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Thursday, June 30, 2011

‘Bold’ Ambiga vs ‘disappointing’ Shahrizat

The women's minister is among the many condemning voices of the Bersih rally and its architect. But it is Shahrizat who has failed to meet the people's expectations.

COMMENT
It is said that adversity brings out the true reflection of a character. How so true, as seen from the diverse reactions to the “walk for democracy” to be held by election watchdog Bersih 2.0.

The number of police reports against the July 9 rally are mounting, as are the dissenting voices condemning the walk and the face behind it, that of Ambiga Sreenevasan, who heads Bersih 2.0, a Coalition for Free and Fair Elections.

Liberating the electoral system from the many years of abuse and manipulation is no easy task and this, Ambiga knows fully well.

However, for those with hidden agendas, the rally is everything but “welcomed” while the person behind it, Ambiga, formerly president of the Malaysian Bar Council and recipient of the United States’ 2009 Secretary of State’s Award for International Women of Courage Awards, is anything but patriotic.

One such condemning voice comes from Shahrizat Jalil, the Women, Family and Community Development Minister who joined Wee Choo Keong (Wangsa Maju MP) in accusing Ambiga of harbouring political ambitions.

Belittling the rally, Shahrizat, who is also Umno Wanita chief, said the July 9 event is politically motivated and a Trojan horse of the opposition, referring to the Pakatan Rakyat coalition of PKR, DAP and PAS.

“I am disappointed with Ambiga’s leadership. I had high expectations of her in keeping the people united. I am very sad because she is trying to incite street rallies. She knows we have laws and must go through civilised ways to seek redress.

“I agree with Wee who said Ambiga should join a political party if she harbours political ambitions. She can join a political party or form her own,” Shahrizat said.

The minister added that Bersih is not a non-governmental organisation but a vehicle used by the opposition to cause street riots.

She claimed that Bersih 2.0 was trying to do a “Tahrir Square” in Malaysia, instigating people to revolt against the Barisan Nasional government. (Tahrir Square in Cairo made news when in January this year over 50,000 protesters gathered and demanded the resignation of president Hosni Mubarak.)

“It is the opposition’s way of using Bersih since the former cannot secure a win in the coming general election,” Shahrizat said.

According to the minister, feedback showed that the people was against street rallies.

“We urge the police to maintain peace and harmony in the country. In Malaysia, we have laws to deal with pressing issues. The people are supporting Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and this is causing the opposition to feel threatened,” Shahrizat said.

Shahrizat vs Ambiga

So much said, Shahrizat makes for a better press relation officer instead of a people’s minister. Unlike Ambiga who has no inclination to become the messiah of the people, Shahrizat, however, will do whatever it takes to earn brownie points from her political masters.

If she feels Ambiga’s decision to proceed with the rally has let her down, Shahrizat must remember that she as the representative of women has for a long time now been disappointing the women in their fight for justice.

For instance, Shahrizat showed little interest in helping the Penan girls and women who for many years have been crying out for help against the rapes committed by timber loggers.

Shahrizat was just as indifferent when in 2008, former Cabinet minister Jamaluddin Jarjis was reported to have sexually molested a restaurant worker. She again was nonchalant when the Labour Department director-general ridiculed the proposed Sexual Harassment Act.

Shahrizat was again silent when it was reported that her male colleague, Rais Yatim, who is Information, Communications and Culture Minister, had allegedly raped his domestic worker.

Shahrizat was also quiet when Besant Singh, a National Service trainee, cried foul after he found his hair snipped while at the training camp in Sungai Bakap in Penang early this year.

What did Shahrizat do to help alleviate the difficulties faced by 19-year-old Tan Hui Linn who is legally blind in her right eye after both she and her mother were splashed with acid by Tan’s father?

Despite her ordeal, Tan, a student of SMK Convent Datuk Keramat, Penang, scored 9As and 1B in her 2010 Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia examination. Tan’s mother died soon after the attack due to massive burns on her body.

Has Shahrizat offered any assistance to victims of snatch thefts who are badly injured in a struggle with the assailants? What about the victims who lost their lives to snatch thieves – what has Shahrizat’s ministry done for their families, to lessen their suffering?

