Loyal Followers

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Thursday jottings

While all of us, citizens and the police alike, are going completely bonkers about the planned rally by BERSIH on 9th July, allow me to touch on the subject a bit today.

The government has surely gone drunken-ape about this planned rally. It has, among others, declared that yellow t-shirts with the word BERSIH printed on them are illegal. The IGP, feeling left out, later chipped in to warn that buses, shoes and umbrellas with markings which support the rally – which according to him is an illegal act – is seditious. See here and here for full reports respectively.

And so people wearing t-shirts are arrested. The word BERSIH has become a dirty one. Activists have also been arrested.

The police on the other hand has been busy churning out ridiculous amount of laughing gas every time it attempted to justify the clampdown on the planned rally. Firstly, they claimed it was a communist plot to overthrow the government. Then it was the fact that BERSIH was being funded by Christian groups who are of course – what else? – anti-Islam. And today we have a statement saying there are foreign elements which are threatening to throw the country into chaos during the rally.

God knows what’s the next thing they will come up with. Lord Voldermot and Darth Vader appearing as Ambiga and Hadi Awang?

Meanwhile, our National Laureate, A Samad Said, was called for questioning by the police just for reading 2 paragraphs of his prepared speech. See my post The Tipping Point on this.

Yesterday we had the Persatuan Silat whatever declaring to wage war against the BERSIH rally goers. Before that we have Ibrahim Ali telling the Chinese to stock up food. While Pak Samad was promptly hauled up to the police station for a 90 minute tete-a-tete for reading some very nice prose calling for social justice, I wonder why statements which wage war and provoking the Chinese are not investigated with the same vigour or at all by the police.

It is this kind of double standard which nauseates me and many others, I must say.

The truth is the police and the Home Ministry could just work with the organisers of the rally to ensure a peaceful and orderly rally. After all, the police’s fundamental duty is to protect the society and to ensure peace. It’s duty is not to prevent citizens from exercising their rights under the Constitution.

I remember after the now infamous cow head protest in Shah Alam, the police explained why their officers just stood guard and did not prevent the rally that Friday. I remember the police saying that they did not stop the rally because they feared it might cause more anger. And so they just stood like statues looking at the rally goers carrying a bloodied cow head while chanting racially provocative statements.

What is the difference between that and the planned BERSIH rally? Why can;t the police do the same. Stand guard. Ensure public safety.

I also remember what the Home Minister said after that protest. Here it is.

Yes. The Home Minister sat with the protesters after the protest. He totally understood their grievance. “They just wanted their voices to be heard”, says him.

Well, I suppose BERSIH and those who are planning to join the rally also have voices to be heard and they quite obviously want their voices to be heard. I am sure the Home Minister can afford the same courtesy which he accorded the cow head protesters to BERSIH and those who plan to join the rally, no?

In this respect, I am pleased to note that Ambiga, the Chairperson of BERSIH has agreed to see the IGP to try and find a win-win solution to this impasse. I do hope some kind of agreement could be achieved from this meeting. I am happy to note that the IGP is willing to talk to Ambiga as well.

On a totally unrelated matter, I remember the Prime Minister asking all of us to tighten our belt. I also remember Minister Idris Jala warning us that Malaysia might go bankrupt if subsidies are not reviewed and cut soon.

Recently of course we saw the cutting of subsidies for RON97 fuel. Then sugar price went up. And the most recent is the hiking up of electricity rate. Generally, things are just more expensive than before. And we are talking about daily household stuffs here, not handbags, sun glasses or mobile phones.

As such, I am aghast to learn how much our country pays for rentals, electricity charges and water charges for the PM and DPM’s official residences.

Minister Nazri, in a written answer to a question in the Parliament, revealed that a staggering RM160,000 is paid for electricity and RM33,000 for water every month for these two official residences.

In all, the country pays RM32,972,115.55 for rentals, RM3,581,744.78 for renovation works, RM10,267,868.15 for electricity  and  RM1,967,386.55 for water. See the full report here.

Get that. 10 million bucks for electricity in a year. And 1.9 million bucks for water!

How many Play Stations are there in these two residences? How many swimming pools and water slides are there?

By contrast, Rumah Nursalam, a welfare centre which takes care of about 700 registered children – most are street children around the Chow Kit area – spend about RM50000.00 per month on everything, including food, drinks, electricity, water, staff salaries, programmes and transportation. Their water bill is just RM300 per center per year!

Take just 1% from the 10 million electricity bill and 2 million water bill and give to Rumah Nursalam – which is 120000 – and Rumah Nursalam will be able to survive for TWO years without other donation.

With respect, I find the expenses for the two official residences appalling, to say the least.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Unwanted

There are some new articles inserted into our Federal Constitution taking effect today. They are:-

Article 8(A): All shirts and t-shirts are be equal before the law and entitled to be worn by anybody at any time. There shall be no discrimination against any shirt or t-shirt on the ground only of their colours, pattern, style, material or fashion unless and until proclaimed otherwise by the Home Minister.

Article 5A: No person shall be deprived of his rights to wear anything, especially shirts or t-shirts, in whatever colours, style, material, pattern or fashion unless such shirts or t-shirts are prohibited from being worn by the Home Minister.

Meanwhile, just now, these two guys were found, walking aimlessly and forlornly. Poor guys.


The Tipping Point


Apparently, Pak Samad Said, our Sasterawan Negara/National Laureate, read the last two paragraphs of the following speech on 19th June 2011 at the launch of Bersih.

I copied the following speech of his from his blog.

“Murbawan Malaysia tidak senang dengan apa yang sedang berlaku di negara ini. Kita menghantar pesanan yang sangat waras. Demokrasi perlu murni dan terus dimurnikan.

Kenapa kita tidak boleh memperbaik situasi? Kenapa kita harus membiarkan demokrasi diperkuda oleh segelintir kuasawan yang tampaknya bermaharajalela?
Telah lama kita tidak senang dengan aliran demokrasi yang diperkuda ini. Telah lama kita inginkan demokrasi yang bersih, bergerak atas landas yang murni.

Kita sedar bahawa jalan ini tidaklah mudah. Maka itu, kita menjadi lebih berazam. Kita maklum bahawa gergasi media arus perdana kini sedang ikut garang menghempit kita dalam arus peristiwa yang semakin durjana. Kita sedang berlawan dengan keangkuhan yang pejal. Oleh media arus perdana ini, kita sewenangnya digambarkan sebagai kumpulan “siasah” yang sangat bercita-cita buruk. Lebih buruk, kita digambarkan sebagai kelompok yang sengaja ingin menggelorakan masyarakat seburuk hajat.

