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Monday, July 16, 2007

Arrested Development: The Free Nat Petition

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Related posts:
Arrested Development
Arrested Development: Detention Confirmed
Arrested Development: What YOU Can Do
Shedding a Blood-Red Tear
A Candle for Nat, A Vigil for the Nation

Click to sign the Petition. Image hosting by PhotobucketThe main message Walski wants to get across: a petition has been set up demanding for Nat's release. If you feel that he's been wronged (as Walski's sure most of you do), go to the petition set up on Petitions Online.

Looking beyond Nat's detention, it's high time that the OSA, as it currently is, be repealed immediately. It's initial intention was to protect security sensitive information, but via an amendment in 1987 to extend the scope of coverage under the OSA, essentially, ANY document can be classified as an official secret (source: Malik Imtiaz's Disquiet).

Walski's been also been informed by Marina M. (via a comment to a previous post) that from her experience dealing with the Ministry of Health, a lot of harmless correspondence, reports, surveys, etc., have been stamped "Official Secret", so much so that nothing could be done with them whatsoever. And rightly so, Marina wonders why so many social problems can't be solved.

This act has truly and thoroughly been misused, overused and abused, as a tool to obfuscate the truth. In Nat's case, perhaps as a "legal" means to muzzle any opposing viewpoints, particularly those from the oppoition parties.
(OSA and totalitarian path, in the full post)

It truly boggles the mind why things like Toll Concession agreements, for example, have to be deemed "Official Secrets". Unless, of course, there are things to hide. Like how lopsided the agreements are, and how at the end of the day. despite having paid off the cost of constructing the highway, users are subjected to escalating toll charges, perpetual until the expiry of said agreements.

Couple this draconian act, with the calls to "crush the opposition parties" by certain BN personalities (in this case the infamous SIL), as recently reported by Malaysakini, and other media outlets. The almost perpetual two-thirds majority enjoyed by BN in Parliament, first and foremost, diminishes the check and balance provided by a strong opposition, a hallmark of any parliamentary democracy. Otherwise, any law can be bulldozed through, even those that hurt the very citizens the august establishment serves.

And let's make it crystal clear - these members of Parliament are there to serve the citizens whom elected them, and not making the citizenry subservient to the political masters they represent. Already, from time to time, we hear rhetoric that the BN is the Government, and therefore any criticism levelled against the political party is an affront to the Government of Malaysia.

In any case, before Walski gets too carried away on this virtual soapbox, go sign the petition, if you think that Nat's detention was politically motivated. Walski does, and Walski has signed it. Then, write to your elected representatives and tell them what you think of the OSA in its current ambigous and over-reaching form.

It's your right as citizens of a (still, so far) democratic country.