FASCISM: Fascism is an authoritarian nationalist political ideology and mass movement that is concerned with notions of cultural decline or decadence, and which seeks to achieve a millenarian national rebirth by exalting the nation or race, as well as promoting cults of unity, strength and purity.Malaysian law, specifically the Federal Constitution, in theory promises freedom of speech, assembly and religion.
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In practice, all these freedoms are denied.
1. Invoke a threat
Malaysia has technically been under emergency law since 1969.
That’s right, the Emergency Powers imposed in the wake of the May 13th riots 39 years ago were never officially rescinded and are still in force throughout the entire country.
The most well known Emergency Power is the barbarous Internal Security Act (ISA). Additionally, supposed threats to ‘religious sensitivities’ or ‘racial harmony’ are commonly used by BN to justify the latest government crackdown.
2. Establish a gulag
If you’re unlucky enough to be detained under ISA, a gulag is exactly the nightmare you will face. ISA detention centres are an infernal existence where detainees, without any sort of formal charges, face torture and inhuman treatment.
They are totally cut off from their families, legal representation and the outside world. How many unfortunates indefinitely languish in this sort of hell?
The government knows, but isn’t telling—that number is a state secret.
3. Develop a paramilitary force
RELA is just such a force—a shady, untrained, baton-wielding paramilitary group with a long track record of questionable activities. The existence of RELA provides the government with a useful band of thugs immune from prosecution or oversight.
UMNO Youth also functions in ways similar to RELA.
UMNO needs this thug caste in order to create a climate of fear, intimidate political rivals, and maintain their power.
4. Surveil ordinary citizens
The Malaysian authorities regularly use ISA to conduct wiretapping, monitor conversations, read the mail, and to closely scrutinize the movements and activities of anyone deemed “a threat to national security”--in other words, potentially anyone.
The Anti Corruption Act also permits such sweeping surveillance and denial of privacy.
In recent years, extensive CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) systems have been installed in urban areas in Malaysia which permit much greater observation of the public.
5. Restrict citizen’s groups
Freedom of association in Malaysia is heavily restricted on the grounds of maintaining “racial harmony and public order.”
Groups of seven members or more must be approved and registered by the government under the Societies Act of 1996, which has periodically refused or revoked registrations for political reasons.
Leaders of said groups (i.e. HINDRAF) often face arbitrary arrest and detention under ISA.
6. Arbitrarily detain citizens
RPK certainly knows how this feels, having been detained several times in recent years on one pretext or another.
The cops, like RPK has told us, describe it as coming to the station to “record your statement”.
But what it all amounts to is interrogation and detainment. RPK is not the only one to have suffered such treatment at the hands of the police. Some 20,000 are estimated to have been detained in a similar way from 1960 through 1990.
7. Target key individuals
Civil servants, academics, politicians and others who openly disagree with the government face censure, job loss, or worse under Malaysian laws, such as the Universities Act of 1971.
Bloggers in particular are targeted; they have been monitored, roughed up, arrested and have faced civil lawsuits.
In another instance, in January of this year, four opposition politicians were prosecuted under the Sedition Act for revealing a controversial highway concession agreement following a series of protests against toll hikes.
8. Restrict the press
All major Malaysian media outlets carefully hew the official party line.
Why such scrupulous adherence?
Because the prime minister, thanks to a licensing scheme that was rammed through the BN-controlled legislature (the 1984 Printing Presses and Publications Act), gives the prime minister (as the minister of internal security) total authority to revoke media licenses without judicial review.
So BN can shut down any newspaper, radio or TV station that gets out of line by withholding their license to operate. Any such decision is final and cannot be appealed.
Journalists also face harassment and attacks from police while trying to cover political events such as public protests and elections.
9. Cast dissent as treason
Overt dissent of government actions and policy has never been tolerated in Malaysia.
For example, UMNO tried to cast Anwar in the recent Permatang Pauh by-election as a race traitor, due to his plan to end the NEP (New Economic Programme), a key plank in UMNO’s political agenda that awards government assistance and benefits based solely on race.
And then there’s RPK’s upcoming trial for sedition, which has a case solely based on an article the defendant authored that is highly critical of senior government officials.
10. Subvert the rule of law
Malaysian law, specifically the Federal Constitution, in theory promises freedom of speech, assembly and religion. In practice, all these freedoms are denied.
Muslims do not have a right to leave Islam, and citizens’ groups, if not outlawed, can be denied use of public areas.
Malaysian law explicitly forbids any censorship of the Internet, but the order was given anyway last week by MCMC to block Malaysia Today.
If it looks, smells, feels, tastes, and sounds like FASCISM, then that’s precisely what it is.
Fascism in Malaysia is now a REALITY, and was brought to you by BN.