Sunday, 24 October 2010

May the 3rd Force be with you

Last year, when there were 3 elections going in Malaysia, I wrote of the possibility of a 3rd force in our politics.

In recent time, Haris Ibrahim & RPK have both wrote about this force. With the recent antics of PKR in their on-going election, plus the DAP fiasco at Perak, how are we to trust Pakatan to take care of themselves, let alone take of Malaysia?

The DAP fiasco in Perak is again caused by this Ngeh/Nga combo. Just before the March 8.2008 election the Batu Gajah MP form DAP had resigned and cited the unbearable political style of this Ngeh/Nga faction for her decision. Now Kula finds them unbearable too. This posting is not to support Fong or Kula, but to ask DAP if they will ever break out of their mentality of an opposition and learn to act like a party which can govern the country.

DAP & for that matter Pakatan, must not forget that we Malaysian voted by majority, against BN, not because DAP or PAS or PKR are parties which we love or look up to, but we were just too fed up and hated BN, especially UMNO.

Pakatan must learn to act with humility and show leadership. Personality politics must be put aside, as the politics should be who is the better leader to take us up. We should search for quality leaders, not intimidating leaders.

However, the DAP Perak fiasco and the on-going PKR election, in all fairness, are subjected to unfair and sensationalistic journalism by the BN owned newspapers.

Many local papers over sensationalize the so-called internal fights in PKR between Zaid Ibrahim and Azmin. The Ngeh/Nga factor too was cheekily played out in these papers and DAP was made to look bad. It is definitely an unfair reporting. One must not forget, that in every single political party, there will be some internal squabble. That is given.

However that does not deflect the fact that Pakatan is still seen as a motley crew of politician, out to gain from the weakness of BN, and not here to be a party which will be loved & respected.

In any political fight, when one put one's heart to do the right thing; and try to convince that the person can deliver, it can be done. Obama did it. Che Guevara did it. Gandhi did it too. So why cant Malaysian do it too?

What we have in Malaysia at the moment, is a politics of self interest. Even the Pakatan people now seems to show the BN trait of being interested in the money aspects of the Politics, and not the Social aspects of Politics.

Perhaps I am old school, perhaps I am wrong to still believe that Politicians should be good leaders, people whom you look up to. People who will do the right thing, at the right time. But I am still hoping (perhaps against hope) that Malaysia will be rid of this money politic (created by BN and now seemingly reaching the doors of Pakatan.)

So, that brings me to the issue of a 3rd Force in our Politics.

In my daily dealing with people in NGO's, Pakatan and few in MCA, I have met many people who genuinely wants to do something good for this country. There are many people out there who really wants to serve this country and make it a better place for all.

But these good people are always suppressed by the people on top. It is common in Political parties, the people on top will shoot down the up-coming stalwart who will be a 'threat' to this top dog. Look at UMNO, how many genuine good leaders has Mahathir demolished.

Perhaps, these good people, should just come out and form a new 3rd party. A political party with people who really wants to help out and improve the system. It is likely this 3rd force, if it emerges, will be formed via NGOs. We have many good positive NGOs out there, and these NGO will be the platform to a new party.

People who are in this 3rd force, genuinely dont care who becomes Prime Minister amongst them, but this group will chose the PM who is of quality and of merits. I can see that in these people, and if they can convince enough people to vote them into Parliament, we may have a new 3rd force.

It will be tough, it will be arduous. But we owe it to our country to explore all possible means to make it better. At the moment, BN and to some extent Pakatan, is just not good enough.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Arrest of Lawyers was Wrong!

On the auspicious date of 10.10.10, 4 lawyers were detained by the Police at Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur. 

Why were they detained? 

Apparently the Police party who arrested the 4 lawyers was suspicious of some red-coloured pamphlets which the Police thought was an anti-police pamphlet. 

The 4 lawyers were taken to a Police Station after their Identity Cards were seized by the Police and a few hours later, the 4 were released. 

The OCPD of Cheras, Supt Abdul Rahim was quoted in The Star in a report of this arrest as saying "It is not a big issue, they were released a few hours later".

It is ironic that the lawyers were detained for distributing pamphlets which contained guidelines for the people on the general powers of the Police in areas of arrests, search & remands, amongst others.

The Redbook pamphlet was a direct reaction of the nude-squatting video fiasco in 2005. Back then a video of a lady forced to strip and performing repeated squats before a Policewoman, was heavily circulated on the Net, and the ruckus caused was so profound, that the former Prime Minister called upon a Royal Commission to investigate into the powers of the Police to perform bodily Search.

Minister, Dato Nazri launched the Redbook, not once but twice. In 2006, the Minister graced the initial launch of the original Redbook at the Bar Council Building, and again in 2009, the amended Redbook, now in pamphlet version, was re-launched by the same Minister. 

