Saturday, July 31, 2010

Karpal should withdraw proposal of death penalty for child rapists and call for the abolition of death penalty

I am shocked that Karpal Singh, Chairperson of DAP, has suggested that the Penal Code to be amended in order to provide for the death penalty for child rapists. I hope that his utterance, as reported in Malaysiakini, was an emotional outburst, temporarily  devoid of reason and his usual sense of human rights. His position is, I believe, contrary to his usual position. I pray that he retracts his call for the death penalty. Harsh long prison term would suffice for the most heinous of crimes.

Given the current state of Malaysian police, Malaysian judiciary and the criminal justice system, it makes it all the more urgent for the abolition of the death penalty... 

Karpal Singh has called for the Penal Code to be amended in order to provide for the death penalty for child rapists.

The DAP national chairperson said although he had prior to this campaigned for the death penalty to be abolished, the daily occurrences of crimes - rape in particular - against children means “the time has come time for the government to spring into action in the public interest, which demands introduction of measures which are bold and effective”.

NONE“This would send a clear message to would-be offenders that the law will not tolerate anymore the rape of innocent children,” said the veteran lawyer (left) in a statement.

The public has expressed outrage over recent reports of a man who was caught allegedly trying to rape a 10-year-old girl in a school bus.
Members of the public caught him after a kindergarten teacher heard the girl's screams coming from inside the vehicle.

“The anger and outrage expressed by all quarters in the country over what has transpired should find expression in amendment to section 376 of the Penal Code,” said Karpal.

Section 376 (2)(e) of the Penal Code stipulates that rape of a child under 12 is punishable by a term of imprisonment that may extend to 30 years together with whipping.

'Punishment not adequate'

“The question which arises is whether in such a case (as the recent one), the punishment provided for as the law now stands is adequate,” said Karpal.

“The amendment he proposes should provide for the death penalty in cases of the commission of rape on children,” he added.

anti rape crowdGiven the possibility of an innocent man being sentenced to death for a crime he didn't commit, Karpal said the guilt of the accused must be proven beyond any reasonable doubt.

“The execution of the death penalty is irreversible. The horror suffered by an innocent man condemned to death at the instance of the state is beyond imagination.”

Karpal said in cases as this, however, where the suspect has been caught red-handed in the act itself supported by the evidence of credible eye witnesses, there should be no difficulty in proving the case beyond reasonable doubt.

“The magnitude of the offence of rape of an innocent child in broad daylight, in the observance of eye-witnesses, must attract the need to amend the law,” he added.

“I call upon the government in coming sessions of Parliament to introduce the amendment I have suggested to section 376 of the Penal Code.

“I have no doubt, in the public interest, the opposition will support this amendment.” - Malaysiakini, 31/7/2010, Karpal proposes death penalty for child rapists

Death penalty must be abolished in Malaysia as no one, certainly no government or country, has the right to deprive one of one's life. 
The trend towards abolition of the death penalty is global, and in fact there  are now 2 United Nations General Assembly Resolution in 2007 and 2008 calling for the abolition of death penalty and pending that an immediate moratorium on all executions.
On 18 December 2007, the UN General Assembly endorsed a resolution calling for "a moratorium on executions" by an overwhelming majority: 104 votes in favour, 54 against and 29 abstentions. - RESOLUTION 62/149
On 18 December 2008, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a second resolution calling for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty.
The Malaysian Bar also has called for the abolition of the death penalty.

(which was adopted at the 60th AGM of the Malaysian Bar on 18/3/2006)

WHEREAS every human being has the inherent right to life;

WHEREAS Malaysia has hanged at least 358 persons between 1981 and 2005;

