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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

HINDRAF gathering to hand in memorandum to Queen Elizabeth for help in appointing Queen Counsel to represent them in their class action suit

What is HINDRAF

HINDRAF is short for "Hindu Rights Action Force" which is formed by 30 Hindu NGOs seeking to preserve the Hindu community rights and heritage in secular Malaysia. The group has tried to stop the numerous demolition of Hindu temples by the Malaysian government.

Lawyers from HINDRAF had on 30th August 2007, filed a class action on behalf of Malaysian Indians at The Royal Courts of Justice in London to sue the United Kingdom Government for US$4 trillion to compensate Indians in Malaysia, which if successful, will mean every Malaysian Indians will get US$1 million the the British role in bringing in Indians as indentured laborers into Malaya who were exploited for 150 years and when they could no longer keep then Malaya as a colony, abandoned them, leaving them with a Constitution which they claimed failed to protect the Malaysian minority Indians rights on granting of independence. They hope to present a petition with 100,000 signatures to be delivered to her Royal Highness the Queen of England requesting the Queen to appoint a Queen Counsel to represent them in the class action.

Gathering on Sunday, 25 November 2007

They had planned to organise a gathering to presented the petition to the British High Commission in Malaysia on Sunday. 25 November 2007. The police asked them to apply for a police permit, which was duly done, and which as expected, was rejected. They appealed and it was rejected again for the same reasons. This was despite the agreement of the British High Commission to have some representative to accept the petition.

However, despite the obstacles, HINDRAF was determined to continue with the rally.

Many days before the planned rally, the police set up road blocks to try to prevent participants from getting to the gathering, causing massive traffic jams. They legal Representatives were arrested even before the day of the gathering. On 23 November, 2007, three HINDRAF leaders, P. Uthayakumar, Waythamoorthy, and V.S. Ganapathi Rao, were arrested and charged under the Sedition Act.

Am unprecedented court order was obtained to prevent people to participate in the gathering. Police issued an order to arrest participants on sight.

Many Indians complained of racial profiling, claiming may Indians were stopped at road blocks, their cars searched. I heard an directive were even given to the hotels not to offer rooms to Indians, but cannot confirm if it is true or not. Some HINDRAF legal representatives, organizers were arrested even before the day of the rally

HINDRAF actual on Sunday 25 November 2007

Despite heavy handed actions to try to stop the gathering by the police, huge number of Indians started gathering at various parts of Kuala Lumpur early Sunday morning, way before the planned gathering planned to start at 8.00 am. Many participants gathered at Jalan Ampang and Jalan Tun Razak from as early as 6am Sunday. They were dispersed by the police and Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) who used water cannons laced with stinging chemical water and teargas to disperse the gathering at the Jalan Ampang and Jalan Tun Razak intersection by about 7.20am when warnings to disperse met with no resonse. According to Wikipedia, on the morning of the rally, more than five thousands people gathered near the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur. Riot police dispatched to the scene used tear gas and water cannon to disperse the crowds. The participants just regrouped in another placed and continued their protest.

Here is an on site report by Al Jazeera with a video uploaded to Youtube:



Another video:



After 7 hours and finally given permission for the organisers to hand in the petition, they already decided they no longer want to hand in the memorandum here in Malaysia (I assume as a sign of protest at the way the Malaysian government tried to stop them from presenting the memorandum. They decided to fly to London to hand it directly to the Queen. Hopefully, they will not be stopped at the airports)

There must be quite widespread dissatisfaction that despite the heavy action to try to stop the gathering, still so many managed to get through the cracks and stage the gathering. How many exactly depend on your source. I think it is sufficient just to say that HINDRAF had succeeded to getting their message heard.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

VK Lingam tape: More revelation: Wee Choo Keong's media conference Sunday 18 November 2007 at 11 am

Wee Choo KeongIncumbent DAP candidate Fong Kui Lun won the 2004 Bukit Bintang Parliament seat last election while Wee Choo Keong only obtained 1,106 votes and yet today demanded that DAP which have worked very hard to forge an arrangement not to split opposition votes, give way to him to contest. I no longer wish to give publicity to Wee Choo Keong and will update this post with a link later. To those who chanced upon this post and is voting in the Bukit Bintang Parliament constituent, I beg you, please do not split the opposition votes and make the task of denying the Barisan that two-third majority in Parliament

Wee Choo Keong will hold a media conference TODAY to expose more shocking details related to
the Lingam-Fairuz tape that has cast a black shadow over the integrity of the country's Judiciary. Wee said The VK Lingam video clip is child play compared to
what he is going to revealed TODAY. Hope this notice reach you in time.

