Aliran members attending the group’s 40th annual general meeting today unanimously passed an emergency resolution calling for political cartoonist Zunar’s unconditional release after he was arrested last night, a day after a mob disrupted his art exhibition in Penang.
In another unanimous resolution, Aliran members demanded Maria Chin Abdullah’s immediate release from detention without trial. They also called for the abolition of the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act and other repressive laws that allow detention without trial.
The resolution also proposed that Malaysians throughout the country hold daily prayer sessions for Maria’s release – either individually or in groups according to their own religious tradition. They suggested that this be done at dusk with or without a candle until the day she is released.
These resolutions were passed against the backdrop of the recent successful Bersih 5 rally.
In elections for Aliran, Dr Prema Devaraj was elected the movement’s first woman president. Outgoing president Dr Francis Loh, who declined nomination as president, had already served five terms as president and before that 20 years as Aliran honorary secretary.
Dr Mustafa K Anuar, Henry Loh and Anil Netto were re-elected as honorary secretary, assistant secretary and honorary treasurer respectively.
Members also elected the following to the executive committee: Dr Francis Loh, Andrew Wong, Mohd Izzuddin Ramli, Dr Ngu Ik Tien, Prof Zaharom Nain, Ng Tien Eng, Dr Christopher Chong Eu Choong, Dr Lye Tuck-Po, Dr Azmil Tayeb, K Haridas and Vince Tan Hoo Seh.
David Yeoh was elected the honorary auditor.
Members thanked outgoing president Francis Loh and P Ramakrishnan, who served three and a half decades in the committee, for their long service to the organisation.
In his address, Francis noted that Aliran has continued to be true to its call to struggle for Justice, Freedom and Solidarity.
The group’s recent fundraising dinner in Kuala Lumpur has helped it to remain financially solvent and enabled it to forge closer links with other groups in the Klang Valley. Similarly, Aliran’s engagement in Bersih 5 allowed it to foster closer ties with a variety of like-minded civil society groups in Penang. It has also helped to take the group further down the advocacy-activist route.
Through Aliran’s online outreach including its website aliran.com, the group has been reaching out more to society at large, especially those with IT access. Along with activism, Aliran will continue to play the role as a critical analyst and alternative discursive source for understanding current developments.
Dr Mustafa K Anuar
27 November 2016