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The Unfinished Business of Merdeka August 30, 2007

Posted by elizabethwong in Current Affairs, Democracy, Event, Human Rights, Malaysia, Politics, Southeast Asia.

… Suaram calls on the people to seize back power to determine the future of our country and continue the spirit of Merdeka, fighting for the full realization of fundamental rights and an accountable and responsible government.

(This is our statement for Merdeka – a call to action and not just talk.)

30 August 2007

Our predecessors had one clear goal when fighting for Independence – the right to self-determination – To free themselves from the absolute dictate of others and strive to be able to determine their own fate and destiny in this land.

It was a struggle to be free from oppression, exploitation, unfair treatments and injustices under the colonial rule.

Newspapers, magazines and books flourished in numbers in support of the struggle. Rallies, marches, demonstrations and public assemblies were organized. Associations, trade unions and political parties mushroomed to carry the struggle.

Undeniable, fundamental freedoms and human rights such as the right to freedom of expression, assembly and association had played a pivotal role in raising awareness and mobilizing the people to struggle for independence. Without these rights, independence would have not been possible in 1957.

Today, there is still unfinished business.

Fundamental freedoms and human rights that had been instrumental in the struggle for independence and codified in the Federal Constitution are increasingly eroded over the past 50 years since the independence. These examples are ample, to name a few:

* The Official Secret Act (OSA) was amended in 1986 to do away the discretionary power of the court and make the punishment for convicted offender mandatory imprisonment of minimum of one year.
* The Police Act 1967 was amended to further restrict the right to freedom of assembly with three persons constitutes an illegal assembly if without a police permit.
* The Printing Presses and Publication Act 1984 was amended in 1987 and made it mandatory for all printing media to re-apply publication permit every year instead of renewing the permit.
* The Society Act 1966 has been amended and vested absolute powers in the minister in determining application to form political parties and associations.

The act which epitomizes our dire straits is the continue existence and use of Internal Security Act (ISA) 1960. The colonial law adopted from the British was amended in 1988 by the government allowing only legal challenge on procedural grounds in habeas corpus application, effectively preventing the challenge of the ground of arrest and detention made by police and minister.

Merdeka means nothing if the people are not free – to express themselves, to organize peaceful assembly and to form organizations against corruption, abuse of power and mismanagement of the country.

We are not masters of our own country if the people are unable to hold the government accountable to its wrong doings.

“The People Are the Bosses” should be our clarion call!

On the 50th anniversary of Merdeka, Suaram calls on the government to reverse the eroding trends of fundamental rights of the people:

* All laws that provide for indefinite detention without trial must end.
* All emergency legislations must be repealed immediately.
* All other laws that are in contradiction with human rights must be reviewed for repeal or reform.

Most importantly, Suaram calls on the people to seize back power to determine the future of our country and continue the spirit of Merdeka, fighting for the full realization of fundamental rights and an accountable and responsible government.

This is the only meaningful way of celebration by giving the Merdeka its original and true meanings.


1. OMG - August 30, 2007

Elizabeth, you have given me a reason to shout “Merdeka!”

End racial, religious and gender discrimination.

Stop human rights abuses and sickening charges by religious authourities (e.g dress of a women amounts to muslim man’s moral decay)

Separation of religion from state.

A Malaysia for all Malaysians!


2. monsterball - August 31, 2007

Majority Malaysians are enjoying a long holiday..but not celebrating …. the true spirits of merdeka as Malaysians of all races they are be being hooked lined and sinkerd by the lies and deceits of the government..especially from UMNO. They do not deliver at all….but keep playing race and religion dirty politics. They want to rule us…not manage the country as elected to do so. They keep teaching us this and that to do …how to behave… yet…they do the opposites so clearly.
Young and old Malaysians are able to understand the truths and are showing by not flying the flags in their cars or at home…not like before. We all love Merdeka…but indirectly they give us that and then take it away by their personal greeds and selfishness. with the race and religion dirty politics…not few years..but for past 50 years and on going.
Only thing left is show that in the ballot papers …come the general election..which I predict will be another smart voting results …for a real free and democratic Nation…by voting present government out and let others do an honest job.Nothing can be worst than what Malaysians are experiencing now..so be brave and vote for change.
don’t be frightened by UMNO’S warning that without them..Malaysians will suffer and races war will start.

3. monsterball - August 31, 2007

To satisfy myself…I was out last night to see how MALAYSIANS celebrate the Merdeka at Kuala Lumpur Merdeka Square.
Take a quite glance at cars …..one in a hundred have a flag flying.
Walking along the few busy streets….all rowdy muslims youngsters…looking like Indonesians….as if this is their own country….yet no policemen check their IC cards.
Then at the Central Market vicinity…shouts and dancing like mad dogs at the walking mall….like drunkerd monkies.
All enjoying ….but not the MERDEKA spirit.. The are enjoying a long holiday…that’s all.

4. monsterball - August 31, 2007

In oldern days…we enjoy the Merdeka spirit with grace and smiles to each other….no race identities and wish each other..’Happy Merdeka”…like an all Malaysians New Year Day…children waving national flags with proud parents from all races.
Mahathir should be very proud of his 22 years as Prime Minister today…..reaping what he had sowed.

5. Anon - August 31, 2007

The day Malaysia becomes really free from all the evils plaguing her is the day I will shout Merdeka not for once, not for seven times but three hundred and sixty six times.

6. ivan yang - August 31, 2007

Hi, Happy Merdeka, perhaps just to say that i saw on Aus ABC where Tasmanian Premier was grilled by ABC’ s Kerry O’Brien yesterday. The issue was about an investor group wanting to build a pulp and paper mill in Tasmania and objections from people fearing environmental destruction from chemical waste. What i was impressed was the manner the answers were given with facts given from reports from the premier and he certainly seems to have read all those reports in detail. Much as he was accused of favouring the project, he was able to debate the issue at hand intelligently even though he was interrupted several times while providing answers to the questions posed. Indeed a far cry from what i can see in the Malaysian political environment! Until and unless we can achieve such levels of maturity and governance, we certainly have lots more to do!

7. mob1900 - August 31, 2007

Bedol Napoleon triumphantly gloated he ‘sold’ 4.1 billion of Johor’s node 2 to the Arabs. Me wonders if that should be ‘celebrated”…

8. Samuel Goh - September 3, 2007

“Give me liberty (to do all the right things)
or give me death (through intellectual imprisonment?)”
But thank God there are still enough people worldwide who think
That there are more important and pressing issues than physical environment. Amen.

9. Party pooper - September 3, 2007

You’re wasting your breath talking about fundamental freedoms and human rights. Take a good look at the OIC’s “Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam” from way back in 1990:
Note especially Articles 24 and 25, which essentially state that there are no human rights outside of Shariah law. The ruling Muslim-Malay clique signed on to this Shariah-based declaration even though it’s in conflict with the Malaysian Constitution. And you know the drill if you dare challenge this: Loud and rabid threats along the lines of “Ini isu sensitif!”, “Ini hal agama Islam, you jangan bising!” and “Jangan cabar kesabaran kami!” from the usual suspects, backed up by the usual rent-a-mob.

10. wits0 - September 4, 2007

“The ruling Muslim-Malay clique signed on to this Shariah-based declaration even though it’s in conflict with the Malaysian Constitution.”

I’m sure ppl like EW is very well aware of this. That Cairo charter is nonsense in terms of human rights…maybe that’s one one of the reasons why Madey also declared Bodohland an islamic state and he rest of the BN parties sold their constituets asses with their , “ayes. ayes”.

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