Friday, 8 July 2011

Bersih Arrests, Intimidation, Harassment ... of rakyat

Activists at Bkt Aman
Since late June, there were more than 150 Bersih 2.0 related arrests including 6 PSM members including Saras and Dr Kumar. These activists have been involved for the cause of justice since the 1980s.

7 July, '11. NGOs including PSWS and Pakatan party members supported the call for the release of the 6 PSM activists detained under EO. NGOs who work with Orang Asli, women workers, community issues and credit unions were there. 
6July. Saras taken to Jln Duta Court

Saras, community and women's activist
Saras, a former seamstress, has been tirelessly involved in women's and small farmers' rights. In the '80s she was leading Alaigal (Tamil word meaning waves). In one of their awareness programs on oppressive cultural practices they used dramas. She was also involved in assisting small farmers in Ipoh.

* EMPOWER office raided. Staff detained by police.
* Rakyat warned not to wear yelloh, Bersih T-shirts. Today in a school in Kajang, the headmaster warned teachers and students they are not to wear anything yellow including Bersih T-shirts. Teachers have been given notices in red not to take part in any rallies.
* Chow Kit market vendors told not to open their stalls on 9.7
* 11 roads are closed including the Federal Highway, the live vein of Kuala Lumpur - this is unprecendented. The govt. themselves will incur losses for this country on choosing this draconian option.
Police's Ops Bersih. Source FMT
*  Police road blocks almost on every road entering KL

Human rights violations
Malaysia like Burma remains one of the last countries in Asia that refuse to sign the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Malaysia has numerous human rights violations

* Several activists involved in the Bersih Secretariat have been called for questioning, their families being intimidated.
*  Editors of newspapers have the "hangman's noose" hanging over their heads - their printing licences being revoked if they don't follow instructions from authorities.
* Overseas Malaysian scholarship students are threatened - their scholarships being revoked if they take part in rallies like Bersih.

Massive Budget for Clampdown
Closing roads, sending letters to all government schools, police on red alert just because the government refuses to allow a peaceful rally. How much would this cost the tax payer?

Repititon of Events From the Past
1960s Rally
Thousands of people were involved in the early 1960s demonstration where the rakyat asked for Democracy and Fair Elections. In this demonstration the police had 4-5 blocks of major trunk roads leading into Kuala Lumpur. Parti Rakyat and Parti Buruh were part of the coalition called the Socialist Front. Two nights before the event the government arrested leaders. Special Branch personnel arrested rakyat during the rally on that day. One socialist activist was beaten to death in Kampar. Tang Pow Kwan who died after the beatings had organised drama events to create awarness on the rakyat's rights. Every year the Front remembers his contributions on his death anniversary. Another activist was shot to death in Kuala Lumpur, during the demonstration. These are activists who fought for democracy but were cruelly crushed.

May 13, 1969 elections
Lim Soon Seng who was putting up posters were shot dead by the police. At that time the Socialist Front boycotted the elections as it was not fair.

1987 Operasi Lallang (Operation Lallang - lallang is unwanted grass)
During this Tun Mahathir as Prime Minister arrested more than 100 people, shut down the media, had various laws enacted to shackle the judiciary, press, university students and other civil rights movements. He created racial disharmony, threats - to instill fear in the rakyat - tactics used since British times.

BERSIH what does it mean to the rakyat?

To many Malaysian citizens, it is apparent that the principles of and practices surrounding our electoral system have been misused, manipulated and abused for years. In many cases, they are well documented. While appeals to the Elections Commission (EC) have been made time and again to correct these gaps, little action has been taken, with many excuses being made for said inaction. The Bersih 2.0 rally aims not just to push for reform of the Elections Commission, but also to correct and prevent these abuses from happening again. 

Elections are not fair because:

* Controlled, Government-Slanted Mainstream Media Coverage
Because of this the rakyat does not hear BERSIH's point of view as the government has been relentless (tak putus-putus) to paint BERSIH as illegal, nuisance. Wearing yelloh clothing or even carrying anything yelloh is deemed illegal. The authorities have threatened these papers if they don't tow the line their printing licences would be revoked. This is how the BN government works through threats and intimidation.

* Controlled, Government-Influenced Judiciary
The judiciary acts like civil servants as seen in the recent arrests in Penang of PSM members where the judge gave a 7day remand without looking into the evidence furnished by the lawyers. 6 Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) members including Dr Jeyakumar (Member of Parliament), have been rearrested earlier today under the Emergency Ordinance (EO), which allows for 60 day detention without trial, renewable for up to 2 years at the discretion of the Home Minister. The 6 were part of a group of 30 PSM activists who were remanded on 25 June for “waging war against the King”.

* Vote Buying

There has been numerous cases where members of rakyat have told stories of well paved roads in the estates, huge bags of money found in temples ...

* Barring of Oversight from Neutral International Observers


The Creative Wind of Bersih

Poet laureate A Samad Said's Poem on BERSIH - Unggun Bersih (Slow burning Fire of Bersih)

A creative Song on Bersih in Mandarin