Archive for April 26th, 2012

Bersih 3.0 and the clamor for change

by Dr. Chris Anthony

The first Bersih rally held on 10 November2007 saw over 40,000 people from all walks of life taking to the streets of Kuala Lumpur demanding for fair, free and clean elections. The rally organized by the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih) reflected the people’s yearning for change. However after more than 3 years on we did not see any substantial changes to our electoral system towards that end as the Barisan Nasional(BN) government did not take the calls by the people seriously. This lackadaisical attitude towards the demands by the people led to the second rally, Bersih 2.0 on 9 July 2011.

Bersih2.0 was a great success as despite being declared illegal, the tightened security, extensive police road blocks and threatening tactics, the people came out in droves, braving the high handed and brutal tactics of the police to defy the ban and demand for something simple and basic rights of every citizen – a free and clean elections.

The eight demands of Bersih 2.0 were: Read the rest of this entry »


Why I am going for Bersih

by T H Liew

I believe that IF our nation practices TRUE democracy, then our citizens will be better off.

However, I feel that our nation has gradually become a one-party state, with the ruling political party having a hold on virtually ALL of the bodies which are supposed to be independent in a true democracy, but are not.

The mass media (printed, electronic) are controlled; the police and anti-corruption agency do not seem to act impartially; the judiciary appears tainted esp at the upper echelons. Under these circumstances, how are we to practice true democracy?

Had these bodies been truly independent, then the ruling government will be more just, and more sensitive, to the needs and rights of the citizens. Read the rest of this entry »


Malaysia should welcome independent electoral observers

— Damien Kingsbury
The Malaysian Insider
Apr 26, 2012

APRIL 26 — Malaysia is facing a political crisis. Its government appears to have lost electoral legitimacy and is facing its biggest challenge to holding onto power since independence half a century ago.

As with the flowering of democratic movements in other countries over the past year, Malaysia now appears to be approaching its own “democratic spring”.

In order to forestall this blossoming of democracy in Malaysia, the government has hobbled the Election Commission, has rorted the electoral process through disproportionate parliamentary seats and a range of other matters that continue to require investigation.

The government now appears ready to stage elections at a time it believes will produce the best results for itself. Read the rest of this entry »


Citizens’ and Bersih 3.0’s freedom to assemble

— Proham
The Malaysian Insider
Apr 26, 2012

APRIL 26 — Proham recognises that freedom of assembly is a fundamental human right. Public discussions, debates, peaceful demonstrations and “sit-ins” are a form of public expression within the democratic tradition and should be viewed as normal. Proham recognises that these provisions are part of the newly enacted Peaceful Assembly Act 2011.

In this context Proham feels that the authorities including Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) and the police should facilitate Bersih and its followers the exercise of this right as citizens of Malaysia in a place of their choice. The home minister has already indicated that this movement is not viewed as a security threat.

Proham feels that the authorities could view this citizens’ movement as part of the people’s call for “free and fair elections” in Malaysia. In addition, if both authorities and Bersih leaders work together there will be no disruption in the city as many larger events have been hosted in the city centre before. Read the rest of this entry »


Najib should honour his declaration that “the era of government knows best is over” and heed the voice of Malaysians at home and in 72 cities/29 countries who want real and not cosmetic change in national governance

The Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak should honour his declaration that “the era of government knows best is over” and heed the voice of Malaysians at home as well as global Malaysians in 72 cities and 29 countries who want real and not cosmetic change in national governance.

An email I received today from a Malaysian who will be taking part in Boston Bersih 3.0 this Saturday illustrates not only the increasing momentum in the awakening and new sense of empowerment among Malaysians of their rights and responsibilities to help create a Malaysia where all Malaysians regardless of race or religion could feel proud, but also the light they see at the end of the tunnel inspiring their hopes and expectations for change in national governance and policies after 55 years of nationhood.

This is the email I received from a 29-year-old Penangite who have been in the United States for the last 10 years: Read the rest of this entry »


Use of thugs, gangsters, hooligans a very dangerous trend

— Tota
The Malaysian Insider
Apr 26, 2012

APRIL 26 — Umno Baru has a lengthy catalogue of lawless behaviour. It appears that the rule of law is a stranger to Umno Baru. When Justice Harun declared Umno illegal, the party died.