Again, why was Shahrizat quiet when a female politician, Nurul Izzah Anwar, in May this year received a text message threatening to kidnap her three-year-old daughter? The threat was to get Nurul, who is also PKR vice-president, to back down from supporting her father and Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim.

(Shahrizat was the MP for Lembah Pantai for 13 years before losing it to youngster Nurul who made her debut in the 2008 general election.)

Recently, a letter to the editor highlighted the pathetic treatment meted out by the one-stop crisis centres to assist rape survivors. Shahrizat is still quiet.

Where is Shahrizat while 41 families from the Ladang Bukit Jalil estate struggle to keep the roof over their heads intact after City Hall ordered them out, citing the excuse that the 26-acre land they once called home will be turned into a burial ground?

Shahrizat fails people’s expectations


It is not Ambiga but Sharizat that is being payed by the taxpayers to look into their woes. And thus far, Shahrizat has failed the people.

Shahrizat’s unwillingness to speak against injustices suffered by the people by virtue of her being their minister is proof that she plays her cards very carefully.

That being the case, just what are the issues that this minister finds worth highlighting?
While Shahrizat is having sleepless nights, Ambiga is unflappable, determined to carry on with the walk, albeit facing a death threat.

Dissenting voices like Shahrizat’s know fully well that a clean electoral process will jeopardise their chances at the polls, hence the repetitive objections towards the July 9 walk.

Politician first, woman second

It was the very Shahrizat who once remarked to the women’s groups that “she is a politician first and woman later”. Little wonder then that she had no qualms making personal attacks on Ambiga, who has the people’s right to a free and fair election at heart.

Still, it is utterly frustrating that the women’s minister herself has decided to speak up against the move to clean up the electoral system. In the process, Shahrizat has unwittingly undermined the efforts of a fellow woman at bringing about the desperate changes needed to the system.

Condemning both the rally and Ambiga has placed Shahrizat in the same boat as those male chauvinists who think little of women’s emancipation. Shahrizat’s sexist mentality speaks volumes of her unwillingness to take a firm stand against all forms of discrimination against women.

It is no hidden secret that Shahrizat is planning for a long stay in politics. However, disparaging a fellow woman committed to changing the electoral system has only dented Shahrizat’s image as a woman’s minister.
And lest Shahrizat forgets, it was the very same Ambiga who made Malaysia proud when in 2009 she was among the eight award recipients feted by United States first lady Michelle Obama and US secretary of state Hillary Clinton for championing women’s rights.

Clearly, it is not Ambiga but Shahrizat who has disappointed the people.

Exorbitant prices at Indian eateries

While the government is not in favour of increase in food prices, Indian eateries in the Klang Valley are charging customers exorbitant rates and are getting away with it.

KUALA LUMPUR: Fancy paying RM4.50 for a thosai, RM4 for a glass of iced Milo and warm water or RM4.50 for a plate of instant noodles?

The prices quoted above are not the price of food of the future but what is being charged by Indian restaurants in the Klang Valley now.

FMT, working on a public complaint on the prices of food at Indian eateries, did its own survey and found that the prices at these restaurants had skyrocketed and were well above the normal rates.

Last week, a businessman, who did not want to be named, complained of an Indian restaurant in Serdang, Selangor, charging exorbitant rates and which prompted FMT to check the average prices of food at Indian eateries.

He claimed he was charged RM6.50 for a ghee thosai and hot lime juice by a famous restaurant in Sri Serdang.

“Normally, I pay about RM3.50 for the same meal in other restaurants… food prices especially at Indian restaurants are not controlled. Rampant charges are imposed by those wanting massive profits,” he said.

While that might be the case in Serdang, a chicken puff and a glass of Milo in Brickfields, better known as Little India, cost RM5.70 although the same two items cost only RM2.50 at an Indian Muslim restaurant.
The restaurant owner, when approached over the high price, said that the chicken puff amounted to RM2.80 while the Milo was RM2.90.

Asked why the prices were high, he said this was because of the sugar and gas price hike recently.
He also defended the price saying that his restaurant was air-conditioned, thus the high price.

High rental the reason

Another restaurant in Damansara was found to be charging customers RM4.50 for a plate of instant noodle. For the record, the price of a packet of instant noodle is only 90 sen.

The restaurant owner, when approached, came up with another excuse for the high pricing, saying that it was because he had to pay high rental charges.

