Archive for category civil society/NGOs

Civil society demands that the government stops harassing and stigmatising NGOs

― Hakam & civil society NGOs
Malay Mail Online
December 15, 2016

DECEMBER 15 ― 1. We, members of Civil society (represented by the organisations listed below) are greatly concerned by the recent developments pertaining to the arrest of Puan Maria Chin Abdullah under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012, the summoning of activists from Suaram, Lawyers for Liberty and Empower for investigations, the police raid and seizure of the offices of Bersih and Empower and the numerous news reports making allegations against various organisations in respect of the foreign funding, including the Malaysian Bar Council.

2. We are also perturbed by news reports of the Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi announcing the formation of a task force to probe into NGO funding and accusing them of enticing revolutions to topple the present government and news reports of Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan’s reply to the numerous concerns regarding local human rights issues raised by Maina Kiai the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association in his recent visit to Malaysia.

3. The recent events and published news reports give the impression that the authorities are out to discredit and demonise human rights activists and civil society organisations who have voiced criticisms and dissent against the government. Read the rest of this entry »

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Good governance, the end of rampant corruption and widespread socio-economic injustices like Najib’s twin mega scandals are the best antidotes to fight extremism and terrorism, including Islamic State (IS)

At the International Conference on Deradicalisation and Countering Violent Extremism (IDC) yesterday, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak said he made no apology for stopping at nothing to ensure the security and safety of Malaysians, referring in particular to the slew of draconian laws in the arsenal of the Malaysian government.

Najib’s statement to the IDC, aimed at discussing and boosting co-operation between security agencies from ASEAN and nine strategic partners including Australia, France, Italy, Japan, China, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Britain and the United States, as well as discussing policies of the respective countries on deradicalisation and countering extremism, had failed to grasp the full spectrum of the threats, brutality and barbarity posed by movements like Islamic State (IS).

While far-reaching security laws are necessary, Najib and all world leaders must never lose sight of the fact that good governance, the end of rampant corruption and widespread socio-economic injustices like Najib’s twin mega scandals are the best antidotes to fight extremism and terrorism, including Islamic State (IS).

It is unfortunate that Najib had named the National Security Council (NSC) Bill as one of the necessary draconian laws to fight terrorism, as the threat of terrorism and in particular the Islamic State (IS) was never mentioned in Parliament, whether in Dewan Rakyat or Dewan Negara, as the raison d’etre why the NSC Bill was necessary. Read the rest of this entry »


Feted abroad, but Ambiga gets banned from Sabah

by Anisah Shukry
The Malaysian Insider
15 November 2014

Just a day after receiving an international award in Hong Kong, prominent lawyer Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan has been banned from entering Sabah ahead of her planned visit to Malaysia’s eastern-most state.

A letter informing the former Bar Council president of the ban was waiting for her when she returned to Malaysia yesterday, after she was presented the Lifetime Achievement Award at the fourth Euromoney Legal Media Group Asia Women in Business Law Awards 2014 ceremony in Hong Kong on Thursday.

The letter, from the Sabah Immigration Department, was in response to Ambiga’s own letter to them on Tuesday, informing them of her intention to visit Sabah on November 25 for a programme with the new people’s movement, Negara-Ku.

“I had written to them because I don’t want to fly all the way there just to be told I’m not allowed in. It was just a formality, to confirm there was no restriction.

“But then they wrote back and said they had rejected my application – even though I wasn’t even applying for their permission to enter Sabah,” the Negara-Ku patron told The Malaysian Insider. Read the rest of this entry »


Call on all moderates in Malaysia, whether BN or PR, to unite and isolate extremists and traitors of the country who want to foment racial chaos and religious conflagration through incessant incitement of racial and religious hatred, conflict and tension

We are gathered here tonight on the 111th birth anniversary of Bapa Malaysia Tunku Abdul Rahman, to discuss the legacy of the founder Prime Minister of the country.

Tunku had always wanted to be remembered as the “happiest Prime Minister” of a multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural Malaysia, but if he is alive today, he would probably be the saddest person in the country.

