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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

myAsylum's Call to Action...

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A few things have prompted this post.

First is the disturbing news that several old Hindu temples are unceremoniously (and systematically) waybeing demolished, in a way most disrespectful to the devotees of these temples. . The most recent one being a couple of days ago - the 107-year old Malaimel Sri Selva Kaliamman temple in KL was demolished by DBKL, while the devotees were observing their religious service. Another one in Shah Alam has been scheduled for demolition today, this one also being over 100 years old.

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The excuse reason given by DBKL and Shah Alam councils? To make way for development. But it's the heavy-handed nature in which these demolition exercises are carried out that makes them disturbing. And in the case of DBKL, the mere 24-hour notice given to vacate the temple.

Why is this happening? In Malaysia, no less, where we talk so proudly about religious freedom and inter-ethnic harmony. I guess it boils down to respect for others to practice their religious obligations, which as far as I know, is a fundemental right of every citizen, as far as the Federal Constitution is concerned. In this case, though, it's the utter lack of respect that I find distasteful. And that mutual lack of respect seems to be growing.

I won't delve into the gory details of the temple demolition exercises, but you can read all about them here. The site linked to is called Police Watch Malaysia.

This is NOT the Police I'm talking about - Image hosting by PhotobucketWhich brings me to the Second reason. Chronicled on this site are the various alleged misconducts of the Royal Malaysian Police Force of late. SquatGate, Deaths in Police Custody, mistreatment of the 4 China nationals in custody... just to name a few. The actual extent of the alleged misconduct is staggering. And scary.

What's been recommended (by two Royal commissions) is the setting up of the IPCMC - Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission. A body to police the Police force, if you would. Pak Lah has even agreed to it. And a deadline of May 31, 2006 has been set for it to be in place.

But here's the irony - not only is the Police Force is against the IPCMC (no surprise here), backing their refusal are some key Members of Parliament, among them several prominent UMNO MPs (a narrative can be found here), including Jerai MP Badruddin Amiruldin (yes, that same doofus with the rape theory) and Jasin MP Mohd Said Yusof. Why the opposition (as in the real reason) is anybody's guess. The rhetoric for the opposition of setting up the IPCMC is, at best, lame.

The Third thing is a personal view: Malaysia is in the process of being hijacked by Islamists. Not just from PAS, but also those in the Civil Service, and in BN itself. I'm not talking about a conspiracy, per se. But in the battle between PAS and BN, each side is trying to portray itself as the Melayu's best protector and benefactor, and Islam is being used as the ammunition in this war. The casualty? Us. The common people - both Muslim and non-Muslim.

Standing in the way is the fast eroding Malaysian Constitution. Fast eroding because there seems to be a strong move to rewrite it, to make Malaysia an Islamic state. To make Malaysia an Islamic Institution.

I, for one, do not want to live in an institution.

So here it comes: myAsylum's Call to Action

There are a number of things you can do to make Malaysia more liveable - for all Malaysians. However, for a start here are three things you can do immediately, online:
(1) Sign the Bar Council's Petition on Movement Towards A Better Police Force.
(2) Sign this other petition: to restore the supremacy of the Federal Constitution.
(3) Know what rights you have legally when dealing with the police. Read the Bar Council's "Red Book: Police & Your Basic Rights" (which you can either view or download here). Don't worry about the book being subversive - it is not. In fact, it was launched by Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz.

The other things to do are more long-term. Like register to vote. Or take up a social cause with an organization for all Malaysians. And many other productive, socially-responsible things that one can do.

There is hope yet for this country we love. We just need to get off our behinds and do something real - other than whine, whine, whine.

Walski's signed both petitions, and read the publication - have you?