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Anwar Ibrahim

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Anwar Ibrahim


Fighting Mahathirism, again

Posted: 24 May 2013 06:03 AM PDT

Malaysiakini

I wrote about it, didn't I? A vote for Najib Abdul Razak would be a vote for the return of Mahathirism, and no sooner was I proven right last Saturday when student activist Adam Adli Abd Halim was hauled up by the police for investigation into his 'seditious' remarks.

While Adam is now out on bail awaiting trial, Haris Ibrahim, Tian Chua and Tamrin Ghafar were nabbed one after another, again under the notorious and anachronistic Sedition Act 1948.

It does feel like 1987 and 1998 all over again, and we are stuck.
We are stuck because this Umno-dominated government persistently refuses to acknowledge that the world has moved on and that a large segment of Malaysian society is now ready to ditch it. The only way for Umno to remain in power is through vote-rigging, bribery, control of the media, electoral fraud and draconian legislation.

While the Internal Security Act is gone, the Sedition Act is not. Najib, now the minority prime minister, announced last July that it would be abolished, but was cunning enough to not gazette it as he knew he would need it after GE13. How convenient. As a closet authoritarian, he never disappoints. And his Wesak message that "there will be an abundance of joy and peace and forgiveness as people seek blessings for themselves and their loved ones" just makes me puke.

NONEEarly this week, Mahathir Mohamad (left) warned against street rallies on his blog, saying that "in many instances the police had to withdraw or they may be directed to withdraw. They become disinclined to carry out their duties. Some people would take advantage of this by committing minor crimes. The people would feel insecure".

But time and again, the protesters have proven him wrong, for those who were bent on wreaking havoc turned out to be agents provocateur planted by Umno!

Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, desperate to prove his worth, has first alienated the public with his migration outburst and then come down hard on those who dare to stand up to state bullying. There will be a do-or-die party election end of the year and, true to their chauvinistic nature, all the Umno bigwigs must act tough to secure the support of the rank and file.

As many Malaysia watchers have said, the real contest in Malaysia is not general elections, which are fought on uneven terrain and horribly skewed to the disproportionate advantage of the ruling coalition, but Umno party polls, in which horse-trading, betraying and vote-buying are far more rampant.

This year, it is going to be all the more crucial now that close to two-thirds of the cabinet is made up of Umno ministers, most of whom will not think twice to resort to high-handedness and provocative statements just to up the ante against their rivals, all at the expense of the people.

Iron-fisted tactics

Some have asked why I must blame Mahathir for all that is wrong with Malaysian society today?

Of course one has to apportion a large chunk of the blame to the man who is single-handedly responsible for the rot in our judiciary, distortion of parliamentary democracy, police brutality and media manipulation. In short, Mahathir has practically destroyed the relatively fair system of checks and balances envisioned by the founding fathers in 1957.

His iron-fisted tactics in 1987 and then in 1998 have left his successors with a modus operandi to emulate when their authority is severely challenged, and they have shown no qualms in substituting even the last vestiges of our democracy with renewed authoritarianism.

Lest not forget that it was Mahathir who as education minister in the 1970s brutally suppressed our vibrant campus culture, after which student activism went into a sharp decline. In the decades that followed, the Chinese were taught to think they were superior to the Malays academically.

For years, the Chinese parents would want their young ones to shun student activism, focus on textbook knowledge, and care about nothing else. For a student to take to the streets to protest against an unjust system and a suffocating campus culture was not only useless but also a sign of moral decay.

NONEThat's why Adam (right) has been amazing. With his simple but brave act of defiance, he has won the hearts and minds of many Chinese parents. He has changed radically their perception about student politics, and given them tremendous hopes for the future generations. Adam and his supportive father have done Malaysia proud indeed.

I would not care one iota if Mahathir had honoured his promise by not playing a prominent role in Malaysian politics. Instead, he is just omnipresent.

In other words, I would not hold Adolf Hitler accountable for neo-Nazism that is now becoming pervasive again across Europe, or Emperor Hirohito for the jingoistic stance taken by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in recent weeks, or Mao Zedong for the re-emergence of ugly nationalism in China, for the simple reason that all these autocrats who once brought their respective countries onto the brink of total destruction are dead.

Not so with Mahathir, as he continues to manoeuvre behind the scenes and influence his party's directions in a way that may eventually bring Malaysia 'securely' back to the age of tyranny,  not to mention the racist and seditious views which he sees no wrong in uttering every now and then.

This is precisely what the 'neutral elites' choose not to admit, pretending instead that Malaysia has moved out of the dark shadows of Mahathirism. Unlike the Germans who have thoroughly de-Nazified their beloved country, we are yet to embark on the project of de-Mahathirisation. The task is doubly hard now that Mahathir is practically the backseat driver, and a devious one at that.

