Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Festive of Ruckus

Over the years I have known him, Gerakan Youth vice-chairman S. Paranjothy was never a loose cannon. Although quite outspoken, his statements are always calculated and never exaggerated.

However, last week Paranjothy's statement caught UMNO Youth leader by his burly tail. Paranjothy has alleged that UMNO leaders' propensity to play up racial sentiments is causing other component parties to lose support from their respective non-Malay support base. Paranjothy also drew flak from Umno for criticising the government for "marginalising, oppressing and ignoring" the Indian Malaysian community which resulted in them being "fourth-class citizens".

He pointed his finger at both Khairy Jamaluddin and Hishamuddin Hussein for faning up racial issues at the the recently concluded UMNO's general assembly. Other incidences could have motivated his statement, most significantly the Hindraf demonstration and the action taken against five of the movement's leaders.

When I spoke to Paranjothy, he appeared calm and composed. Later, when asked by reporters he has chosen to stick to his statement regardless the disciplinary action to be taken against him.

Let's look at the issue objectively. Paranjothy's statement and the reaction from UMNO Youth chief are symptoms of the current political system which is race-based. In a talk I gave in London, I argued that it is timely for the BN to undergo another transformation - just like what the Alliance did in 1970 (for a period between 1970-1974 the Alliance was defunct).

The alliance model was expanded and remoded to include more communities and smaller political parties. The new BN model which was established in April 1974 focused on two key pillars e.g. national reconciliation and social restructuring. Hence, the NEP was endorsed and adopted.

However, we are now facing another bottleneck which requires a restructuring of the current BN model so that it is able to address two key objectives - global positioning and nation building. To fulfill these two objectives, it is timely for BN to emerge as a single entity representing all Malaysians.

Unfortunately, only gullible leaders in the present leadership who insisted on perpetuating the divide for decades to come knowing fully well that it is no longer the recipe for continual growth, political stability and socio-economic harmony.

Paranjothy, instead of being castigated, deserves an apology from the current BN leadership for clouding and contaminating the youths' mind with racial slurs and prejudices. It is their reluctance to change, to adjust and to accept the fact that some segments of the society have been marginalised for decades due to the racial socio-economic policy we practiced. What is obvious is the policy has been hijacked to enrich a well-connected few.

Gerakan president Dr Koh Tsu Koon has announced a possible expulsion or suspension for Paranjothy. This is most unfortunate because only weeks earlier Dr Koh had defended another Gerakan stalwart from speaking his mind. He claimed that Gerakan is a democratic party when Dr Toh Kin Woon openly said that he did not agree with the national leaders on freedom to assemble. His decision will prompt many to question him on his consistency.

Second, the expulsion of Paranjothy (which is highly possible) is lauded by UMNO Youth chief Hishamuddin but it will not win him or his party any brownie point. Instead, many will resent UMNO as a bully and a tyranny for not willing to take similar action against its members and leaders who made more serious and seditious statements.

Third, this decision puts into question the leadership capability of Dr Koh when put into a serious political challenge. Some have made comparison to Dr Lim Keng Yaik on what he would do if faced with similar situation. They expected Dr Lim to tell UMNO that was Paranjothy's own opinion and not Gerakan stand. Paranjothy, being a senior youth leader, would be told to be more careful when making a statement.

I have experienced this myself and found Dr Lim's method to be less punitive and he gave generous allowance to inexperience rookies.

Whatever the decision now, the party must learn a lesson that it cannot continue to sack its own leaders for speaking up or risks isolation and desertion from its members. In a team, the leader will go a long way to protect his members even if they were to divert from the original path. This is what made you regarded as a good leader - to take the bullet if you must for your comrades.

I HOPE good sense prevails.

The Price of Uncontrolled Development


When I last spoke to an elderly statesman, he expressed his disappointment over the state of Gurney Drive. This is a price of uncontrolled development. The land reclaimation project around Tanjung Tokong has obviously affected the flow of tide to Gurney.

Can someone make the smell go away? A wild life sanctuary it is not, more like an open toilet bowl.

A visitor giving a thumb's down to the muddy front. I am sure many more residents around the area will be giving the same thumb down sign if nothing is being done in earnest.
On the debate of whether Penangites should support more development or a sustainable lifestyle, I am sure what we wanted is responsible development which protects the environment.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry X'Mas and a Joyous 2008


I am back but not to a rousing start. Am down with muscle pull on both legs, flu and fever.

