Archive for July, 2011

31
Jul
11

EC is not telling the truth

16 days after Bersih 2.0 and finally the Election Commission meets Ambiga Sreenevasen on a public stage to discuss election reforms. Yet, all is not well with the Election Commission as more questions have been raise in the aftermath of its lacklustre answers.

EC deputy chairman Wan Ahmad Wan Omar absolved himself and his colleagues of any responsibility towards electoral reforms amid boos and jeers during a public dialogue with Bersih chairman Ambiga Sreevenasan, stressing that there was “nothing wrong” with the EC.

“The EC is not an enforcement agency; it is only a management body for elections. The best we can do is to propose relevant laws to the Attorney-General’s Chambers.

“But ultimately it is the government of the day, which obtained majority votes, which has the final say. If the government decides that voting age is 21 years old, whatever proposal we send to the A-G’s Chambers can never go to Parliament,” he said at a public forum titled What next after July 9.

A lie of a statement

This is a rather funny statement from the EC deputy chairman, as the manager for elections in Malaysia, the EC is provisioned to make rules as stated in Article 113 (5) of the Federal Constitution. This provision within the Federal Constitution was pointed out by the Bersih chairperson to the EC deputy chairman.

Rules of conduct for elections are well within the boundaries of the EC since these are the rules that go into effect during an election. There is no need for such rules to pass through the AG chambers as long as these rules uphold and stay within the context of federal law.

Thus among other things, the use of indelible ink, a period of 21 days for campaigning and equal access to main-stream media are all measures that the EC can decide on, without having to refer to the AG chambers.

The only time such rules should be referred to the AG chambers is if there is a possibility a rule can contradict a federal law. Even then, if it does contradict a federal law, the EC does have the responsibility to stand by its decision or decide on an alternative.

It is the responsibility of the EC to uphold its role in ensuring that elections are conducted fairly and properly in Malaysia. Appointments are by the Agong and members to the EC must not have any other affiliation whether to political parties or to business entities.

This means they have to ensure that they are neutral and unbiased. If they are unable to be neutral or believe that they cannot play an impartial role as Wan Ahmad himself suggested, then they should immediately resign or be in gross disobedience to the King.

…more
EC is not telling the truth: It can make changes without BN approval
by Maclean Patrick
30 July 2011 – Malaysia Chronicle

31
Jul
11

No interest in police’s video on Bersih

A short video documentary produced by the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) to tell its version of Bersih’s massive rally on July 9 has been ridiculed by both PAS and PKR, saying no one had shown interest to the clip.

“The video made and aired by the police is definitely not capturing the interest of the public, and Information minister (Rais Yatim) was forced to promote the video.

“If the video is interesting and shows the truth, the public will surely watch it without having to be told to do so,” said PAS vice president Mahfuz Omar.

Earlier, it was reported that only the government-owned Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) had aired the clip following Rais’s instruction, a move for which the police expressed its gratitude.

“We thank RTM for screening the video to show what actually happened during the July 9 illegal rally. By screening the video, we hope the public will get truthful and accurate information on the rally,” said deputy inspector general of police Khalid Abu Bakar, who has been at the forefront of police action against Bersih and Pakatan Rakyat activities.

The video clip by the police comes amidst accusations of police brutality on July 9, an allegation the police had refused to accept.

Rais , who is the Information, Communication and Culture minister, had urged Malaysians to watch the video to get the “truth”.

“I urge all Malaysians to tune in to RTM and watch the true and accurate accounts of what happened and judge for themselves.

“We will air the actual scenes of the parties which carried out the illegal street demonstrations that day and they will have to answer as to who is lying,” said Rais.

Waste of funds

According to Mahfuz, public funds had been wasted in something that the public had no interest in.

He added that other TV stations’ refusal to broadcast the clip showed that they were aware of the public’s lack of interest in government propaganda.

“If the police video is shown, the public will further distrust the TV stations. That’s why private TV stations have refused to air the video,” he said.

..more
PAS, PKR ridicule police’s video stunt
29 July 2011 – Malaysia Chronicle

30
Jul
11

RCI + inquest = ‘big, big mess’

PETALING JAYA: The Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) into Teoh Beng Hock’s death, which released its findings in a report last Thursday, has created a “big legal mess” by generating more questions than answers, said prominent human rights lawyer Malik Imtiaz Sarwar.

