RELEASE THE ISA DETAINEES NOW!



November 29, 2007

Another BN politician speaks out

In the midst of the yes-men in the Barisan Nasional, we sometimes find rare BN politicians who are willing to speak out for the people even though he or she may be accused of breaking ranks. MIC parliamentarian K Devamany was the first to speak out about the Hindraf rally but was condemned by other BN politicians when he said that the rally reflected the failure of government policies to help the Indian community.

Another BN politician, Dr Toh Kin Woon, a Penang state executive councillor, has now spoken out in a strongly worded letter to Malaysiakini. With reference to the condemnation of the marches occurring in the past few weeks by BN leaders, he said "I disagree with the views of our country’s leaders."

"Instead of condemning, one would have thought and hoped that they should have been more concerned over the grievances, frustrations and disappointments that have brought so many thousands to the streets in the first place and to seek fair and just solutions to them."

He went on to say, "I find it extremely disturbing that a backbench Barisan Nasional MP who took a divergent stand on Hindraf should be so severely rebuked and chastised by a couple of BN leaders."

"The message sent seems to be that all BN elected representatives are expected to be meek and passive followers of the views of their leaders and that no space is provided for independent views, including those articulated by the larger civil society."

His letter is reproduced in full below.

I disagree with the country's leaders
Dr Toh Kin Woon

Several major marches and pickets, all peaceful, have taken place in our country over the last few months.

There was the ‘Walk for Justice’ organised by the Bar Council. This peaceful march called for a complete review of the country’s judiciary system with a view to restoring its independence, and hence put into effect the separation of powers so important for justice. This was followed by a march to the palace organised by Bersih, a broad coalition of political parties and NGOs, calling for free and fair elections.

The most recent, this time to hand over a memorandum to the British High Commission in Kuala Lumpur, was organised by the Hindu Rights Action Force, or Hindraf, in short. Although the stated objective of this last demonstration was to demand compensation for the exploitation of Indians from the British government, it was in effect to highlight the socio-economic and cultural plight of the Indians, especially their lower strata.

To all these must be added the numerous pickets called by the trade unions for higher salaries just to meet rises in costs of living so burdensome to the workers.

All these marches and pickets, especially those organised by Bersih and Hindraf, drew tens of thousands of people. And this, despite the authorities warning the public not to take part as these assemblies were all so-called “illegal”. Participants were threatened with arrest should they take part in all these illegal assemblies.


These marches drew flak and condemnation from almost all Barisan Nasional leaders. Their criticisms centred on their illegality, potential threat to peace, the possible destablisation of the economy including frightening away foreign investors. I disagree with the views of our country’s leaders.

Instead of condemning, one would have thought and hoped that they should have been more concerned over the grievances, frustrations and disappointments that have brought so many thousands to the streets in the first place and to seek fair and just solutions to them.

Is it true that there are lots of defects in our country’s judicial system? If so, what are they? What must we do to overcome these so that we can restore its independence, and give real substance to the separation of powers in order to strengthen our country’s democratic institutions?


Likewise, what are the shortcomings in our country’s electoral system, especially pertaining to the electoral rolls, election campaigning, access to media, etc? And on Hindraf, what are the grievances, frustrations and unhappiness of the lower strata of the Indian community, and that of all the other communities, pertaining to housing, education, health, jobs, equity and religious freedom?

Until and unless these and many more issues concerning our country’s judicial and electoral systems as well as social justice for the poor are looked into seriously and satisfactory solutions found, the discontent that has brought thousands to the streets over the last several months will remain. To me, it is this discontent and unhappiness that will be a greater threat to our country’s peace and stability, rather than the marches, pickets and demonstrations.

To be fair, the government did finally agree to the setting up of a royal commission of inquiry to look into the Lingam case that triggered the outpouring of dissatisfaction over the state of our judicial system. The terms of reference of this soon to be set-up royal commission have, however, not yet been announced. Hopefully, its scope of work will include getting to the bottom of why our judicial system has declined so precipitously over the years.

A truly democratic society that allows peaceful marches, an independent and just judicial system, free and fair elections, equal respect by the state for all religious faiths and social justice for the poor are, among others, the key pillars of democracy, peace and stability. Without these, no amount of coercion, including the threat to use the obnoxious Internal Security Act (ISA), can bring us the lasting peace and security that all Malaysians desire.

Finally, I find it extremely disturbing that a backbench Barisan Nasional MP who took a divergent stand on Hindraf should be so severely rebuked and chastised by a couple of BN leaders. This clearly does not augur well at all for intra-BN democracy.

