Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The trial of 5 students postponed!

UPDATE: Five USM students who faced the discipline action for issuing press statement and distributing leaflets was postponed in the last minute. Sek Choon Shiou (photo on the left) and another four university mates were reliefed temporary after received the news.

Even the trial was postponed, the charges on the 5 students still up to the Vice Chanselor to decide. The university authority has the final word to take disciplinary action or free the students from the charges. Therefore, the members of the ASA who received our email or urgent appeal, please continue to pressure the university and the Malaysian government until the charges drop.

Why the university authority suddenly postponed the trial? What caused the authority to buy time to take action on the students?

1. The continously pressures from all over the country, outside the country on the violation of human rights, undemocratic practice in the campus election and repressive move to take displinary action on the students. The solidarity from different sectors pressed the university authority to postpone.

2. Cabinet reshuffle by Prime Minister on February 14. The previous Higher Education Minister, Shaffie was dropped out from the cabinet. Due to his bad reputation and credibility, he was only the few who are dropped. It showed the pressures of the students together with some other civil society in Malaysia.

We shall update to you about the situation and the progress of the trial from time to time. For those who are not yet to deliver their solidarity message to our friends in USM, please do so.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

What happened to Land Reform in Indonesia?

This is the interesting comic from one of the networks of the ASA in Indonesia called Alliansi Gerakan Reforma Agraria (AGRA) or in English, Agricultural Reform Movement Alliance. During my visit to Jakarta for the ASA together with the FMN, I managed to attend a forum on the land reform.

The issues of the land reform already been struggled by numbers of peasant organizations, but it never become the agenda of the Indonesian government. Surprisingly the agreement of the Indonesian government to open the debate of the land reform and invite different organizations to join the consultation. Many of the organizations were looking at this as the channel for them to promote their issues and pressure the government to take the genuine land reform.

Besideds, the peasants in Indonesia not only facing with the scarce land for them to curtail, but also the dropping price of their crops. The Indonesian government using the excuse of the flood and lack of rice for consuming to import the rice from Vietnam. This is another challenge for the peasant in Indonesia.

With the transition period for the ASA, there are a lot of youth peasants in Indonesia that need to be organized. AGRA as the alliance of the peasant groups, it can be the organization that become the working partner of the ASA to reach out to more youth.

ASA Visited Indonesia on 15-24 March

UPDATE: The ASA Regional Secretariat member, Khai Loon was in Jakarta, Indonesia from February 15-24 for the official visit to our new member in Indonesia, Front Mahasiswa Nasional (FMN). It was an significant trip because since the ASA Regional Program about the Anti Militarism in Indonesia on 2001, there was no any further official activity in Indonesia.

We are glad that FMN was accepted to join the big family of the ASA. It strengthen the organizing works in the Asia particular in a country that seriously exploited by its ruling elites and the foreign intervention.

If you want to see how the foreign influence affected a country sovereignty, you can go to Indonesia. If you want to see how the life of the people are ignored by the government, you can go to Indonesia. If you want to know more about the the exploitation of the workers, you can visit Indonesia too.

I am not promoting the tourism inside Indonesia, but after several days stayed in Jakarta with the comrades in FMN, that kind of feelings really harrassed me a lot. As an activist, we are not hopeless and always feel optimistic to change the situation. As we are the pogressive youth and students organization in Asia-Pacific, we have to work harder to take up the responsibility to make this world a better place.

For the further report on the visit, I will try to post as many photo as possible to provide you all with a better idea about the movement in Indonesia. Enjoy reading and have a wonderful weekend.

Friday, February 24, 2006

In Malaysia: USM Student Facing Discipline Action for Issuing Press Statement and Distributing Leaflets

USM Student Facing Discipline Action for Issuing Press Statement and Distributing Leaflets

Sek Choon Shiou and Wong Weng Hoo were alleged by USM authority for issuing press statement to media at foyer library Hamzah Sendut I on 29 September 2005. They were charged for offending Section 15 of the USM Regulation (Student Discipline) which state that no student, organization, body or group of student, can, without permission from Vice Chancellor, doing any representing or any other relation, either through oral or writing or other ways, to any public officer or media or public during lecture, speech or public statement or any other matter regarding on university or staff.

Ong Siew Shan, Ng Eik Cheen and Lau Shu Shi were accused by authority for distributing flyers on 11 and 29 September 2005. They were charged with an offence according to Section 12(1) under USM Regulation (Student Discipline) 1999 which state that no student, organization, body or group of students, without permission from Vice Chancellor, can publish or distributing any document at campus or out campus.
Five of them have been summoned to attend proceeding in 27 February 2006, 9am and 2.30pm. Profesor Madya Jamaluddin Mohaiadin, Deputy Vice--Chancellor of Student's Affair and Development of USM, will be the chairperson of the proceeding. If found guilty, maximum punishment they will be facing is expulsion.


