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Long walk to freedom September 26, 2007

Posted by elizabethwong in Current Affairs, Democracy, Event, History, Human Rights, Malaysia, Note2Self, Politics, Southeast Asia.


(L-R) Edmund, Amer and Jonah.

They walked the extra mile (actually it was 5 km!) to reach the Palace of Justice, when the police stopped the buses.


Independent panel, my foot September 26, 2007

Posted by elizabethwong in "We can do better", Current Affairs, Democracy, History, Huh?!, Human Rights, Malaysia, Note2Self, Politics.

The ‘independent’ panel announced by deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak today is nothing more than a red herring.

This man is either really stupid, or he thinks we’re stupid?

Sack the Chief Justice, period. Put aside his extended contract. Form a Royal Commission to investigate the rest of the judiciary. Purge those in cohorts with Ahmad Fairuz and VK Lingam.

And Haidar, the former Chief Judge of Malaya to head the ‘independent panel’? :-O

A name that one shouldn’t forget, since he was involved in the plot to kick out Tun Salleh Abas during the 1988 judicial crisis.

The evidence of Encik Haidar, the then Chief Registrar, shows that as early as 8.30 am on the same day the Acting Lord President had anticipated the possibility of Tun Salleh’s counsel making the urgent application to the Supreme Court and had instructed Encik Haidar that the Registry of the Supreme Court was not to take any action on any such application without first taking directions from him.

Later at about 12 noon, upon being informed by Encik Haidar that an urgent application had been made to the Supreme Court, the Acting Lord President instructed him that the Court staff should not be involved and the Court room be not made available to the five Judges. Tan Sri Hamid bin Omar further expressly instructed Encik Haidar to keep the Supreme Court seal under lock and key. (Source: Bar Council of Malaysia press statement on the report of the Tribunal which sacked two Supreme Court Judges and reinstated three others. The statement was made by the then Bar Council chairman, Raja Aziz Addruse, on 9 Oct 1988)

Lee Lam Thye?
Collector of ‘positions’ and ‘directorships’. Director of god-knows how many public listed companies. Head of the National Service Training who doesn’t even have the decency to resign after more than a dozens deaths and numerous more complaints. In some crime prevention foundation, which millions have been pumped in, and clearly not prevented the deluge of serious crimes. Oh yah, I think he was even once a Suhakam commissioner, but none of us from the HR groups could remember him, since he did (censored) all for HRs on public payroll.

I have no beef with Mahadev Shanker, whom I had good discussions on human rights issues during the Human Rights Commission meets in Geneva as well as in Kuala Lumpur, when he was a Suhakam Commissioner. A rose among thorns.


100000 in the streets of Rangoon! September 24, 2007

Posted by elizabethwong in Event, History, Human Rights, International, Southeast Asia.


Many tens of thousands of people led by Monks and celebrity artists peacefully demonstrated against the military regime, on 24.09.2007, in central Rangoon, near Sule Pagoda. (video Ko Htike; photos Zaw Sai)

[Photos on www.burmadigest.info ]

Be Brave

10 Tahun Sebelum Merdeka September 13, 2007

Posted by elizabethwong in Art & Visuals, Democracy, Event, Heritage, History, Malaysia, Note2Self, Politics.


Fahmi Reza has made a fantastic short film about the hartal of 20 October 1947, with never before seen interviews and rare archival footages kept in Singapore. I had the opportunity to watch it when he brought over a rough cut some weeks ago.

“Sepuluh Tahun Sebelum Merdeka” (bilingual – English and BM) will premiere at The Annexe, Central Market on Friday, 14 September 2007. His slot starts from 8 pm at Block C.

Fahmi has also compiled a collection of his research and archival materials in this blog: 10tahun.blogspot.com.

Who hijacked Merdeka? August 31, 2007

Posted by elizabethwong in Current Affairs, Democracy, Event, History, Malaysia, Note2Self, Politics, Southeast Asia.

An unfactored immobility saw my switching on the telly close to midnight only to view what was the start of the BN General Elections Campaign 2007.

From here on, kiddies will learn that only Umno, MCA and MIC were part of the independence struggle. Repeat a lie enough times and they will swallow. Then again, they’ve been shoving this rubbish of a propaganda for decades now, only this time, we get the visual effects, not to mention:-

a. The Prime Minister’s Son-in-Law aka Tok-Mat-Rempit being given the ‘honours’ to lower the Union Jack and to hoist the national flag. One can tell, he really practised for hours on end;


The Limits of Nostalgia August 27, 2007

Posted by elizabethwong in Columns, Current Affairs, History, Malaysia, Writings.

A new online magazine, Bolehland.com, premiered a fortnight ago, featuring 12 columnists under 40. They include Brian Yap (who has a column in NST and soon to be a film-star); Fahmi Fadzil (actor); Li Tsin (Malaysiakini journalist); John Lee (frightfully bright 17-year old who’s been writing on politics and current affairs for the past 2 years); Nat Tan (editor of ‘Mahathir vs. Badawi’ – a book still on the top 10 bestseller list); and many others.

My piece came out last Monday.

Around this time of the year, we gorge ourselves, willingly or otherwise, at the buffet table of unlimited servings of sepia images and faded texts; this year with a little more pomp and frenzy, partly spearheaded by officialdom to put out a good show and partly fueled by the government’s recent reaffirmation that Malaysia is an Islamic state.

