Church has awakened to engaging in politics

I must say my contribution to the fight for justice in Malaysia is very minute. For participating in Bersih rallies, I just hoped to add myself to the total number for one more soul. This letter is not only my account of my Bersih 3.0 story, but also a comment about its impact.


bersih-3-0From Rev Allen Tan (Yew Fook), via e-mail
I had several experiences in protest rallies including Bersih 2.0. I got myself prepared for Bersih 3.0 even before it was announced. I took part in the rally as a responsible Christian minister as well as a Malaysian citizen. I cannot tolerate the corrupt practices by the present government.

I remembered the words of Rev Martin Luther King, Jr, “Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor, it must be demanded by the oppressed.” Bersih rallies are about asking for free and fair Elections. I cannot tolerate any political coalition to take governance through dirty means. As such I cannot sit at home and let others to protest for me.

I took pains to request the Bersih organising committee to hold the rally on a Saturday and not a Sunday. I was grateful to them as Bersih 2.0. was also on a Saturday. I anticipated that this time round there would be many Christian participants since the Church has awakened to engaging in politics.

As what I did for Bersih 2.0., I lodged in Kuala Lumpur center with two other friends. I could sense that something was different from Bersih 2.0. Those days the atmosphere was very tense. The authorities declared that Bersih was an illegal organisation and subsequently anything related to Bersih was illegal, including their shirts, caps and badges.

Ironically, prior to the Bersih 2.0. rally, some people were even arrested for wearing a yellow shirt! They intimidated people constantly, warning them not to take part in the rally or else they would have to face the music.

So those days we had to take a commuter train service to KL to avoid road-checks. This time round we drove to KL despite the “scare” tactics, though not quite similar than last year. The mayor of KL City Hall Ahmad Fuad Ismail had obtained a court order to ban people from entering Dataran Merdeka which was our venue for the rally.

He had said that he would not close roads to Dataran Merdeka, but as a matter of fact, roads were closed. Bersih insisted on using Dataran Merdeka  as it has the significance of independence. Barisan Nasional has bound the people for 55 years, and it is the time for us to cry for freedom from their slavery.

Who was that non-elected mayor who banned the people from using Dataran Merdeka? Dataran Merdeka  belongs to all Malaysians and the mayor and BN leaders have no right to own them alone. When they cordoned off Dataran Merdeka, it conveyed a message that BN was colonising the people.

The necessity to take to the streets

Not many would think like me. Even Christian ministers would argue that prayer would sufficiently spur change, and they doubted the necessity to take things to streets. I urged Christians not to pray at home but pray at Dataran Merdeka .

It is true that it is never the first option for most people to engage in street protests in order to express their discontentment against regimes. It always happened only when all avenues were exhausted. When the authorities do not want to listen to the people, when they do not want to reform to bless their own people, and when they sealed up the mouth of the public by controlling the media, the only avenue for the people is to take matters into the streets.

What took place in the Arab world was not something which erupted suddenly. The Arab Spring has seen the dictators overthrown!

Bersih 2.0. was organised because our present electoral system is not free and fair. So they came up with eight petitions for electoral reform. The government then set up a Parliamentary Select Committee to study into the matter. Unfortunately, after seven months, the PSC only adopted one out of the eight items. Other suggestions recommended by the PSC were insignificant. It was for show that the government is committed to reforms.

Something serious took place on the last day of the second session of Parliament this year (April 19, 2012). Nine bills were passed in just one single day! The speed was sufficient for BN to win an Oscar award for Comedian Movies. It is another “Malaysia Boleh” and “Only in Malaysia” indeed! The new bills included an amendment to The Election Offenses Act 1954 to the disadvantage of the Oppositions.

This bill alone justified holding Bersih 3.0 This bill was so secretive that it escaped the attention of many Members of Parliament on both sides of the divide. Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak told the people that he wanted to create the most ever transparent government in Malaysian history. Now with this ridiculous bill passed, what kind of transparency can we bank on?

The electoral roll is full of thousands of phantom voters. Names that are not found in the Mykad department were registered as voters. There were voters being transferred to other constituencies, some even away from their home states. There were voters who have been voting in the past finding their names missing.

Bersih rally in KL had 250,000 to 300,000 participants. Besides, rallies were held in other cities and towns throughout Malaysia. Globally they were held in 35 countries and 85 locations. With the wrath of so many people, the government should bow to the wishes of the public. They should heed the petitions of the people. They should commit to electoral reform before the next General Election.

On the day of the rally, people gathered in six meeting points beginning at 6am. More than 30 roads leading to the city were closed. For Light Rail Transport, some stations were closed. At about 1.30pm, people began to move nearer to Dataran Merdeka. The crowd was so big that it overflowed to cover up many roads and streets around Dataran Merdeka .

The gathering was peaceful. People sang Negaraku. They also chanted slogans such as “Hidup Hidup, Hidup Bersih”, “No to Lynas”, and others. At 2.30pm my friends and I moved to other streets. We tried to squeeze through the crowd at Masjid Jamek LRT station but to no avail. So we came to the river-side for a chat. Many people were scattered here and there all around.

We began to move back to the Bar Council at about 3.20pm. The Bersih 3.0 organising chairman S Ambiga did dismiss the crowd shortly before we moved away. But most of the people including us did not get the news. After a while a water cannon truck at the Bar Council sprayed jets of chemical-laced water all around. The crowd was fleeing and screaming. I took the opportunity to video the incident from a distance of 50 meters.

About two minutes later, I heard sounds of “Pak Pak Pak…” I thought the tear gas was fired in front of me but for some time I saw no smoke. I then turned around and to my horror more than three canisters were smoking behind me, the nearest one being only 10 meters away. I dashed through the dense smoke by holding my breath.

Out of panic I forgot to pull out my handkerchief from the pocket of my trousers. Instead, I took out my porous webcam pocket to cover my nose and mouth. I could not hold back my breath for too long, and subsequently I sucked in the smoke through my nose and mouth. My eyes, nose and throat stung.

When I was at a safe place, I quickly sucked some bamboo salt, rinsed my mouth, drank some water, and washed my eyes. I shared my salt with others, Malays and Chinese.

When I went back to Jalan Sultan, only did I learn that the police did similar attacks at many points. People recounted their ordeal that the police were entrapping the people with tear gas from all angles. That was malicious! The right way to do is not by attacking the unarmed protesters but by dispersing them without harming them.

Brutality of the police was disgusting

police_violence_at_bersih_3From the online media, I read about the violence by the police. They beat up the protesters. They even intruded into the restaurant and harassed the customers who wore yellow shirts. The journalists were not spared. Many of them were beaten and their cameras being seized. How can we expect BN to lead us into an advanced and democratic country when we see what they did was so barbaric?

They did not even respect the International Law that that says they cannot harm journalists? The Home Minister Hishamuddin claimed that deleting photos was a Standard Operating Procedure. The next day the Inspector-General of Police Ismail Omar clarified that it is not a SOP. How come a Home Minister was so ignorant about his trade?

The brutality of the police was disgusting. They arrested 512 people. The attack by police on the protesters started when some people broke through the barricades. Was it a good excuse to take action? The Bar Council was right that they said the court order only ban the people from Dataran Merdeka.

Though people got into the barricade they were still outside of Dataran Merdeka . According to Ambiga, it was likely a sabotage. Well, those were agent provocateurs. It sounds so familiar about the claim from what took place in many gatherings of Pakatan Rakyat which were being harassed by rascals!

The greatest loser in Bersih 3.0

Najib_Razak_2008-08-21Who is the greatest loser in Bersih 3.0? Najib! Remember in Bersih 2.0, before the rally, Ambiga hoped to meet up with Najib but her wish did not take place. He dumped all the responsibility to the IGP. In Bersih 3.0, prior to the rally, Najib was so silent about it. He dumped all the responsibility to the Home Minister. The later was flip-flopping. At first he said he had no problem with the rally. Then he dumped all the problems to the mayor. And the mayor dumped all the problems on the IGP.

