Republic of Malaysia | International Campaigns Resources

August 23, 2008

Asian Cities to Change Flags

3. Malaysian Witnessing Second Auction After British now Taiwan | Cheating is A Norm?

Malaysian opposition says power takeover may be delayed

Malaysia’s opposition admitted Friday it might not meet its goal of seizing power by next week as it sent a delegation to pursue potential defectors from the government on a trip to Taiwan.

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has repeatedly said he is “on track” to topple the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition by next Tuesday, but his party said in a statement that it could be delayed.

“The process of transformation to a new government… is proceeding smoothly and we believe that Barisan Nasional will be replaced in a very short period,” the statement said.

“The date might be delayed from September 16… but the agenda is still going on,” it said, adding that one complicating factor had been the government’s move to ship lawmakers overseas this week.

The ruling coalition sent 46 parliamentarians on a controversial and hastily arranged “study trip” to Taiwan, in what Anwar has said is an attempt to “corral and seclude” parliamentarians amid the high-stakes negotiations.

Leaders of Anwar’s Keadilan party, which fronts the three-member opposition alliance, were headed there Friday to meet up with the delegation, in a “gatecrashing” move that is likely to irritate the government.

“We are looking forward to meeting with BN MPs and to have discussions and meals with them,” Keadilan information chief Tian Chua, who is leading the four-person team, told AFP.

“Our team will also meet with Taiwan’s government and opposition parties to brief them on the political situation in Malaysia,” he added.

Anwar needs 30 of the 140 coalition lawmakers to defect in order to form a new government. Most of the potential crossovers are believed to be from the Sabah and Sarawak states on Borneo island.

“They play all sorts of political games so don’t get carried away… I don’t think BN MPs will defect,” deputy premier Najib Razak told reporters.

The opposition alliance gained unprecedented ground in March’s general elections, securing a third of parliamentary seats and five states from the coalition, which has ruled since independence from Britain half a century ago.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has faced repeated calls to quit since the polls debacle, and in recent days his plan to hand over power to his deputy by mid-2010 has come under renewed scrutiny.

Trade Minister Muhyiddin Yassin — who is seen as a potential challenger — this week said Abdullah should consider stepping down earlier to allow a new leader to address the issues that have eroded government support.

On Friday, Najib was also lukewarm over the 2010 plan that he had earlier backed wholeheartedly, and said it would have to win the support of the ruling party’s 191 divisions in December internal elections.

“His statement shows a change in stance from what he said in July when he appeared to be fully behind the plan,” said Tricia Yeoh from the Centre for Public Policy Studies.

2. Malaysia’s Military urges action against race Troublemakers

Malaysia’s armed forces chief Thursday called for “stern action” against those inciting racial conflict in the multicultural country, after the government warned tensions were rising.

A senior member of the ruling party was suspended for three years on Wednesday for triggering a race row with an outburst against ethnic Chinese, calling them “squatters” and warning them not to seek political power.

General Abdul Aziz Zainal, the military chief who earlier this week warned that racial issues were a “major threat to the country”, again called for a lid to be put on any troublemakers.

“I only voice my concern on this issue, stern action must be taken to prevent it from happening,” he told a press conference.

“There is no country that wants to see itself in turmoil,” he added.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has raised concern about the state of ethnic relations in Malaysia, where the population is dominated by Muslim Malays who live alongside large ethnic Chinese and Indian communities.

“The racial situation in our country looks like it is showing signs of strain and increasing tensions among races,” he said as he announced the measures to punish errant ruling party member Ahmad Ismail.

“We for so long have been able to control the situation so that nothing untoward happens, but we can’t allow a situation like this to continue… which could affect our peace and stability,” he said.

Deputy police chief Ismail Omar also sounded a warning on Wednesday, saying that racially charged statements had triggered a dangerous rash of inflammatory messages on Internet blogs and SMS text messages.

“I am issuing a stern warning to all quarters to refrain from making statements on sensitive issues via the various media,” he said, according to the state Bernama news agency.

Ahmad’s comments had raised fears of a split in Abdullah’s coalition of race-based parties, which includes ethnic Chinese parties that were infuriated by the diatribe.

