Raja Petra Kamaruddin (RPK) has been languishing in jail for 28 days since he was arrested on September 12. Many people have shown their supports for releasing RPK; Numerous calls, articles, public vigils, comments, forums, public displays, and even resignation from Cabinet are all working toward releasing RPK. However, the fact is that RPK is now still surrounded by four concrete walls enclosing a 8-by-8 feet space; RPK, now 59 after his last week birthday, is day-in and day-out in solitary confinement with food bad enough to cause stomach upset.
What are the missing ingredients for freeing RPK? The nation prominent writers, religion leaders, well-known bloggers, opposition leaders, and intellects have done more than their "fair" share in showing their outrage on RPK incarceration. Taking a quick survey, you could find news and articles written by our leaders and prominent intellects; We have Bakri Musa's "Beware! Cavemen Working!" and "Pak Lah Desecrating Ramadan"; Farish Noor's "Eidul Fitri In Prison"; Azly Rahman's "Hadhari, human rights, hypocrisy" and "Set Raja Petra free – this true defender of Islam and the rights of many"; Lim Kit Siang's "ISA for RPK and show-cause letters to three newspapers while 3-year Umno suspension for Ahmad Ismail – is this the Abdullah justice and rule of law?"; Malek Imitiaz Sarvar's "Let us not forget RPK and other ISA detainee" and "We must not lose faith. The fight has not ended, it has just begun"; Zaid Ibrahim's "Open Letter to PM"; Lim Guan Eng's "Don’t review ISA, bin it!"; Muslims Professional Forum's "The Qur’an guarantees Freedom of Expression, so Free Raja Petra and all ISA detainees"; Abdul Aziz Mustafa's "Majority Melayu dan rakyat tolak ISA"; Transparency International Malaysia's "Statement on Raja Petra and ISA"; Marina Petra Abdullah's "Straight From The Heart". Above articles, which are just a portion of all writings in support of RPK, amounts to 15 thousand words and probably hundred hours of work. It seems obvious that those articles are necessary conditions for helping release RPK, but it is also obvious that they are not sufficient conditions for releasing him.
So, with the best of our intellects coming out with the sharpest articles, we still cannot successfully pressure BN-UMNO Administration to release RPK. With the highest level of the opposition leaders and religion leaders condemning the incarceration, we still are no match with BN-UMNO's state machinery. Does it mean if the cream of our nation has stood up and we still do not succeed in freeing RPK, then we the common people should either throwing in the tower (and call quit) or just wait-and-see? After all, each common people cannot author article with quality matching those of intellects such as Bakri Musa, neither can each common people exert influence come close to opposition leaders such as Anwar Ibrahim. Shall we the common people quit?
Hope is still there because of our democracy system - albeit one with many potholes. While we need the best of our intellects to provide us guidance, each common person's vote is actually as powerful as that of one top intellect or one first tier leader. Every shrewd BN-UMNO MP scares more of ten Makciks (older women) calling in with unpolished language saying that "Kerajaan is dah kurang ajar; itu zalim sangat bagi Raja Petra lockup untuk dua tahun. Kalau Raja Petra tidak dibebas, anak-anak and cucu-cucu saya akan kutuk kamu; Saya tidak akan undi mu"; These calls are more effective than one top intellect calling in lecturing that "Raja Petra incarceration is the travesty of justice of the highest degree; Our democracy is at risk". The shrewd MP scares more of the ten Makcik calls because the calls imply the dissatisfaction have gone to the grass-root, and his/her political career will soon end in a humiliating manner. The vote is common people ace card. Democracy is after all for common people.
Civil society exercising its threat of votes is in full display in the last week US $700B bailout plan. Despite both the Democrat and Republican top leaders had agreed on the first round of the bailout plan, the torrential constituents calls with 20-1 against the initial plan have pressured sufficient congress men and women to votes against the initial plan and at the same time against the wills of their respective party leaders. The original plan failed to pass as the result. Those congress men and women are kind? No, they scare to lose their seats because they know they will sure lose the votes of those expressing views against the plan.
Therefore, we the common people should not throw in the tower yet or sit at the sideline. We shall regroup, re-plan, and find ways to prevail.
It is prudent to look into how we have done with our previous Action Proposal #002 before we re-plan our next step. From the poll, we have 253 people voted the options, compared 153 people in the first action proposal. Out of 253 people, 121 people (47%) have chosen Option 2, i.e. "Wear Free-RPK T-Shirts to PM Hari Raya Open House". However, we have only 38 people, out of the 121 people who commit to execute Option 2, actually executed the Option 2. We have say-do (i.e. what you say and what you do) effective rate of 38/121= 31%. We have focus-rate (i.e. a measure how much we heed the majority decision) of 38/253= 15%. Fortunately, the 38 people turn out to be exercising very superb leadership by inviting also their friends and family, and make the total participants of Option 2 to be around 183! Keep in mind that those participants might spread out over the entire Open House period; While Hindraf group who attended the Open house in a group get the most headline, other participants who silently walk with Free-RPK T-Shirt at various time frame might have the different type of effect. Some people with half-empty perspective might bemoan the 31% say-do effective rate, I think we should rather focus on the half-full perspective and figure out how we could turn the 121 people and even more to do what they say they would like to do next time.