I could relate the story of Exodus with the dilemma of Najib. When Moses asked the Pharaoh to allow the Israelites to leave Egypt, God was behind it. God told Moses He would harden the heart of Pharaoh. When Pharaoh refused to let God’s people go, actually it was God who had hardened his heart. For Bersih 2.0 and 3.0, God has hardened the heart of Najib. That tells why he made the wrong decisions. When man is behind a move, it will fail. But when God is behind it, it will succeed.

After the rally on 428, the next day, the atmosphere all around Malaysia became fresher. But our struggle does not end here. We still need to tussle hard with the evil forces in order to bring down the corrupt regime. Hidup Rakyat! Bangkit Rakyat! Hidup Bersih! Hallelujah, Malaysia shall enter into the year of Jubilee soon. Probably the General Election will be delayed further to September or later.

Please take note that on Sept 16 this year, Malaysia will be finishing her 49 years of slavery, and on this day we will enter into the 50th year, the year of Jubilee according to the Bible. Malaysia shall be free from the oppression by BN. Malaysia shall become a Rainbow Nation. Rainbow – a symbol of diversity. Our diverse races shall come to fruition as everyone is a Malaysian!

email allan tan

March for the Next Generation

Pastor Took to the Streets for the Next Generation

Pastor Allen Tan (Yew Fook)
I am a Pastor. I am not affiliated with any political party, but instead I cared about the country over the years about the abnormal things surrounding us. I wrote in the newspapers for the past three decades, and had been a columnist and a feature writer, criticizing about inappropriate policies and practices by both the ruling and opposition parties. And I would provide constructive ideas. In the process of writing, the freedom for my expressions was getting narrower by the day. Thus subsequently I wrote less recently!

bersih2.0I looked forward to the July 9 BERSIH 2.0 Assembly. I figured out how to participate in it, because the Federal Government and the Royal Police Force had been making a lot of scared actions and distorted information.

When Bersih complied with the King to take into account the social order and were willing to hold a rally at Merdeka Stadium instead of a street march, people thought that was good news and they could be assured of free participation. Who knows the Government and the police have classified Bersih as an illegal organization and refused to grant a permit!

Finally, the IGP called upon them to change to the Shah Alam Stadium. It was strange, since Bersih was an illegal organization, why they were allowed to hold it in another stadium?

Bersih chose Merdeka Stadium was right move. The venue had a special meaning in it, that is, Tunku Abdul Rahman in 1957 declared Malaya an independent country at that stadium, and he became the first Prime Minister. Independence speaks of freedom. The purpose of the rally was to urge the government to implement a fair and clean electoral system and to submit a memo the King at the palace. So Merdeka Stadium is most suitable for that purpose.

Since it was not permitted, which means people will be hampered by the authorities! In recent days newspapers and radio and television broadcast were overwhelmed with news about road closures, roadblocks, arrests, calling people not to go to gatherings, and other like information. Malaysians are generally afraid of going against orders, so such information will certainly reach a certain level of scared effect.

When the date approached, the government further announced that on July 8 Puduraya Bus Station would be closed for buses from outstations, and public buses to stop operating on July 9 in Kuala Lumpur city center. Two years ago I participated in the Anti-ISA rally.

With the experience about the action by the authorities, I expected that KTM, LRT and Monorail transports would encounter unexpected difficulties for the public on July 9. And it came to pass! So two other Pastors and I made arrangement to put up a night on July 8 at the vicinity of Jingwu Hill.

Over at the place we lodged we had a pleasant surprise to see the Bishop from a certain denomination was there with a Pastor from one of its Churches. They will participate in the rally too! It was a full-house at the building that evening being occupied by a group of Christians who were participating in the rally, we were not alone!

Oppressed by fear

At evening we bought a night-issue “China Press”, and found the heading that says “Will Arrest Everyone on Sight”. That had really frightened us off. We were still flesh and blood! On Sunday 8.30 am I would be preaching in Petaling Jaya. If KL was to be declared a state of emergency on Saturday, or if there is no public transport to go home, or I was being arrested, who will take over my itinerary?

For Malaysian Christian Churches, currently it is rare for making bold speech, if Pastors were to be arrested, would you get appraisal from church leaders and believers or would you be rebuked? I let the readers to judge about it! A few days ago the Federal Reserve Unit had done training with the Army, thus would they open fire on the crowd? Thousands of Malay martial arts fighters had pledged to fight with the people who joined the rally, would they deliberately cause trouble? Oh if I die let me die!

If the late Rev. Martin Luther King did not come forward to confront the authorities boldly over discrimination of the Blacks, there would not be a black man President like Barack Obama today. I went to bed early that night; maybe it was an act of trying to bury my worries. I woke up middle of the night praying. Saturday morning when my eyes were opened seeing the first ray of sunlight, I felt a deep peace that had surpassed understanding. Fear no longer oppressed me! I knew God will do great things in this country now!

We go out for breakfast at Kota Raya around Sultan Street area. We saw people who were here and there, and we knew these were our fellow partners. We returned to our rooms and watched live TV coverage. Maybe it did not strike the authorities’ minds that the live broadcast had in fact become a good source of information for the rally participants to plan for strategic actions. Reports also said many people were arrested at the train stations and many were barred from getting out of the gates.

Our rooms were at a high floor which enabled us to have a bird’s eye-view on crowd movements. At 1.00 pm we saw people flock to Petaling and Sultan Streets with shouts of slogans. A Pastor and I got down and joined the crowd, and whereas another Pastor had gone down earlier. By then we lost contact with him. Our group could not break through the Hang Tuah Road which was heavily guarded by FRU police, so we turned back and headed to the Maybank Building.

There, whenever we heard of an applause it was because of a large group of people been successfully breaking through the police barricade. In a short moment more and more people had converged at Pudu Road area. Our group had a lot of people, roughly estimated as at least twenty thousand people, right? People who were bold wore yellow Bersih shirts. If not, some held yellow balloons, flowers, and other yellow things instead.

Most people did not dress up in yellow so as to avoid being arrested without first accomplishing our missions! Like a carnival here, we met old and new friends, regardless of race. Then who say we were not Sons of Malaysia? Who say we were not a peaceful assembly?

We had three major races of West Malaysia and people from East Malaysia. I am pleased to see many young people there, including many teenage girls. Seeing those young people who had a heart for pursuing democracy would mean there is rescue and hope for Malaysia!

Tensions likened to a battlefield

Our plan was to hold a rally in the Stadium instead of a street march. Since we could not get near to the stadium we had to rally in the streets. The crowd gradually walked to Puduraya along Pudu Road. I did not know who made decisions for the lead. I thought we would make a detour to head to the Stadium by passing by the old Pudu Jail. We were forced to halt when there was a FRU barricade at Bukit Bintang Road in front of the traffic lights.

We could not cross the “Red Sea” (the red helmets of the FRU police were like the Red Sea). Where is Moses then? FRU were carrying rifles, my God, we were unarmed, why they needed to heavily arming themselves? Police were stationed at back and front of the crowd as if we were in a battlefield. The police had caused unnecessary tensions in KL city center.

malaysia-protestx-largeSoon I came to see water cannon trucks arrived at Maybank.
To my previous experience at the Anti-ISA rally, I knew the police would soon launch a water cannon and tear gas attack simultaneously! I cautioned my Pastor friend to run. I believed many of us were first-time participants, and that was why they did not guard themselves against the police’s swift action.

True enough, jets of water were being shot onto the crowd and were followed by sounds of bang bang bang – tear gas was fired.

Many people were trapped in thick smoke, and then the victims suffered teary eyes and running noses. Their visions were hindered and they sprawled in panic trying to escape out of the messy scene. Though others who were not trapped in the thick smoke, they too were infected by the gas. teargas bersh

We passed around mineral salts to each other and we sucked in our mouths and were thus relieved. Many used it to wash their eyes and faces. Because too many people were using mobile phones, we were unable to connect with our other Pastor friend. When we were backed to the room in the evening, then only we knew that he had encountered a miserable experience, that he was hit badly by water cannon and gas at Maybank area. I knew how terrible it was when two years ago how I was hit by them at Tuanku Abdul Rahman Road inside the mall. So let me express my empathy to all of you who were victims at the 709 Bersih Rally.

