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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Something is brewing…

Just 48 hours to go for the Tuesday deadline to expire.

That’s the deadline given by Anwar for the PM to convene Parliament for an emergency sitting.

I am getting a little “chatter” which suggests that something could be brewing… I can imagine there is probably a lot of behind-the-scenes activity going on in KL.

Earlier, I had been informed that Anwar was expected to be in Permatang Pauh this weekend.

Instead, it was Wan Azizah who showed up.

One blogger at the scene told me that reporters asked her whether Anwar had sent a letter to the Agong and whether Anwar would be meeting the Agong.

Wan Azizah wasn’t saying much.

“She appeared coy, like she knew something and wanted to say it, but wasn’t at liberty to tell just yet,” said a blogger at the scene. “She didn’t look worried at all.”

Meanwhile, there appears to be a real battle going on within Umno between Mahathir-inspired reactionary forces and the Abdullah camp. Abdullah faces a stark choice. Will he be forced to hand over power by 9 Oct, as some have suggested, or is there a way out to ensure that the reforms he once promised, but failed to deliver, can still be fulfilled, with or without him in power?

With Abdullah facing such a stark choice, will Anwar succeed in persuading him to convene Parliament to convene before the scheduled 13 October sitting?

The big question now: Will the Agong agree to Anwar’s request?

The next few days will see whether the impossible can become possible। From what I hear, things are “progressing well”…


Sept 20, 1998: The spark that lit “Reformasi”

I just got back from Dataran Merdeka.

I’m bad with numbers - so I can’t tell you if it was 100,000 people. It certainly was very easily in the tens of thousands. Also pretty difficult to tell when the whole stretch of the road from Dataran Merdeka to the National Mosque was an ocean of people, they were spilling into the side streets, and in the mosque compound, in the nearby Pusat Islam compound.

They had apparently been told to move from Dataran Merdeka, so the crowd proceeded to the compound of the National Mosque facing Pusat Islam. To their credit, the police kept a low profile, and the crowds behaved peacefully.

It was a mixed bag - families, students, yuppies - of all races, though the majority was Malay. Though it was hear-warming to see this 60-year old Chinese pensioner standing next to me punching his fist into the air and shouting “Reformasi!” - who says it is only the young who want change?

Anwar Ibrahim arrived about 4:30pm to deafening cries of “Reformasi”. They didn’t have a proper PA system, so he had to use a loudhailer. He played the fiery orator to the hilt - but the person who won me heart-and-soul was Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.

She was tower of strength by his side - and when she spoke it was electric - she had all the passion of a woman who’s husband had been wronged and the calm determination of the righteous confronting the full forces of darkeness.

There was a moment of tension when someone shouted that there was a TV3 crew around, and a few rowdies pelted them with empty drink packets momentarily to shouts of “Penipu!” “Anjing!”… I, unfortunately, had a Coke bottle, and I didn’t want to hurt anyone accidentally.

But Anwar ordered them to calm down, quipping, “Let them do their job … I definitely know that particular crew secretly supports me!”

The crowd proceeded to Dataran Merdeka after that - no one could stop them now, there was a virtual sea of people. From the stage of Dataran Merdeka, Wan Azizah again spoke, delivering the Pledge of September 20, and she was even more electric than at the mosque. The crowd was then asked to disperse peacefully.

I think we are seeing a real leader come out from the wings - they say real character emerges and the best comes out of people during adversity - whatever happens to Anwar, Wan Azizah has my unreserved vote. Definitely First Lady material, maybe even first woman PM material too!

Today’s rally was also, personally, a nostalgic experience. 24 years ago in 1974, I was a young punk going to what was then the Selangor Library (behind the Selangor Club) to do some mugging for my LCE exams.

I walked down towards the Selangor Club Padang only to see hundreds of young people running towards me being pursued by FRU troopers. It was the 1974 student demonstrations against poverty in Baling. Tear gas canisters were exploding around me, batons were waving, some kids had blood on their clothes.

I was caught in the wave of people running for sanctuary in the National Mosque - but they were pursued even there. FRU with batons and shields strutting in their boots in a National Mosque that choked of tear gas is a something I will never forget in all my life - it changed me forever.

A few days later, a young Abim kid, Anwar Ibrahim, delivered a speech at Bukit Kerinchi to the protesting students - I was there too. Today, my apartment block rests on that very spot where he talked to them.

How things have changed - and not changed.

Some hours after this was written and posted over the Internet, police and demonstrators clashed just outside the residence of the prime minister. Anwar Ibrahim was arrested that evening and detained without trial under the ISA. He was not to be seen until many days later at his first court appearance, with an injured eye.

By Sabri Zain

From Malaysiakini

Navigating The Constitutional Impasse

It seems that we are well on the way to a constitutional crisis. A deadlock looms and, as some commentators including Professor Aziz Bahri of the International Islamic University have suggested, much will depend on how proactive the Yang di-Pertuan Agong can and will be in breaking it. In this, and more, it is becoming increasingly apparent that that the line between those who want change and those who do not will be the Federal Constitution.

Let us consider the objective elements.

Firstly, any Prime Minister of the nation must necessarily be the person who commands the confidence of the majority of the members of the Dewan Rakyat. As to who it is that commands the confidence, this is a decision for the YDPA “in his judgment”.

Until the events in Trengganu shortly after the last general and state elections, it was commonly thought that this was really a matter of having the numbers, that is the person with the most number of supporters in the chamber would become the leader of the government. The interventionist position of the Regency Council, for all purposes and intents the Sultan, earlier this year shed light on how things could justifiably be viewed differently. The appointment of Ahmad Said as the Mentri Besar possibly set a precedent and gave us foundation for the argument that it was ultimately the judgment of the monarch that mattered.

This is relevant as the material provisions in the Federal Constitution are virtually identical to those in the Trengganu state constitution. The YDPA could, as such, approach the issue in a similar way. This is not necessarily impossible; the YDPA is the Sultan of Trengganu.

Secondly, a Prime Minister who no longer commands the confidence of the majority has two options. He can ask the YDPA to dissolve parliament and use that to call for fresh elections. The YDPA however has an absolute discretion to withhold consent and as such, could legitimately refuse. This would leave the Prime Minister with no option other than to tender his resignation and that of his Cabinet and pave the way to the appointment of a new Prime Minister, one who in the judgment of the YDPA commands the confidence of the majority.

Thirdly, the Federal Constitution does not say how to establish that the Prime Minister has “ceased to command the confidence of the majority”. A vote of no confidence is an obvious method but not necessarily the only one. To read the constitutional provision otherwise would not only be unwarranted (an unnecessary implication of meaning) but would also allow for unconstitutional action, such as the use of the provision to impede the expression of the majority of the Dewan Rakyat. It is possible that circumstances could arise where an incumbent government seeks to prevent the meeting of members in Parliament to undermine any attempt by the majority to form a new government. To read provisions of the Constitution to lend to such an outcome would be wholly repugnant to the scheme the Constitution puts in place.

As such, it is open to the YDPA to form a view through other means, such as direct meetings with the majority of the Dewan Rakyat, so as to satisfy himself that the incumbent Prime Minister has in fact ceased to command its confidence. Events in Perlis and Trengganu earlier this year are illustrative of this course. That this approach is not necessarily ideal, for being amongst other things, fraught with practical difficulties, does not in itself militate against such an approach having been within the contemplation by the founders of the Federal Constitution.

