For my son, when he grows up, this site will be my legacy for him. The decisions his mother and I made for him, to understand them, to learn from them and to lead a life without prejudice and to succeed in it on his own merit.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Discreet Crusaders In Our Mist

This article nearly slipped by me. It seemed there is an unwritten official mandate (by god knows where or who) apart from the already quota system of the NEP in business, education and civil services. Sports too over the years have had some ‘moderation’ process being carried out to be in line with the country’s policies.

What got my attention to this article was that the particular person in this case declared that he have a mandate, presumably by his own initiative from the facts of the case, altered the CLP examinations percentages of passes to adhere to a quota system of 30% for bumiputras.

I dread to think in time to come, what will be the quality of our lawyers if such a thing was not detected and curbed. The Malaysian Legal Profession Qualifying Board took the correct measures to bring the case to court for forgery and cheating even though it appears that no monetary gain is involved.

But there’s still this lingering doubt in me about other profession in the services requiring public trust, integrity and professionalism – doctors, teachers, coaches, company directors in GLC’s, architects, engineers, accountants, etc, etc. One wonders as to what extend such a practise is put in place within the professions and system in the market. It's no longer the best person wins.

Ex-CLP exam director had no right to change marks, court heard
The Star by M. Mageswari

KUALA LUMPUR: Former Certificate in Legal Practice (CLP) examination director Khalid Yusoff had no lawful authority to alter the marks in July 2001 CLP examination master list, a High Court heard.

Lead prosecutor DPP Raja Rozela Raja Toran submitted that Malaysian Legal Profession Qualifying Board never gave Khalid a “blank cheque” to do whatever he wanted although “moderation” of the CLP result was an accepted practice.

“Although there are no rules on how to conduct the CLP examination, what has to be borne in his mind is that the qualifying board is the appellant’s (Khalid) employer and he is answerable to his employer.

“If there is no guideline or written law, he should have gone back to the board to seek guidance. It is a natural thing to do. He has been an academician for a long time and should know what to do,” she argued in an appeal by Khalid against his conviction and sentence.

She argued that a typist had testified that Khalid had given instructions to make alteration to the master list.

Khalid, 57, a former law school dean at UiTM, was jailed three months for forgery and cheating in the July 2001 CLP examination “master list”.

Sessions Court judge Harmindar Singh Dhaliwal who found Khalid guilty of the two charges on July 24, 2007 ordered Khalid to serve three months’ jail for each charge. The sentences are to run concurrently from date of sentence on July 31.

On the first charge, Khalid, was said to have forged the master list with the intention of using it for cheating at the board’s office on the 27th floor, Menara Tun Razak between August 2001 and Sept 13, 2001.

He allegedly cheated the board by deceiving it into believing that the July 2001 CLP examination results reflected the actual marks given by the examiners and induced it into endorsing the master list.

DPP Raja Rozela submitted that Khalid ignored a scheme of marking and grading for CLP examination papers and upgraded marks for some CLP candidates beyond the existing guideline.

“He gave a pass to certain candidates without approval of the board when they did not qualify to be legal practitioners."

“The appellant told the board in late November that he was mandated to help Bumiputra candidates and to maintain the pass percentage of CLP examination at 30%."

That is the reason that he altered the marks but that policy was not adopted by the board,” she argued.

She argued that the trial judge was not misdirected when he convicted Khalid due to established facts in the case.

However, lawyer Akbardin Abd Kadir contended that the trial judge erred in law when he called Khalid, who led a review committee, to enter defence on both charges.

Akbardin argued that it was a three-men review committee’s collective decision to do the moderation over the marks and that the two committee members had acknowleged that the committee, which met on Sept 11, 2001, had carried out its duties in good faith.

“The trial judge failed to realise that the appellant had never even had a work manual detailing his duties.

If such a document existed, and it specified that he had a duty to inform the board of the moderation process, only then is there a legal duty to inform the board of the moderation,” he argued.

Akbardin submitted that the trial judge also erred in law when he failed to direct his mind to the fact that the then chairman of the qualifying board, the late Tan Sri Mohtar Abdullah was well aware of the moderation process.

Besides, he said that Mohtar’s witness statement tendered to court by the prosecution clearly absolved Khalid of any wrongdoing.

He argued that the investigating officer had also testified that he did not find any motive of money consideration against Khalid.

Judicial Commissioner Zainal Azman Ab. Aziz set April 20 for continuation of the hearing of the appeal.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Let's See How

While the nation braces itself for 3 by-elections in Bukit Gantang (P59), Bukit Selambau (P25) and Batang Ai (P29), voting day on 7 April just one week away, we should expect a lot of news and worms dug out from here on. Campaigning here in Malaysia since the GE12 2008 have become the dirtiest ever since the opposition snatched the two third majority from BN. And I wouldn’t be surprise these three will be any different, judging from the last two by-elections, Permatang Pauh and Kuala Terengganu.

Perhaps I can conclude that the opposition now had become much wiser or even smarter to thwart any plans by BN and the aggressive band of bloggers the likes of Haris, Din, Zorro, Delcapo and not forgetting RPK whom goes to ground zero with up to date events and news about the going-ons as the day goes by. Batang Ai in particular, these bloggers have made a pack with Sarawak bloggers and a thrust between them seem to have established on the objectives and coverage.

Lately, I have been shying a bit more from blogging and cruising the blogs what with so much work in the office going on and an uncertainty of the company I’m working for that I needed some relaxation just to move myself from the screen when I’m at home to break the static feel of it. With a son in his first year at primary school, sleeping and getting up early habits need to be instilled in the whole family.

I hope, we’re all in good hands.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Side Dishes We Didn't Paid For

Working in the corporate sector, I’ve seen and observed (right in front of me) abuses of authority many times over. Some harmless, some one off, some for favour out of friendship or future contracts with no serious aftermath, and there are those that have dire consequences cleverly masked with rhetoric and almost frenzy justifications.

But compare to government sector, private enterprises do not suffer the backlash of the people since it is an individual or entity owned with their personal asset and money being utilized for one to keep in competition with the industry demands.

Government services are funded by the people’s money. Thru taxes, duties and a revolving trade among and between the country’s projects and policies including at global level. A political party, elected by it’s people and majority to stay in power to serve the country, does not mean access to government departments for the intention of the party’s agenda other than streamlining it’s services to be in line with nation building and welfare.

When a party uses the resources of government services for it’s own objective and not the country’s, isn’t this an abuse of authority and making the people pay for services which do not go back to the overall well being of the masses and the economy in general?

Khalid Samad was right to say that the BN members of parliament lack any or non at all the respect for the system and workings of democracy.

The new role of the SPR
By Khalid Samad (The Malaysian Insider)

MARCH 24 - Heard about the new role being played by the SPR in Selangor? They have now become part of a committee formed under the PM's Department responsible for the implementation of a program called 'people centric'. This programme has, as its objective, the upliftment of BN's image in the eyes of the public and the battering of the image of the PR.

This is then to lead to the defeat of the PR government in Selangor in the next General Election. The activities which are being planned in relation to this program is to be financed by Federal funds!

If this does not constitute misuse of public funds, I do not know what does!

When the Minister in charge of the ICU (Implementation Coordination Unit) under the PMs department, being the unit responsible for the implementation of this programme, was queried about the matter in the Parliament, he refused to respond. He neither denied nor acknowledged the allegation nor was he the least embarrassed about its disclosure.

In fact, there were those from the BN who even responded by asking, "What is wrong with it?"

When such blatant misuse of power happens and is then defended, one wonders if the BN members of Parliament have any understanding what a Democracy is all about. It would come as no surprise if the answer to that question is a straight forward 'no'. They have no understanding nor any respect for the system and will be willing to stifle or cripple the system in order for them to survive.

In the Dewan Undangan Negeri Selangor, I was told, a BN ADUN responded by saying, "What's the problem? You have been surpressed all this while before and you still won. So, surely now, while in power, you can face this challenge with no problems". Talk about dumb.

There were other BN MPs who simply asked out loud, "where did you get that document? Pass it to me. You should be charged under the OSA!" Yes, the OSA. Another act to protect and cover their misuse of power.

The SPR being the independent Commission responsible for a fair election cannot be a party to such a program. The fact that it sits in the committee which works for the down fall of the PR government in Selangor only adds legitimacy to the fear that the next General Election will be the most crooked in Malaysian history. As if it was not bad enough already!

This means that there will be no short cuts to victory next time around. In 2008 the BN was complacent. They never realised the mood of the rakyat and they allowed for a semi-tainted election process.

This time around they are completely aware of their poor chances and the need for a completely tainted election process. Nothing short of an over whelming support from the rakyat will nullify and neutralise the dirty tactics which they will have in store for us.

That is why we have to work hard. Harder than ever before. Harder than when we were in the opposition. As the cards are stacked against us and the dices doctored, I estimate that nothing less than a clear 60 per cent voter support will be able to see us through this time around. The BN will have at least a 10 per cent advantage from the word go.

An advantage due to the phantom voters or 'pengundi hantu' who will be registered as legitimate voters, compliments of the SPR.

A fitting strategy for a dying political entity.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Select Few For The Masses

In simple reasoning, a ruling party gets to elect a candidate from their party to be the country's Prime Minister to represent the entire nation. Eventhough idealogy, objectives and concept defers from the rest of the general population. Alignment of political parties is one way to stay in power and ensured the message of survivalist goes thru its course for the duration of any given agenda.
They must represent all Malaysians
By SHERIDAN MAHAVERA, The New Straits Times

Some 2,500 people will converge on the Putra World Trade Centre from Wednesday to choose, among others, Malaysia's next deputy prime minister. SHERIDAN MAHAVERA argues that the unwise use of such power can have tragic consequences for Umno.

