoming 'anti-government' rallies, Buvaneswary said they were defeating the purpose of highlighting the problems of the Indian community.

She said her husband had also told her to call for an end to such rallies.

"Who are these people to call for rallies? If our husbands wanted these rallies, their wish would be conveyed through us because we are their wives. What are the Hindraf coordinators trying to do now?"

"If you want the Hindraf five to be released, there are other methods of seeking this," she added.- Malaysiakini, 26/9/2008 ISA detainees' wives: Hindraf has changed
When it comes to the ISA and the Malaysian police - we really have to re-evaluate our perception of the Malaysian police - many think that they are sub-standard and not very good...but this may be far from the truth..

What have the police (and the authorities) achieved to date? They have got the 5 HINDRAF detainees to already go against each other. Recently, we also heard that one of them may even be a police plant - or agent...How good are they...they are 'breaking' the unity of the struggle...doubts about some 'leaders'..

By arresting the 5, they made them 5 HINDRAF leaders - but are they all really the leaders of HINDRAF?? Or is it what the police (and others) managed to get into our minds - i.e. that these are the 5 main leaders of HINDRAF... [Try to remember the HINDRAF movement before the ISA arrests - and ask yourself who were the 'leaders'. then. Were there even any 'leaders'?]

Remember HINDRAF is not a society - not an association - it is a movement of people...a movement of a long-oppressed people..who finally finds the courage to stand up and say "enough is enough".

HINDRAF rose up from the people because those who were supposed to be looking after the interest/needs/rights of the Indian community were not doing their job - the main culprit being the MIC. Temples demolished - and MIC was silent ( silent also was PPP, IPF, ....). When the so-called leaders and self-proclaimed reps failed, the people arised - The cry was "Makkal Sakti" - "People Power".

The numbers that came forth into the streets - and stood there withstanding the water cannons and tear gas...When this happened, other Malaysians, irrespective of ethnicity/religion again gained courage to fight for rights - for a better Malaysia - for change - and hence the results of the 2008 General Elections...

I go back to the news report about the 2 detainees wives - and note that in their eagerness to get their loved ones released, they even go so far to praise and thank the MIC and Samy Velu...

During the press conference, the wives also recorded their appreciation for MIC president S Samy Vellu and other quarters who are pushing for the five's release.

Commenting on the statements by certain quarters who questioned the "integrity and sincerity" of Samy Vellu in declaring he had met with Abdullah and sought the release of the Hindraf leaders, Kalaivani said her family’s only wish was to see her husband's return.

"I'm sure it’s the same for the other detainees as well and we sincerely hope that no individuals would continue questioning the integrity of any leaders or individuals from any party or question why they are asking for the release of our husbands.

"We appreciate the efforts taken by anybody to secure the release of our husbands, ...." - - Malaysiakini, 26/9/2008 ISA detainees' wives: Hindraf has changed

Now, Zaid Ibrahim has set the standard - will the MIC Cabinet members be resigning now - or did they even threathen to resign?

It is sad that the 2 wives (noting that it was not the family members of all 5 detainees) also goes further to state...that all is well and their husbands are being treated well...

Kalaivani said her husband was being treated well and was provided with the necessary medical attention at the Kamunting Detention Centre.

"We would like to thank the government for having looked after my husband well. He has not had any problems with medication so far, and I’m thankful for that," she added. - Malaysiakini, 26/9/2008 ISA detainees' wives: Hindraf has changed
What she did was very wrong - because she has unconsciously painted a picture that all is great in detention in Kamunting. She has also raised doubts about the assertion by ISA detainees about the bad conditions and even 'torture' that they undergo during detention.

Interestingly, during arrest and detention under the ISA - they treat different people differently. I believe Lim Kit Siang, Karpal Singh and Chandra Muzaffar, the Ops Lallang detainees, were not at all tortured and were treated 'well'. On the other hand, others were tortured...

During the first two weeks of my detention, I was interrogated very vigorously by Special Branch officers about my personal faith and my religious activities. I was not allowed sleep for days at a stretch and was warned that I would not get my food if I did not cooperate. One Inspector threatened to disturb my girlfriend ... On one occasion, I was knocked down to the ground and I injured my back. Since then, I have been passing blood in my urine and have suffered pain in my lower back constantly ... On one occasion, Inspector (name withheld) forced me to strip naked and enact the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. [He] also forced me to crawl on the floor in a naked state ...’.

