Press statement by Kua Kia Soong, SUARAM Adviser 17 Oct 2016

I understand the sentiments of “moderates” who are rightly alarmed at the increasing racism, religious bigotry and corruption in Malaysia and are proposing the establishment of a new ‘National Consultative Council’ (NCC2) like the one that was set up after May 13, 1969. But are they harbouring naïve views about how an NCC type approach can meaningfully address such concerns?

The presupposition behind those who call for unity and good sense and a rational way ahead for the nation is that “racial” discord in our society and the present slide into a banana republic can be solved through a council of eminent persons who will plot the path forward for the nation. But was that what was actually achieved by the NCC after the May 13 riots in 1969?

Who were behind the May 13 incident?

The official version of Malaysian history places the cause of May 13 on an inevitable clash between the “races” because of intractable inequalities between the ethnic communities. ‘Tanda Putera’, the official film goes even further by imputing blame on “provocation of the Malays” by the Opposition after the 1969 general election. My 2007 analysis of the evidence relating to the May 13 incident (‘Declassified documents on the Malaysian riots of 1969’) shows an orchestrated coup by the emergent state capitalists at the time who wanted the Tunku out. And in order to “restore order” and plot the route ahead for this new ascendant class, the National Consultative Council was established to give credence to a “national unity” that was sorely needed after the riots. It comprised of “eminent persons” representing the various ethnic communities in Malaysia.

What did the NCC actually achieve?

The National Consultative Council was headed by Tun Abdul Razak who became the new Prime Minister after the Tunku stepped down. It formulated the ‘Rukun Negara’ which was intended to create harmony and unity among the various races in Malaysia. Although the Rukunegara has often been touted as the panacea for our current problems in the country, I demur on two grounds: Firstly, this so-called “national philosophy” was crafted and promulgated under a state of emergency and not passed through the democratic processes afforded by the Federal Parliament; secondly, the ‘eminent persons’ responsible for it were not inclusive enough for they left out groups such as our indigenous peoples and Buddhists among others when they insisted on “belief in God” as one of the pillars of this state ideology.

The NEP was the game changer

Thereafter, the New Economic Policy (NEP) was launched in 1971. The NEP was aimed at “creating unity among the various races in Malaysia through reducing of the economic gap between the Malays and Bumiputera on the one hand, and the Non-Malays on the other”. It was a social re-engineering action program formulated by the National Operation Council (NOC) formed in the aftermath of 13 May 1969 riots. This policy was intended to be implemented for a period of 20 years but it has since, under different guises, become a Never Ending Policy.

It is important to note that the New Economic Policy that has transformed Malaysian society and also institutionalized racial discrimination all these years was the prerogative of the National Operation Council (NOC) and not the NCC. The NOC was the preserve of the Minister of Home Affairs, the leaders of UMNO, MCA & MIC, Chief of Armed Forces Staff and Inspector-General of Police. The council of eminent persons in the NCC only dealt with the formulation of the Rukun Negara. The National Cultural Policy was announced also in 1971 after a conference at which a token number of non-Malay academics were invited.

So let us be clear about what the NCC actually achieved after May 13. The NCC certainly failed to prevent the numerous amendments to the Constitution which have entrenched inequality since 1971, the most serious of which has been Amendment 8A to Article 153 in 1971, allowing more racial discrimination through the “quota system”. Nor did it prevent the amendment to Article 121 in 1988 which made provisions for the recognition of Islamic Syariah Courts/Laws – since then, the Judiciary has tended to defer its powers to the Syariah courts whenever there is dispute in conversion cases.

A fine mess you’ve got us into!

So how did we end up in the mess we find ourselves at the present and that is troubling the ‘moderates’ and corporate players?

First, we have to thank Dr Mahathir for privatizing most of our state assets when he came to office in 1981 right up to 2003. These were assets that we all owned that were sold for a song to private capitalists. By 1989, the contribution of the private sector to economic growth had exceeded that of the public sector and Mahathir’s mission to transfer state capital to private Malay capitalist hands was well on target. During Mahathir’s tenure as Prime Minister, three main UMNO officials focused their attention on building “Bumiputera capitalists”. This was facilitated after UMNO was declared illegal in 1988 and its assets were required to be sold off. The three were Mahathir himself, Daim Zainuddin who was his finance minister during two phases in Mahathir’s term and thirdly, Anwar Ibrahim who, before his downfall in September 1998, was second in power to Mahathir. All three had their respective corporate connections.

