Archive for July 5th, 2011

History’s lessons

by Karim Raslan
The Malaysian Insider
Jul 05, 2011

JULY 5 — Malaysian contemporary history has started to loop back on itself. Instead of going forward and progressing, we are going backwards, repeating the past: Sodomy 1 and Sodomy 2, Bersih 1 and Bersih 2.

There are those who would argue that the political missteps have little impact on our economy. I would disagree. In order for the Malaysian economy to grow further and move to the next level, we need a political transformation — we need an injection of transparency, accountability and the dynamism that comes from an open society.

Sadly, the forces of darkness are too powerful and entrenched. As such much of the flow of domestic capital and human resource overseas is directly attributable to the government’s determination to reject change.

When talk of Bersih 2.0 first surfaced a few weeks ago, I remember thinking it was a total waste of time. To my mind, the civil society agenda had been sidelined by widespread concerns over galloping inflation and rising prices. Read the rest of this entry »


Bersih 2.0: Winners and losers

The Malaysian Insider
Jul 05, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, July 5 — So it is settled, after weeks of harassment and thuggish behaviour by the government, the people for free and fair elections will gather in a stadium on July 9.

This episode has once again demonstrated how fractious and divided Malaysia is with enlightened and liberal Malaysia on one side and almost facist powers on the other.

Some individuals emerge from this episode with reputations intact, others with image destroyed forever. The Malaysian Insider gives our take on the winners and losers.


• The organisers of Bersih: let’s be honest, until a few weeks ago this was a movement at the periphery of most Malaysians. Okay, so some 100,000 people would have marched on the streets on KL. But thanks to the government’s blanket arrests, use of draconian laws and decision to behave like a repressive regime, Bersih became a buzzword. Much to the government’s chagrin, everyone has forgotten about Datuk T, all the wonderful projects under the ETP. Today, people remember Bersih as the people fighting for clean and fair elections, and the Barisan Nasional (BN) government as the people frightened of free and fair elections. Read the rest of this entry »


Police – stand down apparatus of repression, decriminalize Bersih T-shirts so that tens of thousands can be printed

The Yang di Pertuan Agong’s wise and just intervention resulting in agreement for a July 9 Bersih 2.0 rally in a stadium has saved the day for Malaysia, sparing her the infamy and ignominy inside the country and worldwide at the farce of a democratic government treating a peaceful rally for free, fair and clean elections as a grave national threat even greater than one ever posed by terrorists or enemies of the country in the nation’s history.

Equally important, Malaysia is also spared the international embarrassment of her credentials and qualifications as a member of the UN Human Rights Council questioned or even censured by other countries because of a most egregious crackdown on the most basic and fundamental of human rights in Malaysia.

Several steps must be taken immediately to return the country to the course of sanity, good and common sense abandoned by the government in the past ten days.

As a first step, the Police should immediately stand down its apparatus of repression in the past two weeks, when the police abandoned and abdicated its first task to keep the people and country safe from criminals by going on a nation-wide mobilization against imaginary foes in the form of Bersih 2.0 rally on July 9. Read the rest of this entry »


Bersih 2.0 accepts stadium offer for rally

By Joseph Sipalan & Abdul Rahim Sabri
Jul 5, 11 | MalaysiaKini

Following a meeting with the Agong this afternoon, Bersih 2.0 chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan said the NGO coalition has agreed to hold its rally in a stadium.

Met outside the national palace after an audience with Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin at Istana Negara, Ambiga said the coalition “will cooperate with the government and accept their offer to have the event in a stadium”.

“Therefore, the rally on the street will not take place.” Read the rest of this entry »


Pakatan willing to accept Najib’s stadium offer

By Clara Chooi
The Malaysian Insider
Jul 05, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, July 5 — Pakatan Rakyat (PR) parties today declared themselves “open” to Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s offer to allow Bersih 2.0 to hold its July 9 rally in a stadium.

In a statement signed by PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu, PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar and DAP national organising secretary Teresa Kok, the pact said the agreement had been reached following several discussions among party leaders.

