June 27, 2013
MY COMMENT: I am scheduled to speak at the East-West Center in Washington DC on current political developments in Malaysia later today (10.30 pm Malaysian time). It is an open seminar which will be attended by 57 people including Malaysian officials from our Embassy and the US State Department. I have been told that the proceedings will be recorded and carried live: http://www.eastwestcenter.org/ewc-in-washington/events/live-video
I am certain that the audience expect me to comment on GE-13, although the focus is not the election per se; the seminar is intended to discuss likely changes that can be expected after GE-13 and prospects for our country over the next 5 years. I will do my best to present a realistic assessment of our political economy, but it is going to be tough not to be uncritical about what has been happening post GE-13.
This indelible ink matter will no doubt surface in the ensuing Q&A session. Because of the incompetence of the Election Commission, we have wasted RM7.1 million. No one is held accountable for this debacle. Both Aziz and Wan should have been fired but that would be asking too much of the present government. Until the Election Commission comes clean on this and other matters, serious doubts about its competence and integrity will remain.–Din Merican
Indelible Ink and What Not
by Mariam Mokhtar (06-24-13)@http://www.malaysiakini,com
We have heard the same trite comments before: “We’re clean. We’re not guilty. It wasn’t us.” UMNO Baru’s most sanctimonious hypocrite, Election Commission (EC) chairperson Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof, has denied claims of cheating.
Abdul Aziz expressed sadness that the indelible ink used in GE13 could easily be washed off and in an interview with the Malay daily Sinar Harian said, “If people ask me now, what is the saddest thing in my life, I would answer: ‘Indelible ink’.”
The indelible ink had been tested before use and he said, “On the much-awaited day, the power of Allah is greater when the ink could disappear after being washed several times. Where is the mistake?”
He ignored allegations of gerrymandering, the use of money and citizenship as inducements given to illegal immigrants to vote for BN, the violent attacks on Pakatan workers, the extra ballot boxes, the spoilt votes, the blackouts, as well as the plane and busloads of foreigners transported to the peninsula to vote for BN. In other words, the EC conspired with BN to cheat in GE13.
Abdul Aziz said that the ink had been tested, but then blamed the failure of the ink on “the power of Allah”. He had sanctioned the use of doctored ink, and by saying Allah was responsible – when it was him who authorised its use – it means that he is playing God.
By Abdul Aziz’s will, there was massive cheating in the election process, which allowed UMNO Baru to “win the election”. By claiming that it was “the power of Allah” that allowed Umno Baru to win the election, Abdul Aziz is effectively saying that he is Allah.
This blasphemy will not endear him to the rural Malays and may mean that he will have to be sacrificed, to save the party. Indelible ink and the EC are not compatible. Three general elections ago, in 2004, the National Fatwa Council decided that the ink would prevent Muslims from performing their prayers. In GE12 (2008), the EC said that there were national security issues and claims of sabotage. In 2013, the lies ranged from EC workers feebly shaking the bottles to a full-blown health scare.
Familiar UMNO Baru excuses
These excuses are a familiar UMNO Baru dodge. Recently, the organisers of the ‘Black 505’ rally were given the runaround, when trying to find a suitable venue for their rally. The Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) and the Police could not even coordinate their lies. One said there was a wedding, whilst the other claimed there was a charity run. The Police also made the outrageous claim that they would be provoked.
If you must lie, do so convincingly and with a concerted effort. If Abdul Aziz said the ink was tested prior to its use, which laboratory tested it? Was there an independent laboratory analysis? Did their results match? What was the test used?
Goldenchurn butter and Tabasco sauce went through a similar drama when their products were said to contain pork DNA by the Malaysian Islamic authorities. Butter is made from cow’s milk. Tabasco contains only vinegar and chillies. In which part of the manufacturing process would porcine DNA be introduced?
The Chemistry Department refused to share their test results with the manufacturers, did not want to reveal their methods and did not wish the butter to be sent for independent chemical analyses.
The fiasco with the indelible ink in GE13, has similar echoes of subterfuge and chicanery. Who is the manufacturer of this ink? Have they sold us defective ink? Should we demand a refund? Why is the manufacturer not defending his product? Does he not want a repeat sale? Hasn’t his reputation been irreparably tarnished? To what standard was this ink tested?
Abdul Aziz said that a task force would investigate the ink’s recipe, the way it was used, its transportation and whether the hot air in the lock-up where the ink was stored, had caused a degradation of the ink.
The only ‘hot air’ comes from the EC chairperson, who should not waste any more of the taxpayers’ money. The only thing left is for the senior management of the EC to resign en-masse, to restore the credibility of the EC before GE14. They have severely dented the confidence of the rakyat in Malaysian democracy. If they will not go willingly, they must be sacked.
Obviously, there are three types of UMNO Baru politicians and supporters – the ones who keep an undignified silence about important issues, the false prophets and those who play God.
Recently, Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Abdul Rahman Dahlan wrote in Utusan Malaysia’s weekend newspaper that BN was ‘fated’ to win GE13, because God had willed it. He said, “In short, fate and God’s will determines everything.”
Who gave this false prophet, Abdul Rahman, the divine right to make prophecies? True prophets serve God and their flock, but UMNO Baru politicians are self-serving men (and women) who are full of exaggerated self-importance. Is Abdul Rahman aware that Muhammad was the last prophet? Despite his blasphemous remarks, Abdul Rahman is not being investigated for sedition.
‘Cowards as leaders’
Leaders who refuse to comment on important issues when the news break, but wade-in days or weeks later, are simply playing safe. These cowards do not want to be proven wrong, or to be seen to be wrong. They need to protect their own positions. It is not just the Pakatan coalition or the rakyat whom they fear, others within their party are looking for reasons to topple them as well.
The rakyat is at the mercy of UMNO Baru, but it is also at the mercy of the environment. Reports from Jakarta allege that the companies which contribute to the haze affecting parts of South-East Asia, are linked to the illegitimate BN government. Najib has good reason to keep quiet.
Perhaps, the men who keep silent on important issues live in the feverish hope that these problems will fade away.
In Perak, the oil-palm industry – which is responsible for the haze originating from Sumatra – has production facilities and processes which are polluting the waterways of Perak. The livelihood of the villagers is affected.
Fish and crustacea like udang galah die. The income from tourism is at risk. The Perak government closes one eye and panders to the industry, as rural voters are only useful to BN in the weeks before an election.
What goes around comes around. UMNO Baru likes to invoke God. So, is the current pollution crisis a divine intervention? Or is it caused by UMNO Baru’s policies and failure to enforce strict environmental pollution controls?
MARIAM MOKHTAR is a non-conformist traditionalist from Perak, a bucket chemist and an armchair eco-warrior. In ‘real-speak’, this translates into that she comes from Ipoh, values change but respects culture, is a petroleum chemist and also an environmental pollution-control scientist.