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29 September 2008

YAB Dato’ Seri Abdullah Badawi
Prime Minister of Malaysia
5th Floor, East Wing
Perdana Putra Building

Dear Mr Prime Minister

IN our proclamation of independence, our first prime minister gave voice to the lofty aspirations and dreams of the people of Malaya: that Malaya was founded on the principles of liberty and justice, and the promise that collectively we would always strive to improve the welfare and happiness of its people.

Many years have passed since that momentous occasion and those aspirations and dreams remain true and are as relevant to us today as they were then. This was made possible by a strong grasp of fundamentals in the early period of this nation.

The federal constitution and the laws made pursuant to it were well founded; they embodied the key elements of a democracy built on the rule of law. The Malaysian judiciary once commanded great respect from Malaysians and was hailed as a beacon for other nations.

Our earlier prime ministers, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak and Tun Hussein Onn were truly leaders of integrity, patriots in their own right and most importantly, men of humility. They believed in and built this nation on the principles and values enunciated in our constitution.

Even when they had to enact the Internal Security Act (ISA) 1960, they were very cautious and apologetic about it. Tunku stated clearly that the Act was passed to deal with the communist threat.

“My cabinet colleagues and I gave a solemn promise to Parliament and the nation that the immense powers given to the government under the ISA would never be used to stifle legitimate opposition and silence lawful dissent,” was what the Tunku said.

Our third prime minister, Tun Hussein Onn, reinforced this position by saying that the ISA was not intended to repress lawful political opposition and democratic activity on the part of the citizenry.

The events of the last three weeks have compelled me to review the way in which the ISA has been used. This exercise has sadly led me to the conclusion that the government has time and time again failed the people of this country in repeatedly reneging on that solemn promise made by Tunku Abdul Rahman.

This has been made possible because the government and the law have mistakenly allowed the minister of home affairs to detain anyone for whatever reason he thinks fit. This subjective discretion has been abused to further certain political interests.

History is the great teacher and speaks volumes in this regard. Even a cursory examination of the manner in which the ISA has been used almost from its inception would reveal the extent to which its intended purpose has been subjugated to the politics of the day.

Regrettably, Tunku Abdul Rahman himself reneged on his promise. In 1965, his administration detained Burhanuddin Helmi, the truly towering Malay intellectual, a nationalist who happened to be a PAS leader. He was kept in detention until his death in 1969. Helmi was a political opponent and could by no stretch of the imagination be considered to have been involved in the armed rebellion or communism that the ISA was designed to deal with.

This detention was an aberration, a regrettable moment where politics had been permitted to trump the rule of law. It unfortunately appears to have set a precedent and many detentions of persons viewed as having been threatening to the incumbent administration followed through the years.

Even our literary giant, ‘sasterawan negara’ the late Tan Sri A Samad Ismail was subjected to the ISA in 1976. How could he have been a threat to national security?

I need not remind you of the terrible impact of the 1987 Operasi Lalang. Its spectre haunts the government as much as it does the peace-loving people of this nation, casting a gloom over all of us. There were and still are many unanswered questions about those dark hours when more than a hundred persons were detained for purportedly being threats to national security. Why they were detained has never been made clear to Malaysians.

Similarly, no explanation has been forthcoming as to why they were never charged in court. Those detainees included amongst their numbers senior opposition members of parliament who are still active in Parliament today.

The only thing that is certain about that period was that Umno was facing a leadership crisis. Isn’t it coincidental that the recent spate of ISA arrests has occurred when Umno is again having a leadership crisis?

In 2001, Keadilan ‘reformasi’ activists were detained in an exercise that the Federal Court declared was in bad faith and unlawful. The continued detention of those that were not released earlier in the Kamunting detention facility was made possible only by the fact that the ISA had been questionably amended in 1988 to preclude judicial review of the minister’s order to detain.

Malaysians were told that these detainees had been attempting to overthrow the government via militant means and violent demonstrations. Seven years have gone and yet no evidence in support of this assertion has been presented. Compounding the confusion even further, one of these so-called militants, Ezam Mohamad Noor, recently rejoined Umno to great fanfare, as a prized catch it would seem.

At around the same time, members of PAS were also detained for purportedly being militant and allegedly having links to international terrorist networks. Those detained included Nik Adli, the son of Tuan Guru Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, the menteri besar of Kelantan. Malaysians were made a promise by the government that evidence of the alleged terrorist activities and links of these detainees would be disclosed. To date no such evidence has been produced.

