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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

From May 13 to 1Malaysia – The Future of Malaysian Nation Building

Live webcast @ http://tv.dapmalaysia.org

Watch live video from DAP Malaysia on Justin.tv

Public forum: “From May 13 to 1Malaysia – The Future of Malaysian Nation Building”

Date : 13 May 2009
Time : 8.00 pm
Venue Civic Hall, MBPJ, Petaling Jaya, Selangor (MAP)
Enquiries: 016-323 1563/ 016-291 3453

Opening by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim
Speakers:

  • Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader, Ipoh Timur MP
  • YAB Datuk Seri Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin, Menteri Besar Perak, Bukit Gantang MP
  • Tunku Abdul Aziz, DAP National Vice Chairman/Penang Senator-designate
  • Khalid Abd. Samad, Shah Alam MP
  • K. Ragunath, President of Bar Council Malaysia
  • N.H.Chan, Retired Court of Appeal Judge
  • Prof. Azmi bin Sharom, Law Professor
  • Tricia Yeoh, Research Officer to Selangor MB
  • Tan Sri Abdullah Ahmad aka (Dollah Kok Lanas); Former NST Group Editor-in-Chief

Freedom for Malaysian human rights activists

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL Canada

News and Updates for Members

Posted by: David Griffiths

Malaysian human rights activist P Uthayakumar (AFP/AFP/Getty Images)Three human rights activists were released in Malaysia on May 9, 2009.
Uthayakumar Ponnusamy, Manoharan Malayalam and T Vasanthakumar belong to Hindu Rights Action Force (HINDRAF), a group dedicated to defending the rights of ethnic Indian Malaysians, a minority at risk of human rights violations, including deaths in custody.

In 2007, the Malaysian government demolished a number of Hindu temples to make way for development projects, despite petitions by local Hindu communities.
HINDRAF organized a series of meetings and rallies, culminating in a protest demonstration of some 20,000 people in Kuala Lumpur on November 25, 2007. The protestors planned to hand a petition to the British High Commission about grievances after the colonial period. The police responded with water cannons, tear gas and baton charges. Many people were injured. The three activists just released were among five HINDRAF leaders who were arrested and detained for organizing protest rallies without a permit. Amnesty International considered them to be prisoners of conscience.

"Freedom is incredible," Uthayakumar told the crowd that greeted him as he came out of prison. "The feeling overwhelms... [Detention] has only made me more determined and more resolved to continue fighting for oppressed and marginalised Indians".

Amnesty International in Canada has a special link with the Hindu Rights Action Force. In recent years, we have stepped up our campaigning on the rights of ethnic Indian Malaysians. Face-to-face meetings have been held in Malaysia between HINDRAF leaders and Margaret John (Malaysia coordinator for our Branch), Tom Morris (former public awareness coordinator at our National Office), officers from the Canadian High Commission and staff from Amnesty's International Secretariat.

For further information, please contact Margaret John, Coordinator for Singapore and Malaysia, at malaysiasingaporecoordinator@amnesty.ca.

HINDRAF PRESS STATEMENT 13th May 2009

UTHAYAKUMAR TO PERFORM SPECIAL PRAYERS FOR ALL THOSE WHO SACRIFICED FOR THE SAKE OF MALAYSIAN INDIAN CAUSE

Human Rights Defender and Ex ISA Detainee P.Uthayakumar would be performing a special prayer for all HINDRAF supporters who had sacrificed for the cause of Makkal Sakthi Movement and for divine blessings on our struggle to achieve the 18 Point Demands- details are as follows :

Date : 17th May 2009-05

Time : 10.00am

Venue: Batu Caves Temple.

All supporters and well wishers are kindly requested to bring Orange color “Pattu” cloth (small size) to be offered to Lord Murugan on the day.

We invite all HINDRAF supporters to attend and join in our prayers.

This day would also be a day Mr.Uthaya had agreed to have his hair cut and beard shaved after being unlawfully detained for 514 days by the Malaysian Government.

Many supporters had also indicated their sincere wishes to have their head shaved bald as fulfilling their vow should HINDRAF Lawyers be released.

Should there be sponsors for Food/Drinks and volunteers of URUMI MELAM Groups, please contact Mr.Ravi 012-567 5274. Mr.Thiagu 014-3382595 and Mrs Latha 016-6019703.

For any other information please contact Mr.Jayathas 012 6362287 or Mr.Selvam 016-6626579.

P.Waytha Moorthy

Chairman

HINDRAF

A race to make Malaysia colour-blind

By Melissa Loovi - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, May 13 — Does May 13 mean anything anymore? The Malaysian Insider spoke to six young Malaysians to find out what they think about May 13, race relations and how things can be improved.

Jerral Khor, 29, runs his own events and advertising company. Although born in Penang, Jerral has mostly lived in Kuala Lumpur and is a free-thinker in a Buddhist/Taoist family. He is a “computer geek” who also loves reading, TV and chilling at home.

Jerral says May 13 was a black mark on our history. — Pictures by Choo Choy May

Q: Have you heard about May 13, 1969?

A: Yes, I have. (Pauses for a while.) It was definitely a black mark on our history. In our history books, it is only accorded a few lines but politicians use it as a tool when it suits their needs.

My parents lived through the ordeal in Penang. During the riots, my grandma actually sheltered a Malay guy for several days. But my parents rarely spoke about May 13 or anything else that was political. They kept politics out of my life so I could make up my own mind as an adult.

I know there are many conspiracy theories about this day but I think the theories are just that, because people love conspiracies. From my travels to predominantly-Malay Kedah and Kelantan, I find the people there are far friendlier than in Chinese areas like Cheras or Jinjang.

Q: Have you heard of the New Economic Policy (NEP)? Do you know that it was put into place right after May 13?

A: Yes, I have. I think May 13 was merely a tool towards realising the NEP because the crisis allowed the powers-that-be to use the policy to their advantage. They claim to be helping a particular race but after so many years, have they actually learned to fish?

Worse still, the NEP also means that even someone who is purchasing a RM4 million mansion is entitled to the housing discount while there are poor people of all races who continue to struggle. When I look at the situation, I think the NEP is meant to keep people dependant on the government so that it will continue to have power.

Q: Does race matter to you? Do you have friends of different races?

A: It doesn't really. I actually grew up with more Malay and Indian friends because of the fact that I don't speak Chinese dialects fluently. That made it hard for me to be friends with most of the Chinese kids in school. Nowadays though, I have a number of Chinese friends too because English is more commonly spoken.

Race isn't an issue because generally my group of friends gets along but occasionally there may be small differences among us. The important thing is, we don't see colour when we are around each other. We feel comfortable enough with each other that we can crack jokes knowing we won't offend one another.

Q: What do you think of the relations between the various races in Malaysia? How can it be improved?

A: On the surface it looks like we all get along very well, and this is what they love to harp on in our tourism advertisements. But we all know that isn't really true because racism is still there. I've never had direct racial confrontations but I know people who have and it's painful for them.

For race relations to be improved, I firmly think race-based schools are not good as they create mental barriers at such a young, impressionable age. Even moral and agama (Islamic) classes create unnecessary segregation of kids.

Fariq Halim, 31, is managing director of a franchising consultancy in Damansara, Kuala Lumpur. Fariq's father was a diplomat so his childhood was spent abroad, mostly at the United Nations’ international school in New York before he decided at 13 to go to a boarding school in Kelantan. Fariq loves rock 'n' roll, sci-fi and Formula 1.

Q: Have you heard about May 13, 1969?

A: Yes, it was a massive low point in Malaysia's history. Racial tensions were at its worst and skin colour mattered as it was the thing used to determine who belonged here. I don't know the whole story but I think a lot of it is just propaganda used to divide people.

It was perpetrated by politicians who had their own agenda and just that small group was enough to create a domino effect that changed the entire country. There was a time before when you could regularly see all three races sitting together for coffee. But today that doesn't really happen.

Q: Have you heard of the New Economic Policy (NEP)? Do you know that it was put into place right after May 13?

A: Yes, the original essence of the policy was good but now it's gotten screwed up. It was meant to give the Malays a leg-up which was fine back then because the Malays at the time did now know their potential. But the problem is that the other races were sidelined. The Chinese reacted to it well by just working harder but the Indian community fell behind.

So the NEP hasn't reached its goals due to the inefficiency of the administration. Yes, Bumiputeras now have more but it tends to make them more dependent and less competitive, especially if they were to move to another country where there are no longer policies like the NEP.

