Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Walk For Freedom

In case you're wondering what exactly happened.

This certainly looks like far more than a thousand people on the streets.

"Peaceful Assembly" Bill Passed

The Malaysian parliament has passed a ban on street protests, despite a rally against the bill by crowds of lawyers.

Opposition lawmakers boycotted the vote on the Peaceful Assembly Act, which the ruling party says eases regulations.

But critics say it replaces a rule requiring a police permit for a demonstration with one that bans street protests.

Some 500 lawyers marched in the capital ahead of the vote.

Read the whole thing HERE.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Walk For Freedom: From Lake Club To The Parliament

Calling ALL activists and those who are passionately fighting for various rights.

Let us get together as RAKYAT Malaysia and join the #Walk4Freedom!

WHY JOIN THE WALK ? The PA Bill 2011 will affect all the causes we are fighting!

HOW, YOU MAY ASK? It simply denies us the freedom to assemble where we want and when we want to champion our causes... you can't freely protest the environmental issues, or gather on Woman's Day to fight for equal rights of woman, or to stop violence against woman, or to fight for electoral reform, or to let the voices of the indigenous people's be heard, or to hear the plight of refugees, children and migrants, or the cries of those brutally abused by police and the list goes on.....

For all the causes above you would need to apply for a permit and the process would "require a 10-day period so the police can negotiate with the local community to get their views". This is subject to approval. Alternatively you could protest in "designated areas" such as stadiums. (we all remember Bersih and how it was denied Stadium Merdeka).

*IMAGINE* : someone gets raped in your need to assemble to alert people about it to create have to wait 10 days to apply for a permit then there might be another person raped. AND YES the new PA Bill doesn't have exceptions for this kind of assembly too!

Stripping the right to assemble strips away all our campaign rights!

WHAT CAN YOU DO? Hartal! In 1947 Malaysian did Hartal ( a form of "civil disobedience" where the shops, businesses, offices, etc were closed for a the few hours and the people joined in the demonstration and then went back to work)...calling all Malaysians to join in the Walk 4 Freedom! Let us in SOLIDARITY exercise our right in the Federal Constitution (Article 10 : Freedom of Assembly)!

WHERE AND WHEN IS THIS? Walk4Freedom will be on 29th November 2011 @ 1130 am ...LAKE CLUB...and we will walk at 1230pm to Parliament....

Monday, 28 November 2011

Malaysia’s Government Under Mounting Pressure

Malaysia’s government under mounting pressure to reconsider law that would ban street protests

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Malaysia’s government faced mounting pressure Sunday to scrap plans for a law that would ban street protests, despite agreeing to ease other restrictions on rallies that activists have called repressive.

The proposed law to regulate public demonstrations has prompted lawyers, opposition leaders and rights groups to accuse Prime Minister Najib Razak’s National Front coalition of cracking down on freedom of assembly ahead of general elections widely expected next year.

Details of the Peaceful Assembly Bill announced last week included a requirement for rally organizers to inform police about their plans 30 days in advance. Street demonstrations would be forbidden, effectively limiting rallies to stadiums and public halls.

Malaysia’s de facto law minister, Nazri Aziz, said Saturday that the Cabinet has agreed to make several changes to the proposed law, such as reducing the advance notification period to 10 days.

However, there were no changes planned for the ban on street protests and a fine of up to 20,000 ringgit ($6,200) for demonstrators who break the law. Children under 15 would be barred from attending rallies, which also cannot be held near schools, hospitals, places of worship, airports or gasoline stations.

Read the rest HERE.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Malaysians In London Protest Peaceful Assembly Bill

It was an incredibly windy morning at Belgrave Square.

That, however, did not discourage any hard-core Malaysian overseas.

They came with their banners and posters.

There was not a peep out of the Malaysian High Commission while the protesters chanted and waved their banners.

A couple of policemen kept watch at a respectful distance, but did nothing to disperse the crowd. Street protests were seen as a fundamental right.

Making one's dissent heard is far easier in the UK than in Malaysia.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Malaysia Bill on Demonstrations Draws Protests

Excerpt from Wall Street Journal:

Mr. Najib on Thursday said the new legislation shows his government is "taking a brave moral stand" and listening to the people of Malaysia.

