Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Mat Sabu and The Rubric of Umno’s Hilarity. Who is Traitor?



It’s been somewhat of a Thrilla in Malaysia what followed Mat Sabu’s loose canonization of the “Muslim-Communist” leader, Mat Indera, into a folk hero. What hatched as a reaction is still cackling. That has become standard reaction of Umno and the Barisan Nasional. .

Mat Sabu, the new deputy president of Pas, had anticipated the ritual TV airing of Jin Samsuddin’s movie, Bukit Kepong, a film shown every year since it was made more than a decade before. It was to glorify the police force and condemn the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM), its 4th Regiment led by the Malay-Muslim of Siak origin, Ahmad Indera.

Umno Press Corp moved into action immediately after Mat Sabu said what he said on August 27. It caused the polemical blitz and soon the polemics turned into a pugilistic stretch of relentless hounding of Mat Sabu.

He had poked his head into the hornets’ nest and the extraordinary transformation of the hornets into a cackling school of crows will not stop.

Umno and the government have been viewed as paranoid.

A group of six leaders of the Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) with 25 people, mostly from the estates, were recently detained under the Emergency Ordinance (EO), the six for 28 days before popular protests loosened the grip of the paranoia and they were charged in open court.

The reason for the amazingly zealous reaction was ostensibly the T-shirts the six had brought with them which had the portraits of Che Guevara and former CPM leaders printed on them. No weapons were found.

For the speech of Mat Sabu even former IGP, Tun Haniff Omar, was roped in from his perch at Genting Highlands Casino to draft Mat Sabu into a dangerous renegade who should be “investigated” for possible undesired connections.

It seemed, Mat Sabu is possibly guilty of “incitement”, and therefore, of sedition as well.

It is indeed surprising for Tun Haniff to have forgotten Lai Tak, the CPM Secretary-General at that time. He was a Police Special Branch implant!

Haniff Omar had been a meticulous person in his tenure as IGP. Has he forgotten too about who, or which forces, had been behind the Communists or PKI in Indonesia after the Second World War? Is he getting old?

Mat Sabu, often a loose cannon, had said Mat Indera was the “real hero” of the ill-fated Bukit Kepong police station the communist attacked and razed to the ground on 23 February 1950.

Did Mat Sabu know the police have reasons to worry over the possibility the CPM had insurrected not once but twice before and may rise again to destabilize the country for another shot for power?

He later placed Mat Indera, who was a hafiz, as equal in stature and in meaning with the popular folk heroes such as Tok Janggut of Kelantan, Mat Salleh of Sabah and Rosli Dobi of Sarawak.

They were fighters who were willing to die for the masses against the appetites and the tyranny of the colonialist and of the native elites in some cases.

After the Bukit Kepong Incident Mat Indera was betrayed by two or three of his comrades, drugged and dragged to the Balai Polis (police station), taken from prison to prison until finally he was hanged in Taiping Prison in 1953.

Then, in the hilarious polemics which Umno launched a scholar declared the British had never colonized Malaya and hence, it was futile to regard Mat Indera as an anti-colonial freedom fighter.

Who hanged Mat Indera then? Who had the power to execute? The Malay sultans?

That swung the debate away from Mat Sabu to Occidental diplomacy and imperialism, leaving the question gaping as to why we celebrate 31 August as Independence Day if Malaya had never been colonized. Had it all been a great hoax?

Why was the pre-independence generation made to listen to the British anthem and to stand and sing it in school and even in the cinemas? It was God Save The King, and later, the Queen.

Colony or Protectorate?

The truth can often become a divine comedy in the ensuing obscurantism of a Malaysia that has become Independent without ever having been subdued as a colony.

Former Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir, also said Malaya was not colonized. Said he, the Malay sultans appealed to the British to become their advisors, which is not particularly correct nor is it absolutely untrue, a clever misuse of semantics Mahathir had mastered and successfully used to confuse both his supporters and his enemies.

It’s something like someone who dances on both sides of the street and gets himself hit by a truck in the middle.

Truth is, the Malays were no longer powerful by the time the Brits came.

Under Islamic rule the Malay Hindu-Buddhist empires had broken into petty states.

Once Malacca had fallen to the Portuguese the Malays had to rely on Aceh to regain the great port.

There were only about 200 Muslims in the court of Malacca when the Portuguese gained control over it, according to Portuguese sources. When Raja Melewar of Pagar Ruyong arrived in Rembau about 200 years after the fall of Malacca, there were only two Muslim families in Rembau according to records.

Islam had been an imperial religion and in the Malay world, after the Muslims had taken Majapahit, they divided the great empire. A similar dismemberment of Malacca had left the Malays belonging to petty kingdoms. .

An army of 10,000 Malays had been defeated by less than 400 Portuguese Sepoys in the attempt to retake Malacca. Later, in Kota Tinggi, Johor, 12,000 Malay fighters were defeated by about 400 Portuguese Sepoys.

Where went the Malay forces that defeated Kublai Khan's invasion of Singhasari in 1293? To a Hindu-Buddhist heaven and thence into voluntary oblivion? Kublai's forces were more than 12,000.

The serial defeat of the Johor Malay forces was in the early 16th century. There had been no recovery upto the British Intervention of 1874. There were the Bugis and Raja Kechik of Minangkabau but that was a different story. They did not engage the English or the Dutch.

The greatness of the Malays had been with Srivijaya and Majapahit.

In Malacca the greatness belonged to Tun Perak and to Hang Tuah.

Were they Muslims. How deeply were they Muslims? Did not Hang Tuah and his comrades enjoy their drink? Wasn’t his martial teacher an Asli (Aborigine) and so was his fianc√©?

When in the 19th century the Malay sultans and nobles suddenly found themselves facing organized Chinese miners and the agents of British trade and government, they were warped in power struggles.

It was resource contests, Chinese and Malay miners fighting on both sides of the conflicts in Perak, Selangor and Sungai Ujung, with Malay royalties involved.

Hence, even if the Europeans were kafirs (infidels) and viewed by some as crusaders, the sultans were glad to enter into power-sharing with them and to enjoy the great wealth now available because of the demands of industrial Europe.

It did not work for everyone. Some fought after discovering the sultans had signed away their rights to impose and to collect taxes.

