Thursday, June 30, 2011

Opinion


Why July 9 must go on

June 30, 2011-The Malaysian Insider

JUNE 30 — I’ve noticed something interesting of late.

A few middle-class intellectuals back-pedalling on their initial support for Bersih 2.0. They say, yes I support this (in theory) but do we really need to march now? Haven’t we done enough to highlight the issues? Haven’t we won the PR (public relations, not Pakatan Rakyat) war?

I’m sorry, but I’m a bit confused.

The point of Bersih 2.0 isn’t about who gets best publicity, but rather for electoral reform.

These same intellectuals will admit, like you and me, that the current electoral process is unfair and biased. They are just feeling really uneasy about July 9. They want to know, isn’t there a better way to do this?

But yet, they cannot provide any credible solutions that could work.

How many more dialogues can civil society have with the Election Commission? Do we think that another dialogue out-of-the-blue just before July 9 would magically solve our valid concerns of the current electoral process? Are we that naive?

Fair enough, the pressure is on but I believe the person who feels it most is Ambiga Sreenevasan herself. The fact that she has been holding on so strong gives all of us the continued strength to carry on.

Along with the waffling from some moderates comes the more intense criticism of Bersih 2.0. Critics say that if the electoral process is unfair, how did Pakatan Rakyat win five states?

Indeed despite a grossly unfair electoral process, Pakatan Rakyat managed to win five states. And now maybe, just maybe, they could take over Putrajaya come the next general election.

Bear with me for a minute.

Imagine this.

Say, they did. They win the next general election.

Some of us are ecstatic; some of us are very upset. All in all, we have just received a new government. A change for the better, something different from Barisan Nasional, we will say.

Yet how do we know that after taking Putrajaya, they would be able to reform the electoral process? Perhaps some of Pakatan Rakyat leaders would have very good intentions to do so, perhaps some wouldn’t.

And we would be back where we are today.

This time, with Umno on the civil society front, urging for electoral reform.

We will then wonder why did we let this important opportunity slip away on July 9, 2011?

Regardless of which political parties are supporting Bersih 2.0, its aim is purer and clearer than any political party of the day.

To not support Bersih 2.0 because it currently receives massive Pakatan Rakyat support, in my humble opinion, is short sighted and very childish.

In 2007, we did not really have a problem with Pakatan Rakyat being involved in the Bersih march. In fact, we were more than happy that the PAS Amal Unit was there to keep us safe (I know I was).

Suddenly, in 2011, we are morally outraged that Pakatan Rakyat has yet again completely embraced Bersih 2.0.

Let’s not be hypocrites.

No matter how we feel about Pakatan Rakyat, we have to admit that they are playing the role that they need to play. And it would be no different if the roles were reversed.

Let’s imagine an alternate universe.

A corrupt Pakatan Rakyat government is terrorising our citizens. They say it is for our own good, to keep the peace. We all know that the only way they can keep in power is to manipulate the electoral process. We are outraged.

Despite our fears, our concerns, the countless dialogues we have had with the Election Commission appealing for good sense, we have not made any headway in bettering the electoral process.

And so, we take our concerns to the streets, for only two hours, and with hope that the police would not side with Pakatan Rakyat just once, and instead, do their job with fairness and decency.

The maligned Barisan Nasional, which has been struggling to fight against all odds to gain political representation, has embraced the civil society’s call to change the electoral process. They say we will support you and protect you against the Pakatan Rakyat-led police, with our Umno Youth unit.

So you see, no matter how we flip it, no matter how we intellectually dissect it to pieces, in the end it does not matter which political parties of the day support us.

And I have so much faith in our average good Malaysian that come July 9 there will be no riots similar to those in the Middle-East, as some of us fear. We proved that in 1998 when our deputy prime minister was arrested and beaten in jail, and while there was intense public outrage, more so than today, we did not burn cars or smash store windows.

Instead we took our outrage, as much as we can, through our votes, despite the grossly unfair electoral process. But now we realise, it is time to revamp the electoral system for five more years for a fairer political representation.

The Bersih 2.0 march will bring about change, whatever that brings, but we cannot fear that. The alternative is to stay unhappy, complaining, morally outraged but not doing anything significant about it until the next generation has enough of our staid complacency.

We need courage, and we need faith. We need you — the average good Malaysian — in large numbers to come down on July 9 to stand together, and say, we need a better electoral process for our country. We need a better democracy that works.

This is why we need to march.

* The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the columnist.

70 abducted by ‘policemen’ have vanished

Patrick Lee | June 30, 2011-FMT

More than 70 people have gone missing after they were taken away by 'policemen', never to be seen again, Pakatan MPs said.

KUALA LUMPUR: More than 70 people are believed to have been abducted by “policemen”, Pakatan Rakyat MPs alleged. DAP Ipoh Barat MP M Kulasegaran said that these people were last seen led away by plainclothes “policemen”.

“Something dreadful has happened to them while on the way to police stations… they were led away in the company of people armed with the stuff of law enforcement,” he told reporters in the Parliament lobby yesterday.

Kulasegaran said that these people then disappeared, never to be seen again. He added that more than 70 separate police reports have been lodged in the last eight months with regard to the matter.

In one example, he said that “two or three men” appeared at a Gunong Rapat house near Ipoh last week.

“Claiming they were police personnel … they produced police identity papers, carried handcuffs and were armed with firearms. But they were not in uniform and arrived in unmarked vehicles,” said Kulasegaran.

He heard about the case from the couple’s family members. When he inquired about the couple’s fate at the Ipoh police station, he found out that the police did not call them in for questioning.

“They had no dealings with the police… No connections whatsoever!” said Kulasegaran.

Similar circumstances

PKR Kapar MP S Manickavasagam said that he knew of a Subang Jaya businessman who disappeared under similar circumstances in June.

“His family came to my office, and we sent a memorandum to the Inspector-General of Police (Ismail Omar), lodged three police reports, but until now he’s (still) missing,” he said.

Manickavasagam added that the businessman had not left the country as his passport was still in his house.

He added that he had heard of four similar cases through DAP Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo.

Kulasegaran filed a motion on the matter on Monday. However, it was rejected in Dewan Rakyat Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia’s Chambers yesterday.

In a letter to Kulasegaran, Pandikar Amin said that the police were investigating the matter, and did not consider the motion as urgent for debate.

A disappointed Kulasegaran said: “Contrary to the views of the Speaker, the motion should have been debated as the police could have explained the factors… why to date over 70 people have gone missing.”

“At first, we thought it was just a normal (case of) missing people. But many of them are in their 40s or their 50s.”

He suspected that many of these missing people were most likely murdered. He said that the police were also not serious in investigating these cases, saying: “When we went and lodged the police report, they themselves cannot synchronise.”

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Waging war? The charge simply doesn’t stick!


Aliran Executive Committee
28 June 2011

The way the PSM members were arrested and accused reminds us of the proverb, “Give a dog a bad name and hang him.”

That’s what the police have done. They resurrected the communist bogey and concocted the myth of waging war against the king and hoped that these ludicrous accusations will stick. Unfortunately, the accusations are far-fetched and come across as scandalous and out-right lies.

The PSM is a grass-roots party dedicated to socialism and to the peaceful attainment of goals that would bring benefits to the marginalized and helpless members of the Malaysian community. Their concern for the welfare of the Orang Asli, their struggle for the urban poor, their solidarity with the homeless, their unwavering support for the evicted, their demand for decent basic wages for the largely exploited labour class, all this speaks eloquently to justify their existence in the political area.

They have never been opportunistic and did not abandon the constituency that did not support the party. They struggled on, in spite of their electoral losses and remained faithful to their chosen constituency. It is this perseverance that paid off for Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj who ultimately defeated Dato Seri Samy Vellu and captured the Sungai Siput parliamentary constituency in 2008.

