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Thread: Action: ‘Do your worst, we will do our best’, SUARAM

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    BN Promotes ‘Malay Spring’ Scare!

    21 Sep 2012

    Scare-mongering? Chandra Musaffah, 1Malaysia Foundation says that supporting democracy could destabilise BN’s ‘legitimate government” just like the Arab Spring!
    Chandra Muzaffar, Chairman of the 1 Malaysia Foundation and a leading BN ‘thinker’, has leapt onto the front pages of the news issuing dire warnings of ‘foreign plots’ to destabilise the government and indeed ‘global security’!

    In the process he has astoundingly associated BN with a whole slew of slimy dictators, whom peoples across the world have been pleased to see the back of over the past several months and implied that getting rid of Mubarak, Gadaffi, Ben Ali and others was a bad thing because it might ‘destabilise’ Malaysia!

    Plainly forgetting that Malaysia is supposed to be a democracy already and therefore supportive of such key aspects of the free world as press freedom, the right to freedom of speech and the right to peaceful protest, Chandra has also engaged in a rant against some of the world’s most respected pro-democracy foundations such as the Open Society Foundation and the Washington-based National Endowment for Democracy (NED).

    He blames these institutions for their modest and open grants to civil society groups such as Bersih and Suaram and other groups who have been working to expose corruption and oppression in Malaysia.

    But, what about the huge sums that have been channelled by UMNO/BN into his own organisation, 1 Malaysia Foundation? And what about the vast illegal sums that are taken secretly from state coffers to support his own political party’s 50 year stranglehold on government?

    ‘Malay Spring’

    Such forgetfulness and double standards on the part of Dr Chandra are regrettably self-damning in the eyes of most onlookers. However, even more self-revealing are his warnings of the ‘dangerous effects’ of small grants by organisations like the NED, drawing attention to their support of pro-democracy organisations in countries like Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Syria:

    [NED have] “played a significant role in attempting to destabilise legitimate governments and replace them with client proxies”

    “We know of their activities in several countries as what has happened in the Arab world, leading to the Arab Spring uprising.

    “There is also proof they provided assistance to groups opposing leaders in South and Central America at one time with the excuse that the leaders were tyrants and undemocratic.

    “Similarly, they were believed to have assisted rebels to oppose Russian President Vladimir Putin.”[New Straits Times]

    Clear, Dr Chandra regards criticism of tyrants as merely an excuse! He is much more concerned over his apparent conviction that governments should never be opposed or destabilised by organisations that speak out with the truth.
    Don’t destabilise dictators! Najib Razak and his new best friend and in-law the notorious Kazakh dictator Nursultan Nazarbayev
    With these words Chandra is lining up BN on the side of despicable past regimes like Libya, Tunisia and Egypt and showing solidarity with remaining dictatorships like Syria and Putin’s Russia! What is more, he is showing a real fear that enlightened people in Malaysia could turf out BN just in the same way that has been happening with the Arab Spring!
    How can Najib take action against Sarawak’s corrupt Chief Minister? After all it might ‘destabilise’ BN.
    Today Sarawak PKR leader Baru Bian, himself a distinguished practitioner of the law, courageously denounced Chandra’s hysterical attacks on Malaysia’s civil society organisations:

    “The cheek of the Barisan Nasional to equate its governance and hanging on to power with being a “legitimate government “is laughable and any right-minded citizen of Malaysia would see right through this contemptible claim”, he stated.

    “I would like to remind Dato’ Seri Najib that rigged elections that go unchecked, a judiciary that is manipulated, a monopoly of ownership of the media and press to the point that there is no freedom of the press, repressive laws that instil fear in the populace, smear campaigns, unjustified police brutality, royal commissions that are prejudiced and now blatant scare-mongering do not equate to a legitimate government.”

    Philanthropist and pro-democracy supporter, the billionaire George Soros, who is singled out by Dr Chandra as a danger to Malaysia!
    Chandra Muzaffar has made a fool of himself and his 1Malaysia Foundation with these remarks, because he has revealed the deep-seated fear within the cash-rich and power-soaked BN party over tiny little organisations, whose only weapon is to speak the truth.

