- Pakatan seeks 500,000 volunteers for anti-EC action
- Retired admiral embarks on a new voyage
- Malaysians rally against ‘electoral fraud’
- Najib regime’s security dragnet will not frighten Malaysians, Bersih 2.0 says
- Election commissioners should quit over indelible ink fiasco, rally told
Posted: 26 May 2013 09:35 AM PDT
Pakatan Rakyat (PR) wants to sign up some 500,000 volunteers to protest at the Election Commission (EC) offices until the members resign in favour of replacements who report directly to parliament.
The coalition also wants voters to lodge reports against the EC forusing indelible ink that can be washed off immediately after the May 5 general elections, despite claims that it was introduced to prevent possible double voting.
"The people will move to SPR until SPR is dibubarkan (disbanded). Can?" losing PKR candidate Badrul Hisham Shaharin asked thousands who crowded a rally here organised by 60 NGOs, referring to the EC by its initials in the Malay language.
Emceeing the rally to protest alleged electoral fraud at the Dataran Petaling Jaya in Jalan Timur, Badrul led the crowd in chants of "SPR letak jawatan" (EC resign), singling out EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof and deputy Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar.
PR has blamed alleged electoral fraud for not becoming government although it won the popular vote in Election 2013. It won 89 federal seats against the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) which took 133 seats in the 222-seat parliament.
The politician better known as CheguBard heads Solidariti Anak Muda Malaysia (SAMM), which is demanding that the EC should not be under the Prime Minister's Department but should report to parliament.
Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was the last to address the rally but he also rejected the idea of working with the EC and supported calls that the current EC members resign immediately.
"We will never cooperate or work or engage with such a deceitful Election Commission," the PKR de facto chief said, adding that an "ultimatum" will be issued if they do not resign.
Anwar urged the public to lodge police reports if they had experienced the alleged premature washing-off of the indelible ink from their fingers on voting day.
He said they should do so from tomorrow onwards up until Monday and send copies of the reports to PR.
"This is to show the power and might of the people. We challenge you according to due process. We also respect the rule of law," said Anwar.
He said that PR wanted to present a large barrel of the people's police reports of EC's alleged fraud in the courtroom.
PR is looking to file election petitions to contest polls' conduct and results of more than 25 federal seats, a move, which must be done within 21 days from the gazette of the polls results on May 22.
Anwar also called for Malaysians to support Bersih's efforts through the polls watchdog's People's Tribunal, a new initiative which will be used to examine public complaints of alleged electoral fraud.
Despite the EC saying that the People's Tribunal lacks legal standing, Anwar said he viewed it as having legitimacy.
Nurul Izzah Anwar, the daughter of the Opposition Leader, similarly accused the EC of cheating, highlighting the failure of the indelible ink which was introduced to prevent double voting.
"We'll fight them hard especially to ensure that no unfair re-delineation takes place," the PKR vice-president told the crowd, referring to the re-delineation exercise by the EC that is expected to take place by year-end.
The Lembah Pantai MP also took a slightly different tack when she urged PR supporters not to hate political rivals BN.
"They might want us to hate them. I will tell you the only thing you should feel against Umno, Barisan Nasional and its leaders is pity. Don't have to hate and it's because we love Malaysia, we love the future," she said.
"Never, never lower yourself to their level. We fight with love, we fight with peace. We fight because we are better than these people," she later stressed.
Earlier she said that people should leave the ethnic-based parties in BN, naming Umno, MIC and MCA, which she claimed were "racist".
She called on the people to go to Putrajaya and press the home minister for a licence to replace local daily Utusan Malaysia with Utusan Rakyat.
"You give us our permit and we make sure we create news that are true for the people, not news to plant feelings of hate," she said.
The crowd at the rally streamed in from 5pm and reached its peak about 9pm with a traffic jam reported at the nearby Federal Highway. The NGO-organised affair appeared to be a continuation of a Pakatan Rakyat (PR) campaign that began two weeks ago.
Despite police remarks that the gathering known as "Himpunan SuaraRakyat505" was illegal, the crowd turned up clad in black to symbolise their protest and dispersed peacefully.