Fourthly, assuming the YDPA nonetheless felt it necessary to have a vote of confidence put through the Dewan Rakyat, a question arises as to how this would be approached. If parliament were sitting, this could arguably be put through the Dewan. Such a motion would be extraordinary and exceptional. Going to the very foundations of the legitimacy of the incumbent government, it would have to be treated as a matter of priority. To allows such a motion to be encumbered by the procedural requirements of parliament would be wholly repugnant to the spirit, if not the letter, of the Federal Constitution. Even though the Speaker does have control of proceedings in the Dewan, he must allow for urgent debate and a vote on the motion if there is sufficient foundation for the motion. He has taken an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Federal Constitution and, therefore, the system of governance it puts in place. Such a motion and its outcome are self-evidently matters of grave constitutional significance and impact that cannot be ignored.

This would be more the case if the YDPA gave indication that it was His Highness’ wish for the motion to be dealt with as a matter of utmost priority. Under the Federal Constitution, Parliament is constituted of the YDPA and the two houses of parliament and an expression of His Highness’ intent cannot but be given great weight.

If parliament is however not sitting, a question arises as to whether the motion should be deferred to a time when parliament reconvenes. The question of the legitimacy of an incumbent government is not a matter that can be taken lightly assuming there is reasonable foundation for a belief that it no longer commands the confidence of the majority. The government does not adjourn as parliament does and it continues to act on the basis that it has the mandate to do so throughout its term. It would therefore be only logical for parliament to reconvene on an urgent basis to debate and vote on the motion. This however raises the question of how parliament is to be summoned.

The Constitution provides that the YDPA summons parliament. This is arguably done on the advice of the Prime Minister and it is for this reason that parliamentary procedure provides for reference to the Prime Minister. The Constitution is however silent on a situation where the motion in issue is one aimed at establishing that the incumbent Prime Minster no longer commands confidence. So are parliamentary rules. Though it could be said that there is as such no power with the YDPA to summon parliament, to read the Constitution as vesting a discretion in the incumbent Prime Minister to determine whether the Dewan will meet on whether he or she commands the confidence of the majority would lend to an obviously self-defeating outcome. It would after all be in the interests of the incumbent Prime Minister not to allow for the summoning of the Dewan. This cannot be right.

It is reasonable to read the Constitution as providing for this exceptional situation in the following way: the YDPA has the discretion to summon parliament for this purpose in view of it being an incident to the absolute discretion of the YDPA to appoint as Prime Minister a person who commands the confidence of the majority. Simply put, the YDPA must be given means to ensure that the Prime Minister is a person who commands confidence if His Highness is given reason to apprehend otherwise.

As such, His Highness could direct the Speaker to summon the Dewan Rakyat to debate the motion. The Speaker would be at risk of defying a legitimate direction of the YDPA and breaching his oath of office, with all the consequences of such an act, if he refuses. Alternatively, the YDPA could direct the incumbent Prime Minister to summon the Dewan. A refusal would similarly run the risk of being an unlawful defiance of a legitimate direction or a breaching of the oath of office.

Sixthly, in the event the YDPA forms the view that the incumbent Prime Minister has ceased to command the confidence of the majority, the YDPA could then appoint a new Prime Minister. A further question arises as to whether the incumbent Prime Minster must firstly tender his resignation and that of his Cabinet. Though this would be ideal, I have my doubts as to whether it is a necessary prerequisite, especially if the incumbent government intends to undermine the forming of a new government. Though the Federal Constitution does not provide for the dismissal of a Prime Minister, the appointment of a new Prime Minister would merely be giving effect to the wishes of the majority of the Dewan and system of governance put in place by the Constitution.

But then, what if the incumbent government refuses to vacate office? If the new Prime Minister is sworn in and given the necessary instruments of power, the incumbent government would in effect no longer be the government of the day and would no longer in law be lawfully possessed of power. Those individuals who lend themselves to this situation could be viewed as trespassing and, worse still, be seen as attempting to usurp the legitimate power of a lawful government. This has grave consequences.

The analysis set out above is based on my understanding of the Federal Constitution and it goes without saying that others may take a different view of the issues. However, it must be borne in mind that as the supreme law, the Constitution defines the way in which we are to organize ourselves and arrange our affairs. This extends to transitions of power, something which the founders could not but have contemplated as being possible. The Constitution was drafted in general terms so as to ensure that it was relevant and applicable to situations in an evolving nation and remain a vibrant and living law. The answers are there if we look for them fairly and objectively.

In the difficult times ahead, it is clear that the various factions will take positions on key constitutional provisions and interpret them in a way that favour their intended aims. In this, the YDPA plays a crucial role as does the Judiciary. It is therefore vital, and I say this respectfully, that both these institutions be seen as being detached and far removed from the politics of the unfolding events. How the approaching crisis is resolved, and the way in which this is done and seen to be done, are matters that go to our ability to meet the future with the stability and conviction that this nation requires to meet the challenges ahead.


ISA is all about public order and safety

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Sunday, 21 September 2008 09:28am

Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar Internal Security Act to stay for now, says Syed Hamid
Syed Hamid sedia tanding Naib Presiden

Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar speaks his mind on the ISA with Berita Harian's Ziauddin Sharuddin

Q: Some have labelled the Internal Security Act as draconian. Many feel it should only be used against subversive elements bent on overthrowing the government by force, and not against politicians, journalists and NGO leaders.

A: Historically, the ISA was used against those involved in subversive activities, such as the communists. In the present context, the ISA is used as a preventive law to handle threats to public order and the peace. That is its main objective. The ISA is not about acting after the threat occurs but taking preventive action before something happens. Whether we realise it or not, since independence, the ISA has helped preserve the peace and public order. The act's main element is public order and safety. What is public order and safety? Firstly, if it has to be established that the actions and behaviour of someone can pose a threat to national security and public order, such as by causing conflicts, riots and civil war. This involves hatred, which covers religious, racial and cultural issues. Secondly, actions that can affect the national economy such as by crippling the country's economy and scaring away investors due to uncertainties. Also, syndicated activities such as producing fake identity cards and passports are threats to national security. Action can be taken against those involved to prevent these activities from continuing. Thirdly, the ISA can also be used against those who threaten or disrupt essential services such as Tenaga Nasional Berhad and Radio Televisyen Malaysia services.

Q: Yet, many are linking the ISA with injustice and political interference?

A: The ISA has always been known as a detention law without trial under the jurisdiction of the home minister. However, many forget that the ISA has two important provisions, one of which is found in section 73(1). This section empowers police to take preventive action to detain any party considered a threat to national security and public order. This action allows the police to detain someone for 24 hours, two days and a week within a maximum period of 60 days. If within this period there is no evidence to establish that there is a threat posed by the detainee, police can release him. It is entirely up to the discretion of the police. This also allows the police to conduct intelligence work to ensure the threat does not lead to public disorder. This type of detention is not a criminal offence and the detainee is not accused under the Penal Code or the Sedition Act. Even the detention areas are different for those detained under different acts. Those under remand are detained in a lock-up while ISA detainees have their own cells, complete with a sleeping area. ISA detainees also have the right to apply for habeas corpus to meet their families and seek legal representation. After their release, they will not have any police record. The ISA is strictly used to maintain public order and safety. The police need not refer to the minister to resort to such actions. The police will inform the home minister as the matter will eventually be of public interest. The police do not even need permission from the minister to release detainees.

Q: In the recent arrest of the three individuals, many parties, including those from the Barisan Nasional, questioned whether public order was indeed and truly compromised to justify the use of the ISA?

