September 25, 2008

Site has moved

This website has moved to a new home. For further updates please go to:

September 24, 2008

Fight to free RPK not over

Although the authorities have frustrated RPK lawyers' attempt to free him in court yesterday, the fight is not over according to his lead lawyer, Malik Imtiaz.

If the hearing were to proceed yesterday, he believes that "the case we would have mounted for RPK would have been virtually unassailable." By moving the goal post and detaining RPK under Section 8 of the ISA yesterday morning before the hearing, it is now impossible to secure his release based on the original habeas corpus application which was under Section 73(1).

However, the original application has not been dismissed and submissions by his lawyers will be heard on Oct 28. Even though the judge cannot release RPK based on the original application, the basis of detention under section 73(1) and section 8 is the same.

Meanwhile, a new habeas corpus application will be filed to challenge the Minister’s detention order under Section 8. If the hearing for the original application on Oct 28 is successful Malik says, "we can have a basis to argue that the minister’s detention is not just irregular for procedure - therefore showing the minister has no power to make the order".

source: Free RPK: It's Not Over

The Malaysian Bar has issued a statement yesterday which expressed its disappointment over the 2-year detention order against RPK. The statement also says,

"The ISA is being used against an individual where other avenues that afford him a chance to defend himself, exist. It confirms the impression that the ISA is being used for purposes other than national security. It is being used to stifle dissent."

source: Bar's Press Statement

September 23, 2008

RPK detained for 2 years without trial

A hearing on the writ of habeas corpus filed by Raja Petra's lawyers was initially scheduled for Friday 26 September but was inexplicably brought forward to 9.00 a.m today, 23 September. But before the hearing could proceed RPK was sent to the Kamunting detention centre this morning for a two-year detention without trial!

The Home Minister, Syed Hamid Albar signed the two-year detention order last night which clearly is meant to frustrate the habeas corpus hearing and to prevent the possibility that RPK may be freed after the hearing.

The action of the Home Minister has outraged many Malaysians who view this as a blatant abuse of the ISA to silence dissenting voices.

Raja Petra sent to Kamunting
Sep 23, 2008 - Malaysiakini

Malaysia Today editor Raja Petra Kamarudin was sent to the Kamunting Detention Centre in Taiping, Perak, this morning to begin his two-year detention without trial under the Internal Security Act.

Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar last night signed the detention order for the blogger to be held under section 8(1) of the tough security law. Under the Act, the initial two-year detention period can be renewed indefinitely.

According to journalists stationed outside the Kamunting detention camp, Raja Petra arrived at 11.50am in a white van with heavily-tinted windows.

"The act by the minister to sign the section 8 order yesterday is completely unacceptable," said Raja Petra's lead lawyer Malik Imtiaz.

The legal team believes the minister’s decision was linked to a habeas corpus hearing in the Kuala Lumpur High Court this morning, which had been filed by Raja Petra's lawyers to secure his release.

(A writ of habeas corpus orders the authorities to produce prisoners before a judge to ascertain if there are any procedural defects which could render their detention unlawful.)

Speaking to reporters later, Malik said “the arrest was issued last night to avoid the consequences of this habeas corpus”.

Also present in the court was former de facto law minister Zaid Ibrahim, who sat next to Marina.

“He (Raja Petra) writes well, he speaks his mind and we need more people like him said Zaid (left in photo), who had resigned to protest the use of the ISA to detain Raja Petra and two others on Sept 12.

Zaid said he attended the hearing to show support for the wives of many others being held under the restrictive law.

“We should encourage people to speak out. If (those detained) have done wrong (then) we (should) charge them (in court),” he said.

Zaid also said that freedom of expression and of speech are important values and that “we cannot intimidate with fear”.


The ISA is evil; ISA must go!

The ISA is evil; ISA must go!
23 September 2008 - Aliran

It is outrageous that Raja Petra has been sent to the Kamunting Detention Centre to serve his two-year detention under the Internal Security Act.

The Home Minister cannot justify his action; neither can he convince the public at large that he had acted in the interest of the nation.

It is a political decision to put away a brave and committed Malaysian into oblivion so that the Barisan Nasional will not be ridiculed by Raja Petra’s wit and wisdom on a daily basis. He had bombarded them relentlessly, exposing their lack of logic and utter incompetence. This is what they want to stop. This is what they want to prevent desperately.

Let it be known that Raja Petra is no traitor to this nation. He is not a security threat in any way to this country. He is a patriot and a decent human being. The struggle to free him will continue no matter how long it takes, whatever it takes.

Malaysians will remember this cruel act and condemn the ISA as something evil and unjust. The Home Minister has made it absolutely clear that as long as the BN is in power the ISA will be there to terrorise innocent people and cripple our democratic space. The ISA will only go when the BN is made to go.

P Ramakrishnan
23 September 2008


September 20, 2008

The time is now

The time is now
Steve Oh
Sep 18, 2008 - Malaysiakini Letters

I do not think it helps Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim or incumbent Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and more importantly the country for there to be a political stalemate, for whatever reason. If there is one outstanding feature of events leading up to September 16, it has been the responsible and peaceful way that Anwar and associates have carried out their plans and for this they earn our respect.

Perhaps we expected Anwar to walk up to Abdullah and tap him on the shoulder on September 16 and see the latter shake his hands and concede the handover of power and pass the keys to Putrajaya to him. But it does not happen like that in real life. Nor do those who espouse justice rely on scary vociferous mobs wielding those dangerous weapons.

I imagine the process of change we all wait for with bated breath will not happen along the written lines of a script. There are many landmines to step over and it will not be a gunfight at OK Coral where everything ends in a few minutes. But I am sure everything will be done legally and time will tell who really upholds the rule of law.

The exemplary manner in which Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Zaid Ibrahim has taken his stand must be emulated by all politicians. As far as I know, this man has talked a lot of sense and tried his best to bring about reforms within Umno and failed.

It takes a giant of a man to admit he has failed and bold leaders to admit their failures. Even Dr Mahathir Mohamad admitted his failure to change the mindset of the Malays when he was in government and for anointing the architect of his sleepless nights and restless days while planning his ousting.

Rather than play cat and mouse, the defecting politicians themselves must show their true colours and boldness in coming out into the open to support Anwar and confirm that he has the numbers to form the government. It is not the time to be coy about something as important as this and people will respect those who are honest and upfront.

Make a firm stand on who you support and sink or swim with your decision.

Those who have chosen must help those who have not to do the right thing. After all, I have made up my mind who I will vote for in the next election and I am not afraid to tell you it won't be for those who lock up the innocent in jail.

You are not a traitor or immoral in deciding to cross over to justice. Pakatan politicians didn’t think it immoral to cross over to Barisan Nasional as we have seen Ezam Noor and other Pakatan members do. You can't do worse but that's my opinion and it is a free country.

In a free country, members of parliament are not beholden to anyone except those who put them in power and the interests of their country. It is not immoral to rebel against the party line when you no longer have confidence in your party. It is called conscience. It would be immoral, hypocritical and unconscionable to remain in a party you no longer believe in or support those you no longer have confidence in. Zaid has set a good and right example.

