The people have decided! The Cabinet is still pondering!

JUST (International Movement for A Just World), Malaysia

The People Have Decided! The Cabinet Is Still Pondering!

by Letchimi Devi

16 March 2007

While a group of us were waiting anxiously at the entrance of Prime Minister-s office at about 8.45 am today, suddenly we heard a loud chanting in the air and then we realized about 500 over people were walking from the Putrajaya mosque towards where we are standing and made one full circle around the PM office before the crowd stopped at the front gate of the PM office.

They were holding placards, banners and posters condemning MAL-US FTA while chanting vigorously -BANGKIT! BANGKIT! BANGKIT RAKYAT (Arise, Arise, Arise People) TOLAK! TOLAK! TOLAK FTA (Reject, Reject, Reject FTA), Hancur! Hancur! Hancur Amerika (Down Down Down with America) and Rafidah Step down, don-t sell out Malaysia- were some of the slogans chanted by the crowd until 10.30am.

The protest was meant to enlighten 31 cabinet ministers who will study and decide whether Malaysia will sign FTA or not. Today the cabinet was to have decided but the cabinet was still pondering and still trying to please the superpower.

Since the 5th Round FTA discussion in Kota Kinabalu few weeks ago, the discussion come to halt because of 58 issues in conflict e.g. government procurement and labor issues.

The show of protest by more than 500 people especially farmers from the northern states of Malaysia, namely Perlis, Kedah, Penang and Perak is one of the biggest mobilizations against the US-MAL FTA in the last one-year. Red salute to our comrades from the Northern Region Coalition Against FTA, especially TERAS and PAS. Members of JERIT and Parti Sosialis Malaysia were also present besides other NGO groups.

The peaceful assembly also received many media attention. As usual police and light strike force led by OCPD Razak were present to monitor the situation. They also arranged for our delegation to meet with the Prime Minister-s representative. The delegation was led by Comrade Hj. Azmi from TERAS, YB Salahuddin-ADUN Kubang Krian Kelantan, Comrade Ziyadi from Petani MADA, Comrade Edward Low from AIDS group, Comrade Letchimi Devi from JERIT and Comrade Mahfuz from IMPAK. The team went in and met with one Mr. Ahmad - Private Secretary of the Prime Minister. Mr. Ahmad said he would submit the memorandum to the cabinet ministers before the sessions start today and he repeated that the government is still doing research and decisions are yet to be taken. The delegation came out in less than 5 minutes.

Outside the PM office gate, organizers continued with speeches from Hj. Azmi (TERAS), Dr Hatta (PAS), Letchimi (JERIT) Sdra Mahfuz (IMPAK), Sivarajan (PSM) and many others. All the speakers stressed that Malaysia should not rush into signing FTA with US; there must be consultation with the people; they demand the Malaysian government:-

- Not to sell out Malaysia to USA,
- Not to trade away the future of our generation to the Capitalist Americans.
- Not to sign off our 50 years of independence to USA.
- Not to jeopardize the interest and the needs of Malaysian people

The protestors demand the Cabinet Ministers to reject FTA.

Capitalism is only about profit earning and USA is the biggest capitalist power in the world. Why then do we want to fall prey to such power that kills and murders millions of innocent people around the world?

The recent poll in Utusan and TV 1 have recently stated that the Malaysian public has rejected FTA. But the Badawi cabinet is still pondering over it....

DOWN! DOWN! DOWN WITH USA IMPERIALISM!

STOP! STOP! STOP FTA!

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