The Custodian of the Constitution

November 13, 2007

 

The Custodian of the Constitution  

By Yellow Walker  

The PM and his super cronies after 50 years, had failed to realise that the question that to “drag the King into politics does not arise”. When the King our Supreme Sovereign Head does not get himself in daily politics or a member of the executive, it does not mean that his Majesty is totally above politics and is just a fiqure head of the country. 

In a democratic country with a constitutional monarchy like Malaysia, we have the Monarchy, Executive, Judiciary and Legislature. Each is independent of the other. If everything runs smoothly, the Royalty stays at his Palace, and is happy that his subjects are happy. The economy turns, majority of his Royal subjects has a job and  development is in full swing. The job of the King is to oversee that the country is running in proper order. His Majesty has the constitutional right to intervene today because everything is wrong today.  

The King is the people’s TRUSTEE. The Trustee has to act constitutionally today before the country go to the rocks! His Majesty need not take sides. The Royalty must see that there is fair play. The King is there to PROTECT the Constitution from being abused. He is the CUSTODIAN of the Constitution. Please don’t insult the King!  

The level of the playing field is tilted in favour of the powers that be. They even shift the position of the goalpost to whatever position they like! 

Everything is wrong today! One cannot even be safe inside our house. 300,000 graduates are jobless, Parliament leaks, a former railway gatekeeper’s house is bigger than a Division One Officer, the police is divided, Team A accusing Team B, we a net exporter of gas and petroleum  yet we have to pay more for gas and petroleum instead of paying less when the prices rises, the top cronies are enjoying themselves as  patrons of Petronas Philhamonic Orchestra, patients suffering unnecessarily instead of getting cured by the hospitals, everywhere you walk you see foreigners as much as you see your fellow citizens, government purchases having a free for all, no tenders being called as cronies lined up to secure projects at exorbitant prices, a 4.6 billion free trade zone as a white elephant collecting dusts, a congested bus terminal built 33 years ago and its next door – a dilapidated half constructed building, breeding anopheles and aedes mosquitoes, prices of houses and cars beyond the reach of  the mid income family, electricity prices increase by Tenaga although they make billions, buying screwdrivers at exorbitant prices, banks of a certain race taken over by another bunch of cronies in the pretence of having less banks but bigger banks to compete overseas, companies are asked to employ their staff in relation to the country’s population ratio but their own GLCs, universities full of their cronies such that they reflect the superpower of the cronies and pages and pages to be filled—-endless.

The King must step in to stop the rot! Enough is enough. 50 years of mismanagement is sufficient! The most important underhand tactic is the Election Commission reporting to the BN. Overnight they increase the Ipoh Timor Constituency by 8500 voters and then claim that it is their absolute right! Before the election you will already know who the winner MP is. Bukit Bintang has no army camp but got postal voters by the army. Therefore the Election Commission must report to an independent body and NOT to the BN! The Election Commission keeps the BN in perpetual power!    

The march by BERSIH is NOT a demonstration. During Prophet Mohamed Birthday the Muslims march. During Wesak the Buddhists march. During Deepavali the Indians march. During Saint Anne Festival the Christians march. All religions and groupings march. So why can’t BERSIH march? The powers that be, make it illegal. Gambling is illegal. But gambling at the Genting Highlands is LEGAL. Buying 4 digits is illegal. But buying 4 digit from Magnum, 3D and Toto is LEGAL. We want to tell AAB that we are not born yesterday! The shops at Masjid Jamek and Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman were doing a roaring business. Without provocation water cannons and teargas were fired. Hell broke loose. The shops have to close. So who is to blame? Buses were turned back at the highways. The commuter trains stop running. Road blocks were set up. The police were not looking for weapons. They were looking for YELLOW shirts! What is wrong with yellow shirts? Are yellow shirts  weapons? Why don’t the police stop the Buddhist monks from wearing YELLOW. SO WHO’S THE CULPRITS OF THE TRAFFIC JAMS? It is a deliberate attempt by the police to stop the march!  

BERSIH has declared that yellow is the colour of protest; it’s also the colour of press freedom. Wearing yellow also shows our love for the Rulers. The police has insulted the Royalties.  What is wrong if the people want to hand his Majesty a memorandum? You mean we have to send by the unreliable post office? It is just a memorandum on the demand for a clean and fair electoral system! What is the big fuss?

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BERSIH: Why Commercial Crime Department?

November 12, 2007
Bersih, police meet postponed again
Soon Li Tsin
Nov 12, 07 3:35pm
Malaysiakini

A meeting slated to be held today between committee members of the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih) and the police’s commercial crimes department has been postponed again.

Eight Bersih committee members were initially slotted to meet with ASP Amran Jusin on Nov 9, a day before the opposition-backed coalition held a massive rally in Kuala Lumpur.

The eight included PKR vice-president Sivarasa Rasiah, PKR information chief Tian Chua, Khairul Annuar Zainuddin (Jonah), Mohamad Sabu, Johari Abdul and DAP’s Ronnie Liu and Teresa Kok.

The meeting was postponed to today. However, Sivarasa (left) said when he contacted Amran yesterday, he was told that the meeting has been postponed again.

“ASP Amran and I spoke yesterday and he said it has been postponed. He said he will let me know the date later,” he told malaysiakini.

On Nov 3, the committee members received a call informing them that a police report had been lodged by an individual in Setapak about Bersih’s status as an illegal organisation.

Some of them were issued notices asking them to be present at the Nov 9 meeting. However, the committee members unanimously declined to show up as they were busy preparing for the rally.

A consensus was then reached for the committee members to be available for questioning after the rally that is today.

Why commercial crimes dept?

Liu, when contacted, was puzzled by the commercial crimes department’s involvement in this matter.

“It is very strange that this investigation is coming from the commercial crimes department because Bersih is not a commercial entity and we’ve done no crime,” he said.

“We are not sure what they really want. I don’t think they are in a hurry to deal with us either,” the DAP NGO bureau chief added.

On Saturday, over 40,000 of protesters massed outside Istana Negara in defiance of a government ban on the rally calling for clean and fair elections.

A memorandum was handed to a palace official by a delegation led by de facto PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim before the crowd dispersed peacefully.

The demonstrations brought traffic in the capital to a standstill under the watchful eyes of hundreds of police officers and personnel.

Meanwhile, Amran when contacted confirmed the postponement. He said it was made upon the request of Sivarasa.

“The date was initially set for today but one of them requested for another date so we complied. We have not set a new date yet but I will discuss the matter with him soon,” he said.

Bersih – launched in November 2006 – is a coalition of five political parties and 67 civil society groups campaigning for electoral reforms.

How about wearing Yellow every Saturday? 黄色星期六?

November 12, 2007

Great men think alike!

Many ‘Yellow Walkers’ have suggested to me that we should be wearing yellow once a week, everyday or on a certain day of the month to mark the huge success of the Yellow Wave on Saturday.

I am more inclined to adopt Yellow Saturday every week. I will raise the idea in the coming BERSIH’s meeting.

What do you think, my dear Yellow Walkers and readers of colour-blind?

The yellow wave and its durian effect
Azly Rahman
Nov 12, 07 11:25am
Malaysiakini 

DR AZLY RAHMAN is a transcultural philosopher rooted in the tradition of Critical and Chaos Theory. Born in Singapore, raised in Johor Baru, he was a child of Malaysia’s experiment in humanistic education: Maktab Rendah Sains MARA Kuantan.A member of The International Honor Society in Education, Azly holds a Doctorate in International Education Development from Columbia University, New York City, and Masters in four areas: International Affairs, Education, Communication, and Peace Studies.He has taught in Malaysia and the United States in a multitude of settings and in diverse fields such as Politics/International Relations, Education, American Studies, Philosophy/ Humanities/Cultural Studies, and History/Foundations of Civilizations.His interest lies in deconstructing ‘hegemony and totalitarianism’ and to explore the possibilities of creating one’s personal republic that will challenge and transform the postmodern state.He can be reached at: aar26@columbia.edu

Bersih, Cekap, Amanah” – old political slogan

Cemerlang, Gemilang, Terbilang” – new political slogan

B.e.r.s.i.h” – slogan to get from the new slogan to the old.