Time: 11 am, Sunday, 18 Nov 2007
Place: No 60 2nd Floor
Jalan SS2/67
Petaling Jaya
(it's above Mahagony Music/Coffee Bean)


FROM VK LINGAM TAPE: "No don’t worry, Datuk, I know how much you suffer for Tun Eusoff Chin. And Tun said Datuk Ahmad Fairuz 110% loyalty. We want to make sure our friends are there for the sake of the PM and the sake of the country.

Not for our own interest, not for our own interest. We want to make sure the country come first. Well, you suffered so well, so much you have done. For the election, Wee Choo Keong, everything. How much, no body would have done all these."

Wee Choo Keong was the former DAP Member of Parliament for Bukit Bintang. The then High Court judge and current Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim made a controversial decision sitting as an Election Judge in 1995 by dismissiong Wee as Member of Parliament and declared the Barisan Nasional candidate as the new MP instead of calling for fresh election.

Friday, November 16, 2007

VK Lingam Tape: Former Lord President Tun Slleh Abas to speak

How to stop the rot

There will be a public forum on the VK Lingam tape (click BACK button to get back to this page) which showed senior lawyer Datuk VK Lingam apparently brokering judicial appointments and honorific awards with what many suspected to be the newly retired former Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz who was then Chief Judge of Malaya (2002). Recently Anwar Ibrahim release another small segment of the tape which showed VK Lingam saying that he was speaking with Ahmad Fairuz.

Details of the forum:
Title: How to stop the rot (of the Judiciary)
Date: Friday 16 November 2007
Time: 8 pm to 10 pm
Place: Federal Hotel
35, Jalan Bukit Bintang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel : (603) 2148 9166
Fax: (603) 2148 2877
Free phone: 1800 88 3535 (within Malaysia)
Admission is free

Location map of Federal Hotel, Kuala Lumpur

(permission to use the above map will be sought from Federal Hotel)

Main speak will be former Lord President Tun Salleh Abas who was unjustly sacked from his post in 1988 which many lawyers says was the beginning of the rot in the Malaysian Judiciary.

Other speakers include Datuk Shaik Daud the former Court of Appeal judge, Ragunath Kesawan the Bar Council Vice-President and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim the adviser of PKR (Parti Keadilan Rakyat) and former deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia. The forum will be moderated by R. Sivarasa the Vice-President of PKR and Human Rights lawyer.

Organizer: Institut Kajian Dasar (IKD)

VK Lingam

CIJ's DeepaRaya Dinner and Movie Night: Wednesday 21 November 2007, 7 pm

CIJ (Center of Independent Journalism) is organizing the

CIJ' DeepaRaya Dinner and Movie Night
Date: Wednesday 21 November 2007
Tine: 7 pm
Place: CIJ's Office
No 27c Jalan Sarikei,
Off Jalan Pahang,
Kuala Lumpur
(Behind Tawakal Hospital)

You are encouraged to bring your friends along.

Directions:
Take the RapidKL LRT or KL Monorail to the Titiwangsa station. Follow the pedestrian pavement under the LRT track, go past Wisma Koperasi Tentera and Celcom on your right and a construction site on your left. We're on the row of shops across the lot.

Map to CIJ's office taken from CIJ's website. Will request CIJ's permission for reproducing map here


For further details, please call CIJ's office at
03-40230772
to let them know how many are coming as they are preparing snacks for guests.

Highlight of the night will be the screening of the Award-winning documentary

"10 TAHUN SEBELUM MERDEKA (10 YEARS BEFORE MERDEKA)"

by a first time film-maker, Fahmi Reza has skillfully pieced together interviews with the surviving individuals of the left from that era, archival footage, and whatever supporting visuals that could be captured from present-day locations.

The movie showed Malaya’s left-wing groups like Parti Kebangsaan Melayu Malaya, Angkatan Pemuda Insaf, Angkatan Wanita Sedar, the Malayan Indian Congress? and the trade unions of the time, fighting not only the Malayan Union but also the Federation of Malaya.