Never at any point did PSM ever root for the Communist Party. The PSM’s ways are based on peaceful attainment of their objectives whereas the Communist Party is associated with armed struggle. The way of violence is anathema for the PSM.

This is why it is very difficult for Malaysians to believe the unfair accusation that the PSM is trying to resurrect the communist party.

What is equally mind-boggling is the charge that PSM is waging war against the king. The members of PSM are patriotic Malaysians who are loyal to king and country. They have never borne any arms at any point in their 10-year struggle to get recognition as a legitimate, registered political party. They fought a legal battle persistently to gain recognition and exist as a legitimate registered political party.

They are not a clandestine organisation. They have never operated a military camp or provided arms training to anyone. They have always operated in the open without fear or favour.

Not one member of PSM was ever arrested for carrying arms. In fact, those in the top leadership are people of integrity who are known to have made tremendous sacrifices for a cause that they believe in passionately.

The PSM Member of Parliament, Jeyakumar, is an example of a mild-mannered, soft spoken MP who uses sober, well-reasoned arguments to put across his concerns without sounding offensive.

He is no rabble-rouser and is instead one of the most principled politicians around. A respiratory physician by training and practice, he was once awarded a gold medal by the Malaysian Medical Association for outstanding community service.

How then could this party “wage war against the king”? It is unthinkable! It is an outrageous accusation, and the detention of the PSM members is totally unjustified.

Just look at the motley 30 PSM members who have been detained – the majority of whom are women. Do they honestly look as if they are capable of waging war against the king? Is it fair even to suggest this? Where are their weapons? Is it respecting the truth and honouring justice when such an outlandish accusation is levelled against these innocent people?
Thinking Malaysians are appalled at the unjustified accusations and they are rightly disturbed and disappointed with the action taken against them.

Aliran joins these concerned Malaysians in calling upon the Prime Minister to release these 30 detainees immediately and drop all charges against them. This act will win him international respect and justify our place on the Human Rights Council. This act will convince all and sundry that we as a nation are governed by the rule of law.

July 9 rallies: Backing down not an option
Terence Netto
Jun 29, 11
10:37am

COMMENT By now, the tactics of self-declared opponents of the Bersih 2.0 march are clear: Perkasa and Umno Youth want to ratchet up the pre-march tensions such that the atmosphere becomes taut enough to crack.

If it does, it would not be difficult to guess who would be blamed for the ensuing clashes.

Seldom in recent history has a looming public event such as the Bersih march on July 9 polarised opinion so sharply: one would be hard put to encounter a public issues-aware citizen who does not have an opinion - either for or against - on the march.

Thanks to provocative statements by Perkasa's Ibrahim Ali and the reported threats by some Umno Youth firebrands to burn the PKR headquarters down, the stage is set for a confrontation.

Of course, things need not be that way. All parties should be free to demonstrate, to engage in what can be called 'symbolic speech' - the espousal of opinion in civilly demonstrated forms.

However, for that to take place peacefully in the context of the marches scheduled for July 9, you need the police to be present to see that demonstrators don't get carried away.

But the police have pre-judged the issue by coming out early with a stand against allowing the Bersih march. They followed up by calling up for questioning several players from the side that favours the march for electoral reform.

azlanThat was not all. By arresting some 30 Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) activists, who are actually fringe players in the Bersih drama on grounds that the detained may have committed offences under Section 122 of the Penal Code which entails rebellion against the king, the police are opting to be partisans in the fray rather than umpires above it.

A late attempt at balanced action against the contending parties - their calling up Ibrahim Ali for questioning and their investigation of inflammatory statements by Umno Youth hotheads - won't wash as demonstrations of police neutrality.

The police can rescue things by freeing the PSM detainees and allowing the Bersih and other marches to go on with them opting for a policing of good behaviour role.

What chance is there of that happening?

Beckoning police's better instincts

Well, the good point about political behaviour in a democratic arena is that it allows for redemption by the hitherto erring.

This was what PKR supremo Anwar Ibrahim was hoping for in remarks he made when he emerged to speak to the press after being called for questioning by the police yesterday.

He beckoned the police to the courage of their better instincts, alluding to unseen hands as working to deviate the force from their fiduciary duty. He said he felt that absent of the manipulation, the police were wont to do the right thing.

NONEThat is an opinion that national literary laureate A Samad Said may be loath to agree with after his experience of police questioning a day earlier.

Literati love the ineffable and Samad proved no exemption. He gave vent to his instincts by penning 'Unggun Bersih', a lilting ode to democracy.

The police asked if he was paid to write the poem. Writers like Samad rarely respond to commissions; they write as the instinct takes them.

The chagrin Samad felt at the question must have singed his flowing whiskers, for he emerged from the ordeal to declare that he would be at the Bersih march.

For someone who is pushing 80 and reportedly in not too healthy a condition, the police questioning must have recharged his batteries, for there was steel in his determination to be among the marchers.

Which is precisely what the inflammatory statements from Ibrahim Ali and his ilk have contributed to the situation in the prelude to the July 9 event.

Ibrahim's Orwellian doublespeak

Ibrahim's latest provocation, couched in Orwellian doublespeak, sees him urging Perkasa types not to bring weapons to their march on the same day.

NONEThat would be like Mullah Omar suggesting that as an earnest of the Taliban's desire to parley with the Americans, his side would renounce suicide bombing.

The rhetoric, from one side at least, has been of the 'offer no hostages to fortune' type. Backing down from these prideful positions would be unthinkable.

The only way out would be if the police allow all to march and content themselves with policing the behaviour of the marchers.

Or if the Election Commission, without imposing pre-conditions, commences talks with Bersih on their eight demands, with prior acquiescence to a couple of the demands.

That would be the lever to break the looming jam.


TERENCE NETTO has been a journalist for close on four decades. He likes the occupation because it puts him in contact with the eminent without being under the necessity to admire them. It is the ideal occupation for a temperament that finds power fascinating and its exercise abhorrent.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A campaign of courage

Stanley Koh | June 28, 2011_FMT

Our writer argues that all conscientious Malaysians, including BN component parties, should support the Bersih rally because they deserve a capable government.

COMMENT

Why is the rally for electoral reforms such a political hot potato? Why this gush of threats and calls for the punishment of the Bersih rally organisers? Why is the Barisan Nasioanl hegemony so fearful of electoral reforms? Why shouldn’t it support free, fair and clean elections?

Bertrand Russell once propounded the theory that bad leadership in a democracy is a logical impossibility. “The electorate always get the leaders they deserve. No matter how incompetent or venal the leaders are, the electorate must have been even worse to have elected them.”

But this cynical view cannot apply to Malaysia. The Malaysian experience has shown that it is possible for good citizens to get bad leaders.

Malaysians deserve a capable government. Not only must the best men and women among the candidates across the political divide win elections; they must also be elected under democratic principles supervised by a truly independent body.

Ministers and Members of Parliament should not be chosen because they are somebody’s cronies or through political horse trading or by back-door means, as in the appointment of senators among election losers.

The electorate must have all fair and just opportunities to elect the best governing team for the country.

That is why Malaysians must strive for changes in the electoral landscape.

In 2005, the Institute of Malaysian and International Studies (IKMAS), with support from the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, published a study of the existing electoral system in Malaysia. With contributions from more than a dozen distinguished academicians, it gives us one of the best analyses of Malaysia’s electoral history.

“The general conclusion reached in this assessment of the current state of Malaysia’s electoral system is that Malaysian elections cannot be considered reasonably free and fair because they do not fulfil the functions required of them in formal democratic theory,” the authors wrote.

The rather silly official rebuttal against claims of unfairness and unjust elections is that the large voter turnout is a clear indication of public confidence in the electoral process.

