Hornbill Unleashed

November 27, 2011

Najib gives M’sians more freedom

Filed under: Alternatives,Corruption,Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 12:00 AM
Tags: , ,

Mariam Mokhtar

The reforms help distract and reduce the rakyat’s worries about electoral fraud and the National Feedlot Corporation’s alleged misuse of RM250 million of taxpayers’ money.

With dizzying speed, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak tabled several new laws to fulfill an earlier pledge to give Malaysians the “best democracy in the world”.

Meanwhile, political pundits criticise Najib’s “rash of reforms” saying that they were an over-reaction to public sentiment in the run-up to GE-13.

Their skepticism stems from the action of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who promised envoys from the UN Security Council, that he was “committed to the reform process.” The Syrian uprising has left 3,500 dead, scores injured and thousands detained.

Other cynics said, “Najib is not capable of a rash reform. The only rash he knows is when he was hospitalised with (chicken) pox last year.”

Perhaps “better late than never” could be another Barisan Nasional slogan. BN has taken four decades to repeal the Internal Security Act (ISA) 1960 and should be praised for being receptive to the mood of the nation.

Nevertheless, reforms help distract and reduce the rakyat’s worries about electoral fraud and the National Feedlot Corporation’s alleged misuse of RM250 million of taxpayers’ money.

At the weekend, BN confirmed that they were wooing young voters. Foreign PR consultants, which cost the Malaysian taxpayer millions, are finally proving they are value for money. They gave BN leaders some useful advice. They confirmed our long-held belief that our youth is well versed in the use of digital media.

As a result, Najib and his home minister have their own version of the mobile phone and music shop sales pitch: “Trade in your old law for two new ones”. Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, earlier announced two new laws to replace the ISA.

The students were promised an amendment to the Universities and University Colleges Act 1974 (UUCA) so that they could join political parties at 21. The PM said he valued “the maturity and wisdom of undergraduates”.

Like any other wise parent, Najib exercises caution by ensuring that our youth is not troubled by too many liberties. He barred them from bringing partisan politics onto campuses. He cherishes the old-fashioned view that students cannot make sound judgements without consulting their parents, the university’s governing body or the authorities.

Maybe he is worried that studies would be disrupted. He probably read about UK students wreaking havoc in the centre of London, whilst increasing public awareness about cuts in education.

It is probable he didn’t want copy-cat acts similar to the Tunisian street vendor, an allegedly unemployed student, who immolated himself, when he was harassed by the police.

As expected, the home minister reiterated that the two new laws to replace the ISA would still include detention without trial.

Najib’s giant step

But many political observers were surprised when Hishammuddin stressed that the process of replacing the ISA had begun two years ago.

Someone who had been arrested during the ISA protest at Amcorp Mall in August 2010 said, “I suppose we were so busy protesting, that we failed to notice that the government had started dismantling the ISA.”

A “Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA” protester based in England, known to religiously attend every Saturday afternoon protest outside the Malaysian Tourist Office in Trafalgar Square said: “Perhaps it’s for the best. Protesting in summer is like a day out. What could be better than downing ale whilst watching pretty girls walk past? But winter is depressing. When it’s wet and cold, I can easily imagine what it feels like to be in a damp cell in Kamunting.”

Hishammuddin’s justification for Malaysia’s detention without trial is centred on the United States Patriot Act and the Anti-Terrorism Acts in the United Kingdom and Australia.

BN supporters are afraid that in trying to be like the UK and US, Malaysia might also have to curb its human rights abuses.

They disagree with the western emphasis on human rights: “See what happens when you are soft on people. They riot. Then they rob you. We should be thankful that BN does not riot.”

In contrast, a pro-government party member believed that the new laws should make it easier for the authorities to stifle political dissenters. “The ISA was a burden. They (the authorities) had to plant Che Guevara T-shirts or Mao propaganda leaflets in bags of people who were potential trouble-makers. Arrests are only possible when national security is threatened.”

Last week, Najib announced the Peaceful Assembly Bill 2011, which he termed a “revolutionary” law and a “giant step” towards improving individual freedom. He denied claims that the Act choked the freedom to assemble. He assured protesters of a fine and spared them time behind bars.

