Monday, December 10, 2007

Hindraf leaders face sedition trial, UMNO-led govt. escalates crisis

Hindraf leaders face sedition trial
P. S. Suryanarayana (The Hindu, Dec. 11, 2007)

Crackdown on Opposition politicians, lawyers campaigning for human rights

SINGAPORE: A Malaysian High Court on Monday ordered trial of the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) leaders on sedition charges, amid an official crackdown on Opposition politicians and lawyers campaigning for human rights.

In a political punch-line, Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said: “If the choice is between public safety and public freedom, I do not hesitate to say here [at a forum in Putrajaya] that public safety will always win.”

Elaborating on the remark, Mr. Badawi said: “If we are to evolve into a society that can peacefully live with media freedom, public debates, or public show of expression, the value and the burden of responsibility must lie with the ordinary people, not just with those who manage the country.”

Hinting that the Hindraf was seeking to destabilise Malaysia, Mr. Badawi said: “If voters are easily persuaded by people playing the racial card, then we are heading for disaster.”

“Who are they?”

In a stinging rebuke of Hindraf leadership, Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak said: “We don’t have to dance to Hindraf’s tune? … Who are they? They don’t represent the Indian Malaysian community. If they go against the law, we will definitely take action. In fact, we have already started taking action.”
Nazri Abdul Aziz, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, expressed appreciation for what Malaysia saw as New Delhi’s stand of not extending support to the Hindraf campaign against the alleged “marginalisation” of ethnic Indians.
M. Manoharan, counsel for Hindraf in the sedition case, told The Hindu over telephone from Kuala Lumpur that Judge Abang Iskandar of the High Court at Shah Alam overturned a Sessions Court’s “discharge” of three leaders of the group. Citing the absence of a clear charge, the lower court had ordered the “discharge” of P. Uthayakumar, P. Waytha Moorty, and V. Ganapati Rao.

They were accused of making seditious remarks at a restaurant on November 16. But the absence of a transcript of those remarks was also cited for the “discharge” of these Hindraf leaders.

According to Mr. Manoharan, the Hindraf leaders were now petitioning the Court of Appeal at Putrajaya to annul the High Court’s order.

The lawyers and other activists, who were arrested for taking part in Sunday’s multi-racial march in Kuala Lumpur, an event designed to campaign for human rights, were produced in the court on Monday.

They were detained for organising or participating in a rally that was declared illegal.

UMNO-led Government ESCALATES CRISIS in Malaysia
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
The police obtaineed a court restraining order to stop polls reform group Bersih from gathering at Parliament tomorrow. The named persons are PAS leaders Dr Syed Azman Syed Ahmad Nawawi, Mohamad Sabu and Adenaan Saad and Malaysian Trade Union Congress chief Syed Shahir Syed Mohamud.

The Coalition for Clear and Fair Elections (Bersih) is planning to submit a memorandum to Parliament tomorrow to protest an amendment to the Federal Constitution.

The coalition wants the government to withdraw the Constitutional Amendment Bill scheduled to be tabled tomorrow, which if passed, will see the current Election Commission (EC) chairperson’s tenure being extended by a year, to the new age limit of 66.

Despite the court order, Bersih leaders said that they would proceed their plan to hand over the memorandum. Read here for more

1. Seventeen people, including three opposition leaders, were today charged with illegal assembly at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court in connection with the Nov 10 mass rally organised by polls reform group Bersih.

The trio - PKR’s Tian Chua, N Gobalakrishnan and PAS vice-chief Mohamad Sabu - were charged a day ahead of another mass rally planned by Bersih outside the Parliament tomorrow.

