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Friday, July 8, 2011

‘Being socialists our only crime’

From behind bars, Sungai Siput MP Dr D Michael Jeyakumar issues a statement condemning the arrest of six PSM activists.
PETALING JAYA: The only “crime” committed by the six Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) activists detained under the Emergency Ordinance is that they are socialists.

In a statement via his lawyer, Sungai Siput MP Dr D Michael Jeyakumar, who is one of those detained, said: “We have not broken any law and our crime is that we are socialists and we are attempting to put the issues affecting the poorer 60% of Malaysians in the national agenda. eg. hospital privatisation, minimum wage and decent wages.”

The others arrested were PSM deputy president M Saraswathy, central committee members Choo Chon Kai and M Sugumaran, youth chief R Sarathbabu and Sungai Siput branch secretary A Letchumanan.

They were initially arrested under Section 122 of the Penal Code for waging war against the King on June 25, and latter re-arrested under the EO on July 2.

Arguing against their detention, Jeyakumar said it was totally unwarranted and the activists were working within the democractic framework.

“The ‘Udahlah bersaralah’ campaign involves pamphlet distribution and awareness calls for the people to think properly for the general election. The action and activity is totally within the democratic space allowed by the (Federal) Constitution,” he added.

He was also saddened by the police’s inability to differentiate between national and constitutional rights.
Jeyakumar, a medical doctor by training, urged PSM activists and supporters to continue their struggle without fear.

“Stand up for democratic rights and let us not allow this kind of intimidation hold us back,” he said.

King’s ‘independence’ surprises Umno leaders, say sources

KUALA LUMPUR, July 8 — The Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s “independence” over the Bersih issue through his edict and meeting the electoral reform group is causing some consternation among Umno politicians, including several ministers, sources say.

The Malaysian Insider understands that they are upset by Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin’s decision to grant an audience to Bersih 2.0 chairman Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan last Tuesday, arguing that it is outside his constitutional powers.

File photo of Tuanku Mizan receiving a scroll containing the royal address from Najib (left) at Parliament House in Kuala Lumpur on March 7, 2011. The King stepped in to diffuse the heightened tension over Bersih 2.0’s planned rally last Sunday. — Reuters pic
Government officials also confirmed that there has been a series of to-ing and fro-ing of the draft of the King’s statement between the palace and the Najib administration before Istana Negara issued what amounted to measured advice late Sunday.
 
“Some Umno politicians felt that the King’s statement should have been more strongly worded against Bersih. And some ministers are also upset that the King met Ambiga,” a source told The Malaysian Insider.

A Cabinet minister confirmed with The Malaysian Insider that dissenting views were raised during the weekly Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

“They felt that the Agong is not the executive arm of the administration and the Agong must subscribe to the constitutional monarchy system where he acts on advice of the PM.

“So most of the ministers felt that this was done without PM’s knowledge. But PM knows, so actually, it was a wrong assumption,” said the minister.

The minister added that the disapproval was also largely because the government had already declared Bersih 2.0 an outlawed organisation.

The King’s agreement to meet Ambiga, said the minister, gave the appearance that the Ruler did not recognise the Bersih 2.0’s status as illegal.

“But if you look at it another way, the Agong did not see Bersih 2.0. The King allowed Ambiga as an individual to meet... not as a Bersih representative because it is an illegal organisation.

“So the Agong meeting Ambiga does not legalise Bersih 2.0… it does not mean that Bersih 2.0 is now recognised. There is no such mechanism; you still have to be registered with the Registrar of Societies first,” the minister said.

The minister also confirmed that the government had prepared the King’s intervention text last week but disagreed that the Ruler had altered and released it without giving prior notice.

“Not true. It was checked and the PM was aware,” the minister said.

The King stepped in to diffuse the heightened tension over Bersih 2.0’s planned rally last Sunday, urging all parties in the conflict to seek a resolution through consultation.

The King had also called for peace, saying that street rallies would bring more harm than good even if its original intention was good.

The Ruler later agreed to grant an audience to Ambiga and two others on Tuesday, after which the Bersih chairman announced that the coalition would take its rally off the streets and relocate it to a stadium.

But to date, its application to hold the event at Stadium Merdeka in the capital city here has been rejected by the government, inviting criticisms from the coalition and opposition party leaders that the administration was acting in conflict with the King’s advice.

Asked that same day if he had also met the King, Najib declined comment, but noted that it was his prerogative as the Ruler’s adviser to hold such a meeting.

Police rehearse anti-riot routine to scare public

Musician-turned activist Attama believes that the police crackdown on Sabah Bersih 2.0 rally organisers is 'a slap' in the face of every Malaysian.

KOTA KINABALU: The show of force by the police and their move to ‘close off’ the Foochow Association Hall to the Sabah Bersih 2.0′s indoor rally on Saturday has riled the organisors here.

The organisers condemned the police for attempting to intimidate and instill fear among the public by holding anti-riot drills in the open at Padang Merdeka here in the heart of the city and at a shopping area about 10 minutes away.

“By gearing up in riot gear, holding batons and rehearsing FRU formations, to us it is a exhibition of a police state,” said popular musician Atama Katama.

“How can the police use this strategy against a group of citizens that only want to uphold their rights and walk in peace and solidarity with one another for a good cause?

“Are we the citizens not allowed to express our voice of the injustice committed to us at all? How can democracy be upheld if elections are rigged?”

Attama, who is in the forefront of the Sabah Bersih 2.0 peacefull rally calling for free and fair elections, described the crackdown on the rally organisers as ‘a slap in the face of every Malaysian’ whose right to assembly which is guaranteed under Article 10 of the federal constitution has now been trashed.

“Does this mean the Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s administration will continue to have 70,000 phantom voters in the Sabah EC roll?

“By depriving Malaysians of their constitutional rights it is obvious that PM Najib and the BN administration are not for free and clean elections.

Najib lacking integrity


Attama said the failure to allow Bersih supporters to assemble in a hall will only result in more splinter groups of supporters marching uncoordinatedly throughout the city.

“We in MCLM (Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement) express our great disappointment with the cancellation of our bookings of the venue caused by the intense pressure from the authorities.

“It is now clear to us the people of Malaysia that the PM Najib administration lacks the integrity especially because PM Najib had earlier assured Bersih leaders that they can proceed if it was held indoors and a permit applied,” he told the press.

Though the rally organisers here have been forced to abort their plan to hold the gathering at the Foochow Hall in Luyang in support of the nationwide campaign, on Saturday, they intend to show their support via radio.

Atama said Sabah Bersih organisers had been invited to participate in the launch of the Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) RadioSabahTv, an online radio on Saturday, at the party’s headquarters in Bornion Centre, Luyang, at 1pm.

Dirty treatment for a clean cause

Despite all the dirt thrown at Bersih, the movement has emerged cleaner than the tainted powers that be.
COMMENT
Shamefully desperate. This best describes Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, who is going all out to finish off election watchdog Bersih 2.0.

Applying all the dirty tactics in the book, Najib sought the help of his cousin-cum-Home Minister, Hishammuddin Hussein, and got Bersih 2.0 declared as an illegal outfit.

Then, there were claims that Bersih 2.0 chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan was the beneficiary of illegal funding including from controversial currency speculator George Soros.

It did not end there. The police claimed it found a bag full of the yellow T-shirts with the word Bersih on it, Molotov cocktails and other weapons days ahead of the July 9 rally.

Still unhappy with the people’s show of support towards the rally, Najib has ordered the police to apply for a court order and arrest the 91 individuals including Ambiga, Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim and DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang should they set foot in certain parts of Kuala Lumpur.

All that could be done to tarnish the image of Bersih 2.0 and cast doubt on its “Walk for Democracy” rally was being done by Najib and his team. Yet, all that failed to brainwash the people who staunchly support Bersih 2.0.

Utterly desperate, Najib’s last attempt was to “instruct” the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to interfere, which the former dutifully did, urging that the rally due tomorrow not happen on the streets because of the chaos it might lead to.

Bersih 2.0 respectfully abided by the King’s request to not take to the streets, not realising that the “powers that be” were not trustworthy.