The new party is registered as Umno Baru; yet the party continues to call itself Umno! The party logo was supposed to be a new one; yet the old logo with some imperceptible cosmetic change continues to be used. The keris on its logo has given rise to detractors calling it a party of pirates! The keris has come in useful for Umno leaders to threaten the non-Malays. Umno leaders have brandished the keris and used implicit threats.

Concerned individuals and groups have alleged that Umno Baru has let loose its mobs and thugs all too frequently to disrupt, sometimes violently, legitimately organised meetings and forums by civil society groups and NGOs. The Apcet 11 forum at a hotel in KL was disrupted by an Umno Baru mob that threatened the participants and smashed tables and chairs to stop the proceedings. When the Suqiu organisation submitted its 17-point plan for the betterment of the country, an Umno Baru mob threatened them with “rivers of blood” outside the Chinese Assembly Hall, KL, if they did not withdraw their 17-point plan.

Umno Baru used similar tactics to stop the Article 11 Group from holding meetings and the Bar Council forum on the conversion of minors to Islam when one spouse in a non-Muslim marriage converts to Islam. Police inaction emboldened the Umno thugs even to prevent Karpal from entering Parliament House. An Umno Baru mob led by a screaming hooligan, Khairy, outside the US Embassy advertised to the whole world that Umno Baru is a party trapped in the Stone Age.

The rule of law is obviously not part of Umno Baru culture. While proclaiming to the whole world that “demonstrasi luar kebudayaan kita”, Umno Baru and its allies have, since March 8, 2008, organised numerous illegal demonstrations in Pakatan-ruled states. Criminal intimidation is part and parcel of Umno Baru’s political strategy. Read the rest of this entry »


Time for change

by Ong

Dear Mr. Lim,

I’m a 29-year old Penangite, and I’ve been in the U.S. for over 10 years. I did not get a JPA scholarship or any government scholarships, but I was offered almost a free ride to five top-tier schools in the U.S. (Wellesley, Mount Holyoke, Middlebury, Wesleyan (Freeman Asian Scholarship), and Dartmouth). I chose Wellesley where I received an amazing education (I met Nat Tan who was then at Harvard), and then worked in economic consulting in Boston for a few years, before starting a Ph.D. in Economics at Brown University.

My father was a businessman (and not a rich taukeh, mind you) and my mother, a primary school teacher. Growing up, money was always tight. Yet they managed to send four out of five daughters on to pursue their Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in top 50 universities in the U.S. How did we do it? It was neither through government scholarships, nor through Father-Mother Scholarships, but through the generous financial aid of U.S. institutions and the contributions of relatives. Not surprisingly, of the four, one is in London, and three are in the U.S.

As a teenager in the 1990s, my only news outlet was mainstream newspapers, e.g., The Star, which as you well know, was effectively taken over in the 1980’s by the government. I recall being irked by the low quality of the newspaper — I would deem the standard of writing equivalent to that of a Standard Six student. Coverage of local events, such as the planting of a tree, would revolve around xyz politician saying so and so. More annoying was that on day one, you would have Mahathir saying blah blah blah. On day two, you’ll have several politicians parroting Mahathir’s views, saying “Mahathir said blah blah blah so blah blah blah.” And so on and so forth for the next few days. Did these so-called leaders have no thoughts or ideas of their own? It would seem that they, sememangnya, are incapable of such. Sadly enough, the quality of the media has hardly improved, but that is another story for another day. Read the rest of this entry »


Election spending risks credit downgrade, say S&P and Moody’s

By Shannon Teoh
The Malaysian Insider
Apr 26, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, April 26 — The federal government’s record spending binge ahead of elections expected within months may result in Malaysia’s first credit-rating downgrade in 15 years.

Bloomberg reported today that several top rating companies say Putrajaya must bring down its debt, the second highest in Asia at 53.8 per cent of GDP or face a ratings cut.

The international business wire cited Standard & Poor’s (S&P) analyst Takahira Ogawa as saying it “might have to think about” a potential cut in a few years unless the next government boosts revenue and reduce subsidies after polls.

