Archive for December, 2007

World’s tallest Mazu statue in Kudat – call for RCI on misgovernance by all 3 tiers of government

I welcome the statement by the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak yesterday expressing the government’s hope that former Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Chong Kah Kiat will settle the Mazu status issue amicably without going to court.

He said the government is hoping to bring the Mazu statue issue back to the negotiation table instead of going through the court.

I support Najib’s proposal for an amicable settlement of the proposal to build the world’s tallest Mazu statue in Kudat.

It is important however for Najib to understand that the principles and issues involved in the Mazu statue controversy do not just concern Chong as one person, but have become a major public issue of national and even international importance involving not just three million Sabahans but also 26 million Malaysians

I am glad that immediately after my visit to Kudat to visit the site of the Mazu statue, there is now the possibility of a new development.

The Mazu statue controversy should not only be resolved at the negotiation table, I will go even one step further and call for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the mishandling and lack of good governance in all three tiers of local, state and federal government resulting in the Kudat Mazu statue controversy undermining nation-building and inter-religiousl understanding as well as turning Malaysia into an international laughing-stock.

I have just returned from a three-day visit to Kota Kinabalu, Kudat and Sandakan including a 500-km land journey from Kota Kinabalu through Kota Belud to Kudat and onwards to Sandakan through Marudu, with the Kudat-Sandakan journey taking eight hours through some very treacherous stretches (with 25 km of unsealed portion of the Paitan highway after the Nango junction). Read the rest of this entry »


Ring out 2007 “annus horribilis” and bring in 2008 with hope and change, starting with forthcoming general election

2008 New Year Message

Malaysians heave a sigh of relief at the end of 2007, a year which had opened with such great promise as it is to celebrate the 50th Merdeka anniversary of the nation.

I cannot think of a better term to describe 2007 than to borrow from Queen Elizabeth II in one of her most unforgettable annual messages when she said that the year that had just ended was an “annus horribilis”.

For Malaysians, 2007 had been an “annus horribilis” (a horrible year), a year which Malaysians would not look back with undulited pleasure and pride – but with great foreboding!

This is because 2007, the 50th Merdeka anniversary costing over RM100 million of taxpayers’ money in public celebrations, should be the year where Malaysians can look with pride and confidence into the next 50 years, founded on the fulfillment of the many great pledges which Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had made on becoming Prime Minister and for which he was given the unprecedented electoral mandate of over 91 per cent of parliamentary seats in the 2004 general election.

But 2007 has proved to be one of the most divisive and troubled year in the half-a-century of Malaysia’s nationhood – with religious polarization assuming its most serious dimension in dividing Malaysians, compounding an already difficult problem of racial polarization in the nation-building process. Read the rest of this entry »


Landmark achievement of Tawau “Don Quixote” case in defence of open spaces

I commend the Tawau Municipal Council (TMC) for admitting that the Sabindo development and encroachment of Tawau open spaces is illegal and invalid and I call on Sabindo developers, Jeramas Sdn Bhd and Aggasf Construction Sdn. Bhd to emulate the example of TMC to reach an amicable “win-win” settlement for the interests of the people of Tawau.

DAP leaders and I had attended several public meetings in Tawau over the scandal of the encroachment and deprivation of the open spaces in Tawau, subordinating the public interests of the people of Tawau to private profit-making in disregard of the law and public policy.

DAP MP for Seputeh Teresa Kok and I had also raised in Parliament the issue of the lack of municipal good governance as illustrated by the Sabindo open space scandal, with the Tawau municipality teeming with “Little Napoleons” defying the Prime Minister and the Sabah State Cabinet in depriving the fundamental right of the people of Tawau to open spaces and recreational grounds.

I was very uplifted when I was informed last night by Jimmy Wong (alias Tiger Wong of Tawau) – who together with nine other public-spirited Tawau ratepayers had taken the TMC to court on the unlawful Sabindo development project and the encroachment of the Tawau open spaces and recreational grounds – that the Tawau people had achieved a classic and landmark breakthrough in their long, arduous and uphill battle to protect the “open spaces” in Tawau not only for the people of Tawau but also for the people Sabah and Malaysia. Read the rest of this entry »


Pak Lah’s host of great breaches of great promises

This Parliamentary Roundtable on the Special Complaints Commission (SCC) Bill is special for more reasons than one.