During the financial crisis of 1997, the state provided support for favored firms linked to the “Bumiputera capitalists” after the imposition of capital controls, such as reflationary measures which included cutting interest rates and making credit more readily available to these fledgling firms. Banks were also encouraged to lend more, and to bail out troubled firms – including that of Mahathir’s son – and a new expansionary budget was introduced in October 1998.

Apart from his historic creation of Malay private capital through privatization of state assets and his grandiose projects, Mahathir left a racist legacy that was the result of his populist intention to win over the Bumiputera votes. The racial discrimination implicit in the NEP was continued without any public debate; poverty was racialized as mainly a Bumiputera phenomenon; “Bumiputeras only” institutions were expanded, and racial discrimination was extended to discounts and quotas for housing, access to investment funds, loans and scholarships. This racist legacy included a chauvinistic National Cultural Policy that tried to pander to Malay-centrism with dire consequences for ethnic relations, especially in 1987.

Mahathir’s term in office was marked by sensational financial scandals which were not unexpected of an authoritarian populist who did not pay much heed to accountability and good governance. No one knows about all these scandals better than the leader of the Opposition who must declare if Mahathir can get away with impunity.

Mahathir’s racist paradigm was translated across the board to incorporate political, economic, educational, social and cultural policies and he left a racist legacy that has today been latched upon by a far-right Malay supremacist group of which he is the patron. This Malay-centric ideology they purvey has become increasingly infused with extreme Islamic populism, leaving even “moderate” Malays worried for the future.

Najib has merely extended Mahathir’s methods of rule

At the 13th general election (GE13) held on 5 May 2013, the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition won 133 of the 222 seats in Parliament, preserving its majority, despite the fact that it only received 47.38 percent of the popular vote against 50.87 for the opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR) coalition. Soon after GE13, UMNO decided to punish the non-Malays for their support of the opposition PR by giving only 19 percent of places in the public universities to Chinese students and 4 percent to Indian students even though the two ethnic groups together make up about 30 percent of the student population. Mahathir castigated Najib for wasting election funds on Chinese voters.

The GE13 results signaled a return to Mahathir’s strident racial politics and a U-turn on Najib’s pre-election attempt to reach out to the other races through his slogan “1Malaysia”. As noted above, UMNO’s erstwhile Malay chauvinist credentials have since been farmed out to Malay far-right organisations Perkasa and other groups. The latter will seek to prolong the pro-Malay discriminatory policies and Najib’s pre-election attempts to cut back on ethnic Malay privileges in the NEP now seem politically futile.

While it is the growing trend of many countries to reduce their civil service, Malaysia’s Prime Minister’s Department in particular, has done the opposite. It has more than doubled its number of civil servants from 21,000 to 43,554. In stark contrast, the White House employs only 1,888 staff!  To date, there are ten “Ministers in the Prime Minister’s Department” alone, on top of other important agencies or governmental bodies that fall within the purview of the Prime Minister’s Department. These include, among others, the Attorney General’s Chambers, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, Election Commission of Malaysia, Department of Islamic Development, Public Service Department, Keeper of the Rulers’ Seal, the Judicial Appointments Commission, Economic Planning Unit and the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency.

The oversized bureaucracy and the Bumiputeraist populism have, in turn, created massive leakages in the economy. In 2010, Cuepacs President Omar Osman revealed that a total of 418,200 or 41% of the 1.2 million civil servants in the country were suspected to be involved in corruption The 2009 Global Corruption Barometer (GCB) report revealed that Malaysians generally consider political parties and civil service to be the most corrupt groups, and the government’s anti-corruption drive to be ineffective.

Thus, instead of focusing on remedying the particular needs of the various poor classes in Malaysian society, the state has chosen to blame the plight of the Malay peasantry on “Chinese dominance of the economy”. At the same time, the state’s populist Bumiputera policy is intended to win over the allegiance of the whole Malay community while mainly benefiting the wealthier strata most of all.

