Another aborted Sime Deal: Focus on Business and Stop the Politics

KLIA East @ Labu ‘shelved’

P Stek | January 30, 2009

The RM1.6 billion KLIA East @ Labu has apparently been shelved following a meeting today between Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and the two key project proponents – budget carrier AirAsia and conglomerate Sime Darby.

labu lcct low cost carrier terminal airport 070109According to sources, the Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) – the operator of Kuala Lumpur International Airport – has instead been given the go-ahead with its original plan to build a new low cost carrier terminal (LCCT) in KLIA. However, AirAsia is believed to have what it wanted – to be consulted with the design of the new LCCT and lower airport charges for the use of the terminal.

AirAsia has long argued for low airport charges to enable the budget carrier slash fares. The discount airline had on Jan 8 launched the bold plan for a dedicated low-cost airport near KLIA in Labu, Negri Sembilan, after expressing frustration over the lack of progress over MAHB’s own LCCT plan. The company cited efficiency, cost savings and the ability to better cater to the needs of its passengers as the main reasons for its move to build its own airport. It also expressed fears that the existing LCCT in Sepang will not be able to handle the 15 million passengers it is expecting by end of this year and up to 27 million by 2014.

The current LCCT can only handle 10 million passengers and this will be increased to 15 million passengers when a new wing opens in two months. AirAsia to send ‘wish list’ to MAHB AirAsia has been waging a war of words with MAHB over high airport charges in the past few years. A source familiar with today’s meeting described the outcome as a ‘win-win’ situation – MAHB will get more revenue from its new LCCT while AirAsia will have low airport charges. It is learnt that AirAsia will submit a ‘wish list’ to MAHB within the next few weeks.

The ‘wish list’ is likely to include a separate runway for the new LCCT to facilitate quick aircraft turnaround. AirAsia is also likely to insist on a low-cost airport design aimed at keeping airport charges to a minimum. The two – low airport charges and fast aircraft turnaround – are said to be crucial to AirAsia’s business model.  AirAsia’s KLIA East @ Labu project – to be built on land owned by project partner, Sime Darby – has been criticised by a number of top bloggers, including former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamed, since it was made public.

Mahathir has questioned the need for four airports to serve Kuala Lumpur and that KLIA has enough land for four
air asia pc labu low cost carrier terminal lcct 080109 airport terminal sketch 02 additional terminals and three runways to handle up to 125 million passengers a year. The project was put in doubt after Najib, who is also finance minister, told reporters last week that while the cabinet had given the green light to AirAsia’s airport, the government had “yet to make any decision” on the matter.

His announcement was contrary to a statement by Transport Minister Ong Tee Keat on December 21, 2008  who said that the government had approved the new airport at Labu.

Government’s reversal

The government’s reversal indicated that state-owned investment arm Khazanah Nasional, which has a majority stake in MAHB, was successful in lobbying Najib in the bid to protect its interests. Prime Minister-in-waiting Najib is expected to express his opposition to the project when the cabinet relook at the controversy at its weekly meeting next week.

When contacted, AirAsia boss Tony Fernandes described today’s meeting as “very positive”. ‘(It’s) a big step forward for the development of AirAsia,” he told Malaysiakini. Also at the one-hour meeting this afternoon, where Fernandes gave a briefing on the ambitious AirAsia project, were Ong and officials from Economic Planning Unit.

A New Beginning

posted by din merican—January 29, 2009

by Malik Imtiaz Sarvar

Political analysis is useful for providing the insights that flow from the more rounded appreciation of context such analysis allows for. Without context the significance of specific action will elude us. For instance, a statement by a politician could mean one thing in isolation but mean something completely different when considered against a backdrop of political intrigue. Anwar Ibrahim saying that he has six defectors from the Barisan Nasional is in itself suggestive of nothing more than an erosion of political support for the BN. However, when viewed against all else that Anwar Ibrahim has been involved in these past six months, the statement potentially takes on added resonance.

