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Jun 14, 2008

Press Freedom

Malaysia fell to its worst ranking ever last year when dropping by 32 spots to 124th. It immediately drew criticism from Malaysian groups, which called on the government to free the press. Last year, its ranking puts it almost in the bottom quarter of all the countries surveyed.

The reasons for giving a low rating to Malaysia are:
-The violations included arrests of bloggers and difficulty in accessing the news websites.
-Worried about the increase in cases of online censorship. Governments have realized that the Internet can play a key role in the fight for democracy and they are establishing new methods of censoring.
-The harassment of web activists and cyber-dissidents - from Raja Petra Kamarudin, Nathaniel Tan to Namewee indicates the growing intolerance of the government.
-Month-long suspension of Tamil daily Makkal Osai over a cartoon that allegedly Offended the Christian community even though the churches had accepted the apology.

Barisan Nasional pledge in the 2004 general election for frre the press, but its not too late I guess to reform. The Malaysian public must send a clear message to the government and politicians that we want freedom of information and of expression. Transparency International-Malaysia president Ramon Navaratnam, expressed surprise at Malaysia significant drop.He said this could be due to contradictions between the government pledge towards greater openness and its actions against the mass media and bloggers.
Ramon called on the government to ensure more transparency in its administration and enact a freedom of information (FOI) law - a call that has been persistently made by civil society and journalism groups, as well as political parties. The FOI law is important and the press should be encouraged to publish more freely.

On the 2007 World Press Freedom Day , a political party in Malaysia solemnly expressed their five demands:
1. Abolishment of the licensing provisions in the PPPA
(a) All media outlets only need to register with the Ministry without annual printing or publishing permit.
(b) Deregistration of any media outlet by the Ministry upon violation of laws.
2. A Parliamentary Select Committee/ Caucus on Media Freedom
Establishment of a Parliamentary Select Committee, or at least a multiparty parliamentary caucus, to monitor the state of freedom of information.
3. No blackouts
The Internal Security Ministry to publicly announce that the Government does not and will not issue directives, express or implied, to censor or filter news on important issues.
4. No black-list of writers
Internal Security Ministry to publicly announce that the Government do not and will not issue a blacklist of any writers, and that newspapers are free to publish writings by Mustafa K Anuar, Lee Ban Chen, Chang Teck Peng, Yong Kai Ping, Tan Bee Piang, Ng Chong Soon and Wong Chin Huat.
5. No delays in the renewal of printing permits
Until printing permits are abolished, the Internal Security Ministry to process all renewal applications professionally and in accordance with the notion of justified expectation, avoiding delays.

''More freedom of information will lead to a stronger, transparent press, a more vibrant democracy and a more competitive economy!''-TAN SRI RAMON NAVARATNAM

YOU SATISFIED..???

RUBBER

Malaysia is a blessed country with much natural resource like rubber, tin, petroleum, fishes and others. Why we are not utilizing them and make benefits of them for the good of society? Sometimes, I would think that why so many youngsters leave Malaysia and go abroad to work. Of course, the most attractive factor is money, living environment and safety. I know that at past our money currency was almost equivalent with Singapore. But looking at our current currency, we are much lower than Singapore, Euro, Australian and others major countries currency.

RINGGIT MALAYSIA

I'm not a financial expert who has the right comment and analyze on our Malaysia Ringgit performance. But I notice that our Ringgit is much decrease in value. But I don't think we need to be a financial expert to realise that our ringgit's value is decreasing.
Nowadays, by just reading the newspaper and watching TV news, mostly it was related to political news. Well, I admit that most of the Malaysian are shocked to the past election news. The most important thing is how to improve the quality of life of Malaysians despite the sharp increase of fuel price. I really don’t see how these issues were handled carefully in the past. I believe that some people would agree with me. We always know how to compare with others countries, but correct me if I am wrong that the comparison made was always with poorer performance countries. I don’t really understand this. Why we don’t want to improve our nation by comparing to the developing countries? We had already achieved independence more than 50 years. Please do not always feel satisfied with what we have achieved nowadays because there is still much room to improve.