“The patience of the Malays and Muslims has a limit. Do not push us to the wall, as when we turn back we will be forced to push the Chinese in the interests of our own survival,” Ahmad said in a press conference Monday.

“The Chinese should not try to be like the Jews in America — it is not enough they control the economy, now they want political control,” he said.

Malays dominate politics in Malaysia, while ethnic Chinese are prominent in business. Stirring up conflict between the groups is a serious offence in a country which is still haunted by past racial violence.

The latest row erupted as opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim — whose Keadilan party is the first pan-racial party in Malaysian political history — attempts to woo the support of enough coalition lawmakers to topple the government.

In March elections the opposition dramatically increased the number of seats it holds, and Anwar this week said he is “on track” to sign up the 30 defectors he needs to seize power.

1. IF Anwar + Gus Dur + Arroyo in Asian

Riots calm down in France May 9, 2007, 9:40

Story above | Riots calm down in France

There has been yet more protests in the French capital Paris following Nicolas Sarkozy’s election victory. A major police presence remains, but things seem to be calming down.

Philippine | Barangay Kidlatan

Peace talk, after the MILF massacre of civilians ? (May paguusapan pa ba tayo manay?)

Is there anything else that the government and the MILF has to talk about after the MILF field commanders ordered their men to attack and killed civilians in some provinces, municipalities and villages in Mindanao?

The MILF has shown their true colors, they are not for peace. They only want to purse their objective—to establish a separate state in the Philippines. It’s amazing for them to have such guts to challenge the Philippine government in an all out war with their number, and estimated 12,000 fighters scattered all over Mindanao. It’s too surprising that they claim some 4 million Muslim supporters in the Southern Philippines ready to stand by their cause when most of the peace loving Muslim brothers and sisters in the Philippines abhor violence as a way of settling political and territorial disputes.

Muslim rebel chief asks Malaysia to revive Philippine peace talks

Credit to | MSN

The head of the leading Muslim rebel group in the Philippines on Saturday said he asked Malaysia to revive stalled peace talks with Manila to end weeks of brutal fighting.

But Ebrahim Murad, chairman of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), added that his group still reserved the right to resume its large-scale rebellion if the peace process collapses.

“War is among the options. It is part of the struggle. The MILF is determined to continue that struggle,” said Murad in a meeting with reporters at a MILF camp near this town in the southern Philippines.

Murad said he sent a request two days ago to Malaysia, which has..Read on | MSN

re-Blogged | BaraKid

Peace talk, after the MILF massacre of civilians ? (May paguusapan pa ba tayo manay?)

Is there anything else that the government and the MILF has to talk about after the MILF field commanders ordered their men to attack and killed civilians in some provinces, municipalities and villages in Mindanao?

The MILF has shown their true colors, they are not for peace. They only want to purse their objective—to establish a separate state in the Philippines. It’s amazing for them to have such guts to challenge the Philippine government in an all out war with their number, and estimated 12,000 fighters scattered all over Mindanao. It’s too surprising that they claim some 4 million Muslim supporters in the Southern Philippines ready to stand by their cause when most of the peace loving Muslim brothers and sisters in the Philippines abhor violence as a way of settling political and territorial disputes.

The Philippine government authorities have already spoken; they are no longer pursuing the signing of the MOA-AD accord. This has angered the MILF. They complain they have been had by the Philippine government. They use their “being frustrated” with the Supreme Court’s TRO in preventing the Philippine government from signing the deal as an excuse in those senseless massacre of innocent people including children. But that’s MILF, their chief Al Haj Murad Ebrahim brags of his men who could only speak by the barrels of their guns.

And what do the MILF people want to probe, that they are above the law and has sufficient fire power and external support to face the Philippine government? And what is equally disturbing too is the extent of secrecy that the Philippine government maintained while negotiating/extending to the rebels their claim of ancestral domain which is flawed for being unconstitutional from the start. And now the rebels blame the politicians and majority of the Filipinos resisted such deal and accuse them of infuriating the rebels. Why, are they the only people whose voice shall heard and what the rests of us should do is to keep our mouth shut?

