Archive for May 7th, 2012

Dataran Merdeka is not Tahrir Square: Malaysia is not Eygpt

— Tommy Thomas
The Malaysian Insider
May 07, 2012

MAY 7 — The Prime Minister’s recent statement that Bersih supporters intended to occupy Dataran Merdeka and stay there for days with the objective of overthrowing his government must be answered.

Two broad groups made up Bersih’s massive crowd in Kuala Lumpur on

April 28, 2012. First, genuine Bersih supporters who were calling for clean elections. The second group comprised those who support the Pakatan Coalition. No doubt, thousands of marchers did not belong to either faction (while some straddled both), but this broad division is not inaccurate.

The Bersih supporters just cannot understand how any political party would oppose clean elections. For them, Barisan Nasional’s vigorous opposition, coupled with police brutality that day, indicates that Barisan Nasional has a vested interest with the “status quo”, that it will benefit from the present set-up, with substantial help from the Election Commission.

For this group, Barisan Nasional’s conduct will be punished at the ballot box.

For Pakatan supporters, the decision was already made. They are partisan, just as UMNO supporters are partisan. Nothing that could have occurred on April 28 would change their vote.

But in each case, change was only going to come at the ballot box, when general elections are held. Read the rest of this entry »


Najib should produce proof or retract and apologise for his wild and irresponsible allegation that Bersih 3.0 “sit-in” was a coup attempt by the Opposition to topple the government

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak has belatedly realized that he is losing out in the public relations war over the government’s mishandling of the Bersih 3.0 “sit-in” at Dataran Merdeka on April 28, 2012, as evidenced by the following recent developments:

  • Najib upping the ante in the public relations battle with his wild and irresponsible allegation in Gua Musang on Friday that the Bersih 3.0 rally was a coup attempt by the Opposition to topple the government;

  • the desperate roping in of three former Inspector-Generals of Police , Tun Haniff Omar, Tan Sri Rahim Noor and Tan Sri Musa Hassan to lend credence to Najib’s wild claim although there is not one iota of evidence that Bersih 3.0 was a coup attempt by the Opposition to topple the government (in fact, all evidence point to the contrary, with hundreds of thousands of Malaysians regardless of race, religion, class, region, age or gender gathering peacefully in the best manifestation of “1Malaysia” for a common cause for clean elections and armed at most with salt and water bottles to protect themselves from tear-gas attacks);

  • The recycling of the Economist commentary “It’s that time of year” in the local media almost a week after its first appearance on the Economist website on May 1.

One lesson Najib’s “image” handlers have learnt from the government’s disastrous mishandling of the Bersih 2.0 rally of July 9, 2011 was to better manage the foreign media – and as a result, the Najib administration had a better foreign media perception and coverage on the night of Bersih 3.0 as compared to the night of Bersih 2.0, as illustrated by the Economist commentary of 1ST May. Read the rest of this entry »


An exhilarating experience – being tear gassed

Free Malaysia Today
May 7, 2012

After reading so many touching My Bersih 2.0 stories last July, most of which moved me to tears, I decided that I would definitely stand up for our rights as a civic-minded citizen.. As the ancient Chinese saying goes: “Guo jia xing wang, pi fu you zhe”. It means – If my beloved country is in trouble, everyone is responsible.

After checking out the “situation” on the alternative media on-line, I started to pack two sets of “Bersih” kits with the recommended “must-haves” like salt, mask, wet towel, a bottle of water, identity card and, of course, hand-phone and camera.

My son and I proceeded to a bus-stop at the edge of our housing estate. “Tak p’gi Masjid Jamek, Titiwangsa saja”, said the bus driver to my son. “Never mind”, my son told me, “we can take the LRT from there.” When we reached the Titiwangsa LRT station at around 10.30 am, a crowd of “yellow warriors” was already there. In the train, we were in a jovial mood; everyone was smiling and chattered cheerfully, like a bunch of excited school children going on an excursion.

As the train was approaching Masjid Jamek station, from the overhead bridge, I saw many were already there.

