Hartal ISA on standby mode

Posted on September 19, 2008


I was at the PKR press con yesterday afternoon. The full text of Anwar’s press statement may be read HERE.

Some of you wanted to sight the letter sent by the PR leadership day before yesterday to Pak Lah seeking a meeting to judge for yourselves whether Pak Lah or Anwar was fibbing about the letter referring to the ‘transition of power’. A copy of that letter, in pdf, is linked below.


Most of you who responded to the ‘…we, the rakyat will Hartal ISA…’ have firmly committed to support the Hartal ISA initiative, and have urged that it be launched,

My friends who are involved in this effort and I are grateful for the encouragement and the pledges of support that we have received.

Many of you have rightly pointed out that this initiative will require meticulous planning. That is being undertaken even as I write this.

Some of you have written in to say that you are not quite sure what ‘hartal’ entails.

Let me try and illustrate what we have in mind this way.

I first posed the question whether we should Hartal ISA on 14th September.

To my surprise, on that very day, i got an e-mail from Fahmi Reza, the man who gave us the documentary, ‘Sepuluh Tahun Sebelum Merdeka’ to say that he ‘sokong cadangan kau untuk rakyat adakan Hartal pada 16 Sept nanti!’ and ‘Aku akan hasilkan lebih banyak graphic dan post dalam blog 10tahun nanti’.

Fahmi, if you are reading this, I must apologise because in the madness that had engulfed us all in the days following immediately after the ISA detentions on 12th September, I overlooked to reply to your e-mail to say that we had not settled on the date of 16th September, let alone whether to go through with Hartal ISA.

And Fahmi went ahead and had his own Hartal on 16th September.

This is what he wrote in his blog on 16th September :

‘Hari ini aku berhartal. Maksudnya dari jam 6 pagi tadi sampai ke 12 tengahmalam nanti, aku ambil bahagian dalam satu tindakan mogok dan general stoppage of work.

Ertinya aku…
…tak keluar bekerja
…tak naik bas
…tak naik LRT
…tak bawa motor
…tak pergi pasar
…tak keluar beli suratkhabar
…tak pergi shopping
…tak beli apa-apa barang
…tak keluar makan
…tak keluar tengok wayang
…tak keluar lepak dengan kawan-kawan
…batalkan semua temujanji aku hari ni
…terpaksa cancel interview dengan media untuk cakap pasal Revolusi ‘48
…tak pergi acara sambutan Hari Malaysia hari ni
…tak pergi candle-light vigil malam nanti
…tak pergi parti housewarming kawan malam nanti

Aku hanya duduk kat rumah”

Please take some time out to read the rest of what Fahmi had to say on his 916 Hartal HERE.

I think Fahmi has succinctly described what we will all be doing if and when Hartal ISA is launched. If each of us could keep to Fahmi’s summary of what he did on 916, we would each have successfully done our part for Hartal ISA.

So why is Hartal ISA on standby mode?

Let me explain this by first alluding to what Anwar said at the press con yesterday afternoon, what’s happened since, take on board some rumours and some reliable info and then lend my attempt to try and fill in some of the blanks arising from what Anwar did not say at the press con.

You’ve all read all the reports by now about the request that has been sent to Pak Lah that an emergency sitting of the Dewan Rakyat be convened next Tuesday, 23rd September.

To questions as to what Pakatan Rakyat would do if Pak Lah rejects outright this request as he did with the earlier request for a meeting, Anwar resorted to the standard ‘PR leadership will meet to  consider the next course of action’ or something like that. Pressed further, Anwar acknowledged that seeking an audience with the Agong in such eventuality was certainly an option that would be contemplated.

As expected, last night, Pak Lah dismissed the request for the emergency sitting of Dewan Rakyat as being unnecessary.

So what now?

Based on info received, it is understood that PR has already requested for an audience with His Majesty and hope to be given that audience some time today.

Now I speculate.

If that audience takes place today, Anwar is expected to lead a delegation who will now formally appraise His Majesty of the crisis of governance at hand : a federal government led by one who no longer has the confidence of the majority of MPs and to further formally  inform His Majesty that Anwar now has the confidence of a majority of those same MPs.

Still speculating.

His Majesty having been so appraised of and presumably made privy to the numbers and names of MPs who are said to have crossed over from BN to PR, may summon Pak Lah. Pak Lah can be expected to dispute the assertion by PR.

I’m still speculating.

His Majesty may seek legal advice as to how to resolve this crisis. He may well be advised that a vote on a motion of no confidence in the Dewan Rakyat may well conclusively resolve the question of who has the confidence of the majority of the MPs : Pak Lah or Anwar?

His Majesty might also be advised that pursuant to Article 55(1) of the Federal Constitution, His Majesty is empowered to summon Parliament.

One last speculation.

His Majesty, with a view to resolving this crisis, may direct that an emergency sitting of Parliament ( or more specifically, the Dewan Rakyat ) be convened to enable the issue of the confidence or otherwise in Pak Lah’s leadership be resolved by a vote on an appropriate motion. This may or may not be set for the date as requested by PR.

My friends who are working on the Hartal ISA effort and I feel that we should put on hold any call to Hartal ISA for now whilst we monitor any and all developments in the next 12 hours, unless rumours that were rife last night that the detention of Anwar was imminent turn out to be true.

If Anwar is detained as is now rumoured, my friends and I will urge that Hartal ISA be launched immediately whilst we collaborate with other friends in civil society on any other appropriate action that might be taken in those circumstances.

We are now working to lay the groundwork to take Hartal ISA as far and as wide as possible, if and when it should be launched.

Whilst we are in standby mode, you could do your part in trying to make this effort more effective if and when it is launched.

Start spreading word of this to your friends, colleagues and family members. Explain to them why it might be launched. Help to ge them all in standby mode.

Could we have sample sms’s in English, BM, Mandarin and Tamil sent in so that these may be put up for people to use if and when the effort is launched, please?

Posted in: People Power