Thursday, 30 June 2011

Guess Who Won Brownie Points?


PETALING JAYA: PKR Youth has a very simple tactic to counter Umno Youth's provocations - simply ignore them.

Last night, Umno Youth supporters on motorcycles gathered at PKR headquarters threatening to burn down the building and demanding that the party withdraw its support for Bersih's planned rally.

PKR Youth deputy chief, Khairul Anuar Ahmad Zainuddin, refused to be goaded, saying they will not retaliate to Umno Youth's provocations.

"They will not threaten us into this kind of confrontational politics. We are very clear about our objective," he said.

"The July 9 rally is to call for electoral reforms. It is not to fight against Umno Youth, Perkasa or the police. We will not be distracted by provocative acts. We will keep our focus," he added.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Don't Walk Away From Democracy

More than a week to go and Blitzkrieg* has already been employed.

It started off with the arrests of Parti Sosialis members. Then the roadshows organised by the BERSIH 2.0 steering committee were stormed and closed off to public.

Now, they are proceeding with the arrests of the committee members.

The news on the ground is that Haris Ibrahim is the next on the hit-list. The info I have received is that he will be detained either today or in the coming days.

Please pray for Haris. I have never really been religious, but these are tough times and those who have put more effort in making this country a better place deserve all the support they can get.

This rally has garnered the most amount of attention from the authorities. I suspect this is going to be the biggest event we have ever had politically.

Probably the most important as well.

This is why it it even more important for the rest of us to continue the fight for justice.

*The classic interpretation of blitzkrieg is that of German tactical and operational methodology in the first half of the Second World War that was often hailed as a new method of warfare. The word, meaning "lightning war", in its strategic means is associated with a series of quick and decisive short battles to deliver a knockout blow to an enemy state before it could fully mobilize.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Why Is The Bersih Rally Pronounced 'Illegal'?

This isn't written by me, but I thought it had some very salient points. So here it is, reproduced on my blog.

The mainstream press and the ruling politicians are sticking to the description of the Bersih march as `illegal'-but why `illegal'? This question is very important-as it may be where rationality/argument/public choice-based democracy depart from arbitrary/capricious/discretionary/haphazard dictatorial rule! So let us examine the likely `reasons' for making the Bersih `illegal'!

Does it affect the traffic? Many official functions involved closing of roads eg National Day procession. Traffics are diverted in pre-announced orderly way. There are some inconveniences-but few people will complain about it beyond a short period. So why can't the police re-direct traffic for Bersih march?

It will reduce business of the shops along the way? Affected they will be -some positively as there are more people dropping their cafe, restaurants, convenient shops etc. Surely some few shops may lose some business-just like what a rain may have caused. This may not be a really likely reason-of all reasons!

Then you have the `threat to national security' excuse which had been invoked often enough. Does it mean that there will be weapons used by the marchers? Does it mean that there are marchers who have proven tendency to use violence? The first Bersih march in 2007 disproved these suspicions. De-facto Minister Nazri's reported remark that there is no `peaceful' gathering in the Malaysian laws speak for itself. If we go by that interpretation surely all government gatherings should also be stopped-including the National Day procession! A derivative of that reason is: the official functions have police permit. But this is a circular argument-which does not excuse the giver of `permit' viz the police, from giving the reasons why a gathering is considered `illegal' while others are `legal'. When a police said that a gathering is `illegal' simply on account of lacking a police permit, it just means that the police had not provided the reason why they don't approve the permit for the gathering. If they had a good reason they should come out with it to sound more credible and convincing!

In addition there is also another smart sounding argument: demonstrations scare away foreign investors! The facts are: without so many demonstrations foreign investors are leaving Malaysia to other countries! Another fact: foreign investors come from democracies where peaceful protests are daily occurrences and they are going to other countries where there are also common occurrences of peaceful demonstrations! Freedom seems to attract FDI-not lack of it! Obviously some of those chambers of commerce people who regurgitate such arguments against public assembly are from the ruling parties who feel pressured by the issues brought up by the protestors!

