Kuala Lumpur: Rumah Api, ‘It’s not just punk rock, it’s punk ideology’


14 Sept – Amid the dilapidated shophouses of former tin-mining town of Ampang, one building stands out – its walls painted deep black and bold red, filled with graffiti, while the signboard hanging above is covered in black paint.

On the red and black wall is a drawing of two boys shaking hands. One sports a spiky hairdo, spikes on a black jacket and gloves; the other more conventionally dressed in a hoody.

Pulling open the shophouse’s metal shutters reveals a black brick wall with six “no’s” painted on it in bold white letters – No racism, no sexism, no homophobia, no drugs, no alcohol, and no violence.

Walk through the wooden door to the left, and one would find a small stage and space for an audience of 300. Since all of the musical instruments have been confiscated by the police last month, the stage lies empty.

To the left and to the right of this room are walls filled with graffiti – an explosion of colours that is muted by the counterculture atmosphere of this dimly lit room.

This is the place run by a group of punks as a performance space. Welcome to ‘Rumah Api’.

On Aug 28, the eve of the Bersih 4 rally, police surrounded this shophouse, and arrested and detained more than a hundred revellers for more than 60 hours. It was only then that this place known only to those in the scene, was thrown into the limelight.

A community space

Since 2006, Rumah Api has been an important venue for the local punk and underground rock scene. But to the co-operators of Rumah Api, Man Beranak and Ashed, it is more like a community space for the punks.

“Rumah Api is not just a place for music, it is a place to promote punk ideology and attitude.

“Here, our interests go beyond music,” Man said softly, as he spoke to Malaysiakini during an interview in a smoke-filled living room upstairs.

The idea behind Rumah Api is to promote punk culture to mainstream society in hopes of changing society’s negative views towards the subculture.

The 35-year old Man (photo) is a veteran in the community, and looks after the place on a full-time basis. He lives upstairs from Rumah Api together with his wife.

“We want to show to society that although we may look like rebels, we are not the bad guys.”

The area where Rumah Api is located is predominantly ethnic Chinese while the adjacent area is predominantly Malay. In between, the youths with their tall spiky hair and leather jackets stand out as their patronise the local eateries.

“At first they would feel uncomfortable or even frightened by these ‘aliens’. But we approach them and sometimes they have a problem, so we would offer to help them.

“Over time, they realise that although we may look like bad people, especially with that dreadful-looking green or yellow hair, but they know we are actually a bunch of good boys.”

The punk movement started out as a subculture in the 1970’s music scene, using their flamboyant and eccentric styles as a way to oppose the values of mainstream society.

For Ashed, 26, it was less the fashion but the attitude which led him to Rumah Api’s doors. He wishes, above all, that people would understand punks better.

He said punks are not a group living in its own world, but instead are concerned about the downtrodden and hopes that through community service, it can help these oppressed people.

Soup kitchen, free market and more

‘Food Not Bombs’ is one of Rumah Api’s community service initiative.

Every weekend, Ashed and other punk youths would bring a shopping cart to the Ampang market to collect food items that the traders were unable to sell or are about to throw away, to be cooked and distributed to the homeless and the poor.

But even this straightforward noble cause was wrongly portrayed with a local TV channel broadcasting a reporting claiming “skinheads eat garbage”, he said.

“At first when we sifted through the garbage bins at the Ampang market, the locals asked us what we were doing and whether we’re looking for food because we couldn’t afford to pay for it.

“We told them that we want to cook the food for the poor and the homeless. So the traders said, ‘This is excellent. Next time don’t look through the garbage anymore. Come to our stalls and we will give you the ingredients’,” Man said.

Since then, this group of youths would show up at the market and go stall-to-stall just before they close to collect the unwanted food, and never fail to return with a full load in their trolley.

Continue reading “Kuala Lumpur: Rumah Api, ‘It’s not just punk rock, it’s punk ideology’”

London: Soli-banner at Tourism Malaysia Office against the repression targeted at Rumah Api (UK)


20 Sept – A small act of solidarity from London for Rumah Api (KL): Banner drop outside the Malaysian Embassy on the same day as a massive ‘Malaysia Night’ event takes place in nearby  Trafalgar Square. Rumah Api is a Kuala Lumpur based anarcho-punk social centre and gig space, and was raided by armed police on August 28th. This resulted in 160 people being arrested.



