Sunday, December 26, 2010

1Malaysia Ban? Pakatan Rakyat : Are you for freedom of expression, opinion, assembly or not?

Sometimes, I get disappointed with people who have always been championing for freedom of expression, opinion, assembly, freedom of the press, etc ....who sometimes just take the same anti-freedom actions against the BN when they do come into power. Denial of access of certain media to their functions...denying persons freedom to express their political opinions at their business premises. I say, everyone is free to put whatever posters, banners, etc - save those that are 'immoral', etc. I should be allowed to put up a poster/banner stating that I support the BN...or that I support PAS. I should be free to put up a poster stating 'Justice for Teoh Beng Hock'...I should be allowed to hang at my shop a flag of the party I support...why not? It saddens me when they use 'bad laws' to deny persons the freedom of expression...
Meanwhile, state's tourism, consumer affairs and environment exco Elizabeth Wong consider the government's ban as “simple and straightforward” as it is only limited to billboards and shopfront signages of commercial-related properties.

Wong (
left) cited section 17 of Shah Alam City Council (MBSA)'s local advertising by-laws, where she said commercial outlets are prohibited to feature advertisements that contain political messages
Political messages - advertising a poster calling for the repeal of the ISA, calling for Local Council Elections, asking for the resignation of the PM/MB, stating my support for the ISA, stating my support for PAS, having the.... Is there a law that states that I cannot have a large photo of the leader of my political party leader? I would have expected better from someone like Elizabeth Wong, who was a former coordinator of SUARAM, a human rights organisation. Political messages do not even have the requirement that it has to come from a political party. Can UMNO put up a banner officially asking people to vote UMNO in the next General Elections in Selangor - or will the Local Council say that such banners are banned...and not give the requisite permit? I say, if any political party wants to put up any banner...permission should be given by the relevant local councils and the banners should be put up... including a banner criticizing the current government (or even the Local Council) - that is what we call freedom of expression, opinion, etc..

Further the whole 1Malaysia concept is something that the people of Malaysia advocated for a long time - and only recently Najib adopted this.... as the BN logo, etc... Najib, UMNO, BN may have their own definition, meaning but that is their problem. Malaysians, for a long time since before Independence, desired a one Malaysia, and it has been some political parties that have done their best to keep different ethnic groups separate...all with their quotas, etc.. The people have always wanted one country one people... So, really Pakatan is barking up the wrong tree here...Do they not believe in one Malaysia?

Selangor state housing and local government exco Ronnie Liu has moved to quash the controversy over 1Malaysia logo being used in advertising materials by advising all local councils to hold back enforcing the ban until further notice.

NONELiu (right) said the temporary freeze is because of the confusion over which 1Malaysia logo is deemed to be conveying BN propaganda on advertising materials.

“There is still a grey area on what is regarded as political stunt by BN and what is not,” he told Malaysiakini in a phone interview.

According to Liu, many local councils are still unclear over the forms of advertising materials which are subjected to the ban.

He added that he would request a review on the ban at the next state cabinet meeting once Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim returns from vacation, which is expected to be in early January.

NONE“Meanwhile, I advise all local councils to hold back their enforcement of the 1Malaysia logo,”

Liu has nevertheless expressed surprise when told that the Sabak Bernam district council has been enforcing the ban since June this year.

“So far as I know, only Kuala Langat District Council has started removing some billboards with 1Malaysia logo on them.

He insisted that Sabak Bernam was not enforcing the 1Malaysia logo ban.

“(For Sabak Bernam) I don't think they have enforced (the ban), I can still see many 1Malaysia logos in the place,” he said.

1Malaysia shopfront signage not allowed

Meanwhile, state's tourism, consumer affairs and environment exco Elizabeth Wong consider the government's ban as “simple and straightforward” as it is only limited to billboards and shopfront signages of commercial-related properties.

save tian chua dinner 200610 elizabeth wongWong (left) cited section 17 of Shah Alam City Council (MBSA)'s local advertising by-laws, where she said commercial outlets are prohibited to feature advertisements that contain political messages.

