Quoting Martin Luther King’s famous “judge a man by the content of his character and not the colour of his skin,” Dr Chua described racial harmony as “fragile and very superficial” in Malaysia.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Seremban folks welcome their guest-of-honour at last night’s vigil
“ISA should be discarded into the Straits of Malacca!”
Photos by Rakyat@Work, whose camera battery was threatening to run out at the high points of the vigil. (Rakyat woke up at 11.00am today after a long and exhausting day - and night - “at work” yesterday!)
These Abolish ISA vigils are making a difference. All three ISA detainees arrested in recent weeks have now been freed - but there are 65 others. One by one, we will get them out.
Last night’s vigil in Seremban was encouraging for two reasons: the presence of more Malays, lending a more multi-ethnic face to the campaign against the ISA, and of course, the arrival of the special guest, the just-released ISA detainee, RPK.
Blog reader Angela Ooi of Seremban reflects:
Thank you everyone who came for our second vigil. We, Seremban folks, could not believe our luck having our beloved RPK spend time with us almost piping hot from his Kamunting cell. Earlier, I had asked Marina what message she had for the Seremban vigil.
She replied, “No message except I will bring Pete to them when he is free.”
Thank you dear Marina for keeping your word. God bless Raja Petra and his family - this is one cherished, loved and respected ROYALTY. Daulat Tuanku!
Now that Raja Petra is freed, I sincerely hope we do not forget our 65 fellow Malaysians who are not. Our Seremban vigil will continue till the government learns to listen to the rakyat who want the ISA abolished immediately. I hope all will continue to support this vigil and come in increasing numbers as the weeks go by. God bless Malaysia and more power to its people.
From what I hear, there is likely to be a vigil tomorrow in Ipoh at 8.00pm and the weekly Sunday vigil in PJ near Amcorp Mall.
(MALAYSIAKINI) "Anwar Ibrahim can be a good prime minister"
It carries more credibility when the man who said it knows Anwar personally and had worked with the Opposition Leader previously.
Ramon Navaratnam, president of Transparency International Malaysia, tells why he thinks Anwar is a good candidate on Mkini tv's 'Uncensored' talk show yesterday.
"Anwar is able, talented and charismatic and possesses the necessary training and experience to take up the post.
"He was a very good finance minister, there were problems with Mahathir (former prime minister) as he had a different approach, different philosophy, and genuine differences on how to handle the 1997 crisis," he told talk show host Francis Paul Siah.
Ramon should know the workings in the Finance Ministry as he spent more than 20 years there and had also served as the ministry's deputy secretary-general.
He also said that Anwar was able to spread his message that he was the standard bearer for reforms in the country.
"I think Anwar is a good candidate and in this matter the people must decide. If there is more freedom, I think you will find that there will a tough fight," said Ramon.
Asked for his thoughts of Pakatan Rakyat so far, the 73-year-old ant-graft crusader said the Pakatan coalition led by Anwar might be less corrupt in comparison to Barisan Nasional as it is a newly formed alliance.
"I may be bias. But corruption is such a great evil … the party that is new is less corrupt.
"Umno, MCA and MIC has a tradition and perception that they have been significantly corrupt. Pakatan is new and we can't be sure … but so far it appears to be cleaner and they don't have the money anyway for money politics.
The audacious Ramon Navaratnam, having commended the opposition leader, also described Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak as an equally good choice to be prime minister.
"I have known Najib since he was a young man, he was in the civil service for a little while and I have worked under his father and I have a lot of respect for that family.
"I think he is capable, he is able, he has got talent, he has got grooming and the right background but unfortunately in recent years, rightly or wrongly, he has been under a cloud.
"So although he (Najib) has the ability and potential to be a great leader the perception of him being involved in difficult circumstances that may inhibit him or might upset people’s perception of his capabilities and capacity to lead effectively," said Ramon.
He acknowledged that if Najib is able to resolve all those lingering doubts "he would be able to provide good strong leadership".
Asked to compare whether Anwar or Najib would make a better prime minister, Ramon sated that "both of them have got their strength and weaknesses".
"Najib has a track record and so does Anwar. Both have the advantage and similar experiences in being ministers of finance.
"It is the question of how the people want to regard them, as Anwar also has a cloud over his head.
I do not know what to believe
Asked on the ‘difficult’ question whether he believes Anwar is guilty of his misadventures of the sexual kind, the veteran Ramon calmly replied, “I don’t know what to believe anymore”.
