Monday, March 23, 2009

Is It Really an Internal Security Act?

Just a few hours ago those attending the weekly Sunday gathering of bloggers and supporters of the anti-ISA, pro Anak Bangsa Malaysia “movement”, if you want to call it that, were asked by Robert if we would all wear the “Anti-Isa” badge, or T-shirt, as often, if not all the time where ever, whenever.

I found that a little uncomfortable. I have after all never really been one to wear my ideas, believes, support or anti-whatever on my back or collar. Most of whatever T- shirt that I wear that carry any kind of message was after all only given to me and if you catch me wearing it, it probably means I had no other ironed T shirt to wear!! And even in school I never wanted to wear the school badge!! I am not about to start changing some old habits.

Anyway, my discomfort was not so much about wearing anything on my collar or T-shirt but more because by wearing it I would be acknowledging the ISA (Internal Security Act). I would be acknowledging that the Act was passed for the purposes of securing the internal security of the nation. Of the country! Its very name itself appears to leave in my mind the notion or the possibility that the Internal Security, at the time of passing the Act in 1960, is just as threatened now as it was then.

Last weekend, Brother Rogers of the Catholic LaSalle Mission, I think, talked of his experience serving time under ISA in Kamunting when he was detained under the Operation Lalang in 1987. There was something that he said about how the act has been used that reflected more the insecurity of the people with the powers to impose it rather than the Internal Security of the nation that got me thinking.

ISA – Internal Security Act Or IinSA -Internal InSecurity Act

Wikipedia says this is called, in Malay, Akta Keselamatan Dalam Negeri! Oh well. I think the Malay version more accurately describes the intent of the Act as originally promulgated by those who passed it in 1960.

Section 8(1) of the ISA provides that ‘(i)f the minister is satisfied that the detention of any person is necessary …’ then s/he may issue an order for his/her detention. The three grounds given in Section 8(1) upon which the order may be based is where a person has acted in any manner prejudicial to the:
a) security of Malaysia or part thereof; or
b) maintenance of essential services; or
c) economic life.

Now, just going back to Operation Lalang, so many Opposition MPs were taken in despite them having sworn their commitment to serving the nation and its people. How then did they suddenly become a threat to country? Or was it that UMNO was under grave threat then?

The detentions following the Reformasi movement also failed to show how those detained were threatening the nation under the grounds above.

Then of course we had that Sri Lankan businessman Tahir or something who got detained for being the middle man between Scomi and the buyers in Libya of machinery parts that were to be used in building nuclear plants. Now, how did that threaten the “keselamatan dalam negeri”? Or was it more expedient to have him sequestered in Kamunting so that he cannot implicate the Prime Minister's son or his company?

More recently the detention of Raja Petra Kamaruddin, Theresa Kok and the Sin Chew reporter. Syed Hamid Albar, has to spin a tall tale to get anyone to believe that they posed any kind of threat to the country. But I will agree that Raja Petra posed a threat to UMNO. So did Theresa, whether by her self or by her being part of the Pakatan Rakyat. Obviously as for the reporter, Syed had to admit that she was taken in supposedly for her protection. Which means he admits she was not a threat to the nation. She may have been a threat, by her reporting to individuals within UMNO or to UMNO itself though.

What I see is, every time UMNO feels vulnerable and shaky. Every time certain leaders in UMNO sense any insecurity, whether for themselves, or for the party, the ISA has been conveniently employed. It is not so much a threat to the country. It is more an internalised insecurity of the UMNO leader or internalised insecurities of UMNO itself. You don't see the ISA ever being used when there are internal problems in MCA or MIC or when these parties take a position that UMNO might feel uncomfortable with. (But then again I can't remember MCA or MIC ever taking a position opposite to that taken by UMNO. After all they can't even respond to UMNO Youth's keris waving antics despite it being pointed at them).

We all like to say that we got to live up to our name. Does ISA or Internal Security Act necessarily reflect the purpose for which it has been used in the last 40 years?