Kita tidak begitu. Kita ingin memperbaiki jentera demokrasi agar lebih berhati nurani.
Kita tidak menginginkan demokrasi yang kasar dan sombong; kita merindukan demokrasi yang tulus dan betul.

Inilah gerakan kita yang, sayangnya, terpaksa bermula di tengah keangkuhan kerajaan yang merasa segala-galanya sudah betul, malah sudah syurgawi, di tanah air ini. Kita sebenarnya masih dalam derita yang terus dicipta oleh tangan kasar berhati angkuh yang sangat bercita-cita.

Kita merindukan suara kuasa yang waras dan insani; suara pembimbing yang ikhlas dan mengerti. Kita tidak memerlukan suara angkuh dalam era yang sudah terlalu lama sombong ini. Kita mengharapkan tangan kuasa yang berhemah, sedia memimpin dan berdamai, turut bantu mencipta iklim demokrasi yang harum.

Memanglah kita mengkhayalkan dunia indah itu, walaupun kenyataan yang terserlah dan mengembang kini sedang menunjukkan di atas kepala kita sentiasa sedia terapung awan kelam yang menjanjikan tofan.

Jikalau berlaku, kita bukanlah kelompok manusia yang gamam berlari; kita, sebaliknya, adalah manusia yang cekal berdiri. Kita ingin memupuk demokrasi yang lebih berhati nurani.

Dua ratus tahun dulu seorang tokoh kecil Sam Adams, dengan kelompoknya yang kecil juga, telah mencurahkan teh ke dalam laut di pelabuhan Boston, Amerika. Kata Sam Adams: “It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set bushfires in people’s minds.”

Kita nyalakan unggun api itu pada malam ini!”

(the original site is here).

Frankly, I think, the Home Minister, has lost the plot. Pure and simple.

To summon Ambiga and gang to the police station is one thing. At least, the Home Minister could say that he and the police were just doing their job to protect the state. Although I do not agree with that, I could live with it, to be fair to him.

But to drag a frail old man, our National Laureate - whose spirit and commitment for a better society is obviously not as frail as his physical body is – to the police station for 90 minutes just for reading out the last two paragraphs of the speech above is plain madness.

It is a sign of the Home Minister losing his marbles; not thinking rationally and acting recklessly. It is overkill and over-reaction to a situation which DOES NOT AT ALL WARRANT SUCH ACTION BY THE POLICE!

The planned BERSIH rally is about electoral reform. Now, according to some people, it is about the communist wanting to take over Malaysia by overthrowing the government; about Christians organisations funding BERSIH; about anti-Islam and anti-King forces and whatever else within their infantile fertile imaginations.

To me, the dragging of Pak Samad to the police station is the tipping point. Now it is about anger; about some young elitist turk being discourteous to an old man; about Malay culture; about respect; about uncouthness (is there such a word?).

Monday, June 27, 2011

Dear Brother Anas,

I am moved to comment on your "Open letter to Lim Guan Eng."

First of all, I have no doubt of your centrist stance. Having known you for close to 27 years, I think I could state, with some level of authority, that your centrist stance is one which you have embraced all this while. Now you are just utilising that stance for what you think is for the good of the society. I respect that.

As unity is a subject which is really close to your heart, allow me to put my thought to that subject, especially in relation to what you had written in your said open letter.

Unity is a concept, an abstract, if not an intangible one at that. Being an abstract, it cannot be physically measured. It is a state of mind. It exists within parameters of perception. It is not like health or financial success, where someone could declare that our nation is full of healthy people, or that it is full of wealthy people.

By contrast, unity is like the concept of safety. One can declare that statistical data shows that crime rates have fallen by, say, 20%. But one cannot, armed with that statistical data, conclude that the country is safe.

In similar fashion, with respect, one cannot just create a slogan and a nice little symbol and paste the slogan and symbol on banners and shirts as well as bombard the media with them  and declare that unity has magically, if not miraculously, delivered itself to this country and her people. It does not work that way when it comes to unity.

When we speak of unity, or rather the concept of unity, we have to understand what the concept entails; what it really means and what it is all about. And when we want to achieve unity, we have to have a definite and tangible plan to make it a reality.

An intangible and abstract concept such as unity cannot be achieved or brought to reality with intangible and abstract moves, such as the creation of a slogan or symbol.

To me, unity, in so far as a nation – more particularly, Malaysia - is concerned, consists of two kinds. They are:

  • situational unity, and,
  • transcendental unity.

Situational unity is pockets of one-ness shown or practised by the people as individuals or as members of a group which they belong to. It arises out of cultural practice or individual beliefs. It might even arise out of certain circumstances and even out of purely selfish reasons and not precipitated by any altruism at all.

Examples of these situational unity are seen daily in our lives. People of various races and faiths sit together at a stall sipping their teh tarik while talking about how our Magistrate Courts had turned into a sex video cinema, for example.

When the  Malaysian football team won the Suzuki Cup not so long ago, Malaysians of all races went berserk with a little burst of spontaneous patriotism and nationalism everywhere; at teh tarik stalls; at homes; in cyberspace over Twitter or Facebook etc. A long time ago, when Malaysia beat Saudi Arabia at Stadium Merdeka, I spontaneously stood up together with 45ooo other Malaysians to sing Negara Ku, without being prompted by anybody or anything.

In my office, I, a Malay partner, am in unison with my partners of other races, for a purely self-altruitic purpose, namely, to make a living.

Those are what I call situational unity.

Although at macro level, these pockets of situational unity may seem insignificant or even irrelevant, to me, they are reflective of a positive mind set. They show that there are certain situations or set of situations where people of various races and faiths are driven to disregard and put aside their cultural and genetic differences and spontaneously unite to become one.

That is proof that while unity, being an abstract concept, cannot be directly engineered, situations or circumstances conducive or leading to it may be created to foster unity.

Meanwhile, transcendental unity, in terms of a nation and nation building, would mean the people, regardless of their race, faith and cultural background or even genetic make-up, coming together and moving in unison towards the greater and common good of this nation while at the same time, putting aside self-altruism and interests.

I  call this concept of unity transcendental unity because it is an ideal and not real. A complete transcendental unity, I would dare say, can never be achieved because it is against human nature.

Human beings are by nature selfish. Francis Fukuyama, in his book, “The Origins of Political Order”, pointed out that human beings, for example, have the propensity for favouring their family and friends, something which Fukuyama calls “patrimonialism”. If I may, I would stretch Fukuyama’s patrimonialism even beyond family and friends. I think it is also human nature to prefer one’s tribe, race or community.

