Consider Yourself Warned


“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” – John F Kennedy.

The Malaysian PM says Egypt style power grab will not work here. Duh.

Of course not. How can we? I’m told that the FRU folks have become quite proficient with their tear-gassing and water canon exploits. Do we blame them? After all, for the past 4 years or so, those folks have been brought out by the dozens everytime there is the slightest hint of a protest.

The last major one was an irony in itself. Imagine this headline. WATER CANON WELCOME FOR PROTES AIR DEMONSTRATORS. Yeah that really happened, and while I could write various permutations of that headline (after all I do that for a living), it just ain’t very funny when you think about it.

The ex-PKR dude Ezam “Ihaveboxesofevidence” Md Nor also said its absurd to compare Egypt and Malaysia because of the wide income disparity.

FYI dude, there are similarities. Egyptians were  oppressed by the many years of near despotic rule by Mubarak. It’s just that the tipping points were different.

A lot of Malaysians are not hungry enough perhaps. Or perhaps we have collectively been cowed or shall I say “diperlembukan” by years of master-slave conditioning. Or maybe there was an epidemic of TIDAK APA-THY gripping the nation.

Notice that I said WAS. Yeah, past tense.

Someday, perhaps soon, the day will arrive. And when it does, the folks in power will find the present too, tense. They are working their way towards it steadily themselves. Here’s how it goes…

You remember the saying “Nine Meals from Anarchy”? Well basically the premise is, you miss three days’ meals and the situation is ripe for anarchy.

You could argue that Malaysia is not some dirt poor third world outpost. We have a much better economy than most of our third world cousins, we don’t go hungry, yada yada yada…

But this is a country where the middle class is beginning to be stifled by a rising cost of living, steadily increasing prices of essential goods and the imminent introduction of the GST.

You add that to a government that doesn’t seem to have words like accountability, responsibility and transparency in its vocabulary, and you have some of the basic ingredients for cauldron mass disenchantment.

I have not even begun to talk about the other incendiary spices like racism, supremacist overtures, bigotry, religious intolerance. These too exist under the bright facade of our 1Malaysia. Let’s not kid ourselves there.

Malaysians have already started to show their displeasure, first on the Net, then in the streets and more eloquently, in the ballot box on March 8, 2008. But a regime that has been in power for too long, thinks that power is its birthright and will have no qualms about making a mockery of the democratic process to hold on to power.

This too the public knows, just as it knows that the police are thugs, the military is just like the civil service, full of corrupt, thieving folks. The judiciary is emasculated, the Dewan Negara a stamping board, the Dewan Rakyat a tragicomedy, the leading media filled with cari makan sycophantic Datuks.

I hope the public will stand up and answer the PM’s insult of their collective intelligence at the ballot box when the time comes.

But then who knows, some folks might have lost heart seeing all the rampant cheating, gerrymandering, corruption and start thinking the only way out of this bleak mire of hopelessness is the French way. They still celebrate Bastille Day over there, I hear.

But I fear that Najib is right. Egypt style standoff will not work here. Simply cos most of you can’t see beyond your noses. Most of you are just willfully dumb, don’t-rock-the-boat, Stockholm-syndrome sufferers who love your oppressors.

Never mind if they rob, rape and beat you until you expire from that unique Malaysian “sudden death” syndrome.

*sigh*

Undilah Dacing…Hidup Malaysia.

One Morning in Bukit Aman


The story is simple. The story is not new. The only thing new is that some of the protagonists are new. Selvach Santhiran Krishnan is a witness in a death in custody case of R.Gunasegaran.

Gunasegaran died on the same day Teoh Beng Hock died last year, but because of the public outcry over Beng Hock’s suspicious death, Guna’s death was overlooked by everybody, except his sister.

Here she tells her story.

Earlier this week, the inquest into his death concluded in an open verdict, despite Selvach Santhiran’s testimony that he saw a policeman kick Gunasegaran in the lock up. Gunasegaran was later found dead.

His body was kept in horrid conditions and by the time a second autopsy was ordered, his remains were so decomposed that nothing conclusive could be derived.

But that story is not over. Selvach Santhiran, the witness, was allegedly beaten viciously in front of his family by a bunch of policemen before being taken away.

The public, outraged by this gross abuse of power by the police, turned up today at the police headquarters in Bukit Aman to demand his whereabouts and release. Here’s the story.

Below are the pictures of the morning gathering.

Today, after waiting awhile and being given the runaround, we were told that Selvach Santhiran was held under the Sec 39 B Dangerous Drugs Act (Special Preventive Measures).

human rights lawyer N. Surendran.

