Archive for May, 2013

31
May
13

‘Black505’ to go on until all demands are met, says PKR

PETALING JAYA, May 29 – The “Black505” rallies to protest against alleged electoral fraud during Election 2013 will continue next month and be held every week until all PKR’s demands are met, the party said today.

This comes even as Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders and analysts criticised the rallies and called for Pakatan Rakyat (PR) to accept the results and move on towards nation building efforts instead.

“There is no such thing as nation building if the nation is built on fraud and cheating,” PKR strategy director Rafizi Ramli told reporters here.

PKR’s Datuk Johari Abdul also explained that top of their list of demands was for all Election Commission (EC) members to quit for their purported failure in ensuring a transparent election.

A new set of EC members should be appointed, but only after consultations together with PR and civil societies, he said.

The rallies are also to call for fresh elections in all 30 parliamentary seats where results were disputed.

In addition, any amendments to election laws and redelineation of constituencies must only be carried out after the new EC members have been elected.

PKR announced today that four “Black505” rallies will be held next month in Perlis, Sungai Petani, Kota Baru and Batu Pahat.

Today, Rafizi questioned the integrity of early and postal voting, and showed two police reports of alleged electoral fraud, one from Alor Gajah, Malacca and another from Pengkalan Hulu, Perak.

…more
‘Black505’ to go on until all demands are met, says PKR
By Zurairi AR
May 29, 2013 – TMI

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31
May
13

Global Bersih wants action on Immigration D-G over alleged ‘revoke passport’ threat

KUALA LUMPUR, May 30 — Election reform group Global Bersih is seething with fury over Datuk Alias Ahmad’s reported remark to revoke the passports of Malaysians abroad found to have taken part in anti-government activities, accusing the Immigration director-general of threatening national unity besides ignorance of the law.

The election reform movement comprising Malaysians abroad wants the authorities to act on the Immigration’s top official, whose alleged remark it said goes against the country’s immigration law and makes a mockery of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s call for national reconciliation in the wake of the divisive May 5 polls.

“Global Bersih demands that the D-G immediately withdraws his recent statement that Immigration will revoke the passports of Malaysians abroad who undertake anti-government activities.

“Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, under whose direct control Immigration operates, must immediately and publicly chasten his director-general for intimidation, incompetence and ignorance of his own administrative reach,” it said in a statement.

The group also told Malaysians abroad to “ignore such threats and keep in mind that it is their constitutional right to freely express their opinion on all matters, including the divisive state of politics and recently concluded poll.”

…more
Global Bersih wants action on Immigration D-G over alleged ‘revoke passport’ threat
May 30, 2013 – TMI

30
May
13

UN to hear report on M’sian gov’t ‘rights violation’

Details on how the BN government, led by Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, allegedly trampled on the fundamental democratic rights of Malaysians in the lead up to the 13th general election will be tabled before the United Nations tomorrow by Penang-based NGO Aliran.

The 23rd session of the UN’s Human Rights Council (UNHRC) will hear details of BN’s alleged ongoing assault on Malaysia’s public space from human rights group Suaram’s executive director E Nalini (right).

Malaysians affiliated to Suaram – Bala Chelliah and Yolanda Augustin – will speak on behalf of Aliran in their address, the latter said in a statement to Malaysiakini today.

They will set out in detail how the right to freedom of expression, as well as to peaceful assembly and association, have been severely restricted by the incumbent government, returned to power with poll results that many Malaysians claim are fraudulent.

The Malaysian trio will present oral statements at the interactive dialogues with UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association Maina Kiai, and UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of Freedom of Opinion and Expression Frank La Rue.

Arrests of student activists, opposition leaders

They will also meet and update the UN working group on arbitrary detention and participate in two high profile side sessions.

“UN will also receive details of (alleged) cyber attacks on alternative media and political violence that included death threats against returned Batu MP Tian Chua that were made at a BN campaign rally, led by former Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein” social reform group Aliran said.

The delegation will also draw the UNHRC’s focus to the plight of Anything But Umno (ABU) chief Haris Ibrahim, Chua, PAS member Tamrin Ghafar (from right, in phgto), student activist Safwan Anang and veteran activist Hishamuddin Rais, all of whom claimed trial to charges for sedition in KL today.