A POLITICAL scientist once said that the real Malaysian election was not that nationwide exercise that we go through every five years but the triennial Umno polls.

This pre-2008 perception assumed that Barisan Nasional's monopoly of the Federal Government would continue unchallenged after every general election, and the top cabinet posts would be held by Umno leaders.

The posts of not just the prime minister but the ministers of education, finance, defence, foreign affairs, international trade and home affairs, for instance, will be determined by the delegates at Umno's electoral assembly.

This has been "how things are done in Malaysia" since Umno's first assembly in 1946. But since the 12th general election, the nation's altered political landscape is demanding that this arrangement be challenged.

A gulf is emerging between what the public and BN components want to see emerge from the assembly, and what Umno delegates want.

BN and some senior Umno leaders themselves worry that, if left to their own devices, delegates would vote in "likeable" leaders who do not necessarily inspire confidence in public.

Worse still would be for meritorious and substantial leaders to be overlooked because they lack pubic relations skills, in favour of those who are personable and who "take care" of the delegates.

The public has heard Umno presidents talk about how the party must represent all Malaysians, and cringed the very next day as other party seniors tell critical non-Malays to shut up.

The New Sunday Times asked several leaders of BN component parties what they thought of the race for Umno's top posts. While they were prepared to reveal their preferences for candidates, they were adamant about not being identified. Component parties are not supposed to interfere with the internal affairs of their partners.

In a Merdeka Centre survey, 79 per cent of voters felt that the opinions of ordinary Malaysians should be taken into consideration by Umno delegates.

Said one BN component leader: "The speeches in the assembly and who gets chosen is important because at the end of the day, we have to go down to the ground and explain to our members and community about what went on."

The 2006 assembly, for instance, with its fiery, chauvinistic speeches about how non-Malays should accept their lot, would only be popular with delegates and no one else.

The unsheathing of the kris at Umno Youth's assembly that year left such a foul impression on the minds of the non-Malay public, whose votes were crucial to the BN components, that many of these parties lost support in the 12th general election.

The stakes are even higher this year, as the BN is contesting three by-elections a week after the assembly.

Although much of the focus in the Umno assembly is on the candidates, another BN leader says what mattered most was the party's ideological bent as a whole. "What these leaders say after they get elected is crucial. If they continue to shout about 'ketuanan Melayu' (Malay supremacy) rather than stress multiracialism, we will suffer in the 13th general election."

Jingoism is not new in Umno assemblies, where delegates make little effort to tone down their Malays-first rhetoric, even when it rankles their BN partners. The 12th general election -- and Pakatan Rakyat's more attractive ethnic integration message -- put a stop to that.

Another BN leader opined that an ideology is only as good as the leaders who espouse it. The public has heard Umno presidents talk about how the party must represent all Malaysians, and cringed the very next day as other party seniors tell critical non-Malays to shut up.

Also, not all candidates are equal in image and public perception. In the Merdeka Centre poll, respondents said they wanted Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as the new deputy and chose Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim as the party's three vice-presidents.

They also chose Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir and Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil to head the Umno Youth and Wanita wings respectively.

However, ground reports suggest that at this time of writing, only two of these individuals are leading in their races.

There is a very real possibility that Malaysians will be getting a cabinet of leaders who do not inspire much confidence in them.

A Kedah Umno delegate, however, cautions against prejudging outcomes this early in the race -- and of underestimating delegates' ability to assess the candidates.

"I have been all over the country and spoken to delegates from many states about how they are voting," he says. "Just because a supreme council candidate is very friendly with us does not mean that we will be swayed by him. We know how to look beyond such things and we do consider factors like how a candidate is accepted by the public."

As the days wind down to the assembly, who will eventually win is still an open question. The dynamics of these elections can shift among candidates in the last moments, such as in 2004.

There is also the question of how Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam's supporters will vote now that the Malacca chief minister is out of the race.

In the end, says party supreme council member Datuk Shahrir Samad, whatever the delegates decide, the real power is with the people.

"If Umno chooses a president or deputy president, and by extension a prime minister and deputy prime minister, whom the rakyat don't like, the rakyat will kick out Umno at the next general election."

Monday, March 23, 2009

Guns & Roses For Votes & Numbers

Fahmi Fadzil, yet again produced another documentary from Pusat KOMAS on this take on our national traditional weapon, the Keris.

After watching this video, iconic it may seem, hilarious too, one wonders if such a weapon had any significant symbolical references to the might that never was. Once respected and fear, now it is only fear, to some intellectual extend.

But who would have imagine those few fateful days during the UMNO general assembly in 2006 and
The amazing "race" that started the ball rolling that brought a whole new meaning to it’s usage and application which this video decapitated so well from it’s original intention to a new level of idolship.

Training Video for Keris, Wushu and Bow

There are many ways to use traditional weapon these days, as sometimes demonstrated during political party assemblies; this video will show you some samples.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

In Their Eyes, It's Not Failures

Mission: Impossible — A clean Cabinet

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has set an impossible benchmark for incoming premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak by telling him to pack his Cabinet with ministers who are clean and beyond suspicion.

It would have been easier if the former prime minister had simply told Najib to complete a marathon under three hours or scale Everest without Sherpa guides.

Let’s face it. Only a clutch of ministers in the past 20 years would have been able to pass the public scrutiny test of living beyond their means.

Nearly every minister in the Mahathir and Abdullah administrations live in posh bungalow houses in tony neighbourhoods and their garages are packed with Mercedes Benz, Lexus, Range Rovers and BMWs.

Their children attend RM30,000-a-year private schools, their spouses have enough bling to offer Habib Jewellers stiff competition and they have multimillion ringgit holiday homes in Kensington.

Their official salaries: between RM15,000 and RM25,000 a month. Not surprising then that there was a revolt when Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said after Election 2008 that his ministers will have to declare their assets.

Several ministers, including one who is contesting a senior position at next week’s Umno elections, threatened to resign if they were forced to divulge their income and properties owned. They argued that their family members could be subject to security threats if their assets were made public.

Abdullah, weakened by Barisan Nasional’s poor showing in the general election and needing support from Umno ministers, relented and the plan for ministers to declare their assets was filed away in the no further action cabinet.

Abdullah inherited his Cabinet from Dr Mahathir. He stunned his supporters after the landslide victory in 2004 by sticking to the same tired faces who had served in the Mahathir administration.

Many of them came with baggage and, in the eyes of public, were guilty of corruption and abuse of power. Yet Abdullah persisted with them. He told his supporters that he did not want to upset Dr Mahathir by making wholesale changes to the Cabinet.

A more likely reason for sticking to the status quo was that he was a prisoner of the formula of rewarding powerful Umno warlords and of allowing the BN component parties to pick their representatives to the Cabinet.

Little thought was given to whether his choices would have passed the “living beyond your means’’ test.

Instead of making seismic changes to his Cabinet after March 8, he tweaked here and there. Initially, Abdullah considered appointing five or six credible names as senators and making them Cabinet ministers.

But concerned over possible backlash from Umno, he only chose Datuk Zaid Ibrahim and Tan Sri Amirsham Aziz. By and large, he stuck with the same group of ministers who underperformed in his first term as prime minister and whom he inherited from Dr Mahathir.

Dr Mahathir is being slammed now for even having the temerity to advise Najib on picking a “clean’’ Cabinet.

Perception is everything and his team of ministers failed miserably on that score. He knew that many of his ministers amassed wealth way beyond their pay scale but he did not banish them to Siberia.

Instead, he protected them and mollycoddled them.

Perhaps he had to face the reality that Abdullah faced in 2004 and Najib will confront in a week or so: finding lawmakers within Barisan Nasional who can stand up to public scrutiny and who are beyond suspicion.

Dr Mahathir failed. Abdullah failed. Najib is bound to fail if he is going to limit his Cabinet choices to only BN politicians or those who are victorious next week.

In the eyes of Malaysians, that pool of candidates has already failed the clean test.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Our Jay Leno Was Right

Remember my Jay Leno Be Here posting? A make believe "wish he is here" type Jay Leno TV host interviewing a guest politician from the ruling party on the changes they are embarking on rebranding their party to regain the confident of the people to vote them back into power.

Below is a news extracted from Malaysian Insider.

Pakatan slams BN’s efforts to subvert Selangor administration
By Neville Spykerman and Asrul Hadi Abdullah Sani

SHAH ALAM, March 13 — Selangor Pakatan Rakyat assemblymen today questioned the independence of the Election Commission (EC) and the credibility of the National Security Council (NSC), claiming the institutions were being used by the Barisan Nasional to subvert the state government.

The federal bodies came under fire in the State Assembly during a emergency motion on efforts by the Selangor State Development Office, an agency under the Prime Minister's Department, which had purportedly set up a task force to undermine the credibility of Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim’s administration.

Kampung Tunku assemblyman Lau Weng San, who tabled the emergency motion, claimed the EC and NSC were among federal bodies and agencies in a task force which met on Feb 26 to implement a programme to bring down the state government. “The implementation of the people-centric programme, with the objective of bringing down the Selangor Government is clearly an abuse of power and contrary to the spirit of democracy,” Lau said when tabling the motion.

During the debate, Lau said the move was against federalism, where a state is allowed to govern itself without the interference of the national Government.

Hulu Kelang Assemblyman Saari Sungib also described the move as a breach of the Federal Constitution. “Pakatan Rakyat has been given a clear mandate by the people and the move is clearly mala fide or in bad faith.”

Saari also pointed out that public funds were being used by the Federal Government to carry out the subversive programmes.

Bukit Antarabangsa Assemblyman Mohamad Azmin Ali said using government machinery to improve the image of Barisan Nasional while undermining the credibility of the state government is an indication of how far public support for the ruling party had deteriorated. “Please don’t make fools of the people who have made their choice,” said the PKR vice-president.