Nevertheless, I am glad to be back and would like to wish you and family a 'Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2008'.

I am sure it will be an interesting year ahead.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Blogging Restricted

I am on the final leg of my travel abroad. Postings will be limited due to work and access to the internet until after 20th Dec 2007.

Take care, Malaysians. The call for the end of racial politics and for stronger democracy must get louder.

Friday, December 14, 2007

EC Chief - I am No Coward

"Who would want this job?", retorted Election Commission Chief Abdul Rashid when asked whether he would extend his service as chairman of the Commission.

Then he added,

"The general election is getting nearer, how could I run away? The critics would say I am a coward. I am not scared. I am also not scared if there are people wanting to stage riots but they have to face the law if they do that," he told reporters.

The Dewan Rakyat this week passed the Constitution (Amendment) Bill to extend the retirement age of EC members from 65 to 66. Rashid became EC chairman in 2000 and will reach 65 at the end of this year.

He said he would need time to think if the government offered him an extension. He said he did not want to make a hasty decision. "It is not something automatic," he said.

Abdul Rashid should care more for rules and regulations than his own reputation. What he should do is to abide by the law which stipulated that he should retire when reaching 65 years of age. Like others, he is not indispensible.

Talking like some fellows in UMNO makes us wonder who is actually Abdul Rashid? "I don't like being challenged", resonates here. I am sure you know from whose mouth this statement came. No one is going to say that Abdul Rashid is a coward if he chooses to retire. This is the right thing to do, we will instead applaud his courage.

His explicit endorsement of the current regime, his chilling reminder that he will not run away from being challenged and his absurdity do not augur well for his position and the independence required.

Now he said he would like to consider the offer to extend by another year. He should have told the Abdullah administration earlier, before the bill amendment, that he does not think it is right for him to stay on and there are other people who can continue to do the job - unless it is a DIRTY one.

Abdul Rashid should JUST GO.


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Black Wednesday - ISA Used Against Five

Five Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) leaders have been arrested and detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA).

The five are P. Uthayakumar, M. Manoharan, R. Kenghadharan, V. Ganabatirau and T. Vasanthakumar. The Star reported that they were detained under Section 8 (1) of the ISA after Internal Security Minister cum PM Abdulah Ahmad Badawi signed their detention order. Their detention is for two years.

After 60 days, the Minister of Home Affairs can extend the period of detention without trial for up to two years, without submitting any evidence for review by the courts, by issuing a detention order, which is renewable indefinitely.

I have said that some wordings in the Hindraf memorandum are not accurate and sensational but the government and police have yet to provide concrete evidence on their involvement with terrorist groups or their intention to stir up racial violence.

In fact, the police and the government had a role in provoking explicitly peaceful demonstrations by using excessive force to incite the anger of demonstrators. Peaceful demonstrations in many countries are used as a form of expressing public views and opinions when politicians NO LONGER LISTEN to them. Even Khairy Jamaluddin, the deputy chief of UMNO Youth, used the same avenue to speak out on his movement displeasure with US' occupation of Iraq.

The use of ISA in this case is a clear example of misuse and ABUSE of an outdated and draconian legislation to silence oppositions. In any democractic system, there is bound to be opposition and any government must be willing to accept this challenge.

The unfortunate thing is this government has categorically denied any weaknesses, inadequacies, and excesses. It has refused to accept that the perpetuation of racist policy has reached a bottleneck and for the nation to move forward triumphantly in a piece, we need a new rethinking of nation building.

The rebuke given to MP Devamany, the media, NGOs and other civil society organisations is a clear indication that the ruling government, especially UMNO, wants to send a clear signal to all Malaysians that it is WILLING and HAS resorted to FORCEFUL and COERCIVE instruments (police) and legislation (ISA) to ensure everyone toes the line and submit to its hegemony.

Hindraf's action, if is deemed so illogical, will die a natural death and will not get the people's support. But grievances of the Indian community cannot be ignored. It is evident that some of the poorest 40% of the society are grossly marginalised.

What is obvious is that this government has tainted its hands. It can no longer claim how lively democracy is in Malaysia.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Malaysia is UNDEMOCRATIC

Is Malaysia truly democratic? Is Malaysia truly Asia? Many of my colleagues in the seminar I am attending now do not think so. Recent events and the manner this government responded to them has tarnished our country's reputation as a beacon of democracry in the developing world.