Notwithstanding the fact that an absolute state of transcendental unity can never be achieved, a civilised society led by a government which is committed to achieving a common good for the nation must, at great cost and effort, work to achieve a state of transcendental unity or as close as possible to that state.

It is of course easy to disunite the people, especially when the people consist of various races and faiths and coming from diverse cultural background, than to even maintain a facade of unity.

Unity exists even as a facade. History would of course show that facades of unity were often created by dictators, authoritarians and totalitarians. These facades of unity would soon disintegrate as the dictators, authoritarians and totalitarians fell.

As soon as Saddam Hussein was defeated for example, the almost serene and tranquil racial, religious and cultural “melting pot” of Iraq became a boiling porridge of tribal and sectarians divisiveness. Just as the Berlin wall fell, glasnost and perestroika liberated the Russians from years of communism, the country broke into pieces and some former colonists, like Yugoslavia, descended into hellish war fuelled by centuries of racial and religious wounds. 

The danger  with creating a facade of unity, instead of working towards the establishment of a transcendental unity, is that we might be lulled into sleep with a dream-like belief that our people are united for the better good of this country while on the ground, racial bigotry and hatred are allowed to fester and infest the very fabric of our society, hidden behind this facade of unity which we created for whatever purpose which only we know. Deep underneath this veil or facade of unity, there is a virulent form of disease working insidiously. God helps us if or when this viral infection becomes too late to treat.

As I had stated earlier, there are innumerable pockets of situational unity displayed by us day in and day out in Malaysia. This proves that if left behind on their own and without interference by politicians and self-altruistic rebel- rousers, we, Malaysians, regardless of racial, religious or cultural background, are able to switch on our natural love for a peaceful co-existence. We are able to put aside our differences and become one if a situation conducive for such unity is present.

Towards achieving a state of transcendental unity, it is therefore the duty of a responsible government to create these  conduciveness. This conduciveness will not be present when there are newspapers like Utusan Malaysia being allowed, by the continued patronisation of the biggest political party in the ruling government, to spew racial hatred and bigotry almost on a daily basis.

This conduciveness will also not be in existence, regardless of how loud we shout 1Malaysia and 1this-and-that if at the same time ultra-right-winged organisations such as Perkasa be given a free hand – and mouth and leg – to threaten blood-shed and create racial fear by issuing warnings and mongering fear with impunity as if these people are above the law.

This conduciveness will not exist when a  rational discourse is not granted to minority groups who are trying to voice out minority’s concerns, insecurity as well as well as fight for the recognition, at least, of their rights.

At this juncture Anas, your call for the acknowledgement by DAP that this land had always belonged to the Malays; that the Malays have been kind enough to let the non-Malays to be here and that DAP should be grateful for this kindness come into play.

Although various historical as well as anthropological studies could very well be used to at least dispute your assertion that this land had always belonged to the Malays, I do  not wish to go into such dispute in this post.

For the sake of argument, let’s just assume for a while that you are correct, that this land, ie, this land which was otherwise known as Tanah Melayu, had belonged to the Malays.

With respect Anas, you had failed to recognise, or give any consideration at all, that such acknowledgement had been given by the non-Malays during the inception of this country as an independent state in 1957.

I say so based on the argument which has always been used by the likes of Dr Mahathir and his ilk. Not based on any arguments made up by myself, the so called Melayu Liberal who has given a bad twist to the word “liberal” and “Melayu”.

Dr Mahathir and his band of nationalistic scholars argue that in 1957, there was a “social contract.” This social contract, in effect, consists of the Malays being kind enough to “grant” citizenship to the Chinese and Indians. Because of that kindness, and to show gratitude towards the Malays, the Chinese and Indians agreed to grant “special rights” to the Malays. These “special rights” are enshrined in article 153 of our Federal Constitution.

I have written so many articles on this subject. I will not argue with Dr Mahathir anymore on this.

Now, let’s just assume that what Dr Mahathir said about the compromise to be a correct and true historical fact.

If the Chinese and Indians who were given the right to citizenship by the kind and gracious Malays had in turned gladly conceded that the Malays have special rights under our Constitution, that would of course mean that the Chinese and Indians had in fact acknowledged that Tanah Melayu had belonged to the Malays before 1957.

The acknowledgement which you sought dear Anas, had been given in 1957 by the Chinese and Indian community. This acknowledgement, based on Dr Mahathir’s own historical postulation, took the form of the concession of special rights being given to the Malays in article 153 of our Federal Constitution.

If that is so, why is there a need for the non-Malays, especially DAP, to make such acknowledgement again, in 2011?

While I agree that acknowledging the past is sometimes good for us – just so we do  not forget our roots – a demand for such acknowledgement times and again would be regressive in terms of achieving transcendental unity in my humble opinion.

What we need is an acknowledgement by all Malaysians and by all political parties, that all of us have our respective rights guaranteed under the Federal Constitution. The government then must assure that all these rights will be respected and they will not be trampled willy-nilly as of we are some ant colonies being ruled by a bunch of hungry ant-eaters!

As it is, we can’t even wear a yellow t-shirt nowadays! What conduciveness towards unity are we talking about?

In my humble opinion, it would do nicely for a state of transcendental unity of the government could start creating a situation conducive to unity instead of patronising pseudo-nationalist individuals and organisations. If there is any acknowledgement which is necessary for unity, I think the acknowledgement should come from the State and not from the people. That is because the people’s ability to unite is amply shown by the countless of situational unity day in day out by the people.

Before I end Anas, allow me to tell the story of the Melanesian societies of the Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.*

The societies existing in these two newly independent “Westminster democracies” are based on tribal lineage and kinsman. To say that they are fractious would be a gross understatement. Papua New Guinea has more than 900 languages, which is nearly one-sixth of the number of languages in the whole world! The Solomon Islands are not far behind. It has a population of about 500000 people and yet it has about 70 different languages.

Each tribe is headed by what they call, a Big Man (certain tribe is headed by a Big Woman, of course). In each society, the position of Big Man or Big Woman is earned and not passed by generations. A Big Man must therefore prove himself as a leader and is constantly aware of a  challenge being mounted by a challenger.

The ability of a Big Man or Big Woman is judged in accordance with his or her ability to distribute pigs, shell money and other resources to the members of his tribes.

As and when a Westminster democracy was introduced, the concept of Parliamentary representative was transposed on these societies. The result was of course, chaotic, to say the least. The various tribe do not vote based on political ideologies or programmes for the common good of the country. They vote for their Big Man or Big Woman.

In turn, when these Big Men or Women are elected, they do not work for the common good of the country or for the people as a nation or state. They are more concerned with how many pigs they could get and deliver to their tribe. If not, they would lose their respective position as the Big Man or Big Woman.

