Sunday, 29 July 2012

Talk Regarding May 13

The question now appears to be: Najib or Mahathir?

If you're an average, somewhat-intelligent life form, of Malaysian nationality, you might regard this as being between the devil and the deep blue sea. I don't blame you.

But this is what is being debated between Haris Ibrahim of The People's Parliament and Raja Petra Kamarudin.

There are a couple of things that I whole-heartedly agree with RPK:

1. UMNO political strategy is indeed being guided by Mahathir. From who was to succeed him as Prime Minister to the formation of a right wing organisation called Perkasa and a paramilitary organisation called RELA (whom everyone seems to forget about).

2. There are very likely plans to cause trouble post-GE13. It has been mentioned a number of times and the arms and weapons training that RELA have recently undergone points in that direction.

And for the sake of it:

3. Pakatan Rakyat do deserve some of the whacking that they receive.

But I digress. Back to the debate over keeping to Plan A or adopting Plan B.

Every somewhat-intelligent Malaysian life-form (and far more so the intelligent ones) would agree with Plan A: Vote for Pakatan Rakyat.

That is what I'm planning to do myself -- no secret there of what my vote will be.

The issue at hand is Plan B: Accept defeat should PR lose due to BN's unscrupulous cheating.

I find that hard to stomach, for many reasons:

1. The Malaysian public have issued an ultimatum to the BN government to implement the election reforms or face our wrath. Personally, I don't like going back on my word.

2. I don't believe in cowering to threats of violence and unrest. The bloodshed of May 13, 1969 happened a decent number of years before I was born and the matter is still being brought up every now and then. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, GIVE IT A REST!!! At the end of the day, it will only be brought up if people still fear it.

3. It is entirely possible that Mahathir and his minions are expecting the Malaysian public to be frightened by these threats and back down. Why should we prove them right each time?

4. When May 13 happened, no one conceived that such a thing could happen. Today, we are aware and thus forewarned. People are prepared.

5. Perkasa and RELA would have to be extremely motivated to risk their lives for political ambition. Yes, they are aware that they have a lot to lose. But they have been complacent and comfortable for years, and it is hard to see them willing to be killed.

6. Malaysians have a lot to lose if the BN government stays in power. The people have been bled of natural resources, financial coffers, good governance and just plain justice. I expect to see a fair amount of indignance from being cheated of their democratic right to vote and elect the government of their choice. I know of people willing to die for their beliefs.

I am glad to see that the social and political activists have gone down to Ground Zero to reach those who need to be reached.

Too much effort has been put in for anyone to back down now.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

BERSIH Not Unlawful After All

The Kuala Lumpur High Court has quashed the home minister's declaration on July 1 last year that the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih) is an "unlawful" organisation.

However, the court did not grant the two prayers sought by Bersih for the coalition to be registered.

Justice Rohana Yusof in her decision this morning said Bersih has successfully proven its case in challenging the declaration.

She also ruled that Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein’s declaration was "tainted with irrationality".

"Hence, we are allowing the applicant's application (for judicial review of the government's declaration), with no order as to costs," she said.

In her 30-page judgment, the judge narrated the history of the application that challenged Hishammuddin's decision to declare the coalition of NGOs to be an unlawful organisation.

Despite the declaration, she noted, the authorities had continued to meet with Bersih officials.

“There was negotiation between the applicant and the respondent (government) as to the location of the July 9 rally,” she said.

“There was an audience with (the Agong for) the first applicant (Bersih co-chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan) and there was no censure of Bersih (in conducting) its activities (the July 9, 2011 rally) as scheduled.”

The court had further taken judicial notice that Hishammuddin had made a public statement to allow the Bersih 3.0 rally to proceed on April 28 this year.

“Even if it can be said that Bersih was endangering security before the order was made, it cannot be the case that - after one week - such reason was no longer valid or applicable.

“In short, Bersih cannot be a society used for purposes detrimental to security on July 1, 2011 - and then, no longer so a week later. Even if that is so, then the declaration should have been lifted accordingly.”

Monday, 23 July 2012

Legality Status Decision For BERSIH 2.0

A reminder for the judicial review tomorrow.

Date: 24 July 2012
Time: 9AM
Venue: Court RKKK2, 3rd Floor, Mahkamah Jalan Duta

Do come and lend your support.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Detecting Communists And Terrorists Among The Opposition Party

My friend Helen Ang tends to give the Pakatan Rakyat coalition a very hard time.

She has ridiculed them for being what she terms the Malaysian Firsters, which refers to those who declare themselves as being Malaysian first, rather than race, religion, gender or any other label.

I would personally regard myself as a Malaysian first. But that is my own inclination and since I don't run for public office, I don't get the stick on my back.

It also helps that I don't need to go all out to woo segments of the population for votes.

Pakatan Rakyat has at times appeared to be insincere, but for the most part, if I was completely honest, I would say they have done a splendid job in the administration of the states that they won over during the last elections.

Bear in mind, that they have managed without adequate funds and support from the federal government.

This federal government is comprised of the same bunch of minions who claim that Pakatan Rakyat has been infiltrated by Islamic terrorists and Chinese communists.

Now that ranks high up there as one of the most ludicrous claims that the UMNO government has mustered. As always, they accomplish new levels of gutter low.

I personally find it quite amusing that terrorists these days (according to the esteemed Malaysian Special Branch) have purportedly seen the error of their ways, put down their weapons, resisted violence and embraced democracy by resorting to elections!!!!

There is some gravity in this, however. What is dangerous is this scenario:

With the resurrection of the Islamist terrorist and communist bogeys infiltrating the Pakatan Rakyat parties, is the stage being set for a special operation against the Pakatan Rakyat parties to remove the democratic and legitimate threat posed by Pakatan Rakyat to continued Umno/BN hold on federal power in the 13th general election?

Is the UMNO government trying to win international approval in putting away their competition?

After all, they have discovered that putting away Anwar Ibrahim for the 23rd time (I've lost count) over sexual allegations has not been sufficiently effective.

Nor is trying to cause riots at initially peaceful and orderly street demonstrations attended by 250,000 disgruntled Malaysian citizens.

The UMNO government obviously need something more potent.

So what gives? Is the Malaysian public suitably gullible enough to swallow this hook, line and sinker?

Or will this end up backfiring against the UMNO government in a divine sense of retribution?

Friday, 13 July 2012

Investigate Attack Against Dr. Ong Kian Ming

Press Statement: 11. July 2012

BERSIH 2.0: Investigate Attack Against Dr. Ong Kian Ming

BERSIH 2.0 condemns the attack by thugs on political analyst Dr. Ong Kian Ming that occurred yesterday at his place of residence. We are relieved that he was not harmed during the incident.

Dr. Ong Kian Ming is the Director of the Malaysian Electoral Roll Analysis Project (Merap), a research effort to identify and understand problems with the existing electoral roll. His research has exposed crucial problems underpinning the electoral system. In addition, Dr. Ong has been a vocal critic against injustice and poorly planned or implemented government policies. The possibility of the attack on Dr. Ong being connected with his criticisms of the government policies and practices cannot be discounted.

BERSIH 2.0 views this attack as part of the increasing trend of harassment of human rights defenders by non-state actors. Examples of recent attacks on human rights defenders include the gangster attack on student activists at Dataran Merdeka during the Abolish PTPTN protest camp on 19 April 2012 and the harassment and intimidation against BERSIH 2.0 Co-Chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan by various groups and individuals after the BERSIH 3.0 rally.

BERSIH 2.0 calls on the authorities to investigate into the attack against Dr. Ong and to bring those responsible to justice. Attacks against human rights defenders must not be taken lightly. The Government must condemn and take swift action against such attacks or else its silence will be seen as condoning such attacks.

Keluar Mengundi, Lawan Penipuan!

Salam BERSIH 2.0!

BERSIH 2.0 Steering Committee

Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH 2.0)

The Steering Committee of BERSIH 2.0 comprises:

Dato’ Ambiga Sreenevasan (Co-Chairperson), Datuk A. Samad Said (Co-Chairperson), Ahmad Shukri Abdul Razab, Andrew Khoo, Arul Prakkash, Arumugam K., Awang Abdillah (Kuching), Dominic Hii (Sibu), Dr Farouk Musa, Hishamuddin Rias, Liau Kok Fah, Mark Bujang (Miri), Maria Chin Abdullah, Niloh Ason (Kuching), Richard Y W Yeoh, Dr Subramaniam Pillay, Dato’ Dr Toh Kin Woon, Dr Wong Chin Huat, Dato’ Yeo Yang Poh and Zaid Kamaruddin.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Candlelight Walk

709: We Have Not Forgotten - Candlelight walk

In remembrance of Bersih 2.0 on July 9, 2011, we are organizing a candlelight walk, which will start from Merdeka Square to Stadium Merdeka, as a reminder to all Malaysians that the historic day where tens of thousands of Malaysians took to the street for a clean and fair election, has not been forgotten. Join us, this coming Monday, on the night of July 9, as we continue our struggle for a clean and fair election for a true democratic Malaysia.

