Loyal Followers

Friday, September 30, 2011

Lawak Jumaat

Perkasa is of the view that security cannot be compromised. Security must override human rights, freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.” (as reported in a Malaysiakini report on 29th September 2011).

I just have one little question.

How can anybody feel safe or secured if his or her human rights can be taken away by the State, anytime, anywhere and anyhow?

Aku tak paham. Probably because the statement is too “dalam”.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Of wet dream, nightmare and Marty McFly

I have not seen the Buku Jingga, let alone read it. I wonder what Pakatan Rakyat says about hudud. Or whether Pakatan Rakyat says anything about it at all.

Whatever public posturing Pakatan Rakyat puts up in relation to hudud, everybody knows that in hudud resides an issue within Pakatan Rakyat which is potentially explosive and may ultimately be destructive. Everybody knows that. Pakatan Rakyat knows that. And Tun Dr Mahathir, unfortunately to Pakatan Rakyat, also knows that.

While the Barisan Nasional, particularly UMNO, was busy trying to out-manoeuvre Mat Sabu in history 101 and the Prime Minister eagerly venturing into a state of “coolness” and “sempoi-neity”, Tun Dr Mahathir had other ideas. His was a meister stroke of all political strokes in Malaysia. That’s because he knows what hurts the most as well as when and where to execute the hurting blow.

So, in an interview one day he threw a seemingly harmless challenge to PAS. PAS has always maintained that he (Tun DrM) was the reason why it could not implement hudud in Kelantan. Tun DrM then asked why hasn’t PAS written to Prime Minister Najib to implement hudud as he (Tun DrM) is now no more the PM.

Those of you who of my generation will remember the character Marty McFly from the Back to the Future trilogy – to digress, I wonder when Hollywood is going to remake this film – apart from the totally cool and sempoi DeLorean DMC-12 in the movie. Marty boy was a smart kid. Very nice and mild-mannered boy. Quite cool and level headed too. That was until the antagonist started calling him “chicken”. Upon being called “chicken”, Marty McFly would lose all his good manners and level-headedness. He would turn reckless and completely berserk. He would even do really stupid things.

Tun DrM knew all the while that hudud is to PAS and Tuan Guru Nik Aziz what “chicken” was to Marty McFly. Mention the word “hudud” and Tuan Guru Nik Aziz would instantly go ape and all bananas. The whole PAS would grimace in orgasmic pleasure like a 13 year old after his first wet dream. That would in turn be a nightmare for Pakatan Rakyat. In Pakatan Rakyat, DAP’s stand on hudud is clear. DAP is against hudud. As for PKR, well, it depends on what day the issue is raised and on which side of the bed Anwar Ibrahim wakes up that day.

TDM knows very well that hudud will cause Pakatan Rakyat to lose its “pakatan”. His challenge was a calculated move to throw Pakatan Rakyat into shambles. That was exactly what had happened after his challenge.

TGNA firstly dismissed as laughable suggestions by TDM that Kelantan can now implement hudud now that TDM has retired. He then challenged the present Prime Minister to withdraw Putrajaya’s objection to the implementation of hudud in Kelantan. If TGNA was politically savvy, he would have stopped there.

No, he did not.

TGNA then continued to meet with Prof Aziz Bari and Dr Dzulkefli Ahmad on 25th September 2011 to discuss the implementation of hudud in Kelantan and gave assurance that hudud will only affect Muslims and will not be imposed on non-Muslims. (the full report is here).

DAP, quite expectedly, responded. Karpal went into amok mode. Lim Guan Eng, meanwhile, said that the party’s entire Central Executive Committee would resign from their position in the party if hudud was ever included in Pakatan Rakyat’s Common Policy Framework or Buku Jingga.

The Star newspaper of course saw this as an opportunity. On 25th September it apparently reported what Guan Eng said above. However on 26th September, the Star apparently modified the news to report that Guan Eng had threatened the resignation of the DAP’s leadership from Pakatan Rakyat.

The water gets even murkier when Anwar Ibrahim, quite recklessly (politically) said that he supports the Kelantan State Government’s move to implement hudud (see here for the report). He later clarified his statement saying that all decisions affecting the people will have to be based on consensus within Pakatan Rakyat. He was quoted as saying:

“We hold firm to the conviction that any issue which affects the interest of the people must be discussed frankly in a civilized manner with the objective of seeking an amicable resolution.”

