Hindraf Protest – Did Indians change the political situation in Malaysia?

Hindraf, an Indian NGO is organised rally to hand over a petition to the British High Commission of the legal suit against the British Government for USD4 trillion.

There had been a growing “fashion” to protest via street rally – the Bar Council in Putrajaya and the successful BERSIH march to the royal palace and Hindraf’s rally.

Hindraf in the past been rallying on many pressing issues – particularly on demolition of temples but it has fell on deaf ears and they have taken one step further. Hindraf has also accused the government of sidelining and denying the rights of the Indian community in the economic, education and public sectors.

The Government and MIC, as expected, were quick to paint the rally as illegal and that is the work of the opposition party. The police, as expected, rejected the application for a permit but added the usual “you can appeal” statement after the rejection. The warnings and threats issued for those wanted to participate. Indians in Malaysia were discriminated and marginalized and hence poverty, religion, lack of education opportunity and gangsterism just to name a few, been hogging the community for very long, and there is really no light end of the tunnel.

In essence, Indians have realised that they can make the change if they put their mind to it. They threw away the “minority” and “inferiority” notion which they have been “carrying” the minority tag for far too long. The more people talk of “minority”, the more the probabilty that they will end there and stay there too.

Hindraf move seems strategic?

Considering that a group of “minority” demanding an ex-colonial master to protect the minority which also paints a very undesirable picture of the party who is claiming to champion the rights of the minority – MIC and Malaysian government in general in the eyes of the international community.

The point is generating enough publicity not only in Malaysia but also internationally, to pressure the government. If Hindraf’s plans well executed, will generate the right amount of publicity and force the government to sit up and take note.

The Indians in Malaysia are angry and energized like never before. Despite their entrenched second-class status in Malaysia and their failure to gain a foothold in the surging economy, most Indians would probably not have challenged the status quo. But when property developers began destroying Hindu temples, often historical but unused, the Indian community began to protest.

The November 25th, 2007 rally was the largest of a series of agitations, provoked by the temple destruction and the failure of Samy Vellu, president of the MIC, to halt the practice. The MIC was no longer seen as an effective Indian voice in Malaysia’s government. The indefinite detention of the HINDRAF Five under ISA was the final straw.

Hindraf ‘s struggle was supported by the opposition parties , including former deputy premier, Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim, and another opposition group DAP had also supported the outfit on the demonstration.

Indians knew the stakes are extremely high in the election. “If the Barisan Nasional government is going to garner the same support, then the Indians in this country are finished.”

An estimated 89 per cent Indians voted for the opposition in general elections in Malaysia, severely restricting and denying the two-thirds majority to the ruling coalition.

The vote swing in favour of the opposition was as high as 42 per cent in the case of the Chinese, who constitute 33 per cent of the 28 million populations.

Ten per cent of the local Malays, mainly in the cities, voted with the opposition.

Apart from feeling marginalised, the Indian and Chinese voters were unhappy as the government seemed not to think of their livelihood. They felt the government had failed to care for their 'stomach'. The rising cost of living made it difficult for them to live comfortably. But ultimately, the tipping factor was the perception that the government was not doing enough to solve problems like the rising cost of living, curbing the high-handed behaviour among some civil servants

They believed that if the BN was given the majority of votes, the cost of living would go up and this would impact their quality of life," Silent voters, accounted for 40 percent of swing votes. These silent voters were people who never openly criticised the government but instead took their grouses to the ballot box.

Bigger and richer Penang, Selangor, Perak and Kedah have fallen to opposition. And at the centre, the Front lost the two-thirds parliamentary majority it has enjoyed since 1969.

exclusively by: mi1

Abolish the ISA and all preventive detention legislation

KUALA LUMPUR: A delegation from Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI) and the Malaysian Bar Human Rights Committee today presented a joint memorandum on the abolition of the Internal Security Act 1960 and all other preventive detention laws to the Leader of the Opposition, Datin Seri Dr. Wan Azizah (PR-Permatang Pauh).

At a press conference held at the lobby of Parliament this afternoon, GMI chairman Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh Alhabshi explained this latest campaign spearheaded by GMI in the light of the upcoming 6th anniversary of detention of many of the ISA detainees. However GMI’s call was for the release of all ISA detainees, numbering 70, regardless of duration of detention. HRC co-deputy chairperson Amer Hamzah Arshad read out the joint memorandum.

The full text of the joint memorandum appears below. Amer also called for the Minister for Home Affairs to actually visit the Kamunting Detention Centre and other places of detention and meet the detainees and see first-hand the conditions of their detention. He urged the Minister not simply to sign detention orders from the comfort of his office. Amer, in a subsequent response to a question from a journalist, decried attempts to favourably compare Kamunting as against Guantanamo Bay. He instead called for Malaysia to compare itself with countries where there was no preventive detention without trial.

Three relatives of ISA detainees also spoke of their experiences. Puan Norlaila Othman (wife of Mat Sah bin Mohammed Satray) spoke of the privations her husband had to endure as a result of her efforts to free him, including solitary confinement. She referred to the emotional blackmail that special branch officers engaged in, seeking to discourage her from visiting her husband with the threat of prolonging his detention if she insisted on doing so, or if she insisted on speaking to the press. She bravely, and regardless of the consequences for her husband, called on the press to report fully on the ISA detainees and to honestly draw the nation’s attention to their plight. Puan Pushpaneela (wife of M. Manoharan), and V. Raidu (brother of V. Ganabatirau) recounted the pain, suffering and sense of loss their families had to endure in the last 4 months, as well as the lack of proper medical attention for detainees.

Charles Santiago (PR-Klang) spoke of his recent trip to Europe during which he had had the opportunity to speak to members of the European Parliament and the Human Rights Sub-Committee of the Finnish Parliament about Malaysia’s continued use of the ISA and other preventive detention laws. He reported that the members of the European Parliament with whom he spoke had agreed to bring the matter up to their respective governments and with the European Union in order for this issue to be addressed in the context of the EU-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement. The Free Trade Agreement includes provisions calling for mutual respect of human rights.

Datin Seri Dr. Wan Azizah, in her remarks, said that she too understood the suffering that the detainees’ families had to endure. She recounted instances when she had made the journey to Kamunting Detention Centre to visit her husband Dato’ Seri Anwar only to be denied permission to do so when she arrived. She pointed out that some detainees were now being held for close to 8 years. She too called on the Minister for Home Affairs to look into the conditions of detainees, and said that she would continue to work with her colleagues in the Opposition to persuade the Government to abolish the ISA. She pointed out that Malaysians surely did not want to endorse or be a party to such cruel legislation. She then launched the “Malaysia Bebas Dari ISA” badge as part of the campaign.

At the end of the press conference the Leader of the Opposition then proceeded to distribute the badges to fellow members of Parliament in and around the lobby of Parliament. Some gladly received them and allowed badges to be pinned on them, while others merely received the badges and left it on the table or put it in their pockets.

JOINT MEMORANDUM BY GERAKAN MANSUHKAN ISA AND


I. Introduction

Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI) and the Human Rights Committee of the Malaysian Bar Council (HRC) welcomes the convening of the 12th Parliament on 28 April 2008. It is evident from this that we continue to live in a democracy, one which is maturing and functioning though not necessarily perfect. It is also evident that the peoples of Malaysia have democratically elected a Government which is now expected to administer the country in accordance with core democratic ideals such as upholding the rule of law, protecting human rights, and effectively maintaining the separation of powers between the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary.

GMI-HRC reiterates the aspirations of the peoples of Malaysia who wish to live in a peaceful and safe Malaysia, yet at the same time, who wish to ensure that the rights of every person are fully and equally respected.

II. Purpose

GMI-HRC wishes to take the opportunity at the start of the 12th Parliament to bring to the attention of all Members of Parliament as follows.

1. Malaysia’s Vision 2020 envisages Malaysia as a developed nation by the year 2020 including fostering and developing a mature, progressive democratic and ethical society imbued with the highest of ethical standards.

2. Malaysia is presently a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council and is obliged to uphold the underlying values of international human rights law as set out in, among others, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 (UDHR) and International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights 1976 (ICCPR).

3. It is internationally recognised that the detention of persons without trial is in violation of the rule of law, human rights and the principles of democratic Government. Among other reasons, detention without trial violates a person’s right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty and his/her right to a free, fair and public trial where he/she may be defended.

4. While the Government is obliged to ensure peace and security of the country, it is not permitted to do so at the expense of basic principles of human rights and natural justice.

5. Despite wide-ranging penal legislation, Malaysia continues to invoke laws which allow for the detention of persons without trial, such as the Internal Security Act 1960 (ISA), Emergency (Public Order and Prevention of Crime) Ordinance 1969 (EO) and Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measures) Act 1985 (DDSPMA).

6. In 2003, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) in its report “Review of the Internal Security Act 1960” (Report) recommended the repeal of the ISA. The Report stated:

The power to detain a person without trial goes against human rights principles in that the person detained, is denied the right to personal liberty, the right to a fair trial and the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty. These rights are enshrined in articles 3, 10 and 11(1) of the UDHR (at page 94 of the Report).

