Archive for category ASEAN

A Heartening Election – Indonesian voters turn away from religious extremism

by Sadanand Dhume
Wall Street Journal Asia
April 15, 2009

Against a backdrop of missile launches on the Korean peninsula and violent protests in Thailand those looking for a spot of calm in Asia may alight on an unlikely candidate: Indonesia. Largely peaceful parliamentary elections last week — the third consecutive free polls since the end of Gen. Suharto’s 32-year rule in 1998 — highlight the strides made by a country that not so long ago was in danger of becoming a byword for chaos and random violence, a Southeast Asian Nigeria or Bangladesh.

Most heartening of all has been the Indonesian electorate’s affirmation of its legendary moderation. The top three parties in the incoming parliament — President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s Democrat Party, former president Megawati Sukarnoputri’s left-leaning Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle and Suharto’s former political machine, Golkar — are all nonsectarian. They stand for the country’s founding ideology, the live-and-let-live doctrine of Pancasila, and draw their supporters from each of the country’s five major faiths. Islam-based parties saw their cumulative vote-share shrink to about 20% from 38% five years ago. Mr. Yudhoyono, known as the “gentle general” for his military past and avuncular manner, is the overwhelming favorite to win July’s presidential election. Read the rest of this entry »

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Will the Sodomy II charge against Anwar be withdrawn if he swears on the Quran?

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said yesterday that it was up to Anwar Ibrahm to swear on the Quran and clear his name.

Will the criminal charge of Sodomy II against Anwar under Section 377B under the Penal Code for consensual sodomy be withdrawn if Anwar swears on the Quran?

If not, what is the point or purpose of Abdullah making such a statement, except to underline his bias and prejudice against Anwar?

Abdullah reiterated that “Saiful was a victim in the issue”.

In one fell swoop, he Prime Minister has again become judge, prosecutor and accuser all in one. If Abdullah is convinced that Saiful is the “victim” in the sodomy charge against Anwar, even before the date for hearing has been fixed, who can expect a fair trial for Anwar? Read the rest of this entry »

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Cyclone Nargis and callous Myanmar military rulers – Let ASEAN be first to condemn

Let ASEAN be the first to condemn the Myanmar military junta for its callousness in not suspending its sham referendum to legitimize its 46-year dictatorship in the face of the Cyclone Nargis devastation.

On May 3, 2008, cyclone Nargis struck the Irrawaddy delta and wiped out entire villages as it left a path of destruction across five regions. Over seven million people were affected by the storm, with estimates of dead ranging from 25,000 to 100,000 and up to a million homeless.

ASEAN governments and leaders cannot remain silent at the irresponsible and inhumane conduct of the Myanmese military rulers which seized a shipment of United Nations food aid intended for victims of the devastating cyclone, declaring that they would accept donations of food and medicine but not the foreign aid workers. Read the rest of this entry »

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ASEAN Charter – why sign it in Singapore Summit if it will be instantly discredited by Myanmar?

United Nations special envoy, Ibrahim Gambari has asked ASEAN nations “to turn rhetoric into real action”.

Speaking at a press conference yesterday after a two-day visit to Malaysia, which had included “substantive discussions” with the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Gambari said:

“We appreciate the strong statement coming out of ASEAN but now is the time to work together for concrete results.”

The next one month must see concrete results from both Gambari and the ASEAN Summit in Singapore to get the political dialogue for national reconciliation and democratization in Burma off the ground or ASEAN and UN would again be led up by the garden path by Myanmese military junta to aid and abet the repressive and corrupt military rule in the narco-state.

Although Gambari said that the United Nations will not compel ASEAN to suspend Myanmar as a member but instead encourage it to remain engaged with the junta government to restore the democratic process and respect for human rights in the country, the suspension and expulsion of Myanmar from the regional organization must remain an option of the ASEAN governments and peoples if the Myanmese military junta remain totally impervious after two decades to calls for a tripartite dialogue among the generals, pro-democracy activists led by Aung San Suu Kyi and ethnic nationalities to start the process of national reconciliation and democratization. Read the rest of this entry »

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2 sexist Malaysian MPs condemned – joint statement by ASEAN MPs

Joint Media Statement by ASEAN MPs (and former MP) from the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia and Malaysia in Tokyo on Tuesday, 22nd May 2007:

Sexism by two male MPs in Malaysian Parliament on May 9 an affront and outrage to all ASEAN MPs and ASEAN women — deserves fullest condemnation by all ASEAN Parliamentarians and ASEAN civil society as sexism has no place in a progressive ASEAN

We, the undersigned ASEAN MPs (and former MP) attending an international conference in Tokyo have decided to issue the following joint statement:

We are very distressed by the rank sexism in the Malaysian Parliament on May 9 when two male MPs made crude vulgar, derogatory, sexist and gender-offensive remarks at the woman MP for Batu Gajah Fong Po Kuan, which have been regarded as a shame and dishonour to Po Kuan, Malaysian Parliament, Malaysian women and Malaysia’s international reputation.

It is more than that — it is also an affront and outrage to all ASEAN MPs and ASEAN women and deserves the fullest condemnation by all ASEAN Parliamentarians and ASEAN civil society as sexism has no place in a progressive ASEAN.

In fact, it is also a global affront and outrage, which was why MPs and State Legislators attending the GlobalPOWER (Partnership of Women Elected/Appointed Representatives) 2007 Conference in Washington May 7 — 11, 2007 was the first global response to the “sexist and demeaning statements that male Members of Parliament in Malaysia made to their women colleagues”. Read the rest of this entry »

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ASEAN MPs back Po Kuan – censure Mohd Said/Bung Mokhtar

ASEAN Members of Parliament attending the International Conference of Japanese Diet Members and ASEAN Parliamentarians on “The International Symposium of the Way to Democratise Burma” in Tokyo today agreed at the sidelines that sexism in Parliament by two Barisan Nasional (BN) MPs, Datuk Mohd Said Yusof (Jasin) and Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin (Kinabatangan) are an affront and outrage to all ASEAN MPs and ASEAN women and deserve fullest condemnation by all ASEAN Parliamentarians and ASEAN civil society

ASEAN MPs are very distressed by the rank sexism in the Malaysian Parliament on May 9 when Mohd Said and Bung Mokhtar made crude vulgar, derogatory, sexist and gender-offensive remarks at the woman MP for Batu Gajah Fong Po Kuan.

This was more than a shame and dishonour to Po Kuan, Malaysian Parliament, Malaysian women and Malaysia’s international reputation.

It was also an affront and outrage to all ASEAN MPs and ASEAN women and deserves the fullest condemnation by all ASEAN Parliamentarians and ASEAN civil society as sexism has no place in a progressive ASEAN.

This was why there was also global affront and outrage, with MPs and State Legislators attending the GlobalPOWER (Partnership of Women Elected/Appointed Representatives) 2007 Conference in Washington May 7 — 11, 2007 being the first global response to the “sexist and demeaning statements that male Members of Parliament in Malaysia made to their women colleagues”. Read the rest of this entry »

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