One Morning in Bukit Aman

The story is simple. The story is not new. The only thing new is that some of the protagonists are new. Selvach Santhiran Krishnan is a witness in a death in custody case of R.Gunasegaran.

Gunasegaran died on the same day Teoh Beng Hock died last year, but because of the public outcry over Beng Hock’s suspicious death, Guna’s death was overlooked by everybody, except his sister.

Here she tells her story.

Earlier this week, the inquest into his death concluded in an open verdict, despite Selvach Santhiran’s testimony that he saw a policeman kick Gunasegaran in the lock up. Gunasegaran was later found dead.

His body was kept in horrid conditions and by the time a second autopsy was ordered, his remains were so decomposed that nothing conclusive could be derived.

But that story is not over. Selvach Santhiran, the witness, was allegedly beaten viciously in front of his family by a bunch of policemen before being taken away.

The public, outraged by this gross abuse of power by the police, turned up today at the police headquarters in Bukit Aman to demand his whereabouts and release. Here’s the story.

Below are the pictures of the morning gathering.

Today, after waiting awhile and being given the runaround, we were told that Selvach Santhiran was held under the Sec 39 B Dangerous Drugs Act (Special Preventive Measures).

human rights lawyer N. Surendran.

Selvach Santhiran’s wife, crying for her husband, while the police told us to disperse.

Lawyer Latheefa Koya demanded to know the cop in charge’s name and was told it is one ACP Kang or Khang.

Several MPs also turned up, including PAS’s Khalid Samad (Shah Alam), Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad (Kuala Selangor) , PKR’s Sivarasa Rasiah (Subang) and Charles Santiago (Klang).

Film maker Fahmi Reza with his own placard.

A hundred odd people turned up in support of the memorandum to the police today. Thanks guys, for turning up. It was a multi coloured turnout, and that alone gives me hope that someday, we will be Malaysians first and turn up whenever a brother Malaysian is facing injustice.

Sedition? Oh enough already!

What passes for sedition these days is what the authorities says it is. Or perhaps what Perkasa says.

The latest target of the dreaded “S” word is Nurul Izzah Anwar.

Read here for more details.

Very very arbitrary isn’t it?

The young politician and MP for Lembah Pantai is being investigated following a police report lodged against her by so called Malay rights group Perkasa.

She isn’t fazed, and good for her. The woman fights with conviction and does Brahim Pasir Mas really want to engage her in a rational argument? I think he’d lose.

Perkasa IMHO is more like an outsourced job, an attack dog if you like, that is allowed to play in the Malaysian political arena for specific reasons and it can’t function outside its strict instruction.

The thing is, as we have seen increasingly these days, temper tantrums, outbursts, loud and belligerent proclamations of supremacy are all Perkasa is about.

It could have been different if it had some intelligentsia behind it. But as a strategy, the formation of Perkasa itself seems ad hoc and flawed, and even more fatal to its credibility as a pressure group, is its inability to engage anyone rationally.

If it captures any semblance of support among the Malay community, it would be because of Dr M, tacit support for it. But what next? Perkasa as an entity that exists simply because of some quarters’ anxiety or downright disillusionment over PM Najib’s 1Malaysia inclusiveness?

Something is definitely wrong with a populace that would see 1Malaysia as threatening to Malay rights simply because it aims to be more inclusive.

This insecure populace sadly, does exist and the likes of Brahim Pasir Mas and like-minded individuals harness the fear to become a political force in their own right.

If it wasn’t, then Perkasa would not be mulling a change from its pressure group origins to enter the fray as a political party.

A thinly disguised supremacist organisation aligned along racial lines. I think they are no different than that other bunch of misguided folks in Hindraf which has splintered into many different shards, each with an agenda.

This too at a time when we hear many exhortations to NOT have race-based parties anymore and instead, ideology-centric ones.

Changing the status-quo has never been a reassuring process, but I think the time is ripe to rethink the whole past we’ve been somewhat comfortable living.

Brahim, if he chooses to think for himself and cot continue to be a pawn, would know that times have changed.

His protestations of eroding Malay privileges ring hollow at this time, and doesn’t penetrate to the young either. Maybe he finds the ears of the fatcats who fear the erosion of their ill-gotten, crony-laced income and traditional power base.

The events of the recent times too are telling. Perhaps the establishment too fears the loss of power, and that is why they are quick to use draconian laws to stifle, if not totally silent political dissent.