Last campus election was held on 29 September 2005. Student coalitions in 5 Malaysia's public university include USM were decided to boycott campus election. This action was taken because of the irregularities and frauds committed by university authority, and unfair and non-transparent practices in campus election. Students from USM were involved in the action to demand for the free and fair campus election.

Among these students, Ong Siew Shan was forced to go to Security Department to assist in an investigation late at 2am on 11 September 2005. On the other hand, Wong Weng Hoo was called for interrogation on 17 January 2006. Besides that, officer of Security Department of USM has made appointment with Lau Shu Shi for interrogation on 10 February 2006 but the mentioned officer had cancelled the appointment without any inform. Meanwhile, the other two alleged offenders, Sek Choon Shiou and Ng Eik Cheen did not receive any invite to attend investigational session. They will directly attend the proceedings without any investigation.
USM has infamous track records of suppressing student activism for last few years.

UUCA (University and University College Act) is one of the notorious repressive laws that have been used to curb student activism since 1971. Fundamental liberties of students such as freedom of expression, freedom to association and freedom of thoughts are being taken away with the existence of such laws. Notorious actions that taken by the university authorities will limit or discourage the student to think critically and it leads to endanger their competitiveness.

As Malaysian citizens, these students are facing persecution by the university authority for the issuing press statement to media and distribute flyers. It is unjust and unreasonable to forbid students to exercise their fundamental democratic freedom, which the Constituent of Malaysia provides Malaysian citizens the rights to do so.


We call upon civil society groups and concerned individuals to write to the USM authority, to express your concern towards the students who are fear of facing expulsion and denied their civil rights under a repressive law. You may also modify the sample letter enclosed below.

Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible:
· Expressing concern on the problems faced by the students
· Calling on the USM authority to ensure the civil liberties of the students are respected and protected
· Urging the USM authority not to take further action against the students for their involvement in campus election campaign
· Calling the USM authority stop harassing to exercise their fundamental liberties by using the repressive UUCA and other similar regulations


Professor Dato' Dzulkifli Abdul Razak
Pejabat Naib Canselor
Universiti Sains Malaysia
11800 Minden
Pulau Pinang
Tel: 04-6573987
Fax: 04-6565401
Email: vc@usm.my

Dato' Professor Madya Jamaluddin Mohaiadin
Deputy Vice-Chansellor
Bahagian Hal Ehwal dan Pembangunan Pelajar
Universiti Sains Malaysia
11800 Minden
Pulau Pinang
Tel: 04-6568869
Fax: 04-6573761
Email: dvcstu@usm.my

You are also highly recommended to send a copy of youR APPEAL letter to show YOUr concerns TO:

Y.B Datuk Mustapha B. Mohamed
Minister of Ministry of Higher Education Malaysia
Kementerian Pengajian Tinggi, Blok E3, Parcel E, Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan, 62505 Putrajaya
Tel: 03-8883 5010
Fax: 03-8889 1952
Email: menteri@mohe.gov.my

Sample letter:

Professor Dato' Dzulkifli Abdul Razak
Vice Chansellor
Universiti Sains Malaysia
11800 Minden, Pulau Pinang
Tel: 04-6573987
Fax: 04-6565401
Email: dvcstu@usm.my

Drop Discipline Charges Against Sek Choon Shiou, Wong Weng Hoo, Ong Siew Shan, Ng Eik Cheen and Lau Shu Shi

Refer to the above title, we regional secretariat members of the Asian Students Association would like to show our concern to these 5 students cases.

I/We had been told that the students named above have been charged for issuing statement to press and distributing flyers without permission of Vice Chancellor. They have been summoned to attend a hearing that will be held by Division of Student Affairs and Development of USM on 27 Feb 2006.

As I/we know, rights to freedom of expression, freedom of association and freedom of thoughts is provided under Federal Constitution of Malaysia. However, these 5 students are now facing persecution of the university authority for giving statement to media and distributing flyers without permission of Vice Chancellor. The charges for these students have severely violated civil liberties of an eligible voter and justice as what listed under the Federal Constitution of Malaysia.

Therefore, I/we appeal to USM authority to drop the charges against these students for making statement to media and distributing flyers. USM authority should not take further action against the students for the same charges.

I/We sincerely hope that USM authority will ensure that the civil liberties of a student are always respected and protected. USM authority should stop harassing students to practice their fundamental liberties by using the repressive UUCA and other similar regulations which violated the human rights.