The same formula was used in late 2007 when the Hindraf 5 were detained. Malaysians were told once again that these individuals were involved in efforts to overthrow the government and had links with the militant Liberation Tiger of Tamil Eelam of Sri Lanka. To date no concrete evidence have been presented to support this assertion.

It would seem therefore that the five were detained for their involvement in efforts that led to a mobilisation of Indian Malaysians to express, through peaceful means; their frustration against the way in which their community had been allowed to be marginalised. This cause has since been recognised as a legitimate one. The Hindraf demonstration is nothing extraordinary as such assemblies are universally recognised as being a legitimate means of expression.

In the same vein, the grounds advanced in support of the most recent detentions of Tan Hoon Cheng, Teresa Kok and Raja Petra Kamarudin leave much to be desired. The explanation that Tan Hoon Cheng was detained for her own safety was farcical. The suggestion that Teresa Kok had been inciting religious sentiments was unfounded as was evinced by her subsequent release.

As for Raja Petra Kamarudin, the prominent critic of the government, a perusal of his writings would show that he might have been insulting of the government and certain individuals within it.

However, being critical and insulting could not in any way amount to a threat to national security. If his writings are viewed as being insulting of Islam, Muslims or the Holy Prophet, he should instead be charged under the Penal Code and not under the ISA.

In any event, he had already been charged for sedition and criminal defamation in respect of some of his statements. He had claimed trial, indicating as such his readiness and ability to defend himself. Justice would best be served by allowing him his day in court more so where, in the minds of the public, the government is in a position of conflict for having been the target of his strident criticism.

The instances cited above strongly suggest that the government is undemocratic. It is this perspective that has over the last 25 plus years led to the government seemingly arbitrarily detaining political opponents, civil society and consumer advocates, writers, businessmen, students, journalists whose crime, if it could be called that, was to have been critical of the government.

How it is these individuals can be perceived as being threats to national security is beyond my comprehension. The self-evident reality is that legitimate dissent was and is quashed through the heavy-handed use of the ISA.

There are those who support and advocate this carte-blanche reading of the ISA. They will seek to persuade you that the interests of the country demand that such power be retained, that Malaysians owe their peace and stability to laws such as the ISA. This overlooks the simple truth that Malaysians of all races cherish peace. We lived together harmoniously for the last 400 years, not because of these laws but in spite of them.

I believe the people of this country are mature and intelligent enough to distinguish actions that constitute a ‘real’ threat to the country from those that threaten political interests. Malaysians have come know that the ISA is used against political opponents and, it would seem, when the leadership is under challenge either from within the ruling party or from external elements.

Malaysians today want to see a government that is committed to the court process to determine guilt or innocence even for alleged acts of incitement of racial or religious sentiment. They are less willing to believe, as they once did, that a single individual, namely the minister of home affairs; knows best about matters of national security.

They value freedom and the protection of civil liberties and this is true of people of other nations too.

Mr Prime Minister, the results of the last general election are clear indication that the people of Malaysia are demanding a reinstatement of the rule of law. I was appointed as your, albeit short-lived, minister in charge of legal affairs and judicial reform.

In that capacity, I came to understand more keenly how many of us want reform, not for the sake of it, but for the extent to which our institutions have been undermined by events and the impact this has had on society.

With your blessing, I attempted to push for reform. High on my list of priorities was a reinstatement of the inherent right of judicial review that could be enabled through a reversion of the key constitutional provision to its form prior to the controversial amendment in 1988.

I need not remind you that that constitutional amendment was prompted by the same series of events that led not only to Operasi Lalang but the sacking of the then Lord President and two supreme court justices.

Chief amongst my concerns was the way in which the jurisdiction and the power of the courts to grant remedy against unconstitutional and arbitrary action of the executive had been removed by Parliament and the extent to which this had permitted an erosion of the civil liberties of Malaysians.

It was this constitutional amendment that paved the way for the ouster provision in the ISA that virtually immunises the minister from judicial review, a provision which exemplifies the injustice the constitutional amendment of 1988 has lent itself.

I also sought to introduce means by which steps could be taken to assist the judiciary to regain the reputation for independence and competence it once had. Unfortunately, this was viewed as undesirable by some since an independent judiciary would mean that the executive would be less ‘influential’.

I attempted to do these things and more because of the realisation that Malaysia’s democratic traditions and the rule of law are under siege. Anyway, there is nothing wrong with giving everyone an independent judiciary and the opportunity to a fair trial.

