Friday, 8 May 2009

read for yourself about the perak state assembly fiasco

read what others have to say about the perak state assembly fiasco:


Lawlessness and the Perak assembly

By P. Ramakrishnan
President of Aliran

Thursday, 07 May 2009

Chaos has descended upon Ipoh and the rule of law has been savaged by the brutish behaviour of Perak Umno state assemblymen.

What we witnessed today will condemn us forever for reducing a much-respected institution into the law of the jungle. Decorum was not observed and the rule of law was totally discarded.

By refusing to be bound by the rules of the assembly, the Umno assemblymen and sergeant-at-arms have demeaned democracy and the democratic process.

The same conduct that arrogantly discarded the mandate of the Perakians in the power grab engineered by Datuk Seri Najib Razak is at play once again in the state assembly, ignoring the sanctity of the assembly and displaying the very arrogance that has no place in this sacred institution.

There was no need to have pushed for this sitting of the assembly when the status and legitimacy of Datuk Zambry

Abd Kadir as Perak mentri besar is still in question. This very crucial issue had not been legally settled and yet the Umno assemblymen could not wait for the resolution of the issue. They are bent on taking over the state assembly by any means — mostly by foul means.

The sergeant-at-arms has no authority to disobey the orders of the Speaker. It is not their business to take sides nor to decide whether the instruction given is right or other wise. They don’t seem to know their place or understand their role.

The police have acted in a diabolical manner and did not act professionally and in an impartial manner as they are required to do so. They are seen to be acting pro-Barisan Nasional and in a high-handed fashion in arresting so many people who had not posed any serious threat to the security of the nation.

There was no entry into the 500-metre zone to keep people away from the vicinity of the assembly. They have made it clear that anyone breaching this court order will be arrested.

That being the case how did Datuk R. Ganesan gain access into the assembly to be illegally “elected” Speaker of the assembly? Ganesan was even prepared to use force to grab the Speaker’s chair, proving that he is prone to violence. This is clearly conduct unbecoming of someone aspiring to be the Speaker of the assembly.

On what basis did the sergeant-at-arms and the police forcefully and physically act to evict the lawful Speaker of the assembly in this outrageous manner? Isn’t the assembly out of bounds for the police to walk in and act in this atrocious way?

It appears that the police are also in league with the Umno assemblymen to do their bidding in helping the Umno assemblymen to take control of the assembly.

It is not even clear that the Perak state assembly had been convened legally and legitimately for the Umno motions to be tabled and adopted.

In a rough shod manner they had bulldozed their way to secure their position with scant respect for formal procedure and protocol.

Law and order has completely broken down in the Perak state assembly and in this state of lawlessness Umno has taken charge of the Perak state assembly. This is no honourable takeover of the august body. It is a shameful way of acquiring power through brute force.

Najib must be held responsible for this pandemonium. He had created this situation in bringing about the change of government that has resulted in the bedlam that we witnessed in the state assembly.

If only the earnest appeals and prayers for the dissolution of the state assembly had been heeded we would have had a people’s government to govern Perak.

This injustice will be rectified at the 13th general election when the rallying cry will be “Remember Perak — Remember the injustice.”


Bar says 7th May a bleak day for democracy

The Malaysian Insider
Thursday, 07 May 2009

The Bar Council has condemned the police interference and what it says was “unwarranted action” in putting down protests and removing V. Sivakumar from the Speaker’s chair in the Perak state assembly.

Bar Council president Ragunath Kesavan said in a statement today that that the police acted in an unjustifiable and unacceptable manner when they physically removed Sivakumar from the assembly.

The Perak state assembly sitting was thrown into a state of chaos with shoving and shouting matches between Pakatan Rakyat (PR) and Barisan Nasional lawmakers.

In a controversial move, BN lawmakers attended a sitting in one corner of the assembly which was presided over by deputy speaker Hee Yit Foong, and voted to remove Sivakumar as Speaker of the assembly.

The move will most certainly be questioned as the sitting had at that point not been declared open yet by Raja Nazrin Shah.

