Source : The Malysian Insider

By Clara Chooi
Assistant News Editor

November 06, 2012

Ambiga stressed that Malaysians don’t take to the street so easily unless it is for a very good reason. — File pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 6 — The Bersih 2.0 movement does not want to cause an Arab Spring in Malaysia, Datuk Ambiga Sreenavasan told CNN in a rare interview on international television aired here this morning.

She stressed that the election watchdog group she heads only wants a clean polls process to ensure a democratically-elected government.

Ambiga told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour during the New York interview that Bersih 2.0 is not opposed to the possibility of the present government returning to power after the next polls, provided that its leaders are elected fairly.

“Well, let me tell you where we’re coming from. We don’t want an Arab Spring,” the activist said to the renowned CNN chief international correspondent.

Ambiga was being interviewed alongside another pro-reform fighter, Ukraine’s Eugenia Tymoshenko, the daughter of the jailed former prime minister Julia Tymoshenko, on “Amanpour”, the nightly foreign affairs programme on CNN International which Amanpour anchors for.

Both were described by Amanpour as “brave women” and “brave voices for democracy”.

“We want to choose our leaders through clean and fair elections. We want to do it through the ballot box, which is why the government really, if they want peaceful transition of any sort — it can be the same government,” Ambiga said, according to a transcript of the interview available on

Amanpour had asked Ambiga if she felt that Malaysia would witness the same uprising seen over the past two years in the Middle East, pointing to the string of pro-democracy protests that the prominent lawyer has led since 2007.

To be honest, as far as our movement is concerned, we’re not — we’re not worried about who wins. We’re worried about the process.

“The process is important because what it needs to reflect is the will of the people. It’s about legitimacy. It’s about honouring the right of the voter to vote,” she said.

The Arab Spring or the Arab revolution has seen rulers forced from power in several countries across the Arab world including Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Yemen, in a wave of anti-government street demonstrations.

“It can be the same people coming in,” insisted Ambiga, stressing again that Bersih 2.0 does not want a Malaysian version of the Arab Spring.

“They have to allow it to happen through clean and fair elections. That’s what we’re asking for. We want to bring change through the ballot box, if there is to be change at all,” she said.

Ambiga has so far led three Bersih demonstrations in the capital city, amassing a crowd of thousands in a march for free and fair elections.

The first rally in 2007 was partly credited for the colossal losses suffered by the ruling Barisan Nasional government during Elections 2008, where it failed to recapture its coveted two-thirds parliamentary majority and even ceded four states and Kelantan to the opposition.

But every Bersih protest had resulted in scenes of chaos as the government deployed riot police to stop protestors from marching on the streets of the capital through the use of tear gas and chemical-laced water.

Since the protests, Ambiga and her fellow Bersih 2.0 steering committee members have been the target of attacks by pro-BN hardliners, some of whom have even held mini protests outside the leader’s home and hurled threats and racial slurs at her.

But asked if she was afraid, Ambiga told Amanpour that she had little choice in the matter.

“I mean, the choices are this: you either give into the intimidation, which means you undermine the whole movement, or you stand up to it.”

She pointed out that such “oppressive conduct” by those in power was a clear indication that the government saw the Bersih movement and the crowd of thousands it had amassed for the rally as “a threat”.

Ambiga also made it a point to correct Amanpour on the size of the crowd at the last Bersih rally in Kuala Lumpur on April 28, saying some 200,000 had attended, instead of the 20,000 that the correspondent had earlier suggested.

“Malaysians don’t take to the street easily. So if they have, there is a good reason for it.”

Source : MalaysianMirror

Charles Santiago
Friday, 29 June 2012 11:52

Civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr said “Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity”. I wonder what ruling Barisan Nasional’s Sri Gading lawmaker Mohamad Aziz is. Chances are maybe both.

I cannot really say I am shocked by his statement calling for Bersih’s co-chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan to be “hanged” for treason towards the King. Mohamad called her a traitor for leading the call for free and fair elections, prompting tens of thousands of people to take to the streets last July.

