The prime minister is whom I see on TV - televised images. I have met Datuk Najib on 2 occasions - one, while studying in UWA for my PhD and we all (Malaysian students) had dinner at Bunga Raya Restaurant in Perth (must have been in 1987-89), and the other was when I was handling computer training/teaching for USM at an IT exhibit when USM launched its IT campaign (1998). The 2 events were 10 years apart.
I was reading on IPPF, ISIS and also SUHAKAM earlier tonight and thought to alert readers to those. SUHAKAM is a great website to visit and read about its activities on the recent Bersih 3.0. Malaysia is not unique to street demonstrations and political rallies, other countries do it more often and they get uglier than ours. I first heard and learnt of demos probably in the early 1970s. I think that time it was from KL area - maybe UM. I could be wrong. I also heard many students were involved. You can ask Dr Mohd Bakri Musa, maybe he can tell you more about those early demos. I once asked Coco Majid about the early 1970s demos but he didn't say much - just smiled, and offered me teh tarik! Of course I didn't accept the teh tarik offer. I actually wanted to know what happened back then. He was DG anyway.
When I grew much older and demos became an ordinary word and event, I didn't pay attention to demos anymore. I almost missed the Bersih 3.0 story, so I read up at SUHAKAM. At first I had thought they were going to clean KL for us! I watched some of the video clips on the wreckage done (not entire length but just glimpses), presumably by Bersih 3.0. My heart sank!
I remember, back in Penang in the early 1980s, the 'bad boys' would gather at Gurney Drive by New Year's eve, and when the clock struck 12, they would smash windscreens of cars parked at Gurney Drive as well as the Esplanade. Imagine the mess the morning after! Even though I was young and solo then, my father did not allow me to hang out at Gurney Drive nor the Esplanade, even though I just wanted to watch the happenings for real. He made me sit and watch TV at home instead. Way back in the mid-1960s, we didn't have that many cars in Penang, and Gurney Drive as well as the Esplanade, was a beautiful place for evening and night strolls. I thought that would last forever - it didn't, just like the Malay saying, 'Ku sangkakan panas hingga ke petang, rupanya hujan gerimis di tengah hari'.
I do miss evening and night strolls with my dad. When I first arrived to live in Kelantan in May 1969 (after the 13 May incidences which occurred in KL, mainly), my dad and I strolled the streets of Kota Bharu. What did we find? We strolled the main street (Jalan Hamzah) by the gambling dens - the pit of pits. I was 11 years old. I saw men gambling and drinking, playing billiard all evening and all night long. Some were smoking. Right across the street from the gambling places were wooden shacks where pretty girls waited for the night's fun and merriment. Kelantan was under whom in 1969? I don't know - you can check our political records. Anyway, so bad was the situation in Kota Bharu, that I thought to myself 'negeri ini negeri sampah'. I was right. That was one aspect of life. The other things I hated were the toll on Sultan Yahya bridge (to and fro) and the little shops selling alcoholic beverages, near the old Yaohan. I hated myself for not speaking up against what I believed as morally filthy. It was really bad and I was just a little girl growing up.
Today, we have a new Kelantan. There is no gambling in the former shophouses along Jalan Hamzah. These filthy activities now operate in close quarters with CCTV, etc. Well, there are 1001 ways to do illegal business and 1 right way to clean up that mess - hudud! I heard about hudud on Kelantan FM, I recall late in the evening. There was one authoritative talk on hudud on radio coming from an ustaz. I just listened. Hudud is 'hukum Allah SWT'. That is as far as I understand it. It is for dealing with criminal offenses - stealing, killing, etc.
Coming back to human rights, SUHAKAM's motto is 'Human rights for all', which I think means what it says. Next time we want to organise demos, etc, and not knowing where to bang or hit the gong, go to SUHAKAM first and ask there, then proceed. It would be really unwise to do the reverse. There's a nice lady there at SUHAKAM, whom I have yet to meet - she's Dr Raj Karim, the daughter of Dr Abdul Karim bin Nawab Din, an early Malay dentist. Dr Raj Karim called me once at my office and she just mentioned she's Raj Karim. She is actually Datuk Dr Raj Karim (MBBS). I don't see her name at the website. Maybe she retired? I think SUHAKAM should become an institute of tertiary studies, maybe a hybrid between Humanities, Social Science, Law and Medicine. It will be good to see what happens when SUHAKAM is upgraded to a tertiary learning centre, and with plenty of opportunities for apprenticeship at many trades. The Secretary is JUSA C, which is equivalent to a professor's rank.
Staff Directory: http://www.suhakam.org.my/staff_directory