At about 2.20 pm, it began to rain, it was quite heavy, but we said it was God who helped us because the rain will extinguish the smokes. Yes, the police had indeed stopped firing tear gas by then! And water from the water cannons was chemical-laced which would cause irritations on the skins. Now the rain water had helped to flush off the chemicals, Hallelujah!

Some people wanted to leave for shelter when it rains, but we heard voices shouting, “Do not be afraid, and do not run away!” People then stood in the rain and some others even sat down on the road. The rain had made us more encouraged! We were sand-witched in between by the police at Pudu Road.

The rain was getting heavier, when it was the heaviest, water cannon trucks, police trucks and the FRU sped down from Bukit Bintang junction. The crowd fled for their lives, dashing to the nearest place they could hide. My friend and I fled into the small lane next to Tung Shin Hospital. Almost immediately we carefully moved back and peeped.

The atmosphere was too tense, and police were moving up and down Pudu Road. Water cannons and tear gas were fired, and even hospitals were not spared. Many people had fled into Tung Shin Hospital and Chinese Maternity Hospital. As police were hunting for the participants in the hospitals, some of them risked their lives by scaling wire-barbed walls and in order to cross to the other side where I was.

We helped them.

I got numbed, and I thought why in the world the police wanted to treat us like criminals and terrorists?

What wrong had we done?

We were peacefully people who just wanted to make petitions for a fair and clean electoral system!

Marched by five-star hotels

More people had joined us at the lane. Some guys asked and directed us to go to Bukit Nanas. Some people were being dispersed by the attack just now and they did not get to connect with us again, but we still had a long queue of people, say, maybe at least 10,000 people, right? We’re really marching in procession now, and this was not our original plan. We passed by residential areas, Ampang road, and Raja Raja Chulan Road.

Wow, there were so many five-star hotels and commercial buildings along the way, and the procession had attracted many foreign tourists, staff and the passers-by. They stood outside their buildings, and many of them were busy taking pictures and videos!

That was definitely one more way God was helping us!

Those spectators would certainly spread the news back home. As we marched we repeatedly shouted slogans such as “Bersih Bersih, Pilihan Raya (clean clean, general elections); Bangkit Rakyat (Rise up People).” At this time, many police had just looked on, there were no actions from them, and perhaps they did not want the tourists to see the negative image of the Malaysian police force, right?

kl convention centreFinally, we marched to the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC) Square, next to the Twin Towers. It was already 4.00 pm. We all sat down, and several leaders gave their speeches for about 20 minutes. Suddenly the police pounced on the people from KLCC side, and everybody rose up and fled. Many people were arrested! This time people were scattered in different directions. So the people dismissed themselves.

Wow, our group had walked 20 kilometers, right?

By now my Pastor friend and I had to walk back to our room before we headed off to the KTM station. We only came to know about the situations of gatherings in other places later.

If we estimated that there were 50,000 people on that day, it was not something exaggerating.

If not because the authorities had used all means and avenues to suppress the rally, we could have several fold more in the crowd.

I got home at 9.00 pm. After a shower, as I sat down relaxing, I felt a cleaner atmosphere that was engulfing Malaysia. One of the major achievements of the rally was the elimination of fears in most of the hearts of Malaysians. Those who did not participate would be inspired by the big crowd, and subsequently they were awakened! Malaysians will be more positive now in upholding the Federal Constitutional right in freedom of assembly.

The success of the Bersih 2.0 Rally was just the beginning, now the real mission is to pursue on in making sure that the Government get the 8-point petition done. For any electoral candidates, it is only a true victory when their seats were won through fair and clean elections.

It was clearly the People Power that had enabled the success in this rally. I knew my involvement in activism is worthwhile. I had contributed a little effort for the sons of Malaysia. And now I can also tell my children that I cared for their future, and I took to the streets for my next generation!

email allan tan

Bills of Rights, Sharia by Stealth

[1] www | pdf | : CAIR’s Fight Against Pennsylvania Foreign Law Bill: February 13, 2012 By David J. Rusin

by Timothy Tay


Picture two recent reports; the banning of women wearing tight pants (jeans) in Aceh[2] www | pdf | : Women banned from wearing trousers: Hotli Simanjuntak, The Jakarta Post October 28 2009 Province and the confiscation of 10,000 Bibles intended for Sarawak,[3] www | pdf | : As polls loom, Sarawak wants BM bibles freed: March 14, 2011 . Herald Malaysian Online a Malaysian state with Christian majority.Surely these are examples of blatant attack on human rights and freedom of expression that are afront to Australians, or is it?

Now picture yourself wearing a crucifix to work and praying for a patient in hospital. You have just run foul of a national charter of rights[4] www | pdf | : Rights threat to religious tolerance, Chris Merritt & Nicola Berkovic: The Australian October 28, 2009 that legislators in Australia are putting in place.

The State of Victoria and ACT took the lead in legislating Bills of Rights. One case brought to court under this legislation had to do with a sermon preached in a Christian gathering that was considered to be provocative against a sector of the community.[5] www | pdf | : Danny Nalliah, Catch the Fire Ministries. Wiki.

The Hon John Howard, former PM, had these to say at this year’s Menzies Lecture[6] www | pdf | : 2009 Proposed Charter of Rights: by John Howard: The Australian August 27, 2009 in Perth, “At present, the Government of Victoria appears to have established a laboratory of human rights in which all sorts of tests are being conducted. We have the Victorian Charter of Rights, a sort of poor man’s Bill of Rights. It states that a person has a right to join a trade union. Strangely though, it does not also say that the same person has a right not to join a trade union.” On the danger of legislators passing to the courts the right to interpret the Charter, Mr Howard had this to add, “The essence of my objection to a Bill of Rights is that, contrary to its very description, it reduces the rights of citizens to determine matters over which they should continue to exercise control. It does this by transferring decision making authority to unelected judges, accountable to no one except in the barest theoretical sense.

What begun as a subtle act of the serpent in the pristine garden setting of Eden[7] www | : Biblical Ref: Genesis 3 that combined the distortion of the Creator’s command with the appealing offer of supreme knowledge had resulted in the wholesale destruction of human dignity and freedom which the Bible called Sin.[8] www | : Biblical Ref: John 8:7-10; Romans 5:12

Today, the same crafty serpent is questioning the foundation of Australian ethos, built on the teachings of the Bible, with humanistic appeals that are completely void of the holy fear of God.[9] www | : Biblical Ref:: Romans 3:10-18

Related Article:

| www | pdf | : It’s time for The Peoples Charter: Lachlan Dunjey November 2009.

| www | pdf | : Christian Counselor Who Refused to Offer Gay Sex Therapy Loses Case. 12/2/2009 Adrienne S. Gaines, Charisma Magazine


1 www | pdf | : CAIR’s Fight Against Pennsylvania Foreign Law Bill: February 13, 2012 By David J. Rusin
2 www | pdf | : Women banned from wearing trousers: Hotli Simanjuntak, The Jakarta Post October 28 2009
3 www | pdf | : As polls loom, Sarawak wants BM bibles freed: March 14, 2011 . Herald Malaysian Online
4 www | pdf | : Rights threat to religious tolerance, Chris Merritt & Nicola Berkovic: The Australian October 28, 2009
5 www | pdf | : Danny Nalliah, Catch the Fire Ministries. Wiki.
6 www | pdf | : 2009 Proposed Charter of Rights: by John Howard: The Australian August 27, 2009
7 www | : Biblical Ref: Genesis 3
8 www | : Biblical Ref: John 8:7-10; Romans 5:12
9 www | : Biblical Ref:: Romans 3:10-18

40th Anniversary of “May 13th”

It was 40 years passed now! I am referring to the May 13 Racial Riots in Malaysia. In this 40th Anniversary of May 13, it is not a time of celebrations, but instead it is a time of reflection.

