Archive for category Bersih
— Christine SK Lai
The Malaysian Insider
Jan 13, 2013
JAN 13 — How do you describe the feeling of being part of a historic moment in time? You can’t, you just have to be there. You can ooh and ahh over all the Instantgram and Utube downloads, but nothing absolutely nothing beats being there in person, to be counted as one of the thousands upon thousands who turned up for KL 112 Himpunan Kebangkitan Rakyat rally.
By the time my gang of 3 not-so-young aunties alighted from the LRT station at Pasar Seni at about 11 plus, the streets were already packed with people of all races and ages clad mostly in yellow and green, with bright splashes of some in orange and red. To their credit, police personnel stood around unobstrusively though watchfully. Kudos also to the Unit Amal folks who managed crowd control as best they could. As we finished lunch, the crowd had swelled noticeably, all moving steadily towards Stadium Merdeka. Mercifully the sky was overcast with clouds, offering some welcome shade from the heat of the afternoon sun. It even drizzled a little but the heavens held up as people streamed into the open-air stadium.
I thought we were early but by the time we got in, the stands were already 3/4 full with a huge crowd gathered on the centre field itself. The whole thing was like some mammoth family carnival, with colourful teams waving flags, banners and placards; the atmosphere noisy with the loud intermittent blaring of vuvuzelas ….And the crowd simply grew and grew and grew. It was an amazing sight from where we were seated on the stands — a vast colourful ocean of people as far and beyond what the eye could see. Apparently there was another sea of people milling about outside the stadium grounds. Doesn’t matter what’s the final count — even that one picture on a main-line newspaper’s front-page said it all… Read the rest of this entry »
Jan 13, 2013
I want to be completely honest. I did not expect a large crowd at the Himpunan Kebangkitan Rakyat (HKR).
I wasn’t pessimistic because I thought that sentiment had changed; my worries stemmed from the fact that the police and the government had surprising agreed to let the rally proceed without obstacles.
It is the nature of people to push back when pushed and I thought that without roadblocks, physical and psychological; without the presence of policemen in riot uniforms and tear gas canisters and without the threats of the goons from Perkasa, the people who want change would stay home.
And so, because I did not want the rally organisers to face the ignominy of an empty stadium, I went to the rally.
Before I tell you about my HKR experience, let me tell you who I am so that you can understand how I felt yesterday. Read the rest of this entry »
― Ambiga Sreenevasan
The Malaysian Insider
Jan 12, 2013
JAN 12 ― My friends, why are we here today?
Why have we chosen to give up our Saturday to gather here? Together. Again.
The answer is, we love our country. We care about Malaysia. We care about Malaysians. Our children, our parents, their future, our future.
And more importantly we are here because we have hope. We think that a better Malaysia is within our grasp. We know it is. I know it is. And it is all because of you ― a rakyat that cares enough to do something about achieving a bright future for our country.
As far as Bersih 2.0 is concerned, we just want clean and fair elections. If there is to be change in the leadership, we want to do it through the ballot box. Our objectives are clear and clean and fair. Our message to all the political parties is: Respect our rights as citizens, honour our vote, and, give us clean and fair elections!
Yet I have unhappy news ― by all accounts, GE 13 will be far from clean and fair. I will not go into the details, many of you know them. The recent fiasco with the overseas voters is yet another example. The suggested process is not clean, not transparent and the conditions that have been imposed on overseas voters are not, in my view, constitutional. Read the rest of this entry »
By Simon Roughneen
21st December 2012
Ahead of what reform campaigners believe will be Malaysia’s “dirtiest ever elections”, the long-ruling United Malays National Organization (UMNO) has engineered something of a clean-up. In recent months, it has reformed some old and oft-derided laws, such as allowing indefinite detention without trial and forcing local newspapers to apply each year for a publication permit, a stipulation that encouraged self-censorship.
UMNO and its allies have governed Malaysia consecutively since achieving independence from colonial rule, a longevity not usually associated with electoral democracies. UMNO and its Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition survived the last election in 2008, though it ceded its two-thirds parliamentary majority for the first time and lost five out of 13 federal states to the opposition, a coalition of three parties led by controversial former UMNO firebrand Anwar Ibrahim that includes the Islamic party PAS and the Chinese-dominated Democratic Action Party (DAP).
