Martin Jalleh looks at Prime Minister Najib Razak’s contradictory statements on street protests to different audiences.
Mustafa K Anuar argues that civilised and uncivilised behaviour defies labelling western or eastern; in fact such behaviour whether positive or negative cuts across national boundaries. If, as some argue, demonstrations are ‘western culture’, does that mean that butt exercises are ‘eastern culture’?
To unilaterally demand that a perfectly sensible, responsible and objective public forum be stopped on account of the perceived injury to one community – real or imagined – smacks of bias and prejudice, and the failure to even understand the anxiety of other communities, observes Farish A Noor. One is compelled to ask if these ‘defenders of Islam’ have even thought of the pain and anguish caused to those families who have seen and lived through broken marriages, divorces and grave-robbings? Or do the feelings of other communities not count, and do other communities have no sensitivities?
Zooming in on what is going in Malaysian society in the aftermath of recent demonstrations organised by lawyers, the Bersih coalition and Hindraf, Khoo Boo Teik observes that the goodwill that was shown to Abdullah Badawi in 2003-2004 has largely evaporated. Is there is a whiff of reformasi in the air now?
In the aftermath of recent rallies, fiction writer Beth Yahp pens an open letter to the Prime Minister, urging him to unmuzzle the media and practise real democracy.
"When this integral pillar of any democratic system is obstructed and
belittled, as it is in Malaysia, we cannot claim to live in a
democracy," she writes. "Our mainstream media then become merely tools of the
State, used to hoodwink, brainwash and intimidate the people they should
rightly be serving. Instead, we, the people, are spoon-fed, led and
expected to go quietly like sheep to any foregone conclusion."
In our cover story, we look at what is
going on in Malaysian society in the aftermath of recent demonstrations
organised by lawyers, the Bersih coalition and Hindraf. Khoo Boo Teik
observes that the goodwill that was shown to Abdullah Badawi in
2003-2004 has largely evaporated and wonders if there is a whiff of
reformasi in the air now. Jeyakumar Devaraj, however, cautions
that the Hindraf approach is misguided and the struggle for social
justice must be reoriented to make it more multi-racial.
Aliran deplores the thoughtless and
mindless reaction of the state against any democratic expression of
our constitutional rights to exert our freedom. We are appalled that
even a small gathering of marchers to a nearby destination in an
orderly manner without obstructing the traffic or causing any chaos
to the public cannot be allowed or tolerated by this oppressive
The Star (22 November 2007) curiously carried a piece (“Media needs to be effective”) written by one of its columnists, M. Veera Pandiyan, who lamented the apparent dilemma faced by Malaysian journalists working in the mainstream media. These, he warned, were "indeed trying days for Malaysian journalists" – in reference to the “dogged criticisms” that were hurled against the mainstream media due to their questionable and often distorted reporting.