Media Crackdown Imminent?


I’ll bet my favourite nasi lemak bungkus that it happens.

This is February 2009.

In March, there is a power handover that signals the end of the Abdullah administration.

The “heir apparent” has has already sharpened his claws and is now straining the leash.

From what I hear, editors were told in no uncertain terms that their coverage of Kuala Terengganu elections would be monitored, and to expect payback if they “transgressed”.

Media coverage of even bread and butter issues in Pakatan Rakyat states are difficult because the powers that be objects to any positive coverage given the reps of the incumbent government.

Petty. Childish. Best ignored.

And yet such pettiness and childishness from those at the top of the power heap, can signal much anguish for the people. Not to mention the future of the country.

Tian Chua warns of a new media crackdown. Not surprising considering the rest of what’s written here.

For now the Home Ministry is concentrating on the Opposition rags. Never mind the equally mind-numbing, racist, rabble-rousing garbage written in the likes of Berita Hairan and Utusan Meloya.

Not long before the crackdown extends to the rest. The Star represents an interesting conundrum though.

On one hand it is ruling coalition-owned. On the other hand, MCA post-March 8 is a different animal altogether. Add to that the fact that it is headed by a former party outsider who has been putting his own praetorian guard in place.

Ong Tee Keat and the new MCA may not be on the same page as BN on all issues. This is sure to give The Star’s editorial policymakers a tough time.

What I’m trying to say is, The Star is not above a KDN warning. A painful Ops Lalang more than 2 decades ago is still not forgotten. Which is a sad predicament for the paper to be in. Because in the aftermath of last year’s election disaster, this was one paper that had tried to change and be more objective.

The Sun? I don’t know. I’m not so sure about this paper that tries so much to please the people but somehow sounds dodgy after a while. Some issues raised are valid, true enough, but the elements of “masuk bakul, angkat sendiri” is unbecoming of a news rag, know what I mean?

NST? Don’t read it enough to form an opinion.

Malay Mail is lost. Enough said.

Malaysiakini? Come on. This net paper is the opposite side to the mainstream media. The slant here is obvious.

Far less obvious is the business weekly’s The Edge slant, though I know which way they are inclined. Entertaining, insightful pieces are found here though.

Malaysia Insider tries outwardly to be objective, despite the initial “pro-Khairy” bad mouthing it suffer. The Nut Graph shows some effort, but suffers still from anonymity in a world dominated by giants like Malaysia Today, which is more of a news/view/gossip portal for every political goings on in the country.

I don’t read Mandarin or Tamil, so I can’t say much about Sin Chew, Nanyang, Tamil Nesan and the rest, but I don’t think any of them mentioned above can be assured of immunity from government persecution in the months to come.

This is a government that has long forgotten that it owes a duty of accountability to the people who elected it to power. Even March 8, 2008 have not cured them of their arrogance, the recent Perak ugliness suggests.

To me, it just reinforces the popular view that Umno and Barisan Nasional is a corrupt, evil caucus that has outlived its usefulness.

I’ll best another nasi lemak bungkus, that any candidate fielded by Pakatan Rakyat in the coming by-elections in Bukit Selambau and Bukit Gantang will win.

Simply because Umno is being Mugabe.

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.

Bala Retracts Statutory Declaration


Update:

PKR is absolutely surprised. Me? I’m speechless. Maybe, like Sheih says, no one dies a virgin, cos life screws us all. In Balasubramaniam’s case, two probability. One is, conscience made him retract what was a lie of a statutory declaration. Two, he’s in fear for his life and those of his family.

Yeah, who can you trust these days. The police? Pah! Speaking of the police, I read of joint exercises with the army recently.

In the light of what’s happening now, I wouldn’t be surprised that the PROTES scheduled for this Sunday in Padang Timur (that is now moved to Kelana Jaya Stadium) will see the presence of rifle-wielding “Abangs” in green, and army trucks on the road.

————————————–

Man…this is getting more and more convoluted.

Private Investigation P.Balasubramaniam retracted part of his stunning Statutory Declaration yesterday. The juicy part where he had alleged that Najib introduced Altantuya to Razak, and that Altantuya “is susceptible to anal sex.”

Source: Malaysiakini

He said he was forced to make the SD yesterday. I did think the part about anal sex was a bit forced. His lawyer is missing. Meanwhile, I wonder what is happening with Saiful Bukhari.

What I think? At this point in time I’d trust a crack whore more than our politicians.

Enuff said.

Tajuddin Abdul Rahman: Umno’s Neo Nazi?


This guy is the MP for Pasir Salak. For those who read Sejarah Malaysia, Pasir Salak is a proud symbol of Malay pride in “menentang penjajah.”

This was purported where British Resident J.W.W Birch was killed by local hero Maharajalela, for screwing around with local chicks. If this were true, I’d say good riddance to guys who can’t keep it in their pants.

Back to present time. Tajuddin Abdul Rahman is a first term MP from this Perak constituency who somehow managed to hang on to his seat despite the PAS onslaught of March 8.

This Six Million Dollar Man (his nomme de guerre) seems to have bonded well with the Kinabatangan canine Bung Mukhtar Din to form some kind of tag team in Parliament.

What makes this guy different from the former Jasin and Jerai MPs is that this guy is far more virulently nationalistic, and I don’t mean nationalistic in a flattering way.

He refers to the non-Malays in Malaysia as “pendatang,” as in all Mon-Malays in this country are “pendatang asing”. He apparently said so on July 1 in Parliament.

If that is indeed what he said, then I must say he is mistaken about many things. Firstly, I’m a second generation Malaysian. My grandfather was a migrant, yes, but my dad and later me, were born here. That makes me a legitimate Malaysian citizen. So how am I a pendatang?

Secondly, he must define what he means by Malay. Every other Malay friend I ask says he/she is Bugis, Mendahiling, Jawa, Aceh, Minang, Penang Malay (Jawi Peranakan).. hell, even Boyan. A lot of them are mixed.

And if you bother to check, you might find that Khir Toyo’s dad was an Indonesian and Khir himself is a first generation Malaysian. Khir Toyo was the MB of Selangor, cos you guys just lump all the Melayu-looking fellas under the Bumiputra title. Why? “Kita kan serumpun” goes the reply.

He has said before that the Bumiputera students’ scholarship quota should not suffer just because JPA wants to increase the percentage of non-Bumis to get scholarship.

He wants to mollycoddle students like Saiful Bukhari who had gone to the DPM’s house ostensibly to get help regarding scholarship, when he only managed 1.69 GPA, and has since dropped out of Uniten?

In the meantime, some high-achieving but poor student has his dreams destroyed because of his name, or colour.

When we go out of the country, we are called Malaysians…that’s it. When some Malaysian makes good overseas, he is still known as a Malaysian, not a Malaysian Chinese.

I have long stepped beyond this stupid categorisation. Many of us have.

I just think in Tajuddin’s case, it would take a frontal lobotomy for him to see the multiracial reality of Malaysia and embrace it.

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.

Batu Puteh: Tomorrow We’ll See


I’m revisiting this topic after months, and for one reason only. To tell those of you who DON’T read the papers, (I still do, albeit electronic ones), that the decision on the ownership of Pulau Batu Puteh will be announced tomorrow.

A Singapore media speculates on 4 possible outcomes.  The Malaysian side is so confident of a “positive outcome” that it is announced that this judgment will be carried live by RTM.

Now every country would fight tooth and nail for what it considers its territory, but I kinda get the feeling that the Singaporeans have put it to strategic use over the years. I mean military.

However, the Pedra Branca/Pulau Batu Puteh, Horsburgh and South Ledge is closer to Malaysian shores and that has been the Malaysian legal team’s main contention over at The Hague.

Wrote more about this in November last year. 

The photoshopped picture that was tendered as pictorial evidence to support the Malaysian claim, was found out by blogger Simply Jean. What ensued was a storm in the blogoshere teacup.

Let’s hope that stupid move doesn’t hurt our chances.

I just wished Eddie Toh of Sophie’s World was around to see the judgment. He blogged a lot about this issue. Sadly this blogger went to meet his maker unexpectedly on March 30.

Rest in Peace, Man.

Dr M’s Resignation: Marah Nyamuk Bakar Kelambu?


Raja Petra Kamarudin is fond of using this Malay saying that means, being angry with the mosquito, you set fire to the mosquito net. Calamitous move, in any case.

I suppose this applies to Tun Dr Mahathir, Malaysia’s erstwhile PM who made an unforgettable Wesak Day with this shocking announcement that he is quitting UMNO.

I’ve often seen politicians making statements like “put the party first” and its many variants, and not having been part of a political party EVER, these statements baffled me.

Because lots of these scumbag politicians (was that a redundant phrase?) have made these calls, and I’ve always wondered why? Why put the party first when the people suffer? Doesn’t make sense, does it?

Anyway, Dr M is and has always been Macchiavelian. (That is not to say that Niccolo Macchiaveli was Satan-incarnate. He was merely putting forth his theories on statecraft). This is quite apart from what I see as a very clear and hands-on approach to administration.

