Monday, April 30, 2012

BBC Signals Outrage Over Malaysian ‘Censorship’ Of Bersih 3.0 Coverage!

This is an interesting piece of news that really sums up why thousands of Malaysians took to the streets all over the world in support of the Bersih 3.0 Rally on 28.04.12. If international news broadcasts can be censored, what then can they not censor in Malaysia?
The original article was taken from SarawakReport

Posted Monday, April 30th, 2012

The integrity of the BBC seems to have been threatened by the doctoring of its reports by Malaysia's satellite broadcaster Astro!
The BBC in London has issued a statement saying it is urgently seeking explanations over the apparent doctoring of one of its news reports by the Malaysian satellite broadcaster Astro.
A copy of the allegedly censored report has been circulated widely on You Tube since the weekend, showing how what was broadcast to viewers on Astro differed from the original version that was shown elsewhere in the world.
The established BBC reporter Emily Buchanan had produced a two minute report on the Bersih rally, detailing the days events.  This was included in bulletins offered by BBC World, one of the Channels carried by Astro.

However, thirty seconds appears to have been cut out of the doctored version on Astro, after the removal of three separate sequences, one of which showed a policeman on a motorbike apparently firing at demonstrators.
The two other sequences that were removed included interviews with demonstrators, explaining why they felt they had to take to the streets to defend the right to fair elections.

To view the video, click : BBC News on Bersih 3.0 - What the government doesn't want you to know 

Deplorable during the week of World Press Freedom Day!
After Sarawak Report notified the BBC about what had happened yesterday the Corporation responded with a strongly worded statement signalling apparent outrage.
It is an established rule that none of its reports should be tampered with or doctored by channels carrying its News Service and the statement makes plain that this is a potentially deeply serious breach of its contract with Astro:
BBC Statement
“The BBC is carrying out urgent enquiries after it was made aware that output from its BBC World News channel may have been censored in Malaysia.
The broadcast of anti-Government protests in Malaysia was apparently edited before it was re-broadcast on Malaysian satellite television, with sequences removed from the original BBC version.
The BBC is making urgent enquiries to the Malaysian operator, Astro, to establish the facts.
A BBC spokesman said: ”During the week of World Press Freedom Day, it would be deplorable if access to independent and impartial news was being prevented in any way. We would strongly condemn any blocking of the trusted news that we broadcast around the world including via distribution partners.”
The BBC is believed to still be awaiting a full explanation from Astro as to what could possibly have happened during this case.
The company is apparently taking some time to respond to the urgent questions that have been put and it is believed that there may be further delay over the public holiday.
However, the quality of the editing of the package would indicate that this was indeed a professional and carefully executed attempt to put the authorities in Malaysia in a better light.  If so, the exposure of such manipulation is likely to seriously backfire on both the reputation of Astro and international standing of BN.
Al Jazeera’s reports ‘also tampered with’ by Astro!

"Our camera was kicked to the ground" - it seems Astro did not like Harry Fawcett's account of police brutality agains protestors and censored Al Jazeera's report as well!
Astro, the only satellite channel to be licensed by the BN Government is owned by one of the country’s richest entrepreneurs, Ananda Krishnan, known for his close links with the ruling UMNO party.
Astro dishes have even been offered as a free incentive to some longhouses in Sarawak in the run up to the federal elections, presumably in an attempt to both curry favour and to influence their thinking in favour of the government.
The doctoring of the BBC’s report would appear to show just how biased and subservient Astro is to UMNO’s political agenda.
And in the past hours more information has started to emerge that the channel carried out a similar tampering exercise with the Al Jazeera report on the march by the reporter Harry Fawcett!
Time for more democracy and press freedom?

Journalists seeking to record scenes like these have complained over mistreatment by police and the destruction of cameras and equipment.
As the BBC pointed out in its statement, Astro channel’s sneaky censoring of these objective news reports came at the very start of the week of World Press Freedom Day, May 3rd.
The action provides a neat example of just the sort of anti-democratic cheating and abuse of power that brought so many thousands onto the streets of KL in the first place on Saturday.
The Bersih movement has started to wake up the rest of the world to the fact that Malaysia’s expensively crafted image as a friendly and democratic country under BN is in fact a PR sham.
What could have better summed up the autocratic and illegal tendencies of BN than this sanctioning of Astro’s censorship against two of the world’s most respected broadcasters, which were trying to bring viewers an objective account of this event.