Malik, who represented the Selangor government during the inquest and RCI, said rather than serving its original function to bring a closure to the issue, there are now different conclusions by the RCI and inquest.

“What has resulted is a big, big, mess. We have now a coroner’s decision and a RCI’s, which are saying different things. In law, the coroner’s findings is the determinative one,” the National Human Rights Society president told FMT.

Malik said the three Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officers – Negri Sembilan MACC director (then Selangor MACC deputy director) Hishamuddin Hashim and two enforcement officers Mohd Anuar Ismail (then the investigating officer) and Mohd Ashraf Mohd Yunus, who are being internally investigated for allegedly driving Teoh to suicide – would most probably make the same argument (that the RCI finding is inferior to a court finding) if they were brought to court.

“Both findings (RCI and inquest) are inconsistent. The inquest ruled out a suicide and said there were insufficient evidence to come to a finding of homicide. It also accepted that there were pre-fall injuries on Teoh, but the RCI totally ignored all that,” said Malik.

Malik said before the Selangor government and lawyers of Teoh’s family decided to pull out of the RCI, they suggested and raised concerns over the “dual” findings that would eventually emerge but their arguments fell on deaf ears.

“The RCI then should have stood down until the outcome of the revision (on the inquest) had been done away with. Or, the Attorney-General should have withdrawn his application to revise the inquest decision to push for a suicide finding and all parties to start off on a clean slate. But that was never decided on,” he said.

“At the end of the day, the A-G, who recommended for both a revision and most probably also advised the government to hold the RCI, was asking for two different sides,” he said.

“Also, the RCI decided to ignore all the evidence in the inquest and reboot the whole case… and it seems that somehow everyone got a second chance to restate their case. They (the commissioners) should not have done that; (RCI chairman) James ( Foong) could have found a way to include the coroner’s findings,” he added.

‘There’s no certainty’

Malik expressed his disappointment that the RCI now gave rise to more uncertainty than definitive answers.

“Where do things stand right now? There’s no certainty. What we have now is a whole mess of uncertainty,” he said.

“Has the RCI served its function? From the very beginning, the decision not to hold a RCI before an inquest was ill-conceived, and having a RCI as a knee-jerk reaction to public anger was also not well-thought out,” he said, adding that the original intention of having a RCI was because of public anger and lack of confidence in the inquest’s findings.

“The RCI was more of a political resolution rather than a legal one,” he said.

…more
RCI + inquest = ‘big, big mess’
Teoh El Sen
July 28, 2011 – FMT

30
Jul
11

BN distorts human rights in Malaysia

In 2005 the Human Rights Watch interviewed S Arutchelvan from Suaram, and he best described the difference between Internal Security Act and Emergency Ordinance as, “The ISA is top down – a government minister orders detention of someone seen as a threat to the government – whereas the EO is bottom up. The police, having failed to collect evidence to prosecute a criminal suspect, request an EO detention order from the minister.”

The Emergency Ordinance violates international law in many ways. It violates the fundamental right to liberty, right to due process, and a fair trial. Even in states of emergency, human rights standards still prohibit indefinite detention without charge or trial.

But despite the obvious depravity of such laws, Prime Minister Najib Razak and his BN coalition – after ruling the country for 5 decades – can only chime “these laws are still necessary” to protect the country. Who then is to protect the country from him and the BN?

Only banana republics and those who are running scared do it

A government-appointed Royal Commission back in 2005 recommended the repeal of the Emergency Ordinance. It expressed concern about preventive detention laws, calling them: “undesirable because they deny the individual his personal liberty without a right to trial in an open court as approved for in Article 5 of the Constitution and in the International Bill of Rights. This right is among the most precious that the individual has and it must be protected.”

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which has been ratified or acceded to by 156 states as of 2006, include guarantees such as the obligation to treat detainees with humanity, and certain elements of the right to fair trial, such as the prohibition on arbitrary detention of liberty and the presumption of innocence.

Although Malaysia is not a signatory to the treaty, these provisions are considered customary international law and, as such, applicable in all states. Malaysian government-appointed bodies such as the Royal Commission to Enhance the Operation and Management of the Royal Malaysia Police have cited the ICCPR in setting forth the standards they believe should govern the conduct of Malaysian authorities.