That fractious approach towards nation building makes a mockery of the Westminster democracy that these two states practise. Unity is unknown to these two as the people are only move in accordance with their self-altruistic motivations.

We might laugh when we read about this. But doesn’t it remind us of a modern and semi-developed place we know?

Unity starts with a resolution. And that resolution is a resolution to move in unison for the greater good of the nation.

Have a good day Anas.

*data are from Francis Fukuyama’s The Origins of Political Order, Profile Books, 2011

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Malaysia is under 4 states of emergency, mind you!

According to a MalaysiaKini report, Dato’ Ambiga, the chairperson of BERSIH, YB Khairy Jamaluddin, the UMNO Youth Chief and Dato’ Ibrahim Ali, the Perkasa war general, have all been summoned to Bukit Aman by the police. So the Home Minister said.

On the same day, I read a Malaysian Insider report that three youths are suing the police for placing them under detention without trial under the Emergency Ordinance 1969 for allegedly stealing motorcycles.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Malaysia, and please do not unfasten your seatbelts.

For the uninitiated, allow me to put on record that Malaysia (including when we were Tanah Melayu) has seen 5 state of emergencies altogether. The 1st time was in 1948 when the communist insurgency resulted in 11000 people being killed.

The 2nd time was in 1964 during the Indonesian confrontation.

The 3rd time was in 1966. This was limited to Sarawak following the dismissal of the Ketua Menteri.

The 4th time was in 1969 following the 13th May incident.

Lastly, it was in 1977, which was limited to the state of Kelantan to deal with the political crisis there.

The last 4 emergencies have not been lifted till today.

What is so frightening about state of emergencies, you may ask.

This is the most frightening. Article 150, Clause 6 of the Federal Constitution allows the Parliament to pass any law and His  Majesty the King to promulgate any ordinance during state of emergencies and those laws and ordinances will be valid even if they are repugnant or inconsistent with any of the provisions of the Federal Constitution.

In other words, during an emergency, any kind of law would be valid. Which means, the Federal Constitution may be ignored, side-stepped or just plain torn, shredded and burned. Which finally mean, you and I, citizen of Malaysia, do not have any kind of recognisable right during an emergency.

Various emergency regulations have been promulgated and used since 1969. These regulations give wide and really draconian powers to the police and government. The followings are just some examples.

Firstly, a person may be detained without trial and banished to a certain area without trial.

Secondly, In the EMERGENCY (ESSENTIAL POWERS) ORDINANCE, 1969(Ordinance 1 and Ordinance 2) ESSENTIAL (DISPOSAL OF DEAD BODIES AND DISPENSATION OF INQUESTS AND DEATH INQUIRIES) REGULATIONS, 1969 for example, regulation 3 ( b ) provides as follows:

“where a Magistrate or a Coroner responsible for holding a death inquiry or inquest on the body of any person is satisfied that such person has been killed as a result of operations for the purpose of suppressing disturbances by the Police or the Malaysian Armed Forces or as a result of injuries caused by
disturbances, the Magistrate or the Coroner, as the case may be, may dispense with the holding of a death inquiry or inquest on the body of such person.”

That would of course mean no police killing could come under scrutiny during an emergency.

Thirdly, the Home Minister can ban any kind of printing material which he deems it as prejudicial to public order. He can even open all postal packages, read all telegrams, articles and printed matters and detain those material under the ESSENTIAL (NEWSPAPERS AND OTHER PUBLICATIONS) REGULATIONS, 1969.

Fourthly (hold on really tight to your seats for this one), under the ESSENTIAL (PROHIBITION OF ACTIVITIES RELATING TO ELECTIONS)
REGULATIONS, 1969, elections may be suspended, during which suspension, regulation 2 provides:

“Notwithstanding any written law to the contrary. for so long as the elections are suspended all activities relating to elections are hereby prohibited.”

Fifthly, there is such a thing called the ESCAR, namely, the Emergency and Security Cases Regulations which, among others:

  1. permits the Attorney General to choose whichever Court he likes to try a security case. The Court may sit in any place or state regardless of where the alleged offence took place.
  2. if the Court is satisfied that a witness is afraid to testify, the witness can testify in a manner that he or she cannot be seen or heard by the Counsel of the accused! Now, tell me, how the hell is the accused going to defend himself against such witness?
  3. hearsay evidence may be tendered and admitted by Court.

The above are but examples of the extreme powers that the State has during emergencies. Powers such as these are open to abuse and there is no mechanism to check this abuse. These regulations are not challengeable in any Courts of Law. Actions taken by the State under those emergency regulations are also not usually challengeable in any Courts of Law.

Nobody in their sane mind would say that Malaysia, in reality, is in a state of emergency now. Chaos, maybe. In a state of dream, perhaps. State of denial, obviously. State of incorrigible stupor, maybe too. But emergency? Excuse me.

The only reason why these proclamations of emergencies have not been lifted is because the government is desirous of maintaining all these draconian laws and regulations.

These regulations provide shortcuts to the likes of the police. Why bother investigate a case thoroughly when they can detain any person without trial and banish them to a certain district?

If it was true that the 3 youths have been stealing motorcycles, the obvious right thing to do in any civilised society is to have them produced before the Court and charged.

An obvious case of abuse of emergency ordinance is the case of the Kelantan’s claim for the petroleum royalty. The case for the government rests on the definition of state’s waters as defined in Section 4 (2) of the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 1969,  which provides that a state's waters is  only within three nautical miles from its shores. (source: this article).

That is a classic abuse of emergency laws. How can an economic claim be settled by reference to a rule which is made to cater for a state of emergency?

The continuous existence of states of emergencies in Malaysia is repugnant to the notion that Malaysia is inching towards a the status of a developed state; that we are a liberal and tolerant society;that we are a country practising democracy with a vibrant society able to engage in a public and civil discourse over whatever issues which are important for nation building.

The police force is a law unto themselves in Malaysia. This has to stop immediately. Lest Malaysia would be viewed dimly by the international community. We are not a police state, yet. But we surely are displaying obvious symptoms of one.

The latest episode involving the summoning of Dato’ Ambiga nd YB KJ* is but an example of the police force acting at their whim and fancy. These two persons have not committed any offence. Nor have they, under the law, attempted to commit any offence. What power does the police force have to summon them to Bukit Aman? Why are they being summoned? What if they did not appear in Bukit Aman? What would the police do?

*as for Ibrahim Ali, there is obviously a reason, or even several reasons, to summon him.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Oh lawd…please don’t let me be misunderstood

*A special dedication to all those who are misunderstood.