Another check at another Indian restaurant in Petaling Jaya revealed that an iced Milo and warm water can set a person back by RM4. The iced Milo is RM3.50 while it is 50 sen for the warm water.

The Malaysian Consumer Advisory Association president M Varatharajoo, when contacted, said the high prices imposed by Indian eateries was a long-standing problem which the government had failed to solve.
“Almost everyday, we get complaints from consumers on the high prices imposed by Indian restaurants. But there is no proper solution or enforcement by the government in settling the issue,” he told FMT.

He said the increase in sugar and fuel prices was being used by restaurant operators to defend the high food and drinks prices.

“Every time the petrol price goes up the government says it will not affect prices of food. But, on the other hand, restaurant operators say the hike in food prices is because of fuel price increase. When prices of food increase the authorities turn a blind eye,” he added.

Varatharajoo suggested that the government set up a national committee to monitor food prices at restaurants, especially Indian-owned eateries.

Bersih 2.0: Tembelang Najib Pecah

Malaysiakini
Oleh Wira Arjuna
“Saya menekankan supaya rakyat didahulukan kerana dalam sistem demokrasi berparlimen, suara rakyat adalah suara keramat.”
Last day of Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. Najib Abdul Razak takes over as prime minister in PutrajayaItu intipati ucapan Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Razak beberapa bulan selepas dinobatkan sebagai Perdana Menteri pada tahun 2009.
Dalam sekelip mata di bawah teraju beliau, Malaysia kembali ke era negara polis yang mewarnai pemerintahan Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Hanya kerana berlainan pendapat dengan pemerintah, maka suara 63 Pertubuhan Bukan Kerajaan (NGO) cuba dibisukan, manakala ruang bersuara untuk parti pembangkang disempitkan lagi.
Rakyat yang memakai kemeja T dengan membawa logo BERSIH ditangkap, malah bendera Malaysia yang dibawa mereka untuk diedarkan kepada orang ramai juga dirampas.
Ratusan ribu rakyat yang mahu turun menzahirkan keperluan untuk sistem pilihan raya diperbaiki supaya lebih adil dan telus, akan menghadapi serangan polis bersenjatakan belantan dan pancutan air berkimia pada 9 Julai.
NONESegala aktiviti penganjur BERSIH dan pemimpin-pemimpin politik yang menyokong gerakan itu diibaratkan oleh polis dan media arus perdana sebagai memudaratkan keselamatan negara.
Malah BERSIH, menurut Umno-BN, akan memberi kesan teruk kepada ekonomi Malaysia jika tidak dibendung.
Tembelang pecah
Polis di seluruh negara digerakkan untuk menahan sesiapa sahaja yang memakai baju T dengan logo BERSIH dan merampas apa sahaja yang mengandungi logo itu.
Akhirnya tembelang Najib “pecah”.
NONEJanji-janji untuk mengamalkan keterbukaan dan menjadikan rakyat sebagai paksi kepada segala tindakan beliau hanya kenyataan politik yang kosong.
Sebaliknya beliau menunjukkan kecederungan menggunakan insitusi polis untuk meluntur malah memadamkan sebarang bantahan rakyat secara terbuka. Dasar ini kerap dilakukan di zaman Dr Mahathir dan kini berulang di era Najib.
Justeru polis mula bertindak keras untuk membatalkan BERSIH.
Tidak ada negara yang mendokong demokrasi mempunyai pasukan polis yang menangkap orang hanya kerana pakaian mereka tidak seiring dengan pemikiran kerajaan.
NONEApakah undang-undang rimba berdaulat kembali apabila polis boleh menyerbu dan menyita sekretariat BERSIH tanpa waran semata-mata untuk merampas baju T dan risalah BERSIH?
Di sebalik semua tindakan polis terhadap penganjur dan penyokong BERSIH, apakah salah dengan tuntutan perhimpunan itu?
