Saturday, February 28, 2009

3 Cabinet Decisions Withdrawn In Succession??

One would imagine that the ultimate decision making body in any "democratic" country would be the one chaired by the nation's leader. In Malaysia it would be the Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi. With all the resources at hand one would assume all facts and factors are considered before decisions are made. The men and women on the Cabinet also claim to be representatives of the people and therefore, as they claim, are fully in touch with the pulse of the nation and its people.

And yet, in just a matter of a couple of months there have been three successive decisions made by the cabinet that have been reveresed in short order.

The approval of the cabinet for the take over by Sime Darby of Institut Jantung Negara, the building of another airport at Labu, within just minutes of the grossly underutilised KLIA and most recently the hike in the toll rates on the privatised highways.

Making oneself look good is easy enough. One reversal of an unpopular decision should be enough to make one look good. But cause to make three reversals of decisions recently made in quick succession, then the decision makers soon come out looking stupid. I don't knowof any committee, board or body of people who have made such significant decisions in quick succession and then only to have them reversed just as quickly wihtout a label or stigma attaching to them. I should say, this Abdullah Badawi led Cabinet has all but lost any credibility to continue leading.

When valuable assets of the nation are managed by amateurs whose only experience has been in politics and the ability to make decisions on the strength of being able to push through anything without a care for accountability, it should be worrying for future generations.

Anyone with their finger on the pulse of the people would have known Sime Darby's attempts at IJN and Labu as being one of the most stupid and ill conceived public relations disasters one could ever imagine.

Now, Sime Darby is surely not led by idiots prone to making such infantile decisions. It was a PR disaster for Sime making everyone on the Sime Board look stupid.

Not only that. The Malaysian Cabinet too, led by Abdullah Badawi, must be looking very stupid indeed. They are supposed to be the ultimate "board", playing custodian to the nation's political, social and economic health. And yet, within a short duration of time, we see three major withdrawals or cancellation of Cabinet level decisions. IJN, Labu and most recently the toll hike.

And then you have Sime sacking Fox Communications which is run by known Abdullah Badawi favouring runners and cronies.

Obviously with Fox being discredited this way, any more spins they push out will be not as effective anymore.

Who gains in all this?

There has been talk that Badawi might want to hold on to the Prime Ministership post 31 March. To do that he has to have a lot of wind behind his sails.

Surely these three episodes would would have the effect of taking out the wind off any sail!!

Everyone suggests Badawi dances to the tune of his son and his son-in-law. Attacking them would be pointless. So maybe take the wind out of Badawi's sail. That might do it!

But is it enough?

If this was the play, and I am no political watcher or expert, and if I can come up with this spin, surely Badawi's men can come out with even more to put the wind right back behind the sail.

IJN and Labu were non starters. You don't plan to set out on a course of action without knowing what the feedback would be. Sime would seem to have wanted the feedback they got. One, not enough, they did another number with Labu. Once again they were made out to look stupid. But was it they or the cabinet that looked stupid when in succession we saw the withdrawal of 2 cabinet decisions? Or was the price of making the Sime board look stupid all worth while anyway? Then the toll hike, making it three.

Najib seems to be looking better and better each time...of course his reference point is Badawi!! Now, that is no match!! And yet it would seem a lot of wise men and women are prepared to look stupid in very quick succession. I wonder why!!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Deputy IGP: ISA still relevant

"The Internal Security Act (ISA) is still relevant to curb threats to the country’s security and economy but it is not meant to oppress anyone, Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar said." (The Star 22 Feb 2009)

"People who organise revolution usually plan to take over the government as well through personal ambition."

No, that second paragraph was spoken by a judge in sentencing the guilty one to life imprisonment. After all, the guilty one did admit saying "I do not deny that I planned sabotage. I did not plan it in a spirit of recklessness nor because I have any love of violence. I planned it as a result of a calm and sober assessment of the political situation that had arisen after many years of tyranny, exploitation and oppression of my people......."

Raja Petra Kamaruddin, or better known by his initials RPK, is certainly not guilty of planning anything like the guilty one I have just referred to.

According to the complaint made by the Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar RPK is supposed to have promoted the insult of Islam referring particularly to an article he published under his "NO Holds Barred" column.

I have read that piece. Yes RPK went full blast. But anyone with a meager primary school English education would be able to tell you, and I am certain even with his sworn lack of English, Mohammad Mohammad Taib would, if he allowed candour to take over, that that article was critical of Muslims. The followers of Islam. How that then equals Islam, I really don't know. And even then it was targeted at all those hypocritical and corrupt Muslims who, by the very definition of who Muslims are, might not exactly fit that definition.