Firstly, there should be no need for this Parliamentary Roundtable as there should have been a Parliamentary Select Committee on the SCC Bill – what I had described as the fake Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) Bill – to collect public testimony and undertake public consultation on an important piece of proposed legislation with far-reaching consequences on the quality of life and governance in the country.

Secondly, this may be the last Parliamentary Roundtable for the current Parliament if it is dissolved without reconvening again, paving the way for the next general election.

The IPCMC was one of the great promises of the Abdullah premiership and the SCC Bill one of the great breaches by Abdullah of his pledges to the people and country.

It was almost exactly four years ago, 29th December 2003, that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced the formation of a Royal Commission into the Police. Read the rest of this entry »


Do Malaysian Muslims understand what ‘Allah’ means?

The Other Malaysia
by Farish A. Noor
25 December 2007

At the time of writing this, I am in Cairo in the company of my Egyptian friends who are Muslims, Catholics and Copts. Eid has passed and I attended several dinners and celebrations where Muslims and Copts celebrated together, visiting each others’ homes and ate til we could not eat any further. What is worse, Christmas is upon us and so once again Muslims, Catholics and Copts will be heading for the communal table for the communal feast and there will be much licking of chops, munching of bread, gobbling of sweet deserts and drinking for everyone. It is all simply too pleasant to belive, yet it is real and this is what life is like for many in Cairo, the ‘Mother of civilisation’ and home to more than twenty million Egyptians from all walks of life.

What is most striking to the outside observer like me – though rather banal for the Egyptians themselves – is the fact that in all these celebrations ranging from Eid for the Muslims to Christmas for the Catholics and Copts the word ‘Allah’ is used to denote that supreme and singular divinity, God. Catholics and Copts alike exclaim ‘Masha-allah’, ‘Wallahi’, ‘ya-Rabbi’, ‘Wallah-u allam’, and of course ‘Allahuakbar’ day in, day out, everywhere they go. The coptic taxi driver blares out ‘By Allah, cant you see where you are parking??” as he dodges the obstable ahead. The Catholic shopkeeper bemoans “Ya Allah, ya Allah! You can only offer me two pounds for the scarf? Wallahi, my mother would die if she heard that! Ya-Rabbi, ya-Rabbi!”

Yet in Malaysia at the moment yet another non-issue has been brewed to a scandal for no reason: The Malaysian Catholic Herald, a publication by and for Catholics in the country, has been told that it can no longer publish its Malaysian language edition if it continues to use the word “Allah” to mean God. Worse still, the country’s Deputy Internal Security Minister Johari Baharum recently stated that “Only Muslims can use the word Allah” ostensibly on the grounds that “Allah” is a Muslim word. The mind boggles at the confounding logic of such a non-argument, which speaks volumes about the individual’s own ignorance of Muslim culture, history and the fundamental tenets of Islam itself. Read the rest of this entry »


Next general election in next 80 days or it will be mid-year or third quarter

MIC Deputy President Datuk G. Palanivel is confident that the Indians will continue to vote for Barisan Nasional because of the hard work put in by the MIC.

“The Indians are loyal to Barisan. They know we have served our constituencies and cultivated the relationship with the people.”

Palanivel was clearly “whistling in the dark” (i.e. keeping the courage up) when the MIC leaders are facing the greatest crisis of confidence and credibility in its party history.

In the past 50 years, the Indian voters were taken for granted by the Barisan Nasional as the unquestioned vote-bank, but there is now a sea-change in the political attitudes of the Malaysian Indians as a result of their political awakening caused by the high-handed and arbitrary disregard of their basic feelings and fundamental rights in their cry of desperation for government attention and action to end their long-standing marginalization as the new underclass in Malaysia.

Nanyang Siang Pau reported that the next general election will be held in the next 100 days. I believe that the polls will be held in the next 80 days or it will be held much later.

A date which had been bruited as given by the Prime Minister’s Feng Shui maestro is March 15, 2008.