As we alighted from the station, we quickly went to the washroom to change into our yellow t-shirts. (My son’s advice: Don’t wear yellow, to avoid being arrested as in Bersih 2.0 previously) When we stepped out of the station, merging into the sea of yellow and green, loud chants of “Bersih” and “Hidup Rakyat” were heard. Read the rest of this entry »


Bersih 3.0 chaos: PM Najib’s negligence

by Mat Zain bin Ibrahim
Former Kuala Lumpur CID chief

Nothing can stop the PM from forming another so called independent panel to investigate the causes of Bersih 3.0. chaos.

Knowing the manner an Independent Panel ,(that scrutinized the MACC’s findings on the AG,a former IGP, a Consultant Pathologist and me included, alleged to have fabricated evidence in the black-eye investigation) conducted it’s business,I am pessimistic of the outcome of this one.

However it would be premature to make any comments at this juncture, since we have not seen this Panel’s composition and their terms of reference.

It would be most welcome if the Panel members are allowed to query the Prime Minister as well,to ascertain the measures taken by himself if any, to prevent the chaos from happening. Read the rest of this entry »


Post-Bersih 3.0: A time for healing

— Azlina Aziz
The Malaysian Insider
May 07, 2012

MAY 7 — On the eve of Bersih 3.0, my husband Nazir and I visited the surroundings of Dataran Merdeka to see for ourselves preparations for the rally. Although it was only 10.30pm on Friday night, a large crowd of protestors was rapidly building up, with police officers lining up around Dataran. We were shocked, to say the least, by the expanse of barbed wire encircling the square. The vision of protestors on one side and the police on the other, separated by barricades and sharp steel, seems to symbolise division, confrontation, aggression. We both went home that evening with a deep sense of foreboding and unease.

The events that unfolded the next day are too familiar now to recount. But whether you attended the rally or observed from the sidelines; whether you supported the cause or condemned it; whether you countenanced public assemblies or disapproved of them altogether; I think it’s fair to say that most of us have been deeply disturbed by the events that played out in our capital that Saturday. The scenes of mayhem — attacks on police motor vehicles, protestors facing tear gas, a pistol allegedly being drawn in a crowded area, physical assaults on members of the public, police force and press — are not ones familiar nor palatable to us Malaysians who value security and order.

It is a sad state of affairs when the actions of a few who resort to violence and aggression result in suffering and trauma for scores of people, and the aftershocks of the event continue to roll on. In coffeeshops, offices, newspapers, web forums and blogs are heated debates on the “rights” and “wrongs” and repercussions of what happened that day. Many are angry. Some are fearful, and anger often goes hand in hand with fear. Others are eager to find someone to blame for the turn of events. The violence and confrontation that played out that day have intensified the gulf and fissures in our society. A vision of unity for Malaysia seems further away than ever. Sadly, recent public statements by social and political leaders have only accentuated division and dissent. Read the rest of this entry »


Menyelenggara kereta tua terlalu mahal. Beli kereta baru!

— Aspan Alias
The Malaysian Insider
May 06, 2012

6 MEI — Memandu kereta tua sangat mahal harganya. Kereta tua walau bagaimana hebat pun jenamanya, ia tetap memakan perbelanjaan penyaraannya yang tinggi jika dibandingkan kos penyelenggaraan semasa kereta itu masih baru.

Sesebuah kereta lama akan mengeluarkan asap hitam dan akan tidak lagi “environmentally friendly” kerana asap hitam itu akan menjadikan alam sekeliling kita menjadi kotor dan “toxic”.

Itulah sebabnya kita menukar kereta baru setelah kereta yang kita pandu itu sudah berumur banyak tahun. Jika kita tukar kereta baru setidak-tidaknya setakat empat atau lima tahun ia tidak akan memberikan banyak masalah kepada tuan punya kereta itu.

Lagi pula apabila kita masih mengekalkan kereta lama itu “petrol consumption”nya akan menjadi tinggi dan terpaksa berbelanja lebih untuk minyak kereta tersebut. Penghawa dingin kereta itu pun akan memakan belanja besar kerana terpaksa di “service” dan ditukar banyak alat ganti kepada penghawa dingin dan kereta itu keseluruhannya. Yang membuat untung hanyalah mekanik-mekanik yang mengambil kesempatan diatas segala masalah yang dihadapi oleh kereta itu.