    Malaysia, thankfully, has elections and they are due very soon. So no need to fear a Malay Spring or destabilisation or any other such nonsense.

    There should be nothing to prevent a very orderly and normal transition of government, as long as BN does not start behaving like Dr Chandra’s dictatorial friends and break all the rules in a crazy attempt to hold on to another 50 years of power!

    That would indeed be highly destabilising and it would be BN whom the world would hold responsible not the champions of democracy.

    Destabilising – When a government starts turning its troops against its own people it loses its legitimacy and usually it is just a matter of time.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    BN Govt’s Witch hunt spreads to other NGO’s…

    Posted on September 21, 2012

    Witch Hunt: Going after SUARAM (for pursuing the Scorpene Affair?)
    The Scorpene Affair or The Scorpion’s Sting
    Ambiga warns of crackdown on civil society groups
    • Koh Jun Lin
    • 1:24PM Sep 25, 2012

    Media reports alleging that civil society groups are receiving foreign funding in a plot to destabilise the government could be a prelude to a crackdown on them, said Bersih co-chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan.
    “Such disparaging reports (as the one on Sept 21 by theNew Straits Times) lay the groundwork for a crackdown on civil society as can be seen from the on-going state harassment campaign against Suaram and the possible use of even more draconian measures,” she said.
    She was speaking at a joint press conference today alongside representatives of Suaram, Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ), Lawyers for Liberty, Medeka Centre, and Southeast Asian Centre for E-Media (Seacem), which were also named in the article.
    “We are very worried: Could this be a prelude? Could the government be building the context or justification for bigger things to come?” asked Seacem project manager Sean Ang, pointing to pointed to Singapore’s policy of blocking foreign funding for some NGOs as an example.
    Ambiga warns of crackdown on civil society groups
    Bersih co-chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan says they want a retraction of the article, and the apology should be published in “an equally prominent place”.
    The demand was also endorsed by human rights NGO Suaram, media watchdog Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ), Lawyers for Liberty, Merdeka Centre, and the Southeast Asian Centre for E-Media (Seacem)
    NST given 48 hours to apologise to NGOs
    • Koh Jun Lin
    • 12:42PM Sep 25, 2012

    Six NGOs have issued a 48-hour ultimatum to New Straits Times for an unreserved apology over its front-page report alleging their involvement in a plot to destabilise the government.
    They say the report on Sept 21 is unfounded and was written in bad faith.
    Apart from wanting a retraction of the article, they said the apology should be published in “an equally prominent place”.
    “We are taking this very seriously. The matter is in the hands of our lawyers,” Bersih co-chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan told a press conference today.
    “So we expect to see a response from New Straits Timeswithin 48 hours (with effect from 11am today), failing which we will take all the necessary steps and all the steps that are open to us under the law.”
    The demand was also endorsed by human rights NGO Suaram, media watchdog Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ), Lawyers for Liberty, Merdeka Centre, and the Southeast Asian Centre for E-Media (Seacem), whose representatives were present today.
    NST given 48 hours to apologise to NGOs
    Government-owned and pro-Government mainstream media attack NGO’s deemed unfriendly to the BN Government.

    Plot to destabilise govt – Top News – New Straits… –Cached

    Named in BN related newspapers:
    Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
    Lawyers for Liberty (LFL)
    Coalition for Free and Fair Elections (Bersih)
    Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ)

    Suaram has no record whatsoever of being a body that promotes terrorism. Neither is Suaram in cahoots with Soros to damage the country. Yet, to some UMNO leaders Soros was alleged to have “damaged” the country’s economy in the past.
    Malaysia Chronicle
    Saturday, 22 September 2012 21:09
    Soros: Blamed for Dr M’s currency gambling, now bogeyman for Najib’s Scorpenes

    Written by Moaz Nair, Malaysia Chronicle
    Suaram is a body that is apolitical and operates on the basis of social justice for all Malaysians. Founded in 1989 the aims and objectives are for the protection and promotion of human rights and the development of public awareness in Malaysia.
    As reported, UMNO leaders have insinuated that the American non-governmental organisation (Open Society Institute presently called Open Society Foundation) that funded Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) is linked to currency speculator George Soros.
    Suaram cannot be blamed even if it has received the funding. The network of Open Society Foundations or OSF (named Open Society Institute or OSI until 2011), is a grant making operation started by George Soros, aimed to shape public policy to promote democratic governance, human rights, and economic, legal, and social reform.