Still, I don't think we should just remove the NEP altogether. It just shouldn't provide too many privileges because the Malays must understand that only hard work can help them to achieve what they want. The NEP should also benefit other races.

Q: Does race matter to you? Do you have friends of different races?

A: Of course I wouldn't want to see my race disappear but I don't consciously think about race when it comes to everyday things like business or friendship. My group of friends is definitely multiracial and I love that about them. It makes our friendship so much more interesting.

Actually, when I was in boarding school in Kelantan, my first friend was an Indian boy because he was the only one who spoke English there! It had nothing to do with his race but the teachers told me to make friends with Malays instead.

I think they wanted to narrow my friendships to make me more rigid; it was a form of brainwashing. But I was always the kind who would be friends with anyone, as long as we could speak a common language.

Q: What do you think of the relations between the various races in Malaysia? How can it be improved?

A: It can definitely be improved because we need to learn to see eye-to-eye. We shouldn't assume the other race has an agenda towards us. Essentially, racist behaviour comes from fear for your own race and then it can spread easily.

I myself have not been a direct victim of racism but I have heard stories of how it happens to Malays in a Chinese-dominated company. If we want to remove racism, it would have to wait for Star Trek to happen! (laughs)

But honestly, there will always be elements of racism in all cultures but we can and should move away from that slowly. Things can definitely improve but we first need better people. At this point, politics is dirtier than pornography!

Rachel says the NEP was created just to shut people up

Rachel Lai is a 24-year-old communications student living in Bandar Utama, Kuala Lumpur. She enjoys listening to eclectic music, performing in local theatre, and watching movies.

Q: Have you heard about May 13, 1969?

A: Yes, I have heard many different stories from so many viewpoints. My dad gave me the Chinese perspective as he grew up in Cheras but I also heard other versions of events from friends at school and at college. I kept asking people because I realised my dad didn't really like telling me about it. What I know from him is that the Malays were angry that the opposition parties who were mainly Chinese had won because they were parading it too much. My dad also says it is a lot gorier than what is told today.

Q: Have you heard of the New Economic Policy (NEP)? Do you know that it was put into place right after May 13?

A: Yes, I think the NEP was created just to shut people up but the policies didn't actually solve the problems, except maybe temporarily. So there is one race that perceives it as their right but what about the other races? So while the NEP appeared to solve problems, it may actually have made things worse because it made people keep quiet. People became afraid to talk about things because they were considered sensitive.

I'm curious about why the minorities are okay with the policy. How did they learn to live with it?

Q: Does race matter to you? Do you have friends of different races?

A: No, it doesn't matter. Race is just a social construct created by man so that we can label each other. Within my context, race has never been an issue because I have no rules for who I mix with. Granted, there are times when I need to find a compromise; say for example if I'm with a Hindu, I wouldn't go somewhere that only serves beef. But it's not a big deal to me because my friendships are richer this way.

Q: What do you think of the relations between the various races in Malaysia? How can it be improved?

A: Overall, I do think people prefer to stick with their own race, whether in school, university, work or anywhere else. We are aware that the other races exist but we aren't very interested in getting to know them. I think it's related to our comfort zones.

To improve the situation, we'd have to start in schools, or even in kindergarten. Education is definitely the key but that involves the parents as well. If the parents teach racist behaviour to their children then it will just become a never-ending cycle of racism. Children are also very easily influenced by what their parents say. If a child tells his mother about a new friend of a different race and the parent responds negatively, it could make the child believe there is something wrong with that particular race.

Differences will always be there so I doubt it's possible to completely remove it. But that's the thing - what's so wrong about being different? Why can't we learn to celebrate the differences rather than merely 'tolerate' each other, like what we are taught in school?

Justin says he’s just not that interested in politics.

Maria Justin, also 24, recently started working as a network support engineer. A passionate “techie”, he loves computers, cars, chess as well as books.

Q: Have you heard about May 13, 1969?

A: Yes, I know there's a political thing that happened that day but honestly, the first thing that comes to mind is my best friend as that is his birthday. It is also Mother Mary's birthday which is why we celebrate Mother's Day around this time every year.

But yes, back to May 13. I know there was racial conflict going on in Brickfields and Klang as that is where my family is from. I heard that the Klang River was filled with blood but I don't know if that's just exaggerated.

To be honest, I don't know much about local history because I've never looked into it even though I am really interested in European mythology. I guess I don't find it relevant because I don't look at things like race anyway. Perhaps knowledge of it could prevent it from reoccurring but I am a simple guy so it just doesn't affect me. Honestly, I doubt such a thing would happen again.

I guess I'm just not that interested in politics. In fact, I don't read the newspapers!

Q: Have you heard of the New Economic Policy (NEP)? Do you know that it was put into place right after May 13?

A: I've heard of it but I don't really know what it is. (The NEP is explained to him briefly). Okay, so then my question about NEP would be, what is a Bumiputera? There are indigenous people who often do not qualify even though they are literally “sons of the earth” as they've lived here longer than the Malays or Chinese or Indians. In the US, all citizens are American, once they've obtained citizenship. So why is it so difficult over here?

Decades ago it is understandable but 40 years is a real stretch — that's a longer lifespan than a pet! We live in a different world today so we need to adjust to it, as a country.

Q: Does race matter to you? Do you have friends of different races?

A: I think it's important to know your own ethnicity but we should never use race to judge people. My friends are of all sorts of races because I don't look at that when I befriend someone. It's just a matter of clicking with someone you find interesting.

Q: What do you think of the relations between the various races in Malaysia? How can it be improved?

A: People definitely still live in clusters. Klang, for example, is predominantly Indian while Penang is mostly Chinese. Even though Peninsular Malaysia is so diversified and better educated, Sabah and Sarawak are more integrated as a people. Maybe it's because we are in such a rush over here with emails and mobile devices while they have more time to communicate face-to-face.

When people are more laidback, they are less judgmental. Even on the east coast, you can see that chilled-out atmosphere, but over here we are so competitive and we are always in a rush, so we forget the smaller stuff.

From travelling to places like Germany and Australia, I've noticed that things are freer there compared to Malaysia. For example, over here a Hindu would notice and possibly pass judgment if he saw another Hindu eating a beef burger. Things like that are so unnecessary.

To improve the situation, we should stop hiding whatever that is happening. Let people understand the root and they will be able to move on. Parents also play a very important role in helping their children to be colour blind.

Putri Sofia says it is sad that May 13 happened.

Putri Sofia is a 22-year-old law student from Sitiawan, Perak. She is learning to play the guitar and loves cats, art and the beach.

Q: Have you heard about May 13, 1969?

A: Yes, I know about the riots which resulted from the Chinese having too much economic power after Malaysia was formed. They paraded after winning big in the '69 election and this angered the Malays.

It is sad that it happened. I think the Malays were too caught up in Malay supremacy while the Chinese were caught up with economic power. But today it is not like that. Looking at the last elections, people voted not on race but on who can do the job. I mean, an Indian woman contested under PAS! That speaks volumes and I don't think May 13 will happen again.

This is why I hate politics because politicians only care about their cronies and they play issues of race and religion to try and win votes. But that's a wrong perception because we are not stupid anymore! You can try to con us with your manifestos but we won't be fooled.

Q: Have you heard of the New Economic Policy (NEP)? Do you know that it was put into place right after May 13?

I think the Malays recognise that they don't need Ketuanan Melayu anymore. We need to work globally with all races. The NEP may benefit some Malays but what about the other races? Even though I'm Malay and I've benefited from it, I've seen too many who misuse it. So I disagree with the NEP.

My Chinese friend says the NEP has made the Chinese work harder and so they've actually benefited from it! The housing discount for rich Malays is laughable. We must revamp these policies. The government needs to show that they really want to help all Malaysians.

It is not right that some of my Malay friends with bad results can study in universities while Chinese friends with perfect results can't get in. Even when Bumiputera students score badly, their scholarships are not taken away.

So it's just not fair — all races need an education so that they can support their families. Malaysia is not just for Malays. We always promote our country as multicultural to the world so we must implement that in our education and politics.

Q: Does race matter to you? Do you have friends of different races?

Not really. We do look at culture to see what is taboo for a certain race but it is not really important. What I look for in people is their ethics and how they get things done. Actually, I have more friends of other races than Malay friends! My friends don't look at race either and we can discuss things like May 13 without any problems.