Hence, the arrests of Adam, Tian Chua, Harris and Tamrin are only just the beginning and represent the shape of more abhorrent things to come.

Yes, it is 1987 and 1998 all over again, but the sentiments on the ground are vastly different in 2013. In their pursuit of greater democratic space, Malaysians have demonstrated their determination in confronting state violence face to face. It is a trend that must not be reversed, and change is now a duty that cannot be relegated.

Azmin: Crackdown a return to Mahathirism

Posted: 24 May 2013 06:00 AM PDT

Malaysiakini

The recent crackdown on opposition leaders and pro-democracy activists is a clear sign of the return of ‘Mahathirism’, when high-handed tactics were used to to muzzle dissidents, PKR says.

The slew of arrests yesterday under the Sedition Act are a “return to the days of (former premier Dr) Mahathir (Mohamad)”, when civilians were detained for their “assertion of civil rights”, PKR deputy president Azmin Ali said today.

NONE“With Home Minister (Ahmad Zahid Hamidi) trying to outdo his predecessors in being high and mighty, and (Prime Minister) Najib (Abdul Razak) remaining in 'elegant silence’, we certainly can expect more arrests and prosecutions of opposition leaders and civil rights activists,” Azmin (left) said in a statement.

He urged the people to remain staunch in their pursuit for democracy and to exercise their constitutional rights to voice their objection to the electoral fraud that occurred during the 13th general election.

Yesterday, PKR vice-president Tian Chua, Anything But Umno (ABU) chief Haris Ibrahim and former Batu Berendam MP and PAS member Tamrin Ghafar were arrested for allegedly uttering seditious statements, while student activist Adam Adli Abdul Halim was charged with committing sedition.

Earlier on PKR’s Seri Setia assemblyperson Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad wascharged with organising an illegal assembly to protest  against electoral irregularities.

Several other opposition leaders have also been investigated over various offences, including DAP founding chairperson Dr Chen Man Hin, Serdang MP Ong Kian Ming, Taiping MP Nga Kor Ming and Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli.

‘Home Ministry is high-handed’

DAP also condemned the Home Ministry for its “high-handed approach” in the police crackdown.

Commenting that the arrests so far could be only the “tip of the iceberg”, Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng said DAP leaders were willing to cooperate with the police in their investigations.

“If the police reveal to us the leaders on their list and what the charges are under the relevant laws, we will be more than willing to go to a designated police station at an appointed time,” Lim said.

In another statement, PAS vice-president Mahfuz Omar lashed out at the BN for manipulating the laws and enforcement bodies at their whim  in oppressing its political foes.

“The confiscation of Harakah Daily and Suara Keadilan and the arrests of the political activists are proof that they (BN) don’t honour their word to reconcile after their humiliating loss in the election,” Mahfuz said.

NONEThe crackdown also attracted the attention of international human rights watchdog Amnesty International, which called on the government to release all peaceful protesters arrested under the Sedition Act 1948.

“Rather than abolishing the repressive sedition law as promised, the government is now using it against peaceful protesters,” Amnesty International’s Asia Pacific’s deputy director Isabelle Arradon said.

Najib, in July last year, vowed to replace the act with a new act to be known as the National Harmony Act.

Amnesty International has repeatedly raised concerns about the Sedition Act and the way the authorities have used it to repress political dissent.

The Sedition Act criminalises a wide array of acts, including those “with a tendency to excite disaffection against any Ruler or government” or to “question any matter” protected by the federal constitution, added Arradon.

PKR dakwa ada undi tambahan dalam peti undi

Posted: 24 May 2013 05:59 AM PDT

Malaysiakini

PKR hari ini mula mendedahkan dakwaan penipuan pilihan raya secara terperinci, bermula dengan kawasan parlimen Balik Pulau di Pulau Pinang di mana ia mendakwa terdapat lebih jumlah undi daripada kertas undi yang dikeluarkan.

NONEPengarah Strategi PKR, Rafizi Ramli mendakwa di saluran dua pusat mengundi di SJK (C) Yu Chye, Borang 13 menunjukkan sejumlah 424 kertas undi telah dikeluarkan.

Bagaimanapun, katanya, selepas perjumlahan keputusan dibuat, Borang 14 menunjukkan sebanyak 562 undi dalam peti undi tersebut, lebih 138 undi daripada kertas undi apa yang telah dikeluarkan.