The message sent seems to be that all BN elected representatives are expected to be meek and passive followers of the views of their leaders and that no space is provided for independent views, including those articulated by the larger civil society. I wonder how such a stance by the leaders can attract people who want to seek changes from within!

November 27, 2007

What people say about Hindraf

Read what various people have to say about the Hindraf rally held on Sunday 25 November 2007 in the following commentaries.

Bersih and Hindraf gatherings: An awakening of the marginalised - Anil Netto

"I believe what we are witnessing now is the awakening of the economically marginalised and disempowered who are rebelling against the system, which has seen Big Business profiting at the expense of the people. I doubt there were many rich Hindus from the posh neighbourhoods of, for instance, Damansara and Bangsar at the Hindraf protest today… just as you didn’t see the wealthy bumiputera elite at the Bersih gathering.

While it is heartening that the marginalised are stirring, it is important that we realise that their suffering cuts across ethnic barriers. Many have simply been pushed to the periphery by our model of development, which is relentlessly driven by Big Business tied closely to the vested interests of the political elite.

More Malaysians must wake up from their slumber - and join hands with one another!"


The Hindraf Campaign: A Critique – Dr. Kumar

"We should not forget that apart from racial discrimination, the majority of Indians face economic discrimination because they are workers in a system that favours the businessmen and the capitalists. About 70% of Malaysian Indians are workers. The problem they face as workers include

- low wages. In many factories the basic pay in RM 18 per day, which works out to RM 468 per month.
- There is no job security. Outsourcing, the widespread use of contract workers, and the easy availability of migrant workers all weaken the bargaining position of Malaysian labour.
- Labour laws are being tightened and being made more pro management;
- Low cost adequate housing is difficult to find.
- Prices of goods is rising faster than wages! Petrol, toll and now flour.
- Basic services – health care, education, roads, water - which used to be heavily subsidized are now becoming increasingly expensive;


The problems listed above are also experienced by workers of all races in Malaysia – even the Malays, who are the beneficiaries of the Bumiputra policies. Only about 20% of Malay workers have jobs in government. The remainder have to work in the private sector where they too experience economic discrimination as workers in a capitalist economy. Malays workers are not exempted from the problems of low wages, job insecurity, rising costs of basic services, etc."


Why I will walk this Sunday - Nat Tan

"If we were to wait for another mass rally that will take a more mature, universalistic approach to race relations while actually having an impact in calling attention to the horrific living conditions facing Indian Malaysians today, we will wait forever."
...

I don’t believe that an Indian-centric approach alone will solve the problems of the Indians, but I do believe that they have been screwed over like few others have ever been screwed over. I don’t believe in sacrificing a more embracing conceptualisation (“Malaysian rights”) for an increasingly narrow one (“Hindu Rights”), but I do believe that some – if not all – of the grouses are perfectly well founded."


Why I walked on Nov 25 - Geetha K

"I was gratified to learn that the protest was not about the money, the queen or even the world learning about their plight. It was simply an act of breaking the shackles, which was something the average Malaysian who had never experienced life as a marginalised, ignored, economically, educationally and socially deprived Indian, could understand.

Against the backdrop of the gleaming, iconic twin towers, thousands of Indians had gathered, a sight never witnessed by our nation’s capital before. The few women present were mostly middle-aged, dressed not in the least like the swanky Klites.

It was quite painful to stand there and watch these women being hauled up and pushed into police trucks, with a look of fear etched on their faces - not unlike stray dogs rounded-up by local council officers."

Samy Vellu has failed Indian Malaysians - Dr CK

"If all poor Indians are taken care of, as MIC claims, then who are the thousands of Indians who turned up? There should not be anyone there. Do you think people will leave their jobs and come from all over the country to face the FRU and police? Don’t they have anything better to do? What about the poor Indians and the ones who could not attend but supports it 100 percent?
...

The Indians have joined the mass peaceful march because they have no other avenue, they have nowhere else to turn to because all the channels have been exhausted. It has been a long, depressing and frustrating journey for the poor Indians and we stand in one voice. It is about time the government looks into this. Please don’t turn a blind eye or a deaf ear to this. We are only seeking your help for the poor Indians. If you are really a prime minister for all the races, please look into this. Ask yourself, why?"


