Who’s watching whom? The government has warned Malaysians abroad that it is keeping tabs on them, but Sydney Sasson responds that Malaysians abroad are watching the government too.
Malaysians abroad under watch
November 22, 2010
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 22 — The Foreign Ministry monitors Malaysians who go on tours or reside overseas to ensure that they safeguard the good name of the country and government leaders, the Dewan Rakyat was told today.
Deputy Foreign Minister A. Kohilan Pillay said attempts by irresponsible people to tarnish Malaysia’s good name and spread a wrong perception of it breached loyalty to the King and country.
“The ministry monitors the behaviour and actions of not only people from the opposition parties but also tourists and those who reside abroad,” he said when winding up the debate on the Supply Bill 2011 at the committee stage for the ministry.
Kohilan Pillay also said Malaysian missions abroad constantly fostered positive relations between the media and the office of the prime minister to promote the national agenda and rebut any unfounded negative perception of the country’s leaders.
The ministry also monitored foreign media reports and immediately set right any unfounded allegation in the national interest, he said.
Kohilan Pillay also said that the latest information on issues was channelled to Malaysian missions abroad from time to time to uphold the government’s stand on the issues, besides providing clarification on current political, economic and social developments.
He said all Malaysian diplomats and officials were equipped with skills and information in various fields, including tourism, investment, education and national security, to help promote Malaysia at the international level.
Malaysians abroad should provide a good perception of the country and safeguard national interest so that they were not labelled as traitors, he said.
The House will sit again tomorrow. — Bernama
Malaysians abroad keeping the government under watch — Sydney Sasson
November 23, 2010
NOV 23 — Dear Deputy Foreign Minister Pillay,
We read with interest your latest statements in the Dewan Rakyat today that the Malaysian government is keeping Malaysians abroad under watch.
Guess what? Malaysians abroad are keeping the Malaysian government under watch too. Its encouraging to know that a number of civil society initiatives and solidarity actions taken by Malaysians overseas in the past year have been noticed by the Malaysian government.
It means that all those days of braving the cold and rain to protest against the archaic Internal Security Act and government corruption, and writing to various overseas Members of Parliament and lobbying politicians, the United Nations Human Rights Council, the Commonwealth Human Rights Council, the overseas press and international civil society organisations to alert them to the worrying state of human rights in Malaysia has not been in vain.
When will we stop protesting, letter writing, lobbying, campaigning and keeping the Malaysian government under watch?
When the Malaysian government starts listening to the voice of the people and restoring social justice and democracy to the citizens of Malaysia.
When the Malaysian government starts behaving like elected and paid servants of the rakyat, rather than lawless, corrupt political masters.
When the Malaysian government stops spending RM1.8 million of the Malaysian tax payers money on luxury holidays to Disneyland.
When the Malaysian government abolishes the Internal Security Act and stops using it to suppress freedom of thought, speech and association.
When the Malaysian government stops using the University College and Colleges Act to penalise students who choose to observe or participate in the socio-political life of our nation.
When the Malaysian government stops arresting peaceful candle light vigil protestors and throwing grandmothers in jail.
When the Malaysian government stops exerting absolute control over the media and using the Press and Printing Act 1985 to stamp out free speech.
When the Malaysian government stops stripping the judiciary of its independence and autonomy.
When the Malaysian government stops torture and murder in detention.
When the Malaysian government starts to recognise and uphold the rights of migrant workers and refugees.
When the Malaysian government stops institutionalised racism.
When the Malaysian government stops recklessly threatening that a challenge to their 53 years of BN rule will result in “crushed bodies” and “lost lives”.
Listen – loosing an election is not the worst thing in the world. This is politics — some days you win, some days you loose. When you don’t win, you retreat gracefully to the sidelines, show some statesmanship and rebuild and strengthen your team. You reflect on why you may have lost the popular support of the people and you try to adapt and improve accordingly. You form a shadow cabinet, you develop progressive policies and wait for the next election to once again capture the imagination and hearts of the people.
So get real and grow up, BN. No one party can rule for over 50 years and not be considered a despot.
When the Malaysian government stops plundering and cheating our brothers and sisters in Sabah and Sarawak of their native customary rights and rich and beautiful heritage.
When the Malaysian government stops throwing cartoonists in jail.
Dear Deputy Foreign Minister Pillay, why do you think over a million Malaysians abroad choose to reside overseas?
Because they cherish their basic civil liberties and human rights which are all too often trampled on back home. Because they hold dear the fact that the most important ingredients to success are in fact talent and hard work, not the colour of your skin.
Because they acknowledge that any truly developed and civilised society emphasises the importance of high quality education, healthcare and social equity, not merely the senseless pursuit of obscene wealth and 100-storey vanity projects.
You claim that ‘irresponsible people are tarnishing the good name of Malaysia’. We beg to differ. In our opinion, the only one tarnishing the good name of Malaysia is the Malaysian government itself. The only traitors in this whole saga, are the politicians who have betrayed the citizens who elected them. And this is why Malaysians abroad are standing in solidarity with their fellow citizens back home to demand good governance, justice, accountability and transparency. Till then, please let Prime Minister Najib and his Cabinet know that you are all under watch.