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Friday, August 31, 2012

The Original Heroes of Merdeka (from Malaysian Digest)

Another article written on MERDEKA heroes that appeared in Malaysian Digest on 25/8/2011

 

The Original Heroes of Merdeka

Al-Jafree Md Yusop and Syed Zahar   
Thursday, 25 August 2011 00:00



This article is a tribute to all the forgotten freedom fighters who fought for Malaya’s independence from the British oppressors, especially those who were unjustly chastised for their activisms.
 
 
 

.How the Fight for Independence Started

 
Before the Japanese occupation of Malaya and the existence of Umno in the early 1940s, Ishak Haji Mohammed, popularly known as Pak Sako (left),  risked being prosecuted for treason (punishable by death) by secretly going to Japan to solicit Japanese help to fight for the independence of his country. Subsequent to this, Dr Burhanuddin Al-Helmy met with Soekarno to plan strategies for both countries’ independence. Though the attempts of both Pak Sako and Dr Burhanuddin failed for various reasons they were what marked the dawn of Malaya’s fight for independence. Additionally, it was the independence of Indonesia on August 17, 1945 which was admired by the Malays in Malaya that inspired them to achieve their own liberation from the British.
 
 

Formation of PKMM and Umno

 
It was not until early 1946 that Malaya’s first independent movement was initiated in the form of a political party called Parti Kebangsaan Melayu Malaya (PKMM).  Its founding members were Malays of Indonesian descent, notably Ahmad Boestamam and Musa Ahmad. Whenever and wherever the party members met, they greeted each other with “Merdeka!” It was said in a spirited voice with clenched fist brought to the chest. The party’s first newspaper Suara Rakyat which contents were 100 percent political was published at Hale Street, Ipoh. Before too long, PKMM opened branches all over the country with its headquarters at Batu Road (now Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman) Kuala Lumpur. It did not take much convincing or time for Ishak Haji Muhammad (aka Pak Sako) and Dr Burhanuddin Al-Helmy to join PKMM.

The United Malays National Organisation (Umno) was formed six months after the formation of PKMM. The party was established with the sole objective of opposing the proposed Malayan Union which relegated the powers of the Malayan Rulers to the British Residents. Contrary to popular belief, Umno was not an independence movement. As the leaders of Umno were mostly colonial civil servants who had sold their lives and soul to the colonialists, it vehemently opposed independence. Not only were they anti-independence, the word “Merdeka” was also considered taboo to them. Coincidentally, at that time, Umno’s greeting was “Hidup Melayu!”

Another reason Umno opposed independence was that they felt that the Malays were poor and uneducated and, to them, if the Malays were left to themselves, Malaya would end up being a failed state.

The PKMM, on the other hand, thought otherwise. They wanted to gain independence first and only then would there be ample opportunity to educate the Malays as the country was rich in natural resources, and it would not be a failed state. These opposing stances were what had split the two parties and led to enmity.
 
 

The Rise of PKMM and the Labour Movement

 
PKMM became a symbol of solidarity because of its leaders who were committed to the party’s cause. The party’s spirit, along with their branches and bureaus grew like wildfire all across Malaya. Apart from the youth and women’s wings, labour, agriculture and religious bureaus were established. The labour bureau was the most active and most successful political agitator. The presence of PKMM was welcomed and long awaited by the Malayan labour movement and the party’s labour bureau had no trouble in gaining support from the former seeing as the labourers’ living conditions at that time were pitiful.

Incidentally, the Malayan labour movement had affiliated itself with the world labour movement, the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU), whose headquarters was in Paris, and not with the American-controlled International Labour Organisation (ILO), whose headquarters was in New York. As the French-based WFTU was leftist inclined, the Malayan labour movement’s affiliation to it heightened British suspicion of PKMM.

Between 1946 to1948, the labour movement was so active (except in Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu) that recurring strikes almost crippled the nation’s rubber and tin industries. The port workers of Singapore also joined in the strikes, incapacitating Malaya’s major port.

Expectedly, the British operative policy of divide and rule was immediately put into action. The British, while pretending to acknowledge the labourers’ plight, declared PKMM as illegal and incarcerated its leaders.

The banning of PKMM only further alleviated the organised strikes and, with that, British economic interests were in jeopardy day by day. The mainstay of the British economy which were the rubber and tin industries, were faced with impending paralysis. With their economic interests threatened, the colonial government sent a loud and clear message to Whitehall to caution them of Malaya’s intention to free itself from the shackles of colonial rule. Whitehall realised soon enough that in the wake of India'and Indonesia attained independence, Malaya’s aspiration could no longer be contained and they had no choice but to grant Malaya its rightful independence sooner or later.
 
 

The British Chooses Umno to Negotiate Independence

 
The British had learnt that independence achieved through war was not the way to go as this would result in the loss of life and property,and, more essentially, leaves a grudge within the beneficiary state. In turn, the outcome would be the less-than-desirable nationalisation of the colonialists’ assets. Since the British realised that they could lose everything they decided to negotiate independence. The only question was who would be the British protégé so that their assets would be fully protected while the expatriates could hold on to their jobs a bit longer.

With PKMM banned and its leaders incarcerated, Umno was the safest bet as the latter was the only organised movement that dominated the political scene then. Umno, of course, was very receptive to the British as most of their leaders were British educated and had embraced British culture and values ever since their school days in Britain or at the Malay College Kuala Kangsar (MCKK). Additionally, they were mostly the sons of the Malay rulers and chieftains who had been close to the British. These people had been moulded to become anglophiles who regards the British as their icons and mentors and viewed them as their saviour.

