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BN vs Bersih: Comparing 2007 and 2011

BN vs Bersih: Comparing 2007 and 2011

IS Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak a prime minister of reform as he’s been portrayed to be? Is he more respectful of human rights and dissenting views compared to his predecessor Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi? Is he less or more prone to strong-arm tactics? A comparison of how the government treated Bersih in 2007 and how it is treating Bersih 2.0 in 2011 gives Malaysians and the world an indication of whether things have gotten better under Najib or much worse.

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Bersih 2.0: “Illegal”, chaos-causing “communists”?

Bersih 2.0: “Illegal”, chaos-causing “communists”?

Waging war against the king. In cahoots with foreign conspirators. Possible communists. Planning to overthrow the government. Illegal T-shirts. Bersih 2.0 seems to embody many evils to the authorities, who have arrested more than 100 in attempts to stop Bersih’s 9 July 2011 march. But have the authorities gone overboard in demonising the rally? What about Malaysians’ constitutional right to freedom of expression and right to peaceable assembly?

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Keeping subsidies: Caring or irresponsible?

Keeping subsidies: Caring or irresponsible?

Is it caring or irresponsible of the government to maintain government subsidies? Our government seems undecided. On one hand, RON95 and diesel prices have been maintained “for the people’s sake”, despite the heavy subsidy cost. On the other hand, electricity tariffs have been raised because it would be “irresponsible” of the government to keep the people happy but make them suffer in the long-term. So, which is it?

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When will Taib really go?

When will Taib really go?

IN the lead-up to the Sarawak elections, the prime minister and his deputy went all out to convince voters that Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud would step down after the state election because he was “ready”. But what does “after” and “ready” really mean? Is it “someday” as the deputy prime minister has stated or in “two to three years” as Taib has claimed? Clearly, vague rhetoric is useful for politicians to keep their options open especially now that the Barisan Nasional has again secured its two-thirds majority in the state assembly.

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Umno’s tangle over “Allah”

Umno’s tangle over “Allah”

YET again, in the tussle over “Allah” and Malay-language Bibles, the Umno-led Barisan Nasional government shows how unclear it is about what it means to respect the religious rights of non-Muslims.

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Hindraf and freedom of assembly

Hindraf and freedom of assembly

The Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) rallied in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, 27 Feb 2011, to protest against the use of the novel Interlok in schools. However, the exercising of fundamental citizens’ rights in a democracy has been met with opposition, criticism and police action. Who are the people who would oppose and demonise freedom of assembly and expression?

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