Or would it be more true and honest to say that the name more suited for the Act, taking into consideration the purpose it has served over the last several decades, is IinSA or Internal Insecurity Act. After all the only honest explanation for all its recent uses are indicative of the internal insecurities of UMNO's leadership or UMNO itself.

Since honesty is such a rare commodity to expect out of the UMNO led government, can we then at least refer to and educate everyone that this is more IinSA -Internal InSecurity Act rather than ISA – Internal Security Act?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Measures For Malaysian Judiciary-Loss of Independence!

Has our Chief Justice got his knickers twisted? I would have thought having attained such a high position he should know better as to what the correct measure for quality is. Quality itself is unfortunately not something that is acquired when you get an ISO certification or similar or when you keep to the standards set by such certifying bodies. Anyone with any idea of what it is these certifications really indicate would know that this is no guarantee for safety!

The Sanlu Corporation of China would testify how it got fooled into complacency thinking since it has (presumably it has) the HACCP Certification that food manufacturing companies ought to have, that it was on a roll to profits and riches. Yet in a matter of weeks it all fell on its face when melamine in its baby's milk products were found to have killed babies and caused a lot of illness as well.

Read the report in The Star of 17 March 2008 below and see for your self what I mean:

Restore faith in judiciary

LANGKAWI: Judges must work towards restoring the confidence of the public and foreign investors in the judiciary, said Chief Justice of Malaysia Tan Sri Zaki Tun Azmi.

Judgements must be written fast and even posted on the judicial website. Criminal cases must also be heard quickly to avoid the accused being remanded for too long.

Zaki advised judges to change the way they think and work, and at the same time, learn to manage their cases better.

He reminded judges to stick to their case schedules and avoid any delays in hearings.

“The reduction in cases pending is not impossible to achieve,” he said when opening the Judges Conference 2009 here yesterday. The meeting ends on Wednesday.

Zaki also said measures were being taken to set up a special Commercial Court.

“We should handle commercial cases faster, with honesty and integrity so that we can woo more foreign investors into this country.

“The foreigners hope for fast decisions because they could lose a lot of money if the cases are delayed,” he said.

He added that the Justice Department had increased the number of judges in the Commercial Court in Kuala Lumpur and the Appeals Court to handle such cases.

He added that several efforts had also been made to enhance court management, such as the restructuring of registration in some courts.

“Management judges are also appointed nationwide to manage cases and oversee the management of courts,” he said.

He added that since having efficient case management, judges in the Kuala Lumpur High Court Special Powers and Appeals division now heard twice as many cases than before.


So, restoring the confidence of the public and foreign investors in the judiciary to Chief Justice of Malaysia Tan Sri Zaki Tun Azmi means:

1. Judgements must be written fast and posted on the judicial website.

2. Criminal cases must also be heard quickly to avoid the accused being remanded for too long.

3. Judges must change the way they think and work, and at the same time, learn to manage their cases better.

4. Stick to their case schedules and avoid any delays in hearings.

5. The reduction in cases pending

6. Handle commercial cases faster, with honesty and integrity. (so that we can woo more foreign investors into this country)

7. Increase in the number of judges in the Commercial Court in Kuala Lumpur and the Appeals Court to handle such cases.

8. Enhance court management, such as the restructuring of registration in some courts.

9. Management judges appointed nationwide to manage cases and oversee the management of courts.

Now why do I feel like one very important measure is missing here?

What's happened to INDEPENDENCE you nut head? And what happened to just plain old upholding the law as is written?

Saturday, March 07, 2009

8 March 2008 - A Year After!!

This is what I wrote on the 7th March 2008:

"Like for instance I am rather certain Barisan Nasional will hold on to more than 50% of the seats contested for Parliament..."

Yes they did. But they lost their two-thirds as I had also conjectured then..

I also did say then, the GE was only a precursor to the battle within UMNO which was really the one to watch. It was to be Najib's opportunity to get to the PMs seat now rather than wait for Badawi to retire or die!

Now, these things have happened and is happening.