The NEP and the state’s authoritarian populism

The state has subverted the democratic process through the proscription of so-called “sensitive” issues which include questioning the special position of the Malays, the national language and the rulers’ privileges. These proscriptions have been implemented through the use of detention without trial laws as well as the Sedition Act. Thus, the demands of workers and peasants, educational, religious and cultural organisations, indigenous peoples and regional minorities have been summarily dealt with through the cynical use of such repressive laws.

The NEP has served to institutionalize racial discrimination and its continuation is crucial to the authoritarian populism of the Malaysian state. This is blatantly practiced in the armed and civil services, education and economic sectors. Communalism, which is an intrinsic part of the state’s ideology, continues to produce tension in Malaysian society today and even more so after the challenge to the status quo at the 2008 general election. Even while Malaysia has been experiencing healthy economic growth rate since the seventies, the Malaysian state has had to rely on continued repression and communalist policies to divide the people.

The movement for genuine reforms

To conclude, as long as pro-Bumiputera policies remain useful in winning Bumiputera votes, it is unlikely that the ruling class in UMNO will want to dispense with this method of rule. Racism has been thoroughly infused in all the national institutions, including racist indoctrination of Bumiputeras in state institutions such as the BTN which recently came to light. Since Prime Minister Najib Razak introduced the slogan ‘1Malaysia’ to try to woo the disaffected non-Bumiputera voters after the 2008 fiasco, strident racism often associated with UMNO Youth has now been outsourced to the far-right Malay supremacist groups. They continue to play the role of storm troopers and disrupt activities organized by civil society to promote social justice, democracy and human rights. UMNO’s competition with PAS has also heightened Islamic populism in the country, with dire consequences for ethnic relations. Above all, racial discrimination facilitates crony capitalism which is essential to UMNO’s monopoly of power. This has not changed since the Mahathir era.

The ethnic Indian working class and the indigenous peoples in both East and West Malaysia are the poorest communities in Malaysia; the former and the Orang Asli cannot rely on “Bumiputera” privileges, while the indigenous peoples of East Malaysia do not enjoy the same amount of state largesse as the Malays in West Malaysia even though they are categorized as Bumiputeras.

So, if there is going to be an NCC2, will the new council of ‘eminent persons’ be prepared to face this reality and join the movement for genuine reforms in order to progress into the future? The road toward uniting the Malaysian peoples is through a concerted effort for greater democracy not only in the political realm but also in economic, educational, social and cultural policies. The state’s ideological view of “national unity” through one language and one culture and the dissolution of Chinese and Tamil schools are intended to fuel Malay chauvinism. The basis of unity rests fundamentally on the recognition of the equality of all nationalities. The imposition of one language and one culture on all the communities will produce only a hollow unity.

The basis for unity among the people has also to embody a commitment to democracy and policies that will improve the living standards of the workers and farmers of all communities and at the same time unite them. These components involve the lifting of restrictions on legitimate political organisation and activity, as well as the encouragement of social and political institutions that ensure genuine popular control.

Thus, the task for all Malaysians is to build a solidarity movement for democracy, fully cognizant of the need for improving the livelihood of the masses and building a society that is progressive, inclusive and truly equal.

Memorandum to PMO on 1MDB

Yang Berhormat Senator Datuk Paul Low Seng Kuan
The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department
in charge of Governance, Integrity and Human Rights.

Civil Society demands transparency and accountability on 1MDB

We, members of Civil Society (represented by the Organizations listed below) are greatly concerned by the recent developments pertaining to the 1 Malaysian Development Berhad (1MDB).  The recent application to seize assets by the United States Department of Justice (US DoJ) and the seizure of assets by authorities in Switzerland and Singapore have brought to the fore the magnitude and international scale of the fraud perpetrated upon the people of Malaysia through 1MDB.  Malaysia’s international standing, reputation and our economy have been badly affected. Investor confidence in Malaysia will wane.

Malaysia’s profile abroad is now one where the acts of greedy officials in Malaysia have caused in the U.S., the “largest single action ever brought by the Kleptocracy Asset Institution”.