Umno quickly seized the opportunity provided by the colonialists and took over where the PKMM had left off. From an anti-Malayan Union organisation, it suddenly assumed the role of a force fighting for independence. The British were very comfortable with Umno’s new role, and negotiations for independence took off.

The negotiations that followed were mainly technical and focussed on two major issues: to prepare the country’s constitution and to agree on the date of the declaration of independence. A body was formed, headed by Lord Reid, to look into a constitution and the date of independence was agreed as August 31, 1957.  For political exigency, Umno would have to forge an alliance with the ethnic Chinese and Indian political parties, and hence “Perikatan” (Alliance) was formed.

Pending full independence, Malaya was ruled by the Federal Legislative Council consisting of appointed members representing the various races and professions. With independence granted, the British got to retain the entire system and had their assets protected.  For Umno and the Alliance, the declaration of independence was a jubilant moment as it was achieved without shedding a drop of blood.
 
 

The Lowering of Union Jack and Hoisting of Malayan Flag

 
“On August 31, 1957, Malaya was re-reborn. As the clock struck midnight, the Union Jack was lowered and the new Malayan flag was hoisted in front of the clock tower opposite the Selangor Padang.  The shouts of “Merdeka!” no less than seven times reverberated and resounded in the air. The shouts were led by Tuanku Abdul Rahman, who stood on a rostrum surrounded by his Cabinet Ministers, some of whom, I observed, were obviously drunk.” – Dato’ Hishamuddin Yahaya (former MP of Temerloh)

The next morning, the official declaration of independence was held at Stadium Merdeka, attended by all the Malay Rulers, the British High Commissioner and the representatives of the Queen (Duke of Gloucester etc). With that, Malaya established itself as an independent state, a member of the British Commonwealth and member of the United Nations.

Malaysia’s independence was the cumulation of a long and hard struggle, a triumph attained not by the elite class, but by labourers and the downtrodden – who now lay in the graves unknown and forgotten.  They were Malays, Indians, Chinese and others who sacrificed their lives and freedom for future generations, yet whose existence we hardly knew. It is these pure nationalists who rightfully deserve to be glorified on August 31 every year and not the so-called patriots who hoisted the Malayan flags at the compound of their mansions and on their luxurious automobiles.
 
In any case, Winston Churchill’s statement that “History is written by the victors” is dead on; yet the Latin proverb “Fortune (and history for that matter) favours the brave”  is far from the truth. Perhaps there is a need for change in what has been written in our history textbooks...
 
 

The Most Notable Unsung Heroes of Merdeka

 
 
Ahmad Boestamam (30 November, 1920 – 19 January, 1983)

.Ahmad Boestamam (right) was an activist of the leftist Kesatuan Melayu Muda (KMM) movement. During the Japanese occupation of Malaya, he had briefly served with the Japanese sponsored militia known as the Pembela Tanah Ayer (Defender of the Homeland; PETA) and later helped to organize co-operative communes run by the KMM.

Boestaman had been a young follower of the KMM from the late 1930s in Perak, emerging after the war as the militant youth leader of Angkatan Pemuda Insaf (API) to the older and more moderate Dr Burhanuddin Helmi and Ishak Haji Muhammad of the Malay Nationalist Party (PKMM).
 
 
Dr Burhanuddin Al-Helmy (26 November, 1911 – 6 November, 1969)

.Dr Burhanuddin Al-Helmy (left) became a Parti Islam Se-Malaya (PAS) member on December 14, 1956 and became party’s president on December 25, 1956. He was approached by some PAS leaders like Haji Hassan Adli and others who guaranteed that the leadership of PAS will be trusted to him. Under the leadership of Dr Burhanuddin, the popularity of the party became famous and it became more widely accepted by the Malays. In 1956 and 1959, the seat of presidency was being contested and Zulkifli whom opposed him in the presidency post. No doubt that Dr Burhanuddin’s personality, appearance and attitude had won the hearts of many PAS members and thus elected him as the new president of PAS.
 
 
Ishak Haji Muhammad aka Pak Sako (14 November, 1909 7 November, 1991)

.Ishak Haji Muhammad or better known as Pak Sako was a prominent writer during the 1930s and 1950s. A hardcore nationalist, his involvement began before independence and continued thereafter. He fought for the idea of the unification of Melayu Raya where Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei are united in one collective.

The moniker "Pak Sako" came from 'Isako-san', which was the phonetic pronunciation of his name in the Japanese tongue. Ishak's other pseudonyms include "Anwar", "Hantu Raya" (The Great Ghost), "Isako San" and "Pandir Moden" (The Modern-day Pandir).

Pak Sako was the first with the idea to publish the Utusan Melayu (The Malay Post) newspaper and subsequently became the founder of the publication. He left Warta Malaya (Malayan Times) and travelled to Pahang, Kelantan and Terengganu to campaign for the establishment of the Utusan Melayu Press. He worked at the paper under Abdul Rahim Kajai as editor. During the Japanese occupation of Malaya, North Borneo and Sarawak, he became the editor of Berita Malai (Malayan News).

After the Japanese occupation ended in 1945, the leftist Malay activists regrouped to organise various political movements, such as the Malay Nationalist Party (Partai Kebangsaan Melayu Malaya; PKMM) led by Burhanuddin al-Helmy, the Angkatan Pemuda Insaf (Awakened Youth Organization; API) led by Ahmad Boestamam and the Angkatan Wanita Sedar (Cohort of Awakened Women; AWAS) led by Shamsiah Fakeh. Boestamam was part of the PKMM and API delegation that participated in the Pan-Malayan Malay Congress in 1946.