Umno assemblyman Datuk Subahan Kamal responded by saying the state government had nothing to fear and questioned why the matter was even being debated. “I am puzzled as to why we are wasting time debating this issue” said the Kampung Tengku assemblyman, adding the “people-centric programme” was just political manoeuvring.

“We are all politicians here and this is a way for Barisan Nasional to regain the state. That’s politics,” he said, adding he was unaware and was not invited for the meeting.

MCA assemblyman Yap Ee Wah said as far as he knows the Selangor State Development Office only conduct community programmes. “There is nothing wrong with the EC setting up booths to register new voters during these programmes.”

During a press conference later, Khalid said he would be seeking an explanation from the Chief Secretary of the Government as to why government servants are allowed to conspire with Barisan Nasional. “This had undermined the dignity of the government servants themselves,” he added, saying the revelation has raised questions about the independence of government servants, which seem to favour the BN, when they should in fact be neutral.

At a press conference outside the assembly, Lau showed journalists documents which he had obtained of the Feb 26 meeting and said the state development office was meant to be a liaison between the federal and state government.

“The National Security Agency includes the police and army, and it’s shocking they are being used with other government agencies for this effort,” said Lau, who did not discount the possibility that similar programmes are held in other Pakatan Rakyat-ruled states or if the programme was used to bring down the previous Perak government.

Friday, March 20, 2009

A Romance With ISA (Part 2)

Concluding part of "Romantik ISA" produced b Pusat KOMAS

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Silver Turning Gray

Political Roguery Runs Riot In Perak
by Martin Jalleh

(MJ tries to capture the initial events leading to Umno’s power grabbing, pariah politics and pyrrhic victory in Perak)

The rakyat of Perak are robbed in broad daylight of their political right to determine the State Government they want. Their will is ridden roughshod over by a few renegades and running dogs ready to reap their reward. A day of reckoning will come.

A fraudulent state government rules Perak. It is a farcical government of a fallacious “majority”. The people are frustrated and furious. They believe that a fake legislature forced upon them will eventually face its fatal consequences.

C4 and 4Cs

The Election Commission (EC) plays politics and panders to the political (pay)master. It even portrays itself as a court of law and makes a palpably wrong decision that prevents the people from being the paramount arbitrator to overcome Perak’s political deadlock.

The new EC chairman refuses to recognise the Perak Speaker’s request to call for two by-elections after two assemblymen “prostituted” themselves. It is a duty which he is constitutionally bound to do so – a fact promptly and plainly confirmed by his predecessor.

The EC chairman sets a precedent that will perpetuate party hopping and paves the way for Umno’s power grabbing, pariah politics and pyrrhic victory. He reinforces growing public suspicion that the EC is hand-in-glove with the powers-that-be.

The mandate given to Pakatan Rakyat (PR) by the majority of Perakians is made a mockery of by the minority UMNO State Government. Umno survives on manipulative maneuverings, mysterious disappearances and money politics led by Machiavellian characters like Najib Tun Razak, who will soon assume the mantle of PM.

Soon after Umno’s defeat in the Kuala Terengganu by-election in January, its elites called for a “revamp”, a “reinstating of the ‘wow’ factor” and “radical reforms”. As proof of its unwavering resolve – it receives without any reservation two former PKR assemblymen who have been charged for corruption!

Dr M slams the Umno leadership for ’stooping low’ in courting the two crossovers. He should know its implications. He had left behind a Cabinet of soiled reputations and an Umno full of spent characters and self-seeking sycophants. Pak Lah’s new MACC, a supposedly “serious” effort to stem out corruption, turns out to be a silly joke.

The country catches a glimpse of Najib’s “culture of change”. More powerful than C4, he will charge this country up when he wears the crown, with 4Cs – Corruption, Coercion, Crossovers and Coups. Such is his commitment to compromise our democracy – whatever the cost!

Dr M, who preferred Najib over Pak Lah as PM, very correctly captured in his blog (when he predicted that those using bribery will win in the Umno elections in March) the coming catastrophe in this country: “We will get an Umno government that is corrupt and without morals.”

The backroom politics of Umno and its backdoor takeover of the Perak State Government, forms the perfect background for Najib to lead Bolehland into a political backwater. Many believe that the bedlam created by Umno in Perak will surely bring about a backlash expressed in the ballot-box of the next General Elections.

Silver State’s Shaky Stability

Confronted by Umno’s hypocrisy, hopping highhandedness, hideous characters and hoax majority, the Menteri Besar (MB) of Perak and many Perakians turn to and place their hopes high on His Royal Highness (HRH) Sultan Azlan Shah – whom they hold in high regard.

Surely on His Silver Jubilee as Sultan of the Silver State, the exemplary sovereign who was a former Lord President, will shine like a silver lining in the sordid state of affairs. Indeed, he will safeguard the sentiments of his subjects expressed in the last General Elections.

Sadly, the Sultan’s solution makes very little sense to his subjects. HRH seems swayed by Umno’s political subterfuge and scheming. He summons the MB who sought a dissolution of the State Assembly. There will be no snap elections. The MB is told to step down, and to do so swiftly. The saddle belongs to Umno.

The popular MB of positive policies proves he is no pushover. All he wants is that the democratic procedures and process be followed properly. The Sultan’s personal discretion and his straying beyond his parameters of power is met with public disbelief and disappointment. Public perception over his impartiality plummets.

Respected retired judge N H Chan suggests that HRH has “sidestepped” provisions of the Perak constitution and made a “fatal error”. Tengku Razaleigh strongly implies that the removal of the MB by HRH was done “without regard for the rule of law”. And as Zaid Ibrahim sees it, “political questions should be resolved in the legislature and not behind closed doors in a palace”.

The Sultan returns Perak to its original stalemate. Nothing changes. Only the roles are reversed. The same razor thin majority remains. The initial political uncertainty is reinforced. Politicking in Perak – to remain in power or retain control – rages on, with each side trying to lure defectors.

The Sultan wants a “stable” State Government. Umno assures HRH that it has the majority due to the solid backing of three defecting “friendly independents” made up of two former PKR assemblymen charged for corruption – and a former DAP assemblywoman who reduces the price of democracy to cash and Camry!

In other words, the “stability” of the Silver State rests solely on three shady characters interviewed by the Sultan and whose status are now even more uncertain since the PR has filed a suit to declare their seats vacant.

Alas, the future of the people of Perak is determined by three “independents” who act independently of the people’s wishes, and an “unstable” Umno assemblyman who says that his hop from Umno to PKR and back to Umno ten days later – was for the sake of political stability!

The Sultan hands to the people of Perak a “unity government” which has a dubious majority, achieved by the most divisive means! On top of that it is overwhelmingly dominated by 27 Umno seats. There is only one MCA seat and three independent defectors’ seats. How’s that for an unique representation of multi racial unity?

Pawning the Palace

The nascent PR State Government is numbed momentarily by Najib’s nefarious tricks. It eventually bounces back with MB Nizar leading it with nerves of steel. Najib is naive to think that Nizar would wilt in the battle of wills. The MB (who is from PAS) will fight him all the way to the moon and back!

Nizar refuses to resign as MB. He believes he is lawfully the MB until he resigns of his own accord, or is removed by a vote of no-confidence in a formal sitting of the State Assembly. For Nizar and his Exco it is business as usual.

Naiib has made Nizar famous. The DAP backs him fully. The Bar Council praises him for the “many significant steps forward”. The people of all races have faith in him. He may be without an official office, car and house, but Nizar can find a place in the hearts of many Perakians!

Umno goes berserk over Nizar’s boldness. Next to buying over defections, Umno is an expert in diversions and distortion of the truth. Behold, the Umno boys are unleashed; protests are held (without police permits); police reports are lodged; and their press is ready and raring to spin.

At their hysterical best, Umno Youth chief Hishammuddin Hussein hits out at the opposition for “betraying the Rulers”, and his deputy Khairy Jamaluddin hollers for Nizar’s banishment. Surely such histrionics will be duly rewarded at the coming Umno elections.

Umno uses the royalty as pawns in their dirty political game. It is all about political expediency and nothing about being pro-royal. Najib makes use of the palace to push and protect his agenda and vested interests. The people are his least concern.

History reveals that Umno shows deference to the royalty only if it serves its political advantage. As a royal peer and Umno leader, Tengku Razaleigh sees through the hypocrisy of the Umno elite. He hammers them by implicitly suggesting that it is Umno who has harmed the Malay rulers more than anyone else! He recalls the constitutional crisis of 1993.

He describes it as “an ugly confrontation between Umno and the Rulers” during which the Umno-dominated government campaigned to remove the immunity of the rulers. He leaves a haunting question for Umno: “Was greater harm done to the sovereignty of the Rulers in 1993 through Parliament or a week ago on the streets of Perak?”

He strips bare Umno’s attempt to camouflage public opprobrium over its undemocratic takeover of the state government: “Today’s crisis in Perak is about the legitimacy of the process by which a new state government has been formed in Perak. It’s not about the status of the Rulers.”

In March last year, in a clash between Umno and the Sultan of Trengganu (who was also the King) over the appointment of the State’s MB, hostile Umno members hurled insults at the royalty and even hoisted banners headlined ”Animal King”.

All of the 22 BN assemblymen protested against the appointment and later boycotted the swearing-in ceremony of the new MB. Umno Trengganu even stripped the new MB of his (Umno) membership after he defied the party leadership and accepted the Sultan’s appointment!

Surely this was not treason. Umno protestors were not traitors. Neither were they tainting the name of the Sultan? They can’t be “rude”. They were just being Umno – “with its inconsistent adherence to the rule of law (and) its inconstant respect for the key institutions of our country” (Tengku Razaleigh).