I strongly CRITICISE the government's move to detain Bersih petitioners in the parliament house and deny them of their democractic rights to assemble, speak out and present their views.

I SUPPORT Opposition leader Lim Kit Siang's application to challenge the restraining order granted by the Kuala Lumpur Magistrate’s Court preventing polls reform group Bersih members from gathering in the vicinity of Parliament House yesterday.

This event showed that both the police and the judiciary are not acting in an independent manner. A democracy cannot be real if political interference is allowed in bodies which are supposed to be independent. Minus a grand scale public/social unrest, Malaysia is NOT a functioning democracy as claimed by some ruling politicians.

I am APPALLED at the extend our media, NGOs, activists and general public are muzzled and suppressed by the authorities for trying to exercise their democratic rights.

On the court's restraining order, constitutional expert Prof Dr Abdul Aziz Bari argued that the court order was unconstitutional as it overrode the Bersih petitioners’ constitutional right to freedom of assembly. (Malaysiakini.com)

He reiterated, “I don’t see how the court in a country with a written constitution like ours can go on mysterious grounds (in granting the restraining order).

“How can we place ordinary law above the Federal Constitution? This is monstrous!” said the International Islamic University Malaysia law lecturer. He argued that the police, even under Section 27 of the Police Act which empowers it to act on an illegal assembly, do not have absolute power to stop rallies as they are required to assess the situation objectively.

The Jakarta Post has a piece of advice (editorial, 11th Dec) for the current administration:

Although the ongoing anti-government movements in Malaysia are still at a very preliminary stage, Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi has threatened to impose the much feared and draconian Internal Security Act against those who still defy his warnings to cease street demonstrations.

The threat to jail protesters for an indefinite period of time seems to have worked, at least for the time being, because the number ofstreet demonstrations has sharply declined. But the prime minister needs to remember that demands for justice, more freedom and more political and economic equality cannot be silenced just by throwing more people into prisons.

PM Badawi and the ruling United Malays National Organization(UMNO) need to remember that as long as the roots of discontent existanti-government movements will not subside.The experience of Soeharto before his fall in May 1998 showed there was a point where people lost their fear of the iron-fist man and did not care anymore about his brutal responses to their protests.

Since political inteference in some of our national institutions is evident. I strongly believe that something must be done to safeguard our constitutional rights so that politicians DO NOT act beyond what is constitutionally allowed.

The police are not political servants and the IGP must not make a political judgement. Their duty is to fight crime and maintain peace and order in the society.

Election Commission (EC) chairperson Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman's view on which 'regime' he regards as being capable of running the country speaks like someone who is very keen to glorify a particular regime. How can an election referee act in a fair and independent manner when his biasness is clear and explicit?

"A lot of people are anxious to determine the type of regime that is going to handle Malaysia in the coming years. They are always talking about regimes. I never talk about regimes. There is only one regime in this country that is capable of running (the country)," he said.

"People get angry with me whenever I say this (but) people don't seem tounderstand the critical scenario in the country. What is it that can (take) over from the present one given the political scenario we are in?" he asked.

No wonder the move to amend the constitution to allow Abdul Rashid to serve one more year is controversial and suspicious. Abdul Rashid, like everyone else, must respect the law and duly retire.

It is CLEAR that Malaysia is UNDEMOCRATIC. We, the people, must not allow the destruction of democracy to continue.

Friday, December 07, 2007

IGP Should Stay Above Politics

Inspector-General of Police Musa Hassan yesterday accused Hindraf of seeking support from terrorists, smearing Malaysia's reputation and inciting racial hatred.

"Of late there have been indications that Hindraf is trying to seek support and help from terrorist groups," the police chief said in a statement, without giving any details. Musa dismissed as "false, baseless and malicious" the activists' claims that Indians, who make up eight percent of the population, are marginalised in terms of education, employment and wealth.

My advice to the IGP is to STAY OUT of politics. It is for NOT Musa to determine whether the allegations are true or not and use his force resources to support any political action to be taken against any person(s).

His duty is to safeguard public's safety and combat crime.

Credible Protests


I have refrained myself from making a comment on the recent Hindraf demonstration. Both the government and Hindraf deserved to be criticised for their respective action and response.

First, I believe all sensible Malaysians agree the communal politics we practice in Malaysia is reaching a serious bottleneck. From here, there can be potentially two outcomes. One, our people and the politicians can come to a concensus to end racial politics and embark on a true nation building effort to strengthen the concept of a Malaysian identity. Or two, we continue with the divergence path we are now taking.