“I understand from friends that such practices have happened in public schools not only here but all around the world.
"Recently I find it difficult to accept it, I mean he is not a young boy or young man and he is mature. I am not sure really how much of it is real or how much of it is rhetoric,” he said.
Ramon said “we can depend on the court to make judgement" but was quick to add that he does not have enough confidence in the judicial system.
On the leadership of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Ramon said he remembers the premier to be an honest, straightforward, affable and sincere friend.
"But I'm disappointed and I have told him this but he has his own political judgement, his own sense of destiny and perspective so to speak.
"Maybe his sense of timing went wrong but I wouldn't say he is a failure, I would say he failed us in some aspects but overall don't forget he opened up the system.
"After 22 years of relative suppression and oppression - I don't think you could have this programme, you couldn't have Malaysiakini I think.
"So I think credit must be given where it is due, when a man is down don't stamp on him but my criticism of him is that if he had sincerely introduced the reforms he promoted on him being elected with a tremendous mandate, if he had stepped up the pace I think he would still be able to continue to be prime minister," said Ramon.
"If he had the strong political will and if he is able to resist the clamour of vested narrow interests he can, but I think he must have the will to bulldoze issues involving the improvement of the judiciary, anti-corruption agency, police reform and so many more.
People want change
These things can be done and there is no need for huge human or financial resources and the country can afford those things, he added.
Other issues discussed during the talk show included a brief view of the recently introduced 2009 Budget.
"I won't say it is all that bad but I think what the government has done is to take into account the new realities.
"The people want change, the people want better distribution of wealth, more care and more allocations for the poor," said Ramon.
He said although Malaysia has United Nation's development goals, politicians must look beyond and stop comparing Malaysia with third-world countries like Bangladesh, Indonesia and African nations.
"We are on the verge of becoming an industrialed country so we must have higher standards and do more to eradicate poverty and improve the education system," said Ramon.
Citing the words of (newly elected US leader) Barack Obama, he said: "Don't protect the rich and the mighty and the powerful but think of the man in the street".
He also stressed that savings in expenditure could be procured by implementing open tenders.
"A high portion of our public expenditure is expended through close tenders or negotiated tenders and that's the easiest way to get people involved in corruption.
Ramon also noted the provision of the New Economic Policy (NEP) which has been sparking flames in the political arena on and off.
"The objective of the NEP is to eradicate poverty regardless of races but it has been skewed. I was one of them who helped to draft NEP and I defend it.
"What went wrong is they ignored and neglected some (aspects) … the privileges only benefit the elite (in the Malay community).
"Poverty is at the highest proportion for the Malays. So what has the Approved Permits done for them? It has created a business class which is fine but very often corrupt and that is how you have money politics in Umno and that's a very serious problem.
This is because it would not only destroy Umno but the whole country, he said.
"We have the indication of approaching a falling state and if we don't watch it, we can fail.
Let's make money
Asked for his opinion why the nation's political leaders are not able to see the problems at hand, Ramon replied, "They can't see because they don't have a long view of life. They are here for one year, two years, four years, eight years … and they say let’s make money.
"I'm sorry to say and it pains me to say this but I belong to a different age group where we didn't have this during (the leadership) of Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Abdul Razak and Hussein Onn.
On Indian-based political parties, Ramon felt that Indian-based parties like MIC, PPP and IPF should be disbanded.
"The next best move is to do away with all race-based parties including MIC.
He also suggested to MIC president S Samy Vellu to retire from the political scene gracefully.
"(Although) I doubt he will (withdraw) I think he is intelligent enough to recognise that the tide is against him … for his own sake I wish he will take this time and move and fade away.
"He will be better remembered rather than having to be pushed out… He is a nice man in many ways but sometimes in a political struggle, you lose your judgement, perspective and perception.
Closing the 36-min interview, Ramon stressed that despite all the problems, Malaysia is still a blessed country and that it should be a shining example to the world.
"Be fair, be transparent, be honest and treat everybody equally," he said.
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 8 — Sleepy Batu Caves became a hot spot of controversy recently — all because of a 12.2m-high painted plywood cut-out of a smiling Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, in a blue shirt and red tie and with his right hand held high. The opposition leader's supporters in the area had put up the RM5,000 replica of him in time for Hari Raya Aidilfitri. But it quickly drew flak from the Mufti of Perlis and Malacca Chief Minister Datuk Mohd Ali Rustam. They accused Anwar's supporters of idol worship — and thus, being anti-Muslim and anti-Malay, since idol worship is anathema in Islam.