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim said opposition parties would argue against the Peaceful Assembly Bill in Parliament, but political analysts said it is unlikely he could stop its passage. A prominent protest organizer, Ambiga Sreenivasan, said the proposed law would only set back legitimate dissent.

Legal activists also were unimpressed. Bar council president Lim Chee Wee described the new assembly law as "restrictive" and expressed his surprise that street protests would be outlawed. The bill would also prohibit gatherings within 50 meters of schools, hospitals and places of worship.

Read the rest HERE.

Free To Assemble Campaign


Sekretariat SUARAM
433A, 1st Floor, Jalan 5/46,
Gasing Indah,
46000 Petaling Jaya

Dear Friends,

The Committee of Free To Assemble Campaign/Kempen Kebebasan Berhimpun would like to invite you to the Candle Light Vigil to Demand the Withdrawal of the Public Assembly Bill immediately.

Our stand is that this Bill is more repressive, is contrary to Article 10 (1) of the Federal Constitution and is more severe than the previous act.

Therefore, “Jom Ke Jalan” to reclaim our fundamental rights.

Information is as follows:

Date: 26 November 2011
Venue: Merdeka Square (Flag Pole)
Time: 7.30pm

Spread this to friends, family members and all Malaysians!

Please contact the Secretariat (SUARAM) Heng Lung at 016 4114147 or Nalini 019 3758912.

Thank you.

Released By,

Secretariat of KKB

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Kee Thuan Chye On Malaysian Scams

Are we stupid enough to fall for the same scam?
Kee Thuan Chye
8:34AM Nov 24, 2011
COMMENT I can’t help but wonder if the government really thinks that Malaysians are stupid. So stupid that we can be hoodwinked into believing that the changes they propose to our laws amount to actual reform.

Two months ago, when Prime Minister Najib Razak announced that newspapers would no longer have to renew their publishing licences annually, he might have expected us to go ga-ga and applaud and say that the media would now be freer.

But if we had done that, we would indeed have been stupid. Because we would not have realised that there is really no change.

Even if the newspapers need not renew their licences every year, the fact remains that the home minister still retains the power to suspend or close down any newspaper at any time - if he feels it is too free in expressing its views, or for whatever reasons.

newspaper headlines on the 19th of august 2004

So, whether there is renewal or not, it does not matter. As long as the home minister is still as powerful as before, your newspaper can still get into trouble with him. What’s more, his decision cannot be challenged in court.

Ah! If you now say that stinks like a scam, that the government is actually trying to deceive us, you would be right. But if you still think, like the mainstream media does, that there is actual reform in that licence renewal waiver, then the government would be right in thinking that Malaysians are stupid. Or, at least, some Malaysians.

You may be surprised that there are indeed such stupid Malaysians.

They are the ones who continue to support the ruling party and defend its policies, including its numerous flip-flops. They are the ones who will vote for that party at the next general election and say it is better to go with the devil they know than the devil they don’t know.

They are the ones who don’t know they are being fooled. They might even be people who know they are being fooled, but still choose to go with the devil who is fooling them. Needless to say, the ones who know they are being fooled and still continue to support the party are even more stupid.

Disturbing restrictions

And they will continue to be stupid if they believe that the Peaceful Assembly Bill, which the government tabled two days ago, is a step forward, guarantees more freedom, and will lead to Malaysia being “the best democracy” as promised by Najib.

Their stupidity will not allow them to see that it’s another attempt to hoodwink Malaysians. They will say it’s good because it allows Malaysians to gather in public without having any need to apply for a police permit.

Yes, on the surface, it looks good that a police permit is no longer required. But now consider the other conditions. The most disturbing one is this - although you don’t need a police, permit, your assembly cannot proceed if there is objection by the police.

What? Isn’t that like getting a police permit?


Let me repeat. You don’t need a permit but if the police object, your assembly can’t go on. So, what does that mean? Your assembly is still dependent on police approval, isn’t it? So what’s new?

If you straight away say, “That police permit waiver is a scam!”, then you’re not stupid. Because there is no change. And you can see it for what it is.

In fact, it has now become worse. You have to give the police advance notice of your assembly 30 days before it is due to be held. Thirty days! That’s a long time to plan.