    OSF works to build alliances across borders and continents on issues such as combating corruption and rights abuses. This is far from any anti-money laundering or pro-terrorism activity that can be classified under the Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001.
    Soros was politically perceived by Mahathir as the perpetrator of the 1997/98 Asian financial crisis. Soros was the individual who sabotaged the country’s economy, so was the allegation by UMNO leaders echoing what Mahathir had said about Soros during the financial crisis.
    It was bad governance; an economic bubble and the involvement of local currency speculators who made Malaysian economy vulnerable and the country lose billions when Bank Negara started the FOREX business well before 1997.
    In 1992 the battleground between Mahathir and Soros was the London foreign exchange market. Britain’s FOREX market was the focus of many speculators who wanted to profit from the market instability at the time.

    Both expected that they were going to make money from the British.
    Soros earned a billion dollar profit from speculating against the British currency in 1992. Malaysia got her fingers burnt.

    UMNO is always good at finding scapegoats. Instead of opening up the case relating to the Scorpene Scandal the leaders are trying to strike Suaram with the “Soros factor” – exploiting on the fund Suaram received from OSI.
    However, the rakyat are not that irrational to buy UMNO’s political ploy. They are just fervently waiting for the French court to reveal the truth about the Scorpene Scandal that involves UMNO, the country’s top leadership and his cronies.
    Malaysia Chronicle
    Soros: Blamed for Dr M’s currency gambling, now bogeyman for Najib’s Scorpenes
    Indeed in every subsequent protest, the greatest anxiety caused was by the presence of the police, who everyone – Malay, Indian and Chinese – viewed as an impediment to free assembly and not facilitators of it.
    Umno’s nation of traitors
    • S Thayaparan
    • 7:48AM Sep 23, 2012

    Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under.” – HL Mencken
    COMMENT Apparently by writing for Malaysiakini, I am part of a plot to destabilise the government. Truth be told, Umno has been doing a good of job of destabilising the institution(s) of government for the past 55 years. To Umno, anyone who disagrees with them are traitors.
    Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim is a traitor to his race. The DAP are communist traitors to the country. PAS are traitors to Islam. People who march demanding free and fair elections or march against state-sponsored racism are traitors to the constitution. There are only patriots and traitors in 1Malaysia and if you do not support Umno, you are the latter. Also, you are most probably gay.
    Perkasa information chief Ruslan Kassim may blame the Jews for pitting Muslims against Christians, but it has always been Umno who has stirred the racial and religious pot.
    The horrifying fact for Umno is that there are Christians, Hindus and Buddhists in the opposition and all, if not most, of them are very firmly entrenched in their beliefs but yet they make it work. They demonstrate that no matter how difficult and contentious it gets, there is another way besides the Umno way of doing business here in Malaysia.
    And as I have said before, every country in the world has elements that would want to violently overthrow their governments. What Umno has done is ruin the credibility of those institutions entrusted to weed out and destroy those elements. What Umno is doing is crying wolf against the very citizens who are doing what would benefit the country most, exercising their democratic rights.
    This is perhaps difficult to do when your own propaganda organs have admitted to spinning stories and engaging in outright falsehoods just to “support the government”. These fabrications and spinning, which if the laws of the land were applied fairly, would be considered seditious and created to sow distrust and hate amongst the citizens of Malaysia.

    But in the end, we were traitors. For 55 years, we were traitors to the principles of democracy. We were traitors to ideas that would have moved this country beyond what Umno had envisioned for us. But not anymore. Not anymore.

    S THAYAPARAN is Commander (rtd) of the Royal Malaysian Navy.
    Umno’s nation of traitors

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Think tank: BN receives American funding, too

    Malaysiakini – 3 hours ago


    • View PhotoThink tank: BN receives American funding, too
    • View PhotoThink tank: BN receives American funding, too
    • View PhotoThink tank: BN receives American funding, too

    A think tank said the BN should not be “paranoid” about NGOs receiving foreign funding, as the ruling coalition also does likewise and receives American support.