This will be followed by a discussion: "From HARTAL to BERSIH - The need for
Freedom of Expression in Malaysia"

Thursday, November 15, 2007

People's Freedom Walk, 9 December 2007,

UPDATE 4 December 2007: People's Freedom Walk has been cancelled. The FESTIVITIES AT CENTRAL MARKET ANNEX WILL PROCEED

People's Freedom Walk

There will be another walk (march?) called the People's Freedom Walk in conjunction with the Human Rights Day which will actually be celebrated worldwide on 10 December. This time it will be organized by the Malaysian Bar Council.

They plan to start the People's Freedom Walk from

Sogo (a Japanese department store)
190, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, (previously known as Batu Road)
50100 Kuala Lumpur.
Date: Sunday 9 December 2007
Time: 7.00am

They plan to walk through Dataran Merdeka and finish at Pasar Seni (Art Market, formerly Central Market) near the Klang Bus Terminal and opposite the Klang River from Daya Bumi).

(If I remember KL correctly, this will be diagonally near Pertama Complex and opposite Cathy cinema. Someone please correct me if I got the name of the cinema wrong)

FESTIVITIES AT CENTRAL MARKET ANNEX

The time for the event at Pasar Seni (Art Market which was previously Central Market) has been announced as 9.00 am onward. Events include poetry reading, Orang Asli cultural dance, performances by Dr Wan Zawawi, plus lawyers including Fahri Azzat, Syamsuriatina Ishak, Dipendra Harshad Rai and Lai Chee Hoe. There will also be guest appearances.

The highlight of the Day will be the “When Faith Meets Law” multi-religious panel session discussing conscience rights. At this session, the Bar Council will give religious groups the opportunity to discuss issues and concerns on faith, law and human rights. Prominent figures from the various religious groups in Malaysia have been invited as speakers.

The Bar council have also planned a session called "I wish that…" where the various NGOs and groups will present their particular demands on issues affecting them. It will be a fun day out. I will be there as a NGI (non-Government Individual) hoping to get legal opinion on the legality of the Police Act that require a Police permit for assembly of 5 or more.

Organizers are only targeting 1,000 participants. Wondering how the authorities will react.

I have read the Constitution and it clearly says any law or regulation which is contrary to the spirit of the Constitution shall be invalid. I have asked my daughter to bring that copy of the Malaysian Constitution to confirm that there are clauses allowing free expressions and free assembly.

Has the Bar Council came to the conclusion that the Police Act which requires a Police Permit runs contrary to the spirit of the Malaysian Constitution and is therefore not valid? Hoping someone from Bar Council or a lawyer will respond. I am no lawyer or Constitutional expert.

Independent Inquiry into VK Lingam tape: Report and outcome

It has been reported that 3 ministers had been tasked with the duty to give legal inputs regarding the reports of the Independent Panel to investigate the VK Lingam tape (click BACK button to get back to this page). They are Home Minister Datuk Mohd Radzi Sheikh Ahmad, Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Seri Utama Dr. Rais Yatim and the de facto Law Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz.

May I be allowed to indulge in a little bit of fortune telling which some of Malaysia's lawyers had been doing - predicting outcome of various cases that goes before some Malaysian judges. May I predict that the de facto Law Minister will come out with a legal opinion - no case because authenticiy not verified and whistle blower did not come forward to testify.

Of course he would not be concerned with the fact that the authenticity of can easily be done by an expert within a very short period of time without knowing who filmed the tape. After all, I don't think he read about CIA experts who can verify if broadcasts of Osama bin Laden without having to trace who filmed the tape used for the broadcast. They can use techniques like voice analysis, etc.

Let us wait and see. However, we don't know if the individual legal opinions will be made known, so I may not be able to tell if I have any chance of becoming a successful fortune teller.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Rally for Clean and Fari Election November 10 2007: Report

The Rally for a Clean and Fair Election is a BIG SUCCESS!!! And this was despite repeated and very serious warnings from the police and the Prime Minister himself. This showed that a large population is fed-up with trying to bring changes via the formal channels but seeing no action. BERSIH did a fine job. When they failed to get a police permit and repeated very serious warnings about participants getting arrested were broadcasted via the main stream mass media, they figured that no one will likely be able to get into Dataran Merdeka (Independence Square) and provided 4 alternative assembly points.