The detainment of the 6 PSM supporters under the EO is a mockery of the principle of presumption of innocence until proven guilty; it unjustly denies Malaysians of civil liberties; it allows for detention without trial denying us our natural justice and creates conditions for torture and other degrading forms of treatment while under detention.

The prolonged detention only enforces the idea that the police have little to go by if the 6 were to face trial in open court. Yet, even if the 6 go to trial in court and are released; they still can be detained under the EO.

…more
This is how the BN distorts human rights in Malaysia
by Maclean Patrick
29 July 2011 – Malaysia Chronicle

29
Jul
11

Jeyakumar and 5 other PSM leaders freed

The EO-6 have finally been released after 28 days of detention following strenuous efforts by Parti Sosialis Malaysia members, NGOs and friends including Pakatan Rakyat supporters to pressure the police and Home Ministry to free them.

No reasons were given and the Star reported the Inspector General of Police as saying it is up to the Attorney-General to decide on the next course of action.

“Yes, it is confirmed. We need to get rid of all the oppressive laws, EO, ISA, OSA and PPPA because this case has highlighted how they can be abused. But before that, the BN government and the police must apologise to the EO-6 and their families,” PKR legal affairs director Latheefa Koya told Malaysia Chronicle.

“This shows that the police have been lying to the people about Dr Jeyakumar and PSM members being communists, the masterminds behind Bersih and waging war against the King. Where is the proof?” PAS MP for Bukit Gantang Nizar Jamaluddin told Malaysia Chronicle.

…more
Jeyakumar and 5 other PSM leaders freed: Police must apologize
by Melissa Lee
29 July 2011 – Malaysia Chronicle

29
Jul
11

PSM6 Vigil

PSM6 Vigil, Ambiga: We will only celebrate when they are released

29
Jul
11

Malaysians are angry for good reasons

24 JULY — Wong Chun Wai says, “Can we stop being angry people and try to make sense of the issues affecting the nation instead? Or better still, laugh at them?”; in his Sunday column, Of Angry Birds and Angry Malaysians: Sunday Star 24 July 2011.

A young man, about to become a father and a husband, saw his life tragically ended after being subjected to near inhumane interrogation by a government institution. Teoh Beng Hock was under such duress that, according to the RCI, it drove him to commit suicide. And this is someone who is apparently innocent of any wrongdoings.

An elderly lady, drenched as a result of the water cannons, walks away from a brigade of riot police, eyes stinging from tear gas. All she did was to take part in a peaceful march for electoral reforms with thousand others who suffered the same fate.

A mainstream newspaper and a so-called NGO with its bellicose leader is allowed to spew out racist rants; fan religious tensions; and spread fantastic conspiracy theories (Jewish/Communist/Christian domination, take your pick) to divert attention away from the failings of the government, with barely a murmur of disapproval from those whom we look to for protection of our shared values.

Blatant corruption are not investigated or treated with the customary “tak cukup bukti”; a government that ask its people to tighten our belts but barely able to contain its own bloated spending; and public institutions such as the police and MACC that spend more time defending its obvious masters rather than the public.

Last but not least, our mainstream media that appeals to the lowest journalistic denominator — substituting real, unbiased reporting for a shameless, one-sided politicized news and opinions that stretches the truth or manufacture controversies to hide the real issues.

And we are wondering why Malaysians are angry? What is anger, if not a mix of frustration and passion for the subject matter? When we are angry with someone, it is usually with the people we love or care about.

When we are angry with certain events, it is because the events affect us personally, directly or indirectly. Yes, we are angry. We are absolutely livid with the current leadership that have virtually stripped our public institutions of their independence, dignity and best traditions. We are enraged by so-called leaders that preaches 1Malaysia on the one hand and turns around to defend those that rubbish it.

We are furious with politicians who think that we, voters, are smart enough to vote them into office but clueless to think of ourselves that they see fit to contaminate our minds with half-truths, spins and censorship. We are furious when we see this country of plenty being plundered by those who were supposed to protect it.

Being angry shows we care. Being angry shows we still love Malaysia. Being angry shows we are hopeful. Hopeful that Malaysia may yet be redeemed by leaders who possessed the real conviction to steer this country to its full potential, for the betterment of our children and not their own well-being; leaders who serve the people with humility and not with arrogance and sense of entitlement.