While some in the Malaysian opposition and rights groups have criticized the recent reforms as piecemeal electioneering for next year’s vote, there are indications that the government has made some real positive changes, particularly regarding the overhaul of certain emergency laws and repealing the old Internal Security Act, a law which has in the past been used against the government’s political opponents. Read the rest of this entry »
by R.C. | KUALA LUMPUR
Dec 19th 2012
ALL year, it seems, Malaysia has been on a war footing. For elections, that is—and thankfully, rather than anything more martial. The country operates on a Westminster-style parliamentary system, so the prime ministers’ five-year term does not officially end until early next summer. Nonetheless, Najib Razak and his people have been talking up the chances of going to the polls before then pretty well continuously over the past 18 months or so, which keeps everyone guessing.
Now, with the end of the year in sight and no further announcements, it seems that Mr Najib will take this down to the wire. Given that he can only go to the country after Chinese New Year next February, most people expect him to plump for the latest date he can in the electoral calendar, which would be about late March or early April.
His supporters say, why rush? With a generally favourable economic outlook, tame state media and all the advantages of incumbency, there is no reason why Mr Najib can’t enjoy the rest of his term of office without worrying about the 13th general election. After all, he has a bit of history on his side, to put it mildly—the ruling political alliance, Barisan Nasional (BN), has never lost a general election since independence in 1957. Read the rest of this entry »
By Clive Kessler | November 07, 2012
UPDATED @ 07:04:27 AM 08-11-2012
The Malaysian Insider
People are kind.
They have been writing to ask how I am.
I have not said or written anything serious for weeks.
And they are beginning to wonder.
The “Phoney War” Interlude
“What is the problem?” they ask.
The problem, I reply, is not me. It’s the situation.
Read the rest of this entry »
— Jaleel Hameed
The Malaysian Insider
Nov 07, 2012
NOV 7 — It is a government that has ruled since Merdeka, but it sure looks like the Alliance and its offspring Barisan Nasional (BN) has to learn some lessons early.
Take Bersih for example, kind sirs in Putrajaya.
What did the government achieve by demonising Bersih every step of the way, from its financing to its office-bearers to declaring it illegal and yet offering to work with the electorai reforms movement?
The answer is nothing, sir. Read the rest of this entry »
— Ooi Kok Hin
The Malaysian Insider
Nov 06, 2012
NOV 6 — When students look at portraits of Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra al-Haj (1903-1990), the first Prime Minister of Malaysia is perceived as a distant figure from an era gone-by. He’s the Father of Independence, the legend, and the unknown. We are told how great he was; yet we know so little of him. He is a myth. This shouldn’t be happening, because Tunku was a prolific writer. After his retirement, Tunku actively wrote two columns for The Star newspaper: Looking Back and As I See It. Several articles from the first column were compiled into a book with the identical title. From that book, I draw several of Tunku’s views which are applicable in our country today.
1. Abolish AUKU
Tunku had a long and dreadful conflict with Communists. But when the government conjured a Communist conspiracy theory behind the student unrests of the early 1970s, Tunku was quick to reject that theory. “Student [ego] movement is widespread in the world. They like to be known, they like to be seen and they like to be heard like grown-ups,” Tunku wrote in 1974. He refused to blame the students and understood that suppression of the young minds will not help Malaysia to be vibrant and dynamic country. In order to be ahead of our regional peers, we need to develop intellect and critical thinking. Tunku expressed desire to include students in our country’s politics and decision-making process. He suggested, “Perhaps one or two seats be given to Universities so that their members can participate in Parliament and play their parts in the country’s politics”. Read the rest of this entry »
— Ambiga Sreenevasan
The Malaysian Insider
Oct 15, 2012
OCT 15 — Those in the international community may be forgiven for saying, “Is there a problem with the democratic process in Malaysia?”
In the international arena, our leaders portray Malaysia as a moderate Islamic nation that is built on the democratic principles that are enshrined in our Federal Constitution. The fundamental rights of freedom of expression, freedom of association, freedom of assembly, the right to life and a fair electoral process, are indeed guaranteed under our Federal Constitution.