“It is time for Umno-BN to stop using the Palace. It must now learn how to survive on its own as required by both the constitution and democracy,” is the wise advice that law professor Abdul Aziz Bari has to offer to Umno.

Meanwhile Nazir files a suit to declare illegal the government of the new MB. The Perak State Legislative Assembly Speaker suspends the newly appointed MB and his six Exco members.

Pak Lah tells the new MB to ignore the suspension and to lodge a police report against the Speaker. Dr M mocks at the ignorance of the PM. The country heaves a sigh of relief that he would be retiring soon.

As for Anwar Ibrahim and the PR, they have a lot of soul searching to do. A democracy dependent on defections is a very defective process waiting to disintegrate. Crossover is not the answer for a nation at a crossroads. What has happened in Perak is a classic case in point.

Hopping does not bring hope. With money politics so rife, there is no guarantee that the hopper may not one day hop back into his/her original “hole”. The Umno assemblyman who double hopped in a space of 10 days is a perfect example.

The PR is a “people’s party”. The people’s wants, wishes and will must come first. The “tsunami” of March 2008 was a “people’s victory”. The very essence and reason for PR’s existence is – the people.

The only way for Perak to move forward is to go back to the people!

(The above article was written for the latest issue of Aliran Monthly. Subsequent to the above were significant events such as the raw courage of the MB, Speaker and PR Aduns holding the Perak State Assembly under a raintree, and scandalous events such as the jaundiced judgments of a junior judge (judicial commissioner) which made the judiciary the butt of everyone’s jokes.)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Something Sinister This Way Come

Big Stick Coming
By Tian

After delivering lots of carrots in the stimulus package, Najib is now ready to wave the big stick.

MP for Puchong Gobind Singh Deo was suspended for a year today. The Speaker won’t even let the House to have a proper debate.

Last Thursday (12 March), Gobind has been suspended for one day. But that was not enough. Rosmah was in the Parliament during the commotion when Gobind requested Najib to explain his link with the murder of Altantuya.

Minister of the PM Department Nazri had to do the dirty job to assuage the anger of his future boss and more so his wife.

The issue here is not what Gobind said. The whole world is talking about Altantuya case. Najib had not offered a satisfactory disclaimers.

We dare Najib to demand the French paper Liberation to withdraw the article on Altantuya, or to sue the paper for defamation. Wonder why he is totally silent? Even the loudly Umno Youth are extraordinarily quiet about this. No demo in front of the French Embassy, no police reports, no threatening to severe diplomatic relations with France… Why are they not brave enough to defend the dignity of their future supremo.

Allergy over the word “Altantuya” is spreading across BN. I asked the Deputy Speaker Ronald Kiandee if the word Altantuya was not allowed to be uttered in the House. He dare not never confirmed it. Things must have change over the weekend.

The Speaker Pandikar was determined to deliver the penalty immediately.

Oddly, in the debate which purported to be a trial over Gobind’s “crime”, the people involved were not given a chance to speak. Najib was absent from the session, and Gobind was not given a chance to defend himself.

The debate was ended by the Speaker 10 minutes before 13:00hr, and Nazri was asked to conclude and tabled the suspension motion for a vote.

We had to walk out to protest against this group of kangaroos.

Tomorrow, Karpal SIngh will be charged under the Sedition Act for his alleged “lese majeste” remarks.

What happened to the father and son, Karpal and Gobind is a glimpse of what is coming with Najib the future PM.

Najib is fixing his muscle as well as all the tools within his reach. Be prepared for the big stick coming…

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Useful Only When You Need Them

Freedom of speech does NOT exist in Malaysia

Now, before you get all excited about Gobind Singh Deo’s one-year suspension and about Karpal Singh being charged for sedition today, please read this piece and understand that, in spite of what you may have been led to believe, freedom of speech does NOT exist in Malaysia.

Raja Petra Kamarudin

First, see these two videos of Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah’s speech in Parliament in 1993:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Okay, now read what Tengku Razaleigh wrote in his Blog ( about a week after the recent Perak Constitutional Crisis.

Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah on the Constitutional Crisis of 1993

This is not the first constitutional crisis in which the rights of the Rulers have been touched upon. Today’s crisis in Perak is about the legitimacy of the process by which a new state government has been formed in Perak. It’s not about the status of the Rulers.

In comparison, the Constitutional Crisis of 1993 arose from an ugly confrontation between Umno and the Rulers over a question that had direct and profound implications on their sovereignty and that of the Yang diPertuan Agong. For good reason, the Head of State in most countries may not be prosecuted in an ordinary court of law. In 1993, the government campaigned to remove this immunity through amendments to the Constitution.

I opposed these amendments.

In the event, the Rulers and Parliament were railroaded by the government of the day and the amendments duly passed. These are the very same amendments, which, today, make it legal for a Ruler to be prosecuted. Mr Karpal Singh, though I disagree with him, was acting well within his rights that an Umno-led government enacted in 1993 when he earlier proposed to sue DYMM the Sultan of Perak.

Let’s reflect on this irony. Does Umno serve the Rulers more genuinely by upholding and protecting the Constitution, which guarantees their status, or by histrionic displays tuned for the coming Umno elections?

This bears upon the question of the kind of leaders, and the kind of party, we want. Do we want to be led by those who can understand and address the foundational issues facing our society today, and shall we have leaders capable of forging “mutual consent by debate and discussion, inquiries and elections”, or shall we again be landed with those whose main talent is to strike poses that people outside a small, insecure circle in Umno, and particularly Malaysia’s internet generation, find ridiculous?

Was greater harm done to the sovereignty of the Rulers in 1993 through Parliament or a week ago on the streets of Perak?

And is today’s Umno, with its inconsistent adherence to the rule of law, its inconstant respect for the key institutions of our country, a credible or effective defender of the Rulers and of the laws upholding this institution?

Or do we actually harm what we claim to protect?

Above is a video recording in two parts of the speech I made in Parliament in 1993 opposing the amendments to the Constitution.

I stand by my argument.

Article 10 of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia

(1)Subject to Clauses (2), (3) and (4) –

(a) every citizen has the right to freedom of speech and expression;
(b) all citizens have the right to assemble peaceably and without arms;
(c) all citizens have the right to form associations.

(2) Parliament may by law impose –

(a) on the rights conferred by paragraph (a) of Clause (1), such restrictions as it deems necessary or expedient in the interest of the security of the Federation or any part thereof, friendly relations with other countries, public order or morality and restrictions designed to protect the privileges of Parliament or of any Legislative Assembly or to provide against contempt of court, defamation, or incitement to any offence;

(b) on the right conferred by paragraph (b) of Clause (1), such restrictions as it deems necessary or expedient in the interest of the security of the Federation or any part thereof, or public order;

(c) on the right conferred by paragraph (c) of Clause (1), such restrictions as it deems necessary or expedient in the interest of the security of the Federation or any part thereof, public order or morality.

(3) Restrictions on the right to form associations conferred by paragraph (c) of Clause (1) may also be imposed by any law relating to labour or education.

(4) In imposing restrictions in the interest of the security of the Federation or any part thereof or public order under Clause (2) (a), Parliament may pass law prohibiting the questioning of any matter, right, status, position, privilege, sovereignty or prerogative established or protected by the provisions of Part III, article 152, 153 or 181 otherwise than in relation to the implementation thereof as may be specified in such law.

Article 10[1][a] of the Federal Constitution provides that every Malaysian citizen shall have the right of free speech and expression. Taken in isolation, it appears to be a guarantee of that right. Sadly, as we all know, the guarantee is not absolute. Starting with Article 10[2][a] and [4] of the Federal Constitution, we are immediately reminded that any such guarantee is, in fact, illusory. Furthermore, restrictions to free speech are enshrined in legislation, such as the Sedition Act 1948, Printing Presses and Publication Act 1984 and the Internal Security Act 1960.

The 1983 Constitutional Crisis involving the Rulers and the 1993 constitutional amendments to, inter alia, remove the personal immunity of the Rulers clearly demonstrates that a new ethos has evolved during the Mahathir Administration that permits the discussion of matters that involve the Rulers.

By Chin Thye Choo

The issue is simple. Article 10 of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia guarantees all citizens the right to freedom of speech, assembly and association. However, this same Article 10 allows the government to take away that right when deemed necessary. In short, you do not have automatic freedom of speech, assembly and association. The government decides when you can and cannot have it.

If you were to note what Tengku Razaleigh said in his 1993 speech in Parliament (in the videos above), there are certain things that can’t be questioned. These are issues related to the Rulers, Malay rights and privileges, the National Language, and Islam. Even two-thirds of Parliament can’t change this. The only people who can change this would be the Rulers’ Conference. Even then it must be a unanimous decision by the Rulers’ Conference. A simple majority will not be sufficient. Just one dissenting voice from one of the Rulers is good enough to block any move to make these changes.

It therefore becomes unlawful for anyone to challenge the position of the Rulers or the position of Islam and the National Language or to challenge Malay rights and privileges.

Nevertheless, in 1993, ten years after the First Constitutional Crisis, Parliament removed the immunity of the Rulers. This matter was heavily debated at that time and was opposed by Tengku Razaleigh. However, Umno, at the behest of the Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, wanted the Rulers’ wings clipped. So Parliament passed the law that now subject the Rulers to prosecution and court action, which prior to 1993 was not possible.

Yes, Umno removed the Rulers’ immunity. And, as Tengku Razaleigh said, it was done after an orgy of Ruler-bashing (pesta mencaci raja-raja, as he put it). The mainstream media went to town in revealing the excesses, transgressions and misconduct of the Rulers to the extent that even the international media picked up the issue, which made a mockery of Malaysia’s Rulers.

The Rulers were run into the ground and driven through the mud. They were defiled and insulted. If an opinion poll had been conducted at that time, probably 90% of Malaysians, across the board, would have opted for the abolishment of the Monarchy and for Malaysia to be transformed into a republic.

As Tengku Razaleigh said, it was Umno who had harmed the Monarchy beyond repair. The Monarchy was no longer perceived as the noble institution as it once was. It was now viewed as a joke and something that Malaysia could do without.

Ghafar Baba, the then Deputy Prime Minister, said there is nothing wrong in criticising the Rulers. In fact, the Rulers should be criticised considering that many of them had misbehaved. What can’t be argued is whether the Monarchy should be abolished and the country turned into a republic. That would be seditious, said Ghafar. Everything else is fair game.

A nationwide campaign was launched to bring the Rulers to their knees. The mainstream media ran expose after expose about the excesses, transgressions and misconduct of the Rulers. By the end of it all, very few Malaysians had respect for the Monarchy and many openly said that it is time for the Monarchy to go.

State Assemblies debated the issue of the ‘corrupt’ Rulers and how the Rulers were beneficiaries to state land, timber concessions, and government contracts. ‘Tengku’ Wong was exposed as the ‘Ali Baba’ front man for the Sultan of Pahang. ‘Tengku’ Yong was exposed as the same for the late Sultan of Terengganu. The mainstream media ran photographs of the lavish palaces in Penang owned by the Sultans of Selangor and Kedah (which was all bullshit, of course, because the Sultans did not own these properties). Exposes of pig farms, gambling debts, lavish lifestyles, and whatnot, were done, all linked to the Rulers of the various states.

The government impounded the Sultan of Kelantan’s Lamborghini on allegations he had refused to pay the import duty on the car -- when in actual fact he was exempted from paying tax. But even when it was later proven he never avoided paying the import duty, the damage was still done. Malaysians were aghast that the Sultans were each buying dozens of multi-million Ringgit sports cars and did not have to pay any tax like the rest of the rakyat.

Heck, after seeing what the mainstream media revealed, even I became ashamed to admit I am from the Royal Family. Umno had totally and absolutely demolished the Rulers. Even Malays were openly condemning the Rulers.

Yes, when it suits Umno, there is absolute and total freedom to attack the Rulers, run them into the ground, and drive them through the mud. They even change the law in Parliament to remove the immunity of the Rulers so that they not only can be attacked but can also be dragged to court as well. But when they want to silence the opposition, they declare that criticising the Rulers is a crime.

I was informed they are considering charges of treason against me for that open letter to Nizar, which was posted in Malaysia Today. The Al Maunah group was also charged for treason. If I am found guilty, the sentence for treason is death by hanging -- like what happened to the Al Maunah people who were hanged in the Sungai Buloh Prison in August 2006.

Yes, that’s right. They can’t get me under the Internal Security Act or the Sedition Act or for criminal defamation. So now they want to hang me for treason for writing an open letter to Nizar asking him to defy the Sultan even if it triggers a Constitutional Crisis in Perak. However, history has shown that Umno did more than what I could ever do to the institution of the Monarchy -- and we have this on record.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Cause Was Noble At First

What our Founding Fathers wanted for this country

Let us once more salute the memory of Tunku Abdul Rahman Al Haj, Bapak Malaysia, the national leader who proved beyond a peradventure that a Nation divided against itself can never prosper and that all Malaysians must love each other regardless of race, colour or creed, if we are ever to achieve greatness as a Nation.

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Next year I shall be 60 -- assuming, of course, I am still around. To some, that would be considered bad -- in the sense that 60 would mean I am closer to my grave than those who are, say, 30. But my Tok Guru always told me that good and bad always come together. There is no such thing as absolute good or absolute bad. Good and bad come in pairs. So, being 60 is not all bad. There is some good in being a ‘matured’ man (the politically correct way of saying ‘old’).

Take the bad of Umno, for example. Because of its ultra-racist stance, it has brought Malaysians together, which culminated in the 8 March 2008 political ‘Tsunami’. Without Umno, we would not have united on 8 March 2008 to do what we did. But then, I suppose, without Umno we would not have been divided in the first place and, therefore, would not have needed to ‘come together’ on 8 March 2008, as we would have been united anyway.

The Founding Fathers of Umno, such as Onn Jaafar, plus the Father of Independence, Tunku Abdul Rahman, never intended for Malaysians to be divided. Sure, there were things such as the so-called Social Contract, which is being blamed as that which divides us. But the Social Contract was not a policy conjured to divide Malaysians. It was a policy that was carefully created after much thought to enable non-Malayans to gain citizenship without displacing those who are already citizens.

For all intents and purposes, the Social Contract was aimed at enabling Malayans to live together in peace and harmony. The example of what happened in India, which resulted in the partition of that country into India-Pakistan and the one million deaths that necessitated this Partition, meant much thought needed to be put into what an independent Malaya should look like. And India was a country of one race, mind you, though of many religions. What more for a country like Malaya, which had many races?

If Malaya had been given independence without a ‘Contract’ in place, what would follow Merdeka would be something we would not even want to imagine.

Merdeka, however, was five generations ago. That was during the time of my grandfather. (Today, I am a grandfather myself, so that makes it five generations).

Just for the record, my grandfather was one of those who negotiated with the Malay Rulers to get them to reject the Malayan Union in favour of the Federation of Malaya. I, therefore, have more ‘authority’ to speak on this subject than many Umno people whose grandfathers or great-grandfathers were just ‘spectators’ during the 1940s and 1950s. After all, my grandfather was one of those who persuaded the Malay Rulers to defy the British and demand that the Malayan Union be replaced with the Federation of Malaya.

Yesterday, I wrote about the Federation Agreement of 1948, which eventually transformed into the Federal Constitution of Malaya, and then later into the Federal Constitution of Malaysia. Many who speak know nothing about the history and background of the Malayan Union of 1946, the Federation Agreement of 1948, or the Social Contract of 1957. Yet they comment with rhetoric and emotions not knowing what the issue is but speak as if they do.

And herein lies the problem.

Sure, these were agreements made by our forefathers five generations ago. Sure, how can what was agreed five generations ago be binding to those today who were never part of that agreement and never consented to it? Sure, no agreement is carved in stone and agreements can always be amended or rescinded. Sure, times change, situations change, and therefore agreements too should change in keeping with the times and changing situations.

But there is one thing we must never forget. Agreements are always bilateral. It takes two, or more, parties to enter into an agreement. Therefore, any change or amendments to that agreement must also be bilateral. You can’t unilaterally change or amend an agreement. This means, basically, that all parties to that agreement have to sit down and negotiate the amendments and come to a consensus on what these amendments should be. A unilateral amendment to any agreement is just not valid.

Okay, with that backdrop, read the following two pieces so that, when you start talking about ‘change’, you will at least understand the background to the current situation and will, therefore, be able to argue your case with substance.

Oh, and what, you may ask, was that part about me being almost 60 got to do with this piece? Well, being almost 60 means I have lived through Merdeka and, therefore, understand and appreciate the issue better. Many post-Merdeka (and even post-May 13) Malaysians talk without the benefit of living through that time and, worst or all, without even first researching what happened in the 1940s and 1950s.

Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra ibni Al-marhum Sultan Abdul Hamid Halimshah
Prime Minister
Kuala Lumpur, 31st Day of August 1957

In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful. Praise be to God, the Lord of the Universe and may the blessings and peace of God be upon His Messengers.

WHEREAS the time has now arrived when the people of the Persekutuan Tanah Melayu will assume the status of a free independent and sovereign nation among nations of the World

AND WHEREAS by an agreement styled the Federation of Malaya Agreement, 1957, between Her Majesty the Queen and Their Highnesses the Rulers of the Malay States it was agreed that the Malay States of Johore, Pahang, Negri Sembilan, Selangor, Kedah, Perlis, Kelantan, Trengganu and Perak and the former Settlements of Malacca and Penang should as from the 31st. day of August, 1957, be formed into a new Federation of States by the name of Persekutuan Tanah Melayu

AND WHEREAS it was further agreed between the parties to the said agreement that the Settlements of Malacca and Penang aforesaid should as from the said date cease to form part of Her Majesty's dominions and that Her Majesty should cease to exercise any sovereignty over them

AND WHEREAS it was further agreed by the parties aforesaid that the Federation of Malaya Agreement, 1948, and all other agreements subsisting between Her Majesty the Queen and Their Highnesses the Rulers or any one of them immediately before the said date should be revoked as from the date and that all powers and jurisdiction of Her Majesty or of the Parliament of the United Kingdom in or in respect of the Settlements aforesaid or the Malay States or the Federation as a whole should come to an end

AND WHEREAS effect has been given to the Federation of Malaya Agreement, 1957, by Her Majesty the Queen, Their Highnesses the Rulers, the Parliament of the United Kingdom and the Legislatures of the Federation and of the Malay States

AND WHEREAS a constitution for the Government of the Persekutuan Tanah Melayu has been established as the supreme law thereof

AND WHEREAS by the Federal Constitution aforesaid provision is made to safeguard the rights and prerogatives of Their Highnesses the Rulers and the fundamental rights and liberties of the people and to provide for the peaceful and orderly advancement of the Persekutuan Tanah Melayu as a constitutional monarchy based on Parliamentary democracy

AND WHEREAS the Federal Constitution aforesaid having been approved by an Ordinance of the Federal Legislatures, by the Enactments of the Malay States and by resolutions of the Legislatures of Malacca and Penang has come into force on the 31st. day of August 1957, aforesaid

NOW, in the name of God the Compassionate, the Merciful, I TUNKU ABDUL RAHMAN PUTRA ibni AL-MARHUM SULTAN ABDUL HAMID HALIMSHAH, PRIME MINISTER OF THE PERSEKUTUAN TANAH MELAYU, with the concurrence and approval of Their Highnesses the Rulers of the Malay States do hereby proclaim and declare on behalf of the people of the Persekutuan Tanah Melayu that as from the thirty first day of August, nineteen hundred and fifty seven, the Persekutuan Tanah Melayu comprising the States of Johore, Pahang, Negri Semblian, Selangor, Kedah, Perlis, Kelantan, Trengganu, Perak, Malacca and Penang is and with God's blessing shall be for ever a sovereign democratic and independent State founded upon the principles of liberty and justice and ever seeking the welfare and happiness of its people and the maintenance of a just peace among all nations.

