Malaysians arrested for walking to celebrate World Human Rights Day.
About 30 people, including leaders of the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih), were arrested today when they attempted to hand over a memorandum to oppose the constitutional amendment to extend the retirement age of Election Commission members from 65 to 66.
" The Law is an Ass !"
(The phrase "The law is an ass" originates in Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist, when the character Mr. Bumble is informed that "the law supposes that your wife acts under your direction". Mr. Bumble replies "If the law supposes that, the law is a ass — a idiot".) Read here article "The Law is an Ass" by R. Nadeswaran
Courtesy of Malaysiakini
Sixteen Opposition MPs staged a walkout from the Dewan Rakyat in protest of the arrest of 26 Coalition for Free and Fair Elections (Bersih) petitioners this morning.Parliamentary Opposition leader Lim Kit Siang said the MPs decided to walk out in protest of the bill as well as the arrests in the Parliament House earlier.
"We walked out in outrage not only of the bill that has no proper reform of the electoral system, but also the arrest of some 20 persons in the parliamentary precinct," he said. The controversial amendment was unanimously passed at 4.50pm.
Describing the arrests as "utter contempt of the sanctity of the parliament", he said the arrests were contemptuous to all MPs. Read here for more
The United States on Monday called on Malaysia to allow freedom of expression and assembly as the government of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi widened its crackdown on dissent."We have repeatedly raised with Malaysian authorities our belief that citizens of any country should be allowed to peacefully assemble and express their views," department spokeswoman Nancy Beck told AFP.
"We also stated in our annual human rights report our belief that the Malaysian government places significant restrictions on the right to assemble peacefully," she said.
It said "a more restrictive policy" was applied with government critics, opposition parties, and human rights activists. Read here for more
(Image courtesy of Mob's Crib)
- Eight top opposition leaders were among 20 arrested this morning for trying to deliver a Bersih memorandum to Parliament on the extension of the Election Commission chief's retirement age.
Arrested at Parliament House
Among those arrested were:
- PKR information chief Tian Chua,
- PKR secretary-general Khalid Ibrahim,
- PAS treasurer Dr Hatta Ramli and
- PAS Women's chief Nuridah Mohd Salleh and
- PAS central committee member Dr Lo'Lo' Ghazali, and
- Parti Socialist Malaysia (PSM) pro-tem chairperson Dr Nasir Hashim,
- PSM secretary-general S Arutchelvan and
- PSM party central committee member S Sivarajan.
According to eyewitnesses, the police surrounded Tian Chua’s vehicle and forcibly removed him before arresting him at about 10.40am. Another person in the car was also detained.
It is further learnt that the police have surrounded opposition party PAS headquarters in Jalan Raja Laut to stop people from leaving the building for Parliament. According to a statement this morning by the party, five patrol cars and a Federal Reserve Unit have been positioned around the building.
The police have blocked all roads leading to Parliament to prevent members of polls reform group Bersih from submitting a protest memorandum against a proposed constitutional amendment.Read here for more
- Malaysia blacklisted Anwar Ibrahim:
PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim was detained by immigration officials for 45 minutes after he arrived at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport this morning.Anwar had arrived at the airport at 9am from Istanbul.
His personal aide Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad told Malaysiakini that the opposition leader was hauled up for questioning because he was on the government’s ‘watch list’.
However, Nik Azmi could not confirm if his passport has been seized by the immigration authorities.Read here for more
- Lawyer P Uthayakumar was arrested this morning and immediately charged with sedition at the Jalan Duta Sessions Court.
He is accused of publishing seditious material in a letter written between Nov 15 and Dec 8 and posted in the Police Watch website. The website is used by the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf), of which Uthayakumar is a legal adviser, to update its activities.
He is charged under Section 4(1)(c) of the Sedition Act 1948 which carries a maximum punishment of not exceeding RM5,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years, or to both. The jail term will increase to a maximum period of five years for a subsequent offence.Uthayakumar has claimed trial and Sessions Judge Sabariah Othman set bail at RM50,000 with one surety.