In 1955, Boestamam regrouped his supporters to form Partai Ra’ayat (People’s Party; PR) soon after his release from detention camp by the British colonial government. The new party was inaugurated in November 11, 1955 embracing a nationalistic but leftist philosophy focusing on the poor. PR formed a coalition with the Labour Party of Malaya led by Pak Sako. This became known as the Malayan People’s Socialist Front (Sosialis Rakyat Malaya) or the Socialist Front (SF) and was officially formed on August 26, 1958.

However, with the onset of the Indonesia-Malaysia Confrontation in 1962, opposition to the new federation came to be seen as being pro-Indonesia and anti national. This caused significant rifts among the Opposition parties. Many party leaders were also arrested and incarcerated including Boestamam and Pak Sako under the Internal Security Act (ISA).

“Lembu punya susu, sapi dapat nama” - Who struggled for MERDEKA?

Who struggled for the independence of Malaysia? That is the question. It is the appropriate time to look at some past writings on this issue...

 

“Lembu punya susu, sapi dapat nama”


(From left) Ishak Haji Mohammed, Dr Burhanuddin Al-Helmy and Ahmad Boestamam 

The seeds of independence had been sowed long before the existence of Umno, notes Hishamuddin Yahaya.  This is a tribute to the unsung heroes of the Merdeka struggle.

Can Umno’s claim that they fought for the country’s independence stand the test of time?  The veracity of this claim is now shrouded with doubt.  A book in bahasa, entitled Anak Merdeka, written by Haji Salleh Majid and published in 1991, exposed the fallacy of this claim.  The author was no politician but an ordinary man who lived to witness the political development of this country evolving from the 1940s to the day of Merdeka.

Early attempts to gain independence

Early attempts to achieve independence were mostly unrecorded. For example, in the early 1940s and before the Japanese occupation of Malaya, Ishak Haji Mohammed (commonly known as Pak Sako), together with an Indonesian delegation, surreptitiously went to Japan soliciting Japanese help to fight for the independence of their respective countries.  This was followed by Soekarno meeting Dr Burhanuddin Al-Helmy to plan strategies for both countries’ independence.  Though both attempts failed for various reasons, the seeds of independence had been sowed long before the existence of Umno.

Ishak Haji Mohamad’s secret trip to Japan was risky business, inviting prosecution for treason, punishable by death, but such was the dexterity of this pure nationalist.  Though he was in the colonial civil service at that time, his patriotism and love for the country was never sacrificed to the colonial masters he served.  In fact it was while in Japan that the name Sako was begotten.  The Japanese found it difficult to spell and pronounce his name Ishak, so they called him Isako.  Later it became his pen name, Pak Sako.

Indonesia’s independence

The independence of Indonesia on 17 August 1945 triggered fire in the hearts of Malays of Indonesian descent.  After all, Indonesia was the “motherland”, separated only by the narrow Straits of Malacca.  Both were Malay lands; and if one could gain independence, why not the other?  Furthermore, an independent Indonesia could provide moral and material help to Malays in the struggle for independence.  Thus, begun the dawn of Merdeka.

Formation of PKMM

It was not until early 1946 that Malaya’s first independent movement was formed.  It was a political party called Parti Kebangsaan Melayu Malaya (PKMM).  Its founder members were Malays of Indonesian descent, notable among them were Ahmad Boestamam and Musa Ahmad.  The party published its first newspaper called Suara Rakayt at Hale Street, Ipoh.  The contents were one hundred per cent political.  In no time, PKMM opened branches all over the country with its headquarters at 2 Batu Road (now Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman) Kuala Lumpur.  It did not take long for Pak Sako and Dr Burhanuddin Al-Helmy to join the party.

“Merdeka!” was the greeting of party members whenever they met.  It was said in a spirited voice with clenched fist brought to the chest.  Anytime and anywhere they met, the greeting was “Merdeka!”

Formation of Umno

The United Malays National Organisation (Umno) was formed in June 1946, six months after the formation of PKMM.  It was established with the sole objective of opposing the proposed Malayan Union which relegated the powers of the Malayan Rulers to the British Residents.  Umno was not an independence movement.  In fact, it vehemently opposed independence as the leaders were mostly colonial civil servants who had sold their lives and soul to their colonial masters.  Not only was Umno opposed to independence, the word “Merdeka”was taboo to them.  Umno’s greeting was “hidup Melayu!”
The other reason Umno opposed independence was that the Malays were poor and uneducated; left to themselves, Malaya would be a failed state.

The PKMM, on the other hand, thought otherwise.  The party wanted independence first; then there would be ample opportunity to educate the Malays as the country was rich in natural resources, and it would not be a failed state.  These opposing positions divided the two parties and led to enmity.

PKMM and the labour movement

Enhanced by its committed leaders, the PKMM was a symbol of solidarity.  The spirit within party members raged like wildfire.  Branches and bureaus were established.  Apart from the youth and women’s wings, labour, agriculture and religious bureaus were established.  The labour bureau was the most active and most successful political agitator.  Through it, the PKMM penetrated the Malayan labour movement, which was very responsive to the former’s presence as the living conditions of the labourers at that time were deplorable.  In fact, the presence of the PKMM was welcomed and long awaited.