Date: July 9, 2012 (Monday)
Meet-up time: 7.30 pm
Gathering point: Merdeka Square (Occupy Dataran site and previous camp site for the students)

What to bring: Long white candles, lighter (or matches) and cardboard or plastic/paper cups to prevent wax from dropping to the ground
Dress Code: Yellow shirts
Event flow (tentative, plans may change according to circumstances):

7.35 pm: Gather at Merdeka Square
7.45 pm: Start walking to Stadium Merdeka (the original planned venue for Bersih 2.0)
8.30 pm: Speech by Dr Wong Chin Huat, steering committee of Bersih 2.0 (to be confirmed)
9.00 pm: Dismissal and end of event (Please refer to Facebook event page for updated details)

This will be a peaceful walk to reaffirm our support for BERSIH's 8 demands where the only tools we will use are white candles and our will. We do not encourage confrontations with the police force and would like to urge all those attending this candlelight walk to remain peaceful and orderly. We are strictly non-disruptive - no banners, no placards, no shouting, no harassment. Yellow balloons, yellow flowers and Malaysian flags are always welcome.

This is in accordance with movement's mission to create a culture of informed, passionate, and empowered Malaysians who will stand up for social, political, and economical injustices and causes and to support the right to assemble and the right to express freely restricted by the Peaceful Assemblies Act through actions in creative ways.

We see this as a chance to once again reinforce Malaysians support for the 8 demands of BERSIH 2.0, namely:

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

For those who are not able to come to Kuala Lumpur to join the candlelight walk, we encourage you to wear yellow and celebrate the anniversary of BERSIH 2.0 in your own way. It doesn't matter if you are going out for lunch, dinner, or a movie. Wear YELLOW and encourage your friends to do the same. Wear YELLOW to work. Wear YELLOW to the gym. Wear YELLOW to pasar malam.

Use your creativity and make 709 a BERSIH YELLOW day.

More information can be found on the Facebook event page:

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Syed Abdullah Hussein Al-Attas

KUALA LUMPUR: Reporters Without Borders is very disturbed to learn that the blogger Syed Abdullah Hussein Al-Attas has been held since yesterday under the Official Secrets Act as a result of a complaint by a group of 30 people over controversial posts about the Sultan of Johor. A young woman who was with him at the time of his arrest is also being held.

“Syed Abdullah’s arrest is unacceptable,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Why was the complaint filed by 30 people and not the person targeted in the posts? Why did the authorities think it was necessary to detain two people because of what appears in reality to be nothing more than an ordinary defamation suit?

“The authorities have carried out arrests and are now conducting an investigation on the basis of this group complaint, but they show no desire to investigate the documented information posted by Syed Abdullah. We insist that they explain the reasons for their actions, which are at the very least disturbing and suggest that his arrest was politically-motivated.

“Freedom of information must take precedence over any law covering state secrets, which should be invoked only in clear cases of espionage and in other very clearly defined and limited circumstances. Government officials should not, under any circumstances, be able to use state secrets as a pretext for putting themselves above the law and flouting the fundamental right to information.”

Arrested at around 9:45 p.m. at the Senawang toll plaza in Seremban, southeast of Kuala Lumpur, Syed Abdullah is now being held at Air Molek police station in Johor Baru, the capital of the state of Johor. Johor criminal investigation department deputy director Muhammad Akhir Ishak confirmed today that he is being held under paragraph 8 (1) (d) of the 1972 Official Secrets Act.

Judge Isa Mohamed gave the police permission to hold him for four days in order to investigate the possibly defamatory nature of his blog posts. The woman who was arrested with him and who is also being held was named as Siti Nadhirah Mohd Zain, 26.

According to the Malaysia Chronicle website, most of the 30 people who filed the complaint against Syed Abdullah at the central police station in Johor Baru were linked to the United Malays National Organisation, the prime minister’s party.

The complaint described Syed Abdullah’s posts about Sultan Ibrahim, the crown prince and other Johor officials as provocative, insulting and seditious. It also claimed that he had posted confidential documents.