Then the un-tendered reasons: is it because it is organised by the civil society and not endorsed by the ruling party? Apart from being discriminatory on political ground this excuse basically disrobe all the `reasons' above as mere naked excuses to suppress the citizens' rights to hold a gathering! The related reason that Opposition parties will be involved fall under the same excuse as there is no laws saying that Opposition parties cannot hang around a gathering organised by themselves or others. When the police hide behind their discretionary power to deny the public any credible reasons for them to exercise their power they actually degrade their credibility and professionalism because they open themselves to suspicion of pushing political agenda on behalf of the political bosses!

If Bersih is disapproved simply on political ground then the people are entitled to march without regards as their right to march is then similar to their right to vote freely. It is the people's rights to make their political choice freely-even though they may suffer the violence from the politicians who abuse their power over the police to get the police to attack their political challengers/opponents. The planned attacks on the marchers certainly is an abuse because the police will not be addressing violence from the people-who are peaceful, but create violence under the order of the ruling politicians! From the keeper of law and order the police would have been mis-directed to become a political lap-dog of the ruling politicians!

The PDRM are also part of the civil/public servants. As such they should act to serve the people-not the ruling politicians especially not as their political attack dogs. The voters didn't vote them to act this way. The ruling parties lack a legitimate basis to abuse the police who are also paid for by tax payers from all political persuasions. Only dictatorial regimes abuse the state security apparatus to attack its people and to protect not the national security but the security of the regime!

Compare to if you hire a security guard: if the guard start to beat you up for failing to heed his orders to you would you still want the security guards or their supervisor? While the ruling party could be used to assuming the role of the `supervisor' of the security guards of the nation their abuse is not something the people are ready to put up for too long!

At the end of the day the people do want the police to exercise their power on a rational transparent way. They should act on clearly spelt-out, non-discriminatory set of rules that are free of political manipulations. This is the kind of police force a democratic country would provide. Based on the performance of the police so far it is sad to say that we have a`regime protecting' police force than a people protecting security force. Their lack of transparency on their refusal to protect peacefully assembled citizens lose them respect. They deserved to be fired at the nearest opportune time-which could be when a more people friendly party take over from the dictatorial regime now!

Thursday, 23 June 2011

"What Happens If...?"

A reader left a comment:

Honestly, "Peace Loving Malaysians Of Tidak Apa Mentality" will not show up at this event furthermore knowing that their personal security would be a question mark.

Yes, PAS can hand in free lawyers to defend us but what happens if we end up in several pieces? or get gas at our face?

Actually, I think it is a perfectly legitimate question. At the end of the day, it is about personal interests - why would anyone want to endanger themselves for no rhyme or reason?

Trust me, if you've been to any of these demonstrations, you will almost certainly get tear-gassed and sprayed with chemical-laced water. I know, because I've had quite a bit of government abuse myself.

Tear-gassing and water-cannons? Been there, done that, got the t-shirt!

But the question is - why do I and some thousands of other Malaysians brave the abuse and stand up to the authorities?

Some of you may have heard of a German pastor called Martin Niemöller. Initially, he was a supporter of Hitler (because Hitler did bring plenty of development and progress to Germany) but grew wary when things didn't look right.

He wrote one of the most haunting poems I have ever read.

First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Perhaps, that is the gist of why I will be walking on the 9th of July 2011. For too long have the people of Malaysia stood aside and said, "So what? It doesn't affect me."

So the abuse went on. Human rights were violated. Minorities were threatened. And yet, no one spoke out. No one dared stand up and say, "ENOUGH!!"

This sorry condition has steadily deteriorated. All because no one spoke out against it. No one spoke out because they had plenty to lose - the economy was good, there were plenty of jobs and foreign investment, life was comfortable - and no one wanted to rock the boat.

Forget about the pro-bono lawyers being able to defend those of us who get arrested. Forget about being brutalised by the authorities. We now have nothing to lose, and the pain of being in jail or beaten up by the cops will be nothing compared to the pain we will live with if we don't speak out NOW.

So today, when someone asks me why I dare to brave a fascist regime like BN and get tear-gassed and sprayed with chemical-laced water, the reason is simple: I dare not NOT speak out.

RELATED: Supporting Bersih 2.0: It’s personal

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

What Are BERSIH 2.0's Demands?