WHEREAS about 173 persons are on death row as at December 2005;

a) studies conducted throughout the world over the past seventy years have failed to find convincing evidence that capital punishment is a more effective deterrent of crime than long-term imprisonment;

b) studies conducted in Australia show that abolition of the death penalty had no effect on the homicide rate and in Canada there in fact was a sharp decline in the homicide rate after abolition;

c) in the United States over the past twenty years, states with the death penalty in general have had a higher homicide rate than states without the death penalty;
WHEREAS on the other hand the execution of human beings by the State gives an ‘example of barbarity’ to society and legitimizes the taking of human life;
WHEREAS Malaysia lacks safeguards that would ensure a fair trial such as the right to immediate access to a lawyer upon arrest, right to full disclosure of evidence in the possession of the police and prosecution, and has to the extreme prejudice of accused persons loaded a capital crime statute such as the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 ( which generates the largest number of death sentences annually ) with presumptions of trafficking that compromise the presumption of innocence which is integral to any fair and just criminal justice system;

a) it is not possible in any system of human justice to prevent the horrifying possibility of the execution of innocent persons; and

b) the infliction of the death penalty makes wrongful convictions irreversible;

a) 122 countries have abolished the death penalty in law or practice as opposed to 74 countries which retain the death penalty;

b) An average of three countries have abolished the death penalty each year over the last decade;

c) the trend worldwide has been for the abolition of the death penalty;

WHEREAS the UN Commission on Human Rights Resolution 2005/59 passed in 2005 calls upon all states to abolish the death penalty and states that the abolition of the death penalty is essential for the protection of the right to life of every human being;

WHEREAS Article 1 of the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) provides that ‘ No one within the jurisdiction of a State party to the present Optional Protocol shall be executed ’.

WHEREAS the death penalty has no place in any society which values human rights, justice and mercy;

NOW IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED that the Malaysian Bar calls for the:
1) Abolition of the death penalty in Malaysia;
2) An immediate moratorium on all executions pending abolition;
3) Commutation of the sentences of all persons currently on death row;
4) Ratification by Malaysia of the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). 

Proposers: N.Surendran , Charles Hector , Amer Hamzah Arshad, Sreekant Pillai
* the facts and statistics relied on here are from Professor Roger Hood’s The Death Penalty( A Worldwide Perspective) OUP 2002, Amnesty International and statistics released by the Government of Malaysia.
MADPET (Malaysians Against Death Penalty) has repeatedly called for the abolition of the death penalty..

One of the reasons used often by governments, including the Malaysian government, to justify the mandatory death penalty is that deters serious crimes. This was what Datuk M. Kayveas, a Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department told Parliament. (Bernama, 28/6/2006) This is baseless and cannot be justified by any facts or statistical proof. 

On the other hand, there are studies conducted throughout the world over the past seventy years using various different methodological approaches that have failed to find convincing evidence that capital punishment is a more effective deterrent of crime than long-term imprisonment. 

Studies conducted in Australia show that abolition of the death penalty had no effect on the homicide rate and in Canada there in fact was a sharp decline in the homicide rate after abolition;

In the United States over the past twenty years, states with the death penalty in general have had a higher homicide rate than states without the death penalty;

The United Nations itself noted in 1988, 1996, and 2002, "research has failed to provide scientific proof that executions have a greater deterrent effect than life imprisonment. Such proof is unlikely to be forthcoming. The evidence as a whole gives no positive support to the deterrent hypothesis."

Noting also that on 18 December 2007, the UN General Assembly endorsed a resolution calling for a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty" by an overwhelming majority (Resolution 62/149), and on 18 December 2008, the United Nations General Assembly adopted with a bigger majority a second similar resolution calling for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty.

MADPET calls for the repeal of all provisions in law that provide for the mandatory death penalty.

MADPET reiterates its call for an immediate moratorium on all executions pending abolition, and for the abolition of the death penalty in Malaysia . - MANDATORY DEATH PENALTY PROVISIONS IN LAW SHOULD BE REPEALED
Besides, civil societies and NGOs, Malaysians generally is for the abolition of the death penalty 

It must also be pointed out that a television poll done by RTM 2 during the Hello on Two programme on 7/5/2006 showed that 64% of Malaysians are for the abolition of the death penalty in Malaysia. This program has an estimated audience of 80,000. It is thus important that members of Parliament, the representatives of the people respond to the aspirations of Malaysians and remove the death penalty from the laws of Malaysia. - MADPET: REMOVE DEATH PENALTY FROM ALL MALAYSIAN LAWS
In Malaysia, as in many other countries,  reason and good sense has a way of going  out of the window especially when there is public outrage and a media frenzy for blood....and judges, being human, have responded badly at times sentencing one to death.  A bad lawyer can also result in one being sent to the gallows. There is just too many dangers that a person who does not deserve the death penalty will be hung. I have seen notes of proceedings in death penalty cases, where the lawyer at the High Court just did not take the trouble to call certain witnesses and adduce certain relevant evidence, and when it comes to the Court of Appeal (or the Federal Court) one is generally bound to rely only on the evidence before the High Court. Sometimes, it may be just because a witness was not called or a certain evidence not adduced, that a person cannot be saved from the gallows.
Repentance...a second chance..transformation...values found in all religions also shouts out against the taking of a human life by the State, the government, the people of Malaysia. There have been too many cases where innocent people have been killed...and, as such we have no choice but to abolish the death penalty. Long prison terms are always available. There is the life sentence...or even sentencing one until he dies of old age. 