People who talk about the morality of the present crisis of crossovers miss the bigger picture that this is an unusual and unprecedented situation. And there are always exceptions to the rule. Whatever misgivings we may have, Anwar has promised that there will be a fresh election to get an unequivocal mandate and wisely so when we know the phantom voters are really dead and can't vote.

For the first time in the country's history, there is the possibility of toppling of the Umno-led government which many Malaysians now reject and that Mahathir himself derides as "a rotten government”. It goes to show how a party staying in power for too long can become.

That Anwar has given ample notice of the plan for politicians to cross over meant Pakatan Rakyat had been as open and transparent to the public as practically possible. That 40-odd Barisan MPs were hurriedly sent overseas on a junket tells us Anwar wasn't just blowing hot air. Soon we will know the truth and who tells the "political lie", though one has a better record than the other.

The unusual situation is also highlighted by the unprecedented attrition of support for incumbent PM Abdullah. He has had his former boss take snipes at him and working toward his downfall and the latest resignation of Zaid, the one that both sides of the political divide and many Malaysians respect, must seem like Abdullah may need to take a premature involuntary redundancy sooner than he planned. Anwar has persistently said he has the numbers and is now going through the process of getting the incumbent to concede defeat.

We have seen Robert Mugabe losing his grip on power in Zimbabwe now that agreement has been reached for him to be president and his rival Morgan Tsvangira become prime minister. Despite the violence, police brutality and killings, tyranny had to make way for the people's will.

The arrogant and stubborn one-time nationalist knows compromise is the wise option when the writing is on the wall and time is not on your side. In Malaysia, the mood of the people is for change and it is a bitter lesson that Umno is still unwilling to learn.

It is the sickness that afflicts all who have held tyrannical power, from kings to politicians who often come from poverty to taste power and can't seem to relinquish it when the time comes. From the Indian maharajahs to the last emperor of China who was prepared to betray his own country and people to become sovereign of a puppet country run by the Japanese, weak men have stubbornly refused to give up the throne of power and may even betray their country and cause trouble.

Nothing that Pakatan has done so far is immoral or unconstitutional.

Those who defend text book notions of political morality where the crossovers are concerned may be unfairly pedantic. If the Sabbath was made for man and not the other way round, surely it would be immoral to allow a discordant and incompetent administration in disarray and evidently incapable of reform and giving the people what they want, the moral right to govern when they no longer have the numbers.

And it makes no sense to talk of morality when you are facing an opponent which seems to show none. The incumbent government abuses its power and the police are so evidently partial toward them to justify their immoral acts such as the recent ISA arrests and tampering with police witnesses.

When Barisan component parties are already talking about pulling out of their political alliance and fight among themselves like dogs and cats you'd be silly not to be trying to forge new alliances and re-configure the political network to get into power.

It might sound facetious but what is to prevent PM Abdullah himself joining Pakatan Rakyat with his merry men of constrained reformers so they have a free hand to bring about the desired reforms in the country?

You would have a win-win situation with PM Abdullah still holding on to his coveted post but spending much of his time overseas to build bridges with other countries, something that few can do as well as he.

Anwar and his men and women can then carry on with the onerous task of cleaning up 22 years of mistakes and misdemeanours. By then, Mahathir would have rejoined Umno and being the capable politician he is and having much practice, he would be the ideal opposition leader and no one can boast of having held both posts in the country except his black-eyed ghost from the past. Then perhaps some of us who want to keep the government decent and honest might even support him.

Sadly the time for day-dreaming is not now and the day of reckoning must surely be nigh.

When Gerakan won a whopping majority in 1969 and became a formidable political force, they were seduced into the Barisan. The rest is history. Many of the political alliances were the result of change and crossovers so we should stop debating a non-issue.

Politicians are elected to serve their constituency not their political party. The real immorality is enslaving our elected representatives and coercing them to obey the party so thay can't properly serve their constituencies or properly debate bills like in the recent DNA bill scam.

Every political party knows that their elected members owe them no allegiance beyond what they can do for them. Sometimes we see certain politicians passed over and in the next elections, they stand against their party as independents. We don't see much of that in Malaysia because of the undemocratic manner that political parties conduct their business. There are more party serfs useful for their obligatory numbers to form government than people's representatives.

But in a truly transparent and democratic government that Pakatan promises, they will get a new lease of real political life. Imagine, freedom for our politicians. Who would have thought? So, crossovers are not only good for the people but for the politicians themselves because they are crossing over to the political promised land so to speak, to escape from the repressive pharaoh.

Anwar has already parted the river. What more do we need?

Zaid has set the benchmark for politicians of conscience. It is up to others to follow and prove they are undeniably unafraid to stand up for the rakyat whom they serve and for their principles, as he has. September 2008 or whenever the time for change has come. So what are we waiting for?


September 19, 2008

The morality of crossing over

The morality of crossing over
William Leong Jee Keen
Sep 17, 2008 - Malaysiakini Letters

The Bar Council, Harris Ibrahim and Sean Ang are reported in the New Straits Times on September 10 to have said that members of parliament crossing the floor to join another party is legal but immoral.

It is therefore necessary to draw the attention of the public to several fundamental principles with regard to the issue on the morality of MPs crossing the floor.

Crossing the floor to sit as a member of parliament in another political party is nothing new in parliamentary democracies. It has been described as the height of treachery. It has also been praised as the stuff which parliamentarian heroes are made of.

The great Sir Winston Churchill is perhaps the most famous parliamentarian to cross the floor and switch allegiance on more than one occasion.

There is no dispute that crossing the floor for money or personal gain is both immoral and a betrayal of the voters’ trust. However, when the MP crosses not for personal gain but in the interest and welfare of his constituents then he should be commended.

The argument that crossing is immoral is that the MP was elected on his erstwhile political party’s ticket and that is amounts to a fraud on his voters. This argument is founded on two assumptions. The first is that the MP’s seat belongs to the political party. The second is that the MP was voted in based on his party’s platform and policies.

The assumptions are wrong and the argument has failed to take into consideration several objectives and purposes of certain fundamental principles of a parliamentary constitutional system.

Upon a proper understanding of these fundamental principles, it will be seen that far from being immoral, the ability for MPs to cross the floor is not only moral but part of the democratic process.

The argument that the voters have elected the MP on the party’s ticket and that the seat belongs to the party and not the MP arises from a confusion over the nature of the electoral systems in use. There are two major electoral systems in the world’s democracies:

The first is the constituency-based electoral system. By this system, voters in each local area or constituency elect an individual candidate. The person who wins the majority of votes in each constituency becomes a member of parliament.

The party with the majority of MPs forms the government. In this system, the individual MP and not the party holds the seat. This means the MP can cross the floor and still keep his seat.

The second is the proportional representation system. By this system, the electorate in a large area, for example, a province or a country votes for political parties. The political party chooses the people who will become MPs. Each party is allocated a number of seats proportional to the number of votes it receives in the election. In this system, the seat belongs to the party and the MP who crosses the floor cannot keep his seat.

The electoral system used in Malaysia is the constituency-based system. Therefore, the argument that the MP has stolen his party’s seat when he crosses the floor is not supported upon a proper understanding of the constituency based electoral system.

The constituency based system provides for individuals and not political parties to be the candidates for election to the Dewan Rakyat. This is shown by independents, persons who do not belong to any political party, to contest.

The candidate is elected not only on the policies and political ideology but also his personal character and capability. The policies and manifesto of the individual candidate will substantially be similar with the policies of other candidates from his party but there will also be differences according to the specific needs of the constituency and the candidate’s own capabilities.

The party ticket is therefore a grouping of individual candidates professing to hold similar policies and ideology. However, the constituents are voting for the individual candidate based on his policies, his personal capabilities and personal commitment.

The party ticket argument also fails to give effect to the provisions of Articles 43(1) and 43(4) of the Federal Constitution. Article 43(1) provides that the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong is to appoint the prime minister who in his judgment is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the Dewan Rakyat.

Article 43(4) provides that the prime minister is to tender the resignation of his cabinet if he ceases to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the Dewan Rakyat.

The effect of our electoral system and the operation of these two articles are that the constituents have given the power to the majority of the 222 members of parliament to decide who, from amongst them, is to be the prime minister.

The tenure of the 222 and their power is fixed. It continues until the next general election. The tenure of the prime minister, however, is not fixed and not immutable. It is subject to the prime minister continuing to enjoy the confidence of the majority of the 222 throughout the term of the Parliament.

By its very nature, the confidence enjoyed by the prime minister is capable of being lost and changed. This can be due to many factors including where the prime minister is unwilling or unable or inept in performing his duties or has failed to properly implement policies or no longer enjoys the confidence of the people or if there is a shift of public opinion as to the desirability of keeping him in office.

The power to remove the prime minister in practice includes and requires the members of parliament crossing the floor. It is this ability to cross the floor that ensures that only a capable prime minister can hope to see the end of the parliamentary term.

The failure for the MP to act is that he will be unlikely to be re-elected by his constituents at the next general election. It is thus the MP’s moral duty to cross the floor if necessary to ensure that an inept prime minister does not remain in office.

The argument that the MP betrays his voters by joining another party glosses over basic principles governing an MP’s duties and his need to exercise independent judgement.

The word "democracy" comes from the Greek word "demokratia" which means "government by the people". The MP is elected to be the voice of his constituents and not to be the voice and handmaid of his political bosses. The MP and his constituents are the conscience of the Executive.

The paramount duty of the MP is therefore to act in the interest and welfare of his constituents and the next in the order of priority is to the Parliament. The Parliament, is the second pillar of government. It is one of the three institutions in the concept of the separation of powers of the government. It is to act as a check and balance to executive power.

The Parliament is the avenue, through the principle of parliamentary privilege, by which the people may explore alternatives to the Executive’s proposals, to expose a wrong or an injustice.

The people vote their parliamentarians to guard their liberties and to query the activities of the Executive and its servants. It is in the ability of the Parliament to challenge the Executive that provides the real restrain to an overzealous or unwise use of authority.

The Parliament is therefore not created to be "a rubber stamp" of the Executive. The parliamentarians have a duty to be independent minded and are not put there by the people to be "yes men" for their party bosses. The British had more than a hundred years ago derided members of parliament who followed party orders without questions.

In more mature democracies, it is not unusual for members of the House of Commons to cross the floor or those members who generally support the government to speak and vote against the government. It is not unusual for members of the US House of Representatives or Senate to sit on either side of the House in a division.

It is because of this that a democrat like Joe Liberman could follow his conscience to endorse Republican John McCain as presidential candidate. It is because of this that President Nixon could be impeached for Watergate.

The problem in Malaysia is that no BN MP has in 51 years crossed the floor of our Dewan Rakyat. The government controlled media had ensured that any vote against the ruling party or even a dissenting voice is labeled as an act of treachery.

The idea of BN MPs crossing has therefore been quickly castigated as immoral without examining whether good conscience demands that the MP cross the floor resolutely according to the needs of his constituents’ interest or to remain in sterile stupor according to the dictates of his party bosses.

The Watergates of Malaysia shall until then be destined to remain unearthed, unheard and unseen unless and until those elected to be the voice of their constituents find the courage to act according to their conscience.

For so long as members of parliament from the ruling party conduct themselves as the proverbial three monkeys of "hearing no evil, seeing no evil and speaking no evil" about their party bosses, then the independence of Parliament does not exist.

There is no check and balance by the Parliament of the Executive and only a "rubber stamp". The political tsunami that swept away the shackles to an independent judiciary must now also free the legislature from its bondage.

The ability for members of parliament to cross the floor is the expression of public morality and not of immorality. Article 43(4) of the Malaysian Federal Constitution provides that the prime minister is to resign his cabinet upon ceasing to command the confidence of the majority in the Dewan Rakyat. Our Constitution is modeled on the British Westminster Constitution.

It is a collection of constitutional conventions and customs. It is the outcome of centuries of constitutional evolution. It has distilled and crystallised the essence of the expression of public values and public morality.

The convention to provide members of parliament with the ability to cross the floor and thereby bring about the removal of a government is thus an expression of public morality.

The ability to allow MPs to cross the floor recognises that there may be a significant shift in public opinion that does not require fresh elections but needs to be reflected in the Parliament. The ruling party may be unable or unwilling to implement policies promised to the electorate.

This can then be given expression through the MPs crossing the floor. It is this ability that curtails the power of party bosses and makes for a more vibrant political atmosphere.

It provides for greater democracy and greater sensitivity to public opinion during the Parliamentary term otherwise it inculcates the Executive to become an authoritarian regime relying in the knowledge that it does not have to account to the people for the next five years.

The improper use of the ISA, the Sedition Act, the requirement of police permit to prevent the people from exercising their right of free speech and freedom of assembly and the abuse of power to shut dissent must not have to wait for general elections every five years.

It is the duty of the 222 to ensure that the Executive power remains in check. It has become even more imperative that the BN MPs be able to vote according to their conscience.

Raja Petra Kamaruddin, Theresa Kok and the reporter from Sin Chew Daily, Tan Hoon Cheng were detained under the ISA. Although Tan has been released, the other two remain in custody. Now is the time to act, the nation cannot wait for five years.

The ability of the members of parliament to cross the floor and by doing so bring about a change in the government is part and parcel of the democratic process.

It is a form of check and balance. It ensures that the sitting government must continuously be sensitive to the needs and opinion of the people or risk being removed before expiry of its term.

The famous words that a democracy is said to be a "government of the people by the people and for the people" must include the right of the people to remove the government when it no longer represents the people.

When members of parliament cross the floor acting according to the dictates of the people and not the dictate of the party bosses, they are acting morally and not immorally.

The writer is member of parliament for Selayang.


Petition to free RPK, Teresa Kok and Others

An online petition to free Raja Petra Kamaruddin, Teresa Kok and others arrested under the ISA was initiated yesterday by Lim Teck Ghee.

Within a period of one day the number of signatures for the petition has reached more than 7,500. The immediate response by so many Malaysians in signing this petition indicates the level of outrage in the country caused by the unjustified ISA arrests of these people.