Malaysians were deeply shocked by the US DoJ action where top officials of the country have been code-named.  This has never been seen before in our country. Yet the response by the government has been muted. Ministers who spoke merely defended 1 MDB and the person described as Malaysian Official 1. The silence about the massive looting of the rakyat’s funds is deafening.

This unsatisfactory state of affairs must cease.  It is now of paramount importance for the matter to be addressed immediately in a fair, transparent and accountable manner as the prolonged 1MDB saga has led to political and economic instability in Malaysia and has jeopardized the welfare of the Malaysian people.

The US DoJ action also reflects poorly on our regulatory and justice system which has to date failed to conclude its investigations satisfactorily and is fraught with secrecy.

The US DoJ action also raises several questions as to the investigations conducted by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency (MACC) which could not be completed due to a lack of co-operation by the Attorney General.  Added to this is the unusual decision by the Attorney General to ‘clear’ the Prime Minister of all wrongdoings in 1MDB despite incomplete investigations.

The case brought by the US DoJ shows that there has been a massive misappropriation of funds from the rakyat.  The repeated mention of ‘Malaysian Official 1’ and the close proximity between him and those who misappropriated the funds suggests that the decision by the Attorney General to close the investigations is highly questionable (if not totally flawed).

The earlier removal of the former Attorney General, Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail at the height of the investigations, the transfer of the MACC officials, the classifying under the OSA of the Auditor General’s Report the scuttling of the Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC) and the subsequent disbanding of the task force investigating 1MDB smacks of interference by the Prime Minster. In connection with this, the recent appointment as the MACC Chief Commissioner of a member of the Attorney General’s team who cleared the Prime Minister, is cause for grave concern for the independence of this institution.

What can possibly be left of the rule of law in our country when nearly all our key institutions have been so blatantly dismantled? Members of Parliament and in particular Cabinet Ministers must search their conscience and answer the question honestly as to whether they are acting in the best interests of the nation in allowing this situation to persist.   We wish to remind them that their Oath of Office obliges them to faithfully discharge the duties of that office to the best of their ability, to bear true faith and allegiance to Malaysia, and to preserve, protect and defend its Constitution.

Recognizing the dire situation faced by Malaysia, and the solemn duty of civil society to voice the concerns of the Malaysian people, we do hereby demand that the Members of the Cabinet in particular, and Members of Parliament in general undertake to do the following :-

  1. Take the necessary steps for the investigation and removal by legal means of the person named as Malaysian Official 1 in the US DoJ suit.
  2. Establish a Royal Commission of Inquiry into 1MDB (and other financial scandals).
  3. Disclose to the public the outcome of the MACC investigations into the SRC International financial scandal and the result of their interim investigations of the 1MDB scandal.
  4. Immediately declassify the Auditor General’s Report and convene an emergency Parliamentary sitting to discuss the PAC report and the DoJ proceedings.
  5. Take immediate steps to allow full and unimpeded investigations to take place, to take steps to arrest the damage done by the scandals to our financial system and the welfare of the people.
  6. Immediately set up an All-Party Parliamentary Committee (APPC) to comprehensively address the economic and political fallout of the 1MDB scandal and to take immediate remedial measures to address the same.

Endorsed by :-

  1. Academy of Tamil Studies, Malaysia
  2. Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4)
  3. Challenger
  4. Child Development Initiative Malaysia
  5. Coalition for Free & Fair Elections (BERSIH)
  6. Community Action Network (CAN)
  7. Council of Temples Malaysia
  10. Gabungan #TangkapMO1
  11. Group of Concerned Citizens Malaysia
  12. Himpunan Hijau
  13. Indian Malaysian Active Generation (IMAGE) Malaysia
  14. Jawatankuasa Bertindak Kuala Lumpur Tak Nak Insinerator
  15. Knowledge and Rights with Young people through Safer Spaces (KRYSS)
  16. Komuniti Muslim Universal (KMU Malaysia)
  17. Lawyers for Liberty
  18. Malaysia Tamil Artiste Association
  19. Malaysia Youth & Student Democratic Movement (DEMA)
  20. Malaysian Association of Indian University Graduates
  21. Malaysian Indian Historical Association
  22. Malaysian Physicians for Social Responsibility
  23. MIDAS
  24. National Human Rights Society (HAKAM)
  25. North South Initiative (NSI)
  26. Oriental Hearts and Mind Study Institute (OHMSI)
  27. Pusat KOMAS
  28. Rise of Sarawak Efforts (ROSE)
  29. Selangor Action Team
  30. Semparuthi Iyakkam Malaysia
  31. Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
  32. Tamil Youth Bell Club
  33. Warga Aman
  34. World Tamil Federation – Malaysian chapter

