Hundreds of Malaysian students in Taiwan yesterday rallied in Liberty Square in Taipei yesterday — as Malaysian students in 25 cities around the world did — to demand free and clean elections and to protest the arrests of hundreds of pro--democracy demonstrators in Malaysia.
“A lot of Malaysians are not happy about politics in Malaysia, but they are not talking, because they think they would be better off remaining silent, but silence would not get us anywhere,” Cheng Xin Rou (鄭欣柔), a Malaysian student at National Taiwan University’s (NTU) Graduate Institute of Building and Planning, told the crowd in yellow, who reacted to her words with loud cheers and applause.
“We want fair and clean elections for a better democracy,” she said. “I’m not saying this because I am in Taiwan, I would have said the same thing and joined the protesters in Kuala Lumpur if I were in Malaysia at this moment. I will eventually go back to Malaysia, and I will take part in social movements there.”
Photo: Loa Iok-sin, Taipei Times
Cheng and the Malaysian students at the rally were upset because they believe elections are seriously manipulated by the ruling party — which has been in power since the independence of Malaysia in 1963 — and because of the arrests of hundreds of members and supporters of the Bersih movement that calls for clean elections.
All the demonstrators and their Taiwanese supporters wore yellow and brought yellow umbrellas or even bananas, because it was the color chosen by the Bersih movement in Malaysia when they printed their own T-shirts.
“The Malaysian government is arresting supporters of the Bersih movement; I wonder if the word bersih [Malay for ‘clean’] would be erased from the dictionary, and we would only be able to find the words ‘dirty’ and ‘not so dirty’ in the dictionary?” said Chan Kuang Ming (陳洸銘), a Malaysian student from National Chi Nan University and a co--organizer of the rally. “Does the government think that the people are so ignorant that we don’t know what tricks they are playing when the power goes off in the middle of the vote-counting, and when they sent in boxes of [stamped] ballots into poll stations?”
He said the protesters were not mobilized by the opposition, “we are Malaysian students who care about our own country, and coordinated among ourselves to organize this rally.”
Speaking about election irregularities, another co-organizer of the rally, Pauline Tan (陳俐杏), a student from NTU’s Department of Foreign Languages, said the government was using its power to create an election system that is favorable to them.
“For instance, 48 percent of all registered voters are ‘phantom voters,’ the media outlets are in the control of the government and the campaign period has been reduced from 48 days decades ago to eight days now,” Tan said.
Chang Teck Peng (莊迪澎), the founding editor of an independent online news outlet, Merdeka Review, said it was about time for Malaysia to change, because the ruling party has been in power since the country’s independence.
“Only the rotation of power could bring better life to the people,” he said.
Commenting on recent arrests of pro-democracy activists in Malaysia, Chang said it was actually a good sign.
“The government is making more efforts to crack down on the pro-democracy movement because they are in fear, they know well that public opinion is not on their side,” he said.
In addition to the Malaysians, representatives from several Taiwanese non-governmental organizations, including the Taiwan Association for Human Rights and Amnesty International (AI) Taiwan, also showed up in support.
“Democracy doesn’t just fall down from the sky, it’s the power of the people that can make a change,” AI Taiwan deputy secretary-general Yang Tsung-li (楊宗澧) said. “That’s how Taiwanese earned our democracy, and that’s what the people of Tunisia and Egypt did too. We Taiwanese will always stand with you Malaysians on your struggle for democracy.”
‘VIRUS DIPLOMACY’: The nation’s expertise in handling COVID-19 was among the reasons that it should not be excluded from the WHO, the European Parliament said The European Parliament this week passed resolutions that support Taiwan’s bid to participate in the WHO and its intention to negotiate a trade pact with Taiwan. During its plenary session from Monday to Thursday, the parliament approved resolutions on the foreign policy consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak and the EU’s trade policy, parts of which were viewed as friendly toward Taiwan by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In a statement yesterday, the ministry welcomed the passage of the resolutions and thanked the parliament for its support for Taiwan. In the first resolution, the parliament cited Beijing’s increasing threats to Taiwan, the crackdown on
The gig began with a nun chanting on stage, but suddenly erupted into a wall of noise unleashed by distorted guitars and screamed sutras — the unique sound of Taiwan’s first Buddhist death metal band. The nation has a vibrant metal scene, but few outfits are quite as eye-catching as Dharma (達摩樂隊), a band that aims to deliver enlightenment via the medium of throaty eight-string guitars and guttural roars. Dressed in robes — black, of course — they use traditional Sanskrit sutras as lyrics, but everything else screams death metal, from bloody face paint on stage to growled vocals, relentless riffs and
LOOPHOLES: The people behind biased media content produced by a Chinese network, likely without sending staff to Taiwan, remain anonymous, a source said Beijing’s latest attempt at psychological warfare through heavily biased online media is aimed at sowing discord and polarizing Taiwanese society, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said. The council’s comment came in response to Chinese network Southeast Television, which late last month began broadcasting an online program featuring commentary by Taiwanese unification supporters that authorities suspect was filmed illegally in Taiwan. To circumvent cross-strait regulations, the broadcaster collaborated with online service provider Baidu to air the series titles Diverse Voices From the Taiwan Strait (台海百家說). Only Taiwanese are shown on camera, without revealing the host, interviewer or production team. In one video, political commentator and
SUPPRESSION: Michael Tsai, a former defense minister, said that Beijing’s list of Taiwan independence advocates contravenes the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights The best way to respond to threats from China against Taiwan independence advocates is for the president to publicly reiterate Taiwan’s sovereignty, former minister of national defense Michael Tsai (蔡明憲) said on Sunday. Chinese media on Nov. 15 said that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was compiling “a list of stubborn Taiwanese separatists and will severely punish them in accordance with [China’s] Anti-Secession Law and hold them accountable for their actions for the rest of their lives.” Chinese media subsequently accused Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) of being a “first-rate war criminal,” because of his policy on mask exports. “The vast majority