That statement actually does not add or detract to what he had earlier said, namely, that he thinks hudud can be implemented in Kelantan. This was what he said earlier:

For now, in general, in principle, I believe this can be implemented…It is a specific area that affects Muslims and does not impeach rights of non-Muslims. The proceeding makes sure that administration of justice is guaranteed. "

By then a full storm was brewing within Pakatan Rakyat. PAS was again, showing its true colours.

I have always maintained that PAS could never shirk its aspiration for an Islamic State, namely, a state which is based on and run in accordance with the Sharia’ah laws and regulations. That has always been PAS’ drum beat and no amount of political posturing or word-spinning could hide that fact.

In recent times, PAS has added the Negara Kebajikan (welfare state) to its wordy armoury. This is all well and good, if not for TGNA’s and PAS’ recent hudud posture. TGNA could and would have done really well against Tun DrM’s harmless statement had he stuck to the welfare state agenda. But as I had said earlier, hudud is to TGNA and PAS what chicken was to Marty McFly.

This episode clearly shows that Pakatan Rakyat is full of inconsistent interests and ideologies. And the people within PR are prone to making reactive and self-destructive political statements or moves. That Pakatan Rakyat, especially PAS and DAP, managed to throw themselves into the large political hole that Tun DrM had dug right in front of them is almost comical.

To cap it up, PR then imposed a gag order against making or issuing any statement on the hudud issue until a meeting of top leaders scheduled to take place soon. Has Pakatan Rakyat ditched its own freedom of speech agenda? Or does Pakatan Rakyat now believe that its leaders are not capable of engaging each other on an important issue in a civil and rational manner? Which is which? Will the real Pakatan stand up please?

Amidst all these political gimmickry overdrives, the Prime Minister, fresh from scoring major political points after his announcement on the eve of Malaysia Day recently, made another major impact on the non-Muslim citizenry as well as urban Muslims, when he quickly announced that the Barisan Nasional will not implement hudud.

It is a brave announcement. It takes a whole lot of guts to say so, especially in current UMNO/Malaysia political climate where race and religion issues are championed by everybody from the likes of Zulkifli Noordin to Ibrahim Ali’s PERKASA.

That statement leaves Pakatan Rakyat and especially Anwar Ibrahim looking lame.

It is a calculated and clever statement. Politically the Prime Minister gave nothing and gained everything by saying so. PAS, TGNA and Anwar could have said so too. The reason is simple. Malaysia is a multi-ethnic-faiths society. Its Parliament is not filled with Muslim MPs only. It is filled with Christians, Buddhists, Hindus and various other mixture of faiths and races.

Any move by any party to amend the Constitution in order to implement the Sharia’ah or hudud will require a two-third majority to succeed. If such move is made, it is certain that for the first time in Malaysian Parliamentary history, Members of Parliament will vote in accordance with their respective belief and faith. Which means, it will also be the first time MPs will not be cowed to vote in accordance with their party’s whip or wish. That will also mean that for the first time ever, we will witness a clear separation in our Parliament of MPs voting along racial and religious line.

It will be THAT divisive.

To me, hudud is a Constitutional impossibility. It will remain impossible until two-third of the membership of our Parliament is filled not only by Muslim MPs, but by Muslim MPs who actually wish to implement hudud.

By doing that too, we will effectively be surrendering this country to the ulamaks and mullahs, upon whose hands syaria’ah compliant laws and regulations will be entrusted.

Just as we now entrust what is halal to eat, drink, wear and use to JAKIM.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The charge against Mat Sabu

