The court of perception

I have written many posts on Perak issue and have spoken in meetings and private to numerous people, that there is only one sensible and logical solution:  Go Back to the people. 

I base this on the basic democratic principle that the ultimate boss in a democracy is the people. Judiciary cannot solve this political impasse without being perceived as partisan by one group or the other.

What has made the matter worst in the eyes of the public is the tough stand taken by certain government institution in charge of enforcement which should by right be non-partisan.

The latest action that has shocked many people is the arrest of some participants in connection with a hunger strike in Ipoh. Even though the latest news had it that all had been released, I thought a little bit more discretion would have been more prudent.

Uder Federal  Constitution Artile 10 (1) , there are 3 clauses, namely:

  • (a) every citizen has the right to freedom of speech and expression;
  • (b) all citizens have the right to assemble peaceably and without arms;
  • (c) all citizens have the right to form associations.

    We must realise that the world is no longer like 20 or 30 years ago. Under the emergency ordinance, formulated during the time of the war against the communists half a century ago, any assembly more than 5 persons will be deemed illegal unless held with permission. This rule is long past its usefulness, and should have been abolished long long time ago.

    In the modern world, peaceful expression or picketing, without disrupting peace , should be allowed.

    We are not Myanmar.

    Despite all the imperfections, we are still a country ostensibly ruled by law. If that is the case , there should be more discretion in using the power to arrest and detain.  By all means, watch over them, but if anyone wishes to go on hunger strike and the strike is not harming his life, he should be allowed to do so as a form of expressing his dislike.

    Article 9 of the Universal declaration of Human Rights:

      No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile. 

    Our new administration under the new PM has wanted to win the war of perception. But to win the perception , you must win the hearts of the people, not by sending a signal that strong arm tactic will be used if you do not obey.

    The PM and his ministers can institute all the reforms they want but without respect to human rights and heeding the wish of the people in the case of Perak, all the efforts would come to  naught.


    16 Comments (+add yours?)

    1. klm
      May 27, 2009 @ 11:09:21

      Dr. Hsu. As always. Clear, sharp and to the point.
      Why is Gerakan and the super minister still supporting the current regime? There is no sense of shame. Like the other party, Gerakan leaders (dont mean you) have also master the “Thick Black” theory.

      I would expect the KPI minister to jump from Penang That iff he still has any honour left.


    2. Dr Hsu
      May 27, 2009 @ 11:58:55

      when suddenly many people surface and surround you , praise and call you no. 3 of the nation, you will feel that you are high up in the sky and nothing you do can be wrong.

      That is human nature.

      Compare to someone who , everytime he sees you , asks you to bring the party back to its ideology, and that that is the only way for the party to survive, whose company will you choose? ANd that this fellow, time and again would tell you that the party is losing support and would be wiped out the next time.

      Winston CHurchill might have chosen the latter. But lesser souls would certainly choose those who praise you.

      Many top people are like that. Only when they fall out of power and when they suddenly realise that no one is there to keep them company for lunch, that they would think about conscience. ANd only if they cannot answer to their own conscience will they go up the hill and jump, I suspect that might be the case of the former SOuth Korean President.

      I suspect that was why Gandhi did not want to be the PM after leading the Independence movement of INdia.


    3. klm
      May 27, 2009 @ 12:45:10

      From Malaysiakini – RPK faces certain deportation from ‘exile.

      It will be interesting if RPK is taken to an Australian court. The Aussies have a greater sense of justice. I think the shit will really hit the ceiling. RPK can really play to the converted. He will have a field day if this happen.

      (I wonder if he planned for this)


    4. clearwater
      May 27, 2009 @ 12:45:26

      It is already too late in Perak and possibly many other states as well. BN-Umno has already lost in the court of public opinion. And if they think they have 3 plus years to reverse peoples’ perception of their misrule, they are very much mistaken. Time and economic tides do not favor them. The people are angry at an arrogant, deceitful and corrupt regime whose only redemption may come from a prolonged spell on the opposition benches. I can’t wait for the next GE. Of course, by then democracy may have been suspended rather than merely abused.