Seditions Act is a very useful tool. What is sedition, if you are charged, would be decided by a judge, and if you appeal further, a few judges. They decide it is not, and the very next day might find themselves transferred to career Siberia.

What is seditious in this country, is indeed what the establishment deems it to be. If an elected rep like Nurul Izzah cannot speak up, then what about you and me? And how come Brahim’s ugly rhetoric isn’t deemed seditious?

Or for that matter, all the hate speech/rhetoric that is coming from the likes of Ridhuan Tee, or those amorphous character (s) that spew poison under the pen name of Awang Selamat? Isn’t that incitement?

Very convenient, this Seditions Act. It is something that belongs in George Orwell’s 1984. Remember terms like Newspeak and Thoughtcrime? If you don’t, read more here.

I hope the Seditions Act’s  days are numbered, just like the current political hegemony.

Gagging the public in the name of Sedition

Raja Petra Kamarudin, as thousands of Malaysians already know by now, refused to post bail and went to Sungai Buloh prison, pending his trial on the charge of Sedition. Even the Parliament is in uproar, as reported in the media.

Well, the New Straits Times reported that he is out now. His wife posted bail and he’s probably headed home for a nice meal. The guy has refused food since he went inside on Tuesday.

Well, great to see he’s agreed to the bail. I hope he is alright now.

Now what did Raja Petra do? He wrote this article in Malaysia Today titled Let’s send Altantuya’s murderers to hell.

Many many Malaysian bloggers have written their opinions about this very disturbing case since it made the media in late 2006. As some irreverent genius said, opinions are like assholes, everyone has one. Bloggers like Susan Loone has been following this case since its early days.

Soon as RPK does it however, he gets hauled off to court and charged with sedition. For a crash course in the Sedition Act, go Wiki. Why does that happen? Because his column is very widely read.

Why is his column widely read? Because the mainstream media has been castrated and beaten into submission by a succession of Acts and through political “ownership”  and are largely perceived to be controlled.

This Sedition Act, as I read an understood it, is farcical in today’s world or indeed, in today’s Malaysia. It is open to abuse by the government of the day. It is the most paramount tool of curbing freedom of speech in this country.

What defence does the public have against a law that can just grab you and stuff you in jail for saying what you think is right and what the government can define as seditious.

This law is flawed and outdated, and to begin with, it was unjust because it was put in place by the colonial powers so that they can “legally” curb dissent. Article 10 of the Malaysian Constitution was supposed to guarantee yours and my freedom of speech, before the amendments made those freedoms subject to governmental control.

This is supposed to be a democratic country, and we Malaysians just exercised our democratic right to exorcise or excise (heheh) 5 states from the malignant tumour that Barisan Nasional became. If they heal, they might be voted back the next election. So can the post-elections baby Pakatan Rakyat be voted out if they don’t deliver they promises to people.

Sedition Act among others, “criminalises speech with seditious tendency, including that which would “bring into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against” the government or engender feelings of ill-will and hostility between different races”. (I picked the paragaphes in quotes from Wiki)

It leaves this “Sedition” charge to be defined by authorities.

I read that Raja Petra was charged with sedition after a policeman lodged a report against him. In Malaysia, does lodging a report against someone mean anything anymore? Raja Petra himself said that the report he lodged against police officer Bakri Zinin was ignored.

These past few weeks everyone who is anyone in politics have been lodging police reports all over the place. My faith in our men on Peace Hill is such that I doubt anything will come out of police reports until and unless some “higher being” takes an interest.

The publicly reported trial of Altantuya tells me this. You know, when two members of the supposedly elite law special forces are charged with the murder of a civilian and his superior actually says in court that these fellows are “supposed to take orders” like robots, something is not right.

Something is indeed rotten. I’m not alone in thinking this. People like Raja Petra dares to say what he thinks in his blog. Is that considered “creating disaffection” with the government?  I’d like to think he, like most of us, wants to ensure those responsible, pay for the crime.

If IGP Musa Hassan and DPM Najib Razak thinks Raja Petra slandered them, then by all means sue him. Let a civil court decide, and if Petra is found guilty based on evidence, let him pay the consequences.You see, many of you may not agree with Petra’s writing or just hate his guts, but this small man is fighting for a voice that has been taken away from us.

Using the Sedition Act is like using a nuclear bomb to kill a fly. Overkill? You bet. Just because the system can do it.

In the Malaysian climate post March 8, this move is also a colossal mistake by the police and the government. Not only will they be hated more, but I won’t be surprised if this triggers the “conscience” of Barisan MPs to voice out or even worse (or better, depending on how your politics are) jump the draconian government’s ship.

I wonder if the present administration is aware of the can of worms that’s gonna be opened with this latest persecution of Raja Petra Kamarudin.

This is a crap shoot people…

Black Sunday, Part 1


Well, throw together the incendiary elements of a growing angry mob of rather passionate people who think they’ve been wronged, with the instruments of law and order. Throw in a hot day, tear gas and water cannon. Lethal cocktail, don’t you think?

Whatever it was, I’m leaving all the action talk to fellow bloggers who had more information, like Harris, Shanghaifish, Jeff Ooi and of course Malaysia Today.

Personal journey

Well, I wasn’t in the thick of the Hindraf rally much. After a 2am recce of a drive that took me to the Ampang -Tun Razak area and finding roadbloks and increasing police presence, I went back home.

It was almost 9.30 am when I approached the area again, later in the morning. Blocked. Here, there everywhere. Can’t get good shots, I discovered to my chagrin.

Close Encounters of the Cop Kind

So, I walked through the Ampang Hilir area. A bunch of guys and girls started following me. Felt uncomfortable. Had to go through some bushes to get to Lanson Place on Jalan Ampang.

Asked a girl that looked about 25 why is she headed to the rally. She said, “We must show them. Because we are quiet they climb on our head.” (Translated from Tamil to English, I know…kinda lose colour)”Indonesians who came here 10-15 years ago have more rights than us Indians.” This  gave me pause.


We continued walking but the cops caught up to us at Jalan Langgak Golf. One Inspector Azmizal started his tongue-lashing, his anger worsened by reports of his men being injured, or so he said.

He collected the all our identity cards and singled me out, apparently since I stood out.

“Why are you here? I could have you hauled to the station on suspicion of rioting. What’s wrong with you people? why can’t you stay at home? Isn’t it peaceful enough for you here? You still get food to eat right? I have Indians on my team too, you know. All we want is to keep order. You want to join the mob and get injured, or injure more people?”

“You, why are you with these people? You look educated enough, why are you part of this?” All these questions coming from the guy with hardly a word in from me edgewise.

How do I tell the guy I was there to take pictures? We bloggers aren’t exactly the darlings of the establishment are we? So I shut my trap and heard him out. I asked him if I was being arrested. He stared and said, no. But please leave the area, he added.

Having gotten my IC back, I made a few calls and sat down for a while. Then I got up and the cops in the Land Rover started following me. So I stopped and asked, “Can I tumpang?”

An East Malaysian riot cop made space and so I got my first ride in cop transport. In between I had a brief conversation. Told the guy I wanted to take pics for my blog. “You don’t seem like part of the gang, he said.” Then they dropped me.

 I resumed my walk. Then another roadblock and being questioned by another cop. Explained and continued, and found I lost the way and backtracked. One of the riot cops said, “Come sit down”.

Joined him and he pointed me towards a bottle of water. Had a grateful gulp and started chatting. He bitched somewhat about being there since 1am the previous night. Hadn’t had a meal, and sitting there in the blazing late-morning sun waiting for orders isn’t the best way to spend a Sunday, he opined.

“But these guys la!” Tell me, what the hell is all these about? Can’t you guys go through proper channels? Everything ada saluran.” I told him if they were being heard, there wouldn’t be a crowd this size today, and he and I wouldn’t be having this conversation.

Another cop kept saying his “kepala masuk air” moved over to the side and napped on his backpack. (below) Poor guy.


Yet another, wanted to take my pic and I returned the favour. Here’s a pic of him taking picture of me.


I continued talking with the cop, and got up close and personal with a tear gas canister. It says made by Federal Laboratories, Pennsylvania. Hmm….

I thanked the friendly cop for the water and went back to my car. A second round from Jalan Semarak and I got to Yap Kwan Seng where the sting of tear gas lingers.

Got to KLCC and consumed by the surge of crowd. It was like Thaipusam, but no one was smiling, and the mood is somber. Cries go up and down.


These pics are from Stephen Francis. My camera battery kong by then.


I saw all there was to see. Asked the balding guy next to me why he came. He said, “This concerns all of us Indians doesn’t it?”

I asked a saree clad auntie being led by a younger girl where she’s from. She said Sungai Buloh. Why was she there? “We have to come out. Maika (MIC) people have neglected us.”

Hmm…I was thinking….It’s not just about the temples is it.