‘The cell was windowless, the only ventilation being some holes in the upper portion of a wall. It was lit by a single light which was kept on all night ... For a full month ... my entire bedding was a thin plywood sheet on a cement slab. I was beaten with a stick about 1cm x 4cm x 120cm on my legs and the soles of my feet several times ... and was also slapped on the face with the back of my hand …’.

‘A police officer put fear in me ... by saying, ‘If I squeeze your balls, how long can you last?’ ... I was also subjected to the cold treatment during interrogations with very cold air directed through louvers onto my head causing me to shiver ... [i] experienced hallucinations and woke up in cold sweat. For two or three nights, I hallucinated that a big cobra was crawling beside me ... It was under such harsh and oppressive circumstances that I was requested to make statements...’.

‘I was forced to stand on a leg with arms outstretched and head bent backwards for long periods until I collapsed onto the floor ... Immediately I was kicked by the police officer to stand up again on one leg, and this was repeated many times ... I was forced to walk blindfolded towards the wall resulting in knocking myself against the wall and this was repeated many times. The police officers stamped on my toes and fingers causing excruciating and prolonged pains. I was subjected to the ‘cold treatment’ which consisted standing in front of a very cold air conditioner either naked or half naked several times ... and on one occasion the police officer had thrown cold water all over me ... I was forced to strip naked. A police officer ... rolled a bundle of newspapers, lit one end and threatened to burn my genitals [by] bringing the lighted end close to my genitals ... A police officer stated that he would ... make sexual advances to my wife ...’. - Charles Hector, Preventive Detention in Malaysia - A Brief Overview, also Malaysia: ‘Operation Lallang’: Detention Without Trial Under the Internal Security Act – Amnesty International (December 1988), Preventive Detention (Restrictions) Laws In Malaysia – an article that was published in ALIRAN on or about December 1994.

YES - this is what they do. Treat persons differently. They may have treated Dr M Kalaivani's husband well - but we all know that Uthayakumar has alleged that he was not treated well at all.

We may get angry at these 2 women - but remember they are spouses - family members - and they really may not know what they have done - how they may have affected the strugle. But remember, they are also the victims of the police and the authorities..

It was great to see that their 'press conference' has not affected the struggle for the repeal of the ISA and for the immidiate and unconditional release of the HINDRAF 5 and the others detained under the ISA..

About 2,000 people staged a peaceful march through the busy streets of Kuala Lumpur tonight calling for the abolishment of Internal Security Act and freeing detainees under the Act

Initially, two separate groups - Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) and coalition of NGOs led by the Writer Alliance For Media Independence (Wami) - had initially planned to hold a candlelight vigil at Dataran Merdeka at about 7.30pm.

When they came across a police cordon at Dataran Merdeka, the Hindraf-led group numbering about 500 decided to march to the temple opposite the Puduraya bus terminal about 1km away.

The crowd marched unhindered towards their destinations and gradually the crowd swelled to about 2,000 people from all walks of life, with many carrying candles.

The other group, which was in a procession holding Chinese lanterns, eventually joined up with the Hindraf group.

The police were caught off-guard by the huge turnout. Many media personnel had also remarked that the large crowd was unanticipated as past vigils had been small in number. - Malaysiakini, 27/9/2008 - Anti-ISA vigil turns into peace march

Let us continue to call for the repeal of the ISA... Let us continue the call for the release of not Raja Petra and the HINDRAF 5 ...but for the release of ALL who are being detained under the ISA and other Detention Without Trial Laws..

Come on -- go get Hari Raya cards and send it to each and every person that you know are being detained under the ISA and other Detention Without Trial laws (My earlier posting/s give the address of the Kamunting Detention Centre and also a list of who were know are being detained under the ISA in Kamunting)

courtesy of charles hector.

