Time for a hartal

Are we truly independent? Or did we just switch the white British colonialists with brown colonialists? Did we merely kick out one dictator, ten thousand miles away, and replace it with ten thousand dictators one mile away?


Raja Petra Kamarudin

The federal government is sending each of us a $600 rebate.
If we spend that money at Wal-Mart, the money goes to China.
If we spend it on gasoline, it goes to the Arabs.
If we buy a computer, it will go to India.
If we purchase fruits and vegetables, it will go to Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala.
If we purchase a good car, it will go to Germany and Japan.
If we purchase useless crap, it will go to Taiwan.
In short, none of it will help the American economy.
The only way to keep that money here at home is to spend it on prostitutes and beer, since these are the only products still produced in the US.

Dr. Marc Faber


Dr. Marc Faber's company, Marc Faber Limited, acts as an investment advisor company concentrating on value investments with tremendous upside often based on contrarian investment philosophies. Faber also invests and acts as a fund manager to private wealthy clients. Faber is a regular speaker on the investment circuit, often quoted in the financial press for his non-conformist viewpoint and alternative investment philosophies. His current — if eccentric — tagline is: 'buy a $100 US bond and frame it to teach your children about inflation by watching the US bond value diminish to almost nothing over the next 20 years'. Faber is famous for advising his clients to get out of the stock market one week before the October 1987 crash. – Wikipedia


Hartal is a term in many Indian languages for strike action, used often during the Indian Independence Movement. It is mass protest often involving a total shutdown of workplaces, offices, shops, courts of law, etc., as a form of civil disobedience. In addition to being a general strike, it involves the voluntary closing of schools and places of business. It is a mode of appealing to the sympathies of a government to change an unpopular or unacceptable decision.

Hartal was originally a Gujarati expression signifying the closing down of shops and warehouses with the object of realising a demand. MK Gandhi, the Indian national leader from Gujarat, organised a series of anti-British general strikes, which he called hartals, thereby institutionalising it.

In Bangladesh a hartal is a constitutionally recognised political method for articulating any political demand.

In Sri Lanka, it is often used to refer specifically to the 1953 hartal of Ceylon. Hartals are still common in India, Bangladesh and in northern and eastern Sri Lanka.

In Malaysia, the word "hartal" was used to refer to various general strikes in the 1940s, 50s and 60s, such as the All-Malaya hartal of 1947 and the Penang hartal of 1967.

The word hartal in India is also used in humorous sense to mean abstaining from work. Another variant, which is common in Hindi-speaking regions, is the bhukh hartal, which translates as hunger strike. – Wikipedia


The recent Manik Urai by-election proved even more that Barisan Nasional, in particular Umno, depends on money for its survival. RM1,000 in cash was paid to every voter in Manik Uria, resulting in Pakatan Rakyat almost losing the by-election. One just can’t ignore the power of money. And money is one thing that Barisan Nasional has plenty of. Plenty of money would translate to plenty of power as well.

To cut Barisan Nasional and Umno down to size, we have to hit them where it hurts most. And it hurts most when the pocket is hit. So, to hurt Barisan Nasional and Umno, we must hit them in the pocket. And this means hitting the source of that money, the companies that are paying Barisan Nasional and Umno huge sums of money to help them stay in power.

Who are these crony companies? Which are the companies that are paying Barisan Nasional and Umno huge sums of money? Where did all this money come from? How much of that money actually belongs to you and me, the rakyat?

Companies are in the business of making money. You do not set up a company to do charity. Companies have only one philosophy in mind and it can be summed up in just three words: profit, profit, profit.

So we need to reduce the profit of these companies. We need to cut into their war chest so that they have very little left to give to Barisan Nasional and Umno. Companies depend on licences, permits, quotas, government contracts, political patronage and whatnot to survive. And to procure these licences, permits, quotas, government contracts, political patronage and whatnot, they need to pay ‘under the table’ money to those who walk in the corridors of power. Bribery makes the world go round in corporate Malaysia. Bribery fuels the government machinery. Business empires are built on bribery, corruption, political patronage and cronyism.

Look for alternatives. Buy products and services from those that are not crony companies. Deny yourself whatever it is you normally indulge yourself in so that these companies do not earn your money, which in the end ends up in the pockets of Barisan Nasional and Umno.

Another way to hurt them financially would be to launch a hartal. On 8 August 2009, a few NGOs and civil society movements are organising a hartal in Perak. They want to turn Perak into a ‘ghost town’. Stay home on 8 August 2009. Don’t leave your house. Empty the streets, shops and restaurants. Do what you need to do the day before. And on 8 August 2009 stay behind the locked doors of your home.

On 31 August 2009 we shall, again, be celebrating Merdeka or Independence Day. Independence was declared on midnight of 30 August 1957. On that day the Union Jack was lowered and proudly replaced with the Malayan flag.

But are we truly independent? Or did we just switch the white British colonialists with brown colonialists? Did we merely kick out one dictator, ten thousand miles away, and replace it with ten thousand dictators one mile away?

No, we are not yet Merdeka. What we have done is merely to replace one colonial government with another. The present government is continuing the oppression and discrimination of the previous government. We need to be truly Merdeka by ending the dictatorial rule of the present government.

There is no reason to celebrate Merdeka. There is no justification to raise the flag this 31 August 2009. Merdeka has not been achieved yet. It will only be achieved when we see a change in government or at least a change in government policy. Only then would it be feasible to celebrate Merdeka.

We need a hartal. We need many hartals. The rakyat need to vote with their feet. They rig the ballot box. Voting with our ballot paper is an uphill task. We must use our feet to vote. And the way to vote with our feet would be to launch and participate in many hartals and boycotts.

Civil disobedience is the order of the day. If we stay home and refuse to buy the products and services of those who are propping up the illegitimate regime the government will eventually crumble. Without our participation the government can do very little. Without our money we will starve them.

If we come out and protest they can use the police against us. If we demonstrate they will brutalise us. But they can’t do anything to us if we launch a hartal. No government can clamp down on civil disobedience.

So do nothing. No one can harm you if you do nothing. And doing nothing involves staying home and not allowing your money to leave your pocket. And if you still need to buy products and services make sure it is not from one of the crony companies.