In the case of J.W.W. Birch who was killed in Pasir Salak in Perak in 1875, he also banned slavery, which was allowed by Islamic Law, the slave-trade a source of income in the Malay archipelago too.

The European colonization was not as simple as it could have been. The sultans and the nobility living in opulence under British or Dutch rule couldn’t be properly regarded as colonized, of course. They were paid pensions, rent and some owned estates, plantations and mines run by English or Dutch companies.

But for the masses, and the few who lost their rights to impose and to collect taxes, the Residential System was de facto colonization and for the masses it was oppressive.

The EIC and VOC

British and Dutch imperialism had come as mega corporations, the EIC and the VOC being the largest joint-stock corporations of the time.

These corporations were given royal charters enabling them to declare war, take captives and to execute them, meaning they represented the English and Dutch Crowns. "Protectorates" were relationships or occupations of native states conducted through the chartered companies.

Later, when they became defunct (1800 in the case of the VOC and the EIC in 1874), the “Interventions” and the “Protectorates” were directly or indirectly run by the respective colonial offices and their agents.

Native rulers were paid pensions and/or rent. Sometimes they sold parts of their territories, like in the case of Singapore.

They gave the powers to the Residents to administer their states, collect taxes and determine policies, ‘except in matters relating to Islam and Malay customs’.

That is a neat surrender to colonization, surely.

As for the ‘matters relating to Islam and Malay customs,’ the Selangor Religious Department (JAIS) exercised that power several weeks ago to charge two senior members of Pas for teaching or speaking on Islam without the letter of authority issued by it.

It means senior members of the Islamic party cannot freely speak on Islam.

It’s poetic justice, of course. It is the Islamic State acting against the advocates of the Islamic State. What better means is at the disposal of the divine jester to deal with these? It's like the duo were hit by boomerangs they had thrown themselves many years before. These swung around and.....Bingo!

That law the JAIS used is an Islamic law, making the statecraft complicated and confusing.

Complicated

In Sumatra in 1946, the same cultural and power complications led the people to rise against the sultans and they culled the royal families who did not support Indonesian Independence Sukarno and Hatta had declared on 17 August 1945.

Mat Indera was from Siak Sultanate in Sumatra. The Siak Sultanate supported the Republic of Indonesia under Sukarno and Hatta.

Top CPM leader, Abdullah C.D. was also from Siak. There the Muslims and the Nationalists had risen together with the Communist and Socialists in the Social Revolution.


Mat Sabu

The times have changed and Mat Sabu failed to respect the need for caution.

Communism has decayed but the CPM may rise again in insurrection as a proxy belligerent.

As for Mat Indera, history must insist his case be reviewed in the context of its ideological hinterland and of the times.

A lot of Malays had wanted Independence together with Indonesia following the Japanese Surrender in 1945.

After Sukarno and Hatta declared the independence of Indonesia on 17 August of that year without including Malaya, Malay nationalists were laden with a very serious choice to make.

The choice in Sumatra was simple – either join the Republik Indonesia that Sukarno had proclaimed or welcome back the Dutch.

It was this ideological contrast that determined the political behavior of the Malays across the Straits of Malacca at that time.

So where do we go from here with the Islamic laws, the ISA, the EO, the Printing Presses Act, the Sedition Act, the OSA, Police Act and so on and so forth? To prison?

Who are our heroes and who are the villains?

As for the votes in the general elections, this writer does not expect the issue to affect more than 0.2 percent either way. But the trophy belongs to Mat Sabu who has become immensely famous in a matter of three weeks. He may do it again if he wants to. ---a. ghani ismail, 13 September, 2011

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Remarks in Ramadhan on a Matter of Regime Change





Turmoil is now the key word in Malaysia. It is ideological, economic, social, cultural and religious conflicts from the turnings of the marionettes plaguing the nation into becoming yet another country in the world that’s stricken.

When cleavages occur in those five areas of society it is in the order of history to demand of such a society for liberty, equality, fraternity or let the nation die - ou la morte!

Old institutions have been replaced in the transition from the agricultural society to the industrial. New institutions have been mauled by power and corruption.

Islam Unbecoming

Islam had been stifling for ages in the Malay world. It kills ideas and initiatives. Books deemed disagreeable by the mullahs were and are still banned.

We were born a democracy with rights. But in the 54 years that have passed we have instead been laden by dozens of draconian laws in addition to the Islamic baggage, making the country more of a dictatorship by the ruling elite.

In the long playing contest for resources deduced by a couple of thinkers into a Clash of Civilizations, Malaysia has finally come to read positive after the Muslim authorities insist on passing more humiliating laws and regulations in recent years.

These demanded Muslims must attend one-day courses before they can marry, the course worth currently RM80 each. Those who have divorced must undergo a course for three-months and pass an examination on how to conduct a lasting matrimony before they would be allowed to marry again. But you are free to marry four wives at any one time. Try thinking.

Trouble is about shift-workers and the likes of lorry drivers who must lose job or income to attend the courses. When asked, religious administrators simply say as they do about the punitive laws of Islam, i.e. you don't have to worry if you don't break the law. So, don't divorce, ever! Try thinking!

The Malays who had built great empires in the Hindu-Buddhist period and reputed to have produced more than 70 percent of the world GDP in those times had been reduced to patented subjugates under an Islam that enriched the Arab and Gujerati traders.

Industrially, since the arrival of Islam, the Islamised Malays in the whole of the peninsular produced not much more than the rehal (Quran stand) and the tombstones. Do you need Islamic law and judiciary to protect and enhance that?

Why did the Malays faithfully subscribe to such an innane religious regime will remain a question few can claim to have half of an answer. Said Professor of Education, Isahak Haron, more than 90 pefcent of the Malays do not understand what they recite in their daily prayers which they do in Arabic.

But that does not answer the tolerance to abuse of such order.

People who stood up have been made to face wild allegations, like former Mufti of Perlis, Dr. Mohamed Asri, who was reported to the National Security Council as someone with links to terrorists. Is that enough to put the Malays down to the ground in an infirm obeisance forever?

In the meantime Malay society has transited into a gender roles reverse. Women account for about 70 percent of enrolments in colleges and universities suggesting Malay men should be getting ready to become house-husbands, something unthinkable to conservative Muslims

Christians are denied the right to distribute Malay translations of the Bible or the Gospels, the whole of which is available in the Internet in Indonesian, making it a lot of ado over actually nothing.

