Wednesday, October 31, 2007

What lies behind City Hall's brutalities?

I hope not to raise your blood pressure too much, but I realize that may well be difficult as I relate the typical arrogant, atrocious, and (non) accountable Malaysian City Hall brutalities visited upon some residents in Kampung Rimba Jaya in Padang Jawa, near Shah Alam.

Malaysiakini reported that the Menteri Besar was alleged to have directed storm troopers in their steel jackboots, backed by the usual licence-to-bash FRU, perpetrate a demolition rampage,
smashing houses, a surau and a 100-year old Hindu temple.

In the fracas, residents were badly injured, arrested and had their homes smashed to smithereens. Two of them, a 50-year old woman and a 16-year old boy suffered very serious injuries. Their clothes were soaked with their own blood.

Four lawyers who attempted to assist the people at the police station lodge reports against the state government and relevant authorities were themselves physically abused by the police and then held in custody together with the detained residents. One of them was pushed to the ground, stepped on a policeman who pointed a submachine gun at him.

Works Minister and MIC President Samy Vellu was present
but was completely ignored by the authorities. He urged (obviously in vain) all state and local governments to stop the demolition of Hindu temples as this was disrespectful towards the religion. He also complained to his Uncle AAB.

Malaysiakini said that this appears to be the first time Samy Vellu had spoken out strongly on the issue which has been dogging the Hindu community for the past few years, particularly in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur. Well, maybe he smelled the general election being very near.

You think the above was bad? Wait ... now what I don’t understand have been the following:

(1) The MPSA enforcement officers were reported to be beating people with batons. An eye-witness saw an enforcement officer pulled out a knife, waving it around threateningly.

Hey, what’s the actual role of the City Hall’s enforcement officers? Does it include the authority to beat people up with batons? This criminal action has been the norm for Malaysian City Hall enforcement officers, who somehow see themselves as local Rajas, little Napoleans, clones of medieval Sultans who could bash anyone they like, just because they wear some form of uniform.

It’s not unique to the MPSA. It’s a frightening phenomenon that extends to RELA officers as well. Sometime ago, we had such a Ministry’s enforcement officer attempting to shoot a peddler of pirate DVDs but instead end up shooting an innocent bloke who was dining nearby.

For crying out loud, using a gun on a seller of pirated DVDs?

Then we had the infamous Zuok club raid where so-called religious officers bared their fangs of authority to humiliate, sexually harass and ogle at Muslim women caught in that raid.

There was also another religious officer who forced a Muslim woman, who went to appeal to him about a compromising situation she was caught in by same religious officer, to give him a complimentary blow-job while the woman’s unsuspecting boyfriend waited outside the office.

And of course we had the elderly American couple in Langkawi who were harassed so threateningly by religious officers in the wee hours of the morning that the frightened elderly lady flew back to America the following day.

Yes, it seems there’s a frightening mentality among our uniformed civil staff that we need to watch out for, which has been why we need to monitor veryt carefully the attempted glorifying and sanctifying of the Mat Rempit.

(2) Police were reported to have fired several shots at a lorry, puncturing at least one tyre. Nanyang Siang Pau reported that five shots were fired, when several residents had tried to escape the police in the lorry. They were later arrested.

Now, this is serious. In a City Hall demolition exercise, the Police (as law officers) would protect and enable the MPSA enforcement officers to perform their duties, usually that of removing unauthorized constructions or even items that blocked a thoroughfare etc. The MPSA aren’t policemen and certainly couldn't conduct criminal assault, or any abusive or retaliatory actions against protestors, which has been why the police were there to escort/protect them.

If residents who had been responsible for the illegal constructions run away, that would minimize the usual confrontation between protestors and authority. So why did the police open fire at them, even if it had been to stop them ‘escaping’? What ‘escaping’?

In fact the police should be glad that the residents had run away during a demolition exercise, clearing the coast for those City Hall enforcement officers.

But it seems as if the police were hell bent on nabbing the residents to hold them in custody, maybe to prove a point, or to show their power?