We observe the small hardcore group of 38 people is highly effective. We also observe the potential of mobilizing about 250 people for future action proposal. If we call the top intellects and Pakatan Rakyat leaders as the top tier leaders, we could call the 250 people as the second tier leaders. The second tier leaders have access to Internet and each of them has potential to influent 4-8 friends to join the cause. This Action Proposal shall focus on the you as second tier leaders because you are capable of strengthening the root of local activism, a pivotal role to eventually freeing RPK and future civil right actions.
From the comment feedback, we hear that the second tier leaders also have kids to feed and they don't like the analogy of the 1-2-3-Step as "Prepare the gun, aim the target, and shoot". So, this action proposal shall ensure the rice-bowl and safety of the second tier leaders intact. We should keep in mind of our strength in number, our creativity, our connectedness through Internet, and our ideal while also aware of our weaknesses such as vulnerability to state power and our unstructured nature. We shall then define our playing field (or "battle field" if you will) in a way of our advantage.
Dear the second tier leaders,
Step 1: Layout the analysis and options (Oct 10 - 10 PM Oct 17)
We would like everyone to comment the feasibility, impact, and risk of the following options which are extracted from many blog sites:
--------------------Option 1 ---------------------------
Option 1: Execute "900-unit" Accountability on MP
This option requires each of us to do these
- Meet your MP, then express your concern of our civil right being at stake due to RPK incarceration.
- During the meeting, please also ask a specific set of questionnaire (See below)
- Influence at least two more friends to come along with you in the meeting
The questionnaire are:
1) Do you support the arrest of RPK under ISA without trial?
Choose one of the answers:i)Yes; ii)No; iii) I don't know
2) If yes for Question 1, what would you do if I am arrested under ISA without trial?
Choose one of the answers:i)Nothing, because that must be your fault because the Home Minister decides so; ii) I will figure out what is going on as your MP; iii) I don't know
3) If no for Question 1, what would you do?
Choose one of the answers:i) Nothing; ii) I will check with my party leader and find out some actions; iii) I don't know
(If the answer for Question 3 is "I will check with my leader and find out some actions", please make sure to ask when you can call back to check the status).
Please make sure you give your MP a copy of the answered questionnaire. Then please also send the result of your questionnaire to email@example.com, mentioning which MP involved and your intention to be anonymous or not. Stretching your imagination, it should not hard to imagine how we are going to make use of the answers. We will first publish the answers in a table in popular website; Then create news, write articles to analyze it, and shine the spotlight on it. Also a good asset for the next election. The usage of it is probably limited to only our imagination.
We have been demanding accountability. However, as you know, a boss cannot get accountability from his employees by just telling that he want accountability; Insteads, he need to create the mechanism for the accountability to work. Here is our first step to keep our MP to be accountable.
The effect of this option is give a sense of mass mobilization to keep MP accountable thorough the tabulated answers. We might be able to get about 300 meeting conducted based on our past record. Another future effect might be derived from how we make use of that answers -- a candidate for future actions. Why 900-unit accountability ?- it is derived from 250 potential second tier leaders with 20 % improvement plus two friends for each of them.
Risk Analysis: No risk; You meet your MP out of civic duty.
--------------------End of Option 1 ---------------------------
Option 2: Throw 1800 darts to hasten the demise of Syed Hamid Albar
This option requires each of us to do at least two of the following items:
- Call PM office (03-8888 8000)
- Write to prominent writers/bloggers
- Call or meet a MP (Contact info is here)
Under this option, each of us also is required to influence two more friends to do the above.
In your meeting or email, please express your lost of confidence to the Home minister; You also feel ashamed as a citizen for having him in the Cabinet because of his utter incompetence in the case of explaining "arrest you under ISA for your protection" and dire mistake in arresting MP Terasa Kok without proper investigation. Then please express as a concerned citizen you would like him being fired by our "beloved" PM. The goal of writing to prominent writers/bloggers is to tell them the collective outrage and urge them (i.e. the 1st tier leaders) to write a more influential article to condemn Syed Hamid. Let's shine the spot light on Syed Hamid's incompetent with all means not limited to the case of RPK incarceration.