Incidentally, the Malayan labour movement had affiliated itself with the world labour movement, the World Federation of Trade Unions(WFTU), whose headquarters was in Paris, and not with the American-controlled International Labour Organisation (ILO), whose headquarters was in New York.  The WFTU was leftist inclined, and with the Malayan labour movement affiliated to it, the PKMM’s penetration into the movement heightened British suspicion of the party.

Organised strikes

Between 1946-1948, the labour movement was so active (except in Kelantan, Terengganu and Kedah) that intermitternt strikes almost crippled the rubber and tin industries.  The port workers of Singapore too joined in the strikes, crippling Malaya’s major port.

As expected, the British operative policy of divide and rule was immediately put into action. While pretending to acknowledge the labourers’ plight, the PKMM was declared illegal and its leaders incarcerated.

The organised strikes did not ease with the banning of the PKMM.  Day by day, British economic interests were in jeopardy.  The rubber and tin industries, the mainstay of the British economy, faced imminent paralysis.  By this time the colonial government had sent a loud and clear message to Whitehall.  By this time, Whitehall realised that the independence of India and Indonesia had given impetus to Malaya to free itself from the shackles of colonial rule.  This aspiration could no longer be contained and sooner or later Malaya had to be given its independence.

Independence on a silver platter

The British had learnt that independence achieved through war not only 
resulted in the loss of life and property, but left a grudge within the beneficiary state, resulting in the nationalisation of the colonialists’ assets.  This meant the British could lose everything.  So the only option was for a negotiated independence.  The question then was who would be the British protege so that their assets would be fully protected and the expatriates could hold on to their jobs a little longer.

With PKMM banned and its leaders incarcerated, the only organised movement that dominated the political scene then was Umno, which was seen as a safe bet.  Firstly, most of their leaders were British educated and had embraced British culture and values ever since their high school days in Britain or at the Malay College Kuala Kangsar.  Secondly, they were mostly the sons of the Malay rulers and chieftains who had been close to the British.  These people had regarded the British as their icons and mentors and viewed them as their savoir.

Umno, the opportunist

Umno was quick to seize the opportunity.  With its adversary, the PKMM banned and driven into oblivion, Umno took over where the PKMM had left off.  From an anti-Malayan Union organi-sation, it suddenly assumed the role of a force fighting for independence.  The British were very comfortable with Umno’s new role, and negotiations for independence took off.

The negotiations that followed were mainly technical and focussed on two major issues: to prepare the country’s constitution and to agree on the date of the declaration of independence.  A body was formed, headed by Lord Reid, to look into a constitution and the date of independence was agreed as 31 August 1957.  For political exigency, Umno would have to forge an alliance with the ethnic Chinese and Indian political parties,  and hence “Perikatan” (Alliance) was formed.

Pending full independence, Malaya was ruled by the Federal Legislative Council consisting of appointed members representing the various races and professions.  With independence granted on a silver platter, the British were successful in retaining the entire system and had their assets protected.  For Umno and the Alliance, the declaration of independence was a jubilant moment as it was achieved without shedding a drop of blood.

Declaration of independence

On 31 August 1957, Malaya was re-reborn.  As the clock struck midnight, the Union Jack was lowered and the new Malayan flag was hoisted in front of the clock tower opposite the Selangor Padang.  The shouts of “Merdeka!” — no less than seven times — reverberated and resounded in the air.  The shouts were led by Tuanku Abdul Rahman, who stood on a rostrum surrounded by his Cabinet Ministers, some of whom, I observed, were obviously drunk.

The official declaration of independence was held at Stadium Merdeka the next morning, attended by all the Malay Rulers, the British High Commissioner and the representatives of the Queen (Duke of Gloucester).  I was there with my father and sibling “representing” Temerloh, Pahang.

Thus, Malaya was born as an independent state, a member of the British Commonwealth and member of the United Nations.  It was the culmination of a long and difficult struggle, an achievement won not by the educated class, but by labourers, port workers and others — the downtrodden — whose existence we hardly knew.

They were the real fighters of Merdeka, whose actions created a landscape for independence.  Those were the people who laboured endlessly  to enrich the colonial masters in return for a pittance and who now lay in the graves unknown and forgotten.

They were Malays, Indians, Chinese and others and they were certainly not Umno members.  They were the unsung heroes who sacrificed their lives and freedom for future generations,  but who only found their own freedom in the silence of their graves.  It is those people who deserve to be commemorated on 31 August every year and not “the patriots” who hoisted the jalur gemilang on the roofs of mansions at the prestigious addresses of Kuala Lumpur or those who flew the jalur gemilang on the roofs of their flashy cars.

To the real patriots and the fighters of independence, we offer them our unreserved salute.  As for Umno, we only have this to say: “Lembu punya susu, sapi dapat nama.”

Dato Hishamuddin bin Haji Yahaya is a lawyer and  former MP for Temerloh. 

Source: ALIRAN Website, 

What happened to the BN component parties during Merdeka Celebration

I managed to catch the end of the life broadcast of the Merdeka celebration, and on the stage was Najib and wife, Muhyiddin and 2 other women - and I was wondering where the MCA, MIC and the Sabah and Sarawak component party leaders were. In fact, even if there was a reduction of numbers of the leaders of BN to be given prominence surely it would have included the leaders of the 3 main component parties of BN - UMNO, MCA and MIC...