That's actually why I left my previous university — it was only Malay students and I wanted the competitiveness of having other races. The Chinese are so hardworking that it makes me a better student.

Also, in my previous college, just speaking English was enough reason for people to label me as “sombong” (arrogant). So it was very close-minded there, which is why I think many Malays are not doing well. I am so thankful that my parents raised me to see beyond those things.

Q: What do you think of the relations between the various races in Malaysia? How can it be improved?

A: In my faculty we mix around as that is what my lecturers encourage. But on campus, I can see it is segregated. There are clusters and even the clubs are based on race which can be unhealthy. In happens in our schools as well. But I do think we are slowly getting better.

To improve, teachers and parents must play their part. The education system should include subjects that focus on ethnic relations so that it becomes internalised in young people. It's not enough to just have kids memorise facts about Malaysia for an objective exam.

Racism definitely still exists in our country. I want to believe we can move beyond it through respect for different cultures and religions and it's not impossible to achieve. Society must be willing to change their attitude collectively and we should because it's for our future as a nation.

Kanmani says the NEP should be removed to make it fair for all.

S. Kanmani, 24, is a purchasing assistant from Setapak, Kuala Lumpur. She lists her favourite things to do as sleeping, watching movies at home and spending time with her family.

Q: Have you heard about May 13, 1969?

A: I just know that something violent, like riots, happened and it had a serious impact on our country. People are scared to talk about what really happened, even now. I asked my grandma about it become attending this interview and she told me it was a very scary time. She and her sisters were just hiding in their home during the riots.

I also remember learning about it in History class. But I have forgotten about it until you asked me. It doesn't have a direct influence to my life because it happened so many years ago!

Q: Have you heard of the New Economic Policy (NEP)? Do you know that it was put into place right after May 13?

(She said no at first but she understood the Malay name for it.) What I know about it is that in the university I applied to, I couldn't get the course that I wanted even though the Malay students who scored lower grades could get in. So in the end, I did not further my studies and I started working instead.

I think that they are stealing from the other races using the NEP. The world is globalised now so they should remove such policies to make it fair for all. With the university quotas, the Chinese can still survive because they can afford private universities but most Indians cannot.

I've heard phrases like “Satu Bangsa, Satu Malaysia” on the TV and I really think they should practice that, not just say it.

Q: Does race matter to you? Do you have friends of different races?

A: No, I was raised by my mom in such a way that race doesn't matter. I have friends of different races and it's all fair and square to me. My group enjoys exchanging cultures with each other and if there are sensitive issues, we will respect each other.

For example, the issue of Hindraf is sensitive because one Malay friend is against it while the Indians support it so we just agree to disagree. There is no point getting upset so we just respect each other’s beliefs.

Q: What do you think of the relations between the various races in Malaysia? How can it be improved?

A: I've thought about this before. When we're studying, it's not so obvious but in the working world, people are clustered together by race. I think they feel more comfortable with their own kind. I don't think it's deliberate racism but it is hard to find people who like to mix.

I think it should come naturally, from the heart. If you try to teach people, it won't last. As children we can be taught to get along, but as adults it must come naturally.

While Perak remains confused, it's business as usual for Zambry

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid - The Malaysian Insider

IPOH, May 13 - A press conference held by Datuk Zambry Abdul Kadir here today has given the impression, perhaps intentionally, that Perak's caretaker mentri besar intends to seal his position as the state's chief executive.

This impression was further reinforced when Zambry announced that various projects initiated under Barisan Nasional's short tenure, including the Ipoh airport development, would continue as planned.

Just yesterday, Perak plunged into yet another impasse following the Court of Appeal's decision to put on hold the Kuala Lumpur High Court ruling declaring Pakatan Rakyat's (PR) Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin as the rightful MB.

But in today's press conference, Zambry signalled his intention to resume his duties despite doubts remaining about the legitimacy of his position.

"It's business as usual for me and the excos," he said. "I had an exco meeting today and we discussed administration issues and other things that needed the approval of the excos," he added.

Zambry said the Ipoh airport project, a project Nizar and his administration had laid claim to, would now be developed by the BN state government.

"Our priority is the extension of the airport runway. I have spoken to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak about this and he told me that this was the priority," said Zambry, who also said that the airport would contribute to economic growth in the state.

Malaysian Airlines subsidiary Firefly and private low cost carrier AirAsia have been in talks with the state government to fly from here, said Zambry.

He also said that the BN state government plans to develop a medical university in the state. The project, he added, had reached its final phase.

He also tried to reassure potential investors when asked about what would happen if the court rejected his appeal against the KL High Court ruling.

"I would like to urge the investors that the court ruling will not affect anything. The investors are welcome here, the government will help them out.

"When it comes to business, Perakians are very serious," he said.

Ganesan: I was appointed by the book

By Shannon Teoh - The Malaysian Insider

IPOH, May 13 — In light of the wave of negative publicity over the current political impasse in Perak, State Assembly Speaker Datuk R. Ganesan is finally giving his version of events that unfolded on May 7.

According to Ganesan, a lawyer by profession, he was appointed Speaker before ousted Speaker V. Sivakumar was asked to move from the Speaker's chair to the seat for Tronoh on the assembly floor.

"When a motion is tabled in which you are an interested party, then you must excuse yourself. That is natural justice," he said of the motion to remove Sivakumar as Speaker.

This, he said, was moved, seconded and then supported by 29 members, thereby passed by a majority of the assembly.

It was then followed by a motion to appoint a new Speaker, where Ganesan was the only nominee and won the votes of 31 assemblymen.

Ganesan said that he then took the oath before postponing the sitting twice to calm the situation down.

It was only after this that he asked Sivakumar to vacate the Speaker's chair and move to the seat for the Tronoh assemblyman.

"I gave him the order and several warnings. When he ignored them, I requested the sergeant-at-arms to execute my order," Ganesan said, refuting claims that Sivakumar was manhandled and thrown out of the assembly so that the Speaker's position could be declared vacant.

Pakatan Rakyat (PR) assemblymen blocked the sergeant-at-arms so Ganesan requested the police to assist and said that the Standing Orders allowed him to invite individuals to assist in the running of assembly business.

The 57-year-old former Sungkai assemblyman said that Sivakumar had no right to stop the three independents who supported BN from entering the assembly as the court had already declared them to be legal assemblymen.

He also said that Datuk Seri Zambry Abd Kadir and his six executive councillors could also enter the assembly as the Federal Court had declared that their suspensions were invalid even though the court shied away from declaring that they could enter the assembly as requested by their legal team.

"When the court declares their suspension as invalid, that means you return to status quo, that they are responsible assemblymen. Who has the right to stop them from entering the assembly?" he said.

FROM AMNESTY CANADA. M'sia: Three released

Freedom for Malaysian human rights activists

Three human rights activists were released in Malaysia on May 9, 2009.
Uthayakumar Ponnusamy, Manoharan Malayalam and T Vasanthakumar belong to Hindu Rights Action Force (HINDRAF), a group dedicated to defending the rights of ethnic Indian Malaysians, a minority at risk of human rights violations, including deaths in custody.

In 2007, the Malaysian government demolished a number of Hindu temples to make way for development projects, despite petitions by local Hindu communities.
HINDRAF organized a series of meetings and rallies, culminating in a protest demonstration of some 20,000 people in Kuala Lumpur on November 25, 2007. The protestors planned to hand a petition to the British High Commission about grievances after the colonial period. The police responded with water cannons, tear gas and baton charges. Many people were injured. The three activists just released were among five HINDRAF leaders who were arrested and detained for organizing protest rallies without a permit. Amnesty International considered them to be prisoners of conscience.

"Freedom is incredible," Uthayakumar told the crowd that greeted him as he came out of prison. "The feeling overwhelms... [Detention] has only made me more determined and more resolved to continue fighting for oppressed and marginalised Indians".

Amnesty International in Canada has a special link with the Hindu Rights Action Force. In recent years, we have stepped up our campaigning on the rights of ethnic Indian Malaysians. Face-to-face meetings have been held in Malaysia between HINDRAF leaders and Margaret John (Malaysia coordinator for our Branch), Tom Morris (former public awareness coordinator at our National Office), officers from the Canadian High Commission and staff from Amnesty's International Secretariat.

For further information, please contact Margaret John, Coordinator for Singapore and Malaysia, at malaysiasingaporecoordinator@amnesty.ca

Sivakumar to lodge police report over firearms in assembly

(The Edge) IPOH: Ousted Perak Speaker V Sivakumar will lodge a police report in connection with suspected firearms brought into the state assembly last week.