A: That is a question which should be directed to the police. I do not have information that they have. However, when it comes to security issues, if there are doubts about the police and the job they need to do, then prevention will be made difficult. But if we look at the anti-terrorism laws in Britain, the authorities can detain a person solely on the basis that there is a threat. They raid and break into the homes of suspected Muslim terrorists and detain an imam who they claim incites people in his religious talks.

Q: How do we determine for sure that such a situation can lead to an ISA arrest? What is the definition of an uncontrollable situation and how are such decisions made?

A: If there are doubts, our security forces will not be able to do their jobs because of the endless debates on this every day which will then raise different opinions and views. We tend to forget that all this while, we have been protected by our security forces. We also saw how tensions were growing to the extent that recently the armed forces chief had to give his view. Malaysia has always taken the preventive approach, which in turn has established peace and stability. The police have taken into account all these factors. Yes, it is a controversy now, but that does not negate their (police) priorities on security and safety. I feel all BN component parties must share similar views on this matter. The strength of the BN lies in the fact that we can discuss sensitive issues behind closed doors.

Q: Is the government ignoring the views of those who oppose the ISA?

A: There are two responses to the ISA. Do not think that those who oppose the ISA are the majority. Those who oppose the ISA are very vocal groups and they express their sentiments through letters and SMSes. I have also received many letters and SMSes supporting the use of the ISA. I think those who support the ISA do that not because of race, culture or religion but because they fear there would be violence and clashes in the country. How is it that there is no threat if international parties have classified Malaysia as being politically unstable? There is instability and advice is given not to invest in the country. Isn't that a threat to security? So, police must have had grounds before they acted and used the ISA. Some say the ISA is outdated but this act has developed and its procedures have kept up with current times.

Q: Those who oppose the ISA are of the view that detainees should be given the right to defend themselves in court. For example, those arrested for sedition should be prosecuted under the Sedition Act.

A: I am speaking about safety and security. For example, if there are seditious acts that can affect security and cause open conflicts, then the ISA must be used. Between two evils, it is better to prevent rather than allow riots to happen. To repair the damage in a community after a riot has happened is far more difficult, just like how it was in Kampung Medan (Selangor) and Kampung Rawa (Penang). To build takes a long time but to destroy takes only a second.

Q: The arrest of Sin Chew Daily journalist Tan Hoon Cheng is seen as extreme and the reasons given that she was detained for her own protection was also rejected by many. Your views?

A: I think we should look at this in a separate context. Individual safety is an answer to many questions but we must look at the broader picture. For example, to make an arrest the police must start from somewhere. In her case, police began with the person who wrote the article, the reasons behind it and whether the article had an underlying agenda to affect national security. Even if the police detained someone else, they had to start from Tan. The arrest of the journalist, just like arrests of politicians and lawyers, normally attracts international attention. The question is do we love our country or do we succumb to outside pressure? If the country is in chaos, who is going to take care of it? Outsiders?

Q: Datuk Zaid Ibrahim (former minister in the prime minister's department) resigned after strongly expressing his reservations on the use of the ISA. Doesn't this justify the many calls for the government to stop using the law?

A: We all have our own views on the ISA. I had my own view when I was practising law and before I was appointed as home minister. But when I became part of the same group, the most important thing is to ensure that there is no misuse of power and that national security is made priority over anything else. During Tun Dr Mahathir (Mohamad's) time, he said that if any of the cabinet members did not support a collective decision, then the best thing to do was to resign from the government. I think his (Zaid) decision to resign is wise but many also make the mistake of joining the opposition. Many politicians quit due to their belief or stand on certain matters but yet, they remain faithful party members and are loyal to the government.

Q: Won't the use of the ISA at a time when the government is encouraging freedom and liberal attitudes be met with opposition?

A: Try to see just how many newspapers have been closed down since the ISA was introduced. See how the New Straits Times Press (NSTP) group, which is closely linked to Umno, gave a full page report for Zaid and also wrote an in-depth piece on the ISA arrests complete with comments from everyone. See the blogs and other newspapers. What is being written by The Sun and Sin Chew Daily? I feel there is much press freedom. Don't just take one case and condemn the ISA. Where do you find people thinking about the ISA when writing something? No one does such a thing! The ISA is not restrictive and we should not let it haunt our sense of freedom. The ISA only comes into the picture when security is under threat. You can write freely but it does not mean with that liberty, laws are ignored. Blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin, in his interview with BBC, said the government wanted to restrict Internet freedom. I'm saying freedom still exists but it must be exercised in adherence to the law. How can we allow such a level of freedom which can create chaos in the country? Freedom must be exercised with responsibility. It must respect not only our rights but the rights and sensitivities of others as well. The Sedition Act and Printing Presses and Publications Act are said to impinge on freedom of expression. But Malaysia is a country with a variety of newspapers in different languages. Many views are expressed in them which are healthy for a developing country.

Q: After 51 years of independence, do you see the relationship among the races as being problematic?

A: We can see the country as a Malaysian Malaysia and do not differentiate among the races. Racial integration is the nation's main agenda. The problem is that while we talk about a Malaysian Malaysia, we still stress on the interests of our own race. Certain quarters want to view the nation from the perspective of their individual race. In this respect, we have yet to achieve real integration. Integration does not mean assimilation. We cannot assimilate people as we are a multiracial society. Diversity is our strength.

Composer summoned to Bukit Aman

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Sunday, 21 September 2008 09:30am

Wee Meng CheeMUAR: Controversial composer, Wee Meng Chee, whose controversial version of Negaraku raised hackles in the country, has been summoned to Bukit Aman on Tuesday.

Wee, 25, who returned home last month after completing a documentary on Malaysians living abroad in Asian countries, did not know why he was being summoned by police.

"I am not sure why," the media studies graduate from Ming Chuang University in Taiwan said yesterday

Wee's father, Wee An See, 50, said he received a call from police on Sept 11 instructing his son to be present at Bukit Aman on Tuesday.

A five-minute video clip on the YouTube website last year included a rap song in Mandarin which allegedly carried anti-government messages.

Wee had since apologised for mocking the national anthem.

“No repeal or review of ISA” – will all MCA, Gerakan, Umno and BN Ministers/leaders “blindly accept” Hamid’s decision?

Home Minister, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar has shown utter disrespect and contempt for Barisan Nasional Ministers and leaders who had been calling for repeal or review of the draconian and nefarious detention-without-trial law, the Internal Security Act (ISA), when he summarily and categorically declared in Johor Baru yesterday that the ISA will not be reviewed or repealed.

Only yesterday, MCA President Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting announced that the MCA had enough of Umno political hegemony and “will not blindly accept every decision made by BN without being consulted”.

He said:

“It is only proper to have a discussion with the parties in the coalition before a decision or policy is made. That is what you call sharing of power and it is in line with the BN spirit…

“However, at times we were not kept in the loop when certain decisions were made. If a decision was made without the knowledge of the MCA, then it is not fair to use BN’s motto of ‘Friendship and Unity’ (Kesetiakawanan).”

Hamid’s contemptuous dismissal of calls for repeal or review of the ISA is an open slap in the face for Barisan Nasional Ministers and leaders who had been making such proposals, including the MCA Central Committee which had expressed disagreement with the recent spate of ISA arrests and demanded the release of Raja Petra Kamaruddin.

