Thursday, July 28

Kelebihan ilmu

1. Baru-baru ini empat orang pelajar SMA Persekutuan Labu menjuarai satu pertandingan debat Bahasa Arab peringkat kebangsaan. PAsukan ini mendapat bimbingan daripada Ustazah Salwa, salah seorang ustazah yang pernah mengajarku dahulu. Maklum balas daripada bekas pelajar kepada satu status Facebook di Group Alumni SMAPL sungguh menakjubkan - masing-masing mendoakan kesejahteraan dan mengucapkan terima kasih kepada Ustazah Salwa.

2. Ini jelas menunjukkan bagaimana penghargaan dan penghormatan tinggi yang manusia suka berikan kepada 'ilmu'. Ini kekuatan ilmu kepada manusia. Manusia akan kasih dan menghormati insan yang lain atas kerana ilmu yang pernah diajarkan.

3. Barangkali jika seorang guru berkongsikan harta, seperti belanja makan dan sebagainya, pelajar masih boleh mengingati jasa baik guru tersebut. Namun ilmu meninggalkan impak dan kesan yang lebih luar biasa. Ilmu menguatkan rasa kasih seseorang kepada yang pernah memberikannya, walaupun setelah jangka masa yang lama.

4. Semasa kami di Nottingham mengajarkan anak-anak post graduate membaca al-Quran, saya terkenangkan guru-guru yang telah mendidik kami semua membaca Quran. Pahala yang diterima mereka sangat besar tidak terhitung.

5. Kami baca, dia (si guru) mendapat pahala. Kami mengajar generasi kedua, dia mendapat pahala. Generasi kedua membaca, dia mendapat pahala. Generasi kedua mengajar generasi seterusnya, masih dia mendapat pahala.

6. Ini belum dicampur pahala mengamalkannya.

MashaAllah. May Allah bless us all.

Sunday, July 17

Selamat tinggal Nottingham

Kepulangan dua orang teman - saudara Akmal Samudi dan Dr Maryam Jameelah. Semoga Allah memberkati perjalanan pulang mereka, dan memperkuatkan mereka utk terus berjuang dan berbakti di tanah air

Sunday, July 10

Massive rally may signal BN losing ground

Police fired repeated rounds of tear gas and detained over 1,400 people in the capital on Saturday.

At least a dozen people were hurt in the demonstration for electoral reform in downtown Kuala Lumpur today as thousands of activists evaded roadblocks to hold a street protest against Prime Minister Najib Razak's government.

There were no reports of serious injuries but some analysts said the police action was excessive and would dent Najib's image.

ipd kl bersih 090711 nurul izzah"We are not criminals, we are just asking for free and fair elections," opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim's daughter, Nurul Izzah Anwar, told reporters after her father was knocked down and hurt in a melee when he and his supporters were tear gassed.

“Many innocent people were injured. We condemn this act of cruelty by Umno and Barisan Nasional," she said, referring to Najib's party and the ruling coalition.

Street protests are rare in this Southeast Asian nation, but foreign investors are worried that any groundswell of anti-government sentiment could delay economic reforms seen as essential to draw investment.

If he is put under popular pressure, Najib may reconsider plans for a snap election and hold back on reforms such as cutting fuel subsidies or unwinding an affirmative action programme for the country's Malay majority.

Polls are not due until 2013 but analysts have said Najib could seek an early mandate after economic growth accelerated to a 10-year high in 2010.

NONE"From Najib's perspective, holding elections anytime soon would be a mistake because of the damage that has been done today," said Bridget Welsh, Malaysia specialist at Singapore
Management University.

"The fact that such a large crowd turned up despite a crackdown shows that voter anger is deep and this is going to push a lot of people who are in the middle towards the opposition."

Several people seen bleeding

Reuters witnesses saw tear gas shells lobbed repeatedly at groups of protesters in downtown Kuala Lumpur as the crowds chanted "Long Live the People" and "Reformasi, reformasi," the
Malay word for reform.

patah kakiSeveral people were seen bleeding after the tear gas was fired, but police gave no details of any injuries. Crowds around the city's main bus station were also sprayed with water cannon.

Inspector-general of police, Ismail Omar, said 1,401 people were taken into custody, but many will be released after questioning. At least three senior opposition leaders were among those detained, other officials said.

