Friday, March 31, 2006

Anwar Ibrahim - Too little, too late!

Anwar Ibrahim wants some answers to the status of Petronas’ Tabung Warisan - a fund set-up 20 years ago with the aim to help the government when the country becomes a net importer of oil in the future. Anwar said:

“Annually, a sum from Petronas’ revenue is contributed to Tabung Warisan. It has been 20 years. What is the amount?” Well, the ‘last 20 years’ he referred to would mean the stretch of peirod going right back to 1986.

Hmmm, I wonder who the Malaysian Finance Minister was from 1991 to almost the end of 1998, a period of almost a decade that covers half of the period he has questioned. Why wasn’t the same question asked then?

In the Wikipedia article on Anwar Ibrahim, bearing in mind of course that 2 of the 3 references for the Wiki article have been those of Raja Petra Kamarudin, one of Anwar Ibrahim’s most dedicated supporters and editor of Malaysia-Today, a blogsite that’s seen as promoting Anwar Ibrahim, the following extract was obtained:

“Anwar's attacks on the suspected nepotism of Mahathir's rule were fortified by widespread discontent over the perceived suppression of democratic rights in Malaysia. Critics questioned Anwar's actions, wondering why he had waited until he was sacked to publicly challenge Mahathir's actions."

"Some suggested that he had engaged in nepotistic and corrupt activities himself, and was using the issues to topple Mahathir. It was also possible that he harbored hopes of replacing Mahathir although Anwar was no longer a member of UMNO and every prime minister had been an UMNO leader.”

Well, perhaps Anwar wasn't too worried about being sacked from UMNO because he must have thought he would be swiftly 'invited' back to the party as its new leader. Probably Anwar felt he had the charisma and popularity to use street power a la Jakarta to put himself back into power. That he failed wasn't due to his lack of ability or incorrect thinking, but more of Mahathir's greater ability as a power player.

That's why I find it extremely difficult to believe in Anwar’s current attempt to take the path of democratic values, proper governance and high morality, when he had failed to do so while in a powerful position as both Finance Minister and Deputy PM. Why should and would I believe in him now?

For & Against MCA MP Loh Seng Kok

Readers to Malaysiakini continue to write in regarding the intimidating surprise visit by 50 UMNO Youth members to MCA MP Loh Seng Kok's office. See also my earlier posting Who unleashed UMNO Youth mob?

Some Malaysiakini readers' comments are as follows:

Ariffin said: I am seeing a bunch of young politician trying to toil with religious issue and historical facts to get to the top, so there is no surprises! Once you get to the top you can be sure of good fortune-lah. So forget about nation, forget about responsibility of a citizen to help the country to stay in harmony, this is not their agendas, this is not what they want. What they want is an opportunity like Loh's issue to be exaggerated and used as weapons to show their so-called "leadership", and enable them to be noticed and there's a gold mine awaiting them.

Sam commented: Umno is a big party with many members. There are also huge numbers of members aspiring to high positions in the party. Is it any surprise that some will draw attention to themselves in order to be seen and heard above the crowd of hopefuls? Maybe such types will get noticed by some senior party members, and be taken under their wings and groomed for future greatness. Why do these people deny the truth? If they don't accept what MP Loh said, then argue with facts and not threats. Do all Malays agree with the action taken by Kelana Jaya division chief Abdul Halim Samad? If no, please come out and say so.

Lots of ambitious guys.

However, not everyone supported Loh. Ishak Abd Rahman stated ominously to those Chinese who supported Loh [with my loose translation-interpretation]:

Surat protest di katakan ultimatum Pemuda
Memorandum komponen BN dikatakan permintaaan saja
Jeff Ooi dan Malaysiakini nak main isu apa?
Bebaik nanti termakan kata kata sendiri pula

Somehow this bloke blames Jeff Ooi of Screenshots and Malaysiakini for, I suppose, reporting the UMNO Youth disgraceful thuggist behaviour - watch out, he warned, you guys are gonna eat your bloody words.

Kononnya Sufiyan (Melayu) sokong orang Cina
Tentang pengorbanan semua bangsa yang jadikan negara merdeka Mereka jugalah yang nak pengitirafan Chin Peng juga
Kalau kami guna ISA, nanti tuduh kami zalim pula

bloody ungrateful Chinese, having the bloody brazen cheek to suggest we accept Chin Peng - wait till we use the ISA and don't you f**king scream that we are being oppressive. Well, nice bloke, nice threat, you Chinese nicely shut up and nicely don't go too far.

Kamu peduli ke sosial kontrak yang ada
Tentang nenek moyang kamu yang terima sejarah sedadanya
Sekarang kamu meminta lebih segalagalanya
Kamu lupa kamu 35% tapi kontrol 85% ekonomi kita

you avaricious bastards - there's no stopping your greed - have you bloody forgotten our social contract?

Kamu nak main isu perkauman dan agama pula
Kamu ingat boleh menang ke?
Bebaik mani api, jangan kata kami tak ingatkan pula
Jangan terlebih minta, nanti takut hilang semuanya

how dare you f**k around with us on our race and religion - think you can get away with it - don't be surprise if you lose all instead

Kalau menjaring si ikan tuba
Jangan lupa mandi dikuala
Kalau memancing harap dapat ikan sejuta
Tetapi nasib tak baik terhutang pula

if you don't f**king watch it, you'll lose more than you hope to gain

Moral of the story:
Jangan jolok sarang tebuan - that old one about the hornets, UMNO's favourite arthropod
Jangan sombong - don't be high & too mighty
Jangan tamak - don't be greedy
Jangan bongkak - don't be arrogant
Jangan underestimate - he's not talking about accountancy
Jangan tak tahu malu - bloody well know your f**king inferior position!

IGP versus PM

When I wrote my letter to Malaysiakini titled Axe the clueless IGP, many friends warned me that I might have gone too far in provoking the man in charge of those uniformed thugs, and that I could well be on their hit list.

That may be so, but I feel somewhat vindicated when I read that Aliran, Suaram and Hakam have all jointly called for the IGP, Mohd Bakri Omar, to be sacked if he continues to reject the proposal to set-up the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC).

I feel they have been too kind in not demanding the IGP be sacked immediately. That bloke has been in open defiance of the PM on the matter of the IPCMC. There’s no further excuse. He has to be dismissed straightaway.

I recall during the Squatgate incident his deputy was equally remiss of public service proprietary when he kept contradicting the DPM on that issue. The problem is the police has gone out of control.

Unless the PM shows some backbone by sacking the recalcitrant and insubordinate IGP and his deputy, he will lose control of an organization that may see Malaysia as a truly policed state. The 3 organizations, Aliran, Suaram and Hakam agreed with KTemoc, saying: "His stance is also a reflection of a police force that is increasingly becoming uncontrollable and unaccountable to anyone in the country."

The other issue is of course the PM's integrity and his word of honour. If he allows the IGP to sidetrack him from his promise to the Malaysian people to establish the IPCMC, especially in the light of 0.5 Squatgate-60 [0.5 for the threat of naked ear squat and 60 for the 60 year old lady], where then should he put his face?

There is no further doubt that the IGP has been openly DEFIANT towards the PM’s wish to establish the IPCMC, which is now more needed than ever.

It would save the PM lots of face if that bloke has the decency to resign, but I doubt he would do that, given his appalling conduct.

Not that the PM or the IGP care, but Opposition leader Lim Kit Siang has echoed our call for Bakri’ to resign. Together with the 3 social organizations, they said what I had said in my previous posting [letter to Malaysiakini]:

"The only honourable way out for him (Bakri) is to resign to express his opposition and not to be guilty of insubordination by wearing the uniform of the IGP to openly go against the authority of the prime minister and cabinet."

“Bakri was setting a dangerous precedent undermining the important principle in a parliamentary democracy that the public service, including the police, must be subject to civilian oversight, accountability and authority.”

“The police chief should have exercised responsible leadership to help convince his personnel that the IPCMC was not a ‘police-bashing’ conspiracy, said the veteran politician.”

"The IGP should convince his personnel that the IPCMC is an important formula to restore public confidence in the Malaysian police.”

But instead, we saw the IGP playing on the tudung and conspiracy issues, to gain the support of UMNO MPs in suggesting to them that supporters of the IPCMC have an ulterior motive to humiliate and demoralise the police.

Lim said that the IGP’s accusations was not only baseless and misplaced, but also cast a most unworthy and dishonourable aspersion on the integrity, character and motives of members sitting in the Royal Police Commission who proposed the establishment of the IPCMC.