“The events that ensued after student activist Adam Adli’s arrest for speaking at a forum, and how the university student activist suffered five days of imprisonment, during which time he was denied a simple pillow or blanket to sleep on, will also be tabled,” the statement reads.

…more
UN to hear report on M’sian gov’t ‘rights violation’
May 29, 2013 – Malaysiakini

29
May
13

Open letter to the EC

May 27 – Dear EC Deputy Chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar,

I wish to comment on your recent statements in an interview reported in The Malaysian Insider, dated May 27, 2013 (reproduced below):

According to Wan Ahmad, the electoral system used in Malaysia is also used by developed countries that have been practising democracy for a long time.

“Britain, already a few hundred years practising democracy, until now it uses first past the post… Australia, first past the post. New Zealand first past the post mixed a bit with the proportional representation (PR) system. India, the largest democratic country in the world, 800 million voters, first past the post,” he said.

The EC deputy chairman said it would not be possible for PR to win so many seats, including a few states, if the “first-past-the-post” system was unfair.

New Zealand does not, as you state, utilise FPP “mixed a bit” with PR. It utilises the Mixed Member Proportional system (MMP), which is distinct from simple/’single winner’ FPP. New Zealand used to suffer under the same simple FPP system as Malaysia currently suffers from, which resulted in the right-wing National Party consistently gaining power despite a majority of New Zealanders voting for the left-wing Labour Party, and in a lack of recognition of smaller parties. Wide-scale electoral reform was undertaken in 1992 in response to huge dissatisfaction with the system, through a referendum that allowed NZ citizens to decide on their preferred voting system.

Almost 85 per cent of New Zealanders voted to throw out FPP, with over 70 per cent voting to replace it with MMP. A 2011 referendum held to re-gauge New Zealander’s voting preferences found almost 60 per cent of New Zealanders in favour of retaining MMP, and less than half of the 42 per cent wanting change expressing a desire to return to FPP.

As such, your claim that NZ “uses FPP” and conflation of the two systems is a grave misrepresentation of New Zealanders’ opinions on the system of FPP used in Malaysia. Ordinary NZ citizens understand the myriad voting systems available and have clearly registered their preferences. I take issue with you misrepresenting my country in an attempt to silence both the widespread criticism of both Malaysia’s iteration of the FPP system and the EC’s conduct.

– Dr Tessa Houghton


…more
Open letter to the EC – Tessa Houghton
May 27, 2013 – TMI

29
May
13

GE13: We are already the winners!

MAY 18 — A few days before the historic 505, the then caretaker Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said: “The victor or loser of this 13th general election will not be BN or PR. It will be Malaysia, its people and our children.” Immediately after the official results were announced, he blamed the loss of BN seats on a “Chinese tsunami”.

In my view, these statements not only reflect Najib’s arrogance but also his shallow understanding of the democratic process and how disconnected he is with what is happening at the grassroots. And he continues to insult our intelligence!

Today we see Malaysians from diverse ethnic backgrounds manifesting their unity of purpose with so much pride, confidence and optimism, taking ownership of their country and their destiny. They are ready to take risks to secure the future they desire.

Ordinary Malaysians have equipped themselves with greater knowledge of the laws and electoral system in Malaysia — they can even put many politicians to shame! They no longer fear the wrath of scorned politicians, out for revenge.

They expect their elected representatives and the government to be answerable to them. They refuse to tolerate injustice, racism, incompetence, corruption, discrimination and deceit anymore.

The changes that are so apparent in the Malaysian socio-political milieu today are the result of many forces impinging upon the Malaysian psyche over a span of more than 20 years, gaining greater momentum in the last seven years.

Many ordinary Malaysians have played a significant role in this conscientising and transformation, whether as individuals or as groups, through formal organisations and mass movements; many have also paid a price in the process.

Nothing is going to stop or reverse this dynamic democratic transformation. And we can already see some of the fruits of this transformation:

– an electorate that is more concerned about national issues that unite them across racial lines;

– a ruling party that is denied a two-thirds majority in Parliament;

– a respected and credible opposition in Parliament; more elected representatives who are honest and competent;

– fewer racist and bigoted elected representatives;

– a civil service that is more aware of their political rights and professional integrity; and,

– a government that must now fulfil ALL its election promises (and there are many!).

