Saturday, July 30, 2011
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
He was booed a number of times, forcing him to plead with the audience to give him a hearing in the event organised by Kumpulan Karangkraf, a media organisation which publishes Malay language daily Sinar Harian and a score of popular magazines.
Wan Ahmad (left) also insisted that the EC is just a “management body” which does not have the enforcement powers to tackle the abuses raised by various quarters relating to the electoral system and processes.
He then kicked the ball to the Attorney-General's Chambers regarding amendments to the election laws, stressing that it is a natural advantage for the ruling government to decide on the laws to be passed and amended, and the EC has no say in this aspect.
“Anybody who wants to push reform which touches on the fundamental policy of the government must approach the right person.”
The moderator, Wan Saiful Wan Jan from think-tank Ideas, then asked whether Wan Ahmad is suggesting that the problem lies with the government and not the EC, followed by a round of cheering and applause from the audience.
Not answering the question specifically, Wan Ahmad replied that the current government, elected by a majority of the people, certainly have a stronger say in law amendment.
“If you are elected, you will do the same thing,” he answered to another round of boos.
“To push for reform, we need to work together, don't treat the EC as an enemy.”
'Don't treat the EC as an enemy'
In response, Ambiga (right) rebutted that it was the EC that had adopted a hostile stand against the electoral reform coalition.
“I think you treat us as an enemy... It is wrong to say that 'we won't talk to you because the opposition is with you'... You sound like the government,” she said to the applause of the crowd.
She also lambasted the EC, which she claimed has been given a certain degree of enforcement power under the federal constitution, for not taking pro-active action in changing the laws.
Annoyed by the constant interruption from the floor, Wan Ahmad criticised them for refusing to open up their mind, being irrational, ignorant about election laws and even “sitting under the coconut shell”.
The audience responded by shouting “no power” almost every time Wan Ahmad spoke.
The irritated EC deputy chairperson then said "BN did not hentam(attack) the EC", inviting another round of boos and sneers.
"How are political parties namely PAS, PKR and DAP different from BN coalition parties? The difference is in their approach. BN also criticises us like you do but not in the media.
"They discuss rationally but you use the media to stab us. The EC cannot just keep quiet," he responded, sparking an uproar within the floor.
Wan Saiful (right), who commented that Wan Ahmad's "partisan language" had agitated the audience, had to repeatedly call for calm, but it was in vain.
“Let's stop the heckling,” he said, adding that the situation was turning into a rowdy “primary school” classroom.
However, Ambiga, at one point, commended Wan Ahmad's courage to face the critics.
“Wan Ahmad is a brave man sitting here. The whole EC should be here to back him but they only sent him,” she said, prompting the audience to give a round of applause to the EC's number two.
When quizzed that many people do not see EC as a credible institution, Wan Ahmad argued that the view is just limited to the audience in the forum but the majority of the people still trust the commission.
Ambiga herself, however, faced questions levelled at her over the rally on July 9 which took place, with at least two members of the audience demanding whether she would continue with her "confrontational" methods.
One challenged Ambiga "from lawyer to lawyer" on her leadership role on July and whether she would organise more "illegal rallies".
A third questioned the Bersih 2.0 chief over the prominent space taken up by opposition party leaders in her civil society-led coalition.
The three-hour panel discussion, 'What's next after July 9?', also saw the participation of UKM professor Shamsul Amri Baharuddin (left).
During the forum, a commotion broke out when a Malay lawyer, while criticising Bersih 2.0's decision to call an illegal rally, made a remark that “the Malays have accepted the Chinese and Indians as citizens”.
The remark angered a few Indians who stood up and shouted at the lawyer. However, the situation calmed down soon after the ushers interfered.
Forum ends early on order of 'higher authority'
The organiser ended the forum 15 minutes earlier than planned, saying that it was due to the order of a “higher authority”.
