A tale of 2 “protest” bills

I have never envisaged that one day I would see a more progressive Myanmar than my own country.

While we are debating the new Restriction Peaceful  Assembly Bill (which are full of restrictions of freedom), Myanmar has passed a law which is more progressive than us. That is from a regime which is touted as one of the most repressive states in the world.

If they are now still repressive, what makes us?

To hold a protest, the Malaysia Myanmar authority needs to be informed ONLY 5 days in advance (Malaysia new bill: 30days). While in Malaysia, protests are not allowed in so many places that I just cannot recall the whole list,  in Myanmar  only 4 locations are not allowed for protests:  government buildings, scholls, hospitals and embassies. Notice that they did not ban street protests, as that is perhaps one place where you do not need to spend a hefty sum to stage your protest.  Just compare yourself and make your own inference.

This is from Yahoo news: (click here for the original version)

Myanmar parliament passes protest bill

Myanmar’s military-dominated parliament has passed a bill allowing citizens to protest peacefully, a lawmaker said Thursday — the latest in a rapid series of reformist moves in the isolated country.

The bill, which needs to be signed off by President Thein Sein to become law, requires that demonstrators “inform the authorities five days in advance,” said upper house member Aye Maung, of the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party.

Protesters would be allowed to hold flags and party symbols but must avoid government buildings, schools, hospitals and embassies, he told AFP.

The bill came before parliament this week, four years after a mass monk-led protest known as the “Saffron Revolution” was brutally quashed, with the deaths of at least 31 people and the arrest of hundreds of monks, many still locked up.

Myanmar’s new parliament, dominated by army proxies, opened in January after nearly five decades of outright military rule following an election in November — the first in 20 years — that was dismissed by many observers as a sham.

The new leaders of the country, which is subject to Western sanctions, have surprised observers with a number of reformist steps in an apparent move to end international isolation.

They have freed and held direct talks with long-detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, halted work on an unpopular dam project that was backed by key ally China, eased media censorship and passed a law giving workers the right to strike.

The government also held peace talks at the weekend with ethnic minority rebel groups who have been waging a violent insurgency for greater rights and autonomy for decades.

By way of diplomatic recognition for the promising gestures, Myanmar last week won approval to chair Southeast Asia’s regional bloc in 2014.

It also received a nod from US President Barack Obama, who said he would send Hillary Clinton to Myanmar next month to encourage reform — the first US secretary of state to visit in 50 years.

A senior White House official said on Tuesday that Clinton would look for progress on human rights but it was “premature” to discuss lifting sanctions.

In a further overture, Japan said on Thursday it would send officials to Myanmar to discuss resuming development aid, suspended in 2003 over Suu Kyi’s detention, following recent political developments.

The Japanese delegation will discuss the possibility of resuming construction work on a hydropower plant, an official in Tokyo told AFP.

Suu Kyi’s opposition party announced its return to the official political arena last week after it boycotted last year’s polls.

The freeing of all of the country’s political prisoners, whose exact numbers remain unclear, remains one of the major demands of Western nations.

A small group of monks risked a rare two-day protest in Myanmar earlier this month, calling for the prisoners’ release as well as freedom of speech for monks and an end to conflicts between the army and ethnic minority groups.

26 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. C++
    Nov 25, 2011 @ 12:56:48

    Dear Dr’,

    It’s a “Tales of Two Nation” … By the way… the Government in Bolehland is known to be more democratic that Myanmar … I wonder what is the rating they government of Bolehland count on to rationalized the level of democracy between both nation?

    Bolehland…. where everything can “Boleh” …. hahaha

    Like

  2. Li Li Fa
    Nov 25, 2011 @ 21:54:05

    Coming from a nation like Myanmar, this is good news. I think it will auger in a whole in era for this ‘repressive’ country.

    Is Myanmar really opening up to the world, and absorbing democratic change, hopefully for the good of their people. Even the Lady of Myanmar has good remarks on the current regime. Is the current government sincerely committed to ‘walk down the aisle’ of democracy and will not put up a show ala ‘the runaway bride’. This news got the President of the USA so excited that he is sending his Secretary of State to help speed up democratic reforms.

    Myanmar has yet to explain why our Ipoh girl, Michele Yeoh was refused entry and turned away at the Yangon airport. But, of course one can argue that this is a different issue. Does a promotional event for a film, portraying the Lady less democratic than allowing protests in this up-and-coming country of the Asean fraternity?

    When Myanmar is currently seen to be moving in the direction of lesser repression, what can our own people come up with? The current situation here is simply baffling and mind-boggling.

    Perhaps, one day, our Ipoh girl, will join in the fray and become another Lady in Bolehland. By then, I hope the people here can protest with ease.

    Like

  3. mmc
    Nov 25, 2011 @ 23:30:06

    revolutionary bill, ha2. my toes are laughing, najib.

    Like

  4. BeWildered
    Nov 26, 2011 @ 10:56:47

    Only one word: Stupidity.