“BN has been campaigning along with 1Malaysia logo during the recent by-elections. The logo hence is part of political propaganda.”

Asked whether shopfront signage of 1Malaysia Klinik has breached the law, she said that while the wording of “1Malaysia” is allowed, the logo is not.

“I also disagree with the DAP café putting up their party logo,” said Wong, referring to a coffee shop in SS2, Petaling Jaya.

She said banners and buntings are exempted from the ban if they are used for political events such as ceramah.

NONELiu, on the other hand, refused to be drawn into commenting on Wong's opinion, and whether it reflects Selangor government's policy or just her own personal opinion.

“I will raise the issue at the next exco meeting,” said the DAP leader.

Liu on Wednesday said 1Malaysia was regarded as a political message and thus contravenes by-laws of the state's 12 local authorities.

"You don't see any billboard in Selangor carrying the PKR, PAS and DAP logos," Liu told the Star.

Ban under heavy fire

The move by Selangor to ban the 1Malaysia logo has come under heavy fire from BN leaders who claim that the Pakatan Rakyat administration was “scared” that the logo was gaining popularity.

NONEYesterday, Selangor menteri besar's political secretary Faekah Hussin (right) explained that the ban was a “political decision” to prevent the slogan from being used to cover up BN's wrongdoings.

It has been confirmed that at least seven local authorities - the municipal councils of Kuala Langat, Sabak Bernam, Ampang Jaya, Selayang, Klang, Kuala Selangor and Subang Jaya - have enforced the ban. - Malaysiakini, 25/12/2010, 1Malaysia logo ban 'frozen', says S'gor exco

The Selangor government ban on the use of the 1Malaysia logo on all billboards in the state reflects opposition fear of the concept, Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said today.

The 1Malaysia vision that Prime Minister Najib Razak expounds is increasingly popular and this scares the opposition, he added.

"They (the Selangor government) are afraid of the 1Malaysia logo which has become iconic to the people," he told reporters after attending a leaders-meet-the-people gathering in Lawas, Sarawak.

muhyiddin pc 200910 02The 1Malaysia vision has noble intentions, one of which is to unite the people regardless of their political leaning, Muhyiddin (right) said.

Chairman of the Selangor Housing and Local Government Committee Ronnie Liu, announcing the ban yesterday, had said that the 1Malaysia logo had a political message and that a by-law prohibited political advertisements on billboards.

Muhyiddin was also asked to comment on documents produced by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz that refuted the allegations of Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim that 1Malaysia was the creation of Apco Worldwide which he claimed was also responsible for the One Israel concept.

One document was a letter from the public relations firm denying having anything to do with either concept while the other was a sworn statement from the consultant who claimed credit for the One Israel concept.

Muhyiddin said the opposition would continue to "twist the facts" despite the clarification.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Koh Tsu Koon said the ban contradicts the professed stance of the opposition parties on freedom of information and its communication to the people.

"1Malaysia is for all and it is to foster unity among the people. It should not be viewed politically," he told reporters after presenting prizes to winners of a competition in translating local Mandarin short stories into Bahasa Malaysia.

Legality of ban questioned
Information, Communication and Culture Minister Dr Rais Yatim questioned the legality of the ban, citing provisions in the federal constitution on the right of assembly and freedom to display logos.

He believed that the Selangor government was desperate to check the popularity of the 1Malaysia concept.

Selangor Umno information chief Shukor Idrus said the ban was a “backward action”.

He said that 1Malaysia was a concept for uniting Malaysians and the logo was not political.

MCA NGO liaison bureau chief Ti Lian Ker said that 1Malaysia was aimed at forging a united Malaysia, and the Selangor government should not try to obstruct achievement of that goal.

- Bernama - Malaysiakini, 23/12/2010, DPM: Opposition fears 1Malaysia

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