Archive for category Mariam Mokhtar

One ideology, two reactions

Mariam Mokhtar | November 29, 2013
Free Malaysia Today

Malaysians must wonder why Aishah is considered safe but Chin Peng’s ashes are deemed a national threat

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Two people with a shared ideology – communism. Both Malaysians, both radicals. Both have spent the past 30 years living outside Malaysia. Both were educated locally, one at the Methodist run Anglo-Chinese School (ACS) in Perak, the other at the Tengku Khursiah College in Negri Sembilan.

One became a leader albeit of a banned organisation and disappeared into the Malayan jungle, whilst the other disappeared into the back-streets of London into oblivion.

The two people are a Chinese man, 88-year-old Chin Peng who died in Bangkok last September and a Malay woman 69-year-old Siti Aishah Abdul Wahab who with her two comrades staged a daring escape from her alleged captors on Oct 25.

Aishah and the other women had been kept as “slaves” in a collective by a couple – an Indian and a Tanzanian for the past 30 years.

Chin Peng rose up the ranks to become the leader of the Malayan Communist Party (MCP) when he was only 23-years-old. Aishah was a very promising, intelligent woman who secured a Commonwealth scholarship to study at the London School of Economics (LSE) when she was 24-years-old. Read the rest of this entry »

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Three slaves and the rakyat

Mariam Mokhtar
Malaysiakini
Nov 25, 2013

The three women in London who were imprisoned as slaves have much in common with the Malaysian rakyat. Their escape plan was hatched in secrecy but their story, which is slowly unfolding, has shocked the world. It is doubtful if many Malaysians realise the similarities between themselves and these three women.

For the past 30 years, the women were forced to serve a married couple from India and Tanzania. The oldest woman was a 69-year-old Malaysian who was denied medical treatment when she suffered a stroke, another was a 59-year-old Irish woman, and the youngest was a 30-year-old, who grew up in this family.

The women cleaned, cooked, shopped, ran errands and cared for their masters. As punishment, they would be beaten but despite their treatment, were too terrified to escape when an opportunity to flee presented itself.

The women were imprisoned for three decades, but the Malaysian rakyat have been metaphorically imprisoned for the most part of 56 years. The women were described as having been shackled by “invisible handcuffs”, just like the Malaysians.

Despite being aware of the injustices and abuse of power, older Malaysians are reluctant to embrace change. The married couple are just like the leaders of Malaysia. The tools of control for both the London slaves and Malaysian rakyat, are a combination of threats and emotional blackmail. Police said that the mental hold on the women was strong and “cult-like”.

Umno Baru leaders know how to pitch their stories. For instance, older and more conservative Malays are told that a vote for the opposition would mean that the Chinese and Christians would overrun Malaysia. Read the rest of this entry »

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Perspective is everything

Mariam Mokhtar
Malaysiakini
Oct 28, 2013

Kim Jong-un of North Korea, the world’s youngest leader, is usually known as ‘The Great Successor’. He could use other titles like Supreme Leader, First Chairman, Commander and First Secretary, but the one he treasures, because it gives him respect, is the honorary doctorate awarded by HELP University which is based in Kuala Lumpur.

Nowadays, we all take honorary degrees for granted. Despots or those who literally shoot their way to the top, use their titles like badges of honour. Unscrupulous vice-chancellors desperate for donations award honorary degrees like confetti at a wedding.

The honorary award resembles Najib Abdul Razak’s ‘I help you, you help me’. Theoretically, awards may be revoked, if the recipient is involved in human rights abuses or corruption, but few universities are willing. Curtin University has honoured Rosmah Mansor, the self-styled First Lady of Malaysia, and the University of Adelaide gave an honorary doctorate to Sarawak Chief Minister, Taib Mahmud.

Dr Kim’s award brought worldwide notoriety to HELP and its president, Dr Paul Chan, has been villified.