We have been seeing politicians from the ruling camp spewing venom just because they have absolute power and know their dangerously stupid remarks would be dismissed.

And sure enough BN secretary-general Tengku Adnan Mansor said Mohamad’s views were his personal opinion and do not reflect party stance. And then he subtly reminded the public that the case related to the Bersih 3.0 assembly is still under investigation by the authorities.

Mohamad was not reprimanded although his remarks have the danger of further dividing the nation which is already split down the middle as a result of race-based politics. But realizing his statement sounds ludicrous, he scrambled around to manage the damage done by saying he was merely posing a question to parliament on the possibility of Ambiga being punished. Then Mohamad retracted his remarks.

It is shameless that threats and attacks have been mounted on Ambiga because she is an easy target. Mohamad’s statement is not just racist but also seditious. Its clear he threatened Ambiga because she is a woman, an Indian and a Hindu. Even her counterpart, poet laureate Samad Said has said he has been spared because he is a Malay.

Prime minister Najib Razak goes around town trying to engage different communities with his 1Malaysia rhetoric which aims at national integration through racial unity. But his men don’t get it, do they? And Najib himself has kept painfully mum when Ambiga was targeted.

Malaysians sent a strong message at the rally, demanding for electoral reforms. The crowd that turned up cut across a diverse segment of the society. And the government is still reeling from the hit it took – not just because it was unprepared to handle a politically maturing society but also because of the back lash it suffered due to arbitrary and excessive force by the police.

Almost a year after the rally, the government is yet to implement durable reforms ahead of a general election, which is described as one that would be the dirtiest in the country’s political history. Instead, we have seen Najib throwing money to buy votes.

But all the cash handouts and speeches peppered with racial undertones, threats of a looming disaster if UMNO loses power plus promises of even more money to the people have not worked to shift the sentiments on the ground.

People are fed-up of a corrupt government. People are fed-up of the ruling elite lining its pockets. People are fed-up of race-based policies. People are fed-up of widespread discrimination.

In short the people want a change of government and Barisan Nasional politicians are growing out of ideas to hoodwink the public.

So we have a few stupid men talking nonsense.

Malaysia became the laughing stock of the world when international headlines highlighted the “butt exercise” by former soldiers outside Ambiga’s house to embarrass and harass her.

While there was no official statement checking this indecent incident, the police came to the aid of traders who set-up burger stalls outside her home to make up for losses sustained during the rally calling for electoral reforms.

Deputy police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said they could not act against the traders as they were in a public space.

And recently Ambiga was slapped with a half a million ringgit fine for alleged damage to the capital city during the rally. If anything, such continued victimization of Ambiga has only angered the people even more.

The government might think that it can cleverly rely on pure fluff that pours out of the mouths of ruling politicians to divert attention from much-needed electoral reforms.

Such thinking is archaic. And the government is better off getting used to the idea that its stronghold on power is slipping fast.

CHARLES SANTIAGO is Member of Parliament, Klang


மூலம் : செம்பருத்தி

Wednesday, June 27, 2012 3:08 pm

அண்மையில் பேரணிக்கு ஏற்பாடு செய்ததற்காக பெர்சே இணைத் தலைவர் அம்பிகா ஸ்ரீநிவாசனை தூக்கிலிட வேண்டும் என்று கூறிய ஸ்ரீ காடிங் பிஎன் நாடாளுமன்ற உறுப்பினர் முகம்மட் அசீசுக்கு எதிராக டிஏபி எம்பிகள் போலீசில் புகார் செய்வார்கள்.

இன்று நாடாளுமன்ற வளாகத்தில், செய்தியாளர் கூட்டமொன்றில் டிஏபி தலைமைச் செயலாளர் லிம் குவான் எங் இதனைத் தெரிவித்தார்.

நேற்று துணை விநியோக சட்டமுன்வரைவு மீது குழுநிலையில் நடைபெற்ற விவாதத்தில் கலந்துகொண்ட முகம்மட், அம்பிகாவை (வலம்) “தேசத் துரோகி” என்று குறிப்பிட்டு பேரணியை ஏற்பாடு செய்த “துரோகச் செயலுக்காக” அவரைத் தூக்கிலிட வேண்டும் என்றும் கூறினார்.