    “Barisan Nasional MPs should not be so paranoid about the incoming of foreign funds to support NGOs in Malaysia,” said Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas) chief Wan Saiful Wan Jan in an email to Malaysiakini .

    “After all, Barisan Nasional parties also receive American support, with the latest one being just last weekend at a luxurious hotel in Kuala Lumpur.

    “This is not new because, in fact, Barisan Nasional leaders have been receiving foreign support too for many years,” he alleged.

    Wan Saiful ( left ) was responding to BN parliamentarians such as Bung Mokhtar Radin (BN-Kinabatangan) and Abdul Rahman Dahlan (BN-Kota Belud) who in Parliament yesterday claimed that foreign funders were seeking to undermine the government.

    Government agencies and pro-government groups with the BN-controlled mainstream media in tow, have been on a campaign attacking human rights NGO Suaram for receiving foreign funds.

    In particular, they have attempted to paint the Scorpenes scandal inquiry in France as one such attempt to put the government in bad light.

    News portal Malaysiakini has also not been spared, and has been accused of being a tool of foreign funders to publish “anti-government” news.

    'Pro-gov't body receives Christian funds'

    Wan Saiful added that “many bodies close to the government” also receive foreign funding, that include a foreign Christian party.

    “For example, I have in front of me evidence that a think tank close to the government receives support from a foundation linked to a Christian party from abroad.

    “Foreign funding is a norm for many NGOs,” he said.

    He added that just as the government wants foreign investment to enter the country and that is considered good, the same should be said for funds that aid the growth of the country’s civil society.

    “Surely the foreign support received by BN parties last weekend is not meant to weaken but to strengthen the institutions of the government.

    “Such support should be cherished, not condemned,” he said.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Is this the end of SUARAM? — Tommy Thomas

    December 14, 2012
    DEC 14 — I extend sympathy and best wishes from all right-thinking Malaysians to the brave individuals behind SUARAM for standing firm against the harassment, intimidation, threats and bullying by the mighty power of the mighty State.

    So why has SUARAM been singled out since this July for this terrible treatment?

    Because of SUARAM’s courageous pursuit of truth on the commissions and other monies paid out by defence contractors to certain Malaysians in the submarine deals.

    The reason given by the politicians for investigating SUARAM is that it receives funding from foreign sources!

    Let me state at the outset: To my knowledge, there is no law passed by our Parliament that prohibits any association or organisation from receiving monies from any source to fund its activities or use them for any other purpose.

    But what is really shocking is for Malaysian politicians, whose principal source of income, is using other people’s money, to make this claim. It is the height of hypocrisy.

    It is an iron law of history and politics, that all politicians in all countries throughout history are dependent on funding from various sources, including companies, trade unions, bankers and individuals. That is how politicians live, and when they are sufficiently seduced by other people’s money, compromises are made!

    In the decade between 1998 and 2008, Wall Street spent US$5 billion in campaign contributions to both the political parties, and deployed 3,000 lobbyists across Capitol Hill to get its way. “Wall Street has a lot of money and Congress can be bought on the cheap.”

    That was a major reason for Wall Street to be the most powerful economic, political and social force in the US, both before and after the 2007 crisis.

    A few years ago, the US Supreme Court removed all limits on political contributions in order to promote “free speech and expression”. This has resulted in the growth of the “Super-Pacs” which have played and will play significant roles in the outcome of this November’s presidential elections between Obama and Romney. Billions of dollars are spent not just on the media, but literally “to buy votes”.

    In England, Big Business supports the Tory party while trade unions substantially fund the Labour Party. Perhaps the worst incidents of corruption of politicians occur in India, which in the last decade has charged scores of sitting Members of Parliament for financial irregularities.

    Malaysian politicians, particularly from Umno, are no better. The term “money politics” entered our vocabulary decades ago. When Joseph Pairin Kitingan’s government fell in the late 1990s, by massive defections shortly after it was duly elected at the Sabah state elections, party hopping (that happened) did not take place for reasons of fundamental principles!