Baby, do you understand me now
Sometimes I feel a little mad
But don't you know that no one alive
Can always be an angel
When things go wrong I seem to be bad
But I'm just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood

Yada yada yada…


For those disco-era guys, perhaps you would love this version more.

Wonder which version Ibrahim Ali prefers more.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Democracy and freedom of expression

In The Wolf and the Silence of the Lamb, I said, among others:

“The core of democracy is representation. It is a system of governance where the people are represented by representatives who are elected by the people. These representatives then form a government. The government than governs the people. A state is then formed, consisting of the government and the people it governs.”

More importantly, I attempted to correct the popular notion that democracy was the cause of liberty. After alluding to Marx’ Utopian state, I opined:

“The obvious flaw in Marx's theory of a utopian society makes democracy a very alluring alternative. If at all, it pushes to the fore the false notion that liberty is the product of democracy, when in fact democracy is just but one of the many (flawed) ways of protecting liberty. Liberty is not caused by democracy. It rather is the cause for democracy.”

And I asked some sobering questions:

“That brings us to some sobering thoughts. Can liberty be usurped by democracy? Is it possible for a democracy to destroy liberty in itself? In that event, what will happen to democracy? Can it exist without liberty?”

I would like, in this article, to expand the theoretical postulation that the  basis of democracy is liberty and freedom, in terms of the freedom of expression of the people in a democratic state.

I feel that a deep understanding of this area of the democracy theory is important, more particularly due to the current climate in Malaysia, where BERSIH is planning a rally for electoral reform on the 9th July this year while at the same time, the usual suspects of horror and doom, Perkasa, Ibrahim Ali and their ilk are planning to create disturbances.

Democracy, to my mind, starts with an expression of will by the people or a group of people. The will which was being expressed was the will to be represented in the governance and administration of the state which the people formed.

That will was expressed through the process of elections.

It would not thus be far fetched to say that a state of democracy is anchored to, and in fact born, out of that expression of will. The expression of the people’s will is therefore the thrust of democracy.

However, the expression of the people’s will does not end with the casting of votes. A true and dynamic democracy requires continuous engagement of minds between the State and its people. The elected representatives are not angels. They are not gods. Being human who are garbed with  power robes, temptations lurk in every corner. Abuse of powers and positions are just but a finger snap away. Powers corrupts. Absolute powers corrupt absolutely, said a very wise man.

Furthermore, democracy is also tied up to mandate by numbers. Which means, the majority would win the right to rule. Regardless, the success of a democratic State is not in the manner in which the majority rules. It is measured by looking at how the majority balances and treats the rights and demands of the majority with the obvious desires and wants of the minority bearing in mind the general welfare of the State as a whole.

In such a dynamic and vibrant state of things, expression of the people continues – and must be allowed to continue – if a meaningful democracy were to exist.

The people express their will and mind. The State, via the government, listens and acts. The process continues. It is this continuous and mutual engagement of the will and mind, between the people and the State, which gives democracy its soul.

Democracy does not mean the people expressing their will by casting their votes once in 5 years and after that the elected representative could assume that they are “mandated” to do anything at their whim and fancy until their 5 year term ends at which time they come back for a new mandate. That is periodical absolutism. A benevolent absolutist – even a police - State masked as a democracy where democracy is used to legitimise the State’s  penchant for sadistic and diabolical intents.

When there is a general intention to express the people’s will, it is not for  the State to prevent such expression of will by citing security or economics reason. In a vibrant democracy, a responsible State should act to facilitate the expression of that will in a peaceful and orderly fashion. That is the duty of the State.

A State which act to prevent the lawful expression of will by the people which it governs is a State fearful of its own voice. That State loses its moral legitimacy to rule and to be respected.

The State must remember that the will of the people is insidious. That it exists inside their mind. What they wish to do is the express that will.

Even when such expression is supressed, either by the overt acts of the State of any of its machinations, the will still exists. It will not go away.

Although the expression of the will may be prevented, the will can’t.

Monday, June 20, 2011

My creative thoughts on the FB pages with unquantifiable creativity

The Cuti-cuti 1Malaysia and Citrawarna 1 Malaysia FB pages are just about as creative as having sex with a personal friend in a hotel and getting caught doing it on video!

For the record, I did check out the two FB pages. There is nothing creative about them at all. They are just like any other FB pages.

There is the usual profile picture, which in the case of the Cuti-cuti 1Malaysia page, is the Petronas Twin Tower picture (how creative is that?) and in the case of the Citrawarna page, is a picture of whatever building with fireworks littered on it. The second picture is not even original as it bears the url of a website from which it was taken.

If that was creative, then boiling eggs and frying sardines must be creative too. So is passing motion in the morning.

By the way, I did a FB search on the other FB pages supposedly created by the Ministry of Tourism. I could not find the Festival Pelancongan Seni Kontemporari 1Malaysia page. Nor could I find the Kempen 1Malaysia Bersih page. Meanwhile, the Fabulous Food 1Malaysia is not even a page in the normal FB sense. It is just an invitation page consisting of 4 different invitations. Correct me if I am wrong. I stand corrected on this as I did not thoroughly search for them. All I did was to type the FB page name in the search box on FB and it did not yield any result.

Let me tell Minister Yen Yen and Choi Soi Lek about being creative without having to spend 1.8 million.

Those pages could do with a bit of sprucing up guys. Put on them pictures of sexy nice and obedient women wearing 1Malaysia bikini with a Visit Malaysia watermark and I guarantee you would have 300000 “likes” in 3 days. 

In addition, put some applications where fully dressed sexy nice and obedient women could be undressed one by one by clicking on a Visit Malaysia icon which moves intermittently on the pictures. 

Alternatively, try putting some apps which would allow visitors to click on only 2 pictures of sexy nice and obedient women after which they have to mandatorily click on a Visit Malaysia icon before proceeding to view another 2 pictures. Repeat ad infinitum.

Just to maintain the cheapskate approach, the pictures do not have to be originals. Just steal them from the Net and paste it on the pages. Just make sure you all do not mark “X” on the forehead of the women in the picture because that is not so nice lah.

I guarantee there will be about a million “likes” in about a month if you follow my suggestion.

While we are talking about tourism, may I suggest something to Minister Yen Yen please? No. I am not going to charge 1.8 million. Promise. I swear. But if you are going to give me some money, I take lah.

Here’s my suggestion.

BERSIH is going to rally on 9th July. PERKASA is joining with banners and probably with some effigies too. I am sure a lot of burning pictures and effigies will take place too. YB Khairy Jamaluddin and his UMNO Youth guys are going to be there too. At the time of writing this, the Obedient Wife Club has not decided whether to obediently follow their husband in the planned rally.
The police and FRU will surely be there too. There will be batons, rotans, guns and tear gases. And yes, a lot of water courtesy of water canons from that red water vehicle.

