Saturday, 23 July 2011

Statement on the launching of the forum “NGOs are Always With The People”


Statement on the launching of the forum

"NGOs are Always With


The People"


(held in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of Friends of Suaram Working Committee Johor)


“Non-Governmental Organizations” (NGOs), also known as “Civil Society”, vis-à-vis the government (or governmental organizations), are organizations formed by the people to satisfy their needs and aspirations. They are organisations relating to welfare, recreation, social clubs, sports and culture, etc. The Chinese community has been outstanding in running the traditional NGOs.

Since 1980s, along with the rapid development of NGOs globally, due to our country’s political, economic and social changes since the founding of Malaysia, new NGOs have emerged. They are organisations for consumers’ rights, environmental rights, human rights, women's rights, cultural and educational rights, indigenous people’s rights, the oppressed people’s rights, etc. They exist and develop for the purpose of upholding people's basic rights.
The excellent performance of these NGOs present a fine image to the public.

Before the 8 March General Election in 2008, Barisan Nasional was in control of not only the federal government, but also the 12 state governments in Malaysia. Under the BN rule, UMNO hegemony intensifies national oppression and racial discrimination. Its cronies control the national resources and fleece the Rakyat. Its high and mighty officials are wealthier than a king, while the people are utterly impoverished. Corruption and abuse of power are rampant.

Since Independence, as expected, NGOs have remained steadfast in their stand and put up resistance against the UMNO’s hegemonistic rule. They often align themselves with the pro-people opposition parties. They oppose the “Internal Security Act” (ISA) and other oppressive draconian laws. They oppose the unpopular policies and measures adopted by BN government in the form of the petrol price hike, police abuse of power, privatization of healthcare, the teaching of Mathematics and Science in English, etc. They demand for restoration of local council elections,

After the 2008 General Election, the three major opposition parties [i.e. Democratic Action Party (DAP), People's Justice Party (PKR) and Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS)] formed a coalition - Pakatan Rakyat (PR). They managed to seize political power in 5 states. As ruling parties in the 5 states, whether they are against the people, or for the people; the manner they deal with NGOs, and how they look after the interests of the people, will constitute the most important criteria for evaluation of their performance.

As of now, discriminatory polices are being implemented in the political, economic, cultural, educational and religious fields. Will Pakatan Rakyat revoke such discriminatory policies? Will it restore local council elections – the long outstanding aspirations of the people? As ruling party of the 5 state governments, Pakatan Rakyat will have to undergo the greatest ordeal to prove their genuine concern for the interests of the people.

Besides, a considerable number of important activists in NGOs have been absorbed by Pakatan upon its taking over the 5 state governments. This has led to the splitting of the strength of NGOs. It has caused some confusion between some NGOs and the state governments as to their mutual relationship and different positions taken by them. Therefore, it is necessary to discuss and define the role and position of NGOs on an urgent basis.

Early this month, Bersih 2.0, a coalition of 62 NGOs initiated and took the lead in the 709 Rally cum “walk for democracy”. It advocates electoral reform, demanding for clean and fair elections. However, the BN government headed by Najib chose to ignore such justified, legitimate and appropriate demands and aspirations of the people. Instead, it resorted to violence and repressive action against Bersih leaders and those who took part in the rally. Such harsh measures had spurred a huge number of people, estimated at 50,000, to go on the streets.

People from all ethnic communities took part in this mass struggle. 709 rally has become an unprecedented event in our history. NGOs with their clear-cut stand have projected themselves as a force to be reckoned with in our social movement. They truly represent the interests and aspirations of the people.

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) is an independent nationwide human rights NGO. It is willing to take part, discuss or express opinions on any human rights related issues. It always focuses attention on human rights issues, and show concern for the interests of the people in the political, economic, cultural and educational spheres. It is always prepared to work with any organizations that fights for human rights. It always puts forward views and level criticisms on any organizations or individuals who have violated human rights.