He continued: "Bakri and others can disagree with the IPCMC proposal but they should never impugn the integrity, honour and patriotism of the Royal Police commissioners and Malaysians who support the IPCMC as such support is motivated by the best interests for the police force and the nation."

Thursday, March 30, 2006

60-year old lady: "Cops stripped me, took my money"

This report by Malaysiakini of another alleged police abuse - almost another Squatgate but with a 60 year old woman - is so sickening that I am not going to touch the report, which is reproduced below in its entirety, to enable those of you without subscription to Malaysiakini to read it in full:
Sixty-year-old homemaker Cheng Pik Wai claims she was stripped naked and lost RM200 during her three-hour detention at a police lock-up earlier this month.

Cheng, who migrated here 35 years ago from Taiwan after marrying a Malaysian, related her ordeal at a press conference at the Parliament lobby this morning.

The press conference was organised by DAP parliamentarian Teresa Kok.

According to a copy of her police report lodged with the Jalan HS Lee police station, Cheng was detained at the Dang Wangi police lock-up (previously Pudu jail) on March 11. This followed a misunderstanding that she had stolen goods from a shopping mall in the city.

Cheng, who holds a Malaysian citizenship, was sent to the lock-up at about 5pm. Here a policewoman, whom she identified as ‘Samsiah’, told her to surrender all her belongings.

“At first, Samsiah put all the coins taken from my purse inside a plastic bag. However when she counted the bank notes, I saw her take out a few notes and put them inside her drawer."

“She then said the money was for bribe and told me in Cantonese ‘bei ngo yam cha’ (give me to drink tea),” stated the mother of three in her report.

Samsiah then allegedly asked for Cheng’s ATM card, pin number and her bank balance.

“She told me if I didn’t give her (the details), I will be asked to do ear-squats,” said Cheng, who added that she refused to divulge the information but was not asked to perform the squats.

She also claimed that the policewoman had asked for her jewellery.

“Subsequently, two other policewomen brought me to a room and told me to strip naked. Then, they asked me to turn around three times."

“When I did this, they started laughing. I felt humiliated,” she said in the report.
Cheng was released, without having her statement recorded, on police bail at about 8pm when her husband showed up.

According to her, after the two policewomen returned her belongings they asked for money in Cantonese ‘bei lui’ (give money).

Cheng said she gave them RM10. After she left the premises, she discovered that about RM200 had gone missing.

She then returned to the detention centre with her husband and an argument broke out between Samsiah and them.

“Samsiah wanted to return RM10 to us but my husband refused. Then Samsiah hit the table in front of us and my husband told her that we will lodge a report against her,” she said.

The case against Cheng has since been dropped after the parties involved reached an agreement.

At today’s press conference, Cheng claimed that she was also refused access to the washroom during her detention and the police also did not arrange for an interpreter as she could only speak Mandarin.

Asked how she felt about the experience, a visibly upset Cheng replied: “I was very afraid and felt vulnerable. I am an old woman, why did the police treat me like this?”

“It was very cold in the lock-up and I could not stop crying but I was not given a chance to explain,” she added. Cheng was accompanied by her husband Walter Lim this morning.

Meanwhile, [Teresa] Kok, who put the police in a spot recently after exposing a video-clip of a detainee being forced to do ear squats in the nude, expressed regret that procedures continued to be flaunted.

“Why must she (Cheng) be stripped, this was not even a case of drug possession. The police have adopted a new body search rule but why is this still happening?” she asked.

“(The police) talked so much about rejecting the IPCMC (Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission), but see, this (abuses) is still happening,” said the MP.

According to her, Cheng will be asked to identify the police personnel involved later today. Also present at the press conference was Parliamentary Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang

Mahathir's US lobbyist to be sentenced for fraud

US lobbyist Jack Abramoff, with close links to the US Republican Party, is about to be sentenced for fraud charges. He cheated native Americans, conning them of millions with a vague promise to set up casinos for their business benefit. Additionally, he is under a dark cloud for tax evasion, defrauding his clients and conspiring to bribe public officials. A federal inquiry into his activities wants to know more about his dealings with 20 politicians in Congress.

I wonder whether the US inquiry would raise the matter of him being paid by the Malaysian government to set up a meeting for Dr Mahathir with President George Bush. In the Malaysian parliament, Opposition leader Lim Kit Siang grilled Syed Hamid, our Foreign Minister, on the payment made to Abramoff. The Minister shifted into high gear to avoid answering Lim’s probing queries.

In Malaysia, yes, ministers can simply get away with such evasive manoeuvres to answer opposition queries or even make either racist, sexist or plain stupid remarks. In the West, for example Australia, the ministers might to choose to do that in defiance of parliamentary convention and accountability, but you can bet that when they're outside parliament, the press would toast them until they were barbequed. Very few though, and then only those belonging to the ultra fringe groups, dare to be so politically reckless.

In all fairness, lobbying is not illegal in the USA. The fact that Abramoff has been found guilty of fraud charges does not in any way implicate Dr Mahathir’s use of the lobbyist. Abramoff’s fraud charges and his political lobbying for Dr Mahathir weren’t related. The question is whether the fees paid to Abramoff had been worth the results?

Many years ago Malaysia had to engage a product lobbyist when America’s soya bean producers were badmouthing our palm oil. Some adverts depicting palm oil as bad were hitting below the belt of commercial decency, and worse, denying the real fact that palm oil is superior in many departments to soya bean oil.

One ad showed a fat pot-bellied moustached unshaven greasy sweaty badly dressed swarthy man (South American variety) smoking a disgusting cheroot while sitting in a cane chair next to a 44-gallon drum marked ‘palm oil’. The accompanying and contrasting photo showed a smart lean handsome and well dressed all-American boy with gleaming white teeth flashing a fulsome smile [a Tom Cruise-like personality] standing smartly at attention besides a cute package labelled ‘US soya oil’.

In America, lobbying is vital to being heard in Congress – it’s the American capitalist way, basically a legal means of ‘bribing’ your way to the ears of the lawmakers or President. If one wants to make a headway, politically or commercially, one has to engage a professional lobbyist, unless of course one is a partner in the Coalition of the Killing or a Head of State of a country with the world’s biggest, largest whatever oil reserves, or the Israeli PM.

Axe the clueless IGP!

My letter to Malaysiakini, basically a composite of my earlier postings but in more formal prose, was published yesterday. Below is a copy:

We continue down the road of further official proselytising, except this time it's initiated by the inspector-general of police (IGP). Here we have the No 1 person in charge of a dysfunctional law organisation violating the rights of non-Muslim police officers.

A Royal Commission of Inquiry into police conduct had already made more than 100 recommendations for improvement of the police force, yet its leader opted to mess around with the non-relevant issue of women's dressing.

Therein lies the root cause of the police problem – sheer bad leadership without a clue nor the will to resolve very serious and pressing police problems. That's why we have issues of alleged police abuses from Squatgate to Botakgate, with all sorts of complaints in between ranging from foreign wives of Malaysian citizens illegally hauled in and detained at police stations and then made to suffer the humiliation and trauma of being peeped at and ogled by police personnel, and then terrorised by a midnight visit after they lodged a complaint.

We have read in the newspapers of a Japanese student suffering police extortion, while a single mum in Kuala Lumpur out for an evening with her two teenage daughters experienced the trauma of seeing her daughter's buttocks fondled by police personnel, who added insult to injury by charging them for no reason other than they had the guts to speak out against the sexual abuse.

And worse, according to the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam), there have been 80 custodial deaths between 2000 and 2004 with only eight inquests were carried out. This is truly scary.

By the way, has anyone heard of any police personnel being called to account since then or at least have the cases resolved, except for the personnel who revealed the scandal of the Squatgate abuse with his video-clip?

In the midst of these disgusting and disgraceful events, what did the IGP do? He indulged in meaningless shallow gimmickry like making his officers wear 'Saya Anti-Rasuah' badges, as if those contain an Aladdin's genie that would whisk away the foul odour of corruption. He messes around with the policewomen’s clothing as if Islamic values would, in his own words, permeate into his police force.

Are we seriously countenancing this man as the highest law enforcing officer of the land, and indeed even worse than that, expecting him to resuscitate the once-renowned glory and integrity of his police force?

Puhleeeze. Even a schoolchild would know that it takes more than a cheap badge or a headscarf to cover the rot that corrupts his organisation. But wait, there's more.

He talks about the need for 'uniformity' as a reason to demand that even non-Muslim female officers
don the ‘tudung’. His explanation, like his gimmicks, is sheer nonsense. I will now shoot that rubbish down as it richly deserves.