And then there is the even more perverted argument that the opposition’s gains in the last general election proved that Malaysian elections are free and fair and the Election Commission is indeed independent.

That Malaysian elections are not conducted fairly is not just an allegation from opposition parties; it is also the observation of non-partisan citizens. No intelligent Malaysian can deny that the Barisan Nasional (BN) uses public institutions and public agencies to help it win elections and no thinking observer can fail to notice that it often resorts to threats, intimidation and bribery.

MCA hypocrisy

Those who know something of the history of Malaysian elections cannot fail to note that the system is diseased. Except for the 1969 and 2008 elections, BN has consistently been re-positioned with two thirds of the majority in Parliament although this is not reflected in its share of the popular vote.

Since the advent of the Internet, there has been an increase in documented evidence of BN’s ghetto politicking and various forms of blatant unethical campaign practices.

What is morally wrong cannot be politically correct, despite the perverted thinking among the leadership of the BN component parties, especially the MCA.

Indeed, the hypocrisy of the current MCA leadership is in stark contrast to the thinking of the party’s founding fathers. Hence, it should surprise no one to hear MCA recently threatening action against members planning to participate in the July 9 Bersih rally.

MCA’s current leaders, if they were true to the party’s founding ideals, should instead revisit the efforts of their predecessors to ensure a just political system.

In 1986, the MCA leadership voiced out, albeit discreetly, its disquiet over a range of unfair practices it attributed to the Umno leadership. Some of these had to do with the Chinese being under-represented in the BN government. MCA leaders had a pessimistic view of the future. They felt that the Umno hegemony would continue to cause an erosion of Chinese political power.

The leadership frankly admitted in a report: “The BN system in itself poses an inherent disadvantage for the Chinese community.

“This system gives the ruling elite in Umno the built-in opportunity to exploit intra-party divisions within Barisan to their advantage.”

The report also criticised the political bias in the delineation of electoral constituencies, citing the repeated amendment of the Federal Constitution to give heavier weight to rural constituencies, which it said went against the one-man-one-vote principle.

Past MCA leaders through the years have also lamented Umno’s domination of the both the executive and judicial arms of government and questioned the independence of the Election Commission (EC).

In great contrast to their predecessors, the current MCA leaders tend to behave like wimps. Their raging rhetoric against the Bersih rally is clearly symptomatic of political impotence, leaving us with the impression that MCA is a failed party devoid of ethical leadership.

Party president Dr Chua Soi Lek’s argument that Bersih has allowed itself to be used by the opposition in organising the rally has been reinforced by his deputy Liow Tiong Lai’s intimidating remark that the party will discuss whether to sack members who participate in the rally.

This posturing is likely to drive another nail into MCA’s coffin. In recent years, the party has repeatedly confirmed its irrelevance. Its raving and ranting over the Bersih rally could well be the tipping point of its political demise.

While we write off MCA, the pertinent question to ask is: Should conscientious Malaysians unite and rally to Bersih’s support against the sleazy electoral landscape?

Constitutional experts, political scientists and conscientious academicians seem to think so.

Electoral systems shape the nature and structure of political parties and of the wider party system in the countries in which they operate. The independence of the EC would promote greater accountability of MPs to their constituents.

Experts and opinion makers also contend that electoral reforms would contribute to greater political stability for all players in power.

(File Picture from internet)

Stanley Koh is a former head of research in MCA, He is an FMT columnist.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Parliamentary round table on Tamil schools

Welcome address by M.Kula Segaran MP Ipoh Barat at the Parliamentary Round Table on the need to chart a blue print on the future of Tamil schools at Parliament House on 27/6/11 at 11.30am.

Hon Minister Dato Seri Mohd. Nazri, Hon Deputy Ministers Dato Sarawanan and Dato Devamany, Hon Senators, MP's distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,.

The need to chart a blue print for Tamil schools is long over due

Tamil schools has been in existence in our country for over a century.

Initially all were located in estates when Indians were employed and working as labourers. Officially in 1957 we had 888 Tamil schools but it has now dwindled to 523 schools only.

.Among the main issues we need to focus and study should be:

1) The situation of Tamil schools located on private land and the issue of partially and fully aided schools;

2) The need for new schools and expansion of schools in the urban areas;

3) Inadequate allocation of financial assistance for both students and schools;

4) The danger of closure of nearly 50% of Tamil schools and the loss of employment of nearly 4000 teachers in 5-10years from now;

5) Any teacher or administrative and support staff send to Tamil schools must be proficient in Tamil language;

6) Setting up of a steering committee to prepare a final blue print for adoption.

Partially aided schools should retain its status?

There is now a strong opinion that the community should resist the Government taking over partially aided schools to be made into fully aided ones .

Of the 523 Tamil schools only 152 are fully aided and 371 are partially aided. It must be observed in partially aided schools the community has a strong say in the running of the schools other than salaries of staff which is paid by the government. Similar system as practiced in mission schools. So should partially aided schools remain intact?

Tamil school teachers days may be numbered.

In total for the 523 schools nation wide we have a total teacher population hovering around 9000. Will this number increase or decrease in the next 5-10 years? Indication is and the reality is the number of teachers is expected to decrease.

Why?

The danger is in Tamil schools which has less than 50 students and the number of schools of this situation is 50% of the 523 schools. The problem with these schools is that they are all located in rural and estates areas. These areas were the traditional places where Indians were residing. But over 80% of Indians have moved to urban areas where there is a demand and need of these schools.

But Tamil schools are still in rural areas. A mismatched which can be easily addressed but lack of political will hampers the relocation. Unless new schools are relocated in urban areas we can soon see the numbers of Tamil teachers dropping to less then 4000. Thus a potential loss of 5000 teachers jobs! In less then 5-10years

In the last 30 years 68 Tamils schools were closed down. Mean while between 1997-2007 , 70 Chinese schools were relocated out of which 9 schools are new schools. This speaks volumes’ of the predicament of Tamil schools.

We need to act swiftly and to chart a blue print for Tamil schools to further prosper in our country

Sunday, June 26, 2011

SOME DREADFUL THINGS IS TAKING PLACE

Something dreadful has happened to some people while on the way to police stations to which apparently they were headed in the company of people armed with stuff of law enforcement.

In the last 8 months something like 70 people were reported to have gone missing in this way in country-wide incidents.

The immediate prelude to their disappearance has details that match the story offered by relatives and friends of a couple who disappeared in Guniong Rapat on Thursday (June 23) morning.

The sags starts with two or three men appearing at a couple’s address at Rayapan a p veeramuthu age 58, off Gunong Rapat, claiming that they are police personnel.
They produce police identity papers, carry handcuffs and are armed with firearms. But they are not attired in uniform and have arrived in unmarked vehicles.

Having convinced the family that they are police officers, they request the "suspects" to accompany them to a certain police station.

In the case of the couple who lived at Marthamal 70, off Gunong Rapat, they asked the husband and wife to follow them to the Ipoh police station.

At that time the couple had to send their children to school and was getting ready to go to work. The neighbors were the last persons to see the couple as they left the house and heard that they were being taken to the Ipoh police station.

When by 10.30pm on June 24th , relations of the couple could not confirm their whereabouts, a few of them requested me to accompany them to the central police station in Ipoh.Over 70 people accompanied the mother of the missing lady together with her husband to the police station. Inquires on their whereabouts with the police drew a blank.

Over three hours were spent at the police station speaking to police officers, some of senior rank. Many phone calls were made by the police and an "online" check of the police network yields no results.

Finally, the mother of the missing lady lodges a police report on the missing persons, stating that her inquiries on the couple’s whereabouts at the Ipoh central police station have drawn a blank.

I am puzzled and feel something is terribly wrong about the whole matter. Over 70 people have gone missing in much the same way as the Gunong Rapat couple.