Friends of SUARAM (FOS) Working Committee Johor is a mass-based support group for SUARAM, pioneering human rights activities in the State of Johor. It was established 10 years ago on 9 September 2001, by a group of former Labour Party members, ex-political detainees, former trade unionists, Chinese educationists, social democrats, and young intellectuals with tertiary education in the State of Johor. They work hand in hand to oppose the UMNO hegemony, to fight against racism and to fight for democracy and human rights.

In commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the FOS Working Committee Johor, we are holding a forum on the current and future role and position of NGOs. There will be a dinner immediately after the forum. We have invited 3 well-known NGO leaders, who are or were involved in human rights and democracy movement in Malaysia, to present papers, expressing their views in our forum. They will also answer questions from the floor.

The forum will be conducted in Bahasa, English or Mandarin (at the convenience of the panelists). Translations in Bahasa and Mandarin will be provided. Details of the programme are as follows:

Date: Sunday 11 September 2011
Time: 2.00pm - 6.30pm (Forum: 2pm to 5pm - Dinner: 5pm to 6:30pm)
Venue: Taman Universiti Sports Club (Skudai, Johor)
Coupon: RM35 per person

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

Friends of SUARAM (FOS) Working Committee Johor
23 July 2011


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通告 Notification

人民之友对下届大选意见书
英巫文译稿将在此陆续贴出

作为坚守“独立自主”和“与民同在”的立场的一个民间组织,人民之友在上个月对即将来临的第14届全国大选投票,发表了一篇以华文书写的意见书,题为:投票支持"反对国家伊斯兰化的候选人": 反对巫统霸权统治!莫让马哈迪帮派"复辟"!。

这篇意见书的英文译稿,将在近期内在本部落格贴出。马来文译稿将在下个月内贴出。敬请关注!

我们希望,我们在意见书内所表达的对下届大选的立场和观点,能够准确而又广泛地传播到我国各民族、各阶层的人民群众中接受考验,并接受各党派在这次全国大选斗争和今后实践的检验。


The English and Malay renditions of Sahabat Rakyat’s opinions about next election will be published here consecutively

As an NGO which upholds “independent and autonomous” position and "always be with the people" principle, Sahabat Rakyat had released a Chinese-written statement of views with regard to the voting in the upcoming 14th General Election, entitled “Vote for candidates who are against State Islamisation: Oppose UMNO hegemonic rule! Prevent the return to power of Mahathir’s faction!”

The English rendition of this statement will be published in our blog in the near future whereas the Malay rendition will be published next month (November). Please stay tuned!

We hope that our position and views pertaining to the next General Election expressed in the statement will be accurately and widely disseminated and also examined by the popular masses of various ethnicities and social strata through their involvement in the struggle of the next General Election carried out by various political parties and their practices in all fields in future.


Akan datang: Penerbitan penterjemahan pendapat Sahabat Rakyat mengenai pilihan raya ke-14 dalam Bahasa Inggeris dan Bahasa Melayu

Sebagai sebuah pertubuhan masyarakat yang berpendirian teguh tentang prinsip "bebas dan berautonomi" dan “sentiasa berdampingan dengan rakyat jelata”, Sahabat Rakyat telah menerbitkan kenyataan tentang pandangan kami terhadap Pilihan Raya Umum ke-14 yang akan datang yang bertajuk "Undilah calon yang menentang Pengislaman Negera: Menentang pemerintahan hegemoni UMNO! Jangan benarkan puak Mahathir kembali memerintah! "

Penterjemahan Bahasa Inggeris kenyataan tersebut akan diterbitkan dalam blog kita dalam waktu terdekat manakala penterjemahan Bahasa Melayu akan diterbitkan pada bulan hadapan.

Kami berharap pendirian dan pandangan kami berkenaan pilihan raya kali ini yang dinyatakan dalam kenyataan tersebut dapat disebarkan dengan tepat dan meluas untuk diuji dalam kalangan rakyat semua bangsa semua strata sosial melalui penglibatan mereka dalam amalan pelbagai parti politik dalam pertempuran pilihan raya umum kali ini mahupun masa depan.

Malaysia Time (GMT+8)