Suruhanjaya Hak Asasi Manusia Malaysia, Suhakam, sendiri tidak mempunyai sebarang bantahan terhadap perhimpunan aman BERSIH, namun dukacita kerana pendapat badan ini tidak mendapat perhatian kerajaan.
police crack down bersih 290611 melacca chinese assembly hallIni kerana tuntutan asas BERSIH adalah supaya sistem pilihan raya diperbaiki khususnya ketelusan undi pos di samping pembersihan daftar pengundi.
Sebuah pilihan raya yang adil dan telus akan memberi kelebihan kepada mana-mana parti yang menang pada pilihan raya umum akan datang untuk mendabik dada kerana meraih kejayaan yang “bersih” dan tidak mencurigakan.
Amat berpengetahuan
Tidak ada sesiapa boleh menafikan bahawa pada setiap pilihan raya, BN akan bermula dengan kelebihan yang begitu besar berasaskan kawalan penuh terhadap media arus perdana negara ini dan sumber kewangan negara serta kemudahan awam.
Contohnya Utusan MalaysiaTV3, NTV7TV9New Straits Timesdan Berita Harian dikawal oleh Umno manakala The Star dikuasai MCA.
bersih rally 271207 06Ini tidak termasuk RTMdan Bernama yang diletak terus di bawah Kementerian Penerangan, Komunikkasi dan Kebudayaan.
Kelebihan ini umumnya diterima oleh Pembangkang dan Pertubuhan Bukan Kerajaan sebagai realiti politik negara, contohnya tidak mungkin Umno menyerahkan haknya untuk menentukan siapa Ketua Pengarang Utusan Malaysia mahupun Berita Harian.
Justeru tuntutan utama NGO berkenaan menerusi BERSIH ialah supaya SPR mengatasi masalah-masalah ketelusan undi pos, penghapusan pengundi hantu dan pembersihan daftar pengundi.
Justeru inisiatif 63 Pertubuhan Bukan Kerajaan ini harus disokong, bukan sahaja oleh Pembangkang tetapi juga oleh BN, yakni Najib sendiri.
Najib ingin mencanang Malaysia sebagai sebuah negara dinamis di bawah dasar-dasar beliau yang pro-aktif dan berpaksi rakyat.
NONEBeliau seorang yang amat berpengetahuan luas, menjelajah di seluruh dunia dan tentunya peka bahawa hak berkumpul secara aman adalah prinsip asas demokrasi.
Jika benar beliau mendokong prinsip itu, kenapa bertindak begitu zalim terhadap penganjur BERSIH?
Tutup sebelah mata
Jika Najib menyokong prinsip asas demokrasi, beliau sepatutnya turun bersama rakyat, tak kira sama ada mereka penyokongnya mahupun pembangkang , demi menzahirkan komitmennya kepada sebuah pilihan raya yang telus dan adil.
NONEKehadiran beliau bersama rakyat, wakil masyarakat madani dan pemimpin pembangkang pada perhimpunan BERSIH sudah tentu menjadi pemangkin untuk Suruhanjaya Pilihan Raya melakukan penambahbaikan kepada sistem pemilihan yang sedia ada.
“Kalau kita sebagai pemimpin turun bersama rakyat tanpa protokol, tanpa hamparan permaidani merah, tanpa bunga manggar, tanpa sambutan, duduk dengan rakyat, minum dan ambil kira serta ambil berat masalah rakyat, rakyat akan tetap bersama kita dan rakyat akan tetap memberi kuasa.”
Itu ucapan Najib pada satu majlis di Sabah tidak lama dahulu. Jika beliau mendokong kenyataannya itu, sudah tentu Perdana Menteri tidak bermasalah menyokong BERSIH.
NONESebaliknya Najib memilih untuk merestui tindakan polis menangkap dan memenjarakan mereka yang menuntut pilihan raya bersih dan adil.
Beliau juga menutup sebelah mata dengan provokasi PERKASA dan Pemuda Umno menganjurkan siri demostrasi pada hari yang sama, semata-mata untuk mencetuskan keadaan tegang dan memberi alasan kepada polis untuk bertindak liar.
Sayang – peluang Malaysia melangkah ke depan untuk menyubur dan mematangkan proses demokrasi negara disambut dengan tindakan pemerintah yang begitu keras dan jauh daripada bersih.

Stop Bersih crackdown, Bar Council tells Putrajaya

The Malaysian Insider 
by Debra Chong

KUALA LUMPUR, June 29 – The Bar Council demanded today that the Najib administration stop its pre-emptive strikes against possible supporters of electoral reform group Bersih 2.0 ten days before its planned rally in the capital.

