Underground Report: What Is The “Third Force” MCLM?

By Audrey Lim

An underground report from the Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement (MCLM) Public Forum, which was held below ground level at London’s Holiday Villa Hotel on 12 December 2010.


On 12 December 2010, the Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement (MCLM) conducted a public forum in London. Speakers included Raja Petra Kamarudin, chairperson of the MCLM; Farouk Peru, Website Coordinator of the MCLM; and Yolanda Augustine, Secretary of the MCLM.

The forum sought to enlighten guests on the importance of civil liberties and having quality parliamentarians in order to ensure that these liberties are safeguarded.

More importantly, the movement was said to be an advocate of change and to repair the defects in Parliament.

In her address, Yolanda defined civil liberties as a class of rights aimed at protecting the freedom of individuals from unwarranted infringement by governments and private organisations. They ensure an individual’s ability to participate in the civil and political life of the state without discrimination, persecution or repression.

Such values have been stripped from Malaysians, regardless of where it has been enshrined — be it on a national scale as stated in the Federal Constitution, or on an international scale as put forward in the United Nations Charter of Human Rights.


Yolanda Augustin, Raja Petra Kamaruddin, and Farouk Peru

Yolanda Augustin, Raja Petra Kamaruddin, and Farouk Peru


This movement is not a new one. Founded in 2007, this movement falls under the category of a “third force,” whereby it is independent of any political parties.

As Raja Petra mentioned in his delivery speech, Members of Parliament (MPs) are commonly known as wakil rakyat (representatives of the people). Their duty is supposed to be to the rakyat, but such spirit has been lost in Parliament due to the bickering among politicians. These wakil rakyat have instead evolved into wakil parti (representatives of the party).

Therefore, the MCLM is now inviting individuals from various civil society movements to participate in the next general election. These individuals will be offered to the Pakatan Rakyat and the discretion of which constituency is to be determined by Pakatan Rakyat themselves, as MCLM does not plan to take over the role of political parties. This is to provide for a stronger opposition in Malaysia and to ensure that the needs of the rakyat are fulfilled. If Pakatan Rakyat refuses to accept the suggested candidate, the candidate will then run as an independent.

As Farouk Peru pointed out, “while politicians can change, causes cannot change.” The MCLM’s key focus is on ideology and not on the cult of personality. The movement’s guidelines are centered on The People’s Declaration (or Deklarasi Rakyat).

Hence, while political parties are not ready to give up their party rhetoric (for example, UMNO being unwilling to give up their championing of Ketuanan Melayu), MCLM hopes to transcend the hierarchical position of political parties, and return the focus on ideologies instead.

Another mission of the MCLM is to promote a flexible democracy.

It is hoped that by putting forward candidates from various civil society movements, the political discourse will return to issues that concern the rakyat. Accordingly, this will help to empower voters and make them feel less distant from their MPs.