Joint Media Statement: Imminent executions in Singapore and Indonesia must be halted

Display Banner for Joint statement

Imminent executions in Singapore and Indonesia must be halted

We the undersigned, human rights organizations, and concerned human rights defenders condemn the imminent executions of Kho Jabing in Singapore and at least 15 individuals which apparently includes, 4 Chinese nationals, 2 Nigerians, 2 Zimbabweans, 1 Senegalese, 1 Pakistani and 5 Indonesian nationals in Indonesia. We call on the authorities of the two countries to halt the impending executions.

On 12 May 2016, the family of Kho Jabing, a Malaysian national on death row in Singapore, received a letter from the Singapore Prisons informing them that Kho Jabing would be executed on 20 May 2016. Kho Jabing was convicted of murder in 2011. Of particular concern is the fact that there was a lack of unanimity in sentencing Kho Jabing to death, which demonstrates that reasonable doubt exists as to whether Kho Jabing deserved the death penalty.

As regards the imminent executions that will be taking place in Indonesia, Indonesia would contravene her own international obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Right by executing these individuals.

The Association of South East Asian Nations Member States (“ASEAN”), including Singapore and Indonesia, have continuously emphasized the importance of the rule of law and the protection of rights. The death penalty therefore stands out as an aberration.

In December 2014, the United Nations General Assembly adopted its latest resolutions calling on all States to adopt a moratorium on the use of the death penalty, with a view towards abolition. A record number of 117 Member States supported the Resolution. Regrettably, Indonesia abstained and Singapore voted against the Resolution. The ASEAN Member States must use the opportunity presented by this Resolution to align themselves with the global movement towards abolition.

Singapore has recently undergone its second Universal Periodic Review in January 2016. The continued use of the death penalty was one of the key highlights of the review, with Singapore receiving over 30 recommendations related to the death penalty, including recommendations to abolish the death penalty.

In 2015, Indonesia, a United Nations Human Rights Council Member until 2017, executed 14 individuals convicted of drug-related offences amid strong international opposition. The imminent executions would further damage Indonesia’s human rights record and erode her standing in the international community.

The death penalty has no place in the 21st Century. Not only is there a real possibility of wrongful executions, it deprives inmates of their life and dignity, and creates new classes of victims. We strongly urge the governments of Singapore and Indonesia to halt the upcoming executions, immediately impose a moratorium on the use of the death penalty and take meaningful steps towards its eventual abolition.

List of Signatories:
Anti-Death Penalty Network Asia (ADPAN)
Center for Prisoner’s Rights Japan (CPR)
Community Action Network (CAN, Singapore)
Free Community Church (Singapore)
Function 8 (Singapore)
MADPET (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture)
Maruah (Singapore)
International Commission of Jurists (ICJ)
Journey of Hope
Legal Aid Community (LBH Masyarakat, Indonesia)
Murder Victims’ Families for Human Rights (MVFHR)
Pusat Studi Hukum dan Kebijakan Indonesia (The Indonesian Center for Law and Policy Studies)
Reprieve Australia
Sayoni (Singapore)
Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign (SADPC)
Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
Taiwan Alliance to End the Death Penalty (TAEDP)
The Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS, Indonesia)
The Indonesian Center for Law and Policy Studies (PSHK, Indonesia)
The Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (ICJR, Indonesia)
The Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy of Indonesia (ELSAM)
The National Human Rights Society, Malaysia (HAKAM)
Think Centre Singapore
We Believe in Second Chances (WBSC, Singapore)


Dobby Chew, SUARAM
[email protected]

Priscilla Chia, We Believe in Second Chances (Singapore)
[email protected]

Bernhard Ruben, The Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy of Indonesia (Indonesia)
[email protected]

Puri Kencana,The Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS, Indonesia)
[email protected]

Sam Zarifi (International Commission of Jurists, Bangkok)
[email protected]


By Kua Kia Soong, SUARAM Adviser 14 March 2016

Having put up a defence for RPK when he was under attack by the NST in 2010 (LOOKING FOR THE GOOD IN RPK, Malaysia Today, 5 Jan 2010), I am obliged to pose some queries about his perplexing volte face. His latest interview with NST (10 March 2016) gives us a good opportunity to examine his consistency or otherwise.

