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Dec 12, 2007



Is Malaysia truly democratic? Is Malaysia truly Asia? Many of my colleagues in the seminar I am attending now do not think so. Recent events and the manner this government responded to them has tarnished our country's reputation as a beacon of democracry in the developing world.

I strongly CRITICISE the government's move to detain Bersih petitioners in the parliament house and deny them of their democractic rights to assemble, speak out and present their views.

I SUPPORT Opposition leader Lim Kit Siang's application to challenge the restraining order granted by the Kuala Lumpur Magistrate’s Court preventing polls reform group Bersih members from gathering in the vicinity of Parliament House yesterday.

This event showed that both the police and the judiciary are not acting in an independent manner. A democracy cannot be real if political interference is allowed in bodies which are supposed to be independent. Minus a grand scale public/social unrest, Malaysia is NOT a functioning democracy as claimed by some ruling politicians.

I am APPALLED at the extend our media, NGOs, activists and general public are muzzled and suppressed by the authorities for trying to exercise their democratic rights.

On the court's restraining order, constitutional expert Prof Dr Abdul Aziz Bari argued that the court order was unconstitutional as it overrode the Bersih petitioners’ constitutional right to freedom of assembly. (Malaysiakini.com)

He reiterated, “I don’t see how the court in a country with a written constitution like ours can go on mysterious grounds (in granting the restraining order).

“How can we place ordinary law above the Federal Constitution? This is monstrous!” said the International Islamic University Malaysia law lecturer. He argued that the police, even under Section 27 of the Police Act which empowers it to act on an illegal assembly, do not have absolute power to stop rallies as they are required to assess the situation objectively.

The Jakarta Post has a piece of advice (editorial, 11th Dec) for the current administration:

Although the ongoing anti-government movements in Malaysia are still at a very preliminary stage, Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi has threatened to impose the much feared and draconian Internal Security Act against those who still defy his warnings to cease street demonstrations.

The threat to jail protesters for an indefinite period of time seems to have worked, at least for the time being, because the number ofstreet demonstrations has sharply declined. But the prime minister needs to remember that demands for justice, more freedom and more political and economic equality cannot be silenced just by throwing more people into prisons.

PM Badawi and the ruling United Malays National Organization(UMNO) need to remember that as long as the roots of discontent existanti-government movements will not subside.The experience of Soeharto before his fall in May 1998 showed there was a point where people lost their fear of the iron-fist man and did not care anymore about his brutal responses to their protests.

Since political inteference in some of our national institutions is evident. I strongly believe that something must be done to safeguard our constitutional rights so that politicians DO NOT act beyond what is constitutionally allowed.

The police are not political servants and the IGP must not make a political judgement. Their duty is to fight crime and maintain peace and order in the society.

Election Commission (EC) chairperson Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman's view on which 'regime' he regards as being capable of running the country speaks like someone who is very keen to glorify a particular regime. How can an election referee act in a fair and independent manner when his biasness is clear and explicit?

"A lot of people are anxious to determine the type of regime that is going to handle Malaysia in the coming years. They are always talking about regimes. I never talk about regimes. There is only one regime in this country that is capable of running (the country)," he said.

"People get angry with me whenever I say this (but) people don't seem tounderstand the critical scenario in the country. What is it that can (take) over from the present one given the political scenario we are in?" he asked.

No wonder the move to amend the constitution to allow Abdul Rashid to serve one more year is controversial and suspicious. Abdul Rashid, like everyone else, must respect the law and duly retire.

It is CLEAR that Malaysia is UNDEMOCRATIC. We, the people, must not allow the destruction of democracy to continue.


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