Archive for May 10th, 2012

UN does not approve tear gas as a riot control agent

Dr Lin Mui Kiang
Free Malaysia Today
May 10, 2012

The United Nations in Malaysia would like to refer to the article published in The Star on May 7, 2012 titled ‘Police: Tear gas used at rally safe, UN-approved’. We very much regret that the UN in Malaysia was not consulted before the publication of this article as it contains serious inaccuracies.

The UN has consistently condemned the excessive use of force, including through the use of tear gas. Please also note that the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council have on various occasions publicly expressed concerns about reliable reports indicating that civilians who died from tear gas suffered complications from gas inhalation, and that security forces have been firing metal tear gas canisters from grenade launchers into crowds.

The UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression after his mission to the Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) in December 2011 noted that “while the use of tear gas to disperse a crowd may be legitimate under certain circumstances, tear gas canisters should never be fired directly at demonstrators.”

Moreover, unlike what is alleged in the article, the UN does not set international standards on different kinds of irritants, nor has the UN approved ‘CS Gas’ as a ‘riot control’ agent.

As far as the use of force is concerned, the relevant UN instrument is the Basic Principles on the use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, which was adopted by the Eighth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders in 1990, not the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) of 1993. I provide its general provisions below: Read the rest of this entry »


Hanif should be the last person to head probe of Bersih 3.0 violence as he should be one of the “star” witnesses to substantiate his allegations that Bersih 3.0 was a coup attempt which involved pro-communist sympathizers

It is most ironical that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak said in an interview on Sinar.FM radio station this morning that as Prime Minister he could not even afford a single mistake, and “if we have to make 10 major decisions, we need to get 10 out of 10 right”, as he had just made probably his worst decision in his three-year premiership.

This is the appointment of former Inspector-General of Police, Tun Hanif Omar as chairman of the six-member Independent Advisory Panel to investigate the Bersih 3.0 violence and brutality.

Right from the second after the announcement by the Home Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein last evening, Hanif’s appointment as the head of the Bersih 3.0 panel had received immediate brickbats and all-round disapprobation and condemnation as being utterly inappropriate, rendering the whole probe not only lacking in independence but totally bereft of credibility and legitimacy.

I do not think it is possible to find another announcement of the composition of a public inquiry by the government in the nation’s 54-year history which had attracted such instant and all-round rejection and condemnation by major national stakeholders in the country!

The answer is very obvious. Hanif is the last person to head the probe of Bersih 3.0 violence as nobody would believe that he could be impartial and unbiased after he had publicly supported Najib’s irresponsible, wild and baseless allegation that Bersih 3.0 “sit-in” at Dataran Merdeka on April 28 was a coup d’etat attempt by the opposition to topple the government when there is not one iota of evidence whatsoever. Read the rest of this entry »


How BN lost this fencesitting voter: Open letter to PM

Daniel Tan | May 8, 2012

I am your average Joe in my late 40’s, living a comfortable life in a quiet suburban part of KL. I call myself a political atheist with no particular inclination to any political party.

You can call me a fencesitter or a middle ground voter. In the last 20 years of my voting life, I have always voted based on issues, swinging my votes between BN and the opposition depending on the hot issues of the day.

I voted BN in 2004, giving your coalition a massive mandate post-Mahathir and the reverberating message of ‘Change’ espoused by your predecessor.

And when the message remained just a message, four years on, I voted for the opposition, and what followed is history.

I understand you are trying very hard to court people like me and I supposed all this alphabet in the soup monikers – ETP, GTP, NEM, etc. are part of your big strategy to win urban voters like me.

Honestly, I am not sure I am thoroughly convinced. Read the rest of this entry »


The unshackling of M’sia’s rakyat

Yee Siew Meng | May 9, 2012

Bersih 3.0 is probably the biggest civil protest the country has ever seen. Reports have suggested anywhere from 150,000 to 250,000.

It is hard to establish the figures but depending on which side of the fence you are sitting; I would say that it was an intimidating number of people. Definitely more than Bersih 1 and Bersih 2.

Bersih 3.0, to me was a watershed event, much like BN’s loss of the two-third’s majority in the 2008 general election.

Each time an event like Bersih 3 occurs the ground shakes and the fault lines open up. In 2008, the obvious changes were the new governments which took over the states of Penang, Kedah, Perak and Selangor.

Many were elated but something unseen happened in the psyche of Malaysians which shook the social structure of Malaysia.

The groundswell in 2008 loosed the shackles of fear which had gripped our fathers’ generation. The deep-seated fear shackled our freedom, divided our communities, silenced our elders and compromised our faith. Read the rest of this entry »