Christians are also legally forbidden from using an assortment of words including the Name of God, “Allah”, and the word “Qur’an”.

The Christian-Muslim clash has now become critical, coming in the guise of an interaction of forces gilded from the plebeian and leading to the making of religious corruption, conceit and deceit to sustain a rotting regime of crony capitalism and shared power.

It is a parody of the truth and of justice. This is an indictment, recalling Mukhtar Lubis in his Senja Di Kota Jakarta (Twilight Over Jakarta).

The result is distrust, distaste and disillusionment, a riot of strong colors that brings in alienation and a certain social breakdown.

In the ensuing anomie is a curious phenomenon. Youths, especially Malay youths, splash acid on people, blinding some and disfiguring the faces of many. It is a clear sign of social disintegration.

Some Malays had been in the habit of poisoning friends and strangers during the colonial era, like there was little other means to secure their self-esteem that has been dying under the colonial yoke. It was called santau and which began reappearing about a decade ago.

Then, year after year when the success had changed the skyline of
Kuala Lumpur and Umno delegates would be housed in the four and five-star hotels to attend the party general-assembly, these leading lights of the Malays would vandalize the rooms leaving behind carnage. It was obviously to inform how they feel about the opulence.

From 2004 Umno delegates in the party supreme council elections openly sold their votes.

The corruption in the party had gotten to its core.

The mischief had been afoot once again. These are behaviors of social disintegration we are talking about.

The Malays became divided and in a forum on 23 August 2011, the well-known Mufti of Perak, Tan Sri Harussani, straightforwardly said there were three reasons the Malays were divided, (i) Prime Minister Najib’s government is weak, (ii) the government is without integrity and (iii) the government is corrupt.

Financial Turmoil

In the face of the financial and economic turmoil that is expected to reach deeper than ever in 2012, nothing is there to guarantee Malaysia a safe passage through the turbulence.

The wakes of the American currency and financial crises and the European sovereign funds crises have started to impact. The morrow is in a very dark cloud.

A divided house as dreadful as this cannot, by any fluke, hold the house of cards before a gale. But what’s coming is a super typhoon.

Prime Minister Najib’s mega projects are now surrounded by high food prices, a property bubble that cannot last a year before it bursts and it litters the streets with instant bankrupts and the critical loss of confidence in the custodians of the law and of order.

In a Malaysian society that is divided into two sets of laws and judiciaries – the secular and the Islamic - it will, as a necessity of history, cause widespread confusion and needlessly enlarging the middle ground with the bewildered.

Alienation is not a new tune to hum. It was sang aloud in the social dances of numbers written down as The Wretched of the Earth by Franz Fannon in about the middle of the 20th century and by Victor Hugo, as Les Miserable, a century earlier.

These books were necessary readings in the book-lists that issued from the desk of Prime Minister, Tun Abdul Razak Bin Hussain, who was architect of the New Economic Policy (NEP) in the early 1970s.

The NEP aimed to eradicate poverty and to restructure society to make it possible for the diversity in Malaysia to finally blend into a single identity, a single people, sharing a common heritage and aiming for a common destiny.

But if in Hugo’s Les Miserable the financial crisis Louis XVI caused had turned French society into a simple parasitical state in which the Church, the Nobility and the Workmen made the rest of the people pay for their sustenance and expenses, the same parasitic syndrome of a house divided by an artificially constructed social stratification recurs right here in Malaysia in the 21st century.

The difference is in the fact that in the present phenomenon some make it outright brigandage and these blatantly loot.

It is not about the predatory of colonial regimes. It is a looting by the dint of a capricious alchemy of power and quick riches obtainable by the application of corruption, conceit and wanton abuses by the natives upon their own kinds.

More and more people do not and cannot see eye to eye with the Muslim authorities. In numbers we are easily more than 70 percent of the population. This will surely lead to a final breakdown of Malay and Malaysian societies.

In the constitutional, institutional, cultural, structural and religious conflicts values have and continue to grow upside down, beginning at the top and rotting at the core.

Politicians took over water catchments in the hills to build palatial holiday villas. Others of lesser quantities showed their privileges by having the authorities convert parts of playing fields or recreational reserves into plots for residential bungalows.

In banks the small persons will have to wait six months for a loan of RM 2,000 to be processed and approved knowing a single loan of RM400 million had been approved in a day and by a phone call from the politically weighty.

Unpaid, the RM400 million is mysteriously written off, the latest such maneuver amounting to RM 13 billion, a tidy sum, of course.

In the society it’s not what you know but who you know that counts. Meritocracy becomes blankly a wasting humor. The people feel themselves betrayed.

In that setting sun 85 percent of projects meant for the poorer among the Malays and the Bumiputeras (natives) leaked into the hands of non-Malay tycoons and entrepreneurs. Most Malay contractors and licencies simply sold off contracts and licences given to them.

In the meantime predominantly Malay bureaucracy had long been purchased and the policies of Tun Razak bent beyond breaking point, bastardized, as it were, into a mad mongrel.

Money did not flow downwards. Most of it kept going up, up and away, like the takeoff of Captain Marvel and then some of it may come back to go sideways.

In the industrial and cosmopolitan transition some young workers working away from home and living 20 to a small house became pregnant and threw newly born babies alive into rubbish bins or left them to die under bushes.

The Muslim community bore no compassion for the unmarried mothers. It was adultery conclusively proven by the delivery of the little lives and the mothers must be punished.

The fathers got away, adultery being a crime that must be seen by four immaculate male witnesses or no crime had taken place in Islamic law.

Monseigneur, thiz iz impozzibly wicked!

Senor, vive le difference! It is the way of Almighty God.

It iz clever of you not to menzion the name of Allah, Monseigneur.

I know my world Senor. Here in Malaysia I, as a servant of the Church, a servant of the people and of God, am forbidden by law to use the Name “Allah” and a host of other Islamic terms including “Qur’an”, “Jannat”, Hadith etc. etc..

Monseigneur, you are lucky. Elzewhere in the world you can get yourzelf a death penalty for menzioning the same words. They will charge and sentence you to death for blasphemy!