I hope that Karpal, when he cools down, will withdraw his proposal to impose the sentence of death on convicted child rapists.


When NGO activist join governments, Local Councils... do they get 'confused' about their struggle? CONPAC?

There has been much criticisms about the lack of openess, the lack of transparency, the lack of accountability, the lack of democracy .... and these are things that civil society and human rights activist will be angry and very vocal about on behalf of the ordinary people.

When the Pakatan Rakyat State governments, decided to appoint local councillors and proclaimed that about 25%  of the Councillors will be from NGOs, civil societies,... there was much elation and hope. Of course, we all were hoping that these appointment by the State governments would be a short term measure, and believed that the 1-year (and not 3-year) appointments were an indication that soon we will be heading for Local Council elections...or if not some sort of democratically people-chosen councilors...but alas, there was the 2nd 1-year appointment, and then the 3rd 1 year appointment....and there really seem to be no indication that we will be having Local Council elections - or the usage of some other democratic process where the people will choose councillors.
What is sad, is that the Pakatan Rakyat government seem to be very much like its UMNO-led BN State governments, and appointments are on a quota system, i.e. PKR:DAP:PAS:NGO. And, that alone seem to be the criteria...

It was from the more vocal advocate groups for Local Council elections, transparency, accountability,.... that the State government appointed and filled the NGO quota. [Remember now that these persons chosen, were not persons chosen by the NGOs/Civil Society's as a whole - i,e, there was a meeting and the NGO/Civil Society groups forwarded names to the State government. The appointment was by the State Government - and they chose suitable persons...Hence, these persons appointed under the NGO/Civil Society quota  are not 'wakil NGO'  or 'civil society reps' chosen democratically, and as such they really have no reporting obligation or duty to be the representatives of NGOs/Civil Societies, do they now. They generally seem to have been co-opted into the local government ....into the Pakatan Rakyat government and have lost their individuality and their critical nature.]

On 24th March, we suddenly saw something happening with regard these NGO/Civil Society Local Councillors, when they launched CONPAC ... and, the hope was that silence would finally be broken...and true to being advocates for human rights, justice,... they would start telling us all that is wrong ...and their plans to bring about pro-people pro-environment changes... [One should appreciate that other reports say that this group was formed in November 2009.]
NGO & Professional councilors are often seen as an informal grouping of civil society representatives & ordinary professionals. We are not bound together with any common platform or manifesto except for general assumptions that we stand for certain principles based on Democracy, Justice and Human Rights.

We do not have a cohesive system with a clear representative to act as the “coordinator” of our “NGO & Professional councilors grouping” unlike political party based councilors who have a system of “party whips” to act as a coordination, support and communications system amongst their councilors.

Today we the NGO and professional councilors from different local councils in Selangor State are establishing and launching a “Coalition of NGO & Professional Councilors” (CONPAC). This important and new initiative is to provide a support network and coordination mechanism for NGO and Professional councilors in Selangor state and hopefully and eventually in other “Pakatan Rakyat” led State governments.

We therefore invite members of the media and civil society organizations to witness the launching of the CONPAC. This is a very significant event and the first time in the political history of local governments in Malaysia. -
(CONPAC) Coalition of NGO & Professional Councillors launching
And, we waited...and the in June, CONPAC came out with a statement ...just before the next round of 1-year appointment of Local was good to know that they were still calling for Local Council Elections...
Therefore, in this spirit, CONPAC reiterates its call for local council elections to be revived in all States and especially the Federal government, who were in fact responsible for dismantling this democratic process in 1965, to allow it to take place.