Post March-8, there has been a sharp increase of political analysis on the Malaysian socio-political scene. The alternative media and blogs provide a veritable feast of information on a daily basis on a diverse range of subjects in the field. This has been a good thing for in setting out context, Malaysians have been more able to appreciate the many other ways of looking at things. They have also been able to see that free expression is something that does not harm our society as much as it does the politicians who hide their deficiencies behind such fears. Freer access to a range of diverse opinion has allowed for a maturing of the viewpoint of the Malaysian on the street.

There is however a downside, the root of which lies in the self-perception of the analyst that he and what he says is important. In their enthusiasm, analysts sometimes tend to forget that their analysis is not so much about their being able to do so but rather the truth of a given matter.

In an interview in 1993, the late Edward Said reflected that his meditations on politics and life had “always been a matter of exploration, of self-criticism and constant change in trying to surprise myself as well as my readers.” His reflection was prompted by a sense that public intellectuals tended to allow themselves to become “prisoners of their own language” and to be more concerned with “producing more work in fidelity to what they’d done before” at the expense of a truer perspective.

A noteworthy observation, it cautions against the very thing that seems to have occurred as the state of play between the BN and the Pakatan Rakyat intensifies. Analysis in these heightened times could be likened in many ways to commentary on a football league cup with many commentators having picked their side. Governance is, however, not about picking a side and sadly, more has been obscured than revealed by the parade of viewpoints and assessments.

In the run-up to the Kuala Trengganu by-election and its aftermath, we have been told what it all means for the BN, Abdullah Badawi, Najib Razak, the Pakatan Rakyat and Anwar Ibrahim. There are permutations upon permutations. We are asked to consider whether there was vote rigging, whether it is Abdullah Badawi that the people rejected or Najib or even the BN, whether it was the Chinese vote that swung the result or whether, as the MCA claims, the Chinese remained loyal to the MCA. We are told so many things in one form or the other, that in the end we are told very little.

For all this, nothing has been made clear and the question uppermost in mind is whether it really matters at all anymore who does what and how.

Whatever the spin or counter-spin, it is glaringly apparent that things are not as they should be in this country. Just as it is obvious that things should have been far better and could have been. It would not be incorrect to say that there are Malaysians who feel that they have come to be held hostage by an administration that is more concerned with protecting its own interests than those of the nation.

The state of flux points to many Malaysians having woken up to the fact. They want change in the most fundamental of ways: independence from a mindset that has left them colonized by an elite for its own benefit.

They are not fastidious as to who it is that becomes the Prime Minister of this country or who it is that forms the government. All they want is a government made up of men and women who believe in the ideals that the founders of this nation thought were a solid basis for a glorious future for all Malaysians. They want those men and women to believe in these ideals enough to get on with what needs to be done as a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. They want the respect that each and every one of them is entitled to as a citizen.

In one of the several speeches that President Barack Obama gave on his historic journey into Washington for his inauguration, he said: “What is required is a new declaration of independence, not just in our nation, but in our own lives.”

It is the same for us. We are in search of a new Malaysia. To find it, we must embrace the possibilities. To do that, our minds and hearts need to be liberated.

It is time for a new beginning.

(Malay Mail: January, 20, 2009)

Kenyataan Media dari Pejabat Menteri Besar, Selangor: UMNO masih tipu rakyat


29hb Januari 2009


SHAH ALAM – Mesyuarat Stanco Tanah hari ini turut membincangkan isu projek penempatan semula setinggan Bukit Botak, Selayang yang melibatkan seramai 1400 pemilik tanah serta merangkumi keluasan tanah seluas 138 ekar. Delpuri Corporation Sdn. Bhd. (DCSB) telah dilantik sebagai kontraktor pada tahun 1999 oleh Kerajaan Negeri terdahulu bagi membangun dan menyusun semula penempatan setinggan Bukit Botak ke Taman Selayang Mutiara.

