Posted tagged ‘ISA’

Thanks to Bersih 2.0 for ISA repeal

September 20, 2011
Finally PM Datuk seri Najib and UMNO/BN are glossing and floating over the euphoria of ISA repeal announcement. That‘s the advantage, the ruling party has. When it suits they can enact and impose ISA and at the same when it is to their disadvantage they can announce the repeal of ISA and take the credit all for themselves. Never mind the hardship and torture undergone by many patriotic Malaysians who fought for justice and suffered under this draconian law. The opposition and thousands of ordinary citizens marched and stood up against this repressive law risking police arrest and imprisonment under ISA. Worse still the PM Datuk Najib and UMNO/BN won many elections using the ISA as tool of instilling fear and punishment against the opposition and their supporters.
So is the announcement come about after genuinely realizing that we Malaysians are deprived of civil liberties or due to political expediency? UMNO/BN till the announcement was never concerned about civil liberties to Malaysians at large leave alone the opposition. The deputy prime minister himself was surprised at the ISA repeal announcement. Even after the PM’s announcement UMNO still speak with arrogance as though they fought hard for ISA repeal.  Is racist UMNO capable of genuine civil liberties or more democracy for Malaysians of all races? Judging from the past actions and reactions of UMNO, it will only act when they are losing political grounds or popular support. Based on the same argument UMNO will only conceit grounds when they are under threat.  After the announcement the home minister and right wingers in UMNO are brooding with the 2 replacement laws in place of ISA.  
Therefore the announcement of ISA repeal is to reverse the growing unpopularity of PM and UMNO/BN among Malaysians at large. The Prime minister has started his election campaign with the ISA repeal announcement which was abruptly brought an end by Bersih 2.0. Just 2 months ago even a peaceful gathering was not allowed but now the PM is telling the world that Malaysia wants to be more democratic. Bersih leaders and proponents were threatened with arrest under emergency ordinance and ISA. Bersih 2.0 is all about clean and fair election. UMNO/BN has ruled for past 54 years with repressive and punitive laws which are implemented selectively and discriminatively. Therefore is UMNO with the prime minister is repealing these draconian laws. The 2 laws to be implemented can be more restrictive and punitive than the one repealed.   
But Malaysians are very used to paying tribute and praises the moment announcement is made. We got a long way to go to be more democratic. Parliament must repeal the ISA and not PM. How about repealing the emergency ordinance, OSA, universities and university college act 1971 and printing and publishing act 1984? How about the independence of judiciary and set up of IPCMC for police abuse? Mr. PM needs to walk his announcement now. Has UMNO reformed to make bold changes in law? I wonder!

Proposal for a Race Relations Act in Malaysia was made in Dewan Negara in July 2009

September 10, 2010

Question: Urges this house government to legislate Race Relation Act to eliminate racial discrimination in public and private sector, entrance to university and matriculation levels, in awarding the federal, state and local government tenders. The main purpose of this act is to promote harmonious and healthy relationship among all races in Malaysia with the elimination of racial inequities and discriminations. Therefore, it is proposed that the government must be concern and takes a serious view on the racial discrimination and inequality of other races in these sectors. This act can be enforced and mandated to ensure that the local authorities, federal and local government, private companies, government linked company (GLC), and local universities to introduce race equality program which is based on merit in all employment aspects especially in the aspect of hiring manpower and student enrolment, promotion, training, and learning opportunity in local and overseas. At the same time, the government need to set up a Race Relation Commission under this act to ensure the enforcement and implementation of Race Relation Act”.

Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon replied this question as follows

Yang Berhormat Senator Dr. Ramakrishnan propose Race Relation Act been enacted to eliminate racial discrimination. Tuan Yang Di-Pertua, the suggestion to legislate the Race Relation Act in this country has emerged during the Dewan Rakyat sitting after the 2008 elections. Some members of Dewan Rakyat raised and debated issues that deemed sensitive and spoke on certain specific matters which can worsen the fragile relation among races. These issues including special rights of Malays and legal interest of other races, royal institutions, status of Islam and freedom of religions, judicial issues, freedom to say issues and others.

During the debate in Dewan Rakyat the situation tense and emotions were running high. The debate on race relations issues has got wide coverage in mass media and electronic media. As a result of this debate political, societal, academic and general public gave their respective views and opinions.  One of the suggestions which have been brought out was that an act on race relation to be enacted to control certain self interest groups or certain individuals from politicising, fabricating and twisting and turning racial issues that are set in the in the Federal Constitution and also to prevent debate or implement matters by the way which can abrade and distant the relation among races in this country.