I quote the first few paragraphs of the 1776 American Declaration of Independence:

“… When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. …

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.-That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, -That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

Those are the words penned primarily by Thomas Jefferson, philosopher and statesman; words that became the document of American democracy that is still evolving.

Evolve we must

Evolve we must as a nation of multicultural poor yearning to break free from the shackles of poverty, alienation, massive corruption, and the tiredness of seeing power being abused and absolute power being abused absolutely.

Evolve we must by way of the slogans that have been fed to us religiously. By “we” we mean both the ruler and the ruled, the governor and the governed, the rakyat and the kerajaan (government). Essentially the process of “cleaning up” our act is both the desire of the ruling party and those who are protesting against it. We are a nation in need of therapy. We are one, essentially – our subjectivity and objectivity is being deconstructed and destroyed.

If we are to live with the truth and the power of the slogans we create, we must surrender to the will of the people who put us into power and wishes to see justice being served and a clean, transparent, and trustworthy government being put in place.

We have arrived at a juncture in our own brand of Civil Rights movement. We now need our own Magna Carta to teach our citizens the inalienable rights we have vis-a-vis the aristocrats; those that transformed themselves from the commoners to power-elites – through the huge machinery of money, media, and mental maneuverings and meanderings of the messages we created as the medium. We are made to live in a world of “managed perception”.

Don’t Pakistanize ourselves

Let us pray that we shall not have to Pakistanize ourselves in our struggle to exercise free speech and freedom of assembly. Unless we are like a nation at war with itself with us plunged as characters in the epic movie Lord of The Rings in which Humanity battles Humanoids in the war for natural justice set in antiquity.

The events that led to the declaration of emergency in Islamabad may as well foreshadow the nature and shape of things to come by the time campaigning and Election Day arrives.

Will the yellow fever, like the River HuangHe does, bring sorrow to the current regime? Is the nation seeing the seeds of destruction germinating? Will the Krakatau of the Malaysian rumbling and grumbling finally erupt?

I don’t know. You and I can only make informed guesses. Man proposes, God disposes.

We can only predict and plan for the translation of theory into practice. That’s what praxis is – the marriage of idealism and action to produce “cultural action for freedom”, as Latin liberation theologians such as Gustavo Gutierrez, Denis Goulet, and Paulo Freire would say. Or like what the brave heart Che Guevara would embody.

Being a student of social revolutions in which I have closely looked at the anatomy of peaceful and violent revolutions such as those of The American, The French, Cuban, Iranian, Nicaraguan, Indonesian and also the Computer and the Internet, I believe there are interesting elements one can extract from the Nov 10 march.

Unlike the French Revolution, the march did not begin in a tennis court but from many angles but denied the final congregation in front of Freedom/Independence/Merdeka Square. Nor it deposed a grandson of the Sun King, but rather seeks refuge in the Malay Supreme Ruler. Unlike the Cuban Revolution in which a law doctoral graduate Fidel Castro had to use extra-legal means to gain power and return it to the people, the November march began with a legal application that was denied and was preceded by the Lawyer’s Walk that sent memorandum to stop a judiciary rot. Unlike the Iranian Revolution in which a million people waited for Imam Khomeini, the Nov 10 march was a freedom march whose leadership is collaborative in nature. Unlike the Nicaraguan Revolution in which Daniel Ortega had to go underground to fight a guerilla war, Nov 10 saw not a single shot being fired nor Mat Rempits being hired. Unlike the American Revolution in which the French was General Washington’s ally, Nov 10 was purely a people’s protest devoid of outside influence. Unlike the most Indonesian Revolution in which Jakarta was burning, Nov 10 saw instead alleged chemical laced- water being sprayed on a rainy day.

Parallels and non-parallels there are.

But like the Computer Revolution that spread like wildfire and transformed millions into informed citizens Nov 10 was preceded by a good sense of informational war, with Malaysia-Today and a few other blogs hacked – the power of the Internet reigns supreme in spreading the yellow fever.

There is a durian dimension to the Nov 10 march of grievance.

The durian effect

The durian is a yellow fruit – an exquisite and truly “world-class” Malaysian fruit. It has a Marxist contradiction built in. It is pungent, banned in hotels and airplanes, tastes like vomit to some, feels like eating ice-cream in a Malaysian toilet to many, yet is has one of the most heavenly taste that even the most glorious of Malaysian statesmen and Supreme Rulers would not resist it over a pot of thick Malaccan coffee. In the yellowness of it lies heaven and hell. In it lies the joys and sorrow of tasting. It is a bitter fruit of freedom. Like the fruit in the song “Strange Fruit” rendered beautifully by the grand diva of jazz, Nina Simone; a fruit that tells America the story of lynching down South.

The yellowness of the durian is a metaphor of the yellow wave of change.

It’s only the beginning of a peaceful revolt against the might of the machine. Indeed the next wave will be met with even more machines from the regime. Like in the movie Lord of the Rings. Like in the movie the Matrix in which things will multiply as Humanity battles with Humanoids conditioned by totalitarianism.

The photos of the rally tell us a lot about the nature of our peaceful marches – thanks to the leaders and the marshals. Thanks to the wisdom of the leaders who are in tune and in syn with the gentleness of the people. But the faces of the protesters read like Chairil Anwar’s poems and WS Rendra’s plays.

We have evolved into brave souls with brave hearts. But with finesse and patience must we revolt. If we can have the masses to continue to wear yellow (like the Irish with their St. Patrick greens) as a memory of Nov 10, we will continue with the message right till Election Day. Revolutions need martyrs, reformations need signs and symbols and significations – etched in the memory of even the little child near Pasar Seni pepper-sprayed by the Mighty Machine trying with paranoia to crush those voices no longer in the wilderness.

This is why we have the yellow fever. Clean, Efficient, Trustworthy – a good old slogan to arrive at. But clean up we must. With lots of shower. Not with ones with chemically-laced water though.

We must evolve – collectively.

国会反对党领袖兼民主行动党怡保东区国会议员林吉祥於2007年11月11日(星期一)

在国会发表的记者会声明:

阿都拉对乾净与公平选举联盟在11月10日向国家元首提呈选举改革备忘录的万人

大集会之回应,已经严峻的考验他是否已经撕毁其4年来的听真话承诺,而暴露出

他充耳不闻人民心声的真面目。

乾净与公平选举联盟(公选盟-BERSIH)在周六举行万人大集会向国家元首提呈选举改革的备忘录,以确保选举在乾净、自由与公平情况下举行,而政府领袖们作出的消极与不负责任回应,虽然不出乎意料,却令人大失所望。

首相拿督斯里阿都拉说,公选盟的集会与请愿”形同将皇室及国家元首卷入政治”。

这是亳无根据的指责,完全不应出自一名首相之口,因为它不符事实。

国家元首是大马公正泉源的象徵,而且失去所有争取公正管道的大马人民,可以要求国家元首施予援手是符合宪法精神的,首相及内阁有义务严正考虑这种向国家元首提呈的请愿,而非以极为嚣张、傲慢与不民主的态度加以否定。

向国家元首请愿的个案尤其重要,因为政府对改革选举,确保所有竞选者具有平等的平台,使大马的选举在乾净、自由与公平的情况下举行之广泛与正当性呼声充耳不闻。

因此,我在国会问答时间指政府应维护国家元首为公正泉源的象徵,而正视上述的备忘录,否则政府将对君主立宪制度不公。

周三的内阁会议应优先关注上述的请愿,并主动的成立一个机制,确保来届大选能真正的
乾净、自由与公平。

其实,它还涉及更大的得失攸关。阿都拉对公选盟在11月10日向国家元首提呈选举改革备忘录的万人大集会之回应,也已经严峻的考验他是否已经撕毁其4年来的听真话承诺,而暴露出他充耳不闻人民心声的真面目。