    Like

  5. CYC
    Nov 26, 2011 @ 13:01:19

    Only the coward elitists of Gelakan will support this “Sinful Assembly Bill”. They study too much that their brain failed to function. Day in day out thinking of status quo, i.e live on corrupt money and portrait a faked “gentleman” image. They are really worse than the beggars on the street.

    Like

  6. A true Malaysian
    Nov 27, 2011 @ 00:57:40

    It’s proven ‘they’ can’t do a single thing right. Yet, still got people want them to be around.

    As it is, freedom of assembly is enshrined in the Constitution. Why need an Act that sound ‘freedom’ in name but not in essence?

    Like

  7. CYC
    Nov 27, 2011 @ 18:28:17

    Dark clouds overcast the skies of Malaysia with the introduction this Piss off Bill. Are we still procrastinate till we become a 3rd world country or still habor hope on these bunch of hopeless corrupted BN politicians? You creates your own graveyard if you do. It is a class struggle where the rich will sacrifice the poor irrespective of race.

    Like

  8. kittykat46
    Nov 27, 2011 @ 20:03:27

    I thought of 3 possibilities how the fiasco over the Restriction to Assemblies Bil (more accurate name) came about, all of which reflect badly on Najib and his Cabinet.

    First possibility, the civil servants who drafted the law didn’t bother or were not given the chance to present the draft to the Najib/Cabinet. If this is true, the Cabinet is almost useless in providing oversight over proposed laws. “Makan Gaji Buta”

    Second possibility, the officers who drafted the law did present the draft to the Cabinet, but the Ministers were incapable of grasping the the meaning and the possible public reaction. I think a properly done 30-minute Powerpoint presentation would be plenty to explain to even non-lawyer Ministers the important points about the law.
    Again, Cabinet “Makan Gaji Buta”

    Third possibility, and the most serious one. Najib and Cabinet understood full well and approved the main facts of the law – thinking they could slip it past Parliament and the public. The rushed 1 day period given between the First and Second Reading of the Act in Parliament implies this.
    If this is true, Najib had absolutely no intention of giving any enhanced Freedom of Assembly – just spinning headlines to hoodwink the public.

    Like

  9. mmc
    Nov 27, 2011 @ 20:08:21

    kittykat 46

    you dont have to second guess.

    when was the last time you find sincerity from Najib and UMNO?

    gua tolong u u tolong gua?

    if thats not graft, what is kittykat? if the head endorses graft, what else will the bottom not do?

    Like

  10. streetfighter
    Nov 27, 2011 @ 23:26:06

    monsterball,you should defend yourself and not let others to tarnish your name and confuse other young readers in this forum.That’s is what a freedom fighter should be and does.Moreover GE13 is around the corner.I think doc has recovered from not feeling well that day and now should be more sound and alert to be fair to all.

    Like

  11. looes74
    Nov 28, 2011 @ 00:38:01

    Hsu,
    BN is beyond repair. Gerakan is gone forever. Even if Gerakan leaves BN. Do everybody the favour……JUST SINK BN, PERIOD!

    Like

  12. Dr Hsu
    Nov 28, 2011 @ 09:02:38

    kittykat46,

    I agree with your 3 possibilities.

    I think like the late Qing dynasty, when the Manchus wanted to reform but did not really know what true reform was, and thus all the reforms were half-past-six reforms, your second possibility may be the most likely one.

    I think our Chief did not really read through everything in the act, and the ones that briefed him may not have told him everything….

    He is also unfortunate that Myanmar passed their bill almost the same time.

    This reflects badly on him, and he would not have expected this.. He even labelled the bill as revolutionary, which means that he did not really grasp the points in the BIll. And that speaks a lot about this person.

    But I also would not rule out the possibilities of people sabotaging him and not telling him the truth about the BIll. Normally, most ministers have no time to read papers, they depend on their staff to brief them . A secretary can do sabotage by selectively reporting things, and subtly put his own views inside whatever brief they prepare for the ministers. That is why I label many of them as “Eunuchs”.

    We also cannot rule out the possibilities of this being a manifestation of a declining standard of the civil service. Look at the disembarkation card in JB. Apparently it has run out of stock and so foreigners coming in from Singapore are temporarily exempted from filling up the cards. I just cannot understand why didnt someone voice out that the stock was low and request for new stock, before it was too late? Is there no one taking care of inventories or the one who is doing is just adopting ‘tidak’ apa attitude? I dread to think of the consequence if it was not just the card, but some essential medicines that run out of stock, what would happen?

    Like

  13. monsterball
    Nov 28, 2011 @ 10:13:39

    Thank you Streetfighter.
    Readers and commentators are not stupid.
    I need not keep defending myself in this blog.

    Like

  14. CYC
    Nov 28, 2011 @ 15:02:01

    Dr Hsu,

    All these lame excuses cannot be accepted. A PM who make final decision merely based on briefing by his machais has failed to discharge his responsibilities diligently. If his machai dare to sabotage him means he longer command the respect from his subordinates and it is a serious problem for him continue to inspire confidence amongst the rakyats. My reading is he is not sincere and lacking confidence to face a changed political landscape. The writing is on the wall for all to see that we diving down south in all aspects be it politically, economically, education wise or socially.