For decades, if not centuries, in the Royal Malaysian Police or any branch of the Armed Forces, the Sikh members of these two services have worn turbans without other members required to wear the same turban to show 'uniformity' on formal parades. The services even provided their Sikh personnel with turbans to reflect the colours of their respective regiments or services.

When Sikh personnel in their magnificent turbans were/are on parade with their non-Sikh colleagues in the Armed Forces or police, no one could detect any discernible lack of uniformity but rather an impressive and unique Malaysian picture of smartness, which we have been and still are proud of.

The reality has been the IGP jumping on the Islam-centric bandwagon to score brownie points with some ministers and lawmakers, and to distract from far more urgent matters afflicting his organisation. The old saying of 'throwing plenty of it around and some will eventually stick' seems to apply most appropriately to his gimmickry.

Then, opposition leader Lim Kit Siang alerted us to the IGP for
being insubordinate by torpedoing a prime ministerial decision to establish the IPCMC, and doing so openly and defiantly without regard for public service propriety.

The prime minister and/or internal security minister must reprimand him in the severest manner and rein in his lack of awareness that he is no more than a mere public servant taking orders from the people's elected representatives, and not run with his own irrelevant policies. Better still, the PM sack him.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Who unleashed UMNO Youth mob?

Remember UMNO Youth and their 69 metres keris Sang Panca Ancam, which I highlighted in 50 UMNO Youths Threatened MCA MP!?

I wonder whether they have ever cleansed the keris with kemenyan (incense) and limau kasturi (lemon) juice, since they have always been defiling it with the most ignoble employment.

If they aren't too respectful, the keris may yet take on an ominous 'presence' like the unfinished keris of Mpu Gandring, with the sorry fate for its owner.

On the mob's threat to Loh, the following have been some readers’ comments to Malaysiakini.

“I find UMNO Youth to be the great perpetrator of race-based politics. If there is any danger of disharmony - it would most probably be caused by these goons. It's time the UMNO seniors clipped their wings.”

Nary a word from the PM or DPM! [or anything in the NST or The Star].

“Imagine, if things don't change, one of these goons would be the future prime minister of this country. I fear for my children.”

Mate, I am scared too.

“The characteristic of UMNO being arrogant and racial is proven once again in this event. If Parliament is not the avenue to voice that which concern the rakyat's well-being as a MP; then may I ask where is the proper channel? Malaysia has become an enemy of herself in this denial mode and is afraid of her own shadow.”

‘Cause there’s too many things to hide.

“It's not news that UMNO Youth will resort to gangsterism to advance their narrow interests. It has also been proven time and again that criminal conducts including physical violence carried out by these gangsters will not be punished. No surprise also that these people are the one that are loudest in their opposition to formation of an IPCMC for some consider the Royal Malaysian Police to belong to them.”

One thing’s for sure – UMNO Youth don’t act unless they have been unleashed by higher ups, just as they were in the Aptet II disgrace.

Who then had been the secret handler in the case against Loh?

‘bin Abdullahs’ celebrating Chinese New Year!

Over at Malaysiakini, Baradan Kuppusamy discussed the recent survey on Malaysian inter-ethnic perceptions in an article titled Racism alive and well in Malaysia.

I had also touched very briefly on the results of the same survey in an earlier posting Bloody Lazy, Greedy, Untrustworthy Malaysians!

Baradan brought out one of the truths of multi-ethnic Malaysia. He wrote: “Curiously, the survey also showed that many Malaysians have a vague idea, not only of one another's cultures and traditions. but also of their own.”

“Hari Raya Puasa was wrongly perceived as the Malay New Year by 32% of Malays, 84% of Chinese and 45% of Indians - the festival actually marks the culmination of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting. Similarly, the Chinese New Year was thought to be a religious festival by 57% of Malays, 53% of Indians and a whopping 62% of Chinese respondents.”

I can testify to the last when I was working for an organization that had a number of Chinese Muslims. When they celebrated Chinese New Year, my Malay boss and a personal good mate, remarked to me: “Look KT, are those ‘bin Abdullahs’ really Muslims or what!”

Note that I didn't put a ‘question mark’ in his query to me, because he made what we call a rhetorical question where the person posing the question already has the answer which he wants you, the recipient of his query to think about (on what he has in mind).

His incorrect perception and thus outrage at so-called Muslims celebrating a pagan festival was hardly surprising when 62% of Chinese Malaysians would have agreed with him.

In as much as his perception of the Chinese Muslims celebrating Chinese New Year wasn’t complimentary at all, his description of them as ‘bin Abdullahs’, which translates literally as ‘sons of the servants* of Allah’, was equally patronising because that label actually meant ‘Johnnies-come-lately’ to Islam.

* thanks to reader Parvez, I have corrected the translation of 'bin Abdullahs' - my limited knowledge has been expanded by a significant quota.

I took some time to explain to him what Chinese New Year was all about, assuring him that it had nothing to do with religion, any religion, and that Chinese of any religion - Islam, Christianity, Buddhist, Taoist, Confucianism, etc - or even without one, would celebrate the start of the Chinese lunar-solar calendar, the beginning of the Spring season. In other words it was a socio-seasonal and thus socio-cultural-administrative festival.

But I didn't dare tell him that one of those ‘bin Abdullahs’ came from a Muslim family in China who embraced Islam about 500 years before Raja Paramesvara of Malacca, late of Palembang of the Buddhist Sri Vijaya Empire, became Sultan Megat Iskandar Shah.

Oh no, I wasn't going to embarrass him with the reality that he was, relative to them, the ‘bin Abdullah’.

Many Malaysian Muslims weren't also aware that they were/are more Muslims in China than in Malaysia. Of course that particular ‘bin Abdullah’ had never suggested such a label for ‘Johnnies-come-lately’ to the umma wahida [the united Islamic world].

Admiral Cheng Ho, a Chinese Muslim

50 UMNO Youths Threatened MCA MP!

Loh Seng Kok has been the MCA MP warned by UMNO and PAS! for criticising our ‘imbalanced’ history textbooks, new prayer recital guidelines and the problems faced by non-Muslims with regards to places of worship, during a recent parliamentary session.

I blogged that after Loh finished his coverage of the other two issues, he was warned by both an UMNO and a PAS MP. He was told not to thread on ‘dangerous grounds’.

Well, that’s was not the end of the matter because 6 days later, a mob of 50 UMNO Youth members, led by Kelana Jaya division chief Abdul Halim Samad, paid him a surprise visit. Abdul Halim handed him a letter and told him ominously, “We don’t want to hear any explanation now; this is our letter, you read and answer it!”

Loh was warned that UMNO Youth would ‘take action’ if he failed to respond to the letter within a number of days. Some in the group had brought along video cameras to record the brief meeting.

The Kelana Jaya division claimed Loh had hurt the feelings of those sensitive touchy feely UMNO Youth members. They reminded Loh that the majority of voters in his Kelana Jaya parliamentary constituency are Malays. Aha! Here's a chance for PKR in next general election.

Abdul Halim confirmed to Malaysiakini that he had given Loh a protest letter but declined to comment on the contents. When asked whether he had gone to Loh’s office to teach the MP a lesson, he declined to comment, saying that it was a sensitive matter. [meaning it was 'yes'?]

I wonder whether they took along the 50-foot keris Sang Panca Ancam?

Perhaps PAS Youth could be next to visit Loh?

Another Ticket to Heaven Election Campaign!

"Cursed be its inhabitants for not having come to God's aid. Cursed be those who do not uphold and obey the words of this law. I hereby issue a religious ruling that everyone must vote for Shas."

Remember Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, former chief rabbi of Israel, and spiritual leader of the ultra-Orthodox Sephardic Jewish party Shas? Ovadia Yosef is not only a King Josiah-like fanatical Jewish Taleban but also a terrible racist.

After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans he pronounced that as God’s punishment of America for allowing Ariel Sharon to pull out from Gaza. He also sneeringly called the African Americans as Kushim, an ancient Hebraic word for a race south of Egypt but a derogatory term in modern Hebrew, meaning something akin to nigger.

The above (highlighted) curse was uttered by him on eve of the Israeli election, and may YVWH strike those who don’t vote for his party Shas, so said the raving saliva-dripping rabbi. He had also cursed Ariel Sharon for the Gaza withdrawal, a retreat from holy Jewish soil, saying Sharon would ‘sleep and not wake up’. His followers believe that his curse worked when Sharon had a stroke that left him in a coma since January.

He has promised heaven to those who vote for him and hell to anyone who supports the acting Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert of the Kadima Party. Hmmm, does he remind us of someone in Malaysia?