不幸的是,实际情况的确如此,我今早在国会提出附加询问,想知道政府是否将对上述的请愿作出积极的反应时,首相署部长拿督斯里纳兹里以粗野的口吻作答。纳兹里不理性的回答询问,而展开狂暴的政治攻击。

国阵政府泥足深陷入否认症候群令人非常的遗憾,如政府不承认周六的大集会是阿都拉掌权4年来规模最大的,而且显示出人民热爱和平与致力争取民主。

可悲的是,官方的数据从全国总警长在周六指的4000人,很勉强的增加至副首相拿督斯里纳吉昨天讲的1万人,而所有的目击者、照片及录像可以证明,指参与集会人数高达4至5万人并不夸张。

如果阿都拉能在联合国发言时提到缅甸在9月间由僧侣发动的”袈裟起义”,以及在我国的缅甸籍工人能公开集会,以示支持袈裟起义,大马的首相至少应承认公选盟和平集会表达心声的正常性,并严加考虑改革选举的呼吁,尤其是这项数万人的大集会尽管遭到挑衅及警方过度使用暴力,包括完全不必要地发射摧泪弹及水炮,却仍在和平与秩序井然下举行。

林吉祥

Media Conference Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader and DAP MP for Ipoh Timur Lim Kit Siang in Parliament on November 12, 2007:

Abdullah’s response to mammoth peaceful BERSIH gathering on Nov. 10 petitioning Yang di Pertuan Agong for electoral reforms has become the acid test whether it marks the burial of his four-year pledge to hear the truth showing his true colours of refusing to hear and heed the voice of the rakyat

The negative and irresponsible responses of the government and its leaders to Saturday’s mammoth peaceful BERSIH gathering petitioning the Yang di Pertuan Agong for electoral reforms to ensure clean, free and fair elections is most disappointing though not unexpected.

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said the BERSIH gathering and petition were “tantamount to dragging the institution of the monarchy, and the king, into politics”.

This is a baseless allegation completely unworthy of the Prime Minister as nothing could be further from the truth.

The Yang di Pertuan Agong symbolizes the fountain of justice in Malaysia, and it is completely within constitutional norms for Malaysians who are shut out from all avenues of redress to seek justice to appeal to the Yang di Pertuan Agong for intervention – and it will be beholden on the Prime Minister and his Cabinet to give such petitions to the Yang di Pertuan Agong serious consideration and not to dismiss them in a most arrogant, cavalier and undemocratic manner.

In this particular case, the mass petition to the Yang di Pertuan Agong is all the more pertinent as the government has turned a deaf ear to widespread and legitimate calls for electoral reforms to ensure that there is a level playing field for all contestants so that clean, free and fair elections could be held in Malaysia.

This is why I said during question time that the government should uphold the important symbol of the King as the fountain of justice by giving serious and positive consideration to the petition to the Yang di Pertuan Agong supported by the mammoth and peaceful BERSIH gathering on Saturday or the government will be doing an injustice to the system of monarchy.

The Cabinet meeting on Wednesday should give top priority to the BERSIH petition to the Yang di Pertuan Agong on electoral reforms and take the initiative to establish a mechanism to ensure that the next general election can be truly clean, free and fair.

In fact, much more is at stake. Abdullah’s response to the mammoth peaceful BERSIH gathering on Nov. 10 petitioning Yang di Pertuan Agong for electoral reforms has also become the acid test whether it marks the burial of his four-year pledge to hear the truth showing and we have the Prime Minister showing his true colours of refusing to hear and heed the voice of the rakyat.

This, unfortunately, appears to be the case, with the truculent reply by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz during question time this morning when I posed the supplementary question whether the government would give a positive response to the BERSIH petition to the Yang di Pertuan Agong for electoral reforms. Instead of a rational reply, Nazri went into a political rampage!

It is most regrettable that the Barisan Nasional government is suffering from a very serious case of denial syndrome, as evidenced by its refusal to concede that Saturday’s mammoth peaceful gathering was the biggest in the four-year premiership of Abdullah and evidence of the people’s love for peace and commitment to democracy.

It is pathetic to see the official figure for the mammoth peaceful BERSIH gathering grudgingly increase from 4,000, according to the Inspector-General of Police on Saturday, to 10,000 according to Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak yesterday, when from all eye-witness, photographic and video accounts, the gathering could be numbered without exaggeration as between 40,000 to 50,000.

If Abdullah can speak in the United Nations to commend the “saffron revolution” of the Burmese monks in Myanmar in September, and Burmese workers in the country could assemble publicly to organize public protests in support of the “saffron revolution”, the least the a responsible Prime Minister of Malaysia  should do is to acknowledge the legitimacy of the grievances of the mammoth peaceful BERSIH gathering and the exemplary conduct of the 40,000 – 50,000 people who conducted themselves in a peaceful and orderly manner despite unnecessary provocations and excessive force by the police in certain instances – including the uncalled-for firing of tear gas and water cannons – and give serious consideration to the calls for electoral reforms.

    Lim Kit Siang

“Saya pantang dicabar!” Sekarang nak balas dendam?

November 12, 2007

 

You Have Been Challenged, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi!
M. Bakri Musa
 
 
“Saya pantang dicabar!” (lit:  “I am allergic to challenges;” fig. “Don’t challenge me!”) declared Prime Minister Abdullah in an uncharacteristically bold assertion to the media on the eve of BERSIH’s massive street demonstrations in Kuala Lumpur last Saturday, November 10, 2007.
            You have now been challenged, Mr. Prime Minister, openly and publicly by your own citizens, and you have emerged impotent!  That huge street rally may be illegal to you, but the King had consented to receiving its leaders and their petition.  In effect, the King too has challenged you, Abdullah!  In case you did not get the message, you had just been served a very public royal rebuff.
I too, challenge you, Abdullah!  Instead of arresting those ordinary citizen demonstrators, I dare you to arrest their leaders, Anwar Ibrahim, Hadi Awang, Lim Kit Siang, and Raja Petra Kamarudin.  Those ordinary folks were merely exercising their basic rights as citizens of a democracy:  the right to free assembly and to petition the authorities.
            As per the refrain of the Ghostbusters theme song, “Who are you gonna call now!” Mr. Prime Minister?  Your fabulous Fourth Floor boys?  Your son-in-law who is using you as his “protection?”  Imagine being considered as such by your son-in-law!
            Khairy Jamaluddin obviously had not heard of your “demonstrations are not part of our Malay culture” bit.  Either that or Khairy had blissfully ignored it as when he led that pathetic street demonstration against your official guest, US State Secretary Rice.
            In a speech earlier in the week, Khairy demanded that the authorities “come down hard” on the BERSIH demonstrators.  While there were some water cannons and tear gas canisters unloaded, the demonstrations went ahead smoothly and successfully to the palace.  The police even released most of those arrested.  Your son-in-law challenged you to be tough on the demonstrators, and you came out lembik (limp).
 
 
Dim Wit Understanding of Democracy
 
In denying the BERSIH demonstrators their police permit, Abdullah demonstrated only a dim wit understanding of democracy, akin to that held by Saddam Hussein and Pervez Musharraf.  Both were voted in with over 98 percent of the votes, and they took that to mean they could ride roughshod over their country and citizens.  Never mind that their elections were anything but fair and free.
            Democracy means rule of the people, but it does not mean mob rule legitimized through the ballot box.  Electoral victory is not a license for tyranny of the majority.  As Fareed Zakaria wrote so eloquently in his book, The Future of Freedom, democracy is more than just elections.  Even if elections were fair and free (far from the reality in Malaysia, hence the demonstrations!), obsession with or sole reliance on them would threaten the other far more important aspects like the rule of law, private property rights, separation of powers, and the right to free speech and to assemble freely.
            Elections regular or otherwise, honest or rigged, do not guarantee these; only independent and impartial judges could.  An independent judiciary is thus the hallmark as well as the guarantor of democracy and freedom, certainly much more than universal adult suffrage.
            As for the state of the Malaysian judiciary, the Lingam tapes painfully showed what a sorry mess it is in.  Even if BERSIH were completely successful with its petition and the Elections Commission completely overhauled, there is still the monumental task of cleaning up the judiciary and restoring its long lost integrity.
            These points are elementary and obvious to all, save the dim witted.
 