Senor, you have endangered yourself for to tell me that, and I am a Christian, you may be hanged for the same offence you warn me of.

It is Catch 22 and yet, in the frothing of the lark a Malay doctor having marital problems sent his children for safe-keeping to the Christians several days ago. He will not trust the Muslim half-way houses, if there are any, that is.

He can be put in jail for three years or fined RM5000 or be punished by both for doing what he did.

Christians

A Christian woman had been sentence to death in Pakistan for blasphemy. The Governor of Punjab, a Muslim who stood up for her, was shot dead by one of his bodyguards.

A Christian member of President Asif’s cabinet (Christians form the largest minority in Pakistan. They are 1.6% of the population or 2.8 million souls in 2008) had also been killed.

It has been a stretch of worldwide high and deadly emotions.

An attack on the Coptic Church in Alexandria killed 21 on the eve of the New Year (2011).

Four months before a church in Baghdad was the target. It is happening where Jews, Christians and Muslims share the same shrines of the Abrahamic religions and could be seen praying side-by-side and together even.

In Syria the writer had found himself praying side-by-side with a Nestorian (Suriani) woman at the sepulcher of Prophet Zakaria in Allepo (Halab). It’s the same Zakaria who was guardian and master of the occultation of Mary, Mother of Isa (Jesus).

At the mosque of Yunus (Jonah) in Nineveh (Mosul, Iraq) there would be Jews, Christians and Muslims praying under the same roof.


The Marionettes


But now the marionettes are dancing to a different tune in the game of numbers (see Deuteronomy). The reaches of the game had lanced Indonesia in Maluku, in Jakarta and in Poso (Sulawesi).

In Mindanao the fighting had started more than 300 years before, during the colonization by the Spaniards. It continued sporadically from that time and will not end given the scanty peace efforts and the new religious zeal.

The present stretch of religious violence worldwide had been triggered from the event of September 11 in New York.

Then, as it seemed possible that the torments and the lamentations of September 11 will soon disappear, the world was bloodied beyond the recognition of the mind by a Norwegian.

He said he belonged to the Knights Templars.

Salahuddin the Great routed them a little distance from Nazareth during the Crusades. One escaped.

Religions should have been, at least from the beginning of the 21st century, better equipped with the open-mind. But that has been rendered futile apparently. Only do not give up! We still have President Obama in the US as a moderator.

Les Morte

A nation and society cannot survive serious cleavages occurring in the fields of politics, economics, culture, demography and religion all at once.

If it is agreed Malaysia has gotten there, while the powerful would wish to suspend Parliament and use the Emergency Ordinances to rule by decree, the route out of it is to resume the revolutionary cry for Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite, ou le morte (or death)!

Change will have to be prescribed urgently. The ruling Barisan Nasional will possibly lose all states in the peninsular other than Pahang, Johor and Melaka.

The rest depends on the peoples of Sabah (32 ethnic groups) and Sarawak (30 ethnicities), who have become more important than ever before.

Prepare to incubate the new Malaysia with every tribe and every occupational group represented as a beginning of proportional representation, a means to secure freedom and fairplay. This is a democracy with a Bill of Rights. Adios Amigo! --- a. ghani ismail, 23 August, 2011

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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Getting a Mocking Bird to Raid a Church



Silence in Islamic capture is required behavior. It is the insistence of subjugation,a clean surrender to the power vested by religious belief inside a primitive appetite of the mighty religious jurists in a state that is conceived as legally co-extensive with the whole of human life.

Islamic law rules even what you eat, the manner you eat, how you transact and where you turn in prayer.

When officers of the Selangor religious department raided the Methodist Church in Damansara Utama in the night of Wednesday August 3 where a charity thanksgiving dinner was being held, the primitivism was recalled making the raid an act to protect the religion and to stop Christians from proselytizing the Muslims.

Twelve was the number of Muslims attending the dinner. Probably all were members or associates of the NGO, Harapan Komuniti, which, we are told, had organized the dinner to collect funds to help AIDS victims.

The Harapan Kommuniti is a partner of the Malaysian AIDS Council.

In the distresses that followed the nocturnal action of the religious authority the people were once again dismayed while Muslims, even leaders of the Islamic party, Pas, were divided once more, a patent reaction that has repeated itself over and over again like in a pavlovian experiment.

Islam is holistic according to this line of thought and the Islamic State, said the great Pakistani scholar and founder of the Jemaat-i- Islami, Mawlana Maududi, is coextensive with all of life.

Hence, the rulers of Islam must, as of a necessity, become authoritarian and therefore, making it difficult for the people to draw the line between good and bad laws.

Had Maududi lived he would have to explain the social breakdown in his country which is torn to shreds by sectarian conflicts between Muslims.

The Muslims, in the evolution of the Islamic State for which Pakistan was born, are crapped by the diversification of the monotheistic religion as it evolved into becoming a mass of conflicting sects to make cohesion, coherence and comprehensibility nearly an empirical impossibility.

The Islamic State is ‘the very antithesis of secular western democracy’, someone remarked.

The State is assigned to administer the Divine Law and therefore no Non-Muslim can be parked into policy-making, nor can Non-Muslims proselytize, and as Dhimmis they must pay the capitation tax (Jizya) and be confined to a class of non-citizen residents who have no vote.


Decolonization

It could have been worth something as a decolonization strategy like in the ideological conceptions of Jean Paul Sartre and Franz Fannon when Western colonization was receding after World War II.

But the great minds of the Existentialists had obviously failed to address the emotions involved in religion the fact Fannon was a psychiatrist notwithstanding.

The Islamic resurgence that had begun in the 60s went several ways but as we have witnessed, the most successful had come from the city of Qom, the seat of fundamental Shi’ah Islam which provided us with the foundational approaches of Imam Khomenie upon whose understanding of Islam Iran now stands.

In the early days of the religion there was Ali, the Prophet’s cousin, son-in-law and the last republican caliph.

His attempt to steer Islam into a universal humanistic religion and to regard all his subjects as ‘brothers in faith and brothers in kind’ was overtaken by the Umayyad dynasty which imposed discrimination including over non-Arab Muslim subjects (here).

The ideal religion had been overrun by the Arabs themselves.

Islamic history took a turn that led into a bewildering mix of glorious conquests, of stupendous civilizations which flowed along tracks of copious literary and scientific achievements, but with legal and judicial confusions.