Jun 13, 2008

Lost 2/3 majority in Parliament-The Next Challenges to Our PM

THE NOBLE HOUSE

I was only able to watch live telecast from RTM on 1999 general election results. That time I was 11. Parti Keadilan Nasional won 5 Parliament and 4 state seats in the 29 November general election. Exactly one year later, it won another state seat in the Lunas by-election. The following general election the party was practically wiped out when its president, who won the only seat, almost did not make it. Now after almost a decade, 2008 general election means a lot in my 20. Although still not qualified to vote, but I was in high spirit to know the results through via Internet. The time has changed; I want myself to be a responsible citizen that cares about nation's progressions by updating the political happenings around me. In the recent general election, the opposition political parties bounced back with the total highest votes compare to Umno and a record number of seats opposition parties has ever won in Malaysian election history. This certainly says a lot about Malaysian elections when especially PKR that had been classified as ‘dead’ not only bounced back but ended up leading the opposition coalition. Results in the general election have changed everything, more than I expected.


RESULTS OF THE 8 MARCH 2008 PARLIAMENTARY GENERAL ELECTION


Total: 222 Parliament seats

Barisan Nasional: 4,082,411 popular votes, 50.27%, 140 seats, 63.1%

Pakatan Rakyat: 3,796,464 popular votes, 46.75%, 82 seats, 36.9%

Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, fighting for his political survival since an election in March.
Following are major challenges to our PM:

ANTI-FUEL RALLIES

-PM’s administration faces test to control mounting anger and, possibly, more organized street protests over the fuel price hikes. The opposition, emboldened after a good showing in March elections, has proposed bringing 100,000 people to the city centre on July 5 to protest against the fuel hike. This could be the country's biggest anti-government protest ever, but whether it is allowed to take place remains to be seen. Malaysia bans gatherings of five or more people without a police permit.

ECONOMIC TEST

-PM, who is also the Finance Minister, will present the 2009 national budget in parliament on Aug. 29. His faces a delicate task of trying to calm down voters with generous tax cuts.

PERCEPTION PROBLEM

-Even before the March election debacle, Abdullah was perceived to be suffering from credibility problem after flip-flops over policy decisions. These included the scrapping of a plan to replace Malaysia's side of the causeway to Singapore. Pulau Batu Puteh is the another issue.

THE ANWAR FACTOR

-Anwar has said he has enough lawmakers to topple the government following the March election and was waiting for the right moment. Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim's claim that the opposition coalition would be competent of forming the next government by mid-September.

LEADERSHIP TEST

-Former prime minister Mahathir Mohammad’s shock resignation from UMNO and his call for Abdullah to resign late last month has prompted speculation that festering rifts in the party could widen and speed up the premier's exit.Abdullah has said he would defend his post as leader of UMNO at party elections in December. A win will mean that he remains prime minister. Most of the political analyst stated that PM possibly will quietly arrange to hand power over to his stated successor, Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Jun 11, 2008

Rallies in Malaysia-Cries and Tears of ''RAKYAT''

Within a year, Malaysians took to the streets for few times. Few major rallies shocked government with huge turnouts. BERSIH and HINDRAF rally still fresh in my mind. I took part in the HINDRAF rally and I believe that there is no illegal assembly as stated in federal constitution. Federal constitution itself stated that Malaysian citizen can assemble as long as they are in peace. It’s a way that I can demonstrate and show my dissatisfaction against government.

BERSIH RALLY

2007 BERSIH Rally
The 2007 Bersih Rally was a rally held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on November 10, 2007. Event organizers intended to have a peaceful, non-violent rally, advising participants in the days and weeks beforehand how to keep the rally peaceful. However the rally was marred by government sanctioned police violence. The aim of this walk was to campaign for electoral reform. It was precipitated by allegations of corruption and discrepancies in the Malaysian election system that heavily favor the ruling political party, Barisan Nasional, which has been in power since Malaysia achieved its independence in 1957.
They demands of BERSIH rally relate to reform of the current electoral system.
They are:

-Usage of Indelible Ink
-Clean up Registered Voters Roll
-Abolition of Postal Votes
-Access to the Government controlled print and broadcast media for Opposition Parties.