They say that Dr Chan is either stupid or ignorant; he is neither. When Myanmar opened up its doors, there was a stampede of Malaysian businessmen touting for business. North Korea cannot isolate itself forever, but Dr Chan has already got a head start. Read the rest of this entry »

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Backstabber’s guide to Umno polls

Mariam Mokhtar
Malaysiakini
Sep 30, 2013

Mention the word Umno Baru and people will think of the 3Cs – corruption, cheating and cronyism.

Thousands of miles away, Najib Abdul Razak told the UN General Assembly that “the greatest threat to Muslims today, is not from the outside world, but from within”. His words are poignant and have some gravitas, for they reflect the conditions at home.

Thanks to former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the public has become extremely mistrustful of politicians. Thanks also to Mahathir, the biggest challenge which Najib will face at the next Umno-Baru elections, is ironically, within his party.

Many factors will affect the battles during the upcoming Umno-Baru election, including wit and financial considerations. The two men, president Najib, and deputy president Muhyiddin Yassin, ‘won’ their seats unopposed. Read the rest of this entry »

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Chin Peng has the last laugh

Mariam Mokhtar
Malaysiakini
Sep 23, 2013

The Malaysian government intended to deliver a humiliating blow and final insult to Chin Peng, the late former secretary-general of the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM), by denying his dying wish.

Despite the sabre rattling by premier Najib Abdul Razak and extremist groups like Perkasa, it is Chin Peng who has won the psychological battle and more importantly, is having the last laugh from beyond the grave, leaving Najib with egg on his face.

Najib may wish to diminish Chin Peng’s role in our history, perhaps even airbrush him out of the struggle for Independence, but the irony is that his death on Sept 16, will mean that the Malaysia Day celebrations, will now also commemorate Chin Peng’s memory. Read the rest of this entry »

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The best (acting) prime minister

Mariam Mokhtar
Malaysiakini
Sep 9, 2013

No one will dispute the filial piety and devotion shown by Tawfik, the eldest son of Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman, who was once called “The man who saved Malaysia.” Dr Ismail died in office, in his capacity as acting prime minister, effectively the best prime minister we have had.

tun dr ismail abdul rahmanDr Ismail was remembered for his non-ethnic approach to issues and his concern about racial polarisation. He had a strong work ethic, was a strict but fair man who adhered strictly to rules. He despised incompetence and lateness. He was feared and respected. He refused to grant favours even to relatives and close friends. He was highly principled and enjoyed debating.

He avoided conflict of interest and the British High Commissioner said in despatches, “Ismail was a man of formidable reputation for integrity and talent in all communities.”

Tawfik has sullied his father’s memory by aligning himself with the present, undistinguished Umno Baru politicians by suggesting that the controversial film, Tanda Putera be made into a mini-series. Read the rest of this entry »

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Fit for Golden Raspberry Award

Mariam Mokhtar
Malaysiakini
Sep 2, 2013

What happened on May 13, 1969 was terrible, not just for every Malaysian, but also for the armed forces and the police. If the country is to move on and start the healing process, then the May 13 demons must be exorcised, once and for all; but first, the truth must be freed.

The National Operations Council (NOC) which was created in the aftermath of the disturbances by Najib Abdul Razak’s father, sought to return the country to normality, by restoring law and order, as well as re-establishing trust between the races. Its scope was limited and it did not seek to provide a definitive account of the tragedy.

If Najib is sincere in wanting reconciliation, one of the first things he should do is to hold an inquiry into the May 13 riots. Investigators will be hampered by Umno Baru’s unwritten rule, which is that anyone who disagrees with them is either Chinese or communist. Read the rest of this entry »

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Trapped in a vicious cycle

Mariam Mokhtar
Malaysiakini
Aug 5, 2013

“Malaysia is more dangerous than South Africa,” were the parting words of a retired couple who returned to Johannesburg after a failed attempt to live in Malaysia under the ‘Malaysia My Second Home’ (MM2H) programme. Friends of the couple said they had feared for their own and their family’s safety.