The Report concluded:

Therefore, by considering the law and practice in relation to the ISA to date from the human rights perspective and in light of the four human rights principles on the limitation of the rights of a person (legitimate aim, absolute necessity, proportionality and adequate safeguards), it is clear that the balance between national security and human rights under the ISA is currently disproportionately weighted in favour of national security (at page 99 of the Report).

7. Similar arguments for the repeal of the ISA apply to other laws which provide for detention of persons without trial.

III. GMI-HRC’s Requests

Given the above, GMI-HRC respectfully calls on the Government of Malaysia as follows:

• To immediately and unconditionally release all persons presently detained without trial, and where appropriate, to prosecute them in a public and fair trial.

• To immediately repeal all laws which allow for the detention of persons without trial such as the ISA, EO and DDSPMA.

• To immediately close all detention camps where detainees are held without trial.

• To apologise to all detainees (past and present) held without trial, and offer compensation for the suffering, anguish and injustice caused to them.

• To investigate all complaints and cases of victimisation, torture, cruel, degrading and inhuman treatment, tyranny and abuse of power in relation to past and present detentions, and to prosecute the perpetrators including but not limited to establishing a Royal Commission of Inquiry for the said purpose.

• To immediately debate SUHAKAM’s reports in Parliament and to implement its recommendations.

• To commit to a monthly dialogue session on human rights issues with representatives of SUHAKAM, Attorney-General’s Chambers, non-governmental organisations, human rights groups and the Bar Council.

• To recognise, respect and restore the inherent powers of the Judiciary as an independent check on the powers of the Executive and police including repealing laws which oust the judicial review of Executive actions or decisions.

GMI-HRC strongly urges all Members of Parliament to support the initiatives and aims set out above including lobbying the Government of Malaysia on the same, and in the meantime, to regularly conduct visits and fact-finding missions to all detention camps where detainees are held without trial.

Ong: Allow converts to leave Islam when marriage ends

PEOPLE who become Muslims through marriage should be allowed to renounce Islam if the marriage ends.

In the case of one parent embracing Islam, the religion of the child who is a minor must be decided by both parents or remain status quo until the child reaches the age of 18.

Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting (BN-Kulai) said the last three years witnessed an unprecedented number of religious matters involving constitutional rights of non-Muslims.

Such cases involved divorce, custody of children and inheritance.

Ong said earlier this month, there were statements there would be proposed legal amendments that would affect Muslims and non-Muslims .

“Non-Muslims are not to be subjected to any form of Syariah laws and for any disputes or overlapping areas involving the jurisdiction of civil and Syariah courts, civil laws must prevail.

“We urge the Government to be transparent in this process,” he said.

Ong also said the pending M. Rukumony court case revealed an inheritance tussle for recipients who were named as beneficiaries before the benefactor embraced Islam.

“In the event that the convert dies, the property comprising the estate of the deceased prior to the date of conversion should be subject to civil laws of inheritance and succession for the time in force,” he said.

On mission schools, Ong said they had made immense contributions to education in Malaysia since the 19th century.

“They are like other national and vernacular schools and are excellent models for integration,” he said, adding that 53 of the 226 missions schools in are over 100 years old and need financial aid.

Star Online

Malaysia's new parliament opens with rowdy name-calling

KUALA LUMPUR: The first debate in Malaysia's new parliament descended into noisy name-calling on Wednesday as a newly emboldened opposition took on the government.

'Monkey' and 'Bigfoot' were two of the epithets used in a rowdy session during which lawmakers shouted and gesticulated in heated exchanges across the floor of the chamber.

The scenes were an indicator of the new shape of Malaysian politics after Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's governing coalition suffered its worst-ever election results last month.

The March 8 polls saw his Barisan Nasional coalition, which has ruled the country for the last half century, lose its two-thirds majority in parliament as well as control of five states.

The first sitting of Malaysia's 12th parliament was delayed by more than 20 minutes as government and opposition parliamentarians hurled barbs and raised technical issues.

Opposition Democratic Action Party chairman and lawmaker Karpal Singh began by questioning the way the session was being held when he was distracted by a government MP Bung Moktar Radin.

"I hope Bigfoot... does not disrupt the proceedings," Karpal taunted him. "Bigfoot, sit down."

Bung sprang from his chair, shouting: "I am bigfoot, you are big monkey."

Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia struggled to control the situation.

"Let's not create chaos in parliament," he appealed as the verbal exchanges continued, "let us ensure there is order in parliament."

A semblance of order was restored when Abdullah responded to a question on measures taken to reduce the impact of rising fuel and food prices.

However, Pandikar's refusal to allow the usual follow-up questions to the PM's response drew a further outburst, with former opposition leader Lim Kit Siang calling the restriction "a mockery of parliament".

The opposition has a total of 82 of parliament's 222 lawmakers, meaning it can block constitutional amendments, and has vowed to play a vocal role.

The opposition Pakatan Rakyat alliance is led unofficially by former deputy premier Anwar Ibrahim.

He predicted last week that with the help of defecting government MPs, the opposition could form a national government by September and install him as prime minister within three years.

- AFP/so

Mr P Uthaya Kumar escorted from Taiping Hospital (28/04/08)

Uthaya rare video clips taken by supporter whom waits him at Taiping GH.

He just finished is health screening and was promised to be further refered to KL GH but until this moment ( 30th Apr 2008 1.40am) , he is still in KEMTA.

Why his health check up is been systematically denied by the wardens though Uthaya complainted several attempt.

Click Video: http://www.youtube.com/malaysianindian1

Parliament proceedings disrupted

KUALA LUMPUR: Proceedings at the 12th Parliament started 30mins late Wednesday morning as Opposition MPs raised several procedural issues, with led to some name-calling between representatives.

First Gombak MP Azmin Ali asked about why Barisan Nasional representatives were allowed seven questions, and Pakatan Rakyat only three.

Based on the number of backbenchers each coalition had, he said Pakatan should have been allowed six questions.

Then Bukit Gelugor Karpal Singh brought up the issue of MPs not following the proper process in oath-taking and also questioned the seating arrangements.

This led to an altercation between Karpal and Bung Mokhtar, with Karpal calling the Kinabatangan MP "Big Foot."

Bung Mokhtar hit back, saying, "If I'm Big Foot, you're a Big Monkey."

This was the first time Parliament proceedings were telecast live.

Information Minister Ahmad Shabery Cheek later said he may have to reconsider the live telecast of Question Time at Parliament.

He said the morning's delay was probably because some MPs "were playing to the gallery."

The Star

Suhakam’s 16 jokers reappointed

KUALA LUMPUR: Sixteen Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) commissioners have been reappointed to serve another two-year term ending April 2010.

They are Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman, Tan Sri Simon Sipaun, Dr Chiam Heng Keng, Dr Mohammad Hirman Ritom, Tan Sri Asiah Abu Samah, Datuk Dr Raj Abdul Karim, Datuk Dr Abdul Monir Yaacob, Datuk N. Siva Subramaniam, Datuk Choo Siew Kioh, Tunku Datuk Nazihah Tunku Mohamed Rus, Prof Emeritus Datuk Dr Khoo Kay Kim, Datin Paduka Zaitoon Othman, Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria, Datuk Dr Michael Oon Kheng Yeoh, Datuk Khalid Ibrahim and Datuk Muhammad Shafee Abdullah.

A statement from the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office yesterday said that there was no new appointment.

The Government also thanked two former commissioners – Datuk K.C. Vohrah and Ustaz Muhammad ‘Uthman El-Muhammady – whose two-year term expired this year.

Bernama

Opposition flexes muscles as Parliament descends into chaos

KUALA LUMPUR, April 30 — The resurgent Opposition flexed its newfound muscles today, disrupting Parliament's first business session with noisy arguments as lawmakers from both sides traded insults and jeers.

The record 82 Opposition lawmakers who were elected to the 222-member Parliament in the March 8 elections shouted down, in one voice, ruling National Front coalition lawmakers in an argument over a technicality.

Karpal Singh, from the Democratic Action Party, called Barisan Nasional member Bung Mokhtar Radin a "Bigfoot," who retaliated by calling Singh a "Big Monkey."

"This is not meant to be a shouting match!" yelled Speaker Pandikan Amin Mulia, trying to calm the screaming rival partisans who rose up to vociferously support Singh or Bung Mokhtar.

The chaotic scenes were shown live on national television, the first time proceedings are being broadcast, albeit only the first 30 minutes every day.

The scenes looked more like the often-rambunctious parliament sessions of India or Taiwan rather than the sedate meetings that Malaysia has been used to for the last 51 years.

However, things have changed with 82 Opposition members now in the House, compared to the 19 previously who had allowed the ruling National Front to operate without any fear of being shouted down.

Wednesday's pandemonium broke out as soon as the speaker opened the floor to Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi for the question and answer session. Opposition members objected, saying most of the first questions had been allotted to BN lawmakers.

Most of the first hour was a shouting match with Abdullah managing to answer only one question on race issues.

"This is a mockery of Parliament," said DAP advisor Lim Kit Siang, a colleague of Karpal Singh. "There is a conspiracy to silence the voice of the 82 Opposition parliamentarians."

"All Malaysians have focused their attention on this Parliament but many of you focus on pointless matters. You should be gentlemen and ladies who debate things that matter, not technicalities," said Pandikan Amin, the Parliament Speaker.

