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Who is R. Sivarasa October 5, 2007

Posted by elizabethwong in Current Affairs, Democracy, Human Rights, International, Malaysia, Politics, Readings.

Perhaps this is the perfect moment to introduce R. Sivarasa, one of most renown, committed and consistent human rights advocate in Malaysia.

Siva was a key mover in the ISA Family Support Group during the turbulent time of the 1987 ISA arrests of social activists, politicians, activists, trade unionists etc.

He, with ISA detainees who were later released from Kamunting, formed Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM), which grew to be Malaysia’s leading human rights organisation.

He’s even on Wikipedia 🙂

Sivarasa Rasiah

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sivarasa Rasiah is a prominent Malaysian lawyer and human rights activist. He is co-founder of Suara Rakyat Malaysia or Suaram (a human rights NGO) and vice-president of the opposition Parti Keadilan Rakyat (People’s Justice Party).

Early life

Though today he may be one of the top lawyers in Kuala Lumpur, Siva’s first degree was actually in genetics.

Reminiscing on his early days in an interview with the New Straits Times, Siva said, “I was trying to get into medicine after high school in Victoria Institution but didn’t make the grade. Form Five was great but I guess in Form Six, there were many distractions. So instead I went into genetics in Universiti Malaya and graduated with first class honours. Six months into my Master’s I realised that this was not my cup of tea and was already looking at other options.”

He then applied for a Rhodes scholarship to pursue law at Oxford University. After completing his law degree and the Bar in Britain, Siva took a year off and went to Germany where he spent most of his time in libraries there reading. He worked for a bit after that in London before returning to Malaysia on his 30th birthday.

Human Rights Involvement

It was while he was in UK that he got interested in human rights and “became involved with union workers and stuff like that there”.

His first involvement with an NGO was in 1997 when he got involved with a women’s group called Citizens Against Rape. Siva got arrested twice during the 1998 Reformasi period but shrugs it off as part and parcel of the job.

Cancer Survivor

This lawyer-cum-politician is a cancer survivor who lost his voice for almost a year due to thyroid cancer which damaged a nerve on his vocal chords. He had to speak with a little boom box and a speaker for a while due to this. Currently he has regained his voice but he says, “I can’t sing or shout, but at least I still can talk.”

Family Life

He is married to Ann James, a prominent personality in the Malaysian theatre scene. Incidentally, he met his wife at a demonstration as well. “It was during Operasi Lalang and she was there too. We were kind off thrown together and that’s when it all happened. After a long courtship, we finally got married in 1993,” he revealed in the NST interview.

For someone who’s had a brush with the police, ironically both his father and his older brother were members of the force. His father was the registrar of the police force and his older brother was a senior police officer.

He is also an avid guitar player.

Siva is also sought after by the media.


1. monsterball - October 5, 2007

Sivarasa Rasiah should stand for election and win big under Keadilan and make his voice heard in the Parliament .
He is the one of those.. in the wilderness…crying for justice for the people of Malaysia with his life.
This man is smart…good and righteous.

2. A true Malaysian - October 5, 2007

I am really touched with Siva’s story here. If Siva can sacrifice so much for the betterment of Malaysia, why can’t we, the bystanders sign the petition ‘Safe the Judiciary’ promoted by Haris Ibrahim?

Lets us do our bit for our beloved country.

3. libraa2 - October 5, 2007

well said monster ball, but the problem is Malaysian don’t look at one’s ability. I have seen countless instances when people of impeccable character and ability lessing out to lesser and tainted candidates from the BN.
If people vote with their brans how could karpal singh, lim kit siang, chandra muzaffar, husin ali, ezam, ronnie, tian chua and the like loose.
In some places they will even vote for an animal that stands under the BN ticket.

4. anon - October 5, 2007


the fight for right an djustice is long and arduos. keep up the fight and may God always bless you and your family.
Best wishes.

5. max - October 5, 2007

I think PKR should reveal the owner of the tape at a press conference together with him/her. This person must have bargained for some post and couldn’t get it.That’s why it took so long for it to come out. It must have been his/her bargaining chip. But anyhow, the issue now is about the authenticity of the tape and whether crooked judges have been put in place before TDM retired. Simple reason of somebody covering his butt if he or his family/cronies are ever put in court for corruption, murders and other crimes. It’s beyond politics but the future of Msia.