You know APCO would charge you 5 million for this advice.

I am doing it for free.

You see, why not spin the whole event to the foreigners, especially the ever gullible Singaporeans (Malaysia should start coaxing the Singaporeans to come visiting Malaysia again you know, after the nude squat incidents recently).

How to spin it, you ask?

Easy. Tell the foreigners, especially the ever so gullible Singaporeans, that the BERSIH rally is Malaysia’s annual answer to the Thai water festival, otherwise known as the Songkran.

How? Creative or not?

And it doesn’t cost you a single sen.

Friday, June 17, 2011

What were you saying again, YB Datuk Zulkifli Noordin?


I read the Malaysian Insider report that YB Datuk Zul Noordin had called to prevent the planned BERSIH rally on July the 9th.

By the way, I did not know that the YB had been bestowed a Datukship. I am sure he deserves it. Congratulations YB Datuk.

YBDZN (short for Yang Berhormat Datuk Zulkifli Noordin – I learn to shorten things from PEMANDU), for the uninitiated, stood in the 2008 GE in Kulim under the PKR banner. His political tagline was, “it was time to change, new hope.”


During the campaign, he repeatedly reminded the voters to use their vote wisely. He implored them to use their “sacred hands” to choose a candidate who was commanding and not to chose a devil masked as an angel. This was what he wrote on his blog on 27th Februuary 2008:

Undilah calon yang berwibawa, bukan jerangkung bertopeng dewa.”

I admire his tenacity and conviction, I must say.

He asked the people to vote someone who was clean, someone who was not corrupted or corruptible. He wanted a stronger opposition to fight abuse of power; to fight against corruption and to fight for a better Malaysia. He asked the people to vote for a responsible representative who would  fight for the people’s rights and whatever things which are closed to the people’s heart. Love this!


However, unfortunately, perhaps while suffering a momentary lapse of refinement, he was also prone to a bit of theatrical indulgence such as displayed by this, which appeared on his blog on 5th March 2008 titled “Orang kata KJ macam beruk…”:


That was most unfortunate. But hey, the man has his opinion.

As he was feeling the heat of the election campaign – which was understandable, as he was a rookie of sorts – he developed a dislike against the then Suruhanjaya Pilihanraya (SPR). It looked like the “macam beruk” blog post was not the last showing of his penchant for name calling.

This was evident in his post, titled, almost inevitably, "SPR Barua BN." Wow. For a person who describes himself as the “servant of Allah” and who always fight for Islam, he was very Islam in his language. But hey, the man has an opinion, right?

In that post, YBDZN berated SPR for cancelling the usage of the indelible ink in the 2008 GE. He wrote:

“Memang kita sedia maklum mengharapkan ketelusan daripada SPR samalah seperti mengharap gajah dapat melepasi mata jarum.”

Then in April 2008, he advocated freedom of expression by speaking, not once, but three times, about a planned gathering called “Black 14” as a show of support for Anwar Ibrahim. His three posts on that subject appeared here, here and here.

Then, on 21st August 2008, he reproduced a letter from Dato’ Salehuddin Hashim, the then Secretary General of PKR to the SPR, which, among others say:

Saya sangat mempersoalkan kredibiliti dan kerja SPR kerana apa yang timbul bukanlah perkara baru malahan ianya adalah perkara sama yang berbangkit pada setiap kali pilihanraya walaupun berbagai-bagai aduan, kritikan, dan cadangan telah dikemukakan kepada pihak SPR.

Sehubungan dengan itu saya meminta dan berharap agar SPR dapat meneliti untuk bertindak dengan serius dan bersungguh-sungguh terhadap aduan yang saya kemukakan seperti berikut;

i. Nama Pengundi Hilang

ii. Pemilihan Hari Bekerja Sebagai Hari Membuang Undi

iii. Menggunakan Agensi Kerajaan Untuk Tujuan Kempen Umno/BN

iv. Laporan Media Yang Berat Sebelah

v. Penggunaan Pasukan Anggota Keselamatan

vi. Mengambil Kad Pengenalan Pengundi

vii. Sogokan Wang kepada Pengundi

Dilaporkan bahawa kempen Umno/BN telah menggunakan sogokan wang untuk meraih undi. Petugas Umno/Bn bertemu pengundi menawarkan wang supaya pengundi diminta mengundi calon Umno/BN atau pun pengundi menyerahkan kad pengenalan mereka. Tindakan ini selain menyalahi etika pilihanraya dan mempunyai unsur amalan rasuah.

Kerjasama dan tindakan dari pihak Tan Sri saya hargai dengan ucapan terima kasih. Semoga usaha bersama kita memartabatkan demokrasi Malaysia akan mencapai kejayaan.”

It thus came as a complete surprised, and not to mention, puzzlement, that YBDZN was quoted by the Malaysian Insider report saying as follows:

“Datuk Zulkifli Noordin said today that Malays will weaken themselves if they are used by anti-Islamic leaders organising next month’s Bersih rally to call for free and fair elections.”

I suppose YBDZN now does not think that the SPR is “barua” BN anymore. And I suppose YBDZN now feels that all his concerns listed above have been adequately addressed by the SPR.

Hey, the man has a right to form an opinion okay. And obviously, that is his current opinion.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Harun bin Mahmud



This is him. My father. My father whom I never quite knew as I lived with my grandfather and grandmother since I was one.

Although he was, like many old-school father, aloof and almost unapproachable, I always knew that he was watching me from afar.

I would ask for money to buy books from him and he would say he's got no money yet.

Deep down inside I detected sadness in his eyes when he said that. Because I knew he would give, if he had. Sure enough, when he had the money, he would ask me whether I still needed the book that I’d wanted before.

I will always remember the day I got my letter of admission to the University of Malaya. In his own way he was elated but he wouldn't jump for joy.

He came to me that evening, shirtless as usual and wearing a rolled up kain pelikat. He stood beside me and said, "Art, ayah heard you got to do law at UM." I said "yes". "You are not like your brothers, you know (referring to the fact that I didn't study hard like my brothers)," he said. He looked at me intently and asked, "would you pass?". I was surprised and after  a while I said, "I think I would."

There was this look of satisfaction in his eyes. And he said, "that's good."

That's him. He would watch over me from afar and kept his feelings inside. When he had doubts, he would ask. And when he gets the answer from me, he would take it at face value as he never judged me or any one of us, his kids.