P Uthayakumar was rearrested at the lobby of the Kuala Lumpur court house at Jalan Duta as soon as he had posted RM50,000 bail for a sedition charge which was filed against him earlier today. Read here for more
- RACIAL TENSION RAISED BY SELANGOR CHIEF MINISTER: Selangor Chief Minister Khir Toyo said that the SMSess are about HINDRAF planning to organise a rally in Kampong Baru. Khir Toyo has asked HINDRAF not to provoke the Malays. Khir has totally DISTORTED the whole thing.
- Bar Council members viewed and studied the videos, pictures and eye-witnesses' statements taken over the arrest of Edmund Bon, the Bar's Human Rights Committee Chairman in allegedly obstructing DBKL officers from removing human rights banners and posters from the Bar's premises.
The Council decided to refer the matter to its team of counsel to study the case, with a possible suit against the Datuk Bandar of Kuala Lumpur and his officers. Council members expressed shock over the high-handedness and deliberate victimisation by a local authority tantamount to a misfeasance of public office in ruining the Human Rights Day celebrations held within the Bar's premises and the rented open cark park space on Sunday.
STRONG ARM TACTICS: The Bar Council's Human Rights Committee Chairman Edmund Bon being pushed against the shutters WITHIN the premises of the Bar Council Secretariat on Sunday (Dec 09). (Photo courtesy of SunPix, by Zulkifli Ersal)
- The police obtained a court restraining order to stop polls reform group Bersih from gathering at Parliament tomorrow. The named persons are PAS leaders Dr Syed Azman Syed Ahmad Nawawi, Mohamad Sabu and Adenaan Saad and Malaysian Trade Union Congress chief Syed Shahir Syed Mohamud.
The Coalition for Clear and Fair Elections (Bersih) is planning to submit a memorandum to Parliament tomorrow to protest an amendment to the Federal Constitution.
The coalition wants the government to withdraw the Constitutional Amendment Bill scheduled to be tabled tomorrow, which if passed, will see the current Election Commission (EC) chairperson’s tenure being extended by a year, to the new age limit of 66.
Despite the court order, Bersih leaders said that they would proceed their plan to hand over the memorandum. Read here for more
- Seventeen people, including three opposition leaders, were today charged with illegal assembly at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court in connection with the Nov 10 mass rally organised by polls reform group Bersih.
The trio - PKR’s Tian Chua, N Gobalakrishnan and PAS vice-chief Mohamad Sabu - were charged a day ahead of another mass rally planned by Bersih outside the Parliament tomorrow.
In addition to the unlawful assembly charge under Section 143 of the Penal Code, all of the 17 - except for Chua and Mohamad - also faced a second charge of disobeying a police order to disperse under Section 145 of the same code.They also faced two alternative charges under the Police Act.All of the 17 pleaded not guilty before Sessions Judge Rozana Ali Yusoff. Read here for more
- Eight people, including five lawyers, were charged today with participating in an illegal assembly yesterday.
The eight marchers were arrested yesterday for taking part in a march in conjunction with the International Human Rights Day, which is celebrated today.The police had arrested them soon after giving them time to disperse.The eight include lawyers N Surendra, Latheefa Koya, R Sivarasa, Eric Paulsen and Amer Hamzah. The remaining three were Nooraza Othman, Johny Anbu @ Abu Bakar Adnan, Ashraf Sadakathullah.
To add to this, another lawyer, Edmund Bon, was charged with obstructing Kuala Lumpur City Hall officers from performing their duties.He was charged under section 186 of the Penal Code which carries a punishment of maximum three-months jail or a maximum fine of RM1,000, or both. Read here for more
- Blogger Jeff Ooi was today summoned by the police (Dec 10) to give a statement over a comment he made to the Al-Jazeera television station on the rally organised by the Coalition for Free and Fair Elections (Bersih) in Kuala Lumpur on Nov 10.