BN assemblymen subsequently had R Ganesan declared the new speaker. Plainclothes policemen then came into the assembly and forcibly removed Sivakumar from the speaker’s chair.

Aside from what happened in the assembly, Ragunath was also scathing in his comments about the dozens of arrests made outside the assembly, and for blocking invited guests from entering the state secretariat building.

“It is obvious that the conflicts that are currently being played out arise from the lack of clarity and certainty about which political coalition commands the majority in the Dewan Undangan Negeri Perak.

“Issues as to whether certain assemblymen should be permitted to attend the sitting, who the Speaker should be, the seating arrangements within the Dewan itself, all these and more are mere side-issues. Even when all is said and done, and the court decisions have been made, they may not reflect the will of the people.

“As such, the only solution must be to go back to the people.”


A Black Malaysia Day: Perak a Failed State

Suara Keadilan
Thursday, 07 May 2009

It appears both the police and the state secretariat officers are colluding with the politicians to complete the power grab in the state. Again the people of Perak are the biggest losers.


By Gavin Khoo

In Ipoh this morning, the BN has pulled out the last stop to complete the power grab in Perak. Many of us surely can’t help but feel confused about the rule of law and separation of powers in this country.

In this incident, it appears that a state assembly Speaker is not that commanding after all. Perak Speaker Sivakumar was even booted out of his own assembly. A vote was hastily taken to appoint a BN representative to helm the seat.

It appears both the police and the state secretariat officers are colluding with the politicians to complete the power grab in the state. Again the people of Perak are the biggest losers. The political battle to control the state assembly is done without much consideration of the people’s interest.

The Perak democratic crisis has shown that it is a failed state. A caring and responsible coalition would have anticipated that a rule without the majority support of the people cannot be carried out smoothly.

It is a distaste to know that parties and stakeholders claiming the higher moral ground are oblivious to what has happened in the state and have ignored the repercussion, negative impact and psychological scarce faced by the people in Perak.

Whatever publicity or rebranding initiative done by the PM’s team of experts will not be able to erase this negative impact of the power grab. The power grab, a very hasty decision as Mahathir put it, will come back to haunt the BN coalition in the next general election.

No wonder, many expired politicians are eating back their words by accepting important positions in the government. Perhaps knowing that their career will not last beyond the 13th general election.

It is the middle ground, a growing community of fair minded, critical and moderate Malaysians that political parties need to court to stay in power. BN does not seem to be interested in securing the middle ground.

Too bad, but I am sure many of us are now seriously considering participating directly in the political process.

It is important for the new coalition, PR, to guarantee the people that they will not go the similar way in the future. Anwar’s Sept 16 ambition for a change in government through defections had damaged slightly the reputation of his coalition. Unfortunately, this and the Kota assemblyman’s flip-flop were used by the BN to justify this power grab.

What a shame!

[Gavin Khoo Kay Peng is an economics graduate from Universiti Malaya and also has a master's degree in International Relations from University of Warwick in the UK. He is now a corporate consultant and an independent political analyst.]


Was Sivakumar’s removal lawful?

The Malaysian Insider
Thursday, 07 May 2009

Pakatan Rakyat Speaker V. Sivakumar might have been physically taken off the speaker's chair at the Perak state assembly sitting but Selangor Speaker Teng Chang Khim is questioning whether the motion to remove him is even lawful.

Teng pointed out that the motion tabled by Barisan Nasional Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Zambry Abdul Kadir was done before the deputy speaker Hee Yit Foong sat at her assemblyman's seat while Sivakumar was still occupying the speaker's chair. Sivakumar had earlier rejected the motion twice.

"It is crystal clear that the deputy speaker has acted ultra vires the state constitution in chairing the meeting that removed YB Sivakumar as the Speaker when Sivakumar was present in the House. The motion passed to remove YB Sivakumar was therefore unconstitutional," Teng wrote in his weblog today.

He cited Article XXXVIA(3)of the Perak State Constitution which provides that whenever the Speaker is not present at the meeting of the House, another member of the House shall, in accordance with the provision of the Standing Order, be appointed to carry out the duties of the Speaker.