Sabah's UPKO to review position in BN

Malaysia Today reported that Upko threatens to review position in BN if NRD can't rectify Sabah citizen's mistake.
Datuk Wilfred Bumburing the deputy president of Upko said that the party will have to resort to reviewing its position in the Barisan Nasional if the National Registration Department cannot rectify the mistake of changing the status of an elderly bumiptura indivisual into a permanent resident because it would prove a display of incompetence from the department. He said “This action by the NRD infringes the basic rights of Malaysians in Sabah and if it is not rectified, Upko must seriously review its position in Barisan. This to me is the last straw with the mess of NRD that is making locals foreigners and foreigners citizens. There is something really wrong at the NRD. This is not the first case” This was where a Panampang resident, Yong lost her native certifate and her original IC was issued a Red IC for replacement which according to the NRD was standard operating procedure. She then showed her passport and driving licence to prove her citizenship but was told to apply for her citizenship and subsequently froze her bank accounts.

The United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (UPKO) is a political party based in Sabah, east Malaysia. It is an ethnically-based party striving to voice the rights and advance the development of Kadazan-Dusun and Murut population of Sabah.
UPKO has 4MP's. If they were to quite BN like SAPP. There would be 6 independent MP's For Pakatan Rakyat to grab. Hopefully this would start a trend and force BN into a corner. I'm not an Anwar's fan but i am a Pakatan Rakyat fan. I hope the formation of an Pakatan Rakyat Federal Govenment materialises soon.

Peaceful Anti ISA Candle Light Vigil

About 2,000 people staged a peaceful march through the busy streets of Kuala Lumpur tonight calling for the abolishment of Internal Security Act and freeing detainees under the Act.
Jointly organised by Hindraf And coalition of NGOs led by the Writer Alliance For Media Independence (Wami). The crowd initially started with only 500 slowly grew to 2,000.
Hindraf national coordinator R Thanenthiran said that government should heed the protesters' demands to free ISA detainees. Tonight, we the people, are the judges,” he said.
We malaysians are able to protest peacefully. “If the police follows the law, we can do the same,” he said.
Help the movement to abolish ISA.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Truth about Malaysia's ISA

Malaysia's Internal Security Act or ISA has its roots in the 1950s, when the country, then under British colonial rule, was fighting a Communist insurgency.

Almost six decades on and the Communist threat has gone but the law remains.

Opponents say many of the act's original checks and balances have been eroded over the years and the ISA is now being used to stifle political dissent.

But the government says the law is a necessary tool in the pursuit of social stability.

Aloke Devichand reports on those fighting to have the ISA abolished once and for all.


Revolusi 48' Trailer

The sequel to Fahmi Reza's cult favourite 10 Tahun Sebelum Merdeka, Revolusi '48 chronicles the largely forgotten armed revolution for national liberation launched against British colonial rule in Malaya 60 years ago.

This documentary tells the untold story of those who struggled in the anti-colonial guerrilla war of independence, during the Malayan Revolution of 1948.

Coming 20th October 2008!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Chain Reaction

A commitment to individual and collective dialogue triggers workable solutions for an engaged society.
A positive Chain Reaction that inspires citizen action.
-Like everyone says it "Makkal Sakthi"-

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Malaysian Revolution 2008

Lincoln repeatedly said that the right of revolution, the "right of any people" to "throw off, to revolutionize, their existing form of government, and to establish such other in it's stead as they may choose" was "a sacred right-a right, which we may hope and believe is to liberate the world"
The people who represent Pakatan Rakyat and the people who support it are the people who are exercising their rights. This special rights. The same rights Gandhi seeked when he was treated with injustice in South Africa.

Free the country and it's people so that they all can live with dignity and pride. The people are the one who bring upon a revolution. This revolution has a name and it's called keadilan.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

SAPP has resigned from BN

SAPP decision today is to resign from Barisan Nasional. They are going to stay independentfor the time being. SAPP has 2 MP ans 4 state reps. Hope the rest of the parties in Sabah and Sarawak follow suit.

Hindraf backing Anwar's take over.

Hindraf coordinater S.Thanenthiran, Gave an official statement that HINDRAF supports Anwar's take over of the government with the ruling of PAKATAN RAKYAT.
He states self-exiled Hindraf chief P Waythamoorthy is currently in London on a temporary political asylum granted by the British government under the Geneva Convention hopes to return home once the threat of an ISA arrest abates if Anwar becomes prime minister.
As well they are looking forward for the realese of the five hindraf leaders P Uthayakumar, 47, T Vasanthakumar, 35, M Manoharan, 47, R Kenghadharan, 41, and V Ganabatirau, 35 arrested under ISA as well as Raja Petra and Teressa Kok.
Everyone wants good governance without abuse of power, corruption and injustice,” he said.
“Anwar has assured that he will ensure a free and fair country based on equality, justice and democracy for all, something that Barisan Nasional has not given to Malaysians in its unbroken 51-year rule,” said Thanenthiran.