On 1 August 1955, Tunku Abdul Rahman formed the first Cabinet that was represented by 6 Malay, 3 Chinese and 2 Indian representatives. 

1Malaysia was clearly not reflected here...and Najib must realize that unlike President Obama, he was not elected by the people - but was chosen by the BN MPs in Parliament. See who represented the Federal of Malaya when the agreement leading to the formation of Malaysia was signed...but of late, things are changing

On 9 July 1963, an important agreement was signed at the Commonwealth Relation Office at Malborough House, London. The agreement for the formation of Federation of Malaya was signed by representatives of the British government, Federal of Malaya, Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore. The British was represented by Prime Minister, Mr. Harold Macmillian, Mr. Ducan Sandys and Lord Landsdowne.

The Federal of Malaya government was represented by Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Abdul Razak, Encik Tan Siew Sin, Datuk V.T. Sambathan, Datuk Ong Yoke Lin and Dr. Lim Swee Aun. Sabah was represented by Datuk Mustapha bin Datuk Harun, Mr. Donald A. Stephen, Mr. W.K.H. Jones, Encik Khoo Siak Chiew, Mr. W.S. Holley and Encik G.D. Sundang. Representatives from Sarawak were Encik P.E.H. Pike, Temenggung Jugah, Datuk Bandar Abang Haji Mustapha, Encik Ling Beng Siew and Datuk Abang Haji Openg. Whereas Singapore was represented by Encik Lee Kuan Yew and Encik Goh Keng Swee.
I also dropped by the website 55 Tahun Sambutan Merdeka, which, I believe, is the official BN government site, and was disturbed by the fact that there seems to be a negation of the contribution of other communities, except Malays, in the struggle for independence in Malaysia. How could this error be made when this current BN government is talking about 1Malaysia. We should really acknowledge the struggle and sacrifice of all Malaysians in the the efforts of gaining independence. Najib and his cabinet must look at what is stated in this website, and correct matters stated therein to reflect the TRUTH...the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

The crowd at the Merdeka celebration seem to be less than normal - and interestingly there what was also most interesting is that for the countdown in Dataran Merdeka, it was reported that there were about 10,000 people in yellow, presumably part of the BERSIH ...or 'Janji Demokrasi' -  an indication that there is serious discontent amongst Malaysians with this BN Government .... In fact, this discontent have been there for a long time now - and one is more likely to believe that the retention of power by the BN coalition was really because of a lack of an even playing field...

1Malaysia - was it even reflected in the crowd that gathered remembering that Malaysians make up of about 53% Malay, Chinese, Indian, Iban, Kadazan, .... Were there Malaysians from all walks of life there? Or were they mainly the participants and those required to attend...

MERDEKA - we really need to re-think our own national history, so that it reflects all those people who struggled for the independence of Malaysia from the British colonial powers. The problem with history is that many a times it is written by those then in political power with a tendency to glorify their efforts towards independence ...belittling (or sometimes even erasing) the efforts of others. True, the strategies employed may have been different - but still these efforts needs acknowledgment and recognition. It is time for Malaysians to really take the effort to discover their history... 

A new rule is around the corner and may become a reality in less than a year - and the hope of many, is that there will be real changes... that will bring back true democracy to Malaysia... Malaysians should be vested with the power to vote in democratically their own Local Government - Local Councils, Kampung/Taman and Community leaders, and also Senators. 

There maybe need to be an exercise to ensure a delineation of parliamentary constituencies to enable greater equity. Today, if we look at the number of constituents in some constituencies - we find that some people really deserve a greater representation in Parliament and State Assemblies...Based on the GE 12 electoral roll, Kapar Parliamentary Constituency, for example, has 1i' times the number of voters compared to the smallest seat, Putrajaya Parliamentary Constituency. Should not the people of Kapar get at least 5 or 10 times more MPs. Presently, people of KL and many of the bigger towns are similarly prejudiced. We are not talking about equality - but equity. Now, when it comes to Sabah and Sarawak, it is different - maybe, we may go into this at a later date...

  

 
Sea of yellow: 10,000 defy ban for 'Janji Demokrasi'
  • Koh Jun Lin
  • 11:21AM Aug 31, 2012
 
Despite being declared illegal and the Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein predicting a low turnout, a large yellow-clad crowd descended upon Dataran Merdeka last night for the ‘Janji Demokrasi’ (Promise of Democracy) rally.

Although Dataran Merdeka itself was cordoned off to facilitate preparations for this morning’s National Day parades, the 280-metre stretch from the cordon to a square outside the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) headquarters were packed with people, many of whom were wearing Bersih’s signature yellow.
Even the star of the show, national laureate A Samad Said, confessed that he could not estimate the size of the crowd and hailed the event as a success.

Malaysiakini estimates that some 10,000 yellow shirts were present, with an addition of some 5,000 of the regular Merdeka eve revellers, mostly on the opposite end of the police cordon.

Meanwhile, Bernama estimates the combined crowd at 6,000 and that there was no official Merdeka Eve countdown at the venue as in previous years.

The protest, organised by Gabungan Janji, a coalition of some 47 NGOs, was meant to ‘remind’ the government of its unfulfilled promises to Bersih’s calls for clean and fair elections.

Its name was a play on the official theme for the National Day celebrations ‘Janji Ditepati’ (Promises Delivered).

However, Gabungan Janji working committee member Maria Chin Abdullah received a letter from the police just eight hours before the 11pm rally informing her that it is against the law, but she did not back down.