Then at about noon on 8th March I wrote:

A quote from Abdullah Badawi on the NST of that same day : "quote from Abdullah Badawi. He says "You have to vote for our future... our children. What will happen if there is chaos and instability?..."

God knows what kind of chaos and instability he was talking about. Was it the kind that happened on May 13?

Or was it that he knew, if only BN lost their sacred two-third majority in parliament they'd be like headless chicken flapping away until they eventually fall and die!

They ended up losing not just the two-thirds majority, they even went on to lose 4 states. Something I completely had lost sight of when making my earlier predictions.

A Year Later

Well, they have managed to reclaim Perak. Or so they say!

But just take a look at how they have got about to achieve what they have achieved in Perak. Or have they achieved anything yet?

Yes they have. Quite surely Sultan Azlan Shah must be thinking that he has been had by Najib Tun Razak. Believing that everything was alright the Sultan went ahead and did what he did to appoint the BN man Menteri Besar and asking the Pakatan man to resign.

He satisfied himself that BN had the confidence of the majority in a way that he felt satisfied. But now, he might be thinking, maybe it was not alright.

Does not matter, let us take it the way the Sultan determined that the confidence of the majority was now with the BN, was alright and he waited for the BN to send in their Malay Adun to be conferred the MB of Perak. But just see who walks in. That alone should have made the Sultan feel a little silly as less than a year ago we hear the Sultan had insisted the MB has to be a Malay even if the majority party in Perak was DAP with non-Malay Aduns.

Nevermind that, I would suppose when a political leader goes to see the Royalty for his favour and his endorsement, surely the least any citizen may assume is that the political leader has everything wrapped up and when the Sultan grants that favour and endorsement, as he did in this case, that the Sultan will not subsequently see that the favour he has granted or the endorsement that he has made is frustrated like in the way it has been now by the Speaker of the House.

Is the speaker being disloyal to the Sultan? I don't think so. He is afterall only doing the job that he should be doing as a Speaker employing all the powers and authorites that are vested in him according to the state constitution.

Najib, with all his bravado, has conducted himself just like a headless chicken. A headless chicken runs about with no rhyme or reason until it drops dead.

Maybe it is this that Abdullah Badawi was quoted as saying as reported on the 8th March 2008.

Of course many believed that by chaos and instability that would mean the collapse of any kind of system. The collapse of many of the institutions of government. The collapse of the administrative machinary. But has it really?

Sure, the police don't seem to know who they are supposed to be working for. Same with many of the government servants at the various State departments under Pakatan Rakyat.

There is confusion of course. The BN and government were synonymously and interchangeably used as referring to the one and the same. Even opposition political leaders while campaigning and even till today keep referring to the poltical BN and the Government administration as one and the same. So you can't really fault the government servants who think that their allegiance should be to the BN leadership. Pakatan is still the stranger and a temporary guest in the house.

BN leaders are so used to having their word to be final. Mainstream Media too fall over each otehr to quote these leaders. But hey, Toyo is just an opposition ADUN. He gets more coverage and his statements are coloured in the most favourable way so that it seems suthoritative and final. Unlike the statements made by Selangor MB Khalid which come off looking suspect and weak. Toyo's denial of any allegation of corruption somehow looks more authoritative than Khalid's accusation of him which seems to be rather, pleading.

The by-elections so far have proven one thing to UMNO. Their claim on behalf of the Malays that they are the "tuans" under the ketuanan Melayu mantra have fallen on deaf ears. Teh Malay vote has left them and if they have been found bleeding in the elections, the taken for granted Chinese and Indian votes too have left them in a very big way. They probably have also determined that it is going to take a lot more longer time to redeem the non-Malay vote. And this means they have to get the Malay vote all the way back to them.

How? PAS is stronger than before. Keadilan takes the urban Malays. So what and who is left for UMNO? They now resurrect the Allah issue. They can easily achieve the victory they want. Stop Christians using it. And what can that be marketed as? An example of ketuanan Melayu maybe? Or better still, a jihad won only by the Malays within the Muslim world! UMNO did it. Not PAS!! So UMNO are really the defenders of the Islamic religion. After all PAS is divided on this issue. Better still as a result of this division PAS breaks up.