So the Redbook is not only supported by the Bar Council, but a Minister, what more, the de facto Minister of Law.  

At the last portion of that Redbook Pamphlet, the pamphlet acknowledges the contribution of a group of lawyers, who banded together to draft the Redbook.  Calling themselves ëTANGKAPî, which stands for ìTindakan Anti-Penyalahgunaan Kuasa Polisî, these lawyers intended to produce a simple mini guide book for the people, to help them understand some aspects of the powers of the police.

The pamphlet was originally in a format of a small note book (hence the name ëRedbookí) but was reformatted to a pamphlet in 2009. 

Ravin Singh, Chairperson of the KL Barís Legal Aid Centre had indicated that the Police was probably focused on the words ìAntiî & ìPolisî in that pamphlet. The 4 lawyers who were detained, had informed him of the same.

Hearing that, one canít help but conclude that the Police either needs better eye sight, or are just so afraid of lawyers.

What happened on 10.10.10 was just wrong. This is not the first time we hear of Police arresting Legal Aid lawyers. The last time around in 2009, the Police arrested a group of Legal Aid lawyers are Brickfield police station claiming that they were part of an illegal assembly when they were actually at the gates of the Police station to meet clients. 

This time around, merely for distributing pamphlets (which contained words like ìAntiî & ìPoliceî) we read of young Legal Aid lawyers, being arrested. 

The way the entire matter is brushed aside by the Police just shows how the Police lack respect for a personís right & liberty. The reasons for the arrest is displeasing and the fact the people detained, were lawyers, just makes the arrest more significant. 

Also, this continued mistrust by the Police over the activities of the lawyers, albeit via Legal Aid or other Committees of the Bar Council, must stop. 

In this matter, the Redbook pamphlet was in fact produced to assist and help the Police. Instead of arresting the Legal Aid lawyers that day, the Police ought to have joined in to distribute the Redbook pamphlet.

In fact on many occasions, the Police have shown massive reluctance to work with the Bar, on projects like the Redbook. Logic would dictate that if the people understand why the Police do certain things, and also understand their rights when dealing with the Police, it may help the Police & the public. 

As mentioned earlier, the Police was wrong on this occasion to arrest the legal aid lawyers, as they were equally wrong in arresting the other legal aid lawyers in 2009. An apology may suffice, though the 4 lawyers arrested on 10.10.10 should consider bringing an action in Court against the Police for wrongful detention. 

Saturday, 9 October 2010

The Courts Must be Crazy?

In the 1980s, there was this iconic movie called, The GODS must be crazy. A Pilot had thrown out a Coke Bottle out of his small plane while flying over Africa. The Bottle hit this African chap, and he thought it was a gift from God. His village got into so much conflict due to that bottle, that he decided to travel far away to 'dispose' of this bottle. There lies the adventure which became the focus of the Movie.

It seems the Courts in Malaysia has gone crazy, too.

Recently a new Chief Justice was appointed in Malaysia. Tun Zaki (he was 'Tan Sri' when he was first elevated to be the CJ), has transformed the Court system to the point that the cases are moving faster than ever.

Unfortunately, the speed the case are moving at, has failed to take into account human factor, and pierced the shield of Justice. We have Judges adamant to finish a Court hearing, come what may. Even when a lawyer was asked by a Higher Court to attend another Hearing, the lower Court still insist on going on.

But there is no reciprocation. The Courts on the other hand, can double park cases, and when we attend some Hearings all ready to go, the Court adjourns the matter.

Given, that the Judges are now working harder than ever. We must applaud this. For a long while we have complaint that Judges are lazy and slow. But now our prayers for a faster Judiciary has been answered. Or so we think.

Whilst the old system was slow, what we wanted was not a speedy trial ONLY, but ALSO, more IMPORTANTLY in fact, is that JUSTICE must always be the paramount factor. Instead we have Judges invoking mysterious powers to strike out cases. Demanding lawyers who have to attend hearing at Putra Jaya at 9am, to return to KL High Court at Duta, by 11am. It is just ridiculous, sometimes.

The Judges seems intent to only achieve speed and attain the KPI index imposed on them.

I am personally happy that we have some intellectual Judges who care for our client's cases and truly want to provide the justice that the case cry out for, but the continued pressure on the Judges to finish their cases quickly would only mean the whole Judiciary is nothing more than a Formula1 Court. Zooming past the chequered flag, with little regard to justice.

Time to bring some sanity back to the Judiciary. Dont think we can just go to the 'end of Malaysia' and throw out a coke bottle, but we cant allow a system to persist in our Country where Justice is not done.