Anifah Aman makes London the new and improved Bolehland

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been gaining international recognition for Malaysia in the Human Rights arena by speaking out against human rights violations of other nations – albeit selectively – it is a stark contrast to what is practised back home by the Home Ministry. A LoyarBurokker in London reports from the anti-ISA protest there.

By Leong See-See, LOYARBUROK

50 years of the ISA and police brutality were not compelling enough reasons for Malaysians to signal their dismay outside the Malaysian High Commission in London. Some questioned if it was appropriate and chose instead to attend the talk by the Foreign Minister inside the Embassy – throw tough questions at him and have something to eat after. A few offered to come out and intervene if the situation got heated. Others didn’t think it would come to that.

Peaceful demonstration is sometimes a duty and those who thought so were not surprised when Anifah Aman approached them for a civilised dialogue. He was, after all, in charge of Foreign Affairs and diplomacy is his ministry’s expedient course of action.

While Home Affairs and the Royal Malaysian Police deal in domestic violence, Anifah’s ministry speaks out against human rights abuses perpetrated by other governments. Israel was promptly urged not to take drastic and violent action on the unarmed passengers of the Rachel Corrie. Just two weeks ago, Singapore received a plea for clemency for Yong Vui Kong, a Malaysian sentenced to death for drug smuggling. It would seem that member states of the United Nations see the Malaysia Foreign Office as an devoted defender of human rights and so, duly got us elected to the UN Human Rights Council again this year.

Disproportianate use of force at peaceful candlelight vigil in Petaling Jaya

As soon as Anifah Aman arrived at the Malaysian High Commission, he walked across the road to an assembly of concerned Malaysian citizens protesting against the police violence and arrests that marred peaceful candlelight vigils in Malaysia to observe the 50th year of the ISA.

Accompanied by aides and reporters from the NST and Malay Mail, the Foreign Minister broke the ice by saying “Hi” to the organiser. He explained the delays behind the parliamentary debates on the amendments to the ISA and iterated that the law would not be repealed. In the dialogue with the concerned citizens, only Anifah Aman spoke without any interjections from the Malaysian Ambassador or anyone from his delegation who crossed the threshold behind their leader. The opening gambit is commendable, the same format should be approved by Hishamuddin Hussein for home use.