 
Time to Deliver The Next Lesson
 
There is another feature of the dim witted; they are slow learners.  It is unlikely for them to have learned a lesson from Bersih’s successful rally, or if they did it may not have stuck.
            Since the only lesson that would register on their thick skulls is election returns, my friend Din Merican had started a campaign to register voters.  The next step would be to ensure that they will vote against the Barisan coalition.
            It would encourage voters to do that if there were to be substantial and effective co-ordination among the opposition parties to ensure that there would only be a one-on-one battle with the Barisan in every constituency.  The objective here is rather modest, to inflict enough damage to the Barisan coalition such that it would precipitate internal squabbling especially within UMNO to trigger its implosion.
            Selecting the best candidate, meaning one who would most likely defeat the Barisan’s nominee, involves studying the demographics of the constituency as well as the Barisan’s candidate.  Since race is never far from voters’ considerations, the best avenue to neutralize this crucial factor would be to field candidates of the same race as the Barisan’s nominees.  This was the clear lesson from the recent Ijok by-elections.  Thus the opposition must be ready to change candidates on nomination day depending on who would represent Barisan.
            For example, if Barisan were to re-nominate the current MCA candidate but at the last minute the seat were to go to UMNO, then the opposition must be ready to substitute a Malay candidate.  If that party (like DAP for instance) cannot come up with a Malay nominee, then it should be willing to give the slot to a Malay from one of the other parties.
            BERSIH’s victory should embolden the citizens to impart to the Barisan government the other equally important lesson:  cleaning out the rot in the judiciary.  No less than a full Royal Commission with full powers to subpoena witnesses and grant them immunity should be the objective.  As Fareed Zakaria noted, an impartial and independent judiciary is the best guarantor of our freedoms and democracy.  We must keep drumming these lessons lest they forget easily.
            We must keep mencabar (challenging) Abdullah until he comes to his senses and realizes the obvious:  the job of being a Prime Minister of our great nation is way above his head.  If he does not, others either within or outside his party should be emboldened enough to tell him so.
 

BERSIH March: Experience of a ‘Yellow Walker’

November 12, 2007

  This is the full-colour leaflet distributed in mosques in the Klang valley to influence the Muslims not to take part in the peaceful Nov 10 rally. This leaflet bears no publisher and printer.Pengecut!

sharing my personal experience on the bersih gathering/march…from a brave Yellow Walker…
“people should not be afraid of their governments, the governemts should be afraid of their people”…

precisely!…

when i got up approx 1100 hours on 10th october 2007, i know i will be part of the history in malaysia!…

just want to briefly share what i experienced in the bersih gathering/march which i attended with much enthusiasm!…

as most of you already know there are 4 meeting points for meet-up before we marched to dataran merdeka before we proceed to the palace to submit the memorandum to the king on asking for a massize reformation to the electoral roll…. i went to the sogo meeting point…

expecting the massive traffic out there… i took the public transport… i boarded the ktm komuter in kl sentral at approx 1145 hours… waited for at least 30 mins before the train actually moved an inch… apparently they have some ‘technical problems’ at the station in front… but, there was about 3 trains opposite the coach am in passed us by from the station in front of us!… ‘technical problems’ eh?!?… want to delay/deny us, say so lah… we understand the fear and uncertainties of certain people… 🙂 …

reached sogo approx 1245 hours, not before going though tens of police personnel staring at you as if you are a criminal, took my lunch and walked around and more and more people can be seen… i knew this is gonna be huge, really huge!… police personnel were all over the place inside and outside sogo then and helicopter right above us drowning the noise of the people… a real low way of doing things eh?!?…

joined my group opposite sogo, which was only about 10 of us… had a drink with them.. changed into my xxxl yellow bersih t-shirt and voila… we marched towards the main entrance of sogo and greeted by roars and claps by hundreds of others, which was mainly pas supporters… made way for the 10 of us to be placed right in the middle of the group…. right after we arrived, one guy took over the meet-up with a prayer… at that particular time, the muhibbah thing struck me really hard… needless to say, the irritating helicopter which was flying really low ‘drown’ the prayers…

after the prayers, we started our march at approx 1400 hours with very gloomy looking sky above us!… minutes into our march just before the dbkl building on our right, it started pouring… came well prepared with plastic bags and a backpack to keep my stuffs dry…. 🙂 … fru set-up a barricade infront of us, they practically set up barricades surrounding the whole of dataran merdeka!… we then marched towards the main entrance of royal selangor club greeted by many others who was having their lunch there and the motorists opposite us and that basically kept us moving further in the heavy downpour!… we passed the masjid negara opposite us minutes later…. thousands of them came over to join us, if am not mistaken including some heavy weights too fm that meeting point, at that time the crowd grew to easily to at least 400 meters long…

basically the ‘chanting’ of “daulat tuanku”… “hidup rakyat”… “hancur kezaliman”… hancur rasuah”… the takbir… etc…. heard even louder then…

at that particular time, i knew very much we are not heading to dataran merdeka, instead we will be marching towards the palace directly!…

as we were passing the chinese assembly hall, another group join us… as this particular time, the crowd grew to at least 600 meters long!… a sea of yellow can be seen when i looked back… at that time, the rain start slowing down…

as we were passing by public bank on our right and nearing the palace… thousands more joined the line… it was at this time i spotted a guy in crutches with a leg amputated, all soaked up, marching his way to the palace… this stunned me for a while thinking how can a person with one leg do this!.. shame one me when the first i heard about this bersih gathering/march, i was actually thinking and contemplating whether to go for it or not!… shame on me!… i have the utmost respect for that guy!… God bless him, whoever he is!…

we reached at the main entrance of the palace at approx 1500 hours… some heavy weights gave some short speeches… at approx 1530 hours or so, the memorandum were submitted to the king’s special assistant or to someone along that line… still drizzling at that time… met my eldest brother there who were also drenched in the rain, am surprised he actually came for it tho!… 🙂 … i thought it was a joke when he told me he is coming!… my second nephew could not make it, although my eldest brother and myself very much want him to come and be exposed to all these things and to all the crap we are going through!…. he came by lrt… walked all the way fm central market.. understand fm him that particular trip he took was the last trip that the lrt goona stop in central market station… talk about ‘manipulation’ eh?!?… 🙂 … he was stunned when he was fm the lrt he is in, looking down and saw seas of yellow marching.. as he put it… “it was a very nice sight”!… i would get goosebumps when i see that!… btw, understand from my brother that my eldest nephew’s friend stopped by police twice, when he was on his way for some frisbee competition/training, because he wore a yellow shirt!.. wtf?!?…

the whole things finished by approx 1600 hours… it was another long walk for both of us to get a cab home…

understand that there was approx 80 people arrested (probably for ‘formalities’) in masjid jamek meeting point… mainly pas supporters/unit amal people… water cannon, tear gas and chemical were sprayed/released!… until now (2245 hours on 10th november 2007) no concrete confirmation on this… we shall wait for the official reports/news in the next couple of days…

things i learnt fm this bersih gathering/march… in no particular order…

1) if you have the same vision and mission for a particular… race and religion does not matter, both this 2 issues won’t play a part in it…

2) this bersih gathering/march is indeed a very loud voice to the current ruling bn/umno rotten to the core government!…

3) there are people who are actually very afraid when they read about the news saying no permit given, fear of certain things, etc… but, they want things to be changed!…

4) no matter whatever ways they may be using to stop us fm attending this bersih gathering/march.. NOTHING, absolutely NOTHING can stop us!…

5) it’s very nice and comforting to see malaysia still have hope!…

6) it’s very nice and comforting to see people march arms in arms regardless who you may be!…