Bersih 2.0 agreed to hold the rally in a closed-door environment and identified Stadium Merdeka as the preferred venue, due to its historical significance, that is, being the site where the country’s independence was proclaimed by the country first prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman.

But the Stadium Merdeka management refused to entertain that request from Bersih 2.0, giving reasons that the stadium was already booked for July 9.

Passing the buck


While the tug-of-war goes on between Bersih 2.0 and Stadium Merdeka, Najib watches from afar, pleased that he succeeded in giving Ambiga the run-around for a venue, passing the buck of dealing with an illegal organisation to the police.

The latest scenario has the Inspector-General of Police Ismail Omar telling Bersih 2.0 to seize the “golden opportunity” offered by the government for the rally to take place indoors – but best they do it outside Kuala Lumpur.

“Malaysia is a big country. Why do you want to hold it in the heart of the city which could potentially become chaotic? Please listen to my advice,” Ismail said at a press conference at the federal police headquarters at Bukit Aman.

Meanwhile, Ambiga is adamant that the rally will take place at Stadium Merdeka.

So intense has the situation become that with the people’s support towards the “Walk for Democracy” growing by the day, so has Najib’s fear of not enjoying control over Putrajaya, come the 13th general election.

The police crackdown, the clampdown on public transport to prevent supporters of the rally pouring in to lend support plus a series of manipulation adopted by Najib have all failed to scare Ambiga from going ahead with the “Walk for Democracy”. This former president of the Malaysian Bar remains focused on the objective behind the rally, which is to reform the electoral system.

Provoking the people into street riots is not Ambiga’s agenda. To make sure the nation is “free” of corrupted influences during elections is what Bersih 2.0 is working so hard to achieve.

But then, as history has shown, fighting for the truth is always painful and difficult. The case with Bersih 2.0 is no different. Its office was raided and the now symbolic yellow T-shirts seized.

Still, Najib was not satisfied. He turned to instilling fear in the people, which was done with the arrest and re-arrest of the Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) activists under the Emergency Ordinance, one of them being Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj, the good doctor who dethroned veteran politician S Samy Vellu from his Sungai Siput constituency seat in the 2008 general election.

A humble Malaysian poet, A Samad Said who supported Ambiga’s call for a reformed electoral system was also taken to task over a poem he dedicated to Bersih 2.0 and its efforts to weed out manipulation at the polls.

Using the monarch

Still, the vendetta against Bersih 2.0 was far from over. Threats to her life aside, the well-intentioned Ambiga became the target of hate by the “powers that be”. To the ultra-Malay group Perkasa and Umno Youth, they had the task of foiling the July 9 rally and that too by holding counter-rallies of their own on the same day of the rally.

While Umno Youth has pulled out from organising a rally, Perkasa mouthpiece Ibrahim Ali who is infamous for being crude and brute, says his rally is on and that too at Stadium Merdeka, failing which it will take place at Stadium Titiwangsa, that too for free since Perkasa is an NGO and is not “flush with cash”.

Despite all the damage done to Bersih 2.0 and the July 9 rally, the people however are in no mood to swallow whatever venom the government “servant” Radio Televisyen Malaysia has been spitting against the “Walk for Democracy”.

That too failed to garner Najib the desired results. Now completely desperate, he made the final move, that of asking the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to come to his rescue.

So on the night of July 3, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin sent out a message that street demonstrations bring more harm than good, albeit the original intention being good.

Trusting Najib to handle the rally “problem” in the best possible way, the monarch urged “the Barisan Nasional government to carry out everything that is entrusted to it by the people in a just and wise manner”.

The problem is that it is this very mandate of the people that for 53 years had been sacrificed for personal agendas by these so-called leaders.

Now that the Bersih 2.0 clarion call has been made for changes to the electoral system and the people too have agreed, the insecurity facing Najib and the rest of the BN leaders might just turn fatal.

Dealing with the “Walk for Democracy” in such a seedy manner has earned Najib nothing but disgust as far as the Human Rights Watch (HRW) is concerned.

Its deputy director for Asia, Phil Robertson, said none of the demands made by Bersih 2.0 warranted a spate of arrests including using the draconian Internal Security Act (ISA) and deploying the army on the day of the rally.

Reputation tarnished

He said the government’s clampdown on the rally oganisers and supporters was likely to tarnish Malaysia’s reputation within the United Nations Human Rights Council.

“For some reason, the Malaysian government has decided to make this rally a test of its power. It almost seems like it has a screw loose. It is very clear that this is a campaign of intimidation,” Robertson was quoted by FMT as saying.

Robertson dismissed accusations that Bersih was politically motivated due to the support from opposition parties. He stressed that even a member of a political party still has the rights of a citizen.

“The issue here is of freedom of peaceful assembly. If a non-governmental organisation and a political party decide to walk hand-in-hand that is their right. The government is just churning out excuse after excuse to stop the rally in the hope that the people will believe at least one of them,” he said.

Robertson said Malaysia is bound by Article 21 of the United Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR) to allow this rally.

Article 21 states that “the will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of the government: this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures”.

Said Robertson: “Bersih is asserting its right under Article 21 and that right should be respected.”
Does all this mean anything to Najib? Or is the BN way of rigging the polls the only way it dares attempt?
That then sums up Ambiga’s determination to carry on with the rally tomorrow.

“Our first and foremost responsibility is to our future and our children, and we have resolved that they shall inherit a nation ruled not by fear, but by the principles of justice,” she said.

Indian students urged to apply now

The Education Ministry had allocated 580 seats for Indians in its matriculation programme for the 2012/2013 session but only 262 students have registered their interests.

KUALA LUMPUR: Indian students currently in Form Five have been urged to apply for the matriculation programme for the year 2012/2013.

MIC vice-president SK Devamany said Education Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has invited the Form Five students to apply for next session.

According to Devamany it is better that the students, who are scheduled to sit for SPM this year apply now and not later.

He said the ministry was offering seats in three streams of accountancy, science and technical (engineering).

“This is a good opportunity and every student should apply for the matriculation programme,” he told FMT.

He added the ministry had extended the registration period until end of October.

Those who are interested have go to http://www.moe.gov.my for further information.

When asked about the Indian students’ involvement in matriculation studies, Devamany, who is also deputy minister in the PM’s Department, said that this year the ministry had allocated 580 seats for Indian students.

But the response, he said, had been poor. Until last month there were only 262 students who registered.
“Since 2009, the government had granted more than 1,000 Indian students the opportunity to study under the matriculation programme but only some 640 accepted the offer,” he said.

Poor response

Meanwhile, he also acknowledged that for the year 2011, the Public Service Department (PSD) has awarded 245 scholarship to Indian.

“From this total,  137 scholarships were for overseas universities and 108 in local universities,” he said.
He added that the government had also awarded Indian students another 100 scholarships under the 1Malaysia Development Board.

He added that since the PSD scholarship became a buzzword, MIC had managed to sort out almost 80% of the cases received.

“MIC studied all the 181 cases received. There were three cases which failed to get scholarships and another 25 who got courses they were not interested in,” he said.

He added that MIC successfully solved 12 of 25 cases of students who wanted to switch courses.
“The balance 13 are still awaiting replies from PSD. I am confident they will get the course of their choice,” he said.

He also said that PSD had already offered scholarships for matriculation courses in public university for the 13 but they refused.

“MIC has put all it’s effort in this scholarship issue and we have already requested the PSD to reconsider the wishes of the 13 for scholarships,” he said.

The Americans foresaw Najib's threat to Pak Lah


Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi is a breath of fresh air after the long-serving and vituperative Mahathir Mohamad, who retired in late 2003. Abdullah promotes a tolerant, progressive approach to religion that he calls "Islam Hadhari" (civilizational Islam). He is publicly committed to fighting corruption and reining in costly mega-projects, though his government's follow-through has been disappointing. His mild-mannered and cautious approach has also led critics to question his leadership and effectiveness, but his ruling coalition remains secure. Abdullah's chief potential rival, Deputy Prime Minister (and Defense Minister) Najib Razak, plays the role of a loyal bulwark. After two years in power, Abdullah has appealed to the public for patience in delivering reform. As long as the economy continues to grow healthily, the public will grant him that.
THE CORRIDORS OF POWER
Raja Petra Kamarudin


C O N F I D E N T I A L KUALA LUMPUR 000705

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/18/2016
TAGS: PREL, MASS, MARR, PTER, ECON, MY
SUBJECT: SCENESETTER FOR UNDER SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE DR. RONALD SEGA

Classified By: DCM David B. Shear for reasons 1.4 b and d.

