Fellow Malaysians, bloggers and lovers of Freedom everywhere,
I agree with the views and sentiments of Malaysians, as represented by those who with the courage of their convictions (below) wrote to Malaysiakini.com.
Yes, we are a disgrace to use ISA against Raja Petra Kamaruddin, the men of HINDRAF and others who are now in Kamunting, Perak. They stood up for freedom of speech and expression and our fundamental rights under the constitution, and are prepared to risk their personal security.
To top it all, UMNO-BN leaders are now mismanaging the economy, causing considerable hardships to Malaysians, especially the low income groups and the poor, who are burdened with high cost of living as a consequence of the dramatic drop in the purchasing power of the ringgit and inefficiences of an opaque public administration; these leaders destroyed the integrity and independence of institutions like the Judiciary, the Attorney General’s Office, the Civil Service, the Anti-Corruption Agency, the Election Commission, and the Police, which have become tools of a repressive government. They also treat us citizens as enemies of state, and yet during the elections they beg for our votes. We are not enemy combatants, nor do we condone the Patriot Act of the United States.
We have reached our lowest point in daily existence where the bond between us and government based on trust is broken. Restoring trust must be our first priority when a new government is formed.Right now, UMNO-BN leaders are desperately clinging to power.
They imagine reprisals from the next government in power, and ignore the sense of outrage from the public. They use the mainstream media (their editors be damned!) to spread lies and sow seeds of racial and religious discord among us while they seek to introduce a new race legislation.
We know that we cannot legislate peace and harmony among Malaysians. We have to educate our people to respect the dignity of difference, build on our diversity, create economic opportunity, promote social mobility, and lead by example. As citizens, we must abide by the Rule of Law, not by UMNO-BN’s politically motivated interpretations of our laws and reject the ISA.
It is not by wielding kerises at every opportunity in the name of Malay supremacy or by playing on racial sentiments to retain power. We promote national unity through goodwill, mutual respect and understanding among Malaysians. We focus on matters that unite us, while we solve problems that form the seeds of our differences and discord. We uphold the ethos of Rukun Negara and abide by our constitution. We certainly cannot put Malaysians under the Internal Security Act (ISA) because they disagree with us, or because they expose our misdemeanours and corruption.
And we do not hide under hubris. Like a bunch of ostriches, these leaders bury their heads in the sands of hubris and arrogance (may be, inferiority complex) as reflected in the speech of our Foreign Minister, Dato Seri Dr. Rais Yatim at the United Nations General Assembly last Saturday (September 27, 2008).
Yes, I agree with you, John Johnson, that “The government has no right to detain people without proof or evidence of their alleged wrongdoing.” The government cannot deny them their right of habeas corpus. It is always sad Eidul Fitr for me when I know that some fellow Malaysians like Raja Petra, the men of Hindraf and other ISA detainees are denied their freedom and cannot be with their families for this special occasion and for Deepavali.
Let us continue to aggressively campaign for an end to Rule by ISA. May we have a better Hari Lebaran in 2009 under new government led by Anwar Ibrahim and his PR colleagues—Din Merican
September 29, 2008
Anti-ISA vigil turns into Peace March
Juliana Lim: Detention under the ISA is most inhuman and unkind. Being a senior citizen left alone all by myself in the daytime, I know what loneliness and solitude feels like. Thus, I cannot help but think of the agony being endured by all those being detained under ISA.
I say “yes” to the use of ISA on terrorists as these people are the major factors that contribute to the instability and insecurity which destroy the peace and harmony in the country. But to detain someone just because you don’t agree with their opinions is simply unforgivable.
Indeed I simply cannot forget the incident when the young reporter was detained for simply reporting the truth. It was her job to earn an honest and honorable living. It is simply ridiculous that she was punished when she committed no wrong.
When will Malaysia abolish the ISA? When will we be free of this draconian law?
John Johnson: With all due respects, I am not interested in who becomes prime minister or who is haggling for a transition of power or when the UMNO Supreme Council will meet next.
All I’m interested in now is the law (ISA). The government has no right to detain people without proof or evidence of their alleged wrongdoing. These people also cannot be denied a fair trial. There is no place for such draconian laws like the ISA in the 21st century.
If the people have to shout themselves hoarse protesting against the ISA, so be it. We will go on shouting until our prime minister listens to us.
For how long must we continue embarrassing ourselves in the eyes of the world? We feel no shame slamming other countries if we think they are committing human rights abuses and yet behind closed doors, the government sings a different tune.
Our human rights record is a complete disgrace. Just look at the way our foreign labour is treated, how our ISA detainees are completely stripped of their basic rights as human beings and how the poor in the country struggle to make ends meet. These are genuine complaints, and yet no one in government seems bothered to address them.
If any other country so much as comments in these issues, we slam them for interfering in our internal issues. The rakyat must wake up and make a change and stop this rot before it gets out of hand.
How can we even imagine celebrating Hari Raya and Deepavali while the ISA detainees are languishing in cells in Kamunting? Shame on the government.