For the past nine months since the 13th general elections in May last year, the country has been afflicted by a quintuplet of national crisis the magnitude of which had never been experienced by the country in over half a decade of nationhood – nation building and national unity; economic as reflected in the unchecked rise in prices and the increasing hardships of the low-income groups; educational with the unchecked decline in educational standards; security in terms of the safety of Malaysian citizens, investors and visitors; and good governance particularly in the losing war against corruption.

Never before has the country been more polarised both racial and religious as in the past nine months – because of a combination of two factors, a rudderless and directionless administration of Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and a systematic and relentless campaign by an irresponsible and reckless group who are prepared to destabilise the country by ceaseless incitement of racial and religious hatred, conflict and tension to create the conditions for another May 13 racial riots.

I believe that the overwhelming majority of Malaysians, whether in DAP, PKR or PAS in Pakatan Rakyat, or in Umno, MCA, Gerakan, MIC and the other component parties in Barisan Nasional, do not want another May 13 riots in the country as they want, like Tunku Abdul Rahman, love, peace, harmony and prosperity to prevail in Malaysia. Read the rest of this entry »

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Pak Samad – always the people’s artist

By Jose Mario Dolor De Vega
Free Malaysia Today
September 21, 2013

A democratic society seeks to unleash the creativity of all its citizens and to celebrate the extraordinary achievements of its most gifted and dedicated, not otherwise.


I refer to the utterly insightful and undeniably powerful essay of Jeswan Kaur, ‘Pak Samad isn’t the problem here’, published in FMT on Sept 8.

I beg the indulgence of the reader and may I be allowed to add a few words of concurrence and to explicate my own take on the whole matter.

According to the National Cultural Policy of the Australian government, the role of the artist is as follows:

“A democratic society seeks to unleash the creativity of all its citizens and to celebrate the extraordinary achievements of its most gifted and dedicated. The value of creativity is something that is increasingly recognised and valued. Creativity is an essential attribute in an increasing number of occupations.

“The most gifted artists, however, take the ability to imagine, adapt, empathise and collaborate to another level through training, practice, discipline and courage. The extraordinary achievements that come when the most gifted individuals combine capacity and skill is something we recognise.”

From this description, we can deduce that artists are creative people and that their creativity is necessary for the development of one’s society. Further said, creativity is something that must be recognized and valued by the said society that produced the artist. Read the rest of this entry »

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Najib, Muhyiddin and Mahathir must each apologise for their irresponsible and unMalaysian remarks completely at variance with policies of 1Malaysia and Bangsa Malaysia if there is going to be genuine “national reconciliation” after 13GE

The most sensible, level-headed and statesmanlike statement completely in conformity with the policies of 1Malaysia and Bangsa Malaysia in the past three days since 13GE Polling Day came from former Prime Minister, Tun Abdullah, who demanded a stop to all attempts at racialising Sunday’s polls by blaming a particular community for Barisan Nasional’s poor showing at the ballot boxes.

Abdullah said: “This is unfair and unhelpful”.

Guilty of such “unfair and unhelpful” statements were none other than the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and former Prime Minister, Tun Mahathir, who indulged in irresponsible race-baiting and inflammatory incitements totally careless and reckless about the harm they are doing to race relations in the country.

For instance, immediately after the 13GE results were known on Sunday night, Najib talked about a “Chinese tsunami” when it was in fact a “Malaysian tsunami” caused by the political uprising and awakening not only of the Chinese, but all other communities as well, whether Malays, Chinese, Kadazan-Dusun-Murut or Iban communities.

Najib’s “Chinese tsunami” statement was immediately supported by Muhyiddin who said it was “unhealthy in a multi-racial society like Malaysia” to allow one community supporting one side and another race supporting another as it would lead to “tension in inter-racial relations and political instability”.

This is a conclusion based on a total fallacy, for the 13GE has not led to a situation of “one community supporting one side and another race supporting another” as the 13GE was not a battle between the Chinese versus the Malays, but one multi-racial coalition against another i.e. Pakatan Rakyat versus Barisan Nasional. Read the rest of this entry »


From Kuantan to Dataran Merdeka: The emancipatory journey for a green Malaysia

— Boon Kia Meng
The Malaysian Insider
Nov 22, 2012

NOV 22 — Humans make history; but never in circumstances and situations of their own choosing. This insightful observation by Marx, as he watched over the social upheavals unfolding in Europe in the middle of the 19th century, is a timely expression on what is happening in Malaysia today.

