Youngster Loh Gwo Burne of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) could have made a lot of money out of the VK Lingam video, but he chose to tell the truth against all odds. The exposé provided the turning point without which the judicial appointments scandal would never have surfaced and our judiciary would have sunk deeper into the abyss of judicial hellholes. This is why for the Kelana Jaya parliamentary seat I am going to vote for Loh (photo, right), who has denied that he is just an 'accidental hero' who had by chance videotaped the antics of the high flying lawyer. Loh believes that he can say whatever he wants in parliament without fear or favour, unlike his MCA opponent who will have to toe the UMNO line (or suffer the fate of his predecessor). And I do believe him.
For the Seri Setia Selangor state seat I will vote for fellow blogger and MCKK old boy Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad (photo, left) also of PKR, a young man who wants to be an agent of change, which is what this country badly needs. We have enough fat dinosaurs who have overstayed their welcome. We are also in dire need of elected representatives who will represent and serve their electorate and not their political masters or just to make up the numbers.
I am also glad that PKR has made a start with a non-race based platform. Gerakan, PPP and DAP have tried this before but the Malays just didnt buy it. Both Loh and Nik Nazmi must surely be amongst pioneers of sorts and it will indeed be a long haul before we are rid of race based politics in this country.
Which is why I am going to vote for these young lads. They've got balls.
Malaysians in general must be a very easily excitable lot. But my youngest boy gets more excited with the appearance of a new I-pod or whatever in the market than in the coming general elections, when he will be voting for the first time. He hardly reads the papers except for the IT and soccer news and the comics and I believe so do many others of his generation who are more likely to read the gossipy tabloids than the mainstream media, which must be as exciting to them as watching the paint dry or the grass grow. If he and his ilk form a substantial bulk of the new voters then this government may be in trouble.
The opposition parties have already declared that they are ready to form a new government. Alternative manifestos etc. have already been circulated to the people, and near impossible promises are being made. But in the absence of a strong 'shadow' government and/or a cabinet-in-waiting and after the general euphoria is over, will the rakyat be as gullible? At best they can only hope of denying the BN government a two-third majority, so lets get real.
I am not going to bet that there will be very big changes in the offing or in the statusquo, but this is one bet I will gladly lose.
Well, the gloves are off, knuckle dusters on and it looks set for a three-cornered fight for the parliamentary seat of Kelana Jaya, where I now live. BN is fielding veteran politician Lee Hwa Beng against newcomers PKR's Loh Gwo Burne and independent Billi Lim in the coming general elections.
Fresh from filing his nomination papers yesterday, MCA's Lee Hwa Beng and wife were VIP guests at a belated poolside Chinese New Year tea party (photo) at the neighbouring Mahkota Kelana Condominiums, where my wife and I were also guests. Also in attendance were incumbent Selangor state assemblywoman Seripah Noli and her husband. In their speeches, both politicians certainly didnt waste any time embarking on their campaign trails by heaping scorn on their respective opponents.
I must say that I am a bit disappointed with the opposition PKR's choice of candidate Loh Gwo Burne, who has been described as a "Chinese amateur film maker who has no business in a Malay majority area" by my friend and fellow blogger Zorro, here. Loh was made famous recently as the author of the video that implicated lawyer VK Lingam in the judicial appointments scandal. But then again, both Lee and 'spoiler' Billi Lim are also Chinese and there will be many who will argue that Loh certainly deserves more than a medal for what he did.
All my children will also be voting, the younger two for the first time in their lives come 8th of March. I have always believed that my wife and I have successfully raised four mature and well educated offsprings who are morally upright and law abiding citizens of this country. It is our fervent hope that they will all exercise their democratic rights judiciously.
Thus screamed the headlines in today's MCA-owned the Star newspaper. (Read about it, here)
Whichever way you look at it, perhaps the man's a goner, especially since to my mind, the paper is giving him a very subtle hint to take a hike. The incumbent transport minister has given 'health' reasons as to why he wants to quit, but the man's younger than I am and he certainly looked fine the last time I saw him.
Perhaps also with the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) RM4.6 billion fiasco like a sword of Damocles still hanging over his head, he has decided that it may be 'unhealthy' for him to stick around.