7) unit amal is very professional in handling things!…

8) there are people who love malaysia to bits!…

9) my love for the country went a step deeper!…

10) it’s good to expose yr kids to all these things!…

11) my parents and my immediate family members are very supportive of all these things, as they believe in wat the current rulling bn/umno rotten to the core government is doing is very wrong and one sided!…

12) the police created the extremely massive traffic jams all over the klang valley, not the people!…

13) the irritating/annoying sound of helicopters can work better than police car siren!…

14) kyros kebab in sogo is yummilicious!… 🙂 …

15) it was nice to walk around sogo after such a long time, sogo used to be one of my favourite places to hang out after school!…

16) always have the interest in politics since primary school… if not for monetary issues for now, i WILL take the plunge into politics full time, of course with my parents’s blessings, which i think they will give me tho!… 🙂 …

17) every little tiny help fm everyone, do make a different!…

18) this bersih gathering/march is not a political gathering/march.. no party flags, t-shirts, logo, etc… should be seen… we see nothing political in this bersih gathering/march… people can be very well discipline if it make sense to them tho!…

19) if am aab, i better have the biggest headache now tho!…

20) the chinese and indians in particular must be pro-active in making the country a better, cleaner, fairer and colour blind to live in!… i respect the malays in being very pro-active in these kinda gathering/march… nope, am not talking about those people fm the rotten to the core umno!…

21) kj is really no one.. he is just some dude fm kuwait, some datuk and datin’s son… graduated fm a well-known university, hooked up with aab’s daughter and voila… he is ‘someone’ now… also, he can certainly get along very well with power and money now tho!…

22) nazri may say… “this is not the majority, we have 27 million rakyat, only 40,000 turned up”!…

23) it will be interesting to hear mm’s point of view on this bersih gathering/march!…

24) general election may not be so soon after all…

25) i still get goosebumps when watching this video, after countless of times… (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4ycaduE_D4 )!…

26) this is just the beginning to many more things to come, we must continue the struggle… pls do your part!…
 
 
 

reports fm al jazeera…

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzqSddWkxGs)
 
 
 
 
more videos in malaysiakini…

(http://www.malaysiakini.tv/)…
 
 
 

pix galore!…

(http://www.malaysia-today.net/nuc2006/report07.php?itemid=208)

( http://www.malaysia-today.net/nuc2006/report07.php?itemid=216)

(http://malaysianunplug.blogspot.com/2007/11/damn-this-umno-led-government-for-tear.html )…

(http://picasaweb.google.com/pemudawp/BersihRally)…

( http://www.flickr.com/photos/19725396@N07/)…

(http://jahilgoblog.net/gambaq/main.php)…

( http://www.meshio.com/index.php/2007/11/photos-from-10th-november-bersih-rally/)..
 
 
 
 
spot the difference…

between this…

(http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2007/11/11/nation/19443759&sec=nation )…

and this…

(http://www.suaram.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=778&Itemid=1 )…

well, i dun blame the repoters fm the star tho… it’s perhaps another component party of barisan nasional…

34 instead of 245… bigger number to ‘create fear’ in the rakyat?!?… they must be thinking the rakyat are some stupid uneducated fellas eh!…
p/s ; any difference between detained and arrested?!?..
 

BERSIH: PM worried about Agong’s intervention

November 12, 2007

  Bringing the people’s memo to the King on behalf of BERSIH

PM Abdullah blamed the Opposition for dragging the monarchy into politics. He spoke as if HRH Agong has no mind of his own.

Come on, AAB. Please learn to respect our King. Our monarchy is not mere rubber stamp. Under the Federal Constitution, they have the rights to right the wrong in the administration. And it’s only natural for the rakyat to turn to the King for help when the BN government is failing all Malaysians in every aspect of its administration. 

It was also wrong for AAB to claim that the rakyat were angry with the Opposition for organising the protest rally. In fact, more and more people now understand the importance of a clean and fair electoral system. What is so important about causing traffic jam compared to the demand of a clean and fair electoral system? To be fair to BERSIH, the traffic jams were created by the police. They should not have set up so many road blocks in the first place. The traffic jam has very little to do with BERSIH.

BERSIH’s Memo for HRH Agong

November 12, 2007

  IGP said we have only 4,000; look at this picture and you know he was lying.  He also lied about the number of arrested demonstrators. 42 were arrested on Saturday but he said 235. Why must he lied about such thing? Think about it.

Memorandum kepada DYMM Seri Paduka Baginda Yang Dipertuan Agung   

Daripada:

Gabungan Pilihanraya Bersih dan Adil / 

Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH) 

Tarikh:10 November 2007   

1.            BERSIH adalah sebuah jawatankuasa gabungan yang terdiri daripada organisasi-organisasi masyarakat sivil dan parti-parti politik dengan matlamat utama untuk memperjuangkan pilihanraya yang bebas dan adil di Malaysia.

2.            Hanya menerusi pilihanraya yang bebas dan adil sahajalah, rakyat Malaysia mampu untuk menentukan nasib mereka sendiri Malaysia dan mengharapkan mereka yang menjawat jawatan-jawatan awam untuk bertindak dengan pertanggungjawaban dan berkesan. Selagimana, rakyat tidak mempunyai kuasa untuk menyingkir golongan jahat dalam pemerintahan negara, maka selagi itulah harapan untuk mendaulatkan undang-undang, melindungi hak asasi manusia, mengadakan urus-tadbir kerajaan yang baik dan menggalakkan pembangunan rakyat yang berterusan/lestari akan terus tertakluk kepada budibicara ahli politik yang mempunyai kepentingan peribadi. Matlamat utama untuk menukar kerajaan hari ini adalah merupakan kunci ‘semak dan imbang’ dalam menentang  penyalahgunaan kuasa pemerintah.

3.            Adalah amat malang bagi Malaysia kerana walaupun sudah 50 tahun merdeka, ternyata Malaysia masih gagal untuk mengendalikan proses pilihanraya yang bebas dan adil. Kesimpulan ini bukan sahaja dipersetujui oleh masyarakat sivil, parti-parti politik dan pemerhati antarabangsa, malah ia juga diakui sendiri oleh Pengerusi Suruhanjaya Pilihanraya. Selepas pilihanraya umum pada bulan Mac 2004 yang dihantui oleh pelbagai penyelewengan dan kontroversi yang jauh lebih serius daripada pilihanraya-pilihanraya sebelumnya, maka, beliau merasakan perlu dan setuju dengan tuntutan awam untuk menjalankan penyiasatan bebas. Namun, amat mengecewakan penyiasatan bebas tersebut akhirnya tidak dijalankan.

 4.            Proses pengendalian pilihanraya yang tidak telus ini menimbulkan pelbagai persoalan khususnya persoalan terhadap kuasa mutlak badan pemerintah negara ini. Keadaan sebegini jika dibiarkan berterusan akan membawa petanda yang buruk untuk masa depan masyarakat dan boleh memusnahkan keutuhan sistem politik negara kita. Ini dapat dilihat pada negara-negara yang telah mengalaminya iaitu Thailand, Filipina dan Taiwan. Oleh yang demikian, BERSIH merasakan adalah perlu bagi semua rakyat Malaysia berganding bahu dan menggembleng tenaga untuk membawa perubahan yang menyeluruh dalam proses pilihanraya yang mendatang. Justeru, kami mencadangkan agenda perubahan jangka-panjang dan tiga sasaran kerja dengan segera. 5.            Dalam masa jangka-panjang yang akan membatasi batas pilihanraya akan datang, BERSIH yakin dan percaya bahawa kelapan-lapan aspek ini perlu dikaji dan diperbaharui secara keseluruhannya:   

a.       Sistem pilihanraya:

                           i.            Adalah perlu untuk memperbetulkan ketidakseimbangan yang tinggi antara undian rakyat dan kerusi yang dipertandingkan dalam pilihanraya, dimana undi sebanyak 64% boleh diterjemahlkan kepada 91% kerusi bagi parti pemerintah. Ini adalah kerana berteraskan kepada prinsip asas ‘First-Past-The-Post’ atau ‘Yang-Pertama-Melepasi-Tiang’ dan juga manipulasi menerusi pembahagian kawasan pilihanraya yang bericirikan ‘agihan-timpang’ dan ‘curang’ atau ‘tipu-belit’.