Are the four MCA Ministers united in their condemnation of the use of ISA against RPK, DAP MP for Seputeh Teresa Kok and Sin Chew Daily reporter Tan Hoon Cheng?

If so, the four MCA Ministers, together with other Umno and BN Ministers who had spoken out against the ISA like the Foreign Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Rais Yatim, should censure Hamid at the next Cabinet meeting for two reasons:

1. for allowing the police to misuse their powers in invoking the ISA against the trio, RPK, Teresa Kok and Tan Hoon Cheng, on completely unjustifiable grounds totally unrelated to national security, subversion or organised violence, especially wnen there are adequate laws in the land to deal with whatever offences the police could level against the trio; and

2. For showing utter disrespect and contempt for other BN Ministers and leaders (particularly from the MCA but also including from Umno) who had called for repeal or review of the ISA by pre-empting any such possibility without any prior consultation with his announcement that there will be neither repeal nor review of ISA!

Will there be any Minister left in the Cabinet who is prepared to put his political future on the line like Datuk Zaid Ibrahim by demanding that he or she would resign from the Cabinet unless it decides on Wednesday to repeal or review the ISA?

In his interview with New Sunday Times, Hamid quoted the former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, who had said when he was Prime Minister “that if any of the cabinet members did not support a collective decision, then the best thing to do was to resign from the government.”

Is Hamid suggesting that the MCA Ministers and MCA whose central committee had called for the release of RPK and the review of ISA; Parti Gerakan whose leaders have voiced objection to ISA and the arrests; and Umno Foreign Minister Rais Yatim who yesterday called for a review of ISA, should resign from the Cabinet and even leave the Barisan Nasional for their divergence from the “official line” on ISA?

Any response from the Ministers and leaders of MCA, Gerakan, Umno and BN to Hamid’s contemptuous dismissal of their calls for repeal or review of ISA?

(Speech at the Head-Shaving Protest by 18 Malaysian defenders of human rights over the unjust and undemocratic ISA detention of Raja Petra Kamaruddin, Hindraf 5 and other ISA detainees organized by Selangor DAP at KL-Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall on Sunday, 21st September 2008 at 11 am)





Samy Vellu calls for Hindraf 5 release

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 21 — The MIC has again called on the government to immediately release the five Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) leaders detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) on Dec 13 last year.

MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said today R. Kengadharan, 41, M. Manoharan, 47, V. Ganabatirau, 35, P. Uthayakumar, 47, and K. Vasantha Kumar, 35, should be released unconditionally.

He said they had been detained for almost nine months now and that "it's about time that they are released as they pose no danger to the security of the country.

"The government should not hold them any longer as it will prolong the Indian community's ill-feelings towards the government," he said in a statement.Samy Vellu said the punishment meted out to the five Hindraf leaders did not correspond with their actions.

"They only voiced out the problems and the frustrations of the Indian community. Similarly, the MIC has also been doing the same for the past few decades ... so why detain them any longer?" he said.

Samy Vellu said many Barisan Nasional (BN) "die-hards" among the Indian community had voted for the opposition in the last (March 8) general election as they felt that the five Hindraf leaders had been detained unjustly.

"It is not because they loved the opposition or they wanted a change but rather they vented their anger on the (BN) government," he said.

He said the BN could regain their support if the five Hindraf leaders were released.

"I had asked the prime minister (Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi) to release them on several occasions and also raised the matter at two BN Supreme Council meetings," he said, adding that he would raise the matter again when he meets Abdullah soon. — Bernama

Free RPK, redoubtable and irrepressible cyber-warrior, under ISA

Tomorrow, 18 justice-and-freedom-loving Malaysians will collectively shave their heads in protest against the unjust, undemocratic and unlawful detention of Malaysia’s most famous blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin under the Internal Security Act.

The event, organised by DAP Selangor, is also to protest the arbitrary detention of the Hindraf 5 and all other ISA detainees currently languishing in the Kamunting Detention Centre.

Although I had intended to be in Penang till tomorrow evening, I am changing my travel plan to be at the KL-Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall tomorrow morning for this head-shaving protest – in SSS (support, sympathy and solidarity) with RPK, the Hindraf 5 and all other ISA detainees.

Let us all gather at the KL-Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall tomorrow, Sunday, 21st September 2008 at 10.30 am.

RPK is a redoubtable and irrepressible cyber-warrior for human rights and fundamental liberties for all Malaysians.

Yesterday, he scaled a new height as Malaysia’s pre-eminent cyber-warrior when he blogged on the eighth day of his detention under ISA while still under incarceration.

RPK’s blogging from ISA detention would have set off a new flurry or even frenzy among the police as to how RPK could perform such a “IT Houdini”.


Malaysia is at its most important turning point, says John Malott

By John Malott*

Today Malaysia is at the most important turning point in its history. Ironically, the man who has the opportunity to decide which way Malaysia will go is the man who has been considered an ineffective if not a failed leader – Abdullah Badawi.

Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam said it best in an interview with Malaysiakini:” If Abdullah lets the democratic process take place and does not stifle the country with arrests and emergency rule, it will be his finest hour, and he will go down in history as the man who liberalised the democratic system in Malaysia. But if he reneges on his word to not invoke the ISA, then he would only be digging his own grave”, Ramon said.

Although the attention of the world has turned to the financial crisis in the United States, interest in Malaysia has never been higher. The world is watching. Malaysia can redeem itself in the eyes of the world – or it can become an international pariah – all within the space of the next few weeks.

The Malaysian people should not underestimate the influence and impact that Anwar Ibrahim has overseas. The 18 months that he spent abroad after his release from prison allowed him not only to reestablish his old connections but also to develop new ones. He spoke widely throughout the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia and developed a new cadre of admirers. He is without question the most well-known and respected Malaysian in the world.


Abdullah batalkan hasrat berundur - blogger Umno

Abdul Aziz Mustafa, Harakah

Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi membatalkan hasratnya untuk meletak jawatan Oktober ini, kata blogger Umno, Amin Yatim (

Malah, menurut maklumat yang beliau terima, Abdullah akan mempertahankan jawatannya dalam pemilihan Umno Disember ini.

Menurut Amin, walaupun selepas mesyuarat Majlis Tertinggi Umno (MT) 18 September lalu Abdullah dikatakan akan meletak jawatan sebelum 9 Oktober, namun desakan menantunya Khairy Jamaluddin, Pegawai Khasnya Datuk Ahmad Zaki Zahid dan Setiausaha Politiknya yang juga Adun Kok Lanas, Datuk Md Alwi Che Ahmad menjadi punca perubahan ini.

Mereka meyakinkan Abdullah bahawa terdapat 100 bahagian akan menyokong pencalonan Abdullah sebagai Presiden Umno, kata blogger itu.

Isu perubahan kepimpinan bertiup kencang semula selepas Pilihan Raya Kecil Permatang Pauh. Menurut Amin, Bekas Perdana Menteri,Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad dikatakan menemui dua orang pemimpin kanan Umno iaitu, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin dan Datuk Seri Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo.

Dr. Mohamad Khir, katanya, dikatakan memainkan peranan penting dalam percaturan belakang tabir yang menimbulkan kegemparan dalam mesyuarat Majlis Tertinggi Umno Khamis lalu.

Antaranya, katanya lagi, termasuklah menerbitkan satu catatan berjudul "Krisis Kepimpinan: Pisau dan Mentimun Di Tangan Kita." yang dikatakan menjadi pencetus "kepanasan" mesyuarat MT Khamis lalu.

