September 27, 2007

Political or Non-Political?

Posted in Malaysia, Reflections at 1:08 am by egalitaria

(photo from Jeffooi.com – thanks in advance, Jeff!)

Today when one of the PKR members wanted to distribute flyers and was stopped by the Bar because this was meant to be a non-political event (and later the President disassociated the Bar/event from any political parties’ banners and propaganda that were brought along)… I asked myself the question, is this political or is it not?

If we see the appointment of judges and promotion of judges as being influenced heavily by political circles, then we must also see the cleaning up of it as a step in a political direction – purely because the circles of influence are one and the same.

In order to change the decision-making, policy-making process in the country, we must engage at a political level, because as we all know, lines between the pillars of Judiciary, Executive and Legislature are so blurred. So everything we do is at some level, political.

What it meant today, of course, and understandably, was that any one political party’s message should not be assumed to be that of the Bar’s. Rightfully so. Because principles of justice, integrity, honour and dignity cut across all parties, individuals and affiliations.

BUT having said that, lawyers have their cases to fight. Your average Citizen Joe does not, and cannot know how to engage otherwise than to join the political front in whichever way he so chooses.

How to be involved in politics without joining a party: The lowest common denominator that each person has is the power of the vote. This is not new info. The level at which we engage policies, politics, change – eventually lies with the vote. Nazri openly said before that politicians will not do anything if their positions at MP level are not in question. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Vote for whom stands for the right principles, and make sure these are carried out correctly.

September 26, 2007

Petition for Royal Commission

Posted in Malaysia, The Cause at 11:09 pm by egalitaria

The People’s Parliament has launced a petition rakyat to the DYMM Yang Dipertuan Agong for the establishment of a Royal Commission. Haris Ibrahim writes:

The People’s Appeal To His Majesty The Yang DiPertuan Agung

 

On 19/9/2007, the nation was rocked by another scandal, this time in the form of a video clip which exposed what appears to be a telephone conversation between senior lawyer VK Lingam and another person, allegedly fixing the appointment of ‘friendly’ senior judges.

 

A careful study of the monologue presented in the video clip leaves a very clear impression that the telephone conversation is indeed between VK Lingam and the present CJ, Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim and relates to the appointment and promotion of judges. Other judges are also named in the course of the conversation.

 

That Tun Ahmad Fairuz had, subsequent to the release of the video clip, first responded that he would need to first view the video clip before saying anything, then issuing a ‘no comment’ response and only lately and that too through a third party making a bare denial of being a party to the conversation leaves us, the rakyat with a sense that Tun Ahmad Fairuz has not responded with complete candour on this matter.

 

This scandal now casts serious doubts on the suitability of Tun Ahmad Fairuz to head the judiciary as well as on the propriety of the appointments and promotions, made on the recommendation of Tun Ahmad Fairuz, of several judges of the High Courts, the Court of Appeal and the Federal Court.

 

We, the rakyat, no longer have any confidence whatsoever in the judiciary.

 

We, the rakyat have noted for some time that some very senior judges have been constantly overlooked in the numerous promotion exercises that have proceeded during the tenure of Tun Ahmad Fairuz, with junior judges being preferred.

 

We the rakyat have also noted that it was recently reported that Their Royal Highnesses acting through the Conference of Rulers rejected two nominations by Tun Fairuz for the position of President of the Court of Appeal and the Chief Judge of Malaya although these positions had been vacant for a long time. It is rumoured that those nominated by Tun Fairuz were junior in comparison with many other more senior serving judges.

 

We, the rakyat, have further noted that there is at least one judge promoted to the Federal Court who, it is reported, has failed to deliver written judgments in up to as many as 35 cases, with the result that appeals by many who have been convicted of offences and are in prison are unable to have their appeals heard.

 

This most recent scandal also raises again real concerns about the sudden change of the trial judge in an ongoing murder trial in Shah Alam.

 

We, the rakyat, are also gravely concerned about the recent decisions in several high-profile cases and whether these were ‘fixed’ by Tun Ahmad Fairuz and, if so, the implications it has in relation to the other judges of our superior courts.

 

The reaction of the Prime Minister, other members of his cabinet and the Attorney-General to the matter of this video clip give us, the rakyat, no reason at all to believe that this scandal will be honestly investigated so that the truth of the matter will never be known.

 

We, the rakyat, do not believe that the Prime Minister and his present government are committed to getting to the bottom of this scandal and, if ascertained to be the truth, to take all necessary steps to restore the judiciary as a constitutional institution emplaced to independently defend the constitution, the rights of the rakyat, and to uphold the rule of law.