What better vindication for Bersih and its call for a cleaner Malaysia!
This is another article taken from The Star Online which highlights the same issue : 
‘Probe assault on journalists’

As a summary to the Bersih 3.0 Rally that has just taken place on 28 April 2012, listen to this news report by Aljazeera : 428 Bersih 3.0 Report at 1210pm by Al-Jazeera

My Bersih 3.0 experience: Behind the barbed-wire barricades — Marina Mahathir

This is an testimony written by Marina Mahathir on her experience at the Bersih 3.0 Rally last Saturday taken from The Malaysian Insider.

APRIL 29 — It was the barbed wire that did it for me. Up til Friday afternoon I was still unsure about going. My hubby thought I’d already made my point last year. I was annoyed with continually being asked whether I was going or not, more so with the non-story that came out in M’kini which basically said I hadn’t decided yet. I mean, does it matter?
Then I saw the photos of the police rolling out the barbed wire and I saw red. Since when did our police, or whoever is their boss, roll out barbed wire — barbed wire!! — against their own people?? Are we thugs? Terrorists? Thieves?
So I decided to go. I contacted friends and found out their plans on how to get round the roads which were sure to be blocked and the LRT which may be stopped. The same friend who so kindly offered to be my ‘bodyguard’ last year offered himself again. We got into my car, went to collect some other friends and drove to as close to Central Market as we could.

Part of the way down Jln Brickfields we couldn’t go any further so we got down to walk. On one side of the street were thousands of people in yellow walking in the direction of the Central Market. On the other side of the street were hundreds of police in their dark blue uniforms. But they didn’t look hostile and just watched us go by.
We got to the Central Market which was swarming with people. Earlier I’d read a tweet that said that people were going into the Market to have lunch and my friends and I were laughing about Malaysians and their food. “Well,” we said, “Central Market restaurants will get a lot of business!”. But when we got there, the Market was totally closed. So all those restaurants lost business today!
Caught up with friends in the car park while we sat to wait. It was HOT!! On the little CM stage, Ambiga was seated there with many of our colleagues from women’s groups. I went up to say hello, took some photos and then went down to wait again. At 1.20pm or so, Ambi took the mike to announce that we were going to move off soon, heading towards Dataran Merdeka. But, she added, we were not to breach the barriers, we would only go as far as we could and then we would simply sit down for a while and then disperse.
The atmosphere was much more fiesta-like than last year. There were people in yellow T-shirts or in other colours, in shorts or in tudungs, lots of young ones and some also of a certain age. Like last year, it was a very diverse crowd. I bumped into some old friends, some young people I knew including a nephew and the children of some friends, and met some new ones, people who were coming to a rally for the first time ever. These were not radical highly-politicised types, just your average men and women, the type you’d meet at the supermarket perhaps. I asked one newbie woman why she came and she said it was because she realised that if she wanted change, then she had to do something.
After Ambiga spoke and a quick briefing by the marshals, we moved off. Because of the crowd we made our way slowly, stopping every now and then to take photos of the awesome crowd and ourselves. At Central Market I estimated there were at least 6,000 people that I could see (though I have to say I’m bad at estimates) but many, many more joined us as we walked along.

The crowd moving from Central Market towards Dataran Merdeka (in a roundabout way). — Picture courtesy of Marina Mahathir

When we got to Lebuh Pasar Besar, there was a big crowd on it facing the direction of Dataran Merdeka while others continued on to Jalan Tun Perak. We decided we would stay on Lebuh Pasar Besar (where the Bar Council is) and made our way towards the bridge across the Klang River (just before Agro Bank). That was where we had to stop because the police had put up a barrier of barbed wire (actually my husband said it’s razor wire, not barbed wire) and those red plastic road barriers, all stamped ‘DUKE’. On the other side of the barrier stood a whole row of police. Most look quite senior and they simply stood there and looked at us.

