First speakers step up at Speakers’ Square


A handful of people created history yesterday by becoming the first speakers to take to the stage at the Speakers’ Square in Penang since its official launch on 4 May.

The Square was launched on Wednesday and yesterday, Sunday, was the first time it was available to speakers from the public.

See the report in The Star here:

Monday May 10, 2010
Speaker’s Square opens
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GEORGE TOWN: The sound of a ringing bell grabbed the attention of people enjoying the sea breeze at the Esplanade but it did not come from an ice-cream man.

Instead, it came from among a group of people who had gathered there to mark the start of a historic first day of Speaker’s Square.

Some 60 people had gathered at the Millenium Square concrete stage near the Esplanade seafront when Suaram secretariat member Ng Eng Kiat rang the bell at 6.15pm.

Important platform: Tan speaking at the Speaker’s Square at the Esplanade in Penang yesterday.

The crowd included several plainclothes policemen taking down notes and photographs.

The Speaker’s Square will be opened to the public every Wed-nesday and Sunday from 6pm to 10pm.

The first speaker, engineer Tan Seng Hai from Bayan Baru who initiated an online petition on the proposed RM50mil Penang International Convention Centre, spoke for about 15 minutes.

“This is an avenue not only to discuss political issues but you can also talk about your mother-in-law and girlfriend.

“It is also a good place for artistes to express their feelings through song and dance,” he added.

Another speaker was founding member of the Speaker’s Square Andre Loh Yu Hsiong.

He said Malaysians should exercise their right under the Consti-tution which guaranteed their freedom of speech, right to peaceful assembly and the right to form associations in the spirit of democracy.

The third speaker R. Wilson, 42, voiced his frustrations with some of the Pakatan Rakyat representatives who refused to answer telephone calls or attend gatherings.

“Do we need such tiga suku (half-baked) reps who bring up unnecessary issues such as the May 13 riots, racial tension and lambasting the police?,” he asked.

Former state executive councillor Datuk Dr Toh Kin Woon spoke in Bahasa Malaysia for about five minutes.

“Since everybody spoke in English, I thought it would good to speak in Bahasa so that everyone here can understand,” he said.

Dr Toh said the square was a good avenue to voice out complaints, feelings and requests.

“We must continue to fight for the abolition of laws which restrict the people’s freedom,” he added.

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Phua Kai Lit
Phua Kai Lit
11 May 2010 9.23am

People can express themselves not only by
making political speeches.

They can also do political satire,
singing stirring songs (how about
“The Internationale”?), etc.

Not to mention political jokes —
plenty of material for this with buffoons and
people who are “very economical with the truth”
in high office.

The Kepala Lembu Group is ripe for political satire!

11 May 2010 1.44am

I am not sure since when reps had to attend gatherings and answer all calls. They have their own jobs to attend to, and that is the sidang. They are lawmakers, and they should do their jobs that they are paid for – passing laws. In the UK and Australia, AFAIK, they are not the ones attending to daily problems like clogged drains and the like, that is already under the purview of the competent local authorities. Of course, should they have the time to make social calls as part of their job description, that would be great and surely… Read more »

Gerakan K
Gerakan K
10 May 2010 7.46pm

Pakatan Rakyat representatives who refused to answer telephone calls or attend gatherings

I agree with this. Even during the period when Kg Buah Pala villagers in the dire need of their representatives help, they switched off their phone !!!

Bravo to these VOTED FOR CHANGE representatives !!!

You are the MAN !!!

Tan Seng Hai
Tan Seng Hai
10 May 2010 6.56pm

Dhep: I do not belong to any political party and I do not hate PR. On the contrary, I want this state govt. to succeed by doing the right thing and doing it right. Failure is NOT an option for this state govt. Criticising the state govt. does not necessarily mean anti-state govt. We must not think that our state leaders can do no wrong. They may make the wrong decision or bad decision. They are also human. They may be ill-advised. It is our duty as civil society members to raise it up to them if we see they… Read more »

christine yong
christine yong
10 May 2010 5.19pm

Not in Penang to speak at the Speaker’s Corner. All I want to say is, without the Opposition in the picture since 308, BN or UMNO will not be making changes. It is the presence of the opposition and their sacrificial act of some of the “true opposition politicians” that has FORCED BN who has no choice but to try to change !! Vote for the opposition, without whom BN and UMNO will NEVER change for the better.

Gerakan K
Gerakan K
10 May 2010 7.52pm
Reply to  christine yong

Now BN has repented and comes with 1Malaysia. So, please support BN.

“PAS For All” => failed in attempts to ban concerts, selling of beer

“CAT” => failed in Kg Buah Pala test (no transparency), dropping FDI (not competent)

10 May 2010 3.00pm

I bet the Speaker Corner will be a very high demand place during the Valentine Day – public declaration of love…

Oh I am also supporting Speaker’s Corner. Brilliant idea – this Speaker Corner!

10 May 2010 2.17pm

Pihak berkuasa agama kena pantau, jangan jadikan tempat tu untuk membuka aib orang lain seperti suami, isteri, mak mertua, tempat membuat fitnah. Apa pun, apa hukumnya dalam agama diadakan tempat untuk orang bercakap sesuka hati ?

10 May 2010 1.51pm

Well, Frankly I am in favour of the Speaker’s Corner. I have been to the real Speaker’s Corner in UK. It’s at Marble Arch, very close to Malaysia Hall. By the way, I respected Andre Loh’s opinion but I simply can’t accept his reasoning. What do you mean one can’t lambast the police? I believe Andre read it from Main Stream Media. Andre, Police is accountable to the public. If their action is not right, we have the right to criticise. By the way, if I were there, I would reason to you why you are wrong on the lambasting… Read more »

10 May 2010 1.39pm

As much as Seng Hai hates PR, it would be good if he can at least say thanks for getting an opportunity to speak up openly.

Will BN state gov dare do such thing? Letting people openly criticize them? I doubt so.