HINDRAF RALLY

2007 HINDRAF Rally
The 2007 HINDRAF rally was a rally held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on November 25, 2007. The rally organizer, the Hindu Rights Action Force, had called the protest over alleged discriminatory policies which favour ethnic Malays. HINDRAF lawyer filed a class action suit against the United Kingdom in the Court of Britain for "withdrawing after granting independence and leaving us (Indians) unprotected and at the mercy of a majority Malay-Muslim government that has violated our rights as minority Indians". The purpose of the rally was to hand over a 100,000 signature memorandum to the British Embassy in Kuala Lumpur.
HINDRAF organized the rally on Sunday, November 25, 2007 to submit the petition at the British High Commission. Malaysian police refused to grant a permit for the rally , and set up roadblocks in Klang Valley along roads leading up to the rally to screen motorists entering the city center and identify "troublemakers". They also advised the public not to participate in the rally, and arrested three leaders of HINDRAF. Many shops around Kuala Lumpur including Suria KLCC were closed on that day in fear of trouble from the rally.
On the morning of the rally, more than 30 000 people gathered near the Petronas Twin Towers, a symbol of modern Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur, carrying life-size portraits of Queen Elizabeth II and Mahatma Gandhi, to indicate the nonviolent nature of their protest.

Another Mass Rally..???
Pakatan Rakyat planned 100,000 people rally to challenge to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s against the fuel hike. The opposition party leaders have also strongly reacted to the sudden 41 per cent hike in petrol and 63 per cent hike in diesel prices.
PKR adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said it would only benefit the rich and their cronies.
DAP’s Lim Kit Siang said the steep rise is shameful and totally unacceptable.
Pas reactions can best be gauged from the fact that it is the main force behind the organisation of the July 12 protest outside the Twin Towers where the Petronas headquarters is located.
I shocked reaction is rooted in the fact that between 1990 and 2000, the petrol price rise was only 10 cents a liter for a whole decade. When new PM took over in October 2003, the price was RM1.37 and within five years has risen to RM2.70 a liter.
I expect, it will be another cry of the poor Malaysians, sure those affected victims, and mostly lowest income citizen will be taking part in the rally despite the police warning. BERSIH rally demanded for democratic elections and HINDRAF rally protested over alleged discriminatory policies which favour ethnic Malays. July 5 is a fresh protest against the drastic fuel hike by government.

Jun 10, 2008

Role Model of Malaysian Youths

Mugilan: I'll be exploring space by 2018

He was educated in a Tamil medium school in Selangor and emerge as a role model among young Malaysians who is generally thought of being incapable of having such dreams.
After completing Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examinations in which he scored 11 As, Mugilan pursued his studies in a local private institution to complete the American Degree Transfer Programme (ADP).
Mugilan then enrolled into the top rated institute for aeronautical engineering in Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in the United States using just his academic merits in pursuit of his ambition.
After finishing ADP in 2006 Mugilan appealed to the prime minister, the education Ministry, the Malaysian National Space Agency and some private companies requesting for a scholarship.
However, despite his excellent academic qualification, no scholarship grant or financial aid was given to Mugilan by the Malaysian government despite submitting numerous appeals.
Even though Mugilan was frustrated and dejected by the treatment, he never give up but strengthened his resolve to discover other alternatives.
Finally, he able to secure a loan from Maju Institute of Education Development (MIED)…
Although the Malaysian government has failed to assist this ambitious student, Mugilan said his loyalty to the country remains firm and he is not hesitant to contribute his talents in building the nation’s aerospace industry.
His confidence make me proud of him. He is the best example of Malaysian youths for those have such dreams.The 20 year-old aeronautical student is confident that nothing can hamper his dreams of becoming an astronaut by 2018. God bless him. Good luck Mugilan..!!!

'Nothing is impossible'

Jun 9, 2008

INTERNAL SECURITY ACT (ISA)