In case you're wondering what we're marching for, these are the 8 immediate demands for Perhimpunan BERSIH 2.0:

1. Clean the electoral roll
2. Reform postal ballot
3. Use of indelible ink
4. Minimum 21 days campaign period
5. Free and fair access to media
6. Strengthen public institutions
7. Stop corruption
8. Stop dirty politics

Looks like Radio Australia has caught a whiff of us. It's no wonder why.

This BERSIH movement is really going global, with Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne, Osaka, Korea, Taiwan, London, Paris, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles joining the fray.

It's gone from being an organised effort into a viral explosion.

It took the courage of the BERSIH 2.0 steering committee, led by a courageous Ambiga Sreenivasan, and now turned into a mega-movement!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Why You And I Need To Drag Our Asses Out There On The 9th Of July

Simply put: we can never have a change of government EVER, if there is no electoral reform.

Based on the present system (of gerry-mandering), the opposition will NEVER form the federal government because it will NEVER win more than 50% of the seats in Parliament (unless it can win more than 60% of the votes, which is quite impossible with that many phantom and postal votes floating around).

If you don't quite understand what all this is about, check THIS out.

That's the technical reason, by the way. For a more philosophical one, let's just say it's a matter of dignity.

Monday, 20 June 2011

How To Spot A Fascist Regime

Political scientist Dr. Lawrence Britt recently wrote an article about fascism ("Fascism Anyone?," Free Inquiry, Spring 2003, page 20).

Studying the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia), and Pinochet (Chile), Dr. Britt found they all had 14 elements in common.

He calls these the identifying characteristics of fascism. The excerpt is in accordance with the magazine's policy.

The 14 characteristics are:

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism
Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights
Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause
The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

4. Supremacy of the Military
Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

5. Rampant Sexism
The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Opposition to abortion is high, as is homophobia and anti-gay legislation and national policy.

6. Controlled Mass Media
Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

7. Obsession with National Security
Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

8. Religion and Government are Intertwined
Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions.

9. Corporate Power is Protected
The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

10. Labor Power is Suppressed
Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed .

11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts
Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts is openly attacked, and governments often refuse to fund the arts.

12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment
Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption
Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

14. Fraudulent Elections
Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

Copyright © 2003 Free Inquiry magazine
Reprinted for Fair Use Only.

Well, it sure looks like the Malaysian government has purchased the glossy-print, leather-bound edition of the Book Of Fascism and memorised every word in it!

Friday, 17 June 2011

Is This A Challenge to Anonymous?

".. most of the hackers were local, not from abroad," says Maximus Ongkili.

Anonymous, he claims, is based abroad. If you ask me, Anonymous is probably a group that has members internationally. Some may come from Malaysia.

But the majority of them, I believe, are from abroad.

I think the Ministry of Science, Technology & Innovation has not heard of TOR - The Onion Router - and heaps of other anonymizer software that protect the identity of the user.

Any self-respecting hacker would know how to protect himself.

But for now, I'm taking it as a compliment. Perhaps we Malaysians are as good as the rest of the world when it comes to hacking.

Walk For Justice

To be honest, these guys organising the BERSIH 2.0 aren't my cup of tea. They're too mild-tempered and overly well-behaved.

I personally like the firebrands.

But BERSIH 2.0 has all the legal-eagles it can find, and they know their law. This is civil disobedience standing up in the face of tyranny, albeit quietly.

So if you're the average citizen who has had enough of an incompetent government, that is desperate to go to any length just to stay in power - this is your walk!!

It may not be my cup of tea, but I'll still be walking anyway.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Anonymous Appear To Have Succeeded

Looks like the official government site is still experiencing a DOS - denial of service - because I've tried a number of times and I still can't access it.

I saw that other government websites (like the one for tourism) have been defaced as well. This is certainly not the doing of Anonymous, who have planned a DDOS, not a defacing of the site.

Anonymous have a reputation for keeping to their word.

It's possible that other hackers have decided to ride the huge wave of publicity brought on by Anonymous.

Anonymous Unleashes 'Operation Malaysia'

These hacktivists are pretty good in what they do. So when they announce that they're going to hack into some site, I fully believe them.