Council president Lim Chee Wee said he was alarmed by Putrajaya’s “wanton, unjustified and wholly disproportionate crackdown” this week on freedom of movement, speech and assembly, including nabbing individuals on flimsy excuses such as the clothes they were wearing.

“Most alarming has been the arrest and remand for seven days of a group of individuals (including two juveniles in their teens) in Penang, who are now being investigated under section 122 of the Penal Code for allegedly ‘waging war against the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong,’” he highlighted.

“The unreasonable and unwarranted use of this provision, which provides for potentially severe penalties, and the length of the detention period reflect the government’s determination to clamp down on the citizenry’s right to express their viewpoints peaceably and to intimidate anyone wishing to exercise that right,” he added.

Under the law, whoever tries to “collect men, arms or ammunition, or otherwise prepares to wage war ... against the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong or any of the Rulers or Yang di-Pertua Negeri or abets the waging or the preparation of such war, shall be punished with imprisonment for life or imprisonment for a term not exceeding twenty years, and shall also be liable to fine”.

The lawyer repeated the Bar Council’s call to the police to allow the demonstrators to continue their campaigning for their July 9 rallies in peace and to also help them to keep the public order and peace.

'Kepala Batas residents' heckle PSM supporters

 

Sri Lanka police investigate attack on teenage girls for watching pornography

Colombo, June 29: Sri Lankan police are reportedly investigating an assault on two girls for allegedly watching pornography in eastern Sri Lanka last week.

A group of men had allegedly beaten up the 17-year-olds after they came out of an internet cafe in the Muslim dominated town of Kattankudi, near Batticaloa, the BBC reports.

The case raised concern about the rise of radical Islam in that area.

The father of one of the girls said they were accused of watching pornography, which the girls vehemently denied.

My child has physically recovered from injuries. But she is mentally shattered," he said. 

He also alleged that they were forcefully taken to a local house and beaten up, before taking them to a local Islamic office.

"After that, an announcement was made from a mosque using loudspeakers that two girls who were caught doing wrongful things are now in the office complex," the father said, adding that a large crowd gathered there and some started to denounce the girls following the announcement.

He claimed that the police finally intervened and took the girls to hospital for treatment.

Meanwhile, local mosque authorities denied making any announcement, saying the girls were kept in the office and "interrogated", but were not ill-treated.


Copyright Asian News International/DailyIndia.com  

Netherlands: "One dog less" -- Young Muslims jeer and mock at Christian funerals, pound hearse with their fists

IGP says cops to arrest those with pro-Bersih ‘shoes, cars, buses’

The IGP revealed today that 101 people have been arrested over the last four days. — file pic
 
KUALA LUMPUR, June 29 — The police will not only arrest those sporting Bersih T-shirts but may also take action against anyone using any medium to promote the illegal rally, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) has said.

“Not just T-shirts but shoes, cars, buses. If these are the tools used to encourage people to gather (illegally), this amounts to sedition,” Tan Sri Ismail Omar told reporters at Bukit Aman police headquarters here today.

Earlier today, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein declared T-shirts bearing messages in support of Bersih illegal as they were related to an illegal assembly.

He, however, did not specify the legal provision that the garments were deemed to have breached.
Ismail explained that it was the duty of the police as the “protectors of society” to safeguard public order and national security, which he said would be in jeopardy if the Bersih 2.0 rally were allowed to take place.

“Based on PDRM (Royal Malaysian Police) intelligence ... if this rally is held, tension, chaos, the destruction of property, injury and even loss of life may occur,” he said.

“PDRM will not allow any individual or certain parties to do anything that could trigger chaos and anarchy.”

He added that the police have received information that foreign elements were poised to exploit the chaos that would “very likely” result from the rally but declined to reveal their identity or if they were working with opposition parties.

Ismail also warned Bersih organisers and supporters not to take advantage of his civil treatment of them so far to continue “inciting” the public to take part in the illegal rally.

“I am still being civil at this point but don’t force me to go to the next stage,” he said.
“Just watch ... There have been arrests but you will see further action if anyone still dares to break the law.”

Ismail revealed today that a total of 1,830 police reports were lodged between June 6 and June 28, while 101 people have been arrested over the last four days, 45 of whom are still in custody.