All those affected have lodged police reports. The cases have occurred not only in Perak but all over Malaysia.
Children and close relations of the missing persons have not seen or heard from them. The culprits responsible for the disappearance of people have inflicted great pain and hardship on their victims and their relatives.

A detailed and specific police investigation is required. The police must stop these incidents from snow balling.

I will move an urgent motion in Parliament next week on this matter so that we can get some quick answers from the police.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

BERSIH RALLY ACID TEST FOR THE NATION

COMMENT "Everyone has their rights. However, we are governed by laws which are applicable to all." This is what Najib Razak declaredin his comments on the July 9 rally by polls watchdog group Bersih 2.0.

What the prime minister seems to have forgotten is a question arising from the great debate on jurisprudence - that we are not only concerned with obedience to all laws, but we must obey only morally good laws, and it is our duty to fight against bad laws. This is the position of natural law theorists.

The proscription of public assembly imposed by the Home Ministry is contrary to the rule of (good) law, for it limits the freedom of movement and speech by citizens at large in the name of security. This is a bad law that curtails the constitutional freedom of the rakyat. Thus it is the duty of every good citizen to disobey this law peacefully so as to bring about change in the current law.

In contrast, by obeying bad laws, we give credence to injustice and help promote the evil effects of unjust laws, and in the process, we harm the country. Therefore, it is the duty of every contentious citizen to disobey bad laws peacefully in a collective effort to initiate social change that will benefit the country as a whole.

Malaysia is now in the grip of a fierce conflict between the struggle for human rights and the senseless rule of unjust laws. We can see this clearly in many of the limitations and shackles placed on the July 9 mass rally organised by Bersih.

Citizens' right to be heard


This titanic struggle has a long history in the development of participatory politics all over the world.

It was brought into focus by the civil rights movement in America, where black and white Americans have tried to fight, using mass disobedience, for their civil liberties.

It was recently illegal under American law for blacks to mix with the white people physically, in any assembly, or even to marry. But these segregation laws were an example of a man-made legislation that was repugnant to the higher principle of equality between all mankind.

Subsequent twists and turns in the recent era of rapid historical change have made this segregation between blacks and whites illegal in the United States today.

In our own midst, Malaysian police has attempted to ban the Bersih public rally in the name of maintaining public security and order.

However, a mere pronouncement by the police need not become the gospel truth for all men on earth. We are governed by a higher law of justice. This higher law requires us to give the Bersih gathering a sympathetic hearing.

The guiding principle in granting Bersih their right to freedom of assembly and freedom of speech is that as citizens, they have inalienable rights to be heard.

There is no evidence that other citizens would begrudge them this freedom, except for those people with their own agenda, like Umno Youth and Perkasa.

By right, the government should give the Bersih protesters all the protection of the law, including providing cops to help direct the traffic.

Have faith in the rakyat

As in western countries, holding a public protest legally and peacefully is the most natural right of every citizen. We see public rallies being allowed in western societies without much earth-shaking disturbance within their social order. There is no reason why Malaysia cannot follow their fine example.

In Egypt, Tunisia and Libya, people have had to put their bodies in harm's way just to express their peaceful opinions.

Malaysia boasts of being a country long governed by the rule of law, and yet we do not even have enough confidence in our citizens to hold a peaceful rally, when no violence took place during the first rally in 2007.

The Bersih rally is an acid test for our political maturity as a democratic polity. Surely, after more than five decades of independence, there should be enough confidence in our citizens holding a peaceful gathering without causing some kind of doomsday catastrophe.

If Malaysian democracy is to have a chance to grow and flower into a full-fledged advanced democratic entity, then the Bersih rally must be given its opportunity to prove itself as a national institution.

We must be given a chance to show again that we can gather in large numbers peacefully, without causing any damage to public properties or bloodshed.

The Bersih rally must be allowed to clean up our voting system so as to protect the sanctity of our electoral process. Nothing else is more important than this fundamental aspect of our lives.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Evil stalks the brave and threatens the peace


by P Ramakrishnan
President Aliran
23 June 2011

Today, at around 1.00pm, I received an sms from +601119732179. The message conveyed to me was in Bahasa Malaysia and read:

Members of the Bersih steering committee at the launch of Bersih 2.0

Korg ni buta hati ke?? buat apa sokong ambiga keling paria haramjadah tu? dia ni kapir laknat. korang tau tak dia ni jadi alat anjing2 politik untuk musnahkan keutuhan melayu. dia kata je nak BERSIH kan SPR. bersih kepala bapak dia.

Puak2 PAS n PKR pun buta tuli n pekak badak.. kalau SPR tak bersih, boleh ke diorang menang kat Sgor, Kedah, Penang, Kelantan n perak dulu? DAP cina sial tu pulak lagi haram jahanam. dia tengok je melayu bertekak. hujung2 dia perintah negara ni dan kristiankan kita semua. aku nak kasi amaran kat korang semua.

Kalau perhimpunan ni jadi, aku dan org2 aku akan bunuh ambiga dan korang2 keliling dia satu persatu, termasuklah orang2 politik bangang yg bersekongkol ngan kafir laknat tu.. ini amaran aku. Korang tengokla nanti.

Translated into English, the message meant:

Don’t you have any sense? Why should you support that pariah keling haramjadah Ambiga? She is a scorned infidel. Don’t you know that she is a tool of those political dogs who are out to destroy the Malays. She claims she wants to clean up the Election Commission. Clean up her father’s head.

These PAS and PKR lots are deaf, dumb, blind and illiterate. If the EC is not clean then how did they win Selangor, Kedah, Penang, Kelantan and Perak? The damned Chinese DAP are even more despicable. They just watch the Malays go at each other’s throats. In the end, they will rule the country and Christianise all of us.

I am warning you. If this rally takes place, my people and I will kill Ambiga and those around her one by one, including these stupid politicians who are hand-in-hand with this scorned infidel… this is my warning. You watch.” (Malaysiakini translation)

What I received is apparently the same as those received by the steering committee members of Bersih 2.0.

Aliran is part of Bersih 2.0 and is represented on its steering committee, and we are committed to free and fair elections, which are crucial to the democratic process.

The message in the sms is full of venom, threatening death to Ambiga and warning to kill all those around her one by one. It reeks with racial hatred and blatantly concocts lies that have no basis. It seeks to communalise an issue that concerns free and fair elections, which is supported by a wide spectrum of our civil society.

It is intended to arouse passions and disrupt our improving communal harmony, which is seen as an impediment to communal parties that are striving to hold on to their political power through evil means.

The perpetrator of this heinous crime must be brought to book urgently. We cannot brook this criminality and we cannot condone any inefficiency in getting to the bottom of this threat. It should not be difficult as there is a telephone number which can be traced to the culprit.

This is a challenge to the police and they should rise to the occasion to convince Malaysians that they are capable of looking after our national interests and safeguarding our peace and harmony.

Anything short of this expectation is totally unacceptable.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Despite death threat, Ambiga says Bersih rally still on

June 23, 2011-The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, June 23 — Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan said today the July 9 Bersih rally will carry on as planned, and that “nothing has changed” even after she received a death threat yesterday.

“As far as we are concerned nothing has changed. This is nothing racial, it is a united effort by civil society to push for electoral reforms.

“Our intention is a peaceful demonstration, our demands are reasonable,” the Bersih chairman told reporters during a press conference outside the Travers police station here.

Ambiga (picture), accompanied by Bersih steering committee members Dr Wong Chin Huat, Maria Chin Abdullah as well as PKR’s Latheefa Koya, lodged a police report today. All of them had received the death threat against Ambiga via text message last night.