Better known by the blog name of “Uncle Seekers” and a believer in the paranormal, Syed Abdullah is the son of a leading political writer, Syed Hussein Al-Attas. He has dedicated more than 60 posts in Malay to the theme of “Sultan Johor Atau Kerabatnya” (The Sultan of Johor or his relatives). They have included documents supporting his claims that part of the fortune left by the late Sultan Iskandar, who died in 2010, was embezzled.

When asked by his followers on Twitter to comment yesterday, Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim posted: “Let the dog bark as much as he wants. I know the truth, Johoreans know the truth. Why should I react to bullshit?”

Read the rest: Malaysia blogger held under draconian official secrets act

Friday, 6 July 2012

The Electoral Roll

This is not entirely new, but good as a reminder.

By Dr. Ong Kian Ming, Project Director, Malaysia Electoral Roll Analysis Project (MERAP), UCSI University

At least 3.4m cases or about 27% of the electoral roll need to be further investigated
The Election Commission (SPR) Chairman, Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof, was reported to have said, during an interview with Sin Chew Daily, that Malaysia’s electoral roll is the “cleanest in the world”. Only 42,000 voters out of a total of 12.6million, or 0.3% of the total electoral roll were considered unverifiable.

Obviously the EC chairman has not bothered to look into the preliminary findings of the Malaysian Electoral Roll Analysis Project (MERAP) which were reported and published in Malaysiakini, The Malaysian Insider and Selangor Times. In this preliminary analysis, it was found that the 10 initial problems identified in the electoral roll involved approximately 100,000 voters and that this number could easily rise to 400,000 upon further analysis.

Today, I want to announce that upon further investigation and analysis, another 3.3million cases of doubtful voters which needs further investigation have been uncovered.

Among this 3.3 million voters are:
(1) 3.1 million voters whose IC addresses shows a different voting constituency from the constituency in which the voter is actually voting in.
(2) 65455 “foreigners” who are on the electoral roll
(3) 106,743 cases of deletions and 6762 cases of additions without public display to the electoral roll from Q4 2010 to Q3 2011.

The presence of the 3.1 million voters whose IC addresses do not correspond to their voting constituencies is particularly troubling because this information was given to SPR by the National Registration Department / Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara (JPN) in 2002, before the implementation of the new registration system where all voters had to be registered according to the constituency indicated by their IC address.

It seems that SPR failed to act on this information that was given by JPN and to use this information to clean up the electoral roll even though the presence of these non-resident voters contravened Article 119 1(b) of the Federal Constitution which says that a voter must be a resident in the constituency which he or she is voting in.

In addition, it is also troubling to note that even though SPR keeps detailed records of the “Bangsa” of individual voters, it seems not to be concerned with the presence of more than 65 thousand “foreigners” in the electoral roll who are “Bruneian, Cocos, Filipino, Indonesian, Pakistani” and so on. Of these 65 thousand “foreign” voters, almost 90% or 59 thousand of them have IC numbers which indicate that they were born in Malaysia. Also troubling is the fact that 49 thousand or 75% of these “foreign” voters can be found in the state of Sabah, where problems with foreigners being given fake ICs have been a long documented problem.

Finally, through a detailed analysis of the Q4 2010, Q1 to Q3 quarterly updates and the Q3 2011 electoral roll, it was found that there were over 106 thousand voters who were removed without public display and almost 7 thousand who were added without public display.

It was also noticed that in the Q4 quarterly update released by SPR to the political parties, many of the details and information that were given in the Q1 to Q3 updates were missing including important information on the reasons for voters being removed from the electoral roll such as death, joining the army / police, losing their citizenship status and so on.

The failure of SPR to take any action on these problematic cases, which total 3.4 million thus far, is an indication that they are not serious about tackling the deep rooted problems of the electoral roll, whether these were problems which were created in the past or those problems which are still arising because of abuses of the system in the present time.

The preliminary findings of MERAP shows that there are grave concerns about potential irregularities in the electoral roll and that Malaysia is very far from having the cleanest electoral roll in the world.

Give Election Observers A Chance

Asli: Give election observers a chance
  • S Pathmawathy
  • 2:36PM Jul 4, 2012
The appointment of five non-governmental movements as election observers is not a ‘public relations' move by the Election Commission (EC), protests Asian Strategy and Leadership institute (Asli) senior vice-president Ng Yeen Seen.