The goal of this collective action is to see if we can create a crack to eventually cause the demise of Syed Hamid. With 5 month left as PM, AAB (or his forth-floor boys) might find public outrage of Syed Hamid is actually a golden opportunity to show his gut and fire Syed Hamid as the scapegoat. It is quite common in politic of other part of the world where top leaders choose scapegoat from his lieutenants as a way to survive the blame. Firing Syed Hamid also provides AAB a chance to regain his reform (not that we want to give many hope on this) without much to lose. Why 1800 "darts" - it is derived from 250 potential second tier leaders with 20% improvement from previous action proposal; do the math. Lame duck premiers, such as Mikhail Gobachev in his last months in office, normally like to show his "people side".
Once Syed Hamid is removed, then our request to release RPK is easier fulfilled because BN Administration can then blame on Syed Hamid's incompetence. The story flows pretty good for the government.
Risk Analysis: no risk; we just execute our civic duty. The decision to fire Syed Hamid is still that of AAB. Remember to cheer AAB if he does eventually fire Syed Hamid and show he is the "man" -something he much crave for after being beaten up inside UMNO. We don't hate him, do we?
--------------------End of Option 2---------------------------
Option 3: Provide "900-unit Support" for Imams to come out to support RPK.
This Option, which acquired second highest votes in the last action proposal, requires each of us who are of Islam faith to hold a talk to at least one Imam or immediate Islam teacher expressing your concern on RPK arrest under the guise of insulting to Islam; And also tell your Imam that you do not love less of your fellow Muslims simply because RPK exposes the ill of the fellow Muslims. Beside you action to meeting with Imam, this option also requires you to influent at least two more friends to do the above. If you are not a Muslim, this Option requires you to convince at least three of your Muslim friends to hold the aforementioned talk. Use the articles links mentioned in the beginning part of this proposal if applicable.
Initial effect analysis: Based on our previous poll, this action shall result into roughly 900 actual conversations. This collective action shall reduce the credibility of the government case for incarcerating RPK under ISA.
--------------------End of Option 3 ---------------------------
--------------------Option 4 ---------------------------
Option 4: Organize RPK Parties to quadruple future dart throwers (i.e. 1000)
This Option requires each of us to organize a party for your respective friends who might share the same concern for RPK or justice or civil right in general. Of course, the organizer need to coordinate some goodies for the party. Come on, we need ideas from bloggers here for an interesting party! Beside the fun part, just make copies of RPK articles and links mentioned above that you feel strongly about and start giving them out and start discussion.
The effect of this Option will not be immediately contributing to RPK release. However, we need party like this to support each others and establish sense of comradery; it is good place to create team from your existing friends. If each of us, after the party, could invite 3 more friends to sign up for the Malaysia Civil Right Actions, then we could easily quadruple the number of future "dart throwers" to 1000.
Risk Analysis: No risk since the party is among your friends. Also, friendship is strengthened when we have common cause requiring each others; Near-complete self-sufficiency in modern world give a false sense of independence among us.
--------------------End of Option 4 ---------------------------
--------------------Option 5 ---------------------------
Option 5: No action for now
You might want to choose this option if you think the other options are not appropriate or effective or other reasons.
When you cast your vote, you are making a promise to your fellow Malaysians: I do my part and you do your part, and at some point we will "meet". You are not making a promise to the author of this proposal.
If you cannot make a commitment (for whaever reason) for those actions, you should just vote "Option 5: No action for now".
Step 3: Everyone executes the Option with the highest score (Oct 18-Oct 23)
In order to make the maximum impact, you are highly recommended to execute the action with the highest score even though you have not voted the highest score action. That is how we act collectively for maximum effect. (You of course are still encouraged to execute the other actions not voted in if you have additional time and resources).
The voted option should be carried out between Oct 18-Oct 23 , and thus allow you to come back to this site for taking a Post-Action poll which shall give us an objective feedback of our collective effort and provide us means for improvement.
Dear Fellow Malaysians and Potential Second Tier Leaders,
Unlike the majority first tier Leaders, you have down-to-earth concerns such as your kids to feed, your securty, and your future when you involve in civil right movement. These latest action proposal is adjusted to suit you. The actions also appeal to your leadership among your close friends.
Our first tier leaders have done their part, it is time for us, the potential second tier leaders, to act within our capacity. This action proposal tries to play a part by coordinate us for maximum effect.
We would like to appeal for volunteers to do these two coordination-related tasks:
- Translate this action proposal to Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese, and Tamil.
- Compose future action desription with detail and send to us to be compiled together. An action/option description mentioning only "nominating RPK to nobel peace prize" will not cut it; We need detail telling each of us what to do and leverage on our capacity such as those indicated in the polls.
Please subscribe to the Malaysia Civil Right Action Group to receive action reminders. We now have more than 70 people sign-up. If you concern your current email exposure, please sign-up another new email account (for free) for receiving the action reminders.