Selvach Santhiran’s wife, crying for her husband, while the police told us to disperse.

Lawyer Latheefa Koya demanded to know the cop in charge’s name and was told it is one ACP Kang or Khang.

Several MPs also turned up, including PAS’s Khalid Samad (Shah Alam), Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad (Kuala Selangor) , PKR’s Sivarasa Rasiah (Subang) and Charles Santiago (Klang).

Film maker Fahmi Reza with his own placard.

A hundred odd people turned up in support of the memorandum to the police today. Thanks guys, for turning up. It was a multi coloured turnout, and that alone gives me hope that someday, we will be Malaysians first and turn up whenever a brother Malaysian is facing injustice.

Quo Vadis Malaysia?


So, let us not be blind to our differences – – but let us also direct attention to our common interests and to means by which those differences can be resolved. And if we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal. – John F Kennedy, 10 June 1963.

The above paragraph was part of a speech by the late American president at a university, exhorting the Soviet Union then to join the US in a nuclear test treaty ban.

Tomorrow is Malaysia Day. For the first time since the coming together of the Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak under the name Malaysia on 16 Sept 1963, this historic day is given its proper recognition.

Long overdue, but better than nothing.

We Malaysians come from different walks of life, different faiths and ethnicity  and a variety of socio-economic backgrounds. Yet we would do well to examine Kennedy’s words above, for it is relevant to us.

He used the words in the context of global peace and order. We can apply it in the Malaysian context too, with the aim of ensuring the harmony of the nation. That is for our collective good, isn’t it?

After all, we all live, love, work, make a living and one day will die, on this same piece of earth we call Malaysia.

We differ in many ways.  We may even look different. I am dark brown, my housemate is a fair-skinned girl, my neighbour is what you would call “sawo matang”, yet under these skin runs the same red blood.

At the end of the day, we have similar hopes and dreams too, if you think about it. We’re not that different.

Malaysia is on the cusp of major change. The change in the path the country is taking began a few years ago. You may have noticed it in the shocking election results of 2008.

Malaysians are more aware now, and some I suspect, have woken up to fact that in a democracy, one man’s vote still matters. That is a good thing.

It means the makcik selling karipap at the street corner, the estate-dwelling plantation worker, the 9 to 5 civil servant as well as the mechanic who repairs my car now knowthat they can have a hand in shaping the destiny of this nation.

This we arrived at because of the past decade’s  democratisation of information. Because of the Internet. Because the people are hearing news and views they were hitherto unexposed to.

Information can make you think, and the more info you have, the better able you are to make decisions that benefit you, or your cause. And that is a wonderful thing. Cos it empowers you, the common man.

There are fears that increased discourse on things formerly considered taboo, like rights, privileges, race relations and religious intolerance, could give rise to anarchy.

But let me tell you this. I think the Malaysian society at large is growing up. If not, the Ibrahim Alis, the Siti Inshah’s, the Namewees and the Nasir Safars of this world could have provoked you into attacking your neighbour.

We don’t do that. Because at heart, we are sane, decent people who subscribe to the basic tenets of justice, fairness and equity. And thank God for this.

In the last week, our country has been rocked by a particularly vicious quadruple murder that brings back sordid reminders of gruesome crimes such as Bakaruddin Busu, Canny Ong and Altantuya Shariibuu.

The brutal killing of cosmetics magnate Sosilawati Lawiya, her driver Kamaruddin Shamsuddin, her lawyer Ahmad Kamil Abdul Karim and CIMB Bank officer Noorhisham Mohammad is not something likely to forgotten for a while.

The suspects are in custody now as police continue to gather more and more incriminating evidence against the alleged killers. I say alleged because the two lawyers are yet to be tried and convicted.

The horror, disgust, furious anger and sadness of the public is understandable. Even I found myself unable to sleep after reading of the grisly murder.

But what disturbs me is the increasing racial-slurs leveled just because the suspects happen to be Indian. “Bangsa bangsat” and “keling pembunuh” are just some of the epithets I’ve seen so far.

Never mind that the alleged killers are also suspected of killing other Indian victims. It is quite obvious that in the case of Sosilawati, the motive was money.

So why this racial profiling? Murderers are murderers. They exist in all shapes and sizes, races and religion and from all kinds of backgrounds.

For those who are quick to bring up the racial card, let me remind you of the Canny Ong kidnap/murder, the C4 killing of Altantuya Shariibuu and way back in the 90s, the slaughter of  Batu Talam assemblyman Datuk Mazlan Idris. Who were convicted?