When RPK was being pilloried by the NST in 2010, I lauded his efforts of the last decade:
“Cyber anarchist would be an apt epithet to confer upon him for he has done more than any politician in this country to expose the illegitimate institutions of the Malaysian state…RPK has gone beyond the sociological theses about the shared interests of the ruling elite – he has literally stripped bare the integuments of the Malaysian state; exposed the machinations of the police and shameful harassment of whistleblowers.”

I further described RPK as the “nemesis of bumiputeraism”: “He taunts them in cyberspace all the way to hell. You couldn’t find a more exemplary model of the rational, non-racist Malaysian intellectual who is not afraid to castigate not only the ruling class but also the spineless and the opportunists in ALL the ethnic communities in Malaysia.”

Whether I will have to eat my words written in 2010 will depend on how RPK responds to these queries in the minds of many Malaysians today…

When did RPK’s disaffection with the Opposition start?
Having worked so many years in the “Free Anwar” campaign, it makes many Malaysians wonder how RPK suddenly in 2010 decided to launch his anti-Anwar campaign. To try to understand his current support for Najib, I am interested to know his analysis and views on UMNO during those years when he supported the Reformasi campaign. Was he, for example, already a “Malay nationalist” of the type he now describes himself and which we will examine below?

In the NST interview, RPK said:
“It was around that time, since 2010-2011, that I began to question many things involving politics and religion. I no longer accepted what could be described as mainstream beliefs…And this is what the opposition cannot accept about me, my unorthodoxies. And that was why they opposed the Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement (MCLM) when it was launched in late 2010. They did not know what to expect and it is a natural human instinct to fear the unknown. So they opposed the MCLM and condemned me for what they viewed as an attempt at creating competition for the opposition…So when I revealed the truth behind the real face of the opposition, and when I exposed Anwar Ibrahim for the fraud that he is, the opposition people cannot accept this truth…it was Anwar Ibrahim who first declared war on me in 2010.”

“One of the key issues in my disagreement with Anwar was his agree to disagree policy and his refusal to resolve many disagreements in the opposition, the Hudud issue being one of them. I said that if he does not address this issue then one day soon Pakatan Rakyat would disintegrate. And for that he attacked me. And now have I not been proven right? Has Pakatan Rakyat not disintegrated? So why can’t I oppose Anwar when he is the cause of the disaster and when I had already warned him and he declared war on me because I had brought his matter up.”

Does disaffection with Opposition necessarily mean support for Najib?
OK. So RPK had some grounds for being disaffected with Anwar and the Opposition coalition over the latter’s prejudice against the “Third Force” that RPK and others including Haris Ibrahim were trying to create after 2008. But does that mean he should make a complete volte face and support the man he once opposed, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak?

What political stand and reform ideas did MCLM have that led RPK and others to oppose Najib in the first place? It could surely not have just been a polarity response that people adopt just to spite the ones who do not see eye to eye with them!

Incidentally, the “Peoples’ Declaration” of the MCLM seems to have been obliterated from cyberspace just like Altantuya’s immigration records. I tried to google Malaysia Today as well as Haris Ibrahim’s blog to see if I could see what reforms had been proposed by this “Third Force” but to no avail.