"We have made our point that we want free and fair elections," said Chan Mei Yin, a 32-year old accountant who joined the protest.

"The police are just showing that they are brutal to Malaysians. I will not vote for this government."

Lack of will

While Malaysia is far from being divided by political strife like its northern neighbour Thailand, the opposition has been steadily growing more vocal.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets at a November 2007 rally, which analysts said galvanised support for the opposition ahead of record gains in a 2008 general election.

Analysts said the turnout of protesters today was more than 10,000, around the same as in 2007. Police, however, put the number at 5,000-6,000, while protest organisers claimed 50,000 attended.

NONE"Malaysian civil society is showing the government that intimidation will not work," said Ooi Kee Beng, a political analyst at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies of Singapore.

"We're seeing a lack of will on the part of the government to try to negotiate and to defuse the situation. It's all going to look very bad outside Malaysia."

After Malaysia's constitutional monarch tried to defuse the situation, the government initially offered Bersih, the group that called the protest, the use of a stadium to hold its demonstration.

But it baulked at allowing the group to use the main stadium in downtown Kuala Lumpur, at which point Bersih said it would defy the ban.

From midnight, police locked down the central shopping district of the city of 1.6 million people, setting up roadblocks and barring taxis and buses from the area. Suburban trains, however, continued to operate and other areas of the city were not affected.

Many 'first timers'

Bersih has vowed to bring together tens of thousands of supporters to the protest but it fell short. Still, some analysts said the government faced a problem.

"Just looking at the crowd there were many 'first timers', young people from the Facebook generation who just wanted to have a peaceful life," said Ibrahim Suffian, director of the
independent opinion polling outfit Merdeka Center.

NONE"This is trouble for Najib as it will polarise traditionally non-political segments of society like the young even further away from him."

Najib took power in 2009, and inherited a divided ruling coalition which had been weakened by historic losses in the 2008 polls. He has promised to restructure government and economy and introduced an inclusive brand of politics aimed at uniting the country's different races.

Najib's approval ratings have risen from 45 percent to 69 percent in February, according to independent polling outfit Merdeka Center. But analysts said recent ethnic and religious
differences have undermined his popularity.

- Reuters

Protesters brave tear gas and water cannons

Thousands of protesters defied baton-carrying riot officers in front of Puduraya bus station in Kuala Lumpur today, retreating at times and regrouping to push back police lines in a cat-and-mouse confrontation.

The demonstrators fought back by picking up tear gas canisters which they lobbed back at police, as a downpour helped to dampen the stinging impact of the chemical irritant commonly used in crowd control.

"Why is the government trying to intimidate citizens?" said Mohamad Manij Abdullah, 50, a businessman, who joined the rally.

NONE"We are only trying to reform elections and have a free and fair government," he told AFP.

Despite the clampdown, pockets of protesters managed to evade roadblocks and gathered in front of Puduraya, swelling the crowd, while a police helicopter circled overhead.

Student Chew Ai Nee, 30, said: "We have to take to the streets because we have not been given any opportunity to express our demands for change... the government cannot silence us when we march."

Many of the protesters were shouting "Reformasi" (Reforms), "God is great" and "Long Live the People."

Police have declared the protests illegal, warning of street chaos.

Mukhriz Mahathir, a leading member of the powerful Umno, told AFP the government had to act to prevent anarchy.

"We cannot allow a minority group to protest and stir trouble in the country," he said, accusing protesters of provoking the police into firing tear gas "so that they can accuse the government of being heavy handed."

M'sians in Seoul back Bersih

Downtown Kuala Lumpur, normally a hive of activity on weekends, was deserted today as major roads into the commercial and tourist district were sealed off.

Public transport plying city routes was diverted, while long-distance buses were halted at terminals outside Kuala Lumpur.

NONEFears of violence have been highlighted because of plans by pro-government groups to hold a counter-rally.

Today's protest is spearheaded by Bersih, a broad but loose coalition of groups, including non-governmental organisations and opposition parties.

The demonstrators want reforms, including eradicating vote buying and preventing some people being allowed to vote several times during elections as part of a system which the opposition says favours the ruling party.

Meanwhile, about 30 Malaysians living in South Korea rallied in Seoul in support, after organisers called for solidarity walks and demonstrations in other countries including Australia, Cambodia, Japan, the United States and Taiwan.