This is razor wire... — Picture courtesy of Marina Mahathir

And this is barbed wire... — Picture courtesy of Marina Mahathir

View of Lebuh Pasar Besar towards Dataran Merdeka. We are behind the barriers and the cops are beyond. — Picture courtesy of Marina Mahathir

I got to the front of the barrier where someone had put up a sign that said ‘Welcome to Tel Aviv’. It felt very accurate. The police recognised me and nodded. I asked them, “What is this?” pointing at the razor wire, which has blades on them which can seriously cut you if you get hurled on to them (see close-up pic above). The senior cop there shrugged and gave a wan smile. “This makes me sad,” I said to him. Again he shrugged.

Pretty apt... — Picture courtesy of Marina Mahathir

Me in front of the barricade. See the razor wire? — Picture courtesy of Marina Mahathir

We stood there for a while. Some people started to sing Negara Ku so we all joined in. The senior cop who shrugged at me stood at attention, really the only one who did so. Some people started chanting ‘Bukak, bukak!’ meaning open the barriers. But overall there were high spirits but nothing provocative.
Then suddenly all the cops moved back, away from us. We were puzzled but in a short while we realised why. Several police trucks moved in and headed in our direction. For a moment I wondered if they were simply going to mow us down. Then they retreated again. Next a whole row of police with helmets, batons and shields formed in front of the trucks facing us. Again we wondered if they were going to charge us, which seems silly because they too would have come up against the razor wire.

Then the trucks came out... — Picture courtesy of Marina Mahathir

And the shields and batons... — Picture courtesy of Marina Mahathir

Someone then told us to sit down. So we did on our side of the barrier while on the other side, about 10 metres away, the police were lined up with their shields and batons. It looked like it was going to be a battle of wills, who would last longer in the heat. We were prepared to sit for the next two hours til 4pm, the appointed dispersal time.
After about 15 minutes sweating behind the razor wire, someone told us to move back and disperse. “We must use our brains. Don’t provoke. It’s time to move back.”  So we moved away from the barriers and milled around the streets, just looking at people. Bumped into more friends and chatted to random people who said hello. It was a nice atmosphere, akin to going to a fun run or something like that.
We then read a Star tweet that said that Ambiga said Bersih 3.0 was already successful and we can all now disperse. So my friends and I made our way back to Brickfields, got into my car and drove home.
It was only after that that we started to get SMSes and tweets regarding teargas at Dataran Merdeka. It was a shock because up til then there was nothing to indicate that the police might do that, even when they brought the ones with the helmets and shields out. We passed many cops on our way home and they hardly looked at us.
My phone was running low on battery and I had to wait til I got home before hearing from my daughter that she had been tear-gassed. She was part of a team video-streaming the events today and was near Dataran Merdeka, stuck among thousands of people, when some people, against Bersih’s instructions, breached the barriers and ran onto the Dataran. The police then started running away from them and soon they saw why: the teargas canisters being fired at them. Her first time being tear-gassed, she said it was awful but people around her were all helping one another. What was more frightening was the fear of being crushed but luckily people were so mindful of this that if anyone fell, they were immediately given space and a hand up. She’s fine though and I never really worried about her because she had a friend with her who was tasked with making sure she was alright.
(Her videos, along with those by others, are now on the Bersih428 YouTube channel : 

Since reaching home, I’ve been trying to keep up with the many, many reports on today’s events, both the good and the bad. Yes, there were some people who misbehaved, let’s be honest. We don’t know who they are but in such a large crowd there are bound to be people like that, despite instructions from the Bersih steering committee and marshals not to provoke anyone. There are also very likely agent provocateurs who are out to make trouble and discredit Bersih.
But it doesn’t detract from the fact that an unbelievable number of people turned out today, far more than last year, and compared to the incidents of bad behaviour, there was a far larger number of people who marched and rallied peacefully. I hardly saw anyone with a frown or a scowl but lots of happy smiles. Just like last year, I never once felt unsafe. Instead I felt part of a large Malaysian community, all together for one cause. Or two, since the anti-Lynas people also turned out in huge numbers.
Here’s a report from the UK’s Independent newspaper which is pretty accurate although there were far, far more than 25,000 people there. It was hard to see everybody but it had to be about 50,000-80,000. There are thousands and thousands of photos and videos being uploaded right now. So go take a look and decide for yourself. I also hope people will put up their personal stories too.
I’m sorry that there were people who got injured, both protestors and police. None of that was really necessary. A few weeks ago, at the International Women’s Day rally in PJ, 5,000 people turned up and there was absolutely no violence because the police left everyone alone to do their thing. The same could have happened today, if only the powers-that-be could have been wiser.

