Archive for category Human Rights

PAS the biggest winner of the Anti-ICERD rally while UMNO the biggest loser

The biggest winner in Anti-ICERD (Internatioal Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination) rally in Kuala Lumpur yesterday was PAS, which managed to distract public attention from the fact that its President Datuk Seri Hadi Awang had reduced PAS from a national party achieved under the presidency of Fadzil Noor back into a regional political party in the 14th General Election.

The biggest loser of the Anti-ICERD rally was UMNO, as for the first time in 72 years, the UMNO President played a secondary role to that of the PAS President, with the UMNO President wooing PAS for an union while PAS played coy in the courtship.

Hadi’s ambition for PAS has increased exponentially before and after the 14th General Election.

Before the 14GE, Hadi wanted PAS to play the role of “king-maker” by winning 40 parliamentary seats, which would enable him to prop up Datuk Seri Najib Razak to continue as Prime Minister of Malaysia, heedless of Najib’s role in hurtling Malaysia in the trajectory of a rogue democracy, a kakistocracy, a failed state and a global kleptocracy.

Now, Hadi could not be satsified to be a “kingmaker” for UMNO to continue to rule Malaysia, as he would himself want to be Prime Minister in a political scenario where UMNO needs PAS more than PAS needs UMNO! Read the rest of this entry »

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Anti-ICERD rally a victory for New Malaysia but a setback for Pakatan Harapan

The peaceful holding of the Anti-ICERD rally in Kuala Lumpur yesterday is a victory for New Malaysia but a setback for Pakatan Harapan.

As the Home Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin rightly said after the rally, it was a demonstration that the Pakatan Harapan government will always respect the rights of the people to speak and assemble peacefully, as long as these rights are practised according to the provisions of the law and the Federal Constitution.
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Malaysia should not ratify ICERD until the majority of the races and religions in Malaysia supports it and understand that it no threat to the various races, religions or the Federal Constitution but a step forward to join the world in promoting human rights

UMNO President, Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi questioned the faith of Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah for wanting the government to ratify the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Icerd).

He is among Malay political leaders who warned that the Malays will run amok if ICERD is ratified by the Malaysian Government.

PAS President, Datuk Seri Hadi Awang said it was compulsory for Muslims to oppose ICERD while the organisers of this Saturday’s anti-ICERD rally said that the rally was not aimed at other races but at the “traitors” of the nation.
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Great news and fantastic breakthrough, Nie Ching!

Its great news and fantastic breakthrough, the announcement by the Deputy Education Minister, Teo Nie Ching in Kuching that stateless children in the country can now enroll in government schools beginning next year by merely producing their birth certificate.

Nie Ching said undocumented children still enroll themselves but they have two years to produce the necessary documents.

Apart from birth certificates, these children could produce either their adoption certificate if they are adopted or any court order.

It is estimated that there are about 300,000 stateless children under the age of 18 in the country.

The Education Minister, Maszlee Malik and the Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching must be commended for resolving this very nettlesome problem, as in the past, it’s quite troublesome for them to enroll in government schools.

Teo’s announcement that the new policy also applies to them continuing their studies in secondary schools, allowing them to take public exams like the PT3, SPM, STPM is also be be applauded.

The great news and fantastic breakthrough announced by Nie Ching is the New Malaysia we want to build – a New Malaysia with greater compassion and more emphasis on human rights – after the historic decision of the 14th General Election on May 9, 2018.

(Media Statement (2) by DAP MP for Iskandar Puteri Lim Kit Siang in Gelang Patah on Friday, Oct. 12, 2018)

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Call for a Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights whose terms of reference would include reviewing the ban of over 1,600 books in the past 40 years

It is an honour and privilege to be here to take part in the dialogue on “Maju Malaysia: Buku Sumber Kebijaksanaan atau Penggugat Keharmonian?” at Summit USJ Mall organized at the initiative of the Office of Hannah Yeoh, Selangor State Assembly Speaker and to have such a distinguished panelists of discussants, namely Pak Samad Said, Dr. Ahmad Farouk Musa, Art Harun and Al-Mustaqeem Mahmud Radhi.