The text message warned Ambiga as well as PAS and PKR leaders from going ahead with the July 9 Bersih rally, and said her life would be in jeopardy should it (the rally) proceed.

“Korg ni buta hati ke?? buat apa sokong ambiga keling paria haramjadah tu? dia ni kapir laknat. korang tau tak dia ni jadi alat anjing2 politik untuk musnahkan keutuhan melayu. dia kata je nak BERSIH kan SPR. bersih kepala bapak dia. puak2 PAS n PKR pun buta tuli n pekak badak.. kalau SPR tak bersih, boleh ke diorang menang kat Sgor, Kedah, Penang, Kelantan n perak dulu?

“DAP cina sial tu pulak lagi haram jahanam. dia tengok je melayu bertekak. hujung2 dia perintah negara ni dan kristiankan kita semua. aku nak kasi amaran kat korang semua. kalau perhimpunan ni jadi, aku dan org2 aku akan bunuh ambiga dan korang2 keliling dia satu persatu, termasuklah orang2 politik bangang yang bersekongkol ngan kafir laknat tu.. ini amaran aku. Korang tengok nanti.”

(Are you people blind? Why would you support that pariah keling Ambiga? She is an infidel. Don’t you know that she is a tool of those political dogs who are out to destroy the strength of the Malays. She is just saying she wants to clean up the EC, she should clean up her father’s head. And the PAS, PKR leaders, they are deaf, dumb, blind and illiterate. If the EC is not clean then how did they win Selangor, Kedah, Penang, Kelantan and Perak? The damned Chinese DAP is even more despicable. They just watch the Malays go at each other’s throats. In the end, they will rule the country and turn all of us into Christians. I am warning you all. If this rally happens, me and my people will kill Ambiga and you can all corner her one by one, including those stupid politicians who associate themselves with this infidel. This is my warning. Watch and see.)

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said today the police will investigate the death threats made against Ambiga, stressing that the threat was very serious considering the circumstances.

Asked to comment on Hishammuddin’s promise, Ambiga said she had full confidence that the police would be able to find the person responsible for the threat.

“I have full confidence in the police. They will find out who is responsible. (In the meantime) I urge everyone to remain calm,” she said.

Pakatan Rakyat (PR) component parties and activists are gearing up to march on July 9 in the second such rally by election watchdog Bersih.

The first rally in 2007 saw up to 50,000 people take to the capital’s street before they were dispersed by police armed with tear gas and water cannons.

Bersih 2.0: Why I will march

Opinion

June Rubis has spent the better years of her adult life with the primates in the Borneo rainforests. She has no regrets. She now spends most of her time working with humankind. There are some regrets.
June 23, 2011- The Malaysian Insider

JUNE 23 — We can only look back at our past to recognise the pivotal points that have brought us to where we are today.

Today, I am blessed to have a boss who supports and shares the same passions as I do: playing a role in strengthening civil society in Malaysia, along with wildlife conservation and rural community-based initiatives.

I particularly look forward to her mentorship as she has played a very significant leadership role in Green Surf, a home-grown Sabah coalition that successfully fought to stop a coal power plant being built in the state.

I count back the years that has brought me to this point.

It is easy to pinpoint my early interest in conservation and environment work: a childhood memory of watching a documentary of a solitary female researcher slogging her way through a Borneo rainforest searching for orangutans (like bells ringing in my head, telling me that this would be me one day — the bells later proved right) to being fascinated by the Greenpeace protests in Sarawak in the 1990s.

I did not understand why foreigners would care so much about rainforests so far away from their homeland. I did not understand why the local newspapers were so hostile towards the protestors, to the point of making negative personal commentaries about their weight and looks.

My initial confusion made me question what I had thought was truth. That everything I read and hear from other people is not necessarily the absolute truth, but rather a semblance of truth from their unique perspective and experiences.

Yet my political awareness only fully emerged at a later stage.

I connect those dots back to my participation in the 2007 Bersih march.

It was probably the first time I had felt very proud as a Malaysian, to be surrounded by so many of my compatriots seeking a change in our electoral system that we feel is unfair and not representative of a democracy that our country is built upon.

It was the beginnings of a personal stirring to learn more about the political issues beyond my home state of Sarawak. Indeed to march along other Malaysians who felt as strongly as I did was inspiring and gave me courage to continue exploring other sensitive issues.

There has been much furore over the past week about the upcoming Bersih 2.0 march. A lot of it has been emotional, and hurtful, no matter what race or religion we belong to.

No one with a decent heart and a sane mind likes to have an ethnic community singled out either to be blamed or condemned for their apparent participation in the march. Your brother is my brother, your sister my sister. When you try to hurt others, you only end up hurting yourself.

Like in 2007, I intend to participate for I support the eight demands as listed out by the organisers of the march for freer and fairer elections.

This year, it is particularly poignant for me, as a Sarawakian, for it was the alleged abuses in the last state election that had prompted the call to revive Bersih 2.0.

Even if you don’t believe in the money politics that took place in the last state election, or worse yet, think money politics is what elections is all about, you cannot deny the very basic fact that the non-Barisan Nasional component parties had no free and fair access to the mainstream media. One of the eight calls of Bersih 2.0 for the Election Commission to rectify.

And that is one out of many legitimate grouses made not just by political parties, but also civil society.

At the end of the day, to me, it does not matter what political party is in power, but rather those in power are reminded of and humbled by the immense responsibility placed on them. I fear that those who tricked and paid their way towards political power will not have these values in check. By coming into power with arrogance, they will continue to lead us with arrogance.

The eight calls of Bersih 2.0, if implemented, will help give us more representatives that we seek, no matter what political parties they hail from.

We want statesmen who will lead us with honour and honesty, not politicians who burn images and threaten our communities.

So what role will I play come July 9?

Could this be a pivotal point in not just our personal lives, but our country’s?

And 10 or 20 years from now, when we look back and ponder how Malaysia was brought to this fine point, where hopefully we have made leaps and bounds towards advancing national social consciousness for a government that truly represents us, could we then say to ourselves, I played a small role that one fine day?

This is why I intend to march.

* The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the columnist.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Ibrahim Ali as guilty as hell

--Lim Kit Siang

I have seen the video recording of the speech by the Perkasa President Ibrahim Ali at the launch of the Bersih 2.0 counter-protest in Kampung Baru in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday and there can be no doubt that he is as guilty as hell in his incendiary, inciteful and treasonous “Chinese should stock up food” tirade.

If the Home Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussin and the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sir Ismail Ismail Omar have not seen the video recording, I can send them a copy of the video.

The question is why the paralysis of the Home Minister and the Inspector-General of Police in the past three days when confronted by Ibrahim Ali’s open contempt for the law and the authorities?

Is this because the face of Ibrahim Ali is increasingly coming to represent the real power in Umno politics – replacing that of Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Ibrahim is a certified clown and utterly irrelevant – what is pertinent is the real power in UMNO that he is fronting for, to the extent that the Prime Minister, Home Minister and the Inspector-General of Police feel utterly impotent!

There have been mounting calls for Ibrahim Ali to be detained under the Internal Security Act to protect law and order in Malaysia.

I do not agree with the use of ISA, which should be repealed altogether.

Ibrahim should not be detained under the ISA but should be arrested and charged in court as a lowly criminal in inciting unrest and bloodshed in multi-racial Malaysia, hoping for another May 13 after 42 years.

Hishammuddin should resign as Home Minister and Ismail relinquish his post as IGP if they cannot discharge such an elementary duty and handle a criminal nuisance posed by Ibrahim Ali.


Kit Siang: RM1.7b Sarawak pork barrel justifies Bersih march

June 22, 2011- The Malaysian Insider


Lim accused Najib of uprooting the entire Cabinet to campaign in Sarawak. — file pic
KUALA LUMPUR, June 22 — Lim Kit Siang has accused Barisan Nasional (BN) of vote buying during the April 16 Sarawak election, stating that the RM1.7 billion spent on its campaign was reason enough for the July 9 Bersih rally calling for free and fair elections.

