Archive for December 13th, 2007

ISA detention of Hindraf five most deplorable

The invocation of the Internal Security Act (ISA) to arrest five Hindraf leaders is most deplorable and marks another violation of the pledge by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to promote democracy, uphold human rights and defend the rule of law.

This is because the infamous detention-without-trial Internal Security Act is the very antithesis of the rule of law.

The five detained under the ISA are P. Uthayakumar, M Manoharan, R Kenghadharan, V Ganabatirau and T Vasanthakumar.

If the government has clear and convincing evidence that the five had committed grave offences, they should be charged in court allowing them an open trial and an opportunity to defend themselves instead of being incarcerated under a regime where proof is not necessary at all.

The return of the ISA is another regression of Malaysia to the dark era of human rights violations which can only tarnish the country’s international reputation and image.


Urgent Parliament motion on Lingam Tape RCI – unacceptable chairman and unsatisfactory terms of reference

I have today given notice to the Parliament Speaker, Tan Sri Ramli Ngah to move an urgent motion on Monday for a debate on the unacceptable chairman and unsatisfactory terms of reference of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Lingam Tape scandal.

My motion for an urgent debate reads:

“That the House gives leave to Ketua Pembangkang YB Lim Kit Siang to adjourn the House under S.O. 18 (1) to discuss a definite matter of urgent public importance – the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) into Lingam Tape videoclip scandal announced by the Prime Minister on Wednesday.

“The appointment of Tan Sri Haidar Mohd Noor as Chairman of RCI into the Lingam Tape scandal and the commission’s restricted terms of reference are most disappointing and a great letdown for Malaysians who had looked forward to a new page for Malaysia’s judiciary and administration of justice.

‘Haidar is clearly not acceptable or suitable to be Chairman of the RCI into the Lingam Tape scandal in view of his disgraceful role in the 1988 Judicial Crisis over the sacking of Tun Salleh Abas as Lord President and two Supreme Court judges, Datuk George Seah and the late Tan Sri Wan Sulaiman Pawanteh – the ‘mother’ of a string of judicial crisis in the past 19 years which rocked the country with repeated erosion and ravages of the independence, impartiality and integrity of the judiciary.

“It is most regrettable that eminent and credible Malaysians whose appointment would have enhanced public confidence in the RCI had been omitted, such as the Raja Muda of Perak, Raja Dr. Nazrain Shah, former members of judiciary, Tun Dzaiddin, Shaikh Daud, N. H. Chan, Visu Sinadurai and distinguished Malaysians like Tunku Aziz, Raja Aziz Addruse, Param Cumaraswamy, Yeo Yang Poh and Chooi Mun Sou.

“Parliament must urgently debate the very restricted terms of reference of the RCI so that the once-in-a-generation golden opportunity should not be missed to put right what had been wrong and rotten with the system of justice for nearly two decades to restore confidence in the independence and integrity of the judiciary.”

Read the rest of this entry »


Its hard to listen to the people while you gas them in the face.

By Farish A. Noor

Once in a blue moon, in the developing world there appears that rare sort of politician who claims that he wants to listen to the people and take them into account. Of course the sighting of these rare characters is greeted with some degree of elation and relief, a bit like witnessing a lunar eclipse or winning a small lottery: For the developing world is replete with arm-wielding, thug-hugging, testosterone-driven macho-types who often preach their gospel of governance with a club in one hand and the other poised on the trigger.

We have seen this sort of nasty governance in many a developing country: The riot police in South Korea used to have a smiley face on their riot shields, just to add insult to injury when they shot off their tear gas cannisters at point blank range. Indonesian security forces during the time of Suharto used to chat pleasantly with the locals over a cup of tea before they sent in bulldozers to flatten entire villages. Why, even the death squads of Saddam Hussein used to send a bill and invoice to the families of those whose members had been kidnapped and murdered at night.