NONEBy 9pm, people were already trickling into Dataran Merdeka, only to find the historic field and nearby roads cordoned off, with a sign that reads, “this area is closed to all activities, by order of the mayor of Kuala Lumpur”.

Enforcing the order that night were 205 police personnel, according to Dang Wangi OCPD Zainuddin Ahmad.

Regardless, the crowd at both ends of the police cordon continued to swell, with the protestors concentrating around the Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman-Jalan Tun Perak intersection.

The atmosphere was made more lively by the deafening sound of trumpets carried by protestors and revellers alike, protestors wearing flamboyant black and yellow Mohawk-style wigs or simply by people flying the national colours.

The protestors, already numbering at several thousand at the time, received a boost at about 10.30pm as protesters from an earlier rally at Jalan Sultan arrived to join the countdown.

himpunan janji democracy 310812 samad said mat sabuAn hour later, with the crowd numbers at its peak, Maria, Samad (right), and some Pakatan Rakyat leaders began to move towards a square outside DBKL headquarters where Samad recited his ‘Janji Demokrasi’ poem.

However, few could hear the poem, or much of anything else, over the noise of the trumpets.

Police: No untoward incidents

A human wall of police and city hall officers stood guard at the building itself, but did not interfere with the crowd gathering before them.

At midnight, the Gabungan Janji leaders almost immediately left the area towards the Bandaraya LRT station, while many remained expecting a fireworks display.

Instead of the night being lit up however, the crowd were disappointed to see only sporadic fireworks rocketing into the sky, presumably brought in by other revellers.

NONEMeanwhile, when met outside the LRT station, Samad said he was glad to see large crowds of youths.

“This is important. It shows that they realise that this era is their era, and it is in their hands that a regime can be changed. I hope this will be done,” he said.

Back at Dataran Merdeka, Zainuddin said there were no untoward incidents that night, and that there were no arrests beside two who were caught burning fireworks.

When asked to comment about Samad’s poetry recital, he said, “we will investigate later (if any law was broken).

The crowd slowly dwindled throughout the night, some still blowing their trumpets even at 2am. - Malaysiakini, 31/8/2012, Sea of yellow: 10,000 defy ban for 'Janji Demokrasi'


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Section 114A - Curtailing Freedom of Information and Expression

About Section 114A 

Source: STOP 114A site

What is Section 114A?
Section 114A is the second of two amendments made to Malaysia’s Evidence Act 1950.

Law Minister Nazri Aziz tabled the second amendment, formally known as Evidence (Amendment) (No2) Act 2012, in Dewan Rakyat on 18 April. James Dawos Mamit supported the motion, and Section 114A was passed after the second and third reading. On 9 May, Dewan Negara passed the amendment.

The amendment was gazetted on 31 July 2012. This means the law is now operational.

What is the purpose of Section 114A?
Section 114A deals with allegedly illicit or harmful content on the Internet. In short, the amendment enables law enforcement officials to swiftly hold someone accountable for publishing seditious, defamatory, or libelous content online.

How does Section 114A affect you?
Titled “Presumption of Fact in Publication”, Section 114A holds the following people accountable for publishing content online:
(1) those who own, administrate, or edit websites open to public contributors, such as online forums or blogs;
(2) those who provide webhosting services or Internet access; and
(3) those own the computer or mobile device used to publish content online.
In other words, if allegedly defamatory content is traced back to your username, electronic device, and/or WiFi network, Section 114A presumes you are guilty of publishing illicit content on the Internet.
But what if you were the victim of identity theft and a hacker wrongfully used your Twitter or Facebook account to post defamatory content?
Under Section 114A, you are still considered guilty until proven innocent.

What is wrong with Section 114A?
Section 114A is problematic for a number of reasons:
i) It disproportionately burdens average Internet users who are wrongfully accused of publishing seditious or defamatory content.
ii) It makes Internet intermediaries–parties that provide online community forums, blogging and hosting services–liable for content that is published through their services.
iii) It allows hackers and cyber criminals to be free by making the person whose account/computer is hacked liable for any content/data which might have changed.
iv) It is a bad law passed in haste and does not take into account public interest and participation.
To get more details on how Section 114A could affect you, check out the infographic below:



How will Section 114A affect the freedom of expression?
Section 114A threatens the right to freedom of expression. Internet users may resort to self-censorship to avoid false accusations made under Section 114A. Bloggers, for example, may excessively censor comments made by their readers.  As a result, Section 114A inadvertently stifles public discussion about pertinent political or social issues and protects public authorities, such as the State, from public scrutiny.
Visit our Resources page to get a more detailed look at the text and implications of Section 114A.
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关于114A条文
ABOUT SECTION 114A
114A条文是什么?
What is Section 114A?
114A条文是《1950马来西亚证据法令》两项修正条文中的第二项。首相署部长纳兹里阿兹于4月18日向国会下议院提呈《2012年证据法令修正 法案》进行一读,并获得马来西亚旅游部副部长詹姆士道达沃斯支持。第114A条文顺利通过二读和三读,并于5月9日于国会上议院通过。

114A条文的目的是什么?
What is the purpose of Section 114A?
第114A条文针对涉嫌在互联网上发布非法和有害内容的行为。简言之,此修正法案让司法执行人员能够迅速地逮捕涉嫌在互联网发布煽动性、诽谤性或污蔑性内容的人士。