Dr M has guts. His political record during the 22 years at the helm of Malaysia hasn’t exactly been stellar, but his governance to a large extent helped this country forward. Many of you may disagree with me, and so you may state your disagreement in the comment section. But I take my hat off to the man.

However, Just like I found  the Royal Commission’s recommendations last week that the Lingam six be investigated, somewhat too politically-expedient, I find Dr Mahathir’s move today to be a calculated one.

What does he hope to achieve? Destabilise an already shaky Umno ship? He’s doing a fine job of it? Is this going to be a death knell for Umno or Pak Lah?

Both, I would say. This also means that the populace is now split four-ways. The Pas supporters and members, the PKR lot, the  Mahathirist Umno members and the Abdullah Umno camp.

Shahrir Samad has said maybe we should prepare for another general elections. I wonder if that is a wise move for the BN governemnt now. Everything that happened after March 8 polls have not been good for them.

A trawl around the blogs that posted Mahathir’s shock quit move showed mixed reactions from the commenters.

Dr M perhaps should not count on the rakyat to react favourably to this move. There will be forces within Umno (and of course the powerbrokers who control that the puppet strings) will try their hardest to ensure that the status quo is preserved.

Maybe the nation’s stability’s at stake here. And Dr M is not helping. He wants Pak Lah out. However, he has retired and many perceive that he should not meddle. I don’t think Pak Lah deserves to be PM anymore, not if the country is to firmly tackle the economic storm ahead.

I’m thinking, many of the leaders he has in Umno are there because of Dr M. Either there are simply too many seedy sleazy Malay politicians within Umno ranks to make Dr M’s pickings slim or he wanted them there for his own reasons.

Because of this, we have the likes of the insubstantial Pak Lah, the outwardly spineless but ultimately dodgy Najib, the widely seen-to-be-lightweight Muhyiddin as heir-apparents.

Shahrir Samad and Rais Yatim are not outwardly ambitious enough to take the helm of Umno but both have shown some steel in their character that may make them seem a bit too “independent” for Umno stalwarts’ comfort.

Rais has a tendency to rub people the wrong way too. That is not to say this guy may not be capable. And in the event of succession, these two fellas seem to be the the only ones not widely seen to be pro-Dr M or Pak Lah. But then, I may be wrong.

You know something? As a Malaysian who has seen what an ugly, rotten behemoth Umno has become, the party going to pieces is something good for Malaysia.

Dr M’s contention that Malays are losing sovereignty in their own land is a statement he has to rethink, for all its supremacist-connotation.

I’m very much disappointed with Dr M’s endangered Kedaulatan Melayu contention today. Was that meant to rile the disenchanted Umno mob?

Ketuanan Melayu the way Umno practiced it resulted in a lot of injustice in this country. It was more like Umno hegemony, if you ask me. Which is why Anwar Ibrahim’s Ketuanan Rakyat resonated so well with the people.

Anwar might have his agenda too, but hey, maybe Malaysians are tired of being screwed by the same bunch of people. Maybe they want a different set, who’d be a little kinder.

 Malays are the tuans in this country aren’t they? I mean, the PM is a Malay. All our Sultans are Malay. We do not dispute that at all do we?

This is not about Kedaulatan Melayu at all. This is about Umno losing power, and they are shit scared they will lose it forever. But why did they lose it? Because the minority races in Malaysia got together for an anti-Melayu stand?

No way! All that is happening now, is because of lousy governance, inequality in so many areas from education to socio-economics.

 From an ambitious autocrat (Dr M has contributed a lot to the nation’s growth, I believe) to a weak but somewhat nice guy who is seen as having lost control of his government. 

It is not the Chinese Indians and the lain lains that are conspiring against the Malays. It is the corrupt Umno and its “beggar” coalition partners who were brought down to their knees.

And that is a good thing, isn’t it? 

Football, Jews and Selective Xenophobia


So, Avram Grant and Chelsea shouldn’t set foot in Malaysia? Protest, protest, protest. I think the pro test by a certain number of NGOs is kinda silly, but from my past experience with the “Yahudi” questions, I’m not surprised.

From my childhood I have been fed the diet of Jew-hate and suspicion. Not in my house. I doubt my parents know much about Jews, Judaism, Zionism and Israel.

No. It happened in school. Not during the Kelas Agama that I stayed in despite that fact that as a Non-Muslim, I could choose not to. The ustaz told us some intriguing stories of the Crusades, Perang Badar and Perang Uhud, you see so I had to stay.

No…this happened among my Muslim friends, where distrust and hate of Jews are so indoctrinated that it became automatic response. In fact, being Jew as I understood it then, was to be wicked, manipulative and not to be trusted at all. A friend who chides another for being nasty, greedy, manipulative says, “Kau ni Yahudi betul la..”