Where were you 40 years ago on that day? I was then a Remove Class student with Sekolah Menengah Jenis Kebangsaan (National Type Secondary School), Kepong.

 Pastor Allen Tan (Yew Fook)
I was in the afternoon class. Our class teacher was enthusiast of football. We had our PE classes twice a week at the last period. He used to work “overtime” by making the boys play football till into the dark. And we even played in the rain sometimes. We enjoyed the games. In the evening on May 13 which was a Tuesday, as usual we played into the night.

Soon after I reached home, my family members picked up the news from the street and told us about “Pai Wah” was taking place at Chow Kit Road. They claimed that Malays and Chinese were killing each other there. “Pai Wah” is a Cantonese term for “massacre of Chinese”. Vehicles heading towards Kuala

The government imposed a nation-wide curfew that evening with immediate effect. I had never understood what “curfew” was till I was told to confine myself at home. Kepong was only 10 miles away from Kampong Baru at Chow Kit Road where the racial riots broke out.

Despite the proximity, Kepong was peaceful. For the next few days when the curfew was lifted for two hours so that people could shop for their groceries. On the streets, as usual, I met the familiar and friendly Kepong Policemen, both Malay and Chinese, who would smile at you.

And I began to wonder why a racial conflict when Malays, Chinese and Indians lived harmoniously all the while? In the schools we of different races studied together, ate together, played together, and even went camping together. I remembered there were public rallies during the General Election period that year. Those days quite often we would wake up in the mornings and found paintings on Kepong main road asking people to boycott the election.

A Chinese youth from the Labor Party was shot dead for some reason. On the eve of the poll a large funeral procession with a crowd of thousands of people was passing by Kepong Road, but unfortunately mom prevented me from joining the procession. Hostile sentiments among the Chinese towards the authority were high. Somehow I sensed an evil omen was looming large.

That was only an isolated case which had not enough force to trigger a racial riot. What then was the cause? The first Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tunku abdul Rahman, himself has alleged, “You know Harun was one of those – Harun, Mahathir, Ghazali Shafie – who were all working with Razak to oust me, to take over my place…”:[1]“K. Das and Tunku tapes”, edited by Kua Kia Soong, SIRD 2002: 112

Of course the official version of May 13 puts the blame on the opposition parties. The results of the General Election on May 10 shook the status quo of the Alliance. They had been holding a two third majority control since Independence.

The Oppositions celebrated their victory on the nights of May 11 and 12.“The following day, the events that followed would tend to suggest that elements within UMNO (United Malays National Organization) had laid plans to teach a lesson to those who would challenge the predominance of UMNO.[2]May 13”, Kua Kia Soong, 2007: 43:

The roots of the racial riots of May 13 will remain a mystery as long as the government is not open to put them into history. There have been books on the incidents banned. Due to ignorance of history by the public, often time May 13 had become a good tool for politicians from the ruling coalition to instill fears to the dissidents. For 40 years the spirit of May 13 had been haunting Malaysians. Take for example, last year on March 8 polling night, streets were deserted when news broke that Barisan Nasional (National Front) had suffered big losses!

I have witnessed how Malaysia fared these 40 years. What had transpired in my country was an utter disappointment.

Leaders eroded the Constitution and Judiciary for political and selfish gain. The integrity as well as the dignity of the Royal Police Force has fallen to the deepest valley. There were also opportunists who played the race-cards for their political advancement.

Malaysia had been exemplary in her racial harmony in the eyes of the world until May 13, 1969. In the Biblical context, 40 years speak of one generation. The old generation has faded eventually and the new one has come. Therefore, it is high time for us to be free from the trauma. Malaysians need to come to a national reconciliation. Let us put down that baggage of racial disunity.

However, just as what Dr. Kua has mentioned, “There is a need for a Special Commission to unearth the truth of the 1969 racial riots before there can be a genuine national reconciliation.” (“May 13”, 2007: 9). Yes we need to break that curse of May 13! If not, racial discrimination will be an issue which will haunt the country unceasingly. No one can change history. If Malaysia were to progress, we must face the truth in history so that we will not repeat the folly acts of our ancestors.

Now we have a young generation of people who are open to knowledge. Political Writer Dr. Azly Rahman said, “If we encourage our youth to explore the roots of the bloody conflict, we will have a better generation of thinkers. No more “Ketuanan Melayu (Malay Supremacy), China, India,” or whatsoever notions of self-aggrandizement – just the simple act of opening the dialogues of peace.”[3] May 13, 2009

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1 “K. Das and Tunku tapes”, edited by Kua Kia Soong, SIRD 2002: 112
2 May 13”, Kua Kia Soong, 2007: 43
3 May 13, 2009

Oil Money and the welfare of Malaysians

On the evening of 4th June, SMS’s were flying everywhere. Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi made an announcement at 5.00 p.m. about petrol hike.

With effect from 12.01 a.m. the next day petrol price will be increased by RM0.78 per litre. Subsequently Ron 92 will go up 41.5% from RM1.88 to RM2.66; Ron 97 will go up 40.63% from RM1.92 to RM2.70; and diesel will go up RM1.00 or 63.2% from RM1.58 to RM2.58.

by Pastor Allen Tan (Yew Fook)
The news caused a great traffic jam and chaos all over the country.
In Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya, heavy rain poured down at 5.00 p.m. The rain spoke of a doom about our political atmosphere. Half way through at press reception a journalist left the room and murmured “it is political suicide”. With the petrol hike people were speculating how far Abdullah’s position will go amidst dissatisfaction among the public at large. People were panic and they rushed every household car to the petrol kiosks. The jams at KL and PJ lasted till midnight. It was a painful night. If the PM had already determined to increase the price in the first place, why could not he announce it in the morning so that the last-minute rush was unnecessary? The actions of a leader will reveal how tactful the person is.

And all the while, whenever there was an increase in petrol price, the announcement was made late in the evening as if the government wanted to catch us unaware! I hope the people in authority do not blame the people for being “kiasu” (afraid to lose) by queuing up in order to top up their tanks, for most of them are just ordinary people who made a living from hands to mouths. If they could save a couple of ringgits it will be helpful to them. Malaysia is an oil producing country, why could not we provide cheap fuel for the people like other oil producing countries. The president of Pakatan Rakyat (PR) from the Opposition coalition, Dr. Wan Azizah refuted the Barisan Nasional (BN) for comparing us with Singapore and Thailand. She said that we should compare with oil producing countries like UAE (RM1.19/L), Egypt (RM1.03/L), Kuwait (RM0.67/L), Saudi Arabia (RM0.38), Nigeria (RM0.32), and Venezuela (RM0.16).

Though Malaysia will become a major importer of oil by 2014, it does not mean that we are running out of oil.
We are just to consume more oil by then. In fact we still have many years of supply. Our oil is of a good quality and we export it to fetch for a better price. By 2014 our import will surpass our export. But Petronas being our national oil company will still harvest billions of dollars each year. When the government is unable to provide us with cheap petrol, they should review how the treasury had used the revenue from oil. Whenever world crude oil price soars by a dollar, Petronas will net in millions of dollars. And the citizens regret that Petronas is not transparent in its operations. Please do not forget that Petronas owns many joint-venture companies overseas. And what has happened to those incomes? Where did the relevant parties spend the money? It is not transparent at all!

Today we do not enjoy cheap fuel, and the ex-PM Dr. Mahathir cannot avoid blame. Looking at the two oil-producing states in East Malaysia, Sarawak and Sabah, the adverse reaction was most obvious. All these while from the oil revenue taken from these states the federal government returned only 5% back to them as royalty. Anwar Ibrahim, the de facto leader of PR, made an electoral pledge that if the Oppositions were to take over power, the government will reduce the oil price. After the General Election, Anwar has invited Members of Parliament from East Malaysia to switch nests by pledging each state with a 20% in oil royalty. Even at this moment amidst of petrol hike Anwar reaffirmed his pledge to reduce oil price should PR has the chance to rule.

How come Anwar could do it and Abdullah could not?