I believe if the polling date is not held by the middle of March, we are looking earliest at mid-year or after.

This is because the next Parliamentary meeting is scheduled to begin on March 17, which will be officially opened by the Yang di Pertuan Agong for a 23-day meeting for the Dewan Rakyat till April 23, 2008 to be followed by the Senate meeting.

It would be ridiculous and highly contemptuous of Parliament and the Yang di Pertuan Agong to dissolve Parliament when it has just been officially opened as there would be no national emergency, like a loss of confidence by the government-of-the-day, to justify such an action. Read the rest of this entry »


Samy “flunked” test 40 months ago – now “rat running across the street”

MIC President and sole Indian Cabinet Minister for more than 28 years, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu announced that the Prime Minister has asked him to monitor all Hindu temples and submit a report on their status periodically.

He said the Prime Minister also wanted the MIC to forward to him and the Cabinet a list of temples that might have to be demolished for various reasons.

In declaring that the MIC “will completely take over” the sensitive issue of Hindu temples, several observations and questions are in order.

Firstly, is this an election gimmick until the next general election expected in March is over – when the various State Governments will again assert their untrammeled power and authority like the arbitrary, high-handed and insensitive demolition of the of the Sri Mariamman Temple at Padang Jawa in Shah Alam a few days before Deepavali?

Secondly, is there a total moratorium and halt on the demolition of Hindu temples, and if so, for what period – is it only until the next general election?

Thirdly, if Samy Vellu is now given additional responsibilities and powers by the Prime Minister on the question of Hindu temples in the country, he must thank Hindraf and he should ask the Prime Minister to release all the five Hindraf leaders under the Internal Security Act immediately and unconditionally – and they should be charged in court and be given their fundamental right of an open trial to defend themselves to any charges that the Attorney-General wants to prefer against them.

It is moot however that this latest announcement is going to reverse Samy Vellu’s political fortunes, who is akin to the Chinese saying of a “a rat running across the street with everybody shouting ‘smack it’”. Read the rest of this entry »


I’m on facebook.

All the buzz around facebook, thought should check it out for myself. Feel free to add me as your friend.

Lim Kit Siang's Facebook profile


Hishammuddin threat – Tsu Koon should requisition BN Supreme Council meeting to stop bullying/intimidation

Umno Youth chief Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein has denied that his statement on what Gerakan Youth deputy chief S. Paranjothy said was a threat.

Hishammudin said he was not threatening anyone nor being emotional when he said that Umno Youth and Barisan Nasional would sever relationship with Gerakan if the Gerakan Acting President Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon could not give a satisfactory explanation and response on Paranjothy’s statement for saying two things:

• that the 30,000 Indians who took part in the Hindraf demonstration in Kuala Lumpur on November 25 did so to express their frustration and anger because the community had been “marginalized, oppressed and ignored”.

• Blaming Umno leaders, particularly the Umno Youth Leader Hishammuddin and Deputy Umno Youth Leader Khairy Jamaluddin for racial posturing and inciting racial sentiments among Malays to gain political mileage – citing as examples the keris-wielding episodes against the former and the public castigation of the Indian news vendors by the latter when the Umno presidential address of Prime Minister and Umno President, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was not carried in the press the next day as the Umno general assembly fell on Deepavali, with the next day an annual press holiday.

Hishamuddin’s denial that his statement on Paranjothy was a threat raises the question what would be Tsu Koon’s reaction if the Umno Youth had issued his “threat”.

Hishammuddin was however denying the undeniable as everyone, except him, would have recognized that he had issued an ultimatum and a threat.

Tsu Koon had issued a plaintive complaint that Hishammuddin should not make statements ”that can mar relationship between component parties within Barisan” when he should have berated Hishammuddin for his arrogance and presumption in threatening that the Barisan Nasional would sever relationship with Gerakan as if all the 14 Barisan Nasional component parties and their leaders, including the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, have no minds of their own and were all at the Umno Youth leader’s beck and call! Read the rest of this entry »


Herald controversy – Is Abdullah leader of Malaysian moderates protecting middle ground against extremists?