Now Muslims react to American, European and Zionist hegemony with suicidal terror to stand a chance in the asymmetrical wars. The Americans hardly accept Obama's reforms, which are good, like the healthcare insurance. Obama promised an independent Palestinian state and that too would be disagreeable to them.

Panic seemed to have been struck in the government of Malaysia to cause it to pass a series of constitutional amendments pertaining to Islam in both, the federal and state constitutions. This began in 1988.

These laws gave wide and sinister powers to the Muslim authorities.

They denied the rights of citizens to apply to the civil courts in prayers for civil and constitutional justice.

The bunch of enactments passed in 1988, I had been told, were suggested by the “dangerous” passages former Deputy Prime Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, had installed in his political networks which involved several NGOs in Indonesia, America and Europe.

It included the think-tank of the German Christian Democratic Union - the Konrad Adenaeur Stiftung (KAS).

Anwar’s think-tank, Institut Kajian Dasar (Institute for Policy Research) was funded by KAS, which was the same body to later fund the Malaysian Inter-Faith Network (MIN) which became quickly viewed as anti-Islam.

The bases for the blanket security options had been sown from before the 1987 leadership crisis Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir, had had to face.

In 1988 the tussle in Umno had brought the backbone of the ruling coalition to fall dead on the bench of Justice Harun Hashim.

Mahathir won in 1987 by the wisp of his whiskers he failed to shave. He won by 43 votes. The challenger was Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah.

Following the fateful contest 10 of Razaleigh’s sympathizers filed complaints in court to declare the contest null and void.

The reason was about some illegal party branches.

That caused the judge to conclude some of the delegates who voted were illegal while at the same time some of the party divisions had also been illegal.

In his mind it had to roll into an avalanche that swept and buried the party as a whole – a kind of roller-coaster legal effect that should be written in the annals of Law in orange, to make it neither this nor that.

Anwar had risen from Umno Youth chief to Umno Vice-President in the 1987 party elections.

Meantime he had become close to B.J. Habibie of Indonesia and thence to Paul Wolfowitz, the American Neo-Cons leader who became one of the architects of the Iraq War.

In 1985 Wolfowitz was US ambassador to Indonesia.

Thus developed Anwar’s power-romances, which became known in Umno as “Super-Politics”, suggesting the network Anwar knitted through the Institut Kajian Dasar (IKD), his Muslim Youth Movement (ABIM), the Asia-Pacific chapter of the World Assembly of Muslim Youths (WAMY), the ABIM frontline in the Pas and ICMI, Habibie’s Muslim intellectuals outfit in Indonesia, had grown into an intercontinental giant.

Putting into focus the Christian think-tank, KAS, and adding to it the spread of Paul Wolfowitz’s connections to the already big-bodied Anwar, it would be rather easy to imagine the nervousness seizing the mighty Mahathir, the ruler of all he sat on.

Mahathir, with his sidekick from Kedah, Abdul Hamid Othman, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department presiding over JAKIM (the Islamic affairs wing of the department)swung into action with the bunch of “Islamic laws” of 1988.

These took most people by surprise and in the surprise many observers cautioned against using legislations to curtail one or another political rival.

Like the Emergency Ordinances (EO) which were passed to contain the Communist Insurrection of 1948, these laws fail to fall into disuse after the challenge had passed.

The EO was applied twice in the past months. The Islamic laws were used several more times than twice in the same measure of time.

It had even threatened the former Mufti of Perlis, Dr. Asri and his successor, Dr. Juanda. Dr. Asri was reported as a "terrorist" to the National Security Council while Dr. Juanda was called a "Wahabi". It was senseless, making Islam a mockery.

Dr. Asri had vied for the top post in Jakim. It's about a contest for resources.

There is disquiet as a result. People regard these actions as signaling a strong possibility that it is exactly what the government wants to do – i.e. apply emergency rule and the “Islamic laws” to sustain the Barisan Nasional (BN) in power against popular distastes.


Anwar


Anwar is back in the dock.

He is on a repeat performance of a sodomy charge and also a repeat performance in bed, i.e. of someone that looks like him and a Chinese doll, said to have been shown in 1999, which can make it a classic.

Will there be changes made to the relevant Islamic enactments if he were to be found guilty and removed (for the last time possibly) from posing a political challenge?

Anwar is only a political rival, not a Christian crusader in disguise or a Jew merchant from Venice.

He must have learned from his days in WAMY, which was based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, that the 22 Arab countries have to consult the US and the Europeans before they can decisively act in any significant matter of statecraft or diplomacy.

Europe lies merely across the Mediterranean from these states. The distance makes for fondness. Si, si!

There lies a critical difference in the political understandings and the political outlooks between Anwar and the remaining power contestants in Umno.

Razaleigh did not approve of using the Islamic enactments to act as political constraints to contain the Anwarites and the Pas.

But Razaleigh was already out of Umno in 1988.

Nothing stood in the way of the design.

Members of the BN in the legislatures voted for the enactments, like loyal disciples. So now we have to live with them.

New legislations were added to the basic body from time to time.

The passage cleared, the way power moves when the citizens cannot effectively protect themselves from government has always been to add claws and fangs to the simian.

We must listen to Maulana Maududi again and again. He wrote to say in an Islamic State no behavior can be regarded as personal and private.

The Tanzimat (Reform)

The Ottoman, which was the largest Muslim empire and lasting until 1925, came to confront industrial Europe that stumped its westward expansion after Budapest.

Admitting it was no match to the order and the power of the new industrial civilizations, the Ottoman, from 1835 to 1873, had conceived westernization and attempted serially to change its laws and legal system, reform its judiciary and its political system, following the French and German models.

The ulama rejected it.

That movement, known as Tanzimat (Reform), caught the interest of the sultan of Johor, Tunku Ibrahim Iskandar, who considered it in 1927. It would have made Malaysia a secular federation.

But it fizzled out. And so the story refuses to end.

In its stead on Aug. 3, 2011, a thanksgiving dinner held by an NGO administering to AIDS victims was raided on the suspicion the Christians were proselytizing.

The dinner was held in a Methodist church and it involved 12 Muslims in the gathering of more than 100.

What will happen to the 12?