6. daredevil8 - October 5, 2007

i ageed with ‘ a true malaysian’
if Mr.Siva can be so selfless,signing up is just a walk by the pond

7. monsterball - October 5, 2007

hi ” A true Malaysian”.writer…….Did you notice…only 10 signed the petition? You know why? It does not mean anything!
So many petitions with thousands of legitimate signatures from the past were ignored. The only real effective value is for the 10 and millions to vote UMNO out in coming election…..yet many won’t do that. You go figure it out. That is more important to understand than what we are saying here.

8. A true Malaysian - October 6, 2007

Malaysia really need politics which is not race base, but on merit. Only then, the whole system of the country can be aligned back to its track.
Race base politics will not create an equitable society. Lets vote wisely in coming GE, not vote according to race. Make sure Siva is in the Parliament.

9. A true Malaysian - October 6, 2007

One step at a time, monsterball. Just do what we think is right, just don’t care how the petition will turn out to be.

Anyway, signatories now stand at about 1,700 plus, not 10. Please refer http://harismibrahim.wordpress.com/2007/10/05/get-to-know-your-mp-will-they-work-to-restore-the-judiciary-to-the-rakyat/ for update.

10. monsterball - October 6, 2007

For years I have been disappointed with the election results…except Pak Lah’s first term as PM….now again disappointed from his lies and idiotic ways. Again…I am waiting to go and vote….but getting more and more feedbacks ..why BN wins all the time. I want to know why they are so powerful…even being downright dictatorial and arrogant.
My Chinese friend said….Malays and Chinese can talk like good friends outside….but they never visit each other’s house…like a chinese to a chinese….because chinese houses have dogs and pork eaters….so malays avoid visiting chinese in their houses….thus the friendship is not that true and real.
There is no problems between Indians and Chinese visiting each other…and indians do have dogs as pets too.
Unless all these barriers are taken away…the race and religion will always be UMNO’s success in elections.
No other country in the world…except Malaysia….when one is born…he/she has already a religion tag given…and worst still… it is irrevocable. Indians and Chinese can change…but not the Malays.
By the way…the Constitutions of America have been amended 27 times in 200 years…..so Constitutions are man made,…and man can change it to suit all Malaysians. That will be the day I look forward to free a race.

11. A true Malaysian - October 6, 2007

Monsterball, to be fair, not all Malays are like what you mentioned. Malay customer officers and police still handling dogs, can they do away with dogs? Actually, dogs are men’s best friends and we should be grateful to them.

As to your point on Malay visiting non-Malay, I still remember many years ago, when we serve drinks and food to visiting Muslim friends, they will consume without doubting whether the refreshment served is halal or otherwise. There was such kind of trust / bond before, but it is very rare nowadays. So, what are the causes for this?

I really hope that whoever take over the administration of this country will look into this issue, which in the long run, will not do any good to the country.

12. penangkia - October 6, 2007

Why can’t we leave this race thingy for a change.We are where we are because of this bull shit…race superiority!
Why can’t we live together as human being?

A true malaysian is right,race base politics has to go. we are in the 21st century for god sake !

“Each needs the other:capital cannot do without labour,nor labour without capital.-Pope Leo xiii

13. monsterball - October 6, 2007

I wish a malay response to my message…as true malaysian seems not a malay. He said..”not all malays are like what you mentioned” is good enough that what I wrote are facts of life…..so which race really do not want a united malaysian country?
When such things are said..especially now…that gerakan suggest all BN parties be grouped to one……out come the great rebuttal lines of UMNO politicians…which we all can read from papers…hinting and instigating ….how cannot be done…yet hope can be done…..that is their greatest hypocracies on race and religion they love to continue…for dirty politics.
If Gerakan wants to survive…they should pull out from BN…so should Kyveas and his party. both are dead ducks in BN….at present situations.

14. A true Malaysian - October 6, 2007

I come across a forum ‘Malaysia in no future country’ http://perspectives.com/forums/view_topic.php?id=53303&forum_id=106

You guys can read through the forum and discover what actually happen out there. The government cannot keep on denying that all races live happily in Malaysia. It is really sad that Malaysia, such a wonder place, turn out to be like that, whose fault?

Also, read comments by ‘Concerned’ in that forum :-

I just discovered this forum. I had a shock over the opinions given by Malay and non-Malay participants. Well, this only shows that we are the ‘product’ of the policies being practised by BN since merdeka. These policies moulded us to look at things racially. Whether we like it or not, we have to acknowledge this.

I am impressed by a statement made by a Malay participant, ie [size=I am trying hard not to be a racist, because racism is simply wrong, once in grave, God only sees ones deeds, not race.]We, Malaysian of all races, should think likewise. I think this is the very first step all of us should have so to put on Malaysia on the right track again.