Menurutnya, dengan majoriti yang kecil dan jumlah undi rosak yang tinggi, maka keputusan di saluran dua, cukup untuk mengubah keputusan di kawasan parlimen Balik Pulau dan kerusi negeri di Telok Bahang.

Rafizi memberitahu demikian dalam satu sidang akhbar di ibu pejabat PKR pagi ini.

PKR moots new panel to do redelineation

Posted: 24 May 2013 05:57 AM PDT

Malaysiakini

A new commission should be established to study the redelineation of state and parliamentary constituencies, which is due to soon, PKR deputy president Azmin Ali proposed today.

“The gerrymandering masterminded by Umno has crippled the electoral system in Malaysia. The delineation of constituency boundaries was done unfairly and did not meet the principle of representative democracy.

NONE“The Election Commission (EC) should focus more on the management of elections and not be burdened with the responsibility to propose redelineation of constituency boundaries.

“This will only jeopardise the credibility and independence of the EC,” Azmin said in his opening address at the annual congress of the PKR Wanita and Youth wings in Petaling Jaya this afternoon.

The Gombak MP proposed that a new commission that will be independent, transparent and professional be given the task of re-delineating constituency boundaries.

Azmin cited the Boundary Commission of the United Kingdom, which is tasked to conduct the redelineation of constituencies every five years, as the example for Malaysia to follow.

Kick off efforts in this, Wanita, Youth wings told

“Hence, I suggest that the Wanita and Youth wings be proactive in kicking off the effort to discuss with those who have the expertise to propose the justification for re-delineation based on democratic ethics, to serve as a counter-proposal to the re-delineation proposal of the EC at the end of this year.”

NONELast night DAP publicity secretary Tony Pua (right) told a rally in Petaling Jaya that Pakatan Rakyat MPs will push for a bi-partisan parliamentary select committee on redelineation when the new Parliament convenes on June 24.

This is to ensure a fairer distribution of voters in the constituencies, said Pua, the MP for PJ Utara.

The federal constitution stipulates for an interval of not less than eight years between two redelineation exercises, with a mandatory deadline of two years for the process to be completed.

The last constituency redelineation was carried out in 2002 and the proposals adopted by Parliament in 2003.

After the redelineation, the EC still needs a two-thirds backing of the Members of Parliament or the members of the state assemblies for the new constituency boundaries to be approved.

Yesterday, EC deputy chairperson Wan Ahmad Wan Omar said the new round of redelineation exercise will begin soon.

In his speech today, Azmin also slammed Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak by "reminding" him that he is heading a minority government, which has lost the popular vote.

"Yet, Malaysia's democracy is strange and miraculous. Pakatan Rakyat which has garnered 51 percent of the popular vote from the people becomes the opposition, whereas Umno (and BN) forms the government although he only receives 47 percent (of the votes)," he lamented.

 

NONE

[PRESS STATEMENT] Charging Adam Adli, Tian Chua, Tamrin and Harris arrest – This is tyranny

Posted: 23 May 2013 10:04 PM PDT

Adam Adli has been charged with sedition purportedly "by calling for the toppling of the elected government". Tian Chua, Harris Ibrahim and Tamrin Tun Gaffar have been arrested. This is tyranny writ large. Let's get it straight: Najib's government is not a duly elected government. It is a government that's come into power by systemic widespread fraud aided and abetted by the Election Commission. Its legitimacy is therefore in question. This is our position and we are mounting a legal and judicial challenge in this regard.

Meantime, the people by the hundreds of thousands are exercising their constitutional right to gather peacefully to demonstrate their utter disgust with this cheating and the consequent illegitimate assumption of power. By the latest count, almost half a million Malaysians, mostly comprising the young from all races have attended our nation-wide rallies.

They have come because of their conviction for justice and their deep sense of fair play and not because of any inducement or bribe or promise of material gain. On the contrary, they have come to these rallies in spite of the constant threats and warnings from the police of arrest because they believe in their cause – a cause for their future and the generations to come. This is nobility of spirit which no tyranny can suppress. Adam Adli embodies this spirit and the aspirations of the hundreds of thousands who have attended and the millions more who voted for change, fair play and justice.

The dictatorships of Stalin, Marcos are Suharto are long gone. The likes of Ben Ali, Mubarak and Gaddafi are gone not so long ago. Even Mahathir's time where such abuses of state power were ever so common is over. Yet, not only has Najib reneged on his pledges of political reform, he is winding the clock backwards.

First, Nik Nazmi was charged. Last night, they arrested 18 people who together with a thousand others had gathered in front of the Jinjang police station to show support for Adam.  No doubt, this intimidation will continue even as the show of solidarity for those arrested will spring up across the land.

