Monday, January 29, 2007

Remembering The Unsung Heroes

From Malaysiakini: A time to remember those selfless acts, done quietly, without fanfare. May their souls rest in peace. May their struggles for a better nation never be in vain . And may their examples inspire all peace-loving, justice and freedom seeking Malaysians to respond from our hearts.

More than 1,000 political and social activists from around the country yesterday paid tribute to the reformasi heroes who had passed on since the explosion of the movement onto the Malaysian political and social landscape in 1998.

Songs, poetry, speeches, and other performances were conducted at the event - organised by activists from different opposition parties - to remind those present at the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall in Kuala Lumpur of the struggles and sacrifices of these men and women who made what the reformasi movement is today.

They included the prominent leaders and figures such as the late PAS president Fadzil Noor (Mar 1937- Jun 2002), veteran journalist MGG Pillai (1939 - Apr 2006), and educator Desmond John Muzaffar Tate (1929 - Jan 2004).

Most of them, however, were ordinary persons from humble backgrounds and circumstances but who were nevertheless, as Ramlee Puteh described during his poetry recitation in Bahasa Malaysia, veritable ‘warriors’ of the reformasi movement.

Ramlee’s was followed by a poem in Tamil by Pushpa Linggam. The crowd was then served with a song by a group of Chinese activists from PKR Ipoh division.

Shamsuddin Othman, more popularly known as Dinsman, recited another poem, but not before a group of children, some of them of political activists who have been or are currently being detained under the draconian Internal Security Act (ISA), performed on behalf of the Abolish the ISA Movement (GMI).

The children carried with them onto the stage the names of those reformasi activists who had passed away and who had, at one time or another, been detained under the ISA.

PKR information chief Tian Chua, PKR advisor Anwar Ibrahim, as well as his daughter Nurrul Izzah spoke on the need to commemorate the reformasi heroes for the right reasons and not for merely sentimental reasons.

Rekindle the flames

"If corruption, abuse and other injustices existed in the past by those in power led to the reformasi movement of 1998, we now have all the more reason to intensify the struggle in face of greater corruption, abuses and injustices.

“We seek not to bury the ashes of the dead, but rekindle the flames” said Anwar, who was deputy premier before being unceremoniously sacked in 1998.

Several family members of past reformasi heroes were also honoured and they, in turn, gave words of appreciation for the honour accorded.

These included the family members of Pillai, Ning Mahabi (Apr 1947- Feb 2005), Alwi Ehsan (1935 - 2004), Tan Sow Kow/Umar Tan (Oct 1953 - Nov 2006), Ooi Seow Beng (May 1945 - Jun 2005), and Khalil Shah Jamaluddin - ‘Cikgu Khalil’ (Aug 1942 - Jun 2006).

This was followed by the reading of the bio-data of the ‘unsung heroes’ by former ISA detainee Saari Sungib

Other than those mentioned above, the rest were Ahmad Sazli Saad (Feb 1973 - Apr 2006), Eslawaty Awang Ehsan (1960 - Nov 2005), Junaidi Ismail (Aug 1955 - May 2002), Sulaiman Meor Abdul Rahman (Jul 1970 - Sep 2004), Mokhtar Anwar (Nov 1946 - Dec 2003), Panchalingam a/l Sinnathamby (Dec 1938 - Sep 2001), Jalaluddin Mohd Taib (1933 - 2001), Hussin Dahlan (1952 - Aug 2005), Mohd Muhayat Mohd Yusof (Jul 1953 - Dec 2004), Abdul Razak Khalifah (1938 - 2006) Mohd Zainol Osman ‘Pak Non’ (Oct 1953 -Feb 2002), Abdul Razak Mohd Said (1930 - Oct 2006) Mahmood Taib (1943 - Dec 2005), Mustaffa Saad ( - Jan 2004), Sivajodi A/l Nadaraju (1950 - Aug 2005), Chong Chow (1945 - 2006), Hawa Bee Omar Satah - Kak Eton (1942 - Feb 2006), Dr Rosli Ibrahim (Apr 1962 - Nov 2005), Kahar Ahmad (1928 - 2007), and Ng Boon Jieh (Aug 1940 - Dec 2005).