He would then take a hundred dollar note and gave me. He said, "you would need a new pair of football boots in the uni. Go and buy them tomorrow. Use all 100 dollars. Buy a really really good pair," he said.

I was so surprised and was in fact speechless. I was a footballer. My grandma hated that. She did not like me playing football, perhaps because she was worried that I would hurt myself. I had to save my school money for four months to buy my first pair of football boots. And there he was, giving me 100 bucks to splash on a pair. One hundred dollars of his hard earned money. A whole month’s kitchen budget!

“Take it,” he said. “Ayah don’t have more to give.”

I took the money and thanked him. He said, "ayah only has that much. You go and buy a pair tomorrow. And good luck in your studies at the uni." He then walked away.

I bought a pair of Adidas Adi with that money in Alor Star the next day.

One evening, opening the door to my room at the residential college, there was a note on the floor. “Ayah in Uni Hospital, don’t worry, not bad,” it read. I rushed to the hospital on foot and there he was, sitting on the edge of the hospital bed. Seeing me he quickly declared, “I am ok, just a bit tired.”

As it turned out, he was tired because he had kidney problems. I visited him everyday, bringing food for him because according to him the hospital food was “langsung tak sedap, garam tak rasa apa pun tak rasa.”

One day he was describing to me that the nurse had inserted a hell of a long needle into his back and it was really painful. I think that was the biopsy which he had to undergo.

On the eve of his discharge from the hospital he told me he had two requests. “Tell your brother Idrus I want the fragrance which he uses and tell Dad (my eldest brother) I want to eat in a nice restaurant, if he’s free.”

The next night, me and all three of my elder brothers had a real nice dinner at the Chinese restaurant at Lake Club. My father was happy. He looked so alive. That was, I think, his very first trip to Kuala Lumpur! We then said good bye and the next day he left for home.

I still remember the day he died. He was there in a coma, lying in bed at the hospital. People were reading Yasin. I was sitting beside him crying. I was going to lose my father. A father I never quite took the trouble to know and to be close with.

An old man walked into the room, gave the salam. He asked who the head of the family was in the room. My brother said he was. The old man asked permission to read the Yasin. My brother said it was okay.

The old man sat at the end of the bed and cited Yasin by heart. He finished, gave the salam, and left.

My father passed away moments after that.

The father I never quite knew.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Failure of Our Institutions


When MACC opened a Twitter account some months ago, I was actually pleasantly surprised that it chose to follow my twitter account. I promptly decided to return the compliment by following MACC on Twitter.

From then on, I could read MACC’s instant reports of the Teoh Beng Hock RCI proceedings on Twitter. I must say it was a good initiative by MACC. Kudos to whoever that was in MACC who decided to utilise  the social-networking facility by engaging the cyber-society through Twitter.

At the height of the Sarawak election campaign, I decided that it was about time that I had a two-way communication with MACC over Twitter. Conscious of the fact that the biggest election issue for that election was the alleged wealth – which were not rebutted or categorically denied – of Taib Mahmud and his family members, I decided to tickle MACC’s feet with a question.

My question to MACC over Twitter was “why doesn’t MACC investigate the wealth of Taib Mahmud?”

I did that because from what I gathered over various reports – which I must say were unconfirmed but were not met by firm denials – Taib Mahmud and his family members own vast properties in Sarawak, Canada and other countries. The wealth imputed to him and his family would, if proven to be true, far exceed the amount of his salaries, allowances, bonuses and perks as a Chief Minister, even if it is assumed that he spent all those income on acquiring properties and nothing else throughout his tenure as the Chief Minister of Sarawak.

To my simple mind, surely Taib Mahmud has a lot to explain on how he managed to acquire such vast properties during his tenure as the Chief Minister. If he said that he was a good businessman who manage to accumulate such wealth, then the next question would be where did he find the time to undertake such businesses when he should really be managing Sarawak on full time basis.

So I asked MACC the above question on Twitter.

The reply which I got from MACC was disappointing, to say the least. It was either a sign that MACC did not fully understand its functions as an agency or was reflective of an institution which exists just as a Christmas decoration on a very colourful street in GagaLand.

The reply was “we need proof, we will investigate only when there is proof.” Or something to that effect.

And so I shot back, “isn’t the function of investigation to find proof?”

I did not get any reply to that one till today.

My public engagement with MACC thus met with an early termination.

MACC perhaps does not really understand what its functions as an investigative agency are. May I put it in simple term.

When there are any media report of alleged corruption or abuse of power, MACC is supposed to investigate. If the reports are clear enough, MACC does not even have to wait for the public to lodge a report. Any of its officers can lodge a report to start the ball rolling.

MACC does not wait for proof. MACC is supposed to find the proof by investigating into the matter. The purpose of investigation is to get proof. If there are proof, there is no real necessity for an investigation. Get it, MACC?

In any event, the real purpose of an investigation is not to get proof. It is to get information and evidence. It is not for MACC to proof anything at all. When MACC completes the investigation, it has to compile all the information and evidence and send it to the Attorney General Chambers.

The AGC is then supposed to decide whether all the information and evidence gathered by MACC constitute sufficient proof to prosecute the person being investigated. It is not then for MACC to prove anything. The burden of proving guilt is on the AGC if and when it decides go prosecute.

Get it, MACC? Or do you want me to spell that out in Bahasa Melayu?

Last week I read that MACC was to investigate Taib Mahmud. Good for you MACC. Have you got the proof now, may I ask? Or you have finally understood what you were supposed to do now eh?

While I am at it, may I suggest that MACC does all its interrogations, erm, sorry, interviews on the ground in a glass room complete with working CCTV system and manned 24 hours so that no interviewee could commit suicide in your premises again please? (Someone suggested that MACC’s officer might commit suicide during this investigation! LOL!).

Although I was on leave for the last two weeks, it did not also escape me that testimonies were given in Court that the former Menteri Besar of Selangor, Khir Toyo, bought a piece of land worth RM6.5 million for just RM3.5 million from a businessman who has businesses in Selangor and more particularly with Selangor state agencies. Those state agencies needless to say were answerable to Khir Toyo. I think he even held the position of Chairman of some of them.

Khir Toyo, according to later testimonies, paid a whopping RM6.5 million for renovation work on that property, turning the already huge mansion into a Balinese- styled mansion. If that was not enough to make us, ordinary Malaysians, choke in our own puke, he even paid that 6.5 million smakeroons in CASH!

Let us do some simple mathematics, shall we?

Khir Toyo was the MB of Selangor for 8 years. Assuming his income as an MB and as Chairman of the various state agencies was RM100000 a month, his total income for the whole 8 year tenure would be RM9.6 million.

