Social Movements in Malaysia Forum, 25 November 2017

On 25 November 2017 KITA as part of the public advocacy initiative hosted a one day forum “Social Movements in Malaysia: A Review 10 Years On, 2007-2017” at North-South Initiative, Petaling Jaya. There was a specific focus on Bersih which first organised its mass mobilisation of people on 10 November, 2007 and Hindraf on 25 November 2007. Ten years have passed and the forum provided an opportunity for academics and activists to revisit the events and draw lessons for us for today.

Thirteen distinguished speakers and panellists participated in the forum. Distinguished Prof. Datuk Dr. Shamsul Amri Baharuddin (KITA) provided a good conceptual and historical overview in researching social movements using a threefold framework namely framing, decision making and resource mobilisation. Reflections were made by Dr. Anantha Raman Govindasamy (UMS), Dr. Arunajeet Kaur (RSIS), Dr. Thaatchaayini Kananatu (Monash), Dr. Khoo Ying Hooi (UM), Dr. Adil Johan (KITA-UKM) and Prof. Johan Saravanamuttu.

The highlight was the views of two people who were directly involved and faced the backlash of the State machinery. YB Ganapathi Rao a former Hindraf activist, former ISA detainee and now Selangor State Exco member. The other is Ms Maria Chin Abdullah, the Bersih chair and her campaign for electoral reform. Rama Ramanathan also brought some analysis of progress or regression.

In addition the moderators for the day were Dato’ Saifuddin Abdullah, Prof. KS Nathan and Datuk Dr. Denison Jayasooria facilitated reflective thoughts and pointers towards future possibilities.

More photos of the forum can be viewed at KITA Facebook.