Naga City, Philippines: Food Not Bombs & Film Screening in solidarity with victims of war, 26.09.15


Naga City, Philippines: Fuck War! Food Not Bombs and Film Screening in solidarity with all victims of war, from the Lumads, to West Papua, to Syria and the whole World! Used clothing and food donations will be accepted at the event. Saturday September 26, 4PM at Plaza Rizal, Naga City, Philippines.

(via Greenhouse Infoshop Project)

Bendigo: Anti-muslim and anti-fascist protesters clash


30 August – The centre of the Victorian city of Bendigo was shut down as several hundred people gathered to protest against anti-Islamic groups and show their support for a planned mosque.

Victoria’s planning tribunal approved a permit for the city’s first mosque earlier this month.

On Saturday anti-fascist groups held rallies in opposition to a protest by the anti-Islam group United Patriots Front (UPF), which opposes the mosque.

The anti-racism demonstrators chanted: “Muslims are welcome, racists are not” and “Nazi scum off our streets”.

Police stand in a line in Bendigo at protestsLarge numbers of police officers were on the scene to keep the two sides apart.

Several clashes broke out but were contained by police.

The different groups continued to try and circle around police lines to have a head-on confrontation, but were kept apart.

Some protesters from both sides wore masks to hide their identity and some residents said they were afraid of what was going on.

One angry resident said it was “absolutely ridiculous” the protests had shut down the centre of town.

Another called it a hindrance to people going about their normal daily business, while a visitor called the protests “confrontational”.

Flag at Bendigo protest

At one point, protesters clashed after an Australian flag was burned by the anti-racist demonstrators. Police used capsicum spray on the anti-Islam protesters who were trying to push through the police line.


United Patriots Front leader Blair Cottrell was seen washing his eyes out with water after police deployed the capsicum spray.

In his speech, Mr Cottrell lashed his opponents from the anti-racist protests as “losers, renegades and traitors”. The UPF have been engaged in ongoing street battles with left-wing groups, including outside State Parliament last month.

Hey racists go home sign at Bendigo protest Life-long Bendigo resident Sue McConnachie attended the rally with friends to show support for the mosque, but was disappointed with the level of aggression from both sides.

The Victorian and Civil Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) found there was “no evidence of any significant social or other effects to the community” as a result of the mosque.

Members of the UPF vowed they would go “wherever they wanted because this land belongs to us” in a posting on Facebook before the protest.

Following the rally a 26-year-old North Melbourne woman was detained and issued two infringement notices after she was accused of burning a flag.

The infringements, $607 dollars each, were issued for ‘behaving in a riotous manner’ and ‘depositing burning litter’.


Melbourne: Border Force operation cancelled as protest shuts down city streets


28 August- A controversial operation in Melbourne by the Australian Border Force against people overstaying their visas has been abruptly cancelled following protests and chaotic scenes.

On Friday afternoon, just hours before Operation Fortitude was set to commence in central Melbourne, Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton called off the plans for a wide-scale police initiative.

Demonstrators protesting against planned border protection raids stop traffic outside Flinders Street Station on Friday.Demonstrators protesting against planned border protection raids stop traffic outside Flinders Street Station on Friday. Photo: Joe Armao

Operation Fortitude was first announced by the Department of Immigration on Friday morning. A press release said officers from the federal government’s new Australian Border Force agency would be stationed around Melbourne’s city checking “any individual we cross paths with”.

The press release sparked a fierce backlash on social media and later in protests that shut down one of the city’s busiest intersections, over concerns that police and Border Force officers would use racial profiling to stop and search people for possible immigration fraud.

Human rights advocates said the operation raised fears of police using racial profiling to justify stopping people and that it risked a “militarisation” of the immigration system.

“If you commit visa fraud you should know it’s only a matter of time before you’re caught out,” the initial Border Force statement said.

Protesters rally against the Australian Border Force in Melbourne.Protesters rally against the Australian Border Force in Melbourne.