And what happens if you want to stage a spontaneous assembly? What if the government does something cruel and unfair and unlawful and citizens feel compelled to take to the streets to protest against it immediately?

Well, that will be considered illegal. And if you don’t provide the 30-day notice, you can be fined up to RM10,000!

Youth discriminated

And did I mention the words “streets” and “protest”?

Well, according to the new bill, no street protests will be allowed.

What? Then what’s the point of an assembly? Only for socialising? For merely hanging about in public? No placards? No cheering? No chanting?


The new bill is obviously designed to protect the government, not to give more democratic space to the citizens. It is designed to prevent people from protesting against the government.

In fact, the new bill transgresses the rights of freedom guaranteed in the federal constitution.

One, if you are below the age of 21, you cannot organise an assembly. Is that fair? Are those below that age not citizens who should enjoy equal rights? Is this democracy? Is this “the best democracy”?

Two, if you are below the age of 15, you cannot take part in an assembly except cultural and religious ones, like funeral processions, or events approved by the home minister. Again, discrimination. Again, power to the home minister.

Three, areas at which public gatherings cannot be held have now been specified. Has this ever been done before?

Bill gives cops more power

And if you were to look at the list of prohibited areas, which include petrol stations, hospitals, mosques, fire stations, kindergartens, schools, etc, you would see that the democratic space - also in physical terms - has become even smaller. Especially since there must also be a buffer zone of 50 metres around each of these areas that public gatherings cannot traverse.

Most districts, especially in city centres, have a few of such areas in close proximity to one another. As such, the interstices between the buffers would be too small to accommodate a mass of people.

How then would a public assembly be able to fill these little spaces? This condition is clearly aimed at discouraging assemblies in city centres.

Four, the police have even more power now. They can decide to arrest any assembly participants they deem a problem, and those arrested can be fined up to RM20,000. Is that providing more freedom or more deterrence? And who is to say the police decisions may not be arbitrary?


So, my fellow Malaysians, are we going to be stupid? Are we going to accept this bill that discriminates against some of us, throttles our freedom and disregards the constitution?

Are we going to be fools and be thankful to the government and say the bill is providing reform and taking Malaysia forward, and should therefore be passed into law? Are we going to be twice bitten by the same scam and not be aware of it?

Well, there’s no fine imposed yet for taking to the streets. And there’s still leeway to do it without giving 30 days’ advance notice. Once the law is passed, however, it will be too late.

KEE THUAN CHYE is the author of 'March 8: The Day Malaysia Woke Up', which just won 3rd prize in the Popular Readers' Choice Awards. It has also been translated into Chinese.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Solidarity Rally For MyOverseasVote

Please save Saturday, November 26 free for a solidarity rally in support of the MyOverseasVote campaign and the 8 Demands of Bersih 2.0.

Six Malaysians, who are all based in Britain, have applied to the KL High Court to compel the EC to amend its regulations to allow Malaysians overseas to register as Absent voters.

As the EC regulations stand, only Civil Servants and students who are overseas are allowed to vote with a Postal ballot. All other Malaysian citizens who wish to vote have to return to Malaysia to cast their ballot. The lawsuit aims to put an end to this discriminatory and arbitrary rule.

Permission for Judicial Review was granted by Judge Rohana Yusuff on the 14th November. Constitutional Lawyers Edmund Bon and Edward Saw appeared for the Applicants. The campaign is supported by the MyOverseasVote campaign.

Independent Lawyers from the Bar Council, MyOverseasVote and the Malaysian Centre for Constitutionalism & Human Rights were present to hold a watching brief. The Substantive hearing is fixed for January 3rd, 2012.

The London rally details:

Date: 26 November 2011
Time: 11:00am to 1:00pm
Venue: outside the Malaysian High Commission in London (45 Belgrave Square)

Other Bersih groups around the world will be holding events on the same day:-


Henley On Thames

Henley is most famously known for the Henley On Thames Royal Regatta. It's usually held in summer, around June or July.

So it was somewhat quiet when I was there in late autumn approaching winter.

The River Thames was occupied not by boats, but unassuming little ducks getting their daily exercise in the water.