He said the police will take further action when necessary against those detained, in accordance with the procedures and laws of the nation.

Bersih under attack: Office raided, staff detained


Selangor police chief Tun Hisan Tun Hamzah says the raid was conducted following a tip off that there were illegal activities taking place in the premise.

PETALING JAYA:  The police today raided the Bersih secretariat here and seized several items as the authorities increased the pressure on the movement to call off its mass rally on July 9.

They have also taken away seven staff members for questioning.

PKR supreme council member Latheefa Koya told reporters that the police came at about 11am and had threatened to force their way into the Bersih secretariat. Bersih shares the single storey residential house with another NGO, Empower.

“When the staff enquired the police whether they had a warrant, the police refused to answer and threatened to break down the gate.

“That’s when one of the staff opened the gate for them,” said Latheefa. Also present were Lawyers for Liberty advisor Eric Paulsen and coordinator Fadiah Nadwa Fikri.

Latheefa was not at the venue when the police arrived and only reached the place at about 1pm.

Staff members questioned

The police also questioned seven staff members under the Police Act and the Printing Presses and Publications Act.

Latheefa added that the staff members had their MyKads seized and were not allowed to leave the office.

She added that an officer known as ACP Rosli had said that the staff members will be investigated in the Bersih office for now.

If need be, they will then be taken for questioning at the Petaling Jaya police headquarters, she said.
At 3.20pm, the staff members – five women and two men – were led by the police into a police truck.
The police also took away seven plastic bags filled with seized items, six boxes, four banners and posters into the truck.

Those detained were Lau Shu Shi, Temme Lee Wei Wei, Eruthayamary Sinappan, Mohamad Ikhsan Samat, Normila Noordin, Deepa Nair Balakrishnan and Ang Hiok Gai.

There was a short commotion at the scene when Hindraf Makkal Sakthi national coordinator K Balakrishnan protested against the arrest of the stafff members.

“How can you arrest ladies without having lady officers present?” shouted Balakrishnan. Deepa Nair is Balakrishnan’s daughter.

Illegal activities

Selangor police chief Tun Hisan Tun Hamzah, when contacted, said the raid was conducted following a tip off that there were illegal activities taking place in the premise.

“So we monitored the place and found the allegation was true,” said Tun Hisan.

The police chief said his officers had seized hundreds of Bersih T-shirts and other Bersih apparels from the office.

“Bersih is also an illegal body as it is not registered under the Societies Act. So we will refer to Registrar of Societies on this case as well,”said Tun Hisan.

In a press conference later, a lawyer from the KL Bar Legal Aid Bureau, Honey Tan said the staff members were being taken to Petaling Jaya IPD for questioning.

“The police even took items not related to Bersih,” she said.

Earlier the police barred reporters from entering the premises during the raid. An officer even took contact numbers and details from reporters present.

Also present was Bersih steering committee member Haris Ibrahim.

‘Malaysia making mockery of human rights’

Malaysia sits in the UN Human Rights Council. But Klang MP Charles Santiago says the country should be stripped of its membership, with all the violations happening now.

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia is a member of the UN Human Rights Council and its main purpose is addressing human rights violations.

But judging from the blatant abuse of human rights here over the last two weeks, Malaysia’s very presence in the council is likely to be questioned.

The Human Rights Council was created by the UN General Assembly on March 15, 2006, aimed mainly at addressing human rights violations and make recommendations on them.

Malaysia was re-elected to the UN Human Rights Council on June 19, 2008. It will serve a three- year term which ends in 2013.

Klang MP Charles Santiago says the Barisan Nasional (BN) government does not care for human rights in the country and the UN should strip Malaysia of its membership of the Human Rights Council.
Santiago said the government should stop making a mockery of the council.

“It’s time the government stopped pretending that it cares about human rights in the country. Arbitrary arrests, inhumane treatment of detainees and silencing of legitimate dissent are not marks of a democratic nation,” he said.

The clampdown on the Bersih’s planned “Walk for Democracy” on July 9 has been intensifying. This morning, 14 people including DAP Jalong assemblywoman Leong Mee Meng and PKR Teja assemblyman Chang Lih Kang were taken in by police in Sungai Siput for promoting the rally.

In the afternoon, police raided the office of Bersih office in Petaling Jaya. Selangor police chief Tun Hisan Tun Hamzah said the raid was conducted following a tip-off that there were illegal activities taking place in the premises.

He also said that his officers had seized hundreds of Bersih T-shirts and other Bersih apparels from the office.

Government’s high-handedness


Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein today said that it was illegal to wear the yellow Bersih 2.0 T-shirts as it was associated with illegal activities.

To date, about 100 people have been caught for wearing the T-shirts. Bersih has said that it will not apply for a permit for its rally because the government had already warned that it will not issue any permits.

Over the weekend, the police arrested 30 Parti Socialis Malaysia (PSM) members, including Sungai Siput MP, Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj, in Penang and they have been remanded for a week to be investigated for illegal assembly and waging war against the king.

PSM has clarified that the arrests were not related to Bersih but linked to its own campaign, “Udahla Tu… Bersarala” (Enough already – retire now).

Bersih chairman S Ambiga, national laureate A Samad Said, Perkasa chief Ibrahim Ali and an Umno Youth representative were quizzed on Monday.

Yesterday, PKR vice-president Nurrul Izzah, Subang MP R Sivarasa, and lawyers N Surendran and Fadiah Nadwa Fitri (from legal aid organisation Lawyers for Liberty) were also summoned to give their statements at the Dang Wangi police station.

Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim was also questioned by the police yesterday.

A few more leaders such as Bersih steering committee member Maria Chin Abdullah and DAP Seputeh MP Teresa Kok are scheduled to give their statements today.

Santiago said that all these developments demonstrates the government’s high-handedness and disregard for human rights in the country.

Anak Mamak disrupts press meet, rains abuses

Meanwhile the Penang High Court will decide tomorrow on the application for a judicial revision on their seven-day remand by 30 PSM detainees.

UPDATED
GEORGE TOWN: Several members from the unregistered Suara Anak-Anak Mamak Pulau Pinang disrupted a Bersih-related press conference and hurled abuses against members of a coalition of civil society here today.

Led by its chief Mohamed Ghani Abd Jiman, they hurled abuses against the civil society coalition members, including former state executive councillor Toh Kin Woon.

While Toh was speaking to reporters near the state police headquarters this afternoon, the group, among others, shouted “Go back to your country if you want to complain”, “Don’t eat shit eat rice”, “You seem old and about to die, go home” and “We are here to protect the law and order, and sovereignty of the country”.

Earlier, Toh led some 10 civil society members to submit a memorandum to state police chief Ayub Yaakob. The memorandum was received by Ayub’s representative ASP M Selvi.

Although Ghani and his gang were hurling abuses against Toh and the others in front of the police headquarters, police personnel just watched the commotion for most of the time.

George Town police chief ACP Gan Kong Meng, who was present, later intervened and told both Ghani and Toh as well as the rest to leave the place.

As Toh proceeded to continue his press conference outside the nearby Mydin Supermarket, Ghani and his gang again hurled abuses.

Earlier, Ghani and his group scared off a Bersih 2.0 female activist while she was distributing copies of the memorandum to newsmen. The female activist hurriedly left the place fearing for her safety.

This is the second time within 12 hours that rowdy groups had disrupted a Bersih gathering.

Last night, PSM members faced a similar situation with a huge group of rowdy youths outside the northern Seberang Perai police headquarters.

PSM submits memorandum

This morning, PSM secretary-general S Arutchelvan led a party delegation to hand over a separate memorandum to the state police chief.

Both memorandums touched on the detention of 30 PSM activists on Saturday while they were travelling in a tour bus along the North-South Expressway.

The memorandums contained complaints of poor condition of police lock-ups, harassment of detainees, lack of water supply and medical treatment.

The memorandums also called on the police to release the detainees at least on police bail.

Remand ruling tomorrow

Meanwhile, the Penang High Court will decide tomorrow on the application for a judicial revision on their seven-day remand by 30 PSM detainees, including Sungai Siput MP Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj.

The PSM detainees want the court to release them immediately from the current remand from June 26 to July 2.

Judge Zamani Abdul Rahim said he would deliver his decision at 11am tomorrow. Today he heard arguments from both lawyers for the detainees and the prosecution in a packed courtroom for two hours starting at 2.30pm.