The reality is, however, far less idyllic. There are serious questions whether these rights are respected and upheld by those in power. Read the rest of this entry »
No time like tomorrow
Another budget, more cash handouts and more dithering over an election date
Oct 6th 2012 | SINGAPORE | from the print edition
THE prime minister, Najib Razak, fancies himself as the Tony Blair of Malaysian politics. Like the former British prime minister, Mr Najib purports to be a progressive reformer, on a mission to “modernise” his country. The British-educated Mr Najib also likes to pay as much attention to the spin on his policies as to their substance. He even hires former Blair advisers to make sure he gets it right.
For all that, Mr Najib increasingly resembles the hapless Gordon Brown, Mr Blair’s nemesis and successor. For years Mr Brown agitated to push his rival aside. When at last he succeeded, Mr Brown blew it by missing the chance to call an early election while he was still relatively popular. Rather than winning his own mandate, Mr Brown, unelected and indecisive, watched his authority drain away until he was boxed into calling an election right at the end of his term—which he then lost. Read the rest of this entry »
International Crisis Group
Asia Report N°235
1 Oct 2012
Malaysia’s thirteenth general election, which Prime Minister Najib Razak will have to call by April 2013, could be a watershed in communal relations. More than ever before, there is a chance, albeit a very small one, that opposition parties running on issues of transparency, economic equity and social justice could defeat the world’s longest continually-elected political coalition, the National Front (Barisan Nasional), that has based its support on a social compact among the country’s Malay, Chinese and Indian communities. That compact, granting Malays preferential status in exchange for security and economic growth, has grown increasingly stale as the growing middle class demands more of its leaders. Both ruling party and opposition are using images of the Arab Spring – the former to warn of chaos if it is not returned to power, the latter to warn of popular unrest unless political change comes faster. Read the rest of this entry »
Can there be a SPM trial exam question: Is it appropriate for police to use tear gas, water cannon or physical violence against peaceful demonstrators?
Would the Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and his two deputies, Puad Zarkashi and Datuk Wee Ka Siong give their tacit approval or close their eyes and shut their ears if any of the following questions had appeared in a SPM trial examination paper for Moral Education:
• Is it appropriate for the police to use tear-gas or chemically-laced water cannon or used physical violence against peaceful demonstrators comprising all races, religions, age and gender who merely wanted to send a clear and unmistakable to the government that they want free, fair and clean elections?
• Is it appropriate for any government to misuse public funds for political party purposes especially in the run-up to a general election?
• Is it appropriate for voters in a general election to support candidates from a political coalition which is responsible for Malaysia having the lowest Transparency International Corruption Perception Index ranking of No. 60 as well as lowest CPI score of 4.3 in 2012?
• Is it appropriate for any Minister or MP to go against national unity efforts as publicly dissociating from the 1Malaysia policy, declaring that he or she is Malay first and Malaysian second?
Of course not. There can be no shadow of doubt that if such questions had appeared in any school SPM trial examination paper, there would be an orchestrated howl of protest and condemnation in the mainstream mass media of Utusan Malaysia, New Straits Times, Berita Harian and the Star as well as on government/Barisan Nasional radio and television channels, followed by a witch-hunt to expose, penalise and even criminalise those responsible for setting the questions. Read the rest of this entry »
― Othman Wahab
The Malaysian Insider
Sept 22, 2012
SEPT 22 ― Thank you to The Malaysian Insider for being upfront about the fact that Saifuddin Abdullah is a minority and that his views, no matter how enlightened, do not represent that which prevails in Umno.
In fact, let us not get carried away with nice words and intelligent discourse or even the occasional Oxford-speak. I only ask Malaysians to ponder about these questions. Read the rest of this entry »
By Leannza Chia and Md Izwan
The Malaysian Insider
Sep 21, 2012
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 21 ― Activists said today they are now the target of a smear campaign after a number of newspapers aligned with Barisan Nasional (BN) published stories alleging organisations like SUARAM and Bersih took foreign funds as part of a plot to destabilise the country.
It is understood the stories appearing in mainstream newspapers and television news programmes are based on a skeleton plan produced by Putrajaya.