Most of the leaves had deserted the trees for the winter, leaving them looking a little forlorn and lonely. Those trees, however, would look gorgeous in spring and summer.

It's a nice, quiet village.

With a few rich boat owners.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Implications Of Peaceful Assembly Bill

As far as I'm concerned, this bill is bad news.

1. Those arrested for protesting on the streets can be fined up to RM20,000

2. No one under 16 can attend or participate

3. No one under 21 can organise a protest

4. It cannot be held near certain public areas

5. Appeals go to the Home Minister, not the courts -- this gives the police absolute power as they come under the jurisdiction of the home ministry.

This bill frankly undermines the Constitution.

Friday, 18 November 2011

The ISA Again!

I once asked if they were really listening when it came to oppressive laws, back in Sept 16 this year when Najib promised to abolish the draconian Internal Security Act.

Back then I said, "To begin with, Najib's promises are not something I take very seriously. I believe this is basically posturing for the international scene."

So I was expecting some sort of stupidity but I was still disturbed when I heard that 10 activists were arrested under that very law!

TAWAU: Ten religious teachers and Islamic activists were arrested here under the Internal Security Act (ISA) by a team of police officers from federal police headquarters Bukit Aman.

The counter-terrorism operation by the Special Assignment Team was led by DSP Azman Omar. The police gave no information on the arrests.

The families of the detainees were informed on Tuesday that their relatives were being detained under the ISA which allows for detention without trial. They can be kept incommunicado for 60 days, after which the Home Minister can detain them for two years.

According to sources, those arrested were all PAS members or supporters, including respected religious teachers in the Tawau district.

Sabah PAS commissioner Mohd Aminuddin Aling questioned the arrests which he said were made without warrants, notice or any prior information. He also complained that the police operation was conducted in front of wives and children.

It is utterly bizarre that there would be arrests for no major reason.

Frankly, it seems to me like Muhyiddin is trying to sabotage Najib and make him look bad.

War Crimes Tribunal

Coming from the guy who rendered the Malaysian judiciary impotent, conducting a war crimes tribunal is the epitome of irony.

The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal is an initiative of Malaysia’s retired Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

Check this out: Activists in Malaysia plan symbolic ‘war crime’ trial of Bush, Blair over Iraq War actions

Don't get me wrong -- most people agree that the US and UK should never have invaded Iraq.

I suspect the Americans and British would top the list of war protesters, as the war casualties from both those countries has reportedly exceeded the number of Iraqis.

Most Malaysians (and I wager, most of Asia) are not supportive of the invasion.

So I'm wondering what Mahathir is trying to achieve.

Is he trying to distract everyone from the coming elections with this?

Thursday, 17 November 2011

The People's Petition On BERSIH 2.0 Demands

Puan Rosni Malan, the widow of the late Baharuddin Ahmad who died on 9th July 2011 during the Bersih 2.0 rally, and Madam Anne Ooi (Auntie Bersih) launched the Petisyen Rakyat Tuntut Pilihanraya BERSIH this afternoon at KLSCAH.

The Petition highlights the Bersih reforms called for and appeals to His Majesty, the DYMM Seri Paduka Baginda Yang di-Pertuan Agong, if presented with a request for consent to dissolve Parliament

  • before the PSC has completed its work;
  • before any and all recommendations of the PSC for reforms to our electoral processes have been approved by Parliament, and fully implemented; and
  • before the Rakyat are fully convinced that the next GE will be free, fair and clean.
  • to invoke His Majesty's powers under Article (2)(b) to withhold consent to dissolve Parliament if all of the above conditions are not met.

People, if ever there was a time when we must all pull together and give it all we've got, it's now - Facebook, Email, SMS, Twitter etc. - reach your relatives, friends, neighbours, even strangers.

This is preparing for GE13.

Go to the website:

If you have problems, try this:

Friday, 11 November 2011

No To Overseas Malaysian Votes

Says MCA:

Malaysians abroad are not qualified to vote because they are “out of touch” with the current state of affairs in the country, MCA told Parliament’s polls reform panel today.

The ruling Barisan Nasional’s (BN) Chinese party said its research showed most Malaysians outside the country only received information from questionable news sources, which it said may not reflect the “true situation” ongoing in the country.

