Rights advocate, Wong Ee Lynn at Savoir Vivre in Kuala Lumpur, in her final post for 2009 (on December 30) interviewed 5 Malaysian activists – Edmund Bon Tai Soon, Brian Lariche, Loretta Ann Shepherd, Joe Yap and Ahmad Fansuri. LoyarBurok reproduces Edmund’s talking points as they pertain to the MyConsti movement helmed by a fresh breed of “consti” activists in the making. For the full post, see here.
Edmund Bon (lawyer, human rights activist and legal aid volunteer)
What was the best thing that you will remember of 2009?
Post-March 8, and this year particularly, we have seen a rise in the number of young(er) activists advocating civil society’s causes. 10 years after the birth of the “Reformasi Generation” (as Liew Chin Tong puts it), we have many new, idealistic professionals and students wanting to be heard, to stake their claim, and to shape society by themselves; not allowing others to do it for them.
The successful launch of the “MyConstitution Campaign” or “Kempen PerlembagaanKu” on 13 November 2009 is strong testimony of this – our young Malaysians have sought to embark on a difficult terrain yet uncharted for 2 years to educate 28 million rakyat about the Constitution. These activists are the rising and future stars of the Bar, and include, among others, Mahaletchumi Balakrishnan, Syahredzan Johan, Grace Wong, Firdaus Husni, Adrian Chew, Daniel Albert, Kwan Will Sen, June Low, Low Boon Seong, Samuel Leong, Selena Kong, Shamala Balasundaram, Yip Xiaoheng, Yeoh Tung Seng, Tey Jun Ren, Yap Yin May, Sonya Liew, Young Ai Peng, Nadia Abu Bakar, Michael Loo, Leong Yeng Kong, Keith Chin, Joshua Tay, Gregory Marimuthu and David Siaw.
Malaysia’s future looks bright!
If there is anything regrettable or anything you could change about 2009, what would it be?
The way the monarchy took an unprecedented role in our democratic affairs, noting what happened in Terengganu and Perak. Incidents which have caused public disquiet exposed the institution to attacks which could have been avoided. The perception of the Judiciary has not improved, some argue that it has plummeted.
And of course, more importantly, the number of beached whales that die every year. How do we stop that? It is really sad to see them stranded and helpless.
What do you hope 2010 will bring?
MyConsti is working hard to launch the remaining 8 phases by March 2011 – (i) institutions of the Constitution and separation of powers (coming your way on January 15 at Sunway University College), (ii) federal-state relations, (iii) fundamental liberties and the rakyat, (iv) Parliament, (v) Executive, (vi) Judiciary, (vii) elections and democracy, and (viii) Sabah and Sarawak.
I wish that many more people will work with us on the Campaign, participate in our discussions and workshops, attend our launches, join our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/MyConstitution, check out our “Rakyat Guides” and “Rakyat Service Advertisements” at www.perlembagaanku.com, watch our 1-minute video clips at www.youtube.com/user/PerlembagaanKu and disseminate the enduring messages of the Constitution to their friends and loved ones.
Tags: Adrian Chew, Ahmad Fansuri, Brian Lariche, Daniel Albert, David Siaw, Edmund Bon Tai Soon, Firdaus Husni, Grace Wong, Gregory Marimuthu, Joe Yap, Joshua Tay, June Low, Keith Chin, Kempen PerlembagaanKu, Kwan Will Sen, Leong Yeng Kong, Loretta Ann Shepherd, Low Boon Seong, Mahaletchumi Balakrishnan, Michael Loo, MyConstitution Campaign, Nadia Abu Bakar, Samuel Leong, Savoir Vivre in Kuala Lumpur, Selena Kong, Shamala Balasundaram, Sonya Liew, Syahredzan Johan, Tey Jun Ren, Wong Ee Lynn, Yap Yin May, Yeoh Tung Seng, Yip Xiaoheng, Young Ai Peng
What is the main motivation of the Bar Council and Malaysian Bar when issuing statements or taking action?