Racial protests will lead to more racial protests. Perhaps towards ultimate and destructive racial clashes? We have somewhat forgotten the purpose of our struggle. We aim to dismantle racial politics and policies in this country. It cannot be achieved through emotional chest thumping although grouses of various communities are real.

Protestors NEED to be CREDIBLE. Only through credible activism that we can educate the people of our messages and purpose. Hindraf supporters' sentiments are real and should be taken into serious consideration. However, its leaders should not sensationalise its demands and claims.

Both during internal meetings and here, I have maintained my call for the government to open up a conduit for people to channel their frustrations and needs. Hence, I was critical of the government, especially deputy whip Nazri Aziz, on its decision to haul up MP Devamany for voicing out his concern in the parliament.

Khairy's call for the government not to meet up with Hindraf leaders will not resolve this issue. By refusing to meet these leaders, it will not take support away from them and it does not make the government look any better.

It is fundamental for all parties to realise that RACIAL POLITICS is damaging and we are facing a real bottleneck soon. I echo Suaram's call to end racial discrimination and the New Economic Policy (NEP) in Malaysia, saying it has served only to enrich the privileged few. (Malaysiakini.com)

It is WRONG to link Malay supremacism to NEP and to UMNO. This is not an age of racial supremacism. It should have ended when Nazi and Hitler was defeated in Germany and when apartheid was ended in South Africa.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Tragic

There is only one word to describe the politics of Malaysia - TRAGIC.

It is a TRAGEDY because everything else has moved on but our politics is still stucked in the post-colonial era. It is a tragedy we allow people like Rahim Tamby Chik to dictate our politics by inciting racial hatred and fear.

Chinese daily China Press on Sunday quoted Rahim as saying: “The Malays have never taken to the streets so do not force us to do so as we will draw our parang (machete) to defend the Ketuanan Melayu (Malay supremacy) in this country.” (Malaysiakini.com)

It is a TRAGEDY because the same set of rules does not apply for certain people in this country. Some leaders from a particular political party are immune to seditious law but not others. The police are investigating five Malaysians for posting seditious messages on the Internet. These include an email containing seditious remarks pertaining to race. The rest are a company director, whose company website carried a seditious posting, one ‘Dr Ng Seng’ who posted a seditious article on the Prime Minister’s Department’s website and student Wee Meng Chee for his satire of Negaraku posted on Youtube.

NONE from UMNO. Yes, we can understand why. MIGHT IS RIGHT!

It is a TRAGEDY because we have so many capable people and yet not many of them are around to serve the country. Coupled with our rich resources, Malaysia would have grown by leaps and bounds if not for our racial politics. Yet, politicians from a particular party said that nothing is wrong with our system. The rest merely nodded in silence, counting their agony.

It is a TRAGEDY because we cannot convey this message to the Malay community in the most rational language that the NEP is a cancer and not a cure to their problems. If 38 years of uninterrupted ability to implement the affirmative policy does not yield the desired outcome, surely the community must ask these self-proclaimed protectors of their race what has gone wrong.

It is a TRAGEDY because we are sitting still awaiting another TRAGEDY to hit us.

Politics of Intimidation


Funny, how can the Prime Minister convince us that he is fair to all when members of his party can say the darnest and seditious thing and get away with it? Yes, all they have to do is to BLAME the public, oppositions and bloggers. Members from other political parties are not entitled to the same exclusivity.

Any sign of dissent and they will be immediately hauled up by the deputy whip. Some of them have been suspended from their governmental position for speaking the voices of the people. Yet, many of these 'other' leaders still want to convince the electorates that they can make a difference internally. We may not know what they do inside but we are definitely not retarded and can be fooled by this plain statement.

Hence, I totally support Kota Bahru MP Zaid Ibrahim's call for Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to conduct a major overhaul of his cabinet line-up, including dropping certain senior ministers. He reasoned this will allow the government to rid itself of ‘old problems, habits and thinking’ to address the current challenges in the wake of tens of thousands taking to the street to vent their frustrations.

However, I would like to go a step further. The PM should democratise the parliament and the ruling coalition to ensure that MPs and politicians are not mere rubber stamp of the executive. MPs, as people representatives, should play their role to debate policy issues and ensure that they play a proactive role in solving various problems faced by the society.