114A条文作了哪些不当的假设?
What does Section 114A presume?
在“假设性的事实”下,114A条文将在互联网上发布信息的责任归咎于下列人士:
(一)          拥有、管理、或编辑对公众开放言论空间的网页,如各类论坛或部落格的相关人士;
(二)          提供网络伺服器或上网服务的相关人士;及
(三)          用以发布相关内容的电脑或仪器的持有人。
换句话说,任何涉嫌诽谤的内容如果来自你的用户名(username)、你所拥有的电子仪器、及/或无线网络(WIFI),114A条文将预先假定你犯上在互联网上发布非法内容的罪名。
若你的身份被盗用或骇客非法使用你推特或面子书帐号发布具诽谤性内容,你将面对什么后果呢?
在第114A条文下,你将被认定有罪,除非你能证明自己是清白的。

114A条文有哪些不妥之处?
What is wrong with Section 114A?
第114A条文之所以构成问题是基于下列种种原因:
(一)         它把错误的将大部分(在互联网)发布煽动性或诽谤性内容的责任放在普通网民身上。
(二)         它让提供或管理网上论坛、部落格和伺服器的中介单位,必须为所有(在其所提供的服务范围内)刊载的内容负起法律责任。
(三)         它将互联网罪行的责任转嫁到受害者身上,世道入侵民众互联网户口或电脑并修改其内容及数据资料的骇客或网络罪犯得以免于承担(法律)责任。
(四)         它是仓促通过及不考虑公众利益及公众参与的一项糟糕的法律。

114A法令如何影响言论自由?
How will Section 114A affect the freedom of expression?
第114A条文威胁了言论自由的权利。网民需常自我审查以避免在此条文下被错误提控。比方说,部落客需大量审查读者的留言。因此,第114A条文间接钳制了大众针对政治或社会课题的言论自由,并保护了政府当局以免于公众的监控。

KLIA2 construction cost massive increases from original RM2 billion must be investigated

Well, another issue is allegedly arising which shows that this Barisan Nasional government is too free in using Malaysian's money .... KLIA2 Airport Terminal was supposed to cost RM2 billion - and the government approved this, but now it seems that the total cost could be as high as RM5 billion. If there was a cost increase of maybe 10% or 20% more than the earlier cost, one may say that this is reasonable but what is being disclosed is outrageous - RM3 billion more... 

Fernandes had said when KLIA2 was first proposed, MAHB said it would cost RM2 billion, a figure that was later revised to RM2.6 billion and later to RM4 billion, with talk now that the total cost would be high as RM5 billion.

"That makes no sense - the low-cost terminal will now cost much more than KLIA. Yes, I asked for a new terminal but one that has simple facilities.


Malaysians need to be given answers - and maybe it is time to change the CEO and the people in charge of MAHB and the building of the airport. Why the extra cost? As it is there is already a low-cost terminal - and now Malaysia, in times when it says that it is in 'dire straits', more money is being wasted...

All these money could have been better used in maintaining those necessary food subsidies and other subsidies, which when taken away has resulted in an inreased cost of living - and increased cost. 1 jug of sugar cane water at the Bazaar Ramadhan in Temerloh now cost RM4, last year it was RM3. Last year, one could get 4 kuih for RM1, but today you get 3 (and sometimes just 2) for RM1. 

There should be an immediate independent inquiry about the increases of the cost of building KLIA2 - In fact, if maybe it was handled by Tony Fernandez, it may have been much much lower... Is MAHB wholly owned by the Malaysian government and other staturory bodies like KWSP, LUTH, etc - or is it also owned by certain private individuals and corporation. When Malaysian government money is spent, why should it also benefit individuals and private corporations. In fact, all GLCs ownership should be studied, and private persons and corporations should not be owning these 'safe shares'...

In fact, we need Parliamentary Oversight Committees that is made up of both Opposition and government MPs and .Senators monitoring such projects and their expenditure, who should have public hearings from time to time....so all Malaysians will know that all is well and our monies are being spent wisely..


AirAsia must shift to KLIA2, insists MAHB
1:18PM Aug 11, 2012  
Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) insists that low-cost carrier AirAsia must shift to the controversial low-cost terminal KL International Airport 2 (KLIA 2) when it is completed next year.

Utusan Malaysia today quotes MAHB managing director Bashir Ahamd as saying any refusal to move to the new airport does not arise as the terminal was built for AirAsia, on top of accommodating increase of passengers.

NONE"When the terminal is completed, (it) must move. The present low-cost terminal will be closed once KLIA 2 is opened," Bashir is quoted as saying.

In an interview with Business Times last month, new AirAsia chief executive officer for Malaysia Aireen Omar (left) said the no-frills carrier had a "back-up plan" should it decide not to move to KLIA 2 if it failed to meet the airline's requirements.

Aireen had said that AirAsia had hubs at Kota Kinabalu, Kuching and Senai as well as a virtual hub in Changi, Singapore.

Two days after the interview was published, AirAsia group CEO Tony Fernandes, who has since moved his office to Indonesia to oversee the carrier's regional expansion, lamented at the slow pace on work on KLIA 2 and the excessive cost overruns.

Fernandes had said when KLIA2 was first proposed, MAHB said it would cost RM2 billion, a figure that was later revised to RM2.6 billion and later to RM4 billion, with talk now that the total cost would be high as RM5 billion.

"That makes no sense - the low-cost terminal will now cost much more than KLIA. Yes, I asked for a new terminal but one that has simple facilities.

air asia pc labu low cost carrier terminal lcct 080109 tony fernandes"These cost overruns are matched by delays in the completion date from the original 'up and running' date of September 2011 to the first, and later, the second quarter of 2012.