"Consequently, the election of the ‘new’ Speaker was unconstitutional as there was no vacancy to fill," Teng said.

At the chaotic sitting today, Sivakumar had pointed out that the motions tabled and approved by Barisan Nasional lawmakers were illegal as the assembly had yet to be declared open by Raja Nazrin Shah, the Perak Regent, in place of his father Sultan Azlan Shah.

But Zambry continued and after a couple of “adjournments” by Barisan Nasional-elected Speaker Datuk R. Ganesan, scuffles broke out and police came in to restore order during which they removed Sivakumar from his seat.

Raja Nazrin acceded to ousted Pakatan Rakyat Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin's request for the police to leave the chambers before he began his royal address. Nizar, who sat at the government bench to the right of the speaker's chair, later escorted Raja Nazrin after the royal address ended.


Sivakumar cries interference led to him being booted out

The Malaysian Insider
Thursday, 07 May 2009

Ousted Pakatan Rakyat speaker V. Sivakumar has blamed interference from outsiders led to him being dragged out and held for an hour by police during a chaotic assembly sitting, adding he does not recognise Datuk R. Ganesan’s election as the new Perak speaker.

“How come there was a directive and outsiders entered the hall, all with name tags when my request to allow seven MPs to enter was denied. It is clear there is interference in the Speaker’s powers,” he told reporters before leaving the Perak state secretariat.

The Tronoh assemblyman had sat on the speaker’s chair from morning until nearly 3pm when he was physically lifted off the chair and dragged out of the chamber by unidentified men in suits and with nametags that just said official.

He had earlier twice rejected Barisan Nasional Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Zambry Abdul Kadir’s motion to remove him, pointing out the assembly had not started as the Raja Muda of Perak, Raja Nazrin Shah, had not given the royal address.

“I don’t recognise Ganesan as the speaker as I have rejected the motion to appoint a speaker,” Sivakumar said emphatically.

He claimed that he was brought to a room by police and he had fallen twice along the way, adding that eight people have been roughed up with some suffering torn clothes during the melee to drag him out of the chamber.

“I was held in a room for about an hour. It is clear that all directives from the Speaker was ignored. From early on, the Speaker has been blocked including preventing the press from covering the sitting,” Sivakumar said.


One black day for police in Perak

The Malaysian Insider
Thursday, 07 May 2009

IPOH, May 7 — Barbed wires and road blocks: this wasn't something the people of Ipoh were familiar with as they went about their business this morning

The police had blocked all access to the State Secretariat and this resulted in a traffic jam around the area.

Nearer to the secretariat an uneasy truce was in place as both the police and black-garbed Pakatan Rakyat supporters breakfasted together in the same neighbourhood restaurants. They threw awkward glances at each other but generally kept to themselves.

All the restaurants — except the one beneath the DAP office — were open to take advantage of the increased "traffic" in the vicinity.

At around 9am, protesters began to come out from the "closed" restaurant. They were wearing black T-shirts and held posters of the King. All were calling loudly for the state assembly to be dissolved.

Minutes later, DSP Glen Anthony noticed them and shouted, "Arrest them! Don't be soft on them, arrest them now!"

The protesters ran towards the restaurants but the police were able to nab a number of them.

Several assemblymen started to arrive and those without the secretariat-issued pass were denied entry.

When PKR Wanita chief Zuraida Kamarrudin was forced out of the car, she started scolding the police.

"Why do you have to shout? Why do you have to act so uncivilised?" she said.

The police officer asked her to shut up but she wouldn’t stop talking. The officer then ordered her arrest.

As the officers forcefully arrested her, she shouted back, "I know how to walk, don’t push me!"

At 9.50am, Ipoh Timur MP Lim Kit Siang and Ipoh Barat MP M. Kulasegaran were stopped by the police and asked to drive away. Both MPs and Kulasegaran's political secretary P. Sugumaran got out of the car and began arguing with the officers.