Tunku Abdul Rahman Al Haj on the 48th Anniversary of Merdeka
By Dato’ Mahadev Shankar

The value of tradition lies not only in its own sake but also for the glue it provides in consolidating our integrity, both as individuals and as a nation. We can clearly see where we should be going only if we have a clear understanding of where we came from.

Our forty-eighth Merdeka anniversary is barely a month away and as good a starting point in this inquiry is to focus on the man who was the architect of our independence, our first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman Al Haj.

Much has already been written about all aspects of his political development. So this little vignette will focus on some incidents where our paths crossed from 1956 when I returned from England a young barrister of the Inner Temple eager to make his way in this world.

I first came face to face with the Tunku in the Banquet Room of the Lake Club in November of that year. Sir Charles Matthew, the Chief Justice, had given up his post to go on transfer in the Colonial Legal Service to head the Judiciary at Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. Tunku had arranged a personal farewell party for him. My father was then Sir Charles’ private secretary and had secured an invitation for me.

When the Tunku walked in, the imprimatur he impressed on all of us was that Malayans were no longer a subject nation but stood on an equal level with our erstwhile British Protectors. Merdeka - even though another nine months away - was already an inevitable reality.

Thus did all of us in the Hall also stand tall as we exchanged courtesies with all the other officers from the Residency, no longer racial superiors but equal partners in our national development.

After Sir Charles said his piece, Tunku’s riposte was short and sweet, "Let's drink a toast to Sir Charles - May he be happy wherever he goes.” And that was that.

Dataran Merdeka, as it is now known, was the focus of national and international attention on 31st August 1957, but by then the Tunku had already won the heart of every Malayan by his winning attributes. Tunku had the supreme ability to get the best out of every one not ever by instilling fear but by spontaneously inspiring love for him both personally and as the personification of the Nation. Tunku’s other endearing attributes were his love of sport, his impish sense of humour, his loyalty to his friends, and his genius in getting ordinary men and women involved in the act of nation building.

What form the National Flag should take and what tune and words should go to make up the National Anthem were both the subjects of a national competition. Well do I remember Mrs Kathleen Foenander making various efforts to make Terang Bulan more upbeat, and my father spent many long hours comparing the flags of other nations, which appeared on the inner cover of Pears Encyclopaedia before submitting a design of his own. Almost equalling the unifying force of the Merdeka celebrations on the Padang were the Asian Football Championships held at the Merdeka Stadium.

When Ghani, Dutton, and two others carried our national flag in triumph around the stadium the roar of 80,000 people around the Stadium was a resounding declaration to the world that Malaya had arrived to take her place alongside all other independent countries as a sovereign member of the United Nations.

An Old Victorian, the late M. N. Cumarasami, one of the Tunku’s confidantes, told me that Tunku would like me to join the Foreign Service, but I replied that I wanted to practice law a for a few years first. I was told by M. N. that the loss of seniority would not make the postponement a viable proposition. Old Victorian Dr. Lakmir Singh Sodhy was the other one who conveyed Tunku’s desire that all first generation Malayans of Indian origin should mark the occasion by perpetuating all their children with the same surname instead of calling themselves A.B. a/l (or a/p as the case may be) C.D. This I readily acceded to and Shankar has been the family surname ever since.

The years from 1957 to 1969 were happy ones indeed for the Nation and its peoples. Indeed, Tunku boldly told a BBC commentator that he was the world’s happiest Prime Minister. We were entertained with a regular stream of anecdotes by those close to him. Some of the more humorous ones came from Tan Sri Taib Andak, Tan Sri Ghazalie Shafie and Mr Ferguson. Even those who had met Tunku casually on the streets or in the shops had only kind words to say about him - as, for example, the man on the Muar Bridge who was there first and was not allowed by the Tunku to reverse in order to allow the Tunku to pass first. His compassion for the weaker members of the community came out best when Old Victorian Tan Sri Tan Chee Khoon demanded in Parliament that our then High Commissioner in Australia be stripped of his title and his post for going missing for two weeks in the bosom of some sultry Australian siren.

The Tunku challenged -“Let any one amongst us who is without sin, stand up and cast the first stone.” Tan Chee Khoon was the only one who stood and remained standing while looking Tunku straight between the eyes. After a pregnant silence Tunku who at first seemed at a loss for words said, “David Tan Chee Khoon - I really pity you.”

In the uproarious laughter, which followed an embarrassing situation, was averted.

Even the flamboyant Sukarno in the talks to defuse Confrontation was deflated by Tunku with just the smell of cheese!

But the storm clouds were gathering and there were those who thought that the Tunku had distanced himself too far from the interests espoused by the Ultras. Nor was he helped in this by the extremism amongst the other communities. May 1969 was a dreadful time for us. In his speech to the nation which came on TV on the night of the 13th, after calling for help from volunteers to stem the tide of lawlessness which had befallen the nation well do I still remember his last words, “Marilah kita hidup atau mati sekarang!”

It was his darkest hour. It was left to Tun Dr. Ismail to come to the fore that night with a stirring call for unity and courage to overcome the odds. A few days later he came with Tan Sri Manickavasagam to the hospital bedside of the little Indian girl from Sentul. She had both her arms chopped off at the elbows by someone who had got caught up with the madness that had swept the city. What can we do for this poor girl, Manicka asked Tunku. By then the reigns of power had passed on and Tunku replied, “All we can do now is to cry,” he said his heart breaking with sadness. And the Tunku shed his tears, as did Manicka and all of us who witnessed this sorry spectacle.

We had rallied to his call in the service of the nation. I was assigned to Tan Sri Khir Johari, and the late Tan Sri Manickavasagam and, after the initial spurt to find food and shelter for the huge numbers of people who had been driven from their homes, setting up the National Relief Fund under the Chairmanship of the late Tan Sri Justice H.T. Ong, the National Goodwill Council was also set up under the Chairmanship of Tunku. But it all seemed in vain. We were unable to lift his spirits and he seemed to dwell in the depths of the darkest despair. He kept saying, “Laugh and the world laughs with you; Cry and you cry alone.”

But bounce back Tunku eventually did. His column in The Star - Sudut Pandangan:

Points of View - did much to voice the concerns of a silent majority. The Tunku chided and cajoled when the occasion required and always was there to prick the consciences of all concerned to hasten the process of a return to full democracy.

Alas, after Operation Lalang and the restoration of its Printing Licence to The Star, the Tunku’s voice was no longer to be heard there as well.

My last sight of him was at the Istana for the Agong’s birthday celebrations. He had to be wheeled in to the front row in a wheel chair - his head unbowed. After the ceremonial addresses had been read and the Royal Birthday honours had been bestowed, the proceedings were adjourned for us to mingle with each other and take refreshment on the lawns. I was there informed that someone went up to the Tunku and asked him what was the secret of his longevity. He replied he had two good doctors who gave him a reason to live - one was his personal physician, and the other was Doctor Mahathir.

I did not see the Tunku again. When I got news of his demise I made haste to the Royal Mausoleum to pay my last respects to Bapak Malaysia. But by the time I got there I was told his body had been taken to Kedah for burial with full honours.

Did the Tunku make a difference to Malaysia? After all, that is the test of the value of a life.

Mr. Robert MacNamara, then President of the World Bank, said in his opening address at the first Tun Abdul Razak Memorial lecture that he was envious of the Malaysians in the audience who had walked with the Founding Fathers of this nation, whereas he had to get to know them though the history books.

The memory of Bapak Malaysia doubly sanctifies us because we have a living memory of this great man - great not only in his hour of triumph when he thrice roared out that Malaya was a free nation at midnight on the 31st August 1957 but also great in his hours of darkness when he took his sorrows in his stride and came back to do what little he could to keep the humanity and the sanity of the nation intact.

One final luxury we may permit ourselves at the midnight hour on the 31st August 2005 is to ponder what Malaysia might have been if he had been with us today at the full height of his powers. With his implacable hatred of racialism in any guise, his healthy disrespect of academic experts with their esoteric theories about how we should re-structure our society mindless of the harm it would cause to people least equipped to resist such condign measures (and, in retrospect, little to boast about except the creation of a money-driven group of people who have grown rich beyond the dreams of avarice), his fundamental love of humanity and his common sense, it is very arguable that ours would have been a better world. And how would he have achieved this. Simply by searching for consensus, playing with all his cards on the table instead of feats of legerdemain dependent on lies, damned lies and statistics, and always keeping in the forefront of his mind the big picture, when putting sectional distortions right.

The Tunku was not corrupted by politics and he died a comparatively poor man. We shall remember him as the man who kept the faith, and who fought the good fight until the very last. We shall remember him as the leader who gave us hope even after he was forced out into the political wilderness, as the humanitarian who was boundless in his charity even for those who did not agree with his views. We shall remember him also for the love he inspired in us for each other regardless of racial origins, community or creed, for his sportsmanship in taking wins and losses equally in his stride. But most of all we shall remember him as the leader who brought us Independence from our Colonial Masters not by the force of arms but the power of persuasion that only from the unity of our communities comes the strength that ensures our survival as a Nation.