Ooi told reporters: "I was asked to give a detailed explanation on my statement to Al-Jazeera, which is said to be of a seditious nature and to have tarnished the nation's image." Ooi said he and his lawyers were satisfied with the treatment accorded to him by the police.
Ooi was summoned to give the statement following police reports lodged by the Malaysian Muslim Consumers Association (PPIM), the Malaysian Indian Muslim Congress (Kimma) and the Pertubuhan Seni Silat Ikatan Kalam Malaysia (Pikum) against Ooi's statement to Al-Jazeera on Nov 17. He is alleged to have made a false statement to Al-Jazeera by saying that police had used unnecessary force to disperse those who participated in the Bersih rally.
- Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is willing to sacrifice public freedoms for the sake of national stability.
He said: "If the choice is between public safety and public freedoms, I do not hesitate to say here that public safety will always win.
I will not sacrifice my sense of accountability to the greater public, especially in the face of police intelligence about planned fighting or other violent intent.We must never ever take our peace for granted." Read here for more
- Deputy Prime Minister Najib RAISED the Racial Tension stake by saying the anger of the Malays following the Nov 25 demonstration organised by the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) is under control. Read here for more
- Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced the appointment of Zaki Azmi to the second highest post in the judiciary – President of the Court of Appeal.
Zaki Azmi had not spent a single day as a judge in the Court of Appeal or the High Court. He has not even warmed his seat as a judge. H e now looks poised to succeed Chief Justice Abdul Hamid Mohamad five months from now when Hamid retires in April 2008 upon reaching 66 years of age.
As Umno’s legal man, Zaki was involved with UMNO's myriad of scandalous financial misadventures that were bailed out by the government in the heydays of Mahathir’s crony-capitalism during the last Asian financial crisis.
With Zaki’s questionable background, there is no way he can command complete public confidence, particularly when the interests of Umno or his businesses are involved. Read here for more
- Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam has urged the authorities to invoke the Internal Security Act (ISA) or withdraw the citizenship of the four lawyers and four activists involved in an illegal march in Kuala Lumpur today.
He said their action showed that they were traitors to the country for going against the order of the authorities not to proceed with the illegal march.
Mohd Ali was asked to comment on the arrest of four lawyers and four activists for holding an illegal march from in front of the Sogo Departmental Store in Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman to the Bar Council building in Jalan Raja, Kuala Lumpur this morning.
About 50 people, including lawyers, activists, bloggers and members of non-governmental organisations, had gathered since 7.30am in front of Sogo and marched along Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman towards the Bar Council building in conjunction with World Human Rights Day tomorrow. Read here for more
- On Nov 20, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz tabled for first reading the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2007 seeking to extend the retirement age of members of Election Commission (EC) from 65 to 66.
Current Election Commission Chairperson Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman is due to retire on 31st December, 2007. The Government has quietly introduced a constitutional amendment that will have an important impact on the course of history.This bill will be tabled for second and third reading on DECEMBER 11, 2007.
Rashid as Chairman of the Election Commission is blatantly biased and unfit to continue to preside a free and fair election in the country.
Rashid is a virtual UMNO functionary. Rashid's decisions and actions as Chairman of the Election Commission are seen to perpetuate Umno’s political hegemony.
His past performance is a clear indication that he only served to advance the political fortunes of ruling coalition Barisan Nasional (BN) through unabashed gerrymandering at every constituency re-delineation exercise in the past few decades.Read here for more
Actually, the SMSess said that PERKIDA, not HINDRAF, was going to organise the gathering. The SMSes NEVERsaid HINDRAF, it said PERKIDA.
And why would HINDRAF want to commit suicide by organising a gathering in Kampong Baru?
Would any Indian with even the smallest brain want to organise a gathering in a Malay enclave? That would not only be inviting trouble but would be a sure recipe for a massacre.