However, since the system of appointment of local councillors will still be practised for the coming term of July 2010 to June 2011, CONPAC recommends the following:

● To maintain the promised allocation of 25 per cent quota for NGO and professional candidates.

● To include two carefully identified representatives from a credible civil society body such as the Coalition for Good Governance (CGG) to be part of the committee to finalise the list of local councillors.

● To publish the CV of all shortlisted local councillor candidates in different electronic and print mass media, including internet sites and even paid advertisements in all major daily newspapers in all languages before the finalisation of the appointments. As for those councillors who will be reappointed, to publish the performance assess- ment conducted by the  State government to enable public feedback on their past term performance in service.

● To provide a channel for all citizens to view, comment and give feedback on the candidates to ensure people’s participation in these appointments.

Finally, we would like to express the above calls are issued in the spirit of transparency and accountability in the pursuit of achieving a truly democratic and transparent local government. - The Malay Mail, 10/6/2010, Ensure transparency when appointing local councillors - Democratic reforms needed for revival of local council elections
We see that save for the one paragraph about elections, they seem to be more concerned that the next appointment...

Then, again we heard from CONPAC - and their grievance was that there seem to have been a drop in the numbers(percentage) of NGO/Civil Society Councillors...
CONPAC AND CGG held a press conference in the DEWAN SIDANG UNDANGAN NEGERI in SUK Shah Alam today at 1pm (12th July 2010) to register our serious concern and disappointment with the process on how the local councilor appointments have been handled. Some 30 NGO members including about 12 NGO-professional councillors (both present and former) were there to meet the 15 or so press members and also handed a memo (read below) to the Mentri Besar Selangor Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim. He assured us there will be a meeting to discuss these issues in detail. We were not able to meet YB Ronnie Liu but we also delivered a similar memo to him through his office. 
CONPAC and CGG will continue to pursue the MB for the meeting hopefully this week even amidst the ongoing State Assembly sittings! We must really impress strongly upon the state and all the component parties of the Pakatan Rakyat government that appointment of NGO and professional councilors is not a "WELFARE ACT" as many of them might think! BUT our presence actually ensures that the PR government has really taken seriously the participation of non political party councilors in governance. This is to ensure that there will be 25% councilors who will be able to perform their duties free of political interests and influences.
Remember, that the appointing of representatives of civil society as Local Councillors was also practiced during the UMNO-led BN's governance of the State. But the numbers were minimal. I do know that people from FOMCA and Selangor  Federal Territory Consumer Association (SCA) have previously been appointed.

Professional Councilors - What is this really? 
Are they doctors, lawyers, architects, engineers, dentists, teachers, nurses, academicians... professionals that have now been appointed as Local Councillors? Do they include those that are members of the Pakatan Rakyat and friends - i.e. PKR, PAS, DAP & PSM?
Or are they professionals that are not members of these 4 parties? maybe belonging to no political party or Opposition political parties (i.e. the BN parties)

NGO Councillors - Are they councillors who are involved in Non-Governmental Organisations(NGOs)? Well, this again is a very big list as even political parties, trade unions, employer's associations, Malaysian Bar, sports clubs, etc are all theoretically NGOs.Again, does it include members of PKR, PAS, DAP & PSM? If not, why not? Do they lose their identity as NGO/Civil Society activist just because they have exercised their political right to be a member of a political party?

Or, is this group really a coalition of persons not members of PKR,DAP, PAS (and maybe PSM) who are involved in NGOs and/or are professionals...

Maybe, a name change should be considered - Non-Pakatan Rakyat Independent Local Councillors. This way other 'independents' will not be left out, and the nature of the group will be clear.

I hope that this "CONPAC' will also start making public stands calling for greater transparency and accountability in these Local Councils in Selangor and other Pakatan Rakyat States...They should call for:-

1- That all Local Council Meeting shall be open to the public

2- That there should be public notification of all upcoming Local Council Meetings, time, date, venue and agenda.

3 - That all minutes of the Local Council shall be freely available to the public. That it be posted on the relevant Local Council websites. [Worse case scenario : That a summary of all the decisions and matters discussed be made public.]

4- That the annual report of the activities of the Local Council, with relevant statistics  and certainly full income-expenditure accounts be made available to the public, at including the relevant Local Council websites. [For MBPJ, I cannot see their Annual Report & Accounts for 2008, 2009...]

