(repost article from ElizabethWong)
The long arm of the Malaysian government stretches not only to London at Cambridge University and the London School of Economics (LSE), to stop students from organising and attending the recent talks by former deputy Prime Minister and KeADILan advisor, Anwar Ibrahim, but it has reached as far as South Korea.
Below is a letter of protest from Black to the Malaysian Embassy. He is incensed over the embarrassment caused by the Malaysian Embassy there, when it tried to obtain information from one of East Asia’s most prestigious academic institution - Sunghonghae University - about a Malaysian student based there.
And the student’s alleged ‘crime’? Submitting an article to Harakah Daily.
With Malaysian government reps behaving in this goon-like fashion, the Tourism Minister whacking women and bloggers, why bother spending millions on Visit Malaysia Year 2007 and the “project known as Islam Hadhari”?
Civilisation …. Knowledge society…. My foot.
Malaysian Embassy,4-1 Hannam-dong,Yongsan-ku, Seoul 140-210,South Korea.Tel: 822 795 9203, Fax: 822 794 5448
It’s almost one year since I first arrive in Gwangju, South Korea in which during that period I fully committed myself through learning as required in my internship program with The May 18 Memorial Foundation.
If my memory serves me right, I was never in any position to create disorderly manner in this country much less to bother Malaysian Embassy routines especially at time of promoting Visit Malaysia Year 2007. I even took the liberty to promote Malaysian tourism as a destination for holidays and centre for English education especially among my colleagues and other international communities living in Gwangju. I did so with belief that cultural exposure among people of the world will provide better understanding and gain mutual respect.
Unlike what has been quoted referring to article published in Harakah Daily dated 20 March 2007, it is politically bias and repressive for Malaysian Embassy to call the Sunghonghae University to identify a Malaysian student who allegedly have written an article regarding the recent visit of Deputy Prime Minister, Najib Tun Razak to South Korea to meet with Malaysian students.
My purpose of writing this letter is to explain about the unprofessional method used by Malaysian Embassy to have called the university. As you may know, the University is one of the prestigious in South Korea and gain international reputation for its education system and balance of political views. More importantly, the University is the centre of Human Rights learning where pro-democracy believers and intellectuals gain knowledge hence restored democracy in South Korea in 1987. Students stand to belief that justice and freedom will prevail and that’s what happened to Park Chung Hee and Chun Doo Hwan regimes.
However, Malaysia under Barisan Nasional administration, it’s unfortunate that not just education system being put under constant scrutiny but university students are subject to UUCA (University and University College Act) and other oppressive Acts.
Knowing how the Barisan Nasional would function, I won’t see any changes taking place unless the people demand for real change and my piece of advice, having put my belief and centre of thinking at real democracy is people democracy - stop treating Malaysian students as your object of politics of fear and stop threatening Malaysian students who favors democracy and non-guided cheap scheme by pulling their from scholarships. For your record, the Malaysian student who attended Sunghonghae University is an international student sponsored fully by the University for his good will and sincerity for change.
In 2003, Korean activists protested in front of the Malaysian Embassy urging Malaysian government to release all the ISA detainees. This peaceful protest has gain international momentum and creates news around the globe. Image of Malaysia through its embassy in South Korea will further be tarnished should the embassy fails to back off from interfering with individual rights to freedom of expression.
It’s a long way for Visit Malaysia Year 2007 to be warped up like this simply by few ignorant and fear driven Malaysians. As a Malaysian citizen, as much as I care about my country, I write to you with great sense of morality and responsibility and that creating a culture of fear outside Malaysia is simply childish and unprofessional.
cc: Malaysian Media and International Media.
Amin Shah Bin Iskandar.