After all, these guys have done in Mastercard, PayPal and the rest of the big leagues for refusing service to whistle-blower site Wikileaks.

Speaking of Wikileaks, I was shocked to note that I no longer can access their archives. Only a couple of weeks ago, I was happily browsing for new bits of information about our idiotic government.

Then, work started picking up and I didn't have the time to look through Wikileaks. Before I knew it - BANG!!! It was banned by the ruling coalition that calls itself our government.

So I support the effort by Anonymous in hacking into the official portal and dishing out a denial of service (meaning that no one can access that site) in revenge of the government censorship of WikiLeaks.

However, I can't see it being a big deal (except for humiliation and bad publicity for the government). I don't think many people log on to that site anyway!

If you're curious about whether it will really happen, feel free to check it out yourself.

Date/Time: 15 June 2011 at 1930 GMT (or 3:30am Malaysian time on Thurs, 16 June 2011)

And let me know! :-)

Related: Malaysia prepares to fight Anonymous' 'Operation Malaysia' eclipse

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Waste Of Taxpayer Funds - RM1.8m Worth Of FB Pages???

At this point, why am I surprised? UMNO has shown itself incapable of making any legitimate investments.

All they are interested in is how to line their pockets, and that of their cronies.

The RM1.8 million Tourism Malaysia Facebook applications are no exception. Everyone who is semi-retarded knows that Facebook (bless Mark Zuckerberg's little black heart) is FREE.

The applications on that page were not complicated. After all, DAP did them without costing the taxpayer or even their members anything.

What bugs me is that they don't even make a serious attempt at hiding something like that. Either they don't care, or they think the average citizen (read: voter) is really stupid.

Take this minister's explanation on why it cost so much, for example:

"These cover creative works, concepts and ideas, design, flash programming and coding, testing and debugging, uploading and launching of application, system server development and maintenance, development of database from the contest, campaign management and monitoring as well as online advertisements and fan recruitment in Facebook and Google," the deputy minister said.

Would these applications really draw in the crowds to holiday in Malaysia?

I think the government's high-handed ways of treating its citizens would repel the average foreign holiday-maker far more than the Facebook application would attract them.

As usual, this government has got all its priorities wrong.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Does Milner Know What He's Talking About?

Prof. Anthony Milner, who is with UKM’s International Studies department, categorizes Interlok as being “a bit of a historical novel” that provides an insight into the lives of the Chinese and Indian communities and their relationship with the Malay community.

The Australian academic is likely unaware that his proposal is every bit as controversial as Abdullah Hussain’s contentious novel. Interlok has elicited the firestorm it did precisely because its sympathy quotient is no more than if a third-rate author were to attempt to copy Alex Haley’s acclaimed Roots (about the origins of the African-Americans) but narrating from a white slave owner’s supremacist point of view.

An analogy would be if Milner – who incidentally has admitted to reading Interlok only in its truncated English translation – were to put forward the idea of including The Protocols of the Elders of Zion in the German school syllabus as a model to teach sympathetic history.

If one were to take Milner at his word, what would a reader derive from the novel regarding the portrayal of Indian and Chinese immigrants historically?

Read the whole article HERE.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Bangsa: Malaysia

Or perhaps not just yet.

The Malaysian government claimed that it was going to review the need to enter the ethnicity in all official forms.

It is one thing to mention one's race in a census, but another when you apply for a savings account in the bank or sit for an examination in school.

Race and ethnicity are irrelevant.

Hannah Yeoh and Ramachandran Muniandy would have set a precedent were they allowed to register their child as bangsa Malaysia instead of bangsa India (as Ram is of Indian descent) or Cina (as Hannah is Chinese).

We need to consciously reject the ethnocentric obsession of the politicians and bureaucrats in Malaysia.

RELATED: SABM Supports Parents' Right to Register Child as 'Anak Malaysia'

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

The Age Exposes Malaysian Money Trail

This is the first time I'm hearing of a firm called Securency. Apparently, it is the Australian Reserve Bank.

It's being investigated for bribery. What does it have to do with Malaysia?

