‘What if Thailand had sent its army and tanks into Malaysia? And then what if Bangkok were to host the 2020 Olympic Games?’
Scott Thong Yu Yuen: As our nation's leader warn against Malaysians holding protests against the Beijing Olympics, I feel compelled to ask a pertinent question - what if Thailand had sent its army and tanks into Malaysia and conquered the entire Peninsula? And then what if Bangkok were to host the 2020 Olympic Games?
Would Malaysians be all smiley and happy-happy about the Olympic Torch relay while our country remained occupied as a 'rightful province of historic Greater Siam'? Would our neighbours keep officially silent about the gradual replacement of Malaysian multi-culture with Thai customs and norms, just to stay on the good side of the Thai economic giant?
Would our mainstream media newspapers only print letters that bash the West for daring to criticise and politicise the Thailand Games? Heck, what if instead of China Olympics and Tibetan protestors, they were having Israel Olympics and Palestinian protestors? Do you think that the same people calling for the Olympic Games not to be politicised would keep singing the same tune? Do you think that our politicians would call for public restraint, or public protests?
(If you want a hint, just look at the recent hoo-ha over two Israeli members in an English football team who came close to being denied entry to our tolerant nation.) In my honest opinion, it is totally one's prerogative to protest whatever you want or to condemn whatever protest is being held.
Just don't act as if you yourself are completely just, righteous and fair-minded. Be honest and admit your highly political biases. I looked at my nation in the mirror, and saw only hypocrisy.
Norman Fernandez: It has taken twenty years for the government to acknowledge the wrong done to the said judges. Imagine, twenty years just to get an acknowledgment! While many laud the government’s decision, what is most regretted is the refusal of the government to acknowledge its wrong doing and unreservedly apologise to the judges and their families. Instead, the government offers ex-gratia payment, not as a sign of remorse and regret but as a recognition of the contribution by the six outstanding judges.
The decent thing the judges and their families ought to do is to reject the offer of ex-gratia payment, unless of the judges or their families need the money. After 20 years, what is needed is for the government to unreservedly apologise. Simple as that - an apology.
The prime minister had an opportunity to put it right but as usual fluffed the opportunity. Thus, so long as the government does not apologise and so long as it is not done, there will be no closure of the ugly chapter of 1988. One dinner and ex-gratia payment are simply not enough.
The Devil's Advocate: May I proffer a simple reason as to why the government has chosen the ex-gratia payment option but not an outright apology. The original decision of the judges was that the registration of new Umno by Dr M's faction was illegal after they nearly lost the fight with Ku Li's faction. To offer an outright apology (which is the right thing to do in most of our minds) would also mean admitting that the original decision of the impeached Lord President Tun Salleh Abbas was indeed correct i.e. Umno in its current form is an illegally registered organisation and should not exist.
If we see it in this light, then the current PM's words: ‘It is not wise or useful to revisit this past decision as it would serve to prolong the sense of crisis - something our nation can do without’ can be better understood as ‘it is indeed something the current Umno can do without’. So the real reason why our wronged judges will never get the measure of full justice is so that the current Umno can go on to exist.
DSD: The PM should be congratulated for announcing the establishment of a Judicial Appointment Commission. We hope that with this announcement it will put to rest the debate on the sacking of judges, an issue which has long gained prominence in the media. The PM should also be congratulated for taking cognisance of this judges-sacking issue by offering ex-gratia payment to those affected. This shows that the government feels for these sacked judges and this honourable act should be accepted in good faith by all.
I don’t see any benefit in talking about an issue which has passed for 20 years. The parties concerned should now stop pressuring the current government and the PM into issuing an apology. Why should the current PM be pressured into issuing an apology in the first place? If anyone is to be pressured, it should be the previous government and the PM under whose administration this act of sacking was carried out.
Om Prakash: The ACA has succumbed to some ‘fear and favour’ along some point and has lost its credibility in the eyes of the Malaysian public. It can no longer consistently provide an effective prosecution and/or investigation of cases needing its intervention. So it has no right to ask for more independence.
Instead, it has to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that it is apolitical and highly efficient by scoring a 100% success rate in winning cases. Perhaps, after such a success rate, it could be considered for the granting of more independence which will still require it to be exclusively answerable to Parliament especially since the government of the day and of the past are exposed to high risks of corruption and wrong-doing.
NGO Robert: Firstly, let's me congratulate our far-sighted PM for his announcements on judicial and ACA reforms which are both long overdue and are major setbacks for the BN in the last general election. It is indeed a laudable move in the right direction.
The people have lost confidence in the judiciary system which is proactive in favour of the government and related establishments. It is important that judicial decisions be based on the merits of the litigants’ cases and any decision against the establishment should not be viewed as an anti-government policy and therefore a demerit point for the promotion of judges.