The chaos got worse when Pandikan Amin refused to allow the Opposition to ask the prime minister for follow-up explanations to his answer.

— AP

High Court Dismisses Application To Strike Out RM10 Million Defamation Suit

KUALA LUMPUR, April 30 (Bernama) -- The High Court here Wednesday dismissed with costs, an application by Kapar Member of Parliament, S. Manikavasagam to strike out a suit by former Sentul police chief, ACP K. Kumaran.

The RM10 million defamation suit against Manikavasagam was in connection with a news report on the death of a young actress.

Deputy Registrar Azhaniz Teh Azman Teh made the decision in his chambers when the case was brought before him.

On Sept 4, last year, Manikavasagam had filed the application to strike out the suit, claiming it was frivolous and vexatious and an abuse of the court process.

Manikavasagam claimed that Kumaran, in filing the action, had violated civil servants' regulations stipulated in the General Orders and the Police Act.

In his affidavit, Manikavasagam also claimed that he did not commit defamation as alleged because he lodged a police report on July 27, last year on the death of the actress, K. Sujatha.

In that report, Manikavasagam had asked the police to investigate the death in detail.

On Aug 8, last year, Kumaran filed the defamation suit against Manikavasagam, Makkal Osai's editor M. Rajintheram, the daily and its distributor.

Besides the RM10 million, Kumaran is also seeking damages for "tort of conspiracy", aggravated and exemplary damages.

In his statement of claim, Kumaran alleged that the published article had caused serious damage to his credibility.

-- BERNAMA

The impact of AFTA on Malaysian local banks and competitiveness of the Malaysian financial sector Pt. 1

The Malaysian local banks have experienced rapid growth during the past three decades except for the financial crisis in 1997. This growth has been accompanied by low inflation, falling poverty, reductions in income inequality, and rising per capita income.

The banking sector has played a decisive role in Malaysian economic success, contributing significantly to output, investment and exports. Although they have been at the forefront in transforming the Malaysian economy, it has also made the country highly dependent on the buoyancy of the external factors.

While the Malaysian local banks have experienced rapid growth, it does not imply that these industries are also displaying high demand growth in Malaysian markets.

In an ideal situation, one would like to see the emergence of foreign banks that has a heavy concentration that exhibit high growth in Malaysian financial markets.

One way to ascertain that a country is indeed contesting the dynamic markets is to assess whether the local banks have been moving towards higher growth potential
markets and has a higher concentration and high demand in Malaysian market.

What are the Malaysian local banks in terms of their revealed comparative advantage and to what extent has financial sector witnessed a shift in its improved comparative advantage over time?

To what extent have the Malaysian local banks performance been a reflection of its financial sector specializing in industries with growing world demand?

Does Malaysian financial sector have the capacity to adapt to the changing structure of world demand?

To what extent does competition or complementarities exit in world financial markets between Malaysia and other ASEAN member countries?

Is there any convergence of financial specialization patterns between Malaysia and other ASEAN countries?

To what extent has Malaysian financial specialization shifted away from traditional intensive products to high value-added knowledge and technology intensive products?

What are the implications of changing comparative advantage in Malaysian financial sector and how can Malaysia sustain or enhance its competitiveness at the macro as well as at the enterprise level?

exclusively by: mi1

United Malays National Organization (UMNO) & Press Freedom

It's a pity the illiberal Malaysian government, until recently, used such sweeping police powers - since boasting its police and other intelligence is among the world's best - to root out Islamic terrorists and fascists who had holed up in Malaysia for more than a decade and who had used Malaysia as the regional center for their cowardly acts. It's far easier for the government to deploy state-terror on political dissidents, especially these days when the police are used to doing the ruling party's political dirty work. Moreover, pusillanimous state action is easily justified and legitimated nowadays by the cover of the war against terrorism, and backed by repressive laws.

Malaysia has learned little from history, including its own. And most UMNO members either remain blissfully complacent or ignorant of increasingly ugly political developments or they are scared by ruthless state power. And that's just how UMNO and the government like it - rule by law. The latest Hindraf 5 detained under ISA surprises given previous crackdowns on political opponents and dissidents since the race riots of May 13, 1969. May 13 institutionalized, probably forever, the racial codification of Malaysian politics. It also entrenched a reworked bargaining arrangement among political representatives of the three main ethnic communities by which "consensus" is reached on policy matters. But all these have only bastardized notions and practices of justice, freedom and equality.

Abuse of power has become a fundamental part of the Malaysian state system, and repressive laws mete out oppression by which successive regimes have governed the nation in the name of Malaysian democracy - one that is only as good as the valueless five-year cycle of general elections amid charges of gerrymandering and voting frauds. Democracy, freedom and justice died in 1969. The image of Malaysia's economic successes - rising national income and export-oriented industrialism - belie the dark underbelly of unequal politics and socio-economic development, and disguise a litany of power abuse by the political elite and the ruling class.

Since 1969, human-rights abuses by successive Malaysian governments have been rife. Press freedom was among its early victims. So was Malaysia's first prime minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, then the chief nemesis of the Malay right-wing nationalist Mahathir Mohamad. Although press freedom was later relaxed to allow the growth of media outlets, their owners consistently exercised self-censorship as part of the new deal. In Mahathir's time, mainstream media is owned and controlled either by sections of the political elite or by its business cronies.

It's nonsense that UMNO should fear a letter written by a reader. So what really frightens UMNO? To be sure, it fears a growing backlash against the government by educated Malay and non-Malay voters, many of whom, in various ways, could easily influence other voters, particularly in ethnic-party heartlands. Already, one of the ruling coalition's partners, the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA), is deeply split by protracted brawling and Chinese voters have punished the party by backing the opposition parties, i.e. pakatan rakyat.

None of the mainstream media is willing to run hard-hitting and investigative stories, exposing the rise in government shenanigans after the late-1990s economic crisis. Disgusted by the mainstream media's gutless journalism, and their status as no more than government mouthpieces aimed at dumbing-down Malaysians,most educated Malaysians and others have turned to internet for their sources, alternative media. Malaysia's press freedom was shot to pieces a long time ago, but what has truly been shredded here, once again, is Malaysia's image abroad and at home.

UMNO Fascism: A Checklist

UMNO-BN’s increasing tendency towards inciting racism and suppression of dissent as ‘fascism’ and ‘UMNO Nazism’, and the tendency has become even more pronounced with recent actions such as UMNO Youth’s continuous racist threats (abetted by the crony-collaborator-lapdogs in BN, particularly the MCA and MIC),

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. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.

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 and letters is openly attacked.

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.

Contractor has no right to demolish homes, says rep


VILLAGERS of Kampung Lorong Buah Pala in Bukit Gelugor, Penang, had a rude shock when a contractor threatened to demolish their homes yesterday morning.
Kampung Lorong Buah Pala action committee secretary J. Steven, 40, said he immediately called Seri Delima assemblyman R.S.N Rayer as the residents were worried.

“At 9am, the contractor, who was escorted by a group of police personnel, came and wanted to demolish the houses. How can this be when our injunction application against them is still pending in court?

“We immediately contacted Rayer who came with Batu Maung assemblyman Abdul Malik Kassim and Ba-tu Uban assemblyman Raveen Tharan. They managed to get the group to leave after about two hours of negotiations,” he said, urging Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng to take a “serious look” into the villagers’ plight.

Residents of Kampung Lorong Buah Pala gathering to hear out the police officer.
Rayer said the contractor had no right to demolish the houses, as no court order was granted.

A police spokesman said personnel were deployed to the scene to ensure that nothing untoward happened.
“We were there purely for security and nothing else,” he said.

Kampung Lorong Buah Pala comprises 33 houses. The residents, who have been staying in the area for decades, received a notice on Aug 30 last year asking them to move out so that their houses could be demolished and cleared although negotiations for compensation were ongoing.

Don’t talk humanitarianism, show it, practice it…

We must practice humanitarianism not just talk it by immediately releasing the five Hindraf leaders who are being detained illegally without just cause and reason. Yesterday A.Sivanesan and I visited the five - M. Manoharan, P. Uthayakumar, V.Ganabatirau, R. Kenghadharan and K. Vasanthakumar – at the Kamunting center on Thursday and their physical and mental health is deteriorating to an alarmingly level.

We criticize SUHAKAM, a humanitarian agency, for issuing a statement all is well without visiting the five detainees, in particular Uthayakumar who suffers from diabetics.

Vasanthakumar has lung infection and is not getting adequate health care because the system in Kamunting is outdated, slow and health services are backward.
We condemn SUHAKAM for not visiting the detainees and getting their side of the story. They should practice humanitarianism. The conditions of the detainees must be improved. They must be either charged in court or immediately released.

There is absolutely no reason or justification to hold them any longer as the people have voted and send a clear message to the government that they want the five released without delay. The government must respect the verdict of the people.
In addition one of the detainees is an elected representative.

Manoharan is a state assemblyman Kota Alam Shah and it his duty to serve his constituency. How can he serve when he is incarcerated in a detention camp? For this reason alone he should be released immediately.
The manner in which SUHAKAM conducted its purported inquiry is deplorable and has brought shame to the organization.

Their conclusions are very wrong, and deprive Uthayakumar and his family’s fundamental right to be heard and participate in any inquiry.
The five are victims of a draconian law that allows for detention without trial - where there is no right to defend oneself; no right to a fair and open trial; and no right to even go for judicial review of the alleged reasons for detaining him.

As such, the manner in which Datuk Siva Subramanian and SUHAKAM conducted themselves in this case makes it completely unacceptable.

Kula

'Not right for judge to act as adviser to Bakti'

PETALING JAYA (April 29, 2008): It is inappropriate and wholly unacceptable for any member of the judiciary to act as legal adviser or in any legal capacity for any body or person while holding the office of a judge, says the Bar Council.

"More so if the body or person is associated with a state or federal government or a political party," said its president Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan today.

“The Bar Council is deeply concerned by the report in theSun that suggests the involvement of a Court of Appeal judge as legal adviser to Bakti on matters pertaining to the transfer of funds from Association of Wives of State Assemblymen and Members of Parliament in Selangor (Balkis) and its Penang equivalent - Bunga Tanjung,” she told theSun.

The two organisations reportedly transferred the funds to Bakti, the Federal Association of Wives of Ministers and Deputy Ministers, after Barisan Nasional (BN) lost the elections in the states to Pakatan Rakyat on March 8.

“Such conduct is inconsistent with his or her position as a serving judge and has a direct impact on the issue of conflict and the independence and impartiality of the judge,” said Ambiga.

"In the circumstances and given the severity of the consequences of the allegations, it is important that the facts be established and that the judge be accorded a fair opportunity to respond to the allegations in an appropriate manner," she added.

Ambiga was responding to a report in theSun today which named Court of Appeal Judge Datuk Helilah Yusof as Bakti’s legal adviser. This was stated in the minutes of a Bakti Council meeting.

Former UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers Param Cumaraswamy said in a letter published in theSun the involvement of a sitting judge in the transfer of funds from Balkis to Bakti is likely to cause a reasonable suspicion that the judge allowed private interests to come into conflict with judicial duties.

This amounts to breach of the Judges’ Code of ethics 1994.

He said the conduct of the judge should be referred to the Chief Justice who in turn should take appropriate action against the judge concerned.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA) president Nik Mohd Hasyudeen said the legality of transferring the funds of an organisation depends on the constitution of the organisation itself as normally, there is no mandatory need for funds to be audited before a transfer is made.

However, since MIA has no access to Balkis constitution "we are unable to comment on this", he said.

“What we can say is, the auditor’s responsibility is to ensure that the financial statements of an organisation reflect a true and fair position,” said Nik Mohd.

Therefore, if they have not been engaged to conduct an audit prior to the transferring of funds, then the auditor has nothing to do with the process, he added.

Nik Mohd said generally, when transferring funds, adherence to good corporate governance practices is paramount.

It would be important to ensure that the purpose for transferring the funds is in line with the objectives and constitution of the organisation.

The process should be transparent and backed by the necessary justification and evidence to aid in disclosure, he said.

Nik Mohd was commenting on a report which quoted external auditors for Balkis as saying the charity's accounts for 2007 were never audited or finalised, contrary to claims by former mentri besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo.

Yee Choon Kong & Co said the financial statement of Balkis was unaudited and the accounts not finalised before the funds were transferred. Company principal Yee Choon Kong said he never issued a duly signed audit report in respect of the conduct and financial affairs of Balkis for the financial year ending last Dec 31.

The firm said it had called the treasurer of Balkis, Datin Suraimi Sapuan, to send financial records for auditing but the calls remained unanswered.

Yee said they had no knowledge of new auditors being appointed to replace his firm and that even if this was the case, the Institute of Accountants by-laws impose an obligation on new auditors not to accept the role without consulting existing auditors. He said his firm had received no inquiries from any new firm of auditors.

Investigate Balkis affair

THE events reported in the front page of theSun on April 25 on the attempted dissolution of Balkis and the transfer of its funds to another organisation using Bakti as a conduit are bizarre to say the least.

What is of equal concern is the involvement of a sitting judge who is reported to have advised Bakti on the matter. If this is true the sitting judge must be called to explain his/her conduct.

The judge’s conduct is likely to cause a reasonable suspicion that the judge allowed his/her private interests to come into conflict with his/her
judicial duties which could amount to a breach of the Judges’ Code of Ethics 1994.

The authority investigating the attempted dissolution of Balkis and the transfer of the funds should refer the conduct of the judge to the Chief Justice who in turn should take appropriate action against the judge concerned.

It is unfortunate that there is not an appropriate mechanism like a judicial complaints council to which a complaint like the present could be referred for independent investigation.

Param Cumaraswamy former UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers.

'People have lost confidence in race-based parties'

Kota Kinabalu: The dismal performance of the Barisan Nasional (BN) in the last general elections should not be attributed to the work of so-called cyber guerrillas but to the many government policies and antics of leaders that have infuriated voters.

The election outcome also showed that the people were no longer afraid of oppression or criticism and felt free to make their choice.

Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) Youth chief, Au Kam Wah said the cyber guerillas only acted as one of the agents to disseminate these on the Internet and later shared by many via SMS and Internet.

In his policy speech in conjunction with the 13th SAPP Youth Convention at Putera Theatre Restaurant in Luyang, Saturday, he said Information Technology (IT) had resulted in many of the unpopular actions of the leaders and BN being spread through the Internet.

These included the keris-wielding that hurt the non-Malays, demolition of Hindu temples in Selangor, the "YB Palace" issue, sudden increase in price of goods and oil, etc, which had been spread through blogs.

Au who is also Elopura Assemblyman said BN lost in many states because the Government was insensitive and did not take serious action to address problems that had caused inconvenience to the people.

"The dissatisfaction was transformed into a wind of change culminating in the political tsunami on polling day," he said, adding that the results of the election was a clear message that.

Au also warned that the unusual phenomenon in Peninsular Malaysia where the Chinese and Indians handed their votes to PAS and Malays gave their votes to the DAP might hit Sabah and Sarawak if nothing is done to change the situation.

"The people no longer have confidence in racial-based parties to represent their struggle," he said, adding that in this respect, SAPP as a multi-racial-based party is relevant to the current political trend.

Au said the Government must also provide freedom to the mass media, which is the best way to counter the cyber guerrillas.

"Let the people differentiate what is good and wrong for themselves. Let all the issues and problems out in the open, then we will have the chance to make changes.

"We are confident we can produce excellent results if under pressure," he said. On claims by many that SAPP was acting like an opposition in the way their criticised the government, Au said the party was actually holding steadfastly to its political principle that is "the interest of the people is our main agenda".

Au said they were not trying to find excuses to cover up weaknesses and dented pride due to the last election results but there were those who alleged that they lost because of sabotage by a fellow component party.

"I assume all voters are given the freedom to choose whoever they want to be their wakil rakyat. We cannot blame the voters if we lost (and) we cannot blame any one if our votes went down.

"Our voters are matured enough and nobody forced them to vote for anybody especially the candidates they are not supporting," he said, adding that the act of sabotage would not cause a candidate to lose if he or she had been providing excellent service and was friendly to the people.

Hence, he said those who do not want to admit defeat should do a self-assessment and ask themselves where they went wrong.

Au said Malaysia's political landscape was changing, especially with the formation of the Pakatan Rakyat by the opposition, which he believed would eventually lead to a two-party system.

"We are ready to compete to win the hearts of the people, we are prepared to do the best for the people and get their support," he said.

Daily express

Bailor for Hindraf supporters can’t fly out

KLANG: Businessman K.P. Samy, who posted bail for the 64 Hindraf supporters charged with causing mischief and participating in an illegal assembly, says the authorities are preventing him from travelling abroad.

Samy, who owns a travel agency, said he had a rude shock yesterday morning at the immigration counter at KL International Airport when he was told he could not leave the country.

“I was with 60 people travelling to Chennai, Tamil Nadu, and was singled out during the group check-in by an immigration officer,” said Samy.

He said that when he queried why he was not allowed to travel, the officers told him to go to the Immigration Department headquarters in Putrajaya to find out the reason.

“Finally, one of them told me that it was an instruction from the police,” said Samy.

He added this must be a new development as he had just returned from India on Monday with another tour group.

He added he could not understand why he was blocked from leaving the country as he had no pending police case or insolvency issues.

“My taxes are also up to date and I have never been a guarantor for anyone. So, why are they stopping me from leaving the country?” asked Samy.

The Star

'Samy Vellu ordered temple demolition'

Since last October, Dr Mohd Khir Toyo has been tagged as the chief culprit behind the controversial demolition of the Kampung Rimba Jaya Hindu temple near Shah Alam - he now claims that MIC president S Samy Vellu had instructed him to do so.

“Samy Vellu called me on the night of Nov 15 and told me that Hindraf (Hindu Rights Action Force) people had infiltrated the temple and that it must be demolished that night itself,” alleged Khir, who was Selangor menteri besar at the time.

In an interview, Khir Toyo also denied that the temple had been pulled down two days before Deepavali, saying the exercise had been carried out a week after the significant Hindu festival.

Furthermore, he said an agreement had been concluded with the priest, in that compensation of RM40,000 would be paid and an alternative site provided to rebuild the temple.