It is a great Christmas letdown and disappointment that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi did not assure Malaysians that he will not allow the middle ground to be intruded and encroached by extremists in Umno or the civil service by striking down unreasonable, arbitrary and unconstitutional restrictions on Herald, the Catholic weekly.

I was expecting Abdullah to put to rest the controversy over the use of ‘Allah’ by Herald in its Bahasa Malaysia section when he attended the Christmas High Tea Reception hosted by the Christian Federation of Malaysia at Bukit Nanas, Kuala Lumpur yesterday, and I dare say that my sense of disappointment was not mine alone but of the entire audience with representatives from diverse religions in the country – Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikkhism and Taoism.

In his speech, Abdullah reminded Malaysians not to allow extremist tendencies to take root and undermine interracial harmony in the country.

He said the moderates should play a role in ensuring that members of the public were not swayed by extremist propaganda which played on people’s emotions by raising sensitive religious and racial issues.

“I’m really concerned when issues involving religion are brought up from time to time and the attendant problems that all of us would need to address.

“If moderates don’t take centre stage, surely extremist elements will occupy it, making us fall for their extremist approach being touted as a religious or national approach.”

Abdullah cannot be more right that the greatest threat to inter-racial and inter-religious understanding, goodwill and harmony stem from religious extremists hiding in religious groups, political parties and the civil service who have been intruding and encroaching into the middle ground, edging out the moderates from the centre stage.

This is the main reason why religious polarization has surfaced in its most serious and dangerous form in the past four years in the 50-year history of the nation, gravely undermining national unity and the nation-building process. Read the rest of this entry »


Man may not solve man-made problems

I have taken the liberty to copy from the letter Remove the “national security” straightjacket! by Azly Rahman which appears in this blog, in particular the summary of the nine challenges called “The Way Forward-Vision” spoken about by TDM. That was said to be a culmination of TDM work throughout his tenure. I like to make some comments on some of the nine challenges summarized by Azly Rahman.

1. Establishing a united Malaysian nation with a sense of common and shared destiny

Any nation where the citizens enjoy equal rights would automatically wish for the well beings of the country which would determine their own destiny. Unless the government acts contrary to the equal rights expectation of the citizens, that the nationals have a common and shared destiny is given. However, when the government chooses to implement its divide and rule policies, the nationals would not share a sense of common destiny for the nation. TDM was the main actor in highlighting the differences among different ethnic groups in the country. Whatever intentions he harboured in the name of making his race dominate in political and economic life, he has set the people who benefited from his reign on the path of get-rich quick, and grounded with the mindset of entitlement and supremacy. He would not be able to return the genie into the bottle, however hard he tried, if he was sincere in seeing a united Malaysian nation with a sense of common shared destiny.

Modern science and technological developments make easy changes to mountains and streams, but it is almost impossible to set right human thoughts which have gone haywire. It takes decades to develop cultured human beings who internalize the noble quality of modesty, politeness, righteousness, reasonableness, fair play and justice. These noble values are set aside when morally wrong actions are legalized, for the powerful and connected, and even for beneficiaries of state institutionalized corrupt and unfair practices, in the name of affirmative actions. The belief that moral values could be temporarily suspended to be returned later, to experiment with some social engineering work for leveling playing fields, proved futile. The temporary indulgences turned out to be permanently temporary, where the all powerful emperor TDM was not able to end NEP in 1990. Or did he choose to be politically correct, or worse, pretended that the 30% equity target were yet to be achieved. The lesser ruler PM AAB is simply gutless to examine whether the ASLI’s calculations truly confirm that the targets had already been achieved. He promised to reveal the methodology a year ago. The methodology adopted by EPU only tells half the story, the other half relates to what have and have not been correctly included in the computation of the single most important economic figures, when the results of which should have been acted upon to end the most important obstacle to returning to Malaysia a future where the people share a sense of united and common destiny.

It is the government’s active social engineering experiments which have now made the country deviating from the path where the people automatically share a sense of united and common destiny. Read the rest of this entry »


Tsu Koon puts foot in his mouth once again

Just left the Christmas High Tea Reception hosted by the Christian Federation of Malaysia at Bukit Nanas, Kuala Lumpur when I received an irate call from Penang.