Thank you,
Yours faithfully,

ORGANIZATION if you have

Y.B Datuk Mustapha B. Mohamed
Minister of Ministry of Higher Education Malaysia
Kementerian Pengajian Tinggi, Blok E3, Parcel E, Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan, 62505 Putrajaya
Tel: 03-8883 5010
Fax: 03-8889 1952
Email: menteri@mohe.gov.my
Please forward this urgent appeal to your friends to show support!
Send instant messages to your online friends http://uk.messenger.yahoo.com

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Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Southern Philippines students protest education budget cut

CCSPC students demonstrated to condemn reduced budget for education

Cotabato City- Students of the Cotabato City State Polytechnic College (CCSPC) walked out from their classes to participate in the nationally-coordinated students’ mass walkout during the National Youth Week.

Cotabato City State Polytechnic College (CCSPC) is the lone state college in Cotabato City and has implemented increases in tuition and miscellaneous fees. The result is that the number of students has dropped to some 3000 this year, from 8000 of the previous year.

The national government proposed P1.053 T budget for year 2006. Education sector will receive 119 B which will divided among thousands of public schools. Only P 16.67 M will go to state universities and colleges (SUC) while the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) and the National Defense College of the Philippines (NDCP) will get P612.68 M. The biggest slice of the budget will go to debt servicing amounting to P381.7 B.

This unbalanced budget shows rebuff of the Arroyo Administration to its state obligation which is to provide free education to Filipino people. GMA is not sincere to its promise to give the highest budget to education during its first terms while burden of poor students continues. According to UNICEF, 6% of the Gross Domestic Product should go to Education, but in the Philippines it is only 3%.

UNESCO statistical data show that some 4 M Filipinos have dropped out of school as a result of school fee increases. Wallace reports that only 7% of those who enter the elementary grades graduate from college.

The students, led by a national alliance organization calling for the ouster of GMA or YOUTH Demanding for Arroyo’s Removal (YOUTH DARE), condemned the low quality of education being given to students as shown by lack of school facilities, teachers, textbooks. On the other hand, there have been huge increaes in tuition and miscellaneous fees in public schools as a result of budget cuts.

The group also called for the ouster of Arroyo as she continues to implement anti-people policies such of the 12% expanded value added tax which greatly contributes to the suffering of the Filipino people and the worsening situation of the Philippine Educational System.

“We believe in quality and accessible education which should be granted to the Filipino youth,” said Youth DARE spokesperson Bai Ali Indayla.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Support the Campaign for the Protection of the Homeless Labor in Osaka Japan

This is a message from Kosuke Nakagiri, a Japanese journalist and activist who was one of the 14 arrested protesters during the people's action week against the World Trade Organization.

He is very active in the campaign for the protection of homeless people in Osaka. Please read through and give your support.

Thank you


Forced eviction on homeless labor by Osaka City Government
finally becomes a reality.

At Uthubo-Park (20 people live in the tent) and Osaka Castle Park (Five
tents are objects of the forced expulsion, among about 100 people living),
Osaka Government started the procedure of the forced expulsion for those of who sleeping in the park on this 5th January.

Speed of the procedure is so fast that eviction may be done on 20th to 23th January fastest. If this forced eviction is executed, it will be first case after "Homeless special measures method" enforced for Osaka City and since exclusion in Nagoya City Shirakawa Park on 24th January last year.

I report to have many people to take interest about this struggle.

The eviction of homeless people is correctly the justification of the
murder. This abnormal competitive world. The world that rich become more
rich besides the poor become more poor. The eviction is the death sentence
to those who is one of the maximum victims of such world ; the administration
saying, we deserts you. It doesn't care though it lives though it dies. The
way things are going, "Reason for killing one" is buried again by our

Please give the voice of the protest from your place. Please extend the
hand of unity to poorest people.

More information, please see Brog of the Kamagasaki Patrol. We have English
contents and Photos.


Please protest against Osaka City.

It's OK by the easy one. Please send the voice of the protest to following
address, saying that "Stop the eviction". We would be greatly appreciated when the copy can be sent to:




Osaka City Mayor :Junichi Seki
TEL: 81-6-6208-7231
FAX: 81-6-6202-6950
〒530-8201 Osaka City Kita Ward Nakanoshima 1-3-20

The west district park office
〒550-0004 west district Hommachi 2-1-4

The East district park office
〒540-0002 Chuo Ward Osaka castle 3-11

Yutori toMidori Development and Promotion Bureau

Filipino Youth and Students Oppose Repressive Value-Added Tax

Palace price-watch inutile
VAT time bomb waiting to explode

"Who's taking advantage of who?"