Although Teresa Kok has been release at 1.00 p.m. today (19 September), Malaysians are still urged to continue to pressure the government to free RPK, the HINDRAF Five and others. You can sign the petition at the following link:

Petition to Free Raja Petra Kamaruddin, Teresa Kok and Others Held Under the Internal Security Act

No justification for ISA under any circumstances

No justification under any circumstances
18 Sept 2008 - Malaysiakini

DAP national chairperson says that there is no justification for ISA to exist in any circumstances. He is also concerned by the possible appointment of an Umno man as chief justice.

Teresa Kok released

Teresa Kok released
19 Sept 2008 - Malaysiakini

DAP Seputeh MP Teresa Kok was released at 1pm today, after being held under the Internal Security Act for a week, revealed her lawyer Sankara Nair.

September 18, 2008

The ISA must go

Time to get rid of draconian ISA
Brave New World

The ISA was drafted to battle the violent communist insurgency, and, one presumes, other threats of the same ilk.

As stated by the father of the current Deputy Prime Minister, it was not meant to stifle democracy. And furthermore, it is the very mechanisms of democracy, such as a free press, that will keep the use of the ISA in check.

In this light, we can see that the powers provided by the ISA have been severely abused over the decades.

The latest example of course is the arrest of Raja Petra Kamarudin, Teresa Kok and Tan Hoon Cheng.

The reasons for the detention of the three have nothing to do at all with any sort of violent action or even proposed violent action on their part.

In the case of Tan, the justification for her 16-hour detention was so ludicrous and so obtuse, that it beggared belief.

The ISA was not meant to be used as a personal protection device. And pray tell how a 16-hour detention after which the individual was released back into the public sphere can be considered “protection”?

Raja Petra is currently being charged for criminal defamation and sedition.

He is facing the law in open court where he shall be accused and he shall have the opportunity to defend himself or he would have done if he was not locked up right now.

Why on earth is he being detained? Is he planning some sort of armed rebellion? There is no evidence at all to indicate even the slightest hint of that.

And Kok is being detained because some political opponents have decided to accuse her of offending Islam.

If these accusations are false, and there are indications that they are, then there is a term for this kind of behaviour – fitnah.

Fitnah is the most despicable crime committed only by the most despicable of creatures.

I am disgusted by the latest use of the ISA. It is undoubtedly going against the spirit and the intention of the ISA.

The arrest of Raja Petra, Kok and Tan also shows that the law is so open to abuse that we have no other choice but to get rid of it. There can be no room for amendments.

The ISA must go.


Anwar requests for emergency parliamentary session

Anwar Ibrahim today calls for an emergency session of Parliament to be convened before 23 September. This is for the purpose of deliberating a motion of censure against the PM.

A letter signed by him and leaders of DAP and PAS has been sent to the PM on this matter.

Press Statement by Anwar Ibrahim

Today Pakatan Rakyat leaders have submitted a letter to the Prime Minister requesting him to call an emergency session of Parliament to deliberate a motion of censure against the leadership of YAB Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi no later than Tuesday 23 September 2008.

This is in accordance with Order 11(3) of the Standing Orders of Parliament and warrants an immediate response given the gravity of today’s political impasse. A delay in his response would be interpreted as nothing short of a further sabotage of the democratic process and abuse of Executive Power.

The Prime Minister’s haggling on the syntax of our first letter is puerile at best. The intent of our meeting as described in that letter was clearly to discuss the future course of the nation’s leadership – though in deference to his position and in accordance with acceptable norms we remain considerate and polite in our approach.

I find the Prime Minister’s comment about me in his press conference yesterday to be reckless and irresponsible in light of the disastrous outcome of last Friday’s ISA raids.

He has conflated what is essentially an issue of democracy, freedom and the rule of law with national security. The use of the ISA to harass and detain duly elected political opponents is a grave transgression of the law and its continued use would further erode confidence in the current government and exacerbate political instability.

As the incumbent Prime Minister actively holding office and exercising all Executive powers, and as the outgoing Finance Minister, we hold him fully accountable for the current political turmoil and mismanagement of the nation’s economy. His accusation that I have had an adverse impact on the nation’s economy is entirely without basis.

I have met with the key fund managers in the region, representing over USD 1 trillion in assets, and on multiple occasions they were unanimously in support of comprehensive reforms in Malaysia including judicial independence, a free media, a more professional police force and anti-corruption agency, investor friendly laws and assurances on the non-interference of politicians in the governance of Bank Negara. These are policies Pakatan Rakyat has promised to implement– and initiatives that the current administration has done virtually nothing to advance since March 8th.

Leader of Opposition
De-facto leader, Keadilan


Anwar demands no-confidence vote against PM by next Tuesday
By Shannon Teoh - Malaysia Insider

PETALING JAYA, Sept 18 — Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim wants Parliament to convene by Sept 23 for him to table a vote of no confidence against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

He said that a letter signed by him, the DAP's Lim Kit Siang and Pas president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, representing the Pakatan Rakyat alliance, had been sent to the PM to request him to convene Parliament by next Tuesday.

"We have told him we have the numbers. If he wants the details and doesn't believe me, then convene the emergency sitting," he told reporters at PKR headquarters here today.

He insisted it was critical for the PM to respond as "it is important to think of the nation and not themselves. They are a minority government, the majority is with us.

"You can ask him this evening for his response," referring to Abdullah's usual press conference after the Umno supreme council meeting later today.

The supreme council has a 3pm meeting scheduled today.

He added that if Abdullah refused their request, the PR leadership will meet again.

Anwar did not rule out the possibility that the opposition alliance would then seek an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

When asked why the PR alliance was not prepared to wait until Oct 13, when Parliament is scheduled to be in session again, he cited as his reasoning the current "state of flux, volatility, arrests, ISA, economic threats, switching portfolios midstream, uncertainty in Umno supreme council meetings" and asked: "How long can you wait?"

The PKR de facto chief rebutted Abdullah's statements yesterday, in which the PM accused Anwar of misleading the public when he claimed to have to have written to the PM to ask for a smooth transfer of power.

"The haggling over the syntax of our first letter is puerile at best," he said, adding that "in deference to his position, we remain considerate and polite in our approach."

He also called Abdullah reckless and irresponsible for saying he was a threat to the economy and security of the country.


September 17, 2008

Is it crazy?

It was reported in newspapers that the PM thinks it is crazy to suggest that he would arrest the MPs who are crossing over to Pakatan Rakyat.

He also labelled Anwar’s call for the BN government not to declare emergency or detain under the ISA any MPs who were crossing over as “crazy”.

“That’s crazy to even suggest that I would arrest these people under ISA just because of their decision,” he said, adding that Anwar wanted to picture him as someone who used force and was dictatorial.

- Sept 16, 2008 - the Sun

No, Mr PM we don't think that is a crazy suggestion. What many Malaysians think is crazy are the following:

  • It is CRAZY to arrest under the ISA the Sin Chew Daily reporter, Tan Hoon Cheng for doing her job in reporting truthfully racial remarks uttered by an UMNO politician and for the Home Minister to claim later that she was arrested for her own protection.