But here comes Dureza’s big mouth again talking to the press. Peace talk resumes only after the surrendered of two commanders who led in the senseless killing and massacre of dozens of civilians in Lanao del Norte and North Cotabato.

“We should expect him (MILF chief Al Haj Murad Ebrahim) to surrender and bring to government the two commanders who are clearly responsible for these acts. Nothing short of that is acceptable to government,” Dureza said in a radio interview over dzMM.

Dureza maintains however that the government is not closing the door for peaceful settlements with the MILF but cannot however sign peace deal with an organization that has no control of its people. “We cannot make peace at the expense of the people who have been massacred. The responsible people should answer to the law,” the former presidential peace adviser said

MILF field commander Umbra Kato led hundreds of MILF fighters in taking over farmlands and burning down houses in at least 15 villages in North Cotabato, while Commander Bravo ordered his base command to massacre civilians in five towns in Lanao del Norte.

But for sure the MILF is not giving in that easy to the government’s demands does not come that easy. MILF spokesman Eid Kabalu said the rebel group’s leadership should be given a chance to determine if the two commanders are really responsible for the attacks. But is there any reason to believe the MILF’s will not to clear these field commanders from being responsible and spare them of their crime?

According to the MILF spokesman Eid Kabalu, “Chairman Murad has already given orders. Number 1 is stand down, and two, a thorough investigation.” He said there will be a special committee formed by the MILF leadership to look into the possible culpability of the two commanders. He said the special committee will also determine the sanctions that should be imposed on the rebel leaders. But some observers look at this as a sham, an exercise in futility by the MILF. How in this world could find verdict on the criminal acts of their field commanders? Why would they sacrifice their precious men so justice be done in the massacre of civilians? What the MILF is trying to do is to deny the Philippine government from prosecuting their commanders from their crimes. For the MILF leadership to prosecute their own people, tell that to the marines.

By the way hundreds of criminal cases, from arson to murder, have been filed by the police against Commander Bravo and Umbra Kato. But what is the extent of probability  these guys will land to jail, if proven in their crimes, while they are at large? Will the MILF high command voluntarily surrender them? For sure, these guys would not want to be caught alive.

Meanwhile, joint teams of the police and the military have been dispatched to run after the group of the two commanders.

Reaction in Filipino

By this time pinaghahanap na ng mga pulis at militar ang grupo nina Kumander Kato at Kumander Bravo. Hangad nilang mahuli ang mga ito at iharap sa husgado nang mabigyan ng hustisya ang pagkamatay ng maraming sibilyan dahil sa pananalakay ng kanilang mga tropa sa Lanao del Norte at North Cotabato. Pero saan sila hahanapin? Ibig bang sabihin nito na handang lusobin ng mga pulis at militar ang teritoryo ng MILF para lamang mahuli ang dalawang kumander na pinaghihinalaang utak sa pagpatay ng maraming sibilyan? Ngayon pa lang ay nagpakita na ng totoong kulay ang MILF. At sa pananaw naman ng nakakarami, walang hustisiyang makakamtan sa pagkamatay ng mga inosenteng sibilyan habang nasa kamay ng pamunuan ng MILF ang dalawang kauri. Walang makakagalaw sa kanila, “over my dead body” ika nga. Itaga mo sa bato, kahit anong pakiusap ang gagawin ng pamahalaan walang mangyayari sa sinasabi ni sikretaryo Dureza na isusuko ng mga MILF ang dalawa nilang field commanders.

Ngayon may pag-uusapan pa ba pagkatapos ng pananalakay ng mga MILF na nagiwan ng pagkasira ng mga ari-arian at pagkamatay ng maraming sibilyan. Marahil kung talagang isinasara na nga pintuan nang usapang pangkapayapaan ano pa ba ang ating aasahan kung hindi malawakang digmaan. Nakakalungkot nga lamang, nagpapatayan Pilipino sa kapwa Pilipino. Pero sa ganang akin, sana hindi… At sana naman ay hindi na ito lalala pa. Magpakita lamang ng katapatan ang dalawang panig at nang makamit na ang tunay na kapayapaan.

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