The cut-out has since been dismantled, but its exaggerated homage does raise a question about Anwar: is he keener on becoming the next prime minister of Malaysia than on shaping a credible alternative government?
Those aims are not mutually exclusive, of course. But since leading the opposition coalition to victory in five states in the March general election, Anwar has spoken of little else besides getting enough ruling coalition MPs to cross over to the opposition so he could become prime minister. He boasted that he would accomplish this feat by Sept 16, the anniversary of Malaysia's founding in 1963. The day has come and gone — and Anwar is still not yet prime minister.
Whose cause is he more interested in championing: his or the people's? Many Malaysians now say that it is Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, not Anwar, who has what it takes to be prime minister of Malaysia.
Zaid was the law minister till he quit the Cabinet on, yes, Sept 16 to protest against the government's detentions under the Internal Security Act of an opposition politician, two bloggers and a journalist for allegedly inciting racial hatred.
Anwar's constant talk of taking over the government is like political bonfires which the ruling Barisan Nasional has to keep putting out. The bonfires have not made him premier, but they have caused the incumbent, Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi, to call an early end to his tenure, causing even more uncertainty about Malaysia's future.
Already, foreign investors are holding off on new forays into the country. Malaysian Investors' Association chairman P.H.S. Lim told The Straits Times that Anwar's bonfires have caused a big annual meeting in New York between global investors and Abdullah and his deputy, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, to be cancelled at the last minute.
On Oct 23, Anwar told reporters that he was now “in no terrible hurry” to seize power but would try working with BN instead to resolve the country's economic problems.
One might say that Anwar should not need to concern himself with the details of government and can leave his lieutenants to chalk up experience instead. But with almost 20 years of experience in the federal Cabinet himself, could Anwar not have prevented his lieutenants from making some serious mistakes and gaffes?
It is in Selangor, the country's industrial vanguard, where the opposition coalition is most beleaguered. Its patchy performance in the state so far may prove Anwar's undoing. That is because Selangor is governed by Anwar's own Parti Keadilan Rakyat, which has the least experience among Pakatan Rakyat's three component parties, having won only one parliamentary seat in the 2004 General Election.
Selangor's new Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim initially delighted his electorate by giving them some free water every month. But then he decided to go ahead with a RM100 million project to integrate pig farms. Many Muslims castigated him for it, even though it was his BN predecessor, Datuk Seri Khir Toyo, who had approved the project.
There has been little let-up since, with Khalid having to deal with the controversial demolition of Hindu temples, an aide hauled up for corruption, the vilification of his outspoken coalition compatriot Teresa Kok and the nomination of alleged criminals as town councillors. His suggestion that the all-Malay Universiti Teknologi Mara give 10 per cent of its places to non-Malays caused the campus to erupt in protest in August. Khalid need not have made this gesture for few, if any, non-Malays are keen on studying at UiTM.
To top it all, PR still does not speak in one voice. When Khalid announced on Oct 26 that a Chinese woman, Low Siew Moi, would temporarily — temporarily, mind — head the state's development corporation, PR's Islamic component Pas protested, saying that one from among her Malay colleagues should have been appointed instead.
How are Malaysians to hope that PR will bring about a Malaysia for all races, as Anwar likes to say at his stirring rallies, if its component parties cannot even agree on a Chinese occupying an official position temporarily?
Anwar would do well to remember that the large share of the vote that PR got on March 8 was meant more as a referendum on Abdullah's lackadaisical administration than as a ringing endorsement of PR as a credible alternative to BN.
In recent months, BN has bungled again and again, especially in hastily detaining opponents under the ISA — and just as hastily releasing most of them. With such bungles, all Anwar had to do was just guide his compatriots in good governance and sit tight until the people voted them into power at the federal level in the next general election.
But where is the shadow Cabinet the opposition should have been able to form by now? The only shadowing PR has done so far was to tail ruling coalition MPs when they travelled to Taiwan, a trip allegedly arranged to prevent the latter from crossing over to PR.
The current buzz is that Najib, who is set to become the country's next prime minister, will call for snap polls when he takes over from Abdullah next March. Judging by its slip-ups since March 8, Anwar and the opposition seem ill-prepared for that eventuality.
Perhaps Anwar is keener on remaining just the leader of the opposition than on becoming the next prime minister of Malaysia. — Straits Times Singapore
"Malaysia Today" website operator and blogger Raja Petra Raja Kamarudin said he was surprised with the High Court's decision here to release him from ISA (Internal Security Act) detention.