Many speculated that the order came from the police, who had been monitoring the forum, but the organiser later clarified that it was due to praying time and the “higher authority” referred to was God.
Before the commencement of the forum, police were guarding the entrance and banners that read "T-shirts with Bersih and Patriot logos are prohibited" were put up.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Monday, July 25, 2011
We have had 54 years of Umno/BN rule and have things really got any better? The rich appear to get richer, whilst the numbers who make up the poor, are increasing.
The old class system was royalty versus the serfs. Then it was the colonialists against the Malayans. Now it looks like it is the Umnoputras versus the rest.
The Umnoputras are the new elite. Even royalty depends on the largesse of those who lead Umno/BN to get funding from the civil list.
When it suits them, BN will use emotional blackmail on the Malays to say that their heartland and their birthright is being threatened.
The British left us with a country that had enormous potential. Malaya had an abundance of wealth, from tin to timber, minerals to mining.
Singapore was only a trading port for all of Malaya's riches. Look at Singapore now.
Malaya was rich in natural resources and it was these riches that helped fund the British war effort in the First World War. However, one untapped resource then as it is now, are its people - the Malaysians - Orang Asli, Malays, Chinese, Indians, the East Malaysians, Eurasians and all the rest.
Over the years, all these people contributed towards the success that we now see in the country. It is not BN or Umno or the Opposition who are responsible. It is the hard work and fortitude of those Malaysians who love their country.
However, the Umnoputras are the new royalty and they are siphoning away riches that should be shared with the rest of the rakyat. They take but they never give. They forget that all Malaysians deserve the same considerations and protections as other individuals working in the country.
Prime minister Najib Abdul Razak (right) was not elected to the post. He leads the country by default. He has shown very little ability to govern or to engage with the rakyat.
He only pays lip service to his speech to delegates of the 65th United Nations General Assembly; he said that extremists should not be allowed. At home, Malay extremists were permitted to express their insensitive racist and religious views without being punished.
His administration tells us to tighten our belts but it appears he does not have to heed his own advice. He freely uses taxpayers' money on his personal comfort. How does he have the gall to spend RM63 million on renovations on Seri Perdana when some people do not have a decent roof over their heads?
Taxpayers' money is also used to fund his expenses abroad. One trip to the US was combined with his daughter's graduation ceremony. Another trip to Kazakhstan with a large entourage of officials coincided with his daughter's engagement ceremony. Quite a few regarded it as morally wrong.
When Najib's wife, the self-styled "First Lady", appeared in the New York Times centre-fold, the rakyat was irked further when it was alleged that US$4 million had been spent on this self-publicity drive.
Perhaps Najib is not at all bothered about emptying the public purse. In comparison, if we owed a government department one ringgit, we would be hounded like criminals.
Najib and his administration are devoid of morality. He need not go on about the opposition and their spending when people who have been found practising money politics to head government institutions.
How can he claim that other Muslim nations should follow Malaysia's lead, because Malaysia's system of governance is based on moderate Islam and has worked?
What about corruption, the abuse of power, the use of racial or religious sentiments to divide the public and the lack of credibility of the country's institutions?
Why can Najib not make decisions which will lead to monumental improvements in democracy in Malaysia?
Instead he wants to build monuments to his vanity like the proposed 100-storey Warisan Merdeka. These are mere phallic symbols for Umno/BN.
In Najib's Malaysia, levels of aggression and intolerance by some Malays towards non-Malays or non-Muslims have increased. Malays who make racial and religious slurs go unchecked, despite Najib's promises to eradicate extremism.
Bersih, which called for free and fair elections, has been outlawed by Najib. Is he not interested in clean elections? Does he not wish to prove that Umno has won every election by fair means? Why is he afraid of free and fair elections?
Why is he afraid of allowing international observers to oversee the elections? Surely, international observers would scotch all of the opposition's claims that Umno tampers with the election results.
On the other hand, the recent deportation of French lawyer, William Bourdon, can only mean one thing. There is something to hide.