The independence of the ACA acts as a complement to judicial reform and both systems should work hand-in-hand in the interests of the people as a whole. It is our fervent hope that the PM will implement both reforms as soon as possible in order to restore public confidence and trust in judiciary system.
Indian: In spite of all the ‘beating’ which Umno/BN got from the recent GE, they have not learnt a lesson. This is very true of the PM not listening to the rakyat. The 5 Hindraf leaders have not committed any crime. They only highlighted the Indians’ grievances when none of the government leaders wanted to hear them out. Syed Hamid is making a grave mistake by denying to release them. They will regret for not listening to the rakyat .
Meng: The BN government’s actions continue to show arrogance and disrespect to the rakyat 's plight and wishes. For goodness sake, charge the Hindraf 5 and do not hide any longer behind the ISA. It only shows contempt and cowardliness on the part of the BN leadership to continue to detain the Hindraf 5 without charging them in a court of law where evidence and the rule of law exist. It shows Abdullah's weak and unstable government. It shows bad faith and vindictiveness of the Abdullah administration.
There is really no use going before the Bar Council to speak of judicial reform when there is gross injustice and total disrespect for the rule of law in Malaysia. This is what makes the Malaysian rakyat - and the Indian community in particular - angry with the BN government. Samy can speak all he wants but the truth is he has failed the Indian community miserably and should anything happen to any of the 5 Hindraf heroes, their blood is on his hands and on all the BN leaders who sit and do nothing.
Release them and the other ISA detainees now or be judged by the Malaysian rakyat - this time there will be no mercy.
Xiankaisifu: I strongly believe that we have in Pak Lah a good and modest PM. He is now trying to give us as much liberty as he can right before stepping down (if he has to.) He is trying to turn around all the wrongs. He is the type of PM that we asked for and he gave us more space to voice out our demands, our anger and our rights which were long hidden in our hearts.
Pak Lah asked us to give him more time to shape up and I think we should allow him that. Let us use wisdom to rule our emotions and not instead be ruled by emotions.
Antares: Dear Syed Hamid Albar. In the aftermath of GE12, your ministry has initiated - or failed to initiate - several actions that will only widen the gulf between the BN administration and the Malaysian public.
I refer to:
1. Your refusal to release the five leaders of Hindraf currently detained in Kamunting under the ISA - or press charges against them in open court.
2. Your cruel and unwarranted extension of the ISA detentions of all those accused of links to extremist Islamic groups. The police have had more than ample time in which to investigate these cases. If no solid evidence of criminal activity has been found, these prisoners must be unconditionally released.
3. Your failure to renew the publishing licence of the vernacular newspaper, Makkal Osai - an act widely perceived as a punitive gesture for its coverage of news unflattering to the BN's image.
4. The heavy-handed and totally objectionable use of police harassment to intimidate leaders of PKR following their April 14 celebration within the compound of Kelab Sultan Sulaiman in Kampung Baru.
As a member of the Malaysian electorate, it is my patriotic duty to point out that the Home Affairs Ministry should not only serve as a politically neutral institution, but it should also be seen to be politically neutral. I urge you to uphold the dignity, credibility and integrity of your ministry.
Dr Raj Kumar Maharajah: Of all the people calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, the one by former Selangor Mentri Besar Dr Khir Toyo, seems to be the biggest bluff.
Khir was a liability to the Barisan Nasional, particularly in Selangor and generally the whole country, for his infamous barbaric handling of the relocation/ demolishing of Hindu temples in Selangor in the name of development.
Though the PM and his deputy Najib Razak were aware of the strong wave of resentment amongst the Hindu community throughout Malaysia as to the temple issue, they still took chances and gave Khir the opportunity to lead the BN election machinery and also maintain his position as menteri besar post-election should BN win in Selangor.
Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should not be the only one taking responsibility for the election defeat of the BN in several states. A series of events contributed to the rise and awakening of the rakyat . Amongst those who should be held responsible are Khir Toyo, Hishamuddin Hussein, Nazri Aziz, Badruddin Amiruldin, Bung Mokhtar Radin and also the component party leaders who seemed to be non-committal to issues affecting their communities and all Malaysians in general.
It is my fervent hope and also that of many others that Khir Toyo will cease to ask for the resignation of the prime minister as he is not qualified to do so. Do not bite the hand which fed you.
JKS: These Strangers, in a foreign World,
Protection asked of me —
Befriend them, lest Yourself in Heaven
Be found a Refugee
- Emily Dickinson- circa 1866
Alan Young: It is common for the ordinary Malaysian in the street to refer to Sikhs as ‘Bengalis’.
There is a historical reason for this. When Penang was ceded to the East India Company in 1786, it was garrisoned by soldiers from the Company's Bengal Army (as opposed to the Madras Army) hence although there were a large number of Sikhs amongst them they were all known as Bengalis. Old habits die hard but one would have thought that after over two hundred years people would have learnt by today to have learnt the correct name! Perhaps our schools should have done something about this.