This was Anakbayan's reaction to Malacanang's statement that Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is now 'prepared to exercise political will' to curb excesses in price hikes of traders and businessmen who might take advantage of the Reformed Value Added Tax (R-VAT) Law's full implementation.

"None other than Malacanang is directly accountable for soaring prices which racked the country upon the R-VAT's implementation. Mrs. Arroyo cannot get away with public backlash by pointing accusing fingers at small traders and macro-businessmen, who in turn will simply justify price hikes as effects of the additional R-VAT imposition. They are merely collectors of a tax that is taking advantage of the poor to extreme," said Eleanor de Guzman, Anakbayan national chairperson.

"Malacanang's so-called price-watch is inutile. The added two percent VAT rate has caused a domino-effect of price hikes that even it cannot regulate. It has totally overlooked this fact, being hell-bent on imposing the VAT hike to bolster Mrs. Arroyo's image to foreign trade investors."

With the raising of the VAT rate, the government expects to rake in an additional P86 billion in income yearly. Seventy percent of additional revenues from the VAT will automatically be used to compensate for foreign debt.

Bite the bullet

De Guzman also lambasted Malacanang's two-faced statement of the R-VAT being pro-poor when it is at the same time unleashing the full force of its Calibrated Pre-emptive Response on anti-VAT protests.

"It is very hypocritical to say that the poor will suffer most from anti-VAT protests when the VAT is unquestionably the poor man's heaviest burden," she said.

"The VAT is a time bomb waiting to explode in Mrs. Arroyo's face. Her payback time will be sooner than she could anticipate. The clock is ticking, and it will be she who will be forced to bite the bullet," de Guzman warned. ###

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

SUCCESS: Solidarity Action for Democracy in Nepal (February 1)

Long live international solidarity!

More than 200 people turned up this afternoon to support the Nepali people's call for the installation of full democracy in Nepal. Friends and supporters from various organizations and groups joined in the march from Kowloon Park to the Nepali Consulate, spoke in the program and signed the joint statement issued by the Nepali people's movement through the Asian Students Association.

It has been a year now since King Gyanendra called for martial rule and assumed complete autocratic rule in Nepal. For over a year, he had political organizations clamped down, media and organizational offices ransacked and closed down, human rights advocates, progressives, lawyers and even journalists arrested and detained, Kathmandu and the whole of Nepal militarized and the rights and liberties of peoples suppressed and violated.

Leaders of various Nepalese organizations in Hong Kong led the program with their fiery speeches: Ramesh Gurung, chairperson of Far East Overseas Nepalese Association; Ganesh Isam, chairperson of Hong Kong Nepalese Federation; and Santosh Ghale, chairperson of Hong Kong Nepalese Alliance Association.

Migrant workers led by the Asian Migrants Coordinating Body, local workers led by Elizabeth Tang of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, legislator Lee Cheuk Yan, Ramon Bultron of Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants and International League of Peoples' Struggle, Apo Leung of Asian Migrants Resource Centre, Bruce Van Vhooris of Asian Human Rights Commission and Agnes Khoo of ARENA were present and expressed their support to the campaign.

Student union leaders of Hong Kong University and Polytechnic University, Lau Fong and Thomas, were joined by their fellow leaders to express solidarity. Lau Fong spoke in behalf of the students.

We informed the group that member organizations of the ASA, like AASJA of Japan, NZUSA of New Zealand, Gabriela-Youth, CEGP, NUSP and LFS of the Philippines have sent their messages of solidarity to their fellow students in ANNFSU. Other organizations like the Student Christian Movement of the Philippines, ANAKBAYAN and other organizations expressed solidarity as well.

Big and significant movements in Asia-Pacific like the Asia Peasants Coalition and the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan or BAYAN (New Patriotic Alliance) of the Philippines sent their messages. We also learned that BAYAN led a solidarity action in the Philippines on this day.

Both Bhakta Gurung and Rey Asis, our secretariat members, led the march together with the Far Eastern Overseas Nepalese Association.

It was a highly agitating afternoon with Nepalese and other nationalities chanting slogans calling for the full restoration of democracy in Nepal, the recognition and protection of rights of the Nepalese people and the immediate withdrawal of Gyanendra from his seat of power.

The demand letter, together with the solidarity messages we received, was submitted to a representative of the Nepali Consulate as the protesters raised their voices in unison: Down with the Autocratic King! Restore democracy in Nepal now! Long live international solidarity.

The program was a very successful event. We look forward to strengthening this solidarity until the Nepali people have achieved democracy and human rights in their motherland.