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi who attended the Christmas Reception with his wife and a retinue of MCA Ministers and Deputy Ministers (unlike last year, when he sent the Deputy Finance Minister, Ng Yen Yen instead – causing great annoyance all-round) had left and guests could leave.

I was in DAP MP for Seputeh, Teresa Kok’s car when I got the call. It was 5.06 pm.

At first I could not make head or tail why the caller was so indignant – something about what the new Gerakan No. 1 and Penang Chief Minister, Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon had said in his Christmas message and which appeared in New Straits Times.

I had read the Christmas messages of the Prime Minister (and blogged about it) and those of Ong Ka Ting, Samy Vellu and Lim Keng Yaik but missed Tsu Koon’s message.

The caller, a leading Penang NGO activist, poured out his fury and asked how Tsu Koon could say in his Christmas message that Malaysians, while celebrating Christmas, must respect Islam as the country’s official religion.

He said he was calling from a Christmas party and all who attended were very angry with Tsu Koon’s Christmas message, as what has celebration of Christmas got to do with Islam as the official religion.

I tended to agree but I said I had not read Tsu Koon’s Christmas message and it would not be fair for me to comment until I have read his Christmas message in its entirety. He asked me to check with New Straits Times. Read the rest of this entry »


Losing battle for Pak Lah’s soul

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi gave an excellent Christmas message when he called on Malaysians to move forward and put the country’s interest before any “narrowly-defined demands” as “over the past few months, narrow-mindedness and intolerance propounded by a small group has served to test our faith in each other”.

Ask the over two million Christians in Malaysia celebrating Christmas today whether they agree with the Prime Minister’s sentiments and I have no doubt that there will be a thumping unanimous “Yes”.

Ask them to cite a recent example of “narrow-mindedness and intolerance propounded by a small group” which had undermined the national interest with their “narrowly-defined demands”, I also have no doubt of a thumping unanimity of response by the Christians in the country – the narrow-minded decision by the Deputy Internal Security Minister,. Datuk Johari Baharum to disallow the renewal of the Bahasa section of the HERALD, the Catholic weekly and to ban the use of the word “Allah” by non-Muslim Malaysians and non-Muslim faiths.

Abdullah’s Christmas message this year has served to illustrate in a most vivid fashion the losing battle for the soul of the Prime Minister to convince him to walk the talk to project Malaysia as a world model for inter-faith understanding, goodwill and harmony. Read the rest of this entry »


Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to Christians and Malaysians.

These are difficult and challenging times with growing religious polarisation from greater religious intolerance and constitutional encroachments of our fundamental rights.

Are we prepared individually and collectively to stand up for the fundamental rights entrenched in our Constitution or are we going to be a party, though a silent and passsive one, to their progressive erosion and our own disenfranchisement.

Let us give serious thought to this grave subject when celebrating Christmas 2007!


Gerakan to expel Paranjothy – George Orwell’s Animal Farm dictum reigns supreme in BN

What a weak and panicky start for Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon as Gerakan’s No. 1 – immediately buckling under pressure by Umno Youth leader, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein to take disciplinary action against the Gerakan Youth vice chief S. Paranjothy who dared to speak publicly what others only muttered privately. – that the 30,000 Indians who took part in the Hindraf demonstration in Kuala Lumpur on November 25 did so to express their frustration and anger because the community had been “marginalized, oppressed and ignored”.

Paranjothy had also blamed, and rightly, Umno leaders, particularly the Umno Youth Leader Hishammuddin and Deputy Umno Youth Leader Khairy Jamaluddin for racial posturing and inciting racial sentiments among Malays to gain political mileage – citing as examples the keris-wielding episodes against the former and the public castigation of the Indian news vendors by the latter when the Umno presidential address of Prime Minister and Umno President, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was not carried in the press the next day as Umno general assembly fell on Deepavali, with the next day an annual press holiday.

There can be no doubt that if a private vote had been taken among the Gerakan leaders, in fact, even MCA and MIC leaders, all would have agreed with the sentiments expressed by Paranjothy!