The incident has been cited by both opposition and Barisan Nasional (BN) members as a key factor in influencing the outcome of the March 8 polls.

BN and Umno took the brunt of voter anger over this and other issues, resulting in the state government falling into opposition hands for the first time in electoral history. Khir then resigned as Selangor Umno head, and is now leader of the opposition in the state legislature.

The demolition of the Sri Maha Mariamman temple was carried out in two stages, albeit not intentionally. As the illegal extension was being pulled down on Oct 30, a violent fracas ensued between devotees and enforcement personnel and forced work to be abandoned.

The original 100-year-old structure was demolished later - apparently on Nov 15, based on Khir’s account during the interview. Deepavali fell on Nov 8 last year.

Samy Vellu had shown up at the site after the illegal extension was torn down, but was reportedly pelted with sticks and stones by angry residents.

He then issued an unprecedented statement urging an end to such incidents, warning that the government risked losing Indian Malaysian votes. Although he also banned MIC elected representatives from holding the traditional Deepavali open house as a mark of protest, he quickly rescinded the order.

The following excerpts of the interview with Khir have been edited for clarity.

The temple incident in Kampung Rimba Jaya was said to be a major cause of BN’s downfall and you have been blamed for it.

I would like to explain. The court, after three years of deliberation, decided that it was time to remove the temple as the flats that were being built there were nearing completion and people were ready to move in. The court decided that it was time to remove not just the temple but a surau and some squatter houses.

On the day itself, I was told that the surau had been demolished and (the enforcement team) was stopped at the gate of the temple.

Samy Vellu then met me and (premier) Abdullah Ahmad Badawi at the Blue Wave hotel (in Shah Alam) and we all agreed to stop the demolition process at the temple gate. Samy then made an announcement in Rimba Jaya, (asking) not to demolish the temple because in two days, the people would evacuate the site.

Now the purported version is that the Selangor government on my instructions had demolished the temple two days before Deepavali, and this is incorrect. As I said, the agreement to stop the demolition was agreed to by all parties and was witnessed by many others. When I visited Rimba Jaya after that, the temple was intact.

A week after Deepavali - not two days before - Samy Vellu called me on the night of Nov 15 and told me that Hindraf people had infiltrated the temple and that it must be demolished that night itself. And that’s what we did - so it wasn’t before Deepavali.

The demolition was done with the agreement of the temple priest and the relevant people were then given replacement land to rebuild the temple and were compensated with RM40,000. I didn’t tell this to the media before, but now that I have been blamed for it, I must explain. Samy was the one who told me to do it.

You have made this explanation before. Now the question is why your explanation is not generally accepted while the Hindraf contention has become the sole angle adopted by the Indian Malaysian community.

Hindraf does not just talk about temple issues only. The group also protested against the government’s inability to address other problems faced by the community like Tamil schools, education, employment, housing and poverty. What is demanded by Hindraf is more than temple- related matters..

The issue of price hikes had been consistently highlighted by the media, way before the general elections. Did you as menteri besar and BN Selangor chief discuss this matter with the central leaders?

Yes, we did. We suggested to the government to reduce the price of oil and stop other projects. But as a mere state leader I cannot make any decisions.

But the opposition has been riding on this issue and has consistently associated BN with price hikes. Why didn’t BN respond effectively?

I myself don’t understand. We had suggested to the federal government that the oil price be reduced, but they did not respond. Instead they believed in explaining (the issue) to the people, and the people don’t want to hear that.

As we remember it, the matter was discussed in depth by BN - this means the party had sufficient time to respond to the matter...

Suggestions were made, but there was no reaction. Point taken, but where were the responses?

Are you saying that there are no state issues that caused the electoral losses?

Not many. The biggest issue in Selangor is public transportation which renders it a must for everyone to own a car. Almost all the households in Selangor have a car, you can see low-cost houses with two or three cars (parked outside) because there is no efficient public transportation system. (It is) something that I have been fighting to get for a long time.

Light Rail Transit projects go only halfway because of insufficient funding. When there is a station, it’s so far from people’s houses that they end up buying cars. We actually have a plan to purchase houses and land near train stations, no matter how expensive it is, so we can build low- cost housing, but I can’t say it because I will be accused of trying to teach the government how to run things.

Syed Jaymal Zahiid

Malaysian Indians look at LTTE


Angry ethnic Indians who marched in Kuala Lumpur on 25/11/07 to protest race-based discrimination in Malaysia carried portraits of Mahatma Gandhi as a symbol of their non-violent struggle.

“But if their genuine grievances continue to be ignored, (Sri Lankan Tamil Tigers leader) Velupillai Prabakaran could soon replace Gandhi as their inspiration,” warns P. Ramasamy, former professor of history at University Kebangsaan Malaysia.

There is a very real risk of radical groups taking over the movement if the Malay government persists with its racially discriminatory policies,” says Ramasamy, whose services at the University were terminated for criticiing government’s policies.

“Today, the ethnic Indian movement may be a loose formulation, and their ideas may not seem well-formulated. The government’s act of detaining Hindraf 5 undert the Internal Security Act could trigger such a confrontation.

Malaysian journalist Baradan Kuppusamy, who has been an up-close observer of events concerning the Indian community, too senses an increasing inclination to resort to militancy as a last resort.

“They have been knocking their heads on the wall for so long, that some form of radicalisation has already happened.” Militant views are not yet being publicly articulated, “but they are frequently voiced in private gatherings,” he notes.

It is in this context that the Tamil diaspora’s solidarity with the LTTE assumes significance. Ramasamy notes that Tamils in Malaysia are active contributors to the Tamil Eelam cause.

“Indians in Malaysia are very sympathetic to Prabakaran, and Tamil newspapers valorise Prabakaran,” adds Kuppusamy.

So is there a real risk of an LTTE-like movement getting underway in Malaysia? Says Kuppusamy: “From my study of the ethnic Indian movements, I feel that the current leadership – headed by firebrand lawyer Uthayakumar, took big risks and detained under ISA.”

But from there to an open call to arms is a long way off, and Kuppusamy believes this leadership is incapable of making that leap. “But there could be a splinter group in the years ahead, which could be far more radical, so, yes, the possibility does exist,” he says.

For the Indian foreign policy establishment, which is still grappling with the Sri Lanka-sized problem, the prospect of Malaysia going down the same road can only be a nightmarish proposition.

It’s apartheid, says poet who fled Malaysia

As a celebrated bilingual poet, Sharanya Manivannan, 22, knows the searing power of words. Yet, as an ethnic Indian-Sri Lankan who lived in Malaysia for 17 years — and fled to India last month to escape systematic racial harassment — she finds even the most powerful words hopelessly inadequate to describe the plight of Indians there.

What is happening [to Indians] in Malaysia,” Sharanya told DNA from her Chennai home, “is nothing less than formal apartheid.”

Strong words, particularly when you consider that Sharanya doesn’t exactly come from the “bottom of the pyramid”. Her grandfather was a former Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Malaysia.

On 25/11/07, ethnic Indians’ pent-up anger over Malaysia’s Constitution-sanctioned discrimination spilled over on to the streets.

This drew international attention to the dirty truths that lie beneath picture-postcard images of “multicultural Malaysia”.

To go behind the headline-grabbing news of temple demolitions and rising Islamo-fascism in the country and get a first-hand account of how this discrimination manifests itself in day-to-day life, DNA spoke to Sharanya.

Article 153 of the Malaysian Constitution explicitly privileges Malay Muslims above all other ethnicities – principally ethnic Indians [of whom Tamils make up the largest number] and Chinese. Indians have drawn the shortest stick owing to a number of historical and economic forces. In the absence of economic clout, which the Chinese arguably possess, ethnic Indians are the most disadvantaged. In the first place, large groups of Indians came to British Malay as coolies, in servitude.

To this day, the United Malay Nationals Organisation (the largest constituent of the coalition that has ruled Malaysia since independence in 1957) upholds the concept of ‘Ketuanan Melayu’ (Malay Supremacy) ostensibly to “uphold racial harmony”. That so absurd a concept as racial supremacy – and the expectation of kowtowing to a certain race to maintain general order – can exist in the modern world is perplexing.

Then there’s the Bumiputera (literally, ‘prince of the earth’) policy, instituted at independence: it allows Malays a large, race-based quota to enter universities, entitles them to ‘discounts’ on land or property purchases, and other quotas including in civil service jobs, government contracts and private business. Officially, the Bumiputera policy is supposed to protect indigenous minorities too, but in practice non-Muslims cannot actualise this privilege. (Ironically, Bumi (earth) and putera (prince) are Sanskrit words, derived from India!)

You ask me how this discrimination manifests itself. Where shall I begin? On a day-to-day basis, the derogatory word keling (sort of an ‘n’ word) is still widely used to describe Indians. The Tamil language and Indian accents are mocked so commonly that it’s a part of pop culture. I have ethnic Indian friends who are fifth- or six-generation Malaysian. They are not Indian; Malaysia is their country, and ought to be their home. But they frequently hear bigoted statements along the lines of “Indians should go back to India.”

But let’s go beyond cultural stereotyping and name-calling. In recent times, there have been several instances of “body-snatching”: the corpses of Hindu men have been taken away from their families by authorities and their last rites performed according to Muslim tradition. Countless temples have been demolished, and idols smashed – oftentimes in the middle of prayer sessions – and devotees have been attacked. It’s not just about reclaiming squatter land, as the authorities claim; it’s to say: the ways of your people are not welcome in this land.

