Thursday, May 6, 2010

I have a 14-year-old son too...

And that's why I have a personal stake in ensuring that never again must the police force be allowed to deteriorate into a goon squad serving the petty interests of a rogue regime. Below are two important items lifted from Free Malaysia Today (which is fast gaining credibility and stature as an alternative news portal)...

The arrogance of police power
Wed, 05 May 2010 15:08

A week after schoolboy Aminulrasyid Amzah's death by police shooting, Malaysians have been treated to the ghastly spectacle of a government withdrawing into itself in the face of public outrage, and seemingly intent only on finding grounds for justifying its actions.

Left in abeyance is the fact that governments exist in democratic nations to ensure the safety of all its citizens, and to ensure equal justice for all, no matter what their station in life.

Aminul is dead, at the age of 15, after a late-night caper. Under normal circumstances, he would have faced punishment from his parents. Instead he was, in effect, served the death penalty in appallingly suspicious circumstances.

The Malaysian public is justifiably angry and upset. Justice must be served in dealing with how Aminul died — not just for his sake, but also for the sake of all citizens who need reassurance, in no uncertain terms, that they are safe from their own guardians.

It is at times like these that a democratically-elected government rises to the occasion and acts in the larger interests of everyone.

Instead, for the past week, the image that emerged is of an uncaring police force intent on protecting its reputation and its manliless, aggressively demanding that its word is accepted at face value without question.

If that is not the image they sought to build, the Inspector-General of Police and the Selangor police chief only have themselves to blame.

Musa Hassan (above, right) made a childish threat to keep the police force in barracks, aggressively showed he expected unquestioning acceptance of the policemen's own accounts, then tried to pin on a dead boy and his family any responsibility for the circumstances that led to his death, in between keeping up a plaintive pleading for the public to be fair to his men.

It is no wonder that many demanded that he leave immediately and not wait for his contract to expire.

Khalid Abu Bakar (left) also insisted that the public should believe his policemen's story and showed a callous willingness to label a schoolboy a criminal on the unproven assertion that a parang was found in his car, and arrogantly threatened politicians who took up the issue and questioned police accounts.

It is no wonder that questions are asked whether he considers himself a policeman, an officer of the law, or is really a politician.

[Read the whole of this superb editorial here.]

PM Paper Doll by Sharon Chin (ink on paper)

Open letter to Najib
Thu, 06 May 2010 12:11

Below is an open letter to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, penned by Amnesty International Canada's coordinator for Malaysia and Singapore, Margaret John. She expresses concern over Anwar Ibrahim's sodomy trial.

Dear Prime Minister,

I write with respect in order to inform you about high-level concern in Canada regarding Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim and to request your urgent intervention.

As you must be aware, there is worldwide concern about events relating to this prominent opposition leader’s current situation, thus putting a critical spotlight on Malaysia. As prime minister, you are undoubtedly concerned, for example, that the respected Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) recently declared that Anwar’s current trial on a charge of sodomy is riddled with defects.

The IPU has now made a decision to send an observer to the coming court hearings. The United States of America expressed its intention to continue to scrutinise this controversial trial.

Hundreds of participants, including former Canadian prime minister Kim Campbell, at the World Movement for Democracy, signed a petition calling for a fair trial as well as for the release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar . Further, some 50 Australian parliamentarians recently signed a letter calling for an end to the ongoing sodomy trial.

Joining the international outcry, concern is increasingly expressed at a high level in Canada . Please see enclosed documents. In brief:

Officers of the Canadian High Commission in Kuala Lumpur remain in private and public contact with Anwar and have observed the trial proceedings with great interest.

In a Globe and Mail article, former Canadian Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Paul Martin called for the charges to be dropped to enable Anwar Ibrahim to “pursue his vision of a democratic Malaysia, properly respectful of human rights.”

Opposition Liberal Party Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Bob Rae MP, called on Canada’s Parliament to take note of continuing political and legal harassment of Anwar, who has “long been a compelling spokesperson for democracy and for human rights in his country, and despite an unjustified prison sentence continues to speak out with courage and with determination.”

[Read the rest here.]