"Well, here we are and construction is only half-done. We have been told the terminal will only be operational by the first quarter of next year at the earliest, or possibly early 2014. But I wouldn't hold my breath," Fernandes (right) had said.

However, MAHB's Bashir told Utusan Malaysia that KLIA 2 would be operational by April next year and that MAHB would no longer entertain any request for changes to the airport design to prevent further delays.

Aside from AirAsia, he said, the other airlines that would operate out of KLIA2 are Cebu Pacific Air, Mandala Airlines, Tiger Airways and Airphil Express. Negotiations with Jetstar and Lion Air were still going on.

Bashir also denied in the report that the cost of the KLIA 2 would balloon beyond the estimated cost of RM3.6 billion to RM3.9 billion. - Malaysiakini, 11/8/2012, AirAsia must shift to KLIA2, insists MAHB

Friday, August 10, 2012

Congrats to Malaysia’s Pandelela Rinong for winning the BRONZE medal in London Olympics

Congrats to Malaysia’s Pandelela Rinong for winning the BRONZE medal
On the podium for gold, silver and brozne winners of  the women's 10m Platform Diving

Brothers Jalani and Razif SIDEK were the first Malaysians to collect medals when they took bronze in the men's doubles at the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games. 

Their brother Rashid SIDEK claimed a bronze in the men's singles at the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games. In Atlanta, KIM Hock Yap and SOON Kit Cheah came away with the silver. At the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, LEE Chong Wei was a silver medallist in the men's singles.

Now, in 2012 a Malaysian Woman wins Malaysia an Olympic medal.... a young Bidayuh women from Sarawak,  Pandelela Rinong anak Pamg (born March 2, 1993)
RankAthleteResult +
1 People's Republic of China CHEN Ruolin422.30 +
2 Australia BROBEN Brittany366.50 +
3 Malaysia PAMG Pandelela Rinong359.20 +
4 Australia WU Melissa358.10 +
5 Russian Federation KOLTUNOVA Yulia357.90 +
6 Mexico ESPINOSA SANCHEZ Paola356.20 +
7 Germany STEUER Christin351.35 +
8 Italy BATKI Noemi350.05 +
9 People's Republic of China HU Yadan349.50 +
10 Canada FILION Roseline349.10 +
11 Canada BENFEITO Meaghan345.15 +
12 Ukraine PROKOPCHUK Iuliia344.55

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Malaysian Pandelela Rinong is 2nd best amongst all women divers in Olympics

Malaysian 19 year old woman diver does very well in diving ....if it was the final she would be the SILVER medalist.

PAMG Pandelela Rinong

But this is the preliminary round, and 1st 18 go through the semifinals, and thereafter the 1st 12 goes through the finals.

Semifinals will be Thursday, 09 August 2012 10:00(London Time) - 5pm in Malaysia.

Congrats Pandelela Rinong, and let's hope she performs just as well in the upcoming semifinals and the finals, and Malaysia will have the SILVER medal..

RankAthleteResult
+
1 People's Republic of China CHEN Ruolin392.35Q +
2 Malaysia PAMG Pandelela Rinong349.00Q +
3 Germany STEUER Christin341.75Q +
4 Australia BROBEN Brittany339.80Q +
5 Australia WU Melissa337.90Q +
6 People's Republic of China HU Yadan337.85Q +
7 Russian Federation KOLTUNOVA Yulia334.80Q +
8 Japan NAKAGAWA Mai327.65Q +
9 United States of America BELL Katie326.95Q +
10 Canada BENFEITO Meaghan325.50Q +
11 Ukraine PROKOPCHUK Iuliia324.85Q +
12 Italy BATKI Noemi324.20Q +
13 Mexico ESPINOSA SANCHEZ Paola324.00Q +
14 United States of America VIOLA Brittany322.55Q +
15 Democratic People's Republic  of Korea KIM Jin Ok320.10Q +
16 Germany KURJO Maria319.65Q +
17 Canada FILION Roseline314.85Q +
18 Democratic People's Republic  of Korea KIM Un Hyang308.10Q +
19 Great Britain GLADDING Monique301.45R +
20 Great Britain POWELL Stacie287.30R +
21 Mexico MENDOZA HERNANDEZ Carolina286.95
+
22 Malaysia TUKIET Traisy Vivien285.00
+
23 Italy SPAZIANI Brenda268.00
+
24 France LABEAU Audrey261.05
+
25 Cuba RIVERA Annia233.95
+
26 Republic of Korea KIM Suji215.75
+                                      

  • Pandelela in semis of 10m platform




    LONDON: Malaysia’s Pandelela Rinong gave hope of a medal in the diving competition when she qualified for the semi-finals of the women’s individual 10m platform event.

    Pandelela, Malaysia’s flag bearer at the opening ceremony on July 27, qualified in second place in the qualifying session.

    She scored a total of 349.00. China’s Chen Ruolin was the top qualifier with a score of 392,35.
    Germany’s Christin Steuer was the third best qualifier with a score of 341-75.

    A total of 26 divers took part with another Malaysian Traisy Vivien Jukiet placed in 22nd position and failed to make the cut for the semis. Only the 18 best divers make the semi-final stage.

    The semi-final will be held in the morning at 10.00am (London time). The best 12 will then make the cut to the final at night.

    Vivien’s score in the preliminaries was a poor 285.00.- Star, 9/8/2012, Pandelela in semis of 10m platform