I sincerely hope this becomes a reality. Good luck Pakatan Rakyat and Anwar. Malaysia has been crippled under the ruling of Barisan Nasional for this past 51years. Makkal Sakthi stands by you. Lead this country to stand and start running with our competitions. -pathmanck-

Zaid Ibrahim and SAPP

Zaid Ibrahim will be attending "Free Teressa Kok" meeting which is hosted by Pakatan Rakyat and today as well SAPP will be having a meeting to decide if they will stay on with Barisan Nasional. So hopefully by tonight we would know the developement from this events.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

May 13 Revisited by Raja Petra

They say those who forget history are doomed to repeat its mistakes. In light of the recent sabre-rattling by those in Umno and the warning by the Armed Forces Chief, Malaysia Today feels compelled to republish an old article by Raja Petra Kamarudin that was published in Harakah on 24 September 1999.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

This is Part One of an article I wrote almost nine years ago, which was published in Harakah, the official media organ of the Islamic Party of Malaysia (PAS). History is not something that should remain buried. History is something that should be a lesson to all or us so that we do not repeat the mistakes made by those before us.

In 1968, Umno fanned racial sentiments in a bid to 'unite' the Malays under its banner. Umno realised that the Malays were abandoning it in droves and it needed an issue to reunite the Malays. Further to that, the Prime Minister was being blamed for what Umno perceived as a loss of Malay support and the Young Turks in Umno wanted to also use this issue to pressure the Prime Minister into resigning.

Twenty years later, in 1988, Umno again went into turmoil with the emergence of Team A and Team B, which eventually split into Umno Baru and Semangat 46. Again, just like twenty years before that, the Malays had become disillusioned with the Umno leadership and there was a danger that Umno would suffer the same fate it did in 1969 if the general election was called.

The Umno leadership very cleverly got the Umno Youth and MCA Youth leaders to raise racial issues and bring the country to the brink of another ‘May 13’. This was when that infamous gathering at the TPCA padang in Kampong Baru was held and when Najib Tun Razak, the Umno Youth Leader, raised the keris and threatened to bathe it in Chinese blood.

Of course, this second ‘May 13’ never happened. What did happen instead was that Operasi Lalang was launched and more than 100 opposition leaders and activists were detained under the Internal Security Act. Najib and the MCA Youth Leader, Lee Kim Sai, however, were spared detention, although they were the two main players in the whole episode.

The ploy did not quite succeed though. In the 1990 general election, half the Malays swung to the opposition and Umno lost most of the Malay heartland to Semangat 46 and PAS.

Twenty years on and history is, again, being repeated. It appears like every twenty years Umno takes the country to the brink of a race riot in its effort to 'unite' the Malays and to ensure that it does not lose Malay support. And the 8 March 2008 general election, as well as the recent Permatang Pauh by-election, is proof that Umno has lost Malay support.

“The current situation is a repeat of 1969,” said Umno in its brainstorming session held at the Umno headquarters to conduct a post-mortem of the election results. “Therefore, a 1969 ‘solution’ will also be required.”

This is very dangerous talk indeed. And Umno has been doing nothing but talking dangerously since March 2008, as evident in the recent episode in Penang. Maybe the culprit has since been punished. Yesterday, Umno’s Supreme Council decided to suspend Ahmad Ismail for a period of three years. But the damage has already been done and the suspension can’t turn back the clock. Racial sentiments have already been fanned and Malaysia, again, is being pushed to the brink of a race riot.

Malays, Chinese and Indians need to know how May 13 started. They must be made aware of what May 13 was really all about. They must be made to realise that the current sabre-rattling is nothing but the same ploy that Umno used back in 1968 and 1988 whenever it felt that it was losing Malay support. May 13 was not about race although it is being touted as so. May 13 was about ‘reuniting’ the Malays and about ousting the Prime Minister from office.