"I received an official invitation from the Speaker... I have a right to be here. This is my constituency," Kulasegaran argued.

A shouting match began between Sugumaran and the police.

It finally ended when Sugumaran was arrested. Both Lim and Kulasegaran then decided to leave.

While Lim was driven off, he told reporters: "This is a war zone. This is a national and international disgrace. Even when we have official invitations from the Speaker, we are denied entry. It is most shameful and outrageous."

A huge crowd in black T-shirts began to gather at the restaurant under the DAP office. The police regrouped and Anthony began to warn the protesters to disperse through the speakerphone.

"We have court orders to arrest anybody within 500 metres of the fence of the SUK. I am giving you 10 seconds to disperse," he warned.

After counting to 10, the police began to swarm into the shop and forced it to close. Both protesters and innocent bystanders were arrested.

"What are you doing? Can't you see I am drinking. I just want to minum-lah. You can't arrest me," a customer complained before being dragged away by the police.

The police began to scout the area for protesters and made more arrests. They included Kubang Kerian MP Salahuddin Ayub.

"What we want is justice and we are willing to risk anything for it. We don’t mind losing as long as there is democracy," Salahuddin told reporters before he was arrested.

The police tried to close down another restaurant but the owner refused and asked for compensation.

The police finally gave up and began to buy drinks from the shop. The rest of the riot and police officers then began to disperse with some of them taking group photos.


BN-PR at odds over assembly sitting

By Deborah Loh

Thursday 7 May 2009

IPOH, 7 May 2009: The stand-off continues. The Pakatan Rakyat (PR) considers the Perak assembly sitting today as never having taken place, while the Barisan Nasional (BN) claims it did everything by the book.

The PR said it would discuss possible legal action against the actions by BN assemblypersons today which resulted in speaker V Sivakumar being physically ejected from the House to be replaced by a non-elected speaker R. Ganesan from the MIC.

"The sitting never happened. Everything they (the BN) did is completely illegitimate. As far as we're concerned, Pakatan is still the government and Sivakumar is still the speaker," embattled Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin told a press conference after the sitting was adjourned indefinitely.

He said the BN motions to remove Sivakumar, to change the membership of three assembly committees, and to declare the 3 March tree assembly unlawful, were illegal because at the time, the sitting had not been convened.

Nizar said the real sitting only convened after the Raja Muda of Perak Raja Nazrin Shah gave his royal address, which ended at about 4pm.

"We don't acknowledge whatever happened before the Raja Muda gave his address. Only after he spoke, the sitting opened, and then it was adjourned," said Nizar.
He added that Sivakumar had already rejected the motions a day earlier on 6 May in his speaker's chambers, and as such, they should not be raised in the assembly.

Pakatan anarchy

Meanwhile, the BN has accused PR representatives of behaving like hooligans. Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir described the PR assemblypersons in the sitting today as "anarchic".

"They crossed the floor over to our side to harass us. We didn't say anything when Sivakumar asked us to sit on the opposition's side of the chamber as we just wanted the sitting to proceed. They left their seats and in an uncivilised manner, they attacked the BN representatives and the independents to create a chaotic situation," Zambry said at a separate press conference.
Zambry also accused PR reps for blocking the Sergeant at Arms from carrying out Ganesan's instructions to remove Sivakumar.

He said Ganesan had no choice but to ask the police to help remove Sivakumar.

Zambry defended Ganesan's call for the police to intervene in restoring order to the sitting based on Standing Order 90, which allows the speaker to take any action to restore order in the house so long as such action does not contravene provisions in the Standing Orders.

"In the running of a democracy, we cannot allow the tyranny of the minority to decide for the majority," Zambry said.

Police in the House

Nizar hit out at the BN for using the police to eject Sivakumar from the chambers.

"How can police be allowed into the House? They are supported by the BN machinery. The house has been desecrated and Perak is a police state," Nizar said.

A few PR assemblypersons intend to lodge police reports on Sivakumar's removal tomorrow.

DAP Perak chief Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham said that today's sitting showed that "there is no rule of law, only that might is right."