Now, assuming he did not spend a single sen from that RM9.6 million to buy anything from his obedient wife or to buy some tempe which he admittedly consumed to preserve his youthful look, he would still be short of RM400000 to be able to pay for a total sum of RM10 million which he spent in acquiring the property and building the mansion.

This brings into question the collective wisdom of MACC in preferring a charge for fraudulently acquiring the land instead of for abuse of power against Khir Toyo. The former carries a maximum sentence of only 2 year imprisonment while the latter carries a much heftier sentence.

Perhaps MACC has its own reasons for doing as they did and we, the people, can only hope that the reasons are purely one of practicality and is grounded on legal basis rather than some political motivations or external factors. But one cannot escape to note that Anwar Ibrahim was previously charged for abuse of power for reasons much flimsier than the one in the Khir Toyo case.

It is in a situation such as this that public accountability is paramount. MACC suffers from an almost hallucinated state of belief that it is operating at a very high standard and is, for all intent and purposes, above board, and in particular, above political pressure. The public however does not suffer from such grandiose delusion. In 2011, the people demand accountability from public institutions, even more so from such an important institution which lies at the heart of proper governance.

It is in cases such as this that MACC’s action is open to scrutiny by the people who are increasingly  aware of their rights. When there are actions which are smack of double standard, the public would be quick to judge. It is therefore MACC’s duty to account for its action.

Meanwhile, the police force is or appears to be a leviathan of some sorts.

Buried and tainted in a litany of unspeakable  abuses of force and power, for which the force has not even attempted to own up, let alone unequivocally apologise, the police force is an institution which has lost almost all of its credibility in the eyes of the public.

From the time of Dr Mahathir, where the police force was used as a carriage donkey for whatever Machiavellian schemes which he set out to undertake (I may be insulting Machiavelli here), the police force has times and again failed to rise up above political patronisation and meet public expectations.

It has carried mattresses into Courts; provided dodgy DNA  analysis and result as testimony; allegedly summarily executed hundreds of alleged criminals (for which there have been no more than flimsy denials that they were acting in self defence as an explanation); arrested people who were just carrying some candles by the streets and the lawyers who were going to see their clients.

The list goes on and on. In recent memory, we have the mysterious death of Kugan; the fatal shooting of a 14 year old boy, Aminurasyid and recently the killing of 3 young men which, according to the pathologist report, took place in seemingly “execution” fashion.

The most recent is the story of a bank manager who spent 3 days in a lock up for not wearing a seatbelt, as reported by Malaysiakini. Even if we take the police’s story as accurate and true, that the bank manager did say “Lu apa kuasa mahu ambil gua punya lesen dan IC?” to the police officer and that, in the mind of the police constituted an obstruction of a government officer from discharging his duties, what was the necessity to arrest and obtained a remand order to keep him in a lock up for 3 days?

What further investigations which were necessary for the police to undertake? If the bank manager had said that and the police had opined that that constituted an offence as alleged, couldn’t the police prepare an investigation paper there and then and pass it to the AG Chambers for further action? What was there to be investigated further which would warrant a 3 day lock up?

It was as clear as daylight (without the seasonal haze, of course) that the police’s action was unwarranted and is an abuse of power. It was the police force acting as complainant, investigator, prosecutor, judge and executioner.

Again, like the MACC, the police force is an essential institution in the machination of governance in any state, modern or quasi-modern. Even during the Melaka Sultanate, the office of the Temenggong (equivalent to the office of the Inspector General of Police) was taken seriously by  none other than the Sultan himself. Sultan Allaudin Riayat Shah, for example, realising that crime rate was creeping up, took it upon himself to do the Temenggong’s job one night just to show that the Temenggong was more than a little slacking in his KPI rating.

It is thus paramount that the police force should rise up to the  challenge and demands of the people – as opposed to the State’s – and start proving that it is an institution worthy of the trust and respect of the people which it so craves. There is no reward, in terms of trust and respect, for the police to so often beat its own chest and proclaim that it is the best there is; that it protects and serves to protect and that the crime rates have so decreased that it is now safe for an old woman to walk on the street with a handbag and a mobile phone at 11 at night.

It is in the action and in the accountability for such action that the police force is judged by the people. The numbers in the KPI do not count as far as the people are concerned. Nothing else would satisfy the insatiable cravings of the people for a police force which is trustworthy, efficient and dependable than a thorough cleaning up of the force; an above and across the board approach towards the performance of its functions; the proper usage of its powers and exercise of its jurisdiction as  well as a more “human” communication skills.

Yesterday also saw a shocking news in the Singapore Straits Times about our immigration boys abusing 2 women from Singapore who were arrested for allegedly entering Malaysia illegally. This is the kind of moronic, if not Neanderthal-isque approach by our front-line agency, in so far as foreign visitors are concerned, which puts Malaysia firmly on the list of GagaLand.

How we seem to treat refugees and illegal immigrants seem to be the highlight of international concerns all this while. And to think that we are now desirous to enter into a people swapping agreement with Australia!

Elsewhere, we have news that Mugabe of Zimbabwe and Bashir of Sudan have been invited to an economic forum at Putrajaya. Who is the bright spark who actually invited these two international miscreants to Malaysia – to attend an economic forum at that? What can the participants of the forum learn from these two that they cannot learn from Daim Zainuddin or Mohd Nor Yaacob?

Mugabe has succeeded in transforming Zimbabwe into an iconic state in the annual award of Inflation magazine. Bashir, on the other hand, has a warrant of arrest issued by the International Criminal Court hanging over his head. And yet we invited them to an economic forum in Putrajaya.

Of course Mugabe has been rumoured to be in Malaysia seeking medical attention in not so distant a past. He is a good acquaintance, if not friend, of Dr Mahathir.

Nothing could supersede that news, in terms of sheer shock and awe, than the evening revelation yesterday, that the Ministry of Tourism had spent a whopping RM1.8 million to build and launch an FB page, as reported by the Malaysian Insider.

50 million of people around the world spent only 5 minutes of their time, some electricity and broadband charges to open their FB account. I started this blog with nothing other than my two hand and two fingers and a bit of processing power left in my head after more than 20 years appearing in our Courts. And yes, our Ministry of Tourism spent ONE POINT EIGHT MILLION bucks to open an FB page.

If MACC could work overtime to investigate the alleged mis-usage of funds to the tune of several thousands ringgit by DAP – which led to Teoh Beng Hock’s death – I am sure MACC would display the same kind of enthusiasm in pursuing this utter crap.

The expenses could be well justified for all we know, but investigate we must.

Otherwise, we would continue to fail.