1. (C) SUMMARY:  Malaysian-American relations are good and improving; on March 8 we notified Congress of our intention to conclude a Free Trade Agreement with Malaysia.  This moderate Muslim-majority state is our tenth-largest trading partner worldwide, and we have robust military-military cooperation.  While moving slowly away from the anti-Western rhetoric of former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia continues to oppose us on some key international issues.
Counterterrorism cooperation is largely good, but we remain concerned about the release of certain suspects and the level of surveillance of those suspects.  Malaysia and its neighbors increasingly realize the importance of maritime security, but enforcement efforts are hampered by sovereignty concerns and a lack of resources. A new Malaysian coast guard is slowly getting its sea legs.  Malaysia supports the Mindanao peace talks but has differed sharply with Thailand over separatist violence.  The Malaysian government is making progress in implementing a non-proliferation regime, but is no closer to signing an Article 98 agreement with the U.S.
End Summary.
Political Landscape
2. (C) While Malaysia has plenty of warts, it remains a rare example of an Islamic-majority country that is stable, civilian-led and prosperous.  Malaysia has also maintained a largely tolerant social system and a tightly managed democracy, with the same multi-racial coalition in power since independence in 1957.  While we continue to urge the government of Malaysia to improve its own governance, we also recognize the constructive role Malaysia can play in the Islamic world and have encouraged Malaysians to increase support for moderation and progress in the Middle East.
3. (C) Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi is a breath of fresh air after the long-serving and vituperative Mahathir Mohamad, who retired in late 2003.  Abdullah promotes a tolerant, progressive approach to religion that he calls "Islam Hadhari" (civilizational Islam).  He is publicly committed to fighting corruption and reining in costly mega-projects, though his government's follow-through has been disappointing.  His mild-mannered and cautious approach has also led critics to question his leadership and effectiveness, but his ruling coalition remains secure.
Abdullah's chief potential rival, Deputy Prime Minister (and Defense Minister) Najib Razak, plays the role of a loyal bulwark.  After two years in power, Abdullah has appealed to the public for patience in delivering reform.  As long as the economy continues to grow healthily, the public will grant him that.
Economic Situation
4. (C) In his early days, PM Abdullah made rural development and control of government spending, partly as a means to encourage private sector led growth, his top economic priorities.  So far, only his reduction of the government's deficit -- now down to 3.8 percent of GDP -- can be chalked up as a clear success. 
Abdullah's partisans say that the Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP; a five year plan for economic policy and development spending) will be the vehicle for advancing his other economic goals, but the 9MP, unveiled on March 31, contained little in the way of drama or new initiatives.  Abdullah has emphasized the need for fast implementation of 9MP (a tacit acknowledgement of the perceptions weak follow through by his government) and created a new government agency to focus on the problem.
5. (C) Meanwhile cuts in government subsidies for gasoline and diesel fuel -- one of the tools used to rein in the deficit -- have proved highly unpopular, and raised concerns about inflation.  Increases in prices of other government-managed commodities, such as electricity, may be in the works. 
For now, the economy is in reasonably good shape, with projected growth of around 5.0 percent in 2005 and official inflation of around 3.8 percent (although private analysts believe the real rate of price increases is much higher).  However, the government may be facing a tough choice in the coming year between stimulating the economy to get back on a higher growth track, or raising interest rates to control inflation.
Malaysia's International Posture
6. (C) Malaysia currently is the chair of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and of ASEAN.  Malaysia hosted the ASEAN Summit and the East Asia Summit last December, and will host the ASEAN Regional Forum ministerial this summer. 
Secretary of State Rice has told the ASEAN foreign ministers of her plans to attend the ARF meetings in July.  Malaysia backs the six-party DPRK nuclear talks and supports Iraqi reconstruction efforts, but has been overeager to embrace Hamas and defend the Iranian nuclear program.  The foreign ministry seems to be moving slowly away from some of Mahathir's anti-Western rhetoric and policies, but retains friendships with troublesome states like Cuba, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Syria and Uzbekistan. 
The Malaysian government is publicly supportive of China's "peaceful rise" and recently signed a defense cooperation MOU with China, despite lingering suspicions among senior Malaysian military officials of China's long-term intentions.  Malaysia has actively supported peace efforts in the southern Philippines and Aceh in Indonesia.
Counterterrorism
7. (C) Malaysia has generally been a reliable and constructive partner on counterterrorism.  In 2003, Malaysia established the Southeast Asia Regional Center for Counterterrorism (SEARCCT), which now runs a full schedule of multilateral training courses, many conducted with U.S. support. 
Early round-ups in 2001 and 2002 of scores of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) suspects crippled that organization's activities in Malaysia.  Over 70 suspected terrorists remain in custody under the Internal Security Act (ISA), a "preventive" measure that has also been used to jail political opponents of the government in the past. 
To our knowledge, prosecutions and trials of the terrorist suspects are not planned.  Drawing on their experience in defeating a communist insurgency, the Malaysians take a "rehabilitative" approach for some terrorists, keeping them under police supervision in "restricted residence."  Several leading figures (such as JI financier Wan Min) have been released from ISA detention without warning. 
We remain concerned that surveillance of released terrorist suspects may be inadequate and their "rehabilitation" may be incomplete or insincere. JI, while weakened, still has the capability to strike here, and the Malaysians need to remain vigilant.
8. (C) While the Malaysian leadership firmly opposes terrorist organizations at home, it is deeply uncomfortable with any association of Islam with terrorism, and frequently lectures us on the need to eschew terms such as "Islamic terrorists" or "jihadists." 
Reflecting the broad support for the Palestinian cause among the majority here, the Malaysian government has no relations with Israel and often argues for the need to address the "root causes" of terrorism in the Middle East. 
In February, negotiators from the United States succeeded in reaching an agreement here on a text for a bilateral Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT). We are hoping the treaty will be ready for signature in time for the Secretary of State's July visit.  The treaty will be a good tool in fighting terrorism and other forms of transnational crime.
Maritime Security
9. (C) In July 2005, the insurer Lloyd's of London designated the Strait of Malacca (SOM) as a "war-risk zone," raising premiums for shippers transiting these waters.  This prompted a flurry of public cooperation among the littoral states -- Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, plus neighboring Thailand -- including conferences of foreign ministers and military chiefs. 
On September 13, 2005, the three littoral countries launched an "Eyes in the Sky" (EiS) program to conduct international aerial surveillance of the Strait.  EiS currently comprises separate flights by Malaysia and Singapore (Indonesia has "temporarily" dropped out for operational capacity reasons), with crews that use binoculars to survey shipping traffic and make non-secure radio transmissions to shore and ship facilities of the three littoral states. 
Malaysia has also committed a single Beechcraft B-200 with infrared capability, to enable some night-time surveillance.  Talks on establishing an EiS standard operating procedure continue, with a view towards reactivating Indonesian participation and bringing Thailand into the program.
10. (C) EiS represents an important symbolic step forward for the littoral states' cooperation on SOM security, but could be difficult to sustain without international support.  DPM Najib has told the media on several occasions that Malaysia would welcome international involvement in Eyes in the Sky.
Our working-level contacts remain vague, however, on what sort of American assistance might be accepted in this sovereignty-conscious region.  Malaysia will host a meeting this summer sponsored by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in which the littoral states are to identify and prioritize their needs for assistance in enhancing SOM security.  On February 15-17, the USG hosted a meeting of key SOM user states at Coast Guard Island, Alameda, California, to discuss the possible range and scope of such assistance.
11. (C) Meanwhile, the Sulu Sea remains an under-monitored passageway for terrorist elements in transit between Indonesia and Mindanao.  Terror groups have also carried out a number of kidnappings for ransom in the area.  While the region has little value for international shipping compared to the Malacca Strait, it is tremendously important to the travel and fundraising operations of groups like JI and Abu Sayyaf.  Together with Embassies Jakarta and Manila, we have focused on this region as a specific theater for building capacity and cooperation between the governments of Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. Significant new resources, which we are in the process of identifying and prioritizing, will be required to make these efforts successful.
New Coast Guard
12. (C) Malaysia's new coast guard began limited operations on November 30,  2005.  The government's goal is to reduce overlap and turf battles among the 11 Malaysian agencies tasked with patrolling the country's seas and waterways.  The coast guard, officially named the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), will possess 72 vessels transferred from the navy, marine police, marine department, and fisheries department, and has recruited about 1,000 personnel from these and other existing agencies.  The navy vessels will transfer with their crews intact.  MMEA hopes to fill its 4,000 approved positions within a year.
Mindanao Peace Talks, JI Presence
13. (C) Malaysia has facilitated peace talks between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and the negotiations have had some success with the sticky issue of "ancestral domain."  The talks are hosted by the Malaysian External Intelligence Organization, which in the past covertly supported separatist activities in Mindanao.  JI presence at MILF training camps remains a concern, though the MILF has publicly disavowed any connection to JI.  We continue to press the Malaysians to make clear to the MILF that it must sever its connections to JI and Abu Sayyaf.
Southern Thailand Strains Relations
14. (C) Separatist violence in southern Thailand has killed over 1,000 people since January 2004, and attacks continue almost daily.  The Malaysian government has repeatedly denied Thai accusations that it supports the separatist groups, though the people on both sides of the porous border share Malay ethnicity and the Muslim religion.  Families and business interests straddle the border as well. 
In August 2005 Malaysia offered temporary refuge to 131 Thai citizens who said they were fleeing their government's crackdown in the south.  The issue, which has also involved the UN refugee agency, rubbed raw nerves in Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok, as government officials abandoned the usual neighborly ASEAN rhetoric for sharp verbal attacks on each other.  The rhetoric toned down somewhat after the Malaysians returned one of the 131 asylum seekers, who was wanted on criminal charges in Thailand.
Slow Progress on Non-proliferation and PSI ...
15. (C) In 2003, a private Malaysian company (partly owned by PM Abdullah's son) was found to have manufactured and shipped nuclear centrifuge parts to Libya.  The company pleaded ignorance, but the case underscored the need for Malaysia to adopt effective export controls.  The government is moving ahead with plans to adopt such controls, including the conclusion of an Additional Protocol (AP) with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on November 22, 2005.  The AP provides a sound policy framework for the implementation of nuclear-related export controls.
16. (C) We continue to urge Malaysia to participate in Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) meetings and exercises.  Malaysia sent two observers in August 2005 to a PSI exercise in Singapore, and three observers in April 2006 to a PSI exercise in Australia.   The government has said it supports PSI "in principle," and that it would take part in PSI operations on a case-by-case basis.  We have been told that the government is considering an endorsement of the PSI Statement of Interdiction Principles, which would allow full participation in PSI events.  However, elements within the foreign ministry remain adamantly opposed, perceiving that the PSI is targeted against "friends" of Malaysia, like Iran, Pakistan and China.
17. (C) As the chair of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), Malaysia has been too supportive of Iranian claims that its nuclear program is a peaceful one.  More recently, the GOM has moved somewhat away from behavior that bordered on "coaching" the Iranians.  The EU-3 made considerable efforts to get Malaysia to exert a restraining influence on Iran.
While it appears the Malaysians have privately counseled Iran to exercise restraint, it does not seem these words had much influence on the Iranians.  Malaysia failed to condemn Ahmadinejad's threat to "wipe Israel off the map" and gave President Ahmedinejad a red carpet welcome in Kuala Lumpur as the IAEA was referring his repeated violations to the United Nations Security Council.
... But No Progress on Article 98
18. (C) Malaysia has steadfastly rebuffed our efforts to conclude an Article 98 agreement, citing unspecified "policy reasons."  Though Malaysia is "studying" the Rome Treaty that created the International Criminal Court (ICC), we believe they are unlikely to sign the treaty because of their own concerns over sovereignty.  The Malaysians have told us that since they are not party to the Rome Treaty, they see little reason to conclude an Article 98 agreement with us.
LAFLEUR

Malaysia: UN rights office concerned at reported crackdown ahead of planned protests

5 July 2011 – The United Nations human rights office today voiced concern about measures being taken by authorities in Malaysia, including restricting freedom of expression, ahead of a peaceful demonstration scheduled for this Saturday.

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has recently been receiving reports of a crackdown, including harassment, intimidation, arrests and threats, targeting members of the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih).

“According to reliable sources, at least 150 people have been summoned, arrested or charged, including a number of opposition members of Parliament,” Rupert Colville, OHCHR’s spokesperson in Geneva, told reporters.

The authorities have also reportedly arrested activists simply for possessing Bersih’s distinctive yellow T-shirts and campaign pamphlets, he added.

“We are very concerned about the various measures that are being taken by the authorities to restrict freedom of expression in Malaysia, including preventive detention, and the Government’s decision to reportedly declare Bersih an unlawful organization,” said Mr. Colville.

“We call on the authorities to release all those being detained for peacefully exercising their freedom of expression.”

http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=38935&Cr=expression&Cr1

Malaysian Police Threaten Mass Arrests

Image
(Asia Sentinel) Malaysian Saturday Rally Back On, Along with Confrontation 

With the Malaysian electoral reform organization Bersih 2.0 threatening to go ahead with a planned rally Saturday that is expected to draw tens of thousands of people, police say they will arrest 91 leaders of Bersih or two opposing organizations if they show up anywhere near Kuala Lumpur’s Merdeka Stadium.

Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak earlier gave Bersih, which means “Clean” in the Malay language, permission to go ahead with the rally if it were held in a stadium. The rally originally was postponed earlier this week to a future date until a stadium could be found.

The Bersih steering committee said the rally would go on as scheduled on July 9 and would be held at Merdeka Stadium only to have the management of the stadium, which was erected for Malaysia’s declaration of independence in 1957, say the facility is undergoing renovation although teen heartthrob Justin Bieber drew thousands of fans to a concert there April 21.

The Malaysian cabinet ruled Wednesday that while the rally could be held in a stadium, it couldn’t be held in any of the three major stadiums in Kuala Lumpur, according to the state-owned news service Bernama. Police have also warned university teachers, administrators and students to stay away from the rally.

“I view their statement (to have the rally in the Merdeka Stadium) as a provocation, unwilling to give and take,” Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin told Bernama earlier. “This is just to provoke and cause feelings of hatred.”

The rally has been shaping up as a major confrontation between the government and electoral reformers, with the police declaring Bersih an illegal organization and arresting as many as 200 people and releasing them in the last couple of weeks. Many of them have been arrested for merely wearing yellow tee-shirts, the color that Bersih has adopted as its own for the rally.
The organization takes its Bersih 2.0 designation from an original rally four years ago that drew some 40,000 people and caused chaos on the streets of Kuala Lumpur as police declared the rally illegal and pursued demonstrators with water cannon and tear gas.

One Bersih leader told Asia Sentinel the rally could go ahead without the leaders because it is a bottom-up organization. UMNO leaders say that’s nonsense, and that the rally is a tool of the opposition Pakatan Rakyat coalition, made up of the Democratic Action Party, Parti Keadilan Rakyat and the Islamist Parti Islam se-Malaysia.

Rally organizers accused Najib of telling the stadium management to find an excuse not to allow the rally to go ahead.

Bersih had been threatening to march through the streets to deliver a 10-point petition to the country‘s Yang di-Pertuan Agong, or ruling sultan, on Saturday. However, the king vetoed that idea earlier this week and the organizers bowed to a government demand to hold the rally in a stadium. According to Wikipedia, the Merdeka Stadium can hold only 30,000 people.  Muhyiddin said the rally would attract as many as 300,000.

Police say the event has the potential for major hostility between the opposing parties. An UMNO source told Asia Sentinel earlier that the rally has the potential to kick off a racial confrontation, although the Bersih leaders say the organization is multiracial and not tied to any political parties.