On Petrol bomb attack on Teresa Kok’s home
AB: I read with utter disgust and rage that there are Malaysians who would stoop to such despicable acts of cowardice to vent their anger. It is becoming a habit for such people and I am equally amazed that the police have not been able to nab the perpetrators.
The government goes all out to enact absurd laws like the DNA Act and yet the police and their erstwhile forensics department are so inept in catching criminals like these. Is this another sign of partiality in investigations by the authorities?
Are politicians from the opposition not important enough for the police to protect? Must they hire their own bodyguards?
Are we Malaysians going to be cowed by all these vile cowards who portray themselves as the ‘heroes’ of the rakyat but then subvert the peace and stability of the nation? Enough is enough, it is time for a change.
On Race Relations Act – why now?
Shirina Rashid: No legislation can teach Malaysians how to be ‘colour-blind’ or how to live in peace with everyone regardless of ethnicity, race and religion.
As a Malaysian, I can testify that it does not take a scientist to tell us that one can be non-racist starting from a young age. When I was growing up, my parents encouraged me and my siblings to befriend everyone regardless of ethnicity, religion, colour, race and social status. Racism was something we did not condone under our roof.
Because of this, I grew up having many friends who were mostly Chinese, Indian, Iban, Bidayuh, and Eurasian. To this day, we still keep in contact even though the majority of us are now based overseas. Thanks to my parents, I learnt to respect everyone.
Social sciences and humanities experts would tell us that no textbook or even a legislation can teach us to respect each other. Moreover, it makes sense that racist parents always beget racist children and the cycle goes on when their children pass this racist mentality to their own offspring. Racism is a vicious cycle and it takes a few anti-racist people to take a stand against it.
Racism and its other ugly cousin, race superiority, do not deserve any place in a ethnically diverse nation like Malaysia. It is time we as parents, caregivers and members of the community play our role in teaching our children how to be non-racist starting in our own homes and from a young age.
Meng Yee: It is a shame that Malaysia has descended to the point of having to legislate race relations. Thanks to a race-based party having governed Malaysia for 51 years, Malaysia has descended to a new low in race relations.
The continued use of Biro Tatanegara to preach Malay supremacy is a way of instilling disunity in Malaysia. The BN government has a hidden agenda to keep the races disunited in order to perpetuate their existence and justify their brand of race-based politics.
Anwar Ibrahim’s PKR has thrown a spanner in the works and is threatening the status quo.
We will not need a race relations act if we do away with race-based political parties.
On Temple torn down without state’s knowledge
Joe: Whether it is a temple or a mere shrine, registered or not registered, it is a place of worship so why tear it down? The state executive councillor said the government was not informed, or is it that someone in the state government knew about it, but didn’t care. What kind of governance is this?
Mr Xavier, you are not there to warm the seat, but to keep abreast of all the issues in the state. Please keep in mind that the rakyat showed Samy Vellu the door because he was a lame duck minister. Don’t let the same fate befall you and your colleagues.
Thayakugan: Ampang MP Zuraida’s comment that misunderstanding between the local authority and temple officials on building/renovation plans is not a valid excuse to demolish the temple in its entirety.
The local MPs and MPAJ councillors ought to have nullified or cancelled any order for demolition of places of worship in the local authority.
MIC is not trying to take advantage of the situation nor is it slamming PKR unnecessarily. However, it is extremely saddened by this episode which is an insult and an infringement of the freedom of Indians to worship.
The Pakatan Rakyat-led state government must rectify the situation by providing the temple with an alternative site and compensate it adequately so it can rebuild what has been demolished.
On PKR wants religious body to probe sex claims
Ahmad Kamal: I am a little puzzled by the case of alleged entrapment to have illicit sex. A little puzzled by the foolishness of these PKR members who are Muslims and know for a fact that illicit sex, consent being irrelevant, is not too be taken lightly.
I would strongly advise the PKR leadership to remind themselves and their lot to stay out of mischief. While most Malaysians and some Muslims in Malaysia may think that sex between consenting adults, same-sex or otherwise is a private matter, clearly the Malaysian public at large think very dimly of such activities.
There are existing laws which consider these acts a crime, but the proof, by pictures is despicable if the state so wishes to use them, as Islam warns against public humiliation of such aberrations.
It would be useful for the defence counsel to raise questions as to the procurement of these pictures and I hope the Syariah judges will scrutinise the manner of investigation and prosecution of these Syariah offences. Trickery should not be encouraged.
Be that as it may, the PKR leadership cannot afford to be railroaded by the sexual antics of their rank and file at this crucial time in Malaysian politics and I would reiterate the advise of prevention as the better strategy to prevail. Please discipline your rank and file.
On Ku Li: Reject delay of party polls
Nitha Malar: Malaysia’s political system no longer adheres to democracy. The government is closing one eye, ignoring the people’s issues and is only focusing on securing the future of the governing party. The UMNO party elections seem more important than addressing the motion of a vote of no confidence against the prime minister in Parliament.
The economy is sliding, and yet the government has not implemented any concrete plans to address the issue.
We must prioritise. The country’s future and security must not depend on these two individuals who, it seems are jostling for power. Either Pak Lah or Najib must give in for the sake of the country.
Ku Li was right when he said Malaysia has become a laughing stock.