I hope that I am not offending any of the Malay friends here, ie, the Malays need to re-look into their views that other races are ‘Kaum Pendatang’ and that Malaysia only belongs to the Malays. We should have the same thinking that Malaysia is belongs to all races. I would believe a lot of Malays have this thinking as they want to prove to the whole wide world that they too can be successful in thier life pursuit without depending on their status as ‘Bumiputra’. Would you agree with me on this?

Malay, being the majority race in Malaysia will definitely be governing the country. That is for sure. The point I would like to put through is that, whoever run the country (ie a Malay in this case) should have policies base on ‘merits’, especially on education and civil services. I believe this will solve the problems of brain drain, wasteful in resources. I think this will definitely make our country stronger and more competitive economically and politically.

It is no point we accusing each other of being racist or ungrateful. We are the victims of the policies being practised so far. Just imagine, if Malaysia just consists of one race, ie the Malays, will that make Malaysia a more advanced country than Malaysia today? The wealth of Chinese were not dropped from the sky but all due to their hard works, definitely not GREED.

We are very grateful to be Malaysian, let us all strive for the betterment of Malaysia, irrespective of race and religion. Let us strive to be a PROUD MALAYSIAN again, you guys out there.

15. monsterball - October 7, 2007

penangkia….You missed the whole point! We love to be Malaysians..but as long as majority do fall into the traps of race and religion politics…which obviously are…then it is US….that are at faults…not UMNO or BN…it is US….love to be malays…chinese and indians. If not…and especially hitting straight to the malays…how can UMNO be so powerful and Pas too?
So it is the majority malays that need to change…not the others.

16. wits0 - October 7, 2007

“1987 ISA arrests of social activists, politicians, activists, trade unionists etc.”

Mostly good men and women…victims of Mahathirism. The year theStar got turned over and became another hopeless MSM.

17. siesta - October 8, 2007

lemme introduce myself..im a malay..

i also have a lot of indian and chinese friends over the years.i realise that most of them are the 4th generation from wut we called “kaum pendatang” but the thing is they all the same as me(borne raise and educated here in malaysia), this is their home…….

down we go to the facts about malays politics..why umno hold so tight to the malays thing…becos if they let it go..HONESTLY they will lose big chunks of vote from the malay (not all malay especially the older generation will like it, they will run to PAS and UMNO wont take tat risk plus UMNO also got a lot of old fella there)they just scared and cling to much to the power the have hold for so long until they forgot the real reason they are up there is to serve the people not themselves..

Malay in malaysia have really been pampered so much over the years..they see pig from a far they wont go near the place(cooked one)..but muslims in other country don’t have such priviledge, i really felt it when i was abroad and i’m touched on how some of my friends have treated me all these years ( they even asked me before wether we can sit eat at the same table wether they can have pork) and of course they can as long as they dun offer any to me 🙂

i would say if we wanna change this whole thing..we cannot really hope the old farts will change course marked my word “THEY WONT”
its up to the young people i mean all regardless of race to come together and start to open up about the real situation..

18. A true Malaysian - October 8, 2007

Siesta, Malaysia really need people with same thinking like you. So long as there are some people with the same thinking like us, I guess our beloved country still have glimmer of hope in the future. Sincerely hope that majority of all races, in particular the Malays, which form the majority, can accept such thinking in time to come. For those non-Malays that emigrated elsewhere, think about this issue, just don’t give up hope, after all, Malaysia is still where your roots are.

To the Malays, whether Umno or non-Umno supporters, read and think logically what I and siesta commented. You have nothing to loose for adopting this thinking, after all, Malays still form the majority if keAdilan or PAS form the government. The important thing here is, whoever form the government, policies and system of Malaysia should be on merits, not race or religion.

19. monsterball - October 8, 2007

Bravo Siesta…You are a true Malaysian…and thousands will come our from such parents sooner or later to wake up to realities in life.
Yes…just read Pak Lah’s reasons for not getting the 14 BN parties into as one..and with Samy Vellu support..as that thick skinned Indian loves to be King of Indians…love the game of race and religion.
So ‘A true Malaysian” writer is also a Malay? Bravo to you too!!
I am confident…come election time…whether UMNO want to change or not with those balls carriers insignificant parties…the most they can do will be with a slim majority and at least 5 States goes to the oppositions.
But my utmost hope is seeing a totally new government from the opposition. Nothing can be worst than now..and UMNO has no manners….inconsiderate..arrogant..sickening mindsets… and that attitudes are copied by many working ordinary Malays. They are never wrong….don’t know how to apologise nor want to learn..just talk big and full of shit stuffs. These people need to change.Only way…the leaders needs to show the ways and shame the devils out of all these corrupted souls from Malaysia. Right now…the devil’s advocates in our country is the UMNO politicians…..most of them…including Pak Lah. I had great hope from him doing the right things….no more. He is selfish and his greediness have made him a devilish leader. He has no balls to do the right thing for the country.