Because Anwar has been a Minister of Finance for 6 years! He knew how the treasury was being run. It was not giving cheap fuel that would bankrupt the government but rather corruption was. In Mahathir’s tenure, on one hand he gave 5% oil royalty back to Sarawak and Sabah. And on the other hand he spent tons of money building monuments – KL Tower, Twin Towers, F1 Circuit, Putrajaya and other mega projects. Money was also used to bail out unproductive companies and given to cronies. Malaysia has become an empty shell with only outward glories. That was why Malaysia was greatly hit by the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997. No, Mahathir was not the savior of Malaysia when he froze the trading of Malaysian currency overseas. He was to be answerable for the weak financial status he had created. He had caused the country’s billions of dollars being vaporized overnight. It takes 10 years for Malaysia to recover.

People have many reasons to express disappointment in the BN government under Abdullah. He knew that corruption was prevalent among his people but he has no gut to axe them. Do we need to send a so-called “astronaut” into space? It cost RM100 million to do so. If we calculate the price of low-cost apartments based on RM35,000.00 per unit, the money burnt up by the Russian rocket could actually provide free housing for 3,000 families. And when the Deputy PM cum Minister of Defense made purchases of submarines, war-crafts and fighter jets, why must he make deals through a company which had no relevance to weapon industry? Were they not evidences of cronyism? It is sad to see that the tax-payers’ money were being squandered like that and ended up into somebody’s pockets.

Recently, out of the five states under the rule of PR, three states namely Penang, Perak and Selangor, the new governments had discovered lots of land scandals and cases of frauds in business transactions by the former BN governments. Especially in Selangor, out of the 62 projects undertaken by the state government, the rate of failure had exceeded 90%! The state government has lost billions of money as a result. No wonder why the government has not enough money for various funding and opted to petrol hike. Many people in positions were eating up the treasuries. Do not forget we still have eight more states under the BN rule. The Oppositions could not get to audit their accounts. But people have many reasons to believe that they are no better than the three states mentioned above.

With the money generated by Petronas alone each year, that is, a minimum of RM80 billion per year (not counting oversea investments), we have in fact enough money to feed the people comfortably, provided that our leaders must rule with clean hands. By the way, Malaysia could have been richer than Singapore today. We did not make it because our leaders were building “Towers of Babel” which had provoked the wrath of God.

Our oil money must be put to better use to benefit all citizens.

God has a very special plan for Malaysia. He is doing a great transforming in this land. Soon there will be several new waves to hit our shores. And God will raise up Malaysia an exemplary nation bearing His seals of Justice, Righteousness and holiness.

email allan tan

A Political New Wave: in Malaysia

Outcome of the 12th General Elections (GE) of Malaysia on 8th March 2008 revealed that Malaysians are seeking for a drastic change.

by Pastor Allen Tan (Yew Fook)
Barisan Nasional (BN, National Front), the ruling coalition front comprises 14 parties, has failed to maintain its two-thirds majority seats in Parliament. Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi who is the chairman of BN will face tough times ahead as he struggles to reform BN.

It is the worst ever loss in history for the ruling coalition led by United Malays National Organization (UMNO) since the 1959 GE. BN has secured 140 seats out of the 222 seats, i.e. 63% seats. The three Opposition parties, People’s Justice Party (PKR), Democratic Action Party (DAP), and Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (Parti Islam Se-Malaysia, PAS), formed an electoral pact with each other prior to the poll, have harvested 37% seats. At present the three parties formed a postelection alliance, unofficially called as Barisan Rakyat (People’s Front).

If the outcome is based on total ballots for seats in Parliament, BN only gained 51% of the popular vote from the 7.9 million ballots cast on 8th March.

The only election which was close to this in its outcome was that of 1969. The then governing coalition under the banner of Alliance won 66% of the seats in Parliament.

This time around, not only BN could not recapture the state of Kelantan from PAS, but four other states of Kedah, Penang, Perak and Selangor were being toppled by the Oppositions as well. Except for Kedah these are rich states. And for the Federal Territory in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur, BN has lost 10 out of 11 seats in Parliament. The Federal capital and the three rich states are in fact the hub of an economy network. Besides these losses, BN has managed to win 4 out of 13 state capitals’ seats in Parliament only. Even then two of which were barely a narrow escape! Therefore, it was indeed a tremendous embarrassment for BN!

I would like to do a post-mortem on poll outcome. There are multiple causes contributed to the downfall of BN. It did not come overnight. It took an accumulated dissatisfaction over its performance. But I would prefer to do a thorough analysis from the spiritual and moral angles which are valuable to the Christian conscience. Christians are to uphold love for men, integrity, justice and righteousness. We need to accept the fact that each territory (Malaysia is no exception) is controlled by a strongman. Christians do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual kingdom of darkness. (Ephesians 6:11-12).

Post-mortem on Poll Outcome

1. The rise of Anwar Ibrahim

Anwar was the ex-Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s deputy in the 1990s. Tensions rose between the two over economic policy when Malaysia was hit by the East Asian financial crisis in 1997. In September 1998, Anwar was suspended and arrested over allegations of sexual misconduct. The trial which followed, in 1999, led a six-year jail term for corruption. In 2000, he was sentenced for a further nine years for sodomy, to be served concurrently with his other sentence.

On 2nd September 2004, the Federal Court reversed the second conviction, and Anwar was released from prison. Meanwhile, after the arrest of Anwar, his supporters initiated the Movement of Political Reformation. And subsequently the political party of PKR was formed. The wife of Anwar, Wan Aziza Wan Ismail, was elected the president of the party. PKR has won 5 seats in Parliament in 1999, but has reduced to only 1 seat in 2004. As a result, Political analysts have viewed Anwar as irrelevant for the 12th GE. But Malaysians were stunned by Anwar’s achievement when PKR candidates topped the seats against their political partners – PKR 31,DAP 28, and PAS 23.

In fact, the public at large is more sensitive than the political elites over the winds of change which favored the Oppositions. Political rallies by the Oppositions were thronged with people as compared to poor responses for BN. These were telltale signs of an impending omen to BN. With his charisma, Anwar was always a popular speaker to the public. Some other popular speakers were DAP’s spiritual leader Lim Kit Siang who is now 42 years in politics, his son Guan Eng, and Iron Lady Teresa Kok.

Many people believed Anwar was a victim of political persecution that resulted in his imprisonment. He has successfully pulled in multiracial professionals teaming up with him. He vowed to form a fair and transparent government, which would eventually do away with the discriminatory racial and religious policies.

2. A Tainted Electoral System

The Election Commission’s (EC) inclined favoritism towards the ruling coalition is appalling. BN has always controlled the broadcasting and printed media. There have been complaints by voters that either their names have been missing from the electoral rolls, or they were mysteriously transferred to other constituencies, sometimes even miles away from home. The Oppositions have also discovered phantom voters whose identities are questionable. Added to that, many have doubted over the transparency of postal votes by the armies and police.

For the first time in history, EC has imported 2 million Malaysian Ringgits’ worth of indelible ink from India to be used for marking voters’ fingers to prevent repeat voting. But three days before the GE, its chairman Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman announced that the ink would not be used. The move has cast doubts in the minds of the general public over fraudulent practice.

Malaysia became an international laughing-stalk when she moved to amend the Constitution in order to extend the EC chairman’s retirement age from 65 to 66 years. The amendment was passed in Parliament on 11th December 2007. Abdul Rashid turned 65 on 31st December. In other words, the amendment was a “saved Abdul Rashid” move.

In view of the bias practices by EC in the past GE, Abdul Rashid was termed “unfit to chair EC” by a group of people. On 10th November 2007, a mass rally, BERSIH (clean) Peaceful People’s Gathering, took place in the Dataran Merdeka Kuala Lumpur at 3.00pm to demand for clean and fair elections. BERSIH is a coalition comprising political parties and civil society groups, and drew supporters from all over the country.

