August 18, 2010
For Dramas, Just Come to Selangor
by Syed Nadzri @http://www.nst.com.my
A SPY camera in the Menteri Besar’s office, a death threat on a Member of Parliament, a garbled “OMG” Twitter message from the State Assembly Speaker, a mere rap on the knuckles for a controversial state executive councillor — what the freaky mumbo is going on in Selangor?
The mishmash of peccadilloes is hitting in, one after another, over the past two weeks and they seem to suggest that, like Penang, Selangor is agonising over problems that come with administering a state government just into its third year at the reins.
These matters look serious enough as they concern security and governance at the highest level but sometimes, you can’t help but laugh at some of the cloak-and-dagger humdingers that could have come straight out of Get Smart — especially the spy camera blooper and the tweet line.
It was reported that the camera was found hidden behind a curtain in Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim’s office
on the 21st floor of the state secretariat building in Shah Alam late last week.
As the story went, the Menteri Besar uncovered it after tracking a constant beeping sound coming from behind the curtains. The beeps were actually signals emitted by the camera as it was running out of power — in short, it was a “low batt” alarm that blew the cover.
What kind of espionage was that? And it was hilarious to see the size of the “secret” camera that was used — as big as a desk diary. Such lack of sophistication in this day and age of wireless motion-sensor spy cams with solar charger and high-definition wristwatch spy cams.
It was a sloppy and amateurish act of spying in every way. But the bigger issue is, who could be behind this. Obviously an adversary due to the sinister nature. But who planted it there? Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo? Not likely, unless the former Menteri Besar and now state opposition leader is a master of disguise. In the present circumstances, Khalid’s guards would not even let him past the front gate of the secretariat.
Besides, Dr Khir is also too busy catching sand thieves! So, it had to be someone from the inside, and this will be the state’s greatest mystery since the death of Teoh Beng Hock at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission office in Shah Alam last year.
If I were Khalid, I would just stay quiet on the discovery and just play along — talk to myself, sing Madu Tiga loudly off-key or strike bodybuilder’s poses in front of the camera every now and then. And utter a few things to lead them up the garden path. They would never come back to do it again, after listening to the singing.
Of course, a more serious issue is this — what if it was not a spy camera behind the curtain but a bomb? Which brings us to the death threat received by DAP Member of Parliament for Petaling Jaya Utara Tony Pua on Wednesday.
Pua, an outspoken Ivy League alumnus, said an envelope bearing a Tangkak, Johor, postal mark and containing a bullet and note was mailed to his service centre in Damansara Utara.
Perhaps the young MP should know that this kind of intimidation comes with the job, especially the harder jobs of the world, like being a newspaper editor. Adding to all the action was the “severe reprimand” meted out by the DAP disciplinary committee on State Executive Council member Ronnie Liu over support letters issued in his name.
Many neutrals describe this as a mere rap on the knuckles and not harsh enough, considering DAP’s public stand on such matters as tantamount to corruption. Was favouritism at play here? But the one that takes the cake was the revelation of the real message behind the tweet OMG!
Real culprit is freed posted by State Assembly Speaker Teng Chang Khim after the sacking of Selangor DAP secretary and Klang municipal councillor Tee Boon Hock from the party for allegedly issuing several support letters using Liu’s letterheads.
Whichever way, it was certainly a loaded message in the light of developments in the party and the rather well-known differences among certain quarters in DAP. But when Teng explained that his tweet was actually a reference to a character in a Chinese movie he was watching, 14 Blades (Jin Yi Wei), many were bemused. But I guess he has been given the benefit of the doubt. Chinese movie? Yeah right: “LOL. They shud b BFF frm now.”
Back to the original question: just what is going on in Selangor? It could be an unusual astronomical alignment or some other mysterious forces at work. More likely, all this is just a sign of plain administration fatigue setting in, two years after the Pakatan Rakyat government took over. And we’re just getting to half-time.