But there is also that other type of soft authoritarian despot that many of us in the developing world are familiar with by now: These are the more media-savvy types who can at least tie a tie around their necks, feel comfortable in a suit, quote from a novel offhand, and smile at you. Then
they do things like place their citizens under detention without trial, have them arrested at dawn while they are asleep in their homes, manipulate the media and control every branch of the government from the legislature to the judiciary.

Looking at the developments in Malaysia of late, one might come to the conclusion that that is precisely the sort of soft authoritarianism that has come to roost. Over the past month the capital of Kuala Lumpur witnessed at least two mammoth demonstrations in a country where the national pastime seems to be shopping: The first was a march organised by the coalition of NGOs called ‘BERSIH’, that called for free and fair elections. The second was a large march organised by the Malaysian Hindu Action Rights Force (HINDRAF) that highlighted the plight of the millions of Malaysian Hindus who remain at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder in the country. Read the rest of this entry »


Is PM AAB above the law?

by Loh Meng Kow

According to Star, PM AAB commenting on the arrest of eight people, including four lawyers, for taking part in an illegal march here yesterday, and said: Lawyers are not above the law.

Federal Constitution: Section 10. Freedom of speech, assembly and association has four clauses. It reads (1) Subject to Clauses (2), (3), and (4)-

(a) every citizen has the right to freedom of speech and expression;

(b) all citizens have the right to assemble peaceably and without arms;

(c) all citizens have the right to form associations.

Section 4. Supreme law of the Federation reads (1) This Constitution is the supreme law of the Federation and any law passed after Merdeka Day which is inconsistent with this Constitution shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void.
Section 27 of the police Act 1967, and section 141 of the penal code deal with assembly, and they can only provide guidelines on how assembly should be conducted. They cannot go against Section 10 (1) in making assembly illegal since that would be inconsistent with the Constitution and therefore be void. Read the rest of this entry »


Malaysia should consider not celebrating Merdeka Day and International New Year

by Sagaladoola

I would like to refer to Malaysiakini reports : ( ) ” Human Rights march : 5 lawyers arrested ” and ” PM warns public safety is top priority ” ( ). In the latter report, the PM apparently warned (according to Malaysiakini) “Public safety takes precedence over public freedom”.

I am not sure how our Prime Minister’s brain works but if Abdullah Ahmad Badawi thinks the International Human Rights Day celebration requires a permit and jeopardise the national safety, I would like to remind the police and him to consider banning the up-and-coming Hari Raya Haji, Christmas, Chinese New Year, Deepavali, Hari Raya Aidiladha and most important of all the 51st Merdeka Day in 2008.

Hearing so many calls from his government and himself on the possibility of using the Internal Security Act, I hope our PM is just joking to Malaysians. After all, from my understanding, less than 10 person coming together without a permit is already a gathering and if police has its way, those assembling can be under detention without trial.

International Human Rights Day is not a protest or having any intention to upset national security. It is an annual celebration to commemorate, to remind us, humans, of the freedom we are supposed to have. Similarly, Merdeka or Independence Day falling on 31st August 2008 is to remind Malaysians on the freedom that we have achieved and to commemorate the effort to gain Independence as a human right. If International Human Rights Day is considered to be unsafe, then perhaps, Merdeka Day should not be celebrated as well. There should be no marching. If 200 people walking on the street with some banners, without parang or guns for the 9th December 2007 celebration is considered not safe, it is in my opinion the 31st August celebration which has more number of people marching could be potentially dangerous to national security. Read the rest of this entry »


Legal challenge to declare court order which barred Bersih activists and public from Monday Parliament null and void

I have filed an application in the Kuala Lumpur High Court to challenge the legality of the court order obtained by the police barring Bersih activists and the public from Parliament on Monday, 11th December 2007 as null and void.

Karpal Singh is assisted by M. Kulasegaran in preparing the writ of summons in the case Lim Kit Siang vs OCPD Sentul, Inspector-General of Police and the Malaysian Government. My statement of claim, filed with the Kuala Lumpur High Court yesterday, follows: Read the rest of this entry »