Besides Asli, the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas), independent pollster Merdeka Centre, Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) and the Association for the Promotion of Human Rights (Proham) have been offered to observe the looming election.

NONE"We have had only preliminary discussions on guidelines. This is the first time we are embarking on such a project and we are willing to give it a chance," said Ng (left) at a press conference today in Kuala Lumpur.

She reiterated that "negotiations are ongoing", when pressed on whether they agreed to the proposed restriction by the EC to impose a gag on the observers from highlighting discrepancies to the media during the general election which must be called by mid-next year.

She refrained from commenting further, only saying that: "We support the move by the EC to set up a domestic observation group."
The EC's choice of NGOs as election observers drew flak from seasoned election monitoring groups who were snubbed on grounds that they have been seen as "pro-opposition".

Malaysians for Free and Fair Elections (Mafrel) chairperson Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh had complained that these NGOs were chosen over others which specialised in the task, to create an image of "fake transparency".

The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih) lashed out at the decision as a "public relations" exercise and pointed out that there were too many rules that constrained the observers from functioning optimally.

Among the constraints are that the appointed election observers cannot engage with the media, their findings must go through the EC before being published and they cannot able take photographs of fraud without the presiding officer's permission.

Read the rest on the web.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Diplomats Harassed Over BERSIH 3.0

A while back, I mentioned on the blog that even diplomats had been sighted at the BERSIH 3.0 demonstration in KL.

I have been following the developments on this matter and since then, the Singaporean High Commissioner was summoned to Wisma Putra to bear the wrath of Putrajaya's annoyance.

It turns out, however, that the Asian neighbours are taking the brunt of the Special Branch's questioning.

From The Malaysian Insider:

KUALA LUMPUR, July 1 — Malaysian intelligence agents are said to be hassling diplomats here for meeting Pakatan Rakyat (PR) officials and observing political events over the past few years since Election 2008, in what is seen as a move to lessen recognition for the federal opposition.

Diplomats told The Malaysian Insider that officers from the police’s Special Branch (SB) have begun asking more questions about their meetings with PR leaders and making it clear such contacts are unwelcome.

“Such meetings are normal especially since PR runs more states since the 2008 polls. But some of the SB guys hint the meetings should not happen,” a Western diplomat told The Malaysian Insider.

The diplomat, who didn’t want to be named, said informal chats in the diplomatic circles show that Asian diplomats are asked more questions about such meetings.

“Asian diplomats are the focus though, more than what we get from the SB,” he added, noting that Singaporean diplomats get it worst.

Wisma Putra recently chided three envoys from the republic over unsubstantiated accusations from pro-Umno bloggers that they actively participated in the chaotic April 28 Bersih rally.

Singapore has officially responded to the accusations of its envoys’ involvement by pointing out that the three had only been on the streets of Kuala Lumpur to observe the rally, along with diplomats from many other countries.

“It must be the neighbours thing. But you know, all diplomats have to meet people from all political hues to know what’s going on. And any protest or rally too,” the diplomat said.

An Asian envoy pointed out that Malaysian diplomats are also seen observing events and meeting politicians from all sides of the divide in other countries.

“I don’t see what the fuss is with some bloggers unless they are looking for scapegoats or a political diversion,” he said.

Read the rest on the web: Diplomats getting SB hassle for meeting Pakatan leaders

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Email Warning To Ambiga

Is this what this country is coming to?

I am ashamed that people would stoop so low to eliminate the voice of reason.

If you ask me, it would be simpler to correct oneself and govern the nation in a reasonable manner instead of holding on so desperately to power.

From Free Malaysia Today:

PETALING JAYA: Bersih co-chairperson S Ambiga has received an email warning her of a threat against her life.

The former Bar Council president told FMT that she received the email yesterday afternoon.

The email with its subject stated as “Beware hired guns out to kill you” claimed that a particular group had contracted two thugs to “terminate” her.

Although she withheld the identities of those mentioned in the email as well as that of the sender, Ambiga however said there were no references to any political parties.
The Bersih leader, who lodged a report with the Travers police station, preferred not to reveal the sender in order to protect the source.

“I will leave it to the police to investigate the matter,” she said.

Ambiga also revealed that police officers had recorded her statement regarding the threat yesterday evening.

Expressing concern for her safety, Ambiga said: “Yes, I am worried and I must be careful. I would need to beef-up security for myself.”

Read the rest: Hired thugs to kill you: email warns Ambiga