How do unintelligible laws become useful in honoring a modern industrial nation….? Salaam! ----a.ghani ismail, 10, Aug. 2011

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Launch of Tengku Li's Amanah



Whether it's a bygone quest or it’s the last straw, the Amanah (Trust), an NGO forged over months of painstaking study for the best bulk of the popular protest in the killing of the mocking bird, is looking good.

It was five minutes late in the launching by the noble man, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, on July 22. It was a Friday, a day of prayers for Muslims and a day of hope for all Malaysian brothers and sisters.

The Angkatan Amanah Merdeka launching left us gaping with the question about what it will be when it’s time for the good wolves to huff and to puff to bring the whole corrupt house down.

It’s not anymore an existential question, like it had been with Hamlet asking his conscience ‘To be or not to be?’ as he walked down the endless steps of becoming.

The question having been answered by Tengku Li and his associates now begs for a clear remark about whether or not Ku Li, as he is better known, will one day take the Amanah out of the Barisan Nasional (BN) and surface it as a yellow submarine into the frontline of the Pakatan.

It is possible that the Amanah would be required to helm the Pakatan if Anwar Ibrahim ends up in jail again.

Prime Minister, Najib Tun Razak, is biting his finger nail in deciding when he will dissolve parliament. Some in the BN may be thinking of avoiding the general elections by calling an Emergency.

Umno and the BN is being battered everyday. They are almost sunk after destroying as many cherished institutions as can be counted without tears.

Said a former minister at the launching of Amanah, the government is misgoverning the economy into a mess of super-costly projects, high and still rising prices of food, of housing and of essential items.

It’s a cipher for certain regime change.

Following the daring showdown of right against might in the Bersih 2.0 through the streets of Kuala Lumpur on July 9, the BN can hardly be expected to let the cross-party new organization Ku Li is leading to exist.

It can be counted to pull out the required number of votes and force through a regime change.

That nearly happened in the 8 March 2008 general elections.

The Opposition had taken 51 percent of the total votes but fell short in the count for a majority in Parliament.

Of state governments the Pakatan took five but quickly lost Perak in a blur of sexual trysts and a case of poor leadership which together counted as a very high price to pay for moral misconduct and general inexperience.

The Amanah at the top is sexually safe and secure as a sum of leaders who have mostly been clobbered into good shape and others as social idealists of note like Tan Sri Simon Sipaun, 70, who had risen from a wasting village and taken by the Lord into Oxford University and became State Secretary of Sabah. Then he became the No. 2of SUHAKAM, the Human Rights Commission.

There’s Daniel Tajem, in-out-in of SNAP in Sarawak, who’s still living in a village among the people he represents politically and as a lawyer.

Former MCA president, the inspiring Ong Tee Keat, obviously towers as a man of conscience. He too is a beacon, like Razaleigh.

Given the ready pool of the morally injured among the people, it’s hard to miss a win with the group of leaders of the Amanah – a line-up of moral and ethical beacons that can, with freedom of speech, expression and assembly, light a path to the freedom from corruption, from collusion and from cronyism.

Other than former Minister, Tan Sri Kadir Sheikh Fadzir, 72 (one of his brothers had risen to the helm of the Umno Youth), there are Dato Subramaniam, formerly MIC deputy president and Ragunath Kesavan, former Bar Council president, with Bujang Ulis, Dr. Patau Rubis, Wilfred Bumburing and even a guy who has climbed Mt. Kinabalu more than 50 times, making the group into Pegasus, the constellation the ancients identified as the messenger or postmaster of the gods.

Therefore the powers will want Amanah blacked out.

Tengku Li said in his speech, “This morning can just be another interesting social event in the Malaysian landscape or it could be the start of something unprecedented that it could alter the course of our country’s future and direction.”

The room to move is calculated. It is limited.

The Tengku is aware some in Anwar Ibrahim’s PKR had blamed him for the failure of the September 16 lunge for power Anwar made.

As a result Anwar slumped, only to mount again in the re-run of a sodony charge, this time with the famous and invincible rectum of Saiful Bukhari, one of his aides.

In the Pas some are dismayed by the series of losses in recent by-elections. Nik Aziz Nik Mat is aging. Some who are equally disturbed by the rise of Mat Sabu as deputy president want Anwar as president with Hadi Awang replacing Nik Aziz as the Murshid ul-Am (General Guide).

Mat Sabu is not a religious scholar. Mat Sabu, as a carpet-bagger without any political base, is an obvious risk.

It’s about a simple thought for the culture of power, meaning Tengku Razaleigh could prove to become a torn in the Pas’ stronghold of Kelantan, which is also the Tengku’s home-ground. But Tengku Li is aiming for the center, the federal power.

The start of Amanah is a bit tough and hence the launching of Amanah passed in the media, including in the cyber portals, as a monumental whimper of a consortium which included more than a hundred corporate leaders who had come dressed in suits, many armed with blackberries, cameras and tablets to ensure a memory in digital-space of a reasoning for peace, for sanity, for a correction of systematic errors and for a return to development for the people.

This is the difference in Tengku Razaleigh’s touch. He brought leaders in the corporate sector to ground zero and to walk alongside the NGOs, intellectuals, workers, farmers, fishermen and the people at large, a final refinement of the Opposition that can make the Pakatan become the arm that will nail the coffin.


Elite Rule


There is a certain rule in Malaysia of the super-elite. It had arisen in the evolution of the New Economic Policy into a systematic dictatorship and which bastardized the whole of the policy while the civil service had become more and more the Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN) cadre outfit.

Former Prime Minister, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, had said about 85 percent of projects meant for Bumiputras had been leaked and given to Non-Bumiputras, suggesting a system overwhelmed by graft and mutual gratifications.

After some high government officers had stunned the people by openly campaigning for the BN in recent by-elections, a broader-based participation became immensely necessary for the people to protect themselves from the power-elite.

‘The rich must help the poor and the successful must help the unfortunate,’ Tengku Razalegh recalled. It was what Tunku Abdul Rahman had said in his vision of a united and happy nation.

It’s not about nostalgia. It’s basic in the formula for peoples who must rise to protect themselves from the dementia affecting governments when power is assumed for the competitive accumulation of money and of wealth in the human search for grand opulence in the Order of Mammon.