DCSB, selaku pemaju yang telah diamanahkan membangun dan menyusun semula penempatan setinggan Bukit Botak ke Taman Selayang Mutiara juga telah diarahkan membina rumah dan menyiapkan infrastruktur seperti pelan yang diluluskan oleh pihak berkuasa. DCSB dikehendaki menyediakan rumah transit atau memberi bantuan subsidi sewa rumah sebanyak RM300.00 kepada penduduk yang diarahkan mengosongkan tapak projek sehingga rumah siap. Sebagai balasan kepada usaha tersebut, penduduk telah memberi surat kuasa wakil (power of attorney) kepada DCSB untuk menyerahkan hak mereka keatas tanah tersebut kepada syarikat pemaju itu. Namun demikian, DCSB akhirnya tidak dapat meneruskan tanggungjawab mereka dan segala projek yang telah dirancang terbengkalai.

Tanpa membuat kajian yang menyeluruh, kerajaan negeri yang terdahulu telah meminta Perbadanan Kemajuan Negeri Selangor (PKNS) mengambil alih projek terbengkalai dari DCSB. Setelah membuat penelitian, mesyuarat Lembaga Pengarah PKNS baru-baru ini telah membuat keputusan menghentikan kerja- kerja pembinaan di tapak dan memutuskan subsidi bayaran sewa ditamatkan hingga bulan Oktober 2008. Keputusan ini terpaksa dibuat kerana PKNS tidak mampu menanggung kos kerugian sebanyak RM140 juta jika meneruskan projek pembinaan berkenaan.

Walaupun Kerajaan Negeri mengambil berat tentang kesusahan yang dialami oleh rakyat, tetapi adalah tidak wajar untuk meletakkan beban keseluruhan kepada PKNS adalah tidak wajar hanya kerana Kerajaan terdahulu tidak dapat memantau projek-projek ini dengan baik. Tambah pula DCSB dibenarkan lepas tangan dalam hal ini.

Kerajaan Negeri amat berhasrat untuk menolong penduduk yang terlibat namun terhalang kerana hak kepada tanah yang terbabit masih lagi ditangan DCSB. Pertolongan yang wajar boleh dibuat sekiranya penduduk mendapat balik hak terhadap tanah dengan membatalkan surat kuasa wakil yang ditandatangani diantara para penduduk dan Syarikat DCSB. Dari sudut perundangan, Kerajaan Negeri mahupun PKNS tidak mempunyai hak untuk meneruskan pembangunan kerana penduduk yang juga pemilik tanah masih lagi terikat dengan terma-terma dalam perjanjian tersebut.

Setelah pembatalan kedua-dua perjanjian dilaksanakan barulah perbincangan dengan Kerajaan Negeri dapat dibuat bagi memutuskan bentuk penyelesaian yang lebih konkrit. Kerajaan Negeri berharap semua pihak memahami isu sebenar yang menghantui para penduduk Bukit Botak agar satu jalan penyelesaian dapat dilaksanakan secepat mungkin.


Ramlang Porigi: A Victim of UMNO Political Power Play

Former FT imam sacked after campaigning for Anwar Ibrahim
January 28, 2009

ramlang porigi and masjid wilayah persekutuanThe former imam who witnessed the oath-taking by alleged sodomy victim Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan – and then revealed details during the Permatang Pauh by-election – has been sacked from the Islamic Affairs Department Jakim.

Ramlang Porigi had been transferred to Jakim from his previous position as imam in the Federal Territory Mosque last September after he spoke at several forums during PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim’s campaign.

According to his lawyer, Ahmad Nizam Hamid, Ramlang received the termination letter last week – the grounds were that he had “spoilt the name of the public service”.

Ramlang has been slapped with four charges, three of them in relation to speaking on three separate occasions on August 24, 2008 during the Permatang Pauh campaign, Nizam told Malaysiakini.

The fourth charge – that he had held a press conference at noon of August 25 – is inaccurate, according to the lawyer.
azmin ramlang pc 250808 01 Nizam clarified that Ramlang had held a press conference with PKR vice-president Mohamad Azmin Ali and other opposition leaders after midnight (on August 26) at the Penanti services centre in Penang.