Sivakumar, at the same press conference, said every order he issued to the Sergeant at Arms today was ignored, but noted that the Sergeant obeyed Ganesan's instructions.

He said after he was ejected from the chambers, police kept him in a room within the state secretariat building. He was left there and not asked any questions.

Sivakumar's microphone was also turned off from the main sound system controls while he was seated in the speaker's chair earlier.

Zambry, when asked whether this was fair, said, "My microphone was also turned off. Every time I tried to speak they (PR reps) came over and tried to stop me. "

Raja Nazrin's whisper

Just before Raja Nazrin delivered his royal address, he was talking to Ngeh and Nizar.

Asked about what the prince had said, Nizar's reply was: "Tuanku said he has high regard for the Pakatan Rakyat but he does not want to get involved in this political fight. He just wants to be able to deliver his address."

At the time when Raja Nazrin entered the chambers and took his place at the royal seat, the PR assemblypersons were standing on the floor as a sign of protest, while the BN reps were in their seats.

After their brief talk with the prince, Ngeh and Nizar asked the PR assemblypersons to return to their seats and all obeyed.


Perak police slammed

By Shanon Shah

Thursday 7 May 2009

PETALING JAYA, 7 May 2009: The police's forceful ejection of Perak speaker V. Sivakumar from the state assembly today has been slammed by the Malaysian Bar Council and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR).

"The police acted in an unjustifiable and unacceptable manner," said Bar Council president Ragunath Kesavan in a statement.

Ragunath also condemned the arrests of those gathered around the state assembly building.

According to an e-mail alert by rights group Suaram, police arrested more than 50 MPs, state assemblypersons and members of the public today.

The Star later confirmed that there were 64 arrests in total, and 13 have already been released.

Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Selangor information chief Datin Paduka Dr Tan Yee Kew said, "The police, who acted like gangsters, were obviously used by the Barisan Nasional (BN) to wrestle power in Perak. The police, as civil servants, should not have interfered in the sitting of the Perak state assembly."

Ragunath said, "It is obvious that the conflicts currently being played out arise from the lack of clarity and certainty about which political coalition commands the majority in the [assembly]."

He said issues such as whether certain assemblypersons should be permitted to attend the sitting, who the speaker should be, and the seating arrangements within the assembly, were "mere side issues".

"As such, the only solution must be to go back to the people," he said.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

a picture paints a thousand words

the picture that says it all - the legitimate speaker for perak state assembly, sivakumar, dragged out from the assembly hall by unidentified personnel, presumably plain clothes policemen.

remember, remember the seventh of may

remember, remember the fifth of november
gunpowder, treason and plot
i see no reason why gunpowder, treason
should ever be forgot...

the nursery rhyme above together with the gunpowder plot sermons from the year 1606 served to perpetuate the guy fawkes' story. they served to remind the new generations that treason will never be forgotten.

we in malaysia (and especially in perak) also have our own version starting from today:

remember, remember the seventh of may
intrigues, plot, and counter-plot
i see no reason why suspensions and resignations
should ever be forgot...

and the reb is wearing black today. so are some students in STM.

justice has been blinded, democracy has been trampled upon, freedom has been muted.

here is a letter from amnesty international:

Public Statement, 6 May 2009

Malaysia: Government Crackdown on Freedom of Expression

Amnesty International calls on the Malaysian authorities to release five government critics arrested in the last two days, or charge them with recognizable criminal offences.

This wave of arrests is part of a crackdown on dissent by the new government of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak. The authorities appear to have arrested people merely for expressing their political views or gathering peacefully to protest government actions.

On 5 May 2009, police arrested university lecturer and activist Wong Chin Huat under Section 4(1) of the Sedition Act. Wong represents the Coalition for Free and Fair Elections (BERSIH), a group of civil society organizations and political parties campaigning for reforms to the electoral process in Malaysia.

Police arrested him on the same day BERSIH called on Malaysians to wear black on 7 May as a mark of protest against the ruling government’s takeover of the Perak state government.