Yes there is chaos and instability. But mostly only those orchestrated by UMNO and to benefit UMNO. Perak is a great lesson for Pakatan. Its brought out heros like Nizar and Sivakumar. They must surely be the champions for a majority of the Chinese in Perak. And UMNO would have us believe that we can only find our heros from within our own racial communities.

I would like to look at Perak positively. I would like to think that Perak has forced upon the three parties in Pakatan to come closer and to see how one depends on the other for strength and security.

But more importantly, Perak has also shown what UMNO and Najib are prepared to do to achieve their evil aims. Evn if it means deceiving the Royalty. With over 51 years of experience in governmning the country as well as the states they cannot now claim they did not know about the powers of the Speaker of the House.

There is also the bigger job of having to further move the Anak Bangsa Malaysia agenda. Since 8th March 2008 I have this believe that we look at ourselves as well as our other country men as Malaysians. Less of Malays, Indians and Chinese and others. Hope this will grow on us. Of course this is not exactly what might be good for UMNO and its BN formulae. Already they can see that they are not able to order around their partners in BN as they used to before. No doubt MCA and MIC have far less seats in parliament today. So what? As long as the Malay vote remains divided, UMNO now has learnt the bitter lesson that they need teh Chinese and the Indian votes more.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Oh God Almighty. You, Yet Again!

On my last post 3 Cabinet Decisions Withdrawn In Succession I had referred to three cabinet decisions rescinded in succession. No sooner had the bytes cooled down before a fourth was rescinded. This time this had gone even beyond a decision. It had even been gazetted. In otherwords it had even become law. then no sooner it had been made known to the nation, it was very quickly rescinded, retracted, suspended!

And it has all got to do with the name of the Almighty! The Arabic name to be precise. A name I find so difficult to mouth because it identifies with the name of the Almighty of the Islamic religion. No sir, I do not want to nor intend to offend a Muslim friend or brethren who might think, my being non-Muslim, its use is so sanctified and preserved for people of his faith that my use of it would diminish that Almighty or his faith.

Of course, I have the right to use it. I have no doubt whatsoever that I can use it. And I have no doubt that I will defend my right to use it whenever, wherever and however.

But do I need to use it? No! No I don't need to use it. After all I have a thousand other names that I can use. It can be Dave. It can be Joe. It can be Briteney, or even Engelbert. And what about Madonna! Or it can be the name of the person I see every time I look in the mirror! After all was I not made in His image?

Why do I need to use a name that makes my good friends or my neighbours uncomfortable. No doubt there is no basis for the discomfort. Is it my business really if they are uncomfortable? Not really.

And why are they uncomfortable? Maybe they lack understanding! Maybe they are insecure! Maybe they are confused! Now, all of these could have a valid basis or it is sheer madness. All that is necessary for me to know is that they are sensitive about it, uncomfortable about it and certainly very suspisious about it. Well, at least that is what their politicians tell me.

But when beer drinking bloggers begin to get passionate about it and write about it or endorse the writings of others, then I have got no choice but to start separating the wheat from the chaff.

There is nothing doctrinal about this issue. Indeed, it was never any kind of issue until politicians started making noises about this. I should add to this group also wannabe ulamaks and religious and racist bigots who raise their profiles chanting anything that works up the adrenaline of their listeners. Apparently for some of them the measure of ones faith might be the level of hate and prejudice you can generate in yourself on your perceived enemies.

If really this was a non-issue that has now been made into one and magnified many times over then of what purpose is this heating up now?

Well, for one thing, it gets the speaker free publicity. And we all only know too well, the UMNO General Assembly is just around the corner.

But more important than that is another.

I have asked myself. Now that The Herald has sued and it is now in the hands of the courts who is going to gain and how important is such a gain to them. Of course, the cynic in me thinks the court has already decided in favour of the UMNO led government.