On August 15, Ramlang was among four officials of the Federal Territory Mosque who had been ordered to be present at the ceremony where Saiful (right in photo) swore he had been sodomised by Anwar last June.

Ramlang then appeared at three events organised by the opposition coalition Pakatan Rakyat – about 48 hours before polling day in Permatang Pauh.

He claimed that he had been directed to witness the Saiful’s oath-taking ceremony but did not state where the orders originated.

Request denied

Jakim director-general Wan Mohamad Sheikh Abdul Aziz, in a letter which he signed as chairperson of a disciplinary board, Ramlang’s sacking was done under Regulation 38(g) of the Public Officers (Conduct and Discipline) Regulations 1993.

This was after the board met on Jan 16 this year and considered the facts of the case, the allegations against Ramlang as well as the written representations made by the latter.

However, Wan Mohamad added, Ramlang’s request for a domestic inquiry – following the show-cause letter issued to him last November – was denied “because the board is of the view that whatever statements that have been made are sufficient”.

Ramlang is allowed, according to Regulation 14 and 15(1), to submit a letter of appeal within two weeks of the date of the letter, said Wan Mohamad.

Nizam said an appeal would be lodged. On August 7, Anwar had pleaded not guilty at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court to the act of sodomising Saiful at a condominium on June 26 last year.

How credible is Najib as Prime Minister?

posted by din merican—January 28, 2009

UMNO’s Reform Must Begin With Najib Razak

Dr.M. Bakri Musa
Morgan-Hill, California

It is not enough for Najib Razak and other UMNO leaders to lament the loss of their party’s “wow” factor, or for them to endlessly exhort the party faithful to “re-invent” or “re-brand” their organization. Reform is like sex; merely talking about it is not enough, for without the necessary accompanying actions it will only increase your frustration.

To regain voters’ confidence, the change in UMNO must begin with its top leaders, specifically Najib.  He has to demonstrate it through his actions; anything less and he risks frustrating voters and replicating the electoral disasters of Permatang Pauh and Kuala Trengganu nationally.

First and foremost Najib must legitimize his rise to the party’s top position.  Being “promoted” by Abdullah Badawi is no endorsement, being that Badawi is a discredited leader.  Likewise, being nominated unopposed is no ratification either, especially when the process is hopelessly riddled with “money politics,” otherwise known as corruption.

Second, Najib must display a sense of enlightened leadership.  For example, expending his precious time and political capital by intensively campaigning in a by-election that in his own words “would not alter the nation’s political landscape” was neither necessary nor prudent.  With the nation facing many critical crises, he should focus on more substantive matters.

Last, Najib must demonstrate that he has the personal qualities and moral integrity to lead the nation.  Merely denying that he had nothing to do with Saiful Bukhari, that college dropout who alleged that he had been sodomized by the opposition leader, or that Najib knew nothing of the brutal murder of that Mongolian model Altantuya and the attendant involvement of his hitherto closest advisor Razak Baginda, is not enough.  The public deserves better; we demand a more thorough accounting.

Until then, any utterance by Najib Razak about reforming UMNO will ring hollow; do not frustrate voters by unnecessarily raising their expectations. That is dangerous.

Legitimizing Najib’s Leadership

Najib’s only claim to his party’s leadership is that he is currently unopposed for that position.  Where the process is open and transparent, being unopposed signifies unanimous approval.  That is certainly any leader’s dream and rightful claim of legitimacy.

UMNO’s nominating process however, is deeply flawed, apart from being corrupt.  The “unanimous” choice of Najib is anything but.  The process is hollow and meaningless.  With “money politics” rampant, Najib’s nomination “victory” is irredeemably tainted.

The current nominating process is designed specifically to discourage or more correctly, prevent challengers.  It is not a genuine contest.  Requiring candidates be nominated by at least 30 percent of the party’s 191 divisions effectively means that at most there can only be three nominees.  That is an unnecessary barrier, meant not to get the best talent but to protect the incumbent.