“ஸ்ரீகாடிங் எம்பியின் பேச்சு கேட்டு அதிர்ச்சி அடைந்தோம். அப்பேச்சு நிந்தனைக்குரியது, இனவாதம் மிக்கது,மிரட்டும் தோரணையைக் கொண்டிருக்கிறது.அது ஓர் இந்தியரை அதுவும் ஒரு ஹிந்துவை நோக்கிச் சொல்லப்பட்டது என்பதால் அதை இனவாதம் மிக்கதாக நினைக்கிறோம்.

“முகம்மட் தாம் சொன்னதை மீட்டுக்கொள்ள வேண்டும் அல்லது மன்னிப்பு கேட்க வேண்டும் என்றெல்லாம் சொல்லி நேரத்தை விரயமாக்கப் போவதில்லை”, என்று லிம் குறிப்பிட்டார்.

பெர்சே ஏற்பாட்டுக்குழுவில் இருந்த இணைத் தலைவர் சமட் சைட் உள்பட மற்றவர்களையெல்லாம் ஒதுக்கிவிட்டு அம்பிகாவை மட்டும் குறிவைத்துப் பேசிய முகமட்டின் பேச்சு “இனவாத” மிக்க ஒன்றுதான் என்று லிம் வலியுறுத்தினார்


அம்பிகா தமது இனம், சமயம், பெண்ணாக இருப்பது ஆகியவை காரணமாக குறி வைக்கப்பட்டு பல தாக்குதல்களும்  அச்சுறுத்தல்களும்  நடத்தப் பட்டு வருகின்றன. அந்த அம்சங்களை அதிகார வர்க்கம் அடிக்கடி பயன்படுத்தி வருவதாகவும் அண்மையில்  பெர்சே அமைப்பின் இன்னொரு இணைத் தலைவரான பாக் சமாட் என அழைக்கப்படும் ஏ சமாட் சைட் தமதறிக்கையில் குறிப்பிட்டிருந்தார்.

டத்தோ அம்பிகாவிற்கு எதிராக இழைக்கப் படும் செயல்கள் அனைத்தும் அவ்வாறாகத் தெரிகின்றது என தாமும்  கருதுவதாகக் கிள்ளான் நாடாளுமன்ற உறுப்பினர் சார்ல்ஸ் சந்தியாகோ கூறினார். இது வெறும் குற்றச்ச சாட்டள்ள எனக் குறிப்பிட்ட அவர், அதிகார வர்க்கத்தின் செயல்கள் அனைத்தும் டத்தோ அம்பிகா ஒரு இந்திய பெண் என்பதால் மட்டும் தான் என்பது ஒருதலை பட்சமாகக் நடந்துக் கொள்ளும் அவர்களின் செயல்களிலிருந்து நிரூபணமாகிறது என மேலும் கோடிக் காட்டினார்.

நாளுக்கு நாள் அவர்களின் அட்டூழியங்கள் அதிகரித்துக் கொண்டு வருகின்றன. ஒரு தனிபட்ட பெண்ணை தாக்கும் செயலுக்கு அரசாங்கம் இணைவது ஒரு வேதனைக்குரிய விஷயம் மட்டுமில்லாமல், இனத்துவேசமாகக் நடத்துக் கொள்ளும் அரசாங்கத்தின் செயல் மக்களின் ஆதங்கத்தையும் ஏமாற்றத்தையும் மேலும் அதிகரிக்கின்றன.


டத்தோ அம்பிகாவை ஒரு சாதாரண இந்திய பெண் என ஏளனமாக எண்ணி, அவருக்கு எதிராக விளைவிக்கும் அணைத்து செயல்களையும் நிறுத்துமாறு கேட்டுக் கொண்ட சார்ல்ஸ், பெர்சே பேரணியில் கலந்துக் கொண்டவர்கள் இனம் , மதம், மொழி  பாராது நியாயமான மற்றும் சுத்தமான தேர்தலை கோரி கடலலையாய் ஒன்று திரண்டது அம்பிகாவின் கோரிக்கையில் நம்பிக்கை உடையவர்களின் எண்ணிக்கையையும் அவருக்கு மக்கள் காட்டும் ஆதரவையும்  வெளிப்படையாக சித்தரிக்கின்றது என்பதை அரசாங்கம் மறந்து விடக் கூடாது எனவும் அவர் எச்சரித்தார்.

மேலும் மேலோங்கிக் கொண்டிருக்கும் டத்தோ அம்பிகா மீதான  மனித உரிமை அத்து மீறும் செயல்களை நிறுத்திக் கொண்டு, தேர்தல் சீர்துருத்தங்களில் மும்முரம் கட்டுமாறு அரசாங்கத்தை கேட்டுக் கொண்டு தமது ஆதரவு எப்போதும் அம்பிகாவிற்கும் பெர்செவிர்க்கும் உண்டு என மிக ஆணித்தரமாக சார்ல்ஸ் கூறினார்.




இரண்டு நாட்களுக்கு முன்பு மெர்லிமாவ் வட்டார ம.இ.கா தலைவர்கள் டத்தோ அம்பிகாவின் குடியுரிமையையும் பட்டங்களையும் பறிக்க கோரி போலீசில் புகார் செய்திருக்கும் செயல் அடிப்படையற்ற செயல் எனவும் இவ்வாறான செயல் சற்றும் ஏற்றுக் கொள்ள முடியாது எனவும் கிள்ளான் நாடாளுமன்ற உறுப்பினர் சார்ல்ஸ் சந்தியாகோ கூறினார்.

இச்செயல் கண்டிக்கத்தக்கது என கூறிய சார்ல்ஸ், இதில் ம.இ.கா தேசியத் தலைவர் டத்தோ ஸ்ரீ ஜி.பழனிவேலுவின் நிலைப்பாடு என்ன எனவும், இது ஒட்டு மொத்த ம.இ.காவின் முடிவா எனவும் கேள்விகளை அடுக்கினார்.

இந்த ஜனநாயக நாட்டில் நியாயமான மற்றும் சுதந்திரமான தேர்தலை கோரி பேரணி நடத்திய டத்தோ அம்பிகாவின் குடியுரிமையையும் பட்டங்களையும் பறிக்க கோரும் ம.இ.காவின் கோரிக்கை காலத்துக்கு உகந்ததல்ல என சாடிய சார்ல்ஸ், இவ்வாறான செயல் ம.இ.கா விற்கும் பெர்காசவிர்க்கும் எந்த ஒரு வித்தியாசத்தையும் ஏற்படுத்த வில்லை எனவும் கூறினார்.

உண்மையில் சொல்ல போனால், இந்திய பெண்மணியாகிய துணிச்சல் மிக்க டத்தோ அம்பிகாவிற்கு புகழாரம் சூடி அவரை பாதுகாக்க வேண்டும். இந்தியர்கள் தமது உரிமைகளை தட்டிக் கேட்க இவ்வாறான துணிச்சல் வேண்டும் என டத்தோ அம்பிகாவை எடுத்துக் காட்டாக நமது அடுத்த தலைமுறையினருக்கு எடுத்துக் கூற வேண்டும். அப்படி இதை செய்ய முடியவில்லை என்றாலும் பரவாயில்லை , ஆனால் அவருக்கு எதிராக நடவடிக்கை எடுப்பது, போலீசில் புகார் செய்வது எனும் செயல்கள் அனைத்தும் நேரத்தை விரயமாக்கும் செயல் என கூறிய அவர், ம.இ.கா இவ்விவகாரத்தில் தீர்க்க முடிவு எடுக்க டத்தோ ஸ்ரீ ஜி.பழனிவேலுவின் பங்கு என்ன என்பதனை விவரிக்குமாறு ஜி.பழனிவேலுவை கேட்டுக் கொண்டார் சார்ல்ஸ்.

By Aliran, 8 July 201

A group of 365 Catholics and other Christians in Malaysia, including a string of priests and religious, have signed a joint letter to Pope Benedict XVI expressing their concern over Prime Minister Najib Razak’s official visit to the Vatican on 18 July 2011 in view of recent developments in the country.

The letter highlighted concerns about the lack of democratic rights and religious freedom in Malaysia to enable the Pope to “understand more critically and comprehensively the political and social realities” lest the pontiff is “presented with a one-sided view of developments” in the country.

The group said while it welcomed the establishment of diplomatic relations between Malaysia and the Holy See, and believes that Malaysia’s experience in inter-religious living and cooperation has lessons to offer to other multireligious multiethnic societies, they are wary about the timing of Najib’s visit to the Vatican.

They expressed concern that foreign governments and leaders who host Najib in his travels might be influenced by his pronouncements which extol the spirit of moderation, whereas in fact his government has used unnecessarily excessive force time and time again. The latest examples of this have been the undemocratic treatment of civil society groups in Bersih’s Walk for Democracy episode and the ongoing detention without trial of six political activists, including an opposition MP, under harsh security laws.

The letter also highlighted how Najib and other BN leaders, in trying to stem the popular support for Bersih’s call for clean and fair elections, have manipulated ethnoreligious sentiments irresponsibly and attempted to demonise Bersih leaders as anti-Islam.

The signatories pointed out that there had been curbs to freedom of religion despite this fundamental human right being guaranteed in the Malaysian Constitution.

The group also expressed their suspicion that there could be a hidden political agenda to win electoral support among the Christians of Sabah and Sarawak especially through this visit to the Vatican.

They ended the letter with the hope that the Holy See would consider their concerns seriously and be guided by the Holy Spirit in its dealings with the Malaysian government.

Agence France-Presse, Updated: 7/10/2011

Malaysian police may have crushed a weekend protest, but analysts say the crackdown has tainted the country’s democratic credentials and could embolden the opposition ahead of elections.

A massive security lockdown on Saturday in the capital Kuala Lumpur crippled a plan by Bersih, a broad coalition of opposition parties and civil society groups, to muster 100,000 people for a rally demanding electoral reforms.

Police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse crowds in the biggest anti-government protests to hit the nation since 2007, when similar demands for reform also ended in chaos on the streets.

More than 1,600 people were arrested, including 16 children as well as prominent lawmakers, and opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was hospitalised after being knocked down in the pandemonium.

Analysts and campaigners said the stern police action was likely to backfire on the country’s image as one of Southeast Asia’s more democratic countries.

Prime Minister Najib Razak has been cultivating an image of an emerging nation with a strong economy and an open political environment.

“I think it has tarnished Malaysia’s image and its membership in the UN Human Rights Council,” said political analyst Khoo Kay Peng.

Describing the police action as “completely overdone,” Khoo said, “It is a killer to our image as a progressive democratic country.”

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International condemned the crackdown and the arrests and chided Malaysia for flouting international standards.

“As a current member of the UN Human Rights Council, the Malaysian government should be setting an example to other nations and promoting human rights,” said Amnesty International’s Donna Guest.

“Instead they appear to be suppressing them in the worst campaign of repression we’ve seen in the country for years.”

Yeah Kim Leng, chief economist with independent consultancy RAM Holdings, said the protest cast a negative light on Malaysia, whose economy grew 7.2 percent last year — one of the strongest in Southeast Asia.

“The greater concern is the tangible costs of increased political risk premium and heightened wariness among investors,” said Yeah.

The political opposition led by Anwar scored major gains in general elections in 2008, denying the ruling Barisan Nasional an outright two-thirds majority for the first time since 1969.

Last April, the opposition followed through with upset victories in state polls in Sarawak on Borneo island, a traditional Barisan power bastion.

The opposition, which believes it would have done even better in 2008 — potentially threatening the Barisan Nasional’s half-century rule — if voting had been more fair.

The protesters said they want to see election reforms to prevent fraud, including the use of indelible ink to prevent multiple voting, equal access to the media for all parties and the cleaning-up of electoral rolls.

“It is clear the government is intimidated by the gathering. They did not want the opposition to gain momentum from this protest,” added Khoo.

James Chin, a professor of political science at Monash University’s campus in Kuala Lumpur, said the government had overreacted and warned that “this will lead to blow-back to Najib”.

“The consequences will be felt by Najib in the coming general election. People will vote against the ruling government,” he said.

Political observers noted that the protesters were disciplined on Saturday — refraining from pelting police with rocks, looting stores or smashing windows.

Many were young adults and professionals, who are adamant about their demands for electoral reforms.

“It is clear the government is running scared. People are not afraid of being arrested,” Anwar said.

Khoo said Najib lacked political savvy in allowing police to lock down the capital and launch door-to-door searches in hotels to detain protest leaders in the lead-up to the rally on Friday night.

“There is a clamour for better governance and greater democratic principles, but sadly the government did not get the signals,” he said.


Dear Prime Minister Najib,

We, of the Asia-Europe Peoples’ Forum (AEPF), are alarmed by the recent arrest of leaders and members of Bersih — the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections.

As a network of people’s organisations, coalitions, NGOs, academics, trade unions, and parliamentarians who uphold the principles of democracy, rule of law, justice, and human rights, we at the AEPF denounce this blatant disregard by the Malaysian government of the civil and political rights of its citizens. We particularly condemn the crackdown against Parti Socialis Malaysia (PSM) and the continued detention without any charges or open trial of 30 PSM members including a Member of Parliament for simply campaigning for clean and fair elections.

May we remind you that Malaysia, as a member of ASEM (with whom we at AEPF actively engage), adhere to the Asia-Europe Cooperation Framework (AECF) which “envisage(s) Asia and Europe as an area of peace and shared development uphold(s) the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, respect for democracy, the rule of law, equality, justice and human rights, concern for the environment and other global issues, eradication of poverty, protection of cultural heritage and the promotion of intellectual endeavours, economic and social development, knowledge and educational resources, science and technology, commerce, investment and enterprise.”

The Malaysian government’s actions are contrary to these AECF principles.

Based on information from networks in Malaysia, at least 150 persons have been arrested or summoned by the police for investigation on politically-motivated charges. A Filipino labor leader – Romy Castillo – who attended the month-long study trip with PSM was among those arrested and detained.

We cannot allow the harassments, arrests, especially the torture and inhumane treatment of the detained PSM members and their supporters to continue.

We strongly support the following calls of our Malaysian networks such as PSM and SUARAM, together with other human rights organisations like FORUM Asia, for the government of Malaysia to:

  • Immediately release all those being arbitrarily detained for their participation in peaceful Bersih-related activities and drop all charges against detainees

On July 2, 6 PSM leaders (Sungai Siput MP Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj, PSM deputy chairperson M. Saraswathy, central committee members Choo Chon Kai and M. Sukumaran, Sungai Siput branch secretary A. Letchumanan, and PSM Youth leader Sarat Babu) were put under indefinite preventive detention under the draconian Emergency Ordinance by the police. Further, these 6 leaders and another 24 PSM activists – all were peacefully holding information-campaign activities for clean and fair elections – are charged for offenses under penal code article 122 (“waging war against the king”), the Sedition Act, and the Police Act of 1967. The Malaysian government should ensure the detainees the physical and mental integrity of the detainees and allow for family and lawyer access.

  • Rescind the decision to declare Bersih an illegal organization and stop arresting peaceful political activists promoting Bersih 2.0

Bersih was established for the purpose of promoting reform of Malaysia’s electoral laws, regulations, and procedures. As a coalition of over 60 NGOs, it has made comprehensive proposals that deserve the consideration of your government and the Election Commission. The Bersih leaders and supporters have pursued their civil and political rights to participation in their government as provided by international human rights laws and principles.  Malaysia should respect and protect the human rights of its people especially when Malaysia is also a member of the UN Human Rights Council.

  • Allow the march of Bersih 2.0 planned in Kualu Lumpur on July 9, 2011 to proceed

Bersih leaders have publicly pledged that the planned July 9 march will be peaceful. The Malaysian government should allow the march to proceed and clearly undertake not to unilaterally block, disrupt, or otherwise break up the march as long as it remains peaceful. Similarly, the planned marches by Perkasa and UMNO Youth should also be allowed under the same provisos and conditions that they are peaceful. We call on the authorities to confine their role to maintaining the peace by keeping separate all three marches and rallies to be held on July 9 so that there would be no incidents between marchers. The police should not harass or arrest persons peacefully travelling to join and participate in those marches on July 9.

We look forward to your immediate and fair consideration to our calls.

For justice and peace,



Tina Ebro                                                                      Charles Santiago

Institute for Popular Democracy                              Monitoring Sustainability of Globalisation

AEPF Co-coordinator for Asia                                   AEPF Co-coordinator for Asia


Maris dela Cruz

AEPF Secretariat for Asia

c/o Institute for Popular Democracy

28 Mapagkawanggawa corner Magiting Streets

Teachers’ Village, Diliman, Quezon City Philippines


AEPF is a network of about 500 civil society organisations across Asia and Europe. Among them are the following organisations and individuals that took part in drafting and in circulating this letter.


Asia House (Germany)

Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM Asia)

Development and Civilisations Lebret-Irfed (France)

Focus on the Global South (Thailand, Asia)

Finnish Asiatic Society (Finland)

Institute for Popular Democracy (Philippines)

Indonesian Partnership for Local Governance Initiatives (Indonesia)

Monitoring Sustainability of Globalisation (Malaysia)

One World Action (United Kingdom)

Transnational Institute (Netherlands)

Vietnam Peace and Development Foundation (Vietnam)

11.11.11. (Belgium)

Action for People’s Democracy in Thailand

Akbayan Youth (Philippines)

Alab Katipunan-Fervor of the Katipunan (Philippines)

Alyansa ng Maralitang Pilipino – Alliance of Poor Filipinos (Philippines)

Alliance of Progressive Labor (Philippines)


Aniban ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (Philippines)

Anti-POSCO PPSS (Orissa,India)

Asia Floor Wage Alliance (India)

Back Pack Health Worker Team (Burma)

Both ENDS (Netherlands)

Burma Layers’ Council

Burma Partnership

Center For Peace & Civil Society (Pakistan)

Centre for Policy Analysis, India
Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE)-ASIA

Centre for Human Rights and Development, Food Coalition (Mongolia)

Citizens’ Peace Watch (Philippines)

Coalition for Nuclear Disarmamant and Peace (India)
Committee for Asian Women (Thailand)

DEMOS (Indonesia)

Dignity International (Malaysia/Netherlands)

EU-ASEAN FTA Campaign Network (Southeast Asia)

Equity and Justice Working Group Bangladesh (Bangladesh)

Europe solidaire sans frontières (ESSF), France

Forum for Democracy in Burma

Global Call to Action Against Poverty (Philippines)

Green Watershed (China)

Human Rights Defenders-Pilipinas (HRD-Pilipinas)

Human Rights Education Institute of Burma (HREIB)

Human Rights Working Group (HRWG-Indoenesia)

Indian Social Action Forum (India)
Indonesian women’s Coalition for Justice and Democracy/Koalisi Perempuan Indonesia untuk

    Keadilan dan Demokras (Indonesia)

KePPaK PEREMPUAN (Indonesia)

Kilusan para sa Pambansang Demokrasya (Philippines)

Inkrispena (Indonesia)

Initiatives for International Dialogue (Philippines)

International NGO Forum on Indonesian Development (Indonesia)

Institut Perempuan-Women’s Institute (Indonesia)

Institute for Global Justice (Indonesia)

Institute of Social Development (Sri Lanka)

International Institute for Research and Education-Manila (Philippines)

Judicial System Monitoring Programme (Timor)

Kampanya para sa Makataong Pamumuhay/Life of Dignity for all Campaign (Philippines)

KAUKUS 17++ network (Indonesia)

Labour Party Pakistan

Lao Biodiversity LBA (Lao)

Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center (Philippines)

Malaysian Election Observers Network (Malaysia)