Mat Sabu is charged today for criminal defamation. I have not read the exact charge. However from various reports, apparently he is charged for criminally defaming the police, soldiers or their families. 
I don’t want to say much about the charge as I don’t want to be hauled up for making comments while the case is going on and thereby breaching the sub-judice rule (actually I think sub-judice rule is not even applicable in Malaysia, but that’s another issue).
We now see it fit to even abolish the ISA and Emergency Ordinance for the sake of freedom and liberties. We now see it fit to repeal the Printing Presses and Publication Act to restore freedom of speech to the people. However we cannot even treat opposing views and different interpretation of historical events or facts with respect and civility.
On this score, I am against all the police reports against Mat Sabu as well as against Professor Zainal Kling for their respective statements and opinions. A mature society and democracy should be able to deal with differing opinions calmly and of course, intellectually.
There are various other people who should be charged for sedition. I don’t have to list them out here. But they are not so charged. I wonder what has happened to the investigation on the Christian conspiracy and why it has taken such a long time to complete.
I am not in support of what Mat Sabu has said. I have to make this clear. In fact I am not in love with PAS either. This post is simply about the law.
I know a thing or two about the law of defamation, having done about 10 defamation cases involving some prominent personalities and establishments in my career. This is all I have to say about defamation:
i) you cannot defame the dead under our law. The rationale is the dead cannot have a reputation to protect. Nor can the estate of the dead have reputation. (while this position is correct in civil defamation, a learned friend of mine has pointed out that under section 499 of the Penal Code, a deceased person may be indeed be defamed , if "the imputation would harm the reputation of that person if living, and is intended to be hurtful to the feelings of his family or other near relatives." The AG would therefore have to prove that Mat Sabu had intended his statement to be hurtful of the deceased person's family or near relatives.
ii) for somebody to be guilty of defaming a person, he/she must have uttered an untrue statement which essentially lower the reputation of that person or put that person in public odium. Now, if Mat Sabu said that Mat Indera was a freedom fighter in the Bukit Kepong event, the AG would have to show how that statement had lowered the reputation of the police/soldiers or their family or put them in public odium.
iii) there must be a specific party or person or group of persons being defamed. Meaning, the statement uttered must refer to, or must be capable to be understood as referring to a specific person or group of persons. For example, if I say Ahmad is a rapist, not all Ahmad can sue me if my statement is untrue. My statement must refer to a certain Ahmad or must be capable of being interpreted to refer to a certain and specific Ahmad. Otherwise all the Ahmads in the world would be allowed to sue me for defamation. So, in this respect, the AG must be able to prove that Mat Sabu’s statement had indeed referred to or was capable to be interpreted as referring to a specific person or group of persons.
I am sure the AG and his people have given great and in-depth thoughts and consideration to all legal factors before proffering the charge against Mat Sabu.
I wish the AG good luck in this case.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

DrM & ISA

I don’t know whether I am supposed to cry, laugh, jump for joy, do a poco-poco or just polish my shoes.

But, according to a Malaysian Insider report, Tun Dr Mahathir now agrees that the ISA should be repealed. He however denies that the ISA had been abused.

The good Tun also said that Malaysia’s decision to repeal the ISA puts us on a “higher moral ground” than the UK or US as these countries apparently now detain people without trial.

Good one Tun. Thank you for firstly admitting that with the ISA around, we, as a nation, were on a lower moral ground. I agree with that.

By the way, the UK and US do not detain journalist,  opposition politicians, people with political ideologies or belief which happen to be different from yours, people who spread stupid rumours via text messages (we call “sms”), a Muslim who apparently converted to Christianity and who apparently was actively trying to convert other Muslims to Christianity, passport forgers, bloggers and the likes.

The US does not even detain its own citizen without trial. They only detain “aliens” under the Patriot Act. Even then, the remedy of habeas corpus is readily and absolutely available to them. The US’ attorney general is obligated under the Patriot Act to make a report on all the detainees for the scrutiny of the Senate every six months.

Here, it was you who amended the ISA to take away the power of the Courts in relation to habeas corpus. The Courts, after your amendment, could only look at fullstops and comas while entertaining habeas corpus applications.

You also amended the Federal Constitution to take away the Court’s inherent and judicial powers. Our courts are the only courts in the whole universe which DO NOT HAVE JUDICIAL POWERS UNLESS THE PARLIAMENT SAYS SO!

(And here we have people like Tun Zaki, the ex Chief Justice declaring that he has managed to restore our Courts to its former glory. Has he even read article 121 of the Federal Constitution?)

By the way I have only one question.

If the ISA is so bad, so much so that it makes Malaysia and all of us to be on a low moral ground, and so much so that Tun DrM agrees that it should be repealed, doesn’t that make all actions under or pursuant to the ISA abusive?

Monday, September 19, 2011

The triumph of civil society

There is a moment I spent with the late Raja Aziz Addruse which will forever be etched in my memory.

It was one Sunday morning at Raju’s PJ some years ago. I was telling him how jaded I felt at the state of  things here in Malaysia, particularly the state of our judiciary. I told him I was ready to leave legal practice because nothing seemed to have changed. All efforts put in by everyone whom I know did not seem to yield any positive result at all.

He looked at me intently. I will always remember what he said. Because what he said epitomised the man and his indomitable spirit.

“Don’t stop knocking on the door even if nobody open the door for you. You have to keep on knocking. Who knows, one day, even if nobody opens it for you, it will crumble down.”