At least 100 people also gathered outside the court room to support the PSM detainees.
The detainees applied for the revision on the grounds that the police did not have sufficient material evidence to investigate them under Section 122 of the Penal Code with allegedly waging a war against the King.

“Even the Agong would laugh if told that old ladies were detained in suspicion of waging war against him,” defence lawyer CV Prabakaran told the judge.

Utusan dangerous and silly, says PSM

Arutchelvan denounces the paper as a national security threat and describes its reporting as “bullshit”.

TAIPING:  Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM), currently a favourite target of Utusan Malaysia’s stridently pro-Umno reporting, has hit back with a denunciation of the daily as both dangerous and silly.

“It is the real threat to national security and its reporting is bullshit,” said PSM secretary-general S Arutchelvan.

Referring to an article that appeared in Utusan yesterday, he said the paper made the “illogical and comical” inference that a communist and an agent for the American right wing would work together to topple the Malaysian government.

The Utusan report, which carried the headline “National security threatened”, mentioned the arrest of Filipino Romeo Castillo, 56, and South Korean Min Young Song, 24, and quoted an unnamed source as saying that the two were out to “create chaos in the country.

The two were arrested in Ledang, Johor, together with PSM members who were distributing leaflets as part of a national campaign that the party says is aimed at creating voter awareness.

They were at the event only as observers, Arutchelvan said.

Castillo is deputy secretary of the Party of the Labour Masses and PSM had invited him to participate in its national congress early this month and for a month-long working visit. Song is an intern with the May 18 Foundation, a South Korean human rights organisation. She is in Malaysia for a stint with the National Institute for Democracy and Electoral Integrity.

Arutchelvan lodged a police report against Utusan in Kepala Batas yesterday, alleging that the paper had threatened national security through false claims.

Police raid office of NGO involved in Bersih rally

The Star
by STEVEN DANIEL


PETALING JAYA: Police raided the office of a non-governmental organisation (NGO) here Wednesday for alleged involvement in the Opposition-initiated Bersih rally planned for July 9.

The NGO, named Empower, is said to be one of the secretariat committee members for Bersih.

Seven staff members and volunteers were taken in for questioning.

More than a dozen policemen arrived at the single-storey house located along Jalan 4/48e around noon and demanded to enter the premises.

"They did not provide any search warrant and warned they would break open the gates if they (the occupants) did not open the door," said, said PKR leader and lawyer Lateefa Koya when met at the scene.

She said the raid was led by a police officer who proceeded to inspect all the rooms of the building.

"The police seized several items, including some leaflets and paraphernalia that was meant for the Bersih rally," she said, adding that she had not received the list of items seized.

Meanwhile, Selangor police chief Datuk Tun Hisan when contacted confirmed the raid.

"We received information that the premises was conducting illegal activities.

"Upon monitoring the location, our intelligence proved right and a team raided the premises," he said.

He said police found hundreds of Bersih T-shirts, logos and emblems during the raid.

He added that police were investigating the matter under Section 50(3) of the Organisation Act as the premises was not registered.

PSM remand: Court to deliver decision tomorrow

Penang High Court Judge Datuk Zamani Abdul Rahim is hearing an urgent application for a revision of the seven-day remand order on 30 detained PSM activists.
 
The application was submitted by Legal Aid Centre lawyers yesterday.

The detainees are represented by a seven-member legal team led by senior criminal lawyer Dato C V Prabhakaran. Others in the team are Ranjit Singh Dhillon, Agatha Foo, Karen Lai, Parthiban, Sukhindarpal Singh and Ravi Chandran.

The courtroom is packed with around a hundred people, and extra chairs had to be brought in. Others are unable to get into the room. Lawyers are raising questions about whether the actual evidence found supported the need for a long remand period.

This morning, about 10 activists arrived at the Police Contingent Headquarters along Penang Road to submit a joint NGO memorandum to the CPO expressing concern about the poor treatment of detainees. A policewoman accepted the memo on behalf of the CPO who was said to be engaged elsewhere.

While the activists were giving a press conference outside the station, another group of 10 men – an activist said he recognised some of them them from a ‘pro-ISA’ group at an earlier gathering – approached and confronted the activists. The activists moved on and continued their press conference at a nearby location.

Meanwhile, social reform movement Aliran issued a a statement last night.