Speaking at a press conference at the DAP headquarters here today, Sivakumar said it was a serious offence to introduce firearms into the assembly hall.

"There is a special room at the state assembly for weapons to be deposited," he said.

"What would happen if someone in a fit of anger discharges a weapon?"

Hee Yit Foong holds up what is believed to be pepper spray in one of the many fracas during the May 7 state assembly.

Hee Yit Foong holds up what is believed to be pepper spray in one of the many fracas during the May 7 state assembly.

During the press conference, a video recording taken during the assembly showed an unidentified person reaching to his back and holding what is alleged to be a firearm.

He said by parliamentary convention, firearms are not permitted into the state assembly.

He also alleged that several unauthorised persons had entered the assembly without valid passes.


Also, a report had also been lodged against Jelapang assemblywoman Hee Yit Foong for allegedly brandishing a pepper spray during
the fracas at the May 7 state assembly.

How the screwee became the screwer

Image

I know they have issued a fresh detention order and the instant I appear in court they will detain me under the Internal Security Act and send me to Kamunting. And it burns them up so much that I am so near yet so far away.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

On late Monday afternoon, the court ruled that Nizar is still the Menteri Besar of Perak. On early Tuesday morning, the Appeal Court allowed a stay of execution. This means Nizar was back as Menteri Besar for a mere couple of hours yesterday and then had to hand the state back to Zambry.

What was astonishing was the speed in which the Appeal Court sat to make its decision when there are still so many older cases pending -- sometimes up to ten years while the convicted persons awaiting the outcome of their appeal languish in jail without bail during all that time. And the beauty about this is, even if they lose their appeal, their jail sentence is shorter than the time they have thus far spent in prison under remand. Some have withdrawn their appeal just so that they can go home. It is better to plead guilty or not contest the verdict since the sentence is shorter than the time they would have to spend in prison under remand.

The second thing that has astonished most people; lawyers especially; is the one-man quorum that sat to hear Zambry’s application for a stay of execution. They would have expected a minimum quorum of three judges since this case is of great public interest. But only one man sat to hear Zambry’s application and it certainly does not give an impression that Nizar saw justice done yesterday in the Appeal Court.

That happened to me in the appeal that the government filed against my release from ISA detention in November last year. We asked for a quorum of seven judges. If we can’t get seven we would settle for five. But they refused both seven and five and agreed on only three. Why only three and whose decision was that? It was an administrative decision, meaning a court clerk somewhere decided that it should be three.

We were not told who the judges were until the morning of the hearing. And when we found out who they were we objected to one of them because I had crossed swords with him many times over the last ten years. So this judge was asked to leave the room while the other two sat to hear our objections. When it was pointed out that it is illegal and unconstitutional for only two judges to sit and that we would be appealing against this the judge said, “Do what you like.”

Then the two judges ruled that the third need not recuse and he was invited back to ‘take his rightful place on the bench’.

The court is just fucking around with me and I am expected to ‘respect the court’ and abide to its decisions without a peep or a squeak. Balls! I do not have to, and will not, take this crap. I attended the first day’s hearing, and after seeing how the court pushed us around and treated us like idiots, I refused to walk into that courtroom again for the rest of the hearings. You want to put me on trial, well and fine. I will face the court. But if you want to fuck around with me and treat me like I am one stupid country bumpkin then I do not need to take this crap.

Okay, let us now talk about my second brush with the court, the criminal defamation trial at the end of this month. When I was first charged and asked how I plead, I replied that I refuse to enter any plea. The court said it would take that as a ‘not guilty’ plea. I then raised my voice and told the judge that I did not plead ‘not guilty’. I had refused to enter any plea.

I was advised that, under the law, refusing to enter any plea would be interpreted as a ‘not guilty’ plea.

When they transferred my case to a higher court they again asked me how I plead and I again refused to enter any plea. And, again, they interpreted this as a ‘not guilty’ plea and, again, I raised my voice and said I did not enter a ‘not guilty’ plea.

Look, I did not plead ‘not guilty’. And I don’t care a damn how the court wishes to interpret that. No plea means ‘no plea’ as far as I am concerned and, at that point of time, they had a choice to pronounce me guilty and send me to jail -- which is what I wanted and I told my lawyers so. But my lawyers said that this would not happen because, since I did not enter any plea, then I shall be subjected to a trial.

That is stupid and, in spite of that being the law, a stupid law is still a stupid law. When I refused to enter a plea on both occasions I told the court my reason for doing so was because the charges are defective and mala fide. But the court ignored that. The prosecutor asked my lawyers in what way the charges are defective and mala fide but of course my lawyers would not tell him. If we did then they would amend the charges as they did in my sedition trial when they discovered they were losing their case against me.

When the police called me in for interrogation it was on the basis I had signed a false Statutory Declaration. In fact, the day after I signed it, the AG said that I am guilty of signing a false declaration. Two days later, the IGP also announced they would be taking action against me for signing a false declaration.

How did the AG know? How did the IGP know? I had signed a SD, which I then officially, through my lawyers and by way of letter, sent to the prosecutors in the Altantuya murder trial. This was a ‘for your eyes only’ document. This means, since it is a criminal investigation matter, the SD is classified information and automatically comes under the Official Secrets Act.

However, mysteriously, within 24 hours, my SD appeared on http://bigdogdotcom.wordpress.com/, a Blog run by Zakir, a man aligned to Mukhriz Mahathir. I know Zakir lives next door to a very senior Special Branch officer because he has mentioned this often enough so this is probably how he got a copy of my SD.

Why did the police leak my SD to an Umno Blogger? It was confidential and meant only for the prosecutors in the Altantuya murder trial. But almost immediately the AG plus IGP both told the whole world about it and announced publicly that I had signed a false SD and that they would be taking action against me. They had not even seen the SD yet when they made those announcements. Furthermore, no investigation was launched to determine whether my SD is in fact false or otherwise.

Yes, the decision to ‘take action’ was made way in advance of any investigation. They had put the cart before the horse. Now they had to go look for the horse since the cart had already been announced. After that they called me in for interrogation so that the AG and IGP would not look like the stupid idiots that they are for announcing something before it even happened.

Then they panicked. If they charge me for the crime of signing a false SD then they have to prove it. I need not prove anything. It is not my job to prove anything. Since they are the ones charging me then they have to prove beyond reasonable doubt that I did in fact sign a false SD. What if I manage to put on a good defence and prove that I had not signed a false SD but had in fact signed a truthful one? What if witnesses come forward to testify that what I signed was true?

That’s when they realised they had blundered. If they charge me for signing a false SD and can’t prove it, or I can in fact prove otherwise, then Najib and Rosmah are dead meat. So they changed their strategy and instead charged me for criminal defamation.

But they can’t charge me for criminal defamation. Firstly, Rosmah is not a government officer. Criminal defamation involves you defaming a government officer in the execution of his or her official duties. Rosmah is merely the wife of a politician. She is not a government officer.

The husband and wife army officers may be considered government officers but I ‘defamed’ them in what they did outside their official duties. I did not accuse them of committing a crime when they were discharging their official duties. I did so in their capacity as off-duty army officers on a frolic of their own, as the law would say. This means they were not doing things as government officers but were moonlighting.

The government is therefore not involved in what they did so I did not commit a crime of criminal defamation. Or are they saying that the husband and wife army officers were merely carrying out their official duties under orders from the top?

The government is playing games with me. From the first announcement by the AG, followed by the announcement by the IGP, followed by my interrogation for the crime of criminal defamation, then the eventual charge for a totally different crime altogether, and finally, the transfer of my case to a higher court for no apparent reason whatsoever, I can see that all the government wants to do is to screw me good and proper.

Well, why should I endorse what the government is trying to do? I already said I refuse to enter a plea. I refuse to entertain the government with a trial. If they want to charge me for the crime of signing a false SD, well and fine. Let us fight it out in court and they can try to prove I did in fact sign a false SD -- while I will try to prove otherwise. But in a charge such as criminal defamation, they need not prove the truth of the matter. They only need to prove that I signed the SD. If they can prove I signed it, which they can since I did sign it and never denied doing so, then they can send me to jail.

In short, whether what I signed is true or false does not matter. They need not go into the truth or falsity of my SD. All they need to do is focus on proving that I did sign it and that would be enough to send me to jail, even if what I signed was absolutely true.