Recently, there had been a spate of bans on books and publications, but the most shocking was the ban in July on the book produced by G25 titled “Breaking the Silence: Voices of Moderation ― Islam in a Constitutional Democracy” in a country founded on the principles of moderation, tolerance, openness and inclusivity and whose Prime Minister has gone to the United Nations General Assembly three times since 2010 to sell his international initiative of a Global Movement of Moderates, which has proved to be neither global, a movement nor moderate.

Early this month, the government banned the latest work of Malaysian cartoonist Junar, whose book “Sapuman: Man of Steal”, making a mockery of Malaysia’s commitment to human rights and freedom of expression. This follows earlier bans on Zunar’s other cartoon books – Gedung Kartun, 1 Funny Malaysia, Isu Dalam Kartun (Vol 1, 2, 3), Conspiracy to Imprison Anwar, Perak Darul Kartun and Pirates of Carry-BN. Zunar’s Ros in Kangkongland and other titles are also investigated under the Sedition Act.

Malaysia also banned the international best-seller “Islam Without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty” published in United States in 2011, just after an unpleasantly-enforced end to a lecture tour by Turkish author Mustapha Akyol, who suddenly found himself a “persona non grata” by the religious authorities in Malaysia, subjected to harassment and detention. Read the rest of this entry »

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30th Anniversary of Ops Lalang mass arrests – call on Malaysians to unite to save democracy, the rule of law, human rights and to eradicate corruption and kleptocracy

Today marks the 30th anniversary of Operation Lalang which brought about the darkest days for democracy and human rights.

There was not only the arrest of 106 Malaysians, including opposition leaders – 16 of whom were from the DAP, including MPs and State Assemblymen – trade unionists, social activists, environmentalists, Chinese educationists and religious workers, there was also the wholesale attacks on press freedom with the closure of three newspapers, the assault on the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law and the series of undemocratic legislation which caused a tectonic shift in the Malaysian political landscape, subordinating the legislative and judicial branches to the Executive.

Operation Lalang in 1987 brought the fragile plant of Malaysian democracy to the brink of ruin and disaster. Read the rest of this entry »

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30th Anniversary of Ops Lalang mass arrests – call on Malaysians to unite to save democracy, the rule of law, human rights and to eradicate corruption and kleptocracy

Today marks the 30th anniversary of Operation Lalang which brought about the darkest days for democracy and human rights.

There was not only the arrest of 106 Malaysians, including opposition leaders – 16 of whom were from the DAP, including MPs and State Assemblymen – trade unionists, social activists, environmentalists, Chinese educationists and religious workers, there was also the wholesale attacks on press freedom with the closure of three newspapers, the assault on the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law and the series of undemocratic legislation which caused a tectonic shift in the Malaysian political landscape, subordinating the legislative and judicial branches to the Executive.

Operation Lalang in 1987 brought the fragile plant of Malaysian democracy to the brink of ruin and disaster.

But Malaysian resilience, the spirit and love for freedom, justice and the nation, did not wilt or capitulate but sprang back not only to recover lost ground and to achieve new democratic breakthroughs as in the 13th General Election when 52% of popular vote sought the first change of national government but the people were denied the fruits of democratic victory because of undemocratic gerrymandering of parliamentary constituencies. Read the rest of this entry »

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Have the “kleptocratic chickens coming home to roost” caused Malaysia’s defeat for election to UN Human Rights Council?

Malaysia suffers ignominy in the latest defeat for election to the United Nations Human Rights Council, being the only country to lose out as there were 16 countries vying for the 15 seats, and even more pertinent, the only country to lose out among the five countries which competed for the four Human Rights Council seats allocated to Asia-Pacific region.

It is a terrible setback for Malaysia’s human rights record that the country should lose out to countries which are regarded as definitely greater human rights offenders than Malaysia, like Pakistan, Qatar and Afghanistan in the region or countries like Congo and Angola in the world.