“We would like to record our stand that all three parties are open to the prime minister’s office as long as it respects the people’s right to assemble peacefully as enshrined under the Federal Constitution,” they said.

They added that Bersih 2.0’s demands for electoral reform should stay as the main objective of the rally, pointing out that such reforms were needed urgently before the 13th general election. Read the rest of this entry »


Bersih: Grave concern over the deepening political crisis

Press statement by concerned academicians on the Bersih march (KUALA LUMPUR, 5 July 2011)

We, the undersigned academicians, wish to express our concern at the deepening political crisis in the country. It is unfortunate that such a crisis is emerging out of a legitimate campaign, initiated by a large number of non-governmental organizations, to institute reforms through their campaign, Bersih, to ensure the conduct of truly free and fair elections in Malaysia.  Since the pursuit of such a campaign is undeniably noble, and timely, we are extremely perturbed that the government has resorted to harsh measures and use of draconian legislation to prevent the organizers from mounting a public rally.

We see the need for the leaders of Bersih to persist with dialogue with the bodies responsible for overseeing free and fair elections.  However, we also appreciate the argument by the campaign’s leaders that such an assembly is necessary since discussions have long taken place, with little progress – thus the need for the government to take serious heed of the campaign’s recommendations for free and fair elections for which there is considerable support from the country’s citizenry. Read the rest of this entry »


Taking people for fools

By Eric Loo
Jul 4, 11 | MalaysiaKini

Each time I log in to non-mainstream media to catch up on news in Malaysia, I see the same old stories about how bad things have become since the 1980s – from financial scandals and systemic corruption to institutional discrimination and dill heads running the country. My reactions have become passé.

Each time I come home, friends and kin tell more stories about how bleak they see their future as being. Once, these were mere stories and theories we shared over mugs of teh tarik during the pre-Internet days when the government-controlled media was our main source of political news. Read the rest of this entry »


Bring about a healthy democracy

By Kee Thuan Chye
Jul 5, 11 | MalaysiaKini

The King has issued a statement on the developments surrounding the proposed Bersih 2.0 rally for free and fair elections. What do we make of it?

It is quite clear that he is not in favour of the rally proceeding on July 9, although he does say that the original intentions of street demonstrations can be good. This, read together with his acknowledgement of “the political fervour of a section of the people to bring about a healthy democracy (menyuburkan demokrasi) in our country”, indicates he is not condemning Bersih 2.0.

He is aware that the people are involved (even though it constitutes “a section”), and what they desire is something positive, i.e. menyuburkan demokrasi. Read the rest of this entry »


Now what, Mr Prime Minister

by Lucius Goon
The Malaysian Insider
Jul 04, 2011

JULY 4 — Unbelievable. Incredible. Astounding. These should be the headlines in the lamestream media following Prime Minister Najib Razak’s u-turn on the Bersih rally on July 9.

It now transpires that he says that Bersih organisers can go ahead and have their gathering in a stadium.

“We are willing to provide a stadium for them to rally but why choose to protest in the streets.

“The government is not against them rallying in a stadium from morning until night. Just don’t hold street protest as it is very risky to the nation,” Najib was quoted as saying by The Malaysian Insider today.

This after he called respected lawyer Ambiga Sreenivasan an enemy of Islam and allowed his government to demonise her and others as enemies of the state.

This after his cousin, Hishammuddin Hussein declared Bersih an illegal organisation and encouraged the police to round up anyone wearing a yellow Bersih T-shirt. Read the rest of this entry »


Bouquets for Bersih

by Martin Jalleh

Brilliant quotes related to the biggest and boldest march in Bolehland:

* “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” – Benjamin Franklin, one of Founding Fathers of the USA.(To those who are afraid, we understand, but please give a thought to the wisdom above!)

* “I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.” –Will Rogers, an American cowboy, comedian, humorist, social commentator, vaudeville performer and actor and one of the best-known celebrities in the 1920s and 1930s.(The above comment is specially dedicated to the One Malaysia Government that has become One Big Joke.) Read the rest of this entry »