And the same goes for my sedition charge. Initially, they made a police report against me because I was alleged to have lied. The police officer who made the police report against me is the same chap who investigated the Altantuya murder. And he knows I lied because, according to him, he investigated the murder and did not stumble across what I was alleged to have written.

In short, he investigated the murder so he knows. And he knows what I was alleged to have written is therefore not true. So, I lied.

Then, he discovered that, since he investigated the murder and therefore knows everything about the murder to the extent that he knows I lied, the court would require him to reveal the truth so that the truth can be compared to what I am alleged to have written to establish whether I had indeed lied or not.

That’s when he changed his story. He said he actually does not know that much because he did not personally investigate the murder. Some other people conducted the investigation and he was merely the coordinator. But earlier he said otherwise.

If he did not personally investigate the murder and does not really know that much about it, how did he then know that I lied? He did make the police report against me on the basis that I lied. He knows that I lied. But he does not know that much about the murder. Yet he knows that I lied because he did not stumble across what I wrote.

What total crap! And when YB Gobind Singh repeatedly asked him about certain facts of the investigation to compare these facts against what I was alleged to have written; to establish in what way I had lied; this police officer with the rank of Superintendent refused to answer the questions.

If he refuses to answer the questions how can we establish the truth and at the same time establish whether I lied? That was when the prosecution told the court that it does not matter whether what I was alleged to have written is true or false. The court only needs to focus on whether I had in fact written that article. And if it can be proven I had indeed written it then I can be sent to jail even if what I wrote was true.

But did not the police report say I had lied and was I not charged for the crime of sedition because I am alleged to have lied? Now it does not matter any longer if I lied or not? Even if I did not lie I am still guilty?

Aiyah, games, games, and even more games. They keep changing the rules and move the goalposts halfway through the game. And they are still doing this. And the Umno guys whack me and insist that I face the court and they call me a coward for refusing to ‘face the music’. I can face the music as what these Umno people insist I do. But what music are they playing? I need to know first before I am asked to face it.

What Umno can’t stand is when you refuse to play by their rules and instead make up your own rules, which they are then forced to follow. Our HINDRAF chap did this when he refused to sign the conditional release papers and insisted that he remain in Kamunting. They had to physically throw him out of Kamunting like they threw Siva out of the Perak State Assembly last week.

Yes, I am having more fun this way. I refuse to tunduk to them and it upsets them like crazy. They tried to screw me and I turn around and screw them instead. They gave me an ultimatum to issue a public apology to the Sultan of Perak or else the family is going to insert a full-page advertisement in the mainstream newspapers announcing that I have been disowned. Then I turn around and disown them instead by going into exile.

No, I am nobody’s patsy. And I will go to great lengths to defy them every step of the way. I know they have issued a fresh detention order and the instant I appear in court they will detain me under the Internal Security Act and send me to Kamunting. And it burns them up so much that I am so near yet so far away.

Can Malaysians expect justice in cases involving top Umno leaders when there is an Umno Chief Justice, Tan Sri Zaki Azmi?

The question bugging Malaysians in the past 20 months have finally come to the very fore – whether Malaysians can expect justice in cases involving top Umno leaders when the Chief Justice, Tan Sri Zaki Azmi had been a long-time Umno lawyer and stalwart?

When Zaki was appointed directly as Federal Court judge in September 2007, it is open secret that he was headed for what turned out to be a quintuple jump as Chief Justice in a matter of 13 months.

Both inside and outside Parliament, the propriety of Zaki’s appointment as Chief Justice and how it could help in restoring national and international confidence in the independence, impartiality and integrity of the judiciary was raised – with no attempt by the Prime Minister of-the-day to give proper and acceptable answers.

This question has again come to the very fore because of the super-fasttracking by the Court of Appeal of the application by the usurper Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Zambry Abdul Kadir to “stay” the declaration of the Justice Datuk Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahim in the Nizar vs Zambry case that Datuk Seri Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin is the lawful Mentri Besar of Perak.

Many questions cry out for answer as to how could a single-judge Court of Appeal in a short hearing, in a few hours after the filing of the application, grant a “stay” of the declaration by the Kuala Lumpur High Court judge made in an one-hour reasoned judgment after three days of arguments.

Yesterday, Nizar’s solicitors were informed by fax of Zambry’s appeal:

  • 10.07 am – letter to Court of Appeal requesting early date;
  • 10.43 am – informed that application for stay fixed on the same day, no time of hearing stated.
  • 10.52 am – notice of appeal.

Nizar’s lawyers were not given proper notice of the hearing by single-judge Court of Appeal at 11.30 am on the application by Zambry’s lawyers for “stay” of declaration, although Zambry’s application was filed at 9 am and application for stay at 9.30 am.

These time-lines for the “super-fast” Court of Appeal proceedings are pertinent. Nizar’s solicitors have filed his application to discharge Zamry’s “stay” order at the Court of Appeal, Palace of Justice, Putrajaya after lunch.

Is the Court of Appeal prepared to equally fast-track to have a three-judge bench to convene in special session for the discharge of Zambry’s “stay” order?

Black sedition vs white terror

By Wong Chin Huat
thenutgraph.com

IF I had to find a personal reason to explain the 1BLACKMalaysia campaign, I would attribute it to the determination of Perakians to denounce things they don't like.

And I would give the royal example of the late Sultan Idris Shah II of Perak. He vowed not to shave his moustache and beard if the Barisan Nasional (BN) did not remove Tan Sri Mohamed Ghazali Jawi as menteri besar in the late 1970s. Of course, the monarch won.

But 1BLACKMalaysia is not about royal assertiveness. It's about civil disobedience.

Peaceful, simple, minimalist

I have been wearing black since 6 Feb 2009, when Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir was unconstitutionally installed in and by the palace. Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders and supporters have been wearing black, but most do it on an on-and-off basis.

The idea of getting everyone to wear black on 7 May, subverting Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's "1Malaysia, People First, Performance Now" into "1BLACKMalaysia, Democracy First, Elections Now", emerged only on 1 May. At that time, possible chaos during the 7 May session of the Perak legislative assembly had loomed large in many people's minds.

So, how did a simple campaign of civil disobedience that only required its supporters to wear black drown out Najib's million-ringgit soundbites?

The answer perhaps lies in the campaign's three features: non-violence, simplicity and minimalism.

First, the campaign is absolutely non-violent, and a pure exercise of free speech. In no way can the state find any reference to any physical resistance or violence in the message.

So, when police personnel detained joggers and restaurant patrons wearing black, the violent party was clearly the police, not the detainees or their supporters.

Second, wearing black is such a simple act that everyone can take part. People need not disrupt their routine or put aside their responsibility to wear black. This minimises excuses for non-participation.

People may choose not to wear black if they don't believe that a government must be produced only via elections, or that big enough numbers of people wearing black will make an impact. But they can never blame it on the cost — in other words, that wearing black is expensive and time-consuming, as if wearing other colours were cheaper and more efficient.

Third, by derivation, wearing black is a minimalist act, and the state stopping this minimalist act at all costs helps simplify the issues. It all boils down to whether we should let the state deny our freedom to participate in a harmless and symbolic act.

If only the police or their political masters were a bit smarter, they would understand that the civil disobedience campaign was a deliberate attempt to win the middle ground in conservative Malaysian society. It was inspired by the tried-and-tested strategies of Mahatma Gandhi in India and Martin Luther King, Jr in the US to persuade their conservative fellow citizens.

By not doing anything more — like carrying placards or shouting slogans — we were actually forcing the state to restrain itself and concede us the democratic space to lobby others, or risk us exposing the state's violent nature. And expose it we did.

But why must the powers-that-be expose their own violent and irrational nature?

White terror, black sedition

During my incarceration, a police sergeant took pains to show me why I was wrong: "Yes, you have the right to wear black, but you should not ask people to follow suit. You created chaos."


Man in black: the writer on the day of his
release
Two days after my release, an elderly man attending a media freedom forum at the Annexe, Central Market warned that we should not wear black or Malaysia would turn into Bangkok. Instead, we should make our demands through the "proper channels". He refused to identify himself and left immediately after his floor speech.

I believe the police sergeant and elderly gentlemen explained perfectly why I and 116 others had to be arrested for wearing black.

Their grievances are not about the colour black. It would have been the same if Bersih has called on citizens to wear any other colour.

What is not acceptable is for citizens to show their politics in public. Remember the advice we so often hear, "Don't talk about politics in public or you could be detained under the Internal Security Act"?