This requirement was put in place only 20 years ago, following the bitter and divisive Mahathir-Tengku Razaleigh rivalry.  Before that, and for the first 40 years of UMNO’s existence, its leaders including Bapak Merdeka Tunku Abdul Rahman and the much-revered Tun Razak (Najib’s father) were routinely challenged at the party’s leadership convention.

The party can do without this burdensome nomination “quota rule” as well the equally damaging no-challenge “tradition” for its two top positions.  The party’s Supreme Council however, could override both.  While many of its senior members are in favor of dumping this onerous rule, Najib remains “neutral.”  That is not the mark of someone confident of his leadership ability.

If Najib were to introduce a motion at the next Supreme Council meeting to remove this “quota rule,” that would greatly enhance his legitimacy even if the Council were to vote against it.  If the Council were to vote for it, then the party would benefit by opening up the process and the delegates getting to preview many more potential candidates.

Such an open process would also effectively blunt the current corrosive influence of “money politics” as there would be no need to bribe divisional leaders in order to secure your nomination.  And at the party’s elections, with over 2,000 delegates, it would be difficult if not impossible to bribe them all.  You could influence them only with your ideas and talent, as it should be.

Removing the quota would of course invite challengers to Najib.  Tengku Razaleigh would definitely be one; there may be others.  There would also be additional candidates for all the other positions.

If Najib were to survive a challenge from Tengku Razaleigh for example, Najib’s stature and legitimacy would be greatly enhanced.  That would effectively shut up his many critics.

Of course Najib could lose, and with that, his political career.  That may explain his reluctance to tamper with the current quota rules which work in his favor.  While such a maneuver would secure his immediate political survival, he would critically jeopardize his party’s chance in the next national elections.  Presently many, and not just those outside of UMNO and Barisan, question his ability and legitimacy.  Najib would be sacrificing his party’s future just to ensure his short-term political survival.

Articulating His Vision

Even if Najib were to prevail in an open contest, he still needs to articulate his vision for the future of our nation.  He has to convince us that he has “the right stuff.”  He has to give us his personal manifesto, as it were.  And he has to do that now before his party’s convention in March, for at that time he would be more concerned with rallying his troops.

The prevailing perception is that Najib owes his current position merely by being the son of a famous father.  To non-Malays specifically, Najib has yet to erase the ugly image of the keris-taunting antics of his UMNO Youth’s days.  Additionally his career, while long, is very narrow; he spent his entire adult life in government, getting his paycheck from taxpayers.

Like his immediate predecessor Abdullah Badawi, there is nothing substantial to Najib’s career in politics despite his overflowing resume.  His tenure as Defense Minister was marked by the collapse of the Pularek Naval Base just before its official opening, the gross breach of security by the Al Muanah gang at the Grik Army base in Perak, and the now evolving scandal with the French submarine purchase.  As for his legacy as Education Minister, good luck in discerning that.

Now as Finance Minister, he remains disturbingly quiet; he has nothing to offer on how to solve the grave economic challenges facing us except to issue bland, meaningless reassurances. In contrast, Tengku Razaleigh bravely outlined his views of the current economic crisis and his bold strategies to deal with it.  Compared to the towering leadership of the Tengku, Najib looks like a novice Boy Scout troop leader constantly looking to his manual on how to lead.

Demonstrating His Integrity

Lastly, Najib must clarify the many sordid allegations and rumors implicating him.  Bland denials alone are not enough.

The most damaging, and which requires the most detailed explanation, is his role in (if any) or knowledge of the murder of the Mongolian model and the involvement of his confidant Razak Baginda.  That Razak Baginda was acquitted does not clear the matter.

The accusations leveled at Najib are too specific and detailed (including specific SMS texts and cell phone numbers) that they demand a more complete explanation from him.  Hiding behind client-attorney privilege as Najib did in trying to dismiss the many SMS between him and Shafie Abdullah, the attorney who was at the time representing Razak Baginda, is inappropriate.  For one, Najib was not Shafie’s client, then or now.  Indeed at that time Shafie was representing Razak Baginda, until he (Razak) dismissed Shafie.  For another, such a “cover” would not sell in the court of public opinion.