One more thing, about those politicians who were there. At Central Market there were some there but they were not allowed to speak. Along the march, if anyone started any chants that sounded political, others wouldn’t take it up and they pretty soon petered out. Like last year, the most popular chants were those that simply said ‘Bersih’ and ‘Hidup Rakyat’. Most were simple ordinary people, who just want to express how they feel and who really have no time for politicians.
Besides, which politician or political party, from any side, can mobilise anything as incredible as Global Bersih? —

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Christian mandate vs a stolen mandate — Bob Teoh

This is an article taken from The Malaysian Insider Addressing the issue of Christians being involved with the Bersih 3.0 Rally organized for this Saturday. For the original source : The Malaysian Insider

April 25, 2012
APRIL 25 — Should Christians support Bersih 3.0? I say yes, without any hesitation. The Bible bids us to stand up and make a difference in times like this. It’s our Christian Mandate. Read, for example, St Paul’s epistle to the Christians in Rome living under Imperial Caesar.
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. (Romans 13:1 ESV).
Yet many Roman Christians chose to defy the governing authorities of the day by not worshiping Caesar and were thrown to the lions for the Emperor’s amusement. The Roman Empire imploded subsequently.
Two things come to mind about this verse. The first is the symbiotic relationship between the government and the governed. The other is the fact that it is God who puts or allows governments to be in power regardless of the form they take. However, the choice of governments is obviously left to the people unless we expect God to descend from heaven and impose His will in the forthcoming general election, or GE 13.
The next thing to note is that the people must be subject (or submit as in some translations like the NIV) to the government of the day.
The word picture used here in its original Greek form means nothing less than total obedience like that of the Roman soldier to his officer in Paul’s time. When translated into English, the word seems to denote a submissive person who is thought of as docile, inferior, meek, weak, quiet, numb, without authority, in need of guidance, like a child or as someone who has given up in despair.
The biblical context is far from this. Submission is of a mutual and reciprocal respect as evident in the various epistles or letters of Paul in the New Testament. Submission in the Bible is about subjecting oneself to governing authorities based on justice and righteousness in the sight of a holy God. (Amos 5:24, Micah 6:8).
Does the Bible allow us to oppose unjust and unrighteous governing authorities? Yes, in certain circumstances even as far back as the Old Testament.
For instance in Exodus 1:17: But the midwives feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live.
The narrative refers to Pharaoh’s orders to the two Hebrew midwives to kill any Hebrew baby boy they deliver. Because of their refusal to obey the royal order, among other things, the baby Moses was saved only to grow up and confront Pharaoh to “let my people go.”
Then there is Daniel who refused to obey the Persian law not to pray to his God and was thrown into the lions’ den only to be saved mysteriously by Divine intervention.
In the Books of Acts of the Apostles in the New Testament, Peter and John defied the high priests’ orders not to preach about Jesus and the ruling authorities of the day were powerless to act against them.
Should Christians support Bersih 3.0?
First, be clear about Bersih (Clean). It is an election reform movement co-chaired by former Bar Council president Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan and Datuk A. Samad Said. Ambiga is one of the eight recipients for the 2009 Secretary of State’s Award for International Women of Courage Awards. Pak Samad is a poet laureate in his 70s. These two luminaries, together with other like-minded reformists were courageous enough to be fired upon by tear gas at last year’s Bersih 2.0 in their quest for fair, free and clean elections.
Bersih has only three demands:
 1. The Election Commission must resign, as it has failed in its responsibility and has lost the confidence of the public.
 2. The electoral process must be cleaned before the 13th General Election.
 3. Invite international observers to observe the 13th General Election.
According to Ong Kian Ming, the director of the independent Malaysian Electoral Roll Analysis Project (Merap), in addition to the few hundred thousands of dubious voters registered with various irregularities reported by Merap earlier, there are 3.1 million potential non-resident voters out of an electoral roll of only 12 million.
In Sabah, the situation is insane. The 2000 census gave the total population of Sabah and Labuan as 2,468,246. The biggest single group was non Malaysian citizens at 552,967 (22 per cent) followed by Kadazan/Dusun 458,768 (18 per cent).
Now look at the 2010 census. The total population was 3,206,742, a 30 per cent increase. Non Malaysian citizens shot up by 61 per cent to 889,779 while Kadazan/Dusun only grew by 24 per cent to 568,575.
It’s the non Malaysians (presumably Filipinos and Indonesians) who determine the outcome of elections there. How did the Elections Commission allow so many foreigners to be voters overnight?
In the face of all this, EC chief Tan Sri Aziz Yusof, made the audacious boast that he has the cleanest electoral roll in the world! He and the whole EC was appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to ensure elections are fair and free. They should all resign or be sacked for gross negligence and insult to this royal appointment.
To make matters worse, the government squandered it last chance to make amends when it rushed through amendments to the elections law in the wee hours of the morning last Friday like a thief in the night. The amendments now make independent monitoring of elections even more difficult, thus increasing the probability of another Stolen Mandate by the ruling coalition.
This is the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back yet some Christians are asking, shouldn’t we pray instead of going out into the streets?
Make no mistakes about it: When electoral fraud happens something also happens in the spiritual realms. St. Paul reminds us: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
The Bersih 3.0 Duduk Bantah (sit-in protest) is on this Saturday, April 28 at Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur and at various other cities through the country. Simultaneous protests are planned by Malaysians in more than 40 cities around the world.
Exercise your Christian Mandate. Go there, duduk bantah, get down on your knees and pray. Then expect a miracle — the end of a Stolen Mandate.
* Bob Teoh reads The Malaysian Insider.
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication. The Malaysian Insider does not endorse the view unless specified.