Many secular Israelis think ultra-Orthodox Jews such as those belonging to the Shas Party are taking advantage of Israel’s law allowing religiously inclined Jews to skip military service and live on welfare while ostensibly studying religion. Maybe it’s YWVH’s will? Maybe they are bludgers?

The Israeli newspaper Maariv has reported that Ehud Olmert's party, Kadima, is worried about astrologers, future-tellers and various mystics interviewed by the media in the past few days all predicting a huge last-minute upset for Kadima. Would they, like King Saul, visit the Witch of Endor to find out the results?

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The Vanities of Tony Blair

Dost think that power's disguise
Can make thee mighty seem?
It may in folly's eyes,
But not in worth's esteem:
When all that thou canst ask,
And all that she can give,
Is but a paltry mask
Which tyants wear and live.

In an address to a rare joint sitting of Australia’s parliament, courtesy of his partner in the Coalition of the Willing, Aussie PM John Howard, British PM Tony Blair
condemned growing anti-Americanism around the world as ‘madness’ in the face of the challenges confronting global peace in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

What an utter hypocrite when he failed to acknowledge that the ‘challenges confronting global peace in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere’ had been as a result of American arrogant, avaricious and
duplicitous belligerence and criminal aggression.

Duplicitous? Why?

Because according to a New York Times report, Tony Blair was in possession of a 5-page memo by President Bush stamped ‘extremely sensitive’ circulated among his (Blair’s) most intimate senior staff, which minuted that both Bush and Blair acknowledged that no unconventional weapons were found inside Iraq.

Because that meant the lack of excuse to invade Iraq,
Bush then talked about several ways to provoke a confrontation, including a proposal to paint a United States surveillance plane in the colours of the United Nations in hopes of drawing fire, or assassinating Saddam Hussein.

Now, isn’t that both duplicitous and evil? Surely for such a dullard like Bush to be so driven, he must have been brainwashed by provocateurs.

I’ll blog a bit more on the ‘extremely sensitive’ secret memo later.

Back to the Australian Parliament, Blair urged the formation of a global alliance [another Coalition of the Killing?] in the struggle for democracy and justice(?), and brazenly asserted that such an alliance does not end with, but begins with America. Blair spoke of the common values of Australia and Britain, including a belief in democracy, rule of law and fairness.

I puked a couple of times at Blair’s shameless hypocrisy.

Plugging away for his transatlantic cousin and co-conspirator, Blair continued:
“The danger with America today is not that they are too much involved, the danger is that they decide to pull up the drawbridge and disengage. We need them involved. We want them engaged.”

Engage in what? Killing innocent people like those termed ‘collateral damage’ or ‘terrorist SUSPECTS’? More Abu Ghraib's, more Guantanamo Bay's, more
Black Room's, more Bagram-ish hells, more extraordinary rendition, more Gulag Archipelago's, more Bush's crusades?

One thing I can tell you, the British have always been good with words in the tradition of Winston Churchill ["I have nothing to offer you but blood, toil, tears and sweat" & "we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills", etc]. They'll talk the hind quarters off an ass.

Of the 3 leaders of the Coalition of the Willing, Blair is the most culpable.

We can dismiss Bush because he’s so plain dumb that he was easily led up the garden path by his nose by his circle of so-called advisors - "9/11 - it's the Saudis and Egyptians, hey-ho let's attack Iraq!".

I apologise to my American friends if they feel hurt I’ve insulted their Head of State even though they might not have voted for him. But note that Bush did the very thing [against the USA's interest] that his father had steadfastly refused to do even in Gulf War I - occupied Iraq.

May we ask who were his advisors who advised Bush to act against US interests? Which one nation has currently benefited most from the Iraqi chaos, and will again from Iraq's eventual disintegration?

We can also dismiss John Howard because Australia’s foreign and military policies are premised on the USA being her umbrella. Australia relies heavily on the ANZUS pact (meaning Uncle Sam) to bail her out of trouble. Ever since WWII, and especially more so after Harold Wilson pulled out ‘East of Suez’, it doesn’t matter who the PM of Australia is but every man Jack of them would back the USA to the hilt because Australia expects (or hopes for) such reciprocation.

Because of her total reliance on the USA, Australia has participated in every military adventure, good and bad, that the USA had called upon her – Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War I and II, Afghanistan, you-name-it, in the past, present & future, Australia will be there with the USA. She perceives that strategically she has no choice.

We now come to Tony Blair – intelligent, erudite, and probably the most successful and popular Labour Party PM of Britain after WWII. Why did he want to follow a dill down folly’s way?

Super-ego, conceit, vainglory! Tony Blair reckons he could influence George Bush, failing in his hubris to realise that many others, even more powerful and devious, were already manipulating the strings of the Bush puppet.

What we have here is a British PM who have the intelligence and surety of independence to go the British or European way, decided to be complicit in the Bush Administration’s deceit and diabolical plans to fabricate reasons to attack and invade Iraq, all purely because of Blair's amour propre, that he wants to be remembered as the British PM who had led America into the 21st Century New Age. He wants to be exalted in the same way as Winston Churchill continues to be by the British.

Thus Tony Blair, of the 3 leaders, is the most culpable of the war crimes against the Iraqi people, and crimes against his own soldiers who had died needlessly in Iraq.

Dost think that pride exalts
Thyself in other's eyes,
And hides thy folly's faults,
Which reason will despise?
Dost strut, and turn, and stride,
Like walking weathercocks?
The shadow by thy side
Becomes thy ape, and mocks.

- from an old English poem copied by John Clare

DAP's Teresa Kok an 'Islam Hater'?

If we go by the words of Mohd Nazri, Minister in the PM’s Department and acting Law Minister, sweet hardworking soft spoken Tesesa Kok of the DAP is an ‘Islam hater’. I must admit I haven’t heard this line before from UMNO.

Usually it would be “Don’t provoke another May 13” or “Don’t stir the hornets’ nest” or “This keris will be soaked in someone’s blood”, etc.

Now, Minister Nazri has moved up the UMNO notch up from ethnic interest to religious sanctity. Bloody bravo!

Minister Nazri was annoyed with Teresa Kok for questioning the IGP's directive that all policewomen must wear the tudung (Muslim female headscarf) during official parades. She cited the directive as one clear example of human rights violation. KTemoc feels she should have said the IGP was trying to divert attention from his dysfunctional police force by throwing in such radical proselytizing issues.

Mohd Nazri gave an excuse, which I have already explained as sheer nonsense, that the directive was to ensure uniformity of dress at official parades. What about turbaned Sikh personnel who have been with the Police and Armed Forces for centuries? Why wasn’t the issue of turbans then raised, so that all on parade would either wear turbans or don’t, for 'uniformity'.

Nazri brought out the example of non-Muslim government leaders wearing the songkok to rebut Kok, but is that headgear Islamic? The tudung definitely is, and not at all favoured by non-Muslims unlike the elegant baju kurong or the fantastic kebaya (yum!)

In an obvious attempt to intimidate her by once again waving the Islamic banner, the minister warned Teresa Kok not to inject her ‘hatred for Islam’ into her questions. Kok protested to the speaker, quoting Standing Order 36, and demanded that Nazri be made to withdraw his unparliamentary remarks.

I love it when a strong sweet woman like Teresa Kok quotes Parlimentary Standing Orders so swiftly as if she has them all on the back of her hand. Hmmm, it’s like talking dirty to me – OK, I’m sick! ;-)

Anyway, the Standing order states that a member of the House should not hurt the feelings of another member, and as Nazri had imputed base motives on Kok's part, well, that’s hurting Teresa Kok’s feelings. She reminded everyone that her question was in relation to the IGP’s violation of human rights.

Naturally, with an overwhelming majority in the House, Deputy Speaker Dr Yusof Yacob merely told the minister that the remark was unnecessary instead of ordering him to withdraw the unscrupulous accusation. What else can you expect from the BN?

Commonwealth Games end with Hide & Seek

If the Commonwealth Games started with Breasts Groping! then the Games end with Hide & Seek as 6 athletes from Sierra Leone ran off to hide, refusing to return to their country. The Aussie authorities found them in Sydney at a refugee safe house.

3 of them, Isha Conteh, Sarah Turay and Marion Bangura, are teenage girls. They claimed that they will be forced to undergo female circumcision if they were to go home. Conteh mentioned that her sister bled to death 3 weeks ago after the circumcision went all wrong.