So as this Merdeka Day approaches and especially at midnight on the 31st of August 2005, let us once more salute the memory of Tunku Abdul Rahman Al Haj, Bapak Malaysia, the national leader who proved beyond a peradventure that a Nation divided against itself can never prosper and that all Malaysians must love each other regardless of race, colour or creed, if we are ever to achieve greatness as a Nation. Nor should we forget that once when we disregarded his example the nation descended into an abyss of internecine conflicts. We cannot afford to make that mistake a second time.

August 2005

Dato’ Mahadev Shankar is a barrister of the Inner Temple London and was enrolled as an Advocate and Solicitor of the High Court Malaya in 1956. Thereafter he practised law in Shearn Delamore and Company, Kuala Lumpur, till 1983 when he was appointed Judge of the High Court of West Malaysia. He served in Johor, the Federal Capital, and in Selangor till 1994 when he was elevated to the Court of Appeal.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Paying Short Term, Earning Long Term

Consistency Of Purpose, Duty And Responsibility

Since the Perak affair began, many of us have questioned the wisdom of the Sultan of Perak’s decision against dissolving the state assembly. I am, like many of you, not trained in law but I am reasonably educated with a modicum of common sense.


Whenever I think of my friend Karpal Singh, I am reminded of my great headmaster, the late Dr. Frank J. Rawcliffe who taught us the importance of being consistent, even if meant sometimes upsetting some people. You may say what you want about Karpal’s manner, his magisterial pronouncements often delivered with a great roar full of fiery passion, but you cannot accuse him of being inconsistent in the position he has taken over the years on matters involving both personal and public ethical principles. While Karpal clearly recognises that there are, in politics, no permanent friends or foes, he believes devoutly in the importance of “permanent principles.” Unprincipled politics as we have seen in Malaysia can very quickly degenerate into unmitigated disasters. The unsavoury Perak affair is a case in point.

I believe in, and will fight for, my right to say what I like within the law. I naturally accept willingly the accompanying responsibility that such rights impose on me. I should expect to be free from threats of violence for my views, and I was, therefore, shocked to see on TV a disgraceful act of intolerance by a group of UMNO youth, and for a second or two I thought I was watching a familiar scene from a 1935 newsreel showing the storm troopers of the Third Reich pouncing on a hapless Jew in a wheel chair. On this occasion, it was in the hallowed grounds of the national parliament, no less that the brave Malay warriors chose to flex their muscle. The only difference was that UMNO’s storm troopers were not wearing the dreaded brown shirts of their German counterparts of days gone by.

For UMNO youth, this was not their maiden foray into ugly confrontations against those whose ideas they find disagreeable. And naturally, as we have come to expect from these street wise gentlemen, they claimed they were blameless for the undignified affront visited on an honourable citizen and parliamentarian for speaking out in the chamber of the house. They have every right to disagree with Karpal’s sentiments, but no one has the right to demand an apology except the speaker of the house or those on the government benches. He expressed his views without fear or favour in the course of his duty. That is the essence of Karpal the man and politician. I would have been disappointed if he had apologised.

Since the Perak affair began, many of us have questioned the wisdom of the Sultan of Perak’s decision against dissolving the state assembly. I am, like many of you, not trained in law but I am reasonably educated with a modicum of common sense. I do not believe I am going against any known law of the land by suggesting that the Sultan should have called for fresh elections which are what the people of Perak want judging from the sentiments on the ground. I believe the Sultan of Perak will be the first to admit that like all the rest of us he is not infallible. Lest I be accused of treason or derhaka against a Malay ruler, let me say here and now that I am by inclination a royalist, but not a blind one. My loyalty, however, is to my own raja, the Sultan of Kedah, and that loyalty, however, is not unqualified. He has to earn it by acting in the best interests of his subjects. That to me is every ruler’s sole raison d’etre. The French have another word, noblesse oblige, which is translated as those who enjoy the advantage of wealth and power have an obligation to protect those who do not have these advantages.

In this enlightened age, the only appeal to a person’s respect and loyalty that is likely to mean anything at all must be based on reason. It is no longer appropriate to invoke “lese majesty” as a form of legal sanction to secure the loyalty and affection of the people.

There has recently been a great deal of talk about social contract or compact in the context of the special rights of the Malays. I am not aware that any such contract exists, but I know that there is in universal terms an unwritten social compact between the government and the governed, and between the ruler and the ruled. In effect, what this stipulates is that it is the duty of the government or the ruler to ensure that the will of the people must be allowed full rein under the constitution to exercise their rights. In return, the people agree among themselves to conduct their affairs in ways that benefit the community as a whole. In a nutshell, we cannot have a prosperous and harmonious society by acting outside the constitutional parameters, and this injunction applies to both the ruler and the ruled.

It requires adjustments all round, and it is good to see that some rulers in performing their constitutional duties have tried to understand the mood of the people outside of the palace gate. We the people of this country look up to our rulers to stand by us as we seek justice, when other avenues seem impenetrable. It is not too much to ask not to be let down in return for our devotion and loyalty to “king and country.”

The writer was a member of the Police Royal Commission.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Checklist To Power

Why Najib must be stopped from becoming PM

On top of these worries is the curse of Altantuya’s murder which hangs over Najib’s head like a Damocle’s sword. Najib should realise by now that no matter how many times he swears he is innocent, he could not possibly have cleansed himself of this taint, unless and until he and his aide-de-camp Musa Safri are subject to a proper investigation and exonerated by a court of law perceived as just and fair (not the present court).

Kim Quek

Minister Nazri Aziz’s barefaced denial of any wrongdoing by the attorney general and inspector general of police in Anwar Ibrahim’s black eye case in the face of incontrovertible evidence is an affront to common decency and an insult to people’s intelligence.

Answering a question in Parliament on Mar 11, Nazri said the then Anti-Corruption Agency (now the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission) (MACC) had completed the investigations and concluded as early as September last year that both AG Gani Patail and IGP Musa Hassan were innocent of Anwar’s written complaints of fabrication of evidence. If that is the case, why didn’t the AG’s chamber use this conclusion to counter Sessions Court Judge Komatty’s decision to reject AG’s request to transfer Anwar’s sodomy trial to the High Court on ground of AG’s entanglement in the black eye case?

Shouldn’t the prosecutors have used the AG’s “confirmed” innocence as the perfect argument in the first instant, instead of fighting doggedly from one court hearing to another just to ensure that Anwar’s trial could be taken away from Komatty and transferred to another judge in the high court?

Coming on the heal of a spate of daring and shameless breaches of the constitution and the laws beginning from the illegal power grab in Perak, this Nazri move to cover up for AG & IGP is perceived as the latest manifestation of a new pattern of lawlessness demonstrated with increasing boldness and arrogance by practically all the institutions of state that include the election commission, police, judiciary, prosecutors, civil service and MACC.


It is no coincidence that this new phenomenon of crass contempt for the rule of law only cropped up after Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi passed on the effective running of the country to prime minister-in-waiting Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak at the beginning of this year. Let us take a brief look at some of these events.

On Feb 3, the Election Commission illegally usurped the authority of the Speaker of Perak state assembly to reject the resignations of Pakatan Rakyat (PR) assemblymen Jamaluddin Radzi and Osman Jailu, and refused to conduct by-elections in their respective constituencies.

The next day, Najib suddenly appeared in a press conference with four so-called ‘defectors’ from Pakatan Rakyat, after more than one week of cloak-and-dagger political machinations of “mysterious disappearance, hopping, double-hopping, kidnapping and bribery”. Najib claimed that Barisan Nasional (BN) had the majority to rule Perak with the assembly tied at 28 vs 28 with ‘3 friendly independents’, though the resignations of these ‘3 independents’ had already been accepted by the Speaker.

On Feb 5, after granting an audience to Najib and assemblymen supporting BN, the Perak Sultan ‘ordered’ Menteri Besar Nizar Jamaluddin and his cabinet to resign in a press statement. But Nizar declined to resign on the ground that he had not lost the support of the majority of assemblymen and instead, he reiterated his request for the Sultan’s consent to dissolve the assembly for a fresh election to resolve the political impasse.

The next day, the Sultan appointed a new Menteri Besar, Zambry Kadir.

Meanwhile, Mentri Besar Nizar (who has not resigned to this day) and his cabinet were physically evicted by the police from the state government building, almost immediately after the Sultan ‘ordered’ Nizar’s resignation on Feb 4. However, Nizar and his cabinet have continued to carry out their duties, initially at the official residence of Mentri Besar, and later at another office after moving out from his official residence.

While both Nizar and Zambry and their respective cabinets have been functioning in parallel, a number of suits and counter suits have been filed between the two camps to claim legitimacy of government.


Confrontations between the two camps came to a head when the Speaker V Sivakumar called for an emergency sitting of the assembly to be held on Mar 3, which was rejected by Zambry as ‘unlawful’. On the eve of the meeting, a circular appeared in the Secretariat Building to say that entry to the building (where the State Assembly is housed) would be closed the next day. And Perak Chief Police Officer Deputy Commissioner Zulkifli Abdullah warned that no one, including assemblymen, should gather at the building, upon advice by the pro-BN Assembly Secretary Anton Sabri that the emergency session was ‘invalid’.

The Speaker however warned that neither CPO Zulkifli nor assembly clerk Anton should try to thwart a legitimate sitting of the assembly duly convened by the speaker, as any such attempt would be deemed a breach of Section 124 of the Penal Code, an offence punishable with seven years of imprisonment.

On the morning of Mar 3, PR assemblymen were denied entry to the State Assembly by a barricade of riot police under the command of Ipoh OCPD Asst Comm Azisman Alias who warned the assemblymen to disperse at pain of arrests. Also physically repelled by a group of rowdy BN supporters who threatened violence, the assemblymen retreated to a rain tree nearby, where the emergency sitting was formally convened by Speaker Sivakumar. This rain tree has since been celebrated and commemorated as the “Tree of Democracy”.