This is Malaysia’s third bid for a seat on the council after two stints, from 2006 to 2009 and from 2010 to 2013. Read the rest of this entry »

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Trump welcomes Malaysian leader, despite advocates’ concerns

By Annie Linskey
Boston Globe
Sept. 12, 2017

WASHINGTON — Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak is linked to a multibillion-dollar embezzlement scandal, and human rights groups say he has limited free speech, imprisoned opposition leaders, and locked up Malaysians who have “insulted” the government.

But on Tuesday, Najib was greeted at the White House by President Trump, who listened to his guest’s pledge to invest billions of dollars for US infrastructure while publicly ignoring his links to the scandal that the Justice Department is actively probing. Read the rest of this entry »

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Aung San Suu Kyi must end her silence and speak up for justice and human rights for the Rohingyas and protect them from ethnic cleansing

During the 15 of the 21 years from 1989 to 2010 when she became one of the world’s most prominent political prisoners, I have issued countless statements espousing her freedom and her cause for democracy and human rights in Myanmar.

It is heart-breaking to watch her silence and failure to speak up and end the violence, horrors and human rights violations perpetrated on the Rohingya minority in Myanmar.

I fully endorse the call by another Nobel Peace Laureate Desmond Tutu who have come out of retirement to issue a heart-felt letter to Aung San Suu Kyi, calling on her to end the violence against the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar. Read the rest of this entry »

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WHY PRESIDENT TRUMP IS BAD FOR FREEDOM … IN MALAYSIA

BY SHERIDAN MAHAVERA
South China Morning Post
15 JAN 2017

Civil activists in the country enjoyed US support under Obama, but the incoming president’s anti-China stance may require him to turn a blind eye to Najib’s domestic agenda

After eight years with an influential friend in the White House, Malaysian civil society groups are bracing for the worst when Donald Trump takes over on January 20.

During outgoing President Barack Obama’s two terms, human rights advocates, democracy groups and anti-corruption activists had cultivated warm relations with US officials in Kuala Lumpur, even meeting the 44th US president on his visit to the capital last year – the first by any sitting US president.

In that time, Washington’s tacit support for their causes had been a crucial morale booster during a period of regular clampdowns by the administration of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who himself was eager to curry favour with the US leader.

But now they fear a shift in US priorities by a Trump administration that is likely to view Malaysian civil liberties as of relatively low diplomatic priority. Or even worse, that a US, which no longer champions democracy and human rights, might provide moral cover for Najib to further suppress freedoms. Read the rest of this entry »

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Democracy in Southeast Asia: A Conversation Between Michael Vatikiotis and Bridget Welsh

ASEAN Studies Program
The Habibie Center
Jakarta

[Journey through the ebbs and flows of democracy in ASEAN via a conversation between Michael Vatikiotis, a veteran journalist and writer living in Singapore, and Dr. Bridget Welsh, who is a Senior Associate Fellow of the Habibie Center in Jakarta. Their conversation on the state of democracy in Southeast Asia traces the history of the push for democracy in the different countries of the region, current challenges and future prospects. (This article is first published in special issue.)]

Michael Vatikiotis is a writer and journalist living in Singapore. After training as a journalist with the BBC in London, he moved to Asia and was a correspondent and then editor of the Far Eastern Economic Review. He has written two novels set in Indonesia.

Dr. Bridget Welsh is a Senior Research Associate at the Center for East Asia Democratic Studies of the National Taiwan University; a Senior Associate Fellow of the Habibie Center in Jakarta; and a University Fellow of Charles Darwin University in Darwin, Australia. She analyzes Southeast Asian politics, especially Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, and Indonesia.

Bridget Welsh (BW): Michael, why don’t you begin. Where do you think the state of democracy is in the region?

Michael Vatikiotis (MV): Well, if you take a glass half-full approach, then I suppose you would look at the long arch of history of democracy over the last 40 years. I argue that in many countries of Southeast Asia there has been a gradual improvement in the forms of governments that have begun to look more and more institutionally like functioning democracies.