In a public statement, the police said they had placed a restriction order on the 91 individuals, which include the organizers of the Bersih rally, the Malay supremacy organization Perkasa and the United Malays National Organization youth wing’s Patriot rallies. The two Malay organizations have been threatening a confrontation in the streets if the rally goes ahead. The order is designed to stop any of the 91 from being present at several different locations in Kuala Lumpur on July 9.

"This means that anyone (on the list) caught present at these areas will be arrested on sight," city deputy police chief Amar Singh told reporters. At the top of the list are the Bersih 2.0 steering committee members, including former Malaysian Bar President Ambiga Sreenevasan, political science lecturer Wong Chin Huat and women’s rights activist Maria Chin Abdullah.

Also on the list are Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim, Nik Aziz Nik Mat, the PAS spiritual advisor, PAS newly-elected deputy-president Mohamad Sabu, DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang and social activist Hishamuddin Rais.

Also warned to stay away are 14 individuals from Perkasa, including its firebrand president Ibrahim Ali and other top leaders such as Ab Rahman Ab Bakar and Syed Hassan Syed Ali. Umno Youth leaders included in the list are Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin, secretary Megat Firdouz Megat Junid and information chief Reezal Merican Naina Merican.

Asked why the government is so adamant about stopping a rally that would be a one-time event, a Malay businessman told Asia Sentinel: “They are desperate. I can't understand it but the common view is that they are panicky about losing support if there is a major turnout at this rally. If they give it legal status by allowing the rally, people from all walks will turn up. You can see how much support there is for Bersih by looking at tweets which are trending to the top 10 in the world and on Facebook.”

Lim Kit Siang tweeted that Prime Minister Najib is “at risk of becoming the 1st Kafkaesque PM in Malaysia who does not mean wht he says and does not say wht he means.”

Lawyers for PSM six question cops’ conduct

The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Lawyers acting for the six Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) members detained over the Bersih rally are dissatisfied over certain procedures taken by the police during meetings with their clients.

One of them, Edmund Bon, said the police had videotaped the meetings and that such a move was unprecedented.

“In law, the detainees and their lawyers can only be in the sight of the police officer.

“The police officer cannot even be within hearing distance of the meeting. How would our clients feel free to divulge details if someone is recording the meeting?” he said at a press conference here yesterday.

On July 2, the six, including Sungai Siput MP Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj, were arrested under the Emergency Ordinance for allegedly inciting the public to join the illegal Bersih 2.0 rally.

Bon also claimed that the detainees were blindfolded.

He was also unhappy that they were only given 15 minutes to speak to their clients who were handcuffed although they were not convicted of any crimes.

The habeas corpus application for the six will come up for case management in court on Monday.

Pakatan kesal sikap melampau KDN, polis

Teenage girl 'lured two 16-year-olds into rape ordeal with three Asian men in their thirties'


Accused: Stephanie Knight, 19, at Burnley Crown Court, where she is on trial for aiding and abetting rape
Accused: Stephanie Knight, 19, at Burnley Crown Court, where she is on trial for aiding and abetting rape

A teenage girl lured two other youngsters into a terrifying rape ordeal after providing them for sex to three Asian men she referred to as ‘my boys,’ a court heard.


Stephanie Knight, then 17, invited the two 16-year-old girls for a night out clubbing during which they were plied with vodka and drugs and introduced to the group, it was claimed.


Later the girls were taken by Shahid Hussain, 37, his brother, Amjad Hussain, 34, and their cousin, Tanveer Butt, 39, to a dark and empty house without electricity in Accrington, Lancashire, where they were sexually abused, a jury was told.


The three men were said to have taken it in turns to abuse one of the teenagers who was repeatedly raped in different rooms of the house which one of the men used to live in, Burnley Crown Court was told.


Knight, who was to tell police she was Amjad Hussain's girlfriend, was said to have stopped one of the teenagers from going to her friend's help as she was raped three times by Shahid Hussain.


Knight was also alleged to have threatened the frightened second girl when she refused to perform sex acts on the men, the hearing was told.


Shahid Hussain, of Drake Street, Butt, of St Albans Street, both Rochdale, Amjad Hussain, of Sharples Street, Accrington, and Knight, now 19, of Preston New Road, Blackburn, all deny two counts of conspiracy to rape, between December 4 and 7, 2009.


Butt also pleads not guilty to three charges of rape against one of the girls and aiding and abetting Shahid Hussain to rape her, Knight also denies aiding and abetting rape, Shahid Hussain also pleads not guilty to three counts of rape against the girl and Amjad Hussain also denies two allegations of raping the girl and rape and assault by penetration against the second girl.


Nick Courtney, prosecuting, told the court the girls were provided with alcohol and drugs before they became the victims of a number of sexual offences.
 

The first girl was allegedly raped orally, vaginally and anally and the second girl was subjected to a sex act and oral rape by Amjad Hussain in a car.


Mr Courtney said Knight, who had known the girls for about a week, invited them out for the evening, on December 5. During the evening out she was heard to say ‘Got them’ in a mobile phone conversation and named the girls.

Shahid Hussain at Burnley Crown Court Tanveer Butt at Burnley Crown Court Amjad Hussain at Burnley Crown Court

On trial: Amjad Hussain (left), Tanveer Butt (centre) and Shahid Hussain (right) allegedly sexually abused two 16-year-old girls
At about 10pm, they were picked up by Amjad Hussain, driven from Blackburn to Accrington, and then all got into a large 4x4 vehicle, with Butt at the wheel.


Drink was bought in Accrington and the car was parked at Asda, Burnley and was captured on CCTV. Amjad Hussain added vodka to some bottles of coca cola before giving them to the girls, who were also given drugs to smoke.


Both girls made the men aware they were 16 but both had a lot to drink. 

Mr Courtney said: ‘They all had a drink but both girls felt they had a great deal of alcohol to drink. One recalled she was 'feeling smashed' and the other said that on a scale of one to 10 of drunkenness she rated a 10.’


They were then driven to Amjad Hussein's former home where Shahid Hussain was waiting upstairs.


'When they went into the house all of the lights were off,’ said Mr Courtney. ‘There was some carpet but no furniture downstairs. It looked empty and Stephanie Knight told them there was no electricity.’


The house in Accrington where the alleged crimes took place
The house in Accrington where the alleged crimes took place
The prosecutor said the first girl went upstairs to use the bathroom. Butt went in, refused to leave and forced her to give him oral sex.


When she came out of the room, the Hussain brothers were on the landing, she was pulled in different directions and dragged into a bedroom by Shahid Hussain, who slid a wardrobe against the door and raped her.


The other girl then argued with Knight as she heard screams from her friend, the court was told. ‘Knight told her if she did not give “her boys” a blowjob she would bang her in the back alley,’ said Mr Courtney.


‘Knight went on to tell her “she is chilling with my boys” when she continued to show concern.’ 


Amjad Hussain allegedly took the first girl into the attic, gave her another cannabis joint and forced her, whilst she was crying, to perform a sex act. Butt was then also said to have raped her again.


Mr Courtney told the jury the two girls were taken home in the early hours by Amjad Hussain, who had locked the car doors.


On the way, he allegedly orally raped them both and committed a sex act on the second girl, after pulling a knife on her. She had put the blade up her sleeve, refused to perform a sex act on him, but he had got mad, grabbed her and forced her.


The prosecutor said the alleged victims made complaints to the police that day. The first girl was found to be cut and bruised when she was medically examined. The defendants were arrested. None of them accepted they were guilty of the allegations.


Amjad Hussain claimed he had been with the girls on that night and had consensual sexual encounters with each of them.


Knight initially told a police constable that she was ‘trying to arrange blowjobs and sex for friends I have just met in Accrington’.


But when interviewed by detectives she later denied she had made the comment and added that the girls knew they were going to a house with her friends, including her boyfriend, Amjad Hussain.


Mr Courtney said: ‘The other two defendants' case is that they were not with Amjad Hussain, Stephanie Knight and the complainants that night and that they had never met either of the complainants, let alone been involved in any sex of any kind with them.’


The prosecutor alleged: ‘The defendants' accounts in interview are untrue. The agreement was that Stephanie Knight would provide girls for the defendants to have non-consensual sex with that night.’ 