That was what he said.

Civil society has worked and campaigned tirelessly for the abolishment of laws which allow detention without trial, most particularly the draconian Internal Security Act. NGOs such as SUARAM and HAKAM for example took it upon themselves to make it heard that the ISA must go lock stock and barrel.

Human rights advocates such as Malik Imtiaz, Harris Ibrahim, Edmund Bon and many others have almost dedicated all their free times towards campaigning against the ISA and various other archaic laws which transgress universal and fundamental liberties.

The ISA is not the only oppressive law which was the target of these activists. The Police Act, which requires any planned gathering of  3 or more persons to obtain a prior police permit was also another example of an oppressive law which makes a mockery of Malaysia as a modern democracy. The Restricted Residence Act and the Printing Presses and Publication Act are another group of laws which deny the basic liberty of the people.

To top it up, as I pointed out recently in  this article, Malaysia is still under four states of emergency which have never been officially uplifted. It is the year 2011. That we are still technically in, not one, but four, state of emergencies – declared in 1964; 1966; 1969 and 1977 – make a mockery of our push for a developed state status by 2020.

The fact that we are under states of emergency is of course insignificant if we do not consider the legal effect of the emergency. Under the Federal Constitution, almost all our liberties could be held in “suspension” when our country is under a state of emergency. It follows that all emergency laws and all regulations emanating from them, such as the archaic and totally repressive Emergency Ordinance 1969, could be enforced with impunity.

The currency of the states or emergency is therefore a frightening weapon of the States against the liberty of all of us, the people.

One of the most disconcerting aspects of the ISA is the complete misunderstanding of the law, not only among the police officers, the people in the Home Ministry but also among some of our Judges, right in the High Courts as well as the highest Court of the land, the Federal Courts.

While arguing one of the ISA cases in the Federal Court about 2 years ago, I told the Federal Court that the ISA is a “preventive” law and not a “punitive” law. What that simply means is that the ISA – by its very nature and even by the very words used in it – is to be used to “prevent” a planned act or series of acts which may be detrimental to national security. Which means the act has not happened yet and the ISA is to be used to prevent that act from happening. That is why it is called a “preventive” law.

The ISA is not a law which is to be used to punish a person or a group of persons for having done or committed any act, even though the act threatens national security. It is not “punitive” in nature. This is in line with the fact that under our system of law, only the Courts can punish. The government cannot punish the people without going to the Courts first.

It is conceded that under Article 149 of the Federal Constitution, laws providing for detention without trial is permitted to be made by the Parliament. However, a close look at Article 149 would reveal that the law  providing for detention without trial which is permitted by that Article must be a law designed to “stop or prevent” any action which threatens national security.

It is clear that for such law to be constitutional under the Federal Constitutional, it must be preventive in nature and not punitive. I therefore told the Federal Court that the ISA was supposed to be preventive and not punitive.

To my complete and utter disbelief, the most senior of the 3 Judges who presided over the case disagreed with me. He said the ISA is punitive in nature. I was also later warned by another Judge in the same sitting (who had since died) to be “careful with what I submitted.”

To be frank, I think it is the Courts and the Judges who ought to be careful with what they think and decide because really, it is the liberty of the people which they are deciding upon. In some circumstances, what they decide could affect the life of the people. To tell me to be careful with what I submit in an ISA case involving the liberty of our citizens is an act of judicial cowardice!

The abuses of the ISA and the Emergency Ordinance are well documented. Recently of course, we had the case of the Parti Sosialis Malaysia’s members who were detained for more than a month under the EO for allegedly trying to wage war against the King by reintroducing communism to Malaysia! They were of course released after a huge outcry. Today I learn that all charges against them are to be withdrawn.

As for the various abuses of the ISA, one could just type the letters “ISA” in the search box of this blog and read about the litany of the abuses of the ISA. The most famous of all of course would be the detention of 106 people by Dr Mahathir under the infamous Operasi Lalang in 1987.

The Prime Minister has  now announced that the ISA; the EO; the PPAP Act and the Restricted Residence Act will be repealed. The provision requiring police permit will also be repealed. The states of emergencies will be uplifted, thereby making the various emergency laws non-enforceable and void.

Two new laws will be enacted in order to make provisions for combating terrorism and the likes under the aforesaid Article 149. The Prime Minister went on to assure that these laws will take into consideration the fundamental liberties as guaranteed by the Federal Constitution. The length of detention will considerably be reduced the the present one.

It is also stressed by the PM that nobody will be detained merely on his or her political ideology.

I will take that as a victory and triumph of civil society. It is definite proof that if each and everyone is willing to stand up, be heard and counted, we can actually move mountains. The late Raja Aziz implored me to keep on knocking on the door as one day, who knows, according to him, the door might just crumble.

Well, the door has now crumbled. Wherever he is, Raja Aziz must be smiling right now. I could almost imagine him, looking at me with a smile, taking off his glasses and gently telling me in his trademark soft voice, “I told you so.”

For the moment, I will leave the scepticism to the politicians and other people with vested interests. Because really, I have no further interests in these and I will take the announcement by the PM on its face value.

Some people – in fact I  know many of them – have questioned the intention of the Prime Minister in the 16th September announcement. It is said that the PM made the announcement because the general election is around the corner and he needs the support from the middle ground.

Well, to me, what was announced was for the better of this nation and her people. That is all that matters. Of course the announcement bears all the hallmark of political moves. So what if they are?

Which political parties or politicians make statement or announce a plan without political motivation? Did Mat Sabu make that Mat Indera speech just because he loves Mat Indera and not because it was seen by him that the statement would give him political mileage? Does PAS support Mat Sabu just because it thinks Mat Indera was indeed a freedom fighter? Wasn’t it populist and premised on political mileage that PKR champions greater freedom and equal rights? Doesn’t DAP’s support for PAS, despite knowing the latter’s wet dream for an Islamic state, premised on political expediency rather than it’s sudden love for Islam?

I am not a politician. I am also not someone who has the ability to foretell the future. For those who think that the 2 new laws may even be more oppressive than the ISA and the EO, I say let’s wait and see. We are not in the business of reading minds. I think we owe it to ourselves to let the Prime Minister prove his resolve. If he doesn’t deliver, then we will know what to do next.

There are of course many other repressive laws which have to be repealed. The Sedition Act and the University and University Colleges Act for example, are laws which have no place in a democracy which professes itself to be modern, mature and dynamic. The continuous threat of the Sedition Act to newspaper publishers and journalist alike for example, would render the exemption from renewal of annual publication licence meaningless. This threat will be like the sword of Damocles hanging on the head of the publishers and journalists.

However, I am willing to wait and take things one by one.

For the time being, let’s bask in this victory of ours.

 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Is it really, Professor? #2

Out in the Midday Sun - The British in Malaya 1880-1960 cover

Out in the Midday Sun - The British in Malaya 1880-1960

Need I say more?

*thank you to Shirzad Lifeboat who shares this on fb.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The human spirit


This is the story of the human spirit.


Sad, ugly, vicious and violent. And yet it is so beautiful and inspiring. Somewhere out there, God must be smiling.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Is it really, Professor?

I must admit of being astounded by the claim by Professor Datuk Dr Zainal Kling that Tanah Melayu had never been colonised by the British, save for the period when Malayan Union was introduced. For the record, this is his claim:

The good Professor rested his claim as such on the fact that the Pangkor Treaty of 1874 between Raja Abdullah and the British Governor in Singapore did not mention that Perak was to be colonised but was only to be “protected” as a “protectorate” of the British. The Professor went on to say that the only states which were colonised by the British in Tanah Melayu were Singapore, Penang and Melaka.

The good Professor may be correct in so  far as historical terminologies go. But history is not about terminologies and semantics. True history is about facts and reality. Of course, facts may be looked at from different views, angles and perspective resulting in different interpretations and conclusions. Realities may also be subjected to the same treatment giving rise to the term of “administered reality”.

With all due respect to the good Professor, the British entry into Tanah Melayu and their subsequent  entrenchment in  Tanah Melayu’s administration leading to at least a de facto colonisation of the whole of the Tanah Melayu peninsula and her surrounding islets cannot be viewed solely from and within the effect of the Pangkor Treaty alone. That would tantamount to an attempt to define the whole cosmos just by looking at the moon alone and nothing else.

Let’s however begin with the Pangkor Treaty 1874 (as the Professor had relied his thesis on it).

For the record, prior to the Pangkor Treaty, the British, through the British East India Company, were already deeply entrenched in Tanah Melayu. It “colonised” Penang in 1786. Penang was later confirmed to be a possession of the British in 1800 by the then Sultan of Kedah. In 1819, Stamford Raffles took it upon himself to bring Singapore into the British fold.

Later in 1824, the British and the Dutch, presumably under the mandate of some godlike creatures residing somewhere within the mountains of Scotland, decided among themselves to divide the Malay Archipelago into two, thereby giving away Melaka to the British and Indonesia (Sumatera) to the Dutch.

In each of these three little states which the British saw fit to do as it please, they had a Governor who governed for the British. In 1867, these so called “settlements” became the “Crown Colonies” and came directly under the purview of the Colonial Office in London.

Meanwhile, in Perak, upon the death of Sultan Ali in 1871, a palace power struggle was brewing. The Raja Muda of Perak was Raja Abdullah. He should have gone on to take the thrones. As events would have it, the Raja Bendahara, Raja Ismail was pronounced as Sultan.

Perak was a rich tin producer at that time. The British were itchy to get their greedy hands on Perak. They were waiting for an opportunity. That opportunity presented itself when Raja Abdullah wrote to the Governor of Singapore, Sir Andrew Clarke, spelling out his desire to place Perak under British protection, and "to have a man of sufficient abilities to show (him) a good system of government."

The British surely did not need further motivation but to lend their generous helping hands to a Malay ruler in need of course. With that, the Governor very kindly entered into the Pangkor Treaty with Raja Abdullah on 20th January 1874. With that agreement in hand, Raja Abdullah was made Sultan of Perak (although Raja Ismail was earlier appointed Sultan by the Malay palace).

Raja Ismail (the then Sultan) of course did not attend the signing of the Pangkor Treaty as he did not recognise the agreement for obvious reason. But faced with the might of the very big and terribly friendly and generous British, Raja Ismail could not do anything other than seeing the throne being taken by Raja Abdullah. Sir W W Birch was appointed, pursuant to the agreement, Perak’s 1st British Resident.

(It was with considerable irony that Raja Abdullah – later Sultan Abdullah – was later thrown out to the Seychelles for conspiring to murder Birch).

Professor Datuk Dr Zainal was correct to say that the Pangkor Treaty did not say Perak was a colony of the British. But surely that does not mean that Perak was not colonised by the British.

So what if the British had said Perak was only a “protectorate”? Does it mean anything at all? What if the British had said that Perak was a “paradise where everybody could smoke opium till they laugh and laugh and laugh and they die”? Does that mean Perak was a “paradise where everybody could smoke opium till they laugh and laugh and laugh and they die”? Just because the British had said so?

The British, for whatever reason, chiefly because they had wanted to classify their dominions throughout the world for economics and social purposes (and also for qualification for British citizenship) had categorised its “conquests” into three classes, the colonies, the protectorates and the protected states. Semantically of course there are differences between the three. But factually, it does not take a rocket scientist, or a learned bunch of thick-spectacled history professors to know that there were not much of a difference between them.

A colony is of course a state which the British had “annexed” or “settled” in. This state was presumed to be a jungle or a barren state where civilisation did not exist. And the very civilised British had of course “discovered” that state, just like Stamford Raffles did Singapore or Francis Light did Penang.

A “protectorate” is a state which the civilised and friendly (and generous) British had not annexed or settled in. This is a state where the British came in at the request of the helpless ruler of that state. It is a state where the British came to help or came to administer not  through force but through agreements or treatise. Yes. That is a protectorate.

A “protected” state on the other hand, is a state which is protected by the British, again at the request of the ruler of that state. However, according to the British, in a protected state, the British did not involve themselves with its governance.

Yes. That is the difference between the three classes of the British conquests. Who said so? Well, the British said so. So, if the British said so, it must be correct right? Well, the British also said that Maggie Thatcher had balls. Remember?

Relying on semantics – and these semantics were coined and used by none other than the British themselves – the good Professor said according to the Pangkor Treaty, Perak was not colonised.  

Well, is it really? Let’s look at the terms of the so  called treaty.

First of all, Raja Abdullah was proclaimed by the British as the Sultan of Perak in place of Raja Ismail, who was already proclaimed in accordance with the “adat dan istiadat Raja-raja Melayu Perak” as the Sultan. Now, may I ask, on what authority did the British make that appointment? On the fact that they are white men with guns and ammunitions far better than the collective keris and parangs owned by the Perakians? Now, if that is not annexation of Perak, tell me what it is.

Then, why don’t we (and the good Professor) loom at the salient terms of the so-called treaty.

  1. Raja Abdullah was acknowledged as the legitimate Sultan to replace Sultan Ismail who would be given a title and a pension of 1000 Mexican pesos a month.
  2. The Sultan would receive a British Resident whose advice had to be sought and adhered to in all matters except those pertaining to the religion and customs of the Malays.
  3. All collections and control of taxes as well as the administration of the state would be done in the name of the Sultan, but the Sultan was to govern according to the advice and consent of the Resident.
  4. The Minister of Larut would continue to be in control but would no longer be recognized as a liberated leader. Instead, a British officer, who would have vast authority in administering the district, would be appointed in Larut.
  5. The Sultan, and not the British government, would pay the salary of the Resident.
  6. Perak ceded Dinding and Pangkor Island to the United Kingdom.

Is this what a protectorate is all about? Does it not sound to all of us that Perak was as good as being annexed in a war with the British? Just consider the fact that the Sultan was to govern the state in accordance with the advice and consent of the British Resident. Perak was not colonised you say, Professor? Well, last night I saw pink cows flying over the crescent. Very nice.

Throughout the British presence in Tanah Melayu, we had three categories of states. The straits settlements, namely, Penang, Singapore and Melaka. Then we have Federated Malay States, ie, Perak, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan and Pahang. These states were all not “colonised”, according too the British. They were just protectorate. Yea, right.

Then we have the Unfederated Malay States, which were Kedah, Perlis, Kelantan, Trengganu and Johor. They were also termed as protected states by the British. Again, that does not mean that they were not colonised by the British.

Under intense pressure by the British for example, Johor accepted a treaty of protection by the United Kingdom in 1885. With that Johor accepted a British “advisor.”

The way Kedah, Perlis, Kelantan and Trengganu came under the “protection” and became branded as Unfederated Malay States is an insult to every Malaysians. And for the British to insist that they had never – officially and technically, that is – been colonised by the British  is an act of colonial arrogance.

How did Kedah, Perlis, Kelantan and Trengganu become protected states of the British? Well, just as in 1824 when the British gods decided to divide this part of the world with the Dutch, in 1909, the British did the same with Thailand in the Anglo-Siamese Treaty 1909. In this treaty, these two gods divided the northern Malay states into two.

Under this treaty, Pattani , Narathiwat, Songkhla, Satun  and Yala remained under Thai control, while Thailand relinquished its claims to sovereignty over Kedah, Kelantan, Perlis  and Terengganu  which integrated into the British realm in Tanah Melayu as protectorates.

Now, who gave the authority and mandate to the British and Thais to willy nilly decide among themselves who to own what? The Pope? The British queen?

The mere act of unilaterally dividing these collection of Malay states which even predate Melaka among themselves is incontrovertible proof that these states were under the whims and fancies of these two people, ie, the Thais and the British.

All the terms coined and marketed about by the British were only what they are, namely, terms. Semantics. That is all. The effect is the same. They came into our country either through uninvited settlements or request by some people with vested interests. Under the pretext of lending their hands to assists us, they raped, plundered and stole our resources. They invited and brought people from foreign lands (I have to stress that I do not have anything against them) to work here. They then divided all of us and ruled us. Now, if that is not colonisation, I do not know what is.

The mere fact that they could come back to Malaya after the Japanese – who kicked them out earlier in about 5 days – surrendered and forced the Malay Rulers and everybody else to accept the Malayan Union (where they consolidated the Straits Settlements; the Federated Malay States and the Unfederated Malay States into one Federation – is proof enough that they regarded Tanah Melayu – regardless of their semantic classifications – as their possession, as theirs to do whatever they liked.

Isn’t that a trait of every colonial Master, Datuk Dr Professor?

If they had not controlled the whole Tanah Melayu other than the Straits Setllements, how did they manage to force every state to accept the Malayan Union. How did they manage to compel all our Malay Rulers to submit to their arrogance habit of dividing this territory as if we are some bunch of grapes which were to be graded and stomped on by their feet whenever they please?

What authority did the British have to “administer” us? To submit too their system? To their sense of justice? To their system of civil service? I am not saying that their systems are bad but under what authority did they manage to make us adopt their systems other than a systematic colonisation of our land?

Dear Professor, perhaps you should read the British Parliament hansard when they were debating the Malayan Independence Bill. In the first place, if they did not colonise us, why and under what authority did they have to pass an Act of Palriament in their Parliament to give us “independence”?

Sometime, people show their true colours when the speak. This is what the Secretary of State for the Colonies, Alan Lennox-Boyd, in a Freudian moment, said:

“Today, we are setting the seal on this work. We can, with Edmund Burke, rejoice that our ancestors have made the most extensive and the only honourable conquest not by destroying but by promoting the wealth, the number and the happiness of the human race.” (emphasis is mine).

Yes. That was, and still is, how they saw us.

Their honourable conquest.

And we were not colonised you say?

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Well, Screw Yew!

It shows that Malaysians are observing the agreements they have signed without trying to retaliate in other directions, such as water, which will lead to war.”

That was part of what Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew reportedly said to a bunch of students at Nanyang Technological University last night.

The “agreements” which he was referring to was the one which was allegedly signed in 1990 in respect of the status of the KTM’s railway station in Tanjung Pagar and land between Bukit Timah and Tanjung Pagar. I have heard so many versions of that so-called point of agreements and the personality involved behind it. Suffice if I say that that so-called agreement is not beyond scrutiny when it comes to its enforceability.

After having said the above, The Minister Mentor continued to speak “positively” of “increasing connectivity” between Malaysia and Singapore through the construction of a third bridge. (I bet you Dr Mahathir is now hyperventilating with immense pleasure after reading that statement).

The above remark is typical of the bomb-in-floral-wrap diplomacy which Singapore is so well known for. That tiny southern cock is well known for cuckoo-ing nice little compliments and praises to its neighbours while at the same time lacing them with seemingly harmless little hypothesis of wars and mayhems.

To me, the above remark is but a reflection of Singapore’s insecurity as a smallish state without any real and tangible strength in its resources, particularly in terms of citizenry and natural sustenance capabilities.

Singapore is almost always haunted by the fact that she even have to import water from Malaysia. She is of course also mindful, at all times, of the fact that 300000 of its workforce, come from Malaysia. Her economy by and large is also dependant on Malaysia’s willingness to maintain a peaceful, cordial and neighbourly relationship with herself.

There is absolutely no reason for Lee Kuan Yew to spell out his nightmare to 1700 students in a forum, unless that nightmare has been haunting him and the rest of the Cabinet of Singapore for all of their collective life.

I would ask him, what “retaliation”? Is taking a stance – no matter how tough that stance is – in future negotiations with Singapore on any possible extension of any water agreement with Singapore an act of “retaliation”? If so, will (notice he used the word “will” and not “would”) that “retaliation” lead to war, dear Lee Kuan Yew?

If that statement was not a veiled threat to coerce and bully Malaysia into quiet submission to any whim and fancy of Singapore’s choice – particularly in any future negotiations in respect of the water agreement – I don’t know what it is.

Lee Kuan Yew and his subservient minions in Singapore’s cabinet should be more circumspect in their choice od words if they wish to maintain a warm diplomatic relationship with its neighbours, particularly Malaysia. They would be well advised to note that civilised countries do not resort to issuing a not-too-veiled threat of war at the drop of a hat.

The Philippines had always had a bone to pick with Malaysia over the latter’s more than sympathetic  stance in favour of the Moro Liberation Army’s fight for autonomy. Did it utter the word “war”? No.

Thailand’s position over Malaysia’s alleged assistance to the Islamic rebels in its southern region is also common knowledge. Did Thailand issue a “war” warning to Malaysia? No.

Brunei has had numerous overlapping territorial claims with Malaysia in the oil rich seas. Did Brunei cry “war”? No.

Indonesia has had an almost schizophrenic relationship with Malaysia leading to demonstrations on its street complete with flag burning and all. Did it  even whisper the word “war”? No.

So please, Lee Kuan Yew and friends, stop being belligerent cocks and save that “W” word for your next play-station indulgence, okay.

As a nation, Malaysia suffers 2058 air violations since the year 2008 at the hand of Singapore’s blind-as-a-bat air force pilots. In international laws and conventions, repeated and intentional encroachments into a nation’s space are acts of war. As a good neighbour, we just close our eyes and make a bit of noises once in 3 years or so. The word “war” has never left our lips.

What do you say about that Lee Kuan Yew? You don’t see any lesson from that? Or are you too old: too intellectually challenged; too mentally impotent to see?

If I were the Foreign Minister of Malaysia, a terse and not very nicely worded missive in respond to the above statement would find its way to Singapore by now.

 

 

 

 

Post script:

By the way, dear Lee Kuan Yew, do you want to know what a pub singer thinks of Singaporeans? Well here it is. 

Quote: Singaporean men are “arrogant, short and ugly” but she would marry one of them for their money.

Now now Mr Lee, don’t you go declaring war against China please. That was just an opinion of a pub singer.