For many Malaysians, the only legitimate avenue for political participation is by voting. That's why you read from time to time letters to the editor asking Malaysians to accept what happened in Perak and wait until the next election to express their dissatisfaction.

The role model being espoused here is actually the "silent majority", not the "peace-loving majority". By extension, the condemnation of "violence" is actually a front for condemning "disquiet".

And civil disobedience exposes this pretence by being very expressive albeit entirely peaceful.

Wearing black is a vocal statement telling everyone, "I am not happy with the fiasco in Perak. Are you happy? If not, why don't you wear black, too?"

This is exactly what the powers-that-be refuse to tolerate — infectious dissent, which may dissolve the "silent majority".

Therefore, against this "seditious" black, white terror was invoked. That's why a paranoid IGP threatened to arrest anyone wearing black; a mentally stressed OCPD ordered the arrest of lawyers on duty; and anxious police personnel carried machine guns to intimidate university students.


Lawyer Latheefa Koya speaks to a police officer during a candlelight vigil held for the
writer on the night of 7 May. On the left are Kuala Selangor Member of
Parliament (MP) Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, and Seputeh MP Teresa Kok

Is democracy not seditious?

Legally speaking, one may argue that the wearing black is indeed "seditious" if it excites "disaffection" of the people against the government.

But if this is the legal justification, then we must ask some more questions: Are elections not seditious? Is democracy not seditious?

Can opposition parties campaign effectively without exciting "disaffection" against the government? Aren't the BN as the opposition in PR-led states also "seditious" when they condemn these state governments? Can we therefore have meaningful elections if the Sedition Act is still intact?

Expressing one's politics in public may create some unease or even promote "feelings of ill-will or hostility" within society, another instance of "seditious tendencies" as quoted by the Act.

But what democracy are we talking about if we cannot publicly discuss matters of public interest?

Isn't it ironic that many Malaysians like to discuss celebrities' and politicians' private lives in public, but will keep opinions on matters of public interest private?

Peace or violence

Readers of this column have asked what ordinary people can do to defend elected governments from the attacks of unelected institutions.

My answer is simple: deny any unelected government its legitimacy. Without legitimacy, governing becomes very costly because compliance can only be extracted by coercion and carrying out penalties against the defiant. That's the message of 1BLACKMalaysia.


Sivarkumar dragged out of the House where the Perak state assembly sitting was being held on 7 May

In fact, with the violent removal of Perak Speaker V Sivakumar on one hand, and the success of 1BLACKMalaysia against white terror on the other, Malaysia is actually at the crossroads.

We may choose "might is right", violence and chaos. Or we may also choose to have faith in reason and courage. We may choose peaceful and rational participation in public affairs.

The defeat of white terror by black "sedition" speaks volumes of the great potential in Malaysian politics.

The Kuala Lumpur High Court's judgment confirming the legality of Nizar as menteri besar has also given hope that unelected institutions may correct themselves, too, from time to time.

Some may call Perak a mess. I call it the birth-pains of 1BETTERMalaysia.


A political scientist by training and a journalism lecturer by trade, Wong Chin Huat is based in Monash University Sunway Campus. He thanks the police for making the 1BLACKMalaysia civil disobedience campaign a heartening success. He will continue wearing black until the Perak assembly is dissolved.

When cops rule the state assembly - BN too ashamed to show Malaysia the truth of May 7th

Let’s talk about the banning of video footage showing Sivakumar dragged out. The short clip:

And a longer clip of the proceedings:

You know, the measure of integrity is whether you are willing to let the world see what you do.

The upright man fears no scrutiny - berani kerana benar, takut kerana salah.

So why is Umno held Media Prima so antsy about showing what they did on May 7th?

In the flurry of last week, I didn’t get around to noting an important fact about that day:

When you have armed personnel - combined with thugs that were brought in from God knows where (Umno Youth? Or perhaps army personnel, as suggested by “Colonel”) - calling the shots in a legislative assembly, aren’t we really only half a step away from say, rule by military junta?

I mean, watch the video. Whose uniform is holding power here? The Speaker’s - elected by elected representatives? Or the cop’s?

We see a policeman, along with other suspect characters, ejecting state assemblymen and the Speaker himself.

And on whose authority? Was there at least a court order calling for the forcible removal of Sivakumar?

Why are armed men the ones running the highest houses of democracy in the country? The only institution that reflects the principle that people get to vote in their leaders is now overrun by thugs?

No wonder they don’t want to show it on TV. They’ve literally usurped the voice of democracy by sheer physical force.

If BN wants to change the standing orders such that less power is invested in the speaker (say for instance, the speaker cannot block a vote of no confidence), they are welcome to try.

But things being as they are in the eyes of the law, they completely failed to remove Sivakumar legally, and thus decided to use force.

What next? A contingent of police to forcibly eject Tan Sri Khalid from the Selangor state government?

The biasness of the police come into question once again in their conduct over the last two days. MK -

In contrary to the tight security at the Perak state secretariat yesterday, this morning the situation at the state’s centre of power was much calmer.

Barisan Nasional’s Perak Menteri Besar Zambry Abd Kadir punched in for work at 9.16am, along with his exco members, and did not face any tough time in gaining entry to the secretariat.

Yesterday Pakatan Rakyat’s Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin and his exco members were met by a large contingent of riot police. At least five Federal Reserve Unit trucks, one water cannon and about 50 uniformed policemen were seen milling around the compound.

Hmm. So why is it that when Nizar is declared MB, police swarm the state secretariat. When Zambry is given back the post, the police disappear.

I dunno about you, but I sure don’t like these double standards.

I think that all in all, democracy has been raped. Being in a gregarious mood, I’d probably willing to forego pursuing justice for those particular crimes against democracy, if only BN would accede to a simple demand.

I think I don’t have to repeat that demand to the kind readers of this blog :P

ps- On this May 13th, let us hope and pray that we are on our way to a more united Malaysia, not one where political interests will ever again divide the people.

Apathy of the majority?

The Apathy of the MajorityRaja Petra in his recent 'No Holds Barred' column commented on the apathy of Perakians in the standoff against the authorities concerning Perak’s Constitutional Crisis.

He said that if protesters could come all the way from Kelantan and Kuala Lumpur, Perakians have no excuse not to be there.I wholly concur with RPK.The few I called to join in the protest had ready- made excuses why they could not. I wasn’t surprised; just angry.But this is nothing new about Malaysians in general. We have a ‘not in my backyard’ attitude on everything from the location of incinerators and telephone relay discs, to human rights abuse and even the simple matter of littering – as long as it is ‘not in my backyard’ and does not affect me directly, it does not concern me. Ergo, I do nothing about it – let someone else protest.What is wrong with Malaysians? Is it because of our feudal mentality that we don’t challenge our government? Is it cowardice? Or selfishness? Or are we too busy ‘cari makan’ that we cannot spare a little time to protest against any injustices.

Go to Indonesia and you can engage the-man- on-the-street in political discussions and you will be surprised how clued on he is . . . and how prepared he is to defend his rights.Koreans would have demanded that their prime minister step down in the same situation that our prime minister is in. They would never accept a prime minister with the kind of question marks hanging over ours.And it must be said, a Korean politician in office would probably have resigned or stepped down until the matter is resolved. They have a tradition of honour which our politicians lack. The same code of honour binds the Japanese and British.The Thais would never countenance the kind of power-grab that BN is guilty of. Nor would they expect interference from their monarch in the politics of the state like what the ......... of Perak has done.In Malaysia we are only just seeing signs of political activism by the populace. But still it’s largely centered in the Klang Valley and to a lesser degree in Penang.

And it must be said, it’s always the same people who storm the Bastille so to speak. Where are the others?While this is generally a Malaysian malaise; on the matter of the Perak Constitutional Crisis Perakians should be ashamed of themselves for their apathy. Do we expect the Kelantanese, Penangites or KLites to fight our battle? In a way it’s their battle too it must be said, but it is foremost our battle.

No one is asking Perakians to break the law but at least if they had turned up in numbers and stood silently in the prescribed mourning black, it would have sent a powerful message to the powers-that-be.This is not a matter of taking sides – it’s not a case of PR vs BN.

This is a matter of the rape of our Constitution. It should concern all Perakians whichever side of the political divide they are on. This is a case of the 'rakyat' having the final say in who they want to govern their state. Not who the .... wants? And if that cannot be resolved in the State Assembly then we should go back to the ballot box.Sometimes we have to act, because silence only encourages the tormentor. If we don’t speak up when others are being unfairly persecuted our turn will come and who will speak up for us then?

