RCI Sabah: Mahathir repeats his Lingam Amnesia


September 12, 2013

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

RCI Sabah: Mahathir repeats his Lingam Amnesia

by Terence Netto@ http://www.malaysiakini.com

COMMENT: Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s turn before the Royal Commission of Inquiry on illegal residents in Sabah has come and gone. He breezed in and breezed out yesterday, leaving the public gasping over whether it saw a phantasm or a witness to what happened on his 22-year watch as premier to people coming through Sabah’s porous borders.

Part of the reason for the bewilderment was that Mahathir chose to take what has come to be called the Vernon Jordan version of the Fifth Amendment.

This US constitutional rule, versions of which exist in other jurisdictions, affords witnesses protection against self-incrimination.

Lawyer Jordan gave this rule its stoutest overlay. A close friend of President Bill Clinton, Jordan was supposed to have given this advice to White House intern Monica Lewinsky at the height of the sex scandal in 1998 involving her and the President: “Your answer is, ‘It didn’t happen, it wasn’t me.’”

Before the RCI in Kota Kinabalu yesterday, Mahathir displayed haughty disdain for anything or anybody that could plausibly connect him to ‘Project IC’, the campaign which saw thousands of people from southern Philippines and Indonesia come to settle in Sabah from the 1970s onwards and obtained citizenship.

The waves of illegal immigrants coming through to settle in Sabah were said to have increased during the period of Pairin Kitingan’s tenure as chief minister (1986-1995), particularly after the withdrawal of his party, PBS, from the BN just before the 1990 general election. This was during the span (1981-2002) when Mahathir was BN Chief and Prime Minister.

Mahathir had described PBS’s eleventh-hour withdrawal before the October 1990 polls as a “stab in the back”, but yesterday before the RCI he made it seem that all linkages between him and the goings-on in Sabah were as distant as volcanic movements on Mars.

The Lingam amnesia

One was apt to compare his performance yesterday to that he gave in January 2008 before another Royal Commission of Inquiry into the VK Lingam videotape which allegedly showed a senior lawyer engaging in acts of case- and judge-fixing.

Mahathir was PM during the period when the lawyer was videotaped as having engaged in judicial tampering.

In testimony before that inquiry, Mahathir trotted out such convenient locutions as “I can’t remember” or “I don’t recall” when pressed for answers to questions that plausibly connected him to judicial appointment matters that fell under his purview as PM.

lingam tape inquiry day 4 170108 mahathirHis pleas of a lack of a retentive memory were lame, only in comparison to his pre-inquiry bravado, issued through his counsel before he was called up, that he was willing to testify not only on matters within the RCI’s terms of reference but also on matters outside of it – a prior assertion of confidence in his truth-telling aimed at preempting doubts about his credibility.

In the event, under testy questioning, when pleading a lack of recall about matters that fell under his purview, the contrast between pre-testimony bravado and his witness-stand equivocations were too stark to escape satirical comment.

Thus went up the cry “Mahathir mudah lupa” (Mahathir too forgets easily), a wry twist to his rhetorical lament against what he claimed was the Malays’ amnesia about the government’s good deeds to them.

No knowledge

Mahathir’s testimony before the Sabah RCI will not lend itself as easily to satiric comment as did his before the Lingam videotape inquiry simply because before his performance yesterday, he had consistently maintained that he had nothing to do with ‘Project IC’.

He adhered to that defence of no prior knowledge, with Vernon Jordan-like resoluteness. His testimony requires the public to believe that something on the scale and duration of the effort that saw scores of thousands of illegals granted citizenship in Sabah occurred without him as PM knowing about it.

Memory lapses are par for the course among humans, but the notion of Mahathir asleep over something as big as what happened in Sabah during his time as PM is inherently incredible.

Now the public has to wait for Anwar Ibrahim’s testimony which should come soon. Officers of the Sabah RCI had come to Kuala Lumpur to interview the Opposition Leader about his role in ‘Project IC’.

Anwar through his counsel has notified that he is willing to testify; that he had no part in the project; that he was out of the loop, but that he knew of three people who had responsibility for it.

By now observers have had an inkling of who the three are so that when and if Anwar discloses their identities and they turn out to be as conjectured, the public should brace for another round of recrimination between the principal dramatis personae of our long-running national drama that started 15 years ago this month.

P. S. If the above is a bit too much for you, may I suggest you listen to LA based Semper Fi side of the woods Yuna. She pays tribute to P.Ramlee.

16 thoughts on “RCI Sabah: Mahathir repeats his Lingam Amnesia

  1. Reading this Netto piece in the privacy of my room at Raffles Le Royal Hotel, Phnom Penh, I can say that only Mahathir can get away with lies under oath. He is unrepentant and defiant because he knows he is protected by the UMNO-dominated government. –Din Merican

  2. What can we expect from the cunning politician like Mahathir? Lies under oath? How can anyone prove Mahathir commits such an offence with or without the so-called protection from the government? He just maintained that his memory failed him on those relevant matters – and we have to prove that he lied. Wait for the next cunning one if it comes to pass as Netto has said, “Anwar through his counsel has notified that he is willing to testify; that he had no part in the project; that he was out of the loop, but that he knew of three people who had responsibility for it.” Oh, yes, that one will be interesting – “out of the loop but yet he was all-knowing, perhaps.”