                         ii.            Adalah perlu untuk memperkenalkan satu sistem yang menyenaraikan semua perwakilan parti, supaya jumlah minima 30% perwakilan wanita di parlimen terjamin.

                        iii.            Adalah perlu untuk memperkenalkan semula pilihanraya tempatan dengan sistem pilihanraya yang lebih adil, termasuk memberikan ruang yang lebih kepada penglibatan wanita dan kelompok terpinggir dalam masyarakat.

b.      Pentadbiran pilihanraya:

                           i.      Adalah perlu untuk merubah Suruhanjaya Pilihanraya sekarang yang   ternyata gagal untuk bertindak sebagai sebuah institusi yang bebas dengan bergerak ke arah struktur perwakilan pelbagai parti sebagaimana yang dipraktikkan di negara-negara yang mengamalkan demokrasi

                         ii.      Memperuntukkan undang-undang yang berkaitan dengan hak pemerhati-pemerhati antarabangsa dan tempatan

c.       Penamaan calon dan parti – bahawa ketimpangan ini mesti diperbetulkan:

                           i.      Kuasa berasaskan budibicara yang diberikan kepada Pendaftar Pertubuhan menyebabkan keputusan berkaitan pendaftaran dibuat secara sewenang-wenagnya. Ini dapat dilihat dalam kes Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) dan Malaysian Dayak Congress (MDC);                         ii.      Keputusan berat sebelah dan sewenang-wenang oleh Pegawai Pengurus Pilihanraya yang akhirnya menggugurkan kelayakan calon-calon pembangkang adalah tidak adil;                        iii.      Klausa kontroversi yang membenarkan calon menarik diri selepas penamaan yang akhirnya membawa kepada pertuduhan rasuah dan kemenangan tanpa bertanding yang menyangsikan.                       iv.      Wang deposit pilihanraya yang tertinggi di dunia yang secara langsung menghalang penyertaan warga Malaysia yang kurang sumber kewangannya, termasuk golongan wanita dan beberapa kumpulan terpinggir dalam masyarakat. d.      Kempen pilihanraya – Peruntukan undang-undang bagi perkara-perkara berikut:                           i.      Menetapkan satu tempoh berkempen wajib yang jauh lebih panjang daripada tempoh 8 hari berkempen dalam pilihanraya lepas yang nyata tidak bermakna langsung;                         ii.      Memberikan hak kebebasan bersuara dan berkumpul yang sebenar-benarnya sebagaimana yang telah diperuntukkan dalam Perlembagaan Persekutuan Malaysia;                        iii.      Pengawalan secara berkesan dan menyeluruh dalam proses pembiayaan kos untuk berkempen untuk membendung amalan rasuah                       iv.      Pertimbangan untuk mengadakan pembiayaan awam bagi kos berkempen kepada parti-parti politik khususnya bagi calon wanita, kumpulan-kumpulan terpinggir dalam masyarakat dan latihan yang mesra gender. 

e.    Media;

                           i.      Merombak undang-undang yang sedia ada yang telah membolehkan media cetak dan   penyiaran dimonopoli oleh para proksi Barisan Nasional

                         ii.      Peruntukan undang-undang bagi membolehkan semua parti politik mendapat akses atau capaian percuma kepada TV dan radio awam serta akses secara adil (percuma atau berbayar) kepada media swasta

                        iii.      Peruntukan undang-undang bagi menjamin hak semua parti politik dan calon untuk menjawab segala bentuk tuduhan dan kritikan ke atas mereka menerusi media.

f.        Kerajaan Sementara atau Caretaker

                           i.      Bahawa kerajaan lama adalah dilarang sama sekali untuk membuat sebarang polisi atau keputusan berkaitan dengan pembangunan bilamana Parlimen atau Dewan Undangan Negeri dibubarkan.

                         ii.      Bahawa menyalahgunakan semua sumber dan instrumen negara bagi tujuan memenangi pilihanraya atau untuk kepentingan parti adalah merupakan kesalahan jenayah

                        iii.      Bahawa penyediaan dan penyemakan daftar pemilih perlu dibuat secara telus dan tertakluk kepada semakan kehakiman

g.    Daftar Pemilih:

                           i.      Bahawa daftar pemilih perlu dikemaskinikan dan tepat, untuk mengelakkan (i) penyingkiran dan pemindahan secara tidak sukarela para pengundi yang sah dan (ii) penyamaran dan pengundian berganda oleh ‘pengundi hantu’.

                         ii.      Bahawa semua rakyat yang layak mengundi perlu secara automatik didaftarkan sebagai pengundi.

h.       Undi:

i.         Melaksanakan penggunaan dakwat kekal (indelible ink) untuk menghalang pengundian berganda;

ii.             Memansuhkan sistem pengundian pos kecuali untuk para diplomat dan pengundi yang berada di luar negara memandangkan pertanggungjawaban dan kerahsiaan amat terancam dalam amalan semasa

  6.      Untuk jangka terdekat, BERSIH telah menyeru kepada Pengerusi dan Setiausaha Suruhanjaya Pilihanraya (SPR), Tan Sri Abd. Rashid bin Abd. Rahman dan Datuk Kamaruzaman bin Mohd Noor untuk melaksanakan empat pembaharuan yang diperlukan dan boleh dilaksanakan serta-merta:          (a) penyemakan semula daftar pemilih yang lengkap demi memastikan segala kesalahan dan ketimpangan yang sedia ada dapat dihapuskan;         (b) penggunaan dakwat kekal untuk menghalang pengundian berganda;         (c) pemansuhan sistem pengundian pos kecuali untuk para diplomat dan pengundi lain di luar negara; dan          (d) akses media yang adil kepada semua pihak dalam pilihanraya.         Malangnya, setakat ini, pihak SPR cuma bersetuju dengan satu permintaan iaitu penggunaan dakwat kekal. 7.            Dalam menjalankan kempen kesedaran di seluruh Negara, BERSIH telah berhadapan dengan satu tragedi sehingga pihak berkuasa menggunakan senjata dan menembak orang awam dengan peluru hidup. Peristiwa ini berlaku di Pantai Batu Burok, Kuala Terengganu pada 9hb September lalu. Bahkan, BERSIH dilontarkan tohmahan sebagai memulakan satu rusuhan. Penyiasatan bebas juga tidak dijalankan oleh badan-badan yang dipertanggungjawabkan. 8.            Kami memohon Ke Bawah Duli Tuanku agar Tuanku akan

  1.  
    1. Menyuarakan kehendak rakyat menuntut pembaharuan pilihanraya termasuk mengutarakan cadangan untuk sebuah Suruhanjaya diRaja untuk   mengkaji pembaharuan sistem and proses pilihanraya.
    2. Menggunakan kuasa Tuanku di bawah Perkara 40(2), Perlembagaan Persekutuan, untuk menolak apa jua permintaan untuk membubar Parlimen selagi empat pembaharuan serta-merta di atas tidak dilaksanakan.