The modus operandi of UMNO does not suggest that it is willing to share power. On the contrary, it is using other component parties to extend and legitimise its dominance. For fear of antagonising UMNO, many leaders in these political parties are not willing to take a stand contrary to UMNO e.g. NEP, Islamisation, privatisation and others. Grouses are often internalised and discussed in closed door meetings amongst the top honchos.

Some of these leaders even try to cover up for UMNO fearing that their own electoral prospect can be jeapordised if the truth is leaked out. The TRUTH cannot be kept hidden forever.

I have a piece of advice for those UMNO leaders who think that MIGHT IS RIGHT. They may one day find out that they have bitten more than what they can chew. The world is changing and those who refused to change will be left behind.

For these reasons, I applaud the position taken by MP Zaid although I am not too sure if he is going to succeed changing from the inside. Good luck!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Bloggers' Bashing

Parliamentarians Syed Hood Syed Edros (BN-Parit Sulong) and Mohamad Aziz (BN-Sri Gading) suggested that crucifixes in mission schools be removed and church influence over these schools be stopped. These recalcitrants refused to admit their chauvinism and told reporters that they were merely raising public concern.

Yes, BLAME it on the public. Who? If parents are really concerned, they would have not send their children to La Sallian schools. I came from a mission school and am proud to say that no one tried to convert me into christianity throughout my school life.

Syed Hood said the issue was played up in emails and blog-posts by those "who did not understand his intention" (Malaysiakini.com). Yes, BLAME it on the bloggers.

"What I said in the Dewan does not reflect Syed Hood the MP. I, as an individual and politician, always respect other races and religions. I personally don't have any issue with crosses being displayed in mission schools. We have to respect the religion of others to gain their respect for our religion."

Then WHY didn't you explain this to those who came to you with this concern? Tell them to take their children out of the mission schools and send them to the madrasahs. Tell them that mutual respect for all religions is pertinent.

I would like to suggest we take religion out from politics. UMNO, a Malay communal and capitalist party, claiming to champion Islam is chilling. Islam is not racist.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

People's Freedom Walk - Nuked!

Not wanting to go on a head-on collision with the authorities, Bar Council has called off the walk on Sunday. The council's chairperson, Ambiga Sreenevasan, should be applauded for being level-headed and calm in dealing with the authorities. It is believed that the police has refused to grant permit for the walk.

Reported in Malaysiakini.com, The organiser initially planned to hold the march, themed the ‘People’s Freedom Walk’ from the Sogo department store to Central Market on Sunday morning. The march has featured in the council’s annual celebration of World Human Rights Day, on Dec 10, for the last two years.

I would like to voice out my concern over the current situation. There are several reasons. First, it appears that the Malaysian democratic process is limited to a five-year occasion - the general elections. Several politicians, including a senior minister, suggested the electoral process as a venue for the people to register their displeasure. Apart from that, the authorities are reluctant to tolerate any form of democratic expression.

It is obvious that a democracy cannot function without the participation and feedback from its stakeholders - chiefly its people. The electoral process has been used and abused by many ruling governments to legitimise their hold on power. Venezualian experience is a good example. Luckily Hugo Chavez was narrowly defeated in a vote in an attempt to become president for life.

Over breakfast this morning, I spoke to a participant, Mohammed Khalef, from Tanzania - a country which was established in 1964 - about his country's electoral system. I was surprised to find out that they practiced proportionate representation in Tanzania. Our government has attempted to compare how great this country is compared to Ghana and other African countries. This African country is evidently far more liberal and just in their electoral representation than us.

Second, there is a growing tendency of our elected representatives acting more like autocrats than democrats. Dissents, however civil and objective, are treated with unbelievable harshness. In sum, the people cannot speak up against the authorities, public policies and about their grievances. Elected representatives should listen and be responsive to the people. But clearly, the rhetoric does not seem to suggest that these politicians are listening.

Third, I have voiced my concern in an open letter to the PM on the state of our public security. I am disappointed to find out that excessive use of force (FRUs and Police) is subjected to peaceful demonstrators but the same commitment is not seen when comes to combating crime. As a result, criminals have become more daring.

These politicians have blatantly denied that something is not right in the country. It is systemic change that we need and not merely a small tinkle with the system.

Malaysians who love their country must participate in the process to make this country a better place for all.

Malaysian Constitution

Why the Bar Council's Walk Must Go On? As Malaysians, We Must Support Human Rights!

FUNDAMENTAL LIBERTIES


Article number: 5

(1) No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty save in accordance with law.