To paraphrase Dr Martin Luther King - the greatest sin is no
perpetrated by those who have destroyed the Constitution or who have used force against peaceful protests, but the vast majority who have sat idly by.
Yin Ee Kiong A Proud Perakian

Police & Civil Servants... Enemies from within?

By Jeff Ooi,

Suhakam chairman Abu Talib Othman Abu said Suhakam commissioners had discussed the incident in Perak on May 7 at their monthly meeting on Monday. Quote The Star:
“It appears to us that during the incident that occurred at the Perak State Legislative Assembly on May 7, the police and civil service had acted in concert with the government that had assumed power in controversial circumstances, showing complete disregard for human rights.

“Governments may change but those who serve in the police and administration must remain loyal to the wider interest and respect human rights rather than the narrow interest of individuals who form the government of the day.”

Neither are the courts insulated from the hungry power grabbers. More quotes:

He said the May 7 sitting proceeded even though the court was scheduled to sit four days later to determine who was the legitimate Mentri Besar.

He said the pre-emptive proceedings, the motion to sack the legitimate Speaker and his removal from the House and the action of the police caused concern to the people.

In short, the credibility of the courts is at stake in this BN-manufactured Perak Constitutional Crisis.

What Perak is to Najib now is exactly what Iraq was to George W. Bush. A big cesspool of political quagmire with a big pricetag that will give rise to many Obamas.

Background music... 1Malaysia and the Paris Principles.

Continue reading "Police & Civil Servants... Enemies from within?" »

Pakatan: BN cannot call for emergency meeting.

MBs battle it out to stamp authority

Najib: Not for me to decide

Love ... in despair

Nizar: I am still MB

By Shannon Teoh - The Malaysian Insider

IPOH, May 12 - Perak continues to be in a state of confusion as Pakatan Rakyat's (PR) Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin maintained today he was still the legitimate mentri besar despite a Court of Appeal decision this morning which granted a stay on a High Court declaration yesterday.

While stating that the stay of execution raised more questions than answers, Nizar suggested that the only logical conclusion was that he was still mentri besar.

Barisan Nasional's (BN) Datuk Seri Zambry Abd Kadir had earlier claimed he was now the rightful MB after the court had granted him a stay pending his appeal on the decision by the High Court yesterday that Nizar was and is the MB.

But at a press conference this evening with two lawyers, Nizar's counsel Leong Cheok Keng and one of his state executive councillors Thomas Su, Nizar insisted that despite the stay, his government was still legitimate.

Su had said that while PR accepted the decision of the Court of Appeal, they were unsure as to what it really meant.

But Nizar reasoned that as the stay did not mean that Zambry had been affirmed as MB nor was it possible for there to be no MB, the only option left was that he remained the rightful mentri besar.

"Since I was sworn in on March 12, 2008, I have been the mentri besar until now," Nizar said.

"The High Court ruling was not an order to act which can be stopped by staying it. It is not like paying damages where you can halt the payment until a decision has been made," explained Leong.

"This is a declaration that Nizar has been the legitimate MB all this while. How can you temporarily vacate him from office?" he added.

Leong also said that he has never come across a stay of execution over a declaration, something which High Court Judge Datuk Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahim had also expressed after delivering his verdict yesterday.

"It is impossible not to have a mentri besar at any point of time. There cannot be a gap," Nizar added.

Su insisted that Zambry could not be MB as the stay did not overturn the High Court's ruling, and hence, this meant that Nizar was still the mentri besar.

The wood for the trees

Image

Would all this have happened if Pakatan Rakyat had asked for the Perak State Assembly to be dissolved two weeks before the crossovers? Did one Umno crossover give an impression that Perak was impregnable? Was not this one crossover maybe the legendary and metaphoric Trojan Horse?

THE CORRIDORS OF POWER

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Let’s not forget the two issues that had brought about the chaos and uncertainty: the unethical crossovers and the unfortunate refusal to dissolve the Perak State Assembly. These two issues invalidated the mandate of the Perakians and robbed them of their choice of government.

The only sane and sensible thing to undo the damage and bring calm and stability to Perak is to go back to the people to settle this issue once and for all. Let the people decisively decide who should form the government.

There is no other option.

Aliran President, P Ramakrishnan

*************************************************

It was not supposed to be he who gets appointed as the new Yam Tuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan after Tuanku Abdul Rahman passed on. Yes, Tuanku Abdul Rahman, the man who Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, Kuala Lumpur’s once main and upmarket thoroughfare, was named after but which always gets confused with Tunku Abdul Rahman, Malaysia’s First Prime Minister and holder of the title Bapak Merdeka.

But can we blame Malaysians of limited educational background? After all, how many countries in the world still possess a Monarchy? And to have the Monarch and Prime Minister sharing the same name would probably be an incident never before recorded in the history of this world. To the more initiated, however, the Tuanku and Tunku would be telling enough. And which was the Constitutional Head of State and which the Political Head of State would not be a matter of confusion.

It is natural, however, for most people to ignore matters of little interest to them, especially if it does not change their lives one bit or helps put more food on the table. Of what concern is it to those whose only concern is where their next meal would be coming from. So we have two Rahmans running this country. And which Rahman has more power over the other would be matters that only those schooled in higher institutions of learning would be able to comprehend.

A British Minister on a visit to this country thought that Malaya was still a British colony. Maybe it was so back in the old days. But Malaya had already been given self-rule one minute pass midnight of 31st August 1957. Should a Minister be allowed to meet the Prime Minister? Yes, if the Prime Minister was a Prime Minister of a British Colony. But Malaya was not. It was already an independent nation. Furthermore, would the British Prime Minister agree to a meeting with a Malayan Minister? Is not proper protocol that a Minister meets a Minister and the Prime Minister a Prime Minister? And, to top it all, it was someone gate-crashing the office of the Prime Minister without a prior appointment.

But such was the arrogance of the British Minister who forgot that Malayans no longer took orders from Caucasians. And when he was denied entry to the Prime Minister’s office he was hopping mad. In his meeting with the Agong, he brought up the issue of the kurang ajar Prime Minister and suggested that His Majesty should sack this most disrespectful Tunku Abdul Rahman.

Tuanku Abdul Rahman was amused at the antics of this most perturbed Orang Puteh. “My dear Sir, in this country, it is not the King who sacks the Prime Minister but the Prime Minster who sacks the King.” Yes, the Agong put into proper perspective whether the dog wags the tail or the tail wags the dog. And with that Malaya probably avoided a re-colonisation or a war with Britain a la the Falklands.

And so passed on this man who can only be described as a Malay gentleman par excellence. And it was time to choose his successor to the Royal Household of Negeri Sembilan. And the son, Tuanku Munawir, was chosen to succeed the throne. But Munawir ruled for only seven years before he too passed on. And since his son was considered too young to succeed the throne, Umno stepped in and decided that Tuanku Munawir’s brother, Jaafar, should instead become the new Yam Tuan while his son, Mukhriz, was bypassed.

Tuanku Jaafar ruled Negeri Sembilan for four decades. He remained on the throne while the Menteris Besar came and went, names we can no longer even remember. But there was one Menteri Besar the Ruler could not get along with. He would never accept an invitation to any function or event if this particular Menteri Besar were also invited. And if the Menteri Besar walked into the room, then Tuanku would leave on the excuse he had to go powder his nose.

But, try as he may, Tuanku Jaafar could not force the Prime Minister to remove Isa Samad as Menteri Besar. And Tuanku had to endure many years of pain with Isa as his Menteri Besar but could hardly do anything about it. And was this not also so for Sultan Idris of Perak who wanted the Menteri Besar, Ghazali Jawi, dismissed? Sultan Ismail of Terengganu, too, suffered the same indignity when he wanted Nik Hassan out but Umno sided with their Menteri Besar over the Sultan. The Sultan of Pahang shared the same predicament when he went into a rage but could not dislodge Rahim Bakar as Menteri Besar.

Yes, Umno, and only Umno, decides who becomes the Menteri Besar. True, the appointment would have to dovetail with the wishes of the Ruler. But once appointed, the Ruler can do very little except hope that his adversary can be dislodged in the next general election. And no Ruler would commit that cardinal sin of going against Umno’s wishes by removing a Menteri Besar if he wants to continue to sit on the throne.