 Ditandatangani oleh organisasi-organisasi berikut: Parti Politik: 

1.      Parti Keadilan Rakyat (People’s Justice Party) (KeADILan)

2.      Democratic Action Party (DAP)

3.      Parti Islam SeMalaysia (Malaysian Islamic Party) (PAS)

4.      Parti Sosialis Malaysia (Malaysian Socialist Party) (PSM)

5.      Sarawak Nation Party (SNAP)

 Pertubuhan Bukan Kerajaan: 

  1. Save Ourselves (SOS Penang)
  2. Tamil Foundation
  3. Group of Concerned Citizens (GCC)
  4. Citizens’ Health Initiative (CHI)
  5. Aliran (reform movement for justice, freedom and solidarity)
  6. Writers’ Alliance for Media Independence (WAMI)
  7. Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (Oppressed People’s Network) (JERIT)
  8. Pusat Janadaya (EMPOWER)
  9. Community Action Network (CAN)
  10. Persatuan Kebangsaan Hak Asasi Malaysia (Malaysian National Society for Human Rights ) (HAKAM)
  11. Malaysian Youth and Students Democratic Movement (DEMA)
  12. Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC)
  13. Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Voice of the Malaysian People) (SUARAM)
  14. Labour Resource Centre (LRC)
  15. Pusat Komunikasi Masyarakat (Social Communications Centre) (KOMAS)
  16. Civil Rights Committee of the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor         Chinese Assembly Hall (CRC-KLSCAH)
  17. Persatuan Ulama Malaysia (Malaysian Ulama Association)        (PUM)
  18. Women’s Development Collective (WDC)
  19. ERA Consumer
  20. Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ)
  21. Unit Pemikiran Politik, Institut Kajian Dasar (Political Thought Unit, Policy Research Institute) (UPP-IKD)
  22. Malaysian Voters’ Union (MALVU)
  23. All-Women’s Action Society (AWAM)
  24. Gabungan Mahasiswa Islam SeMalaysia (Malaysian Islamic Students’ Coalition) (GAMIS)
  25. Research for Social Advancement (REFSA)
  26. Solidariti Mahasiswa Malaysia (Malaysian Students’ Solidarity) (SMM)
  27. Gerakan Anti Korupsi (GERAK)
  28. Citizen Think Tank
  29. Police Watch Committee

Farish A.Noor: Malaysians want their country back

November 12, 2007

A Wake-Up Call for the Government: Malaysians Want Their Country Back

By Farish A. Noor

That elections should be free, fair and transparent is perhaps one of the
most basic requirements of any working democracy, and to demand that
elections should be free, fair and transparent is perhaps one of the most
fundamental rights of any society. When citizens demand such things it can
and should be seen as an act of civic responsibility and they should
commended for it. Indeed, it ought to be seen as a test of civic
participation and citizenship that all citizens should demand that their
state works and functions properly and accountably, to serve the interest of
the nation as a whole and not a select coterie of landed elites and
entrenched class interests.

That was exactly what happened in the streets of Kuala Lumpur on 10th
November and for that reason alone Malaysians should be proud to say that
they are in the process of reclaiming the state and demanding their country
back. As in the cases of Pakistan and Burma – as well as the pro-democracy
movements that swept across Southeast Asia in the 1980s and 1990s which led
to the fall of dictators like Ferdinand Marcos and General Suharto – what
happened in Malaysia was, in many ways, a landmark moment in the country’s
postcolonial history.

Yet ironically elements in the Malaysian government – the very same elements
that ostensibly supported the recent pro-democracy campaign in Burma – were
at the forefront of demonising their fellow citizens and doing their utmost
to prevent the demonstration in Kuala Lumpur from taking place. Leaders of
the ruling UMNO party issues a continuous stream of warnings to the general
public, warning them not to take to the streets. UMNO leaders and members
who were willing to join in the rallies calling for democratic reform in
Burma were suddenly taking the opposite side when the very same demands were
being articulated in Malaysia by their fellow Malaysians. Malaysians were
told that they would be arrested if they attended the rally; that the
demonstrators were a nuisance and a security threat; that the demonstration
would deter foreign investment into Malaysia. Yet the mind boggles at the
logic of such arguments, when it should be clear that what is deterring
investment into the country is not public demonstrations but rather
mismanagement of the economy, allegations of corruption and abuse of power
by the elite instead.

For a nation that has always been cast in a passive light as docile and
apathetic, Malaysians defied their own stereotype by coming out in huge
numbers and braving the rain from above and the tear gas and batons on the
ground. Contrary to the scare-mongering campaign of the government, the
rally proved to be ordered and peaceful. What does this say about Malaysia
today and where the country is heading?

According to prominent lawyer and human rights activist Malik Imtiaz Sarwar,
Malaysia’s ‘civil society coalesced today, in a way that was unprecedented
since the formation of Malaya in 1957. Today Malaysians began to learn not
to fear’. The same sentiments were shared by Latheefa Koya of the People’s
Justice Party (PKR) who opined that ‘despite threats of harsh action by the
Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and the police, the people who rallied
clearly defied them and sent a strong message for the need for free and fair
elections. Lawyers marched for a free judiciary and the people marched for
justice. When is the state going to wake up?’. Haris Ibrahim, the lawyer who
was one of the organisers of the rally summed up the event thus: ‘If the
Prime Minister is unable to take any criticism of his government, now we see
that the Malaysian people will no longer remain passive and accept things as
they are.’ The tide, apparently, has changed at last.

That the Malaysian public has been kept docile and submissive for half a
century is the result of a host of historically determined factors dating
back to the colonial era; which in turn has been compounded by a
postcolonial government that has used the very same tools of the former
colonial masters – such as the Internal Security Act – to keep them passive
for so long. For five decades the ruling elite of Malaysia – led and
dominated by the right-wing ethno-nationalists of the UMNO party – have
divided Malaysian society along the lines of race and religion; scared off
any attempts at reform through the use of repressive laws like the ISA,
Sedition Act and others; dominated the press and nearly eliminated all
alternative sources of information and news; systematically used the
national economy as a patronage machine to maintain its clientelist
networks; eroded the country’s intellectual culture via its draconian
control of the universities and campuses; while turning the UMNO party into
a fiefdom for a increasingly small number of Malay leaders from selected
elite families. A cursory look at the leadership of UMNO today will show
that it has become like a club for ruling elite families, with at least two
senior UMNO leaders – Najib Razak and Hishamuddin Onn – being the sons of
former Prime Ministers and party Presidents.

In a typical case of arrested postcolonial development, Malaysian politics –
and UMNO politics in particular – has been reduced to a feudal clannish cosy
arrangement where the sons of leaders can mingle and wait for their turn to
power. Is this what the founders of Malaysia dreamt of when the country was
created? To create an authoritarian state where what passes as governance is
little more than a dressed up version of a typical postcolonial guardkeeper
state with power increasingly concentrated in the hands of fewer and fewer
(Malay, Muslim, Male) leaders?

Despite all the talk of reform and promises of openness and change since he
came to power, the administration of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi
has hardly served up any of the promises he made. The numerous allegations
and cases of high-level and high-profile corruption remain unresolved, while
increasingly there are serious allegations of mismanagement, elite
manipulation of the judiciary, abuse of power by the police. Is it a wonder
then if the Malaysian public has had enough, and will now take to the
streets to make their voices heard? The leaders of the opposition parties in
Malaysia were the first to tap into the anger and frustration of the public,
and to echo the clamour for change. As Lim Kit Siang, leader of the
Malaysian Democratic Action Party (DAP) noted: ‘Malaysians have spoken loud
and clear for electoral reform and for free and fair elections. Now will
Prime Minister Abdullah listen and act, or will he remain blind and deaf?’

There is no telling how the Malaysian government and the UMNO elites will
react to this clear demonstration of public disquiet in the once-sleepy
streets of Kuala Lumpur. But what is clear is that Malaysia at least is no
longer the kingdom of the blind that it was once made out to be.

End.

Dr. Farish A. Noor is a Malaysian political scientist and historian based at
the Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin; and one of the founders of the
www.othermalaysia.org research site. 

BERSIH: All reforms begin from electoral reform

November 11, 2007

  A gathering of 100,000- For a clean and fair electoral system.

I told Straits Times this morning that the huge success of the Gathering of 100,000 has emboldened BERSIH’s determination to press for electoral reforms.

I also said that all reforms begin from electoral reforms. If we do not have a sizeable opposition (which is only possible through a clean and fair electoral system), the ruling power would not give a damn to the demands of judiaciary, educational and economic reforms.

We in the BERSIH should march on and strive even harder to educate fellow Malaysians on the importance of electoral reforms.