Another, a bloke, Hassan Fullah said that he feared being killed because his uncle was a rebel. He claimed to have been beaten and his 12-year-old brother killed in an attack shortly before he left to compete in the Games.

Hmmm, all had relatives killed. Anyway, they were granted bridging visas, until their cases are assessed on merits for longer term visas.

In the meantime, another 8 Sierra Leoneans, 9 Cameroon athletes, a Tanzanian boxer and a Bangladeshi runner are also listed as missing. The next event is Telling Tall Tales!

Maid Abuse Again!

Well, it has happened again, but this time with a Cambodian. If true, we Malaysians should be ashamed that we ill-treat our poorer neighbours who have come here to work as maids and labourers for us. What is it with us?

Tan Sre Yeuo, a 15-year old Cambodian teenager working in Malaysia has made a
police report that her Malaysian employer had whacked her with canes and electric wires and then starved her for days.

Officials from the Cambodian embassy in Kuala Lumpur rushed to rescue the young lassie from her employer’s house after they received a tip-off.

It has been claimed that Tan looked pretty frail with bruises on her arms and legs.

A Cambodian embassy official complained that Malaysian police took a tidakapa (apathetic) attitude when the report of abuse was made. He said that Malaysian police told him Tan's case would take several days to investigate, and that they assessed her injuries as not serious.

The official was livid, condemning the police attitude as unfair when poor Tan was found in a poor condition by Embassy officials. Tan has been admitted to a hospital for observation.

I wonder how Malaysian immigration permitted a mere 15-year old foreigner to come in as a maid?

Monday, March 27, 2006

Protest over fuel price hike continues

Today's Malaysiakini's report at 11:14 am (in full without any editing):

Traffic in certain parts of the city were brought to a halt when more than 500 people marched from the Parliament building to the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) office in protest of the recent hike in fuel prices. The protest was led by the umbrella body of workers' unions, the Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC).

At about 9am, the protestors gathered at the Parliament building to submit memorandums to Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, his deputy Najib Abdul Razak, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz and Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang.

However, the police only permitted two representatives to enter and this was rejected by the protestors, who wanted a delegation of 10 to submit the memorandums on the price hike. After negotiations, the police agreed to a five-member delegation on the grounds that the rest disperse.

The protestors turned down the proposal and decided to march to the Suhakam office instead.

They brandished placards and shouted slogans as they made their way through the city streets, bringing vehicles to a standstill each time they crossed a street. The protestors reached the Suhakam office located along Jalan Raja Laut at about 10.40am and were met by Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) personnel and two water canon trucks.

The entrance to the building had been cordoned-off by the police.

Yesterday, in scenes reminiscent of the reformasi demonstrations a few years ago, police fired water cannon at another MTUC-led protest at the Petronas Twin Towers and 22 were arrested.

Encounter of the Furred Kind!

Kong Nam Choy is a construction worker who loves jungle trekking because he enjoys communing with nature and its cool and peaceful environment. Given his harmonious relationship with nature, I wouldn’t be surprised if he is a Taoist, completely at one with the universe (nature).

So one fine day he set off into the woods near Gunung Panti, Johore, when somewhere in a secluded area he was suddenly alerted by a rustling sound at the hill slope in front of him.

He exclaimed: "Fearing that it was an elephant I quickly hid behind a rock. It was then that I saw the Bigfoot which was more than three metres tall emerging from the jungle. It walked with a slight crouch like an old man”.

Maybe an old Bigfoot?

"I was shaking all over with fear thinking that the creature might come towards me. However, to my relief, it stopped about 30 metres away and sat down on a log."

One would have imagined a creature like the Bigfoot to sit on the ground, but what do we know? Kong then described the creature as covered with black hair, with huge arms as thick as a man’s thigh, bushy eyebrows (why should we think otherwise), and (of course) long incisors jutting out slightly at the corner of its mouth. It wouldn’t do to have a creature like Bigfoot without ferocious looking fangs!

King continued: "Although I was scared, I managed to take out my camera and emerged from behind the rock”.

Brave man. It just so happened that while he was jungle trekking to enjoy its cool and peaceful environment he carried a camera. But hey, that’s great, now we get to see Bigfoot – a NST’s exclusive.

"But before I could take a picture, my handphone rang. I panicked, fearing that the creature would come after me. But it just got up, glanced at me and hurried back into the jungle."

Of course it's just unfortunate he didn’t snap a photo or two, even of a retreating Bigfoot, to offer as evidence of the creature’s existence.

This sounds like one of those Hollywood movies, where at a critical moment, the phone would ring, or the stolen file completely downloaded, or the searched room neatly cleaned up - always in the nick of time.

In Kong’s case, it fortuitiously avoided the unnecessary (and in fact, unwanted) proof of a Bigfoot, making its mystery even more enticing. Interested movie makers should look into such a scene for their screenplay of ‘Encounter of the Furred Kind.’

My proposed script which doesn't involved Kong Nam Choy at all ;-) follows. It's just an extract – full version available on successful negotiation:


Bigfoot: Well, answer the phone and stop the ringing – it’s bloody annoying.

Trekker (in shock to hear the creature talked): Gulp … yessir Mr Bigfoot sir.

At that moment the mobile phone went silent. Trekker looked at it in amazement as if there was a big slimy leech doing cartwheels on its screen.

Bigfoot: That’s the problem with cheap batteries.

Trekker (looked up in surprise): But sir, everything’s so expensive lately. I'm forced to get an el cheapo one.

Big foot: Oil price fallout?

Trekker (eyes bulging): Yes! How did you know?

Bigfoot (snarling or more probably, smiling, but unfortunately we wouldn't know): Hey, I’m a Malaysian too, you know! I was hoping against hope that the price hike would stop those 4WDs from barging by the dozens into the forest reserves. Kacau saja!*

* just plain (annoying) disturbance

Trekker: The new fuel price hardly makes a dent on the better-off crowd, the ones who drive the 4WDs. It’s the poorer people who feel the pinch.

Bigfoot (snarl/smile): And which one are you?

Trekker: Eh … the poorer group, sir.

Bigfoot (mischievous snarl/smile): And which group do I belong to?

Trekker (afraid to upset the creature by nominating the wrong group): Gulp … eh … eh ... would you like a banana, sir?

Bigfoot (even more pronounced mischievous snarl/smile): I am not exactly a complete herbivore, if you know what I mean.

Trekker (feeling warmth down his thighs): Gulp ... sir ... if you're a Malaysian, I thought I'd let you know I'm not a Muslim, eh ... not halal*, sir!

* kosher

Bigfoot: No worries, I didn't say I'm a Malay, but a Malaysian.

At this stage Trekker fainted. Bigfoot thought to himself: ~Hmmm, maybe I'll offer my expertise to the Royal Malaysian Police. One doesn't need chemical-laced water to pacify blokes~

He tenderly places a pile of leaves beneath Trekker's head to cushion it, and slips quietly into the jungle, leaving the still unconscious man on the track.

Allah swt must have loved him!

Remember that Christian covert who is under trial for apostasy in Afghanistan? I blogged on that in Afghan Apostate to be Beheaded?

Initially President Hamid Karzai was flummoxed on what to do, what with the West led by US President Bush on one hand demanding he stops the trial or at least prevents the execution, and the mullahs on the other hand in non-compromising mood to take any instructions from the West on issues of Islamic laws.

At one stage I noticed [by reading news reports] that Karzai was leaning towards the mullahs perhaps because he realised that he could well face rebellion from those clerics who have been supporting him. The Afghan Supreme Court left Karzai in no doubt as to what it feels when last week it declared that Abdul Rahman must revert to Islam or face death according to Islamic law, which the country's constitution is partly based on.

Also, many Afghans pointed out that the constitution states: "No law can be contrary to the sacred religion of Islam." Amin, but also Alas to poor Karzai.

An Afghan Supreme Court judge, who's not involved in the Rahman case, said: "It is like a two-side drum. Beating any side makes a noise. You have got the international community on one end and the Afghan community on the other end. Either way Karzai is a loser: if he takes the side of one, he has the other party standing against him."

Then Australian PM John Howard lent his voice to the situation which could have tilted the balancing act that Karzai had been juggling with. Howard stated that he would find it extremely difficult to continue having Aussie troops defend a country that executes its citizens just for changing religion. His stand was taken up by the Europeans [no doubt to the consternation of not only President Karzai but also the USA, who doesn't want to be left alone beyond the daunting Khyber Pass].

President Karzai knows that without the Europeans or Aussies to back his regime, and with an American public already very disenchanted with Bush’s foreign adventures, he wouldn’t last very long against a resurgent Taleban.