Letters written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on my blog calling upon the Indian government to speak out on this issue of clear religious and ethnic discrimination in the same way that it had responded to the Danish cartoons parodying Prophet Mohammed.

What is happening in Malaysia is nothing less than formal apartheid. The fact that its Tourism Board promotes a picture postcard image of multi-culturalism is rather audacious. You have to understand that I say all this as a person who loves Malaysia, but who was forced to leave.

irrp

Urgent Parliament motion on Wednesday for release of Hindraf 5 and 60 other ISA detainees

I have given notice to Parliament to have an urgent debate on Wednesday for the release of the Hindraf Five – M Manoharan, DAP Selangor Assemblyman for Kota Alam Shah, P. Uthayakumar, V. Ganabatirau, R. Kenghadharan dan T. Vasantha Kumar - and over 60 other detainees currently held in Kamunting Detention Centre under the Internal Security Act (ISA), including some who had been incarcerated for over six years.

In calling on Parliament to urge the Abdullah administration to respect and comply with the wishes of the people as demonstrated in the March 8 “political tsunami” for a more democratic, accountable and progressive Malaysia, the government is reminded that the ISA detainees should not be denied their fundamental rights to an open trial if they are deemed to be threats to national security.

The refusal of the government to release the Hindraf 5 and the scores of other ISA detainees is proof that the Abdullah administration is not prepared to heed the people’s aspirations clearly articulated in the March 8 “political tsunami” to end its arrogant governance and to revoke its high-handed and undemocratic policies and laws.

Lim Kit Siang

Tun Salleh and the judiciary

1. The personalities involved in the entire episode are as follows: The Yang di-Pertuan Agong (the King) now the Sultan of Johor; Tun Salleh Abas (Tun Salleh) who was then the Lord President; The Prime Minister (Tun Dr Mahatir Mohamad, who was then Datuk Sri Dr); and the then Attorney General, Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman.

2. The whole episode started with Tun Salleh writing a letter to the King dated 26.3.1988, copies of which were sent to the Malay Rulers.

3. On 27.5.1988 the Prime Minister in the presence of high-ranking Government officials informed Tun Salleh that the King wished him to step down (retire as Lord President) because of the said letter.

4. Tun Salleh on 28.5.1988 sent a letter of resignation: the next day he withdrew it and subsequently held a press conference.

5. On 9.6.1988 the Prime Minister made a second representation to the King alleging further misconduct on the part of Tun Salleh based on his undignified use of the press to vent his greviences – such as requesting for a public hearing of the Tribunal and asking for persons of high judicial standing to sit on the Tribunal.

6. On 11.6.1988 Members of the Tribunal were appointed pursuant to the Constitution by the King.

7. On 14.6.1988 Tun Salleh was served with the list of charges against him.

8. On 17.6.1988 Tun Salleh was served with a set of Rules to govern the Tribunal procedure.

9. On 21.6.1988, on the Application of Tun Salleh, a Queen’s Counsel was admitted for the purpose of defending him without any objection from the Attorney General.

10. Tun Salleh was informed of the Tribunal’s hearing on 29.6.1988 and was told he could be represented by his Queen’s Counsel.

11. On 29.6.1988 Counsel for Tun Salleh appeared and informed the Tribunal that Tun Salleh would not participate in the proceedings.

12. Tun Salleh was making a series of press statements including an interview with the BBC showing unhappiness over the Tribunal’s legality.

13. The members of the Tribunal were duly appointed pursuant to the Constitution.

14. The Tribunal held its proceedings in camera. Tun Salleh was accorded the right to be defended by Counsel. His Counsel decided not to cross examine any of the witnesses.

15. The Tribunal was made up of the following 6 persons:

(1) Acting Lord President, Tun Abdul Hamid bin Haji Omar, who was appointed a High Court Judge in September 1968. In 1980 appointed a Federal Court Judge. On 3.2.1984 made the Chief Justice of Malaya taking over from Tun Salleh (Chairman).

(2) T. S. Sinnathuray, a Singapore Supreme Court Judge (Member).

(3) Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohamed Zain, a former Federal Court Judge (Member).

(4) Tan Sri Mohamed Zahir Haji Ismail, former High Court Judge from 1975 to 1982 before assuming his post as a Dewan Rakyat Speaker (Member).

(5) Sri Lankan Chief Justice, K. A. P Ranasinghe (Member).

(6) Chief Justice of Borneo, Tan Sri Lee Hun Hoe (Member).

16. The allegations against Tun Salleh were made known to him in writing (in respect of which the Tribunal held its inquiry), and briefly they are:


(1) First Allegation

On the occasion of the conferment of the Honarary Degree of Doctor of Letters on him by the University of Malaya on 1.8.1987 in his speech he made several statements criticising the Government which displayed prejudice and bias against the Government: and these statements were incompatible with his position as the Lord President of the Supreme Court.

(2) Second Allegation

At the launching of the Book “Malaysia Law” and “Law, Justice and the Judiciary: Transnational Trend,” on 12.1.1988 in his speech he made several statements discrediting the Government and thereby sought to undermine public confidence in the Government’s administration of this country in accordance with the law. In the same speech he made special reference to the interpretative role of judges and advocated the acceptance of the Islamic Legal System not only in the interpretation of the Civil Law of Malaysia but in its general application. In particular he advocated thus “This system consists mostly of the Quran and Hadith (tradition of Prophet Mohammad S.A.W.). The interpretation of these two sources of law is done according to the established and accepted methodology. Volumes of literature have been written as commentaries and exegesis of the Quaranic law the Phrophet Mohammad’s Hadith or tradition. In this situation, not only is the judiciary bound by Islamic law as propounded by jurisconsult (muftis, who give legal rulings on particular matters), but as Parliament and the executive too are certainly bound by these rulings.” His attempt to restate the law generally along Islamic legal principles ignores the character of Malaysian society as one which is multi- religious and multi-racial with deep cultural differences. No responsible government can allow the postulation of such views by the head of the Judiciary without causing fear and consternation among its non-Muslim population. Furthermore, his statement violates established principles of judicial interpretation widely accepted in the courts in Malaysia and in the Commonwealth.

(3) Third Allegation

He adjourned sine die the case of Teoh Eng Huat v Kadhi Pasir Mas, Kelantan and Another (Civil Appeal No. 220 of 1986) which involved the issue of a minor’s choice of religion. It was adjourned six times in the Supreme Court – 18.8.86, 25.8.86, 1.12.86, 30.7.87, 31.7.87 and 3.8.87. It related to the conversion from Buddhism to the Islamic faith.

(4) Fourth Allegation

In his said letter dated 26.3.1988 to the King and the Malay Rulers he stated that it was written on behalf of the Judges of this country. This is false as there was no prior consultation with nor approval of all the judges of the country on the content of the letter before he sent it.

(5) Fifth Allegation

He, after his suspension as Lord President, made various statements to the media for publication and broadcasting which contained untruths and which were calculated to politicise the issue between the Government and himself and to further discredit the Government.

17. The hearing was listed as:

“In the Matter of Yang Amat Ariff Tun Dato Mohamed Salleh bin Abas, Lord President of Supreme Court of Malaysia.

And

In the Matter of a Reference Under Article 125(3) of the Federal Constitution.

18. The Tribunal commenced its hearing on 29.6.88. Tun Salleh was absent. But his Counsel, namely Raja Aziz Addruse, Mr. C. V. Das and Mr Royan were however present.

19. The Attorney General presented his arguments to assist the Tribunal and set out the facts.

20. In his submission the AG stated that there was more than ample evidence and justification to recommend Tun Salleh’s removal from office.

21. In all four witnesses were called and much written material connected with the allegations was made available to the Tribunal for its members to rely on.

22. The four witnesses were:

(1) Tan Sri Sallehudin Mohamed.

(2) En Sharon bin Hji Abdul Majid (Director General of Fisheries)

(3) En. Saedon bin Daud (Deputy Director of Budget).

(4) En. Haidar bin Mohd Noor (Chief Registrar) who gave evidence with regard to the adjournments of the conversion case mentioned in the 3rd allegation (now Tan Sri).

23. The Tribunal completed its Report on 7.7.1988. In it it stated that the Tribunal was appointed by the King under Article 125(3) and (4) of the Federal Constitution to investigate and submit a Report to the King in regard to the representation made by YAB Prime Minister of Malaysia that Tun Salleh be removed from office on the grounds of his misbehaviour which show that he is no longer able to discharge his duties and function as Lord President properly and justly.

24. The Tribunal in its Report set out the Background Facts and its Findings and Recommendations.

25. The Tribunal under Proof and Findings inter alia stated that it endeavoured to follow the well-known principle and applied and followed in such matters and also in regard to the burden of proof and the standard of proof by similar Tribunals in other jurisdictions.