Bourdon, who is representing local NGO Suaram, believes that details of beneficiaries and kickbacks from theRM7.3 billion Scorpene submarine deal will be revealed when the matter is raised in an ongoing French corruption trial against defence giant DCNS.
If all is above board the parties involved would surely want to clear their name. Or even prove that the Scorpene scandal has nothing to do with them.
The shame is that other Umno/BN members are aware of the truth and that Najib is an incapable leader. However, these people are not willing to help the country because they only want to save themselves. Perhaps, they are themselves implicated or maybe they fear for their own safety.
But we, the rakyat, are telling Najib that it is time he went.
If he is still unconvinced that he is not the man for the job (of leading the country), he should have known by now, that being PM is a poisoned chalice.
[Source: Mariam Mokhtar]
Sunday, July 24, 2011
Were we the only gung-ho ones? Gary and Keng Yew were in front, 50 metres away.
Then they were stopped by officers in jackets. Gosh, they were stopped sooner than expected. Okay, we had to turn back now.
We quickly made a phone call to Gary. Phew, they were only officers from the Bar Council.
We continued walking, and lo and behold, there was a crowd of hundreds of people already gathering at Petaling Street, chanting away.
My spirits were lifted up. There are people! Oh my, where do they come from?
Excerpts from Maybank experience
At the side stairs, we heard, "Oi, Mr Maniam... Bersih... Bersih!" A Chinese gentleman was presumably shouting to his friend who was 20 feet away.
Then all of us joined in the chorus. "Bersih! Bersih! Hidup Bersih! Hidup Rakyat!"
I saw Malays, Indians and Chinese in unison shouting in accord and strangers flashing smiles at one another. This was a priceless moment.
Suddenly, tear gas was released into the air. The moment I dreaded most was happening. We ran to the back of Maybank. People started climbing the steel fence to escape.
Some men were very helpful, lending a hand to the women. My husband said: "Climb now, dear."
I didn't think I could do it as the fence was pretty sharp at the top and my eyes were in pain.
We ran further and found a lower barricade.
Then I saw an elderly Malay couple in their late 60s. Oh my, what are they doing here?
"Makcik, boleh tak?"
Through chaos and inflicted with tear gas, the young ones still had the conscience to do the right thing, which was to help the Pakcik and Makcik cross over first.
The police were behind us and we ran with all our might. We ran into an alley, thinking to stay away from the main road, but it led to a dead end.
About 40 of us were looking at each other and panic was written all over our faces. We had to turn back. My heart dropped. We would be arrested for sure. Was there another option? No. And so we ran, and I prayed. Was I in a Jason Bourne movie?
Excerpts from Tung Shin Hospital experience
Tear gas was released into the compound of Tung Shin Hospital. We fled to the back of the building where we managed to find a door and went inside the hospital. We were trapped as the FRU had cornered us.
While waiting, we chatted with our other compatriots.
"We are really not trained for this!"
"Of course not!"
"Are you in any political party?
"Is running and hiding away your day job?"
It dawned on me then what conviction could do to a person. A greater element was at work here. These were the ones that had not allowed fear to have the final say. With arrest imminent, the test of what we believed in had just begun.
Police then came into the compound and made some random arrests. I stood and watched, helpless. I spoke to an elderly Chinese couple.
I asked them, "Uncle, auntie, what are you guys doing here? You really shouldn't be here."
Another guy chipped in, "Yes, I won't allow my parents to be here and I dare not tell them that I'm here too."
The elderly lady said, "We are doing this for our children, since we are old. If we die, die-lah. At least we are doing something for Malaysia."
She later she turned to her husband and added, "Darling, I think this is the best honeymoon we ever had!"
I gave a side-way look to my husband - Sorry, don't expect that from me!
SIN SEE HO owns a recruitment agency and an online job portal. He is not affiliated with any political party and loves Malaysia because it's the only home he knows.