Sunday, September 18, 2011

after all the lies heaped upon lies

Peanuts, not sweeping reforms

Let’s not be fooled, people. The changes Najib announced are merely cosmetic, and will have to be passed in Parliament first before they become effective.

Meanwhile, Articles 149 and 150 are still there to provide Parliament with the power to pass laws that do not have to be consistent with the freedoms guaranteed in Articles 5, 9, 10 and 13, and to allow the Cabinet to declare an emergency. The Emergency proclamations may go, but Article 150 is still around. We the people are still vulnerable.

PEANUTS. That’s what Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s so-called “sweeping reforms” are. They hardly amount to a political transformation.

While it’s cheering to note that the Internal Security Act (ISA) will be repealed – finally, after our many years of waiting – and that the Emergency proclamations are to be lifted – a decision that is decades overdue – it’s disturbing to be told that they will be replaced by two new laws aimed at preventing subversion and safeguarding public order.

And even though the detention period under these new laws may be shorter, with further extensions to be made by court order, the Home Minister is still the one to decide who gets detained for suspicion of being a terrorist.

This means, theoretically speaking, that although Najib has given the commitment that “no individual will be detained purely based on political ideology”, there is no stopping the government from branding a political opponent a suspected terrorist, whether or not he is one. Just to lock him away.
Another so-called “reform” is scrapping the requirement for publications to renew their printing licences annually.

This, also, is nothing to crow about. It still means that publications have to obtain a licence that the Home Minister may or may not grant. It still means the Home Minister has the absolute power to suspend or revoke a licence at any time. And his decision cannot be challenged in court. He does not even have to give a reason.

It also means the Home Ministry can still call up newspaper editors and cow them into submission for publishing something the ministry finds objectionable. Like what happened recently to The Star when it ran the heading ‘Ramadhan delights’ for an eating-out supplement that was not totally devoted to halal food.

The ministry can still practise the double standards it has been practising – turn a blind eye to the race-baiting and rabble-rousing of Utusan Malaysia but come down hard on the minor transgressions of other publications. So where’s the change?
If the government were truly sincere and had the political will, it should repeal the Publications and Printing Presses Act (PPPA) and no longer require publications to obtain a printing licence. That would be in keeping with the spirit of what Najib talked about instituting in Malaysia when he announced the “reforms” on Sept 15 – a “democratic system based on the universal philosophy of ‘of the people, by the people and for the people’”.

Vague reforms

None of the newly announced “reforms” fully cohere with this spirit.

On Section 27 of the Police Act, Najib said there would be a review to take into consideration the provisions under Article 10 of the Federal Constitution which guarantees Malaysians the right to freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of association.

But in the same breath, he said police permits would still be required for street demonstrations, subject to certain criteria.
If freedom of assembly, which should be a right of all citizens, is still curtailed in this fashion, what is that rubbish talk of Najib’s about forging a democratic system “of the people, by the people and for the people”?

He did say, however, that “permission to assemble will be given in accordance with procedures to be fixed later that will take into account international norms”. But this sounds vague. What international norms did he mean? And when is “later” going to be?

And speaking of Article 10, why doesn’t the government address the other impediments to freedom of speech, such as the Official Secrets Act (OSA), the Sedition Act, the Universities and University Colleges Act (UUCA), the Multimedia and Communications Act, the Public Order (Preservation) Ordinance?

No wonder Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein was smirking and applauding when Najib made his announcements. His absolute powers remain intact.
Let’s not be fooled, people. The changes Najib announced are merely cosmetic. And of course they will have to be passed in Parliament first before they become effective.

Meanwhile, Articles 149 and 150 are still there to provide Parliament with the power to pass laws that do not have to be consistent with the freedoms guaranteed in Articles 5, 9, 10 and 13, and to allow the Cabinet to declare an emergency. The Emergency proclamations may go, but Article 150 is still around. We the people are still vulnerable.

Some of us may say that we cannot expect the government to make such truly sweeping reforms in one go, and that we should be thankful for the small mercies we are now getting. Some may say this could be just the beginning, and more reforms could come.

That’s well and good. But at the same time, we should give credit where it’s due for this beginning. It’s not Najib we should thank. What we are getting is what has been due us for a long time, what any concerned government should have given us even without our having to pressure them to do so.

We should instead acknowledge that the March 8 effect lives on, and therefore the credit for these changes should go to us the rakyat for voting as we did on March 8, 2008. We voted in a stronger opposition, we denied the ruling party the two-thirds majority that it had abused to increasingly curb our democratic rights over the decades. We sent them the message that enough was enough.

[Kee Thuan Chye, Free Malaysia Today]
Be as it may, after all the lies heaped upon lies, I will not touch this Najib fella even with a 10-foot pole. I personally believe that in view of the pending GE13, this is nothing more than another 'syiok sendiri' thingy which has gradually become his hallmark. Punters will not even take bets knowing very well this will eventually come to nothing. And this is the saddest thing of all, a prime minister who has lost the trust of its people long time ago, and he still thinks he has his clothes on.


Saturday, September 17, 2011
Abolishing ISA, real or stunt?
Ok, Najib announced that his administration will table a motion to abolish ISA, Emergency Ordinance, and amend Publishing and Printing Act in the next parliamentary session.

I personally do not think this is the true intention of Najib wanted to make Malaysia free from these unhumane laws.

The next parliamentary session will commence in October or November (I cannot remember off hand which month), means it is almost a month from now.

If Najib has the political ambition to mark his name in the history for political transformation, he would have called for a special session to get the parliament to endorse what he intended to.

Instead, he chose to wait for the scheduled session leave me wonder how since he is.

One may argue that he needs to get ready to get it done, but if he made a pledge, isn't this means he is ready? Or he is just teasing us out of the blue?

Proposing to amend Publishing and printing act by telexing the requirement to renew yearly permit does not seems to help the media. Permit is still required, permit is still revocable, permit is still almost impossible to obtain, and clauses in permits issued is not known to the general public, which can still be the same as before, or even worse. Thus, it means nothing to the media, and freedom of expression in general.

Lifting of three existing Emergency is late but a welcome move. Again, why not call for a special session for this but need to wait?

Introduction of 2 new laws to replace ISA and Emergency Ordinance does not look good, especially when the 2 drafts are not made known, makes me wonder these 2 bills are ISA + EO with new dress.

The root of the entire problem
Is that the Constituion allows laws against the spirit of Constitution to pass in the parliament. As long as this provision is not removed, no one can guarantee future administration, be it BN or PR or other ruling regime make use of this clause for their own political interest.

That is, Najib should amend this provision in the Constitution to show his sincerelity.

Besides, many of recent laws since the Mahathir era, after amending the Constitution, empowering the minister to decide on matters that minister's decision is final and cannot be challenge in courts.

This provision in the Consitution is already shaking the equilibrium of the 3 pillars, ie administration, parliament, and the judiciary. By allowing this, Parliament can pass laws allowing the minister not to be challenged in courts, means both the Administration and the Parliament is stepping into the territory of judiciary, and this must be rectify to ensure justice is done in the event minister made a mistake.

Bear in mind that ministers are politicians, they are not professional administrators like KSU etc. How on earth we can rely on a non pro minister to decide on matters that may affect us, and be protected by the laws not o be challenged in courts?

Of course there are many laws that needs review or abolish altogether, but without amendment to key provisions in the Constitution, and willingness from Najib to get it done soonest possible, I see this as another political show and will bring no change to this country.

If Najib has the will, he needs to do it now, else, this is another empty promise again.

Posted by CHIA, Chin Yau






发贴者 林季