Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Rule of Law

"For as in absolute governments the king is law, so in free countries the law ought to be king; and there ought to be no other."
- Thomas Payne (1776)

Perhaps my apparent lethargy and tardiness in blogging may just be par for the course. I see some of my ex journo peers are now also simply doing c&p of published online news material. Sheeesh.

But we cannot really blame them. The reason must surely be that all these happenings on the political front are getting a bit tiresome, old bean. All that mindless talk of derhaka against the Sultan and news reports, here, that the new Perak state government is consulting an English QC for help in the constitutional crisis confirms and points to what we have been saying all along ...

Its simply a matter of the rule of law, stupid.

That the lawmakers themselves do not seem to quite comprehend this must surely be very bewildering and mind boggling to some and gets my goat.

My old friend Capt. Gian Singh Sehmi sent me this old joke which I think is still relevant and funny:

One day a florist goes to a barber for a haircut. After the cut he asked about his bill and the barber replies, "I cannot accept money from you. I'm doing community service this week." The florist was pleased and left the shop.

When the barber goes to open his shop the next morning there is a 'thank you' card and a dozen roses waiting for him at his door.

Later, a policeman comes in for a haircut, and when he tries to pay his bill, the barber again replies, "I cannot accept money from you. I'm doing community service this week." The cop is happy and leaves the shop.

The next morning when the barber goes to open up there is a 'thank you' card and a dozen donuts waiting for him at his door.

Later that day, a college professor comes in for a haircut, and when he tries to pay his bill, the barber again replies, "I cannot accept money from you. I'm doing community service this week." The professor is very happy and leaves the shop.

The next morning when the barber opens his shop, there is a 'thank you' card and a dozen different books, such as 'How to Improve Your Business' and 'Becoming More Successful.'

Then, a Member of Parliament comes in for a haircut, and when he goes to pay his bill the barber again replies, "I cannot accept money from you. I'm doing community service this week." The Member of Parliament is very happy and leaves the shop.

The next morning when the barber goes to open up, there are a dozen Members of Parliament all lined up waiting for a free haircut!

And that, my friends, illustrates the fundamental difference between the citizens of our country and the Members of Parliament.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

D-Day for RPK

Raja Petra Kamarudin. You either love him or hate him for he has the balls to take on the high and mighty. But today is D-day for him when 3 Federal Court judges will decide whether to send him back to Kamunting as His Majesty's reluctant guest under the dreaded Internal Security Act. I publish below what he says will probably be his 'final' message to his readers from his website Malaysia Today:


Raja Petra Kamarudin
16th February 2009

Tomorrow, I will probably be detained under the Internal Security Act. Anyhow, before we talk about that, let me start by giving you my prediction for the two by-elections scheduled for early April.

In 2004, BN won the Bukit Selambau state seat with a majority of 7,695 votes and in 2008 they lost it with a majority of 2,362 votes. (See the chart below). In the coming by-election, I forecast a voter turnout of around 26,000 and a majority of 3,500-4,500 for the opposition.

For the Bukit Gantang parliament seat, in 2004 Barisan Nasional won with a majority of 8,888 and in 2008 it lost with a majority of 1,566. (See chart below). This time around, the voter turnout will be roughly 42,000 and the opposition will win that seat with a majority of 5,000-8,000 votes.

Okay, I am forecasting this even before I know who the candidates are. Well, I have no choice. On Tuesday, 17 February 2009, the Federal Court is due to hear the appeal against my release from Internal Security Act detention and I really do not know what the outcome is going to be. Chances are, I have but 24 hours left as a free man and if I do not write this article today I never will.

On 7 November 2008, the Shah Alam High Court ordered my release from detention. The government has appealed this decision although it did not see the need to appeal the decision of the Shah Alam High Court acquitting Abdul Razak Baginda of the charge of murder without his defence being called.

I was in court last week to witness the performance of the three judges and what I saw did not give me much confidence. First of all, we asked for a quorum of seven judges, or at least five. But the court turned us down and fixed a quorum of only three judges. And two of the three judges appear to be hostile towards us from the word 'go'. It looks like my fate has been sealed even before the case goes to court.

Anyway, I know for a fact that it was not Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi who ordered my detention. He was not even aware I had been detained. The order came from Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and since I am bent on making sure he never becomes Prime Minister on 1 April 2009 I really do not blame him for wanting to get me out of the way.

My friends and family want me to leave the country and to seek political asylum in another country. They feel I can still continue with the struggle in a foreign land. But I am against that as much as my wife pleads that I consider this. I am no quitter and I do not run. I shall stay and fight till the very end even if that is the last thing I do.

If I have to lose my freedom so be it. That is the price we pay for opposing the powers-that-be. But I shall not go quietly or make any deals to secure my release with those who walk in the corridors of power.

I was given an option. Take the money and become rich or go to jail. I refused the money and instead chose jail. This is my choice and no one can convince me to do otherwise. No doubt I will have to pay for this and it will be a heavy price that I shall have to pay. But this is the price of the struggle and the price does not come cheap.

