Saturday, 28 October 2017

Joint statement by 77 concerned Malaysian NGOs: Mahathir brought calamity to the nation while being in power and should publicly apologise and earnestly repent 【Updated endorsed organisations list on 28 Oct 2017】

Mahathir brought calamity to the nation while being in power
and should publicly apologise and earnestly repent

Joint statement by 77 concerned Malaysian NGOs on the  
30th anniversary of Operation Lalang (full text), 28 October 2017

【Updated endorsed organisations list on 28 Oct 2017】

马哈迪当权时曾祸国殃民, 必须公开道歉并真诚忏悔


[Sahabat Rakyat Editor’s Note] Mahathir who had been the Prime Minister of Malaysia for 22 years all the while represents the Malay ruling class and the bureaucratic bourgeoisie in the country to carry out Malay racial and hegemonic rule on the people of all ethnic groups (certainly including Malay working class). He is the chief culprit who has left a ‘track record’ of bringing calamity to the nation. Mahathir and Najib are “jackals of the same lair”. Mahathir after stepping down, is still coveting the power and status to protect his vested interest. After he was crowded out of UMNO by Najib,  the leaders of “Pakatan Harapan (PH)” welcome him and trumpet him as the “Supreme Commander” of “overthrowing Najib, save Malaysia” to hype the people. 

Operation Lalang was carried out on 27 October 1987 when Mahathir was the Prime Minister cum Minister of Home Affairs. In order to lift the fierce challenge he faced in UMNO and to consolidate his political power over the country, he made use of the incident of the Chinese community fighting for the basic rights of mother-tongue education, and deliberately created the tension between Chinese and Malay ethnic groups. He gave lame excuses that the “government must maintain stability and harmony of the nation” and carried out a major crackdown on all the forces who potentially threatened his power and status.

There is a forum organised by PH in Penang this Saturday (28 October) and 4 NGOs in Kuala Lumpur are also jointly organising a forum this Sunday (29 October). Both forums are meant to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Operation Lalang, both are to allow the organisers and the speakers to express their own views about the historical event of Operation Lalang. According to the media reports, both forums invited Mahathir to deliver a speech, and surprisingly, Mahathir had turned down the invitation by the forum organiser in Penang.  Inferring from some signs, Mahathir will even not have the courage to participate in the forum in KL which will expose his shortcomings.

NGOs who are always being with the people, in facing the political situation above, have the responsibility to remind the people of all ethnic groups to be persistent in Opposing UMNO hegemonic rule! At the same time preventing the return to power of  Mahathir’s faction !

Below is the full text of the joint statement endorsed by 77 NGOs in Malaysia on 28 October 2017 pertaining to “Operation Lalang” which marked the historical incident of “bad thing that Mahathir had done”.
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Thirty years have passed since the Mahathir government launched ‘Operation Lalang’, the arrest and detention without trial of more than 100 innocent Malaysians under the ISA and the continued detention of more than 30 of them for more than a year at Kamunting Detention Camp. Three newspapers were also closed down for at least 3 months.

The crackdown against dissidents at the end of 1987 was the precursor to the assault against the Malaysian Judiciary in 1988 when the Lord President and several other Supreme Court judges were sacked. Civil liberties were further eroded by new changes to the law. It is quite clear, therefore, that this so-called “Operation Lalang” was a signal for calculated repression and intimidation of the Malaysian people and to divert attention from the irresolvable problems confronting the ruling party. As a consequence of those actions by the Mahathir government, the Malaysian Judiciary has not recovered its independence up to the present day.

For all the lame excuse given by the Mahathir government for this abuse of democracy in the country, the crisis in 1987 was in fact the creation of the power struggle within UMNO. As the Tunku, our first prime minister put it:
“UMNO was facing a break-up. The Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad’s hold on the party appeared critical when election rigging was alleged to have given him a very narrow victory against Tengku Razaleigh. The case alleging irregularities brought by UMNO members was pending in court. If the judgement went against him he would have no choice but to step down. So he had to find a way out of his predicament. A national crisis had to be created to bring UMNO together as a united force to fight a common enemy – and the imaginary enemy in this case was the Chinese community…If there was indeed a security threat facing the country, why was action not taken much sooner?" (The Why? Papers by Suaram & K. Das, 1989)
According to a law professor and keen observer of Malaysian legal affairs:
“What Dr Mahathir has done in my view is to sacrifice, for the sake of a transitory, temporary and possibly illusory political advantage to himself and his supporters, the priceless asset of judicial independence... it is the Constitution, as the supreme law, entrusted to the judges, which is the best guarantee that the executive, once elected, will not act dictatorially.”
This view was echoed by the former Lord President Tun Mohammad Suffian Hashim and many more notable national and international figures.