  • It is CRAZY to arrest under the ISA a democratically-elected member of parliament, Teresa Kok on baseless and non-existing grounds when the authorities should be investigating the malicious and unfounded accusations made against her by Khir Toyo and the lies reported by Utusan Malaysia.

  • It is CRAZY to arrest under the ISA Raja Petra who is well-known for his courage and commitment to justice and a non-racial approach to national issues and who has exposed many abuses and corruption through his blog which otherwise would not have seen the light.

Mr PM can you blame Anwar or other Malaysians for worrying about your government's craziness in invoking the ISA?

Anwar on 916 (Videos)

Anwar Ibrahim: Press Conference
16 Sept 2008 - Mediarakyat

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

September 15, 2008

How True!

History Repeats Itself
14 Sept 2008 - Mediarakyat

Letter to Speaker on Teresa’s ISA arrest

Lim Kit Siang has written a letter to the Speaker in Parliament to request for necessary actions to protect one the members of parliament, Teresa Kok who was arrested under the ISA. He says in the letter that as an independent branch of the government Parliament cannot take lightly the use of ISA against an MP. Kit Siang added,

"Parliament never enacted the Internal Security Act to provide the Police with powers to detain persons to undertake a “fishing expedition” to ascertain the truth or otherwise of baseless and defamatory allegations against an MP, just as the ISA was never enacted to protect the personal safety of a journalist – the ridiculous excuse given by the Home Minister to justify the farce and scandal of the 18-hour ISA detention of senior Sin Chew reporter, Tan Hoon Cheng."

You can read the complete text of the letter at Lim Kit Siang's blog.

Zaid Ibrahim resigns as Law Minister broke the news that Zaid Ibrahim, the de facto Law Minister, has tendered his resignation. Toh Kin Woon, the former Gerakan leader commented that, “It’s very rare to have a person like him who can resist the lure of high office to stand firm on his own beliefs and prinicples.”

Malaysiakini also has a report on Zaid Ibrahim's resignation. This comes after he declared his opposition to the use of the ISA to arrest people who he cannot see to be a national threat. He originally planned to meet the PM to discuss his views on the use of the ISA. However, it seems like he has resigned without seeing the PM on the urging of many Malaysians.

Although he is not an MP, Zaid Ibrahim is a person who should be welcomed by Pakatan Rakyat, if he decides to also resign from UMNO.

RPK may be in danger

It has been reported in the People's Parliament blog that RPK's life may be in danger. Apparently, RPK has been on hunger strike since Friday when he was arrested under the ISA. This may lead to kidney failure which can endanger his life if he is not given proper medical attention. This news has caused great concern among his supporters. They call for the Pakatan Rakyat to expedite their 916 plan since the only sure way RPK and Teresa Kok can be released from ISA detention is to removed the morally bankrupt BN government.

According to the latest update on Malaysia Today, "DSP Ibrahim Jaffar called Madam Marina at 12pm (15 Sept 2008), to inform her that her family can visit RPK in Bukit Aman at 11am tomorrow. His laywers are also allowed to do so at 11am on Thursday (18 Sept 2008)." Although this is welcome news, it still does not remove people's fear that he and Teresa Kok will be detain further.

Pakatan Rakyat, please move on your 916 plan!

September 14, 2008

916 Is Inevitable

Malaysians await with bated breath as 16 September 2008 or 916 approaches, some with high expectations, some with trepidations and some with nonchalance. It is the day which Anwar Ibrahim has claimed, where there will be a change of government in the country. This will be triggered by the cross-over of some MPs from the BN to the Pakatan Rakyat (PR). If there are more than 30 MPs who decide to join PR it will have more than 112 seats, a majority in the 222-seat parliament which will entitle PR to form the federal government.

Some Malaysians are sceptical that the envisaged change will happen although the number of sceptics are diminishing. They say it is just political posturing, psychological warfare or an attempt to encourage more MPs from Sabah and Sarawak to make the transition since 16 September is Malaysia Day - the day Sabah and Sarawak joined Malaya to form Malaysia. They are also doubtful of the morality of such cross-overs.

However, Anwar has maintained unwaveringly that 916 will happen. Other PKR leaders have also declared that they have the numbers for PR to take over. Even BN has been shakened even though outwardly the BN leaders try to maintain a stoic confidence. The fact that they had approved the hurriedly arranged and chaotic study tour to Taiwan for 49 of the back-bencher BN MPs who are prime targets for defection indicates the disarray and confusion in the BN on how to preempt 916.

The despicable use of the the ISA to detain Raja Petra, Teresa Kok and Tan Hoon Cheng without justification also shows an increasingly panicky and desperate government trying to create diversions and fear. It is still not clear who is responsible for giving the green light to invoke the draconian ISA. However, it does not matter anymore because it has succeeded only to alienated the people further. Of course, this does not diminish the seriousness of the detention without trial of Raja Petra and Teresa Kok. Malaysians must still demand for their immediate release.

The use of the ISA has also served to dispel doubts anyone may have on the morality of forming the government by using the defections of BN MPs. In the face of such high-handed and immoral act of arresting these Malaysians without giving them the opportunity to defend themselves in court, it is no longer wrong to change the government since it has lost its moral authority to run the country. As Tunku Abdul Aziz puts it, the current government is in "complete moral decay".

Politicians in Gerakan and MCA have broken ranks and have openly condemned the use the ISA. Apparently, even UMNO politicians have expressed their doubts about the use of the ISA. The de facto law minister, Zaid Ibrahim, has just threatened to resign if the government continues to invoke the ISA. Even before the ISA arrests, there were already calls within some of these component parties for them to pull out of BN. The Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) is just waiting to be sacked from BN after expressing support for a no-confidence vote against the PM and will meet on 17 September to decide its future signalling a likely withdrawal from BN.

All this means that the defection of more BN MPs is going to snowball and there is nothing which can possibly reverse this trend. The Pakatan Rakyat has proposed meeting with the PM ostensibly to discuss national security and the future of Malaysian politics. Perhaps, a surprise may be in store for Malaysians after such a meeting. It may be rather far-fetched to expect the MP for Kepala Batas to cross-over, but maybe a smooth transition may be worked out somehow. After all, despite the criticisms hurled at him the current PM may have the decency to put the interest of the country ahead of personal and his party's interest.

I believe 916 is inevitable. I believe that PR has the numbers to carry out the planned change of government and the list is growing longer. It may not be on 16 September, it may not be 17 September, it may not even be 20 September but it will happen soon. Hence, if we stop looking at 916 as a date, a slight delay should not be a disappointment. 916 as a symbol which represents the aspiration of Malaysians for a change to a better Malaysia where there is real freedom, justice and equality for all Malaysians and good governance, transparency and accountability in government will inevitably come true.

Govt in complete moral decay

Tunku Abdul Aziz: "Gov in complete moral decay"
14 Sept 2008 - Malaysiakini

September 13, 2008

Lim Kit Siang on the ISA Crackdown

Full report in Malaysiakini.