26. It dealt with each of the allegations and stated briefly in respect thereof as follows:


(a) Allegations 1 and 2


The tribunal was satisfied on a consideration of the documents containing the speech that had been made by Tun Salleh on the occasion he was conferred the Honourary Degree of Doctor of Letters by the University of Malaya on 1.8.1987 and also the speech made by him on 12.1.1988 on the occasion of the official launching ceremony of the book Malaysian Law and Law Justice and the Judiciary: Transnational Trends at the Shangrilla Hotel Kuala Lumpur that the particulars set out in the said allegations have been established.

(b) Allegation 2(iv) and 3

In regard to allegation 3 the Tribunal was satisfied in the absence of any explanation by Tun Salleh that the adjournment was made upon improper and extraneous consideration when the case related to the conversion of a minor from the religion she professed (Buddhism) to the Islamic faith.

(c) Allegation 2(iv)

The Tribunal held:

(i) that it was manifestly clear in the absence of an explanation from Tun Salleh who made the speech that he was seeking to advocate in the guise of interpretation, the acceptance of the principles of Islamic law as propounded by the “muftis” and to assert that such rulings bound not only the Judiciary but also both the Parliament and the Executive of the country

(ii) that it must be borne in mind that Islam is the religion of the Federation, the Constitution of Malaysia by Articles 3 and 11 assures and guarantees to all persons complete freedom of religion by vesting in every person “the right to profess and practise his religion” in accordance with the law.

(iii) that it must also be borne in mind that Malaysia is a multi-racial and multi-religious country. That being so, the assertion of principles as spelt out in the said speech by Tun Salleh is likely to cause not only uneasiness but also fear and doubt in the minds of those who profess a religion other than Islam and do not subscribe to the tenets and principles advocated by Tun Salleh in his speech.

(iv) that it must also be borne in mind that the Constitution is the supreme law of the Federation and any law passed after Merdeka Day which is inconsistent with the Constitution shall be void to the extent of such inconsistency. Therefore, it was ill-advised for Tun Salleh as head of the Judiciary to make an authoritative statement that “Islamic laws bind not only the Judiciary but Parliament and the Executive also”.

(d) Allegation 4

The Tribunal held that for Tun Salleh to say that the letter to the King (copied to all the Malay Rulers) was from “all of us” was an untruth and in the absence of any explanation the Tribunal held that Tun Salleh had done so in order to ensure that the said letter could carry greater authority and greater conviction than it would have had it been made only by a section of the Judges.

(e) Allegation 5

The Tribunal was satisfied that in the absence of any explanation from Tun Salleh that he used the media with the view to politicising the issue of his suspension and to gain public sympathy for himself.

27. The Tribunal touched on the meaning of “misbehaviour”: to mean unlawful conduct or immoral conduct such as bribery, corruption, acts done with improper motives relating to the office of a Judge and which would affect the due administration of Justice or which would shake the confidence of the public in a Judge.

28. The Tribunal concluded:

Having regard to the views we have already formed upon the material before us, we are of the opinion, in the absence of an explanation being made by or on behalf of Tun Salleh that he has been guilty of not only “misbehaviour”, but also of misconduct which falls within the ambit of “other cause”, which renders him unfit to discharge properly the functions of his office, as Lord President of Malaysia, as set out in Article 125(3) of the Constitution.

29. Under Recommendation the Tribunal said: Tun Salleh has been proved to have behaved himself in such a way as would destroy the public confidence in his impartiality, his honesty his integrity and in his ability to make decisions as a Judge and unanimously recommended that he be removed from office, both as a Judge and as the Lord President of the Supreme Court of Malaysia, which Recommendation was accepted by the King.

30. It further stated: We very much regret that the Respondent chose not to appear before us, even though every reasonable opportunity was afforded to him by us. We have, as has been made clear in this Report, come to the findings which we have arrived at only upon the unchallenged and uncontradicted material placed before us. Needless to say that had we had the benefit of a plausible explanation from the Respondent in regard to the several issues which were presented to us for our consideration, our decision may well have been different.

31. Much later in a reply letter dated 20.3.89 to the International Commission of Jurist Tun Hamid stated that though Tun Salleh was the Lord President his judicial experience on the Superior Court Bench was comparatively short having been appointed (when he was a Solicitor General) direct to the Federal Court (the predecessor of the present Supreme Court) as recently as 1979. Tun Salleh was never a Judge of the High Court and had no experience whatever of trial court work at that level. On the other hand he (Tun Hamid) was appointed High Court Judge in 1968 (11 years earlier).

32. What prompted me to write this letter is because the topic of Tun Salleh Abas has cropped up in the papers recently with the Senator-de facto Minister for Law holding the view that Government should apologise to Tun Salleh for his being sacked as Lord President. (What is the role of the present de jure Attorney General?)

33. The present Prime Minister has also advocated in his speech at the Bar Dinner on 17.4.2008 (nearly twenty years later) that the Government would make “good-will ex gratia payment to Tun Salleh”. I wonder whether it will be proper to use Government’s money for such purpose.

34. It must be remembered that to this day no one knows what the defence would have been if Tun Salleh had appeared before the Tribunal and be subjected to cross-examination. Tun Salleh did not do this as he said he did not recognise the Tribunal in his interviews. Even if one does not recognize a Tribunal one should appear before it and make the necessary submission and if the submission failed one should still give evidence (under protest so to speak) setting out the defence. His version even if disbelieved by the Tribunal will always be there in the record for everyone to see. In fact the Tribunal had stated categorically that if it had the benefit of a plausible explanation from Tun Salleh in regard to the several issues which were presented to it for its consideration its decision may well have been different. By his refusing to appear and give his version (especially in regard to his advocating the acceptance of the Islamic Legal System in the interpretation of the laws as propounded by the “muftis”) he in fact had shot himself in the foot. It is no use crying foul when he did not exercise his right to be heard. What would he have done in a similar or other cases presided by him?

35. To my mind it is still open to Tun Salleh for instance among other avenues to ask for an appointment of another Tribunal to review his case (whether there will be any objection to this from any quarters I do not know) subject however to his agreeing to give evidence as to his defence. The record of the proceedings are still there. Even if this happened he will be running into difficulties because the four witnesses who gave evidence at the Tribunal were never cross-examined by his Counsel.

Suppiah s/o Pakrisamy

When Racism Becomes A Way of Life

My dad is a racist; so is my mom. Similarly racists are my brother, sister and relatives. All the Malaysian friends I now have are, and those I had were, or at the least had been, racists too. Well, perhaps thanks to all these people, I have become - and remain - a racist, as well. You see, we are the members of a much larger community: Malaysia - the racist nation!

The term community is somewhat misleading. We are not united as such (as the term seems to imply), as a nation should be. We are only united by the fact that all of us - at one time or other - had been, are, or will become, racists...

All of us formally became racists in the year of 1971, the year I was born, when racism was institutionalised in Malaysia. Not that racism didn’t exist before: it did; it lurked underneath, which -- as everyone knows -- erupted as the May 13 ethnic riots. Hence came the New Economic Policy, set up to divert the winds off the sails of racism. Ballasting the boat, and listing it in favour of the economically disadvantaged Malay-Malaysians may lead to Malaysians seeing each other as equals, it was thought.

Then came the 80's, which also gave Dr. Mahathir Muhammad.

Few years after the arrival of Dr. M (as Dr. Mahathir is fondly known), there was much talk about "isu sensitif." Of course, I didn't know what it was then. However, people were angered whenever the matter came up, my uncle especially. But poor guy, he was bundled up and put behind bars not long after that: for the safety of the nation, I was told. In any event, although the safety of the nation may have increased, that of my uncle's family reduced. Shortly, his family vacated their house and moved into ours, and stayed in one of the empty rooms. When there were no signs of my uncle emerging from wherever he was, my aunt left to Kuala Lumpur to work as a cook in Sentul or somewhere thereabout.

"When will uncle come?" I asked my dad.

He couldn't answer. He didn’t know himself he said. When pressed, he merely mumbled something about "Operasi Lalang." Whatever the case, something good emerged out of it all. My aunt, though she left to KL, left her elder kids behind. It was fun having them around. Those years turned out to be some of the most blissful years of my life. Talk about irony.

Still, racism remained somewhat otherworldly to me. All of us practiced racism, in schools, on the streets, in the house, and in shops, but racism was never blatant - at least in my life. That changed as the 80's came to a close.

For many, the year 1989 is memorable because in that year the Berlin Wall crumbled, the iron curtain was lifted, and the world that was kept sundered for nearly 45 years was finally united. An "hour of Euphoria," many exclaimed. But for me, it was the year I felt the full force of racism, the gale force of organised, institutionalised racism that blew away the very ground beneath me.

"Scholarships? Those are for Bumiputras only, generally. Are you one?"

"No."

"Then, difficult!"

As a youth, who has done reasonably well in his exams, all I faced were rejections -- from all quarters. Someone said that I should ask my dad to see Datuk Sri S. Samy Velu. I did; but my dad adamantly refused. "It is a matter of principle," he said. So, April came, and I began my lower six in a Malay-students-depleted environment.

Thankfully, that didn't last long. I received a scholarship: not from any of our Malaysian bodies, but from a corporation in one of our neighbouring countries -- Singapore. So, to Singapore I headed to pursue my post-SPM studies. Surprisingly, I found many Malaysians there. Many of them were in the same programme as I was, too. It was a motley crew, mostly Malaysians of Chinese descent and a handful like me, Indian-Malaysians. But all of us shared something in common - we hated the Bumiputeras!