Political tensions have increased in Perak state since the Perak Sultan ordered its Chief Minister, Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin, a member of the People’s Alliance (PA), the opposition coalition, to resign in February, following three defections from the PA to the ruling party. The government’s representative, Zambry Abdul Kadir was then appointed as the new Chief Minister. A state assembly session will take place on the 7 May when Zambry is expected to formally take up his position.

Within 24 hours of Wong’s arrest, police arrested Mohamad Sabu, the Vice President of the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS), part of the opposition coalition. It is believed that his arrest is related to his plan to hold a mass prayer session on 7 May at a mosque two kilometres from the state assembly.

Reports indicate that copies of a court order barring all supporters of political parties from gathering within 500 metres of the state assembly building have been posted in nearby areas. The Inspector General of Police, Musa Hassan has stated that police will take action against any persons breaching the order.

Today police also arrested Sani Mohd Shah, Saufi Mihat, and Yasir Sheikh Abdul Rahman when the three men attempted to deliver a cake and a letter to Prime Minister Najib, commemorating the 31st birthday of Altantuya Shaariibuu, a Mongolian model who was murdered three years ago. In April 2009 two members of the security forces were found guilty of her murder and sentenced to death. Razak Baginda, one of Prime Minister Najib’s advisors, was acquitted of abetting the murder in October 2008.

This evening police arrested at least 14 people, part of a group who had gathered at Brickfields Police Station in Kuala Lumpur, in support of Wong Chin Huat who is being held there. They have all since been released.

If found guilty, Wong Chin Huat could face a jail term of up to three years. He was initially denied access to his lawyers until his court appearance today and has been remanded into custody until Friday 8 May.

During a nationwide swoop in March, eight bloggers were charged with posting critical comments of the Sultan of Perak. They were charged under the Communication and Media Act and released on bail. In addition opposition parliamentarian and lawyer Karpal Singh was also charged under the Sedition Act for his threat to sue the Sultan of Perak over the political crisis in Perak State. Singh, who is free on bail, had claimed that the Sultan had breached the State’s constitution when directing the resignation of the Chief Minister.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

wear black (and it's not CNY)

Wear black to protest Wong's arrest

Ong Kian Ming | May 6, 09 8:01am

As news about the arrest of academic and activist Wong Chin Huat under the Sedition Act continues to filter in, a few things appear clear to me.

Firstly, the initial promise that the new administration under Najib Abdul Razak would be more accepting of criticism and adopt a more ‘liberal’ approach towards political dissent, which was hinted at when he freed two Hindraf activists who were detained under the ISA soon after he took office, has been quickly dashed by this latest act.

It is sad that Wong, one of Malaysia’s most promising young political scientists, currently teaching at a private university, was targeted, most probably because of his activities in advocating for electoral reform under Bersih - just to mention one of his more prominent roles - and specifically because of his role in urging the Malaysian public to wear black in conjunction with tomorrow’s sitting of the Perak state assembly.

Are the actions of a civil society activist and academic so threatening as to warrant his arrest under the Sedition Act?

read the rest of the article here


This is what key personalities had to say about Wong's arrest.

Anwar Ibrahim, Opposition Leader

I regret the action of the police in arresting Wong under the Sedition Act.

His request for the people to wear black tomorrow is just a mean of protesting via a legal and democratic manner.

His arrest has also revealed the true face of Prime Minister Najib's one-month old administration.

I urge the government to drop all investigations on Wong and that he be released immediately.

Dr Toh Kin Woon, former Gerakan state exco member, Penang

This action by the police against Wong is most unwarranted and unjust. It marks yet another attempt by the state to quell dissent and silence protest, laying bare the hollowness of the slogan of the new prime minister calling for '1 Malaysia, People First and Performance Now'.

Such high-handed and authoritarian actions by the police will not, however, overcome discontent as long as its root cause - which is the undemocratic and unconstitutional usurpation of power by the Barisan Nasional in Perak - is not removed.

