Archive for September 18th, 2008

“Free MP Teresa Kok Perak State Assembly Caucus” to be formed tomorrow

The Perak Mentri Besar, Datuk Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin’s agreement and announcement that the “Free MP Teresa Kok Perak State Assembly Caucus” would be formed tomorrow to lend support, sympathy and solidarity to MP for Seputeh and Selangor Senior Exco Teresa Kok in her fifth day of detention under the Internal Security Act is one major stride forward for the cause of human rights for Malaysians and legislators.

Following a day after the establishment of the “Free MP Teresa Kok Parliamentary Caucus” yesterday, I call on all states to emulate this pioneering step of the Perak Mentri Besar and State Assembly members to be in the forefront to defend human rights by forming similar “Free MP Teresa Kok State Assembly Caucus” as all legislators, regardless of race, religion or party affiliation, whether at the national or state level, should find common cause in the demand for the immediate and unconditional release of Teresa Kok under the ISA.

When attending the inaugural meeting to establish the “Free MP Teresa Kok Parliamentary Caucus” in Parliament yesterday, Senator Datuk Zaid Ibrahim who had resigned from the Cabinet as a matter of principle in protest against the gross misuse of ISA against Teresa Kok, Raja Petra Kamaruddin and Sin Chew reporter Tan Hoon Cheng, said he disbelieved allegations that she was either anti-Malay or anti-Islam as her detractors alleged.

Zaid had personal acquaintance with Teresa Kok when she was the secretary in the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Caucus on Myanmar (AIPMC). Zaid was then AIPMC Chairman.

Zaid said:

“I cannot, for the life of me, believe she is anti-Islam, anti-Malay, anti-anything. She’s a wonderful lady. I can’t see how this person can be a threat to public order and national security. I’m speaking from personal experience here.”

Teresa Kok is a third-term MP and I dare say that every Minister in the current Cabinet, whether from UMNO or any other Barisan Nasional component party, would agree with Zaid’s description of Teresa.

I challenge any Minister who would disagree with Zaid’s verdict that Teresa is a “wonderful lady” whom nobody believes could be “anti-Islam, anti-Malay, anti-anything” to come forward to speak up. Read the rest of this entry »


Abdullah should give public assurance that Anwar will not be detained under ISA

The uncharacteristically stern and harsh allegation by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi yesterday that the Parliamentary Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is a threat to the national security and economy who wanted to “destroy the country and exploit the people’s trust and tarnish the country’s image abroad” had sparked speculation that the stage is being set for a Operation Lalang 2 crackdown and Anwar’s arrest under the Internal Security Act (ISA).

All right-thinking Malaysians must deplore in the strongest terms the veiled threat by Abdullah that Anwar would be arbitrarily and undemocratically silenced as the allegation that Anwar is a threat to national security and economy is a most ludicrous and preposterous one.

I have been twice detained under the ISA, once in 1969 and the second time in 1987, becoming the guest of His Majesty’s Government for a total of 35 months – and on both occasions, I was accused of being “a threat to national security”!

All the 16 DAP MPs and leaders detained in the 1987 Operation Lalang dragnet under the ISA were all accused of being threats to national security – but these are all baseless catch-all allegations just to justify the abuse of the ISA to silence critics and dissent.

We were threats to the political security of the Barisan Nasional leaders but it is the democratic and citizenship right of every Malaysian to challenge the political credibility, legitimacy and authority of the ruling government through the democratic process or we should not claim that Malaysia practises parliamentary democracy.

Such democratic challenges do not become threats to national security just because those in power are in fear of losing the perks of office and power.

Anwar Ibrahim can be accused of posing a grave threat to the political security of Abdullah and the other Umno and Barisan Nasional leaders with his “916 sky-change” plan, but he cannot under any stretch of imagination be accused of being a threat to national security and economy. Read the rest of this entry »


Call for fresh general election now

The Borneo Post
September 17, 2008

Go back to the people

OUR political troubles aren’t over. And, we may be in for an even longer crisis that could lead into political chaos and adverse instability in our fragile multi-ethnic nation.We need a solution, an acceptable, near perfect and more lasting political solution; not one that could solve a problem but create a new nightmare at a time when political and economic difficulties and uncertainties are looming large over us and threatening to make life even more difficult for everyone — from the wage earner to the businessmen and investors and families striving to make ends meet throughout our diverse land.