A bit of lateral thinking was required, and he came up with one, which Edward de Bono would have been proud of. I term it Karzai’s Bangkok Option.

The accused was declared insane, which should ‘explain’ why he converted to Christianity in the first place!

According to a court official, his relatives, namely his cousin Abdul Munir and his [Abdul’s] daughter, Maria, Abdul Rahman is not mentally fit. In fact, just in case anyone queries the technicalities, they said emphatically that he's mad. I don't know whether they did it out of love or money? The court official also embellished the tale of madness by revealing that: "He himself has said he hears strange voices in his head. His files have been sent back to the attorney-general for further investigations."

That gave the Supreme Court a way out, whence it then decided not to pursue its case against Abdul Rahman. I wonder whether it also declared that ‘those that God loves, He first makes mad’?

Needless to say, the Afghan court immediately dropped the case like a hot potato [or a poppy bloom], with the presiding judge no doubt glad to be relieved from his awkward responsibility. Like a game of tennis, it stroked the matter over to Kabul's top prosecutor for a decision.

The ball is now in the attorney-general’s court [excuse the pun]. Apparently, word leaked to western reporters is that Abdul Rahman will undergo some 'medical tests', following which he would be confirmed as mad and released, all within a few days. If Karzai is wise, he would send the man to the west for ‘advance medical treatment’, of course purely on compassionate grounds and concern for one of his citizens.

However, we haven’t heard from the mullahs yet, so Karzai may not be out of the woods completely, and he better mounts a high security protection for the apostate. But I am glad that Abdul Rahman can be spared. Maybe Allah swt does love him!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Police used chemical-laced water again!

According to al Jazeera, Malaysian riot police have used water cannon to break up a protest against fuel price rises, the latest in a series of anti-government protests in Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysiakini has also updated its report to confirm that chemical-laced water was employed to disperse the crowd.

When the protest began at 10:10 am, the police warned the protestors that they would be given 10 minutes to disperse as it was an illegal gathering.

But MTUC leaders - president Syed Shahir Syed Mohamud and secretary-general G Rajasekaran – ignored the warning and gave speeches criticising the fuel price hike which has resulted in essential items becoming more costly. Then PKR and PAS made their speeches as well.

When the 10 minutes warning came to an end, the cops moved in. There were 50 members of the FRU and 100 general duties police officers. There was of course the dreaded water-cannon truck. The mounted police was also there with their crowd control steeds, and so were two police dogs.

G Rajasekaran, the MTUC secretary-general, said: "It was a peaceful protest. Nobody created unrest, we do not see the reason for the arrests. Our government is very intolerant of peaceful protests."

You bet!

Apart from Dr Hatta and his 2 daughters, PAS Muslimat (women’s wing) leader Athirah Al-Jundi was also taken in by the police. But they were eventually released on police bail.

I think the Internal Security Minister, who's also the PM, had been a bit heavy handed to take such drastic action, but then, to be fair to him, nowadays we aren't quite sure who's in charge of the country - the PM or the Police?

(1) Police arrested PAS leader & his 6-year old daughter!
(2) Oil price hike fuels 2 more protests
(3) Police Chemical Attack on Fuel Price Protestors

Police arrested PAS leader & his 6-year old daughter!

Malaysiakini reported that 25 people had been arrested today at the Petronas Twin Towers for refusing to disperse at a rally, which was organised to protest against the increase in petrol prices.

The 1500 protestors were made up mainly of the country’s workers unions (led by MTUC leaders) and PAS and PKR members.

Among those arrested were PAS central committee member Dr Hatta Ramli and his two daughters, one of whom was only 6-years old.

I like to know why Dr Hatta took the little girl to a protest rally when it’s known that the police would stop it, even with water cannon. While I respect his rights to protest I deplore his irresponsibility in taking his little daughter along with him and thus subjecting her to an unpleasant experience.

I just hope he took her along because he failed to recognize the danger for her. I would be very very annoyed if he had deliberately taken her along because either he wanted to up the ante by making his daughter a protest symbol against police suppression of the rally, or he thought his young daughter could be a tangkai (amulet) against police arrest.

Mediocrity beats Meritocracy

The Mamas & Papas sang the song titled Frustration, which would be most appropriate at this time of the year in Malaysia.

The Star Online reported that the Higher Education Ministry may tighten the entry requirements to public institutions of higher learning (IPTAs) in the coming intake. Ding dong – the Malaysian annual university entrance stoush has begun.

The Minister said: “For students who meet the requirements and are outstanding, their places at IPTAs are guaranteed but probably not in certain courses like medicine because the competition is intense for these courses.”

He didn’t explain why outstanding students cannot be guaranteed a place in medicine if they apply for the medical course. Instead, he wants them to consider other courses that were less popular.

What he meant was the numbers for the medical intake would be limited and perhaps even taken up already, and therefore those outstanding students shouldn’t be surprised or upset if they aren’t accepted.

Recently I was talking to some friends, whose brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces, exceptional students, are aiming for medical course, and gathered the impression they wouldn't be at all surprised if their relatives aren’t accepted. But 'upset', I am afraid they will be, very much so. They are already trying to work out some bank loans through mortgaging of their houses for their aspiring Dr Kildaires to go overseas because they have already assume the worst.

In Malaysia, after years out of challenged unfairness in university selection of students for certain courses like medicine, where exceptional candidates were not given the courses they preferred, very few unsuccessful candidates would believe a single word of what the Minister had said or advised because it looks like the same old same old!

Those students by their academic achievements should have been more than qualified for, and would be accepted in, any medical courses of foreign universities - assuming they have the money or scholarship to go there, especially since the Crimean State College for Medicine was mysterious 'blacked' out (I mean 'blocked' out) for them.

The people responsible for the entry selections keep changing their criteria each year after being challenged. Following the brouhaha in the last two years, where the PM himself had to intervene, they have now included some subjective criteria, making it even more difficult to detect the unfairness.

One of those 'manning the gates' from invasion by the hordes of outstanding students had even proposed a 'blood' test where wannabe medical students would be exposed to the bloody gore of operating theatres to assess the strength of their stomach.

Another, a doctor who I believe was based in the UK even dismissed exceptional academic qualifications as unimportant, while at the same time demeaned the ability of local exceptional students as being inferior to those of UK students with lower grades. Of course he conveniently skipped any asinine comparison of ability for those Malaysian students with mediocre grades. Obviously in his inane Weltanschauung, mediocrity is fantastic while meritocracy is to be sneered at.

Well, that's the quality [or lack of] of those proposed subjective criteria.

In the final analysis, the absence of transparency has been the most damning indicator of suspected bias.

In some Australia univeristies, there are also subjective criteria but these would come only after the preliminary filtering based solely on the academic achievement. Under the old TER score, a wannabe medical student has to achieve at least a score of 99.9, a near perfect academic achievement before getting to smell any of the popular courses like medicine, law, etc.

Basically, a student who doesn't have the required minimum academic qualifications wouldn't be processed towards subsequent assessments where the subjective criteria would then kick in.

The academic achievements must always serve as the prerequisite qualifications for entry into difficult university courses like medicine, to ensure that the students do in fact possess the necessary base knowledge and the academic (mental and attitudinal) discipline to succeed, so that the nation would benefit from the best medical graduates.

This year, obviously the Ministry had decided to launch a preemptive strike to stifle the usual outcry. Already the Deputy PM has informed that not everyone would get a scholarship. While his statement seemed fair, we need to ask who would be the people getting the scholarship.

Alas, Malaysia continues on its Bolehway where mediocrity beats meritocracy hands down.

Tudung, Sarong & Telephone

This Reuter report is very interesting:

“Up to a third of telephone users in the Britain make calls in the nude, with men more prone to do it without clothes than women, a survey revealed on Thursday.”

“Research commissioned by Britain’s Post Office, which offers a fledgling home phone service, revealed that 40 percent of men admitted to nattering naked compared with 27 percent of women. The results were based on a survey of 1,500 telephone users.”

Only 27%! I am a bit disappointed. I wonder whether wearing sarong without undies would count as naked, because my sarong would always slip down whenever I answer the phone?

Imagine the following telephone conversation!

Fu: Datuk, koyak lah!* Where I put my face now?

* torn, ripped apart

Datuk: Alamak* Fu, it’s almost 11:45 pm, and you’re moaning to me about ‘face’. I want to put mine on the pillow now. But what are you moaning about?

* Malay exclamation

Fu: It’s the police tudung* business lah. How can man?

* Muslim female headscarf

Datuk: Relax lah, Fu. It’s only a storm in a teacup! We’ve more important matters to worry about?