This is consistent with the universal norms of human rights as it is with the tenets of Islam, the religion of the federation. Unchecked power to detain at the whim of one man is oppressiveness at its highest. Even in Israel, a nation that is perpetually at war the power to detain is not vested in one man and detention orders require endorsement from a judge.

If there are national security considerations, then these can be approached without jettisoning the safeguards intended to protect individual citizens from being penalised wrongfully. In other jurisdictions involved in armed conflicts, trials are held in camera to allow for judicial scrutiny of evidence considered too sensitive for public disclosure so as to satisfy the ends of justice.

If this can be done in these jurisdictions, why not here where the last armed struggle we saw, the very one that precipitated the need for the ISA, came to an end in the 1980s?

Any doubts as to the continued relevance of the ISA in its present form should have been put to rest by the recommendation by the Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) that the ISA be repealed and an anti-terror legislation suited to the times enacted in its place. Containing as it did a sunset clause in its original times, the ISA was never intended to be a permanent feature on the Malaysian legal landscape.

Through its continued use in the manner described above and in the face of public sentiment, it is only natural that the ISA has become in the mind of the people an instrument of oppression and the government is one that lends itself to oppressiveness.

Its continued use does not bode well for a society that is struggling to find its place in the global arena. It does not bode well for the democracy that is so vital for us to develop sustainably.

Mr Prime Minister, I remember very clearly what you once said; that if one has the opportunity to do what is good and right for the country, then he must take on the task. I respect you deeply for that and if I were confident that I would have been able to do some good for Malaysia, I would have remained on your team.

Sir, you are still the prime minister and you still have the opportunity to leave your footprint in Malaysian history. I urge you to do so by repealing the ISA once and for all.

Let us attempt to fulfil that solemn promise made by our beloved first prime minister to the people of this country.

Yours sincerely,

Zaid Ibrahim


OBE sez “Nuff said”.

A) HARTAL ISA event – Kuala Lumpur – Wednesday 1st October ’08 at PWTC.

Time – 11.00am sharp.

Those interested, please meet up with Haris and friends near Secret Recipe at the Mall. He plans to attend the Diplomat and VIPs slot which will be held at 11.30am onwards.

If you need more information, kindly contact Haris Ibrahim at –

(Also read this for latest update plus Penang event, if any).

Folks, Haris have no intention to eat BN free food therefore it is recommended that you have a hearty breakfast prior to the event.

B) HARTAL ISA T-shirt:

Please contact Gan at 016-3021125 for your order(s).

If possible, please wear this t-shirt design and color for the above-mentioned event.

I was at Bloghouse with a whole bunch of bloggers and bloggerettes (Yeah, right. Where else would we feel at home. The Wharf came much later) anxiously awaiting the incoming results of 2008 GE on 8th March ’08 and later, at past midnight, when it became obvious that Penang had fallen to the opposition, we all witnessed an act of profound magnanimity by a BN leader which is intrinsically missing from the rest.

KTK took it upon himself to immediately greet LGE in person at the witching hour to acknowledge Gerakan’s defeat in trying to defend Penang. Considering the almost total demolition his party experienced, nobody would blame KTK if he had met the new state minister later in the day. Don’t we all recalled what SV of MIC did when he lost at Sungei Siput. (M.I.A. lah).

Anywayz, six months down the calender, Gerakan is in a state of bother. To continue staying within the BN coalition, join PR or become an ‘independent’ political party (hmmm.. sounds like a Third Front option to me). Apparently, 60% of the grassroot members prefer to extricate the party out of BN for a variety of reasons and this proposal has been reported in the MSM for the past couple of weeks.

So much so, another bloke from UMNO (yeah, there’s more than one air-head apart from that Bukit Bendera loud-mouth) has thrown down the gauntlet to the acting Gerakan chief.

“As a leader, he must be responsible to the coalition. He needs to set the course for Gerakan and make his position clear. After all, a fish rots from the head down,” said Penang Umno liaison committee deputy chairman Datuk Abdul Rashid Abdullah. (Read full article here at The Malaysian Insider).

That has got to hurt real bad coming from a so-called comrade in BN, especially the fish head analogy which is soooooo.. uhhmm.. MCA-ish.