Hishammuddin had immediately issued an ultimatum to Tsu Koon with the threat of severance of ties with Gerakan not only by Umno Youth but also by Barisan Nasional unless Tsu Koon could give a satisfactory response and explanation.

What was Tsu Koon reaction? Although he protested that “it is not right” for Hishammuddin to issue the threat and ultimatum of severance of all relationships with Gerakan, Tsu Koon clearly panicked, which was why he complied instantly by referring Paranjothy to the Disciplinary Committee and even anticipated the disciplinary process by saying that the Gerakan Youth vice chief would be suspended or expelled! Nanyang Siang Pau’s headline today is “Gerakan to sack Paranjothy”!

Is Barisan Nasional a coalition of equals of 14 political parties? Read the rest of this entry »


PM should overrule Johari and rescind Internal Security Ministry order to HERALD

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should overrule Internal Security Deputy Minister, Datuk Johari Baharum and rescind the Internal Security Ministry order to Herald, the Catholic weekly to discontinue the Bahasa Malaysia section, so that Christmas Day this year will not be celebrated under a cloud of burgeoning religious intolerance and constitutional encroachments.

Johari has admitted that he had made the decision that the word ‘Allah’ can only be used in the context of Islam and not any other religion, and to impose the new condition on this restriction on the Herald when the annual publishing permit of the Catholic weekly is next renewed.

Although Johari said that his decision was based on a report submitted by the publications department of his ministry, it is an indictment of the arbitrary nature of the decision-making process and even misgovernance that there had been no consultation whatsoever with the religious organizations which will be affected by the decision.

Even more arbitrary and deplorable was the ministry’s decision to abolish the Herald’s Bahasa Malaysia section, which is not only unconstitutional but shows that the government itself does not give pride of place to Bahasa Malaysia.

As the word “Allah” has been used to refer to God among Christians for generations in many countries and is never meant to offend or confuse the Muslims, Abdullah should intervene to rescind such retrogressive measure by the Internal Security Ministry or it will be another signal that Malaysia is down the slippery slope of more religious restrictions for non-Muslim faiths, whose constitutionally-entrenched guarantees of freedom of religion are not being honoured by the government. Read the rest of this entry »


Malaysian Indian political awakening – must not fall into trap of being tarred “anti-Malay”

MIC President and sole Indian Minister for more than 28 years, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu should have realized by now that it was a fatal mistake for him to believe that the “frustration and anger” of the Malaysian Indians who had taken part in the 30,000-strong Hindraf demonstration in Kuala Lumpur on Nov. 25 was not directed against him.

In his second TV appearance on RTM in four days, this time over the hour-long Tamil programme Karuthu Kalam or Opinion Forum on Saturday, Samy Vellu said the Indians had taken part in the Nov. 25 Hindraf demonstration “to register their anger over the inadequacy in the implementation of projects by the Government” and that their anger was not directed at him because he had not raised questions about or fought for the plight of the community.

Samy Vellu is wrong. The Hindraf demonstration had clearly two targets: Firstly, as the Gerakan Youth vice chief S. Paranjothy said, the 30,000 Indians took part in the demonstration to express their “frustration and anger” because the community had been “marginalized, oppressed and ignored”.

But there is a second target – none other than Samy Vellu himself for his failure after more than 28 years as MIC President and sole Cabinet Minister to prevent the long-standing political, economic, educational, social, cultural and religious marginalization of the Malaysian Indians as to become a new underclass in Malaysia.

If Samy Vellu was in denial for almost a month after the Nov. 25 Hindraf demonstration, Samy Vellu should have begun to sense the truth when he was publicly booed and humiliated by a crowd of 2,000 – 3,000 at the Aattam 100 Vagai 3 (100 types of dance) cultural performance at the Penang International Sports Area (Pisa) on Saturday night.

There is palpable anger on the ground among the Indians in Malaysia at their long-standing marginalization, raising the question whether this political awakening could become a political tsunami by the Malaysian Indian voters in the next general election, creating upsets and surprises. Read the rest of this entry »


Indian marginalisation – Hishammudin’s ultimatum to Tsu Koon threatening severance of ties (Breaking News)

UMNO Youth leader has issued an ultimatum with the threat of severance of ties to the Acting Gerakan President, Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon to explain the statement by the Gerakan Youth vice chief S. Paranjothy on Friday that the 30,000 Indians had taken part in the November 25 Hindraf demonstration in Kuala Lumpur “to express their frustrations and anger” because the community has been “marginalized, oppressed and ignored”.