To forget history would be to repeat its mistakes. Let us not be taken in by Umno’s shadow-play (wayang kulit). They know they are rapidly losing power and they want to retain power through foul means by raising the spectre of May 13. Malaysians need to be matured and clever enough to reject this ploy. Umno can try, but whether it can succeed will all depend on whether we get suckered into this very dangerous race game.

Let me take you down memory lane and recap what I wrote nine years ago so that we may learn from this dark history and not repeat what went wrong. As follows is what I wrote in Harakah on 24 September 1999.



The following statement is a factual account of the above-mentioned event given to me by the late Tunku Abdul Rahman (first Prime Minister of Malaysia) during an interview at his residence in Penang in 1972. I requested to discuss the above incident and was surprised when the appointment was given within three days.

His Secretary, a Chinese gentleman, allotted me one hour and advised me not to go into too much detail as this would tire the Tunku unnecessarily. In fact, the interview lasted three and a half hours. Because of the very surprising details provided to me, I think it would be best to report in a first-hand manner based on my notes written immediately after the interview.

“It was clear to me as well as the police that in the highly charged political atmosphere after the police were forced to kill a Chinese political party worker on May 4th, 1969, something was bound to happen to threaten law and order because of the resentment towards the Government by the KL Chinese on the eve of the general election. This was confirmed at this man’s funeral on the 9th May when the government faced the most hostile crowd it had ever seen.

Therefore, when the opposition parties applied for a police permit for a procession to celebrate their success in the results of the general election, I was adamant against it because the police were convinced that this would lead to trouble. I informed Tun Razak about this and he seemed to agree.

Now, without my knowledge and actually “behind my back”, there were certain political leaders in high positions who were working to force me to step down as a PM. I don’t want to go into details but if they had come to me and said so I would gladly have retired gracefully.

Unfortunately, they were apparently scheming and trying to decide on the best way to force me to resign. The occasion came when the question of the police permit was to be approved.

Tun Razak and Harun Idris, the MB of the state of Selangor, now felt that permission should be given, knowing fully well that there was a likelihood of trouble. I suppose they felt that when this happened they could then demand my resignation.

To this day I find it very hard to believe that Razak, whom I had known for so many years, would agree to work against me in this way. Actually he was in my house, as I was preparing to return to Kedah, and I overhead him speaking to Harun over the phone saying that he would be willing to approve the permit when I left. I really could not believe what I was hearing and preferred to think it was about some other permit. In any case, as the Deputy Prime Minister, in my absence from KL, he would be the Acting PM and would override my objection.

Accordingly, when I was in my home in Kedah, I heard over the radio that the permit had been approved.

It seems as though the expected trouble was anticipated and planned for by Harun and his UMNO Youth. After the humiliating insults hurled by the non-Malays, especially the Chinese, and after the seeming loss of Malay political power to them, they were clearly ready for some retaliatory action.

After meeting in large numbers at Harun’s official residence in Jalan Raja Muda near Kampong Bahru, and hearing inflammatory speeches by Harun and other leaders, they prepared themselves by tying ribbon strips on their foreheads and set out to kill Chinese. The first hapless victims were two of them in a van opposite Harun’s house who were innocently watching the large gathering. Little did they know that they would be killed on the spot.

The rest is history. I am sorry but I must end this discussion now because it really pains me as the Father of Merdeka to have to relive those terrible moments. I have often wondered why God made me live long enough to have witnessed my beloved Malays and Chinese citizens killing each other.”

This was a conspiracy at the highest level and nothing short of a power struggle, with the ‘Young Turks’ then forming the pressure group. To achieve their ends, they very cleverly used race to make the Malays rise and push the Tengku aside.

Today, they are doing it again. This is dangerous politics. It may backfire and, instead, it may make the Malays rise against the non-Malays, like what happened in 1969 -- a fire raging out of control with no fire extinguisher in sight.

We must never allow our country to be turned into a racial battlefield again. Let politics be issues concerning policies, civil rights, good governance and justice. Let us not allow anyone to bring race and religion into our politics lest we suffer the fate of many countries around us where mass murders of entire families are made in the name of ‘bangsa’ and ‘agama’.