Posted: 26 May 2013 07:16 AM PDT
I assumed the first time I met former PAS member, now newly-elected PKR Lumut MP, retired Admiral Mohamad Imran Abd Hamid, was during the May 8 Blackout 505 rally in Kelana Jaya. Surrounded by throngs of excited Malaysians as we exchanged pleasantries, the retired admiral related how he knew me during my days in the Navy.
Imran is a rare politician. He says what he means and means what he says. He is well-liked among former and current military personnel, but more importantly, he has a reputation for being a 'straight’ guy.
“No funny business,” says a former Navy admiral who makes it his business of keeping track of the nexus between the political and military establishment.
Although Imran gained a reputation of having a 'sharp tongue’ during the campaign period, he is in reality extremely humble. Now I understand that whenever the word 'humble’ is used to describe a politician, the reality is anything but.
However, there is a sense of earnestness when Imran describes his role as a politician and when he uses the term 'rakyat’, you understand that he feels part of the problematic Malaysian polity and not detached from it like most politicians, something many feel is necessary, because in most cases politics is a career.
A spiritual man who understands the religious plurality in Malaysia, in this interview, the former admiral in his usual frank manner discusses what he thinks is wrong with the political landscape in this country.
Readers should consider this an introduction to one of the few good men that Pakatan Rakyat is in desperate need of.
What made you decide to enter politics and why Pakatan?
I did not come to this decision lightly. I wanted to halt the pervasive, rampant corruption in Mindef (Defence Ministry) and other government agencies.
As someone who has served this country, I wanted to protect these institutions that belong to the rakyat. I believe only through Pakatan that action can be taken. For far too long BN has been sheltering the culprits from judicial action.
As a high-ranking member of the armed forces, did you notice first-hand the corruption that was rampant?
I was involved in the KD Kasturi and KD Lekir (both frigates) procurement in the 80s. It should have involved two parties only – the shipbuilder and the government.
Surprisingly the contract to procure the (Scorpene) submarines, three parties were involved – the government, the shipbuilder and Perimekar Sdn Bhd. We were told Perimekar is the company that provides training and accommodation for the submarine crews.
How could this Malaysian company perform this function? What did this company know of submarines, much less training? Furthermore, this was a Malaysian company and there is conflict of interests.
Later, it was discovered that they pocketed more than RM500 million. This is just one example. What of other equipment, not to mention helicopters, APCs (armoured personnel carriers), etc?
Direct negotiations provide room for corruption but when reported, nothing happened.
What do you think are the biggest mistakes Umno-BN has made in its decades-long rule?
They have failed to reduce and maybe even encouraged corrupt practices in government agencies. The crime rate is alarming. Institutions that are supposed to serve the rakyat like the police, SPRM (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission), the judiciary, are perceived to be hostile to the rakyat.
Political leaders’ criminal acts are protected. Government debt is alarming. The list goes on. This has nothing to do with race but governance.
How do you think as an ex-military officer you can contribute to Pakatan and the rakyat?
I could be the link to voice out the dissatisfaction of our soldiers. Members of the armed forces and their families are an important component of the rakyat.
However, this does not mean I only concentrate on the welfare of the armed forces personnel. It just means that I can offer specific insight into this community. At the end of the day, the rakyat is made up of many groups of people.
Could you describe some of the “attacks” made by Umno-BN when you announced your candidacy?
None directly from BN. However, the Navy chief did invite former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad and Perkasa on April 23 to the Navy base (in Lumut, Perak) to discredit Pakatan and myself. As a result, (in my opinion) I received fewer votes from Navy personnel.
What is your response to being denied entry into Lumut naval base?
I was denied entry to perform Friday prayers in the base on May 3 only, otherwise I have never had a problem. Politics got in the way of common sense and professionalism. Very disappointing, when you consider what those invited said about Pakatan and I.
Are you shocked by the response of the military establishment to your candidacy?
Not at all. I was convinced however that I might get good support from the “other ranks” if they were not threatened by their commanders. What I want to see is less politics in the armed forces. They serve the Agong and rakyat, and not political parties.