5- That the biodata of all Local Councillors be made available to the Public. Party Membership, profession, etc should all be made available to the public. Who are the PAS appointed, DAP appointed, PKR appointed, PSM appointed, persons from the NGO (which NGO?), professionals, academics, etc...

6 - That all Local Councilors shall have a Blog/Website in which they will highlight their activities, concerns, issues and relate with the members of the public in an open, transparent manner..

After 2 years plus, sitting as Local Councillors, it is time for CONPAC to come out with a report - focusing also on the changes that have been brought in the Local Councils and its workings since Selangor was taken over by a Pakatan Rakyat government. Maybe, there should also be a comprehensive list of recommendations for the improvement of not just the appointment/elections of Local Councillors but all aspects of the working of the Local Council.

How are the Local Councilors relating to the people in their respective 'constituents'?
Are there regular monthly public meetings with all the people in the constituents - easy, since the Dewans(Halls) are under the Council. So, all we need is for public notices, and then the Local Councillor can go have a dialogue with the people... not just give a long speech ...but a question-answer session, not just questions from the people for the Councillor to answer...but also questions to the people to get their views, opinions...

 How many councillors had such a meeting? 
MPP - this is supposed to be some people's representative council. I believe they have this in MBPJ. Were the members of this body democratically elected by the people? If not, we can change things...How do we democratically elect these people?

In a Taman(or Kampung Baru) - letters are sent out to the people inviting them to a meeting at the Local Town Hall (or some suitable place) on a particular evening or week-end, telling them that there will be elections conducted to elect a community comittee - Chair, Deputy, Secretary, Treasurer, AJKs.. and on that day, elections will be conducted overseen by the  relevant Local Councillor. Then the committee shall be asked to chose their representative to the said people's representative council in the area overseen by the Local Councillor. It is best to suggest that an alternative rep is also choosen. Now for every MPP meeting letters shall be sent to the Chairman and the relevant reps - Minutes will also be circulated. It is something that can be easily done - elections and true people chosen reps. Of course, we hope Local Councillors will not just follow the State government and appoint their own cronnies... I am sure the members of CONPAC will do the right thing, and let the people choose...

CONPAC members should use their Blogs to keep the public and their constituents informed of things.. It will be good that at least once a month there will be a big public meeting/dialogue session open to all in their relevant constituents. 

We also need to start looking at monitoring our Local Councilors... and maybe some NGO/Civil Society group (not the Local Councilors) should take up this task - A report on the performance of Local Councils, and individual councilors would be good. Maybe, we could give some award to the best Local Council in terms of being open, transparent, democratic, pro-people, pro rights... and even special awards to good Local Councilors. This, I believe will help us improve our Local Councilors and Local Councils. What do you think?

In many of my past postings, I have made concrete suggestions of simple things that could be done to improve the running of our Local Councils...Just click and the label "Local Council" and "Local Government' to read them. In many of my posting, I have focused my attention on Majlis Bandaraya Petaling Jaya, as a sample of the Local Councils in the PR governed States....

Some of the earlier posts are as follows:-

MBPJ - A sad reflection of Pakatan Rakyat, No Transparency, Accountability, Not Pro-People - Am I wasting my time?

 MBPJ - More proposals for reform & wondering the reason for not implementing simple reforms already suggested..

MBPJ meeting are open to the public - but people do not know this, or when, or what is on the agenda....

Meeting of Local Council (MBPJ, etc) should be open to the public...

Majlis Bandaraya Petaling Jaya - No changes because Mayor and staff following 'old policies and old ways...' of BN - so, not Pakatan's fault

Majlis Bandaraya Petaling Jaya - Where is the transparency and accountability?

MBPJ is still not transparent, accountable and giving effect to Reformasi, 'People Power'...Makkal Sakti, Kuasa Rakyat..


PRM: Mansuh ISA bukan pinda [Abolish the ISA not amend]废除内安法令,不是修改

Media Statement - 31/7/2010 [Bahasa Melayu, English, Chinese]

Mansuh ISA bukan pinda

Akta Keselamatan  Dalam Negeri atau lebih dikenal dengan nama ISA harus hendak dimansuhkan, bukannya dipinda. Inilah pendirian Parti Rakyat Malaysia (PRM) terhadap ISA semenjak ISA diperkenalkan dan dikuatkuasakan pada 1 Ogos 1960. Pada 1 Ogos 2010, ISA  genap dilaksanakan selama 50 tahun. Pelaksanaan ISA sendirinya  sudah memperlihatkan warna sebenar ISA.