The Personal Dignity Of HINDRAF Supporters - Malik Imtiaz Sarwar

"How does this rally, planned for a Sunday morning, differ from the one organized by UMNO Youth during Condoleeza Rice’s visit to Kuala Lumpur on a Friday afternoon? That demonstration took place in the same vicinity, also had fiery and inflammatory speeches and was directed to a person or organisation other than the Malaysian government. That demonstration was aggrandized by the local media, with photographs of a defiant Khairy Jamaluddin, in arm sling to boot, gracing the leading pages (if not the front pages) of the mainstream print media
....

The UMNO Youth demonstration was as much about personal dignity as the HINDRAF Rally is. For, at the heart of the HINDRAF cause is a serious complaint about the marginalizing of the Hindhu community and a plea for recognition of the plight of this particular marginalized community
....

I do not necessarily agree with the manner in which HINDRAF has decided to espouse its cause. Though I recognize the point HINDRAF is making, I believe that we should be fighting for the cause of all underprivileged and marginalized Malaysians. Having said that, the apparently inconsistent stance of the Police and the Government where rallies are concerned can only lead one to a conclusion that there may be some truth to what HINDRAF is saying."

Are we not Indian enough? - Ananthi

"It was about being neglected, about not having a seat at the table to bargain, about having a national and communal leadership that we do not trust and is utterly discreditable. It is about saying no to being the forgotten Indians, and not enough of us in our comfortable houses, those of us who managed to work the system to our benefit - stood with the other Indians, who are not so different from us."


A report from Ground Zero, Jalan Ampng: Post assembly

"Our Malaysian brothers were out there, merely asking for their rights, tired of being suppressed and left out of the economic race. In a way, they were voicing out their needs to be considered an integral part of the economy. For too long their cries went unheard by the leaders. Did not see any one behave in an unruly manner, while many fellow Indians had fears that the crowd may go overboard, cause at times Indians are well known for their fiery tempers! Nevertheless, their behaviour as what I saw was exemplary."


A SUNDAY WALK WITH MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS - Bernard Khoo

I took the opportunity to engage my fellow-walkers. Palani, an electronic technician from Kedah volunteered, “We are here not for the money from the Queen. We are here my friends and I to ask for fair treatment and equal opportunities “ His friends echoed similar sentiments but the most vocal was Sundaraj from Sentul. “Our temples are torn down, our gods are bulldozed into pieces. Samy Velu did not protest for us, so we have to do it ourselves.”

November 25, 2007

Hindraf Rally - More reports

The following are more reports on the Hindraf rally held on 25 Nov 2007.

Malaysian police break up rally - BBC

Malaysian police have clashed with ethnic Indian protesters in Kuala Lumpur, the country's capital.

Tear gas and water cannon were used to disperse a crowd of over 5,000 people as they rallied outside the British High Commission.

The protesters are calling for reparations from the UK for sending Indians to Malaysia as indentured labourers a century ago.

The activists also demand measures to improve the living standards of Hindus.

At least 5,000 ethnic Indian men gathered outside Kuala Lumpur's famous Petronas Towers, carrying Malaysian flags and placards.

Some demonstrators were beaten and bundled into police vans, as tear gas and water cannon were fired into the crowd, according to the Associated Press news agency.

Unfair treatment

Organisers had pledged that the demonstration would be peaceful, but Malaysian authorities nevertheless banned it, fearing that it could inflame racial tensions.

The ostensible aim of the rally was to call on the British government to pay $4 trillion (£2 trillion) in compensation to the two million ethnic Indians in Malaysia whose ancestors were taken to the country as indentured labourers in the 19th century.

But the BBC's Robin Brant in Kuala Lumpur says the real goal of the demonstrators is to highlight what they see as the unfair treatment of minority Indians in Malaysia.

Ethnic Indians - mainly Hindus - form one of Malaysia's largest minority groups.

Activists say that many Hindus live in poverty, partly because of policies granting jobs and economic advantages to the ethnic Malay Muslim majority.

"Indians are treated like third-class citizens. The community has been suffering in silence for decades," said opposition politician M. Kulasegaran.

The government has rejected claims of unfair discrimination.

In advance of the rally, three leading members of the group behind the protest - the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) - were arrested.

The three men were later charged with making seditious comments - and could face up to three years in jail if convicted.

Indian protest rocks Malaysia ahead of polls - Reuters

By Mark Bendeich and Clarence Fernandez
KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysia's ethnic Indian community staged its
biggest anti-government street protest on Sunday when more than 10,000
protesters defied tear gas and water cannon to voice complaints of racial
discrimination.


The sheer size of the protest, called by a Hindu rights group, represents a
political challenge for the government as it heads toward possible early
elections in the next few months.