(3) Meanwhile human rights activist S Kumaravel, who is also Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (Jerit) exco member said:
"The police told us that the order was from the Menteri Besar (Mohd Khir Toyo). There was no court order to demolish the surau or the temple."

No court order, and religious buildings, one of which was a 100-year old temple, were demolished, illegally?

Malaysiakini also reported that Suhakam has condemned the manner employed by the authorities to demolish a Hindu temple in Shah Alam yesterday.

Suhakam commissioner Dr Denison Jayasooria said the incident showed that the authorities did not have respect for religious and cultural sensitivities.

“The authorities may have state or legal right to carry out the demolition, but the manner in which it was conducted requires far greater consideration,” he told a press conference at the Suhakam headquarters in Kuala Lumpur today.

“Suhakam has been repeating this so many times. But the authorities seem to be deaf. They cannot display simple human decency in responding to a crisis.

“Why make it a crisis when it can be settled amicably?” he said, adding that the demolition was untimely since the Hindu festival of Deepavali was only a week away.

I wonder what is it that had compelled or motivated the Menteri Besar to go hell bent for broke in this unmitigated abuse of human rights conducted by his 'storm troopers'? What would be behind it all?



    it happens everywhere.

  2. Istana Zakaria now should open its doors now to accommodate these victims. Also to serve them satay at every meal. We have such a great man in Zakaria. He will surely come forward to assist the needy during these times.

  3. Such action show the world the true fascist face of Malaysia.
    Underlying the superficial fa├žade lies a festering sore of bribery, corruption, and the misuse of public funds. Multitudes of citizens are living in abject poverty eking out a hand to mouth existence as best they can.
    The country is a virtual police state which is rotting to the core, starting at the head.

  4. the malaysian leaders preach about malaysia being a "moderate" islamic country that practices racial harmony and religious tolerance. this is utter bullshit!!! they are the same as the taliban who tore down the Bamiyan Buddha statue in Afghanistan. a bunch of hypocrites..

    i wonder why China and India still do business with malaysia and give malaysia lots of contracts when their overseas chinese and overseas indians are being discriminated here.

  5. MBSA was probably using the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance to clear the unwanted tenants, so they didn't need to get a Court Order.

    They had used the same tactic in 2003, except the Shah Alam High Court had granted the Kg. Rimba Jaya folks a reprieve at that time."

    I suppose this is Round 2, and they made sure there was nothing left of the buildings.

    The Selangor State Exco is behind this, probably in collusion with some Developers eagerly waiting to get hold of the land.

  6. There are only a handful of people there.. therefore they are minority according to Nazri. So wats the big deal??

  7. law and order at its low. those who are suppossed to uphold law and order is breakign al laws and human decency.
    the motivation behind this? election? or the land needs to be vacated asap for development which means $$$$, no?
    another sign fo a failing State?

  8. Can watch video here

    Note semantics: If temple 100 years old (pre-dating formation of Malaya), then it could not have been "built" illegally as building laws pertaining to such had not yet been enacted. It is our authorities that has decided now to render it "illegal".

  9. a 100-year old temple should have been considered on the national heritage listing, as an indisputable invaluable artificat of Malayan/Malaysian history

  10. Freudian slip, Kaytee. You typed 'artificat'? That's b'cos all the BN coalition members are capable of is a 'Meow'.

  11. i am leaving the country.... bye bye Malaysia....

  12. As far as the gomen is concerned, Malaysia means MALAYS only. Other races don't go around kidding yourselves that you are also Malaysians.
    Welcome to Apartheid Land.

  13. ouch, penelope, you caught me ;-)

  14. Just wondering , was there a previous notice to the temple, a written letter for example that such a thing was to take place?

    What about proper compensation discussions with the temple and Hindu representatives of that particular temple? I havent read about any study with local residents about the development from any reports/blogs either, is it because there is no such occurrence or that there was but we do not know all the facts and previous communication between the authorities and temple representatives.