Jika seseorang memandang balik ke masa perdebatan dan hujah-hujah perkenalan ISA pada 1960, adalah amat nyata ISA adalah untuk menangani perjuangan bersenjata komunis. Oleh sebab kerajaan Barisan Nasional telah menandatangani perjanjian damai dengan Parti Komunis Malaya pada 1989, dan Parti Komunis Malaya telah menghentikan perjuangan bersenjatanya, ISA sepatutnya sudah hilang sebab musabab dan asas untuk terus wujud.

Akan tetapi, Kerajaan Barisan Nasional tidak ada  niat untuk memansuhkan ISA. Sebaliknya, Kerajaan Barisan mengemukakan pelbagai dalih untuk menjustifikasikan perlunya ISA supaya kewujudannya disambung-pakai walaupun 50 tahun penggunaan ISA oleh kerajaan Barisan telah menceritakan semuanya iaitu undang-undang boleh menahan seseorang tanpa pembicaraan itu sudah tanpa segan-silu dan terang-terangan disalahgunakan dengan sewenang-wenangnya dan ISA adalah bertentangan dengan  semangat pemerintahan undang-undang (rule of law).

PRM adalah satu-satu party  dengan pendirian konsisten atau tidak berubah-ubah  menentang habis-habisan pelaksanaan ISA. Oleh itu, adalah tidak hairanlah dalam masa 50 tahun pelaksanaan  ISA, beribu-ribu anggota PRM daripada presiden nasional ke lapisan akar umbi menjadi mangsa kezaliman  utama ISA.

Pemimpin-pemimpin nasional PRM seperti Allahyarham Ahmad Boestamam (Presiden, Ahli Parlimen), Tajuddin Kahar (Setiausaha Agung), Hasnul Hadi (Presiden Barisan Sosialis, Pengerusi Majlis Perbandaran Melaka yang dipilih oleh pengundi), dan mendiang Karam Singh (ahli Parlimen), Sivasubramaniam (Adun), dan Tan Hock Heng (Adun) meringkuk bertahun-tahun dalam kem-kem tahanan, antara contohnya Tan Hock Heng  telah ditahan selama 16 tahun dan dibebaskan tanpa syarat)  . Bahkan kebanyakan anggota PRM  sekarang  seperti Pemangku Presiden Ariffin Salimon, Naib Presiden S K Song, Setiausaha Agung Koh Swe Yong dan Bendahari  Teh Soon Ming juga  menghabiskan masa hidup yang terbaik dalam kem tahanan.

Oleh itu, PRM mendesak supaya kerajaan Barisan di bawah kepimpinan Najib Razak memansuhkan  dan bukan membuat pindaan kepada ISA, dan juga undang-undang boleh menahan tanpa pembicaraan lain. Dengan berbuat demikian, kerajaan Barisan boleh menunjukkan amalan bikin serupa cakap dan   memperlihatkan kesungguhan dan betul-betul komited  pada usaha  mentransformasi Malaysia kepada  negara  yang maju dan demokratik.

Yong benar,

Koh Swe Yong
Setiausaha Agung  PRM

21B(F) Jalan SJ 6 Taman Selayang Jaya 68100 Batu Caves Selangor Malaysia


Abolish the ISA not amend

The Internal Security Act or the ISA must be abolished and not amended. This is the  stand of Parti Rakyat Malaysia (PRM) or The People’s Party of Malaysia towards the ISA   since the ISA was introduced and in force on the 1 August 1960. By tomorrow, the 1st of  August 2010, the ISA will have been in force for 50 years and 50 years of the implementation of the ISA   truly reveal its  colours.

If one were to look back into the debates surrounding the arguments for the introduction of the ISA in 1960, it was very obvious that the ISA were meaned to deal with the communists’ armed sstruggle. Since the Barisan Nasional or National Front government had signed a peace accord with the  Communist Party of Malaya in 1989, and the Communist Party of Malaya  ceased its arms struggle,  the ISA has lost the very pretext and reason for its continued existence.