The new Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar is talking tough and issuing all kinds of threats to the people, taking the cue from the Home Minister. May I remind him that his duty is to serve the people. His priority is to keep the county safe – not from legitimate peaceful rallies – but from criminals and real mischief makers.

Meanwhile, DAP veteran Dr. Chen Man Hin, who should rightly be honoured for his tireless service to the people, was hauled up and interrogated over frivolous allegations about him being linked to a plot to overthrow the government. This is completely insane.

Is this Najib's way of spending tax payers' money? Is this the new direction to be given to the police under its new IGP? While real criminals, including those who commit hate and racist crimes, are going about with impunity, those who are calling for justice are being hounded like rats and prosecuted?

Police detainee N Dharmendran was beaten to death and people at a peaceful candle light vigil for Adam in Penang were assaulted by thugs while UMNO's racist inciters to hatred and thugs are roaming the nation with impunity.

Najib is stepping on the heads of the rakyat. Eventually, the rakyat will prevail.

ANWAR IBRAHIM

23rd May 2013

Anwar unfazed by government crackdown

Posted: 23 May 2013 10:03 PM PDT

Malaysiakini

The slew of arrests following accusations of electoral fraud in the May 5 general election has not spooked PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim into giving up the opposition struggle.

NONETelling this to about 20,000 people at a ‘Blackout 505′ rally in Kuala Ibai, Terengganu last night, Anwar said he would fight on so long as the people continued to support him.

“The crackdown has begun. We all know who will be their target in the end.

“If these arrests are a signal by Prime Minister Najib (Abdul Razak) or the home minister (Ahmad Zahid Hamidi) to rattle me, I’m telling you now that I am not afraid as long as the rakyat are with me,” he said to loud cheers.

Last night’s rally was part of the nationwide rallies organised by Pakatan Rakyat to spread the word about electoral fraud in GE13, which the opposition, despite winning close to 52 percent of the popular votes, failed to win federal power.

NONEAlso at last night’s rally were PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu and party vice-president Husam Musa.

PKR vice-president and Batu MP Tian Chua was slated to speak at the rally but he was arrested by police at the Low-Cost Carrier Terminal in Sepang yesterday, just before boarding his flight to Terengganu.

Police investigations

NONEPolice also  detained human rights activist Haris Ibrahim and PAS member Tamrin Ghafar in separate locations yesterday.

The trio, believed to be nabbed in relation to a protest rally clated to be held in Petaling Jaya tromorrow, are being held under the Sedition Act at the Jinjang police station.

Since the election, six Pakatan leaders and activists have come under police investigation for separate alleged offences.

NONEThey include Seri Setia assemblyperson Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, student activist Adam Adli Abdul Halim, Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli, DAP veteran Dr Chen Man Hin, Taiping MP Nga Kor Ming and Serdang MP Ong Kian Ming.

The police actions come  under the watch of newly-appointed inspector-general of police Khalid Abu Bakar.

Opposition crackdown shows reforms a lie, say Pakatan leaders

Posted: 23 May 2013 10:01 PM PDT

The Malaysian Insider

 

 The security dragnet on opposition leaders and critics this past week is the clearest sign yet that the Barisan Nasional (BN) government was never honest in wanting real political reforms, Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders told a rally here last night.

They told a crowd of some 5,000 that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had promised to repeal the Sedition Act as a step towards greater civil liberties but the arrests of four men under the law meant the reforms pledges were only designed to win votes in Election 2013.

"What were we promised? By Barisan Nasional and the minority prime minister? Did they not say that the era of government knows best is over? That democracy will flourish under the pillars of 1 Malaysia?

 "Did they also not promise to abolish the Sedition Act? We have been had! We have been had by the BN government," PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar told a PR "thanksgiving" rally last night.

PKR Batu MP Chua Tian Chang, PAS's Datuk Tamrin Ghafar and political activist Haris Ibrahim were arrested yesterday for sedition and detained overnight at the Jinjang police station in Kuala Lumpur for investigation under section 4(1)(c) of the Sedition Act and section 124 of the Penal Code.

Najib had promised to abolish the law when he announced a slew of political reforms which included the repeal of the Internal Security Act not long before Election 2013 was held.

Chua, Tamrin who was once Batu Berendam MP and Anything But Umno (ABU) chief Haris were arrested separately yesterday afternoon in an apparent national crackdown on opposition supporters.

All three are believed to be detained over their involvement in a May 13 forum on the results of the just-concluded general election.

A view of the crowd at last night's rally

 

The first to be detained from the forum was student activist Adam Adli Abdul Halim, who was charged with sedition in the Jalan Duta court complex yesterday morning.