I went home. An Indian neighbour asked me. “If we go and sign, do we get RM1 million each?”

I laughed….without much humour. Sheesh!!

Why a judiciary cleanup is highly necessary in Malaysia

A worthy piece on the state of the law in Malaysia appeared today in The Star, courtesy of Prof Shaq Saleem Faruqi of UiTM. Read the full article here.

Some points to note from the column…

The role of the courts as guardians of the Constitution was discussed at the recently concluded Malaysian Law Conference. Speaker after speaker lamented that, barring a few exceptions, our judges have not honoured their oath to “preserve, protect and defend” the basic charter.  

 Why? Threat to their career/rice bowl? Continue reading

A Yellow Day to Remember

Indeed it was. There was tremendous police presence, roadblocks everywhere in downtown Kuala Lumpur, and the blue-grey fatigues of the Federal Reserve Unit was a familiar sight everywhere you turn.

At the end of the day, it was just a bunch of Malaysians, who wanted to see their sovereign to raise their plight. But the executive used instruments of law and order to stop them from doing so.

Continue reading

Go Yellow

I’m yellow today. Heheh…no, doesn’t mean that i’m a coward. I’m just wearing my yellow top a day earlier in kinship with the effort by the Bersih collective that’s organising the walk tomorrow.

 yellow.jpg Poster by Mob

 I spent sometime reflecting on this peaceful march last night. This morning, I read my thoughts translated into Uncle Zorro’s hopes.

Yes, this is a peaceful march. We’re going to see the King of Malaysia, or if you prefer it, the Yang Di Pertuan Agong. We have a right. We are his subjects, and this is a constitutional democracy, last I checked.

I’m not a member of a political party. I was told that the Bersih coalition has some political party signees. I don’t care. I’m not affiliated with any of them.

I’m a voter. I can walk with my fellow Malaysians in a peace march to convey our thoughts and misgivings about the state of our country, to our ruler.

What else could we do? The mainstream doesn’t listen. The executive is sleeping. The judiciary is fixed or shall I say f*****? Who’s left then?

CID Chief Zulhasnan najib Baharuddin said there is no permit given for the Nov 10 rally? Not that the Bersih guys didn’t apply.

He said a non-governmental organisation sent in an application on Nov 3 for permission to hold the gathering but the application was rejected on Nov 6 by Dang Wangi OCPD Asst Comm Zulkarnain Abd Rahman.  

He refused to elaborate on the reasons for the rejection. Earlier reports said that Parti Keadilan Rakyat was the main organiser of the rally. – The Star

What else do they do?

I just hope the Opposition party people who attend this gathering won’t hijack this for their own ends. This is to be a non-violent march.

No talk, just walk. The silent march alone will speak volumes.

Saturday. 3pm. Dataran Merdeka.

I want some changes for the better. Do you?

Chief Justice…justified by chiefs

It is unfair to judge our new Chief Justice-appointee based on his political background, says Nazri Aziz, the Malaysian “Minister of Judges”. Why is it unfair? Isn’t the nomination suspect from the beginning?

How many judges are there? On the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, hell even the High Court? You can’t pick one that has no overt political connections? And you, the ruling elite, think there is no crisis in the Judiciary?

RPK has some dirt that tells us why this guy is not really qualified to become the No 1 Judge in the country. The Chief Justice of Malaysia is in effect the Supreme Pontiff of Law and Justice as far as the country is concerned. Shouldn’t some standards be observed?

There are high standards that the judiciary elsewhere in the world, hold sacred and subscribe to. A judgeship must be free from taint, from suspicion of taint.

Read this Code of Conduct of United State Judges, especially its 7 Cannons.

After that, there are questions to be asked.

Is Zaki the best candidate? Isn’t the fast-tracking kinda suspect?

Is he still a member of UMNO? Can a judge be a member of a political party and be seen to be impartial?

What happened to seniority?

Why not Justice Richard Malanjum? I suggested his name because Justice Abdul Hamid bin Haji Mohamad (President of the Court of Appeal) is only one year younger than the outgoing CJ Ahmad Fairuz, who retired today by the way, despite wanting an extension.

Oh, but Richard Malanjum (a highly respected judge and Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak) is not biddable and he is not Malay.

Why wasn’t any of the people in this list considered eligible. Hell, lots of them are senior enough. Why?

I’m not casting aspersions on Zaki himself. It is just that in this climate, wouldn’t this guy be yet another puppet in a puppetry series that went back years?

Where do we go for recourse? We, the little man-in-the-street.