Malaysian Bar Council initiates Campaign to Repeal POTA


May 17, 2015

From Democracy to Dictatorship: At what stage is Malaysia?

In 1887 Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor at  University of Edinburgh  had this to say about the fall history-of-democracy-stephen-stockwellof the Athenian Republic some 2,000 years prior:

“A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse over loose fiscal policy, (which is) always followed by a dictatorship.”

“The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:

From bondage to spiritual faith;
From spiritual faith to great courage;
From courage to liberty;
From liberty to abundance;
From abundance to complacency;
From complacency to apathy;
From apathy to dependence;
From dependence back into bondage.”

Thank you, Commander (rtd) Thaya Param for sending this to me. Let  our intelligent, clear sighted and articulate readers and commenters decide at what stage Malaysia is in, given the introduction of draconian laws like the Prevention of Terrorism Act,  the Sedition Act and Official Secrets Act, a subdued and muzzled media and subjugated Judiciary, a rubber stamp Parliament, rampant corruption, religious bigotry and racist politics with toxic institutions like the Police, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and Attorney-General’s Office, and  an incompetent civil service.

Worst of all, we have a mismanaged economy by a dishonest, lying, corrupt  and weak political leadership aided and abetted by fawning and self serving politicians of all stripes and colours. Is Malaysia still a democracy? –Din Merican in Phnom Penh.

Malaysian Bar Council initiates Campaign to Repeal POTA

by James Sivalingam@www.freemalaysiatoday.com

Regressive, unnecessary and open for abuse, like the old Internal Security Act, makes judges into rubber stamps’.

Zunar in POTAThe Bar Council began a national campaign today (May 16) to repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA), currently awaiting royal assent, calling it “regressive, unnecessary, as well open to abuse” much like the now-repealed Internal Security Act.

Bar Council President, Steven Thiru said the law reduced the judiciary into being a mere rubber stamp or, worse, completely bypasses it. Misuse of the ISA had scarred the country for many years, he said.

Speaking at a forum to begin the repeal campaign, Thiru said the ISA, the terrorism act and recent amendments to the Sedition Act were abhorrent to the rule of law and made major encroachments on and eroded the independence of the Judiciary.

Steven ThiruHe said Malaysia had spoken in favour of a United Nations resolution which called for recognition of human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law as being complementary and mutually reinforcing with effective counter-terrorism measures. However, Malaysia had failed to its obligation to stand its pledge and had taken a short cut by legislating the Prevention of Terrorism Act without learning from the experiences of other nations on the forefront on global counter-terrorism.

“When you take short-cuts on rule of law, when you breach your obligations under the law, you do not make advances in the fight against terrorism. Indeed, you radicalise more people into terrorism. You make it worse,” Thiru said.

He acknowledged that counter-terrorism was a complex issue with no right answer, but felt judicial scrutiny and pota1oversight were crucial in order for far-reaching laws such as POTA not to be abused.

The law contained broad language and definition, and an ambiguous reach, Thiru said, open to be used on everyone and anyone; ministerial assurances that it would not be abused were simply not sufficient.

“Good men come and go. The law remains. It is the law that has to be clear. Having good men to look at the law is a bonus”.

Thiru said the Bar council is obliged to stand up for the independence of the Jjudiciary, in being placed between the might of the Executive and the common man on the street. “If the Bar is relegated, or the hands of the Bar tied in representation, then the men and women on the street are left without protection,” he said.