Superfluous to say that it is imperative we fix our political problems using a more acceptable method that borders on democratic values which is more reflective of the wishes of the majority.

The current unprecedented political crisis that has given rise to a near political mess, does not seem to want to go away with no acceptable solution in sight. Not even if some BN MPs were to defect and cross over to Pakatan Rakyat (motivated by personal reasons, political reasons or promises of money and positions) to allow de facto opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to form the next federal government and become the new prime minister of the many ethnic communities thirsting for good governance.

Anxious Malaysians are witnessing an unacceptable situation where the incumbent prime minister, seemingly unpopular with his economic policies and actions, yet stays embattled with forces within his own party and ruling BN coalition. Read the rest of this entry »


Greater unity if race-based parties abolished, says Abdul Aziz

The Borneo Post
September 17, 2008

Greater unity if race-based parties abolished, says Abdul Aziz

KOTA KINABALU: There will be greater understanding and better decision making if all race-based parties are abolished in Malaysia, said DAP vice-chairman Tunku Abdul Aziz Tunku Ibrahim.

In fact, it is believed to be the answer to a more united Malaysian nation, said Abdul Aziz who stressed that the new era for the country can only be achieved if one accepts social justice and equality for everyone.

He highlighted this subject yesterday and it eventually became one of the issues discussed during a public forum entitled ‘Malaysia: Towards A New Era’ organised by Sabah Democratic Action Party (DAP) at Kian Kok School hall here.

Almost a thousand people thronged the hall to listen to the five-hour forum panelled by DAP advisor Lim Kit Siang, Parti Keadilan Rakyat vice president Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan and Sabah Progressive Party president Datuk Seri Panglima Yong Teck Lee.

Also in attendance were Assistant Finance Minister and Luyang assemblywoman Melanie Chia, Sepanggar MP Datuk Eric Majimbun, Deputy Speaker Frankie Chong, PKR Sabah chief Ansari Abdullah and his deputy, Christina Liew as well as former Parti Bersatu Sabah supreme council member Dr Chong Eng Leong.

“In fact, Umno could still maintain their acronym but it should be United ‘Malaysian’ National Organisation… it should be open to everyone. The party should struggle and fight for the rights of all communities,” said Abdul Aziz, stressing that there should also be equal distribution of development in the effort to curb issues concerning the hardcore poor in the country. Read the rest of this entry »


Malaysia: This Is Only The Beginning

By Farish A Noor

Recently I found myself in an open discussion with some of my students in the university I am based at in Indonesia. At the tender age of 18, this first-year student demonstrated both the intellectual acumen and political commitment I have come to expect from those twice his age, yet he was just one of the many students whom I am proud to say have come under my care and tutelage. After ten years of teaching experience, I have come to the simple conclusion that my Indonesian students are by far the smartest, gutsiest, honest and dedicated compared to the students I have taught in Malaysia, Singapore, Germany, France and Holland. Why?

That an 18 year old can begin his university life equipped with enough political knowledge and commitment is a testimony to the success of a primary and secondary educational system that got it right. This boy is the product of the post-Suharto educational system of Indonesia, and living proof that the reformasi (reform) movement of the 1990s in Indonesia has succeeded.

Yet the success of reformasi in Indonesia depended upon the quiet dedication of a legion of activist-academics who toiled day and night to dismantle the hegemonic structures of power and knowledge that were developed and consolidated during the three decades of Suharto’s rule. This meant that they had to confront not only the hegemony of the old regime, but also replace much of the human and ideological resources that had been put in place between 1970 to 1998. Ten years later, the results are only beginning to show and it has proven to be a worthwhile endeavor after all.

Malaysia today is at a similar crossroads where Indonesia was a decade ago. With the febrile grip of the Badawi government growing weaker by the day, there is much speculation that Malaysia’s former Deputy Prime Minister and now de facto leader of the opposition, Anwar Ibrahim, is poised to take over the reins of power. It is widely speculated that Anwar now has more than forty members of Parliament who are prepared to leave the ruling UMNO party and join his People’s Alliance to take over from the unpopular and discredited government of Badawi. Anwar has written to Badawi and called for a dialogue between the two to discuss a peaceful transition of power: something that has never happened in the course of Malaysia’s 51-year history. Read the rest of this entry »