Unlike this South African couple, ordinary Malaysians are trapped in a vicious cycle of emboldened criminals, an inept police force and a government in denial. Few have access to guns like the Tan Sri who recently shot dead a thief at a clinic in Kuala Lumpur.

Owning a gun is not what Malaysians desire. We want a police force which is committed to tackling crime and not being the lapdog of Umno Baru. Cabinet ministers deny that a state of lawlessness exists. They issue statements and are then trapped by their own spin.

Former home minister Hishammuddin Hussein, more noted for his incompetence than his achievements in office, had complete disregard for the concerns of the public. He ridiculed the rakyat after they complained about rising crime levels and told them that increased crime was only a “perception”. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malays rule, OK!

Mariam Mokhtar
Malaysiakini
Jul 15, 2013

What Rowena Abdul Razak, daughter of one of Malaysia’s most infamous toadies, said that minorities were incapable of ruling, it is not just an affront to Malays, but an insult to all Malaysians.

Rowena should know that when you raise your head above the parapet, you can expect it to be shot. It is alarming to hear a woman with a sound education, who has enjoyed a privileged upbringing, and is currently pursuing her postgraduate studies, talk about the governance of a country in terms of majority rule, Malay rights, protection and race.

It is disheartening to hear educated Malays talk in such a shortsighted manner and act as if they learned nothing from their times spent in civilised countries. They have learnt nothing of the outside world, nor of the fallacy of Malay supremacy.

Students like Adam Adli Abdul Halim have had their education curtailed, whereas children of Umno Baruputras enjoy the largesse of the taxpayer. Adam was trying to help all Malaysians, whereas Rowena appears to be selfishly championing Umno Baruputras.

At a Bar Council Forum on electoral reforms Rowena queried the ability of the minority to protect the rights of the majority. Read the rest of this entry »

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Winning at all costs

Mariam Mokhtar
Malaysiakini
Jul 8, 2013

The alleged rape of a 19-year old handball official at the Malaysia Games (Sukma) last week will revive unpleasant memories for the victim and family of another teenager in Malacca. Two years ago, the victim and her family were denied justice when as a 13 year old, she was raped by a Sukma champion.

Her rapist was set free so that he could represent Malaysia in future tournaments. He was allowed to bask in the glory of representing his nation, whilst the victim would spend her life in shame and regret. Court of Appeal President Raus Md Shariff had said that “public interest would not be served” if the rapist was sent to jail as “he had a bright future.”

When will the authorities do the right thing, rather than do things so that the right Malaysian image is presented for public and international consumption? Does the judiciary realise the irony of having a rapist representing the country in sport?

If the government of the country is seen to condone rape and other crimes, what does it say about Umno Baru, the major party in BN? Does winning at all costs for Umno-Baru mean compromising principles, morals and ethics? Are rape victims convenient pawns in Umno Baru’s constant lust for victory?

Last Wednesday’s alleged rape of the Sukma participant took place at the sports village at Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM). Our trust in the police has been eroded by its failure to serve the rakyat. For decades, Umno Baru politicians have stripped the independence of the police force and made the police serve them, as baruas, thus betraying the rakyat.

How convinced are we, when told that the police will thoroughly investigate this latest alleged rape? It was a foreign NGO which first exposed the rape of the Penan girls in Sarawak. Despite pledges by the police and politicians to bring the rapists of the Penan girls to justice, nothing has happened.

Instead, the Penan women have been branded liars and story-tellers. If the rakyat are cynical about police efforts to stem crime, Umno Baru and the police have only themselves to blame. Read the rest of this entry »

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The EC is playing God

Mariam Mokhtar
Malaysiakini
Jun 24, 2013

We have heard the same trite comments before: “We’re clean. We’re not guilty. It wasn’t us.”

Umno Baru’s most sanctimonious hypocrite, Election Commission (EC) chairperson Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof, has denied claims of cheating.

Abdul Aziz expressed sadness that the indelible ink used in GE13 could easily be washed off and in an interview with the Malay daily Sinar Harian said, “If people ask me now, what is the saddest thing in my life, I would answer: ‘Indelible ink’.”