The Internal Security Act 1960 (ISA) is a preventive detention law in force in Malaysia. The legislation was inherited by Malaysia after it gained independence from Britain in 1957. It allows for the arrest of any person without the need for trial in certain defined situation. Malaysia is one of the few countries in the world who still using this act.
Preventive detention first became a element of
Malaya in 1948 primarily to struggle against the armed uprising of the Malayan Communist Party. The 1948 ordinance was primarily made to counter acts of violence and, conceivably, preventive detention was meant to be short-term. In 1960 itself, the government passed the Internal Security Act under Article 149 of the Malaysian Constitution. Without charge or trial of any person in respect of whom the Home Minister was satisfied that such detention was necessary to prevent anyone who believe to be a threat to national security, prejudicial to the Maintenance of essential services and to the economic life. The ISA is one of the most controversial Acts enacted under Article 149 of the Malaysian Constitution. ISA detainees are typically held at the Kamunting Detention Center.
Torture is reportedly a major part of an ISA detainees daily life. Former detainees have testified to being subjected to severe physical and psychological torture that include one or more of the following: physical assault, forced nudity, sleep deprivation, round-the-clock interrogation, death threats, threats of bodily harm to family members, including threats of rape and bodily harm to their children. Also, detainees are confined in individual and acutely small cells with no light and air, in what is believed to be secret holding cells. These interrogation techniques and acts of torture are designed to humiliate and frighten detainees into revealing their weaknesses and breaking down their defenses.
Several opposition parties such as the
Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS), the Democratic Action Party (DAP) and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) have spoken out against the ISA. Many of them have leaders or prominent members who were held under the ISA, such as Muhammad Sabu of PAS, Lim Kit Siang, Karpal Singh and Lim Guan Eng of the DAP, and Anwar Ibrahim of the PKR.
A person detained under the ISA during the first 60 days is held no access to the outside world. If a two-year detention order is signed, the detainee is taken to the Kamunting Detention Centre to serve two-year term
What our former and current prime ministers defined ISA?


rally urging the government to abolish ISA/Suffering of detainees family members

The first Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman
- the purpose of the act as to "be used solely against the communists, I gave a solemn promise to Parliament and the nation that the immense powers given to the government under the ISA would never be used to stifle legitimate opposition and silence lawful dissent"
The third Prime Minister,
Tun Hussein Onn
- stated at the same time that his administration had enforced the act only with a view to curbing communist activity, and not to repress "lawful political opposition and democratic citizen activity"
The fifth
Prime Minister of Malaysia, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi
- went on the record in 1988 to state "If we want to save Malaysia and Umno, Dr Mahathir must be removed. He uses draconian laws such as the Internal Security Act to silence his critics." The year before, he had also stated "Laws such as the Internal Security Act have no place in modern Malaysia. It is a draconian and barbaric law."
-but in 2003 Prime Minister called the ISA "a necessary law," and argued "We have never misused the Internal Security Act. All those detained under the Internal Security Act are proven threats to society."
Initially, the stated purpose of the ISA was to defend communist activity in Malaysia during the
Malayan Emergency. Since 1960 when the Act was enacted, thousands of people including trade unionists, student leaders, labour activists, political activists, religious groups, academicians, NGO activists have been arrested under the ISA. Abdullah Ahmad Badawi personally signed the detention order that allows the leaders of HINDRAF to be detained without trial for two years.
HINDRAF leaders that detained

Jun 8, 2008

Nation was rich, not anymore...


Federal government promised before that there will be no fuel price hikes till august. The increase of petrol and diesel prices extremely affects the middle income and lowest income Malaysian citizen. This obviously a big threat to ‘Rakyat’ by ruling government. They suffered a lot yet it’s another bad news to them. Changes in fuel prices for sure give huge impact on their living cost. Again the poorest will suffer the most. We will soon witness spiraling cost of food, a issue the government has failed to address adequately. In addition the sharp rise on Wednesday should have been avoided if the government is a caring one. It should have been made gradually to ease the burden on the 'Rakyat'. Where has PETRONAS earnings gone? What’s the rationality for government to raise the fuel price? Can their excuses been accepted?

Price in several fuel producing nations:
Nation Price/liter (RM)
Bahrain-0.87
Egypt -1.03
Iran -0.38
Kuwait -0.67
MALAYSIA-2.70
Nigeria -0.32
Qatar -0.68
Saudi Arabia -0.38
Turkmenistan -0.25
United Arab Emirates -1.19
Venezuela -0.16

The infos that I stated might have changed, but we can compare price per liter of fuel. Its clearly shows that how expensive is fuel in our country. The price before- (RM1.92) also unacceptable, and now petrol price increased RM0.78 to RM2.70 which more irrelevant to Malaysians.
40.6 % and 63.3% increase in pump petrol price and diesel price respectively, there have been never in this world that a countries government raising their fuel price till this level. More rallies and protests were held in several locations throughout the nation since Wednesday to protest against the sharp rise in fuel prices. For sure in future, there will be more rallies.