Aliran Monthly, the magazine which provided independent alternative journalism in Malaysia long before the internet became popular, has printed its final issue after 33 eventful years, writes Himanshu Bhatt.
In the aftermath of Bersih 2.0, recent weeks have seen one irregularity after another in the electoral process being exposed.
P Ramakrishnan looks at some of these dubious discrepancies and tactics and concludes that no real change is possible unless the Election Commission is disbanded and replaced and a new government comes to power.
First Selangor and now Penang. Both these states are blazing the trail by being the first two to table Freedom of Information Bills in their State Assemblies. Anil Netto sets the tone for Sarajun Hoda’s cover story by reiterating that freedom of information is a basic right, without which other rights may be rendered almost meaningless. FOI means just that: information must be freely available, says Sarajun, who examines the Selangor FOI Bill – only to find that it leaves much to be desired.
Bring back local council elections! That’s the theme of Tan Pek Leng’s cover story exploring the quest to reclaim our democracy. If the Local Government Act stands in the way, then it must go, she says; it is not because we are lawless but because we value our democracy.
Actually, a team of legal experts has advised the Penang government that it is legally possible to hold local government elections, reports Francis Loh. The Penang government will now have to decide whether to seek a court declaration on the issue.
It has not been the happiest leadership transition for the ruling coalition. In our cover story, Khoo Boo Teik looks at the unusual position the BN is in, having lost four by-elections in the peninsula since the last general election. At the heart of Pakatan Rakyat’s advances is a sea-change at the social level – a phenomenon which has been captured on blogs, websites, and Youtube.
In analysing the last three by-elections, Ong Kian Ming points out that Pakatan has now firmly co-opted the BN’s winning formula, especially in the ethnically mixed seats in the peninsula.
This issue focuses on the Internal Security Act, a harsh law that has no place in a democratic society. P Ramakrishnan tells us why the ISA is evil and why it has to go – now. He also reminds us of the abuse meted out in the name of national security.
Francis Loh describes how the country is effectively a ‘national security state’; he goes on to show how, time and time again, the extensive powers vested in the Executive and the police have been abused for political expediency.
In our cover story, Zaharom Nain explores the world of blogging in Malaysia. Bloggers are providing a real alternative to the mainstream media and countering the distortions and unravelling the propaganda. No wonder the authorities are sitting up and taking notice.
In a colourful centrefold story, Shakila Abdul Manan describes a praiseworthy effort at uncovering the untold story of the much-maligned Ronggeng girls while evoking the true spirit of Muhibbah.
Aliran Monthly caught up with Anwar Ibrahim for a frank and in-depth interview on a range of issues. The man has been busy traversing the country, meeting with supporters and trying to forge stronger opposition cooperation for the next general election.
In the first of two parts, we zoom in on the economy, in particular the New Economic Policy. Anwar himself has morphed from an ardent champion of the New Economic Policy to a vocal opponent. We asked him how the transformation took place and why.
In the lead story, Khoo Boo Teik comments on how Umno got lost on the way to 2020. If the goal is 100 per cent national unity, the Umno of 2006 has taken us 30 per cent forward, 70 per cent backward. As we prepare to celebrate 50 years of Merdeka, we must look elsewhere for a better, kinder and fairer idea of progress.
In this regard, P Ramakrishnan speaks to all Malaysians in the back cover story. As ethnic relations worsen, he calls upon the silent majority to wake up.