Ethnic Indians from around the country swarmed into Kuala Lumpur for the
rally, despite a virtual lock-down of the capital over the previous three days
and warnings from police and the government that people should not take
part.


"Malaysian Indians have never gathered in such large numbers in this
way...," said organizer P. Uthaya Kumar, of the Hindu Rights Action Force
(Hindraf).


"They are frustrated and have no job opportunities in the government or the
private sector. They are not given business licenses or places in university,"
he said, adding that Indians were also incensed by some recent demolitions
of Hindu temples.


Riot police fired at the protesters with sustained volleys of tear gas and jets
of water laced with an eye-stinging chemical, but it took more than five hours
to finally clear the streets of downtown Kuala Lumpur, by then littered with
empty gas canisters.


more...

Hindraf Rally

Thousands of Indian Malaysians came out on Sunday 25 November 2007 for a rally organised by Hindraf (Hindu Rights Action Force). The original purpose of the rally was to hand over a petition to the British High Commission for Queen Elizabeth II to protest against Britain's colonial policies in the past. Many people are sceptical of the demands contained in the petition. However, the large number of people turning up for this rally indicates not so much the support for the petition but more the simmering dissatisfaction and anger of the Indians towards the policies of the current government.

Some of the participants in the rally have gathered since the early morning in different parts of Kuala Lumpur despite the warnings issued by the police that protesters could be arrested on sight. The police had obtained an unprecedented court order on Friday to ban the gathering. Initial estimates of the number of people gathering in different areas of the city was 10,000 - the original target of the organisers - but it appears that there could be as many as 30,000 protesters who turned up for the rally.

The response of the police was heavy-handed using tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowd. Numerous protesters were arrested. A video of the news report by Al Jazeera can be viewed here:

Hindraf Rally Report - Al Jazeera

For more details on the rally, please read a first-hand report by Nat Tan and Malaysiankini's report 30,000 Hindraf protesters rally in KLCC.

November 19, 2007

Royal Commission of Inquiry must be set up without delay

It is shocking to read about the serious allegations of judicial corruption revealed in the press conference held by Wee Choo Keong, secretary-general of the Malaysian Democratic Party on 18 November 2007.

These allegations have further implicated the lawyer appearing in the "Lingam video". They have now shown that other judges may also be involved in improprieties and the rot in the judiciary may be as extensive as claimed by various people. It is incredulous that the authorities have not taken any action on these allegations even though the police reports have been filed even before the emergence of the Lingam video. It seems like the statements made by various parties in the government about the Lingam video and the emphasis on establishing the authenticity of the video instead of verifying the truth of its contents are deliberate attempts to mislead the public.

These new allegations reinforce the urgent need for the establishment of a royal commission of inquiry which thankfully has now been agreed upon by the government. However, it is of utmost importance that the members of this commission be carefully selected and they must be independent of any political influence and must be well-respected and impeccable for their integrity. The royal commission must also be given the widest possible terms of reference so that a proper and full inquiry into the state of the judiciary can be carried out.

Valuable time has already been lost by setting up the shackled 3-member Haidar panel by the deputy prime minister. For the confidence of Malaysians to be restored, the royal commission of inquiry must now be established without any further delay. Only then will the people believe that there is a sincere wish to investigate the alleged rot in the judiciary and that there will be no cover-up of any sort.

More details on the press conference held by Wee Choo Keong, secretary-general of the Malaysian Democratic Party where these allegations were revealed are available at this blog and in this Malaysiakini report "More allegations of judicial graft emerge".

The following is the video of the press conference.



(courtesy of Malaysiakini)

Quotable Quote:

"When I am asked what I thought, my usual reply is that I wouldn’t like to be tried by today’s judges, if I am innocent." - Former Lord President Tun Suffian

November 15, 2007

The True Story of 10-Eleven - Part II

(Updated 17 Nov 2007)

Pathetic attempts have been made by various parties in the government to discredit the BERSIH rally held on 10 November 2007. These misinformation, lies and intimidations were reported and even highlighted in the compliant and politically-controlled mainstream media. In the face of these, one only needs to access the many other sources of information on the BERSIH rally available online to get a true picture of what really happened on 10 November 2007.

To facilitate this, the following is a compilation of a list of detail commentaries which I have found. I am sure there are others. My apologies if your commentary has been left out.

A big thank you to all those who have shared their stories enabling all Malaysians to get the true story of 10-Eleven.

(The following is a continuation of the list from the earlier post The True Story of 10-Eleven )


Rehabilitation for whom? - Farish A. Noor NEW!