Met Him? Know Him? Your fate and destiny are your simple choices. ----a. ghani ismail, 23 July, 2011

The Amanah website is at http://www.amanah.my/

Friday, July 8, 2011

Into the Dark After Power Becomes a Lark



Just when the general elections was said to be “around the corner”, in a sudden exclamation of terror 31 members of the revived Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) were intercepted and remanded on the mainland in Penang. The spaces of shock it caused were soon replaced with bewilderment.

Most of the 31 were poor Indians from the estates. There was a boy of 14 and a woman of 64. The party was taking a ride on the BERSIH 2.0 campaign for free and fair elections.

The only crime the group could have committed was about having with them T-shirts printed with images of outlawed former Communist leaders of Malaya – Chin Peng, Rashid Maidin, Abdullah C.D. and his wife, Suriani.

Power became a lark when these were alleged on June 26 to have been a band out to collect men and weapons to wage war against His Majesty, the King.

Seven days later police released six leaders of the band and immediately rearrested them under the Emergency Ordinance (EO). Police power became widely seen as a toy.

It was pre-elections noise, a ritual in Malaysia, this time grossly an over abuse of authority.

It was all about BERSIH 2.0, a loose coalition of 62 NGO’s that planned a rally for free and fair elections on July 9, which is today.

A Fairy Tale

Like in a fairy tale of ancient British tyrannical regimes, the Minister of Home Affairs, Hishamuddin Hussain, outlawed yellow attire and the people laughed, no longer worried the country was under serious threat.

With senior Cabinet Ministers and the Prime Minister himself acting out a poorly scripted game of deceit, the King decided to intervene on July 4 with an unprecedented royal edict.

For the people that settled the staged storm and BERSIH 2.0 leader, S. Ambiga, said she would call off the rally if that’s what the King wanted and the storm clouds parted to let through a wonderful ray of hope.

But His Majesty merely cautioned against BERSIH walking in the streets. The rally could be held in a stadium.

The King is the Sovereign and Sovereigns are the spirits of nations, so there was joy beaming in the faces of the people.

Yet the Minister of Home Affairs reminded the next day he had declared BERSIH outlaw on July 1, meaning the King, the symbol of the nation’s sovereignty, had acted in error – a disruption of the realm’s protocol and of a Royal edict, which was a certain disregard of the national virtues invested in the person of the King, His Royal Highness The Yang Di Pertuan Agong.

People were in gloom, like the affront was an omen of bad days to come. But what called for the vainglory?

It was mainly the prices in the bread and butter spread and of property, the latter a bubble that is knocking out a chunk of the middle class from the BN’s captive voters the ruling coalition cannot endure.

Then it is about sustainable corruption or of unimaginable high costs that continue to grow in the BN, the latest flair being that of the Minister of Tourism, Ng Yen Yen, who approved RM1.8 million for six Facebook pages of promotional writings.

Given the bulk of the overburden the Prime Minister has had to carry and his reluctance to remove the driftwoods from his Cabinet, it became popular to believe the ruling coalition, the BN, is going under in the 13th general elections scheduled for August or September.

But for panic there was no need. It’s a snap election the Prime Minister can choose to delay for a year or so.

And there are serious snags in the Opposition the people can clearly see.

After the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) has all but lost its registration through dirty play in the party elections and the mad internal struggles continue unabated, people have been suggesting Najib invite either the Pas or the DAP to join the BN and be done with the tensions and the uncertainties.

PM Najib teased the Islamic party, Pas, but he had made no offer.

As a result the Pas president, Haji Hadi Awang, flung the idea into a cesspool in his policy speech at the recent party general assembly and remarked afterwards the country under the BN is headed for bankruptcy and with a debt luggage that’s already 54 percent of the GDP she will be mistaken for Greece in a matter of months.

The BN is in big trouble for failing to manage the prices of food, fuel and every other essential item.

The prices of fish and meat have reached the unthinkable. Beef is now about RM22 per kilo, from RM10 about a year ago.

Cheese slices costing RM2.50 two years before is now more than RM9.

That’s the immediate challenge Najib should have sorted out but is failing. It is eroding the value of the Ringgit and eating into the people’s earnings and savings at one and the same time.

This is the “terror” in Malaysia.

Since more than 70 percent of workers in the country earn RM1500 or less per month, unless immediately checked and by using an emergency ordinance (EO) for it, the result of an extended hike of food prices as it is now will cause a massive pressure driving more and more people against the BN by the day.

The EO should have been recalled for this problem and not for the detention of the MP for Sungai Siput, Dr. Michael Jayakumar, and five other members of the almost defunct PSM that’s merely trying to remain extant, in the dark and the damp of rubber and oil palm estates.

Now it is the BN that’s a lark which is seen as frantic for having missed the cuckoo’s nest in the strange mix of cross-ardor rising from a poorly managed rapture of Saiful’s underside in Anwar Ibrahim’s second sodomy trial.

This had been followed against all counsel to the contrary by a video showing a man of remarkable likeness to Anwar enjoying a sumptuous Chinese cuisine, the man with a pot-belly belying the tale of betrayal between old friends.

The attempts to kill the Opposition Leader’s character frothed and failed again, a case of blameless sustained ineptitude since the money flowed, nevertheless.

It is likely it is the serial failures that’s forcing the BN to the corner and to continue with the comic strips and abuse of power, making it lose the favor of more and more people at each turning and tossing of the misconducts and misgovernment.

BERSIH 2.0 should be in rally today. The BN is rapidly losing the people’s faith each passing day of this sad episode in the noisy heats before the 13th general elections will be finally called.

Think of sunshine. To find joy, think of sunshine on the other end of the elections when we will have a Bill of Rights in Malaysia. When there’s the will the way will come. But who will promise us the Bill of Rights? Will you? ---a. ghani ismail, 9 July, 2011

Monday, June 6, 2011

A Springtide Into A Democracy of Faith?




Is it a springtide what happened at the Pas’ 57th general assembly and party supreme council elections?

Party president, Abdul Hadi Awang, after he summarily cast the suggested Unity Government with the Barisan Nasional (BN) into the cesspool in his policy speech on Friday June 3, he was greeted by a major change of the guards, leaving him and his ulama leadership substantially injured.