He said not many people had succeeded in their application to challenge the detention under Section 8 of the ISA.
"Therefore, I had not placed high hopes in being released early. It was 50-50," he said when met by reporters after High Court judge Datuk Syed Ahmad Helmy Syed Ahmad ordered his relase at 3.20pm today.
Asked about his feelings, Raja Petra who was surrounded by his supporters, said, "I'm just too tired."
Asked about the lesson he learned from his ISA detention, he said the court's decision showed that the ISA could not be used for a political motive.
"I suppose we have to fight all out to get the ISA abolished. I'm not a terrorist. I'm not a dangerous person. I'm just a writer," he said.
Raja Petra who was accompanied by his wife Mable @ Marina Lee then left the court grounds in a Rolls Royce with the registration number, WNT 71.
Earlier, the blogger who was clad in jeans and brown T-shirt, arrived in a white van at the court complex at 3.15pm accompanied by five officers from the Kamunting Detention Centre in Perak.
He had been taken out of the centre at 11.30 a.m.
He was welcomed at the court grounds by his wife and their two daughters, Suraya, 34, and Sarah, 19, and about 100 supporters wearing T-shirts with the words "I'm With RPK" printed on them, and repeatedly shouting "RPK".
Some also carried banners that read, "We Want Our Rights", "No to ISA" and "Free RPK. Abolish ISA."
Joy was clearly written on Raja Petra's face as he hugged his wife tight.
About 50 photographers from local and foreign media jostled to snap pictures of the beaming blogger who made the thumbs-up sign. (Bernama)
…if the court’s final decision (on the two police officers) results in unfair trial and proceedings.
Letters have been sent to our Foreign Minister. What now Rais Yatim? Have you received this letter? And will you give them an answer or tell them to “shut up and not interfere” ?
This statement was issued in the Mongolian press “MONTSAME” on Nov 7:
Ulaanbaatar, /MONTSAME/ The world community is well aware of the ruthless murder of Mongolian citizen ALTANTUYA Shaariibuu on October 19, 2006, in Punchak Alam, Malyasia, being shot twice and blown up by an explosive.
The Government of Mongolia reaffirms hereby that it has been consistently paying attention, from the very beginning of this cruel crime to the court proceedings. The Prime Minister and the Minister for Foreign Affairs (previous name) of Mongolia have sent letters twice each to their Malaysian counterparts expressing their confidence that related Malaysian authority would bring a murderer to justice and deliberate a fair court conviction for the case.
The Government of Mongolia deeply regrets that the Malaysian high court judge made a decision on October 31, 2008, to acquit Abdul Razak Baginda–the murder suspect for killing Mongolian ALTANTUYA Shaariibuu.
Although Mongolia has no legal rights to take part in the court proceedings, the Government of Mongolia is responsible for protecting legitimate rights and interests of its citizen under international treaties and national legislation.
In connection with the recent court decision to acquit the suspect Abdul Razak Baginda, the Minister for Exterrnal Relations of Mongolia Mr. S.Batbold has sent another letter addressed to the Foreign Minister of Malaysia Mr. Rice Yatim requesting the latter to pay attention to and render support for ensuring conditions for a final court decision free from politics and other side influence.
The letter carries a statement by Mongolia’s Government testifying that it will have a strong reasoning for turning to the international court in order to defend rights and interests of its citizen if the court’s final decision results in unfair trial and proceedings.
A trial for the special unit officers charged for the murder is expected to take place shortly and the Mongolian Government keeps its eyes and ears wide open on the proceeding.
The StarKUALA LUMPUR: The Sessions Court ruled that the certificate signed by Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail to transfer Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's sodomy case to the High Court is invalid. (Please click here to read the Judgment of Judge SM Komathy Suppiah)
Judge S.M. Komathy made this ruling on Friday here.
The judge said she would like to make it clear that “the decision here does not in any way detract or impinge on the absolute authority the A-G enjoys under the federal constitution in the institution and conduct of criminal prosecution”.
She said this case raises a unique situation where it is evident that any involvement by the A-G in this case would seriously undermine public confidence in the administration of criminal justice.
Anwar had on Aug 7 claimed trial to sodomising his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan at the Desa Damansara Condominium in Bukit Damansara on June 26.
On Sept 10, the prosecution tendered a certificate under Section 418(a) of the Criminal Procedure Code dated Sept 9 requiring the sessions court to transfer the case to the Kuala Lumpur High Court. The certificate was personally signed by the A-G.