    5. A true Malaysian
      May 27, 2009 @ 13:23:18

      Dr. Hsu,

      Nizar earned my respect by seeking dissolution of Perak Assembly and fresh election upon the High Court ruling that he is at all material time the MB of Perak.

      With this ruling, Nizar could actually hang on with his government without seeking fresh election, but he did otherwise, because he knows go back to the people is the only and sensible solution to end this political impasse in Perak.

      At first I thought Zambry will do the same thing, but he didn’t, or is he going to do like what Nizar did to earn my respect, or should I say, ‘our’ respect?

      What if the Federal Court overturn CoA ruling in favour of Nizar? Upon such time, will Zambry willingly go for fresh election? By such point in time, will Zambry earned ‘our’ respect?

      That is why I am disgusted looking at how Umno & BN leaders did and do. They do not think far enough. They just think on how to hang on to power, or they think it is too late for them to go back to the people and decided to hang on until 13th GE.

      The longer they decide to go back to people, the worse the situation they will be facing.


    6. pilocarpine
      May 27, 2009 @ 14:15:57

      political games…

      i was wondering…

      could it be police under ‘advisement’ of PR to detain their own PR people… to put the blame on Balisan?

      it’s not impossible, rite?

      perception can be deceiving….

      police had been rather trigger happy nowadays..


    7. A true Malaysian
      May 27, 2009 @ 14:30:44

      I applaud Lim Si Pin said this, as what reported in Malaysiakini,

      Gerakan Youth chief Lim Si Pin urged the police to exercise restraint and rationality in taking action.

      He said the five workers engaged by a political party should not have been detained.

      “Hunger strike is a form of non-violent protest and the police should not intervene,” said Lim, adding the police action could be construed as a BN-sanctioned action.

      But, what I want to ask Lim Si Pin is that, after saying the above, what else will he do? What further action would he take to end all these nonsense?

      or, would he just stopped there like what KTK did so far, and give a perception to the people that this is just a lip service any BN parties can do the most (not the least), that Umno people won’t even listened? I hope I have the wrong perception here.


    8. Meng
      May 27, 2009 @ 15:12:39

      “The longer they decide to go back to people, the worse the situation they will be facing”

      true malaysian,

      Bn perception differs. They are buying time to get back to the ppl esp the chinese and indians. Making grants to chinese and indian schools and of late CM Malacca visited Pay Fong School giving out school fees. These schools have been neglected and BN psywar machines are going all out to correct it.

      Do you think it will work. The visit to Pay fong may ring loud in the chinese ears as this is a elite chinese school whose certificate is accepted overseas.

      Another is on the chinese and indian temples, giving titles or allocate to another location with titles. Hopefully they think they will succeed in their pull.

      Taxi license after 10 years. Many more of this nonsense will be out within this 3 years

      Isn’t it a bit too late for all these windows dressing sponsored by MCA to pull back their supporters. I don’t know.

      The trend any organized event by mca is alright but those organized by Pakatan or DAP is/are threatening the peace even for a peaceful gathering. Force applied to the opposition will be build up gradually to show the BN/umno still maintaining their preference for MCA and MIC. You can expect more chinese and Indians audience to be targeted.

      Rais said BN won’t sow discord among ppl, another rubbish to correct the PM and umno’s low image. Expect more goodies and windows dressing.

      However images of the past stills hound and ring loud in the chinese and Indian ears. With all the goodies coming which way will the wind blows.

      The saying Melayu muda lupa but for the chinese will it be ” Cina/Hindu susah lupa” on the unfair treatment and deprivation.

      Hopefully “Cina/Hindu susah Lupa””


    9. klm
      May 27, 2009 @ 15:17:49

      A true Malaysian. My observation so far.

      He made some nice statements. But nothing else beyond that. No other Gerakan leaders or divisions made any supporting statements. This make think if he is alone.

      I think Gerakan dont want to be engaged. They prefer isolation.


    10. A true Malaysian
      May 27, 2009 @ 15:53:26


      I would say Chinese Malaysian ‘tak akan lupa’ rather than your ‘sudah lupa’, but I won’t dare to make a stand on Hindu, simply because Hindu are split into many parties like what their antiques in PPP, MIC, IPF and lately the fast-track Makkal Sakti party. Hindraf has much influence on the Hindus but I would advise them to fight in wider spectrum together with PR. I am not insulting them to say that Indians are hard to understand. Their antiques caused me to have the perception that, most of their leaders want to be ‘somebody’. That’s the problem. I have to qualify here that my observation here do not include those with DAP, because they are in DAP to fight for wider spectrum of Malaysian interests.