One of the girls told police in a video link interview how she had only known Knight for a week and added: ‘She hangs around with a load of Asian lads.'


The trial continues.

Message from PSM-6






Khairy says police reigniting tensions with restriction orders

Khairy: The court order has escalated the situation. Now my supporters, Perkasa supporters and Bersih supporters are all upset.
KUALA LUMPUR, July 7 — Khairy Jamaluddin accused the city police today of reigniting tensions over the Bersih rally by getting a court order barring him and 90 others from entering the city on Saturday.


The Umno Youth chief arrived home from a volunteer mission to Gaza this evening to find himself “outlawed from the city he lives in.”

“Instead of working on a solution they have taken the solution away,” the Rembau MP said of the court order that denies Bersih’s hopes of holding its rally in Stadium Merdeka.

Although Umno Youth and Perkasa had threatened to hold counter-rallies this weekend against the electoral reforms movement, the youth wing had stood down after Bersih accepted the government’s offer to move its street rally to a stadium.

“The court order has escalated the situation. Now my supporters, Perkasa supporters and Bersih supporters are all upset.

“The situation is in limbo. Nobody knows what is next,” he said, adding that the Umno Youth leadership would meet tomorrow morning to discuss its options.

Earlier today, Khairy had posted on micro-blogging site Twitter that he has “just landed back in KL after trying to break Israeli blockade of Gaza only to find that I’ve been blockaded from KL. Excuse me if I say WTF?”

The post drew numerous replies from others, most of whom were as “perplexed” as the first-term MP.
Bersih chief Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan had also questioned the Inspector General of Police’s sincerity in meeting Bersih this afternoon while Kuala Lumpur police obtained court orders to bar leaders of the electoral reforms movement from entering the city this Saturday.

The Bersih chief told The Malaysian Insider that Tan Sri Ismail Omar made no mention of the court order that prevents a whopping 91 persons from the movement, Umno Youth and Perkasa from entering the capital, despite the meeting taking place at the same time the order was sought.

The court order also allows city police to shut down roads, effectively paralysing any attempts to rally on the day.

Bersih had insisted after leaving Bukit Aman today that it will not move its rally away from Stadium Merdeka on Saturday, stating that it was too late for its supporters to change their plans.

It also demanded that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who proposed on Monday that Bersih move its street march to a stadium, instruct Stadium Merdeka to allow the coalition of 62 NGOs to hold its rally in the historical venue.

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong had stepped in on Sunday to defuse tension by advising the Najib administration and Bersih 2.0 to hold consultations over the issue of free and fair elections.

Despite Bersih meeting Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin on Tuesday and accepting Najib’s offer, the prime minister said yesterday that the now outlawed Bersih would still have to make an official application to the police.

The police have continued to make arrests in connection with the rally, most of which revolving around yellow T-shirts with the word Bersih emblazoned on them in a clampdown that has seen over a hundred arrested in the past two weeks.

Bersih asks Najib to get Stadium Merdeka for rally


KUALA LUMPUR, July 7 — Bersih has asked Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to instruct Stadium Merdeka officials to allow them to use the historic stadium for a rally calling for free and fair elections this Saturday.

The electoral reforms movement said a meeting with the police agreed that one of it 62 component societies can apply for a police permit if they can book the stadium from its owners, the Merdeka Heritage Trust.

“Bersih 2.0 calls upon Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak (picture) to intervene and instruct the management of Stadium Merdeka to issue a letter of approval for the usage of Stadium Merdeka for Perhimpunan Bersih 2.0 to be held on 9 July 2011.

“This will accord with the government’s promise to provide us with a stadium for the rally,” the movement’s steering committee said in a statement.

The electoral reforms movement said its chairman Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan met the Inspector-General of Police and reiterated their intention to hold the rally in Stadium Merdeka and ask police to free all those detained in connection with the rally.

The movement also asked police to stop harassing Bersih supporters.
Police have said that Bersih remains an illegal organisation after the Home Minister outlawed it effective July 1.

‘Revoke Ibrahim Ali’s citizenship’

Gerakan's Baljit Singh says that by questioning the King’s decision to grant a royal audience to Ambiga, Ibrahim had indeed committed treason

GEORGE TOWN: One more has joined the “revoke citizenship ” bandwagon. However this time it is not against Bersih leader S Ambiga but against her main critic Ibrahim Ali.

Penang Gerakan leader Baljit Singh wants Ibrahim Ali, the leader of the extremist Malay group Perkasa’s citizenship to be revoked.

Since the announcement of the Bersih rally, there have many calls to revoke citizenship from several individuals, including the Malacca Chief Minister Ali Rustam, who wanted Ambiga’s citizenship revoked for holding firm in holding the Bersih rally for electoral reforms this Saturday.

Gerakan lawyer Baljit Singh pointed out that by questioning the King’s decision to grant a royal audience to Ambiga, Ibrahim had indeed committed treason.

Given Ibrahim’s gutter politics to incite racial hatred and violence , Baljit said challenging the King’s command surely demanded sterner action against the Perkasa leader.

“Revocation of Ibrahim’s citizenship is best for Malaysia.He does not deserve a place under the Malaysian sun.

“Ibrahim should be flushed out to safeguard the interests of millions in the country,” said Baljit, who heads Penang Gerakan legal and human rights bureau head.

The Gerakan man said Ibrahim had always been sarcastic and rude to other Malaysians, acting like a rowdy and big bully.

Ibrahim has said that Ambiga should have been arrested under draconian laws such as the Internal Security Act (ISA) 1960 or Emergency (Public Order and Prevention of Crime) Ordinance 1969, instead of being granted a royal audience at Istana Negara.

Ibrahim had also expressed doubts over Bersih’s assurances to hold a peaceful indoor rally.
He forewarned that anything could happen on the day, suggesting that even illegal immigrants living in the city could incite violence.

“A Chinese shop gets broken into and a Malay can be accused of it, or vice-versa.Then the whole country erupts into chaos,” said Ibrahim.

Baljit said Ibrahim’s remarks clearly showed he was threatening the security and safety of the people.
He said Ibrahim had already ‘over-qualified’ himself to be detained under ISA, EO or any other draconian laws.
However, Baljit said he was amazed with Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein not taking any action against Ibrahim and Perkasa so far.

He said the Putrajaya administration inability to deal firmly with Ibrahim and Perkasa would surely undermine its credibility.

He pointed out that the federal government had been quick in outlawing Hindraf, and detaining and charging its activists under ISA and other laws.

He noted a similar modus operandi was also used to clampdown on Bersih.

Baljit cited the detention of six members of Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) under the EO and court charges under the Societies Act 1966 and ISA against 23 others.

Arrest looms for Ambiga, opposition leaders

KL police have obtained a court order to prevent 91 individuals, including Ibrahim Ali and Khairy Jamaluddin, from setting foot in several parts of the city on July 9.

KUALA LUMPUR: Bersih 2.0 chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan and opposition leaders will be arrested should they enter certain parts of the city on Saturday.
The police had obtained a court order to restrict 91 inviduals, including Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin and Perkasa chief Ibrahim Ali, from setting foot in several places on that day.

Other notable names on the list were Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim, PAS spiritual adviser Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat and DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang.

City police chief Amar Singh said the order was not for the whole of Kuala Lumpur but for certain areas such as Dataran Merdeka, Sogo, Istana Negara, Masjid Negara, Maju Junction and so forth.

However, he added that Stadium Merdeka, which was where Bersih 2.0 intends to hold its rally, was not on the list.

The order prevents those on the list, which also includes Bersih 2.0 steering committee members, from being present at these areas from 8am to 6pm.

Responding to a question, Amar denied that Ambiga was the topmost name on the list.

“No such thing. All 91 names are there, and nobody is considered top priority,” he said, adding that those who defied the order would be arrested.

“First of all, you will be violating a court order and secondly, they will be liable under Section 188 of the Penal Code,” he told FMT.

Those found guilty of committing an offence under Section 188 with regard to disobeying orders could be jailed for one month, fined RM400 or both.

The section also stipulated that if the offenders’

actions result in riots or endagers human lives, health or safety, a jail term of six months or a fine of RM2,000 or both could be imposed.