20. A true Malaysian - October 8, 2007

Monsterball, I am neither a Malay, Chinese, Indian, Kadazan or Iban. I am a ‘Malaysian of Chinese origin’. We should regard ourselves as Malaysian first, then origin later. I think we should start to identify us that way so as to reduce the ‘racist’ effect that we look at things. Just look at USA, their citizens never identify themselves according to races.

We have to accept the fact that our ‘origin’ is important as this is where our ‘jiwa’ lies. Without origin, we are actually disregard our ancestors’ deeds. But, origin should not be a stumbling block in the creation of Bangsa Malaysia, which I believe, will take many many years to evolve. Such evolution will take its own course and not by force. No one can tell how soon can this be evolved. It all starts will the right ‘thinking’.

Just imagine if we succeed in this aspiration, then many problems that Malaysia faces now will be a ‘non-issue’.

Lets not forget to support the effort of Haris Ibrahim, by signing the proposed petition savethejudiciary@gmail.com . Haris Ibrahim is indeed ‘A true Malaysian’. The petition will definitely help in the creation of a Bangsa Malaysia and will go down well in modern day history of Malaysia.

21. monsterball - October 8, 2007

Glad you think as a Malaysian..so do I….but when the forces of evil in disguises as Malaysians are also here..we need to read every word one put out and judge if that so call Malaysian is thinking about the good of the country …or for himself…or for an opposition party he/she is supporting. Only a person not a member of any party speaks like you do is really a patriotic Malaysian.Politicians are best examples to say they are Malaysians….but they are infact..racialists and we need to chose from the best of two evils..and UMNO’s time is up.

22. monsterball - October 8, 2007

By the way..”A true Malaysian”…writer. No need to compare us with Americans. They had their fair share of great injustices and prejudices. Next moment one may think…if it takes 175 years for America to unite…so we still have plenty of time…..with this bullshit excuses.
Americans also voted the govt. to go to war….yes they were being bullshitted by Bush…but he is still loved and is right there President.
Any other guy..would have be assassinated…but not Bush…WHY?
So lets leave the unique smartness of America away from us. They are far far ahead of us in everything. Compare to us..we are nobody. So lets take CHINA..with more than 25 types of people ..with a population of 1.4 billion…all call themselves Chinese proudly.Why I take China…it is because in Malaysia… have 17% of Chinese origin….why not follow that example?
Bottom line is..as long as leaders are great corrupted blokes and speak wit twisted tonques….as long as we are ruled by 14 parties in BN with their race clearly identified….and as long as UMNO uses religion to control the malays…there will never never be a Malaysian country.All of us are proud be Malaysians…as we are more educated and can see the evil and selfishness of the political parties in Malaysia. Like I said…choose the best of two evils.
Who knows…one day another party will say…all parties must have all Malaysians as members… ..not from one race…to qualify to stand for elections…and % must also be there too. Then we maybe able to see a government doing work for all Malaysians.

23. wits0 - October 9, 2007

Mahathir was given much credit for pulling Bolehland out of the abyss of the Asian Currency Crisis of ’97. Why should he be? It was him who brought the country to the abyss in the first instance and therefore it is his responsibility to get it out of that fix. In doing your daily job, do you also demand daily commendation and appreciation?

24. Siva, Sim continue to protect source « elizabeth wong - October 11, 2007

[…] Sivarasa said the ACA was, in fact, abusing their powers in their zeal to go after the source, and that authenticity is a technical matter. […]

25. Full circles « elizabeth wong - October 18, 2007

[…] lead counsel is R. Sivarasa […]

26. ali bakar - October 19, 2007


27. 喊抓贼的被抓!?!?马来西亚病的有救吗? : 一个人的脑浆 - December 22, 2007

[…] 马来西亚的反贪污局马上有动作了。审问了两位政治工作者-人民公正党的副主席Mr. Sivarasa和安华的政治秘书-沈志勤先生。可惜,我们自认比香港反贪污局ICAC更“优良”的ACA,不但不查问涉案的最高法官、律师和商人,但说如果Siva和志勤不把吹哨者(告密者)供出来,那就要提控他们两位。今天,是他们供出吹哨者的期限了。 […]

28. kaitheri - September 8, 2008

Mr Sivarasa i am very touch with your life story. You will make a wonderful minister one day (not too far away)……

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