To add insult to injury, the BN has exacerbated the already serious constitutional crisis in Perak by calling for a meeting of its state legislative assembly (tomorrow), when the question of who is the legitimate menteri besar and hence, which coalition, the Pakatan Rakyat or the BN, is the legitimate ruling coalition, has yet to be decided by the (Ipoh) High Court.

To most Malaysians, the planned action by Bersih is a legitimate form of protest against what they deem to be a serious attack committed by the BN against commonly accepted democratic principles and practices.

This latest action against Wong will only add fuel to fire, worsening the crisis. I call upon the authorities to immediately release Wong and drop all charges against him.

If the BN government is serious about wanting to resolve the current crisis, it should immediately dissolve the state legislative assembly in Perak and call for fresh elections.

Lim Teck Ghee, director of Centre for Policy Initiatives

The police action is clearly aimed at intimidating civil society organisations and the public into passivity and acceptance of the power grab in Perak by the Barisan Nasional.

There is not an iota of evidence to charge Wong or any of the other speakers (at the Bersih press conference yesterday) under the sedition or any other law or regulation in the country.

The police action smacks of an unreformed and authoritarian political system, desperate to cling to power by whatever means, and utilising the police and other agencies of the state to coerce and browbeat the Malaysian public into acceptance of its power grab, and other acts of mis-governance.

The public should regard the arrest of Wong as another round in the salvo of BN dirty tricks and should show that it is not cowed by wearing black (tomorrow).

Lim Kit Siang, DAP leader (in his blog)

Start of Najib's crackdown? Is it because of the '1Black Malaysia' campaign? (referring to Bersih's campaign is urging the public to wear black tomorrow).

Ragunath Kesavan, Bar Council chairperson

The Malaysian Bar is concerned that the police have resorted to the use of the Sedition Act 1948 yet again to stifle public opinion and dissenting voices that are unfavourable to the ruling government.

The police force must remain above politics, and regain public confidence as an institution not mired in politics. It must not be seen as a tool to intimidate and cow those who express disagreement.

The arrest of Wong, seemingly for the ‘crime' of advocating that those who disagree with the events unfolding in Perak wear black tomorrow, does not augur well for the prime minister's promise of openness and respect for the people.

The Malaysian Bar also condemns the manner in which Wong was arrested and denied his right of access to counsel yesterday night.

We reiterate our stand that authoritarian and repressive legislation such as the Sedition Act 1948 is an absolute affront to democracy. We strongly urge the government to repeal the Act, and to refrain from using it, particularly against those whose viewpoints differ from the ruling government's.

Wong Chin Huat must be released immediately.

Anil Netto, Aliran activist

I am trying to fathom why activist Wong was arrested for sedition. So much for '1Malaysia'. If you ask me, it's all public relations.

Now, all that public relations exercise has been stripped (away) and we can see the reality.

Khoo Kay Peng, corporate consultant and an independent political analyst

Wong is a respected lecturer, socio-political activist, writer and a member of the civil society.

He has written extensively on the electoral process, democracy, race relations and others. His arrest under the controversial Sedition Act is a national shame.

In the true spirit of 1Malaysia, the government should drop all charges against Wong for exercising his democratic rights.

Malaysians are smart enough to decide if they are going to follow Wong's suggestion or not to wear a black armband, T-shirt, etc (tomorrow).

What is wrong with black? Is it becoming a forbidden word or colour too?

Monday, 4 May 2009

nst spell-it-right 2009 challenge

new straits times spell-it-right competition is off and running with the first leg at the state levels taking off in seremban on 2-3rd may 2009 held at seremban parade. markus took part for the 2nd year running to represent his school, KJV, in the secondary schools category 2.

last year, he didn't make it to the final round (one of his team mates vikram made it and won) but his school won the state levels. this year, markus made it to the final round and took second place. the prize is a hefty rm 1,500.00. on top of that, his school won for the second year in a row beating sm puteri and sm mewah. the top prize for the school is rm 2,000.00 which will be divided among his team mates (as was last year). that should make a total of rm 1,900.00 for a day's work. not bad. congrats, my son.

story from NST below:


Osho the champ in 8-hour battle
By : Heidi Foo

Osho Manikkam of SMK Bukit Kepayang celebratingrejoicing with parents P. Manikkam and K. Nageswary after winning emerging the champion in the state-level RHB New Straits Times Spell-It-Right Challenge in Seremban yesterday.