Around the same time, Victoria Police issued a statement expressing its support for the operation, which was also set to involve transport inspectors, the Sheriff’s office and the Taxi Directorate.

Officers from the ABF and Victoria police had planned a press conference at 2pm Friday outside Flinders Street train station to talk about Operation Fortitude but about 300 protesters gathered at the Station shortly before 2pm. The protesters then took over the middle of the intersection, banking up trams and causing chaos among the traffic. The protesters held up placards and chanted “border force off our streets”

The press conference was cancelled due to ‘security concerns’ and the entire operation cancelled just half an hour later..

Border Force was established in July and reflects the federal government’s tougher line on national security. It combined Customs and Immigration functions into one unit. This week the agency attracted attention over the rollout of its new branding, including uniforms, which reportedly cost $10 million.

Australian Border Force officers are represented by the Community and Public Sector Union but the Australian Federal Police Association would like to poach them.Australian Border Force officers are represented by the Community and Public Sector Union but the Australian Federal Police Association would like to poach them.

Border Force officers have more powers than former department officials, including the power to detain offenders, carry guns, and gather intelligence. They can enforce migration laws, including the power to compel a person to produce documents such as visas and tax file numbers to check whether they are an unlawful non-citizen.



Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Police raid anarchist space Ruma Api

On 28th August (Friday), over dozen police with automatic weapons and K-9 unit attack Rumah Api (social center/house project in Kuala Lumpur) during concert on that night. The police raid the house project and raid everybody during the concert and also trash into living room of people who live there without any warrant and solid reason of the raid.

We all believe the raid were conducted due to the connection of Bersih 4 Rally which happen on the next days (29 and 30th) in which totally insane since the organizer of the concert, participants, and Rumah Api have little interest to join or even support the rally, due to our political stance on the issue of election and voting system.

The state use Rumah Api as the scapegoat of recent event of attack on banks and multinational corporations in KL for the past 2 years. So far, they found nothing to link us with that events. The police seize all the musical equipments at the concert hall, seize 2 computers of people who live there, one smart phone, artwork, and books belongs to people who live there. The police said they search the building for any weapons or explosives that can link us to terrorism.

All 160 people who got arrested were remand for 3 days. Among of the arrestee, there are friends from United States, Germany, Spain, Phillipines and Indonesia who attend the concert. According to the detainees, during the interrogation, the police ask about their participation with Rumah Api and how far the knowledge they had about Rumah Api and terrorism. They all been given little food and source of water and there are issue of mistreating the detainees, especially womyn detainees.

The police released all of the detainess on 31st August except two friends, one for Manila and one from Bandung. The police mention that they still under detention due to the process of checking their status in Malaysia and both of friends have records that they are entering this country with legal permit.

At the moment, they still held the computers and a smartphone until further notice to help their investigation. 2 friends were now facing court charges of Section 143 of the Penal Code, Section (4)(1)(b) of the Sedition Act and Section 6 of the Selangor Entertainment and Places of Entertainment Enactment which facing fine and prison sentence of 20 years.

We asking for solidarity from all over the world to spread the news. This is a brutal tactic use by the state to clamp down the movement. With current political and economic unstable in this country, and also the uprising of the anti-government sentiments, they trying to put down any action or any lifestyle that doesnt go along with what they want.

On Rumah Api side, the gig that night titled is Party Tonight, Revolution Tomorrow is nothing more than just a normal friday night gig with no intention to relate it with Bersih 4 rally. We at Rumah Api are hypocritical with the popular struggle in Malaysia. Bersih 4 which is a demonstration for free and clean election is a so called first world problem and it is a middle upper class agenda. Bersih 4 is being supported and joined by liberals and Islamist with their partisan politics that we are all against. We focus more on the grassroot level and more interested to put our energy on strengthening our own and surrounding community. We see, by supporting Bersih 4 and it’s agenda, we are on the wrong side of our struggle. In Malaysia, by changing the government, it will not make the problems goes away. Issues of xenophobia, homophobia, racism and religion are still the serious problems the politicians failed to address.

Now, people still gathering outside of Ampang Police Station to pressure them to released two of our friends. Please spread the words and reply if you need more infos, updates and so on.

Never Surrender

for news portal links: