Meet the new (pseudo) human rights activists in town

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Looks as if we have a new set of human rights activists in town. Mahathir and his former cabinet ministers are speaking out against the Sosma arrests of Khairuddin and Matthias Chang.

Well and good. Yes, Sosma is an undemocratic law as it allows detention without trial, but so was the ISA, which we campaigned hard to get rid of. The ISA was used during the Mahathir administration, and most of the figures in this press conference were in power then except for Razaleigh who was an outcast post-1987 and served as president of the opposition Semangat 46.

It is tragic that Mahathir has emerged as the main critic of the BN. Everything that Mahathir says about Sosma could just as well have applied to the ISA, which was used to detain critics and dissidents. The former leaders gathered in the video mentioned Khairuddin and Matthias; but notice, they didn’t say a word about the jailed Anwar, widely seen as a political prisoner.

The larger issue here is that, to many observers, this looks like an attempt by one group of former Umno-BN elites, with their own set of business cronies, to replace the present elites, who have fallen out of public favour, with a more acceptable public face (perhaps Razaleigh?). This more acceptable face would then deflate and divert the forces in society seeking real, meaningful change – witness the people power we saw at Bersih 4. In 2003, it was Mahathir’s choice Abdullah Badawi who was the rallying point that was used to deflate the Reformasi movement while Anwar languished in prison.

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Today, as Anwar once again languishes in his cell, can we pin our hopes on someone like Razaleigh? He might be a more acceptable face, more acceptable than Muhyiddin, who is too closely associated with the Najib administration, which appears to have gone overboard in more ways than one.

But Razaleigh lacks grassroots support. Will he however enjoy a surge in popularity among Malaysians longing for change just like Abdullah Badawi did in the 2004 general election? But then, will Razaleigh be equally beholden to the power-brokers in the establishment who may put his name forward now?

As we saw in the last general elections, the majority of Malaysians want real change, not pseudo change that perpetuates the crony-capitalistic corrupt neoliberal system we have now. Many made the mistake of putting their faith in Abdullah Badawi, only to be bitterly disappointed with unfulfilled promises and extinguished expectations.

No doubt, the former leaders’ statements today have now piled on the pressure on the Najib administration ahead of a possible no-confidence vote (if it sees the light of day).

But do you trust these former leaders to promote a more democratic system with people-centred policies? Or are they more interested in removing Najib so that Umno-BN can perpetuate its rule?

We can thank Mahathir for being open and crystal clear about his intentions. He wants Umno to remain in power. For him, it is just get Najib out of the way, thank you very much, so that Umno won’t lose the next general election and we can return to (crony capitalism) business as usual – and maybe Mukhriz can move up.

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(Isn’t it amazing how history repeats itself? In the 1990 general election, shortly before his death, an 87-year-old Tunku Abdul Rahman went all out in the election campaign to unseat Mahathir from power and replace him with Tengku Razaleigh. Today, a 90-year-old Mahathir is going all out to remove Najib from power – and who will take Najib’s place then? Razaleigh? Muhyiddin?)

Just be cautious where these guys are taking us. Sure, we can use them, as a matter of strategy, to press for the repeal of bad laws like Sosma and maybe to stem the outrageous corruption we see around us – just as they are using the people (they admit they need the support of the people) to further their own agenda.

At the end of the day, the majority of Malaysians want real change; the former leaders and power-brokers and business cronies don’t – or at least, not the type of far-reaching changes the majority want.

After all, these former leaders were in previous administrations that set in motion the train of events that led to the undermining of our institutions of government and the concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a few in Putrajaya. Look where we are today.

What do you think?

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David Loman
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David Loman

Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign feared backlash from labor groups, particularly the AFL-CIO, following President Barack Obama’s decision to improve Malaysia’s human rights standing in order to help push the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Clinton Labor Outreach Director Nikki Budzinski warned fellow senior campaign staff in July 2015 that AFL-CIO leader Richard Trumka would be mobilizing the union against the move and that Clinton should be ready to answer labor questions about TPP and Malaysia’s human rights record, according to emails Wikileaks made public on Monday. “Obama just readjusted Malaysia’s tier on the human rights list in order to move TPP thru… Read more »

benny
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benny

How Malaysia’s prime minister has stifled critics, opponents, and the press Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak has been embroiled in controversy since last summer. In early July 2015, news broke that he received nearly $700 million—into his personal bank accounts—that could be traced back to the debt-laden government investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). This week, an attorney general he appointed cleared Najib of any wrongdoing in the matter and declared the case closed. The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission is seeking a review of that action. Skeptics of Najib have questioned the (some say unbelievable) explanation given by the attorney general:… Read more »

glissantia
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glissantia

RPK mentioned a few major cash cows that are the underlying cause of the tussle. However, we all know that there are many other equally big cash cows.

Lester
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Lester

These BN old timers live to see that their previous wrongdoing in abusing ISA as been repeated by the current BN generation in the form of Sosma.

The only way that these old folks could die peacefully is to undo their mistakes by bringing down the present BN regime tha has caused so much hardship to rakyat with price hike and weakening ringgit!

hanny
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hanny

Tun M is getting bolder as the authority dare not touch him.
But Muhyidin and Shafie may not enjoy such immunity, and could be charged under Sosma if they continue to defy Najib.

kuning cilik
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kuning cilik

They are worried that Sosma could be used on them when Najib is at dead end.

khong khek khuat
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khong khek khuat

Don’t forget Mahathir was declared as the greatest [guy in Malaysia] in the Pavarotti Concerrt in KL by his biggest beneficiary Francis yeoh. So he already has the title -The Greatest.. We could add- the kindest. the most honest. the best . the cleverest and all the superlatives. Maybe in his mind Mahathir could be a good kind person -just like Dr Jekyll and Hyde. He may suffering from a split personality disorder. When in power -he was a tyrant. Now without power – he is a pacifist. I would be sending a nomination to the Nobel Peace committee nominating… Read more »

zoro
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zoro

dr. m has his agenda. mca lee kim sai and lim kit siang were having disputes. lks was sent yo kamunting detention under isa but lee kim sai was asked to go down under oz land for holidays

Williameethiah
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Williameethiah

In 1987, officially, may be more than 100 people were arrested under the Internal Security Act (ISA). 16 of them are Opposition Party Leaders, including 10 Members of Parliament were detained for “undermining national security and confidence”. The so called Ex-PM, Dr M left nobody, overall all those against his administration were not left-out from detention. During the tenure Dr M, he felt, he is “RIGHT” but most of the Ex-ISA Detainees backgrounds are, Pasar malam hawker, rubber tapper, vegetable seller, saw miller, farmer, pastor, insurance agent and so on, arrested under the ISA for undermining the security of the… Read more »

Ed G
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Ed G

Even an environmentalist who were opposed to the radioactive industry in his backyard (remember Asia Rare Earth Metal?) were detained under Ops Lalang. Obviously no one was spared. And Mahathir was hailed as a hero, a progressive leader, a visionary, a liberal, etc. by the general Malaysian pubic right until the Asia financial crisis in 1997. In fact, he was ‘saved’ by the Chinese voters during the !999 general election when his popularity among the Malays had taken a dived due to his sacking and subsequent arrest of Anwar. He later broke his agreement he made with the Chinese (remember… Read more »

Levina Linnet Kandiah
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Levina Linnet Kandiah

what about ISA which was used so widely by Dr M

Johan Khun Pana
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Johan Khun Pana

All those old gentlemen are NOT qualified when it comes to calling for human rights and fair democratic laws. Maybe they can use the “Old F..ts” term to better describe themselves for senility and forgot their major role in abusing the Internal Security Act when that law is specifically&solely for Communist Terrorist. But in this case, we or most of us have to back up these old f..ts or old gentlemen. Only they can make a lot of noise and gets away with it. The former prime minister is also calling for another huge mistake. Just by removing the current… Read more »

jamri
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jamri

Najib is using the same trick utilised effectively by Tun M in Operation Lallang!

lim
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Am with you Anil all the way. Only the naive and innocent cant see the ploy and guise of dr m. They even see dr m as the saviour now !!! Yes, we, the majority of Malaysians, will vote for a real change, a change of a new set of government completely, and not changing of faces in BN. Putrajaya badly needs to be overhauled with a new pilot !!! P/s Please allow me to say Tengku Razaleigh is useless, what had he done for the past few decades except that on a few occasions he came out of his… Read more »

Zalman A
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Zalman A

“At the end of the day, the majority of Malaysians want real change; the former leaders and power-brokers and business cronies don’t – or at least, not the type of far-reaching changes the majority want. ” “At the end of the day, the majority of Malaysians want real change” – ahhhh, that lovely old platitude. Breezy, inane and meaningless – and inaccurate. Try crawling out of your little urban bubble and into the heartland of Malaysia, to places you may not even have heard of, or know how to pronounce. THAT is the majority, my friend – you, by any… Read more »

lim
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Can incarnation take place so fast ??? yang is now Zalman, very trendy and stylish indeed !!! ha ha ha

bigjoe
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bigjoe

The REAL RISK of these pretenders of change is that they give fodder to the current complicit PAS leadership to keep their Mahathir&UMNO hating constituents to deny PAS leadership complicity with Najib.. Its not to divert from the main agenda of change. No one believe these people are for real change..

rajraman666
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rajraman666

All of them have interest in UMNO to rule for the rest of earthling life.One after another UMNO PM and their cronies taking our money like diarrhea. It’s flows non stop into their cronies. All GLC company leads to UMNO or UMNO cronies.
rajraman. When UMNO Politician talk they have mouth diarrhea.

Malaysian wallet empty since we had to pay for their crazy for Power and $$$ diarrhea

benny
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benny

The new ‘magnificent seven’ (including the absent Ling) are like mosquitoes providing annoying buzz to the ear of Jibby, but whether if they are Aedes mosquitoes that could cause the lethal denggi fever remains to be seen.

jamri
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jamri

Where is Sammy Vellu?

Phua Kai Lit
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Phua Kai Lit

Lenin regretted putting Stalin into power.