Have Malaysians ever heard of a group of ordinary, fellow Malaysians — our fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, our children — marching slowly but surely, on foot, all 300 kilometres of it, rain or shine, from Kuantan to Dataran Merdeka? All united in a common cause: to stop any further environmental degradation in Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah and Sarawak, where stopping the Lynas rare earth refinery in Gebeng, and the Murum and Baram dams in Sarawak, constitutes a fundamental demand.

These Malaysian citizens chose to embark on this journey (dubbed “Langkah Lestari”) because for far too long we have collectively as a nation allowed indiscriminate “development” and rapacious capitalistic resource extraction to go on, all in the name of economic growth and wealth creation.

Just witness the rapid decimation of our natural forestry and the displacement of our fellow indigenous Malaysian communities in Sabah/Sarawak and the peninsula. These have become common phenomena and Malaysians know deep inside that the present state of affairs cannot go on indefinitely without irreversible consequences to our common habitat. Read the rest of this entry »


Years of living precariously in Malaysia

Mustafa K. Anuar
The Malaysian Insider
Oct 10, 2012

Oct 10 — Malaysians are living in the grip of fear, not necessarily because of the spike in crime. Perceived or otherwise. Nor is it necessarily because of the number of deaths on the road which has risen over the years.

And certainly not because of two jet engines — as well as large amounts of money — that have somehow flown out of the country.

No. It is because there are “devils” — in various manifestations and aberrations — lurking in modern-day and technology-savvy Malaysia.

Why, quite recently Malaysians were warned by the federal government — which is visibly concerned for the common good of ordinary Malaysians especially those who can be quite impressionable — of the cunning and naughty attempts by “foreign elements” to topple the present-day government through their funding of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) such as Suaram, Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) and online newspaper Malaysiakini.

Indeed, this is an issue of national import that would not and should not escape the rapt attention and deep concern of serious newspapers worth their salt. This explains why dailies such as the influential and socially responsible Utusan Malaysia had front-paged this plot in the hope that fellow Malaysians would be patriotic enough to be on high alert and to defend their beloved country when the occasion arises. Read the rest of this entry »


Second break-in at Aliran office

P Ramakrishnan
3 October 2012

Exactly 18 days after the first break-in at the Aliran office, the thieves struck again for the second time!

They removed the same grille, forced open the same window and entered the same room. That was as far as they went.

On the first occasion, they had gained access to the rest of the building from this room but this time we had reinforced security and thus they were unable to move farther inside the building.

We discovered this break-in on the morning of 29 September 2011. They must have struck in the early hours of 29 September because we were in the office until midnight the previous day trying to wrap up Aliran Monthly. Read the rest of this entry »


Suaram, Scorpene, Altantuya dan dana asing

— Aspan Alias
The Malaysian Insider
Sep 24, 2012

24 SEPT — Isu Suaram dengan tuduhan terhadapnya mendapat bantuan dana asing hebat dimainkan oleh pihak BN. Selepas ini tidak tahu apa pula yang akan dihadapi oleh Suaram dan NGO-NGO yang lain yang tidak sebulu dengan pihak yang berkuasa. Najib berkata biarkan pihak yang berkuasa melakukan penyiasatan. Katanya, lagi kurang kita bercakap lagi baik.

Tindakan berkuasa terhadap Suaram bukanlah satu isu mengejutkan kerana Suaram membuatkan ada pihak yang “mandi tak basah dan tidur tidak lena” dibuatnya. Suaram ada isu yang besar yang diketengahkannya dan ia melibatkan pemimpin-pemimpin dan kroninya dalam isu komisyen pembelian Scorpene yang besar itu. Isu komisyen itu menghasilkan pembunuhan Altantuya Shaariibuu, seorang wanita jelita yang dikatakan berkaitan dengan pemimpin besar negara kita.

Isu Altantuya tidak dapat tidak terpaksa dibongkar. Isu pembayaran komisyen Scorpene dan Altantuya itu kait mengait dan kedua-dua isu itu tidak dapat dipisahkan jika kita mahu menyiasat salah satu darinya. Siasat satu akan melibatkan lagi satu isu dan kedua-dua isu itu merupakan isu yang akan membabitkan tindakan jenayah pihak-pihak tertentu yang berada di atas persada kuasa negara kita. Read the rest of this entry »


To free is to save

― May Chee Chook Ying
The Malaysian Insider
Sep 24, 2012

SEPT 24 ― Civil society is under siege in Malaysia. That does not augur well for a nation, touted by the powers-that-be, to be the best democracy in the world. How on earth can anyone even begin to espouse a democratic way of life if he doesn’t even recognise the role civil society plays? Is this so-called democratic government effective or legitimate, at all?

According to a mainstream newspaper, some RM20 million was poured into 11 organisations in a plot to destabilise the government. RM20 million from genuine benefactors can destabilise the government when hundreds of billions plundered by present and past leaders have gone unchecked?

If at all the present government can be destabilised, it can only come from its own undoing! Don’t go pointing fingers at others. “Sila tepuk dada, tanya selera!”

A large part of humanity lives in darkness, even now in the 21st century. We have seen how, in Tunisia, fruit-seller Mohamed Bouazizi immolated himself to draw attention to police corruption and ill treatment. Will history show that this selfless act of sacrifice as an exercise in vain? I’m no soothsayer but I think history will show, in time, how a solitary act of selflessness and sacrifice will liberate a huge chunk of humanity. It always begins with that solitary act. Always.

When I first started working almost three decades ago, I saw a copy of Aliran on a table in the staff room. What I read both shocked and mesmerised me. The founder himself wrote with such courage and tenacity. I was instantly converted and started to subscribe to Aliran soon after.

From his writings, I learnt about inequality in society. I learnt about how each of us can play our role in bringing about a more equitable Malaysia. I read about how we should demand good governance and how we should hold the government of the day to account.

Now, when I read what “he” has to say, I die a little inside. He was one of those in civil society who could have resurrected our ailing nation to a new life. He could have taught us how to rise up to a tyranny. Read the rest of this entry »


Suhakam should invoke its powers under the Suhakam Act 1999 to protect Suaram from continued government harassment and infringement of human rights in Malaysia

The Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) should invoke its functions and powers under the Suhakam Act 1999 to protect Suaram from continued government harassment and infringement of human rights in Malaysia.

Two days ago, Suaram said that Suhakam should intervene in the government’s continued harassment of the NGO’s parent company, Suara Inisiatif Sdn. Bhd as they had been continually persecuted by the government and its agencies since July 2012.

Suaram asked, among other things, that Suhakam take a stand on the Minister of Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism, Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s overreaching powers in interrupting and influencing investigations by the Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM) and to acknowledge the normalcy of foreign funding to organisations in Malaysia.

“Suaram is gravely concerned on the overreaching powers displayed the Minister of Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism, Ismail Sabri Yaakob in interfering and influencing the on-going CCM investigation on Suaram,” it said.

Global rights watchdog Amnesty International (AI) has rightly pointed out about suspicions over the timing of Putrajaya’s sudden interest in Suaram’s operations, noting that authorities began probing the NGO soon after it revealed that a close associate of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had sold Malaysian naval secrets to France. Read the rest of this entry »


Amnesty sees link between SUARAM shakedown, Scorpene scandal

By Clara Chooi
The Malaysian Insider
Sep 22, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 22 ― Global rights watchdog Amnesty International raised suspicion today over the timing of Putrajaya’s sudden interest in SUARAM’s operations, noting that authorities began probing the group soon after it revealed that a close associate of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had sold Malaysian naval secrets to France.

The revelation was made by French lawyer Joseph Breham, who is acting for Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) in the ongoing inquiry on the Scorpene submarine scandal in Paris, during a May 30 press conference in Bangkok.

“Amnesty is concerned that the recent government actions against SUARAM appear to be linked to the organisation’s legitimate work, in particular a corruption case which it has brought before the French courts.

“The government began these actions against SUARAM four weeks after the organisation disclosed new information from documents made available by the French public prosecutor’s office, which implicate Malaysian officials in the corruption allegations,” AI said in a statement here. Read the rest of this entry »