      Indian Malaysian should learn from their counterparts in Singapore. Indian in Singapore are also minority, but they can produce so many respectable leaders there. In fact, more than Malaysia can produce. Why?

      Chinese Malaysian ‘tak akan lupa’ what Umno / BN did for the past 50 years or so, especially the damages inflicted on Executive, Judiciary, Legislation, Civil Service, Police and so on. Those window dressings will not negate these damages done. Chinese Malaysian aspire to see more than these window dressings. I am quite sure for this.


      I think like you, haha.

      I am sure LSP and KTK read my comments, or they just blind or ignorant like usual? Maybe I just couldn’t understand them like what I don’t understand Indian Malaysia or….


    11. Atila
      May 27, 2009 @ 18:43:55

      Dear DrHsu

      PM realised this for sure but its not easy for this regime to give up after 50years by just saying “go back to people”. this regime will continue to sustain itself in watever ways it can do and put more salt into the wound.

      Politics is still young in msia. we are the generation undergoing changes. i also feel the pinch being targetted by partisans pas pkr unmo at kpg. last 20years was different scenario.

      Being rakyat malay penang we will never forget gerakan/umno’s era has pushed us to a corner.
      Umno penang was only pleasing its cronies.
      (i dont how gerakan pg want to mend tis, as i see it, nothing done but only attacking LGE via catwatch )

      We may not get wat we want now, mayb next generation, its a continuos struggle. look at other parts of the world ie palestine. Important, we must keep on struggling, perjuangan goes on….


    12. Meng
      May 28, 2009 @ 00:44:00

      true malaysian

      It is “Cina/Hindu susah lupa”” difficult or hard to forget

      rather than your ’sudah lupa’ …not mine


    13. Meng
      May 28, 2009 @ 00:49:43

      true malaysian

      soli lah my last sentence Hopefully “Cina/Hindu sudah Lupa”” it was meant to be a perception or believe by BN/ umno that the chinese and indians would forget of been treated badly.

      my apology


    14. Atila
      May 28, 2009 @ 02:32:41


      we melayu miskin tak lupa juga…


    15. A true Malaysian
      May 28, 2009 @ 10:32:01


      True, in fact, every Malaysian with right thinking ‘tak akan lupa’. My personal observation is that Malay in fact need to ‘open-up their minds’ wider, and none other then the Malay can do that. In actual fact, this is what Umno don’t want to see, i.e. ‘open minded’ Malays.

      I am not sure whether you read RPK’s recent article on “It’s all about belief”. This article in fact has given me a very good insight on how Malay and / or Muslim think, and you can see from the comments that many Malays are “open minded” and I expect this trend is getting popular amongst the Malays, and only people like you, RPK, Haris Ibrahim, Nizar, Husam,…..and the like minded Malays can open-up Malays’ mind wider.

      You can see this trend in the coming party election of PAS where the professionals are gaining wide acceptance by its members, and Husam, Nizar, Khalid Samad, Dr. Lo Lo are the “stars” of next generation leaders. But, this is not to say that the ulama are not open-minded. People like Tok Guru Nik Aziz is the testimony for this. Ulama can definitely play their roles by giving spiritual guidance to others so to keep away money or corruption politics in PAS particularly, and PR generally.

      This trend is definitely disliked by Umno but, they can’t stop it. It is ‘back-fire’ of their own policies, their own doing. In fact, BTN has back-fired on them simply because Malays are not stupid to accept whatever they feed.


    16. A true Malaysian
      May 28, 2009 @ 10:49:04

      In short, I mean, only the Malay can open up the mind of Malays, not other races, simple because, Malays are Muslim. In fact, I should say only Muslim can open up the mind of Muslims, as they themselves knows how they think better.

      We can see cases of non-Muslims try to open up the Muslim’s minds but had caused disasters. Do you agree with me, Atila?


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