Malaysian Protest Rally to Go Ahead Despite Threats

Source: VOANews

FILE - People sell umbrellas to supporters of pro-democracy group "Bersih" (Clean) near Dataran Merdeka in Malaysia's capital city of Kuala Lumpur, Aug. 30, 2015

FILE – People sell umbrellas to supporters of pro-democracy group “Bersih” (Clean) near Dataran Merdeka in Malaysia’s capital city of Kuala Lumpur, Aug. 30, 2015

A leading Malaysian campaign for political and electoral reform is pressing ahead with a major rally this month despite pressure from the government and threats and violence against rally supporters.

Maria Chin, chairperson of the Bersih 2.0, a coalition calling for for free and fair elections in Malaysia, says the campaign has included a nationwide convoy launched on October 1 to promote the rally and calls for reform ahead of November 19.

But several violent incidents have marred the Bersih convoy with attacks and scuffles on supporters by so-called pro-Malay “red shirts.”

Violent incidents

Maria Chin along with Ambiga Sreenevasan, president of the National Human Rights Society and Mandeep Singh, a staff member of Bersih, all received death threats in October. Read more

Malaysia proposes raising marriage age for Muslim girls

Source: Channel News Asia

imagesKUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has proposed to raise the minimum age for marriage to 18 for Muslim girls in a bid to reduce teenage pregnancy rates and enhance social protection for minors.

The Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development has engaged stakeholders, including various state religious affairs authorities, on the proposed amendment to the existing Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act, said its minister Rohani Abdul Karim on Monday (Nov 7).

In Malaysia, Muslim girls below the age of 16 must obtain the permission of Islamic courts to get married, but child rights activists say such permission is too readily granted. The system has reportedly been abused by rapists who marry their underage victims – some as young as 13 – to avoid jail terms.

The minister was speaking at a child rights forum organised by UNICEF in Kuala Lumpur. A special task force led by the country’s law minister has been formed to look into specific amendments to the law. Read more

MCMC raids Malaysiakini office, seize computers

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Pic form Malaysiakini.

Pic form Malaysiakini.

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 8 — A six-man team from the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) paid a surprise visit on news portal Malaysiakini’s office in Petaling Jaya, Selangor today, and confiscated two computers.

According to Malaysiakini, the MCMC raid was over two video clips it had uploaded in July on its website of a press conference by former Umno politician Datuk Khairuddin Abu Hassan that was critical of Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali.

Malaysiakini said it is being investigated under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act, for alleged improper use of network facilities.

It added that the Internet regulators had ordered the news outlet’s broadcast arm, KiniTV to remove the videos two months ago but was refused.

“We believe that there is nothing wrong with the rest of the content of both videos and removing them will impinge on our duty as journalists in reporting issues of public interest,” Malaysiakini’s editor-in-chief Steven Gan was quoted saying in an account of the raid. Read more

We must make reform popular — Wan Saiful Wan Jan

Source: The Star Online

BY WAN SAIFUL WAN JAN

It’s all about changing the climate of opinion to fit your vision because politicians and political parties win or lose based on how popular their ideas are.

Wan Saiful Wan Jan - The Star Online file pic

Wan Saiful Wan Jan – The Star Online file pic

JOSEPH Schumpeter, in his book Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, defines democracy as “that institutional arrangement for arriving at political decisions in which individuals acquire the power to decide by means of a competitive struggle for the people’s vote”.

This definition implies that in a democracy there must be competition for votes. This says a lot about the nature of democracy. To win, you must make what you are selling popular. Not necessarily right. But popular.

To see the story of democracy in our country, we need to look back. Since before independence, our society has been divided along communal lines. This was reflected when our political parties were formed. Almost all were communal.

The first president of Umno, Datuk Onn Jaafar, tried to change this. He wanted Umno to open its membership to non-Malays. He embodied the spirit of 1Malaysia before the term was coined.

But he failed and he eventually left Umno. He formed the Independence of Malaya Party and later Parti Negara to pursue his vision for inclusive politics. But, again, he failed.

Onn’s vision was ahead of its time. The public wanted something else, not the good vision that he offered. That is the reality of demo­cracy. Good visions can and do lose the democratic battle if you are un­­able to change the climate of opi­nion to support your vision. Read more