Since 1987, the ruling coalition has continued to use detention without trial as a convenient tool against dissidents – PBS in the early nineties, Al Arqam, the Reformasi movement and more recently, Islamic groups. While the ISA has been rescinded since 2012, other laws allowing detention without trial have taken its place, ie. SOSMA, POCA and POTA.

Before and during Operation Lalang, affidavits have been produced to show that detainees were tortured and dehumanized. In the last thirty years, the cases of torture have not diminished and they include the highly publicized cases of Anwar Ibrahim, Munawar Anees and Malek Hussein. Contrary to claims by the ruling coalition, ISA detentions have been for punitive rather than preventive purposes.

Through the years, state endorsed torturers have been getting away with their actions, not unlike what has been happening at Guantanamo Bay. Until the Independent Police Complaints Commission is established as recommended by the Royal Commission, detainees will continue to be at the mercy of these torturers.

Thus, on this 30th anniversary of Operation Lalang,

1.  We call on all Malaysians who cherish justice, human rights and the rule of law to demand the end to detention without trial and to restore the rule of law in Malaysia. Freedom from arbitrary arrests and detention, coupled with the right to challenge it in a court of law are sacred civil liberties which Malaysians are entitled to 50 years after Independence. It is worth reminding Malaysians that the sixty days of solitary confinement allowed under the ISA and the removal of judges’ ability to make an objective appraisal of the ISA cases are more draconian than countries facing terrorist threats, for example Northern Ireland in the 70s; South Africa under Apartheid, or even the US and Britain today.

2. We demand a public apology and a sincere expression of remorse from the former Prime Minister, Dr Mahathir Mohamad for depriving so many innocent Malaysians of their freedom and the torture they went through under Operation Lalang as well as the assault on the Malaysian Judiciary which has still not fully recovered since the Eighties. Mahathir owes an apology not only to all the victims of Operation Lalang but also to the former Lord President and the Supreme Court judges that he sacked in 1988 and to the Malaysian rakyat for all the financial scandals since the eighties that have cost the rakyat billions of ringgit! The leader of the Opposition called Mahathir’s privatisation of our national assets, “piratisation” to show the billions squandered by UMNO crony capitalists.

3. We would like to remind the public that even wartime detainees are afforded basic protections under the Geneva Convention, which condemns torture and inhuman treatment of detainees. The National Human Rights Commission, Suhakam has also concluded that “there appears to be sufficient evidence to justify a finding of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of some of the detainees.” We demand a thorough investigation into all allegations of torture under the ISA and for the torturers to be accountable for their actions.

Initiating organisations:
1. Civil Rights Committee of KLSCAH
2. Youth Section of KLSCAH
3. Teoh Beng Hock Trust for Democracy
4. Suara Rakyat Malaysia, SUARAM