"Unable and unwilling to accept the new realities on the ground the political elite of Malaysia has resorted to the same worn out clich├ęs and the call to rehabilitate the younger Malaysians who were present at the demonstration reveals the extent to which this ruling elite is so thoroughly bankrupt of ideas. No, it is not the younger Malaysians who are in need of rehabilitation- In fact the activist in me would say that activism and civic responsibility should begin from our school days and that every young citizen should be made aware of her and his rights and responsibilities as early as possible, as a rite of civic membership.

If anyone is in need of rehabilitation, it is the politicians and ruling elite of Malaysia themselves, who should learn that this diverse and plural society of ours happens to be a complex nation undergoing a slow democratic transformation and that the future of Malaysian politics should reflect this multicultural diversity. So I strongly suggest that the right-wing communitarian leaders of Malaysia sign up for their own rehab courses as soon as possible, for their and our own good,"...

Wake up Malaysia! - KJ John NEW!

"This past weekend more than 40,000 people marched for what seems to be a justified and good cause of freer and fairer elections.

Why should the government even seek to stop such an avowedly stated peaceful march?

Resistance of this mode creates even greater desire for change. If the government is not watchful or careful, the next movement of people may be even bigger and greater; for truth cannot be hidden or kept a secret.

Truth has a life of her own, unprotected or uncontrolled by any human person; she will reveal herself at the right times and in the right ways; as the Lingam tapes have so evidently demonstrated."


A Wake-Up Call for the Government: Malaysians Want Their Country Back - Farish A. Noor NEW!

"That elections should be free, fair and transparent is perhaps one of the most basic requirements of any workingdemocracy, and to demand that elections should be free, fair and transparent is perhaps one of the most fundamentalrights of any society. When citizens demand such things it can and should be seen as an act of civic responsibility andthey should be commended for it. Indeed, it ought to be seen as a test of civic participation and citizenship that allcitizens should demand that their state works and functions properly and accountably, to serve the interest of thenation as a whole and not a select coterie of landed elites and entrenched class interests."
...

"For a nation that has always been cast in a passive light as docile and apathetic, Malaysians defied their own stereotype by coming out in huge numbers and braving the rain from above and the tear gas and batons on the ground. Contrary to the scare-mongering campaign of the government, the rally proved to be ordered and peaceful. What does this say about Malaysia today and where the country is heading?"
...

"There is no telling how the Malaysian government and the UMNO elites will react to this clear demonstration of public disquiet in the once-sleepy streets of Kuala Lumpur. But what is clear is that Malaysia at least is no longer the kingdom of the blind that it was once made out to be."

Observing the Bersih rally - Yeo Yang Poh (former Bar Council chairman)

"Some ministers and politicians have said that there is no need for public assembly in a country that conducts elections. By their argument, it would follow that democracy is complete as long as citizens are allowed to vote once in a few years. Voting in a government would amount to giving it a blank cheque to do as it pleases (since it has “obtained the mandate of the people”). If anyone is dissatisfied, he or she can only wait for the next occasion of voting to express dissatisfaction. The ballot becomes the only permissible means of expression.

The absurdity of that argument is obvious. It is nothing more than a crude political exercise in insulting the people’s intelligence."
...

"In a true democracy, in order for stability and prosperity to last, people must be allowed to express their views freely, and to choose the manner in which they wish to do so, including choosing a public manner by way of peaceful assembly or procession. Allowing the weak to publicly speak out against the powerful is one of the hallmarks of a democracy. Smothering the voice of the minority is the trademark of dictatorship.

In political reality, however, the public expression of views by persons in large numbers, especially if coupled with a free media, is often a real threat, not to public order or security, but to the continuing maintenance of control by those currently in power."

Misinformation reigns on the Nov 10 march - Gayathry Venkiteswaran

"The attempts in the media to brush off the largest public rally in recent years is reflective of the government's lack of respect for the public's freedom of expression and the right to know. By tying the hands of the media with legal and political tools, the government has only tarnished its own reputation as the public sees clearly how information is distorted. The print and broadcast media will lose their relevance because of these controls. As it stands, they are fast overtaken by online and offline technologies like blogs, video sharing sites and mobile phones that disseminate images and text from the scene to thousands of people in real time."

Open letter to Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi - Beth Yahp
(recommended)

"Prime Minister Abdullah, one of the reasons we marchers, men, women, children, and even incapacitated old folks, braved confrontation in the streets of Kuala Lumpur last Saturday was to call for “equal access to the media” as part of BERSIH’s push for electoral reforms, including the use of indelible ink, clean electoral rolls and the abolition of untraceable postal votes."
...