"Menurut sumber Malaysia Airline System (MAS), Dr. Khir telah menukar tiket kapal terbang untuk mengerjakan umrahnya dari 18 September ke 19 September pada petang Isnin lalu.

"Pada pagi hari yang sama Dr. Mohamad Khir dilihat keluar dari pejabat salah seorang pemimpin tertinggi Umno," kata Amin dalam blognya itu

Dr. Mohamad Khir juga, katanhya, dikatakan menemui Dr. Mahathir sebanyak dua kali sejak dua minggu lalu.

Bagaimanapun, kata Amin, beliau difahamkan bahawa Dr. Mohamad Khir tidak sempat bercakap dalam mesyuarat MT tersebut kerana Timbalan Perdana Menteri yang juga Timbalan Presiden Umno, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak telah pun "memotong sesi menghentam" Abdullah yang dimulakan oleh Ahli MT yang juga Menteri Kebudayaan Kesenian dan Warisan, Datuk Shafie Afdal diikuti oleh Naib Presiden parti itu yang juga Menteri Perdagangan Antarabangsa dan Industr Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yasin dan Ketua Wanita Umno, Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz.

Menurut Amin, Abdullah dikatakan memberitahu Setiausaha Agong Umno, Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor selepas mesyuarat tersebut bahawa beliau akan melepaskan jawatannya dalam jangka masa yang terdekat.

"Namun mesyuarat bersama para pegawai dan menantunya semalam telah mengubah senario. Pak Lah dilaporkan telah diminta terus mempertahankan jawatannya. Desakan paling kuat dikatakan datang dari Khairy, Md Alwi dan Ahmad Zaki," kata blogger Umno itu.

Ketua Penerangan Umno yang juga Menteri Kemajuan Luar Bandar dan Wilayah, Tan Sri Muhammad Muhd Taib dikatakan cuba mendapat sokongan Badan Perhubungan Umno Selangor kepada Abdullah yang bermesyuarat pagi Jumaat lalu, katanya.

Namun, katanya lagi, 19 daripada 22 Umno bahagian di Selangor telah memutuskan untuk mencalonkan calon lain bagi jawatan Presiden Umno.

Sementara itu, Utusan Malaysia melaporkan, Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi semalammengadakan pertemuan tertutup dengan pemimpin-pemimpin Umno Perak dari peringkat bahagian, pergerakan Wanita, Pemuda dan Puteri di Bangunan Ibu pejabat Umno Perak di Ipoh.

Abdullah yang tiba kira-kira pukul 6.30 petang, disambut oleh Pengerusi Badan Perhubungan Umno Perak Datuk Seri Tajol Rosli Ghazali serta pemimpin Umno negeri yang lain.

Selepas pertemuan itu, Abdullah yang juga Presiden Umno berbuka puasa bersama pemimpin Umno negeri sebelum menunaikan solat Maghrib, Isyak dan Tarawih berjemaah.

Abdullah kemudiannya berlepas pulang ke ibu negara.

Hadir sama Menteri di Jabatan Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi dan Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz.

Kes RM60 juta: MB Pahang wajar letak jawatan

Basiron Abdul Wahab, Harakah

Dewan Pemuda PAS Pahang menyifatkan keangkuhan Menteri Besar menjadi punca kerajaan negeri terpaksa membayar berganda (RM60 juta) kepada Syarikat Pembalakan Seruan Gemiliang Makmur (SGM) atas arahan mahkamah dan wajar bertanggungjawab dengan meletakkan jawatan.

Ketuanya Suhaimi Md Saad berkata,sikap 'bodoh sombong' pemimpin berkenaan yang enggan berunding serta memperlekehkan SGM akhirnya membawa padah kepada kerajaan dan rakyat.

ImageDifahamkan SGM tidak berkeras untuk menyelesaikan masalahnya dengan kerajaan negeri malah syarikat itu telah beberapa kali memohon untuk mengadakan perbincangan tetapi tidak mendapat layanan, membawa kes ke mahkamah adalah tindakan terakhir yang diambil syarikat itu setelah semua usaha untuk mengadakan rundingan gagal.

Kerajaan negeri, pada awal kes berkenaan dibicarakan di mahkamah langsung tidak menghantar peguamnya sehinggalah kerajaan negeri terdesak.

Suhaimi berkata, tindak tanduk Menteri Besar dalam mengendalikan kes berkenaan jelas sekali tidak bijak dan angkuh yang akhirnya membawa padah kepada kerajaan negeri.

"Mungkin pemimpin berkenaan menyangka tiada apa yang boleh dilakukan terhadapnya kerajaan yang berkuasa, sedangkan tindakanya jelas merugikan rakyat," katanya.

Mahkamah Persekutuan baru-baru ini menolak permohonan kerajaan negeri Pahang dan Pengarah Jabatan Perhutanan Negeri (defenden) untuk membenarkan rayuan terhadap keputusan Mahkamah Tinggi Kuantan yang mengarahkan defenden membayar RM37 juta kepada SGM.

SGM memfailkan saman terhadap defenden bersabit satu kawasan pembalakan di atas tanah milik Umno, di mukim Bebar, Pekan.

Suhaimi berkata, sepatutnya pemimpin berkenaan segera melepaskan jawatan sebagai Menteri Besar kerana bertanggungjawab di atas kes berkaitan.

"Melihat kepada cara pemimpin berkenaan mengendalikan isu saman SGM jelas beliau tidak mempunyai kelayakan sewajarnya untuk terus memimpin negeri Pahang.

"Semua pihak di dalam Umno wajar mendesak supaya menteri besar berkenaan diganti segera demi memulihkan imej kerajaan negeri," katanya.

Sementara itu, Pengarah SGM, Syed Ali Badruddin Othman berkata, pihaknya sedang mengkaji untuk mengemukakan saman kepada Menteri Besar dan kerajaan negeri kerana gagal menjelaskan bayaran sebagaimana telah diputuskan oleh Mahkamah.

Katanya, sehingga kini pihaknya tidak menerima apa-apa 'respon' daripada kerajaan negeri sama ada dalam bentuk bayaran atau memanggilnya untuk berunding mengenai cara-cara pembayaran.

Difaham tempoh kerajaan negeri menyelesaikan pembayaran kepada SGM telah luput pada 6 April lalu.

Yang di-Pertuan Agong boleh bertindak - Aziz Bari

Profesor Dr. Abdul Aziz Bari, Harakah

Cara Dato' Seri Abdullah Badawi menjawab soalan-soalan pemberita mengenai Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim sejak kebelakangan ini menunjukan bahawa beliau memandang serius cabaran Ketua Pembangkang itu.

Sebelum ini Abdullah biasanya berkata bahawa Anwar hanya bergimik apabila mendakwa bahawa beliau mempunyai cukup bilangan ahli parlimen yang akan melompat ke Pakatan Rakyat, lantas membolehkan kerajaan baru dibentuk.

Tetapi mutakhir ini Abdullah telah bertukar nada. Anwar telah dituduh sebagai pengancam keselematan dan ekonomi negara. Tuduhan ini membayangkan bahawa Akta Keselamatan Dalam Negeri (ISA) mungkin akan digunapakai.

Jelas sekali kerajaan kini merasa tergugat. Selain cabaran daripada Anwar, parti pemerintah juga digugat oleh perebutan kuasa dalaman. Jika kita lihat reaksi beberapa menteri terhadap penggunaan ISA baru-baru ini, tidak mustahil jika kita katakan bahawa Abdullah tidak lagi dapat mengawal sepenuhnya kabinet beliau.