The DAP parliamentary leader added that the entire federal Cabinet had campaigned in Sarawak, leaving no one to govern the country during the election period.

“It was not just Sarawak BN but the entire federal government campaigning in the Sarawak elections — making a complete mockery of the principle of free and fair elections,” said the Ipoh Timur MP of the RM1.18 billion spent by the Najib administration up to April 30 this year in Sarawak.

He also cited reports that BN had spent over RM500 million in the state polls, far in excess of election laws limiting each state assembly candidate to RM100,000 or RM71 million for the combined 71-seat Sarawak legislative.

“The rally needs to be held if Malaysia is to join the rank of developed democracies... unlike many failed African states where elections are used to give the fig-leaf of legality to illegitimate governments,” he said, adding that BN would likely spend up to RM5 billion in a general election expected within the year.

The Prime Minister’s Department said in Parliament yesterday that RM1.18 billion was spent in the first four months of the year on 62 programmes and projects, 52 of which have already been implemented.

Lim also said that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak “cancelled the Cabinet meeting during the Sarawak election period, dragooning all federal ministers to campaign in Sarawak — leaving Putrajaya as an empty seat of federal power.”

Corruption watchdog Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) also threw its support behind Bersih, stating that political financing should be reformed and action taken against vote buying.

“The fight against corruption in any country begins at the top in the political arena, starting with clean and fair elections where the democratic process of election is carried out in a manner where its integrity is safeguarded,” said president Datuk Paul Low.

He called on the Election Commission (EC) to define clearly what is illegal and what is not so that “swift and stern action to be taken against all allegations of corruption, including vote buying.”

Pakatan Rakyat (PR) parties and activists are gearing up to march next month in the second such rally by Bersih, the first being in 2007 when up to 50,000 were reported to have gathered in the capital, with many being dispersed by water cannons and tear gas fired by the police.

PAS has promised to deliver at least 100,000 protestors this year in hopes that it will galvanise support for the opposition in the next general election, expected to be called within a year.

The 2007 rally was said to play a big role in bringing record gains for the opposition electoral pact in Election 2008, where it swept five state governments and won 82 parliamentary seats.

But both Umno Youth and Perkasa are planning anti-Bersih marches on the same day, with the Malay rights NGO pledging to send 20 buses from each of the 10 peninsular states, in addition to supporters from 164 other non-governmental organisations, to protest the Bersih rally.

However, Lim said that if any BN party was prepared to support Bersih, he was certain they would be welcome to serve in the group’s steering committee ahead of the July 9 gathering.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Interlok panel rep not amused by 'magic stickers'

Regina Lee
Jun 21, 11
6:30pm
Malaysiakini

An Indian representative on a government committee to review the controversial novel Interlok is crying foul over their decision to use special stickers to cover the offending text.

seminar llg 20100619 10 uthaya sankarUthaya Sankar SB (right), who writes in Malay, said that using a sticker, which he calls a 'magic sticker', never arose when the committee met to discuss the novel.

“This went against what the education minister promised when he was made aware of the 106 proposed amendments from the Indian representatives in the panel,” he said in a blog posting today.

It was reported in English daily the New Straits Times that adhesive cut-outs will be used to replace the affected texts. According to the newspaper, Deputy Education Minister Mohd Puad Zarkashi had said that stickers were used because only nine pages were affected.

It was also reported that the ministry accepted 87 out of the 106 amendments, and that there were only 19 parts which were considered 'offensive to the Indian community', including the usage of the word 'pariah' which denotes the lowest Indian caste.

Uthaya also insisted that there should be a complete reprint of the book to be used as the literature text for Form Five students in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Selangor and Negri Sembilan.

“In March before we started our press conference, we received a call from the Prime Minister's Office assuring that the novel will be reprinted before being distributed to the schools as the Bahasa Malaysia literature text,” he said.

When contacted by Malaysiakini, he further added: “It's not like the government has no money to reprint the books for the students. This is an insult to (the author) a national laureate.”

He also said that the decision to use 'magic stickers' to amend the novel, using whatever reason, is a sign of the crushed hopes and dreams in the Education Ministry's credibility, capability and integrity to resolve the controversy fairly.

Interlok was written by national laureate Abdullah Hussain in 1971 about the lives of three people in the early 1900s in Penang.

Apart from the word 'pariah', the novel also made references to violence and alcoholism by the Indian characters.
99% support for Bersih rally in 'Star' poll
Jun 21, 11 2:01pm

A staggering 99 percent of slightly more than one million respondents in a poll by The Star Online have indicated support for the Bersih 2.0 rally on July 9.

The actual number of respondents cannot be confirmed as the poll was taken down about noon today.

NONEAccording to a screen capture taken by a Facebook user, the number of respondents had hit 1.3 million at 12.25pm from 527,330 recorded at 6.11am today, according to a Google Cache snapshot of the website.

To the question 'What is your view on the proposed Bersih 2.0 rally on July 9?', 1,312,917 respondents answered 'It should be allowed to go on' as at 12.25pm.

The other option - 'It should be cancelled' - was selected by 14,222 respondents.

The poll was discussed with great interest by users of the Curi-curi Wang Malaysia Facebook page, which was set up recently in protest against Tourism Malaysia for spending RM1.8 million on a social media campaign.

However, jubilance turned to scorn when they realised that the poll had been taken down.

Twists and turns


The Bersih 2.0 rally seeks to create awareness for meaningful reform to the electoral system and will petition for intervention by the Agong.

Government officials have claimed that the electoral system is not flawed and accused opposition parties of masquerading in the guise of a NGO coalition to stoke public anger.

The Election Commission (EC) claimed that it has been made a scapegoat in the matter, but offered a dialogue with Bersih 2.0 if it calls off the rally.

However, Bersih 2.0 yesterday maintained that it will proceed with the rally as previous meetings with the EC had come to naught.

Bersih 2.0 is also challenging the EC to reveal the list of recommendations submitted to the federal government to improve the electoral system.

Supporting Bersih 2.0: It’s personal

Opinion

Hafidz Baharom is a social observer who has rankled more than a few feathers. He has written for a number of publications, and is always looking to stir up discussions on things which need to be said.
June 21, 2011--The Malaysian Insider

JUNE 21 — 2008 was the first time I voted, and this was in the state of Selangor, in its capital city of Shah Alam. At the time, I was given the choice, in terms of Parliament members, of either voting for a person the same age as John McCain who had been given a “safe” seat, or vote for a person whose brother in Johore is as honest and true to his conscience in voting.

Of course, one point against the latter was that he was from PAS. However, when you have an 80-year-old aunt from Wangsa Maju suddenly calling you to vote for Umno, you know something’s up, right?

For those of you who have been reading this column for some time now, you would have noticed that I never support illegal gatherings, especially a mass protest in the streets of Kuala Lumpur. In fact, I do believe I got some heat a while back for this stance, particularly from people stating the importance of the freedom of speech and how it was the police’s fault that there were massive traffic jams in Kuala Lumpur.

This year, I will be taking part in Bersih 2.0’s march in Kuala Lumpur. And for me, the reasons are somewhat personal.

First and foremost, it’s because the area of Shah Alam, where I live, has been besieged and taken over people the likes I have never before been seen in my 28 years of existence, of which 24 were spent in this town eg. people carrying cow heads.

There has never been people stomping on the picture of an elected official in the area of the State Mosque, and there sure as hell weren’t teenagers being shot execution style by the police in Glenmarie or while fleeing to the safety of the homes.

In fact, there hadn’t been any incidents of people falling out of government offices leaving behind a family either.

And the saddest part of all this is the fact that the police and their counterparts, supposed maintainers of civil order, are the ones who have in fact done nothing. That isn’t bias. That is just injustice of the most disgusting kind.

Bersih will be a march for electoral reform, there will be no question about that. I will be joining the march for electoral reform because I believe this is the only way that I can voice my displeasure towards a government and their police force which have clearly proven their inconsistencies politically, financially and even on a social justice level.

As we have seen, the government, particularly Umno, is indeed scared of what may happen. And the reason behind this is simple. They were the ones protesting in the 40s.

They are now afraid and have gotten too comfortable in their seats of power that they have forgotten what it is to fear the power of the people, a similar notion brought to life during the Hartal and protests in the 1940s, which led to the banning of communism and socialism at the time.

And we can see this fear reflected not only in the mainstream media, but also through the actions of their cronies, the so-called independent coalition.

Frankly, Ibrahim Ali is as independent as an Aedes mosquito spreading dengue. He’s gone after gays, and when that didn’t pan out, he went after every non-Malay in this nation, even publishing that disgusting flyer of Ambiga, highlighting her as a “Hindu woman” who is a threat to public harmony.

The government can threaten all they want. The police can threaten all they want. The not-so-independent coalition can threaten all they want. My stance is simple; if they had want this protest under control, they could have simply give a permit and monitor it.

Since the police and the government through the Home Minister have refused to do so, then I guess the only way to face them is head on with headlights and horns blaring.

So as I’ve said, this time it’s personal. I will be marching alongside Bersih members from NGOs and political parties but moreover, I will be marching with other Malaysians who are just sick of the way this government is running this country and truly do want the electoral process to be reformed.

So if you see a fat gay guy wearing pink and brandishing a giant yellow golf umbrella, just know that’s no plainclothes policeman.

They wouldn’t be caught dead wearing pink.

* The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the columnist.

Monday, June 20, 2011

ICC -PM confused on Malaysia's international obligations?

20/6/11
News from MalaysiaKini

Najib confused on 'rule of law' concept, says Kula

Terence Netto | 20 Jun, 11 2:03pm

Prime Minister Najib Razak confuses the concept of 'rule of law' with 'rule by law' in the matter of the country's invitation to Sudan President Omar Bashir, who is under indictment by the International Criminal Court.

M Kulasegaran, DAP vice chairperson and MP for Ipoh Barat, pointed this out when commenting on Najib's defence of the Malaysian government's invitation to the Sudanese leader to attend the Langkawi International Dialogue (LID).

Najib was reported to have said that Malaysia was not yet a member of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and therefore was not obliged to comply with its provisions.

In 2008, the ICC issued a warrant of arrest for Bashir on charges of committing crimes against humanity in the troubled Darfur region of Sudan.

Since then the Sudan president has been wary of travel to countries which are ICC members because of the risk of detention and handing over to The Hague where ICC trials are held.

In the event, the ICC-indicted Bashir (above) cited “pressing domestic engagements” for passing up the Malaysian government's invitation to attend the LID. Sudan Foreign Minister Ali Karti attended the LID in Bashir's stead.

M'sia has already decided to join ICC

“Obviously, Prime Minister Najib confused the concept of 'rule of law' with 'rule by law,' ” said Kulasegaran.

“Just because we have not yet deposited the instruments of our accession to the Rome Statue of the International Criminal Court does not mean we are not obliged to abide by its provisions,” explained the DAP lawmaker.

“The cabinet had already made a decision to join the ICC. Intention to join presupposes intention to abide. How can a country that has already signaled intent to join the ICC then ignore its provisions simply because intention has not been consummated by the deposit of instruments of accession,” queried Kulasegaran.

“This is not like a marriage where non-consummation by one of the parties means the marriage is void,” said Kulasegaran.

“Here publicly expressed intention to join ipso facto means commitment to abide. The PM is confusing 'rule of law' with 'rule by law.' The concepts are adverse to each other and defeats law's purpose which, mainly, is its deterrent effect,” Kulasegaran elaborated.

The DAP leader lobbied for Malaysia to join the Rome Statue of the ICC over a long time.

Last March, he succeeded in getting Minister in the PM's Department Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz to host an international conference in Kuala Lumpur on the Rome Statue which was attended by the president of the ICC, judge Sang Hyun-Song.

Shortly afterwards, Nazri announced that the cabinet has that Malaysia would join the ICC. The instruments of accession are expected to be deposited with the United Nations in New York next month.

27thJune round table discussion on Tamil schools at Parliament house

Speech by M.Kula Segaran, DAP National Vice Chairman and MP for Ipoh Barat at the DAP “Say No to Interlok ceramah “ held at Karak, Pahang on Sunday, June 19, 2011

MIC has accepted Pakatan Rakyat’s invitation to attend the June 27 Round Table Conference on Tamil schools.

Interlok is a novel which was written by national laureate Abdullah Hussin in 1971.

The novel is now used as a literature text for SPM students at zone two, namely Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, PutraJaya and Negeri Sembilian.

There is a general uproar on the usage of the novel because the novel has factual mistakes and mocks and ridicules the different races of our country.

The novel’s continued usage will erode and jeopardize our racial unity.

It is irresponsible and illogical for the BN government not to do what is so obviously right.

Hence, DAP and Pakatan Rakyat will continue to demand that the government withdraw the novel from the schools.

We will also make this issue a major election issue if the BN government refuses to listen to the voices of objections against the novel’s continued usage.

Presently, of the 523 Tamil schools in the country only 152 are fully aided schools and the balance 371 are partially aided schools.

Yet 54 years after Merdeka, the Education Ministry has not got a well accepted blue print for Tamil schools.

Two days ago, I announced that Pakatan Rakyat will hold a round table Conference on Tamil schools on June 27 at Parliament House, Kuala Lumpur.The event will be to chart a blue print for the future of Tamil schools.

I am pleased to note that our invitation to MIC to send two representatives to this very important event has been accepted. MIC President Senator Palanivel has confirmed that two MIC deputy ministers, YB Devamany and YB Sarawana will represent the MIC at the Conference.

Tamil Foundation, the main forerunner NGO on Tamil schools has also confirmed their attendance.

We hope the round table Conference will come up with a blue print which will chart a new future for the Tamil schools.
Survey: 80% of M'sians want to work abroad

Jun 20, 11 3:19pm

An online recruitment company said results from a survey on local jobseekers confirm that money, career growth and children's education are the main factors behind the country's brain drain.

JobStreet.com today released the results of their survey of 700 over respondents - over 80 percent of whom are in middle to senior positions - on their interests in working abroad, and the reasons behind it.

The survey revealed just under a third (33 percent) of the respondents are already actively seeking overseas employment while 30 percent are passively looking. Another 30 percent are still weighing the pros and cons of working abroad.

42 percent cited better income as the key reason for their choice, while 24 percent cited career advancement, and 13 percent were thinking of their children's education.

Unfortunately for the government and the Talent Corp, only 2.4 of the respondents said they were staying in the country to “contribute to national interest”.

Over half said they were not working abroad mainly because of their families.

Top in destinations for job seeking was Australia (24 percent) followed by Singapore (16 percent), followed by UK (15 percent), US (10 percent), Far East (8 percent) and New Zealand (7 percent).

The survey, conducted in May, comprised 40 percent senior executives, 29 percent managers and 16 percent senior managers, with junior executives making up the rest.

Jobstreet said 60 percent were male and 40 percent female, while ethnic breakdown was not cited.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Perkasa, have your demo before or after 9 July — not on the same day! — Aliran

Side Views- The Malaysian Insider

June 19, 2011

JUNE 19 — The scheduled Walk for Democracy organised by Bersih 2.0 — the election watch dog comprising 62 NGOs — on 9 July 2011 is in keeping with the democratic tradition to highlight issues of concern. This democratic process is intended to draw the attention of the government to grievances that greatly bother the citizens of a country so that their grievances can be addressed. Their call is to conduct free and fair elections, which will legitimise election results and make them acceptable to all contestants.

Bersih had organised a similar gathering on 10 November 2007, which attracted close to 50000 participants in a peaceful attempt to demand ‘free and fair’ elections. One cannot help but be impressed by the disciplined and responsible conduct of the protesters then. They even cleared and cleaned the streets of all rubbish that littered the streets. They had traffic marshals to manage the crowd. They were that responsible.

Now, this proposed protest on 9 July can be expected to be orderly, disciplined and responsible. The protesters will be there representing a cause that would strengthen our democracy and make our elections meaningful. There is no reason for them to do anything stupid to jeopardise their cause by resorting to the ways of hooligans and hoodlums.

They would want to convince the authorities that peaceful gatherings are possible to drive home a message in a democratic manner. They would also want to safeguard their right to similar protests in the future — when necessary — by ensuring that no untoward incidents take place that would jeopardise their democratic space in the future.

Bersih 2.0 is headed by a reputable and admirable person with an impeccable character in the form of Dato’ Ambiga Sreenevasan, a former president of the Malaysian Bar Council and recipient of the International Women of Courage Award. Those associated with the Bersih 2.0 initiative are individuals of integrity who are determined to make this peaceful protest a meaningful act of democracy.

Aliran is very confident that the rally on 9 July will be a showcase of democracy that will demonstrate to the world that when gatherings such as this are organised by responsible, committed people for the good of the country, they can be peaceful, orderly and exemplary.

This is why it is difficult to understand why Perkasa is hell-bent on causing chaos and creating a ruckus by deliberately threatening to organise its counter demonstration in confrontation with Bersih 2.0 on the same day. Their intention is to wreck Bersih’s peaceful gathering and to create a situation of unrest and agitation. Their declared intention threatens the peace and security of the nation.

It is their political ruse to force the police to stop the Bersih 2.0 demonstration, which promises to bring in crowds never seen in the streets of Kuala Lumpur. It is their ploy not to allow this demonstration, which will show how widespread is the dissatisfaction of the people with the Election Commission, to take place.

Ibrahim Ali has declared, “If they go ahead with this demonstration, Perkasa has made a decision, and as its president, I will fight to the end. That means on that day, there will be a confrontation.” These are words of a trouble-maker and a rabble-rouser. He is no democrat and he has no respect for the rights of others. His mission is to stop the democratic exercise of those who believe in the rule of law. He is prepared to descend into lawlessness to create mischief and anarchy.

Aliran calls upon him to abandon his foolhardy action and behave responsibly in the interest of the nation. He should have his demonstration on a separate date if the intention is to show that he has a bigger drawing power to attract a greater crowd than what Bersih is capable of. Have your day on the street before or after the Bersih event — but not on the same day. We would even urge the police to give Perkasa their democratic space to gather and protest.

According to the Nobel laureate, Amartya Sen: “The heart of democracy beats only with the participation of all citizens in exercising their right — first for inclusion in the political agenda issues of concern to them and second in the process.”

As pointed out by him, democracy becomes dysfunctional when the rule of law is undermined. — Aliran Online

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication. The Malaysian Insider does not endorse the view unless specified




Friday, June 17, 2011

Golden opportunity to make a stand on war crimes lost’

Tarani Palani | June 16, 2011-FMT

Motion to discuss Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir's visit to Malaysia rejected by Speaker.

KUALA LUMPUR: Parliament lost a ‘golden opportunity’ to enhance its standing in the international community when a motion to discuss Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir’s visit to Malaysia was rejected, said an opposition MP.

Ipoh Barat MP, M Kulasegaran said it would have given MPs an opportunity to show “displeasure at world leaders who abuse their citizens and have scant respect for the rule of law”.

Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes in the war-torn western Sudanese region of Darfur, where about 300,000 people have died since 2003.

The Malaysian government has extended an invitation to Bashir to take part in the Langkawi International Dialogue from June 19 to 21 in Putrajaya.

Kulasegaran said that if the motion had not been rejected by the Speaker, the debate could have enhanced the country’s image abroad as a nation that does not condone wrongdoings of heads of state.

The Speaker had cited two reasons rejecting the motion moved by Kulasegaran – one is to recognise the sovereignty of a country and to have good diplomatic relations with foreign nations.

“With the highest respect to the Speaker, his reasons to disallow this urgent motion is most regrettable,” he told reporters at a press conference today. “I would say a golden opportunity had been missed,” he added.

Bad taste in the mouth

DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang who was also at press conference said that there was a need to review parliamentary procedures.

“In developed parliaments, if you want to challenge a Speaker’s decision, you can do it within 48 hours. But in Malaysia, you can file and it will not even appear in the order paper for two weeks,” said Lim.

He added that it was important to know why the invitation was extended to a war criminal and asked if it could be due to Petronas’ investments in the African nation.

“The invitation leaves a bad taste in the mouth. (Zimbabwean President) Robert Mugabe (who is also invited) is regarded as an international pariah.

“Is Malaysia becoming a haven for notorious characters?” asked the seasoned politician.

Bashir and Mugabe are among several African leaders invited to take part in the Langkawi International Dialogue.

The invitation drew flak from many human rights groups who demanded that Bashir be arrested upon entry to Malaysia.

They said that Malaysia which decided to join the ICC should accede to the Rome Statute, even if it has yet to ratify the Statute.

Foreign Minister Anifah Aman said yesterday that Bashir will not be attending the conference due “pressing engagements” and will be sending a representative.



Thursday, June 16, 2011

Media Statement by M Kula Segaran at Parliament House, Kuala Lumpur on Thursday, June 16, 2011

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Bashir must respect the international law and face the charges against him at the ICC.

On Tuesday June 14, 2001; I submitted a notice of urgent motion to ask Parliament to discuss the government’s invitation to Al-Bashir of Sudan and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe to the Langkawi International Dialogue. I further requested that the invitation to both individual heads of state be cancelled.

Over 300 participants are expected to attend this meet which is scheduled to take place at PutraJaya.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Nazri agreed with me that Bashir should be disallowed to come to Malaysia and he promised to raise the invitation issue at the Cabinet meets on Friday.

My urgent motion is scheduled to be heard today at 11.30am. I just received a notice from the Speaker informing me that my motion has been disallowed in chambers.

The reasons given are:-

1) to recognize the sovereignty of a country and,

2) to continue to have good diplomatic relations with foreign countries


Consequently, my motion has been disallowed under18 ( 7) ( C) of Standing Orders (S0) of Parliament) which reads- Speaker can reject a motion ... If any motion contravenes any of the provisions of the SO

With the highest respect to the Speaker, his reasons to disallow this urgent motion is most regrettable.


If he has allowed the motion,

1. MPs could obtain a detailed explanation as to why in the first place an invitation was made to Bashirr when there is a warrant of arrest issued by International Criminal Court (ICC)

2. MPs will have an opportunity to show displeasure to world leaders who abuse their own citizens and have scant respect to rule of law

3. the parliamentary debate will serve as an opportunity to enhance our country’s image abroad as we will be seen as not condoning wrong doings of any individuals let alone head of states. Further we are not "indifferent" to what happens in other countries.


I would say a golden opportunity has missed all of us.

After t having said all this, we are now told Bashir won't be coming due apparently to "pressing engagement". Bashir is now sending his Foreign Minister to replace him.

If not for this motion and for the widespread publicity across the globe, it is unthinkable that Bashir will not have come to attend the meet.

Bashir must respect the international law and face the charges against him at the ICC.