"With all due respect, Prime Minister, your admonition on the eve of the march: “Saya pantang dicabar,” (Utusan Malaysia, 9 November 2007) is rather an odd thing for the leader of a democratic nation to say, given that the basic rule of democracy is the right of all citizens to challenge, and to defend against challenge. Everyone is entitled to this right, whether in their living rooms or in Parliament.

Challenges and debates also constantly take place in the media, whose fundamental role is to provide factual information and objective viewpoints by journalists and editors, as well as to allow equal access to publication and broadcast by proponents from either side of any argument.

Only in this way can we, ordinary citizens, partake in democracy. Only then can we weigh up differing statements and opinions against accountable facts. We may be allowed to vote, yes, but how can we choose effectively without freedom of media access and information?

When this integral pillar of any democratic system is obstructed, and belittled, as it is in Malaysia, we cannot claim to live in a democracy. Our mainstream media then becomes merely a tool of the State, used to hoodwink, brainwash and intimidate the people it should rightly be serving. Instead, we, the people, are spoon-fed, led and expected to go quietly like sheep to any foregone conclusion."

The time for change has begun - Mohd Kamal Abdullah

"The Bersih protest rally on Nov 10 witnessed the awakening of Malaysians from an illusion that only the Barisan Nasional can deliver every time. With more that 40,000 people participating without fear of police brutality and the on-going heavy rain that afternoon, these people had demonstrated the true meaning of democracy.

From now on, people will stand up to this ineffective, inefficient and corrupt Barisan Nasional government. The climate of change has prevailed and it is hoped that this will continue until the welfare of the people and the nation is managed according to the wishes of the people."
...

"The time for change has just began and I hope this ray of light will continue until we can be proud of a Malaysia where the welfare of every citizen and our nation is taken care of."

On Nov 10, the skies wept for the rakyat - JD Lovrenciear

"The Nov 10 rally for justice and democracy by tens of thousands of rakyat was embraced by the weeping skies. The torrential downpour echoed the rakyat's cries for a greater nation through better governance.

Unfortunately, as peace-loving men and women from all races and walks of life marched in fervor, the blockades and extraordinary presence of police only further drove home the widely-held perception that justice and democracy are at high risk in a nation that was often seen as a model nation not too long ago."

November 14, 2007

The True Story of 10-Eleven

Pathetic attempts have been made by various parties in the government to discredit the BERSIH rally held on 10 November 2007. These misinformation, lies and intimidations were reported and even highlighted in the compliant and politically-controlled mainstream media. In the face of these, one only needs to access the many other sources of information on the BERSIH rally available online to get a true picture of what really happened on 10 November 2007.

To facilitate this, the following is a compilation of a list of detail commentaries which I have found. I am sure there are others. My apologies if your commentary has been left out.

A big thank you to all those who have shared their stories enabling all Malaysians to get the true story of 10-Eleven.

And soon, you will not be able to breathe - Rashaad Ali

"Now there is something of great importance that I need to stress; in no way, absolutely none, did the demonstrators aim to incite the police. There was lots of chanting, of slogan shouting, of crowd rallying, but there was no hatred or contempt hurled against those in power. In short, we did not merit the treatment we received. One may say, "But it was an illegal gathering anyway." How can the executive issue a decree banning the people in a democracy from voicing their opinion? We are not looking for a riot. We're not looking for impeachment. We're not looking for a revolution. We want clean elections."
...

"Today serves as a landmark for my patriotism. Today serves as a landmark for the nation's patriotism, for in the face of such cruelty and opposition we prevailed and were crowned victors of the day. I also hope, that with the events of today, change shall, God willing, be effected."

The day I helped deliver the memo to the King - Ronald Quay

"It was a sensational feeling. To walk through this human corridor, with every person looking at you and, perhaps wondering who the hell is this Chinaman walking behind a PAS leader?"
...

"It was amazing to see the excellent coordination of the crowds that discipline was not an issue at all. They responded to the call of the leaders, ably marshaled by a disciplined bunch of volunteer wardens in maroon uniforms who made sure no one stepped out of line."

Remember remember, the 10th of November..- KLConfidential

"In my defense, the BERSIH rally did NOT cause the traffic jam all over KL. This was caused by the many roadblocks by the police. Yes, we delayed traffic in front of the palace, but that was all. I apologize to those who were harassed by the police when they had nothing to do with this united stand for justice and fairness."
...