I used to hate "Comprehension" during English classes. Never really could understand what exactly I was supposed to look for. I scored poorly. One would say that I was even incompetent.
A mistake of this order where the criticism was of miscreant Muslims and not Islam. A mistake that completely misses the object matter of the article and now places the author's life and freedom in jeopardy would have got me an "f" and I reckon my English teacher, Mr Amoz, would have probably hauled me up for some stern ticking off.

But that is it. Syed Hamid Albar has chosen to stand on the position that the object matter of the article was Islam. Not miscreant Muslims. He has been vested powers and authority by the Internal Security Act to detain anyone he thinks can be a threat to security. And he has determined and satisfied himself that RPK's article and RPK himself are a threat to security qualifying him for ISA detention without trial.

The ISA unfortunately by its very omission assumes a number of things about the Home Minister. That at the time of him acting out his authority and power given to him under the act, that he is sane and that he is competent and that there is rationale in the reasons for his actions.

I am only going to go to the last time this Home Minister employed these powers. That day on the 12th September when he detained first RPK, then the reporter from Sin Chew and then Theresa Kok the DAP MP.

To let the reporter out in under 24 hours and later Theresa Kok and to say that they were only detained for their protection shows nothing but incompetence. If really they needed to be protected, there are such things as safe houses and 5 star hotels.

To continue with RPK's detention for the reasons stated earlier shows failure in comprehension. That is incompetence. One mistake is excusable. Three in one day? That is insane. As for rationale, there is absolutely none at all. He has violated the very act that gave him those powers.

Unfortunately, there are judges in this country who will uphold the actions of this Home Minister. I suppose they will save their conscience from guilt by not bothering to ask any more questions than only examining processes and procedures. Like if the Home Minister has correctly signed the requisite orders and dated them even. What about hose assumptions that I sated earlier? Sure, they are not there in the act. But isn't it rationale to expect that the Home Minister was sanguine, was competent, was sane was, rationale, had no personal interest and so on?

I am not a lawyer. I fail to understand how lawyers really work. I fail to understand why even RPK's defense lawyers ignore asking these questions. I probably would have failed as a lawyer if I had taken up that profession as I get myself and allow myself to get worked up by these "irrelevant" questions. I suppose the law is as is. As it is stated. And that is probably also why, as they say, the law is an ass!! Maybe because when you assume, you make an ass out of u and me, assumptions are not allowed. So they say the Home minister got the powers, you just take that he has the powers. You just take it that he is competent. And sane. And rational. It does not matter that the actions are insane, incompetent and irrational.

That guilty one I spoke of in the opening paragraphs! Now, that was Nelson Mandela! Of course, he was guilty of what he was charged for. He went against the laws and the one with the power correctly charged him and had him imprisoned him. I would just like to talk to the prosecutors, the politicians and the judges of that time. What they think of it now! What they think of themselves now! President Quartus de Wet! That was the name of the judge. He was the one who said what I quoted earlier. Would I be permitted to say that he was a bloody fool? Well, considering that Malaysia now is a great fan of South Africa and Nelson Mandela, I guess it wouldn't be too difficult to get everyone going " Quartus de Wet is a bloody fool!!

Now how about Syed Hamid Albar? And how about Augustine Paul? How about any other judges who are going to be judging on RPK's matter?

Maybe these judges can explain to me how flawed the laws, the prosecution, the judgment and the judges in the Nelson Mandela case were when compared to Malaysia's ISA, prosecution and judgment? Maybe these judges and the government can explain to me what it was that was lacking or depraved in the laws, the prosecution and the judgment that put Mahatma Gandhi in jail so many times in both South Africa as well as in India? If you are unable to because they are no different from the ISA, then please refrain from holding out Gandhi as a symbol to anything.

Supposedly the ISA is not to oppress anyone. Suppress then? Maybe the Deputy IGP can explain to me what competent set of circumstances brought about the ISA arrests of the three last September!

Friday, February 20, 2009


As Raja Petra Kamaruddin, or Pete, or RPK as he might have been known to you, prepares to be incarcerated yet once again, it bothers me that I am doing very little in showing my support for him.

The powers that be want him written down as no more than a nuisance whose right place at this time is in some detention centre or prison.