Malaysia's opposition made major gains in 2008 elections against the ruling coalition but said they could have won more if elections rules were fair.

The country's next elections are widely expected to be called early next year, with the opposition aiming to end BN's half century rule.


Bersih rally a blow for PM Najib

Police fired tear gas and detained more than 900 people in the capital on Saturday in a bid to prevent thousands of anti-government protesters from putting on a massive show of strength against Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.

Street protests are rare in the nation and foreign investors are worried that political unrest could delay economic reforms seen as essential to draw investment.

If he is put under popular pressure, Najib may reconsider a snap election and hold back on reforms such as cutting fuel
subsidies or unwinding an affirmative action programme for the country's Malay majority.

NONEPolls are not due until 2013 but analysts have said Najib is likely to seek an early mandate after economic growth
accelerated to a 10-year high in 2010.

Reuters witnesses saw tear gas shells being lobbed at three groups of protesters in downtown Kuala Lumpur, as the crowds
chanted "Long Live the People" and "Reform".

Several people were seen bleeding after the tear gas was fired, but police gave no details of any injuries. Crowds around
the city's main bus station were also sprayed with water cannons.Might versus rights

Police said more than 600 people were taken into custody.

"We are fighting for free and fair elections," Ambiga Sreenevasan, the head of the Bersih (Clean) grouping that called
the protest, told reporters.

NONE"The government uses might, we use our right. Our right will eventually prevail."

Bersih has vowed to bring together tens of thousands of supporters in the city's downtown area to demand electoral reforms, in what could be the biggest anti-government demonstration since Anwar Ibrahim's sacking as deputy premier in 1998 led to violent street rallies.

"We want to send a very clear message that we don't want a fraudulent electoral process," Anwar, who now heads a
three-party opposition coalition, told Reuters at a hotel near the downtown area.

Accompanied by his wife and a daughter and dressed in a yellow T-shirt, the colour of the protest movement, he said he
would join the demonstration later.

"We are not sure whether we will get to our destination. But the show must go on," he said.


The protesters had gathered around the city centre to march to a stadium in the downtown area despite police warnings that
what they were doing is illegal.

NONE"We are not being disruptive, we want to walk for free and fair elections," said Nor Shahidal, a college student in her
early 20s, as she made her way to the national mosque.

Taxi and bus services into the city centre were halted, turning the usually busy tourist and shopping area in central Kuala Lumpur into a ghost town.

Most suburban train services were functioning, however, and areas outside the city centre were not much affected.

While Malaysia is far from being divided by political strife like its northern neighbour Thailand, the opposition has been
steadily growing more vocal.

NONETens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets at a November 2007 rally, which analysts said galvanised support for
the opposition ahead of record gains in a 2008 general election.

Najib took power in 2009, and inherited a divided ruling coalition which had been weakened by historic losses in the 2008

He has promised to restructure government and economy and introduced an inclusive brand of politics aimed at uniting the
country's different races.

Najib's approval ratings have risen from 45 percent to 69 percent in February, according to independent polling outfit
Merdeka Center.

But analysts said recent ethnic and religious differences have undermined his popularity.

- Reuters

Baharudin Ahmad: 500 attend Bersih rally supporter's burial

The late Baharudin Ahmad, who passed away in the midst of yesterday's police assault on the Bersih 2.0 rally in the heart of Kuala Lumpur yesterday, was buried at 12.55pm today at Lembah Keramat Muslim cemetery in Taman Seri Keramat Tengah, Kuala Lumpur.

funeral baharudin crowdIt was reported that up to 500 mourners accompanied the funeral procession to the cemetery.

Baharudin, 58, was reportedly with his family at the KLCC leg of the Bersih gathering yesterday when he collapsed after being hit with tear gas that was being fired by the riot police to quell the rally.

He was rushed to Kuala Lumpur Hospital (HKL) and was declared dead shortly after.

The police have claimed that Baharudin had suffered a heart attack and denied that he had died from exposure to tear gas.

Baharudin was a PAS member, his wife, Rusni Melan, is PKR Wanita Setiawangsa branch chief.

Cops interrupt procession

Roughly 500 mourners followed the funeral procession to the burial grounds, including NGO members and Pakatan Rakyat and Bersih 2.0 leaders.

funeral baharudin vanAmongst them were PKR deputy president Azmin Ali, PAS vice president Mahfuz Omar, Hulu Kelang rep Shaari Sungib and Solidariti Anak Muda Malaysia (SAMM) chairperson Badrul Hisham Shahrin.