Lim Kit Siang on the ISA Crackdown
13 Sept 2008 - Malaysiakini

50-member legal team for ISA detainees (source: Malaysiakini)

In a press conference held today (13 Sept), it was announced that the Bar will hold an emergency EGM next week to discuss and condemn the use of the ISA by the government to arrest persons without trial. Such an EGM is rarely held by the Bar and is seen as a strong message against the use of the ISA.

A 50-member legal team will also be formed to extend legal aid to the ISA detainees. This team will include the Bar chairperson and representative from each state in the country.


Teresa was in high spirits

Full report in Malaysiakini.

Gobind Singh: Teresa was in high spirits
13 Sept 2008 - Malaysiakini

Reporter released but Teresa denied access to lawyers

It has been reported in that the Sin Chew reporter, Tan Hoon Cheng has been released today. However, according to Malaysiakini's report, the Selangor exco member Teresa Kok is still being denied access to her lawyers.

A notice was issued to Teresa's next of kin that she was arrested under the ISA because she was involved in "activities which can cause tension and conflict among races and religion".

Hello, I think you all have arrested the wrong person! Ask any Malaysian on the street and he/she would be able to tell you who is the culprit who should be arrested for "activities which can cause tension and conflict among races and religion". The person who was holding a few press conferences and given full coverage on TV and the mainstream press. The person who is going to have a roadshow and continue to engage in such activities. Interested in nabbing this person? Ask anyone on the street.

ISA - AlJazeera (Video)

Abolish the ISA!
Release all Political Detainees!

People & Power - Malaysia's Internal Security Act
9 Sept 2008 - AlJazeera

Arrest of Teresa Kok An Instigation?

The only response to the arrest under the ISA of Selangor senior state executive councillor and Seputeh MP Teresa Kok can only be anger and frustration. According to the report in Malaysiakini,

Kok has been defending herself against allegations that she complained about the noise of morning prayers at a mosque in her state seat of Kinrara. She has said the accusation is "preposterous".

This is the flimsiest reason they can use to arrest a state councillor under the ISA. How can her action be construed as a threat to national security? In any case she has denied the accusation. Nobody in his/her right mind would consider her a threat to the country.

Perhaps the intention was to instigate the people with this glaringly unjustified action. Perhaps they hope people will react angrily and take to the streets. This will give them an excuse to take further drastic actions such as imposing emergency rule thus preventing 916 from materialising.

Lets not be fooled by these antics. Various people have advised caution and level-headed response. A reader of People's Parliament blog posting, "Don’t fear a dying beast’s last strike, but don’t fall for its rouse either" wrote the following:

1. Remain calm

2. Do not do anything rash

3. Do not take to the street

4. Do not be instigated by people to demonstrate

5. Just voice it out in your blog, your comments to the blogs, and inform your friends and relatives about the situation

6. Call your Aduns or MPs and voice out your objection about these arrests and urge your representatives to voice out

7. Members of political parties, sms your leaders to pressure them to voice out

We shall object to these draconian acts by using civility and do not fall into the traps of giving the big brother a chance to declare emergency rule……

Release the political detainees! Abolish the ISA!

September 12, 2008

Reporter arrested instead of the offender (source: Malaysiakini)

Malaysiakini ( reported today that the Sin Chew Daily journalist Tan Hoon Cheng has been arrested today under the ISA at 8.30pm.

The UMNO chieftain Ahmad Ismail made the offensive racial remarks during the Permatang Pauh by-elections. In his subsequent press conferences, not only did he not apologise for his remarks but he made further disparaging remarks with frightening belligerence. His supporters even tore the photograph of the previous CM, Koh Tsu Koon. Was he arrested for his remarks which some would consider a threat to security? No, instead he was only handed down a suspension from UMNO for 3 years.

Now, who has been arrested instead? The journalist who reported what Ahmad Ismail said during the by-elections! What she heard has been confirmed by other journalists who were present. She was merely doing her job as a reporter. What twisted logic on the part of the authorities can result in the arrest of the reporter but not the offender? Is there a rule of law in this country or are we descending into a police state?

Release Ms Tan Hoon Cheng immediately.

Say NO to the ISA!

Charge him in court says Ambiga (Video)

Charge him in court says Ambiga
12 Sept 2008 - Malaysiakini

The president of the Malaysian Bar, Ambiga Sreenevasan says "If somebody has committed an offence, charge him and give him a chance to defend himself court." She also says the use of ISA is against the rule of law and calls for the immediate release of Raja Petra.

All must condemn Raja Petra's arrest

All must condemn Raja Petra's arrest and show-cause letters
Toh Kin Woon, Aliran
12 September 2008

It is blatantly obvious that the state is now resorting to the use of dictatorial and draconian measures to intimidate all those who wish to tell and reveal the truths, observes Aliran member Toh Kin Woon. Even those who merely do their job honestly as journalists and the newspapers that they work for are not spared. It is increasingly obvious, too, that the present Federal Government is not prepared to allow the space for freedom of speech, including the freedom of the press.

I learnt with great alarm and concern just a while ago of the arrest of famous Malaysian blogger, Raja Petra bin Raja Kamaruddin, also popularly known as RPK, under the highly obnoxious Internal Security Act (ISA) by the Federal Government. I am equally concerned over the issuance of show cause letters by the Ministry of Home Affairs to the Sin Chew Chinese daily, theSun and Suara Keadilan, the official weekly of Parti Keadilan, as to why their publishing permits should not be withdrawn.

RPK is a blogger known for his courage and commitment to justice, fair play and a non-racial approach to nation building. His blog, Malaysia Today, is extremely popular as it reveals the truth behind many issues that have hogged the limelight. But the truth often is not what our leaders in the Federal Government would like Malaysians to know. The reason is obvious; such truths put them in a bad light. They therefore attempt to whitewash them with their own spins or non-revelation of the facts. But by revealing them, RPK has made Malaysians more aware of the many cases of abuses and corruption that have drained the country of its precious assets, and demoralised the nation’s workforce. By doing so, he has also advanced the cause of justice. It is shocking that immediately after promising not to block access to the electronic media, the Federal Government should resort to this draconian measure of using the ISA to detain RPK. I condemn this arrest and call on the Federal Government to immediately and unconditionally release RPK. If the latter has violated any laws, he should be brought to court for a fair and impartial trial.

It is equally shocking that the Ministry of Home Affairs should issue a show cause letter to the Sin Chew Daily, theSun and the Suara Keadilan. From what I know, they merely reported on what was said by some leaders during the Permatang Pauh by-election. If these news reports contain racial undertones, the fault lies with those who made those statements, and not those who reported on and published them. Yet the same Ministry did not see it fit to take any action against those who uttered racist and seditious statements, but instead chose to punish those who reported and published them. This is clearly turning justice on its head. Again, I condemn such a high-handed action of the Ministry and call upon it to withdraw such show cause letters.

It is blatantly obvious that the state is now resorting to the use of dictatorial and draconian measures to intimidate all those who wish to tell and reveal the truths. Even those who merely do their job honestly as journalists and the newspapers that they work for are not spared. It is increasingly obvious, too, that the present Federal Government is not prepared to allow the space for freedom of speech, including the freedom of the press. But Malaysians want such a space. The obvious way for them to realise their goal is to support a change of government at the Federal level.