Yang selalu kita lihat kereta yang sudah terlalu lama itu akan dibeli oleh syarikat pemotong kereta untuk menggunakan bahagian-bahagian kereta itu sebagai “spare parts” terpakai. Kereta-kereta lama ini selalunya tidak dibuang kesemuanya kerana masih ada sedikit sebanyak bahagian bahagian yang boleh digunakan untuk alat ganti terpakai oleh mekanik-mekanik untuk kegunaan mereka memperbaiki kereta-kereta pelanggan mereka.

Umno pun nampaknya begitu juga. Dengarnya minggu hadapan Umno akan merayakan ulang tahun ke 66. Bagaimana mereka mengira pun kita tidak tahu kerana pada perkiraan saya, Umno baru berusia 24 tahun sahaja. Tetapi tidak mengapa. Read the rest of this entry »


BERSIH 3.0 Broke Many Glasses (Including A Few Glass Ceilings)

by Bakri Musa

First of Two Parts: Seeing The Bright Side
(Next Week: Part Two: Lessons To Be Learned)

In the aftermath of the largest public demonstrations against the Barisan government, the officials’ obsession now turns to the exercise of apportioning blame and the associated inflicting of vengeance. Both are raw human reactions, but hardly enlightening, sophisticated, or even fruitful. Besides, there is plenty of blame to go around. I prefer to look at the bright side and on the lessons that can be learned.

BERSIH 3.0 clearly demonstrates that Malaysians no longer fear the state. In that regard we are a quantum leap ahead of the Egyptians under Mubarak, the Iraqis under Saddam, or the Chinese under Mao (or even today). When citizens are no longer afraid of the state, many wonderful things would follow. BERSIH is also the first successful multiracial mass movement in Malaysia. In a nation obsessed with and where every facet is defined by race, that is an achievement worthy of note. Another significant milestone, again not widely acknowledged, is that the movement is led by a woman who is neither Malay nor a Muslim. Ambiga Sreenevasan broke not one but three Malaysian glass ceilings!

On a sour note, BERSIH 3.0 revealed that Barisan leaders (and a few from the opposition) have yet to learn and accept the fundamental premise that dissent is an integral part of the democratic process, and expressing it through peaceful assembly a basic human right. At a more mundane level though no less important, the authorities’ performance in BERSIH 3.0 also exposed their woeful incompetence and negligence in basic crowd control. Read the rest of this entry »


Dr Lim Teck Ghee’s reply to Dr Chandra Muzaffar’s invitation

by Dr Lim Teck Ghee
CPISunday, 06 May 2012

I thank Chandra for responding to my commentary on his lambasting of Bersih 3.0.

Although the Center for Policy Initiatives (CPI) is reproducing his response in full, there is really very little new in the engagement.

Basically Chandra has rehashed his arguments on the far-reaching changes to human rights and political and civil liberties that he sees taking place in the country.

In his initial article he was very emphatic on these changes maintaining that

“[I]t is an irrefutable fact that through these legislative reforms [Peaceful Assembly Act, ISA repeal, etc] the space and scope for the expression and articulation of human rights has been expanded and enhanced as never before.” Read the rest of this entry »


Reforming Education: Futility of the Exercise

by Bakri Musa
Last of Six Parts

Earlier I reviewed the challenges faced by three groups of students who happen to be mostly if not exclusively Malays: kampong students, those in residential schools, and those in academic limbo following their Form Five.

There is another group, this time also exclusively Malays, being poorly served by our system of education: students in Islamic schools. These schools see their mission as primarily producing ulamas and religious functionaries; they are more seminaries, with indoctrination masquerading as education. They are more like Pakistan’s madrasahs and Indonesia’s pesantrens.

I would prefer that they be more like America’s faith-based schools which regularly outperform public ones. They are also cheaper and produce their share of America’s future scientists, engineers and executives. Religion is only one subject in these schools, not the all-consuming curriculum. Thus they attract many non-Christians. Contrast that to Islamic schools in Malaysia.

If Malaysia were to serve the aforementioned four groups of students well, that would go a long way in ameliorating the “Malay problem.” Read the rest of this entry »

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