In addition to the unlawful assembly charge under Section 143 of the Penal Code, all of the 17 - except for Chua and Mohamad - also faced a second charge of disobeying a police order to disperse under Section 145 of the same code.They also faced two alternative charges under the Police Act.All of the 17 pleaded not guilty before Sessions Judge Rozana Ali Yusoff. Read here for more

2. Eight people, including five lawyers, were charged today with participating in an illegal assembly yesterday.

The eight marchers were arrested yesterday for taking part in a march in conjunction with the International Human Rights Day, which is celebrated today.The police had arrested them soon after giving them time to disperse.The eight include lawyers N Surendra, Latheefa Koya, R Sivarasa, Eric Paulsen and Amer Hamzah. The remaining three were Nooraza Othman, Johny Anbu @ Abu Bakar Adnan, Ashraf Sadakathullah.

To add to this, another lawyer, Edmund Bon, was charged with obstructing Kuala Lumpur City Hall officers from performing their duties.He was charged under section 186 of the Penal Code which carries a punishment of maximum three-months jail or a maximum fine of RM1,000, or both. Read here for more

3. Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is willing to sacrifice public freedoms for the sake of national stability.

He said: "If the choice is between public safety and public freedoms, I do not hesitate to say here that public safety will always win.

I will not sacrifice my sense of accountability to the greater public, especially in the face of police intelligence about planned fighting or other violent intent.We must never ever take our peace for granted." Read here for more

4. Deputy Prime Minister Najib raised the racial tension stake by saying the anger of the Malays following the Nov 25 demonstration organised by the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) is under control. Read here for more

5. Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced the appointment of Zaki Azmi to the second highest post in the judiciary – President of the Court of Appeal.
Zaki Azmi had not spent a single day as a judge in the Court of Appeal or the High Court. He has not even warmed his seat as a judge. H e now looks poised to succeed Chief Justice Abdul Hamid Mohamad five months from now when Hamid retires in April 2008 upon reaching 66 years of age.

As Umno’s legal man, Zaki was involved with UMNO's myriad of scandalous financial misadventures that were bailed out by the government in the heydays of Mahathir’s crony-capitalism during the last Asian financial crisis.

With Zaki’s questionable background, there is no way he can command complete public confidence, particularly when the interests of Umno or his businesses are involved. Read here for more

6. Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam has urged the authorities to invoke the Internal Security Act (ISA) or withdraw the citizenship of the four lawyers and four activists involved in an illegal march in Kuala Lumpur today.
He said their action showed that they were traitors to the country for going against the order of the authorities not to proceed with the illegal march.

Mohd Ali was asked to comment on the arrest of four lawyers and four activists for holding an illegal march from in front of the Sogo Departmental Store in Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman to the Bar Council building in Jalan Raja, Kuala Lumpur this morning.

About 50 people, including lawyers, activists, bloggers and members of non-governmental organisations, had gathered since 7.30am in front of Sogo and marched along Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman towards the Bar Council building in conjunction with World Human Rights Day tomorrow. Read here for more

7. On Nov 20, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz tabled for first reading the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2007 seeking to extend the retirement age of members of Election Commission (EC) from 65 to 66.
Current Election Commission Chairperson Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman is due to retire on 31st December, 2007. The Government has quietly introduced a constitutional amendment that will have an important impact on the course of history.This bill will be tabled for second and third reading on DECEMBER 11, 2007.

Rashid as Chairman of the Election Commission is blatantly biased and unfit to continue to preside a free and fair election in the country.

Rashid is a virtual UMNO functionary. Rashid's decisions and actions as Chairman of the Election Commission are seen to perpetuate Umno’s political hegemony.

His past performance is a clear indication that he only served to advance the political fortunes of ruling coalition Barisan Nasional (BN) through unabashed gerrymandering at every constituency re-delineation exercise in the past few decades.


The Prime Minister's SON-IN-LAW/UMNO YOUTH DEPUTY CHIEF, KHAIRY JAMALUDDIN said the Demonstration was about HUMAN RIGHTS (July 2006)
Khairy Jamaluddin and his UMNO YOUTH Mob - The Demonstration
was NOT Peaceful .


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