But, the Barisan Nasional Government has no intention to abolish the ISA. Instead, the Barisan  Government looks for   excuses to justify  the need of the ISA and its continued existence eventhough 50-year of the uses of the ISA by the Barisan Government tells all that this peace of the detention without trial law has been grossly and starkly abused and   against the very spirit of rule of laws..

PRM is the only political party that has consistently opposed the ISA and it is no wonder that in the past 50 years thousands of PRM members right from the top national presidents to the very grass roots were the main victims of the ISA.  

PRM national leadership like the  late Ahmad Boestamam( President, MP), Tajuddin Kahar (Secretary General),  Hasnul Hadi (President Sosialis Front, elected Malacca Municipal Council Chairman) , Karam Singh (MP), Sivasubramaniam ( State Assemblyman), Tan Hock Heng (State Assemblyman) have spent years in the detention camps, some as long as 16 years like Tan Hock Heng who was finally released  unconditionally after spending 16years under the ISA detention. Presently, even many of the present members like acting President Ariffin Salimon, Vice President S.K. Song, Secretary General Koh Swe Yong and  Treasurer  Teh Soon Ming and many others  have spent the best part of  their life in detention camps.

Thus, PRM demands that  the Barisan Nasional Government under Najib Razak leadership to abolish and not amend the ISA together with the other detention without trial laws to show that the Barisan Nasional Government walks the talk, and is seriously and genuinely committed to wanting to transform Malaysia into an advance and developed democratic state.

Yours truly,

Koh Swe Yong
Secretary General PRM

21B(F) Jalan SJ 6 Taman Selayang Jaya 68100 Batu Caves Selangor Malaysia






但是,国阵政府没有任何废除内安法令的意愿,反而提出种种理由和借口作为支持内安法令不能废除的论据,内安法令必须继续存在和使用,虽然国阵政府用了内安法令50年本身 已经说明一切,无需审讯扣留的内安法令已经在毫无羞耻和赤裸裸的状况下,随心所欲被滥用,内安法令也完全违反法制精神。






21B(F) Jalan SJ 6 Taman Selayang Jaya 68100 Batu Caves Selangor Malaysia

Friday, July 30, 2010

Support Letters :- A disempowering tool used to keep people down and promotes dependency

Empowering of the people so that they may be able to stand on their own and fight for their own rights and issues was the philosophy that was adopted by many community organizers, labour and political activist in the past. The 'outsiders' and/or 'leaders' emphasized in process, and their role was merely to facilitate the bringing of  people together so that they can sit down understand, discuss, analyze their reality, develop solutions/visions for change and there after act to bring about changes. Success is achieved the day the community of people are empowered and are able to act on their own.

See, Judge and Act was one of the many names that this process was given, and interestingly we find many of the present leaders of trade unions, civil society and even some political parties are products of this empowering process. People share their perception/facts about the reality. They strive to try to find out more information to understand their reality - and this would mean going through resource materials, like articles and books and even maybe listening to some resource persons. They then proceed to analyze the facts, interested always in determining also who really benefits from the current reality. They judge based on their own sense of good and bad, right and wrong and/or just or unjust and basis of this judgment is their own value system which could have come from their religion, their family/community and their life experience. 

And then, they move towards trying to discover how things could be better, more just, more equitable and more pro-people. It would be good if people are aware of alternative ways of doing things, but alas the UMNO led-BN government has ensured that people are just not aware of any alternative ways of doing things by media control, and the suppression of freedom of expression. Criticism of government proposals, and suggestion of alternative better ways are doing things are almost totally absent from the mainstream media. 

Then, there is a need for the people to act to bring about changes and/or improvements on their own....but alas, today UMNO-led BN government has created a culture so much so that people believe that they need to get the support of the BN MPs, ADUNs and/or the BN parties before they can get anything done, and this support usually comes in the form of a support the relevant politician asking that the matter be looked into and action taken. Note that this practice just creates dependency, when really people can just go straight to the relevant government departments and/or Local Authority with their complaints, applications, etc. What is communicated to the people is also that in the absence of local BN support, their attempts to go directly to claim rights will be futile, or will take a very long time. 