SEREMBAN: The process of finding the best speller at secondary level in Negri Sembilan proved a cliffhanger all the way yesterday when the three top contestants refused to give way.

Markus Loke Qi En says the competition has become more challenging this year

Mohamad Farhan Mohd Nasarudin says he has given his best

Osho Manikkam, 17, finally pulled away to become the winner of the secondary category of the state-level RHB New Straits Times Spell-It-Right Challenge after eight hours by spelling the word "androcentric" correctly.

The head prefect of SMK Bukit Kepayang saw stiff competition from Markus Loke Qi En of SMK King George V and Mohamad Farhan Mohd Nasarudin of Sekolah Dato' Abdul Razak until the last tie-breaker round when he was the first past the post.

"I think a lot of reading and motivation from my parents, teammates and teachers pushed me to first place. I'm overwhelmed by the win and I promise to do my best in the National Challenge," said Osho, who maintained his composure in the earlier rounds.

"My school is only five years old and so it feels good to represent the underdogs in defeating other more established schools," said Osho, who won RM2,000, taking the crown from last year's state champ, Vikram Ramachandran, of SMK King George V.
Osho described Loke and Farhan as worthy opponents. He said he would prepare for the national competition by learning the origin of words to give him a better understanding of the language.

His father, P. Manikkam, 54, a Bahasa Malaysia teacher, said he encouraged Osho to participate in the competition after he and his wife, K. Nageswary, 43, watched the competition on TV3 last year.

"We watched the programme on television and were impressed by the participants' ability.

"So we wanted Osho to take part. I'm proud of his achievement as it was beyond my expectation. It was a tough fight," Manikkam said. Osho is the younger of two children.

Loke, 16, who was participating in the competition for the second time, found the words and contestants more competitive compared with last year.

"The competition has become more challenging and my opponents kept me on my toes. I had a great experience this year and I hope to make a comeback next year," said the fourth former, who took home RM1,500.

Loke beat Farhan by spelling "misogynist" correctly.

His teachers, Ch'ng Kooi Hwa and Ng Yoke Leng, said they added an extra "ingredient", which they declined to identify, when coaching the school team, which comprised Ashwin Raghavan, Rachel Decruz, and Uhendran Subpramaniam, all 17.

"The little extra is a secret because we knew it would be more competitive this year with more schools and difficult words to expect..

"We had to do more than was required."

The quartet also did its school proud by winning the team event, taking home RM2,000 as the state school champion. They beat 36 schools by accumulating the most points.

Farhan said he had given his best to make it to the top three and winning RM1,000

Calling himself a bookworm, he said he experienced a mixture of emotion when he knew he was among the top three to battle for the state champion's title.

"I felt nervous, excited and happy at the same time because I knew that either way, I am going to walk away from this competition as a winner," said the prefect who planned to donate his prize money to charity.

SMK Puteri came in second in the schools category, winning RM1,500. SMK Bukit Kepayang took third place, which came with a RM1,000 prize.

Contest content committee chairman Balan Moses said the eight hours that it took for the contest to come to an end was testimony of the high standard of the contestants.

"The finalists were fighting tooth and nail for top position until the end. We were running out of words in the tiebreaker round when Osho proved he was the best in the state," added the NST deputy chief news editor.

Moses had kind words for the youngest finalists, Arnold Tan Junhan, 13, and Marissa de Valda Mohd Yatim, 15, who did their best despite going up against older students.

"I am impressed by the number of younger contestants this year with two getting into the finals."

The nationwide contest with prizes amounting to more than RM200,000 is aimed at encouraging the use of English in a fun way besides promoting the New Straits Times as an educational learning tool.

Prizes were presented by NST chief financial officer Mohamad Ariff Ibrahim and RHB group corporate communications senior manager Mastura Adnan.