In the same TMI article was a comment from S.H. Huang who wrote:


Gerakan: “To leave or not to leave,” that is the question.
written by Huang Siew Hock, September 29, 2008

Gerakan is now in a dilemma: “To leave or not to leave”, that is the question. Some Gerakan leaders in Penang, Selangor and Kuala Lumpur had left or resigned. It appears that the coming days and weeks will see an EXODUS from the Party, thereby leaving just a “shell” . The situation becomes more fuzzy and confusing when the acting President is neither here nor there; and he is indecisive. A leader has to make quick decisions; dilly-dallying will not make decision-making any easier in the future. He must weigh the pros and cons, discuss with fellow colleagues and come to a definitive decision without further delay. In my earlier analysis “Can BN save the PM ? Or can the PM save BN?”, in Malaysiakini, I mentioned that Gerakan cannot save itself, least of all save the PM. It lost its stronghold, Penang; and is now left with two MPs! What bargaining chips does it have in BN? Rather pathetic! It is a far cry from the days when it took Penang by storm while in Opposition. What reasons did it have then to form BN with the then Alliance ? It was, and still is to a certain extent, though heavily dominated by the Chinese, multi-racial; in fact it was the BEACON that brightened the future of multi-racialism. And most people then were hoping that, at long last,a truly multi-racial Party had been born. But this idealism slowly faded away after it co-founded BN.

Now, where does it stand in the corridors of power ?

With the tearing and stomping of the President’s photo by a racist in Penang, the UMNO leader had shown his colours to a BN component! It was the height of humiliation a leader could endure! Was it not enough for the acting Presidnet to call for an emergency meeting of Gerakan, and make a DECISION? Nothing of the sort happened! Now, he is still pondering, in spite of the humiliation, whether Gerakan should leave BN! Does he have any self-esteem left in his bones? Or is he still hoping against hope to “survive ” from the thrashing his Party received at the polls? What is he hoping for? For a durian to fall?

S.H. Huang


Personally, I can emphatise with KTK and sincerely believe he’s a decent chap who got caught out with BN’s strategy with an over dependence on the UMNO leadership to pull through unscathed in the last GE.

Unfortunately, we do know UMNO itself was rudderless, no thanks to AAB’s incompetent and inept leadership qualities.

Gerakan in fact have tried to move towards installing reforms prior to the GE without any success mainly to the recalcitrant antics of UMNO (KJ was in the thick of it, wasn’t he).

Soooo… KTK, yer got kicked in the head and teeth with that photo-tearing episode recently. Do yer wanna get your family jewels (Gerakan lah. Not that part of your anatomy) bashed as well?

Go independent, reform Gerakan as a non race-based party and yer will get the attention of both BN and PR by 2013. Even Penang malays have spoken, fer crying out loud. Coz malays and umnoputras are not the same species.

Forget the idea of waiting for the right time to review UMNO’s evolution under NTR because this bloke will be too busy re-distributing the BN assets among his UMNO supporters during the next six months, and as usual, there will be nothing of significance left for BN component allies. Besides, there’s an ongoing worldwide financial meltdown apart from the potential fallout from the Maybank/BII deal so the new MOF chief is gonna have his hands tied up elsewhere. Comprende?

Or do I have to add vowels to your initials to ensure that ‘a man got to do what a man has to’?

Meanwhile, remember this?

What happened to this fler lah?

Kit Siang: PM must be brave to reform before quitting

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 29 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should end his “lackustre premiership in a blaze of glory: by enacting reforms in at least 10 areas, veteran opposition leader Lim Kit Siang said last night.

The DAP supremo said Abdullah should consider the sixth option, apart from the five he had outlined which included not contesting in Umno polls; remain a lame-duck Prime Minister; resign immediately; advise the King to dissolve the Parliament; or cooperate with Pakatan Rakyat to form a new federal government.

“Accept the Umno Supreme Council ultimatum that his premiership ends by March next year but ending his hitherto lacklustre premiership in a blaze of glory in the final six months by leaving a lasting legacy for future Malaysians by being a courageous reformist Prime Minister,” Kit Siang told the crowd at a ceramah in Serdang.

The text of his speech was sent out today.

Kit Siang said Abdullah can begin his six-month programme of reform in the next Cabinet meeting by choosing to act in at least 10 areas, which are:-

1.   Police – Establish the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) by the end of the year, based on the Bill proposed by the Royal Police Commission, in order to create an efficient, incorruptible, professional world-class service to restore to Malaysians their fundamental freedom to be free from crime and the fear of crime.

2.   No more foot-dragging with judicial reforms by ensuring that a Judicial Appointments Commission is established by the end of the year and that the country is not plunged into another era of judicial darkness and scandal with the appointment of the first Umno Chief Justice in the 51-year history of Malaysia.