I think at this point we should let the law deal with the suspects and let this be a lesson to the police not to take any missing persons report lightly.

Let justice not only be done, but be seen to be done. Only that will bring a measure of solace to the grief-stricken families of the 4 victims.

Let the rest of us Malaysians pray that justice prevails. Let us close our eyes to narrow parochial ideas, and open them to more inclusive fair ideas.

Let us throw our mutual suspicion and distrust away, because we cannot afford to live like this anymore. Those tired cliches have no place in the future Malaysia, and its time we all recognise that.

Happy Malaysia Day!

Farewell Pak Samad


Met him only once. Last year at his house in Sec 16 during Hari Raya. He was a shadow his former self. But as the family photos show, he has always been somewhat spare.

Yesterday, stuck in traffic, I got two SMSes, informing me of Pak Samad’s demise. He was hospitalised a couple of weeks ago. He passed away yesterday evening, aged 84.

But Tan Sri Samad Ismail left a legacy. This was a journalist who was never afraid of standing up for what’s right, even if it meant trouble from the authorities.

He was arrested three times…

During the Japanese occupation, he worked with the Japanese-sponsored Berita Malai and became the editor when he was 21.

After the war when the British returned to Malaya, they jailed Samad briefly, in 1946. Later, he returned to Utusan Melayu as an assistant editor.

Samad fought for independence from the British through his writings and met with anti-colonialists of all races, including Indonesian revolutionaries fighting for their own independence against the Dutch.

This led to his second arrest in 1951. When he was released two years later, he rejoined Utusan Melayu and with Lee Kuan Yew, founded the People’s Action Party.

More…

Samad was arrested again in 1976, under the Internal Security Act. He was released in 1981, after which he re-joined the NSTP group as its editorial adviser. He retired from journalism in 1988 and was honoured by the King in 1992.

He was also awarded the title Pejuang Sastera (Literature Champion) for his literary and journalistic accomplishments.

In 1994, he received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Journalism, Literature and Creative Communications Arts in recognition of his role in championing national independence, cultural revival and democratic nation building. – The Star

This towering man’s stature was such that it was natural for two of his daughters to follow his footsteps into journalism. I meant Maria and Nooraina Samad.

Both were successful journos who today are also well-known in the Malaysian blogosphere. Knowledgeable, principled women who also share their dad’s principles.

Those times are largely gone.

But we Malaysians can honour his legacy by claiming back this country. This country was something he thought was worth fighting for.

I’m reminded of the saying, Harimau mati meninggalkan belang, manusia mati meninggalkan nama.

Rest In Peace, sir.

The Great Malaysian Soap Opera


Woo Hoo!

What else can we call what’s happening in the country these days? There’s murder, conspiracy, abuse of power, cover ups, fraud, nepotism (he ain’t heavy, he’s my menantu), sex (hetero and homo), love (“I’ll stand by my fiance in my pink mary janes”) and even a Mongolian bomoh!

Better than whatever locally-produced drama on TV, that’s for sure. But pity those producers, cos I don’t think RTM will probably treat the word “liwat” like some kinda blasphemy and can the drama. Sorry, we’re Malaysians, we don’t sodomise each other. Yeah Right!

Anyway, back to the Anwar expose today, it is explosive shit. Duck! Some shrapnel might hit you yet.

Malaysiakini has an early story.

In a gist, Razak Baginda’s ex-PI (u know, like Magnum PI) Balasubramaniam said in a sworn affidavit that that Najib is linked with Altantuya back in the early days.

Also, Balasubramaniam alleges that details contained in his cautioned statement taken during the investigation has since been purged. Read his statutory declaration.

I reproduce this very very juicy bit.

25. During this discussion and in an attempt to persuade me to continue my employment with him, Abdul Razak Baginda informed me that:

1) He had been introduced to Aminah by Najib Razak at a diamond exhibition in Singapore.

2) Najib Razak informed Abdul Razak Baginda that he had a sexual relationship with Aminah and that she was susceptible to anal intercourse.

ROFL…:) Am I to assume that most of our politicians like the backdoor entry?

More at Pakatan Rakyat website and Anwar Ibrahim’s blog.

Press reports also say that the prosecution has wrapped up its case.

You know guys, as I step back and observe the chain of events…I can’t help but think of the Butterfly Effect. One thing I can say that as any system that evolves with time is subject to the Chaos Theory.

Well, isn’t this country in chaos now? I can equate the gentle flap of the butterfly’s wings with the first stirrings in some politician’s pants, or some power-crazy gleam in a would be autocrat’s eyes more than two decades ago, or even the first daytime yawn of a sleepy Prime Minister as early as 5 years ago.