When quizzed on the police deployment for Saturday, Amar said sufficient number of personnel would be present but refused to reveal the exact figure.

Bersih is keen to hold its rally at Stadium Merdeka while Perkasa has applied to Stadium Titiwangsa for its anti-Bersih gathering. Umno Youth has decided to call off its pro-Election Commission rally after the King’s statement on Sunday calling for cool heads to prevail and not to engage in street protest .

Immediate reactions:

Wong Chin Huat, Bersih steering committee member:
“We are talking about a gathering of at least 100,000 people. You put 66 (from Bersih) on the list, how much difference does it make? That leaves 99 936 people left. How many people can you take it? The list does not make a real difference.”

Fadiah Nadwa Fikri from Lawyers For Liberty:
“I just found out. I feel like screaming my lungs out! I am very upset with the government. How do we expect them to govern if they are so paranoid of activists.”

Salahuddin Ayub, PAS vice-president:
“Very undemocratic of the government. Najib has to fulfill his promise of providing a stadium for us. We fulfilled our end by discussing the best way forward. Then all of a sudden, surprisingly, the list of the names come out. What is this all about? Najib has failed as a prime minister.”

Tengku Azman, Umno Youth exco:
“I will abide the police instructions for the sake of public harmony.”

Y Kohila, PSM/grassroots movement Jerit:
“I will still attend the rally.”

Lau Weng San, DAP’s Kampung Tungku assemblyman:
“I missed a very good business opportunity as I had placed orders for mineral waters and was planning to sell it on that day. I’m joking. But I think this whole thing is outrageous. I haven’t made up my mind on what to do next but I am surprised I’m in the list. I’m one of the least influential people compared to others.

They’ve obviously not done a very good assessment. At the moment I think the police have lost all direction in  managing this. They should engage with Bersih istead of the clampdown.”

Khairy Jamaluddin, Umno Youth chief (in his tweet):
“Just landed back in KL after trying to break Israeli blockade of Gaza only to find that I’ve been blockaded from KL. Excuse me if I say WTF?”

Nurul Izzah Anwar, PKR vice-president:
“The madness of the authorities knows no bounds. But mark my words, all Malaysia will remember this; and Malaysians are wise enough to discern the noticeable differences between how Bersih 2.0 and non Bersih 2.0 activists are treated. We will march on.
(In her tweet) “Sorry to break this to u, officer. But I live in KL….”

Tian Chua, PKR vice-president:
“It’s ridiculous. How am I to serve my constitution? We are Kuala Lumpur MPs. They cannot deny our presence in our constituencies. Ten out of 11 KL constituencies have Pakatan Rakyat MPs. What are they saying? I cannot even come out of my house to get wantan mee?”

Lim Kit Siang, DAP leader:
“Malaysia has descended into an alarmist stage.”

Teresa Kok, Selangor senior state exco, Seputeh MP:
“This is unconstitutional, restricting our movements. Worse than communist regime!”

Dr Dzulkifli Ahmad, PAS’ Kuala Selangor MP:
“This is disgraceful, especially after giving the impression that they were engaging Bersih 2.0 and political parties. It’s Malaysia’s way of stifling democratic freedom, through a court injunction. This is undemocratic, mala fide. Najib is irresponsible, stoking hatred and animosity.”

Haris Ibrahim, Bersih steering committee member:
“If a law is bad, break it.”

Clampdown on internet, public transport?

Bersih 2.0 says it has received reports of a possible full or partial clampdown on public services on Saturday. Not true, says the IGP.
UPDATED
PETALING JAYA: Bersih 2.0 has registered alarm over the possibility of a full or partial clampdown on the internet, telecommunication services and public transportation on Saturday.

Citing intelligence feedback, the coalition warned the government against aping the Middle Eastern dictators in a futile attempt to thwart its rally at Stadium Merdeka.

In a statement today, Bersih 2.0′s steering committtee said such measures would not dampen its resolve.

“Bersih 2.0 reiterates in no uncertain terms that any repression, intimidation and obstacles will not for an instant dilute our resolve to gather peacefully at Stadium Merdeka at 2pm, after which we will disperse just as peacefully.”

“Should any of the above repressive measures come into effect, Malaysians and the international community will witness for themselves the desperate and unwarranted extremes to which the government is willing to go to prevent clean and fair elections.

“The government will also be unequivocally and fully responsible for the loss of business, the loss of confidence within the investment community and the complete loss of goodwill towards Malaysia’s political and commercial standing.”

Earlier today, Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) chairman Syed Hamid Albar confirmed that Putrajaya had given a directive to freeze all temporary bus permits to Kuala Lumpur.

The former home minister justified the move on the basis that there were no festival occassions going on nor was it the school holidays.

Based on the recent developments, Bersih 2.0 expected the government to pull the plug on the Internet and telecommunication services as well.

“Bersih 2.0 warns the government that should access to mobile phone networks, the Internet, mobile 3G services, specific websites or social media be compromised in any way whatsoever, then the authorities will look absolutely no different from the Middle Eastern dictators who have used the same measures with no success whatsoever.”

The coalition also urged members of the public who wanted to join the rally to enter the city centre by today or tomorrow.

“Intelligence suggests that public transport will be shut down, either partially or fully on Friday and/or Saturday. Observing the shocking fact that bus permits to Kuala Lumpur have already been frozen, plans seem to be well in place to make entering Kuala Lumpur on July 9 as difficult as humanly possible.”

IGP brushes off rumours, issues warning

Inspector-General of Police Ismail Omar however brushed aside the loose talk of any imminent internet and public transport clampdown.

He urged the public not to pay any heed to these rumours.

“Who is spreading such rumours? Don’t waste time with these. Those who spread these news to discredit the authorities, if I catch them, well, we’ll take action,” he said.

“Call your nearest station or your state chief of police if you hear something like that. Check,” he said.
Ismail also denied that police will attempt to restrict traffic into the city. He however said that police personnel will “regulate traffic” and will keep a lookout for dangerous elements.

Bersih godsent for self-appointed warrior

Lest we all forget the Election Commission is anwerable to the Agong, and Bersih 2.0 is about a need for electoral reforms, not about the Umno-led BN government.
COMMENT
Many people are turning yellow-bellied over the color of yellow. The people thinking of participating in the Bersih rally on Saturday are going to do so in yellow t-shirts.

We have to ask, why do some people get overly disturbed by people donning yellow colour and banding themselves as rally participants?

When I was studying at University Malaya, there were many occasions when politicians were invited to participate in forums.

In one such forum on the dreaded Internal Security Act (ISA), an Umno minister then said: “only those violating the mischiefs protected by the ISA should be afraid of them. Those not, should not be afraid.”
The same simplistic answer can now be applied on those scared of the colour yellow.

The yellow T-shirts are striking fear in the hearts of those who conduct themselves unfairly in securing power.

That is the inevitable deduction.

Perkasa’s Ibrahim Ali is responding mindlessly, justifying his conduct as an answer to his interpretation of Bersih 2.0 as being a movement to unseat the government and attacking the position of Malays.

So he steps in as the self-appointed warrior defending the position of Malays.

Bersih was a godsent, re-invigorating Ibrahim Ali from an otherwise political stupor. He now has an issue and Ibrahim Ali lives.

‘Aphrodisiac for Mahathir’

But why is Ibrahim defending the Umno-led government? Ibrahim is not even an Umno member.
Two, has Umno not got enough warrior politicians to defend it in its hour of need?

The other reason for attacking Bersih as a movement to endanger Malays and Malay interests is too far-fetched to be dignified by answering it.

Bersih 2.0 chairman S Ambiga and her team must be absent minded or must have suffered a bout of spontaneous amnesia to not be aware that governments can be unseated only though democratic means, that is by way of free and fair elections.

Therefore to seriously suggest that Bersih is a copycat version of the mass movements in Tunisa and Egypt is not acceptable.

Our response becomes more bizarre when the discovery of the portrait of Shamsiah Fakeh among Bersih rally paraphernalia is taken as proof that Bersih is communist inspired!

And now the investigation into the finances of Bersih shall be used as proof that Bersih is a Trojan horse for foreign subversion.