That was ten years ago. Much has changed since; but, unfortunately, equally as much has remained unchanged. Few years back Dr. Mahathir Mohammad put forward him dream: the much lauded, much talked about "Wawasan 2020"! In less than thirty years from then Malaysia would become a fully developed nation, Dr. Mahathir said; economically, politically, socially, spiritually, psychologically and culturally Malaysia would match any developed nation. In that world (it was indeed otherworldly, in many respects) we would have "developed in terms of national unity and social cohesion, in terms of our economy, in terms of social justice, political stability, system of government, quality of life, social and spiritual values, national pride and confidence."

Are we doing anything to make that happen? Economically, yes. Socially? Is racism showing any signs of receding from the foreground? Allow me to highlight a case in point to illustrate how entrenched the racist feelings are in our society, and why the Vision 2020 would never be realised.

Consider MIC. It is a political organisation that represents Indian-Malaysians in Malaysia. At least in theory, it attempts to improve their lot. Now, we all know what M-I-C stands for. Yes: Malaysian Indian Congress. In other words, it is a congress for Indians who live in Malaysia. (Since the noun in "Malaysian Indian" is Indian, and the adjective, "Malaysian".)

But the question is: are Indian-Malaysians Indians?

No! Of course not! They - we - are Malaysians, first and foremost. We are Indians only by virtue of our culture and ethnicity; that doesn't make us Indians - the citizens of India.

Then, why has it not been changed? Ignorance? Custom? Tradition? I assert it is because of willful racism! When Malaysian Indian Congress was first formed in the late 40’s, it was considered an extension to the Indian Congress, which was the ruling party of India then. Over 50 years have since passed; Those Indians - our ancestors - are all dead. Those who remain - you and I, the descendants of those Indians have become Malaysians. But the term, Malaysian - Indian, remains - racism rules.

This sorry state is certainly not confined to MIC alone. Malaysian Chinese Association, MCA, suffers from the same misnomer. If anything, these organisations, in view of the changing landscape (at least in the name of Vision 2020) should have changed their names to IMC (Indian-Malaysian Congress) and CMA (Chinese-Malaysian Association).

Some may, of course, brush this criticism off as something minor, as something not worth the cost or the confusion. Maybe. But, there is a point to it all: for hearts and minds to change, the right institutions must be in place. In our case, it is quite apparent that the very institutions that were supposed to build a united nation are disuniting in reality. The very fact that a wrong usage should continue to be present shows how ill prepared our institutions are. (I am having the late Oxford philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein here in mind). Please tell me, can anyone even imagine a multi-cultural Malaysian nation -- where no one discriminates the other on the basis of race (ethnicity should be the preferred word), where everyone treats the other as a brother or sister - being run by the same racist parties that exist now? Is such a future even conceptually possible (except in the minds of die-hard "Malaysia Boleh" optimists)?

Why not dismantle? Yes, dismantle!

We could only envisage a future where "Bangsa Malaysia" is a reality if these dinosaurs cease to exist as political parties. I am not advocating obliteration of these entities. No. These parties, in my opinion, should remain (with the slight tweaking in their names) as pressure groups, as single-issue networks. They could still wield enormous political power, if they were effective and clean; they could still decide electoral outcomes, if they choose to. There would be wheeling and dealing; but there, amidst such a fluid political landscape, would remain a genuine chance for a Malaysian nation, a "Bangsa Malaysia" to emerge.

Oh my… I guess I've soared high enough, dreamed for far too long. It is time for me to descend to earth and crawl back into my racist carapace, and be a realist again. And heap praises on our nation and on the ideals that are so central to its psyche: long live, racism! Long live, racist Malaysia - the model racist nation!

This article was originally written in the summer of 2000, when the author was doing his graduate studies at Columbia University. A heavily edited version of this article was published in Malaysiakini at about the same time.

Ve. Elanjelian

Malaysian Indian Protest -Internal Security Act










New evidence will be revealed when time is right, says Altantuya’s dad

KUALA LUMPUR: Mongolian Dr Setev Shaariibuu has found new evidence in connection with his daughter’s murder trial and he will reveal it when “the time is right”.

Dr Shaariibuu said he was frustrated with the slow process of the trial.

“The authority has confirmed the DNA (belonged to his daughter Altantuya Shaariibuu) but why is there still no response?” Dr Shaariibuu asked reporters at the Parliament lobby during the swearing-in of MPs yesterday.

He noted that yesterday was Altantuya’s birthday and asked everyone at the press conference observe 10 seconds of silence as a mark of respect.

DAP national chairman Karpal Singh, who was present, said Dr Shaariibuu had filed a civil suit against the Malaysian Government for denying liability on the case.

Police Special Action Squad operatives C/Insp Azilah Hadri, 32, and Cpl Sirul Azhar Umar, 37, have been charged with killing Altantuya on Oct 20, 2006, in Shah Alam.

Political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda, 48, is accused of abetting them.

The Star

Altantuya's dad makes surprise appearance

DR Shaariibuu Setev, the father of murdered Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu, made an unexpected appearance at parliament yesterday while the House was bustling with members waiting to take their oaths.

The exhausted man, accompanied by an interpreter, waited anxiously in the lobby. They were then joined by Bukit Gelugor member of parliament Karpal Singh and his son and Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo at a press conference.

For Shaariibuu, the crowd around him was an opportunity to publicly say a little prayer for Altantuya, who would have been 30 yesterday.

Shaariibuu asked the group of people around him to pay respects to Altantuya by observing a 10-second silence.

He then passed a piece of paper which stated that Mongolians were watching Malaysia and its people to see if they would act on humanitarian grounds to bring justice and punish those responsible for the murder of his daughter.

Shaariibuu said he was concerned and upset over the murder trial's slow pace. He wanted to meet Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Karpal said the trial was being prolonged without any good reason.

"Our entire judicial system is on trial and every expert should make sure that justice is done and the perpetrators punished," said Karpal.

Shaariibuu also said if the case was not tried fairly, Mongolia would break off diplomatic ties with Malaysia.

A letter to the effect had been sent by the Mongolian Foreign Ministry last October.

Karpal added that he would hand over a note from Shaariibuu to the prime minister.

Shaariibuu also hinted that he had evidence on the case which he would reveal when "the time was right".

He declined further comment when pressed on the issue.

NST

Hindraf 5, ISA fireworks in store for Parliament

KUALA LUMPUR, April 29 — Expect fireworks if the Speaker allows an urgent debate on the Hindraf 5 and other Internal Security Act detainees on Wednesday.

During the pre-council briefing to Barisan Nasional MPs yesterday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi urged them to be ready for provocative questions from the Opposition, especially on the Hindu Rights Action Force issue and ISA.

He told them to hold their ground and not be cowed by the Opposition, saying that MPs from Pakatan Rakyat were under pressure from their supporters to deliver on their election promises of abolishing the ISA and freeing M. Manoharan, P. Uthayakumar, R. Kenghadharan, V. Ganabatirau and T. Vasantha Kumar.

DAP advisor Lim Kit Siang has filed a motion for an urgent debate tomorrow on the release of the Hindraf 5 and over 60 other detainees being held in Kamunting detention centre under the ISA.

Writing in his blog, he said: “the refusal of the government to release the Hindraf 5 and the scores of other ISA detainees is proof that the Abdullah administration is not prepared to heed the people’s aspirations clearly articulated in the March 8 'political tsunami' to end its arrogant governance and to revoke its high-handed and undemocratic policies and laws."

The Speaker of Dewan Rakyat can allow an urgent debate if he deems that the issue is fixed; whether it involves a matter of public importance and whether the issue needs to be handled immediately. Supporters of the Hindraf 5 argue that Uthayakumar is not keeping well and that his sugar level is very high, the result of being given a carbohydrate-rich diet.

His mother has written to Abdullah asking for the release of Uthayakumar and the other Hindraf detainees. She wrote: "Mr Prime Minister as a father to this nation to exercise compassion and fairness to all your 'children'. The families of the 5 are suffering daily. They shed tears daily unable to explain to their young children why their fathers who spoke the truth are incarcerated. Their young children suffer psychological scars as a result of being denied the love and care of their fathers."

But hopes of an early release were dashed when it was learnt that the King, on the advice of the Prime Minister’s Advisory Board, signed a two-year detention order for the five in mid-April. Hindraf came to prominence in November last year when it organised demonstrations to highlight the marginalisation of Indians in Malaysia.

Initially, the government discounted them as a non-governmental organisation with little clout. But all this changed when the group managed to attract some 30,000 people to take to the streets in Kuala Lumpur on Nov 25. The protest was put down by riot police but Uthayakumar and other leaders then went on a road show, bringing their allegations of discrimination to temples and political gatherings.

The police detained the 5 under the ISA, arguing that they were threat to national security. Their detention turned them into martyrs in the Indian community and was one of the reasons why Indian voters deserted the BN in droves in Election 2008 and supported Pakatan Rakyat candidates.

In return for the support of the Indian community, the Opposition pledged to push for the release of the Hindraf 5. Tomorrow will their first attempt.

The Malaysian Insider
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Malaysian Indian Ethnic Cleansing by UMNO led government

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