    Instead, it was money, pure and simple. Likewise, ideological reasons did not prompt three Pakatan assembly members to cross the floor in 2009 – which resulted in the fall of the state government which had enjoyed popular support in Perak.

    Therefore political parties should be the last to complain about NGOs receiving funding!

    How else are SUARAM and other like-minded organisations to fund their laudable activities? Their officers already sacrifice their time and energy for what they perceive as a noble cause — at the very minimum, they would be much more comfortable financially if they had “proper” private sector positions.

    In order for these associations to carry out their tasks, they need substantial financial resources. In a recent public statement in support of SUARAM, Amnesty International reminded our government of Article 13 of the 1998 UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders which apparently provides that “organisations have the right to solicit, receive and utilise resources for the express purpose of promoting and protecting human rights”.

    The “de facto” law minister, Nazri Aziz, immediately responded to say that it is “alright for NGOs to receive foreign funding, but they should not be used by outsiders as mercenaries to attack the government”. He went so far as to say that there are “good” NGOs like the Malaysian AIDS Council because that is “for a good cause”.

    So Nazri Aziz and the Cabinet are the arbiters: if an NGO does not criticise the government, it exists for “a good cause”, but if it condemns the government, that is not acceptable.

    Part II of our Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, contains numerous fundamental liberties or freedoms which cannot be removed by Parliament or by Courts.

    Article 10(1) (c) guarantees “all citizens the right to form associations”. This right must be read with the right to freedom of speech and expression and the right to assemble peacefully.

    Other critical rights are the liberty of the person under Article 5(1), the right to equal protection of the law under Article 8(1), the right not to be discriminated under Article 8(2) and freedom of religion under Article 11.

    The most important constitutional case ever decided by the Courts of Malaysia concerns “freedom of association” under Article 10(1)(c). The Supreme Court decision in the Nordin Salleh case in 1992 recognised for the very first time the principle that in deciding on the validity of state action, the Court must look at its effect or consequence on the exercise of any fundamental liberty: if the result of state action was to render any fundamental liberty meaningless or illusory, the Court would strike down such state action.

    In my opinion, the totality of the relentless state action against SUARAM over the past three months is unconstitutional under the Nordin Salleh test, and must cease immediately.

    Although “freedom of association” is guaranteed under Article 10(1)(c) of the Federal Constitution, Parliament has passed numerous Acts which regulate and govern different types of associations, for instance:-

    • companies;
    • societies;
    • trade unions;
    • co-operative societies; and
    • partnerships.

    Each kind of association comes under the regulation of a civil servant, whether known as the ROC, ROS or Registrar of Trade Unions. Each is a bureaucrat, who takes directions and orders from Ministers, the Attorney General or other governmental official. All these departments are part of the government in the wider sense of the word — the establishment, if you will.

    Perhaps the best illustration of the way in which the government controlled the decisions of a Registrar was in the wake of the Umno Team A v. Team B dispute in 1987.

    After the High Court had ruled that Umno was illegal, Dr Mahathir Mohamad quickly applied to the ROS to form “Umno Baru”. His application was approved immediately. When former prime ministers Tunku Abdul Rahman and Hussein Onn tried to form Umno 1946, the ROS refused to process their application.

    Subsequently, all the assets of the original Umno were seamlessly transferred to “Umno Baru” and after a decent interval, even the word “Baru” was dropped. Throughout these episodes, the ROS behaved in a biased manner, always favouring the ruling party. Examples can be multiplied: you get the point!

    The Companies Commission of Malaysia, the new name for the ROC, has not behaved any better in the SUARAM affair. There is absolutely no trace of independence and fairness in their conduct.

    SUARAM should stand steadfast in their struggle. They should start a fund to which all Malaysians (and indeed foreigners) should be invited to contribute, say, one ringgit.

    And most importantly, this is not the end of SUARAM: it is only the beginning of the struggle. There are many battles to conquer.

    For Malaysians, if you needed another reason to punish the high-handed government which has ruled your nation for an unbroken continuous period of 55 years, the wholly unjustified intimidation of SUARAM provides you with one.

    Please exercise your right to vote the “correct way” on ballot day, which will have to take place in the coming nine months! —


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