Working with Mahathir – the right thing to do?

This article was published in The Malay Mail Online, Malaysiakini, and the Blavatnik School of Government blog.

Mahathir, opposition parties, and civil society leaders signed the Deklarasi Rakyat.

Mahathir, opposition parties, and civil society leaders signed the Deklarasi Rakyat. Image from Malaysiakini.

Earlier this week, a group of influential Malaysians signed a “Declaration” calling for Prime Minister Najib Razak to be removed and for institutional reforms.

This is a major escalation in the effort to remove Najib, and an extraordinary development in Malaysian politics. Najib has faced months of exposés, investigations, and rebukes for corruption relating to the 1MDB scandal.

The signing of the Declaration is the first time that Najib’s critics from opposing sides have explicitly united against him. Continue reading

Siapa tukarkan gambar ISTAC menjadi gereja?

Semalam saya menulis satu pos blog yang menceritakan bagaimana satu gambar saya yang diambil di dewan International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization (ISTAC) telah disebarkan di beberapa blog dan forum di Indonesia. Gambar ISTAC itu dikatakan menunjukkan orang Islam di Malaysia yang murtad dan baru sahaja dibaptiskan di gereja.

Sememangnya, saya terperanjat menbaca dakwaan-dakwaan dalam blog-blog dan forum-forum itu.

Tetapi saya hairan juga – dari mana blogger-blogger Indonesia mendapatkan gambar saya itu? Dan kenapa blogger-blogger ini begitu berminat dengan kita di Malaysia?

Jadi, saya meng-google sedikit lagi hari ini. Apa yang saya dapat tahu – nampaknya gambar itu asalnya bukan disebarkan menerusi blog di Indonesia, tetapi menerusi satu blog di Kedah. Inilah screenshot daripada blog berkenaan:

 Gambar ISTAC yang dikatakan gambar gereja nampaknya asalnya disebarkan dari blog ini.

Gambar ISTAC yang dikatakan gambar gereja nampaknya asalnya disebarkan dari blog ini.

Saya menyebut nampaknya gambar itu berasal dari blog berkenaan kerana Continue reading


Home Ministry ban signals crackdown on civil society, say Comango reps (The Malay Mail Online)

My comment on the Home Ministry’s press statement outlawing COMANGO:

Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) advocacy officer Yu Ren Chung reiterated Suriani’s argument, stressing that Comango was merely abiding by the guidelines set by the UN, and that it need not be registered for it to present a report.

“If we submit a report under a coalition, the said report can be longer and more comprehensive, which is why we did so.

“I think ordinary Malaysians are not so blind, they can tell what the government is trying to do here, in trying to assert their own version of explanations, especially in light of most recent events,” Yu Ren spoke to the Malay Mail Online via a telephone interview.

Read the full article published in The Malay Mail Online on 9 February 2014.

“Grandmothers” in politics – stating facts can be sexist (Malaysiakini)

This article was published in Malaysiakini.

A few days ago Chief Minister of Penang Lim Guan Eng called Penang state opposition leader Jahara Hamid a “typical grandmother” and an “unreasonable and racist grandmother”, according to news reports. He was reacting to something Jahara had said in the Penang state legislative assembly.

Criticised promptly by Jahara and women’s groups, Lim apologised. Subsequently, some of his women colleagues called him out as well.

This apology is commendable. Yet, at least by reading though comments to the news reports of this episode, many seem to think that Lim had nothing to apologise for, that calling someone a “grandmother” is just stating a fact, not being sexist. I get the feeling many others feel this way too. Continue reading


Penal Code Amendments: “Bad Bill Bad Process” (BFM 89.9)

I discussed the amendments made to the Penal Code during the 3rd meeting of the 1st Session of the 13th Parliament, with Sharaad Kuttan on the Morning Run.


Prelude from BFM:

Speaking on behalf of the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality, Ren Chung explains the position of the NGO coalition about the recently passed amendments to the Penal Code. The statement draws attention to “section 203A, under which someone can be fined up to one million ringgit for disclosing information obtained under any written law” as well as section 326A which while penalising certain types of abuse between married spouses fails to be made consistent with the Domestic Violence Act 1994.

Interview aired on BFM on 23 October 2013.