Fu (suddenly alert): You mean he who cannot be named? That's no teacup storm, Datuk!

Datuk (sigh): I want to sleep on that. Can you on yours?

Fu: Banyak susah loh*, this tudung for me banyak susah loh!

* terribly difficult

Datuk: Fu, you’re repeating youself on the banyak susah loh. Look, the police like their women covered up. In fact, come to think of it, they like their 'everything' covered up.

Fu: Not when it’s naked or bald, hehehe!

Datuk (smiling): Or video-ed! That’s the spirit Fu, keep up your sense of humour. I had mud splattered in my face today when that Bakri told everyone while I was there that his organization rejected my decision outright. Lu* banyak susah, wah lebih** banyak susah. Where’s my face now?

* you; ** I am even more …

Fu: Datuk, I am really koyak with this tudung business. How to get re-elected now? I feel very naked.

Datuk: Hehehe, you think you’re like the Mat Sallehs*, talking in the nude? Why would you worry? You re-election will be under UMNO’s sarong. Goodnight Fu, sleep tight & hang on to your sarong hehehe!

* English

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Siapa Raja? (2)

I have reproduced the New Straits Times report on the police women tudung requirement in full below (unedited) – I won’t even bother to look at The Star Online:

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said today it is optional for women police personnel to wear the tudung (headscarf) while performing their daily duties but the headscarf is compulsory for those taking part in parades.

“There is no problem and dispute (on the wearing of the tudung by women police personnel),” he said at a news conference after launching the 199th Police Day celebration at the Police Training Depot here, according to a Bernama report.

“Members of uniformed services, including the police, must abide by the regulations on the wearing of their uniforms.”

The Prime Minister said the issue should not have arisen.

Several Members of Parliament debated the issue in the Dewan Rakyat on Thursday after the disclosure of a circular by Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohd Bakri Omar requiring all women police personnel to wear the tudung during official functions.

I thought of not saying anything because the significance and implications are fairly clear, but I’ll summarise just 3 points:

(1) the example of the Sikh personnel in the Police Force & Armed Forces - to give lie to the reason of 'uniformity' on parades.

(2) the lack of credibility on policy statements by non-Muslim Ministers, as compared to mere civil servants like the IGP - Minister Fu Ah Kiow, where do you show your face now?

(3) the IGP rejected the establishment of the IPCMC in front of its advocator, the PM himself, during the IGP’s speech to commemorate the 199th Police Day celebrations today - Siapa Raja?

(1) Siapa Raja!
(2) Police undermined PM's decision
(3) Policewomen forced to wear tudungs on parade!
(4) Dep Police Minister: Tudung no need!

Anwar Ibrahim - A taste of the same medicine!

In an earlier posting Anwar Ibrahim - accused sodomy to accused sedition I highlighted that the Kelantan Police called Anwar Ibrahim in for questioning, in relation to alleged seditious remarks he had made at the Pengkalan Pasir by-election campaign last year.

Seditious utterance is a crime falling under Section 4 of the Sedition Act 1948. The maximum penalty is three years’ jail or RM 5000 fine or both.

I tossed around a few possibilities as to why Anwar was hauled in. The 5th point I made was that perhaps he needs to be shut up, not so much for his criticism of the government and its policies, but for very very nasty information that he could have threatened to tell-all, or that UMNO feels that he could tell-all, that would have inflicted serious political or even legal damage to UMNO top wigs?

I speculated that the Police investigation could be a warning to him that if he doesn't observe the laws of UMNO omerta, he could end up behind bars for another 3 years, or more in Hotel Kamunting.

Anwar has left the Kelantan police in no uncertain doubts as to what he thinks of their ‘harassment’. By police ‘harassment’ he has implied that there were ‘powers’ behind the police motive.

Well, I am certainly glad he understands that a government in power could well conduct all sorts of 'harassment', as in the case of Aptet II conference in KL some 10 years ago, when a mob of UMNO Youth 'harassed' [violently] those delegates of regional NGOs who were attempting to work out a peaceful solution to stop Indonesian persecution of the East Timorese.

Some members of that thuggish mob are now with our former Deputy PM in PKR.

Anyway, enough of reminding him of his UMNO past - his lawyer, Sankara Nair said:

“In his statement, he (Anwar) told the police there were hundreds of reports which were far more serious including those against corrupt leaders but the police chose to act on a report which merely contained the opinion of one person claiming that he (Anwar) uttered seditious remarks.”

“The report did not even specify what the remarks were.”

Sankara revealed what the basic outline of the report against Anwar has been: “It stated that Anwar uttered derogatory words against the police, judiciary and Umno. It was a very general accusation... what was it exactly that was said, we have no idea. That is why we see the entire episode as an attempt to muzzle freedom of expression.”

I wasn’t aware that derogatory words against UMNO could be seditious? And my dear readers, everyone is criticising the police day in day out. As for the judiciary, they used to be despised until only recently, when they regained a wee bit of our respect after a few of their lordships began to adjudicate like their predecessors of pre-Mahathir days.

Anwar demanded that the police act more professionally. Then he said something in front of his admirers who gathered at his house that I consider very grandstand-ish (aiming for cheap popularity) – when criticizing the government for raising the price of fuel by 30 sen, he declared that the opposition would reverse this fuel price decision if elected.

Anwar knows that would be as unsound as capitulating to the IMF during the Asian meltdown.

Afghan Apostate to be Beheaded?

Well, here is a case of apostasy in a country full of hardline mullahs, that was once ruled by the Taleban.

Abdul Rahman, an Afghan, converted to Christianity about 15 years ago while working with a Christian aid group helping refugees. Recently when he attempted to take custody of his children from his wife, she and her family members dobbed his conversion to the religious courts.

The Sydney Morning Herald report said that Syariah (Islamic) laws calls for the death penalty for apostates unless they convert back to Islam.

I am not too sure about forgiveness for a repentant apostate, not according to our own Judge Mohd Shukor of the Syariah High Court. In the Malaysian case of Nyonya Tahir, even though she was eventually allowed by the Syariah court to be buried as a Buddhist, the Judge quoted from the tale of Sheikh Abu Sujak in the Book of Kifayatul Akhyar:

"Barang siapa yang keluar daripada Islam, ia diminta bertaubat tiga kali. Jika bertaubat, dan jika tidak, dia dibunuh, dan tidak boleh dimandikan, tidak boleh disembahyangkan dan tidak boleh dikuburkan di perkuburan orang Islam"

which translates roughly into:

"Whoever leaves the fold of Islam, that person will be asked to repent 3 times. Whether that person repents or doesn't, that person is to be killed, and [his corpse] not to be washed [in accordance with Muslim rites], nor prayed for, nor buried in a Muslim cemetary."

Therefore a repentant apostate - repentant obviously meaning he/she returns to the fold - would still be executed, according to the Book of Kifayatul Akhyar.

Afghan Muslim clerics have vigorously called for Rahman to be put to the death for rejecting Islam. They are resentful that the USA and other western nations have been applying pressure on President Hamid Karzai to have the man spared.

What had occurred in the usual heavy-handed American way had been President George Bush and the US State Department issuing statements that the US expected Afghan officials to honour the universal principle of freedom in the case of Abdul Rahman. It didn’t help when Australia, Germany, Italy and other countries that have deployed troops in Afghanistan have also voiced their concerns.

These western pressure [or interferences, depending on who one is] have provoked senior Muslim clerics into demanding that the man be executed a.s.a.p, and threatening to kill him by vigilante action if President Karzai caved in to Western pressure.

The judge presiding over the prosecution of Abdul Rahman has vowed that his rulings in the case will not be influenced by international pressure, but in his declaration has shown he's under pressure from the mullahs. Does this mean he will inevitably pass the death sentence on the hapless accused?

The case will define the struggle between President Karzai, very much beholden to the Americans and their wishes, and the religious hardliners who dominate the Afghanistan's courts.

Afghanistan conservative judges, nurtured under the Taleban for years, have constantly threatened to close television stations that aired material they deemed indecent, as well as charged journalists for publishing material they declared blasphemous. But Karzai has quietly refused to implement their rulings or had engaged in closed-door dealings and compromises with them.

But a member of the country's main Islamic organisation, the Afghan Ulama Council said: "The Government are playing games. The people will not be fooled. Cut off his head!"

Sure as hell doesn’t look good for Abdul Rahman. While I am against concepts such as apostasy - which belonged to a period of medieval war where apostates were potential traitors to a nation's or clan's war struggle - let alone the death penalty for apostates, I believe that some sensitive and quiet handling would have achieved better results for the poor bloke. But trust the USA to blunder into the fray in its usual arrogant manner without understanding local sensitivities.