What is really pissing me off is the fact that Parliament has been dissolved and the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee has still not completed its job by summoning the Attorney General to account for his role in the affair.
In the meantime, I suppose most of the money is now being spent buying votes in the coming elections.
Update at 2230hrs: Malaysiakini reports,here, that MCA deputy president Chan Kong Choy, 53, citing poor health, today announced at a press conference that he was not contesting in the 12th general election. He denied that he was forced to step down due to the PKFZ scandal. "This is a speculation which I don't want to answer," he said when asked about the matter.
I read in amusement about Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Dr Rais Yatim's (photo) tirade against bloggers in a speech at a book launch yesterday.
The supposedly very cultured Rais was reported as saying that bloggers should evaluate themselves before indulging in an unhealthy culture of bashing others, including government leaders, through their blog sites.
He said although government bashing in the blogsites was among the challenges faced by the Barisan Nasional (BN) in facing the general election, it was not the nature of BN leaders to resort to using blog sites to attack others in their campaigns to win the elections. "I am saying that you should look at your own heart to see if it is clean. If it is not, then don't bash others in your blogs". He signs off by saying that, "I suggest that they attend courses on good manners as good manners is Malaysian culture".
In other not so many words, he is saying that we are kurang ajar.
How bloody presumptuous can he get. Its goes to show that ministers themselves should do some homework and learn to put their brains in gear before opening their big mouths. It is no secret that we bloggers have been at the receiving end with name calling, threatened with law suits, the ISA, etc., by the powers that be and they dont need blog sites to do this.
I truly believe in the need for an independent judiciary, judicial integrity and all that jazz. I also believe that judicial rot is the root cause of all that is wrong in this country today - rampant corruption, rising crime rate, blatant disregard and disrespect for the rule of law, etc., etc. Therefore, I strongly support DAP advisor Lim Kit Siang's call that the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Lingam Tape "must be fully conscious of its historic role and opportunity to end the rot in the judiciary" and subpoena former High Court judge Dato Syed Ahmad Idid (photo) as a "necessary process to exorcise the rot and corruption of the judicial past for the Malaysian judiciary to turn over a new leaf". (Read his blog 'Lingam Tape RCI - Subpoena Syed Ahmad Idid', here)
In December 2006, the New Sunday Times published an interview with Syed Ahmad Idid, who resigned in 1996 after he wrote an anonymous letter accusing several judges of corruption. (Read my earlier blog 'Battling Corruption', here)
Investigations into his allegations were closed after the then Attorney-General Mohtar Abdullah said they were 'baseless'.
Datuk Syed Ahmad Idid never spoke about the incident until the 2006 NST interview in which he disclosed that the late Tan Sri Mohtar had told him in 2000 that he was forced to do what he did.
"I asked him, 'Was there a pistol at your neck when you did what you did to me?'. He replied, 'No, it was a cannon'," Datuk Syed Ahmad Idid said.
He didnt say whose 'cannon' it was, but we now have a pretty good idea, eh?
My friend and former colleague Foo sent me this little joke which I thought was politically correct with a moral to boot:
While walking down the street one day a Malaysian Minister is hit by a truck and dies. His soul arrives in heaven and is met by St. Peter at the Pearly Gates.
"Welcome to heaven," says St. Peter. "Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a high Malaysian official around this place, you see, so we're not sure what to do with you."
"No problem, just let me in," says the Yang Berhormat.
"Well, I'd like to, but I have orders. What we'll do is have you spend one day in hell and one in heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity."
"Really, I have made up my mind. I want to be in heaven," says the man.
"I'm sorry, but we have our rules," says St. Peter.
And with that, St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell. The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a green golf course. In the distance is a clubhouse and standing in front of it are all his friends and other politicians who had worked with him. Everyone is very happy and they run to greet him, shake his hand, and reminisce about the good times they had while getting rich at the expense of the people. They play a game of golf and then stuffed themselves on lobsters, caviar and the most expensive food there is.
Also present is the Devil, who really is a very friendly guy who has a good time dancing, drinking champagne and telling jokes. They are having such a good time that before he realizes it, it is time to go.
Everyone gives him a hearty farewell and waves while the elevator rises.
The elevator goes up, up, up and the door reopens on heaven where St. Peter is waiting for him. "Now it' s time to visit heaven."
So, 24 hours pass with the YB joining a group of contented souls moving from cloud to cloud, playing the harp and singing. They have a good time and, before he realizes it, the 24 hours have gone by and St. Peter returns. "Well, then, you've spent a day in hell and another in heaven. Now choose your eternity."
The YB reflects for a minute, then he answers: "Well, I would never have said it before, I mean heaven has been delightful, but I think ai yam better off in hell."
So St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell. Now the doors of the elevator open and he's in the middle of a barren land covered with waste and garbage. He sees all his friends, dressed in rags, picking up the trash and putting it in black bags as more trash falls from above. The Devil comes over to him and puts his arm around his shoulder.
"I don't understand," stammers the YB. "Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and clubhouse, and we ate lobster and caviar, drank champagne, and danced and had a great time. Now there's just a wasteland full of garbage and my friends look miserable. What happened?"
The Devil looks at him, smiles and says, "Yesterday we were campaigning just like you did during an election ...... Today you voted."
According to Wikipedia, a snap election is an election called earlier than scheduled. Generally it refers to an election called when no one expects it, usually to capitalize on a unique electoral opportunity or to decide a pressing issue. To my mind, since there arent any pressing issues, especially as far as the present government is concerned, the 'unique electoral opportunity' here is simply to deny Anwar Ibrahim from contesting. Sheeesh.
Yesterday our 'flip-flop' Prime Minister lied through his teeth when he denied to reporters that he will dissolve Parliament today. But at a hastily called press conference a couple of hours ago in Putrajaya, he announced the dissolution of the august assembly, right smack in the middle of a Chinese New Year holiday season and amazing stories being told at the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Lingam affair. Read Malaysiakini's report, here.
Well, he could have simply said,"Maybe".
So our PM's favourite number is indeed number 13. Well, lotsa luck, Malaysia. We will need plenty of it if we keep returning these rats back into power.
Update: Malaysiakini reports,here, that former DPM Anwar Ibrahim who is in Hong Kong on a speaking engagement, told reporters that it is shameful and "it is unprecedented that you would call elections after three and half years with a more than two-thirds majority. The only reason you can give is to deny me an opportunity to participate in the elections."
Many years ago, when I was a cadet on board a ship discharging cargo in a port Down Under, I was ordered by the chief officer to dispose off a dead rat found in the ship's hold. The stevedores promptly threatened to stop work, claiming it a 'demeaning' task for a young officer. Of course, we believed then that the very manja unionised dockers did so not so much as being in sympathy of my plight but perhaps just to look for an excuse to down tools and goof off. Sheeesh.
It is now being established that we have many dirty, drunken, lying, thieving, scheming and conniving rats amongst our judiciary and the executive. We also have amnesic rats and even rats 'ratting' on their brethren and scurrying to desert a 'sinking ship'. So perhaps it is time for us to do some spring cleaning and some pest control. It certainly wouldn't be a 'demeaning' exercise either.
Welcome to the Year of the Rat. How bloody apt.
To all my Chinese friends: Gong Xi Fa Cai and happy holidays to all the rest.
My old friend and former MCKK classmate Zaharan Razak (ZR) describes himself as a peripatetic, an itinerant modern day Don Quixote a.k.a. Pak Pandir Moden. A retired academic (he counts blogger Rocky of Rocky's Bru as one of his former students), he is also a health nut, still actively involved in canoeing, kayaking, cycling and mountain climbing and is quite disdainful of the couch potatoes amongst his old mates.
ZR is also a bit of an eccentric, lain dari yang lain, and we do 'clash' quite often with differing views about almost everything. But perhaps in part due to the special bond forged that many years ago in the hallowed halls and on the playing fields of the old koleq in Kuala Kangsar, we do come to terms quickly on realising that its all probably much ado about nothing. No point in trying to change or save the dinosaurs. Lets just live and let live.
So, for a sampling of his 'dissident and mad-hat views on anything and everything' (his words, not mine), go visit his blog Teh-O-Ki, here.
(Above photo taken when we were 15 year olds. ZR is on the left).
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