Negara kita boleh dianggap sebagai menghampiri situasi krisis. Dalam waktu sebegini, kita memerlukan sesuatu yang mungkin kelihatan sedikit 'di luar perlembagaan' (extra-constitutional) untuk menangani keadaan.

Cara-cara biasa mungkin tidak berkesan, terutama kerana kerajaan seolah-olah telah panik dan kelihatan tidak lagi berkebolehan untuk menasihatkan Yang di-Pertuan Agong dan mengendalikan tugas-tugas biasa dalam pentadbiran.

Negara kita berbeza dengan Thailand dan Indonesia kerana kita tidak mempunyai Mahkamah Perlembagaan untuk dirujuk. Biasanya kita merujuk kepada Mahkamah Persekutuan tetapi sepanjang 51 tahun lepas Mahkamah Persekutuan tidak pernah membicarakan perlanggaran perlembagaan.

Dan, berbeza dengan Mahkamah Agong Amerika Syarikat yang telah beberapa kali membicarakan kontroversi-kontroversi berkaitan perlembagaan, Mahkamah Persekutuan kita tidak langsung dirujuk semasa krisis perlembagaan pada tahun 1983, 1988 dan 1993. Mungkin ini merupakan tempias daripada kurangnya keyakinan rakyat terhadap kredibiliti dan kebolehan hakim-hakim kita.

Maka kita tinggal dengan satu sahaja pilihan iaitu Yang di-Pertuan Agong. Yang di-Pertuan Agong sebenarnya mempunyai beberapa peranan dan kuasa khusus yang boleh digunapakai dalam situasi sekarang. Baginda boleh mendapatkan bantuan daripada Majlis Raja-Raja yang diberi kuasa oleh perlembagaan untuk membincangkan apa sahaja perkara yang dirasakan perlu.

Masalah yang sedang kita alami sekarang berkisar di sekeliling isu perlantikan kerajaan, yang dalam bahasa perlembagaan sebenarnya ialah isu perlantikan perdana menteri. Perlembagaan memberikan tanggungjawab ini kepada Yang di-Pertuan Agong berdasarkan budi bicara Baginda.

Dalam situasi yang terang, contohnya jika terdapat majoriti di parlimen dan ketua yang jelas, maka Yang di-Pertuan Agong tidak mempunyai pilihan selain daripada melantik ketua tersebut sebagai perdana menteri dan seterusnya menerima nasihat perdana menteri dalam urusan pembentukan kabinet.

Ini boleh berlaku selepas pilihan raya umum, kematian perdana menteri semasa masih memegang jawatan, ataupun setelah berlaku perletakan jawatan perdana menteri.

Peletakan jawatan boleh berlaku dengan beberapa bentuk. Contohnya peletakan jawatan biasa seperti yang dilakukan oleh Dr Mahathir Mohamad pada tahun 2003.

Dalam konteks negeri dan peranan sultan negeri tersebut pula, kita boleh melihat contoh yang berlaku setelah Dewan Undangan Negeri tidak lagi menyokong Menteri Besar mereka seperti yang dialami oleh Menteri Besar Selangor Harun Idris pada tahun 1976 dan Menteri Besar Kelantan Mohamed Nasir pada tahun 1977.

Tetapi perlembagaan negara kita tidak mempunyai klausa yang jelas dalam isu peletakan jawatan. Satu-satunya peruntukan yang menyentuh isu peletakan jawatan ialah Artikel 43(4) yang menyebut bahawa mana-mana perdana menteri yang kehilangan sokongan dewan rakyat perlu meletak jawatan.

Tetapi perlembagaan kita tidak menyebut mengenai proses menarik balik sokongan terhadap perdana menteri. Ini telah dimanipulasi oleh Umno dan Barisan Nasional. Speaker Dewan Rakyat seolah-olah berusaha keras untuk menafikan usaha Pakatan Rakyat membawa usul tidak percaya di parlimen.

Apa peranan Yang di-Pertuan Agong dalam situasi sekarang? Berdasarkan undang-undang, Yang Di-Pertuan Agong perlu bertindak mengikut nasihat kerajaan. Hakikatnya, walaupun tidak disebut secara jelas dalam perlembagaan, Baginda perlu memastikan wujud sebuah kerajaan pada setiap masa.

Seterusnya, jika terdapat persoalan mengenai kredibiliti dan legitimasi sesebuah kerajaan, Yang di-Pertuan Agong tidak boleh bersikap tunggu dan lihat sahaja. Baginda wajar bertindak proaktif dan mengawal keadaan. Tidak ada institusi lain yang boleh memainkan peranan ini. Kita tidak boleh bergantung dengan kerajaan sedia ada tatkala kesahihan kerajaan tersebut sendiri sedang dipertikaikan.

Mungkin jika kita mengikut protokol dengan ketat maka Anwar tidak boleh ke Istana Negara sekarang. Dengan itu, Yang di-Pertuan Agong sewajarnya menjemput Ketua Pembangkang tersebut untuk mengadap dan mempersembahkan senarai ahli parlimen yang beliau dakwa akan menyokong beliau dalam kerajaan baru.

Yang di-Pertuan Agong mempunyai hak untuk mendengar secara terus daripada ahli-ahli parlimen tersebut, sama seperti mana Sultan Selangor dan Raja Perlis telah memanggil mengadap ahli-ahli dewan undangan negeri mereka selepas pilihan raya Mac lalu.

Sekiranya Yang di-Pertuan Agong mendapati dakwaan Anwar adalah benar dan Anwar memang mempunyai sokongan yang mencukupi daripada ahli-ahli parlimen, maka Baginda boleh menitahkan agar Abdullah meletak jawatan.

Bukan sahaja Abdullah boleh dititahkan untuk meletak jawatan, bahkan dalam situasi sedemikian, berdasarkan undang-undang, peletakan jawatan menjadi tanggungjawab Abdullah dan kabinetnya.

Jika diteliti perlembagaan asal yang dihasilkan oleh Lord Reid, sebenarnya memang terdapat peruntukan yang membolehkan Yang di-Pertuan Agong memecat Perdana Menteri dalam situasi sedemikian.

Tetapi peruntukan ini tidak dimasukkan dalam draf akhir yang diluluskan menjadi perlembagaan negara kita. Bagaimanapun, saya berpendapat bahawa Yang di-Pertuan Agong masih mempunyai kuasa untuk menyelesaikan masalah ini.

Artikel 43(4) juga menyentuh mengenai pembubaran parlimen. Tetapi Artikel ini perlu dibaca dengan Artikel 40(2)(b) yang memberi kuasa kepada Yang Di-Pertuan Agong bertindak berdasarkan budi bicara dalam menentukan sama ada perlu atau tidak parlimen dibubarkan setelah diminta oleh perdana menteri.

Berdasarkan pengalaman negara-negara Komanwel, Suruhanjaya Reid mengatakan bahawa terdapat beberapa sebab kenapa pembubaran parlimen perlu diserahkan kepada budi bicara Yang di-Pertuan Agong, antaranya ialah untuk mengelakkan negara kita dipaksa mengulangi pilihan raya berkali-kali oleh kerajaan yang tidak stabil.

Jika kita teliti semula situasi sekarang, maka bagi saya tidak ada keperluan bagi Yang di-Pertuan Agong membubarkan parlimen walaupun diminta. Kita baru sahaja menjalankan pilihan raya umum pada Mac 2008 dan kita boleh membentuk kerajaan tanpa perlu satu lagi pilihan raya.

