Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-
Posted: 25 Sep 2013 03:43 PM PDT
ON 15 Sept 2011, the eve of Malaysia Day, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced a slew of reforms to transform Malaysia into a more open and democratic country. Almost a year later, most of the promised "reforms" have been implemented.
But has anything changed? In just the past two months, the government and its agencies have charged opposition leaders for participating in a street protest, sued Bersih 2.0 leaders for damages, and accused Singaporean embassy officials of inappropriate behaviour for observing the Bersih 3.0 rally. The government also banned a book by a Muslim woman, refused to release remaining Internal Security Act (ISA) detainees, and attempted to raid human rights organisation Suaram's office.
Forgive me if I'm stating the obvious. Legal reforms notwithstanding, it's not been very "open and democratic" around here recently. A quick review of all the new amendments and laws since Najib's Malaysia Day announcement will demonstrate why.
Peaceful Assembly Act (PAA)
Najib hailed the PAA as "revolutionary" and its enactment a "giant leap" in improving current laws. "Supposedly, [the Act] chokes freedom to assemble," Najib said in Parliament, referring to criticisms against the new law. "Is this allegation true?" he asked. "Not true at all," he replied to his own question.
Anwar (left) has been charged for participating in the Bersih 3.0 rally under the PAA (© Lainie Yeoh)
Barely six months after Najib's statement, and shortly after the PAA came into force, the law was used to charge Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and two others for participating in the Bersih 3.0 rally. This really is no different from the days when opposition figures were charged under the Police Act for participating in street protests.
And talking about choking the freedom to assemble, the government literally did so when the police fired a total of 967 tear gas canisters at Bersih 3.0 protesters.
How then can this legislation be construed as being revolutionary and a giant improvement?
Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA)
When Najib spoke of amending the PPPA on 31 March, he said the government respected the media's freedom to act as a check and balance on government.
But on 28 April, police beat up working journalists during the Bersih 3.0 rally even after the media personnel identified themselves. Police were also hostile towards journalists who attempted to record instances of police brutality against protesters. In some cases, the police damaged and confiscated journalists' equipment.
Curiously, after the attacks on the media, several Umno-owned and government-controlled media were silent or played down reports of the police beating up fellow journalists. So much then for the government respecting the media and the media acting as a check and balance on government.
And that's not all. Under Najib's legal reforms, the print media must still obtain permits even if it doesn't need to renew the permits annually. This means the print media is still subject to show-cause letters from the Home Minister which can result in newspapers losing their permits and journalists or editors being suspended.
Posted: 25 Sep 2013 02:18 PM PDT
Just a few hours into the gruesome terrorist attack on Nairobi's Westgate mall, on Saturday, the Shabaab, Somalia's Al Qaeda wannabe affiliate, assumed credit, calling its kill-team's targeting of dozens of innocent shoppers "an act of justice." Sixty-seven people were killed, along with five attackers, before Kenyan forces mostly took control of the mall on Tuesday; some of the last shooters had been holed up in its supermarket. The Shabaab reminded "Kenya"—as if it were a single sentient being beholden to its rules—of prior warnings that it intended to carry out attacks in retaliation for the Kenyan Army's presence in Somalia. It had specifically mentioned the Westgate mall, a popular hangout for affluent Kenyans and expatriate foreigners, as well.
In the Shabaab's murderous logic, the existence of a prior warning absolved them of guilt in the deaths of those people whom its commandos have murdered. The New York Times photographer Tyler Hicks, who is based in Nairobi, happened to be nearby when the attack began on Saturday and sent out some of the first photographs from the scene. Hicks's images, and those of another veteran war photographer, Goran Tomasevic, are a haunting, chilling testimony. In some, we see Kenyan soldiers, guns drawn, their expressions twisted by adrenaline and fear, as they hide from and hunt the terrorists. In others, we see women holding babies, seeking a safe way out. In one unforgettably sad picture, a young couple lies side by side in a pool of blood at the closed entrance to a shop: the man's arm is held protectively over the woman's waist; they are both dead. In others, toddlers stand in shock next to dead bodies. In most of these images, there is horror in the foreground, and, behind, glimpses of the banal backdrop: lighthearted advertisements, items on sale.
The target was a sickeningly well-chosen one. Westgate, like a couple of other shopping enclaves around the traffic-clogged, bustling city, is a time-honored meeting point for affluent Kenyans and foreigners, especially on weekends. Whenever I am in Nairobi, I find myself at Westgate several times a week, either to buy an item I need, or to meet someone in the large, airy coffee shop on the ground floor. I usually take a peek at the handicrafts trolley on the second floor, too, to see if there is anything that might serve as a gift. A couple of years ago I bought my mother-in-law a red, white, and blue African-print cloth decorated with the smiling countenance of Barack Obama. The President's late father was Kenyan, and his American-born son's success is a source of widespread national pride. Westgate is not a white enclave; in addition to black Kenyans and white Europeans or Americans—working for embassies, or one of the U.N. agencies and myriad N.G.O.s that operate out of the Kenyan capital—there were always Indians and usually a few Arabs, too. There is a sizable South Asian émigré community in Kenya, and the Nairobi suburb of Eastleigh is home to some two hundred thousand ethnic Somalis. Among the dead are people from at least twelve nations.
The first time I went to Westgate, about four years ago, was to meet a Nicaraguan-born humanitarian-relief official who handled the U.N.'s relief program for Somalia. At the time, it was considered too dangerous for the U.N.—or any other international agency, for that matter—to maintain a permanent presence in Somalia itself, because of the Shabaab, which controlled most of the Somali countryside and a good portion of the capital, Mogadishu. (One of the Westgate victims, a Peruvian, was a sixty-three-year-old U.N.D.P. official. He was at the mall with his daughter, who was shot but survived.)
As with Al Qaeda and its Islamist extremist kinfolk, the Shabaab views all nonbelievers—or even Muslims espousing different versions of the faith—as heretics and belligerents. In the past, this murderous presumption has meant summary executions by the Shabaab inside Somalia for young men caught watching soccer on television, or cruel stonings and amputations for transgressors of other Shabaab diktats, such as those who listen to music or, as Xan Rice writes in The New Yorker this week, run a certain sort of restaurant. It has also, occasionally, meant the kidnapping and even murder of victims seized in Kenya and taken back to Somalia.
Indeed, it was the Shabaab's habit of conducting violent cross-border raids that motivated the Kenyan Army's 2011 military incursion into Somalia in the first place. The Kenyans' goal was to secure a safe corridor along the country's border. In recent years, a number of Westerners have been taken from Kenya's Indian Ocean island-resort community of Lamu, which lies near the border with Somalia—several have died. Two Spanish women, who worked as relief officials at a large refugee camp in the northern Kenyan wastelands, were snatched and held for twenty-one months before being freed last July. With its economy heavily reliant on tourism, Kenya has suffered greatly from such Somali-related violence and previous Al Qaeda-linked terrorism—in 2002, at an Israeli-owned hotel in Mombasa; and at the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, in 1998, which was an attack that presaged 9/11. (In each case, most of the victims were Africans.)
|You are subscribed to email updates from Malaysia Today - Your Source of Independent News |
To stop receiving these emails, you may unsubscribe now.
|Email delivery powered by Google|
|Google Inc., 20 West Kinzie, Chicago IL USA 60610|