That would probably provide an aphrodisiac for the recuperating former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who is a well-known opponent of any form of colonialism.

People may get inspired by those movements but were probably only without seriously entertaining the idea of unseating a government by such means.

Public opinion will certainly go against Bersih if that is the case. But the aims of Bersih are not that.

‘Right to express’

By asking the Election Commission (EC) to conduct itself properly shows that Bersih accepts that the means to unseat a government is through the voting system.

But the voting system is in need of better supervision and that’s where the demands on the election commission come to the fore.

This aim should be supported. Some people will show their support by participating in the rally. Some will not do so. It’s a matter of choice.

The right to express their wishes must be upheld by the government.

If Perkasa and other groups supportive of the sitting government are allowed to gather and demonstrate, that right must also be given to others.

If the Bersih planned rally is wrong in law, then the same judgment applies to the rallies carried out by supporters of the sitting government.

Our laws are clear. If people break the law, irrespective of who they are, they must be brought to before the forces of the law.

The problem here is that the EC is seen as a pliant tool for one side of the contestants.


Collective action

People accept the principle of elections as a means to establish governments. But they also want that means to be above board.

They accept they are powerless unless they act collectively and speak as a voice. The powerless are striking back demanding that competition to get power to form governments be carried out fairly and in even handed manners.

The body that oversees and ensures elections are conducted fairly and transparently is the Election Commission.

We mustn’t lose sight of the object of the current disputes now.

Bersih’s objective is to call upon the EC to conduct itself as it’s chartered to do.

This isn’t a rally threatening the sovereignty of the Agong or to strike fear at Malays.

The rally will be participated by a large number of Malays too, effectively dismissing the claim that this rally is aimed at hurting the Malaysian Malays in any way.

‘EC mustn’t be evasive’

The EC is an independent commission. It’s not just another government department answerable to the Chief Secretary or even to the PM.

It’s the custodian of fair and transparent conduct of elections and it must guard this role jealously.
Jealously from the meddling and intervention of interested parties.

It must also rid itself of any perceptions of being a submissive tool for those holding power at the moment.

Its responses to criticisms therefore mustn’t be evasive.

It has to avail itself to the latest methods and technology that upgrade the participation of people in an electoral process.

If the use of indelible ink is good for participatory democracy it must adopt the method as a natural development without having to be at pains defending its non-usage.

If making voting compulsory and its cost effective doing so, then it must do so.

People are now diverting their attention to debating whether the planned assembly of people in the Bersih rally should be allowed or otherwise.

The real issue has and is always the conduct of the EC.

The colour yellow is now becoming a symbol for the oppressed and disillusioned, to overthrow a corrupt regime.

In some places it has been the colour that unifies the resolve of people to overthrow an inefficient and uncaring government.

Thailand is a recent example, then there is the Philippines’ Cory Aquino who started her yellow people’s movement that saw the overthrow of the Marcos government.

The watching majority must be dismayed at the response of our police.

The police with all the sophisticated instruments of crowd control and other suppressive means appear to have admitted that they are powerless to control the crowds.

What have they spent public money for then? The idea of a police is to keep the peace.

In keeping the peace, it must conduct its business in a professional manner and be fair minded.
If Bersih is not allowed to hold rallies, then other parties must also be disallowed.

In Penang, the police have given permit for some people to hold a rally. In Rembau, some people consisting of ex-policemen were given permit. Ibrahim was even given a permit to denounce a rally that has not taken place.

EC answers to Agong

Is Ibrahim a clairvoyant extraordinaire; can he see the future?

In ancient times, people like Ibrahim got burnt at the stakes. Shall we roast Ibrahim then?
Let’s not forget the object of the issue.

It’s the EC, not the Umno-led Barisan Nasional government. The EC answers to the Agong and therefore should not be seen as working for an interested party.

What’s the problem with clearing the electoral registers off dead people?

How can it monitor and apply strict rules to election spending? Election funding etc?

These are important issues to those looking at elections as a means to exercise their democratic rights to elect a government of their choice.

This isn’t an issue whether public demonstrations or going on a march as practices that are good only elsewhere but not suitable in Malaysia.

The need to express publicly the collective wants and demands is part and parcel a democracy.
It’s so written in our laws that people can assemble peacefully to air their grievances and expression.

The writer is a FMT columnist and a former Umno state assemblyman

No mention of court order at IGP meet, says Ambiga

KUALA LUMPUR, July 7 — Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan has questioned the Inspector General of Police’s sincerity in meeting Bersih this afternoon after Kuala Lumpur police obtained court orders to bar leaders of the electoral reforms movement from entering the city this Saturday.

The Bersih chief told The Malaysian Insider that Tan Sri Ismail Omar made no mention of the court order that prevents a whopping 91 persons from the movement, Umno Youth and Perkasa from entering the capital, despite the meeting taking place at the same time the order was sought.

“Why were we not told when the whole time we were talking the IGP knew we were going to apply for Stadium Merdeka?

“We are very surprised that a court order for the same area was being sought at the very time that we were speaking to the IGP,” the former Bar Council president said.

The court order also allows city police to shut down roads, effectively paralysing any attempts to rally on the day.

Bersih had insisted after leaving Bukit Aman today that it will not move its rally away from Stadium Merdeka on Saturday, stating that it was too late for its supporters to change their plans.

It also demanded that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who proposed on Monday that Bersih move its street march to a stadium, instruct Stadium Merdeka to allow the coalition of 62 NGOs to hold its rally in the historical venue.

“This is another instance where we will ask the public to judge the authorities by their actions,” Ambiga (picture) added.

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong had stepped in on Sunday to defuse tension by advising the Najib administration and Bersih 2.0 to hold consultations over the issue of free and fair elections.

Despite Bersih meeting Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin on Tuesday and accepting Najib’s offer, the prime minister said yesterday that the now outlawed Bersih would still have to make an official application to the police.

The police have continued to make arrests in connection with the rally, most of which revolving around yellow T-shirts with the word Bersih emblazoned on them in a clampdown that has also seen Bersih being declared illegal.

Can Putrajaya be trusted? — The Malaysian Insider

JULY 7 — Events over the past week have brought to question whether Malaysians can trust the Barisan Nasional (BN) government? And if not, can Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who has made great strides to reclaim the coalition’s popularity, regain the people’s trust?

Let’s look at some of the events this week that has likely undermined not only his support but also his 1 Malaysia. People First. Performance Now.

Najib’s offer of a stadium for rally instead of electoral reforms movement Bersih marching through town pressing for free and fair elections.

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin had interceded and got Bersih to agree to the prime minister’s suggestion which was carried by the media, including the Umno-linked pro-government TV3 television station.

What has happened since then? The prime minister has passed the entire matter to the police, saying they have a final say whether the rally can be held in a stadium. Meanwhile, the Cabinet met yesterday and decided that Bersih cannot use any stadium in Kuala Lumpur because it is an outlawed organisation and might cause a nuisance.

Add to that is the police applying and getting an order to restrict 91 individuals, including Bersih chairman Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, from entering Kuala Lumpur this Saturday.

Are any of these actions done in good faith? Can we trust the word of a government especially when it comes out of the mouth of the prime minister? Or has he been economical with the truth and never wanted to find a solution to Bersih’s demands.

And what about his endorsement of a silat group as the country’s third line of defence just days after the group threatened to go to war against those who rally on July 9? While Najib has every right to praise anyone he desires, it leaves much to be desired that he is endorsing a group that is prepared to go to war inside the country.

“I believe if there are evil enemies who want to attack the country from without and within, ‘anak-anak lincah’ will rise to fight them,” said Najib in a fiery speech last night.

“But tonight, we do not gather to fight,” added the prime minister, saying “We do not gather to wield the keris (dagger). We gather for the loyalty and unity of our country,” and “We do not fight the non-Malays. We embrace them as fellow citizens.”

Yes, the prime minister is right. We are all Malaysians but to endorse a group that is prepared to wage war against fellow citizens over philosophical differences is definitely not what Malaysians should expect from a national leader.

Can Malaysians trust Putrajaya and its current occupants? It is a question that can only be answered in the next general elections. Just like the success of Bersih will be reflected when everyone agrees that the next general elections is free and fair.