Today, the activists acknowledged to The Malaysian Insider that many of their organisations had received funds from foreign and local sources, but said the money was meant to help finance their respective causes such as to promote democratic practices and campaign for human rights.
They said the funds and their sources were not part of any plot, as suggested by a headline today on the front page of the Umno-controlled New Straits Times. Read the rest of this entry »
By Thomas Fann
It was soon after the Bersih 3.0 protest on 28th April, 2012 that I chanced upon a posting on a social media network by someone I knew. Commenting on the huge protest and violence that followed, he said that it is not that he doesn’t support the demands of the protesters but he doesn’t believe protesting is the way to go as it doesn’t solve anything.
It is very likely that many a Malaysian echoes the same sentiments and asks the question – Why bother to protest? Can anything good come out of a protest? Some may even agree with the Prime Minister who said this is not our culture.
I want to suggest ten reasons why we should bother to protest:
Reason 1 – It’s our constitutional right
Did you know that the supreme law of our land, the Federal Constitution in Article 10(1)(b), states that all citizens have the right to assemble peaceably and without arms (weapons)? Unfortunately, subsequent laws passed like the Police Act (Section 27) and its new incarnation, the Peaceful Assembly Act (PAA) 2012, restricts that right.
It can be argued that such restrictions are not in keeping with the intent and spirit of the Constitution which allows us to assemble peaceably. In such cases of inconsistency, we revert back to our supreme law, the Federal Constitution. As law-abiding citizens, our courage and confidence come from knowing this fact. Read the rest of this entry »
By Hafiz Yatim | 11:45AM Sep 18, 2012
Twenty-one people, including federal and state lawmakers, were acquitted and discharged by a sessions court today for illegal assembly and not abiding by a police officer’s order.
The prosecution failed to prove a prima facie case against the accused and police failed to show the roles played by the participants in the candlelight vigil in support of Bersih in 2008, the court in Petaling Jaya ruled.
“There is a gap in the prosecution’s case following the inconsistent testimony of the witnesses (from the police).
“The witnesses were inconsistent in stating the time for the crowd to disperse as some were saying 9.45pm and others 10pm and 11pm. This affects to their credibility and also the credibility of the order isued by the police to disperse.
Read the rest of this entry »
Events of past fortnight building up a scenario befitting the Greek saying: “Those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad”
The events of the past fortnight reminded me of the Greek saying: “Those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad”.
There have been a series of events which are quite inexplicable as they defy logic, common sense and reason.
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak today spoke up against “mooning” by a youth on August 30 describing its “un-Malaysian”.
I agree with him that “dropping one’s pants in public” or stomping on pictures of national leaders are “nothing to be proud of” and should be deplored and discouraged.
But what is most saddening and disappointing to Malaysians as a whole is the double standards of the Prime Minister, the Barisan Nasional leadership and the enforcement authorities, who could not see anything wrong in similar deplorable conduct against Pakatan Rakyat leaders like Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, and PAS Mentri Besar Datuk Nik Mat Nik Aziz and civil society leaders like Bersih Co-Chairman Datuk S. Ambiga whether perpetrated by UMNO or UMNO-sponsored activists.
Why didn’t Najib speak up and insist that “the law must run its course” when the pictures of Pakatan Rakyat leaders were stomped upon, urinated at and even funeral rites performed? Read the rest of this entry »
Jeswan Kaur | September 3, 2012
Free Malaysia Today
Before fingers are pointed at Pakatan for doing a bad job, it will do BN good to take a good look at itself and realise how how bad a track record it has.
Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the country’s former longest-serving prime minister, wants the rakyat to vote for Barisan Nasional come the 13th general election. His reason is that the federal government under the Barisan Nasional was all ears and had changed many laws and policies to bring a better future for the people.
Thanks but no thanks, Mahathir; had BN been listening, there would have been no reason for the “Bersih” saga to take place.
If all was well at the polls, the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections or Bersih, would not have taken to the streets, not one or twice but thrice.
And did the BN government listen then? No!
Why then must the rakyat vote BN back into power, if all BN does is to “monopolise” its existence and hoodwink the people into believing that it cares? Read the rest of this entry »