In the meantime, Tuanku Jaafar was getting old and no longer in the best of health and no one gave him more than a couple of years more to live. To ensure that the throne would not swing back to the Munawir clan, Tuanku Jaafar appointed his son as the Regent, basically sending a message that this was his choice of successor, his son. But when Tuanku Jaafar died, the throne went back to the son of Munawir who had been bypassed and not to his own son who he had installed as the implied successor.

But is this so weird? Did not Selangor too suffer a break in the line of succession when the political masters decided that one should be bypassed in favour of another to ensure that he who sits on the throne remains friendly to the political masters of the day? And Selangor is not the only one. Terengganu, Johor, Kedah, and many other states, also saw interference in deciding the line of succession so that the new Ruler will serve those who walk in the corridors of power in Seri Perdana.

Each state has its own system. And each state is unique. When Idris was the Sultan of Perak, it was not his son who was installed as the Regent. The Raja Muda was older than Sultan Idris that we called him Raja Muda Tua. Then the Raja Muda died before Sultan Idris did. That’s what happens when the Raja Muda is Raja Tua and so much older in age compared to the Sultan.

And that’s when Azlan’s fortunes changed overnight. From a retired Chief Justice he was now the Raja Muda. And, as fate would have it, Idris died not long after that and Azlan ascended the throne. But Azlan did something that none of the others before him did. He appointed his son, Nazrin, as the Raja Muda.

Does this mean Nazrin would now inherit the throne when Azlan dies, as he surely would one day and as all of us will as well? It was not so for Negeri Sembilan. It was also not so for Selangor. And it was not so for some of the other states as well. The Raja Muda who goes on to inherit the throne from the recently deceased Sultan is not an automatic and guaranteed tradition. History has proven that. And whether Nazrin succeeds his father is not for the Sultan to decide but depends on the grace and goodwill of Umno.

Yes, it is not the King who sacks the Prime Minister but the Prime Minister who sacks the King, said our very wise First Agong soon after Merdeka. And that has not changed one bit since. And the Prime Minister has many times in the past decided who should inherit the throne once it becomes vacant. This is how it has always been. This is how it will always be. And any Ruler worth his salt would know that your continuity lies in the hands of he who rules in Seri Perdana.

The frustration about what is happening in Perak is understandable and no one can say is unreasonable. There is talk about justice and about respect for the Constitution. But is it not the Chinese who scream over and over again that it is all about self-preservation?

This Chinese are smart. The Chinese are clever. The Chinese are shrewd. The Chinese may support the opposition but will never show it because they need to protect their rice bowl. How can we risk jeopardising our comfort and wealth by openly opposing the all-powerful Umno?

Fair statement. Reasonable conclusion. This is the Chinese ‘rules of engagement’. In fact, not only the Chinese, but also the Malays think this way as well; and the Indians even more so until quite recently when HINDRAF hit the scene.

Yes, we need to protect our personal interest. We need to make sure that what we do will not jeopardise our position. We will sacrifice for the rakyat to a certain extent as long as we do not personally suffer. But we expect others to put sacrifice for the rakyat above self-interest and that of their family.

This is called double standards. We want others to suffer for us. But we refuse to be inconvenienced for whatever reason whatsoever. When it was rumoured that 30 Barisan Nasional Members of Parliament would be crossing over there was celebration and rejoicing in the streets. But when Pakatan Rakyat Assemblypersons crossed over instead there was outrage and condemnation.

When the court rules in favour of Nizar, God has spoken, the courts are fair, finally the judiciary is independent, the judge is a great man, and all other songs of praise. When the court rules in favour of Zambry, the court is under Umno’s control, the judges are corrupted, the judiciary has no balls, and much more. The only condemnation I have not heard yet is screw God although shouts of God is Great (Allah Akhbar) was heard when things work out the way we want it to.

Yes, we rejoice and praise when events favour us or are to our liking. We curse and condemn when it is the other way around. But we will never spend even one minute of our time to analyse the issues or even read the court judgement first before expressing our emotions, which is normally extreme beyond comprehension.

Would all this have happened if Pakatan Rakyat had asked for the Perak State Assembly to be dissolved two weeks before the crossovers? Did one Umno crossover give an impression that Perak was impregnable? Was not this one crossover maybe the legendary and metaphoric Trojan Horse?

Everyone is an expert on hindsight. But we are not talking about hindsight here. We are talking about two weeks before the fact. And even when information that Vincent Tan paid RM25 million to buy out a Pakatan Rakyat State Assemblyperson was revealed, and even when Hee absented herself from Pakatan Rakyat functions on the lame excuse that she is not well, the alarm bells still did not trigger.

Sure, blame the Sultan. Blame the Sultan who also had his self-preservation to worry about just like any other Chinese, Malay and Indian who puts their rice bowl above all else yet tries to sound self-righteous when others also do the same. Blame the courts. Blame Vincent Tan whose money made all this possible. But let’s not blame Pakatan Rakyat who was complacent, refused to act even when given two weeks prior warning, had started the crossovers in the first place, and now blame everyone else except themselves.

Careful Jibby, your true colours are fast showing!

Courtesy of Mkini

Courtesy of Mkini

The photo was taken at a press conference on 4th February, a day before Najib, as Perak BN head honcho, called on Sultan Azlan Shah to get the royal assent for BN to form the Perak state government.

See how well pleased he is with himself, having pulled the rug from right under Pakatan in Perak?

Weren’t the UMNO bigwigs and other BN component leaders then hailing Najib’s coup as a masterstroke?

Well, things slowly started to take a turn after the Bukit Gantang by-elections.

Also, when Speaker Sivakumar continued to be a constant stumbling block to Zambry’s every move, Najib’s takeover of the Perak state government suddenly began to appear to have been an ill-fated move.

The fallout from the May 7th debacle in Ipoh has every BN member who was in any way involved in the February conspiracy to overthrow the legitimately elected state government seeking to distance themselves from this fiasco.

First of the starting blocks, of course, is Najib.

And the fall guy who is being set up to take all the shit that’s about to hit the fan is none other than the pretender to the MBship, Zambry.

Malaysianinsider reports today that, whilst speaking about the worsening crisis in Perak, Najib said that it was up to Zambry to decide on the next move.

“I don’t know. It’s up to the MB to decide on the next course of action.”, Najib is reported to have said.

Did I miss any announcement that Zambry had taken over as Perak BN chief?

Perak in limbo with no Mentri Besar – PR lawyers to set aside Court of Appeal single-judge “stay” decision

Datuk Zambry Abdul Kadir has likened himself to Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela, causing all-round derision, outrage and revulsion.

If Zambry dreams of being a Gandhi, he would not want to be an illegitimate and unlawlful Mentri Besar even for a second.

He would not lay claim to be the Perak Mentri Besar as after the Nizar vs Zambry judgment of Justice Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahim yesterday, he is doubly illegitimate as the Perak Mentri Besar.

Zambry went against everything Gandhi stood for in announcing that he would again “gate-crash” the Perak State Secretariat building tomorrow to illegitimately re-occupy the office of Mentri Besar!

Zambry was defaming the memory of Gandhi in suggesting that the great Indian moralist would have approved Zambry for being a doubly illegitimate MB.

The most astounding single-judge Court of Appeal decision to grant stay of the Abdul Aziz declaration does not in any way salvage Zambry’s position as a doubly illegitimate MB.

Abdul Aziz declared Zambry as an unlawful and illegitimate MB and Nizar the lawful and legitimate MB.

The stay given by a single judge of the Court of Appeal “stayed” Nizar from taking back his lawful and legitimate office as Perak Mentri, but it did not overturn the High Court decision and could not be taken to mean that Zambry can continue to be illegal and illegitimate Perak MB.

This will be against public policy and national interest. Perak government is in total limbo, without a Mentri Besar, as Nizar, the lawful and legitimate MB has been “stayed” from exercising his powers and responsibilities, while Zambry, the unlawful and illegitimate MB, could not be deemed to be licenced by the Court of Appeal to continue to act illegally.

Allowing someone whom the Court has declared to be an unlawful and illegitimate MB to continue in office would have completely horrified Gandhi – and Zambry likens himself to Gandhi!

The lawyers I spoke to in the past few hours are shocked at the Court of Appeal single-judge “stay” decision.

Pakatan Rakyat lawyers will set aside the Court of Appeal single-judge “stay” decision in an urgent application tomorrow.

Zambry and his usurper Exco should not re-occupy the SUK offices to avoid another sorry spectacle of having to vacate them after a few hours.