Raja Petra arrested under ISA (Malaysiakini) - Release RPK!

It was too good to be true when the MCMC restored access to the Malaysia Today website yesterday. Raja Petra's immediate response was "I'm always suspicious of their next move. There is always a hidden agenda," as reported in MalaysiaKini.

Sure enough, we now have news that RPK has been arrested under the ISA at 1.10 pm today. Although there were earlier hints that this may happen it still came as a shock.

It is ridiculous that Ahmad Ismail who had made very serious racial remarks which threatened the country's peace were only given a suspension term by UMNO without any further action by the police even though many police reports have been made. Instead they have decided to detain RPK. Whatever reasons they are going to use to justify detaining RPK will not hold water. Few Malaysians will believe that RPK's actions threaten national security. He may be a thorn in the side for a few BN leaders but he is no threat to the country. In fact, many Malaysians would credit him for his bravery in exposing wrong-doings in high places and for raising the political conciousness of Malaysians.

Does this action together with the show-cause letters issued by the Home Ministry to The Sun, Sin Chew Daily and PKR's publication Suara Keadilan yesterday over their coverage of political issues signal a clampdown on legitimate dissent, criticisms and unbias news reporting in the country? We certainly hope not as such high-handed actions will only strengthen further the resolve of Malaysians fighting for a better Malaysia and will hasten the demise of the BN.

All Malaysians must oppose the use the draconian ISA in stifling polical dissent and demand the release RPK.

Please take note of and sms out the following notice from the People's Parliament:

‘RPK detained under ISA. Pls come to Kelana Jaya Stadium 8pm 15th September, 2008 to show solidarity for RPK’.

September 11, 2008

Don’t fall for Ahmad’s race-baiting

Don’t fall for Ahmad’s race-baiting
10 Sep 2008 - The Edge

How do you deal with a speaker who has been offensive? You state your objections to him, of course. And if he insists that he was right to offend you, then what? Do you continue to argue your case with him? Or do you take the matter to an appropriate forum for resolution. At what point do you cut off the talk and return to where you were before the rude interruption?

In the matter involving Datuk Ahmad Ismail, the Bukit Bendera Umno division chief who has been making headlines over inflammatory remarks purportedly made during the Permatang Pauh by-election campaign, the fitting response is — just ignore him, and those of his ilk.

The allegation against Ahmad is indeed serious, as he had reportedly called the Chinese immigrants to the country, and therefore, it was impossible for them to achieve equal rights as citizens. Several police reports have been lodged on the matter, so it is appropriate to await the result of their investigations into whether these comments amount to sedition.

Although some may think that staying silent in the face of such apparent provocation is unacceptable and a sign of weakness, there are good reasons for keeping one’s cool under the current circumstances.

Ahmad’s racial posturing, as evidenced by his subsequent comments, shows that he is baiting others for a heated response. One reaction will only lead to a counter reaction. Soon, other extremists will join the fray and before we know it, racial tension will rear its ugly head. This would lead to a crackdown on legitimate dissent and freedom of expression, just like in the events that led to Operation Lallang in 1987. The only effective preventive action is to exercise restraint.

Ahmad and his likes have lost power in Penang and are perhaps feeling at a loose end. That’s probably why they are itching for a fight. So the best strategy is to ignore them.

If there was any doubt about where we’re heading, another sign that the situation is taking an undesirable turn appeared yesterday. Armed Forces chief General Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Zainal has proposed that the government take stern action against those who stoke racial sentiments. Expressing concern that discussion of racial issues could create chaos and disorder, he described the situation as a security threat.

The use of such language is extremely serious. Why is the army commenting on civilian affairs? Its job is to defend the nation against external threats and that is what it must stick to. It is of paramount importance that the issue be addressed through civilian channels. The preservation of our democratic way of life depends on the adherence to this principle.


Who Is This Recalcitrant Politician?

Man of controversy
11 Sep 2008 - The Sun

GEORGE TOWN (Sept 10, 2008): Raised in a family of contractors in Penang, Datuk Ahmad Ismail, 53, has been embroiled in controversies in the political, business and sports arenas.

He joined Umno in 1974 and has been the party’s Bukit Bendera division chief for 20 years during which all legislative seats in the Bukit Bendera constituency have been contested by only Gerakan and MCA.

In 1995, a special purpose vehicle called Peninsular Metroworks Sdn Bhd (PMWSB) was set up and Ahmad was made its executive chairman. PMWSB was given the Penang Outer Ring Road (PORR) concession, but the federal government recently put off the project.

Ahmad was also director of Nadi Senandung Sdn Bhd, which held a 55% stake in PMWSB in the early years. The remaining stakes were held by Setegap Bhd and Kumpulan Pinang Holdings Sdn Bhd (KPHSB).

KPHSB was a full subsidiary of Yayasan Bumiputra Pulau Pinang Bhd.

In 2002, Ahmad was appointed a councillor on the Penang Island Municipal Council (MPPP) and assumed the role of “Barisan Nasional whip”.

In February 2003, MPPP appointed him alternate chairman of the Building and Planning Committee, sparking criticism from then DAP chairman Lim Kit Siang who called it “outrageous”.

Lim labelled Ahmad as Penang’s “Super Councillor”, and said the appointment showed the government’s “utter contempt… for the legitimate objections and sensitivities of Penangites who are opposed to the PORR project for violating the principles of good urban governance.”

Ahmad was removed as councillor in May 2006 when he was declared bankrupt by the Insolvency Department. He was reinstated after obtaining a stay of execution of the bankruptcy order.

But his days as councillor ended because he had served the maximum term of four years.


September 2, 2008

Damning the Bakun dam (source: Malaysiakini)

Malaysiakini reported on 30 Aug, 2008 in "Bakun dam comes under fire", that according to the Auditor-General’s Report 2007, the cost of the controversial Bakun dam has escalated from RM4.5 billion to RM7.5 Billion. So far, RM3.91 billion has already been spent on the project.

Some of the "weaknesses" highlighted by the Auditor-General’s Report are:

- an additional RM708 million was approved for construction of the main dam even though contractually it should be borne by the contractor

- completion date of the main dam is supposed to be in Sept 2007 but is now extended to June 2010

- delay in completion of the main dam has resulted in compensation claims by other affected contractors to the tune of RM510.8 million. RM100 million has already been approved for payment as compensation to these companies

It was also reported in The Star, "A-G’s report: Costly delay on Bakun dam project", that one of the electro-mechanical works contractors, BEM 1-C Contract Consortium, seeking compensation of RM349.46 million had yet to sign a contract with SHSB (Sarawak Hydro Sdn Bhd the 100% government-owned company now responsible for building the dam). Not only that, M317.64mil in deposit and progress payment have already been paid to this contractor even though the contract is yet to be signed!

"Weaknesses" seems too polite a term to be used for such gross negligence and incompetence exhibited in handling the project. No privately owned company would have tolerated such mismanagement. Heads would have rolled long before it reaches this point. However, the sole shareholder of SHSB is the government and ultimately the funds come from taxpayers and it seems like when it comes to taxpayers' money there is no accountability for mismanagement. Various parties seem to treat the source of the funds as a bottomless honeypot which they can draw from endlessly with impunity.