The indelible ink had been tested before use and he said, “On the much-awaited day, the power of Allah is greater when the ink could disappear after being washed several times. Where is the mistake?” Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia’s ‘Berlin Wall’

by Mariam Mokhtar
Malaysiakini
Jun 10, 2013

Dataran Merdeka is symbolic. It is our metaphorical Berlin Wall and its significance cannot be exaggerated.

Umno Baru leaders and the police have refused to allow the use of Dataran Merdeka for the ‘Black 505’ rally in Kuala Lumpur on June 15.

Etched in the memories of older Malaysians is the lowering of the Union Jack and the raising of the Malayan flag at midnight, at the Selangor Club padang as Dataran Merdeka was then known. The younger generation would have learnt about its historical role.

When the 154.5km Berlin Wall – a concrete structure built by the East Germans to divide the east from the west – came down, the city of Berlin was reunited, communist rule in eastern Europe fell and the process of re-unification of East and West Germany started.

If the opposition coalition were to hold this rally at Dataran Merdeka, it would score a great moral victory, just as Bersih did. The violence during the Bersih 3.0 rally was perpetrated by the police. A weak regime is one which does not know how to use arguments and discussion as weapons, but resorts to violence.

If the place that is connected with Merdeka and the Tunku were to become the focal point for the ‘Black 505’ rally, attention would be focused on the reasons for the rally, and Umno-Baru would be forever linked with cheating in elections. Umno-Baru is desperate to deny the opposition the publicity. Read the rest of this entry »

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Umno Baru ‘takut MATI’

by Mariam Mokhtar
Malaysiakini
May 27, 2013

It is simply ironic; Umno Baru’s Najib Abdul Razak, has urged the BN coalition to adapt so that it can maintain its relevance in the future – but behind closed doors, all the Umno Baru politicians fear change.

Why? They fear that Umno Baru will cease to exist because of Meritocracy, Accountability, Transparency and Integrity (MATI) – qualities which no Umno Baru politician displays or can ever hope to attain.

It is alleged that Umno Baru politicians laugh at this MATI joke because they realise the significance of adopting the MATI principles, as MATI means ‘death’ in Malay.

Umno Baru tyrants have exploited the rakyat for their own ends, but anyone who has met Najib or former PM Dr Mahathir Mohamad (left) will be struck by their apparent friendliness and kindly manner. They will be surprised that despite what is written about them; their alleged arrogance and the alleged corruptions carried out on their behalf, they are very different in person.

That is why it is important for members of the rakyat, to understand that the public persona of these men is just a facade. Behind the public masks, lurk other people – men who are responsible for dividing the rakyat and plundering the nation. Read the rest of this entry »

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Call for five Royal Commissions of Inquiry (RCI) to achieve true national reconciliation and national transformation

On the night of the 13th General Elections, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak spoke of the need for “national reconciliation” after he undermined his own credentials and credibility to facilitate such a purpose by coming out with a most biased and one-sided judgment on the 13GE results as a Chinese tsunami when it was a Malaysian, urban, semi-urban and youth tsunami!

For this reason, I wish to propose the establishment of five Royal Commission of Inquiries (RCIs) as the first task of the government and nation to achieve true national reconciliation and national transformation, viz:

1. RCI on the 13th General Election, on whether it is clean, free and fair; why the 13GE results have been generally regarded as undemocratic and unrepresentative of the will of the electorate and what could be done to resolve the crisis of confidence in the 13GE results.

2. RCI on the May 13, 1969 riots to ascertain the true events and causes of the May 13 riots, who were responsible for them, not so much to apportion blame or to punish the culprits as 44 years had elapsed since the occurrence of the national tragedy in 1969, but to ascertain the true causes and developments to present the historical truth to present and future generations and to remove the spectre of May 13 from being used at every general elections since 1969 to blackmail voters from freely exercising their constitutional right to vote to choose the elected representative and government of their choice. Read the rest of this entry »

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Umno Baru’s hidden agenda

Mariam Mokhtar
Malaysiakini
May 20, 2013

When Ahmad Zahid Hamidi – the new home minister – told disgruntled opposition supporters that they should migrate if they were unhappy with the results of GE13, he had unwittingly confessed that Umno Baru has a hidden agenda.