Anger is good. Anger is fuel for change. WCW shouldn’t worry about angry Malaysians. He should instead worry the day Malaysians stop being angry. When that day comes, it won’t be replaced by laughter, as he suggest, but in most likelihood, by tears and resignation. I pray that the day won’t come.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer. The Malaysian Insider does not endorse the view unless specified.

…source
Angry Malaysians — CL Tang
July 24, 2011 – Malaysian Insider

28
Jul
11

Biometric is BN’s latest decoy

Opposition leaders are fearful that the Election Commission’s proposal to use the Biometric system will lead to more abuse. The biggest fear was that the government would do anything by ‘hook or crook’ to stay in power to the extent of selling the country to ‘foreigners’.

State assemblyman for Batu Lintang, See Chee How who is also Sarawak PKR publicity chief, is not surprised that the Election Commission is thinking of the Biometric system to coax the people to calm down after Bersih.

“The strength and unity of the people in Bersih has got the government worried and that they wanted to pacify the people first. It’s just like the first Bersih rally where they suggested the indelible ink and then the whole thing was dropped just before the election,” he told Malaysia Chronicle.

Starting at the top

See also expressed his concern on the Project M, the allegation of granting citizenship to immigrants from neighbouring countries, the majority of whom were illegal. Identity cards were given to these foreigners in exchange for their votes for the ruling parties.

“These are all the abuses of how the government runs the election. If they are sincere, they should have engaged with the organizers of Bersih and discussed on how things are going to be done. Get feedback from Bersih. After all, Bersih has worked out eight points. To have a clean election means the game is over for BN, thus their reluctance to do so,” he added.

See said the first thing the government could do to show it was sincere was to get rid of the present leaders inside the Election Commission, and let it be run as a truly indeppendent body.

“At the moment, the top guns at the EC speak like they are UMNO politicians; so how fair do you expect the election to be?” he stated.

Project M

MP for Kuching, Chong Chieng Jen expressed his concern that Indonesian workers, especially those in oil palm plantations, would be given citizenship in exchange for votes for the Barisan Nasional.

“Do not forget Najib’s infamous statement, by hook or crook, we will protect Putrajaya. And I can tell you, he is prepared to protect Putrajaya with all the crooked ideas he can think of,” Chong told Malaysia Chronicle.

Chong said the DAP’s stand is that they do not believe in the Biometric system. “It is too costly and subjected to abuses. Why not use the indelible ink. It is time the BN government stop making excuses.”

The Pakatan Rakyat has gone on alert for the Project M and would be monitoring both the National Registration Department and the Election Commission frequently.

..more
Biometric is BN’s latest decoy: EC bosses must step down
by Dana Kay
26 July 2011 – Malaysia Chronicle

28
Jul
11

The ghosts of Mahathirism

Is Mahathirism back with a vengeance?

Recent events do make it seem like the Najib regime has decided to adopt the former prime minister’s authoritarian style in saving its flagging political fortunes. It has resorted to using draconian laws and shameless propaganda in the face of an awakening electorate and increasing exposures of its misdeeds.

The government seems to have ignored the strong signal given by the 2008 election result that Malaysians want more democratic space. And what was Bersih 2.0’s July 9 rally if not a reaffirmation of that demand?

But instead of using the occasion to promote his much-vaunted liberalist image, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak seemed to have done what Dr Mahathir Mohamad would have done—crush them and damn what the world says.

After May 13, 1969, Mahathir ominously proclaimed: “There is not going to be a democracy in Malaysia. There never was and there never will be.” He was speaking then as a critic of the government, but during his 22-year tenure as prime minister, he seemed to have applied himself to ensuring that his prediction would be realised.

Khoo Boo Teik, in his Paradoxes of Mahathirism, wrote: “Certainly Mahathir did not balk at using authoritarian means to restore his control over mass dissent in October 1987. Then he professed to lament the irresponsibility of misfits who had abused his liberalism, not unlike how, after May 13, 1969, he spoke of the immaturity of the people as an obstacle to the full practice of democracy.”