Paranjothy blamed Umno leaders, particularly the Umno Youth Leader Hishammuddin and Deputy Umno Youth Leader Khairy Jamaluddin for racial posturing and inciting racial sentiments among Malays to gain political mileage – citing against the former the keris-wielding episodes and against the latter his berating of the Indian news vendors when the Umno presidential address of Prime Minister and Umno President, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was not carried in the press the next day as Umno general assembly fell on Deepavali, with the next day an annual press holiday.

Paranjothy had described the Indians as “fourth-class citizens” who form the most neglected group in economic terms, as shown by key performance indicators such as tertiary education.

He said: “Where the Indians predominate over their fellow Malaysians is mostly in prison, violent crimes, gangsterism, suicide and social ills. Government policies have failed to improve (their situation).”

Paranjothy also criticized the government’s hardline stance against public demonstrations, hitting out at the government for practising double-standards in the issuance of police permits.

He said: “I have participated in street demonstrations and rallies organised by Barisan Nasional Youth, spearheaded by Umno Youth, to handover a memorandum… over certain issues that had taken place (abroad) which I believe would not have benefitted Malaysia.

“Did BN Youth obtained a permit to hold the rallies or demonstrations?… Looks like the government is one-sided when it came to the issuance of permits for public gatherings. BN started this culture of street demonstrations and now others have emulated it.”

In his ultimatum which appeared in today front-page of Mingguan Malaysia, “Kata dua Hishammuddin kepada Gerakan”, Hishammuddin threatened a break of ties by Umno Youth and Barisan Nasional with Gerakan if Tsu Koon fails to give a reply or or his explanation is unsatisfactory. Read the rest of this entry »


PM/IGP – heed Nazrin/Musa, respect Constitution and allow peaceful demonstrations

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, all Cabinet Ministers and the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan should give serious heed to the advice by the Raja Muda of Perak, Raja Dr. Nazrin Shah that “the desire to maintain public order should not be an excuse for never allowing peaceful assemblies” as the holding of peaceful demonstrations to voice their grievances is a constitutionally-enshrined right of Malaysian citizens.

In an interview with New Sunday Times series “VOICES 08”, Raja Nazrin said:

“Freedom of expression through peaceful demonstrations is a right people can reasonably expect to enjoy in a democratic society. This right is enshrined in our Constitution.

“So people are acting within their constitutional rights in wanting to voice their grievances by holding peaceful demonstrations.

“The right to live in peace and harmony in a safe environment is also a right people can reasonably expect to enjoy in any well-run society. The government is responsible for public order.

“The right to demonstrate must always be balanced by the need to maintain public order.”

All Malaysians can accept Raja Nazrin’s formulation of the relationship between public order and the people’s constitutional right to peaceful demonstration as part of the fundamental liberties of Malaysians to freedom of expression. They also agree with Raja Nazrin that striking the balance between public freedom and public order is never an easy thing to do and that it is a judgment the authorities have to make on the available information.

The current controversy over peaceful demonstrations lies in the failure of the authorities concerned to observe the important qualification highlighted by Raja Nazrin when he stressed that “the desire to maintain public order should not be used as an excuse for never allowing peaceful assemblies” – as there is now a blanket ban by the police on all peaceful demonstrations in the country for people to express their grievances! Read the rest of this entry »


Samy Vellu booed and jeered?

This SMS was sent to me at 10.56 pm last night:

“d crowd jeered loudly at semi value (samy vellu) at ‘d atta 100 vagai’ at PISA in penang just now (22/12). d crowd booed loudly when DJ announced samy vellu’s presence. d ‘BOO’ was so loud dat no one heard anything. Within 2-3 mins he moved back 2 d stage. A very gd lesson 4 d spineless… I’m here in PISA. samy has left d arena.”

May be those who were present at PISA in Penang last night could give us eye-witness accounts of this episode.