Since several of reactions, opinions, and suggestions which showed in mass media has become quite heated up, so the cabinet Ministers in their meeting on 10th September 2008 gave instruction to Department of National Unity and National Integration (JPNIN) which at that time under the Ministry of Unity, Culture arts and heritage brink opinion on the need to enact a Race Relation Act. Thus, government through Institute of Ethnic Study or in other words KITA, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) under Professor Shamsul Bahrin has a held one day roundtable discussion regarding the proposal of Race Relation Act enactment in Malaysia.  

On 30th October 2008, this discussion was joined by academicians, representatives of NGO, public sector, and private sector. The purpose of this discussion is to collect early opinions and suggestions to legislate the act. The outcome was that only small a group supported the enactment of the act, while the rest disagreed. The disagreed group thought that:

         i.            Federal Constitution is national trait, which taking into consideration the interest of all races in our country. In addition, the present act is sufficient to address the racial issues. Only the implementation and certain act may need to be focused. If needed, the present act can be conscientious and make improvement anywhere necessary;

       ii.            The new proposed act might dissent with the certain clauses in the Federal Constitution;

     iii.            The act cannot force someone to like others. Instead to engrave unity values through education and socialization process, deemed will give more positive impact;

     iv.            Usually only a few politicians and certain mass media which make the racial issue very sensation. Not the people who were always not too involved, even sometimes they are worried;

       v.            Generally the race relation issue involve Peninsular Malaysia and not too obvious and serious in Sabah and Sarawak.

The group which support the act to be enacted thought that:

         i.            The government need to establish a race relation commission to address the racial  issues;

       ii.            The race relation act can avoid discrimination happened among races and prevent unexpected manner;

     iii.            This act can be a guide to all races in order not to stir up the issues that can abrade the race relation.

According to the result of this discussion summary, the cabinet Minister on January 2009 has decided that was no need to legislate a new act. This is because the present act such as Internal Security Act, Sedition Act, Printing Machine and Publication Act are enough to control any party which stir up issues that can abrade relation among races. Government thought that it is better the present acts to be reviewed, cleared, strengthen anywhere needed and implemented with more effective and more fairly.

As a way to stop, protect and strengthen the national unity, the government has introduced a few initiative which included in 1Malaysia concept and Government Transformation Program and also New Economic Model that urging unity in diversity which is drived by unity thrusts and engraving aspiration values with also inclusiveness concept so that all races benefit from the principles which are implemented by the government, and no group of citizen is isolated or denied their rights. Besides that, the government will continuously improving the present programmes and introducing new program to manure understanding and unity like Rukun Tetangga and Volunteer Patrol Scheme in the housing areas under JPNIN, Student Integration Plan and social interaction for youth and women. Encouragement and support also have been given to private companies and NGOs to play positive roles in organizing activity to encourage interaction among ethnic groups. Hence, the government thought that focus should be given towards concrete steps like that in order to be more effective compared with enacting a new act at this time.


August 4, 2010

On the 1st august 2010 police barred and disrupted the gathering at Dataran MBPJ, Padang Timur in Petaling Jaya, Selangor to hold a peaceful candle light vigil to commemorate ISA’s 50th anniversary. Members of the Light Strike Force (LSF) chased the 300-strong crowd just as the latter began signing Negaraku. Police acted violently beating and kicking those dispersing and chasing the crowd that went into the Amcorp shopping mall. Similar treatments were accorded to peaceful gatherings in Penang and Kota Bharu. Police arrested 30 people in PJ, 5 in Penang and 2 in Kota Bharu. I understand that 2 SUHAKAM members were present and their appeal and pleading with the police were ignored. Five of those arrested in PJ were arrested in front of the PJ police station when they went to the police station.  

It is shameful that police use ISA to arrest peaceful candle light vigil observers. Police act as though they are the law themselves and that they have no regard for right to gather peacefully and freedom to speak. Looks like Malaysia is already an undeclared police state and anyone can be arrested and detained any time. How can peaceful candle light vigil with children and women around near a bustling shopping complex threaten the security?

In this challenging economic times Malaysia don’t need this kind of negative image worldwide which will drive FDIs and tourist away. Besides police are alienating themselves from Malaysian people. Employing disproportionate and excessive force on peaceful gathering will further tarnish the image of police force. No use of writing friendly slogans in police stations but their action is completely contrary to what is written.

In the last senate sitting I moved an emergency motion to debate the police shooting of 15 years old school student Amirul Rashid who was shot dead by police. The motion was rejected by senate president. Till now the police did not reveal the findings of their inquest into the shooting incident. I call upon the IGP and the minister of internal affairs to be more transparent and accountable when dealing with Malaysian people.

ISA is an outdated law that have to be removed and shouldn’t be continuously abused. In 2008 Malaysians have sent a clear message that they want reform and the Prime Minister Datuk seri Najib Tun Razak started with a lot promise to bring about reform. His People first and performance now seem to be a mockery and political rhetoric.