The defence protested to the involvement of the A-G in the case for issuing the certificate contrary to the promise given by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi that the A-G would not be involved at all in this case.
Abdullah gave his promise after Anwar lodged a police report alleging that the A-G and the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan were allegedly involved in fabricating evidence during investigations into the “black eye” incident in 1998.
The prosecution had said that it was the AG’s prerogative under section 418(a) of the CPC to issue the certificate and that it was incumbent on the court to transfer the case to the high court.
In arguing that the A-G had the power and discretion to transfer the case, the prosecution added that the Prime Minister, being a politician, could have given the promise to please the people he was addressing and that the same was not binding on the A-G.
In delivering her ruling on Friday, Komathy said, "I must say that the solemn words of the head of the executive of this country on specific and serious matters such as those complained of in this case cannot be trifled with.”
She said the Prime Minister must have given the matter due consideration and must have had the overriding interest of justice and due process of law in giving his word that the A-G would play no part in this case.
(Lim Kit Siang) Before the disgraceful “bastard” episode in Parliament on Wednesday (5th November 2008), the Barisan Nasional (BN) MP for Pasir Salak, Datuk Tajuddin Abdul Rahman was involved in an earlier parliamentary row when I was speaking on the Prime Minister’s Department on how the Biro Tata Negara (BTN) was poisoning the minds of the new generation of public servants with racist, communal and unMalaysian propaganda.
This was Tajuddin’s “tak sekolah ke?” expose.
Many MPs, not only from Pakatan Rakyat but also from BN, have been wondering why Tajuddin had been enjoying immunity not only for showing utter contempt for parliamentary decencies but even for openly challenging the authority of the Chair, as happened on on 29th October 2008 when the Deputy Speaker Datuk Dr. Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaffar was presiding, and Tajuddin threw the gauntlet:
“Kalau macam ini saya tidak setuju kalau Tuan Yang di-Pertua hendak ambil tindakan kepada saya, ambillah! Betul, ambillah, ambil! Come on. Let’s be fair dengan izin. You dengar ini dengar!”
DAP MP for Bukit Gelugor Karpal Singh was suspended for two days over the “main, main” issue but Tajuddin got away scot-free for unprecedented open defiance to the Chair except to subsequently withdraw the statement.
Mahkamah Sesyen Kuala Lumpur melalui Hakim SM Komathy Suppiah sebentar tadi memutuskan perbicaraan kes Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim boleh didengar di mahkamah yang sama.
Menurut hakim, arahan pemindahan kes tersebut yang ditandatangani oleh Peguam Negara, Abdul Gani Patail adalah tidak sah.
Mahkamah menetapkan tarikh 14 November 2008 bagi meneruskan prosiding seterusnya.
PEJABAT DATUK SERI ANWAR IBRAHIM
The Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court today ruled in favour of Anwar Ibrahim and decided that his sodomy trial would be heard in the same court.
Delivering the ruling this afternoon, judge SM Komathy Suppiah had ruled that the transfer order signed by Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail was invalid.
The court fixed next Friday for mention.
OFFICE OF DATUK SERI ANWAR IBRAHIM
—KENYATAAN MEDIA UNTUK EDARAN SEGERA–-
KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA; 7 NOVEMBER 2008
Rakyat Malaysia hari ini meraikan kemenangan dengan bebasnya Raja Petra dari tahanan ISA. Keputusan Mahkamah Tinggi Shah Alam yang tidak berpihak kepada Kementerian Dalam Negeri telah menunjukkan betapa Akta Keselamatan Dalam Negeri sudah usang dan tidak layak lagi digunapakai.
Saya memuji mahkamah kerana berani untuk menjadi benteng pelindung kepada rakyat bila berhadapan dengan kerakusan penguasa. Komitmen hakim tersebut untuk memastikan keadilan terlaksana membolehkan Raja Petra mengecapi kembali kebebasan yang sememangnya menjadi hak rakyat Malaysia.
Keputusan ini membuktikan kerajaan sekarang tidak layak untuk memerintah. Kerana keangkuhan, kerajaan sekarang tidak menghiraukan hasrat rakyat yang mahukan demokrasi, kebebasan dan menjunjung tinggi kedaulatan undang-undang.
Kepimpinan BN terutamanya para menteri kabinet sepatutnya menginsafi kesalahan mereka kerana menyokong penggunaan ISA dan terus menerus bertindak zalim ke atas Raja Petra, individu-individu yang masih ditahan tanpa dibicara dan para keluarga mereka.
