A Call To The Reformasi Movement

September 26th, 1998

In less than a months' time, we have seen the due process of law abused, the ISA used to silence dissent, the use of the government machinery towards individual political ends, gross control and manipulation of the media and an erosion in the rakyat's confidence in the independence and integrity of the judiciary.

Supporters of the Reformasi Movement * must * focus on these key issues. Do not resort to 'their' tactics of going into every gory, disgusting detail of their accusations and allegations. These have to be decided upon by a free and independent court of law - based upon the natural laws of justice and fairness, the rule of law and the due process of law. That is what you have to struggle for - that every Malaysian, whether you are a dispatch clerk, farmer or the Deputy Prime Minister - is innocent of a crime until proven guilty by a court of law. * Not * guilty until proven innocent.

Dato’ Seri Anwar has already been proven guilty by a far more powerful court. He has already been sentenced by the ISA. Up to now, in various ways, he and his supporters are being denied the right to voice their opinions and the chance to prove his innocence. Struggle for your right to be heard.

Focus on these issues and nothing else. Leave it to others to talk about penises and anuses.

You must also offer an alternative - and this where reform comes in. For what we have seen over this past month are just the symptoms of an even bigger disease. Genuine reform *is* necessary for our country - now more than anytime else. We have arrived at a crossroads in the history of our country. We can keep on the familiar road of break-neck, unbridled development, at all costs, to the detriment of social justice and equality, political freedoms and environmental concerns. Or we can take the road of sustained and sustainable development, where social development progresses in pace with economic development.

The reform must be comprehensive and include all spheres - political, social and economic. Offer the rakyat a Programme of Action for the Reformasi Movement:

1. Call for the immediate repeal of the Internal Security Act

2. Abrogate all other laws, acts and regulations that violate human rights and the principles of freedom and justice such as the Official Secrets Act, Printing and Publications Act, University and University Colleges Act, Trades Union Act, Industrial Relations Act and Societies Act.

3. Call for the immediate and unconditional release of all ISA detainees. If there is evidence that these detainees have broken the law, they should be afforded due process of law in open court.

4. Ensure a judiciary system that is completely independent, transparent and places justice and public interest above all else, with judges of unimpeachable credentials.

5. All cases of arbitrariness or abuse in the judiciary system and breakdown of the due process of law must be investigated and dealt with, without fear or favour.

6. Call for the establishment a system of government that is truly democratic and ensures active participation by all sectors of the rakyat, including the involvement of political and non-political organisations or their representatives at all levels of national decision-making

7. Encourage the formation and development of people's organisations, non-governmental organisations and political parties

8. Immediately curtail the involvement of political parties, public servants and elected representatives of the people in business to eradicate cronyism and nepotism.

9. Expel members of political parties (including elected representatives of the rakyat) where there is strong evidence that they are involved in money politics

10. Bestow more powers to the Anti-Corruption Agency and place it under the immediate jurisdiction of Parliament

11. Redouble efforts to eradicate urban and rural poverty and shift renewed emphasis to development in the fields of education, health and housing

12. Review all privatisation and corporatisation projects and the use of public funds in megaprojects to ensure they benefit the rakyat

13. Shift emphasis from the development of large-scale industries and megaprojects to the promotion and development of small and medium-scale industries

14. Channel public funds used in or earmarked to privatised projects and megaprojects towards low cost housing projects that will ensure adequate, comfortable and safe homes for people with low and middle incomes

15. Retain public ownership of essential services such as water, electricity, health, public transport and sewerage

16. Ensure that Bumiputra privileges are used for the benefit of the poor, working and middle classes and not just a handful of wealthy and politically influential individuals

17. Uphold the position of Islam as the country’s official religion and uphold its principles of social justice, equality, tolerance and brotherhood - while guaranteeing the complete freedom of religion and belief to every citizen in the country in the true spirit of tolerance.

Reformists, you role now is to educate and make the rakyat aware of their rights. Educate them on the above points. Produce print material - flyers, leaflets, pamphlets - on all the pints above, in simple language which people of all races and backgrounds can understand. Give informal talks. Get the help of NGOs and other support groups - they have many years experience struggling for the same issues you are championing now - but you now have the numbers.

Use the Internet. Use the fax machine. Use the photocopier. These are the new tools of reformation.

We are entering a phase of intense political guerrilla warfare now. All means - fair and foul - will be used to discredit, tarnish and stain the Reformasi Movement. Rumours will be spread in your name. Violence will be incited in your name. Lies will be spread in your name. Your ranks will be infiltrated and your work sabotaged.

But just stick to the issues in question and to your reformation programme and operate within the rule of law that you are championing. And believe that God is on your side and that Justice will prevail.

For God knows the Truth and to Him do we return.

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