While there is ample critique of the government’s use and abuse of ‘history’, not much has been said or written on contradictory reactions, bordering talismanic and involving equally solemn rituals of:- (1) whipping out the Federal Constitution (original) (2) reciting the Rukun Negara; (3) bringing forth the spectre of the ‘Social Contract’ (original) and (4) invoking the spirit of the (original) Merdeka Declaration.

Con’t reading here

Remembering 87/88 August 23, 2007

Posted by elizabethwong in Current Affairs, History, Human Rights, Malaysia, Politics.

With the criminal justice system under the public microscope of late, a number of former key players (then Attorney-General Abu Talib Othman and then Inspector-General of Police Haniff Omar) no doubt feel compelled to suggest how things were so much better during their time.

Yeah. Right. Hah.

An interesting but unsurprising interview on Malaysiakini, was given by Abu Talib today, touching on the turbulent years of 87/88, which saw the arrests of more than 100 people under the Internal Security Act and the demise of judicial independence.

Abu Talib conceded that many decisions he had made during his tenure as AG were controversial but defended his actions as it was done based on applicable law.

“Yes, I accept that (certain things were controversial). I drafted 121(1A) (of the Federal Constitution). I amended the ISA (Internal Security Act), which is now very controversial.” (Source)

What Abu Talib didn’t detail was that the amendment to the ISA centred on the right to judicial review. Thanks to this, a Ministerial Order to incarcerate a person without trial effectively cannot be challenged in court.


“The Japanese Occupation of Malaya: Discoveries and Misconceptions” August 14, 2007

Posted by elizabethwong in Event, History, Malaysia, Southeast Asia.

Lecture invitation:

“The Japanese Occupation of Malaya: Discoveries and Misconceptions”

The Working Committee In Commemoration Of The Malaysian Fellowmen Sacrificed During The Japanese Occupation is organizing a history talk to commemorate the 62nd anniversary of the conclusion of the Second World War.

The talk of “The Japanese Occupation of Malaya: Discoveries and Misconceptions” will be given by Dr. Paul H. Kratoska, the Managing Director of National University of Singapore Press.

Dr Paul H. Kratoska has taught at the Ateneo de Manila University, Universiti Sains Malaysia and the National University of Singapore. He is the author of a number of World War II related books. One such book is “The Japanese Occupation of Malaya, 1941-1945”, a social & economic history, published in 1998.


RIP: Abdul Razak Ahmad August 12, 2007

Posted by elizabethwong in Democracy, History, Human Rights, Malaysia, Politics, Race Relations, RIP, Southeast Asia.

“Young members of the Bar may not know of the struggles that Razak Ahmad has been through, fighting for what he believes in.

There are a number of things that I respect about Razak. Years ago, he could have easily joined the ruling party, and become a Minister at least. There were, I believe, more than a few opportunities in which he could have crossed over to the “winning side”.

He chose not to. He clung on to his convictions.

I once asked him whether it had occurred to him to try to make changes from within the system. He replied that, under our system, that would not be possible.

What would probably happen is that one then becomes part of the system that creates the problems; and he does not want to become that.

It is easy to proclaim to hold on to principles. It is difficult to continuously do so knowing full well what one is giving up.

Razak passed the test, many times over.”

(Yeo Yang Poh, former President of the Malaysian Bar, 25 June 2007)

Al-Fatihah: Abdul Razak Ahmad August 12, 2007

Posted by elizabethwong in Democracy, History, Human Rights, Malaysia, Politics, Race Relations, RIP, Southeast Asia.

Abdul RazakMalaysia kehilangan seorang tokoh progresif, nasionalis dan anti-rasis.

Abdul Razak Ahmad yang lahir pada tahun 1939 telah meninggal dunia pada pukul 1.20 petang hari ini di Hospital Tun Aminah, Johor Baharu.

Beliau seorang peguam hak asasi membela nasib rakyat miskin, terutamanya masyarakat peneroka bandar. Razak menyandang jawatan Pengerusi Perhubungan KeADILan Johor dan sebelum itu, Timbalan Presiden Parti Rakyat Malaysia (PRM).

Kes yang paling baru, di mana Razak telah membantu Suaram ialah bila dua aktivis Suaram ditahan polis semasa demonstrasi di hadapan rumah Menteri Besar Johor mengenai masalah jenayah di Johor.

Razak ialah bekas Presiden Kelab Sosialis, Universiti Singapura yang pernah ditahan dan dibuang negara oleh Singapura, dan semenjak itu, tidak dibenarkan masuk kembali.

Dalam tahun 1975, beliau ditahan di bawah ISA kerana memperjuangkan hak peneroka bandar di Tasek Utara.

Apabila Presiden Israel melawat Singapura pada tahun 1986,  Razak telah membaring di atas landasan keretapi sebagai tanda bantahan beliau, dan beliau terpaksa diheret keluar oleh pihak polis.

Parti KeADILan telah hilang seorang pejuang yang telah berkorban seumur hidupnya demi menegakkan prinsip keadilan dan hak-hak asasi. Malangnya sejarah resmi negara kita akan mengabaikan pejuang tulen seperti Razak.