When I grew up, I heard similar refrain from Christians who say “Jews deserved the Holocaust because they turned away from God”. Oh, I heard this from so-called staunch Christians.

Hmm…an entire race demonised since before Biblical times?

Statements like these made me interested enough to go read the Bible, the Koran and about Jews, Judaism, Zionism. Still haven’t finished…so there are little but private conclusions that I arrived at.

Now, in the interest of humanity and the furtherance of sports, I think those Chelsea players and coach should be allowed in Malaysia. We should not stoop to the level of the American authorities post-911 for whom every Arab-looking face and every Muslim-sounding name is suspect.

For those who protest that Jews and Israelis shouldn’t come here because our government does not have diplomatic relations with them, I think they should think before they protest. Remember that people you don’t have formal diplomatic ties with are not necessarily your enemies.

In 1996, during the Japanese Embassy hostage crisis, I heard that our diplomats had to use some back channel help from Cuba to free Malaysians stuck in the embassy.

Soon after, Malaysia started having diplomatic relations with Cuba and there was even an exhibition of Cuban history and culture, introducing Malaysians to the country we knew before only because of their cigars and to bookworms like me, Fidel Castro, Ernesto (Che) Guevara, Bay of Pigs, the Missile Crisis etc. Bottomline…we owed them.

I think strongly of the whole Palestinian debacle, but there is so much more to the issue that what Malaysians and indeed Muslims around the world, think.

The Allies facilitated the birth of the Israeli state to salve their conscience for keeping quiet when millions of jews were slaughtered by Hitler. But they did it without a thought to what the local Arabs in Palestine might think of this sudden carving up of their land, to share with their Biblical enemy.

The conflict only worsened after Britain’s departure. The expansionary overtures of the Israelis, the actions of Menachem Begin and Irgun, as well as Fatah and later Hamas, have all contributed to it. Yes people, I read of Sabra, and the Deir Yassin Massacre too.

The Americans who entered the fray only made it murkier since. But where have CIA not sunk their dirty fingers eh?

My point is, there are no clean hands there. Those who suffered are ordinary citizens of both nations. Osama Bin Laden and A Qaeda may have seemed like the avenging angel to the Muslim world, but think of his second-in command Ayman Al Zawahiri’s latest statements people. Read the dialogue here.

So those of you who want to protest a football team’s visit to Malaysia, well, stop and think of what exactly you are protesting for. When you look deeply enough…you will realise how silly this is.

If you are really against injustice, why isn’t there a whimper when the murderers in Yangon started mowing monks down with bullets? In fact, many Malaysians still buy stuff from Myanmar and do business with them.

I have some answers, but then it will not sit comfortably on your conscience.

Makkal Osai is Back!


Yessssss.

Read here .  The newspaper, the youngest and the most vocal of the three Tamil Language newspapers in Malaysia, will now be back on the stands come Saturday, its GM said today.

A little background.

The paper ceased publications for about a week from 16 April 2008, when its management received a letter saying that its publishing permit would not renewed by the Home Ministry.

SEAPA quoted CIJ and Malaysiakini in this report that tells us that Makkal Osai’s licence actually expired on 15 October 2007, but they continued publishing “upon informal assurances from the authorities that it could while its application for a fresh licence awaited approval.”

I have a theory that this newspaper, which has been a pain in the ass for a lot of different parties. I think the real reason the permit wasn’t renewed was due to the church pressure over the Smoking Jesus Christ picture. This had already earned the paper a 30-day suspension.

However, I was told that a lot of these church types wanted to make sure this paper that offended some people’s religious sensitivities, does not flourish.

Makkal Osai’s suspension brought a lot of people together with the similar cries of Be Fair and Save Makkal Osai. This included well known pressmen like Syed Nadzri and M Veera Pandiyan , Aliran and even PAS Youth coming together in an uncanny gesture of solidarity across many differences of race, religion and ideology. 

 Maybe it worked because sociopolitical climate is very very different today to the same date last year. Makkal Osai would have been quietly relegated to scrap heap of history with the insulting One-paragraph letter from KDN.

They did not count on such a big outcry over a small vernacular paper. Such united cry from the people.

They did not count on so many parties asking them what guidelines Makkal Osai had breached. If there was a guideline that it breached that the paper hasn’t paid for, then please, Mr Home Minister, tell us

WHAT GUIDELINES DID MAKKAL OSAI BREACH?

Tell us, and tell all these media folks, so it is clear. Now is not the time for you to have “discretionary” policies that leaves the media hostage to the whims and fancies of a Home Ministry official.

Remember who put you guys there in the first place!