Category Archives: Politik

Revoke the 1984 Publication and Presses Act

I have been thinking about the draconian 1984 printing and presses act and the 1987 amendment (Malaysia) that was made to that act which gave almost all power of controlling the print media to the Home minister.

I wonder if the Pakatan Rakyat opposition is really interested in revoking that act as they should be able to through one of their members create a private members bill and pass that in the Dewan Rakyat during an opposition day. (I am under the assumption that Malaysia under a Westminster system of government has opposition days). The only hindering block that the Dewan Rakyat would have even if it does pass would be the fact that the bill in order to me made law would need to be scrutinized by the Dewan Negara (Senate), which will most probably not pass it due to the reason that there is not a single opposition senator in the upper house.

Remaking of society: Malaysia and Singapore

In the late 1960’s Singapore started to reform it’s society vigorously due to it’s small size and it’s vulnerability as an economy keeping in mind Sukarno was a threat. The PAP leaders in Singapore (Goh Keng Swee and Lee Kwan Yew) changed their identity when they formed Singapore. Consider that both leaders either belonged to the Straits Chinese and/or the Peranakan. They now called themselves Chinese leaders of a multiracial Singapore and abandoned the use of Hokkien and Teochew in the teaching of school curriculum and opted for Mandarin. I beleive the argument was with regards to army service men in the 1970’s not understanding each others dialects. The PAP was and is a multiracial party but this is not the focus of this post.

Across the causeway in Malaysia as a result of the racial riots in Kuala Lumpur on May 13 1969 besides a curb on free speech, the NEP (New Economic Policy) was implemented by the then Deputy Prime Minister (Timbalan Perdana Mentri) Tun Abdul Razak. That was not however a major shift due to the reason that these policies at that time were meant to be temporary and not permanent. (The NEP was to accord affirmative action to push the Malays to become close to equal in economic prosperity in comparison with the Chinese). When Tun, Dr. Mahathir Mohammed became premier in 1981 the shift that was meant to be temporary soon turned into something that was close to permanent. I believe the law still indicates that all Malaysians regardless of religion or race is equal, where affirmative policies can be implemented. With the Islamic revolution in Iran (1979) in full swing in the 1980’s Barisan Nasional created Islamic courts under article 121(A) of the constitution in the Peninsula. More women started to wear the tudung (commonly known as the hijab in the rest of the world). Mahathir was really good at implementing Islamic and Western principles at almost the same time. Weekends which used to constitute Fridays and Saturdays in Johor for example was changed to Saturdays and Sundays in the 1990’s. People were suspected of not being married were being issued summons in parks and in other public areas for holding hands. Cars and highways were being built at a phenomenal rate to show that Malaysia had the capability of building highways that were as good as the interstates in the United States. The major companies that were government aided like Proton, Perodua, UEM, Renong and PLUS were headed by the “Malays”. The reason why I have placed the word Malay in quotations is because some of the companies were headed by incompetent people. Let me clarify that I am in no way being racist as I am aware of some very capable Malays in high positions in companies with no external nudging.

Let us move towards the events of the past couple of years notably the endorsement of Perkasa by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammed which called for Ketuanan Melayu (Malay Supremacy) and Lee Kwan Yew’s book on “Hard Truths”, where he talks about the Malays in Singapore being separate and not assimilating “with the Chinese”. I wonder if both the strong men in the region put way too much focus on a particular racial group while the others treaded along.

Where is all of this going to lead? Especially with regards to the group of “stupid” and/or loyal supporters of both leaders.

I wonder….

FRU vs Defamation lawsuits

I am pretty sure a lot of people are aware of the lack of free speech in Malaysia and Singapore at least in what they call the mainstream press. That is the press dominated by the State and Private Television networks (with the notable exception of TV Selangor online) and newspapers.

A lot of the mainstream media is self censored in both countries highlighting the “Good” the government is doing for the people and the relevance of opposition parties.

When ever there is something raised which would question a ruling party stalwart there are 2 responses. In the case of Malaysia the FRU (Federal Reserve Unit) will be sent in to break up the ceramah (rally) or in the case of Singapore a civil lawsuit will be launched against the person raising the question.

The ISA is used in both countries to stifle decent. The one great line that both countries use is that the ISA was created by the British, without making reference to the fact that it was primarily created to thwart the communist uprising in Malaysia and Singapore in the late 40’s and the late 50’s.  The irony being that it was the communist uprising in the 1940’s that helped Malaya (Peninsula Malaysia) and Singapore gain independence from Great Britain. (I shall not go into specifics due to the title of this blog post)

The UMNO, MCA and MIC want to stay in power to gain regardless of what the citizenry say and they use physical force by use of the FRU to break up like I mentioned above ceramahs, civil rights protests (HINDRAF, BERSIH). The PAP on the other hand considering their elite are attorneys change the law to work in their favour namely making it “easy” for courts to be biased towards them in an ethical stand point (Not a legal standpoint).

First Impressions

A runup to an election in Singapore and Malaysia is always very interesting and a run up in either a federal or provincial election in Canada seems to attract more scepticism. It could be just due to the reason that we are so used to having an open democracy and an independent judiciary.

Kenneth Jeyaratnam:

Leader of the Reform Party, Singapore. He seems to have the qualifications to take on the PAP. First impressions are important. He seems to have failed at it.

When I got to start reading blogs and reading stories and viewing videos in events he has participated in I did not receive a good vibe from the guy. He seems to be a slouch and he has a fake British accent and looks like Mr Bean. I understand that substance matters more that the way somebody looks.

Due to that reason I watched the NUS forum members from most of the political parties were invited. Mike Palmer (Parti Tindakan Rakyat), Sylvia Lim (Parti Pekerja), Dr. Chee (Parti Democratik Singapura) and Kenneth Jeyaratnam ( Parti Reformasi). All I noticed was a guy who complained about his families misfortunes at the hands of the ruling party. Dr Chee did talk about similar stuff but his seemed more interesting and entertaining possibly because he was talking about the elderly down trodden folk in Singapore.

All in all I had high marks for Sylvia Lim and Dr Chee and low marks for Kenneth Jeyaratnam and Michael Palmer.

(I understand that I have not shared the reasons for giving some of the politicians high marks and some low marks. I shall try to do that in upcoming posts if and when an election is called)