(2) Where complaint is made to a High court or any judge thereof that a person is being unlawfully detained the court shall inquire into the complaint and, unless satisfied that the detention is lawful, shall order him to be produced before the court and release him.

(3) Where a person is arrested he shall be informed as soon as may be of the grounds of his arrest and shall be allowed to consult and be defended by a legal practitioner of his choice.

(4) Where a person is arrested and not released he shall without unreasonable delay, and in any case within twenty-four hours (excluding the time of any necessary journey) be produced before a magistrate and shall not be further detained in custody without the magistrate's authority:
Provided that this Clause shall not apply to the arrest or detention of any person under the existing law relating to restricted residence, and all the provisions of this Clause shall be deemed to have been an integral part of this Article as from Merdeka Day.

(5) Clauses (3) and (4) do not apply to an enemy alien.

Article number: 6

(1) No person shall be held in slavery.

(2) All forms of forced labour are prohibited, but Parliament may by law provide for compulsory service for national purposes.

(3) Work incidental to the serving of a sentence of imprisonment imposed by a court of law shall not be taken to be forced labour within the meaning of this Article.

(4) Where by any written law the whole or any part of the functions of any public authority is to be carried on by another public authority, for the purpose of enabling those functions to be performed the employees of the first mentioned public authority shall be bound to serve the second mentioned public authority shall not be taken to be forced labour within the meaning of this Article, and no such employee shall be entitled to demand any right from either the first mentioned or the second mentioned public authority by reason of the transfer of his employment.

Article number: 7

(1)No person shall be punished for an act or omission which was not punishable by law when it was done or made, and no person shall suffer greater punishment for an offence than was prescribed by law at the time it was committed.

(2) A person who has been acquitted or convicted of an offence shall not be tried again for the same offence except where the conviction or acquittal has been quashed and a retrial ordered by a court superior to that by which he was acquitted or convicted.

Article number: 8

(1) All persons are equal before the law and entitled to the equal protection of the law.

(2) Except as expressly authorized by this Constitution, there shall be no discrimination against citizens on the ground only of religion, race, descent or place of birth in any law relating to the acquisition, holding or disposition of property or the establishing or carrying on of any trade, business, profession, vocation or employment.

(3) There shall be no discrimination in favour of any person on the ground that he is a subject of the Ruler of the State.

(4) No public authority shall discriminate against any person on the ground that he is resident or carrying on business in any part of the Federation outside the jurisdiction of the authority.

(5) This Article does not invalidate or prohibit -
(a) any provision regulating personal law;
(b) any provision or practice restricting office or employment connected with the affairs of any religion, or of an institution managed by a group professing any religion, to persons professing that religion;
(c) any provision for the protection, wellbeing or advancement of the aboriginal peoples of the Malay Peninsula (including the reservation of land) or the reservation to aborigines of a reasonable proportion of suitable positions in the public service;
(d) any provision prescribing residence in a State or part of a State as a qualification for election or appointment to any authority having jurisdiction only in that State or part, or for voting in such an election;
(e) any provision of a Constitution of a State, being or corresponding to a provision in force immediately before Merdeka Day;
(f) any provision restricting enlistment in the Malay Regiment to Malays.

Article number: 9

(1) No citizen shall be banished or excluded from the Federation.

(2) Subject to Clause (3) and to any law relating to the security of the Federation or any part thereof, public order, public health, or the punishment of offenders, every citizen has the right to move freely throughout the Federation and to reside in any part thereof.

(3) So long as under this Constitution any other State is in a special position as compared with the States of Malaya, Parliament may by law impose restrictions, as between that State and other States, on the rights conferred by Clause (2) in respect of movement and residence.

Article number: 10

(1)Subject to Clauses (2), (3) and (4) -
(a) every citizen has the right to freedom of speech and expression;
(b) all citizens have the right to assemble peaceably and without arms;
(c) all citizens have the right to form associations.

(2) Parliament may by law impose -
(a) on the rights conferred by paragraph (a) of Clause (1),such restrictions as it deems necessary or expedient in the interest of the security of the Federation or any part thereof, friendly relations with other countries, public order or morality and restrictions designed to protect the privileges of Parliament or of any Legislative Assembly or to provide against contempt of court, defamation, or incitement to any offence;
(b) on the right conferred by paragraph (b) of Clause (1), such restrictions as it deems necessary or expedient in the interest of the security of the Federation or any part thereof, or public order;
(c) on the right conferred by paragraph (c) of Clause (1), such restrictions as it deems necessary or expedient in the interest of the security of the Federation or any part thereof, public order or morality.