Sadly, this culture of dependency and 'people have no power by themselves to get things done' has also been adopted by most of the Opposition politicians, and even some of civil society groups....and this is very sad. This is happening at all levels, even when it comes to building plan approvals, government tender applications, claims to Labour Department for worker rights violations, claims for compensation/benefits under the SOCSO, Welfare Department, etc... The message is simple, 'If you do not have a letter of support and/or support from the politicians then nothing will get done'.

Recently, Chuah Boon Seong (BN ASUN of Mentakab) again reiterated that people with problems should come to him or to the BN party service centres to get the letters of support and/or support to ensure that their applications/complaints get the necessary reponse from the relevant government departments. He said he will write letters to the relevant department, etc. 

The Malaysian government promotes this culture of dependency, keeping people dis-empowered, by its failure to disclose information about rights/benefits/assistance available, and what are the steps that should be done to claim these rights, and which department one should go to claim these rights. There really is a lack of education about rights and access to justice in Malaysia - it should be a priority of governments to educate people so that they can go direct to the relevant department/office - and this could very easily be done by TV ads, etc.
This culture of keeping people dis-empowered, promoting that idea that you can never achieve/.do anything without the explicit support of your politician and/or political party is also being propagated by Opposition. 

Support letters is one of these tools used, and surely it is wrong when decision to process and approve an application is governed on whether one has support letters from the ADUN,MP, Politicians...and who. A support letter from PM/Menteri Besar may produce better results than a support letter from a Minister/State Exco...and so on and so forth.

If there is a failure on the part of any department/office, then people should write complaints about inaction or slow action or... to the relevant heads of Department, Minister, State Exco, Prime Minister and/or Menteri Besar demanding speedy action.

Complaints can also be addressed to the Public Complaints Bureau, and also SUHAKAM (Malaysia's Human Rights Commission)...and also the ADUNs/MPs/Political Party. Complaints could also be raised to the media. 

If the relevant departments/offices of government is showing bias with regard to application - i.e. process first those that have 'letters of support' or approving only those that have "letters of support" - then this is so very wrong and discriminatory. I am certain that the relevant Acts/State Enactments/Regulations do not even have provision for the need of such "letters of support"...

The government's of the day should discontinue this practice, and instructions must be given that such "letters of support" should either be removed and destroyed, or all applications should be treated equally irrespective of whether there is a letter of support or not, and the fact that there is a letter of support should not factor at at all in the decisions/actions of the relevant government department/office/authority.

Klang Municipal Councillor Tee Boon Hock will take temporary leave until the state finishes its investigation over an allegation that he had abused the state's letterhead in getting contracts.

Selangor Menteri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim, in a statement today, said he had directed the state's Audit Department to conduct a probe into the issue.

azlan"Its director Ungku Arfah Ungku Tahir will be given a month to conduct an investigation to scrutinise the letters and also interview the parties and individuals related to the matter.

"Until then, I have suggested that Tee take leave from his post until a decision had been made, and he has agreed."

The menteri besar emphasised that the Selangor government will not punish anyone until he has been proven guilty.

"The state adopts a responsible and transparent administration, and will not compromise on any abuse of power," Khalid said.

Tee is involved in a possible abuse of Selangor exco member Ronnie Liu's letterhead and seal to obtain contracts worth a total of RM1 million for 20 companies, including one to a family member. - Malaysiakini, 29/7/2010, Letterhead abuse: Tee asked to take leave

The question must also be whether Ronnie Liu, other State Exco members, the Menteri Besar, MPs/ADUNs, Local Councillors are issuing these kind of letters of support. Is Anwar issuing letters of support? If Lim Kit Siang/Anwar/Hadi  issued a letter of support that this project should be given this Local Council project, would he/she not get it as the Local Councillors are all appointed by the 3 parties and fear of no re-appointment would ensure that the request is complied with...

Openess, transparency, accountability would ensure that these 'letters of support" is not the reason why some get the projects...and others do not. But alas, still Local Council minutes are kept 'secret'....

I say, that until there is a full disclosure...openness and transparency, we may have to assume that the bad practices and culture of the UMNO led-BN is still continuing today in the new Pakatan Rakyat governments.

Until there is free and fair Local Council Elections, then Local Councilors may not be independent, and will more likely than not follow the request in these "letters of support"  especially when it comes from those who can influence/determine who gets re-appointed and who does not.