3. The Hegemony of UMNO

UMNO is the leader-party in the coalition of BN. UMNO, Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA), and Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) are three main parties representing their respective races. During the first PM Tunku Abdul Rahman’s tenure in office, presidents of the three parties used to cooperate with each other in equal negotiations over welfares of their own people.

But as times passed, UMNO has become more and more arrogant, and the issue of Malay-special-privilege has taken first precedence in its agenda. As such the positions of MCA and MIC are threatened. During the UMNO General Assembly two years ago, inappropriate actions were made by some delegates. UMNO Youth president Hishammuddin Hussein wielded a keris (Malay sword). Perlis delegate Hashim Suboh asked him, “Datuk Hisham has unsheathed his keris, waved his keris, kissed his keris. We want to ask Datuk Hisham, whenis he going to use it?” The son-in-law of Abdullah Badawi, Khairy Jamaluddin, is another racist who has brought out sensitive racial issues in the Assembly.

3.1. Every Race is a True Malaysian

What did MCA and MIC do? A non-painful rebuke! They could not get UMNO to have these people punished. And last year at UMNO General Assembly, again Hishammuddin repeated his keris-wielding feat. Therefore it was not surprising that MCA lost 25 seats in Parliament out of the 40 seats contested, and whereas MIC lost 6 out of 9 seats.

MCA and MIC were always proud to employ the method of “internal negotiation”. But the depriving states of Chinese and Indians have proven the leadership wrong when their folks’ rights were being overlooked. MCA under the leadership of Ong Ka Ting was embarrassed when UMNO rejected his petitions over the needs of Chinese. He was forced to compromise and when he was asked by UMNO to retract them.

After 50 years as a sovereign state, Malaysians are still being segregated into Bumiputras (sons of the soil) and Non-Bumiputras. The former are referred to the Malays, Orang Asli (original natives) and native Sarawakans and Sabahans, whereas the latter for other races. We will see the demise of MCA and MIC in the next 5 to 10 years if they do not restrain UMNO from radical behavior. In their rallies, the Oppositions have called upon voters to crush the hegemony of UMNO in order to bring about a fair society for all races. Radical leaders from UMNO have caused the downfall of their party. The votefor- change showed that Malaysians wanted to completely integrate into one family, and every race is a true Malaysian.

Samy Vellu has posed many problems to his Indian community. The longer he stays in power, the sooner MIC will decline. He suffered a defeat at the Sungai Siput parliamentary constituency. Indians are the most deprived population in the country both financially and educationally. Samy was the longest-serving politician in government until his defeat, even Mahathir could only rank next to him. Mahathir agreed that Samy was to blame for the Indians’ plights. He revealed that Samy had never brought to his attention about his people’s problems. Mahathir was partly correct, because I see that the hegemony of UMNO is the main cause for the marginalization of the Indians. UMNO is the big brother in BN, and when they got powerful their focus in treating all partners fairly has drifted off-course.

3.2. The Hindraf

In struggling for survival, five lawyers formed the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) and 30,000 people staged protests at Ampang Road in Kuala Lumpur on 25th November last year, and some at Batu Caves, a site of religious significance for the Hindus. The police dispersed them with chemical treated water-canons and tear gas. Subsequently five leaders of this group were arrested and put to jail under the Internal Security Act (detentions without trial).

4. An Increase in Young Voters

In this GE, there are 5 million eligible voters have never registered themselves. This time around there was a significant increase in young voters. Traditionally, the Malays would support BN. But the big losses by BN indicated Malays’ swing to the Oppositions. The young Malay generation takes a more liberal stand towards politics. They do not want their lives being reined by the dogmatic policies of UMNO. When they voted for a change, they are in fact voting for their own welfares in the many years ahead.

Even young Malays abhorred the New Economic Policy (NEP) which was first introduced in 1970 and is still continued today. NEP is a policy which gives the Malays special privileges. Young Malays accepted the fact that NEP was being abused by certain leaders. As a result these leaders practiced cronyism and nepotism that led to corruption. Many young Malays received high educations overseas. It is an insult to them if the government were to give them a walking stick, and forever wanting them to rely on it. The new generation is happy to see meritocracy to replace NEP. Anwar has been calling for the abolishment of the discriminatory NEP since 2005.

Resorting to modern technology has also contributed to the swing of votes to the Oppositions. Youngsters preferred to read from the internet than from newspapers. Newspapers in Malaysia are subject to renewal for their licenses annually. With this harsh rule newspapers tend to be pro-government. Thus readers may not read about true facts. On the other hand, there are stuffs in the internet which newspapers will always afraid to publish. People made use of multimedia tools, mobile-phones and emails which sent messages in seconds. The young age group was adept at this. For example, when a DAP campaign rally in Penang was packed with a crowd of 50,000 people, news spread through SMSes like wild fire. They used multimedia tools extensively for cyber-campaign.

4.1. Cyber-campaign

The Opposition candidates made full use of cyber-campaign. It was circumstances that have forced them to resort to such means since the media were pro-BN. 13.5 million Malaysians are using internet. There are about 700 million blogs worldwide, and definitely there are hundreds of bloggers within and outside the country who linked themselves up with the candidates’ sites. And thus the candidates’ messages spread. Whereas on the other hand, BN candidates were too shortsighted!

They were too complacent because they used to rely on the broadcasting and printed media. Now Abdullah expressed regret that he had overlooked the importance of cyber-campaign and cyberwar.

He has no excuse. The government has launched the Multimedia Super-Corridor for over 10 years now, why are so many BN ministers still so outdated in cyber technology? Yes, presently the young generation does not seem to be politically oriented at all, but times may change that they do. Could you imagine what will happen in the next GE when millions of emerging generation will become voters? Nevertheless the PM should not divert people’s attention by blaming on overlooking of cyber-war. It was the continuous rotting integrities that made people reject BN.

5. Low Quality Members of Parliament

For 50 years, there was no improvement in the quality of Members of Parliament (MP). Instead of making justice and truth the highest priority, MPs made politics the highest. And subsequently their debates were extremely politics. Many MPs, in the process of debates, act as if they were doing some performances. That was why some MPs made remarks that brought insults to women and races of minority. Whenever MPs made mistakes, ironically we would always see MPs from the Oppositions being disciplined, but never the BN MPs.

The Parliament is a place where justice and truth must always be enhanced. Unfortunately, the MPs viewed the welfare of their own parties more important than anything else. Especially for BN, MPs from the coalition were not allowed to voice out anything which is against their policies though they knew that people’s welfares were denied if they remained quiet. Very often, the Oppositions were denied the rights to debate on certain issues which would bring embarrassment to the government. How people wished that there are some reforms to be introduced in Parliament. Whether the MPs are from the ruling or opposition parties, they should be given freedom of speech. People have already come to a state of spiritual awakening. The outcome of this GE speaks louder than words. They wanted the Parliament House to be a House of Justice!

6. Deterioration of Judiciary

Since the court case in 1987, when Kuala Lumpur High Court declared that UMNO was an unlawful society, and subsequently the Lord President Salleh Abas was being suspended by Mahathir in 1988, the Malaysian Judiciary was constantly deteriorating.[1]Article: Administration of justice-crisis in the judiciary Read Here

The recent VK Lingam-tape scandal was indeed a mockery to our judiciary. The senior lawyer, Lingam, was caught red-handed by a video camera for making conversation with the former Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz Sheik Abdul Halim (retired on 1st November 2007). The tape showed that Lingam was fixing lawyers for the posts of senior judges. During The Royal Commission trial, Lingam’s ex-secretary Jayanthi revealed that he dictated to her a draft judgment for a High Court judge.