(3) Restrictions on the right to form associations conferred by paragraph (c) of Clause (1) may also be imposed by any law relating to labour or education.

(4) In imposing restrictions in the interest of the security of the Federation or any part thereof or public order under Clause (2) (a), Parliament may pass law prohibiting the questioning of any matter, right, status, position, privilege, sovereignty or prerogative established or protected by the provisions of Part III, article 152, 153 or 181 otherwise than in relation to the implementation thereof as may be specified in such law.


Article number: 11

(1)Every person has the right to profess and practice his religion and, subject to Clause (4), to propagate it.

(2) No person shall be compelled to pay any tax the proceeds of which are specially allocated in whole or in part for the purposes of a religion other than his own.

(3) Every religious group has the right -
(a) to manage its own religious affairs;
(b) to establish and maintain institutions for religious or charitable purposes; and
(c) to acquire and own property and hold and administer it in accordance with law.

(4) State law and in respect of the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur and Lubuan, federal law may control or restrict the propagation of any religious doctrine or belief among persons professing the religion of Islam.

(5) This Article does not authorize any act contrary to any general law relating to public order, public health or morality.

Article number: 12

(1)Without prejudice to the generality of Article 8, there shall be no discrimination against any citizen on the grounds only of religion, race, descent or place of birth -
(a) in the administration of any educational institution maintained by a public authority,
and, in particular, the admission of pupils or students or the payment of fees; or
(b) in providing out of the funds of a public authority financial aid for the maintenance or education of pupils or students in any educational institution (whether or not maintained by a public authority and whether within or outside the Federation).

(2) Every religious group has the right to establish and maintain institutions for the education of children in its own religion, and there shall be no discrimination on the ground only of religion in any law relating to such institutions or in the administration of any such law; but it shall be lawful for the Federation or a State to establish or maintain or assist in establishing or maintaining Islamic institutions or provide or assist in providing instruction in the religion of Islam and incur such expenditure as may be necessary for the purpose.

(3) No person shall be required to receive instruction in or take part in any ceremony or act of worship of a religion other than his own.

(4) For the purposes of Clause (3) the religion of a person under the age of eighteen years shall be decided by his parent or guardian.

Article number: 13.


(1)No person shall be deprived of property save in accordance with law.

(2) No law shall provide for the compulsory acquisition or use of property without adequate
compensation.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Yet Another Victim

I am online now from Cologne, Germany and was hoping to read some positive news from home. Again, this piece of angry and disappointing news greeted me "Woman, 20, abducted and raped". I have written an open letter to the Minister of Internal Security on the state of our public security which has troubled many of our people especially women and children.

Yet we read of how the authority is willing to channel tremendous use of police and FRU forces to clamp down on peaceful demonstrations. If only these resources and motivation can be directed to combat crime prowling the streets, I am sure we will all be feeling safer.

It is time to stop this menace. I intend to call for social activists for a discussion on how we can establish a national crime alert system working with relevant parties when I am back.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Caught in a Web-spin


Please click here to read my interview in The Star. I am away overseas for 3 weeks. So postings may not be very regular.

At the roundtable, I pointed out that the government is not ready to accept the Internet as a media channel because it cannot be controlled. As argued by Jeff, the freedom enjoyed by bloggers in the country is more by accident than by design (KJ disagrees). Since the Mahathir regime, the promise of no online censorship is given to stimulate/promote investment and not to protect our democratic rights.

The nature of Internet provides free access and an equal playing field for all participants as long as they are willing to embrace it. However, what we have witnessed are efforts and actions taken by the authority to run down the credibility online news and blogs. Unfortunately, the creation of reliable news and contents are not solely the domain of the traditional mass media, which are equally tainted with the close ties with the ruling political parties.

I argue that the government should change their mindset and embrace the Internet more positively. This can be done through the creation of their own domain to engage with a growing pool of online users. By taking negative and repressive actions against bloggers will only encourage more blogs taking up an anonymous position. Such reactions only help to strengthen the perception that the government has something to hide.

KJ admitted that blogs, websites and multimedia tools will become influential political tools in the next 10 years. He thought UMNO is not doing enough to counter online opposition.

The opposition thrives online because out of desperation and a lack of access to mass media they have to adopt and embrace the internet faster than government parties.