The Americans have virtually ensured the judge’s verdict will be a guilty one with the death penalty passed down. And President Karzai must right now be pulling out whatever’s left of his few hairs, cursing the Americans for its blatantly insensitive, thoughtless and unproductive interference into Afghan affairs.

Friday, March 24, 2006

F-word in Commonwealth Games badminton

Badminton nearly caused a Trans Tasman war, and included a Malaysian connection.

In the match between Australia and New Zealand, the 1st game went to the Kiwis while the 2nd to the Aussies. But in the 3rd, one of the NZ double was so damn pissed off with an Australian player that at a crucial point of 19-19 in the decider, he yelled "You're a f---ing cheat Brehaut". He reckoned the Aussie's's drive serve was illegal because it had been made with the racquet above the waist.

Sydney Morning Herald photo

For the F-word, an official flashed Kiwi Geoffrey Bellingham the red card [though unlike soccer, he still continued to play] while the umpire awarded Australia a point. The Aussie pair won the next point to enter the semi-final, making its Australia's 1st Commonwealth Games badminton semi-final in eight years.

Aussie Brehaut explained that his serve, known as a drive serve, was not illegal, having learnt it while training in KL. Whoa ho ho! Malaysia has been implicated here!

Brehaut said Bellingham found it difficult to return his serve and turned sour grapes. He took the high moral ground and said he wasn’t going to sink down to the Kiwi's level - of course by then the Aussies had won a free point out of the Kiwi's recklessness. In sports it doesn't pay to lose one's temper, even if one had been wronged

Bellingham said he regretted making the comments but stuck by his cheating allegation: "In badminton you have got to keep the racquet below the waist (and he didn't)."

Police undermined PM's decision

Two months ago, PM Ahmad Abdullah Badawi had vowed that his government would set up the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC), which is the central plank of the recommendations made by the Royal Police Commission. But according to Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang, PM has been effectively undermined by the police, in the clever briefing made by the IGP and his senior staff to UMNO MPs.

The word tossed around to describe the IGP’s method to convince UMNO MPs has been ‘brainwashing’, where those MPs have been ‘persuaded’ not to support but rather rebel against the PM’s decision to establish the IPCMC to control the conduct of the Royal Malaysian Police, whose lack of propriety has already been confirmed by a Royal Commission and several scandalous cases of police abuse.

Those police abuses ranged from Squatgate to Botakgate to foreign wives of Malaysian citizens being illegally detained at police stations in the first place and then made to suffer the humiliation and trauma of being peeped at, leered/ogled at by police personnel, and a Japanese student suffering police extortion, while a single mum saw her daughter’s bum being caressed by a police personnel who apprehended them for no reason other than they had the guts to speak back.

And worse, according to the Human Rights Commission (Suhakam), there have been 80 custodial deaths between 2000 and 2004 while only eight inquests were carried out. This is truly scary!

Anyone heard of any police personnel being punished since then, except for the bloke who revealed the scandal of the Squatgate abuse?

Uthayakumar of the Police Watch and Human Rights Committee said:
“Monitoring the police force ‘from within’ has not worked all these years and neither has the Public Complaints Bureau, Disciplinary Unit in the police headquarters, Police Services Commission and Suhakam helped.”

Therefore the IPCMC was the only hope. It’s hardly surprising that the Police would object to someone keeping an eye on their nonsense.

The success of the IGP in convincing the UMNO MPs to defy the PM isn’t all that peculiar if you consider that Malaysian Police has had a successful history of psy-war and mind-turning indoctrination techniques, where far more resilient and dedicated communist terrorists were successfully turned around to act on police instructions, so how difficult it would be with a bunch of self-serving politicians.

Lim Kit Siang said that if a vote was to be taken among UMNO MPs on the issue of the IPCMC, the PM would lose. Lim said therefore this is the crunch test for the PM. If he fails to set up the IPCMC, he would effectively lose the fight for the soul of his premiership. He would no longer have any credibility.

Even outspoken Shahrir Samad, Barisan Nasional BackBenchers Club chairman and one of the few UMNO MPs I have some respect for, has been distancing himself from his previous open support for the formation of the IPCMC. He is thus no longer any different from the majority of BN and UMNO MPs who too had earlier not objected to the establishment of IPCMC, in fact for the past 26 months.

But all changed after the police briefing for BN MPs 10 days ago.

IGP's solutions to dysfunctional police force?

What in the world is going on? We have Deputy Internal Security Minister Fu Ah Kiow confirming to reporters at Parliament House that the directive for policewomen to wear tudung (Muslim female headscarves) at official functions does not apply to all of them, contrary to what the IGP has said about the need for ‘uniformity'.

Now it seems that a police circular distributed to reporters in Parliament just recently, issued by Bukit Aman police headquarters and signed by none other than IGP Mohd Bakri Omar, stated that the “wearing tudung will highlight the Islamic value permeated in the force which is in line with the requirement of the religion”, and “the wearing of tudung for female police officers was an effort to enhance the image of the force”.

"... Islamic value permeated in the force ..."? A force that's already deemed by the Malaysian public to be so corrupt, abusive and unaccountable. Isn't the IGP insulting the values of Islam?

And as for police image, it's so bad that it'll take more than a tudung or a 'Saya Anti-Rasuah' badge to cover that up!

The circular stated that “enhancing the image of the police” was the core reason why policewomen regardless of ethnic and religious background, must wear tudung on certain formal occasions.

I suppose it's always useful to wave the Islamic banner in the symbolic form of the tudung to frighten people off from questioning him about his corrupt and abusive police force, while earning him brownie points from the hardcore elements of UMNO top political hierarchy.

Then the circular brought up the old nonsense of ‘uniformity’ again by stating “the order was issued to ensure the uniformity of all female police officers in wearing tudung at certain times and circumstances.”

I have already dispel the nonsense about the myth of ‘uniformity’ by reference to historical examples in my posting Policewomen forced to wear tudungs on parade!

Bakri went on to claim in the circular that the Home Ministry had agreed that the wearing of tudung was ‘compulsory’ for all female police officers regardless of race and religion in six forms of official functions including during march-past, graduation and during the national day.

With regards to the Home Ministry agreeing to his instructions on the wearing of tudung for all female police officers, regardless of race or religion, now either he’s exceeding his credibility or Deputy Minister Fu had.

But to be frank, I have more faith on the reliability of the IGP assertion because I don’t have much faith in a non-Muslim Minister having any authority in policy issuance on such matters, even over a mere public servant. We know that in Malaysia some ministers could be politically subsevient to some public servants.

If we read newspaper archives of the late ‘80s we would see a mere public servant, the secretary general of the Education Ministry, issuing a proselytizing policy [rightfully the prerogative - the policy, not the proselytization - of elected representatives of the people, namely the ministers] compelling non-Muslim students to hold their hands up in the Muslim mode of supplication during prayers on weekly school parades. The non-Muslim Deputy Ministers couldn’t do a single thing except perhaps commit suicide - pity they didn't, well, at least politically by resigning with honour.

The Education Minister, he who cannot be named, was conveniently not around when the civil servant issued that compulsion. When he returned in a timely fashion after the peak of the furor he glibly dismissed the insensitive prosetylization as one carrying universal values. I am not sure what eventually happened because by then I was too sick to continue reading through the archival files.

Anyway, back to the IGP and his messing around with his women officer’s clothing - here’s an IGP who believes that his solution to cure his dysfunctional corrupt police force is by making his officers wear ‘Saya Anti-Rasuah’ badges and his women officers the tudung - a kind of superficial double-barrel blast, the first being a cheap tacky (and bloody useless) publicity, while the second being the standard waving of the sensitive Islamic symbolism which may be very rarely questioned in Malaysia, and then, at great peril.

May merciful Allah swt save us from this man because I don't see the overhaul of his terrible police force going anywhere with him steering his ship stubbornly onto the rocks!

He is also the man who urged and brainwashed the UMNO MPs into rejecting the formation of Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC), already a Prime Ministerial decision and the best solution to stop the rot in the police force from worsening.

[Note please: not stop the rot which is already there, but just to stop it from becoming rampantly worse].

If the PM doesn't get rid of the top layer of police officers like the IGP and his deputy, indeed may merciful Allah swt save us. The PM doesn't need the 'Saya Anti-Rasuah' badges nor tudung. He needs a bulldozer to scrape off the upper layer of sh*t that's in the police force and dump them quickly away.