I shall not submit. I shall resist till the end. I stand on right and I oppose what is wrong. "Amar makruf, nahi munkar", as Islam would say. We must uphold right and oppose wrong. That is not only the Islamic way but also the way of all religions. And even atheists believe in this, so you need not believe in God to subscribe to the concept of amar makruf, nahi munkar.

Over thousands of years countless people have met their deaths just because they stood on the side of right. What I have chosen to do has been done by so many who are now nameless and faceless. So it is nothing so special that I do which has not been done before.

My resistance will continue. But I will have to continue my resistance behind the barbwire fences of the Kamunting Detention Centre. It will now be up to you, those who are free, to continue where I left off.

My resistance, however, will have to take on a new form. I will no longer be able to write or speak at ceramahs. My voice has now been silenced. But I can still speak the words of silence, which will be my new form of resistance.

I shall no longer open my mouth or utter one word during my detention. I shall maintain the silence of a mute person. I shall not sign any documents of the so many documents that they make you sign when under detention. My signature is not going to be placed on a single shred of paper.

By doing so would mean none of my family members or lawyers would have access to me. Yes, that is the price I shall pay for 'not cooperating'. I know this and I am prepared for it.

I shall refuse all medical treatment and visits to the hospital. I shall refuse to accept any food and water supplied by the Kamunting authorities. I shall refuse to leave my cell or to meet any of the prison authorities. In short, I shall shut myself out from the world and keep to my own world of my eight feet square cell.

This action will mean I shall survive at the most seven to eight days. By the end of that period I shall be dead. I am prepared for that. They plan to imprison my body for the rest of my life. But I shall release my spirit from my body and will again be free. They can keep my body and they can do whatever they want with it. But they will never be able to keep my spirit. I shall separate my spirit from my body and deny them the pleasure of incarcerating me.

This is a decision I have taken and no one can make me change my mind. And this is probably the last article of mine that you shall read if they send me to Kamunting tomorrow. Keep the struggle going. I shall no longer be able to join you in that struggle. The work is far from finished. This country needs major political, economic and social reforms. The next two years are going to be most trying years indeed. And expect a snap general election within 18 months of Najib taking over if he does take over on 1 April 2009.

I lay down my life for this nation of ours called Malaysia. I will sacrifice myself for the sake of the struggle. There is very little left I can give at this point of time other than my life. For those who stood by me all these years, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I go with a heavy heart. But my heart is heavy only because I have but one life to give.

Death is not the end. Death is but the beginning. It is the beginning of a new journey that none of us can escape and will one day embark upon. It is not something to be sad about. It is something to rejoice.

Please continue your struggle to make Malaysia a better place for our future generation. This country belongs to them and it is for them that we struggle. For some of us, our time is already almost up. We do not have many years left. Many have gone before us. Many friends who started out with us in 1998 are no longer around. But they left this world in the hope that one day Malaysia will be the country that we dream it would be. And that, too, must be our dream.

I pray and hope that the Putrajaya Federal Court will uphold the decision of the Shah Alam High Court to free me from ISA detention. But if it reverses that decision then we must be prepared for that as well. And if the Federal Court does what I fear it will do, goodbye Malaysians, my comrade-in-arms. We shall meet again, one day, although not in this world but the next.

Update at 1530: Malaysiakini reports, here, that controversial blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin will have another week of freedom after the Federal Court today postponed his habeas corpus hearing to next Monday. This is to allow the judges to study the written submissions from both parties.

MCPXThis is to allow the judges to study the written submissions from both parties.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Another PKFZ in the making ...

Asia Petroleum Hub, Johor

The Malaysian Insider, here, has quoted a Singapore The Straits Times (TST) report today that a worsening ownership battle for a planned Malaysian bunkering facility on a reclaimed island in Johor (photo) to rival Singapore’s is threatening to derail the project and could hurt CIMB, one of the country’s largest commercial banks.

It appears that the project leader, a little-known private company called KIC Oil and Gas, has so far drawn down nearly half of its RM1.4 billion financing facility from CIMB to fund construction work. But it has failed to resolve problems with another key shareholder of the project, Seaport Terminal, which owns both the Johor ports of Pasir Gudang and Pelabuhan Tanjung Pelepas (PTP). This has prompted CIMB to consider suspending further funding for the construction.

Questions are now being raised over the viability of the project because the government has decided to hold back on its pledge to put in place the necessary infrastructure, valued at roughly RM350 million for roadworks and other utilities, until the shareholder row is resolved.

KIC insists that it is the rightful developer of the planned petroleum hub after it won rights to lease the island in July 2005 from the Ministry of Transport, but Seaport is disputing the award on grounds that the MoT's move to lease the 40ha reclaimed island to KIC violates an earlier privatisation agreement the company had with the government.

TST has also reported that in a bid to resolve the stalemate, the Malaysian government has decided to dictate the shareholding structure for Asia Petroleum Hub (APH), the company which was awarded rights to build and operate the bunkering facility.

Under the plan, KIC was awarded a 40 per cent interest in the project, while Seaport Terminal was given a 35 per cent shareholding. The remaining 25 per cent in APH was split between two other entities. All four parties have yet to sign a shareholders’ agreement but KIC has led construction work for the project with funding from CIMB. Who is behind MoT's decision to award rights to lease the reclaimed island to KIC and why the funding was released before the ownership problems are resolved remains unclear.

Its crystal clear to me, old bean.

Saturday, February 07, 2009


I have never been in awe of royalty since they are only human and not quite infallible. During my school days in MCKK, there were a few rajas and tengkus from the country's royal households amongst the good mix of blue bloods and peasantry in prep school and many are still my friends today. As a member of a proud Bugis clan from Linggi myself, I can trace my ancestral lineage direct to the legendary Bugis warrior/sailor prince Daeng Chelak, one of the famous Daeng band of brothers from Sulawesi who went on to found what are now the royal houses of Selangor and Johor. No big deal here perhaps, but this makes me as 'royal' as I want to fancy myself to be.

Charges of derhaka (treason) or lèse majesté or whatever to the Sultan of Perak levelled against Perak MB Mohd Nizar by members of the Barisan Nasional for refusing to step down are to my mind pretty silly, if not downright bloody stupid. (Read the Malaysiakini report, here). It is simply a matter of the rule of law and the country's top legal minds are still debating the issue in cyberspace. History books are also full of accounts of mighty emperors, kings, Marcoses, Idi Amins et al having been unceremoniously booted out for failing to heed the call and committing derhaka against the rakyat, the final arbiter of things.

The government of the day should be wise to try and learn from history.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Perak: A Right Royal Mess

I do believe that the Sultan of Perak, a former Lord President, has erred when he refused to dissolve the State Assembly and call for fresh polls on the advice of his Mentri Besar Mohd Nizar yesterday. Even UMNO's Tengku Razaleigh, himself a royal, thinks so and describes the situation there as "shameful". Read about it, here.

"To formally test the mandate of the current government, whether in Perak, Sabah or the Federal government, the question must either be put to the people through state elections, or to the assemblymen through a formal vote in the dewan. These are the only tests that count in our constitutional democracy," he said."To remove and install governments in any other way is to violate the Constitution, erode the rule of law, and to run the risk of forming an illegal government."

Ku Li further concludes that "Legitimate authority can only be established through the democratic means spelled out in our constitution. Rightful authority is an entirely different thing from the brute power that can be bought, sold or seized by force. The invisible laws make our government, nation and society possible. I won’t begin to describe the harm we would do these things if we began to ratify power achieved without regard for the rule of law in this country."

Now I wonder WTF is Ku Li doing still hanging on aboard a sinking ship.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Greed to the Fore

As Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim accuses Barisan Nasional of trying to form the state government in Perak 'by hook or by crook', here, my old friend Hussein Hamid in Adelaide, also a former MCKK classmate of Anwar, sent me this very sarcastic comment via Facebook:
"Live by the sword...die by one...and so it has come to pass that Anwar now has a taste of his own medicine. The defections he had once hoped to happen has finally started its long predicted momentum but alas it has gone against him. Like Pak Lah the momentum was there for him to seize when the opposition won control of five states in the last election - but the heady days of victory and power was too exciting to let go - and playing politics rather then governing became the norm.

And now the end will start to come not only for Anwar but for the grand design that came with the victory at the last election - and as always God is on the side of those with money and big armies...and as always we await the return of rampant corruption, greed and money politics as UMNO return to the fore with Najib at its apex. Did the Rakyat really thought that Truth, Justice and Fairness will really prevail? Do they not know that greed overcomes all other consideration? Amen."

HH has also started his own blog: Steadyaku47. Go visit, here.

Monday, February 02, 2009


As for the current political turmoil in the state of Perak (read yesterday's The Malaysian Insider report, here), I have no problems if people want to hop and jump like frogs or defect like rats deserting a sinking ship. To me its simply a matter of personal survival old bean, but if it is the other way around then we do have to question their sanity. It pains me to discuss morality and integrity bla-bla when the whole game stinks to high heaven.

With DPM Najib smelling like roses especially after the recent IJN and KLIA East episodes, I do wonder whether all these are just elaborately crafted but badly scripted wayang kulit for the masses? After all, he has unfortunately or otherwise been associated with 'missing persons' before and I have a sneaking suspicion that there is more than meets the eye here.

Perhaps instead of introducing an anti-party hopping law, which may be against the 'freedom of association' proviso in the Federal Constitution, it may just be wise to consider Pas vice-president Husam Musa's call for a dissolution of parliament for fresh polls as a better option.

Lets see if this government has the gumption to seek a fresh mandate instead of resorting to cloak-and-dagger chicanery to stay in power.

Update at 1630hrs: In a breaking news, Malaysiakini reports, here, that PKR Ipoh Barat division head Fauzi Muda has leveled the damning claim in a statutory declaration that UMNO deputy president Najib Abdul Razak had tried last year to induce him to secure the crossover of two Pakatan Rakyat representatives in Perak for RM50 million. Sheeesh.