So, he is supposed to be a threat to society and a threat to the security of the country. Well, at least that is what I read in the MSM. The way they report it, I suppose I am supposed to believe that if the government of the day says so, and they act so, and they prosecute so, they must be doing so in the interest of the people. Therefore I should be thankful to the government that they are doing this to RPK.

And then it occured to me. Not too long ago there was certainly a similar situation in another country where the legitimate government of the day was doing exactly what the Malaysian government is doing today to RPK. I thought of Nelson Mandela. I thought of Mahahtma Gandhi. And then I stretched my imagination a bit and it went so far as Jesus Christ himself.

What would I have been doing if I had had the kind of comfortable life that I am having now and these things were happening to Mandela or Gandhi or Jesus?

Would I have been reading the Times of India and reading the version of the story as expounded by the government? Maybe I might have even sighed and thought, why can't this starving skiny bones just leave things be and let those who govern, govern? Surely the government would not prosecute if they had no evidence!! Surely the judges would be impartial and rule fairly. And so, even though they may have jailed Gandhi 11 times in all, surely the judges would have been fair and right? Wouldn't they?

It makes me wonder now, if those judges who found Gandhi guilty and had sentenced him to prison were to be alive today and reading everything they are reading about Gandhi, what it is they would be thinking of themselves! Guilt free? I wonder what the judges who are going to be sitting in judgement of RPK think of thsoe judges who sent Gandhi, Mandela and Jesus to imprisonment and crucifixion!

But lets just leave those doing their jobs alone. Let us ponder about the rest of us who may not have been part of the movement of these individuals. We may have not been aredent fans or followers or supporters of Mandela, Gandhi or Jesus. And we may not exactly have been fans of the government of the day. We are just ordinary citizens who have our businesses and our jobs and we are comfortable in the environment provided by the government of the day.

As I have earlier stated, I think all that I would have done would have been really to not even bother too much. Of course I will keep myself informed through the newspapers and radio. And in Jesus times I suppose I would have gone to the temple to hear what the Pharasees and rabbis would have had to say.

Would I have comprehended Gandhi's message? After all when you gather lots of people who are in protest there must be problems and potential for violence. What with traffic jams and the closure of roads and public places? Not exactly good for business. And Gandhi caused all this. As for Mandela, I didn't even know he existed until long after his incarceration started. So there!!

No. RPK is no Gandhi or Mandela or Jesus. But the similarities are glaring. The description of these individuals by the powers that be. The excuses that were used in bringing them before the courts. The manner of the judgement that befell them. The consequenses of those judgements. Well, Gandhi and Mandela were lucky in some ways. They became legendary and succeeded in achieving their aims while still alive. RPK? I wonder! I hope!!

As for the instruments of government that kept the regimes protected to perpetuate their rule. As for the judiciary that attempted to give credibility and legitimacy to the rule of these regimes; well, they certainly did their jobs. They were powerful and they carried out their work judiciously and they certainly seemed so strong and unbreakable. This also reminds me of all those secret service agents and police who kept the Eastern European despots in power. When they fell, what ever happened to them and their power? We the ordinary citizens were supposed to live in fear of them.

So it was convenient I suppose to just go on living out our lives as we usually do. And this is where the oxymoron or dichotomy arises. How can then, Jesus, Gandhi or Mandela be our hero?

A good read on Gandhi's jailbird experiences may be read here.

You may want to read BBC's report at the time Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment. Compare this to the reports today that you will find in NST and The Star. Absolutley no different in the reporting styles if you were an ordinary citizen who just wants the good life.

Or just be an ordinary citizen going about living your good life at the time when Jesus was hauled up, tried and convicted. Mind you, even Peter denied him three times, so how much better do you think you could have been?

Even if RPK is no angel, which he is not. He after all smokes and drinks and uses the f word even in his writing!! And he wears jeans for heavens sake!! And he has got a keen eye for the good looking ladies...just take a look at Marina and you know what I mean. Has he earned to be named alongside Jesus, Gandhi or Mandela? NO HE HAS NOT!!!


What RPK represents to the Barisan Malaysian Government is no different to what Jesus represented to the leaders of the temple, is no different to what Mandela represented to the Apartheid government of South Africa and is no different from what Gandhi represented to the British government in India.

No, RPK is no Jesus, Gandhi or Mandela. Sure go ahead and jail him and history will equate this government, this judiciary, this police force and the people of Malasyia living at this time as being no different from those governments and institutions and the people that imprisoned Mandela and Gandhi.