Prayers and chants of “Allahu akbar” punctuated the duration of the procession.

Along the way three police cars on separate occasions interrupted, and the mourners responded chanting “Allahu akbar” to the cops.

Earlier, many Pakatan and Bersih leaders paid their respects at Surau Al-Muqarrabin close to the deceased's home in Keramat, Kuala Lumpur as early as 9am.

funeral baharudin bersihPKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim and daughter and PKR veep Nurul Izzah Anwar, PAS deputy Mohamad Sabu and VPs Husam Musa, Mahfuz Omar and Bersih 2.0 chair S Ambiga were amongst those present.

The surau was packed when the body was being bathed and prepared for burial, with PKR exco member Badrol Amin Baharon leading the prayers.

The many leaders present were visibly saddened and some were visibly emotional.

In particular Ambiga and Nurul Izzah (below, left and right with Rusni, centre) with wept as they consoled the widow Rusni.

nurul izzah, funeral baharudin“This should not have happened. He (Baharudin) is a hero,” said Ambiga briefly before tears overwhelmed her.

Meanwhile fellow Bersih leader Maria Chin Abdullah added, “Bersih regrets that this has happened. It shows that the police do not respect the rakyat.”

“The rakyat had the right to be there (at the rally),” she said, choked with tears and unable to continue.

The heavy-handed police action to stop the protestors yesterday were also a talking point during the funeral.

NONESpeaking to reporters after the burial, PKR Wanita VP Gan Pei Nei condemned the police action in particular firing tear gas into Tung Shin hospital at Jln Pudu.

Gan, who is also Rawang assemblyperson, claimed that she was in the hospital compound when the incident took place and witnessed it.

She called on members of the public who had photos of the incident to contact Bersih 2.0 or Pakatan personnel.

Meanwhile Mahfuz and Salahudin Ayub said they were lodging a police report on their detention.

Their lawyers, they said, will attempt to seek redress.

VIDEO | 8.07 mins

This is just the beginning, says polls coalition

Bersih 2.0 today commended participants of its rally in Kuala Lumpur for overcoming the many obstacles by the authorities and exercising a great amount of discipline.

In a statement about an hour after the rally ended, the Bersih 2.0 steering committee said that the movement was proud over the “incredibly large numbers” who participated.

NONEThey said that the rally participants had shown their love for their country and for the principles of justice.

However, Bersih 2.0 said they were “horrified” that hundreds of people have been detained in an unjustified manner, particularly committee members Ambiga Sreenevesan and Maria Chin Abdullah.

The statement in full follows:

Bersih 2.0 is proud that in spite of all the obstacles and hindrances that we were forced to face, Malaysians of all walks of life overcame the oppressive acts of the police to come out peacefully and in incredibly large numbers to show their love for their country and for the principles of justice,” said the movement in a statement about a

We are nonetheless horrified that several hundred people have been detained, many of them without any justification whatsoever. We particularly condemn the arrests of Datuk Ambiga Sreenevesan and Maria Chin Abdullah, two members of the Bersih 2.0 Steering Committee.

NONEThe only violence witnessed was perpetrated by the police, who unleashed immense amounts of tear gas and chemical laced water on innocent members of the public. Police also baton charged those who gathered, injuring many and some very seriously.

In one of the worst acts of violence, police fired tear gas into the compound of Tung Shin Hospital, severely jeopardising the health not only of the rakyat who had sought refuge there, but the patients there as well.

This was one of only various acts of totally unwarranted violence by the police against a rakyat who had exercised their constitutional right to gather peacefully.

We are especially proud of the great discipline and peacefulness shown by all the brave Malaysian who dared to stand up today for what was right.

NONEToday's gathering is not the end, it is but one more step in the long walk for clean and fair elections in Malaysia. The campaign continues, to work for electoral reform, the release of all detainees, and an end to harassment by the authorities. The struggle continues in the courts of law, the corridors of power, and the hearts of all the rakyat.

Althought our attempt to submit a memorandum to DYMM SPB YDP Agong did not take place today, we will make appropriate arrangements to deliver the memorandum when the police have calmed down.In the meantime, we call on all Malaysians to continue to work to peacefully achieve clean and fair electoral process in our country. Inspired by their bravery and steadfast commitment, we will never rest in our efforts to work together as one people to bring about a better Malaysia.

Released by,

Steering Committee
Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0)

Ambiga and Hadi freed, claim victory for democracy

Bersih 2.0 chief Ambiga Sreenevasan and PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang were released at 6.30pm today after giving their statements to police at the Kuala Lumpur Contingent Police Headquarters (IPK KL).

ipd kl bersih 090711 ambigaSpeaking outside of the IPK KL, Ambiga (left) congratulated Malaysians for turning out in force.

“What I can say is, again, syabas rakyat Malaysia, we were not intimidated.

“This is no longer just about electoral reform. What we have achieved today was the rakyat's wish to have a sophisticated democratic process. It has opened the rakyat's eyes, that is what has been achieved,” she said.

She was the first among the seven who are detained at the KL headquarters to be released.

Police wants all released today

ipd kl bersih 090711 ku chin wahThe seven were Ambiga, Hadi, Bersih steering committee members Maria Chin Abdullah and Jude Rubis, PKR supremo Anwar Ibrahim's younger daughter Nurul Iman, and two others.

KL CID chief Ku Chin Wah (right) said that all detainees will be released by tonight.

“We hope to release all those in Pulapol (Police Training Centre) in stages by 6.30pm today and by 9pm for those at Jinjang and IPK,” he said.

Ku said that those in Pulapol will be taken back to where they were arrested and released there.

ipd kl bersih 090711 crowdShortly after, a commotion occurred outside the police headquarters as Hadi was driven out of the police compound.

Assuming that the PAS president was to be transported to another detention centre, some 50 PAS supporters that had gathered outside the headquarters began to chant "Allahu Akbar".

It was later clarified that Hadi is to be transported to his residence in Sentul and freed.

How Nurul escaped arrest

Earlier Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah showed up at the police station to visit her younger sister Nurul Iman.

ipd kl bersih 090711 nurul izzahThe visit came as a surprise as there were reports that the MP had been arrested.

"Yes, we were arrested. We were asked to get on the ground and wait there but the handcuffs were not working and there was no police around, so we left," she clarified.

Nurul claimed that the police deliberately trapped them on both sides in the tunnel of KL Sentral and fired tear gas on them.

"The police were aiming at an angle but they were ordered to aim lower," she said.

ipd kl bersih 090711 maria chin abdullahNurul said the move caused the gas canister to directly hit protestors and injuring them. Among those injured was Anwar's bodyguard who suffered a broken nose.

As of 7.50pm, Nurul Iman, Maria and Rubis were also released from police headquarters. This meant that all seven Bersih 2.0 related detainees at the Kuala Lumpur police contingent.

Speaking to reporters, Maria thanked those that supported the rally today.

"Through the presence of the people today, they have spoken loudly that they want electoral reforms," she said.

Speedy release from detention

Later this evening, PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu and vice-president Mahfuz Omar were released from the Jinjang police detention centre at about 9pm.

According to Lawyers for Liberty and Legal Aid Centre, at least 300 detainees transferred to the Cheras FRU Training Centre from the Police Training Centre (Pulapol) were all released in batches before 9pm today.

The first batch, comprising female detainees, was released at 6.45pm and the last batch was released at around 8.40pm.

The detainees were put on around 10 buses and sent to the nearest LRT station.

It is understood that the same process is being carried out for the 1,000-odd detainees at Pulapol in the city, with detainees being released in batches. It is not know how far the process has progressed, though it is understood that it is moving swiftly.


Bersih 2.0 hails rally as a success

Bersih 2.0 has hailed its rally as a victory for the movement and the people of Malaysia, claiming that up to 50,000 people had participated, supportting its cause for clean and fair elections.

"We consider this a big success because fighting for clean and fair election is not a one-day walk," Subramaniam Pillay, one of Bersih 2.0's steering committee members, told a press conference after the rally.

NONENational laureate A Samad Said (left in photo), another committee member, said the large turnout was very significant because it took place despite the many obstacles thrown up by the authorities.

"I think this is very successful because despite two weeks of hindrances, I was very shocked to see thousands of people (joining in).

“From this perspective, the people has indeed succeeded," said the septuagenarian, who wore a Bersih 2.0 T-shirt outside his long-sleeved shirt.

Cops wrong for nabbing KJ, too

Bersih 2.0 said that since the police had barred them from submitting its petition to the Agong, another appointment would be sought.

NONE"We will make a separate appointment to submit when the police have calmed down," said K Arumugam, another member of the committee. "There is no need for another rally.”

Asked if Bersih 2.0 would call for another rally if its demands for electoral reforms are not fulfilled, Subramaniam said that the committee would have to discuss the matter when the time comes.

He said that there are other means to push for free and fair elections apart from holding demonstrations.

While condemning the arrests of Bersih 2.0 leaders and supporters, Subramaniam said that the committee were also against the arrest of Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin.

"Nobody should be arrested. Khairy has the same rights to associate freely. We are condemning Ambiga's arrest, we are also condemning Khairy's arrest because he as a citizen of Malaysia, has the rights to express his view in peaceful manner," said Subramaniam.

Khairy Jamaluddin had led about 500 Umno Youth members at a counter-rally near the site where Bersih 2.0 supporters are rallying.

From: MalaysiaKini

The revolution now has a name: Bersih

About two weeks ago, Malaysians were still hopeful that the urbane Najib Razak would engage with the 62 NGOs under the Bersih 2.0 umbrella and demonstrate to the country that the Barisan Nasional was capable of taking the wind out of their sails through dialogue and mature discussions.

NONEInstead, by allowing right-wing groups to scupper any possibility of an intelligent dialogue, the BN lost every advantage it had as the ruling coalition.

Perhaps the government wanted to convince Malaysians that it had to consider the opposite view. That there were groups who felt elections were “free and fair”. The reality is that these groups were not particularly successful in making their case.

They were fond of shouting, gathering in front of the offices of political organisations and threatening to burn it down. In an extreme case, these so-called anti-Bersih groups threatened ethnic explosions telling the Chinese to stay home.

Perkasa, Umno Youth, silat exponents and even one Chinese martial arts grandmaster (yes, it got that silly) – may like to think of themselves as symbols of Malay identity (somehow the grandmaster as well) – but their coming together to back the government did not seem to have done any good for the BN.

In fact, Ibrahim Ali even threatened MCA and Gerakan, reminding these senior coalition parties that they now depended on Malay votes and to shut their mouths if they wanted to survive in the next general election. All this ethnic chest-beating did not endear the BN or bolster the 1Malaysia spirit.

Bogeymen galore

Then the personal attacks started on Bersih's leaders, particular S Ambiga, the former Bar Council president and a recipient of a UN award. It began with name-calling and then death-threats.

bersih sydneyIt turned racial and when that did not work, she was branded “anti-Islam”. Apparently, even the PM participated in the name-calling, where in Kelantan he apparently labelled Ambiga “anti-Islam”. Badly advised, Ambiga was wrongly linked to the Lina Joy case. This was just too much, prompting Marina Mahathir to wade into the arena condemning those who called Ambiga names such as being “badly brought up”.

But perhaps strangest of all - please remember that these acts were supposed to strike fear into the hearts of the rakyat - Parti Sosialis Malaysia leaders (PSM is registered with the Registrar of Societies) were arrested and accused of attempting to wage war on the Agong by wearing T-shirts with the faces of Chin Peng, Rashid Mydin and others.

They are still being held under Emergency Ordinance.

NONEAnd then, anyone wearing a yellow T-shirt with a Bersih logo became suspect. Unfortunately for the Seberang Jaya Municipal Council workers their uniform is yellow and their motto is 'Bersih'. But wait a minute - how can Bersih be an illegal rally if the said crime had not been committed yet? Never mind, reason left this country quite some time ago.

From the beginning, Bersih had asked all political parties to join in and support the call for “clean and fair elections” but the BN did not respond. Pakatan Rakyat was more responsive, prompting the government to label Bersih as an opposition Trojan horse.

On this front too, the BN lost the plot. Instead of engaging with Bersih on issues of evidence, the government decided to label them as part of the opposition agenda.

Absence of intelligent discourse

Then the Election Commission (EC) came into the picture, giving a press conference that really showed that they were not particularly sophisticated. By not engaging with civil society in an intelligent manner – based on evidence and sound arguments – the BN was unwittingly admitting that elections may not be clean or free.

chinese newspaper on bersih rally 100711The mainstream press went into overdrive. It brought out pro-BN pundits like Chandra Muzaffar, who immediately linked Bersih to Anwar Ibrahim and the opposition leader's insatiable lust for power and his problems.

Perhaps, Chandra may not realise this but Anwar Ibrahim is no longer the man or the force he was in 1998. With or without Pakatan support, Bersih was going forward. If he had a Facebook account, he would have known that many were already wearing the 'illegal' Bersih badge.

Not to be outdone, the inspector general of police (IGP) announced that the police suspected that Bersih was being funded by foreign elements. Bank Negara was asked to help in tracing the money trail.

NONEMost likely, the police must have realised that even their own officers did not believe them. Hence another dinosaur was brought into the papers to say that communist elements would take advantage of Bersih. So now the government tune was that what Bersih wanted was not bad in itself but it had been taken over by the opposition and the communists.

Having lost the middle class support completely, the only thing left was to break Bersih. Even this was not done well. To Umno's surprise, the Agong waded into the picture and granted Bersih an audience.

The PM then went on national television saying that Bersih could gather at a stadium. As the walk was planned to take place in KL, naturally the stadium Bersih picks would also be in KL. The next day however, Najib back-tracked and the cabinet decided that no stadium in KL was to be used.

Rallying for kotor?

On Friday, the eve of the Bersih walk, the Selangor Sultan said that he did not support such demonstrations, quickly ending the stadium option in Selangor. So, the streets it was. By this time, Perkasa and Umno Youth also promised huge anti-Bersih rallies. The PM conveniently left the whole issue to the police. It was not a very courageous thing to do.

NONESo, KL was literally locked-down from Friday and the TV stations focused on the hardships faced by traders because of Bersih. Here the messaging is clear: your daily bread is more important than some imagined basic rights.

But the government has forgotten that inflation is very high, the economy may have grown tremendously but there is little trickle-down effect and food prices are at an all time high. So, clean elections are important and a lot of people know this.

Yet, despite all the heavy-handedness of the police, thousands took to the streets. The mainstream press may not reflect the enormity of what just transpired and the PM may commend the police force for their loyalty but he will not be calling elections any time soon. In fact, he will now have to deal with a most unhappy country.

NONEIt is back to the drawing board for the BN. It has to figure out how it just lost the middle class?

Although one good thing did emerge: it was definitely a 'One Malaysia' movement. Young and old, of whatever ethnicities, all came out to exercise their democratic rights. The revolution sparked by Bersih will now spread throughout the country.

We just need to make sure we have a chance to make our votes count in the next general election. By this I mean “free and fair” elections.

By: NEIL KHOR in MalaysiaKini

Fortress KL: How did Bersih 2.0 slip past?

Roadblocks, negative reports and incessant warnings from the authorities did not stop thousands from swarming downtown Kuala Lumpur to demand clean and fair elections.

NONEThe busy junction in front of the Puduraya bus terminal became the focal point of yesterday's protest as crowds snowballed from 500 in nearby Petaling Street at 12.40pm to a whopping 10,000 just half an hour later.

And while the protesters faced off with the police at Jalan Pudu, just round the corner, mere metres away an estimated thousand more were turned away from the original planned gathering point Stadium Merdeka, which was barricaded by police with barbed wire.

But with so many obstacles in place and the entire city practically locked down with roadblocks and closure of key LRT stations, how did the protesters give the police the slip and organised themselves?

The answer, perhaps, is still a mystery to Bersih 2.0 and possibly even the police who had placed much of its strength at key rally points in Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, Pasar Seni, Masjid Jamek and Masjid Negara, leaving Petaling Street relatively unguarded.

Petaling Street catalyst

Having conducted mass arrests at pre-announced gathering points in Masjid Negara, the old railway station nearby, Sogo and Masjid Jamek, the police somehow left Petaling Street alone where the protest grew.

NONESmall clusters had gathered at the Chinatown market as early as 11am when suddenly, applause broke and the group started marching.

As the group crossed Jalan Tan Cheng Lock and further down to Jalan Petaling, it grew from 500 to 1,000, believed to include another few hundreds that were chased out from Masjid Negara, Pasar Seni and Dayabumi building.

bersih rally petaling street 090711As they moved down Jalan Petaling, the group, by chance, was bolstered by PAS supporters who had escaped arrest in the area around Masjid Jamek and Masjid India.