 

In this regard, the announcement on 25/6/2007 by the Deputy Prime Minister of a 3-man panel to be headed by one who was implicated in the sacking of Tun Salleh Abas in 1988 to now investigate this scandal fortifies our belief that the present government is determined that the truth in relation to this scandal never becomes known.

 

We, the rakyat, are gravely concerned that if this scandal is left to be investigated by the administration of the Prime Minister, the police or the Anti-Corruption Agency, the rakyat will only witness another cover-up, leaving us, the rakyat without any recourse to justice, ever suspicious whether the judiciary is to protect the rakyat or the interests of a chosen few.

 

This most recent scandal raises concerns whether the corruption that has become so prevalent in the management of this country has now also made its way into the judiciary.

 

For these many reasons, we, the rakyat, now pray that Your Majesty may be so moved and in the exercise of the full powers conferred on Your Majesty … [read more here]

Sign the petition by sending an e-mail with your name to savethejudiciary@gmail.com. Show your commitment to the nation by providing your full name and NRIC number. We must seize this opportunity to begin the process of change.

Walk to Justice

Posted in Malaysia, The Cause at 11:00 pm by egalitaria

(pic from Malaysiakini.com)

Today was an historic day. Voices echoed round Putrajaya. Ground shook. Hearts moved. Something has started.

I participated in the Malaysian Bar-organised “Walk to Justice” march in Putrajaya. About 2000 people (mainly lawyers) were gathered at the steps of the Palace of Justice, to march to the Prime Minister’s office to submit a memorandum to Cabinet on the independence of the Judiciary.

Two memorandums were submitted, one to demand a Royal Commission be set up to inquire after the appointment of the current Chief Justice, Tun Fairuz, after the recent controversial video clip was released. The second was to urge the setting up of an independent Judicial Selection Committee. (yes, the current appointment of judges is not done in an open, transparent manner…)

We gathered at 10am (I was there early, and thought that there may be more FRU police members than participants in the gathering, thank goodness I was wrong). The crowds starting trickling in at 11am, mainly dressed in penguin suits, black and white, the lawyer colours. I followed suit.

By 11.30am, we realised that the 7 buses carrying the lawyers from Bar Council were missing – the police had stopped them from entering Putrajaya from the main road itself. They eventually had to walk 5km just to reach us at the Palace of Justice itself. Kudos to them!

The walk was wonderful. There was an energy pulsating throughout the crowd, seeing the blacks and whites walking in cohesion together in throngs, under the cool morning sky. Weather was perfect, not harsh at all, as we walked calmly amidst honking cars (and a bus too!) that gave us support and thumbs up. Only visual intimidation was apparent through FRU trucks and policemen on alert, plus a hovering helicopter above us. (Some imagined that they were the ones doing cloud-seeding to make the rain come!)

Reaching the premises and lawn of the PM’s office, I remarked that we were treading upon the Prime Minister’s garden – the response to which was, “This is being paid for by us, the people.” – in true activist spirit.

Waiting for the Bar Council’s office bearers to return from their sojourn within the royal rooms of the PM, the crowd (in dignity) shouted various responses like, We want justice… and I indignantly said “Malaysians” to the “Who are we?” calls. Because, it is all Malaysians who want justice – not just lawyers. Plus, I am representing the public, the citizen, the people.

Thunder rolled and the rain came tumbling down in large, cool drops. And the people stood firm, many getting soaked in the process. Protest banners were inverted as umbrellas, and many other mini umbrellas popped up that were originally to prevent the sun’s harsh rays from tanning our already brown skin. (Little crowds of black and whites gathered in “kelompok” at the foot of the humongous flag poles on the lawn, which had tiny covering – reminding me of antibodies rushing to attack a virus – hopefully symbolic of justice attacking the corrupt in the nation.)

The rain, we joked, was the washing away of the dirt, the old, the corrupt, of the system. A cleansing ritual necessary for the nation to wake up and wash out. It was refreshing. I lifted my face to the clouds and wondered whether God was testing us, or being humorous. Or whether the bomohs were doing their job to instead wash away the lawyers. Whichever the case, this was a momentous day. People travelled all the way from Penang, Melaka, for this.

The tide has turned. Paradigm shifts I hope. Little steps that will lead the walk to justice.

In Ambiga’s words, I hope our walk to justice will not be like Mandela’s “long walk to freedom”.

We must, we must, carry on the journey. Take the torch and pass it on. This is the message.