Follow my thought? If you put some of the individual happenings in the past 20 years together chronologically, you can chart the progress of the snowball.

And here we are today. What’s better, it is not over yet.

Have fun. Events are getting more interesting by the day.

Bring your own popcorns though.

The Invisible Man


Since the Altantuya Shariibuu trial started last year, and all the attendant publicity surrounding it, I’ve always been curious about one name.

This person was mentioned in early news reports but didn’t even come up as a witness in the subsequent trial, and currently, the trial within a trial to determine the admissibility of Azilah Hadri’s evidence.

This was the stuff of many a mamak stall conversation. Now, what I was thinking, Raja Petra has been too, with possibly more input and thought, evidence-wise.

Referring to this article posted last week in Malaysia Today. Many people I know calls RPK lots of names, from tukang karut to hatchet man, but read the stuff and make up your mind.

This invisible man’s inclusion in the equation would complete the chain of circumstances. Without him, there appears to be no connection between both Azilah Hadri & Sirul Azhar, as well as the two with Altantuya and the two with Razak Baginda.

You take this one person out of the equation, and the motive for Azilah and Sirul to kill Altantuya disappears (except if the prosecution can prove a financial motive). Even if money was the carrot, there is still that connection factor.

The two accused would not know Altantuya from Eve, if not for someone higher up the food chain in their pretty exclusive circle trained of security personnel. The chances of such an acquaintance pre-existing is pretty low, I would say. These guys ain’t exactly social butterflies…these commando types.

Razak does not have the clout to order them to anything, even if he knew them. These fellas don’t work like that. They have a chain of command.

So yes, it would be good to see the good DSP come to court and explain. But that would only happen if the court subpoenas him.

There has been a lot of strange happenings with this case, that you can’t deny.

The first multi-racial investigative team that my hantu raya said did a first class job of evidence-gathering. The current one in place is not the same.

The first prosecution team that was changed a very short time after trial begun. The defence team for Razak, Azilah and Sirul changed a couple of times.

Legal bigwig Shafee Abdullah was the initial counsel, but he was soon out of the picture. The legal counsels for the other two changed as well

Anyone who keeps attention on this issue alive is shut up/harrassed/intimidated. But let’s not forget the basics.

1) A murder took place.

2) Two law enforcement/defence personnel stands accused.

3) A defence strategist known to be “connected” is also accused.

4) Composition 4 is reportedly used to blow up the dead body. C-4 is not something you buy in Tesco. C4 is not something an individual buys for recreational purpose. It is not even a individual’s personal use purchase.

It is quite likely that all three might get the death sentence. But there are appeals and there is the King to issue pardons.

Then there is the most important question. Are these three guilty? The court will come to that decision someday, but I know something is flawed here. In Razak’s case, the act is not proven. In the other two’s cases, motive is not established.

I know something though…the three accused will not go down without some pyrotechnics. Also, perhaps the only thing that is standing between the Malaysian public and the truth of what happened, is that curious phenomenon called politics.

Goodbye, May 13


Today: Wednesday, May 13, 2008, marks the 39th anniversary of a black day in Malaysia’s young history as a sovereign nation.

Have we come a long way to distance ourselves from the bloody nightmare of 1969? I believe that we have. Why? Because on March 8, Malaysians took a bold step away from the status quo.

Reverberations from what local pundits love to to call a political tsunami are still being heard. The full compendium of effects is yet, i’m sure, to be seen.

The balance of political power is rather precarious right now. However, this has not translated into the angst among a certain race or another.

Malaysians are gradually stepping beyond racial and religious demarcation and towards common ground. I see this a lot. The only ones who are left behind are the race-based political parties and the petri dish of segregation that the civil service (with its largely Malay population).

Lessons learnt? We have to embrace each other as Malaysians. We have to learn about each other’s norms and sensitivities. Learn to respect these differences. It is usually the minorities that learn these things in order to assimilate and survive.

Maybe it is time that the majority learnt to, as well.

Last night I talked to my Malay housemate B about respecting another’s sensitivities. I told her that my other housemate AL and me made a point of not having pork or other non halal stuff in the house so that she (B) can cook and eat with us.

I said she could return the understanding by not cooking beef in the house, which I don’t touch. She didn’t know these stuff. I told her and she took it very well.

Maybe our eventual cohesion as Bangsa Malaysia may not come as easily….but it will have to start with mutual understanding and respect.

But I have great hopes.

And for those who gave their lives in the May 13 bloodbath, may their souls rest in peace.