Endorsed organisations:
1) Academy of Tamil Studies 淡米尔研究学院
2) Aliran Kesedaran Negara (Aliran) 国民醒觉运动
3) Amateurs 业余者
4) Angkatan Warga Aman Malaysia (WargaAMAN) 马来西亚和平份子阵线
5) Association of Women Laywers 女性律师协会
6) Ban Cyanide in Gold Mining 抗山埃保家园
7) Baramkini 当今峇南
8) Centre For Malaysian Chinese Studies 华社研究中心
9) Community Development Centre (CDC) 社区发展中心
10) Damn the Dams Action Group 反对水坝组织
11) Dewan Perhimpunan China Melaka 马六甲中华大会堂
12) Diversity 异样
13) Federation of Malaysian Indian Organisations (PRIMA) 马来西亚印裔组织联合总会
14) Group of Concerned Citizens 关心公民组织
15) Himpunan Hijau 绿色盛会
16) In between cultura 之间文化实验室
17) Institute for Development of Alternative Living (IDEAL) 另类生活发展研究所
18) Institute for Leadership and Development Studies (LEAD) -
19) Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (JERIT) 被压迫人民大联盟
20) Johor Yellow Flame 柔南黄色行动小组
21) Kelas Pencerahan 启蒙课室
22) Kill The Bill 创意集会小组
23) Kita Forum -
24) KL Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall Civil Rights Committee 隆雪华堂民权委员会
25) KL Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall Youth 隆雪华堂青年团
26) Kuliah Buku -
27) Let's Art At Sawit Center 沙威文创社
28) LLG Cultural Development Centre 林连玉基金
29) Malaysia Youth & Student Democratic Movement (DEMA) 马来西亚青年与学生民主运动
30) Malaysian Indian Network Development Society (MINDS) -
31) Malaysian Indians Progressive Association (MIPAS) 马来西亚印裔进步协会
32) Malaysian Indians Transformation Action Team (MITRA) 马来西亚印裔转型行动团队
33) Malaysian Youth Care Association (PRIHATIN) 马来西亚青年关怀协会
34) Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture (MADPET) 马来西亚反死刑与酷刑组织
35) Mama Bersih 净选盟妈妈
36) Melaka Chinese Assembly Hall Youth Section 马六甲中华大会堂青年团
37) Monitoring Sustainability of Globalisation -
38) Movement for Change, Sarawak (MoCS) 改变砂拉越运动
39) North South Initiative -
40) Oriental Hearts and Mind Study Institute 东方思想研究机构
41) Partners of Community Organisation in Sabah (PACOS) 沙巴社区伙伴信托组织
42) People Ideas Culture 人思文
43) Perak Civic Forum 霹雳公民论坛
44) Perak Young Graduate 霹雳大专青年社
45) Persahabatan Semparuthi Johor 柔佛大红花之友
46) Persatuan Alumni Bahasa Tionghua USM Bahagian Utara 北马理华同学会
47) Persatuan Alumni PBTUSM Selangor & KL 雪隆理华同学会
48) Persatuan Hainan Selangor dan Wilayah Persekutuan Youth Section 雪隆海南会馆青年团
49) Persatuan Komuniti Prihatin Selangor, KL dan Perak
50) Persatuan Kwangsi Selangor dan KL 雪隆广西会馆
51) Persatuan Pendidikan Du Zhong Pulau Pinang 槟洲独中教育基金会
52) Persatuan Persahabatan Berpanjangan Kuala Lumpur 雪隆老友联谊会
53) Persatuan Rapat Malaysia (RAPAT) 马来西亚紧密协会
54) Persatuan Wui Leng Selangor dan Kuala Lumpur 雪隆会宁公会青年团
55) Research for Social Advancement (REFSA) 义腾研究中心
56) Sahabat Rakyat 人民之友
57) Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia 马来西亚之子
58) Selangor and Federal Territory Kwong Siew Association 雪隆广肇会馆
59) Selangor and Kuala Lumpur Hokkien Association Youth Section 雪隆福建会馆青年团
60) Solidariti Anak Muda Malaysia (SAMM) 大马青年团结阵线
61) Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) 人民之声
62) Sunflower Electoral Education Movement (SEED) 向日葵选举教育运动
63) Tenaganita 妇女力量
64) Teoh Beng Hock Trust for Democracy 赵明福民主基金会
65) The Association of Graduates From Universities & Colleges of China, Malaysia 马来西亚留华同学会
66) The Center for Orang Asli Concerns (COAC) 原住民关怀中心
67) The Federation of Alumni Association of Taiwan Universities, Malaysia 马来西亚留台校友会联合总会
68) The Selangor and Kuala Lumpur Teo Chew Association 雪隆潮州会馆
69) The United Chinese School Committees' Association of Selangor and Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur 雪隆华校董事会联合会
70) The United Chinese School Teachers' Association of Malaysia 马来西亚华校教师会总会(教总)
71) Thinking Society 思辨会社
72) University of Malaya Association of New Youth (UMANY) 马大新青年
73) Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO)  妇女权益维护协会
74) Writer Alliance for Media Independence (WAMI) 维护媒体独立撰稿人联盟
75) Young Progressives of Malaysia -
76) Youth Era 势代青年
77) Youth for Change 动力青年

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《人民之友》发表对国内政局看法
马来文版已于9月23日刊出
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人民之友成立于2001年9月9日,2018年9月9日是人民之友成立17周年纪念的日子。我们在这一天发表了一篇题为< 联合起来,坚持真正的民主改革! 丢掉幻想,阻止马哈迪主义复辟!>的文章作为纪念。

我们一如既往选择在这一个对我们来说,具有里程碑意义的日子,对我国当前阶段(大选后新政府上台)的政治局势发表一些意见,与为推动我国和世界民主人权运动而奋斗的同道们,互相交流。

为了面向国内不谙华文的广大非华裔群体,也为了让我们对当前阶段的政治局势的意见能够更广泛地传播开去,工委会决定尽快把这篇纪念文章先后翻译成马来文和英文。马来文版已于9月23日刊出。英文版也已于10月26日贴出。点击以下链接即可阅读——



此外,现居新加坡的庄明湖已将他在《人民之友》发表的《20世纪60年代新加坡左派工运问题探索》(正篇)一文的英文译稿传送到编辑部,因原文中所述人物的姓名或者是党团工会组织的全称或简称,在译文中尚未解决或有待查证,需要一些时日来完成——人民之友工委都是自愿挤出时间来进行工作的,因而无法很快完成。经过一番努力,我们终于在9月30日刊出,为我们的17周年纪念增添光彩!

值得在此一提的是,庄文所述的20世纪60年代新加坡工运遭遇问题(除了遭受来自外部的镇压,还要遭遇来自内部的破坏)的见解,或许能为一些读者(特别是不谙华文和不懂新马历史的读者)思考马来西亚民主改革运动在当前阶段面临马哈迪主义复辟的问题,提供一个历史殷鉴,或者是一个新的启示。

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