Archive for May 1st, 2012

Journalist groups call for impartial probe on police violence

By Anisah Shukry
The Malaysian Insider
May 01, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, May 1 — Putrajaya must form an independent panel to investigate claims that police manhandled journalists covering Saturday’s Bersih rally, journalist organisations said today.

The National Union of Journalists Malaysia (NUJ) maintained that the panel should comprise a retired judge, a former Bar Council President as well as journalism experts.

“Reporters, including those from foreign press, were beaten while on duty, and this is a serious accusation.

“The panel should summon police officers involved, as well as the journalists and photographers to testify, so that the public can finally know what transpired during the Bersih 3.0 rally,” NUJ said in a statement.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) revealed in a statement that more than 12 photographers and journalists were assaulted, intimidated or detained by police while reporting the rally.

“Many were injured, with some receiving injuries serious enough to require stitches and hospitalisation,” it said.

The IFJ added they were alarmed to have witnessed police officers threatening and assaulting journalists who were “only engaged in reporting legitimate news stories”. Read the rest of this entry »


Editors, journalists slam police violence against media

Apr 30, 2012

Editors and journalists from major news outlets in Malaysia have issued a joint statement, the first of its kind in the nation’s history, blasting the government’s violence against journalists covering the Bersih 3.0 rally last Saturday.

It alleged that the authorities had acted upon “orders from above” that resulted in members of the press being intimidated, harassed, assaulted and arrested while on duty.

It called on the government to take firm action against the perpetrators and to live up to its claim of democratic reforms and media freedom.

The statement, signed by various news portals’ chiefs, accompanies an online petition ‘Don’t beat up journalists’. Read the rest of this entry »


BBC flays local censors for slashing Bersih coverage

By Clara Chooi
The Malaysian Insider
May 01, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, May 1 — The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has “strongly condemned” Malaysian censors, claiming their coverage of Saturday’s Bersih 3.0 protest had been clipped on local operator Astro.

“During the week of World Press Freedom Day, it would be deplorable if access to independent and impartial news was being prevented in any way.

“We would strongly condemn any blocking of the trusted news that we broadcast around the world including via distribution partners,” a BBC spokesman in a statement emailed to The Malaysian Insider.

The British public service broadcaster added that it was making “urgent enquiries” to Astro to seek its reasons for censoring its two-minute coverage of the violent protest.

“The BBC is making urgent enquiries to the Malaysian operator, Astro, to establish the facts.

“The broadcast of anti-Government protests in Malaysia was apparently edited before it was re-broadcast on Malaysian satellite television, with sequences removed from the original BBC version,” it said. Read the rest of this entry »


A fine job, a fine mess

Jeswan Kaur | May 1, 2012
Free Malaysia Today

Fooling the rakyat is a trick the BN can no longer use, no thanks to its foolishness in abusing the powers of the police.


Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has lauded the police for doing a fine job in handling last Saturday’s Bersih 3.0 rally. What really is the premier pleased about: the manner in which the police abused the protesters or the federal government’s pathetic attempt at discrediting the rally?

Either way, the premier, who also helms Barisan Nasional, the country’s federal ruling political force, is not going to win the rakyat’s mandate; sabotaging the April 28 protest speaks of BN’s desperation in painting the opposition coalition of Pakatan Rakyat in a bad light.

The Bersih 3.0 protest will go down in history as the day when BN played villian in bringing in “trouble-makers” to turn the protest into a chaotic affair. Let it be said that BN’s role in the April 28 incident is not going down well with the true defenders of this nation.

This time, there is no escape for both the Najib administration and the police as protesters of the rally bear witness to the police brutality that was unleashed when they were at the Masjid Jamek area.

Some of them related their ordeal to Bersih at a press conference organised a day after the protest.

Many of the protesters claimed the police carried no name tags or identification numbers on their uniforms when they launched their attacks at about 6pm. The assault lasted for three hours.