    I repeat : procrastination will lead us to become a 3rd world country and we must address the root cause immediately.

    Like

  15. CYC
    Nov 28, 2011 @ 15:34:14

    What u see is not the real scenario. All those at the top will continue to cheat. Just look at those ministers who defended the use of BM in teaching Science and Math, almost all of their children attending International School or Boarding School abroad. Dong Jiao Zong’s leaders children also mostly English educated while they urge u to attend Chinese schools. The irony was all these rich and powerful guys at upper echelon of society continue misguide the poor so that they remain in control of wealth creation/possession. And it is a class struggle rather than a pursuit of ideology change. Wake up from your dream.

    Like

  16. disgusted
    Nov 28, 2011 @ 17:45:34

    Whichever way the draft went…should NOT have escaped the so-called Law minister….but like the saying goes, all along we have a Fraud as a minister of Injustice, so dun expect anything great from him.

    Like

  17. CYC
    Nov 28, 2011 @ 20:41:29

    Jibby is trying to transform us to be his eunuchs so that he can hold our balls as and when needed with the introduction of this sinful bill. And we have so many running dogs willing lick his ass just to continue to enjoy their ill gotten wealth. Can u imagine a Chinese base party with a former president alleged for corruption but still remain as Chairman of UTAR while the present president is a porn star but continue to bark like moral protector. Shit…..what happen to our dignity that we must stoop so low?

    Like

  18. A true Malaysian
    Nov 28, 2011 @ 23:26:41

    For someone who is spoon-fed with silver spoon (or even golden one) since birth, how can he or she understand the hardships facing by lay people on the ground. RM1 million is like RM1 to him or her.

    For such kind of people, why bother so much with what type of laws going to pass? He is more interested in vitamin M.

    Gaji buta and tidak apa why bother? They are still previlledged with fat pays.

    Like

  19. kplee
    Nov 29, 2011 @ 11:56:40

    The Police have discretion (previously) but in this new Act, the right of citizens to gather peacefully is guaranteed, so this is important,” said Najib.
    So please tell us, Najib, if the police have discretion to decide and people have rights, which of these two principles takes precedence? In a direct showdown, who wins?
    Is the precedence of the right to assemble peacefully over the exercise of police discretion now guaranteed, absolutely?
    If not, we are back where we were before under the old Act: in a world where police discretion – exercised arbitrarily and without need for justification or right of appeal – holds sway.
    So this, dear PM, is an improvement? How stupid are we expected to be? Is this the level of argument and analysis in the cabinet?
    Perhaps so. Perhaps this also explains why the government stumbles from mistake to mistake – and is always surprised.
    You have said that you only “researched 12 different Acts worldwide”, given there are 196 countries in the world. Either you’re terribly lazy, Najib, or you are lying through your teeth again.
    Remember he proposed 1 this 1 that.., but everything get worse than before

    Like

  20. CYC
    Nov 29, 2011 @ 13:22:54

    How could the cabinet unilaterally decide 10 days is the acceptable notice period. Is he telling us it is the cabinet’s responsibility to enact law and not the parliament. He might as well be the player and referee at the same time. Showcase of Pariah democracy.

    Like

  21. Son of Muhammad
    Nov 29, 2011 @ 13:45:50

    All are munafik but some try to be more munafik

    Like

  22. CYC
    Nov 30, 2011 @ 11:34:05

    The idiots passed the sinful bill. So, we are 1 step nearer to Zimbabwe.

    Lets get Gelakan and MCA buried alive in the coming GE. Make sure they get 0 seat.

    Like

  23. Phua Kai Lit
    Nov 30, 2011 @ 15:59:49

    All this just because they fear Bersih 3.0 !

    Like

  24. CYC
    Nov 30, 2011 @ 18:13:45

    DR Hsu,
    The passing of this sinful bill proves that there is no point to have a 3rd force. We need 2 party system or rather a change of govt. Time is running out. We may heading to hell with UMNO wanita wing openly discussed the lack of contracts being awarded compared to their male counterpart. They are telling in the face corruption is acceptable and here to stay as long as BN remain in power. What do those idiots like KTK, pornstar, and elitists from Gelakan have to say.

    Like

  25. Dr Hsu
    Dec 01, 2011 @ 13:48:20

    They are totally out of touch with the aspirations of the people. They are going to lose big in urban areas. Only the rural areas can help them. That is why the constant playing up of race and religious issues.. Actually all the issues are not related to race and religions. It is more about bad governance, abuse of power, corrutpitons and so on, which affect evryone whether you stay in town or in a farm or plantation.

    Like

  26. Phua Kai Lit
    Dec 02, 2011 @ 08:51:26

    Desperate times call for desperate measures.

    Another sign of the kleptocratic ruling regime’s weakness, and not its strength.

    Like

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