“What they read about Malaysia may therefore be biased and is the wrong information. It does not give them the whole truthful picture about the ongoings [sic] in the country.

MCA certainly knows that an influx of overseas votes, especially from people like these and these and those from these 24 countries will soundly whack them to never-never land.

And they're afraid. Very, very afraid.

Read the whole thing at The Malaysian Insider.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Pesta PoAM

Click on image to enlarge

Date: 13 November 2011, Sunday
Time: 10:00am to 5:00pm

Friday, 4 November 2011


According to Al-Jazeera, about 40,000 ethnic Indians born and bred in Malaysia do not have any form of identification.

I have written about this topic a number of times.

Frankly, I've railed about how having no form of identification is a violation of rights, because these children do not get any education. I have also lamented on what a social impediment these stateless people grow up with.

Heck, I've even complained that no political party takes this group seriously enough to correct this situation.

The truth is, ethnic Indians comprise nearly eight per cent of the Malaysian population, yet an inability to obtain the proper documents has rendered generations stateless.

They have never been to India as they don't own birth certificates or identity cards, much less passports. Neither have they been to any other country.

And yet, they are not considered citizens of Malaysia.

Watch the video: Recognizing Malaysia's stateless Indians

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Polls In January??

The nerve of them to even consider having the elections so soon, when they haven't even made any attempt to clean up the elections as per the BERSIH 2.0 demands.

Malaysia can kiss goodbye its hopes of changing the government if the playing field is not level.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Bravo UKM4!

The BN government, stupid as it is, has made some good survival decisions in the past. One of them is to silence university students.

Nothing spells firebrand like a young student discarding his teens and embracing his 20s. It's an exciting age, it's a world of revelations.

The Mahathir administration made it illegal for even political science students to be involved in politics. That is tantamount to forbidding an engineering student from undertaking industrial training.

The protest was meek, if anything. So the Act went ahead and the students were silenced.

But no more.

In a landmark decision, Section 15 of the AUKU -- Act disallowing student participation in politics -- was considered unconstitutional. One judge had the moral fortitude and sense of justice.

A lot of people chastised the UKM4 for being on the ground at Hulu Selangor. But they have paved the way for a wrong to finally be corrected.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Bringing Shame

It is impressive that university students have finally discovered and exercised their rights.

But guess who is discouraging them by claiming they bring shame to him?

Would he prefer they go out to some foreign country and protest?

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 29 — The Johor Sultan warned students of Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM) in Batu Pahat today that they would be disrespecting him by joining illegal rallies, according to a Bernama report today.

Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar, who is chancellor of the university, said that such activities will threaten national stability.

“We will not hesitate to resign as chancellor should any of our students be involved in such activities as it is better than having our name tainted by such acts that also shames the university’s reputation,” the state news agency quoted the monarch as saying at UTHM’s 11th convocation.

Shame is an interesting word. It is something that UMNO and by extension, BN absolutely does not possess, unfortunately.

What brings shame to this country is corruption, waste of tax-payer funds, religious extremism and racist rhetoric. Not an exercise of civil rights.

Why hasn't anyone spoken out or resigned in protest of that?

Overseas Malaysians Sue Election Commission

Now these are a bunch of people that I am proud of!! The good thing about people who have travelled abroad and observed other cultures and lifestyles, is that they wouldn't put up with being bullied.

Malaysians working overseas sue election authorities in attempt to secure right to vote

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — A group of Malaysians have sued election authorities in what they described Monday as an attempt to extend voting rights to nearly 1 million citizens living abroad.

Rights activists have long criticized restrictions that prevent most Malaysians abroad from casting ballots. Exceptions include government workers, military personnel and full-time students.

Another law has prevented university students from publicly voicing support for political parties since the 1970s.

A group of Malaysians called “My Overseas Vote” said in a statement that six citizens working in the United Kingdom have asked the Kuala Lumpur High Court to force the Election Commission to register them as voters before the next general elections, widely expected by mid-2012.

“To say that only certain groups of citizens are allowed the postal ballot is nonsense that amounts to outright discrimination,” Teo Hoon Seong, one of the litigants, said in the statement.

Read the rest at the Washington Post.