The Malaysian people are already the winners — even if electoral victory for their preferred political party is usurped through a flawed electoral system or fraud!

But we need to move forward — there is much more to be done. — aliran.com

— M.M. Pereira

…source
GE13: We are already the winners! — M.M. Pereira
May 18, 2013 – TMI

28
May
13

Recent Arrests and Actions by the Authorities are a Closing of Democratic Space – Malaysian Bar

Press Release: Recent Arrests and Actions by the Authorities are a Closing of Democratic Space

The Malaysian Bar is appalled by the recent arrests of several individuals pursuant to the Sedition Act 1948. The Sedition Act, as with its predecessor the Sedition Ordinance, was conceived and designed by a colonial government to stifle fundamental rights and liberties, oppress the rakyat and deny them democratic space. Its sole purpose was to suppress and persecute the citizenry. The Sedition Act has no place in our modern democratic society and should have been discarded at Merdeka. The time for it to be dumped into the dustbin of history is long overdue.

It has been reported that Adam Adli, Tian Chua, Tamrin Ghafar and Haris Ibrahim were arrested for purportedly making seditious statements at a forum held on 13 May 2013. The continued use of the Sedition Act by the authorities directly contradicts the promise made less than a year ago by Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak in July 2012, that the 64-year-old law will be repealed and replaced in 2013 by a National Harmony Act. This was a clear admission and recognition by the Government that the Sedition Act was an anachronistic and repressive colonial law. The Prime Minister further stated that the new law will not prevent members of the public from criticising the government, quoting John Locke who said, “…the end of law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom.”

The decision to arrest Adam Adli, Tian Chua, Tamrin Ghafar and Haris Ibrahim is therefore an unacceptable repudiation of the promise made by the Prime Minister. It further raises questions over the Government’s sincerity in pursuing transformation and greater civil liberties through legislative reforms.

The test of a genuine democracy is to allow words to be said even when we disagree with them. As much as one may not agree with the calls for public demonstrations to oppose the Government and question its electoral legitimacy, citizens nevertheless have a fundamental right to express themselves in such manner so long as they do so peacefully and there is no call for the use of violence. The authorities would be wrong to assume that a call to overthrow the government must necessarily be only by violent means. Time and again, the rakyat have shown that they can gather in public assembly in large numbers, yet peacefully. It is therefore unjustifiable and premature to preempt the exercise of fundamental rights and freedoms with assumptions or postulations of the use of violence. As much as dissent and opposition may be unpalatable, these must not be criminalised and silenced, but countered with open and healthy debate, reforms and concrete changes.

The Malaysian Bar is equally troubled by the arrest of 18 persons holding a peaceful candlelight vigil outside the Jinjang Police Detention Centre on 22 May 2013. The Malaysian Bar is disappointed that the police have said that they can no longer tolerate such candlelight vigils. It is not the role of the police to tolerate or otherwise, but it is their duty to facilitate the exercise of democratic freedoms. The police must bring themselves into the 21st century and cease suppressing the rights of the rakyat. The Malaysian Bar is concerned that these incidents may also signal a lurch towards greater authoritarianism, fascism and persecution of those whose viewpoints differ from those of the Government. It feeds an already widely held belief that there is an unhealthy symbiotic relationship between the police on the one hand, and Government on the other. In simple terms, “You protect me, I defend you”.

This may be seen from the failure of the authorities to take similar action in other obvious cases that more clearly evidence utterances and publications exhibiting seditious tendencies. It is inexplicable that there has been no similar prosecution against the likes of:

(a) Ibrahim Ali, for allegedly inciting the burning of Malay language bibles;
(b) Ridhuan Tee Abdullah and Zulkifli Noordin, for allegedly disparaging the Hindu religion and insulting adherents of the religion;
(c) The racial rhetoric of the Prime Minister in his allegation of a “Chinese tsunami”, followed by the Utusan Malaysia article entitled “Apa lagi orang Cina mahu?”; and

(d) Datuk Mohd Noor Abdullah, a former Court of Appeal judge, for allegedly accusing a racial group of treason and warning of retribution by another racial group.