Does UMNO need this very much? A resounding YES!! UMNO needs this verdict in their favour and they need to be able to use the power that is with them to put a stop to Christians also using the name of the Almighty of the Muslims. But why? When did they become so holier than thou religious and taken up the mantle of the jihadist?

Let us go back a bit. Not too far. Just back to August/September 2008 to the Permatang Pauh by-election. UMNO went to town then about them championing Ketuanan Melayu. But this time this mantra fell flat. People, Malays especially, responded, yes, Ketuanan UMNOPutra sahaja. There was nothing to show the voting Malay for all that mantra that he was tuan over the land and over the non-Malays.

On the religious front, PAS has always taken over the leading role as being more Islamic and the champion or the promoter and defender of the faith. UMNO has never been able to get any kind of traction with the voting Malay over their declaration that this is an Islamic State after all, after so many years.

The Christians have provided a wonderful opportunity to pierce this impossible impasse. Stop the Christians from using that word that happens also to be the name of the Muslim's Almighty. Does not matter that the Christians in Sabah and Sarawak have only known this word to reference their Almighty. Does not matter that the Muslims use it as a pronoun whereas the Christians use it as a noun. Just maintain that it confuses the Muslims and they are sensitive about it. Accuse the Christians of using it to deceive Muslims into thinking it is the one and the same Almighty. Any justification to support the application of their power and authority over life in the country. They can do it. They have the power to do it. And they will get away with it. No worries about Christians elsewhere raising their swords as Christians lost their crusading spirit a long long time ago.

What does stopping Christians with all this might mean to UMNO? A lot!

Wouldn't they then be able to say, "This is what Ketuanan Melayu is all about. We say what, to whom and how you pray."

Wouldn't they then be able to tell all Muslims " We can and we have defended the faith. PAS does not and cannot." After all PAS seems to have two minds about it. Nik Aziz ,their spiritual head, seems to think it is alright for the Christians to use it. And you have Hadi Awang, their President and his men who seem to think like UMNO that the Christians cannot use it.

Out of the blues with this, which they can make happen, they can deliver to the Malay Muslim population two things that are close to their hearts. The Ketuanan Melayu mantra and the defenders of Islam claim are realised.

Is this going to get traction with their constituents? I believe it will. I believe it will gain for them a huge amount of traction and by the time the next General Election comes around, the gains made by PAS and Keadilan can be and will be scuppered. Afterall, they will need a massive shift in the Malay vote as the non-Malay support has now become suspect and unreliable.

You can very well bet UMNO will go to town with this claim. You can very well bet UMNO will reinvigourate their efforts to inculcate in the mind of the Malay that this is a jihadist victory that the Malays can be proud of. After all, the Malays have not necessarily been involved in any kind of jihadist activity that they can claim pride in. This will be their first according to UMNO. Very satieting. They need to do this and they need the time for this to sink in so that by the next general elections they will get what they want.

Yes, this is more important to UMNO than you might think. This could be the lifeline that will perpetuate the UMNO juggernaut into the future. How else do you get the dissapearing support of the Malays back? The Malays have now gone three ways. PAS, Keadilan and UMNO. Sure UMNO has the advantage at this time. But for how long? And this advantage is of no use without the support of the non-Malay vote. PAS has recently become a lot more acceptable to the non-Malay and non-Muslims. This will make it hard for UMNO!

As an added bonus, this can propel towards causing a split in PAS. We have already seen in parliament two opposing views from the PAS candidates on this. Malay MPs in Keadilan will find it difficult and compromised opposing UMNO on this. Non-Muslim MPs of Barisan Nasiaonal will as always be bound to voting alongside their UMNO counterparts in this so that UMNO can claim that even the non-Muslims were not objecting to this.

Simply put. UMNO needs to be seen as the one stopping the use of the name of the Muslims' Almighty by non-Muslims. UMNO needs to be seen employing its power and authority to deliver this outcome. This would represent to them an act of Ketuanan Melayu and it will also be represented as an act to defend the Islamic faith. And walla; I wonder how many will fall for that!! In UMNO's estimation, I suppose enough!!