So to break that down, you have of course a wave of democratization that began with the People’s Power revolution in the Philippines in mid-1980s which was itself an outgrowth of Portugal’s Carnation Revolution in the mid-1970s that sparked what Samuel Huntington called the ‘third wave of democratization.’ This eventually reached the shores of Southeast Asia and manifested itself initially in left wing movements, student disruptions and protests in mid 1970s. Thailand saw a crackdown on student movements that led to people fleeing into the jungle and joining the communist insurgency. Similarly in Indonesia, there was the Malari incident which led to a crackdown on campus politics. In Malaysia too, there was a student agitation in the mid-1970s. By the early 80s things had come to a head in the Philippines with the implementation of martial law, the corruption of Marcos’ rule and the deep sense of unease that many people felt because of the way that they were treated by Marcos, either arrested, detained or worse. In 1983, with the murder of Benigno Aquino as he stepped out of a plane from Taiwan at Manila Airport, these finally weld up into a massive popular protest.

At the time I was a young journalist in BBC. I remember covering it from London, and it was a very exciting time, especially the whole notion of ‘people’s power.’ This was well before any of the colored revolutions that have taken place in this century. This was before the end of Cold War. It was also the very first time that CNN had covered this sort of story so far away with live camera shots of the protests. There was a sense that nothing like this had really happened before in postcolonial Southeast Asia. It was shown and reported in a very vivid manner and it also very quickly brought an end to very despotic ruler. Within a matter of weeks Ferdinand Marcos was on a plane to Hawaii.

As a side note, I think it was also very important time because up until the mid-1980s, the United States and other Western powers firmly back autocratic regimes because they were anti-communist. This changed with the ‘people’s power’ revolution on the streets of Manila. The color of the revolution was yellow, not red. You had this mild-mannered widow of Benigno Aquino who took over. She was not threatening. She didn’t seem to be communist. This allowed the United States and other Western powers to embrace a popular revolution without having to abandon their sort of anti-communist credentials. There was a sense of relief that they didn’t have to support an autocrat, because he was anti-communist. Read the rest of this entry »

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Crackdown on freedom and democracy in Malaysia

By Syerleena Abdul Rashid
Free Malaysia Today
December 10, 2016

68 years later, it is still celebrated in various magnitudes; its significance and meaning varies from one nation to the next but for Malaysians, the struggle to uphold justice, freedom and democracy has become more crucial than ever.

Every year on 10th December, the world celebrates Human Rights Day, a day where we reflect hard-fought battles to restore democracy, freedom and justice. Human Rights Day symbolizes past, present and future struggles to make universal human rights a reality for everyone– regardless of race, gender, disability or religion.

68 years later, it is still celebrated in various magnitudes; its significance and meaning varies from one nation to the next but for Malaysians, the struggle to uphold justice, freedom and democracy has become more crucial than ever; our struggle now is a battle between oppressive forces verses liberty.

2016 has been marred with a barrage of atrocities that violates civility, human rights and basic human decency. In times of absurd revelations, defending our constitutional rights have become more significant than ever. As Malaysians, we must protect these rights and appreciate the battles fought by those who resolved to see a better vision of the world materialize. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sebagai juara hak asasi manusia, Aung San Suu Kyi mesti membuktikan bahawa beliau adalah juara untuk semua lapisan manusia, tanpa mengira kaum, agama, wilayah dan latar belakang

Setakat hari ini dilaporkan sekurang-kurangnya 86 orang telah terbunuh manakala 300,000 lagi telah melarikan diri di tengah-tengah keganasan yang semakin memuncak di wilayah Rakhine, Myanmar.

Human Rights Watch sejak Sabtu lalu telah melaporkan beberapa gambar satelit menunjukkan beberapa perkampungan etnik Rohingya di wilayah tersebut telah dibakar, dan menjadi bukti kepada pembersihan etnik yang tidak boleh dinafikan lagi.

Apa yang lebih mengecewakan ialah kegagalan pemenang Hadiah Keamanan Nobel, Aung San Suu Kyi untuk menawarkan keamanan, bahkan dituduh pula tidak mendengar keluh kesah nasib penduduk Islam Myanmar. Suu Kyi tidak menafikan tuduhan-tuduhan tersebut.

Kegagalan Suu Kyi untuk bersuara bagi pihak etnik Rohingnya yang teraniaya adalah keaiban dan penghinaan kepada hadiah Nobel yang telah dianugerahkan kepada beliau. Apatah lagi setelah partinya yang mengusung nama ‘demokrat’ berjaya meraih kemenangan yang begitu besar tahun lalu, bagi menafikan kekuasaan pentadbiran tentera selama lebih dua dekad lampau. Read the rest of this entry »

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Nur Jazlan’s statement that Maria Chin’s arrest under SOSMA was not because of terrorism is irrefutable proof that Najib is the undisputed “U-turn King” and Malaysia’s most untrustworthy Prime Minister whose promises and pledges, even in Parliament, are not worth a single sen

Deputy Home Minister, Datuk Seri Nur Jazlan’s statement yesterday that Bersih chairperson Maria Chin’s arrest under SOSMA was not because of terrorism is irrefutable proof that Datuk Seri Najib Razak is the undisputed “U-turn King” and Malaysia’s most untrustworthy Prime Minister whose promises and pledges, even in Parliament, are not worth a single sen.

In fact, the extraordinary scenario where the Najib administration through one Minister makes a solemn pledge about a new law in Parliament is contradicted when the law is implemented by another Minister was foreseen by the DAP MP for Seputeh Teresa Kok during the winding-up debate enacting the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA) in the Dewan Rakyat on 17th April 2012, when she posed the question:

“Teresa Kok Suh Sim (Seputeh): Yang Berhormat Menteri, kenapakah selepas rang undang-undang ini di luluskan di Dewan ia akan dilaksanakan oleh Kementerian Dalam Negeri, tengok Kementerian Dalam Negeri semalam kebanyakkan masa tidak ada, tidak mendengar keluhan daripada pihak di sebelah sini dan juga macam mana dia boleh melaksanakan apa yang dicadangkan oleh Dewan ini.”

At the time, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Nazri Aziz, who was responsible for the passage of the SOSMA bill in Parliament, ridiculed Teresa Kok’s concerns boasting:

“Tuan Yang di Pertua, Yang Berhormat Seputeh, saya ini Menteri yang menjaga Parlimen dan ditambah juga dikatakan sebagai de facto Menteri undang-undang. Ini ada kaitan dengan Parlimen dan ada kaitan dengan undang-undang……kalau saya hendak, saya boleh menjawab bagi mana-mana pihak oleh sebab saya dalam keadaan yang emergency kalau sekiranya ada orang yang tidak dapat hadir, tidak melanggar apa-apa peraturan untuk saya menjawab bagi pihak mana-mana kementerian.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Demonstrations and counter-demonstrations ― Where lies the government’s duty?

― Lim Wei Jiet
Malay Mail Online
November 5, 2016

NOVEMBER 5 ― Of late, there have been statements by ministers and authorities which seem to have blamed Bersih for the threatening menace of the Red Shirts come November 19.

Khairy Jamaluddin, in his infinite wisdom, said: “…if Bersih does not do anything, the reds would certainly not do anything, so the burden lies on Bersih. The best way is to not allow the Bersih 5 rally to happen”. The Home Minister, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi similarly opined: “You see, if there is no yellow, there will be no red. If there is no Maria Chin, there will surely be no Jamal Yunos”.

With respect, such line of thinking is simply erroneous. Imagine this scenario ― a group of students are enjoying a game of football during P.E. lesson. The school bully appears from nowhere, pushes several students to the ground and snatches the ball away like the jerk he is. A brouhaha ensues. The teacher comes along and not only does omit to discipline the bully, but proceeds to scold the students for causing him problems and orders the students back to class.

How’s that for logic?

One can’t put it more simply than O’Brien J in R v. Londonderry Justices (1891) 28 LR Fr. 440: “If danger arises from the exercise of lawful rights resulting in a breach of the peace, the remedy is the presence of sufficient force to prevent the result, not the legal condemnation of those who exercise those rights”

In other words, stop the bully, not reprimand the peaceful demonstrators! Read the rest of this entry »

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In Malaysia, Humor Is No Laughing Matter

By Sarah Hucal
US News
Aug. 16, 2016

A political cartoonist’s court case raises questions about this Asian nation’s limits on expression.

