Saturday, 18 September 2010

Forum on “Fascist Tendency of UMNO Regime” - Why do we hold the Forum?

Forum on “Fascist Tendency of UMNO Regime”
Why do we hold the Forum?
18th September 2010

Since independence, Malaysia has been under the absolute control of Barisan National (formerly known as ‘Perikatan’ – the Alliance Party). Under the regime of UMNO-led coalition, however, the income disparity between the rich and the poor in this country has been widening, while abuse of power and corruption are rampant. The living conditions of the working people are getting from bad to worse. Social conflicts are escalating at an unprecedented speed.
After suffering for half a century under the regime, of late, the people are crying form reform. The clarion calls for reform by the people from all walks of life are loud and clear, strong and resolute. They constitute a destructive force against the UMNO’s power base. In the last general election held in 2008, UMNO-led BN suffered stunning defeat. It lost 5 states to the opposition, and it also lost its 2/3 majority in Parliament, though it retained its power in the federal government.

The ignominious defeat of the ruling coalition led to factional disputes within the party. It culminated in the transfer of power from Abdullah Badawi to Najib Razak. The new prime minister Najib hypes about “1Malaysia” and “People First, Performance Now”, but at the same time he mobilizes all types of state machinery, and spares no effort to suppress the popular calls for reform, with a view to propping up the tottering regime.

The Working Committee of FOS Johor together with Persahabatan Semparuthi, an Indian community- based NGO, jointly organised a forum titled “Constitutional Crisis In Malaysia – Why 2 Menteri Besars in Perak” on 15 May 2010 in Johor Bahru. Zaid Ibrahim, the former Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, who was one of the speakers in the forum, openly made a novel and significant point that Malaysia is emerging as a fascist state. He denounced UMNO’s racist tyranny.

He opined that a fascist state is a form of autocratic rule, resorting to threats of violence and culture of fear, in order to implement its reactionary and chauvinistic policy. He contended that the “1 Malaysia” slogan introduced by Najib is all but a ruse, and anyone who opposes “1 Malaysia” is regarded as a subversive element, to be suppressed and eliminated. (Please refer http://suaramjb1.blogspot.com/2010/05/quest-for-justice-zaid-ibrahim-1.html)

Zaid is an Exco member in the Supreme Council of Parti Keadilan Rakyat. His argument had a significant impact on Parti Keadilan Rakyat. In the August issue of Suara Keadilan, the Malay edition of PKR’s party organ, the chief editor Dzulkarnain Taib wrote an article titled “Is Malaysia Heading Towards a State under the Iron-fisted Rule?”.

He argued that the Najib’s administration is heading towards fascism, based on the 7 characteristics of a fascist regime as enunciated by Laurence W. Britt. The 7 characteristics of a fascist regime are as follows:

1. Propagating racism under the guise of promoting patriotism – as evidenced by the support given to Perkasa that advocates narrow nationalism.
2. Denial of human rights and showing disdain for them – e.g. justifying the violation of human rights by way of resorting to ISA which allows for detention without trial.
3. Control of mass media – e.g. the suspending of the licence for publication of the opposition parties’ party organs.
4. Abuse of administrative and judicial institutions as well as enforcement units under the pretext of preserving national security.
5. Furthering the interests of cronies and their corporations - e.g. massive bailout of crony companies.
6. Rampant nepotism and corruption – e.g. showing total disregard for transparency when awarding contracts.
7. Manipulating the electoral system, exercising control over the election machinery, intimidating voters (who support the opposition), just to ensure that the ruling clique remains in power – e.g. by way of manipulating the Election Commission.

Is BN government under Najib heading towards fascism? How should we respond to such fascist tendency? Where lies our future? Every one of us has to give this a serious thought.

The Working Committee of FOS Johor is a mass-based support group for Suaram pioneering human rights activities in the State of Johor. It was formed on 9 September 2001 by a group of human rights activists, former Labour Party members, ex-political detainees, former trade unionists, Chinese educationists, and youths. They are for democracy and human rights, and against all forms of racism.

In conjunction with the 9th anniversary of the FOS (Friends of Suaram), we are holding a forum on the current development of human rights and democratic movement in our country. There will be a dinner after the forum in commemoration of our anniversary.

We have invited 3 well-known political leaders to explore the issue of the fascist tendency of the UMNO-led BN government. They are Mursyidul Am of Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) Tuan Guru Dato’ Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat or representative appointed by PAS, Secretary-General of Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) Mr. S.Arutchelvan or representative appointed by PSM and Chairman of the Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Democratic Action Party (DAP) YB. Lim Kit Siang or representative appointed by DAP. The forum will be conducted in Bahasa or Mandarin (at the convenience of the panelists). Translations will be provided. Dinner will be served after the forum. Details of the programme are as follows:

We have invited 3 well-known political activists or social activists to explore the issue of the fascist tendency of the UMNO-led BN government. The forum will be conducted in Bahasa or Mandarin (at the convenience of the panelists). Translations will be provided. Lunch will be served after the forum. Details of the programme are as follows:

Date: Sunday 17 October 2010
Time: 2pm - 6.30pm (Update!)
(Forum: 2pm to 5pm - Dinner: 5pm to 6:30pm)
Venue: Taman Universiti Sports Club (Skudai, Johor)
Coupon: RM35 per person

We need your support [whether individuals, groups or political parties]. Your support is invaluable to us. We care for the interests of the people. We strive for non-racial solutions in all fields, such as politics, economy, culture, education, and religion.

No to any fascist regime!
Down with UMNO hegemony!

We welcome all concerned citizens to be with us at this anniversary. For more information, feel free to contact Ms Fang, h/p No. 016-7782707.

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