Those details of the Altantuya murder, as well as the sordid mess of the Saiful Bukhari sodomy allegation, will eventually be revealed bit by bit in their respective criminal trials.  A full disclosure now by Najib would help preempt the inevitable excruciating and embarrassing details.

Najib Razak may become the leader of UMNO and thus Malaysia’s next Prime Minister come this March without bothering to address these three issues.  However, the next General Elections will be less than 48 months away after he becomes Prime Minister.  If not addressed frontally and openly now, these questions about his ability, integrity and legitimacy would only get worse.  Yes, Najib may get his wish, but he could also end up being the nation’s shortest-serving leader, for come the next national election, Najib and UMNO will be buried.

That would be quite a legacy for the son of a great patriot.  Perversely then, Najib’s political demise would of necessity trigger and be instrumental in UMNO’s reform.  By that time it may be too late to alter UMNO’s fate, but at least you would have fun knowing that you are doing something productive.

RPK’s Second Open to The Prime Minister: Police Brutality and No Confidence in Najib

Today, to celebrate Chinese New Year, RPK sends his second open letter to Pak Lah, which touches on the problem of police brutality and the vote of no confidence against Najib in the recent Kuala Terengganu by-election.

January 26, 2009

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Yang Amat Berhormat Dato’ Seri Abdullah bin Haji Ahmad Badawi
Prime Minister of Malaysia
Prime Minister’s Office
Main Block
Perdana Putra Building
Federal Government Administrative Centre
62502 Putrajaya

Dear Pak Lah,

Kong Hee Fatt Choy, Pak Lah. I trust this second open letter finds you in good health. I was told by a reliable source that you read my first open letter . So I thought, since this appears to be the only way to reach you, I would send you a second open letter. I truly hope you get to read this one as well.

Sorry I was not able to also send you my Selamat Hari Raya Puasa wishes. It is not that Chinese New Year is more important than Hari Raya. During Hari Raya Puasa I was in the Kamunting Detention Centre, courtesy of your government. So, I sort of missed Hari Raya, if you know what I mean. But I believe my friends did attend your open house at the PWTC to send you Hari Raya wishes on my behalf, wearing ‘Free RPK’ T-shirts, much to the chagrin of the police who summoned them to the police station later for their ‘statements to be recorded’.

In the past I used to be sad if I was ever away from the family on Hari Raya, not that it happened too often. Even rough and tough Malaysian soldiers serving overseas cry on Hari Raya, so I was told. So it’s not lack of macho that makes you sad when parted from the family on Hari Raya. This time, however, anger overcame my sadness. Instead of being sad, I decided to ‘boycott’ Hari Raya. Maybe anger is a stronger emotion. Anyway, I did not celebrate the recent Hari Raya Haji as well, though I had already been released from detention by then. I have sort of shut out Hari Raya from my mind and have convinced myself that the festival does not exist. I think, from now on, Hari Raya no longer means anything to me.

I suppose this is very useful considering the Attorney General is appealing the Shah Alam High Court decision of releasing me from ISA detention. The government’s appeal will be heard in the Federal Court in Putrajaya on 11 February 2009 and if the Federal Court allows the appeal then I will be sent back to Kamunting to serve my two-year detention order. So it is necessary that I continue being angry and not get sad about things like being under detention during Hari Raya. Anger makes you strong to resist the powers-that-be. Sadness weakens you.

I really don’t know if the Federal Court will uphold the Shah Alam High Court’s decision to free me. If it does, well and good. But if it overturns that decision then you better get ready for a bloody fight, Pak Lah. Sure, the government can ‘legally’ send me back to Kamunting. But I shall be going back there screaming and kicking. The government is going to see a fight never before seen in the history of the almost 50 years of the ISA. And this is no threat. It is a promise. And, as I said, anger is an extremely powerful emotion, which can make you move mountains.

Anyway, that is not the purpose of this open letter. What I want to talk about today is with regards to the current controversy swamping this country, in particular the police brutality issue. This is actually not something new. It has been going on since before Merdeka. When I was a teenager in the 1960s I have personally witnessed and experienced many incidences of police beatings. Your late wife Endon’s brother, Osman, can testify to this. When I got my motorcycle licence at the age of 15 in 1965, my first bike ride was with Osman. I fetched him from your house in Bellamy Road and we went to Jackie’s Bowl in Jalan Ampang and got high on weed all night long.

You see, Pak Lah, in those days we used to sport long hair and wear tight trousers and the police somehow became very upset with this ‘fashion statement’. The police would push a bottle down our trousers and if it could not fall to our feet then we would get beaten up. The same applied to our hair. If it dropped over our forehead or touched our ears we would get beaten up as well. So imagine what we had to go through in the 1960s since we had long hair and wore tight trousers. As I said, Osman, the brother of your late wife, can tell you more about this as we used to run in the same pack.

One night in 1965, while waiting at a bus stop along Jalan Ampang (in front of the El Chico next to the AIA building), a few of us — Tun Dr Siti Hasmah’s nephew, Azlan Aziz, included — were picked up by the police. Our only ‘crime’ was that we were sitting at the bus stop. The police took us to the High Street Police Station and we were all asked to line up to witness the police beating up a Chinese youth. They beat him real bad and he was coughing blood. I don’t know if he died after that but I would not want to put my money on whether he survived.

It became so bad that whenever we saw the police we would run away. We actually became quite good at it. For example, once, about ten of us were sitting on our bikes in front of the HKL and a police van stopped and about a dozen police jumped out. We leaped on our bikes and managed to escape just as the police were within an arms-length from us. They pursued us along Jalan Tun Razak with little success. Our bike numbers were on the top-ten list of the police’s ‘most wanted’ but they never caught us. We knew if they did they would beat the shit out of us so it was definitely an ‘incentive’ for us to never get caught.

That was how it was back in the 1960s and, trust me, it has not changed one bit. The police still beat the shit out of you if you ever find yourself in the most unfortunate situation of ending up in their lockup. In fact, your Director of the CID, Bakri Zinin, once beat me up in March 2001 in front of my wife and six other detainees and about a dozen police personnel.

My only ‘crime’ was that I had walked into the Dang Wangi Police Station. I had not committed any crime or was under arrest. I had, on my own accord, walked into the police station and Bakri Zinin happened to be in the mood to beat someone up. So he beat me up. After he beat me up he arrested me and kept me overnight in the lockup under no charges whatsoever. That is how your police operate. And these are all Muslims, mind you. I bet they even pray five times a day and their wives wear tudongs. Now do you know why I am most unkind to Muslims? Many are hypocrites of the highest degree.

I know you tried to implement the IPCMC but were prevented from doing so. And the reason you are not able to implement the IPCMC is because the police, whom represent the major portion of postal voters, threatened to vote opposition if you do. (IPCMC: Police threaten to vote for the Opposition).

In the March 2008 general election, the opposition needed only 300,000 more votes to form the federal government. Therefore, if the postal votes had gone to the opposition, Barisan Nasional would have been out of power. To ensure that the postal votes remained with Barisan Nasional you succumbed to the threats and agreed to compromise on the IPCMC.

In that sense, Pak Lah, you are indirectly responsible for the continuing problem of police brutality. What the police are doing is your fault. This is a classic case of the tail wagging the dog and not the dog wagging the tail. Maybe you would like to reconsider your decision on the IPCMC and demonstrate to the nation that you, and not the police, are running this country.

While on the subject of the police, let it be known that the police managed to reduce Pakatan Rakyat’s majority in the recent Kuala Terengganu by-election from more than 7,000 votes to a mere 2,631. And I have this on video if you would like to see the evidence. You know that the opposition’s majority in the Kuala Terengganu by-election was much higher than 2,631. And I am sure this is troubling you to no end. And I am equally sure you know that this is because the people do not want Najib Tun Razak to take over as Prime Minister in March. As much as you may try to deny this you know I am spot on.

At 3.00pm on Polling Day, the police set up ten roadblocks and no one in town could get out nor those outside town could get in. Kuala Terengganu was totally cordoned off and the traffic jams were so massive that the town was reduced to a gridlock. I was arguing with the police at three different locations and, as I said, I have this on video. At one roadblock, when the police told me that this was ‘arahan dari atas’, I responded by saying that ‘kalau orang atas bodoh dan kita ikut arahan tersebut maka kita juga bodoh’. You should have seen the police stare at me. They looked like they wanted to kill me.

By 4.00pm, voting almost ground to a halt and the 74% voter turnout troubled me. 74% was too low, and since the SPR had announced earlier that morning that the voter turnout was going to be 80%, I was worried that this would mean another 6% or so were going to be ‘phantom voters’. True enough, an hour later, when polling ended, the voter turnout jumped to 81%. It was later ‘adjusted’ to 79%. This means 5% to 7% additional votes came in, although no one was voting any longer. This represents about 5,000 votes or thereabouts.

Say what you like, the opposition not only won the Kuala Terengganu by-election, but it won with a larger majority. And this was in spite of Najib and his wife campaigning fulltime in Terengganu and the RM500 million that was committed to the by-election effort. No doubt RM400 million was spent indirectly when Najib launched the special investment fund. Nevertheless, this RM400 million was still for purposes of the by-election and no one can deny this.

Mind you, the RM500 million is just my conservative estimate. It could be more. But it still makes the Kuala Terengganu by-election the most expensive by-election in Malaysian history and yet Barisan Nasional lost, whether it was by 2,631 votes or 7,631 votes. The police air-conditioned tents alone came to RM10 million. The food, at about RM50 to RM60 per day per person over three weeks, came to another RM10 million. Then there was the outstation allowance and so on. I estimate the cost of stationing 8,000 police personnel in Kuala Terengganu over three weeks at about RM25 million to RM30 million. And it could actually be more considering the normal ‘leakages’ in government expenditure.

Then there are the many free dinners and the RM300 to RM1,000 ‘Ang Pows’ for the 80,000 or so voters. Even the press people received RM300 Ang Pows each, though none were offered to the Bloggers, for whatever reason I do not know.

Are you happy, Pak Lah, that Najib spent about RM500 million in the most expensive by-election in Malaysian history and Barisan Nasional still lost? How does this reflect on the confidence the people have in Najib? Do you know that the ‘battle-cry’ in the Kuala Terengganu by-election was the song ‘Najib Altantuya Mongolia’ sung to the tune ‘When the Saints Come Marching in’? Young Malays from the kampong who you would least expect to know this ‘Christian’ song were singing this song.

Yes, say what you like, the Kuala Terengganu by-election was not a by-election. It was a vote of no confidence against Najib. And it was the Malays who voted against Najib — and young Malays at that, Malays from the kampong. Did not Musa Hitam and Ghafar Baba, both one-time Deputy Prime Ministers, say that UMNO’s strength is in the rural areas and that UMNO needs to gain the support of the kampong Malays to stay in power? Well, the kampong Malays have spoken on 21 January 2009 in the Kuala Terengganu by-election. I am just not sure whether you heard them; that’s all. If you did not then I am telling you now. The young Malays from the kampong have said no to Najib. Do you still want to ignore this message and doom Umno to the political graveyard?

There is much more I need to tell you but allow me to end my open letter here, for the meantime. I now need to go attend the PKR Chinese New Year open house in Kelang and go hassle Anwar Ibrahim on this Anti-ISA thing that I want the five Pakatan Rakyat states to commit themselves to.

Till we talk again, take care, as there are many surrounding you with daggers drawn — which makes Julius Caesar’s predicament a picnic by comparison. Is it not ironical that in your present situation you can trust your enemies more than your friends? Anyway, once again, Kong Hee Fatt Choy, Pak Lah.

Yours truly,

Raja Petra Al Haj Bin Raja Kamarudin