Friday, September 20, 2013

Forum in commemoration of the 12th Anniversary Sahabat Rakyat Working Committee (Panel speakers: Wong Tack, Hew Kuan Yau, Low Sik Thong and others) 【Updated on 25 September】

Forum in commemoration of the 12th Anniversary
Sahabat Rakyat Working Committee
(Panel speakers: Wong Tack, Hew Kuan Yau,
Low Sik Thong and others)

Media statement dated 20 September 2013

【Updated on 25 September】 Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia (GBM) accepted our invitation and delegated Mr. Zaid Kamaruddin, Vice-Chair of GBM to join this forum.

Sahabat Rakyat Working Committee is a human rights organisation originated from Johor, formerly worked under the banner of SUARAM, but started to operate independently commencing January this year. We will be celebrating the 12th Anniversary of our organisation. Particulars are as follows:

Date: 20 October 2013 (Sunday)
Time: 2:30pm – 7:00pm (Forum: 2:30pm to 5:30pm; Dinner: 5:30pm to 7:00pm)
Venue: Cathay Restaurant, Kulai, Johor

Admission at 2pm sharp to ensure sufficient time for Q&A session.

The theme of the forum is “NGOs・Parliamentary Struggle・ Democracy and Human Rights”. We hope to explore further on the following:

1. The role of NGOs in our country should be the one with the people.
2. How should NGOs deem and make use of parliamentary struggle (including struggles within and outside Parliament)
3. Current mission of democratic and human rights movement in our country.

Through this forum, we wish to explore the path NGOs should take to move the democratic and human rights movement more effectively, together with the state and national democratic parties and groups. We also seek to weaken UMNO hegemonic rule further till it is buried together with its racist system.

Among the invited speakers include Mr. Wong Tack, Chairperson of Himpunan Hijau; Dr. Hew Kuan Yau, political scholar and political worker; Mr. Low Sik Thong, leader of Chinese association; a delegate from religious group and a delegate from Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia (GBM). They will share their views on the theme from their respective point of view.

We invite these speakers due to the main considerations below:

1. Wong Tack, Chair of Himpunan Hijau is one of the prominent leaders of the environmental as well as democratic and human rights movement in Malaysia in recent years. He seized the opportunity in mobilising the masses, successfully led the protest action on 28 April 2012 together with Bersih 2.0 chaired by Ambiga. The unprecedented number of participants (estimated at around 200 thousand people) is record breaking in the history of the popular struggle in Malaysia. They set a shining model for the joint action of NGOs against UMNO hegemonic rule.

Besides, he took part in GE13 this year, in his capacity as the representative of NGO, contested Bentong parliamentary seat under the banner of DAP. He swore to bring the voice of the people calling for the closure of Lynas factory, and opposing environmental hazards to the parliament. Although he lost the election, he sets an excellent example for NGOs to maintain their independent and autonomous stand in the political struggle.

2. Dr. Hew Kuan Yau has been researching the theory and practice of democratic socialism struggle for many years. He has some insightful opinions and firm stand on the leftist and political movement in Malaysia. He had been the general secretary of Democratic Action Party (DAP) Socialist Youth, the director of DAP Political Education Bureau and the Chinese editor of “The Rocket” of DAP and some other important position, before he pursued and obtained his doctorate degree abroad.

When the 13th general election (GE13) loomed, Hew had actively given talks and speeches all around the country to raise the political ideology and awareness of the public. He always delivered his speech in layman’s terms and in a lively and humorous manner, which had won the heart of the broad masses. After 505 (GE13), Hew has commented that the leaders of progressive parties in Malaysia should seize the right opportunities, mobilise the people of all ethnicities, integrate parliamentarism and mass struggles, in order to confront with the BN hegemonic rule.

3. Lawyer Low Sik Thong is a veteran leader of Chinese organisations in Malaysia. He was the President of Nanyang University Alumni Association of Malaya, Chief of general affairs of Dong Zong, Deputy President of Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH) and Director of Dong Jiao Zong. He had led The Joint Declaration 1985 by Chinese associations, National Human Rights Society (Hakam) etc. Currently, Low is the Deputy President of Lim Lian Geok Cultural Development Centre and Chief of general affairs of Merdeka University Berhad.

Low all the while emphasizes the independence and initiative of Chinese organisations and associations. In the end of the last century, he also advocated and practised on “strengthening the opposition political parties to realise two-front system”. Low, though is an experienced lawyer, he freed his mind from the shackles of legitimacy on democracy and human rights related issues. We hope that, Low with his experience and background in Chinese associations, would provide insight into such issues which will serve as invaluable reference for democratic parties, groups and individuals at large.

​4. We have also invited a leader of religious group who is active in Southern Peninsular Malaysia. The profound impression of this leader gives to the public is his courage in criticising the corruption and abuse of power of BN from the religious perspective pursuing justice and equality. He is not only concerned about the suppression faced by non-Muslims, but also other social problems.

We hope that he can put forward his invaluable views from the perspective of religious group. We also hope that this forum and his views will stimulate other religious groups and leaders to share their invaluable opinions on this forum’s theme. We wish we could build up the network with various religious groups and leaders on this issue.
We are much obliged that Dr. Hew Kuan Yau, Mr. Low Sik Thong and Mr. Wong Tack have agreed to be the panel speakers of this forum. The leader of religious group is unable to attend as he has church activities scheduled earlier. Anyhow, we still very much hope that he could provide a paper for this forum. 

Also, a scholar well respected by NGOs proposed our working committee to include a Malay or Indian speaker. Therefore, our committee has invited Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia (GBM) to appoint a Malay or Indian delegate as one of the panel speakers. 【Updated on 25 September】 GBM accepted our invitation on 24 September and delegated Mr. Zaid Kamaruddin, Vice-Chair of GBM to join this forum. Thus making the forum more meaningful.

We also wish that NGOs’ leaders and activists in promoting democratic and human rights movement will seize this opportunity to exchange and share their ideas.

In order to achieve a deeper impact to the public discourse, and for speakers to convey their views more thoroughly, Sahabat Rakyat Working Committee requests the text of the speech (unlimited numbers of words) from each panel prior to the forum, so that the text could be included in the handout of the forum, which will be made available to all participants. We will also be sending them to organizations and media and upload them onto our website ( in the morning on the day of the forum.

Coupons are available at RM40 each (VIP seat RM800 / table). For those who are interested, feel free to contact mobile no. 016-7782707 or email or facebook (

You can also read the statement in Bahasa Melayu and Mandarin.


Pengumuman / 启事 / Notification

Pertukaran alamat blog dan e-mel

Selamat sejahtera, Sahabat Rakyat Working Committee akan menggunakan alamat e-mail dan alamat laman web (Blog) yang baru seperti berikut bermula 1 Januari 2014:


Sekian, terima kasih dan Selamat Tahun Baru!







Change of blog and email addresses

Please be informed that Sahabat Rakyat Working Committee will be using the new email and blog addresses below commencing 1 Jan 2014:


Wishing you a progressive new year!



作为活跃于柔佛州的为民主人权和民族尊严而奋斗的两个组织——柔佛州人民之友工委会与柔州兴权会(HINDRAF JOHORE)针对第13届大选,在去年底联合发表了一篇主题为“打破巫统霸权,建立民主联合阵线;团结全州人民,实现三大迫切诉求”的《告柔佛州人民书》;我们毫不犹疑,也毫不含糊主张“把国阵抛弃到历史的垃圾堆中去”。




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