Monday, April 16, 2012

God continues to build His Church in East Malaysia

This is an email we received from someone who visited a Church in the interiors of Sarawak on Easter Day. There are some spelling and grammatical errors found in this letter which we have not edited to retain the authenticity of this email.  Be blessed by this report and be encouraged by the photos that were shared with us. Indeed, a picture speaks a thousand words and we praise God and rejoice for what God is continuing to do in East Malaysia.

Let us strive to be a greater blessing to our brothers and sisters in Sabah and Sarawak. Continue to extend a helping hand in whatever ways God will put in our path.

We continue to highlight the need for Laptops for the Pastors and Bible School Students in the interiors of Sabah and Sarawak. Please click on the link below to read the details.

2nd Hand Laptops Needed


from: Axed Teruk
date: Sat, Apr 14, 2012 at 12:02 PM
subject: Blessed Easter

Greetings to all Brethren.Grace  and Peace to you from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.

I was in the interior of Sarawak for Easter recently. I was just amazed at the crown which turned up- around 5,000. There were no air-cons and not enough seats. So the church pastors had to speedily erect a kind of sitting bench for the congregation.What was most touching was the kind of "gotong royong"- the pastors teaking the lead  in welcoming and accomodating the unexpected turnout.

SP and Guynes have already outlived their usefulness in the Kingdom of God for now.(That is my personal opinion). And the silence among the AOG leaders is indeed a cause of concern for other worshippers like me and family.

SP should go out for mission and recapture the vision of ministry and pastoral care. All that I see in SP and his  pastoral team is that they have become some kind of professional beggars. No apologies here- we have to describe a spade as a spade. They have taken the way of Balaam.

To those who are still at CC- may I say this- Please do not contribute your hard earned money to these beggars from the pulpit. There are more worthy cause out there, instead of talking about a "Landmark Church". The only landmark  for al mankind as I see it , is the atonement Cross. The truth is out- " what they are really after is a huge building - that can be considered a landmark" Its not about God anymore. Its their name.

I can imagine the stress SP is in. Having used to a life of luxury and now suddenly the stream is drying up--fast. And I can imagine the begging to continue until more sheep live. This is indeed a time of prayer for there are many messengers within the AOG church masquerading as angels of light. 

God Bless You  You.