In view of the ever deteriorating Judiciary in our country, the Malaysian Bar Council has organized a “Walk for Justice” protest march on 26th September last year. “Lawyers don’t walk everyday. Not even every month. But when they walk, then something must be very wrong,” said Chairman of the Bar Council Ambiga Sreenevasan when addressing a strong crowd of more than 2,000 members of the Malaysian Bar and some concerned citizens at the Palace of Justice before the commencement of the walk to the Prime Minister’s office to hand over the Bar’s memorandum urging the government to set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry to probe the state of judiciary and memorandum on the establishment of a judicial appointments and promotion commission.[2]Article: Walk for Justice – When Lawyers Walk Something Must Be Very Wrong. Read Here

There have been cases which involved prominent figures being closed without follow-ups. To many Malaysians, they have lost faith in their Judiciary. The Lingam-tape scandal was definitely one of the factors that caused the downturn to BN. In the new cabinet line-up, Mohamad Zaid Ibrahim is made a Minister in the PM’s Department in-charge of legal matters. He suggested that the government should apologize to Salleh Abas. But DAP MP Karpal Singh in an open letter to Mahathir says, “It is not the present government which yourself personally.” I hope that Zaid should apologize too because when he was the chairman of Association of Muslim Lawyers he supported the government’s move. The general public wanted Zaid to bring about independence of Judiciary and not a mere public apology.

7. Erosion of Human Rights

The Constitution was drafted by consensus between the British and the three major race groups granting status of Independence to Malaya in 1957. It safeguards the individual’s rights to all citizens.

Unfortunately, the people in authority have abused it over the past 50 years of ruling. According to constitutional scholar Shad Saleem Faruqi, the Constitution has been amended 42 times over the 48 years since independence as of 2005.[3]Wiki Encyclopedia: Frequency of Constitutional Amendments Read Here. However, as several amendments were made each time, he estimates the true number of individual amendments is around 650. He has stated that “there is no doubt” that “the spirit of the original document has been diluted”. The American Constitution, it’s been amended only about 30 times in 230 years.

What is the criterion for amending the Constitution? You must have a two-thirds majority votes in Parliament. The Internal Security Act (ISA) was introduced in 1960. Its predecessor was the Emergency Regulation. ISA was solely used against the Communists. Unfortunately, years after the demise of Communism in Malaysia, the authority is still reluctant to abolish it.

We have three Acts which are detrimental to political dissent and public debate, namely the ISA, the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1948 (amended in 1988), and the Sedition Act 1948 (amended in 1970). The ISA is indeed undermining human rights as well as contradictory to the Constitution. The power given to the Minister of Home Affairs under the ISA is very wide which could override an individual’s constitutional rights.

In 1999 the government established a National Commission of Human Rights. It comprises retired politicians, judges, social scientists, and professionals. It has lack of independence with such a line-up. The members are appointed by the King on recommendation by the PM. The term of office is two years. NGOs in Malaysia are calling the government to adopt the UN Human Rights Charter.

The detention of the five Hindraf leaders proved fatal to Abdullah Badawi’s coalition in the 12th GE. In the past, Indians were known for faithful supporters of BN. Using ISA to suppress the cries of people was a bad art-of-war. BN almost lost all its Indian votes! All races shouted “Makkal Sakthi” (“People Power” in Tamil) during the Oppositions’ campaign rallies. Now the outcome of the GE has conveyed a message to PM Pak Lah, that it is time to heal the wound by listening to the Indians. He should release the five leaders immediately and unconditionally.

The rise in influence by PAS in the 1970s has also posed threats to the Constitution. In order to dilute the threats by PAS, UMNO invited her to join the Alliance in 1973. As PAS adopts a different Islamic philosophy from UMNO’s, and it was later expelled from the ruling coalition in November 1977. The ultimate goal of PAS is to set up an Islamic State for the country. PAS ruled Kelantan for five consecutive terms since 1990. It captured Terengganu in 1999 but BN got it back in 2004. This time around PAS takes control of Kelantan and Kedah.

7.1. Islamization of Judicial System

In order to counteract PAS’ ever expanding radical Islamic ideology, Mahathir, during his tenure in PM office, has claimed that Malaysia was an Islamic State. His claim has drawn strong objections from the non- Muslims. Islamization of the country’s Judicial System was a concept which has been raised from time to time, both by PAS and UMNO. Since UMNO introduced an amendment to the Constitution in 1988 (Article 121 A), Civil Courts have no power to interfere in any area covered by the jurisdiction of the Syariah Courts (Islamic Court exercising laws based on Koran teaching). Ever since the Constitution was amended to facilitate the setting up of the Syariah Courts, non- Muslims was getting disquiet. To prove this, let us look at the 10th GE in 1999. DAP had misread the minds of the Chinese when they decided to link up with PAS. DAP joined up with PAS and PKR to form the Alternate Front in combating BN. The Chinese voters taught DAP a lesson and thus it lost disastrously!

Problems arise when we have two sets of Courts, the Civil Courts and the Syariah Courts. Does a Civil Court have the jurisdiction over Islamic matters? The irony is that we have seen cases where non- Muslims were asked to seek justice from a Syariah Court. Have the Syariah Courts power to overruled the jurisdictions of Civil Courts? Unfortunately, both the Civil and Syariah Courts sometimes even could override the Constitution.

7.2. The Plight of Lina Joy

Take an example about Lina Joy’s case. She was born a Muslim with the name Azlina Jailani. She became a Christian in 1990. In 1998 she was baptized and had her conversion legally recognized by the Malaysian courts. In 1999 she had her name changed and noted in her Identity Card. But she could not get the name “Islam” removed from her IC. This must be done because she wanted to get married with her Christian boy-friend. Her appeal to the Federal Court was dismissed 2- 1 on 30th May 2007. She was asked to appeal at the Syariah Court. Since her conversion was recognized, why could not she be treated as a Christian then? Chief Judge Richard Malanjun who voted for Lina described the rejection on her appeal as discriminatory and unconstitutional.

We have 13 states and each state has its own State Constitution and State Laws. Article 11 of the Federal Constitution provides for freedom to profess and practice one’s religion. But the article is subject to State Laws which disallow proselytization for Muslims. Should not the Federal Constitution be above all laws? Will Malaysia come to the day that we will have one law and equal rights for all citizens?

8. Non-transparent Policies

Mahathir reigned for 22 years. During his era government projects were non-transparent. Instead of going into an open-tender system, practicing cronyism and nepotism by officials was something not uncommon. Operations through proxies may have evaded troubles. This has resulted in corruptions. Seeking approvals from government offices for jobs done was a tedious thing. It was red-tapes that have provided the opportunities for corruptions. After Mahathir’s retirement, as he looked back, he expressed regret that he had only managed to make a handful of successful Malays. Majority of the Malays are still very poor. He thought he should have widened the scope of opportunities to bless more Malays.

The road projects were one of the examples of non-transparent policies. Since 1980s, the government was not willing to bear the cost of constructing and maintaining new roads and highways. The projects were privatized. Road users have to pay a substantial sum for road-toll charges. Samy Vellu once claimed that very soon Malaysia will have 200 odd tolled roads all over the country. Malaysia is a small country with a population of 27 million. Yet we will soon have the most number of tolled roads in the world. The contracts made between the government and road companies allowed the latter to review tolls every three years or so. Otherwise the government has to compensate them. This is an evidence of unwise moves when policies are not transparent. Toll charges have become a great burden to people.

Petronas, the Malaysian Petroleum Corporate Company, generate tons of income annually. With price of crude oil shot over US100.00 per barrel, Petronas would make 90 billion Ringgits per annum. The operations of Petronas are not transparent. Malaysia is a very rich country. But unfortunately the government has dispersed the fund into the wrong channel. Is it too much to demand from the government that Petronas profits be used for the construction of roads and bridges?

Defective buildings and roads often occurred which had cost the taxpayers’ money. People were doubtful as to why these projects that cost millions and billions of Ringgits could get shoddy jobs. Calls by the Oppositions to have those projects investigated were always ignored. The Minister of Defense Najib Abdul Razak made unnecessary purchases for the country. Billions of Ringgits were spent on submarines, war-crafts, jet-fighters, and other weapons. And after many years, some of these items are still “undelivered”. Many also criticized Najib for sending an “astronaut” into space. The money spent was enough to provide low-cost housing for 3,500 families! Why is our elected representative so proud of building monuments?