Well, it's connected to a company - a Kuala Lumpur firm - called Liberal Technology. So who are they?

Find out who the biggest individual shareholder is, and you will figure out what this is all about.

From The Age: Securency money trail nudges Malaysia's political royalty

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Losing Ground

PAS deputy president Mat Sabu may be right when he thinks that Pakatan may not gain victory in Selangor again.

Don't get me wrong, in spite of their limitations, Pakatan has done a bit - brought prosperity to the state, high wages for teachers etc.

The problem is that UMNO has been forewarned of Pakatan's might and potential. Before March 8, 2008, UMNO thought that Pakatan Rakyat was a silly bit of joke. Heck, even the Pakatan Rakyat leadership didn't think they could sweep that many seats.

But they did. And now UMNO is wary. Every single dirty machinery that can be employed, WILL be employed.

The truth is that we do not have free and fair elections. We badly need reforms, but the ruling coalition, led by UMNO, has absolutely no intention of playing by the rules. They have resorted to stirring up racial sentiment, playing the religious card and nothing has materialised yet.

The real issues have been swept under the carpet, and the fabricated ones are growing old and/or fast becoming non-issues. Very few people believe that Anwar Ibrahim is guilty of sodomy or soliciting favours from prostitutes.

People's opinions are not going to change the election outcome. Nor are their votes, for the most part, if UMNO is allowed to play dirty.

Which is why the Bersih 2.0 rally scheduled for July 9, is so important. We collectively need to force the government to make elections fairer, cleaner and more transparent.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Mainstream Media Dizzy About Crime Rate

Click on image to enlarge

Bernama and The Star cannot agree.

Both claim that the crime rate has dropped, but they cannot agree with each other on whether the public perception of the police force has improved or not.

Bernama has Muhyiddin complaining that the public is still not convinced.

Meanwhile, The Star, in a fit of optimism thinks that public perception of the police force has improved.

Seriously, how could public perception of the police force improve when
a) kidnapped children have not been found?
b) police stations in dodgy parts of town are closed down because it is deemed "too dangerous for the policemen"
c) there are so many deaths in custody
d) even the acid-splasher who made numerous visits hasn't been caught

How could people take the police force seriously when it busies itself instead with investigating the personal life of Opposition politicians?

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Another 'Malaysia Boleh' Moment

Malaysian women launch 'The Obedient Wife Club'

KUALA LUMPUR — A group of Malaysian Muslim women say they will fight divorce, domestic violence and other problems -- by appealing to wives to be more obedient, according to one of the organisers.

Maznah Taufik said "The Obedient Wife Club" being launched Saturday is aimed at drawing women who will be taught how to please their husbands better to prevent them from straying or misbehaving.

"We just want to ask all the wives to be obedient wives so that there will be fewer problems in our society," such as infidelity, divorce and domestic violence, she told AFP.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Dealing With Organised Crime

Do you know why the Malaysian government loves the defence and aerospace sector?

It's certainly not because of the desire to progress or upgrade one's technology. One must be truly gullible to believe that.

It's all about doing dealings that are classified information. This way, under the Official Secrets Act, the public has no privy to the underhanded dealings and corruption of the government.

This was precisely how the Malaysian Government signed an agreement with French DCNS and Spainish Navantia for the procurement of two Scorpene class submarines.

The procurement contract was through direct negotiation with the manufacturing companies, said to be with the service of Perimekar Sdn Bhd.

SUARAM is pursuing the government by linking up with leading human rights lawyers in France, to file a complaint with the French judicial system.

A preliminary investigation was initiated to enable access to information, to the government contracts signed with Perimekar and other information classified as government secrets in Malaysia.

The French courts accepted the request to investigate the claim of corruption for a payment amounting to Euro 114 million made as commissions from DCNS to Perimekar.

It's good news so far. But SUARAM need help, so go to their website to see how you can be of use.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

I believe in us — Phua Kai Lit

In spite of the many things that are wrong with Malaysia today — e.g. the decay of our political institutions and the greatly coarsened state of our political discourse and deplorable public policies which are threatening to turn us into a Nigeria-type “failed state” — there is still hope that Malaysia can change for the better.

Read the whole piece HERE.