(Profesor Dr. Abdul Aziz Bari ialah Profesor Undang-undang di Universiti Islam Antarabangsa) - (

PM under new pressure to quit

Malaysian PM under new pressure to quit by year-end

Photo: AFP
Click to enlarge

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is under intense pressure to quit, after being confronted by rare criticism from within his cabinet, as well as an opposition bid to seize power.

Abdullah led the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition to its worst electoral showing in half a century in March, as voters punished him over broken promises for reform, as well as spiralling prices of food and fuel.

So far he has clung tenaciously to the job, and refused to negotiate with opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who has announced he has enough support from defecting lawmakers to topple the government.

But last week Abdullah faced an unprecedented challenge from within his cabinet, as four ministers spoke out against him at a meeting of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) which leads the coalition.

According to The Star daily, they told Abdullah at a meeting of the party's supreme council that "the political situation was not improving and that he should consider an earlier exit".

UMNO information chief Muhammad Muhammad Taib confirmed the challenge took place and said Abdullah was saddened and visibly affected by it, but insisted he could ride out the crisis।

"The four of them spoke and said this to the prime minister... but it was not the majority speaking. There are more than 30 supreme council members and not all are in unison, asking the PM to resign," Muhammad told AFP.

"He listened. It was not the first time for him. He has his own intelligence report well prepared on what the feeling is at the grassroots level," he said.

Abdullah in July unveiled a plan to hand over to his deputy Najib Razak in mid-2010, but the strategy failed to quell calls for his ouster, and last week he indicated the timing was "flexible" and that he could depart earlier.

He handed over the important finance ministry post to Najib in a show of solidarity, but was hit with the challenge from his ministers just a day later.

An UMNO official from Abdullah's home state of Penang said the premier's position was now untenable and he would have to quit before the party holds leadership elections in December.

"Abdullah does not have any choice left. He has to go by year-end," the senior official told AFP on condition of anonymity. "Abdullah is now being viewed as a leader who has lost control of the party and government."

"He cannot make any drastic moves to reel in party leaders who have openly gone against him by questioning the power transition agreement," he said.

Najib is widely tipped to replace Abdullah, with his new deputy likely to be Trade Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, who has been one of the premier's most outspoken critics.

Muhyiddin was one of the ministers who reportedly challenged Abdullah at last week's meeting, along with UMNO's youth wing chief Hishammuddin Hussein, women's wing chief Rafidah Aziz and Culture Minister Shafie Apdal.

The meeting took place after a series of blows, including a furore within the 14-party Barisan Nasional over the arrests of an opposition MP, a blogger and a journalist under draconian internal security laws.

Cabinet minister Zaid Ibrahim, who had been appointed to direct a shake-up of the judiciary, quit in disgust after the arrests, saying he had met a "brick wall" in the ruling party which had blocked any reforms.

And last week a small party from Borneo island quit the coalition, saying the government had "lost its moral authority to rule".

Lim Kit Siang, a veteran figure in the three-member opposition alliance, called on Abdullah to agree to Anwar's call for an emergency session of parliament to hold a no-confidence vote in his leadership.

He said that after an historic 2004 election victory when voters endorsed his reform agenda, Abdullah had become a "lame duck" both as premier and leader of his party.

"Could it be that Abdullah is not absolutely certain and confident that he could command the support of a majority of 222 MPs in parliament if a no-confidence motion is put to a vote?" he said.