8.1. Building Monuments

From government departments to Royal Malaysian Police Forces, corruptions were rampant. When Abdullah took over the office as PM, at the beginning of his term he vowed to clean up corruption. He was given a nickname of “Mr. Clean”. People put high hopes in him. That was why he was given a mandate to lead Malaysia towards a cleaner society in the 2004. BN won 89.5% majority in seats. Abdullah vowed to catch 18 “sharks”. But to the disappointment of the people, his promise was unfulfilled during his 4-year-term. Only some small fish were dealt with by the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA). His unfulfilled promise has become a issue for the Oppositions during their rallies.

By the way, people have no confidence in the credibility of ACA, because it was not granted with an independent power. In the VK Lingam-tape scandal, Lingam’s ex-secretary Jayanthi told the Royal Commission that an ACA official had informed her in 1998 that the corruption case was closed because ‘too many high profile officials are involved’. She was also given RM3000 by ACA which she accepted. ACA is answerable to the Prime Minister. Lim Kit Siang wanted to make reforms to the Parliament. One of it is to make ACA answerable only to the Parliament.

9. Racial Politics and Religious Prejudices

The outcome of the 12th GE revealed that voters are getting more mature. They abhorred racial politics. All these while, the people thought that racial politics will ensure that the Malays are not marginalized. The reality is that racial politics is hurting the country and the people at large whilst only a handful of the UMNO people will command power and status. BN was very confident during the campaign period that the Malays will support UMNO, the Chinese will support MCA and the Indians will support MIC. But it was a shock to BN especially to UMNO that Malay votes have swung to the Oppositions. Traditionally in multiple-raced constituencies, Malay votes always played the role of enhancing BN victory because of their high population as well as UMNO being contesting in majority of the seats.

Though BN comprises 14 parties, UMNO will always dominate over decisions making. UMNO is a Malay-based party. Due to bias decisions by UMNO, the non-Malay coalition parties may not get the benefits that are rightfully there. For example, many bright students have no chance to get into public universities or unable to get scholarship funds. In religion wise, State Laws and administrative action have made inroads into the freedom of religion. It is difficult for Buddhists and Hindus to get approval for their temples, and Christians their churches because of planning restrictions. These people have to resort to worship at residences and shop-lots. When Malaysians are fighting for democracy, freedom of religion is one of the basic aspects. And that must include freedom of leaving a religion.

I hope UMNO, MCA and MIC are awakened by the outcome of the poll. UMNO should not contemplate going deeper into Malay-agenda, neither nor MCA into Chinese-agenda, and nor MIC into Indian-agenda. 49% ballots spoke up that people abhorred racial politics. The three parties should extend their scope in embracing multiple races.

9.1. Controversy of the word “Allah”

Non-Muslims feel their rights are being eroded by a rise in Islamic fervor. They are concerned about the overzealous Muslim bureaucrats in UMNO-led government. Several recent events illustrate growing religious tension in Malaysia. Hindu temples and an Orang Asli church were demolished. A Malaysian Catholic weekly newspaper, The Herald, sued the government over banning Catholics from using the word“Allah” in the Malay version. Father Lawrence Andrew told Agence France-Presse (AFP), “We’re in the view that we have the right to use the word “Allah”, (a right) which…is now sought to be curtailed.”

The government argued that the word “Allah” should not be used by religious communities other than Muslims. The Sabah Sidang Injil Borneo (SIB) or the Evangelical Church of Borneo Pastor, Jerry Dusing, also filed a separate lawsuit against the government over three boxes of children education materials being confiscated by authorities from a church member. The officials argued that the confiscated materials contain the word “Allah”. In fact the Christian usage of “Allah” predates Islam. “Allah” is an Arabic word for “God”.

The Dewan dan Pustaka Malaysia or The Institute of Language and Literature Malaysia has incorporated the word “Allah” into the Bahasa Malaysia (Malaysian Language) dictionary. Then, all Malaysians should have the right to use their national language! The latest fiasco was when thirty-two Bibles were confiscated by customs officials from a Malaysian Christian on her way back from the Philippines on 28th January. The authorities returned her the Bibles after interventions.

Now we see that Malays supported DAP (though a multiracial party, it is in fact more of Chinese-based), Chinese supported PAS, a party they used to dread as they were afraid of her Hudud and Syariah Laws, and Indians who used to be faithful to BN have now defected. PKR is a real multi-racial party indeed. Her spiritual leader Anwar, who vowed to end racial politics and religious intolerance, has won the support of all races. PAS could manage to get the support from three races after tuning down her campaign manifesto. It used to be targeting an Islamic State, but now Welfare State instead – A Nation of Care and Opportunity. What was the wind of change? It was the prolonged endurance of injustices, that when they no longer bear, they shouted,“Enough is enough!”

If DAP and PKR could work along with PAS, UMNO thought that it could do so also. But PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang expressed that he will not work with UMNO as both parties differed in political ideologies. Christians should pray that both parties would not embrace radical Islam.

A Political Tsunami or A Political New Wave?

The dramatic losses gained by BN were described by some commentators as a “political tsunami”. Instead I would think a better description should be a “political new wave”. A tsunami is destructive in nature, and whereas a wave is a smooth replacement of a wave ahead of it. Today Barisan Rakyat governs Penang, Perak and Selangor, and the three races could share power in high posts. They vowed to govern the states fairly and transparently to all. If the outcome that has anything destructive, it was the start of destruction on the whole country’s institution of anti-democracy. The outcome was a new wave initiated by the wind of the Holy Spirit. This is the first wave of change.

Other waves are yet to come. Remember, many great men and women of God had prophesied about a Major Change to Malaysia. God has His timing in sweeping across the nation a series of waves.

Most Christians in Malaysia are patriotic. We have been praying hard for our country. “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8). How God wished that politicians who are elected, whether they are from the ruling or opposition coalition, to embrace truth, honor, justice, purity, love, commendable virtue, excellent virtue, and praiseworthy virtue. No leaders are above God. “The authorities that exist have been established by God.” (Romans 13:1). “The king’s (prime minister’s, premiers, presidents, etc) heart is in the hand of the LORD, He directs it with a watercourse wherever He pleases.” (Proverbs 21:1).

“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.” (Proverbs 14:34). We trust that God will help the people in authority to move into righteousness. Even though those in new leadership claim that they would govern fairly and transparently, we are not to put our faith in men. The Bibles says that “The heart is deceitful above all things, and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). One day these clean politicians may fall into temptations. Even at this juncture, some MPs and State Assembly men/women are contemplating switching nests. Defection is an act which betrays the will of the voters. Ask the Holy Spirit to put the fear of God in the hearts of those elected. Politicians can never do great things unless they walk in the will of God. “Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders build in vain. Unless the LORD watches the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.” (Psalm 127:1).

Malaysia in a Strategic Location Geographically

A “new wave” speaks of a “new opportunity”. Christians, do not miss the new wave, ride on it. Malaysia stands at a strategic location geographically. Do you know why God put the three main races in this country, and why Malaysians speak three languages – Malay (similar to Indonesia), Chinese and Tamil/Hindi? Just look at the three huge countries around us – Indonesia in the South, India in the West, and China in the North.

God will bring about a speedy change in Malaysia. As such Christians have no excuse not to be politically oriented. We should be concerned about the country’s political development, because when there is concern, there is checking on the government. When the people are checking on the government, then the government will be serious to our needs. There is only one way to break the chains and shackles on our nation – PRAY! “If My people who are called by My name humble themselves, and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14). There is the only way of praying that Christians could humble themselves, that is get on their knees and bow before. If the Muslims could bow five times a day before their Allah, why cannot the Christians? Come to God on bended knees is the most effective way of praying.

ALLEN TAN is a Feature Writer for two Malaysian Chinese Dailies, And an Author of the book, Garden of Joyful Marriage. Source: The Star, Malaysia

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1 Article: Administration of justice-crisis in the judiciary Read Here
2 Article: Walk for Justice – When Lawyers Walk Something Must Be Very Wrong. Read Here
3 Wiki Encyclopedia: Frequency of Constitutional Amendments Read Here.