These are not wild allegations; pictures of the injuries suffered by the protesters as a result of being beaten by the police are proof that the federal government had no intention of allowing the rakyat to exercise their fundamental right to assemble and voice out their unhappiness. Read the rest of this entry »


Bersih 3.0: UMNO needs a game change

— Dahlia Martin
The Malaysian Insider
May 01, 2012

MAY 1 — Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak’s popularity took a hit following a harsh crackdown on demonstrators at July’s 2011 Bersih rally. Looking to salvage his image as a reformer, Najib immediately set up a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) to look into the issue of electoral reform.

But if he was hoping this move alone would appease critics and aid his political brand, he appears to have been gravely mistaken: the bar has since been raised, and to meet it, Najib must up the reformist ante and learn to sell policies more effectively to an increasingly sceptical electorate.

Saturday saw the Malaysian Bersih movement hold its third and biggest rally yet for electoral reform: some estimates have the number of attendees at 300,000 for the Kuala Lumpur event. Bersih “solidarity rallies” also took place in eighty-five other locations across the world, adding to the momentum already mustered from the two previous rallies.

But what had for several hours been a peaceful protest quickly took a violent turn when a small group of protesters appeared to breach the barbed wire and barricades set up by police to keep the protestors out of Kuala Lumpur’s iconic Independence Square (Dataran Merdeka).

Tear gas and water cannons were fired at demonstrators. Read the rest of this entry »


Testimony of Bersih 3.0

By Pang Teck Yaw
The Malaysian Insider
May 01, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, May 1 — My name is Pang Teck Yaw. I am a student of law. I must admit reading law has been both a joyful and heartbreaking experience. During the course of my study, I read about the concept of separation of power, judiciary independence, the supremacy of constitutional rights, but it’s heartbreaking because all these are fiction to a certain extent.

That’s why I decided to attend Bersih and the reason is to convince myself what I studied can be employed in Malaysia, that I can exercise my right as a Malaysian.

I must admit I do have fear because my exam is around the corner, and at the eve of 26 and 27 of April, policemen were spotted in my college.

To be on the safe side, I stayed overnight at Jalan Sultan with no idea what’s going to happen the next day.

Nevertheless, the experience was eye opening. 9.30 am, the streets was already crowded with people. I felt so happy and proud. Never had I seen so many Chinese at Jalan Sultan. People were having a good time, some people were playing instruments, some were making friends, I had a pleasant surprise to see so many of my schoolmates and students turn up. I am very sure, the hawkers around there were making big money. Read the rest of this entry »


Bersih: The Perfect Assembly, Almost

By Marcus van Geyzel | 30 April 2012
Marcus van Geyzel records what he personally witnessed at Bersih 3.0.

There are so many stories and perspectives from Bersih 3.0 on 28 April 2012. Many first-hand accounts have already been published online, and I’m sure the coming days and weeks will see many more articles and analysis being churned out as well. I was there, and very much at the heart of the incident that has thrown up much speculation – that barrier breach. Well, I was close, but not close enough – as you will see.

As I was trying to process my thoughts and decide what to write about Bersih, Sivin Kit suggested that I just do a factual account of what I experienced that day, and leave the analysis for later. I thought that was a good idea, and am doing so with this post. There is minimal analysis here, and no “spin” – everything that is written here I witnessed and felt personally. I have written what I experienced, felt, and thought at the time, before all the spin and armchair commentators flooded my Twitter timeline with their views.

I clearly point out instances where what I’ve written is based on what I was told by others; I have kept these to a minimum.

It is long, and perhaps a bit dry, as it is a record so I will not forget what happened.
Read the rest of this entry »


Arrests, violence towards journalists condemned

Apr 30, 2012

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak should conduct a thorough and swift investigation on violent acts in Bersih 3.0, including those on journalists, and charge the perpetrators.

A group of six journalism associations issued a joint statement requesting this yesterday.

They are the Centre for Independent Journalism, Charter 2000 Aliran, Journalists Union of North Malaya, Penang Chinese Media Journalists and Photographers Association (Pewaju), Penang Press Club and Penang Press Employees Cooperative Society Limited.

The group condemned the arrest of two journalists and alleged police violence towards others who were covering the sit-down protest for free and fair elections. Read the rest of this entry »