In this melee, a series of breaches of law were committed by public servants – State Secretary, police, Assembly Secretary – who failed to maintain neutrality and non-partisanship in politics in the current power struggle between PR and BN:

Pro-BN State Secretary Rahman Hashim for illegally giving order to seal off the State Secretariat Building.

Pro-BN Assembly Secretary Anton Sabri for usurping the authority of the Speaker to interpret the laws governing the state assembly.

Pro-BN CPO Zulkifli Abdullah for illegally deploying his force to thwart a legitimate assembly sitting based on his ridiculous decision to accept the word of the assembly clerk instead of the rightful authority which is the speaker.

All three have breached Section 124 of the Penal Code.

All three are guilty of political partisanship, in violation of the civil service code to maintain political neutrality and their vows to uphold the constitution.


On the same day of the assembly under the rain tree, the tussle for power between PR & BN took place in another arena – the Ipoh High Court, where Judicial Commissioner Ridwan Ibrahim granted an order whereby Speaker Sivakumar “is restrained from convening any unlawful meeting purporting to be a meeting of the Perak state legislative assembly.”

I regret to say that J C Ridwan has brought disrepute to the judiciary due to multiple irregularities as well as hollowness of substance of the order.

In the first place, when he gave the judgment on Mar 3, his tenure as judicial commissioner (a probation judge) had already expired (on Feb 28) and hence the court hearing was unlawful. (Subsequent belated renewal of Ridwan’s contract could not validate his judgment, as at the material time when the judgment was made, Ridwan’s status as judge had lapsed.)

Second, he illegally barred Sivakumar’s lawyers from representing him and instead assigned the assistant state legal adviser Zulkarnain Hassan to represent him without his consent. This is a ridiculously unjust imposition on Siva, as the state legal adviser Kamal Shahid is in the enemy camp, not only representing Zambry in a Nijar vs Zambry suit, but has also been publicly named by Nizar as one of the five architects who plotted the fall of PR in Perak. Besides, Siva had never authorized or talked to Zulkarnain.

Third, J C Ridwan’s refusal to hold the hearing in open court on such an important case of public interest was unreasonable and smacks of suspicious intent.

Fourth, Ridwan gave his order in unacceptable haste, having deliberated for only 10 minutes on a 90 minute submission by Zambry’s lawyers without Siva’s participation.

Since this is a case which might be argued for having infringed on the constitutional principle of separation of power, it is not possible for Ridwan to do justice without hearing the full arguments on these constitutional aspects from both parties and without him deliberating fully over the issues raised.

As for the substance of Ridwan’s order, he only prohibits unlawful meeting. Ridwan’s logic is puzzling. If a meeting is unlawful, it is null and void. Is there any necessity to prohibit it then?

Sad to conclude, what we witnessed in the Ipoh High Court, is a fumbling probation judge who, in his over-eagerness to comply with the wishes of BN, has transgressed fundamental justice. One may ask, why should the court have assigned such an important case to such an inexperienced probation judge (whose tenure had lapsed to boot), if there was no evil design? This is but one of many examples that our judiciary continues to mire in a state of utter impairment.


While these debacles in Perak are going on, relentless sabotage has been carried out against the PR governments in Kedah and Selangor. These are in the form of harassment on PR assemblymen to defect or to quit, with bribery and threats and even sexual scandal.

In Kedah, various PR assemblymen reported offers of millions of ringgit to hop party. Notably, assemblyman Arumugum was so severely harassed with bribery and threats that he resigned his seat and escaped with his entire family to India to avert possible damage to his party. These incidents have been repeatedly reported to the police and MACC, but no effective action has been taken.

In Selangor, MACC chief commissioner Ahmad Said Hamdam openly and dubiously accused Mentri Besar Khalid Ibrahim of abuse of power over the petty issues of maintenance of his personal car assigned for official use, and the distribution of 46 cows to the poor during an Islamic festival, after a swift investigation; while shamelessly kept mum over numerous reports of multi-million corruption against BN leaders which cases have been sleeping for years without any action. PR Assemblywoman Elizabeth Wong was harassed to resign her seat after her nude picture secretly snapped during her sleep was exposed in BN-controlled media. Though the suspected culprit was known, the police made no effort to bring him to book.

These blatant double standards practiced with increasing frequency and vulgarity by law enforcing agencies, judiciary and prosecutors, and their overt political partisanship have disgusted the public and caused the popularity of BN in general and Najib in particular to plunge. But instead of making reforms to salvage public support, UMNO has pursued the opposite course of lawlessness and repression under the de-facto leadership of Najib.

Little wonders that the people are increasingly apprehensive whether Najib will bring the country to a state exceeding the darkest days of Mahathirism, now that they have seen the reckless destruction of political tranquility in Perak under PR’s exemplary rule of racial unity and clean and pro-rakyat government.


On top of these worries is the curse of Altantuya’s murder which hangs over Najib’s head like a Damocle’s sword. Najib should realize by now that no matter how many times he swears he is innocent, he could not possibly have cleansed himself of this taint, unless and until he and his aide-de-camp Musa Safri are subject to a proper investigation and exonerated by a court of law perceived as just and fair (not the present court).

Now that Najib is about to take over the batten from Pak Lah, we may ask ourselves the final question: Do we want to see a Malaysian prime minister dashing around the international arena with the Altantuya tag hanging on his neck, as world leaders could not possibly be unaware of this Altantuya taint?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Not What You Know, But Who You Know

Doing business the Malaysian way
R. Nadeswaran – The Sun Daily

If paying for air tickets for aides and trainers of ministers – solicited or otherwise – is the key to succeeding in getting contracts or getting “close” to the minister (whatever that means), you might as well throw away all that they taught you in business school.

Instead, it would be better to take the tried and tested path (according to this businessman) to success by buying not only air tickets but also gifting gem-studded golf putters to those in the “inner circle”.

THREE days after spending more than an hour at the High Court Registry going through several bundles of documents, we sought clarification from one of the parties in the civil suit. The meeting held about three months ago at an Indonesian restaurant was cordial and the conversation with a partner of an advertising agency went something like this:

Q: Why did you pay for the air tickets of the minister’s personal trainer to Japan and Hawaii?

A: What is wrong with that?

Q: You are doing business with one of the agencies which comes under the purview of the minister. Therefore, we can assume that you did it to further your business interests.

A: If you want to be close to the minister, you have to look after those who are close to that person. That’s how we do business in Malaysia.

Terence Fernandez and I were flabbergasted with the reasoning. If paying for air tickets for aides and trainers of ministers – solicited or otherwise – is the key to succeeding in getting contracts or getting “close” to the minister (whatever that means), you might as well throw away all that they taught you in business school. Instead, it would be better to take the tried and tested path (according to this businessman) to success by buying not only air tickets but also gifting gem-studded golf putters to those in the “inner circle”.

Fast forward to last Thursday and phones were buzzing and the exchange of text messages went into overdrive. The Saloma Bistro was the buzzword. Apparently, one little bird, which termed it as “Operation Boxer Shorts”, said that the political aide of a minister was apprehended with RM70,000 on Wednesday night. But that was not the end of the story. Overnight in the hands of officers from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), the aide provided names of people who gave the money and for whom it was meant for. Two more partners of an advertising agency were taken in for questioning.

We cannot ascertain if it was the same minister and if it was the same advertising agency involved. We can’t even put two and two together because the MACC, after having boasted that it had enough evidence to prosecute yet another politician with the rank of mentri besar, has suddenly gone into silent mode. It has issued a statement saying that it will not issue statements on ongoing investigations. When queried about the arrest by Terence, there was a one-line note from a senior official which said: “Sori my friend. No komen.”

When I asked his boss, the response was: “We have not arrested any minister, yet.”

“Yet” is a subjective word and could be interpreted in several ways. But we will leave it for a full-fledged discussion on another day.

PS: Something totally unrelated: A little bird tells us that a visiting dignitary called on a VIP in early January. The company has dealings with the ministry. In the course of the conversation, they talked about the American elections and the hopes of the people. And that discussion led to the inevitable question: “Could you arrange an invitation to the inauguration of the president? I would love to be there.”

The visitor politely told the VIP that he had no access to such invitations. Using the Malaysia Boleh concept where anything and everything can be done for a song, the VIP retorted: “I thought you were American and you can use your position to secure one …” Is that soliciting a bribe or an inducement or is it how “we do business in Malaysia?”

NORMALLY, the surat layang and the anonymous email end up in the bin after being read, but this was one I savoured reading and have decided to have it for keeps. It appears to be one of those letters which appear before an Umno election and lists the misdeeds of a minister – from the beginning to the present. Some of the information contained is true because it merely confirms what I already have gathered from other sources, while others cannot be verified.

But this surat layang gives honourable mention to this writer. This edited version (to protect the personalities) reads like this: Datuk X telah diarahkan oleh Mentri untuk merasuah Nadeswaran (penulis ruangan Citizen Nades dalam akhbar theSun). Harga yang ditetapkan untuk Nadeswaran ialah RM10 juta. Walau bagaimana pun, Nadeswaran dikatakan telak menolak tawaran tersebut.

(Datuk X was instructed by the minister to bribe Nadeswaran (theSun columnist Citizen Nades).

The amount was fixed at RM10 million but Nadeswaran is said to have rejected the offer.)

Like most surat layang, this claim is a figment of imagination. Yes, Datuk X and I are good friends but never did he broach the subject during our regular meetings over a beer or at the golf course.

And we know each other well enough that he wouldn’t try something like that lest the friendship is lost forever. Yes, I am flattered but why waste so much money when it would be cheaper to get a hit-man to bump me off? I never knew ministers earn so much that they have so much money to spare!

R. Nadeswaran is having a ball reading what ends up on his table. He is editor (special and investigative reporting) at theSun. Feedback: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .