Defending constitutional democracy

February 28, 2015

Defending constitutional democracy

by Tan Sri Mohd Sheriff Bin Kassim

Sheriff KassimI THINK anyone reading the open letter on December 7, 2014 (published in The Star on Dec 8) by the G25 (a group of prominent Malays) will find it easy to understand its core message about the kind of country that we want Malaysia to be.

We want Malaysia to remain a constitutional democracy because it is the most effective form of government in defending the rights and freedoms of citizens.

It is also most suited for Malaysia, given the multi-racial character of its population; the differences in language, culture and religion among the people; and their desire as citizens for fair and equal treatment under the law. A Federal Constitution that recognises the basic rights of all communities is the glue that holds together this multi-racial nation.

We want Malaysia to remain a constitutional democracy because it is the most effective form of government in defending the rights and freedoms of citizens. It is also most suited for Malaysia, given the multi-racial character of its population; the differences in language, culture and religion among the people; and their desire as citizens for fair and equal treatment under the law. A Federal Constitution that recognises the basic rights of all communities is the glue that holds together this multiracial nation.–Sheriff Kassim

In a constitutional democracy, there is clear separation of powers between the Legislature, the Judiciary and the Executive, and there are checks and balances to guard against abuse of power by any one branch of government.

The system is designed to provide avenues for the people to act against any branch of government that tramples on their rights and freedoms. Thus, if the Executive, such as the Federal or state government, takes an action infringing on their personal liberties, the people have a right to seek justice from the courts.

Second, when elections come, they can exercise their vote at the ballot box to show their disapproval of the government or their local representative in parliament or the state assembly.

In the G25 letter, the signatories talk about the administration of Islam in the country and our concerns over religious authorities issuing fatwas and making syariah laws on criminal offences, beyond the powers conferred upon them by the Federal Constitution and in violation of our individual rights and freedoms as guaranteed under the constitution.

Our system of constitutional democracy expressly provides that the Federal Constitution is the supreme law of the country.The civil courts have the power to declare actions of other branches of government to be invalid, including to strike out any laws enacted by the state authorities if they contravene the provisions in the Constitution.

As in other democratic countries, the people are sovereign. Any aggrieved person can challenge the constitutionality and legality of any state law by bringing it up in the civil court for a judicial review, as has been successfully done in a few cases.

Unfortunately, any attempt to question and challenge the religious authorities has often created a tense situation in the country, with extremist groups issuing all kinds of threats to intimidate those who raise issues relating to administration of Islam. They have developed a habit of hiding behind the Sedition Act and the rulers to dignify their actions.

To avoid unnecessary tensions, and since syariah laws do have various implications on society, both Muslims and non-Muslims, we are asking in the open letter for a rational discussion on the place of Islam in society, so that we can arrive at a clear understanding with the religious authorities that under our system of constitutional democracy, the Federal Constitution is the primary source of law for the land, and that the religious authorities must act within the limits prescribed under the Constitution.

It is obvious that these limits are imposed to ensure injustice is not caused to the individual and his rights are not eroded by the overlapping of jurisdiction between the civil and syariah courts in the administration of justice.

We are suggesting that this rational discussion be held through a consultative process in which relevant experts and representatives of stakeholders can review the existing syariah laws to determine where they are unconstitutional and where they can be improved to protect the rights of individuals, in particular women and girls, as they are often the main victims of over zealousness by the religious authorities.

We need the Prime Minister’s leadership to set up the consultative council and to make the public pronouncement that he encourages open discussion on Islam and that such discussions are not seditious or an insult to the sultans.

The Federal Constitution provides that the civil courts shall have higher status and authority over the syariah courts. This is meant to ensure that all Malaysians live under one system of justice based on the universal principles of democracy.

These principles make our constitutional democracy the same as those commonly used around the world. It has served us well to protect our interests and rights, and has encouraged investors and businesses to have confidence in the stability of the political system. It has been the main reason for this country’s growth and prosperity.

Other groups have totally different views from those of the G25. They are proposing the Constitution to be amended to elevate syariah courts to the same level as civil courts. They want the syariah laws not to be narrowly confined to the Muslim faith but to be the primary source of law and to be used in all spheres of life in the country – the legal system, the economy, the financial and banking sectors, the shops and restaurants, the education and health systems, the professional services like accounting.

This is worrisome because besides the implications on the administration of justice, it will put Malaysia on the road to becoming a totally different kind of country.

Malaysia cannot afford to make the same mistake of some Muslim countries whose leaders have suddenly realised that their countries had gone too far in implementing syariah laws and needed to reform and modernise to get the economies moving and to improve the lives of the people.

These countries’ experience should be a lesson to us that once religious laws like the hudud have taken roots and after the Islamists have changed the constitution to put themselves and the ulamas at the top of the government and above all other institutions of power, it’s extremely difficult to reverse the changes.

Admittedly, Malaysia is nowhere close to being a failed democracy or a theocracy. We have a relatively well-educated population that can see what is happening elsewhere and can understand why our present system is more suitable for this multi-racial country.

An open economy like ours, with strong trade and investment links with the rest of the world, needs to maintain the existing liberal and open policies in politics, economics and in the social and personal life of the people.

Otherwise, all the progress and prosperity that have been achieved over the past several decades will be lost, resulting in poverty, high unemployment and internal instability.

We don’t want our youths to be like the 40% unemployed university graduates in the other Muslim countries. They are so bored with life and have lost all hope that they become easy prey to extremists looking to recruit volunteers to join the militants and jihadists.

We want the present Constitution to stay and our future generation to inherit a better and an even more prosperous country.

A functioning democracy, a vibrant economy and good governance – these are the best defences against extremism. At the same time, we must not take the extremists for granted.

Although they are small in number, they can create a lot of tension in the country. They have lately become more aggressive in their racial and religious agenda, using political leverage to bully and intimidate, not taking any public criticisms on issues relating to the administration of Islam and Malay rights.

They insult non-Malays by calling them ungrateful pendatang for talking about the rights of the minorities or questioning race-based policies. Civil society movements fighting for democracy, free and fair elections, and human rights have been labelled as traitors for drawing world attention to their causes. Muslim women activists have been accused of liberalism and pluralism, which have now become chargeable offences under the religious laws.

All these are bad news, raising concerns at home and abroad about the spread of extremism, racial politics, the rule of law and the country’s future direction.

Amidst all these concerns, the G25 has emerged as the voice of moderation, giving hope to the silent majority that constitutional democracy is here to stay, in defence of our rights and freedoms.

As a country with aspirations to achieve high-income status by 2020, Malaysia must not indulge in racial and religious supremacy ideologies as these will lead to our downfall, as seen from the experience of other countries in the last century. Instead, we must build on our successes to align our priorities to be with the modern world, index ourselves against the progressive countries and adopt their best practices.

In this region, countries that were once poorer than us have now overtaken us and have gone far ahead. Despite lacking in natural resources, they have used their human skills and entrepreneurial culture so well to become highly developed socially and economically.

We should emulate them by using policies that cultivate our people’s confidence in the rule of law, based on the democratic principles of integrity, transparency and accountability, the hallmarks of good governance.

Further, we must reform our economic, education, social and religious policies to eliminate bigotry and create a conducive climate for healthy competition, creativity, economic justice and personal freedom. This is most essential if we want to be recognised as a developed country in every sense of the word.

Open letter to the Attorney-General of Malaysia

February 26, 2015

Open letter to the Attorney-General, Tan Sri  Abdul Gani Patail

 Gani PatailHe has plenty of explaining to do

I strongly believe that had an inquiry into the cause of death of Altantuya Shaariibuu was promptly done, we would have found the answers to most of the questions that are, at the moment, bothering us.


From Shamsher Singh Thind

I write this open letter in response to an online article published by Malaysiakini entitled “I never admitted to killing her, says Sirul”.  Among others, it was reported therein that Sirul Azhar ‘… maintained that he had acted under orders and was being made a scapegoat.’

This news has certainly created another round of global shock waves, since from the beginning, for one reason or another, this trial has been linked to our Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak.

I have read another online article published by Asia Sentinel entitled “Sirul Azhar Statement”. This article supposedly contains the cautioned statement made by Sirul Azhar on November 9, 2006 after his arrest.

Sirul purportedly confessed that ‘… I met Azilah at Central Market …[and] [h]e instructed me to observe Malaya Hotel[,] where the woman who was disturbing the businessman stayed [and] [o]n the way there, Azilah talked about a reward of between RM 50,000 and RM 100,000 if the case was settled.’

Of course, I am not in any position to confirm whether or not both of these online articles are true. However, the contents therein are highly believable. On January 13, 2015, the Federal Court has reversed the decision of the Court of Appeal and restored the conviction and punishment set by the High Court but the motive of killing of Altantuya Shaariibuu was never established.


No one seems to know until today why the two elite Police Officers from the Special Task Force (Unit Tindakan Khas–UTK) abducted and murdered a foreigner. For the public, it is a natural thing to blame the Police for not doing a thorough investigation professionally. However, my humble opinion is that it is your office that has to be blamed for this blunder.

Let me explain. Firstly, Section 334 of the Criminal Procedure Code clearly provides that ‘[w]hen any person dies while in the custody of the Police …, the officer who had the custody of that person … shall immediately give intimation of such death to the nearest Magistrate, and the Magistrate or some other Magistrate shall … hold an inquiry into the cause of death.’

Put it simply, the duty of a Magistrate to hold an inquiry, where a person has died in Police custody (and not necessarily in a Police station), is mandatory and not discretionary. This mandatory requirement is reiterated in the Practice Direction No 1 of 2007 (Guidelines on Inquest). Para 3(A)(1)(a) thereof provides that ‘[t]he Magistrate must hold an inquest if any person dies while in the custody of the Police …’

“Cause of death” is defined by Section 328 of the Criminal Procedure Code to include not only the apparent cause of death as ascertainable by inspection or post-mortem examination of the body of the deceased, but also all matters necessary to enable an opinion to be formed as to the manner in which the deceased came by his death and as to whether his death resulted in any way from, or was accelerated by, any unlawful act or omission on the part of any other person.’

Furthermore, Section 337 of the Criminal Procedure Code provides that ‘[a] Magistrate holding an inquiry shall inquire when, where, how and after what manner the deceased came by his death and also whether any person is criminally concerned in the cause of the death.’

There is no doubt whatsoever that Altantuya died while she was in Police custody, regardless of whether the arrest itself was sanctioned by the Police. Section 15(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code provides that a lawful arrest is made when a Police officer touches or confines the body of the person to be arrested.

I strongly believe that had an inquiry into the cause of death of Altantuya Shaariibuu was promptly done, we would have found the answers to most of the questions that are, at the moment, bothering us.

I agree with the Courts that motive of killing is irrelevant in securing a conviction under section 302 of the Penal Code. However, without knowing the motive, how was it possible for the Police to conclude that only Sirul Azhar, Azilah Hadri and Abdul Razak Baginda (to a certain extent), with the exclusion of all others, were responsible for the brutal killing of Altantuya Shaariibuu?

There is a legal maxim in Latin that says nemo judex in causa sua, which literally means no one should be a judge in his own cause. This is one of the fundamental principles of natural justice.

The Police cannot be given the task to investigate its own wrongdoings. I can vividly remember that Police investigation had failed to reveal the identity of the person who caused bodily injuries to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on September 20, 1998 at the Bukit Aman Police lock-up.

In fact, the former Attorney General of Malaysia, Tan Sri Datuk Seri Mohtar Abdullah in the concluding part of his press statement dated  January 5, 1999 stated that ‘… I am also of the opinion that the Royal Malaysian Police is fully responsible for the injuries to the Complainant whilst he was in the legal custody of the Police [but] … the investigation which have been carried out so far have not identified the person or persons responsible for such injuries.’ (emphasis added)

However, today everyone knows that the former Inspector General of Police, Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Mohd Noor, was the person who had caused the said injuries to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Interestingly, we were able to know this truth only after a Royal Commission of Enquiry was established under the Commissions of Enquiry Act 1950. Since the inquiry into the cause of death of Altantuya Shaariibuu was not done in accordance with the law, it was your duty to direct for such inquiry to be carried out. Unfortunately, you did not do that as well.

To make the things worse, you also did not appeal against the decision of the High Court to acquit and discharge Abdul Razak Baginda on  October 31, 2008.

Therefore, in the interest of justice, I call upon you, the Attorney General of Malaysia, to direct a Magistrate to hold an inquiry into the cause of, and the circumstances connected with, the death of Altantuya Shariibuu, in accordance with Section 339(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code.

The restriction under Section 339(2) of the Criminal Procedure Code, that a Magistrate cannot make further investigation where a finding of murder or culpable homicide not amounting to murder has been returned against any person, does not apply in this case because that restriction only applies when an inquiry into the cause of death has been carried out and closed.

I will end my open letter with a quote from an Irish philosopher, Edmund Burke. He said that the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

Shamsher Singh Thind is a law lecturer in Penang

With a firm belief in freedom of expression and without prejudice, FMT tries its best to share reliable content from third parties. Such articles are strictly the writer’s personal opinion. FMT does not necessarily endorse the views or opinions given by any third party content provider.

Khairy Jamaluddin, Sports and Sodomy 2 Roadshow

February 23, 2015

Khairy Jamaluddin, Sports and Sodomy 2 Roadshow

by Mariam

Khairy Jamaluddin, the UMNO Baru Youth Chief, is smarter than we credit him. The fiercely ambitious Oxford graduate is taking the initiative, showing UMNO Baru that he can lead.
Khairy Jamaluddin

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak is facing his worst nightmare. His spectre is a Malaysian in an Australian detention centre. Khairy needs to prove that he will be ‘prime minister material’ if the top post becomes vacant.

Khairy is showing signs of being bored with his day job as Youth and Sports Minister. After Malaysia’s dismal performance in the Olympics, the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games, Khairy’s focus should be on promoting and improving our performance in sport. He should engage more young Malaysians.

The Ambitious Shafee Abdullah

Proving that he has too much time on his hands, the Minister has instead organised a roadshow. His co-star is the lead prosecutor in the Sodomy 2 trial, Muhammad Shafee Abdullah.  They are trying to convince the public that opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s guilty verdict was a just one.

There is probably an ulterior motive to the roadshow. Shafee has his sights set on being the next Attorney-General, whilst Khairy is taking pole position in the race to be the Prime Minister.

To most UMNO Baru members, Khairy shows promise and this will probably upset Najib’s cousin Hishammuddin Hussein, whom many consider to be another potential Malaysian Prime Minister.

Hishammuddin’s credentials? He spoke English better than any of the government officials who gave press conferences for MH370. His popularity received a boost after photos of him were circulated, sitting in a cramped economy-class seat en route to a meeting in Australia.

Nevertheless, Khairy has other endearing qualities. He has political pedigree by virtue of his father-in-law, former PM Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. Khairy’s English is heavily accented, unlike most of his peers. He was educated in Singapore (United  World College South East Asia) and England (Oxford), and spent his childhood globe-trotting as the son of a diplomat.


Appearance counts – Khairy wears bespoke suits, because he knows that to look good is half the battle, especially when impressing his design-conscious supporters. Most important of all, Khairy is a “real man”. The reservist in the Territorial Army  (above) underwent commando style training, and has obtained his parachute wings. When some tudung-clad Malay girls were hugged on stage by K-Pop performers, Khairy was dismissive and tweeted, “…I hope Malaysian girls return to tall, dark and handsome men and not pale, skinny and pretty men. Those are not real men.”

To his credit, Khairy did not ask the girls to be investigated, unlike some of his party members.

Has Khairy done enough?

At UMNO Baru’s last General Assembly in November, Khairy proved his racist credentials with his outburst against non-Malays, warning them not to question Malay rights. Despite his image of a tough guy, Khairy has a sensitive side to him. The traditional practice is for the UMNO Baru Youth leader to be given a ministerial role, but in 2009, Najib snubbed him. Dejected, Khairy hinted to reporters that he might go on study leave and not stand for election in GE13. Pigs can fly!

So, has Khairy – the Youth and Sports Minister – done enough to upgrade sporting facilities in schools, universities and public areas? How has he promoted a more healthy and productive lifestyle in our youth?

Has his ministry successfully discovered and nurtured young, sporting talents? Current stars like world squash champion Nicol David will eventually retire, and Lee Chong Wei is embroiled in alleged abuse of drugs. These – and other ageing stars – will soon have to be replaced. They do not have the qualities of Peter Pan, like some who are still members of ‘UMNO Baru Youth’ although middle-aged.

Does Khairy possess the political will to clean up doping and corruption in sports, especially in football? We need new faces and an injection of fresh, creative ideas to promote sports. Is Khairy afraid of getting rid of the deadwood amongst sports officials?

When will he persuade his party that racism in sports is bad? Before racism crept into the sports arena, there were sporting heroes from all the communities. Competition is healthy, and racism should also be avoided when selecting sporting officials.

Najib’s future is looking bleak and his problems are not caused only by his fiscal measures, his 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), the goods and services tax (GST), or the Sodomy II fallout.

Perhaps, this roadshow is to make Khairy stand out from the crowd and prove his worth. Both Najib and Khairy know that in the dog-eat-dog world of UMNO Baru, there are enemies around them and it is difficult to distinguish friend from foe. Najib is aware that his adversaries are circling him, like hyenas waiting for the kill. The stakes are high. No one can be trusted and people are watching their backs.

Is Khairy trying to justify Anwar’s conviction or is he trying to promote himself?

Anwar Ibrahim’s Return to Sungei Buloh and its Implications

February 21, 2015

Anwar Ibrahim’s Return to Sungei Buloh and its Implications

Najib Razak, Rosmah MansorNajib needs Divine Help

The verdict is finally out. After months of speculations over Anwar Ibrahim’s fate, the Malaysian Federal Court has upheld the guilty verdict for the former Deputy Prime minister over the charge of sodomy. The verdict was particularly surprising for some within the Opposition circles who were confident that Anwar would be freed. The verdict has in theory sealed Anwar’s political fate given that he will be in prison for five years and be barred from assuming political office for another five years. This – at 77 – would render him too old to become the next leader of the country. The verdict is likely to have long term consequences for both Pakatan Rakyat (PR) and Malaysian politics.

Prosecuting Anwar Ibrahim

anwar_ibrahim2Anwar will not surrender

Anwar Ibrahim is a key figure in Malaysian politics. He will long be remembered for changing Malaysia’s political landscape. Dismissed as a spent force following his ouster from the ruling party – the United Malay National Organisation (UMNO) – and subsequent jail term for sodomy and corruption, against all odds, he rose from the political doldrums to lead the PR to its best electoral performance in 2008. In 2013, the coalition bettered this performance by winning the popular votes.

Drawing a lesson from the old play book of former Prime minister, Dr Mahathir Mohamed, the Malaysian government appealed against his earlier acquittal for sodomy. The charge was first brought against him by a former aide, Saiful Bukhari. The court proceedings were viewed by many as clearly biased against the defence team. For instance, the court allowed DNA evidence obtained illegally to be admitted in the case.

The perception that Anwar has been unfairly treated by a corrupt government will once again galvanise support for the opposition leader especially amongst younger Malaysians. Hence, the guilty verdict has created a martyr out of Anwar and this could potentially be more threatening to the Malaysian government.

Can PR survive without Anwar?

While it was Anwar’s political savviness that initially brought the three opposition parties, the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS), Democratic Action Party (DAP) and People’s Justice Party (PKR) together, he has in recent times been the source of contention between the three parties. Both PAS and DAP leaders have registered their displeasure in what they deem as Anwar’s unilateral style of decision-making.

Matters came to a head when Anwar initiated the controversial change of Selangor’s chief minister. Both DAP and PAS leaders were incensed by the failure of Anwar to consult them on the issue. However, it was the conservative PAS leaders including party president, Hadi Awang who refused to support the candidature of Anwar’s wife, Wan Azizah Wan Ismail as the new chief minister. This tension was further exacerbated when PAS recently announced that the party will be tabling a hudud bill in the Kelantan state assembly, a move clearly rejected by its PR partner, the DAP.

While some have argued that these developments are clear signs that the PR is at a brink of collapse, the recent court verdict might be the instrumental factor that could reverse this trend. First, the jailing of Anwar could unite the opposition in the face of adversity. In a sign of solidarity with Anwar, all PR leaders attended the PR’s presidential council meeting in February. This was the first time that Hadi attended the meeting in more than a year. Second, this development will force PAS leaders to rethink their political strategy.

Even the most hard-core of the party’s supporters are likely to demand party leaders to focus on the bigger issue of justice and unseating the BN government in the next election knowing fully well that the political mileage that PAS is likely to gain. Most importantly, the younger leaders of PR who have had significant experience working within the PR framework are likely to come forth in charting the future direction of the party.

Privately both PAS and DAP leaders admit that members of the two parties work closely at the grassroots level. In other words, the opposition alliance can still survive without Anwar. Perhaps with Anwar being out of the picture, the argument can even be made that the PR has a better chance of surviving since all parties must now coalesce around the new opposition leader.

Azmin Ali–Key Contender for Parliamentary Opposition Leader

Azmin AliPerforming well as Selangor’s Chief Minister

There is little doubt that Azmin Ali will emerge as a key contender for the position of Opposition leader. Both the top leaders of PAS and DAP, Hadi Awang and Lim Kit Siang do not have a national appeal and are viewed as divisive figures. Wan Azizah, Anwar’s wife is likely to be rejected by PAS. The party had – earlier last year – rejected her candidature as chief minister of Selangor. This leaves Azmin as the most qualified candidate who is acceptable to both DAP and PAS. Like Anwar, Azmin possess the charisma and political savvy reflected in his current tenure as Chief Minister of Selangor.

Najib’s Political survival

Najib as 1MDB advisorHe’s looking Lost

The recent verdict has also discredited the current administration and Prime Minister Najib Razak even further. Regardless of whether the Malaysian judiciary has been impartial in this case, the Malaysian and international public perception is that the case and final verdict was politically motivated. Anwar’s conviction has been blamed on UMNO and Najib himself. Public sympathy for Anwar might trigger a bigger swing away from UMNO and BN especially amongst the younger voters. Anwar himself predicted that his imprisonment will result in an increase in popular votes for the opposition.

Some UMNO conservatives have applauded the verdict. Zainuddin Maidin, former information minister and a staunch ally of Dr Mahathir, praised the judges for placing the integrity and sovereignty of the country’s laws above everything else. This does not mean that attacks against Najib have ceased from this group. In the immediate aftermath of the verdict, Dr Mahathir seems to have upped his ante noting that there is “something rotten in the state of Malaysia”. In essence, he is suggesting that the Malaysian political system is in a state of decay.

The falling oil prices, plunging commodity prices and soaring household debt, suggests dire straits ahead for Malaysia and Malaysians. Increased public sympathy for Anwar, internal opposition and a looming economic crisis have left doubts as to whether Najib can survive as Prime Minister of Malaysia. Najib’s survival currently hinges on whether any senior UMNO leader is willing to mount a challenge against his leadership.

Anwar Ibrahim’s imprisonment has far-ranging consequences not only for the opposition and Malaysians, but also for the government. It could prove to be the Najib and UMNO’s Achilles heel.

Mohamed Nawab Mohamed Osman is assistant professor and coordinator of the Malaysia Program at the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS).


The Khairy Jamaluddin’s Roadshow

February 21, 2015

The Roadshow: Who are you trying to convince, Khairy Jamaluddin?

by Rom

It would seem that we will never get used to the many harebrained, cockamamie schemes dreamt up by parties ranging from our pathetic, sex-obsessed moral guardians to our equally pathetic, sex-obsessed politicians.

Anwar and Shafee

Indeed, hard on the heels of the oft-criticised Anwar Ibrahim conviction comes the almost unreal, but certainly cheap, spectacle of a roadshow, apparently organised by UMNO Youth.

A roadshow helmed by the lead prosecutor in the Anwar trial, someone who really shouldn’t need to stoop this low. Equally, the ringmaster of this circus, the UMNO Youth Chief and Federal Minister surely couldn’t have learned all this in his much-publicised alma mater, Oxford.

It’s allegedly a roadshow designed to ‘explain’ to the people – by invitation only, of courseKhairy Jamaluddin2 – the reasons for the recent Federal Court sentencing of Anwar Ibrahim. It’s really as if an old tired script is being regurgitated. A script of `Drama-Minggu-Ini’ magnitude, with its fair share of cardboard characters, unconvincing storylines and, perhaps, even an awful wardrobe.

Everything seems absolutely wrong with this show. In the first place, judgment has already been passed, a verdict arrived at. The accused is now in prison, locked away for five years, with time off for good behaviour.

And the government had already released a statement, by courtesy of the PM’s Department, minutes after the Federal Court verdict, that stressed the fairness of the trial and that the case was brought about by an innocent individual/victim and NOT the government of the day.

That’s why, for many, this latest need for a ‘roadshow’ not only smacks of overkill, but clearly illustrates there’s something absolutely wrong with this script somehow. And that it’s time to get rid of the scriptwriter(s).

Let’s be candid about this. You hound a man for 17 years, initially imprisoning him for a couple of years despite the alleged miscarriage of justice, only to release him when it’s clear that his incarceration was frowned upon by the rakyat.

Then, when it is clear that his release and freedom could lead to your downfall, that a popular, peaceful and democratic uprising is on the cards, you come up with another oh-so-similar charge, and imprison him yet again.

Sure, there’s a need to be consistent. But, come on, there’s also a need to be a bit more creative in this age of digitisation. Or else, instead of looking consistent, you’ll end looking consistently dumb.

Indeed, now that the man has gone to jail, surely it’s time to give it a rest? What, really, is the point of this ‘roadshow’… beyond regaling the (selected) masses with sordid tales that may or may not be true?

We all know that the film 50 Shades of Grey has been banned in Malaysia. Going on a roadshow with untrained actors and storytellers to tell a similar story is equally tacky, don’t you think?

The last time this happened – in the late 1990s – we saw the birth of Reformasi, largely because the Malays especially were sickened by this public shaming of a leader without sufficient – if any – proof of his guilt.

Same old, same old

Almost two decades later, some – perhaps many even – believe that it’s the same old, same old. But many of us are also tired, especially given the fact that the country now faces even more immediate unresolved problems. Indeed, the immediate future seems bleak.

1MDB-The ScandalThe 1MDB Debacle

There’s the problem of resettling and rehoming the thousands made homeless by the recent floods, for one. Then there are the more expensive imports we have to pay for because of a weak currency, the fast-approaching goods and services tax (GST), the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) debacle, and, of course, seemingly unrelenting and untrammeled religious and racial extremism.

All fueled by a regime that doesn’t seem to be doing anything beyond sidestepping these issues. These are the issues – bread and butter indeed – that confront and worry most of us.

Whatever the justification (or otherwise) for sending the man to prison, surely there’s no need to waste your time – and ours – anymore trying to either explain yourselves or, worse, run the man down? Indeed, just as decent Malaysians (and there are quite a number of us) don’t believe in needlessly shaming a person in public, neither do we believe in kicking a man in the groin when he’s already down.

Not only are such actions tacky and the work of douchebags, they are also downright cowardly. So, yes, perhaps it’s time to grow up – especially when we have more or less reached the age that disqualifies us from being called youth – and stop all this nonsense.Before, that is, such a roadshow begins to stink of rotting road kill.

ROM NAIN is a media analyst and academic who is weary of incompetent, unethical leaders and their apologists and spin doctors in the media who try to get away with murder while professing to rub shoulders with God’s angels.

Altantuya: Who ordered her brutal murder?

February 21, 2015

 Altantuya:  Who ordered her  brutal murder?

by Lim Kit


MP SPEAKS: Sirul Azhar Umar is showing to the whole world the “feet of clay” of our Inspector-General of Police, the Attorney-General, the Judiciary and our Prime Minister in their mishandling of the 2006 Altantuya Shaariibuu murder case.

In his first telephone interview with Malaysiakini on Tuesday, February 17, Sirul said: “I was under orders. The important people with motive are still free. “It is not like I do not love the Police (force) or the country, but I acted under orders.”

But this is exactly what Sirul has done, for in one swoop he exposed the “feet of clay” of the pillars of our country, Inspector-General of  Police Khalid Abu Bakar, Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail, the Judiciary and Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.

Najib as 1MDB advisor

Many Pakatan Rakyat leaders, including the DAP MP for Bukit Gelugor Ramkarpal Singh, who is also lawyer for the family of the murdered Mongolian woman, have called on IGP Khalid to initiate fresh investigations into the Altantuya’s murder after Sirul claimed that he was ordered to kill her.

However, Khalid is obstinate that  the Police will not re-investigate Altantuya’s murder, even though new allegations have surfaced, on the ground that Sirul had not divulged information that merits renewed scrutiny into the case.

Khalid had been heading the Federal Police Force since May 2013, and was Deputy IGP from April 2011.

Is Khalid saying, ‘I never knew’?

Khalid Abu Bakar

Is Khalid (above) seriously suggesting that he had never known that Sirul’s first Police statement, on November 19, 2006,  after his arrest for the murder of Altantuya, was to confess that he was acting under orders and was offered money to kill Altantuya and destroy all evidence by blowing up her body with military explosives?

If Khalid really did not know about the existence of Sirul’s Police statement of November 19, 2006, it raises a serious question about his fitness to continue as  the No. 1 Policeman in the country.

In the circumstances, what Sirul said in Australia is merely a re-statement of what he told the Police in November 2006, not only that he and Azilah Hadri had murdered Altantuya, but that they were acting under orders and had been offered money for the killing.

So, why didn’t the Police act on Sirul’s statement to the Police in November 2006? With Sirul reaffirming what he had then told the Police, isn’t this sufficient evidence for the Police to re-open investigations as to the mastermind and the motive for the murder of the Mongolian translator?

While the Federal Court’s conviction of Sirul and Azilah is not disputed, why had the Attorney-General’s Chambers and Federal Court judges failed to raise the question that both Sirul and Azilah had no motive to murder Altantuya, and that the Police should continue investigations to bring to book the “mastermind” who had the motive to order Sirul and Azilah to murder Altantuya?

Prime Minister Najib had made the same mistake committed by his one-time confidante, Abdul Razak Baginda, who was acquitted of abetting in the murder of Altantuya, when Razak blabbered at the end of last month about the motive of Altantuya’s killing, saying: “Only the two Policemen know. Rogue Police do kill people, like in so many remand cases.”

Was Sirul a “rogue Policeman” on his own accord or was Sirul a “rogue Policeman” under orders? I am surprised that the IGP, who is supposed to defend the image and integrity of the 130,000-strong Police Force, was so meek and ineffectual when his men and women in blue were maligned by Razak Baginda’s aspersions.

This is because all Malaysians, as well as the entire Police Force, had expected a more forceful response from Khalid to Razak’s insinuation that all cases of custodial deaths were due to “rogue Policemen”.

The outburst by Najib at the MCA Chinese New Year open house yesterday that it was “utter rubbish” and “total rubbish” for Sirul to claim that he had acted under orders to murder Altantunya, was really very rash and imprudent, as his cry can be seen as self-incriminating as well.

Najib’s outbursts are still ricocheting throughout  the country, for everyone is asking as to how Najib could know that Sirul’s claim was “utter rubbish” and “total rubbish”! Is Najib prepared to explain what he meant by his outbursts?

It is a very painful and shameful affair for Malaysians to see the pillars of our country, IGP Khalid, A-G Gani, the Judiciary and the Prime Minister exposing their feet of clay to the world as a result of Sirul’s statement in Australia.

When will this chapter of shame for Malaysia end?

LIM KIT SIANG is DAP Parliamentary Leader and the party’s MP for Gelang Patah.