It also reported that Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings also said Malaysia must cut its debt, which the International Monetary Fund (IMF) projects may climb to a 20-year high of 55.9 per cent this year, above the statutory 55 per cent ceiling.

A downgrade to Malaysia’s credit, rated as A- by S&P, would be its first since the 1997 Asian financial crisis.

The rating is the same as Botswana, which has a debt ratio of 16 per cent, while Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s largest economy, is rated BB+ by S&P and has seen its debt fall to 25 per cent in 2011 from 95 per cent just after the crisis. Read the rest of this entry »


A lack of sincerity is what pisses off city folks

— Stephen Ng
The Malaysian Insider
Apr 25, 2012

APRIL 25 — I had half expected that this would develop, despite the Najib administration promising that the Bersih 3.0 sit-in protest could go on.

The prime minister will not allow civil society’s push for democracy to topple his government under Barisan Nasional for the past 55 years. Frankly, since Bersih 2.0 on July 9, Najib Razak has not learnt his lesson from history that no government that continues to fight the people will last long.

Whatever happens on Saturday will cost his government a big price. Two things I wish to remind Najib Razak and his men:

— That if the government continues to fight civil society, it will no last very long

— That if the civilians are treated with brutality or arrested, or charged in court, as threatened, it will create more anger amongst the people. Each of us has a network of at least 100 people around us. People like Ambiga Sreenevasan or Pak Samad Ismail would have thousands of supporters. You touch anyone, it will have a multiplying effect that will never be matched by even the biggest tsunami! Read the rest of this entry »


Adakah berdosa besar jika tidak bersama Umno?

— Aspan Alias
The Malaysian Insider
Apr 25, 2012

25 APRIL — Masih ada saki baki penulis di dalam maya ini yang mengkritik keras tindakan saya menyertai DAP. Bermacam-macam tuduhan dilemparkan terhadap diri saya dan beberapa orang bekas ahli Umno yang bertindak menyertai parti ini, kononnya kami telah menjual bangsa dan agama kami. Saya ulangi saya tidak mengurangkan Melayu saya dan tidak mengurangkan kepercayaan saya terhadap agama saya.

Saya hairan kenapa mereka ini menggunakan isu agama dan bangsa sebagai isu terhadap diri saya, sedangkan salah satu sebab saya keluar daripada Umno itu ialah kerana parti itu menggunakan isu agama secara keterlaluan dan sebaliknya apa yang dilakukan oleh pemimpin parti itu semuanya bertentangan dengan agama dan bangsa. Bagi mereka agama itu menjadi tempelan sahaja sedangkan Islam itu sepatutnya menjadi cara hidup mereka (ad-din).

Bercakap tentang isu agama di sana sini tetapi entah apa yang dilakukan terhadap agama mereka pun kita tidak tahu dan payah untuk difahami. Islam kata orang, Islam kata mereka. Tetapi dalam bercakap pasal Islam dan membaca ayat-ayat suci dalam perhimpunan agong Pemuda, parti itu hanyalah sebagai tempelan sahaja kerana apa yang mereka lakukan hampir kesemuanya bertentangan dengan kehendak Islam. Rasuah tidak terkawal dan hampir kesemua di antara pemimpin parti itu sedang kemaruk dan penagih rasuah yang tegar.

Semuanya itu bertentangan dengan Islam. Entah siapa guru dan pendidik mereka dalam agama ini saya tidak tahu. Kalau Umno serius tentang agama dan akidah, saya berharap Umno memanggil seramai mana sadiqiah Islam dan membuat perbincangan dan tunjukkan kepada kami semua nas-nas dalam Al-Quran dan kitab-kitab tulisan ulamak-ulamak muktabar yang menyatakan bahawa menyertai DAP itu adalah haram. Kita juga mahukan mereka menunjukkan dalil-dalil serta nas-nas yang jelas yang orang Islam diwajibkan menyertai Umno untuk selamat dunia dan akhirat. Kalau ada terjumpa bukti-bukti ini beritahu kami yang telah menyertai DAP ini. Jika boleh berikan ketetapan, apa hukumnya menyokong dan mendukung pemimpin yang rasuah yang memerah harta rakyat tanpa batas ini. Read the rest of this entry »