You have mentioned you were sidelined in the Navy. Why do you think this happened?
There is always talk. Some said “no way Haji Imran can get one star”, but instead I was promoted to First Admiral in October 2008. I was only ever interested in doing my job well. Even in the armed forces, there is professional conflict and petty squabbles.
Why did some people think that you would not get promoted?
They probably were not aware of my contributions to the Navy. My academic qualifications are varied. For instance, I have a Diploma in Electrical Engineering (Power) in 1977 at UTM (Universiti Teknologi Malaysia), Kuala Lumpur. Also maybe it was the usual politics that happens in any career.
Do you think that Pakatan should continue with the 505 gatherings and why?
Black 505 is a gathering to show the rakyat’s dissatisfaction over the GE13 result that is mired in controversy. There is something very wrong with our electoral system, after years of the present government’s interference.
It will go on until we get the decision to our petitions. Please remember that these are peaceful gatherings. All our gatherings have been peaceful.
What are the problems faced by your constituents in Lumut and how do you intend to solve them?
One of the more important issues is that my constituents want to avoid a “local brain drain”. They want boarding schools and a university to be built to avoid bright students from leaving Lumut.
I have to urge the Education Ministry to plan and implement this. People need education. If they are educated, they are better equipped to make choices.
If more educational facilities were to be opened in Lumut, would they be open to all races?
The university is of course open to all races. The boarding school is more of a Malay cultural experience but this does not mean that it should be exclusively for Malays. I want input from everyone. 'Muhibbah’ means listening to all points of view and people’s experience.
What are your views on religion being used as a political tool?
It is unwise for anyone to use religion to influence the rakyat. It is not right to use religion for political gain. We all have certain basic principles we agree to which makes for a better society. We should concentrate on those principles.
What is your response to thecontroversial comments of Home Minister Zahid Hamidi?
It is an unwise remark by a minister. He might have forgotten of his ancestors’ land of origin. I do not bother at all. We need to get down to the hard work of making this country better for all Malaysians, regardless of which political party you support.
Is the armed forces racially polarised and if so, what are the reforms needed?
It is complicated. Of course, there is a difference between how the armed forces was and what it is now. It remains to be seen if non-Malays do not like the armed forces culture or if there are other reasons for the lack of non-Malay participation.
We need to have an honest and open discussion on this. Pakatan has shown that it can handle discussion without resorting to threats.
How has your experience been as a politician as compared to the structure of military life?
As a politician, you are dealing with civilians from all walks of life as compared to the military that is more specific in terms of people of all walks of life conforming to a specific structure.
In the military, you have a chain of command and problems filter through this chain. In a sense, it is easier to take charge and implement changes. Seniority also helps when you are dealing with personnel higher up the chain of command.
As a new politician, I have to be willing to listen to the rakyat’s demands but they have to understand it is a different power structure. Sometimes what they want is beyond my means to deliver for various reasons.
There is a system and it is the rakyat’s job to see that the politicians do not abuse the system but at the same time, they have to understand that unfortunately certain demands take time to fulfill, especially when you have to deal with people who hamper your efforts.
There has been great tragedy in your family. How do you cope with running a campaign and dealing with your personal loss?
I lost my four daughters in February 2005 in a car accident in Grik. My candidacy to contest for Lumut was announced by (PKR de factoleader) Anwar Ibrahim on April 5 in Grik. Therefore, Grik is very significant to my wife and me.
Campaigning was tiring but if you have a sense of purpose, you can overcome nearly everything. My family tragedy reminds me to always speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.
Posted: 25 May 2013 10:51 AM PDT
Tens of thousands protest against government, with speeches from leading opposition figures over alleged fraud.
Posted: 25 May 2013 10:49 AM PDT
Oppression and intimidation by the Najib regime will not cow Malaysians into submission, polls reform group Bersih 2.0 warned today as it called on the government to stop its nationwide clampdown on opposition supporters.
The group said the recent spate of arrests of key Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders and activists was the regime's attempt to silent critics of the just-concluded general election, which it maintained was tainted by irregularities, unethical practices and "blatant cheating".