Anwars Government

Today he has announced that he has enough to form his government. By the information provided by another blogger, named Nur Aflah. Apparently Anwar will be giving a press conference tomorrow to state his actions of forming the government. He has 32 MP's defecting from the current ruling party. Malaysia might or might not be ready for this but the wave of change is here already. If this is true then by this Friday we would have a new government. He has also promised September 16 as public holiday. He said BM would be given much more importance as well as Mandarin and Tamil.
What he worries and all the defectors worry is that they might be arrested under ISA. This is the main reason he wants to meet the PM to make sure there is a smooth transition of power.
Zaid Ibrahim has spoken to Anwar after he tendered his resignation and Anwar has apparently told his in 3days things are going to change.
But like how Raja Petra has nicely said it. Nobody asked Anwar to form a government now nor did anyone ask him to give a dateline like Sept 16. So with all the hype and pressure everyone went thru and he fails to do anything. People will totally turn their backs on him. Then Anwar will be finished. RPK said Anwar would probably be joining him in prison then.

10 Tahun sebelum merdeka!

We Malaysian were blinded by the true struggle for Merdeka. We don't know the truth of the many people who lost parts of their lives for that struggle. Nobody knows whats the meaning of HARTAL. I didn't know 99% Malaysian carried civil disobedience in protest towards the federal Constitution which was penned by the British at that time. The original party which should have lead this country were left in prison for many years or deported to other country. Why didn't we learn Malaya history in school. This is the government we have. This is one of the best documentaries I've seen about Malaysia.


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Let me shed some light on the issue.

There is a lot of criticism towards Anwar's approach to forming a Federal Government. A very hot topic. But If i was in Anwar's position. Being the Governments Number 1 target and being a man fighting for justice. There is no point i sit and let them kill me. I need to hit them hard and fast. Best before they do something to me. Kill or get killed. You only live once.
4 years from now where do you think Anwar would be? The biggest possibility is in jail. Counting the rest of his life in there or probably as self exiled. Living abroad somewhere is Turkey or London. Barisan National has seen the change in Malaysians. They know they are not current with the peoples thinking anymore. If they have decided their time is up they could launder every bit of wealth they can get their hands on and leave a crippled country to the opposition to carry on. Our country is already in such a bad shape. Our economy is doing so bad and people are suffering. We are already in such a state, do you really want to wait for another 4 years? Some say the Pakatan Rakyat government should concentrate in running the 5 states they already have. Lets be frank. Do you think BN will let them grow and flourish and make the other states envy of them? They would try their level best to tarnish and destroy their oppositions credibility before the next general election. That is BN and they have proven them self as such.
10 months ago we didn't even have an opposition government. We didn't have Pakatan Rakyat. I should give the credits to Hindraf and their movement who broke the gates of this Superficial Multiracial Multi ethnic Governance act. 10 months ago even i never thought it would be possible to stand up against UMNO. At last we are evolving. 50 years it took us to see light. And yet so many condemned the time is not right.
There is movie by the name of The Great Debaters by Danzel Washington about a true story. In it there is a women debating about civil disobedience used by Gandhi to bring down the British Government. During the same period this movie portrays. In it she questions "People say it is not time for the blacks to be given rights and equal citizenship. Fine! then tell me when is?" So lets stop kidding our self.
It does not take time, it takes a leader with a heart and mind to changed injustice and to instill pride to it's nation. That's why we have great leaders at times and hopeless ones too.
I should praise Dr. S.Subramaniam and Zaid Ibrahim for condemning the use of ISA by their government. During Mahathirs era we hardly heard any of the party members opinion. Mahathir was the only spokesperson for the entire government. Badawi is the total opposite.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Friday, September 5, 2008

Whats wrong Mahathir?

If Hindraf is lying than so are you. Because only an Indian will know the struggle we go thru in this country. If a non-Muslim gives a racist remark than he has to make a public apology. The same rule applies to a Muslim. No one is better or superior. No races or religion can control a country. Look at America, Obama a minority race is leading the US Presidential race.
Malaysians have a long way to learn how to accept and respect all races. I don't believe Mahathir is relevant anymore to the Malaysian dreams. It's not about tall sky scrappers and big this or that. We don't need fame. We need transparency and accountability. We need a government who is made up of the people. Not like what it is now. There should not be allocation to everything in Malaysia. I cant be this because i can't make it under Malaysia's racial quota system. But i pay for your seat under this morally degrading system. I think Malaysia is moving too fast for him. Using race as a comparison itself is racist.
Read mahathirs latest column.