The police have called up the PERKIDA people to ask about their planned gathering in Kampong Baru. The PERKIDA people have denied it of course and said that the SMSess are false and that no such gathering has been planned.
The police then warned the PERKIDA people that if they went ahead with the gathering they would be picked up.
Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi also called the PERKIDA people to advice them to cancel the gathering. This means even the Prime Minister believes that a gathering is being planned and he wants it aborted.
Surely the Prime Minister, who is the patron of PERKIDA, would know whether his organisation is planning the gathering or not. And the fact that he has asked PERKIDA to cancel the gathering means that one had been planned. Read here for more
THE DOUBLE STANDARDS of this UMNO-LED GOVERNMENT
UMNO YOUTH DEMONSTRATES on HUMAN RIGHTS in LEBANON and PALESTINIAN TERRITORY (July 2006)
WATCH THIS VIDEO CLIP:
The Prime Minister's SON-IN-LAW/UMNO YOUTH DEPUTY CHIEF, KHAIRY JAMALUDDIN said the Demonstration was about HUMAN RIGHTS (July 2006)
Khairy Jamaluddin and his UMNO YOUTH Mob - The Demonstration
was NOT Peaceful .
US Secretary of State, Ms Condoleeza Rice and Malaysia PM Abdullah Badawi
From John Lee. Read here for more on "Infernal Ramblings" Blog
"..... F**k the Malaysian government.
After the events of the past month, I simply cannot and do not understand how anyone can be sympathetic at all to those in power.
To anyone still pretending we are a democracy, today's events should be far more than sufficient refutation of this completely bankrupt belief.
Anwar Ibrahim was detained after being told he was on an immigration blacklist, and only released after questioning? How is it democratic to prevent a Malaysian citizen from returning to his home country, simply because he is an opposition politician? How is it democratic to effectively criminalise dissent from the ruling party?
The recent arrest of a hundred lawyers and civil society activists, who were simply walking down a sidewalk in Kuala Lumpur? But what do you do with a hundred lawyers and activists who wouldn't hurt a fly? Who weren't blocking traffic? Who were just walking around, down the sidewalk? How the bloody hell is that a crime? Is walking down the street now a crime if it has anything to do with opposition to the government?
If Barisan Nasional stands for the happiness and prosperity of the Malaysian people, it has no choice but to stand for human rights — the right to pursue happiness, the right to believe what you want to believe, the right to think what you what to think.
That is what the Bar Council and its friends were walking down the sidewalk for — and you arrest them for that?
Today's events at Parliament: A bunch of opposition politicians and activists came to Parliament to submit a memorandum. They weren't disrupting traffic. They weren't harming anyone. They were exercising the democratic right of dialogue with one's representatives, on property paid for and maintained by their taxes. Nobody got molotov cocktails thrown at them; nobody was attacked.
What happens is the Police enter the grounds of Parliament and arrest the politicians and activists — some of them right in front of the Leader of the Opposition.
What kind of f**king crime is it to drive to Parliament to talk with the delegates you elected?
What kind of f**king democracy is this?
Maybe you say, "Well, in that case, don't bother the gomen and they won't disturb you lah! What for make so much trouble?"
But the problem is, democracy is all about bothering the government.
If we aren't going to put our representatives on the spot and demand that they work for us, that they implement policies which will ensure our right to pursue happiness and satisfaction, if we are just going to keep voting for and supporting them until kingdom come, what is the point of holding elections?
What is the point of maintaining even a facade of democracy?
In a democracy, there is no such arbitrary "I know what's best for you" decider.
When every man is equal before the law, no man has the right to tell another how he should run his life.
Democracy is as vital to our existence as the very air we breathe. To so repugnantly disdain it, as this government repeatedly has for the over five decades it has been in power, is not just a crime against democrats or opposition politicians. It is a crime against every Malaysian who wants to be happy. It is a crime that cannot be tolerated any longer.