"Those detained are Malaysians who dare to voice out what have frustrated and angered most Malaysians since the conclusion of the 13th general election," Bersih 2.0 said in a statement here.
"We thus call upon the BN government and the police to immediately end all persecution."
Election 2013 saw the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition returned to power with 133 seats in the 222-set Parliament despite only winning the minority vote.
Pointing to its popular vote score at 51 per cent to BN's 47 per cent, PR leaders immediately accused its political foes of stealing the elections with fraud and widespread cheating.
The results also sparked the series of "Black 505" rallies nationwide where tens of thousands of supporters have turned up to protest the results of the polls.
The newly-minted BN government under second-term prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak responded by flexing its muscles at the opposition, mounting a widespread clampdown to quell opposition dissent.
Several rally organisers have been hauled up to face the book for allegedly contravening the Peaceful Assembly Act 2011.
"Party organs of the three [PR] parties of PKR, PAS and DAP have been confiscated," Bersih 2.0 observed.
"Thugs sympathetic to BN have been to open air gatherings organized by civil society to create trouble and to scare speakers and participants from further engaging in their struggles for a clean and fair electoral system, deemed so key to a genuine democracy," it alleged.
It also pointed to the arrest and use of the Sedition Act to charge student activist Adam Adli earlier this week, and the subsequent detentions of PKR MP Chua Tian Chang, PAS leader Tamrin Ghafar and activist Haris Ibrahim.
All four were hauled in for allegedly uttering seditious remarks by calling on Malaysians to topple the government through street protests.
But Bersih 2.0 said the charges were trumped up, tailored merely to persecute those who dared to expose the manipulations they alleged were perpetrated by BN and the Election Commission (EC) during the May 5 polls.
"Bersih 2.0 is, however, confident that such oppression and intimidation will not succeed," he said.
"On the contrary, Malaysians will rise up to oppose oppression, intimidation, corruption, torture and gross violation of human rights as perpetrated by the Najib regime.
"They will not relent until there is justice, democracy and equality in Malaysia."
Another rally, called the "Himpunan Suara Rakyat 505" will be held this evening outside Amcorp Mall in Petaling Jaya.
Posted: 25 May 2013 10:46 AM PDT
The entire Election Commission (EC) must resign for failing to ensure the indelible ink worked in the May 5 general elections, several speakers said at a rally here tonight.Bersih co-chair Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan and PKR strategy chief Rafizi Ramli led the calls for the entire EC to step down after complaints about the indelible ink, introduced in Election 2013 to prevent double voting, could be easily washed off.
"On that ground, any Election Commission worth its salt would have resigned in embarassment over dakwat kekal (indelible ink)," said Ambiga, who is also a senior lawyer, told a crowd at the rally in Dataran Petaling Jaya here.
Speakers throughout the night had also spoke on alleged fraud by the EC, leading the crowd in chants to "Pecat SPR" (Fire EC) and "SPR tipu" (EC cheats). The EC has denied these claims, which have yet to be proven in court.
Thousands crowded the Dataran Petaling Jaya field for the rally against alleged electoral fraud, an NGO-organised affair that appears to be a continuation of a Pakatan Rakyat (PR) roadshow that began two weeks ago. There was a light drizzle but many brought umbrellas as they listened to the speakers.
Despite police remarks that the gathering known as "Himpunan SuaraRakyat505" was illegal, the crowd turned up clad in black to symbolise their protest.
Mobile food stalls on the edge of the field did a brisk trade, catering to the crowd listening to a number of speakers who began from late evening. Among those scheduled to appear are opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and DAP advisor Lim Kit Siang.
Two of the speakers at tonight's rally made their first public speeches after being investigated recently under the Sedition Act 1948 for their allegedly seditious remarks on the polls results
The two were PKR Batu MP Chua Tian Chang and activist Haris Ibrahim — who were released from the police lock-up yesterday after a magistrate refused an application to extend their remand. The other was PAS's Tamrin Ghafar.
The last of the four — student leader Adam Adli — was charged under the Sedition Act on Thursday after his arrest last Saturday, but has since been released on bail.
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