Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka! In our cover story, as we celebrate and reflect on 50 years of Independence and 44 years of Malaysia, Johan Savaranamuttu wonders whether things are falling apart in the country. In these trying times, the best sadly lack all convictions, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.
In our centre pages, Anil Netto looks at an unusual event that brought together a range of NGOs in Penang – a commemoration of the people’s struggle for justice, freedom, socio-economic rights and sustainable development. Many who attended the Pesta Rakyat Malaysia celebrations were left wondering whether they had witnessed the genesis of a broader, more cohesive civil society movement.
We also carry the opening address by Toh Kin Woon, who launched the Pesta, and a special Cecil Rajendra poem that was recited by a trio at the event.
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One of the issues that were highlighted at the Pesta was the MTUC’s eight-year-old struggle for a minimum wage. We reproduce the umbrella trade union body’s memorandum to the Prime Minister urging him to act quickly to relieve the suffering of workers. K George then looks back at the stance adopted by successive premiers since 1957 when confronted with a request for dialogue with the trade unions.
Martin Jalleh presents a dossier of contradictory verbal “gems” uttered by the de facto minister of law, Nazri Abdul Aziz, which readers might find somewhat amusing if not confusing… The elusive Nazri at his best.
In our back cover story, Philip Khoo expresses concern over the establishment of plantations in the 1.5 million-hectare Bakun Dam catchment area, which he says will threaten the viability of the project. The Sarawak state government must provide some answers quickly.
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