Ong Boon Keong of Malaysian Voters Union (MALVU) who have just returned from Pakistan has interesting story to share about Pakistan’s people’s power. He is organizing a talk on Friday (Jan 4th), 8.00pm, at Lost Generation Space (11 Lorong Permai, Robson Height, Seputeh) Enq.019-6838397. Bring your friends!
This is what he has to say after his election watch trip cut short by Ms Benazir Bhutto’s assassination:
“There is a strong election boycott campaign in Pakistan -given that elections cannot be free and fair under current military rule conditions. This can be a good reference to Malaysian activists!
Despite negative images of Pakistan among Malaysians-there are a few things which we can learn from them:
-despite complaint about media crack down by the military rule (some tv networks closed down) most media -print and electronic, do publish views from all sides. Views of calls for the President to step down can be featured in talk show or headlines. The press clubs of most districts become a focus for protests by various civil society groups -despite that most journalists suffer detentions, physical attacks, murder from various current and previous regimes!
-There is a strong current from the Muslims majority who oppose conservatism, authoritarianism, sexism etc.
-There has been a strong movement to support judiciary independence -by a cross section of civil society and parties -including religious groups, NGOs -on top of the legendary lawyers movement in Pakistan. The latter strike for 10 months now ie refused to go to court thus going without pay to press for Judiciary independence. The lawyers there really earned the society’s respect despite the main stream political parties initial reluctance to support them! The autonomy between political parties and civil society is something refreshing despite the strong `common enermy’ arguments there!”
Those in Penang, enjoy the talk tonight.