Wednesday, October 12, 2005


If there was any residual hope after Pak Lah took over premiership from Mahathir it was on the issue of democracy. If all the avenues for democracy were tightly closed by Mahathir the people could still accept it because that was Mahathir's cup of tea -manslaughtering democracy.

Speaking about democracy at least it deals with these rights and liberties viz; freedom of speech ( inclusive of free press ) ; freedom of assembly and association ; a free and fair election ; rule of law ; freedom from unjust and draconian laws and an independence of judiciary.

Any civilisied nation should not deny their rakyat from enjoying these basic and fundamental rights. These are the basic rights and not the privileges. In Mahathir's era the people may have known such rights did exist in theory nonetheless they were practically prohibited from exercising them. If the people tried to exercise such rights they had to pay a very heavy price- deprivation of their dignity and honour. What was more painful the court being the guardian of the fundamental rights enshrined in the Federal Constitution was very reluctant to ensure that the people could enjoy such rights without any unreasonable restrictions and intimidations by the State. In other words the freedom guaranteed by the highest law of the land i.e the Constitution were merely a mirage.

The issue now is whether Pak Lah is able to bring out the people from the darkness of democracy. The answer was a big NO. And I would like to add further that in his premiership Pak Lah has been deliberately and happily destroying democratic pillars and institutions in this country.

Pak Lah and for that matter UMNO has to face a sad reality that in Pak Lah's premiership we have seen the first and ugliest general election ever held in this country . Unfortunately we are now witnessing the cancer of our last general election spreading out to the students's election in our local university. What had happened in the recently concluded students's elections in various local universities only reinforces one thing - our public universities has become pariah not even the third world standard let alone the first class univesities.

The students were systematically forced to ensure that only pro -aspiration and Umno sponsored candidates must win the election. This was done by manipulating to the hilt all the puppet leaders of the universities and various bodies inside and outside universities and also by flouting the laws. Ironically Pak Lah's party was very proud with this undemocratic victory.

For the first time in history a student from the International Islamic University ( IIU ) has brought the latter to court challenging the legality of the election. Off course the student has some merits to challenge the conditions imposed by IIU against any students who wanted to be nominated as a candidate. Apart from the requirement of 2.8 in CGPA , the students were also required inter alia to pass english and public speaking test , to attend an interview with the the Election's Commission and to attend a session with the Rector, the Deputy Rector and the IIU"s President - none other than an ex-UMNO leader Sanusi Joned.

Who can deny the fact that in Pak Lah's time we have seen academicians being stripped off their credibility and intellectual freedom . With the introduction of aku janji the academicians of our local university have their mouths sealed, ears plugged and eyes blindfolded. Yet they are asked to be the first class lecturers. What a paradox !!!. What had happenned to Prof Azly Rahman and his wife ( Both were dismissed by UUM for refusing to sign an akujanji) , Prof Edmonce Gomez, Prof Jomo and Prof Ramasmy is more than enough for the rakyat not to place any hope on Pak Lah to reform the already deformed democracy.

Even though there is a minor development in freedom of press yet the publication of newspaper is still subject to the draconian law -the Printing and Publication Act. This Act still receives Pak Lah's blessings. Hitherto Harakah has not been able to be published twice per week. The conditions imposed by the Home Ministry led by Pak Lah himself on Harakah still remain the same - it cannot be published more than two times per month, it cannot be sold to the public ( only to Pas's members ) and it can only publish news on Pas's activities.Period.

The people's right to a peacefull assembly remains uncertain. What is certain that the police will brutally diperse the oppositions' ceramah if UMNO lodges a complaint. Despite the establishment of the Police Commission , the police without any reservations violently dispersed assembly organised by PAS in Trengganu. It is very hard not to dismiss the rumuors that Idris Jusoh was not behind the police's brutal acts against PAS's supporters.Hitherto the police's wrongful interpretations of Section 27 of the Police Act 1967 has been used justifying the use of violence to deny the rakyat from exersing their fundamental rights of organising and participating in a peacefull assembly. You tell me what kind of democacy if an assembly organised by PAS's youth in a private premise in Besut, Trengganu had invited dozens of police's water cannons and trucks, plenty of land rovers and hundreds of FRU personnel equipped with arms !!!

The Draconians laws such as ISA, OSA, Police Act, Sedition Act , University and College Act , Printing and Publication Act which have succesfully instilled fears to Malaysians remain intact. To date no moves have been made by Pak Lah to amend those laws let alone repeal them altoghether. ISA- the mother of all evils- has been used to extend Nik Adli and friends another two years in Kemunting with the blessing from Pak Lah. All the petitions and appeals from the families of detainess and various NGOs, local and international, received neither reply nor sympathy from Pak Lah.

Anyway congratulations Pak Lah ! You have "murdered" democracy in the name of Islam Hadhari.

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