The 24-year-old pleaded not guilty and was released on RM5,000 bail with his trial set for a mention on July 2.

Claiming the election had been rigged, PR has so far refused to recognise the Election 2013 results that saw Najib's BN retaining power but with a smaller majority. His coalition had also lost the popular vote which makes it a minority government.

Former Umno law minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim said the crackdown signalled BN's fear towards the opposition's growing strength, and that a clampdown was the only way for Najib to ensure his coalition would stay in power.

He also pointed out that the arrests under the Sedition Act were made despite Najib's pledge to repeal the law.

"They knew that PR had won more than 50 per cent of the popular vote and that they had won through cheating… and now you have all these arrests when Najib had promised to abolish the Sedition Act," he said.

Former DAP Selangor State Assembly Speaker Datuk Teng Chang Khim claimed the crackdown was engineered to appease Umno's hardliners and consolidate Najib's position as he is likely to be challenged at the party polls following his poor performance in Election 2013.

"He is in a mess. He's afraid. So that is why he is showing the Umno hardliners that he can be tough," he said.

Yesterday, a DAP lawmaker suggested that the Najib administration has shown the spectre of 1987 looms large behind its call for a "national reconciliation" through the Home Ministry's crackdown yesterday against opposition figures and their media.

Newly appointed Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, however, defended the police action, saying the law enforcers must surely have the basis and solid evidence to make the arrests.

Disebalik tindakan keras terhadap penentang, puluhan ribu hadir perhimpunan Black 505 Terengganu

Posted: 23 May 2013 09:58 PM PDT

The Malaysian Insider

Disebalik tindakan keras kerajaan terhadap pemimpin pembangkang dan aktivis, puluhan ribu rakyat berhimpun dalam perhimpunan menentang keputusan Pilihan Raya 2013 Black 505 di Terengganu.

Media melaporkan himpunan yang berlangsung di Markaz PAS Kuala Ibai malam tadi dianggar mencatat kehadiran lebih 50,000 orang.

Pemimpin utama Pakatan Rakyat (PR) Ketua Umum PKR Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Timbalan Presiden PAS Mohamad Sabu, Naib Presiden PAS Datuk Husam Musa adalah diantara yang berucap dalam himpunan tersebut.

 Mohamad dalam ucapannya malam tadi turut mengulas isu penangkapan ahli Parlimen Batu Chua Tian Chang, bekas ahli Parlimen Batu Berendam Tamrin Ghafar serta aktivis Asalkan Bukan Umno (ABU) Haris Ibrahim.

Menurut beliau yang dikenali sebagai Mat Sabu itu, Menteri Dalam Negeri yang baru Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi sudah panik dengan kebangkitan rakyat menentang penipuan Pilihan Raya 2013.

"Penangkapan sudahpun bermula, pendekar Bagan Datoh sudah tunjuk belang.?Zahid Hamidi mula menunjukkan belangnya terhadap rakyat marhean yang tidak bersenjata.

"Dia sudah panik, panik dengan kebangkitan rakyat," katanya dipetik dari portal Harakahdaily.

Chua, Tamrin dan Haris ditahan semalam kerana menghasut dan ditahan semalaman di lokap berpusat Balai Polis Jinjang di bawah Seksyen 4 (1) (c) Akta Hasutan dan seksyen 124 Kanun Keseksaan.

Individu pertama yang ditahan akibat forum itu dan didakwa kerana menghasut adalah aktivis mahasiswa, Adam Adli Abdul Halim di kompleks mahkamah Jalan Duta pagi semalam.

Lelaki berumur 24 tahun itu mengaku tidak bersalah dan dibebaskan dengan ikat jamin RM5,000 dan perbicaraannya ditetapkan bermula pada 2 Julai.

Mendakwa pilihan raya dicurangi, PR setakat ini enggan untuk mengiktiraf keputusan Pilihan Raya 2013 yang menyaksikan BN dan Najib mempertahankan kuasa akan tetapi dengan majoriti kurang. Gabungan dipimpinnya juga hilang undi popular menyebabkan ianya menjadi kerajaan minoriti.

Zahid walau bagaimanapun mempertahankan tindakan polis, mengatakan mereka mempunyai asas dan bukti kukuh untuk membuat penangkapan.

Sebelum ini perhimpunan Black 505 diadakan di Selangor, Pulau Pinang, Perak, Pahang, Johor, Negeri Sembilan dan Kedah dimana ribuan engkar kepada arahan polis dengan memenuhi stadium dan tempat ceramah.

Dalam Pilihan Raya 2013, BN mendapat 133 kerusi berbanding PR 89 kerusi. BN turut hilang undi majoriti pertama kali semenjak tahun 1969.

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