"Don't worry, it's not over. It is far from over. If you love this country, if you call this country your home, don't fret. For those who wanted to be there but couldn't, don't turn the page yet, this chapter is far from finished."

10 November 2007 - Personal Passages

"It seemed as it the FRU fired at random, into groups of BERSIH supporters as well as innocent passersby.

And worst off, there seemed no reason for them to do it. No one was doing anything other than just stand clustered in groups of yellow and otherwise. There were no threats being made, nor were there any signs of imminent violence. The FRU did not even issue an audible warning, other than a badly distorted broadcast over their loudspeakers that I couldn't even hear, much less understand."
...

"But I am proud of it. I am proud of the people who were there, men and women of all ages and races, who stood firm by their beliefs in front of the police and the FRU."

An account of an unrepentant yellow splash - Sophia

"You know you're there because of a long list of dissatisfaction that goes on in the current administration. You know you're there because BERSIH fights for clean elections, is against corruption, and every single thing that's wrong with this country except mutual gluttony in nationwide festivals. You know that if the government truly commits towards good governance, they wouldn't condemn it as they did, in these critical months before the next election. You know that the mainstream news is not relevant anymore, and everything else pales in this moment when your fist punches the air and your voice rings loud in the crowd."
...

"Drivers rolled down their windows and greeted us, encouraging us, telling to us "Stay safe." Some said their thanks for doing our part in helping the people keep their liberties. It doesn't matter who they were; Indian lorry drivers, Malay families, Chinese Merc drivers, rich and poor (at least according to the model of their vehicles), hell, even bread lorry drivers waved at us. Many honked, not for us to get the hell out of the way, but grinning and smiling, giving us the Bagus sign."


Bersih march to Istana Negara: What really happened - Kuala Lumpur is Home

"The blind man who was in the light yellow shirt was holding very tight to the man in the grey shirt as he was bending down to tighten up his shoe lace I presumed.. I asked both of them where they had come from and the man in the grey shirt told me they were from Batu Tiga. In my awe, I thanked them for walking with the rest of the crowds and that it was good that they had played their roles in this effort to ensure clean and fair elections."
...


"I will always remember this day in my life for as long as I live. Malaysiaku Gemilang."

Provocation, Police, Peace - jelas.info

"Not a single untoward incident. 50-100k people spread throughout the city, and not a SINGLE untoward incident."

10:eleven, Daulat Tuanku! The yellow wave. - As I See It.......Can You?

"But i have this to say, never have I seen so many people walked in solidarity for a justified reason. I did not at any point think that this would have ended the way it did. The fact is, its not ended. It has only just begun. Ensure that you take the next step to claim your right to vote. No to corruption. No to illegal mansions. No more cover ups. We want the truth."

We Know What We Want - Pinkpau

"this rally was more than just a demand for fair elections, it was more than just a lobby for indelible ink and abolition of postal voting. it was about the people’s dissatisfaction and their awareness. it was about democracy, it was about justice. it was a call for complete reform. and i hope this call is heeded. it NEEDS to be heeded."

The Yellow Wave - The Ancient Mariner

"It was basically a case of the rakyat exercising their right to free assembly to petition their sovereign and a lame duck prime minister trying his damnedest to stop them."

10-Eleven. - O.B.E.

"It will signify the beginning of civil society’s resolve to restore democracy, good governance and justice for all in this nation."

When we painted KL with yellow - dan-yel

"Just as we crossed the bridge over the river, on our far left, out of nowhere, there were stream of people, yellow masses, crossing the other bridge! Awesome! This is history in the making! There were, how can I say, too many of them, I have never seen such an unbreaking long moving crowd, amazing as it seems that they all wear the same colour, and moving in the same direction."

BERSIH Rally: A report of events - reduced and recycled

"Badawi pantang dicabar? Oh, please. Rakyat pantang dicabar!!"

A Yellow Day to Remember - Euphoria in Misery

"Now, the people have made a point. You can’t ignore the people anymore. To all the scaremongers who said that this rally conveys a bad image of Malaysia internationally, I have this to say; “It didn’t need to happen this way. It did because the authorities are deaf to the people’s needs.”"

November 12, 2007

BERSIH Rally - Detail commentaries

Detail commentaries have appeared in various blogs giving Malaysians
first-hand accounts of the BERSIH rally held on 10 November. These are
in stark contrast to and certainly much more informative than what
was reported in the main newspapers.

The following are the links to these commentaries with some
memorable pictures and quotes.