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – His office has been raided, his employees arrested and his books banned. His last publisher worked at night, unwilling to take a sample of his previous work, lest it be discovered. Yet political cartoonist Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque, known to most as Zunar, refuses to put down his pens, providing cartoon commentary on the Malaysian government.

Zunar has been charged with nine counts of Malaysia’s Sedition Act for social media posts criticizing the Federal Court’s decision to uphold the sodomy conviction of Anwar Ibrahim, the ruling party’s main political rival. Yet, despite facing a possible 43 years of jail time, the award-winning cartoonist continues to encourage what he says is the safest and most-powerful form of protest: laughter. “There’s no law to stop you from laughing,” points out the cartoonist during an interview in his office in the Malaysian capital.

The cover of his latest book portrays Prime Minister Najib Razak as a swashbuckling pirate. The prime minister is shown wielding a bag of 2.6 billion Malaysian ringgit, representing the $731 million the U.S. Justice Department alleges he received illicitly from the public investment fund he oversees.

Najib has denied wrongdoing and maintains the money was a gift from an unnamed Saudi donor. Read the rest of this entry »

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Call on Najib to give undertaking that National Security Council Act will not be enforced until concerns of Conference of Rulers addressed by way of amendments to be presented in forthcoming Parliament

Tuesday, 7th June 2016 is a black-lettered day in the history of Malaysia, because on this day the National Security Council Act was gazetted and became the first law in the country which was NOT given the Royal Assent.

Under Clause 4(a) of Article 66 of the Federal Constitution, a bill becomes law 30 days after it is presented to the Yang di Pertua Agong, even if the Agong does not give the Royal Assent.

The Conference of Rulers on Feb. 17 had returned the National Security Council (NSC) Bill to the Attorney-General’s Chambers asking for refinement.

The Attorney-General Tan Sri Apandi Ali then said he would review some sections of the bill while Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak said he took note of the rulers suggestion. Read the rest of this entry »

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Call on Najib to personally stop the government harassment and persecution of cartoonist Fahmi Reza over his clown-faced Najib drawings or institute civil suit against him

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, cannot pretend continued ignorance about the police and government harassment and persecution of cartoonist Fahmi Reza over his clown-faced Najib drawings.

Fahmi was released this morning after being detained yesterday at Publika in Kuala Lumpur for selling T-shirts featuring a clown-faced Prime Minister Najib Razak.

What should concern Najib and his coterie of advisers is why there is a market for Fahmi’s clown-faced Najib drawings, whether T-shirts or other products, instead of harassing and persecuting Fahmi – which is no different from shooting the messenger instead of addressing the message.

Would there be a market for clown-faced Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman, clown-faced Tun Razak, clown-faced Tun Hussein Onn, clown-faced Tun Mahathir or clown-faced Tun Abdullah.

It would be more beneficial for Najib and his coterie of political advisers to ponder these questions than be so trigger-happy as to invoke the law to abuse and misuse powers to harass and persecute Fahmi. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysians should speak up to oppose Najib’s plan to turn Malaysia into a national prison where critics and opponents of the Prime Minister and Government are prohibited from travelling freely overseas

Yesterday, I had asked whether there will be any Minister who will resign on a matter of principle if the Cabinet today is not prepared to countermand the arbitrary and undemocratic ban on Bersih Chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah and DAP National Publicity Secretary and MP for PJ Utara, Tony Pua from free travel overseas.

I have not heard of any news that any Minister or Deputy Minister is resigning his or her post in protest against such lurch towards undemocratic and arbitrary practices which have so far been the hallmark of communist and closed societies, representing a major and fundamental difference with democratic and open societies.

Is Malaysia an open and democratic society or has it regressed to become an autocratic and closed society like the North Korean communist regime?

This is a policy question which should involve every Minister and Deputy Minister in view of the “hair-raising” undemocratic and arbitrary decisions to bar critics and opponents of the Najib government like Maria Chin and Tony Pua from free travel overseas.

The Malaysian Parliament itself has become a farce if MPs like Tony Pua and civil society leaders like Maria Chin could be denied their fundamental and democratic right to travel freely overseas. Read the rest of this entry »

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