3.   A total revamp of the Anti-Corruption Agency, which has proved to be an utter failure with Malaysia’s Transparency International Corruption Perception Index plunging from No. 37 in 2003 to No. 47 in 2008, when we should have improved to at least No. 30 according to the National Integrity Plan – with the formation of a completely independent anti-corruption commission by the end of the year.

4.   Far-reaching parliamentary reforms including the introduction of a full-fledged Parliamentary Select Committee system whereby every Ministry is shadowed by a Parliamentary Select Committee.

5.   Repeal of draconian Printing Presses and Publications Act to ensure press freedom and an independent media.

6.   Immediate release of Raja Petra Kamaruddin, the Hindraf Five and all other Internal Security Act detainees and the repeal of the ISA.

7.   Declaration of Malaysia Day on September 16 every year as a national public holiday.

8.   20% oil royalty to Sabah and Sarawak to be devoted solely for the development of the people in the two states and not for the enrichment of a handful of political parasites.

9.   Meritocracy as a national policy to reverse brain drain and to retain the best and brightest to transform Malaysia into a competitive global player in the international economic scene.

10. Full acceptance of “Bangsa Malaysia” as primary nation-building objective and not ketuanan Melayu or any other communal, retrogressive or obsolete concept.

From The Malaysian Insider – 29/09/08. Full article here.


LKS’s sixth option for AAB got ten points meh? Wahlauweh, some people really want to ‘skychange’ so much by just talking to the heavens.

You gotta hand it to this wily old fox, LKS, to ‘twist the knife’ after AAB’s UMNO detractors have plunged it into the bewildered outgoing premier buffoon.

Anywayz, the newly minted MOD political chief have promptly got his act together within a few days after taking the portfolio from his number two. Short of saber-rattling gestures (which might scare off RDC down south of the border), AAB took out his only potent weapon ever i.e. his pen and signed an L.O.I. to buy helicopters from Europe. Boy, this bloke is certainly quick on the draw when it comes to spending taxpayers’ monies.

Lemme see.. the last major Nuri crash was in July ’07 at Gunung Buah Bunga near Genting Sempah at the border of Selangor and Pahang. All six crewpersons and passengers died in that crash.

At the time, AAB and NTR reportedly said respectively:

a) “I hope their families can accept this tragedy as fated and be patient in going through their bereavement. Allah loves them more and knows better”.

b) “The Nuris have been properly maintained and are in good condition. We have no option but to use the Nuri as the main mode of air transport for the Defense Ministry”.

And 15 months later, AAB’s John Hancock was officially inscribed into a military hardware procurement deal.

We’ve always heard of the adage that ‘a new broom sweeps clean’ but I’ve a nagging suspicion whether we’re being taken to the cleaners yet again. Or is this gesture typical of AAB throwing sweets at his gullible subordinates in the MOD so that they won’t bother him when he’s napping.

And to errr.. sweeten it more, AAB’s gonna repair and/or rebuild 12 army camps in the Klang Valley and Ipoh as well under the IBS system. Yup, that’s a done deal alright. Let’s hope AAB doesn’t think that the Industrialised Building System (IBS) was invented by Scomi coz fabricating coach or train bodies ain’t the same as pre-fab housings.

Therefore, folks, do yer see what can happen when a big chunk (about RM500 million per annum) of the MOD’s budget allocation get siphoned off to prop up the dubious NS program which does not have a specific government budget for itself. Yeah, it’s a double whammy thingy, once in the front and again, at the back.

Soooo.. LKS, please keep your wishlist coz AAB ain’t interested to hear your appeals for reforms nor your frantic cries for him to cooperate with PR to take over the Federal government.

And how come your wishlist does not include specific economic issues or reforms?  That one only AI can announce ah? The meritocracy and Bangsa Malaysia points are too arbitrary lah.

However, do not throw away the wishlist either coz it will definitely be relevant if and when PR get to be in charge of the nation. That’s a promise which some of us intend to keep reminding you by then.

Oh yeah, speaking of reminders and intent. Could you remind Junior about his promise to take over the KDC land for low cost housing projects? Don’t just NATO ok.

Btw I thought general election finish oredi mah. How come yer still doing ceramahs?

Click on Image to enlarge.

Calling out to genuine doggie lovers, this 3 month old puppy is looking for a home.

For more details, please go to Kelly’s Kennel.

*Psssst.. am I gonna get hauled up by the Home minister.. yeah, that Browny Baldy chap.. for insulting Islam or something.. and get thrown into KDC for posting this? Tell yer what, please keep this information as a secret and inform only your trusted family members and/or friends and/or colleagues, and I’ll be fine. Thanks a heap, folks*

September 2008


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