Bersih plays cat-and-mouse with cops
Beh Lih Yi and Syed Jaymal Zahiid
Nov 10, 07 8:38pm
Malaysiakini
It was all quiet at the Dataran Merdeka – the original Bersih rally venue – as thousands of protesters played cat-and-mouse with the police in downtown Kuala Lumpur today.The police, aided by Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) personnel, sealed off the venue – also known as Independence Square – since last night in anticipation of the arrival of tens of thousands of protesters.

The organisers have initially called on the people to gather at the square, and from there march to Istana Negara to hand over a memorandum to the King in the bid to press for electoral reforms.

Earlier reports have also indicated that opposition leaders Abdul Hadi Awang and Anwar Ibrahim would perform prayers at the nearby Masjid Negara and then marched to the square to join the crowd.

This has led to heavy police presence at both Dataran Merdeka and Masjid Negara.

Minor clashes, standoff

However, the organisers apparently hookwinked the police by telling the protesters to march from the four designated gathering points directly to Istana Negara.

At 2.35pm, a group of about 500 protesters marched from the Pasar Seni towards Dataran Merdeka in heavy downpour and they were stopped by 100 riot police at about 50 metres from the square.

The group, led by Bersih leader Tian Chua, chanted Daulat Tuanku (Long live the King), ‘we want justice’ and Allahuakbar (God is great).

Among the protesters who formed a human chain at the front included migrant labour activist, Irene Fernandez (right), who was on a wheelchair.

There were minor clashes when the protesters tried to break through the police barricades but no one was reported to be injured.

Several people were beaten in the clash as police tried to stop the group from proceeding.

Rally leaders attempted to negotiate with the policemen there but were told to either wait for a senior officer or to disperse.

The police later formed two lines of barricades, resulting in a stand-off.

However, as negotiations with police was going on, part of the crowd was ‘secretly’ diverted to use an alley as an exit to walk to Istana Negara.

Quiet Square

By 3.15pm, the whole group broke away from the stand-off, leaving the square completely quiet. Apparently, the attempt by these 500 protesters to “get into” Dataran Merdeka was a ruse to keep the riot police busy.

The protesters from Pasar Seni joined thousands others who had earlier gathered at Masjid Jamek and Sogo department store.

As they marched towards Jalan Istana, they converged with about 4,000 more protesters from the Masjid Negara.

The protesters arrived at Istana Negara in stages.

About 2,000 workers from PAS’ Unit Amal (traffic marshal) were tasked with crowd and traffic control.

These workers, cladded in a maroon uniform and beret, were also tasked to help disperse the protesters as well as cleaning up after the rally ended.

PHOTO GALLERY

4-min video – Long and wet march from Sogo to Istana

mkinitv_client(“bersihSOGO_1011.wmv”);

BERSIH: A clean and fair election or No election

November 11, 2007
A big thank to all who participated in the Nov 10 Himpunan Aman Rakyat. The successful Saturday gathering of 100,000 marked a good beginning for bigger things to come. A fair and clean election will bring immeasurable positive changes to this country. Selamatkan Malaysia!  

Inter Press Service News Agency

Sunday, November 11, 2007

 

 

RIGHTS-MALAYSIA:
Rally Defies Police Ban to Demand Poll Reforms

Anil Netto
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 10 (IPS) – Tens of thousands of people defied riot police, water cannon and pouring rain to march through the capital city, on Saturday, to demand electoral and other reforms and deliver a strong rebuff to Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi.

On Friday Badawi had issued a stern warning that he would brook no challenge to his rule and officials said anybody around Dataran Merdeka (Independence Square), the planned venue of the protest gathering, would be arrested.

That made the turnout of over 50,000 people, sloshing through muddy grass verges by the highway, all the more impressive as they engaged in a cat-and-mouse game with police armed with water cannons and batons.

Demonstrators have been streaming into the city over the past two days in cars and buses despite police roadblocks. It was the biggest demonstration Kuala Lumpur has seen since an impromptu highway protest in 2000, at the height of the reformasi (pro-reform) movement.

This time, a few of the old familiar faces were there in the crowd — along with younger Malaysians. But the chants were a little different: ”Bersih, bersih (Clean up, clean up)!”; ”Daulat Tuanku (Long live the King)!”; ”Hidup Rakyat (Long live the people)!” — apart from the original battle cry, ”Reformasi!”

Quick-witted organisers outfoxed the police. When the police cordons and water cannons made the original venue and four alternative nearby venues difficult to reach, organisers decided to lead the crowd straight to the palace to submit a memorandum. Along the highway, however, riot police blocked the route to the palace. But tens of thousands of demonstrators took over the entire highway, blocking traffic and sitting down on the road in an hour-long standoff with riot police perched atop their red trucks.

Overhead the clatter from two helicopters drowned out parts of the opposition leaders’ speeches. After some negotiations, several opposition party leaders were allowed to walk through riot police lines to submit a joint memorandum to a palace official representing the Yang Di Pertuan Agong (Malaysia’s paramount constitutional monarch).

For days, police and ruling coalition officials had warned the public not to take part in the demonstrations, which they deemed illegal because a permit that the organisers had applied for had been denied. The rally was organised by Bersih (Clean), a coalition of 60 civil society organisations supported by five opposition parties demanding electoral reforms.

Internet websites and blogs such as Malaysia Today played a major role in publicising the event. Bersih is demanding the use of indelible ink to mark voters who have already cast their ballots, a clean up of the electoral rolls, an end to postal votes (used mainly by police and military personnel and often favouring the ruling coalition), and fair access to the media for all parties during election campaigns. The Election Commission had earlier conceded to the demand for indelible ink.

Opposition politicians and activists have complained in the past of phantom voters, vote-buying, unfair redrawing of constituency boundaries, unfair media coverage, and transfers of voters from one area to another.

It was difficult to estimate the actual turnout as thousands were gathered in spots all over central Kuala Lumpur trying to join the main crowd. Many entered the city by light rail trains as roads to the city were jammed due to roadblocks and checkpoints. About half of them were clad in yellow T shirts, representing the colour of press freedom — and also the colour of Malaysia’s royalty. The demonstrators were good natured and peaceful. They waved at sullen-faced riot police armed with machine guns and batons in passing trucks and they waved defiantly at the two helicopters buzzing overhead.

”What,10,000? 20,000? 50,000? 100,000 or more? It doesn’t matter. The point is, we made our point,” said Atsanee, a visitor who left a comment on the Malaysia Today website-cum-blog. “And we saw the Police and FRU (riot police) manning all the entry points to the city. They actually paralysed the city because of their own fear.” And what was the point? ”The demonstrators have sent the strongest message (to the Abdullah administration) that we need free and fair elections,” human rights campaigner Latheefa Koya told IPS outside the National Mosque, where the crowd later converged.

Apart from the tear-gassing by the police, the rally was peaceful, well-organised and attended by people from all walks of life, she observed. Over 20 people were arrested although a few were reportedly released shortly after. But it was not just about electoral reforms, as people turned up for a host of pent-up grievances. ”It’s a show of strength about the unhappiness about the state of governance… the racialism, the corruption, the state of the judiciary and the threats to arrest people,” said women’s rights activist Cecilia Ng.

Many are also finding the rising cost of living, including higher food and fuel prices, tough to bear. ”It is because the Barisan Nasional (ruling coalition) government does not want the people of Malaysia to witness how upset and unhappy many Malaysians are … that is the sole reason that they had brought in their mighty strength represented by the police and the FRU with the sole purpose of disrupting the gathering,” said P. Ramakrishnan, president of the country’s oldest human rights group, ‘Aliran’.

”What took place today was a peaceful, democratic and legitimate exercise undertaken by concerned Malaysians to seek a remedy for our tainted, lopsided elections.” The truth is that there has never been equal opportunity to fight clean and fair in the general elections, which the ruling United Malays National Organisation has always won since Independence, he pointed out. ”It has been always tilted in favour of the Barisan Nasional, which abuses state facilities and state coffers to entice the electorate — and that must be seen by any impartial observer as clearly constituting corruption.” (END/2007)
 

Source: http://www.ipsnews.net/print.asp?idnews=40006