Is RPK a rational, non-racist Malaysian intellectual?
In 2010 I described him as the “nemesis of bumiputeraism … You couldn’t find a more exemplary model of the rational, non-racist Malaysian intellectual.” In his latest NST interview, he maintains:

“It never occurred to them that we are supporting the government because we want to make sure that the Chinese DAP-led opposition would not grab power and set up a Chinese DAP-dominated government with Malays from Amanah and PKR as their proxies and puppets. And when I say that, they call me a racist. So I am a Malay nationalist. So what? Why does that make me a racist? The Scots, Welsh and Irish are nationalists as well…there is nothing wrong with being a nationalist and you should be proud of it. So I am nationalist Malay and am proud of it. And if you find that offensive that is your problem not mine. First close down all your Chinese and Tamil schools before coming to talk to me about ‘there should be no Malays, Chinese and Indians but only Malaysians’…So why can’t I tell the Malays you must support Umno or else you are a traitor to the Malay race? What makes them right and me wrong?”

First of all, it is interesting to note that while before, RPK could conceive of a “Third Force”, now he tells the Malays: “You must support Umno or else you are a traitor to the Malay race…” For him, now in 2016, it seems he cannot fathom any other alternative! For him, UMNO are the only “Malay nationalists” (sic).

For all his Oxford education, can RPK tell me if UMNO is comparable with for example, the Scottish National Party? Does the SNP subscribe to “Scottish dominance” along the lines of “Ketuanan Melayu”? I think not. Does the SNP subscribe to racism and racial discrimination like we have in this country? I think not.

So what happened to all the solutions the MCLM had to reform Malaysia? Surely they did not include such exclusive Malay-supremacist objectives including closing down Chinese and Tamil schools? Does RPK regret having left his “Malay nationalist” aspirations in suspension all those years of the Reformasi movement and the MCLM? Has he been a crypto-Malay supremacist all those years and even fooled me into thinking he was the “nemesis of bumiputeraism”?

Unfortunately, it looks like I might have to eat my words after all …


4TH MARCH 2016


(Geneva, 4th March 2016)  SUARAM under the accreditation of Persatuan Aliran Kesedaran Negara (Aliran) is attending the 31st  Regular Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, which opened on 29th February in Geneva, Switzerland. During the week, the group will meet with the Special Rapporteurs on Human Rights Defenders and Torture as well as various permanent missions to the UN in Geneva and Geneva based NGOs, to highlight and make recommendations on Malaysia’s poor human rights record.

The delegation from SUARAM comprises of SUARAM Executive Director and activist, Sevan Doraisamy, Grassroots Community Organiser and PSM Central Committee Member Mr. S. Arutchelvan who was recently charged under the Sedition Act and Peaceful Assembly Act and Mr. Bala Chelliah, Coordinator of Suaram International based in Geneva.

The delegation notes that, in his opening address to the Human Rights Council, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, called on “leaders to take actions now to relieve the pressure on rights or face future explosive consequences”. 

In his statement to the Human Rights Council, Zaid Rastam, Malaysia’s Deputy Permanent Representative unashamedly expressed that the Malaysian government gives importance to the enjoyment of all human rights and all fundamental freedoms for its people. The delegation finds the statement to be nothing more than lip-service in light of the grave human rights violations committed by the Government of Malaysia. The Malaysian representatives also highlighted the government’s commitment to human rights in receiving 3000 Syrian refugees to Malaysia. While we welcome this effort, we have reservations in regards of the government’s selective treatment when providing aid and support to refugees. The delegation finds the statement delivered by the Malaysian representatives insincere and aim to placate the human rights council and the international community. 

SUARAM will make all the necessary efforts to lobby and advocate on the on-going human rights crisis in Malaysia to the international community. SUARAM will deliver two oral statements during the interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders and Special Rapporteur on Torture. The delegation will highlight the recent issues facing the country’s human rights defenders, as well as highlighting the latest reports of torture that occurred under security laws. Alongside this, Mr. S. Arutchelvan will participate in a panel side event organized by Forum Asia, entitled: Protection Needs of Human Rights Defenders working on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; Challenges and Good Practices on Monday 7th March, 13.30pm at the 31st Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.  Arul will joined by the other guest speakers including, Mr. Michel Forst, SR on Human Rights Defenders and Miss Navi Pillay, former High Commissioner for Human Rights.

For inquiries, please contact:

Nalini Elumalai, SUARAM International – [email protected]
Sevan Doraisamy, SUARAM Executive Director –
[email protected]