While the Malaysian Bar is not advocating the use of the Sedition Act against these individuals, we abhor the discrepancies in treatment and the selective prosecution by the authorities in this regard. Further, the police should not have made an application for the remand of Tian Chua, Tamrin Ghafar and Haris Ibrahim, because it was an abuse of the process of the law. Given that the alleged incident occurred 11 days ago, the police should already have evidence of what was allegedly said. We commend the Magistrate for having refused the application for remand.

The Malaysian Bar strongly urges the authorities to withdraw the charge against Adam Adli, and not to prosecute Tian Chua, Tamrin Ghafar, Haris Ibrahim and the 18 individuals arrested at the candlelight vigil. We urge them to respect the freedom of speech and assembly as enshrined in the Federal Constitution. The Malaysian Bar also urges the Government to resist the temptation to quell dissenting voices by resorting to archaic and oppressive legislation. Otherwise, the promise of freedoms made by the Prime Minister will be nothing more than a mere platitude.

The Malaysian Bar deplores the seizure of copies of Harakah, Suara Keadilan and The Rocket, the newspapers of political parties PAS, PKR and DAP, respectively. We reiterate that the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 should be abolished. The condition imposed by the authorities on these three publications — prohibiting their sale and distribution to members of the public at large — is unconstitutional, as it breaches the right of the publishers to the freedom of expression. It is also a breach of the constitutional rights of the public to receive such information.

The recent arrests, prosecutions and confiscations by the authorities are manifestations of regressive and undemocratic conduct. The current environment is not reflective of a government aspiring to achieve world-class democracy. Rather than bringing about a society that is at ease with itself, it is instead creating an environment of grave concern.

The Malaysian Bar calls upon the newly elected Government to demonstrate its commitment to a continuing course of transformation and democratic reforms, not by rhetoric alone but by sincere and genuine action. To promote greater democracy, the Government should welcome diversity of opinion, not close democratic space.

Christopher Leong
President
Malaysian Bar

24 May 2013

…more
Press Release: Recent Arrests and Actions by the Authorities are a Closing of Democratic Space
24 May 2013 – malaysianbar.org.my

28
May
13

Crackdown on dissent shows Putrajaya regressing on democracy, Bar says

KUALA LUMPUR, May 24 — The Najib administration’s bid to silence its critics through a display of muscle signals a return to greater authoritarianism and fascism, the Malaysian Bar said today, adding that it was moving further away from the government’s dream of a world-class democracy.

Bar president Christopher Leong questioned Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s commitment to pursue greater freedoms for a truly democratic developed nation after the May 5 polls.

“The test of a genuine democracy is to allow words to be said even when we disagree with them,” Leong said in a strongly-worded statement.

He laid the recent arrests of opposition leaders, elected representatives, civil activists and supporters who had kept candlelight vigils in peaceful gatherings and the seizure of opposition political newspapers at Najib’s feet, saying such actions clealry constrasted the sixth PM’s electoral pledges.

Leong highlighted further the authorities had showed partisanship and a lax attitude in their failure to act against obvious cases of incitement where right-wing religious and racial proponents had made provocative statements demostrating seditious tendencies.

To back up his claim, he named the president of self-declared Malay rights group champions Datuk Ibrahim Ali whom he noted had called for Malay-language bibles to be burnt; Perkasa vice-president Datuk Zulkifli Nordin and truculent Chinese-Muslim scholar Ridhuan Tee Abdullah and Datuk Zulkifli Noordin who have both been alleged to have insulted Hinduism and made disparaging remarks against the faith’s believers; and Datuk Mohd Noor Abdullah, a former Court of Appeal judge whom Leong noted had accused a racial group of treason and warned them of retribution by another race.

Leong also reminded Najib that he had also made racial statements when he spoke of a “Chinese tsunami” as being a major factor behind his Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition’s weaker score at the ballot box, adding that the PM’s tone had been picked up and adopted by Utusan Malaysia, an Umno-owned broadsheet.

…more
Crackdown on dissent shows Putrajaya regressing on democracy, Bar says
May 24, 2013 – TMI




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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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