It is also shocking that while SHSB is quick to offer compensation to contractors affected by delays caused by another contractor, it is not so forthcoming when it comes to the 10,000 indigenous people who were displaced by the Bakun dam project (the area affected is equivalent to the size of Singapore). As of December 2007, some of the affected residents of the Bakun area have yet to received full compensation and RM46.28mil is yet to be paid to them.

Shooing Away BN component parties

Penang UMNO's Ahmad Ismail has created an uproar with his racist remarks about Malaysian Chinese during a ceramah in the Permatang Pauh by-election. Even the normally docile BN politicians are forced to come out to condemn his remarks and have called for stern action to be taken against him. They have recognized that such racist remarks in the past have alienated a large portion of the electorate resulting in the dismal performance of the BN parties in the March 8 elections. They know that to keep quiet again in the face of such blatant racist remarks will mean the loss of any remaining supporters they may have.

The greatest disappointment is the lame response of the PM who meekly says that he will tell Ahmad not to do it again! Is Badawi's position in UMNO so weak that he cannot even reprimand this UMNO division leader for such racist remarks?

Ahmad Ismail is linked to the controversial RM1.02 billion PORR project in Penang. He is a director of Peninsular Metroworks Sdn. Bhd., the company which was awarded the PORR project. In 2006, he was declared a bankrupt and was removed as a Penang Island Municipal (MPPP) councillor but was later reinstated by the then CM, Koh Tsu Koon when he managed to set aside the bankrupcy judgement against him.

Ahmad’s tongue undermining BN
Wan Hamidi Hamid
September 01 2008 - Malaysian Insider

SEPT 1 — Can Datuk Ahmad Ismail’s alleged racist remarks against the Chinese community in Malaysia be the trigger for the MCA, Gerakan and other Barisan Nasional component parties to leave the coalition?

Or will they continue to grin and bear it, as they have always done for many years, despite the Bukit Bendera Umno division chief calling the Chinese “squatters” and “as the Chinese were only immigrants it was impossible to achieve equal rights amongst races” at a ceramah during the Permatang Pauh by-election recently?

MCA and Gerakan leaders have made tough calls for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to take stern action against Ahmad for his alleged racist remarks.

But the best answer they got from Abdullah was: “I will tell him (Ahmad) not to do it again. You know in a campaign all sorts of things can come up. I don’t think he meant it. I’ll make sure to tell him not to use it again.”

Veteran opposition leader Lim Kit Siang said the Prime Minister had caused great dismay and distress as he chose to demonstrate solidarity with Ahmad.

“Why is the Prime Minister not prepared to show ‘solidarity’ with right-thinking Malaysians who deplore Ahmad Ismail’s insensitive, offensive, derogatory and racist remarks about the Malaysian Chinese?

“I will declare my solidarity with what is right, just and true — including deploring insensitive, offensive, derogatory and racist remarks whether referring to the Malays, Indians, Kadazans or Ibans, whether it is made by a Chinese or non-Chinese leader. Why is Abdullah not prepared to take a similar stand?” he said in a statement today.

Abdullah’s stand is a disappointment as if he was going against his own 51st Merdeka message urging Malaysians of all races to work together, discard differences and prejudices and to rise as citizens with strength to face all challenges.

“No one citizen is recognised as being of a higher position than another in this nation. This nation belongs to all of us. Whether we rise or fall depends on all of us,” said the Prime Minister on the eve of the Merdeka anniversary, hoping for all Malaysians to give importance to solidarity.

His defence of Ahmad is making BN component parties uneasy. Despite tough calls, it looks like nothing is going to happen much within the federal ruling coalition. Gerakan vice-president Datuk Dr Teng Hock Nan said Abdullah’s light and non-deterrent comments would do nothing to prevent similar occurrences.

“The fact that Ahmad has refused to apologise when facing the wrath of the Chinese community showed how recalcitrant, arrogant and insensitive he is to a multiracial society like Malaysia,” he said in urging the police to investigate the police reports lodged against Ahmad’s remarks.


1988 Judicial Crisis - "Let Right Be Done"

Ambiga Sreenevasan, the president of the Malaysian Bar, recently launched the report prepared by a panel of eminent persons to review the 1998 judicial crisis.

The panel concluded that the removal of the Lord President, Tun Salleh, and the two Supreme Court judges, Tan Sri Wan Suleiman and Datuk George Seah were unjustified and unconstitutional. The following are extracts from her speech and from the report itself which is available here.

Launch of the Report of the Panel of Eminent Persons to Review the 1988 Judicial Crisis in Malaysia

There are many who take the view that the events of 1988 should be left in the past and that we should move forward. However, we believe that a process of truth and reconciliation is critical before we can move forward, as the injustices committed in 1988 cannot be left unresolved and unacknowledged in our history. We believe that this is an essential first step in the process of judicial reform.

The purpose of this review must therefore be made clear. We need to learn valuable lessons in order that history does not repeat itself. As George Santayana once said, “Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.” We seek no punishment. We seek a correction of the record that now stands against these innocent Judges. We seek closure for these respected Judges. We seek closure for our nation.

We would further like to state for the record that although three Judges were ultimately dismissed, six Judges suffered in all. Six Judges were suspended. The three who were ultimately reinstated suffered during their suspension and even when they were reinstated. They were never given due recognition for their flawless years of service on the Bench. Some were potential Lords President or Chief Justices but these positions eluded them. Needless to say, the Judges who were removed paid a heavy price for acting in accordance with their consciences. These Judges acted with courage in upholding the Rule of Law in the face of much adversity.


I understand that this report is possibly the first of its kind ever to be written. I wish to thank the participating organisations – International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute represented by Tuan Haji Sulaiman Abdullah; LAWASIA, represented by Mr Mah Weng Kwai, the President; and Transparency International-Malaysia, represented by Richard Yeoh and today by its President, Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam – for sharing our vision and ideals. They did not hesitate for one moment when we invited them to participate. We are all proud to be associated with this endeavour.

I wish to end by saying that, for all those who have faced injustices and continue to face injustices, “Let Right Be Done”.


Extracts from Report of the Panel of Eminent Persons to Review the 1988 Judicial Crisis in Malaysia

23.1 On a review of the findings and the reports of the First and the Second
Tribunals, and on consideration of the definition and meaning of ‘judicial
misbehaviour’ as above, this Panel has arrived at the conclusion that the
composition of the Tribunals, the process adopted by them, and the
findings and conclusions arrived at against the Lord President, Tun Salleh,
and the two Supreme Court judges, Tan Sri Wan Suleiman and Datuk
George Seah, as well as their recommendation for removal of the Lord
President and the two judges, were not justified or otherwise appropriate
in the circumstances of the two cases.

23.2 Accordingly, the removal of the Lord President, Tun Salleh, and the two
Supreme Court judges, Tan Sri Wan Suleiman and Datuk George Seah
from their offices was unconstitutional and non est.


8 March 2008

A New And Better Malaysia

Has Emerged