The day I helped deliver the memo to the King

"It was a sensational feeling. To walk through this human corridor, with every person looking at you and, perhaps wondering who the hell is this Chinaman walking behind a PAS leader?"

"It was amazing to see the excellent coordination of the crowds that discipline was not an issue at all. They responded to the call of the leaders, ably marshaled by a disciplined bunch of volunteer wardens in maroon uniforms who made sure no one stepped out of line."

Bersih march to Istana Negara: What really happened Part 1






"The blind man who was in the light yellow shirt was holding very tight to the man in the grey shirt as he was bending down to tighten up his shoe lace I presumed.. I asked both of them where they had come from and the man in the grey shirt told me they were from Batu Tiga. In my awe, I thanked them for walking with the rest of the crowds and that it was good that they had played their roles in this effort to ensure clean and fair elections."

"I will always remember this day in my life for as long as I live. Malaysiaku Gemilang."

10 - Eleven : We, the people, shall be heard and we shall prevail




"Finally, before I forget, to all those who did not attend the rally and march yesterday because you thought that there would be no need to as you were sure there would be others to make up the numbers, you owe a big ‘Thank You’ to Amri of Shah Alam."

"He bore your responsibility on his shoulders."

Provocation, Police, Peace

"Not a single untoward incident. 50-100k people spread throughout the city, and not a SINGLE untoward incident."

10:eleven, Daulat Tuanku! The yellow wave.

"But i have this to say, never have I seen so many people walked in solidarity for a justified reason. I did not at any point think that this would have ended the way it did. The fact is, its not ended. It has only just begun. Ensure that you take the next step to claim your right to vote. No to corruption. No to illegal mansions. No more cover ups. We want the truth."

We Know What We Want

"this rally was more than just a demand for fair elections, it was more than just a lobby for indelible ink and abolition of postal voting. it was about the people’s dissatisfaction and their awareness. it was about democracy, it was about justice. it was a call for complete reform. and i hope this call is heeded. it NEEDS to be heeded."





The Yellow Wave

"It was basically a case of the rakyat exercising their right to free assembly to petition their sovereign and a lame duck prime minister trying his damnedest to stop them."

10-Eleven.

"It will signify the beginning of civil society’s resolve to restore democracy, good governance and justice for all in this nation."

BERSIH Rally: A report of events

"Badawi pantang dicabar? Oh, please. Rakyat pantang dicabar!!"

When we painted KL with yellow

"Just as we crossed the bridge over the river, on our far left, out of nowhere, there were stream of people, yellow masses, crossing the other bridge! Awesome! This is history in the making! There were, how can I say, too many of them, I have never seen such an unbreaking long moving crowd, amazing as it seems that they all wear the same colour, and moving in the same direction."

A Yellow Day to Remember



"Now, the people have made a point. You can’t ignore the people anymore. To all the scaremongers who said that this rally conveys a bad image of Malaysia internationally, I have this to say; “It didn’t need to happen this way. It did because the authorities are deaf to the people’s needs.”"

Malaysiakini - How 40,000 got pass the police cordons?







It was all Yellow




November 11, 2007

BERSIH Rally A Huge Success


Thousands of Malaysians turned up yesterday, 10 November 2007, to participate in one of the largest peaceful rally in Malaysia for the past decade. Despite the warnings issued by the prime minister, UMNO politicians and the police, the people braved the rain to participate in the rally which was organised by BERSIH to call for reforms in the electoral system. The number of Malaysians attending the rally on this historic day is estimated to be 40,000 with other estimates going as high as 100,000.

The event was reported in various international media with the television coverage by Al-Jazeera showing the riot police firing water cannons and chemical-laced water into the crowd. As reported, the crowd was gathering peacefully when the riot police started firing the water cannons without warning and unprovoked. A recorded version of this coverage can be viewed here.

CNN and Reuters also carried the news in these online reports: "Teargas used on rare Malaysia demo" and "Malaysia police use water cannon at Anwar rally".

The local media played down the event and reported that there were only 4,000 participants in the rally. It is interesting to note that both the main English-medium newspapers used the same reduced figure. The emphasis in the reports in these newspapers is the inconvenience caused to the public which was due the actions taken by the authorities in the first place. The police had practically sealed off Kuala Lumpur by setting up road-blocks in numerous locations leading into the city. If such disruptive actions were not taken by the authorities, the rally could have proceeded without inconveniencing the public.

More reports are available at the following websites:

8 March 2008

A New And Better Malaysia

Has Emerged