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Why This Movement for Reform
Using a Question-and-Answer approach, the President of ADIL tries to explain some of the issues confronting the reform movement.

1. The Prime Minister, Dato Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad has challenged the reformasi people to form a political party. Why haven’t you taken up the challenge?

 We have no intention of dancing to his tune. We do things our way.
 

2. Why have you formed a reform movement and not a political party?

 The desire for reformasi cuts across political party boundaries. Members of government parties want reform as much as members of the opposition parties. This is why we have formed a reform movement which can bring everyone together.

 Besides, those who join political parties in any society constitute a small percentage of the population while those who are demanding reformasi in Malaysia today make up a significant segment of society. They even include civil servants and government officials who are normally not active in party politics. Our movement provides an avenue for them and for others like them to be identified with a good cause.

 Since ADIL is seeking registration as a society under the Societies Act, any government servant can join it.

3. But if ADIL is not a political party, how can it bring about political change?

 Before one can bring about political change, one should have a sound grasp of fundamental political questions such as human rights, the rule of law, democratic governance and so on. Our movement is an attempt to educate our citizens and to raise their level of political awareness so that they will be ready for political change.
 

4. Does this mean that you are not going into politics, that you are not prepared to offer a political alternative to the people?

 If our reform movement discovers that there is overwhelming response to its mission and if the people at that point demand a political response to the situation, we will not disappoint them. We will take up the challenge.
 

5. What does this mean? Does it mean that ADIL will become a political party?

 ADIL has been established as a reform movement. How this reform movement will evolve in the future depends a great deal upon the people.
 

6. Will ADIL put up its own candidates in the next General Election? Will its candidates contest under the banner of some other party?

 It is too early to say what ADIL will do in the next General Election. But we’ll cross the bridge when we come to it. For the time being, our reform movement will work with all political parties, NGOs and other groups and individuals committed to justice and democracy. If UMNO and the Barisan are inclined towards these goals, we’ll be prepared to work with them. I believe that a lot of the ordinary members in UMNO and the other Barisan parties are concerned about what is happening in the country today. They too want a just society where there is no authoritarianism and no abuse of power.
 

7. An ex-ISA detainee, Malik Hussein has proclaimed himself a spokesperson for the reformasi movement and says that the movement will soon be establishing a political party.

 It should be clear from what we are doing today that we are launching a reform movement outside party politics. Malik Hussein and other are welcome to join our reform movement.
 

8. Why is it called ADIL and not REFORMASI?

 It is both. Reformasi is the process. Keadilan sosial is the goal.
 

9. As a reform movement, what is the attitude of ADIL to GERAK and GAGASAN?

 We applaud the goals of GERAK and GAGASAN. Both these coalitions are doing good work. Our reform movement will cooperate with them to further the cause of justice.
 
 

10. If GERAK, GAGASAN and other groups are working towards similar goals - the goals of democratic reform and social justice - what was the necessity of forming another group called ADIL?

 While it is true that other groups are also fighting for the cause of a more just society, there is no denying that in the wake of Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s sacking from government and UMNO, and his subsequent arrest, a large section of the hitherto uncommitted middle and working classes have become politically alive and conscious. In fact, this consciousness finds expression even in rural communities throughout the nation. People are concerned about issues of human rights and social justice. In the past, they were comfortable with UMNO and the Establishment. Now they are disillusioned. They need an organisation to identify with, an organisation which will articulate their hopes and aspirations. This is where our reform movement comes in. It fills a vacuum in Malaysian society.
 

11. How does ADIL stand in relation to the reformasi demonstrators? Does it condone those demonstrations? Does it condone violence?

 ADIL defends the right of people to assemble peacefully. This is not only a right contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it is a right embodied in the Malaysian Constitution. Those patriotic Malaysians concerned about justice and fair play who have been gathering at Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, Kampung Baru and other places have the right to demonstrate peacefully. We know that they did not provoke the violence that may have occurred. Those who are guilty of violence are those who beat up the demonstrators harshly; those who used water cannons and tear gas on people who were merely exercising their right of peaceful assembly. ADIL condemns the use of violence, whoever the perpetrators may be. In our Declaration and Press Statement announcing the birth of our reform movement, we make it very clear that we seek reform through peaceful, democratic means.
 

12. How will ADIL fund its activities?

 ADIL will draw upon the resources of its supporters and endorsers within the country. For a Malaysian reform movement to succeed, it must be supported morally and materially by the Malaysian people. We are confident that the Malaysian people will come forward and provide financial assistance to our movement.
 

13. What sort of activities will ADIL organise?

 ADIL wll only be able to carry out its activities formally after it is registered under the Societies Act. In the meantime, ADIL will participate in programmes organised by NGOs and other organisations which share similar concerns.

 For a start, ADIL has set up a website. Its address is members.easyspace.com/reformasi. Through the website, we invite all Malaysians who endorse ADIL’s “reformasi” to come forward and register their support.

 Our reform movement will also provide support and assistance to victims of political injustice and oppression. We will make an attempt to document violations of human rights as a result of the present crisis.

 As we had announced in our Press Statement and Declaration, ADIL will provide in-depth analysis of the economic crisis and come up with solutions. Towards this end, we hope to establish a focus group on the economy.
 

14. Are you hopeful about getting ADIL registered soon?

 We shall submit our application for registration under the Societies Act as soon as possible. On our part, we’ll make sure that the Registrar of Societies has no excuse to deny our registration. In the spirit of democracy and the Malaysian Constitution, we hope that the government will grant us our certificate of registration to enable us to operate legally. The sooner this is done the better it would be for everyone.
 

15. Will ADIL try to reach out to the grassroots in its activities?

 This will undoubtedly be one of ADIL’s principal objectives. As a reform movement rooted in the people’s hopes and aspirations, we will try to establish branches and divisions throughout the country. In this way, the people will be able to participate in, and identify with, the movement.
 

16. What is your hope for the future?

 In the last three months since Anwar’s sacking, we have witnessed an unprecedented expression of popular concern for justice and fair play. This concern for justice marks a turning point in the history of our nation. We hope and pray that with the help of our reform movement and other groups, it will lead to a new dawn - a dawn where the ray of freedom and justice will light this beloved land of ours.
 

December 10,1998                                                    Dr. Wan Azizah Bte. Dr. Wan Ismail