This little-known plan is Umno Baru’s mass immigration policy and is a deliberate ploy fuelled by political self-interests. Asking people to emigrate will ensure that Malaysia is populated largely by Umno Baru-putras and selected foreigners.

Zahid reluctantly acknowledged that the rakyat was disappointed with the rigging of the polls, but at the same time, he revealed the fears of Umno Baru leaders. The cheating did not go as smoothly and secretly as they had intended.

Zahid possesses neither charisma nor intellect. His oft repeated line is for people to shape up or ship out. With each new political appointment, he stuns us with his ability to set new standards for boorish behaviour.

In 2008, he was appointed a minister in the Prime Minister’s Department of Abdullah Ahmad Badawi with a portfolio which included religious affairs and agencies like the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim). He caused controversy when he warned officers that they had to support the government’s policies, or leave.

When Abdullah resigned and Najib Abdul Razak took over in 2009, Zahid was made the defence minister. He invited criticism when he said that the low percentage of non-Malays in the armed forces showed that they lacked patriotism. Read the rest of this entry »

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Najib’s hollow victory

by Mariam Mokhtar
Malaysiakini
May 6, 2013

It is widely believed that a happy and contented Singaporean is one who has achieved the 5Cs – cash, credit card, car, condominium and country club.

In neighbouring Malaysia, the victorious Umno Baru leader is defined by the 6Cs; corruption, chaos, cheating, cronyism, cowardice and concubine.

BN head Najib Abdul Razak injected many millions of ringgit into the country to secure a victory, and unleashed a violent campaign of ‘blood, sweat and tears’ to defend Putrajaya. In the end, he only managed a ‘win’ by a handful of seats.

For many Umno Baru leaders, the effort has been worthwhile because the alternative is a long spell behind bars.

Ironically, the worst damage inflicted on Najib and BN, was Najib’s own ‘1Malaysia’ slogan.

Malaysians are fairly reticent people and not known for outward displays of public-spiritedness, but yesterday, in the true spirit of ‘1Malaysia’, Malaysians of all races were united in defending their polling stations against foreign ‘phantom’ voters. Read the rest of this entry »

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M’sian caped crusader?

by Mariam Mokhtar
Malaysiakini
Mar 11, 2013

Malays could be the masters of their own destiny, but decades of spoon-feeding, reinforced by an unhealthy belief that they are morally and spiritually superior, has robbed many Malays of the power of critical thought and analysis. It is as if the strain of thinking for oneself, is too great a challenge.

When a Malay criticises the ruling party, he is seen as ‘ungrateful’. He is told that he should be appreciative for all that Umno has done for him – all the opportunities for education and work. It is conveniently forgotten that not all Malays benefit from the New Economic Policy (NEP).

Many middle-class Malay families complain that scholarships or study loans go to the children of well-connected parents. In businesses, and especially in government tenders, the same applies – connections count more than skills or expertise. Many senior politicians and their wives are more commonly known as Mr or Mrs “Ten percent”.

Conversely, Malays have not realised that receiving an education or business opportunity via the affirmative action policies, should not deprive them of a voice. Malays must learn that keeping the government on its toes does not mean that they are unappreciative or disloyal.

Some Malays have a child-like version of the world. In a discussion with a non-Malay, the Malay who cannot present his facts in a logical manner may invariably blurt out, “Go back to where you came from”. It is like the frustrated child who does not get his way and threatens his sibling with, “I’ll tell father what you did”. He does not care about the consequences. He just wants to hurt and get retribution.

When our leaders act in the same manner, this presents a very poor example for the Malays. As an example, former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad had encouraged the stripping of Ambiga Sreenevasan’s citizenship because she wanted true democracy. Read the rest of this entry »

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GE13 as a late pregnancy?