Ahli parlimen yang bertindak mendiamkan diri terhadap saranan Pakatan Rakyat yang mahukan wacana serta perdebatan serius bagi menghapuskan ISA, wajar mempertimbangkan semula pendapat mereka. Keputusan mahkamah hari ini membuka peluang buat semua ahli parlimen untuk maju ke hadapan bagi menghapuskan undang-undang kuku besi ini.
Ramai yang masih ditahan oleh undang-undang kuku besi ini, termasuklah ahli-ahli Hindraf dan individu-individu tertentu yang ditahan kerana dituduh terlibat dengan Jemaah Islamiyah. Mereka semua berhak untuk dibicarakan dengan adil. Saya mengulangi gesaan agar semua tahanan ini dibebaskan dan sebarang tuduhan mestilah dibuktikan di mahkamah.
Triumph against ISA: One out, 65 still inside. (Rocky's Bru) The Court, ordering for RPK's immediate release, has described his the Malaysia Today editor's detention "illegal".
What, does that mean the detention of others still languishing inside Kamunting on the orders of the Home Minister "legal"?
When I heard of the news of RPK's release from Elviza, who was at the Shah Alam court this morning, I wondered about the families of the other detainees. Nuraina Samad, who late Bapak was detained for 5 years throughout Hussein Onn's premiership, called me. Excited. This isn't the first time she's wished that the people of three decades ago had the power they do now to go against the ISA dread.
I got in touch with with Laila, whose beloved husband Mat Sah Mohd Satray s one of the longest-serving Kamunting detainees. I told her about the good news.
"Alhamdulillah", she said. But, at the same time, she's sad. "I Sedih. Nothing much I can do except to compose myself and be steadfast in the struggle.
"Will I be alone?"
Laila's wish:"I wish there'll be vigils, the MPs will walk their talk, the momentum to abolish ISA will be maintained or raised higher than now. One released but 65 still inside. Plse dont let my hubby rot inside ..."
|Court orders Raja Petra's release|
|Hafiz Yatim | Nov 7, 08 9:46am|
The Shah Alam High Court this morning ruled that the detention of well-known blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin under the ISA was illegal and ordered his immediate release.
Judge Syed Ahmad Helmy Syed Ahmad said that Raja Petra's detention was unconstitutional.
Decision handed down today by Syed Helmy J. Habeas corpus granted, RPK to be released forthwith. He is to be produced before the Shah Alam High Court by 4 pm today to allow the Court to direct the release.
Credit to the Judge, who was fair and judicious in his approach (he disagreed with our argument that section 8 is unconstitutional), the team of lawyers who put their heart and soul into the hearing and our opponents, Tuan Wahab and Tuan Dusuki, who were professional in their outlook and approach.
Malik Imtiaz Sarwar
In one of the most important political speeches delivered in Malaysia in recent years, former de-facto law minister Zaid Ibrahim touched on the heart of race relations when he gave a rendition on the evolving racial politics in Malaysia that has so bedevilled the nation for the past few decades.
Delivering a speech titled "Malaysia – a lost democracy?" at the Law Asia 2008 conference in Kuala Lumpur on October 31, Zaid recounted how “a shining example of a working democracy” founded half a century ago on the principles of democracy and egalitarianism has degenerated into an authoritarian racist state that is now characterized by incessant racial and religious dissension and economic malaise.
When the country achieved independence in 1957, then Malaya was a model of parliamentary democracy, governed under a written constitution “that accorded full respect and dignity for each and every Malayan.” If at all there was a social contract – which should mean the pre-independence consensus reached among the founding fathers representing the various communities – it must be one “that guaranteed equality and the rule of law,” as subsequently reflected in the federal constitution.
The racial riots in 1969 changed the balance of political power, and the United Malays National Organisation, through the enlarged coalition of Barisan Nasional, eventually assumed absolute control of the country. With its coalition partners unable to put up any resistance, UMNO became increasingly racist and the master affirmative action plan known as the New Economic Policy (NEP), which was intended to eliminate poverty and redress economic imbalance, became synonymous with Malay privileges. By the 1980s, UMNO’s supremacist ideology became entrenched and found expression in “Ketuanan Melayu” (Malay supremacy) and it was then that the term “social contract” started to be flashed around to justify its racist conduct.
In parallel with the growth of racism was the steep rise in authoritarianism through amendments to the constitution and tightening a host of repressive laws. The rule of law became so subverted that democracy in Malaysia became history. Read more.....