Other blogs’ stories, pictures and videos:

http://harismibrahim.wordpress.com/

http://www.malikimtiaz.blogspot.com/

http://rockybru.blogspot.com/

http://www.malaysiakini.com (of course)

September 18, 2007

A Datuk here, there and everywhere

Posted in Malaysia, Tricia's Writings at 11:10 am by egalitaria

My 3rd instalment at Bolehland’s website so far…

A Datuk here, there and everywhere

Close your eyes, throw a stone, and you will hit a dozen datuks with ease.  

Titles and honorifics were introduced in feudal Britain to address lords and their wives. Today, these are only used in classical literature and in addressing royalty in Britain.  

Not to be outdone, Malaysia has a long history of giving titles and honorifics to significant individuals.  

In an attempt to simplify the elaborate lists of titles, one can truly be confounded. In short, the main categories are, in ascending order, Dato’ or Datuk (State and Federal titles respectively), Tan Sri and Tun. These titles are given when awards are conferred (SSM, SMN, PJN, PSD).  

Read the rest of this entry »

Was Jesus Political?

Posted in Religion, The Cause, Theology, Tricia's Writings at 11:05 am by egalitaria

Here is what I said on Saturday at the inaugural dialogue and launch of OHMSI (Oriental Hearts and Mind Study Institute)… on the topic of Was Jesus Political?

I am usually asked to speak on panel discussions for one of two reasons; one, because I am a lady, and two, because I am young. I am here to celebrate these two attributes today, and hope that I may add value through a third element, namely the fact that I have been somewhat exposed to the socio-political fabric of Malaysia while working at the Centre for Public Policy Studies that works on public policy issues, and draw connections between the dots of religion and public life.   

As a young person fresh out of Churchianity, the reasons compelling me to work in public policy had little or nothing to do with my faith. This was the sad reality. It is only such interaction with a small but steadily growing group of Christians that has maintained the respect I have for the dignity and honour of the church, which may otherwise have withered away, along with many other activists who have experienced a great disconnect between their Christianity and social action. Further, the support they receive from their fellow Christian family has been insignificant, if at all.

Read the rest of this entry »

Pa-Tri-Ot

Posted in Malaysia, Tricia's Writings at 11:03 am by egalitaria

My second article on Bolehland’s website…

Pa-tri-ot
(noun; One who loves, supports, defends one’s country)

My Merdeka weekend was spent in the quiet, sleepy town of Taiping. Here, even here, the call to show significant allegiance to the nation’s 50th birthday of independence seemed to be taken heed of. In fact, more cars had flags flapping away in the wind that I had recalled seeing back in Kuala Lumpur. One zealously strapped on 55 Malaysian flags (not counting the stickers pasted all round the windows nor the flag-jersey hanging inside) in commemoration of our Golden Age.

It reminded me of a survey reported about some time ago, that tried to determine what being a “Malaysian” was, really. In the survey, some elements that made up a true “Malaysian” were as follows: 1. Speaking the national language, Malay; 2. Living in the country Malaysia itself; 3. Flying the flag or celebrating Independence Day. I wondered silently whether any or all of these elements were necessary classifications of a true Malaysian. And further, whether or not a “true Malaysian” really exists. If so, who is given the jurisdiction to judge or determine its elements?

Read the rest of this entry »

Meme Integrasi Kaum

Posted in Malaysia, The Cause at 11:01 am by egalitaria

I’m just copying Bob Kee’s statement on his blog, but this is an interesting project. 🙂

Saya telah ditagkan oleh sahabat saya Bob Kee untuk mengambil bahagian didalam rantaian Tag Integrasi Kaum.

Rantaian tag ini bertujuan untuk memperkukuhkan integrasi kaum di Malaysia.

Setiap orang yang kena Tag dikehendaki hanya mengetag 2 orang, satu orang dari kaum sendiri, satu orang dari kaum lain.

Sebagai contoh, jika orang Cina dikenakan tag, dia hendaklah mengetag 1 orang Cina, dan lagi satu orang bukan Cina, iaitu India atau Melayu

Tugasanya amat mudah, hanya buat pautan ke URL 2 pemblog itu , nyatakan huraian sedikit.

Oleh itu saya ingin mengetag:-

(Oops, that’s three)

Di harap tag ini kekal dalam BM.

Saya juga ingin memberikan sedikit pendapat mengenai integrasi kaum.

Salah satu prasyarat yang saya yakin perlu untuk mewujudkan integrasi kaum yang tulin dan bermakna adalah kesaksamaan diantara kaum; samada dari segi hak ataupun sosio-ekonomi, dan kesedaran sejagat bahawa kita berkongsi satu takdir sebagai sebahagian daripada gagasan yang dikenali sebagai Malaysia ini.