  3. The Internet is exposing all of Dr M’s lawlessness and deviousness.

    Pity, a talented person — but totally unprincipled. Malaysia is in such as mess today because of his legacy.

    As Mahatma Gandhi pointed out, one of Gandhi’s list of Deadly Sins is
    “Politics without principles”

  4. “He just maintained that his memory failed him on those relevant matters – and we have to prove that he lied.” Ali-fafa

    No you don’t. If he is in a court of law testifying and under oath, he will have to answer the question. If he insists he doesn’t remember, counsel can refresh his memory in chief or under cross. It goes to his credibility. If he is impeached the judge will throw his entire testimony out the door.

  5. “Sure he’s protected by the UMNO-dominated government. But will they protect him from Allah SWT?” — didi

    Oh no ! Not again. We are here concerned with God’s justice on earth. The Old Goat can believe whatever he wants. Right now, he is booked on a direct flight ‘First Class’ to meet his 72 virgins promised him for his unilateral declaration that Malaysia is an Islamic state.

  6. Perhaps Mamakutty hasn’t heard of the phrase, “the buck stops here!”? How can you blame the deputy when you were the Sheriff of the county?

    p.s. didi – the answer is obvious but do they care about life hereafter? What matters is NOW and how much is in the kitty?

  7. “Perhaps Mamakutty hasn’t heard of the phrase, “the buck stops here!”? — SiangMalam

    He heard. He thinks ‘buck’ means ‘goat’. And he is the shepherd.

  8. Well, bean, what can I say? It doesn’t look like he’s going to be punished on this earth i really hope he doesnt get away in the afterlife too. The fact that he has a cult on facebook called “saya sayang tun mahathir” just pisses me so much. I mean I have a lot of profanity reserved for him and his followers.

    How could people still take this man seriously? It seems like despite being a PM for over 2 decades, he doesn’t know **** what is going on in the country. I feel sorry for people who think he’s godsent.

  9. Mahathir is as slippery as an eel. He is elusive, devious, skillfully evasive or an untrustworthy person.
    At the RCI Sabah, he conveniently went into selective memory lapses. He did the same stance in the RCI VKLingam videotape.
    “POLITICIAN, n. An eel in the fundamental mud upon which the superstructure of organized society is reared. When he wriggles he mistakes the agitation of his tail for the trembling of the edifice. As compared with the statesman, he suffers the disadvantage of being alive.”
    - Ambrose Bierce (1842 – 1914?) U.S. author

  10. The most important points of Mahathir’s testimony is
    1) ‘ some(they) have been there a long time and speak BM and deserve to be citizen’ and
    2) I authorized the legal citizenship, not the illegal..

    Its classic Mahathir of ‘I know best’ which he mimicked LKY and fall far far short. His ‘ends-justify-the-means’ philosophy and track record include breaking the law frequently and clearly in this case even to the extend of treason and attacking the nation. Power corrupt and Absolute power corrupts absolutely clearly is proven in this case.

    Justice means Mahathir actually should be hanged and shot, his family wealth confisticated and his name shamed in history. Instead he is now collecting the largest single private wealth in his country AT OUR EXPENSE and laying the foundation of a dynasty to folllow him..

    Sabahan got full frontal blasted by reckless loose cannon of over self-rigteous Mahathir but we the rest of Malaysia is not too far off in the same boat..

  11. “Justice means Mahathir actually should be hanged and shot, his family wealth confisticated and his name shamed in history. Instead he is now collecting the largest single private wealth in his country AT OUR EXPENSE and laying the foundation of a dynasty to folllow him.”

    Dream on ! The majority of the Malays including Ali-fafa will not allow that. The Old Goat along with his lackeys, cronies and family have carved the like of a financial empire we have never seen before. He will go to meet his 72 virgins happy in the knowledge that his legacy and his wealth will be secure. You guys will just have to deal with that.

  12. “How could people still take this man seriously? It seems like despite being a PM for over 2 decades, he doesn’t know **** what is going on in the country.” — didi

    Doesn’t know shit or doesn’t know squat??

  13. Which is more serious , the lies and misleading statements as spoken or written by this prime minister of 22 years or those written or spoken by the mufti’s, by JAWI and MUIS , etc ?

  14. “I can say that only Mahathir can get away with lies under oath.” — Dato Din Merican

    Lying under oath, is contempt in the face of the court. It is criminal perjury and he should go to jail for that.
    ____________
    He is above the Law, and that is why the Law can be an ass.–Din Merican

  15. “What can we expect from the cunning politician like Mahathir” — ali-fafa

    If not more cunnilingus? He ought to take heed since it could lead to throat cancer.

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