Sunday, 6 September 2015

Our prospects of the democratic reform in Malaysia--The speech of Sahabat Rakyat presidium in the 14th anniversary commemoration event (updated photo on 7 Sep 2015)

Our prospects of the democratic reform in Malaysia
The speech of Sahabat Rakyat presidium in the 14th anniversary commemoration event


Sahabat Rakyat is holding a forum cum luncheon at DeFortune Restaurant, Kulai on 6-Sep 2015 (Sunday) in commemoration of its 14th anniversary and announcing its committee members 2015-2017. Below is the speech delivered by Choo Shinn Chei on behalf of the presidium (presidium members are Chan Jock Lan, Choo Shinn Chei and Nyam Kee Han) in the event. Text below is translated from original version in the Chinese language. In the case of any discrepancy between the English rendition and the original Chinese version, the Chinese version shall prevail. –

Thanks emcee. Good afternoon to our panel speakers, leaders of democratic parties and organizations and all our friends who are concerned about the future of democratic reform in Malaysia.

Sahabat Rakyat was formed on 9-September 2001, today we are celebrating its 14th anniversary. We are holding “The new phase of democratic reform in Malaysia” forum mainly due to below mentioned considerations.

In fewer than 8 years, Pakatan Rakyat (PR), which had been leading the democratic reform movement of the present phase since the 12th general election till date has undergone a process from inception to disintegration. This process symbolizes the struggle of multi-racial political coalition in the form of PR against UMNO hegemonic rule has ended up in failure. This process is of great revelation for the subsequent democratic reform movement in Malaysia.

PR is a political-parties coalition that was initially established to jointly form state governments in accordance to the will of the people in opposing BN rule. Its disintegration is due to the insistence of Hadi Awang-led conservative faction in PAS on implementing Hudud law that conforms to state Islamisation that has eroded the religious freedom of people of all ethnic groups especially the rights of non-Muslims.

This is an inevitable consequence from the political stance of Hadi Awang-led conservative faction in PAS that is ready to be enlisted under the banner of UMNO hegemony which goes against the will of the people in opposing UMNO hegemonic rule.

During the development stage of PR, many prominent leaders in PR component parties tried to avoid Hudud-law-related issues, to them the realistic problem of state Islamisation is the elephant in the room, except the late Karpal Singh, leader of DAP who took a clear-cut position. The reality has proven that shelving the major contradiction is a mistake.

We are of the view that “racial oppression” and “racial assimilation” imposed by UMNO ruling clique on the ethnic minorities is reflected through the implementation of “State Malayization” and “State Islamization” policies. UMNO ruling clique is using these policies to cover up the fact that while the ruling class oppresses and exploits non-Malay ethnic minorities, they are in fact oppressing and exploiting the Malay working class as well. This is to divert the focus of the struggle of the Malay ethnic community, and to hinder the struggle and split the unity of the oppressed Malay working class and other oppressed ethnic communities. Only then UMNO hegemonic clique can prolong its rule on the people of all ethnic groups.

After undergoing the domination and oppression of “state Malayization” and “state Islamization”, the minorities and non-Muslim communities are being more resentful about UMNO hegemonic rule, hoping PR will safeguard the interests of ethnic minorities and non-Muslim communities, unequivocally oppose the UMNO hegemony’s Malay sovereignty (Ketuanan Melayu) and state Islamisation system. When PR chose to shelve this major contradiction, the sincerity of PR in pushing for democratic reform will become questionable to the people who uphold the rights of ethnic minorities and non-Muslim communities. This is detrimental to the unity of the majority.

Besides, when PR shelved this major contradiction, those lurking in PR who agree with Malay sovereignty and state Islamization system in substance played the role of The Fifth Column when the time came. They split PR to prolong the UMNO hegemonic rule and therefore people from all ethnic groups continue to be oppressed and enslaved.

Thus, all opposition parties leaders should learn a lesson from the disintegration of Pakatan Rakyat to oppose both “State Malayization” and “State Islamization” steadfastly and awaken the oppressed Malay working class to unite with people from all ethnic groups to fight UMNO hegemonic rule resolutely, in order to avoid repeating the failure of PR. Malay political leaders split from PAS who are devoted to form a new political party, PKR leaders who initiated a broader coalition of political parties and non-government organizations (NGOs) and DAP leaders who are bringing about the formation of PR 2.0 should express their political stance on both “State Malayization” and “State Islamization” propositions explicitly.

The main characteristic of State Islamization is built on the will of exercising Islam by the government to impose Islam on people of all ethnic groups who originally believe in different religion with the ultimate aim of establishing an Islamic State. Malaysia is a multi-racial and multi-religious society. The forced State Islamization executed by UMNO hegemonic ruling clique, especially when Mahathir announced that “Malaysia is an Islamic state” arbitrarily is obviously incompatible with the interest and aspirations of people from all ethnic groups in our country. Hence, from the aspect of non-Muslims in our country, opposing State Islamization is to safeguard the basic human rights of freedom of religion. It is also a sensible, justified and legitimate act to uphold human rights. Therefore, opposing “State Islamization” is absolutely different from “opposing Islam” that actually violates human rights. It is clearly understood that the two are not equivalent. It is obviously a mala fide and malicious distortion of those with ulterior motives to say that “opposing State Islamization” is “opposing Islam”.

Currently there are certain leaders of the opposition parties advocate the idea that “opposition parties can work together with leaders from UMNO-BN or the component parties of BN in order to ‘save Malaysia’” so as to realize their dream of sharing the regime, especially the motion to attempt to form a coalition government with a fraction of the bigwigs from UMNO led by Mahathir Mohamed who was the chief culprit dominating the state Islamization since 1980s. This inconceivable case has aroused the attention and debates of democratic parties, organizations and individuals in our country. It is generally believed that this is a suggestion that does not learn a lesson from the failure of PR, it is a suggestion that betrays the interests and aspirations of the people.

We are in view that all political parties and non-government organizations (NGOs) that serve the people in the country, including Dong Zong which has been safeguarding the rights of mother-tongue education of the Chinese community, Hindraf which commits to strive for the rights and interests of the Hindu community, and parties and NGOs in Sabah Sarawak which fight for the rights and interests of major ethnic groups in their states, should discuss democratically demands of the people from all ethnic groups (including opposing “state Malayization” and opposing “state Islamization”) in the context of burying UMNO hegemonic rule, hence forming an overall demand for the new phase of democratic reform in order to unite the majority masses and push on the struggle to bury UMNO hegemonic ruling.

This is merely our humble opinion for your reference only. We welcome all to exchange ideas on this openly. Thank you.

Chan Jock Lan, Choo Shinn Chei and Nyam Kee Han, Presidium members of Sahabat Rakyat presented souvenirs to the panel speakers in the company of Ang Pei Shan, Secretariat member of Sahabat Rakyat and moderator of the forum. (In picture above from left to right) Ang Pei Shan, Nyam Kee Han, Waytha Moorthy, Firdaus Husni, Chan Jock Lan, Lina Soo, S.Arutchelvan, Dzulkefly Ahmad and Choo Shinn Chei.



Related links:

1. Sahabat Rakyat is in Preparation for the 14th Anniversary Commemoration Event   Theme: The New Phase of Democratic Reform in Malaysia.

2. Sahabat Rakyat is celebrating its 14th anniversary Inviting experts to explore the new phase of democratic reform.

3. Forum cum luncheon in commemoration of Sahabat Rakyat’s 14th Anniversary, 5 experts delivering speech and 2 guests are invited to speak

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