Migrant Forum in Asia (Asia)

Mindanao Peoples’ Peace Movement (Philippines)

Nadi Ghatti Morcha (Chhatisharh, India)

National Trade Union Federation (Pakistan)

Nasional Secretariat Indonesia People Empowered and Preparedness Networking (Indonesia)

Network for Democracy and Development (NDD)

Network for Transformative Social Protection (Asia)

Nigeria Labour congress (Nigeria)

Nonviolence International Southeast Asia

Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (Pakistan)

Pakistan Kissan Rabita Committee (Pakistan)

Pambansang Katipunan ng mga Samahan sa Kanayunan (Philippines)

Partido Lakas ng Masa-Party of Laboring Masses (Philippines)

Partido ng Manggagawa-Labor Party (Philippines)

Pax Romana- ICMICA Asia

PEACE (India)

Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (Philippines)

Philippine Airlines Employees Association-PALEA (Philippines)

Peoples’ Empowerment Foundation (Thailand)

People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (Korea)

Peoples Union for Civil Liberties (Uttar Pradesh, India)

Perhimpunan Rakyat Pekerja (Working People Association) Indonesia

PERGERAKAN Indonesia (Indonesia)

Preparation Committee for Confederation of National Union (Indonesia)

Progressive Youth Front (Pakistan)

RESPECT Network – Europe

Rosa Luxemburg Foundation-Brussels Office (Belgium)

Shwe Gas Movement from Burma

SOLIDAR (Belgium)

Southeast Asian Centre for e-Media

Stop the War Coalition (Philippines)

Student Council Alliance of the Philippines (Philippines)

Students and Youth  Congress of Burma ( SYCB)

Taiwan Association for Human Rights (Taiwan)

Think Centre (Singapore)

United Cavite Workers’ Association (Philippines)

Uppsala Social Forum (Sweden)

WomanHealth Phippines

Women League of Burma (WLB )

Women Workers Help Line (Pakistan)

Women’s Day Off ( Philippines)

Worker  Hub For Change ( WH4C ) International  

World Forum for Democratization in Asia (Taiwan)

Yayasan LINTAS NUSA – Batam (Indonesia)

Young Progressives Southeast Asia (Philippines)



Prof. Anuradha Chenoy, Jawaharlal Nehru University (India)

Dr. Francisco Nemenzo, Professor Emeritus, University of the Philippines

Hoang Phuong Thao (Vietnam)

Ichiyo Muto (Japan)

Josefa S. Francisco, Chairperson, International Studies Dept, College of International,   

     Humanitarian & Development Studies- MIRIAM COLLEGE (Philippines)

Prof. Kamal Mitra Chenoy, Jawaharlal Nehru University (India)

Ms. Valentina Sagala, Women’s Institute ( Indonesia)

YC Cheeuh, Trade Union officer, NUBE (Malaysia)




Press Statement by Member of Parliament Klang Charles Santiago in Klang on 6th May 2009

I condemn the arrest of leading social activist and spokesperson for polls reform group Wong Chin Huat. He will be investigated under Section 4(1) of the Sedition Act.

Chin Huat was detained for writing articles on “1 Black Malaysia, Democracy First and Elections Now” campaign. The campaign urged Malaysians to wear black on May 7 as a sign of protest against the Perak power grab and BN state government.

His right to legal representation was denied. And his family and friends were kept in the dark of his whereabouts.

The right to dissent is a constitutional right. The arbitrary arrest of individuals who dissent and offer alternative views and perspectives shows that Najib is not sincere in initiating political reforms in the country. Also, it demonstrates that Najib will not tolerate challenge to his authority nor respect citizen’s fundamental right to expression.

I call upon Prime Minister to immediately release Wong Chin Huat, withdraw all charges against him and stop intimidating Malaysians.

As a show of support to Chin Huat, I urge all Malaysians to wear black on 7th May. Let’s send a message to Najib that Malaysians will not stand for intimidation of individuals who express differing views.

Charles Santiago

Member of Parliament, Klang

Vice Chairman of Selangor DAP

016 626 7797

Blog :













016 626 7797