Within 15 minutes, the march had snowballed to about 4,000 people, clogging up the entire stretch of Jalan Sultan, about 750m away from Stadium Merdeka.

By then, the procession had taken a rather carnival-like atmosphere, with urbanites carrying flowers and Malaysian flags, singing songs and chanting “Bersihkan Piliharaya” (Clean up the election).

Young, multiracial crowd

Notably, the crowd was made up of many Malaysians in their 20s who were first-time demonstrators.

Ibrahim Suffian, director of independent research house Merdeka Centre, dubbed this group as the Facebook generation.

“Other than the usual opposition supporters, I noticed a lot of newcomers this rally. This may signify that Bersih 2.0 has managed to spark something through Facebook to galvanise this kind of support,” said Ibrahim, who had also walked yesterday.

NONEWhile several marshalls were spotted, the crowd mostly moved organically, strangely stopping at corner of Jalan Sultan and Jalan Tun HS Lee when they could have marched all the way up to the stadium to confront the riot police defending the historical landmark.

Herd mentality somehow led the crowd of 4,000 to Jalan Tun Perak, where about 1,000 from Masjid Jamek who had gathered in front of the Maybank tower, near the recently renovated Puduraya bus station.

It was then that the first real leader of the demonstration emerged in the form of PAS election director and former Bersih steering committee member Dr Hatta Ramli, who ominously announced on loudspeaker, “If you have a yellow shirt, this is the time to put it on.”

A diverse group, one common cause

Moments later, the first barrage of tear gas began raining in and pandemonium broke lose.

Tens of thousands of people started running towards Puduraya while those on the hill slope by the Maybank building climbed gates to get as far away from the stinging gas as possible, crowding a fountain to wash their faces.

The tear gas split the group into two, one which regrouped at Jalan Pudu where a protracted stand-off with the police took place, while the remainder joined a smaller crowd from Kuala Lumpur Selangor Assembly Hall which had earlier marched to Stadium Merdeka.

NONEIn the end, this Bersih 2.0 group led by national laureate A Samad Said managed to get only several hundred meters away from the Istana before they were stopped, failing thus to hand over their the movement's petition to the Agong.

But despite being foiled from its original plan, Bersih 2.0 had succeeded in getting ordinary Malaysians from all walks of life - from the trendies to the skull-cap wearing conservatives - to come together for a common cause.

And unlike other protests before, it was a multiracial crowd that at 4pm, when unexpectedly informed that police would allow them to march to Jalan Sultan, it was met by rounds of “thank you” and the crowd broke into an impromptu rendition of the national anthem.

Police brutality

In comparison, Malaysiakini reporter Ahmad Fadzly Esa reported that only 20 Perkasa members were spotted for their “stroll” in Taman Titiwangsa lakes, when they had initially promised about 15,000 for a counter-rally. The group had called it off after failing to secure a police permit.

Meanwhile, a counter rally by Umno Youth in Bukit Bintang attracted 500 'patriots', slightly over a third of the 1,400 people arrested yesterday.

NONEOn the same note, police brutality remains a concern as heavy-handed measures were employed to disperse what was a peaceful march until the water cannons and tear gas were deployed.

Bleeding protestors were carted off by police personnel, while a man spotted on the ground with a fracture and his wrists bound in police-issued plastic handcuffs.

He had boot marks on his pants and claimed that several police personnel had pinned him to the ground and kicked his leg.

The police brutality will remain fresh in the minds of many over the coming weeks and would likely undermine many of the government's transformation policies which are gradually being rolled out.

From: MalaysiaKini

Living with ALS

Meet Peggy Driessen who has ALS, or Lou Gehrig's Disease. She gets through each day with a positive attitude - and a lot of help from loved ones.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (abbreviated ALS, also referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease) is a form of motor neuron disease caused by the degeneration of neurons located in the ventral horn of the spinal cord and the cortical neurons that provide their afferent input. The condition is often called Lou Gehrig's disease in North America, after the famous New York Yankees baseball player who was diagnosed with the disease in 1939. The disorder is characterized by rapidly progressive weakness, muscle atrophy (muscle getting smaller) and fasciculations, spasticity, dysarthria (difficulty in speech), dysphagia (difficulty in swallowing), and respiratory compromise.

This is a cruel disease but has brought a lot of good ting into her life. Although she is suffering from this untreatable disease, she is not depressed. She still have family and friends to lift her up.