I write this with a great deal of frustration for the inability of the Malaysian Society to see the true fact in the state of the Malaysian Indians on the basis of humanity. Hundreds of innocent Malaysian Indians who were merely exercising their legitimate rights under Article 10 of the Federal Constitution were arrested in the pre and post November 25th famous HINDRAF rally. They were immediately remanded in police custody under strict instructions by the ruling fascist UMNO led Government. It is an undoubted fact that the Inspector General of Police and the Attorney General took direct instructions from UMNO. Hence the long period of remand for HINDRAF protesters as compared to protesters related to other protests. WHY? The answer is simple. The Indians have to be taught a lesson. As far as UMNO is concerned the Indians have successfully been “silenced” for 50 years with the help of their crony the MIC. But what happened! Alas! If these are allowed the Indians would be made conscious of their basic rights – they would develop their courage further to demand for their basic rights - so the best is to hit them and to hit them hard. Place them on protracted remand period! That would do the magic.
However the magic did not materialise. The Indians could not be “contained” any longer. They rose to the call of HINDRAF to articulate their inner feelings of oppression suppression marginalisation and permanent colonization. Then came the avalanche of criminal charges slapped on them. Illegal assembly, failure to disperse, criminal damage to property, and a range of “offences” allegedly committed.
The instant UMNO were made aware that I had left the country to lobby International support, more “magic formula’s” were formulated. Suddenly the Batu Caves devotees were rearrested and charged with attempted murder. Upon hearing the rearrest many devotees went into hiding which they rightly did for that was the only way to escape this oppressive police force and fascist Government. Those who were unlucky, 31 in total were slapped with another charge of “attempted murder”. WHY? Because UMNO had to satisfy their thirst of EGO to overcome the “insult” to their authority as “ super masters of the Malaysian race” by the Indians.
Even then the civil societies and political parties claiming to champion Human Rights didn’t utter a word of objection. For the first time in history the Attorney General of Malaysia made a personal appearance in such a case to send a muscular and vibrant signal to the Indians that “watch out”. We are seriously going against you. WHY did the AG make a personal appearance??? To demonstrate to his UMNO masters he is doing the job for them!!! Everyone knew what was the motive of those Attempted murder charge but none dared speak!!!! WHY?
Lawyers M.Manoharan and P.Uthayakumar had emotional arguments in open court with the Presiding Judge and the Attorney General who objected to the bail applications of the 31 on flimsy grounds that he had evidence that they had links to terrorist organisations. Those close to hundred who managed to squeeze into the courtroom would bear witness to what happened in the courtroom. Manoharan and Uthayakumar made their most emotional and poignant arguments in open court for they could no longer take the oppression of the state against the particularly targeted innocent Indians. The public who were in courtroom would testify the potency and fervour of those arguments of these two great Lawyers assisted by R.Kenghadaran. Malaysian Indians would never have in their lifetime seen such courageous arguments by Mano and Uthaya. A group of Bar Human Rights committee lawyers hastily walked out in protest of the manner Mano and Uthaya argued for their clients! WHY???? The answer is obvious- because the accused in the dock is not a human by the name of Anwar or Lim . THEY WERE INDIANS!!!!!! Having denied all 31 bails including those sickly and needed medical attention UMNO was still not satisfied with their thirst. The Indians still need to be taught a lesson. What next “magic formula”. Arrest the Lawyers under the ISA and break up this new freedom movement from within their lock up in Kamunting. And to justify the arrests under the draconian ISA, bizarre allegations were made that HINDRAF and its leaders were linked to terrorist organisations particularly the LTTE. When challenged to a joint press conference for each party to prove and disprove those allegations the 4 Lawyers were immediately arrested under ISA within days. No need to hold the first 60 days enquiries!! Yes within days there was a break up within them and suddenly the “planted” guy made a startling police report of RM700,000 financial scandal against Uthaya and his family members.
Immediately after the ISA arrest the ferocious Attorney General decided to be magnanimous by withdrawing the attempted murder charge. His words in court was “it was the only fair thing to do- 31 people cant be charged with attempted murder of one policeman”. HOW CONVENIENT? WHY were they treated this way???? BECAUSE THEY WERE INDIANS. Trial was fixed for the KLCC demonstrators (more than 51 persons) for 2 continuous week by the Judge. WHY 2 continuous week??? Is it a priority case as per the Practise Directions from the Chief Justice??? It has to be- that’s the reason the Presiding Judge even forsaken the remand prisoners and Government Servant cases. So this was a priority case!!! What was the motive of the Presiding Judge???? To satisfy his UMNO masters!!!! Why did he do it so openly? BECAUSE THEY WERE INDIANS.
I beg you to imagine the predicament of these innocent human beings. Two weeks off their work? What do they say to their bosses? Many lost their jobs after the initial arrest. How do they justify their absence to their new bosses? “Hi boss, I’m terribly sorry. I exercised my fundamental right to assemble peacefully once in my lifetime on NOV 25th and I got my arse burnt. I’m sorry but please give me 2 weeks time off without remuneration to attend court to “defend myself” under the “due process of Law” !!!!!!.
What does he tell his wife “ My darling forgive me, I attended the rally on NOV 25th for our future Indian generation and now you have to excuse my absence from the house for 2 weeks to enable me to attend court. By the way prepare the whole family to slash their meal next month as half my wages will be deducted for my absence from work. By the way from the following month onwards I’m jobless because my boss came to know I’m in trouble with the state for exercising my right under the Constitution!!!.
To his children he says “my dear children forgive your appa’s absence from home for the next 2 weeks. Appa have to face the “due process of Law” for exercising my right as a good citizen for you and your future generation. Please understand next month we may have to eat only porridge or boiled rice as I would be paid half and we wouldn’t afford normal healthy meal. We may have to survive with this longer as I have lost my job and most likely would end up in prison and we have to respect the due process of law ”.
The trial of the more than 50 accused kicked off for 2 continuous weeks. At the end of the 2 weeks, 27 were “compelled” by circumstances to plead guilty. The Judge on Wednesday told all the accused that he would fix the case for 2 continuous month beginning next Tuesday 23rd Sept 08. This sent shockwaves and arrhythmias to all the accused . Another 2 months in court!!!! What are to happen to their families? Jobs? Future? Loan repayments? Instalments? Hence the 27 were successfully stifled into pleading guilty. So what was the rationale and urgency behind this oppressive form of trial!!!! After two continuous week of hearing they are slapped with another 2 months of continued hearing. I wonder was this attempt to “kick their arses” to plead guilty and get lost from the face of JUSTICE. What is the best method to stifle them to plead guilty!!! UMNO works out a “magic formula” again. Slap them with a 2 months trial, which would be “a trial of their lifetime”, that they and the whole Indian community would never forget.
27 courageous citizens decided to satisfy the thirst of UMNO by pleading guilty. They were slapped with a RM1000 fine. The remaining determined to fight for their innocence. But don’t you think it is an attempt by the Judge to stifle them into pleading guilty by fixing the trial to continue for 2 continuous month? They are bound to lose their jobs. They and their families are bound to starve countless days. How are they going to pay their monthly Housing loan repayment or house rental. Are their children going to have nourishing food? What would their children respond their friends when questioned about their fathers’ exercising their rights? What about the stigma on children that their father is a criminal that’s why he ended up in court. These are the serious question that not only the presiding judge should ask himself but by the entire judiciary, legal fraternity, civil societies and all those who love and cherish democracy and fairness.
I question myself why none choose to speak? Is it because THEY ARE INDIANS??? Yes we are a weak society. We are politically weak. We are financially weak. We are economically weak. We are an “insignificant” society. BUT WE ARE HUMAN BEINGS. WE BELIEVED THE PROVISIONS OF THE FEDERAL CONSTITUTION WOULD PROTECT US. WE BELIEVED MALAYSIANS ARE NOT RACIST AND WOULD COME TO OUR DEFENCE IN THE NAME OF DEMOCRACY.
We too deserve the Protection of the Law. We too deserve protection of the Federal Constitution. We too deserve protection of all civil societies. We too deserve protection of the Judges, legal fraternity. We too deserve the protection and support of all peace loving, democratic, fair and caring society that Malaysians truly are.
One can’t keep mum forever as if we are a species that never exist. I beg you - all Judges, Lawyers, Human Rights Organisations, Civil Societies, fair minded citizens please explore the plight and predicament of these neglected community who form part of the democratic Malaysian society. They are human beings too. The entire society spoke when our 3 fellow citizens were arrested under ISA last week. The BAR immediately choose to hold an EGM to discuss the issue. All political parties and leaders spoke up vociferously. But the 4 HINDRAF lawyers were left “orphaned” post December 13th 2007. Their fellow brothers and sisters did not bother initiating an EGM!!! No legal team was set up to protect their fellow brothers unlike the 50 strong legal team of the Bar announced last week. The great Malaysian who would be the legal legend Karpal Singh immediately volunteered to take up the matter pro bono for Mano and Ganapathi Rao for they were his brothers in the DAP. Poor Kenga his habeas corpus application was the last to be filed as it was suddenly realised days after that none acted for him and Karpal undertook the noble task eventually.
The 2 months fixed for continued hearing should be challenged at all costs. The Bar which provided legal aid to those accused should immediately issue a strong statement against these forms of “oppression” by the Court and take up the matter on a revision to the High Court. Nothing prevents any of the numerous High Court Judges sitting in the same precincts to call up the matter for revision in their Courts. The Amnesty International, which has an office in Malaysia, could issue a strong statement. The scores of Human Rights Organisations and Civil Societies could raise concerns. It would be fantastic if Respected individuals who have standing in the society speak up. I mean no insult or disrespect to any who may be affected by this article. Forgive me for I could have erred. Let us speak up for this particular minority community in the spirit of Malaysians. I dread the thought of the consequence of the 2 months continued trial of these fellow Malaysians on their family and loved ones.

Hindraf Human Right defenders 2 months trail is another injustice

Hindraf: Two-month trial too taxing
Malayskini : Andrew Ong | Sep 20, 08 7:22pm

Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) has urged civil society and human rights groups to look into the court case where the movement’s supporters will be tried in a two-month continuous hearing.

The movement’s leader in exile P Waytha Moorthy told a press conference in Sentul, Kuala Lumpur via video conferencing, that the 27 individuals would lose their jobs during the two-month hearing.

This is a great injustice to them. They are bound to lose their jobs, face severe financial crisis and their families would suffer,” said Waytha Moorthy who is in self-imposed exile in England.

The 27 are mostly odd-job workers and labourers who were among 54 individuals jointly charged for participating in an illegal assembly on Nov 11 last year in Kuala Lumpur.

The other half of the group have since pleaded guilty and were fined RM1,000 each for the offence.

Donations sought

Hindraf legal advisor N Surendran said that initially, the trial was supposed to last two weeks but was somehow extended to two full months.

Surendran said he has spoken to some of those who had pleaded guilty and claimed that many of them took the plea to avoid being absent from work and be subsequently axed.

“You can see here the enormity of the injustice. We have 27 people who have been forced to plead guilty because of a miscarriage of justice,” he said.

Surendran also urged the attorney-general and the government to drop charges against 27 individuals who he said were exercising their democratic right to assemble peacefully.

Earlier, Waytha Moorthy also announced that Hindraf had identified a nominee account that would be used for collecting donations from the public to help the 27 individuals who pleaded guilty and settle their fines.