I had hoped to put this up immediately after returning home from the highly successful rally despite repeated warnings and threats of arrests, police road blocks and forcing LRT coaches to bypass relevant stations. There were massive traffic jams and the authorities blamed it on the rally. But as an eye witness, I can report that the rally itself did not cause the traffic jam. BERSIH organized the rally really well, with volunteers plus uniformed security guards (I asked one if he is paid, but he replied it is voluntary) to make sure there is no violence and marchers kept to the side to the roads to avoid disrupting traffic flow.

I had to put this post off because there were too many things waiting for me to do, but some remarks by an editor of a mainstream media that he is very wary of opposition hijacking any gathering. He said politicians showed up to hand memo, then they disappeared. The poor fellas get tear-gassed. He related about one famous blogger was enjoying himself at Selangor Club, having his drinks and meals, posed for a pic, retreated to the comfort of the club and blogged from there. He said another blogger was at a TV station through out, projecting his image for the elections. He also said the marchers were tools of the opposition. I felt I had to respond to his remarks.

I took his remarks about the marchers being tools of the opposition as an insult and I think I will respond to his comments here. Most of the rally organizers had spend time in detention while we, including the editor himself, were ensconced comfortably in our home going on with our daily life. As organizers, they rather than us humble participants, were at highest risks of being arrested. They did not just appear to hand over the memorandum and disappeared, but were in the midst of the march (at least quite a number of them, I don't know about one). Just in case he thinks I am one of those who blogged from the comfort of the Selangor Club, this post will contain photographs which were taken by myself personally. They had been resized for the Internet for faster downloading, but I am keeping the original large format photos in my computer in case anyone says they were scrapped from other websites.

My eldest sister received a call from my niece who is a journalist saying there are lots of policemen crawling all over Kuala Lumpur and ordered me not to go. I am a Dato (to a small bundle of joy) now and am in no position to take orders from anyone when the future of my future generations are at stake. I promised my family to be cautious and proceed with care. I stopped at the Pasar Seni (former Central Market converted to "Art" Market) LRT station, a station further away from the focus of action. It is a good thing I went early for I heard passengers in the later coaches were not allowed to disembark. I proceeded carefully towards Pasar Seni, one of the 4 alternative assembly points announced after the organizers realised we most likely will not be able to assemble at Dataran Merdeka. On the way I saw the police trucks waiting:



The last one is a "lock-up truck" designed to transport those arrested. There were policemen in front of the entrance nearest to the car park and the LRT station plus 2 reporters from Malaysiakini as well as policemen with revolvers inside Pasar Seni:



Someone inside Pasar Seni were passing out leaflets instructing what one can do if arrested. Not long after that, I saw marchers in yellow T-shirts shouting slogans and marching towards Medan Pasar, I supposed, on their way to Dataran Merdeka. I went out the sidedoor and took some photographs:



A policeman ordered us back into Pasar Seni. I went to the exit at the other end of Pasar Seni near the Annex. The door was locked, but we could see a crowd of marchers in the open space between Pasar Seni and the Annex:



I went out through the sidedoor and followed the marchers towards Medan Pasar. We were stopped by police at the Standard Chartered Bank just before Medan Pasar. The marchers were far ahead and were backed by the riot squad with shields, helments, rifles and batons:



We were again asked to disperse by the policeman you see in front of the photo. I turned back to get to the other side of the block of shoplots at the other end of Standard Chartered Bank. Here we were again stopped from proceeding by policemen and we can see the Riot Squad (FRU or Federal Reserve Unit) near the Loke Yew Building. We are now very near Dataran Merdeka, the original assembly point.



Here is the policeman who asked us to disperse:



We did (I had promised my family I will), but turned back, went over the bridge behind Pasar Seni across the Klang River, went through Daya Bumi and joined other marchers there heading towards Masjid Negara (National Mosque). Masjid Negara was sealed off by the riot squad:



We marched on towards the Istana (Palace). As we passed the KL Railway station and the KTM (Kereta Tanah Melayu), I could see riot squad with their vans plus police patrol cars parked in front of the railway station:



Further on, I could see marchers on two levels as we approach the Chinese Assembly Hall roundabout with me at the top level:



As we continue to march towrads the Istana (Palace), helicopters were flying menacingly over the sky:



We had to walked over muddy ground as we approach the Istana"



When we arrived at the closes approach to the Istana (Palace), we were blocked by the riot squad plus their red trucks:



A huge crowd had already converged there from the various alternative assembly points announced by BERSIH:



Some of BERSIH's marchers even brought along the Jalur Gemilang (Malaysian flag) to show their patriotism to the country, here seen unfurling the flags:



We heard news that the representatives had succeeded in handing over the memorandum requesting the Yang di-Peruan Agong (Supreme Ruler) to intervene to ensure a clean and fair election. We later heard that the Agong had ordered that the gates be opened to receive the representatives to hand over the memorandum despite the police and the Prime Minister ruling the rally as illegal. After the handover, we dispersed to proceed back to Masjid Negara (National Mosque) for the final assembly. Here we are in front of the KTM headquater and the Kuala Lumpur central railway station:



Notw the second line of marchers on the flyover which you can see faintly. To get a cleear look, click on the photo or the caption to enlarge the photo.

We had a final assembly at Masjid Negara (National Mosque) where a few leaders gave speeches and an announcement was made that another assembly will be at Taman Melewar, graced by Anwar Ibrahim who will be making a speech. We then dispersed.

On the way, this is what I saw, FRU (Federal Reserve Units holding sub-machine guns in front of Daya Bumi and the Central Post Office, looking very menacing:



After passing those menacing looking FRU, this time we could approach Dataran Merdeka, the original planned assembly point for the Rally for a Clean and Fair Election by BERSIH. We could see the riot squad still barricading Dataran Merdeka. As I got nearer, I saw a TV cameraman filming another man and took a photo:



This is a large format photo cropped from the original, so if you want to enlarge the photo to see things more clearly, click on the photo or the caption. Otherwise, here is a close-up of the AlJazeera TV crew:



Here are some of the actions I missed. They are Youtube videos from Al Jazeera and Malaysiakini showing participants being tear gassed and water cannoned with chemical laced water:

Gathering in Kuala Lumpur 10 Nov 2007 - al Jazeera version



(Malaysiakini video no longer available. Don't know why)

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Can the Star redeem itself?

I published a post Sultan Azlan Shah calls for Judiciary reforms (click BACK button to get back to this page), complaining about the Star not putting Sultan Azlan Shah's speech at the Law Conference on its front page, and instead chose to put a full page on Malaysia's Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi smiling away and officially opening the Eastern Corridor. I understand that Petronas, our national oil company is involved in this corridor. Our Prime Minister had said that the savings from increasing the petrol and diesel prices will be used for improving the public transport, which is in urgent need to improve if Malaysia is to wean our residents from using their own transport. Have the public transport improved? I don't know. You judge for yourself. Perhaps you may even do a little digging to see where the savings went to. Will the savings from the next inevitable petrol price increase be used to fund the Eastern Corridor? Time will tell, but I do not know if I would be privy to the information.

Back to the Star. I said I will copy-paste the post Sultan Azlan Shah calls for Judiciary reforms (click BACK button to get back to this page) and send it to the editors of the Star and MCA, the owner of this newspaper. The email to MCA bounced. To my surprise, I got a response from the editor of the Star, saying that it was an editorial judgment mistake, and they will try to rectify it, plus put the full speech of Sultan Azlan Shah online. I decided to do a little checking.

I found this on thestar.com.my:

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2007/11/1/nation/19347283&sec=nation


The article was titled "Rulers to discuss CJ’s position" by Dato WONG CHUN WAI. I dare not put the URL as an active (clickable) link to that page because I think online articles in thestar.com.my get shoved into the archives eventually, and if I make it an active (clickable) link, one day the link will become a dead link and the search engines will get sore at me. Also, if I just paste the long URL into the post, it will become a long unbroken line and can cause problems. That is why I put it into a scroll box.

If you want to read the article, you got to click on the inside of the scroll box, press the ctrl+A keys to highlight the whole URL and then press ctrl+C to copy it into clipboard. Then, preferably, using a browser like FireFox with tabbed browsing, open a new tab, and paste the URL from the clipboard into the address bar and press ENTER.

Here are others:

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2007/10/31/nation/20071030170340&sec=nation
Sultan Azlan Shah's Address at the Opening of the 14th Malaysian Law Conference in Kuala Lumpur on Oct 29 (full speech).

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2007/10/31/nation/19327719&sec=nation
Judging the judges (COMMENT BY DATO WONG CHUN WAI)

There are others. If you want, you can search for them yourself. There is a site seach box at thestar.com.my and then make your own mind if theStar have done enough to redeem themselves from their horrible oversight at our best hope for bringing positive changes to Malaysia.