In the unanimous resolution, Aliran members also want coercive laws to be repealed and Anwar Ibrahim to be immediately freed.
Aliran held its 39th AGM today in Penang against a backdrop of a declining economy, political turbulence on both sides of the divide, rampant corruption, the playing up of ethnic and religious differences for political gain and the looming TPPA ratification.
In his keynote address, Aliran president Dr Francis Loh highlighted how this year’s Annual Report does not include special items devoted to discussion of the Aliran Monthly, a magazine that we sustained for 33 years.
Instead it focused on Aliran’s digital outreach through which we continued to play the role of critic and challenge the dominant discourses on political, social and economic developments as espoused by the BN powers-that-be.
He evaluated Aliran’s performance against the major political events that unravelled in the year such as 1MDB, which in turn sparked off Bersih 4, and new rounds of arrests and repression amidst a political fragmentation of the Malay community viz. intra-Umno conflict, the Pas-Amanah split, prominent Malays joining the DAP and the emergence of G25 – all of which must have created confusion for the Perkasa-Isma types who were calling for Malay unity.
One of Aliran’s campaigns was the launching of an on-line petition condemning the Home Ministry’s decision to suspend The Edge which had bravely investigated and reported on the 1MDB financial fiasco. Some 33,000 signatures were collected. Another highlight was the pre-Bersih forum in Penang which helped mobilise Penangites to travel to KL to participate in Bersih 4.
The ‘Crackdown Watch’, an online listing of those probed, arrested or charged under various coercive laws including the Sedition Act, was yet another initiative which serves as a useful reference point for monitoring human rights abuses.
Aliran also organised four Young Writers workshops in Penang, Ipoh and KL. The short essays that the youth at these workshops submitted were refreshing in terms of topics chosen and insights.
In elections for the group, former professor of politics Dr Francis Loh retained his position as Aliran president. Similarly Dr Mustafa K Anuar, Henry Loh and Anil Netto were re-elected as honorary secretary, assistant secretary and honorary treasurer respectively.
Members also elected the following to the executive committee: P Ramakrishnan, Dr Prema Devaraj, Andrew Wong, Dr Andrew Aeria, Mohd Izzuddin Ramli, Dr Faisal S Hazis, Dr Ngu Ik Tien, Prof Zaharom Nain, Ng Tien Eng, Dr Christopher Chong Eu Choong and Damian Denis. Lee Keat Mui was elected the honorary auditor.
Before the meeting adjourned, the assembly unanimously passed a wide-ranging resolution (see below) which called upon the government to, among others:
- quickly complete the investigation into 1MDB and the RM2.6bn donation and bring the culprits to book;
- abolish the Sedition Act, Sosma, Pota and other coercive laws;
- release Anwar Ibrahim immediately especially since a UN Working Group has concluded that his imprisonment was arbitrary and that he was denied a fair trial and then jailed for political reasons.
The resolution also called upon state governments, in particular, Pakatan-controlled, to lead by example and comply resolutely to CAT principles and be prepared to listen to criticism and diverse views.
Dr Mustafa K Anuar
29 November 2015
RESOLUTION unanimously passed at the AGM:
This 39th Annual General Meeting of Aliran, noting,
- the horrendous scale of corruption in the country involving leaders, top government officers and corporate personalities;
- the alarming deterioration in national unity and harmony which threatens our peaceful way of life;
the bewildering and selective use of the Sedition Act and other coercive laws to silence alternative media, opposition politicians and dissidents, including the youth, and to restrict our right to freedom of expression, association and assembly;
- that state governments in particular, Pakatan controlled, should lead by example and comply resolutely to the exacting standards of Competency, Accountabilty and Transparency and in this regard be prepared to listen to criticism and diverse views in the spirit of promoting a participatory democracy;
- the grave lack of independence of the judiciary and the plummeting credibility of the attorney general’s office and the Police, who are supposed to uphold the rule of law; and in this regard, the re-jailing of then Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim after a trial that has been widely criticised by legal experts as politically motivated;
- the bizarre and disturbing circumstances surrounding the murders of Altantuya and Kevin Morais;
the shocking attempts to scuttle the investigations into the 1MDB scandal and the RM2.6 billion ‘donation’ through the disbanding of the original task force, the termination or transfers of key investigators, and the arrests of key officials or whistleblowers;
- that Parliament’s role has been undermined through the tyrannical use of the majority to deny the Opposition the right to move motions to debate serious issues of the day and determine whether the ruling party enjoys the confidence of the House;
- the deteriorating state of the country’s economy, especially the declining ringgit, the new GST, higher tolls, the poor management of government finances, soaring prices of essential items, rising household debt and loss of jobs, sometimes even without due compensation;
- that house prices are beyond the reach of ordinary citizens, including even professionals, with no serious attempt by government to build and provide genuinely affordable homes on a wide scale;
the haste with which the TPPA is being pushed through without consultation of affected parties and how if ratified the pact could further worsen the economic wellbeing of the ordinary rakyat who are already burdened by economic hardship;
this 39th Annual General Meeting of Aliran therefore:
- demands that all aspects of the 1MDB fiasco, especially the allegations in Sarawak Report, the WSJ and The Edge, be thoroughly investigated and any culprits rapidly brought to book;
- demands that the so-called RM2.6 billion donation to the prime minister’s personal bank account be fully investigated and in order that his and the country’s reputation be restored, he ought to step aside until the probe is completed;
- demands that all action against whistleblowers, peaceful protesters and those who have made critical statements be dropped;
- demands that the Sedition Act, Sosma, Pota and other coercive laws be abolished;
- demands that a full and independent inquiry into the murder of Kevin Morais be held and the reopening of the Altantuya case;
- demands the immediate release of Anwar Ibrahim as a UN Working Group has concluded that his imprisonment was “arbitrary”, that he was denied a fair trial and then jailed for political reasons;
- demands that the government address the precarious state of the economy by taking measures to restore confidence and not rush into the TPPA without showing how it will benefit ordinary Malaysians and the local economy.
In this regard, this 39th Annual General Meeting of Aliran therefore calls upon the government of Malaysia to act upon our demands, which are widely shared by fellow Malaysians.
It further calls upon all Aliran members and other Malaysians to continue the struggle for justice, freedom, solidarity and truth.
29 November 2015