Mariam Mokhtar
Malaysiakini
Feb 25, 2013

This is Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s first experience in calling a general election, but waiting for the announcement is as bad as an expectant mother’s wait for an overdue birth. After a gestation of 42 weeks, it is recommended that labour be induced.

Unfortunately, Najib is acting like an overanxious, elderly primigravida, who prolongs the gestation period because he fears both the birth and the progeny. He also displays all the symptoms of a mother carrying a post-mature foetus; sleepless nights, backache, sweating and anxiety.

It is highly probably that elections have been rigged in Malaysia, for many decades. Recently, the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) into immigrants in Sabah provided ample proof that citizenship was awarded in exchange for voting rights. In addition, the opposition has unearthed much evidence of cheating at the polls.

Yesterday, Najib announced that GE13 would be held only after the rakyat had derived full benefit from the success of his government’s national transformation policies (NTP).

He said, “That is why we wait until we are exhausted to hold the general election, we wait because I want to prove that the national transformation policy can truly succeed.”

Najib should have no reason to delay the announcement of the date for GE13, if he knows that Umno has cheated in the elections since the 1980s and he also knows that this cheating will secure a win at GE-13 – unless he has been warned by his intelligence services that he will still lose. despite the cheating.

Cheating can influence the outcome of an election to a certain extent and it does not help Najib that the electorate has been alerted to the possibility of cheating. The opposition and internal election monitors are also aware of the tactics that have been used to cheat, and foreign countries are observing the fairness of GE13. Read the rest of this entry »

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Chinese see Psy, Malays see May 13 film

By Mariam Mokhtar | February 22, 2013
Free Malaysia Today

As we approach the 13th general election (GE13), Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s interpretation of “1Malaysia” gets more bizarre.

To herald in the Year of the Snake, Najib made the surprise announcement that the Chinese would be treated to a special performance by the Korean entertainer Psy. Earlier this week, after much delay and heavy censorship, the Indians were finally allowed to view the film, “Vishwaroopam”.

The Malay masses, always on the wrong end of the stick when it comes to Umno’s largesse, were forced to view the Umno propaganda film “Tanda Putera”.

Psy’s performance allegedly cost RM3 million for a mere 12 minutes. The ban on Vishwaroopam caused promoters to suffer significant financial losses. Much of the box-office takings were diverted to pirated DVDs which were openly sold throughout Malaysia.

“Tanda Putera” cost RM4.8 million and is funded by the National Film Development Corporation (Finas) and the Multimedia Development Corporation (Mdec) – in other words, the taxpayer.
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The two faces of Malaysia

by Mariam Mokhtar
Malaysiakini
Feb 18, 2013

Like a coin, Malaysia has two sides; the tourist experiences a tropical idyll, a shopping paradise and gastronomic delights, but the man in the street sees the obverse.

azlanIn the markets, housewives moan about the increasing prices of everyday food items, but at any Malaysian Airlines check-in counter in London, New York, Dubai or Sydney, one can see Malaysian officials and their spouses deposit box after box of shopping. It is alleged that they seldom pay excess baggage charges.

To say that Malaysia is a nation in chaos is an understatement. Minister after minister shows levels of incompetency that any half-decent company would never permit. Who runs the country? Who is in charge? Is Malaysia like an air plane cruising on auto-pilot until it crashes when it runs out of fuel?

While ministers are busy playing politics, the country is going to ruin. In Sabah, former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s ‘Project M’, made illegal immigrants instant citizens of Malaysia. Last week, more than 100 armed foreigners breezed in and occupied a village, without any resistance.

Elsewhere in Malaysia, people of distinction, whose only weapons are truth and the tenets of justice and democracy, are harassed and discouraged from entering Malaysia, or are deported. These people include a French lawyer acting on behalf of Suaram, a British lawyer acting on behalf of Hindraf, Thai pathologist Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand and Australian Senator Nick Xenophon. Read the rest of this entry »

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