A political observer said, “BN is desperate for money. They need to buy votes in GE-13 and the coffers are empty. Taxpayers’ money has been directed into emergency funds overseas, in case the BN leaders need to escape.”

Najib said that gatherings were only prohibited in, or near, selected sites. He rambled on whilst reading his short list which included hospitals, schools, petrol stations, fire stations, airports, railways, land public transport terminals, ports, canals, docks, bridges, places of worship, kindergartens, schools, dams, reservoirs and streets.

He rubbished claims that assemblies were banned “anywhere and everywhere”.

Interests of rakyat

Unlike the opposition, several people were content. The local Mat Rempit groups, when contacted, were grateful that highways were exempt. Funeral parlours also breathed a sigh of relief that they were free of the 30 days’ advance warning before the funeral cortège.

They had been worried about space constraints and deterioration of the bodies.

The PM spared parents the embarrassment of refusing to participate in a march by giving them a ready-made excuse. He knows that baby-sitters are difficult to find and he advised would-be marchers to tell the organisers that the police could arrest anyone who brought or recruited children to rallies.

Former PM Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who has disagreed with Najib on almost every subject, offered Najib the olive branch by saying he approved of the Peaceful Assembly Bill 2011. This cementing of ties cannot have come at a worse time for the opposition.

Nevertheless, both Mahathir and Najib only have the interests of the rakyat at heart. They did not want protesters to succumb to the temptation of looting shops. They were worried that roads which were free of traffic meant that tolls could not collect revenue.

BN supporters rejected opposition claims that shopkeepers who remained open during the Bersih 2.0 rally enjoyed brisk trading.

They also dismissed footage by foreign news media, that showed the police firing tear-gas at peaceful protesters. They refuted claims that water cannons were deployed for crowd-control and condemned the “western conspiracy” to undermine Najib’s administration.

A pro-government activist said, “Protesters should be thankful only a little violence was used. Tear gas and water jets are preferable to rubber bullets. The police must preserve the peace.”


  1. How BN can stay in power for so long and Malaysia is the weakest nation in SEA….
    1. Gerrymandering
    2. Give foreigners IC to vote
    3. Unfair control of the media
    4. Use of Government machinery for elections
    5. Slush funds and big election budget – Money politics
    6. Use of Justice department against opposition
    7. Use of strong arm tactics like Police to intimidate
    8. Use of Postal votes which is cheating. Many army personnel are non existent
    9. Short and controlled campaigning time so the message for change is not sent across properly
    10. Use issues of Religion and race to the hilt and create uneasiness 11. Overseas citizens are not given opportunity to vote
    12. Electoral rolls are faulty and out of date

    Comment by Neru — November 27, 2011 @ 6:18 PM | Reply

  2. Najib’s call to UMNO members to put the party above self is a redundant because the members, largely with some exceptions may be, know that their interests lie with UMNO and it’s survival because UMNO and it’s patronage is their CASH COW, OR IF YOU LIKE, WEALTH COW milking national resources in the process. They know that and they will not sacrifice their self-interest which depends wholly on UMNO.

    So Najib, you made the wrong call.

    Comment by Begul — November 27, 2011 @ 11:34 AM | Reply

  3. Muhyiddin said: “Can the Malays depend on PKR, can they expect something from Anwar Ibrahim? Can they defend the principles in the constitution, Malay rights, Malay rulers, Malay language, Malay economy?”

    If ever you want to pin Muhyiddin for his amazing stupidity and his craven racism, it is found in the quote above. Nobody needs any more convincing evidence that Muhyiddin and Umno are completely racist in intent and purpose.

    Muyhiddin and Umno are also compulsive congenital liars. The track record of which he speaks is easily challenged. It wouldn’t take much to do so. An ounce of brain would suffice.

    In this case, it need to be a collective ounce of brain, as it were, and intelligence of the opposition parties and their supporters to bring down these hopelessly corrupt and utterly stupid regime.

    Comment by Mat Yoyo — November 27, 2011 @ 9:46 AM | Reply

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