The Mahathir era witnessed the full exploitation of repressive laws, notably the Internal Security Act and the Police Act. The latter law requires police permits for public gatherings. This condition was stringently enforced against opposition groups but ignored for government parties. Things have not changed.

Mahathir’s government amended the Societies Act in 1981 and the Official Secrets Act in 1986 to constrict further the arena of public debate. It also consistently exploited its two-thirds majority in Parliament to make constitutional amendments aimed at strengthening its political position.

Money politics

It was also during the Mahathir era that the Malaysian judiciary lost its independence and respectability. Mahathir tried to keep whittling away at that independence even in the last years of his tenure. In 1999, he was quoted as suggesting that the judiciary needed further reform because judges “tend to favour” the opposition.

The practice of “money politics” deepened its roots during the Mahathirism era. Scholars Graham K Brown, Siti Hawa Ali and Wan Manan Muda wrote in their research paper on Policy Levers in Malaysia: “Initially, under the guise of the 1971 promulgated New Economic Policy, the regime developed a fearsome machinery for dispensing patronage to supporters of the government. This money politics involves both state and private funds the BN parties control between them, a massive corporate empire that operates on the individual, corporate and even state level. The abuse of public funds is often unabashed.”

Another defining feature of Mahathir rule was electoral gerrymandering. A Commonwealth observer group invited to oversee the 1990 general election concluded that the conduct of the elections in the country was free but not fair.

Academician Lim Hong Hai, who conducted research on the delineation of electoral constituencies, said regular constitutional re-delineation exercises carried out by the “nominally independent” elections committees invariably favoured the ruling regime.

…more
The ghosts of Mahathirism
Stanley Koh
July 27, 2011 – FMT

27
Jul
11

Emergency Ordinance abused

The Emergency Ordinance (Public Order and Prevention of Crime) 1969 (EO) – yet another law that enables detention without trial – was legislated “for securing public order, the suppression of violence and the prevention of crimes, including violence.”
EO
Since its introduction, the EO has been used to detain alleged criminals without charging them. The EO provides the police with powers to detain persons for up to 60 days for the purpose of “preventing any person from acting in a manner prejudicial to public order” and the “suppression of violence or the prevention of crimes”.

There is no necessity for a remand order from a magistrate. All that is required is for a deputy superintendent to report the circumstances of the arrest to the IGP. After the initial 60-day detention period, the home minister can make an order of detention, without trial, for a period of two years.

As the majority of the victims of EO tend not to be political dissidents or well-known personalities, the public has been less aware of the existence of the EO, compared with the ISA.

Consequently, the police have been abusing their powers through the years by arresting thousands of individuals without ever bringing them to court. Although the authorities tend to characterise EO detainees as underworld kingpins and dangerous criminals, the human rights NGO Suaram has received numerous reports of individuals arrested under the EO for allegedly petty crimes.

The Home Ministry has not been able to provide figures of the numbers of people arrested and detained since the EO was introduced in 1969, mainly because of the arbitrary manner in which such detentions have been made.

Nevertheless, Suaram has obtained a figure of 3,701 EO detainees from 2000 to 2009. And as at February 2010, there were 819 detainees in the Simpang Rengam detention camp.

PSM 6: Resist we must

The arrest and detention of the six leaders of Parti Sosialis Malaysia under the EO, just before the July 9 Bersih 2.0 rally, is thus a departure from the BN government’s usual practice of using the ISA against political leaders and activists. And true to form, the BN government has contradicted itself over the reasons for their detention.

First, the police said that it was in relation to the Bersih rally, but soon decided to use the old method of trying to demonise socialists by saying that these PSM leaders were carrying T-shirts glorifying communism. In any decent court of law, the judge would have awarded these six PSM leaders their habeas corpus applications after studying such flimsy and contradictory allegations from the police.

…more
Gov’t replays old gramophone over PSM 6
Kua Kia Soong
Jul 27, 2011 – Malaysiakini




The dawn of A Better Malaysia!
Rafidah Aziz, Hannah Yeoh, Ambiga at TTDI ceramah

 

Mahathir in Putrajaya ceramah

 

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All that is necessary
for the triumph of evil
is for good men
to do nothing.

- Edmund Burke
When the people
fears their government,
there is TYRANNY;
when the government
fears the people,
there is LIBERTY.

- Thomas Jefferson
Do you hear the people sing?

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