When observers pressed home the point that it had been a sweep of the progressive (“Erdogan”) grouping in the party which had the ulama (religious scholars) pressed against the wall, Hadi feebly resisted the popular perception.

He said all of the elected guards belonged to party supremo, Nik Aziz Nik Mat, and to himself, the duo held as the highlights of the ulama leaderhip that sprung the coup which ousted Asri Haji Muda from power in 1982 and is now quite clearly being wished out.

How shall the inroad of the progressives express itself in the party is a question that is already disturbing the Malay psyche that’s needing a point to regain coherence, cohesion and a collective perception of the recall in the Sino- and Indo-Malay stresses in this prodigal plural society British imperialism made as a lasting testimony of divide-and-rule.

Did Hadi Awang produce an answer to the racial and religious tensions that have already combusted twice in the past several years and causing the tensions to stretch stiff like hide dried in the sun?

Hadi had this time gone to great lengths to appease the DAP and other non-Muslims in his experimental tahaful siyasi (political alliance), reciting this verse from the Holy Qur’an,

"…those who have been driven from their homelands for no other reason than their saying. “Our Sustainer is God!” For, if God had not enabled people to defend themselves against one another, [all] monasteries and churches and synagogues and mosques - in [all of] which Gods name is abundantly extolled - would surely have been destroyed [before now]…" – Q. 22:40

It’s a well-chosen verse, of course.

But when he said this showed Islam acknowledges the plural society and provides for the freedom of beliefs, the scholar-president tripped on his toob and would not have been able to keep his posture if he had been confronted with his wanting different laws and separate judiciaries for the Muslims and for the others.

He wanted different taxes for the Muslims and for the non-Muslims as well.

Hadi had not the guts to wire his Islam to an all-inclusive party, nation and world-vision, something the younger among the progressives have grown into and are ready to live by.

While in neighboring Indonesia the Islamic Partai Keadilan Sejahtera (PKS) had openly dropped the Islamic State and become inclusive, the Pas under Hadi and Nik Aziz has merely provided non-Muslim members with a wing worth a handful of votes in the general assembly.

This could be a wracking experience in the Malay psyche, a disjointed remark in the historical evolution of a people that had been serially colonized and living within a political, economic and social compute they had no hand in its making.

Are the progressives in the party ready to take the high road into a cultural revolution of the kind that has made a quest for universal Islam in the sprawling island archipelago of Muslims, Hindus, Hindu-Buddhist, Christians, Taoists and animists?

It’s a sprawling archipelago much larger than Europe and keeping to a Unity in Diversity cast upon an idea of Tantular, the poet-saint of Jawa, a visionary of the distant past whose heritage it has been the life-blood and the breathing of this Indonesia, this marvel of island clusters of the Gods.

If Hadi has a problem with that, it should do him good to remind himself the Filipinos are mostly Christians but are all Malays, among whom was Sandokan, the swashbuckling buccaneer who is a legend in South America Kabir Bedi cast himself into on the wide screen several decades before.

How are we to resolve the division of a family by language, color and culture by the sectarian partitioning of a legalistic religion?

This legalism had divided the world into the Abode of Islam (Darul Islam) and the Abode of War (Darul Harb) while it maintained in its books that society must be seen stratified by gender, with men first and women a step below and followed by the slaves captured, bought and sold, and sometimes prostituted for a gain in the glitter of the gold on the dinar.

Is that at all Islam for this time?

Is that a recall of the human primeval condition fashioned by a God Who is Mercy and Compassion?

This is a statement of human ill, a medieval exposure to the nature of the wicked and the oppressive.

This warranted remark of the differences in time, of outlooks and values, of civilizations, is in the minds of the generations long liberated from the captivity of the religious mind, long severed from the writings on the papyri and long distanced from the superstitions imposed by clerics of one nature or of another, of the breeding by a mentality rendered null by substantial progresses of civilization.

Having failed to stump the progress of women, who are now in the Pas an array of blatantly successful professionals (how unbecoming!!), will you not consider to tolerate for the rest of us a simple confession of freedom of conscience, and not beat about the bush like in a medieval orgy of people in the lusty sensualism of satyrs and nymphs some Umno couples want to become?

There is an injurious growth in the Malay psyche, perhaps an abscess of faith issued from a standard refusal to admit Islam itself is an imperial system that has, since the 17th century, become the lordship in six extant monarchies in Riau-Lingga and the Malay Peninsular.

What these conjure is a simple but critical conflict in the Malay psyche.

The Malays, as Hindu-Buddhists, had developed among the largest empires in the world, leaving monumental structures like the Borobudur, Angkor Wat and Muara Takus.

The Muslims ruled over trading-states instead, like Malacca, or Brunei, and after many centuries they left as monumental structures and histories…..what?

What did they leave behind that were self-made, self-built, that were of self from self around which can be developed the pride and the historical mission for the existential sense to adhere by and become adhesive leading to a certain and formidable destiny?

How does Islam in the Malay world compare with Fatimid Egypt, or Ummayad Spain, or with Mughal India? Could the monumental have been the ulama? Like Nik Aziz and Abdul Hadi Awang?

And therefore, starting a new page of history, there was and is the revolt in Pas on June 3 that has caused an exuberant sense of hope and once again shall live in high expectation on the road to a new Malaysia. Will the progressives have the guts to do it, I wonder.

And with a 21 votes majority, how long can Mat Sabu withstand the backlash of the ulama when they decide to whip him and to boycott him is the question to ask.

What is happening in Pas is clearly another reflection of the Malays in social disintegration. Like Muhammad, the Prophet of the Arabs, going back to the root of the Semites in Abraham, the Malays have to do the same to regain the sense of social identity. It will mean going back to the Malay Way (here)or it would have to be going to an altogether new ideology, which will take time.

Islam, which is here no more than a rites of passage, is obviously ill-equipped to suggest a solution for the Malays and for Malaysia in this glorious geopolitical remaking of the world and the repeat contest of the Occident and the Orient.

Malaysia was Majapahit II, centered in Kelantan. This was about the most coherent ideological point of the Malay genesis. It was also the confluence of Malay culture and Islam. Will the Kelantan prince,Tengku Razaleigh, then step in to help?-----a. ghani ismail, 8 June, 2011

Ps. On June 8 the older ulama, Nik Aziz Nik Mat,was widely reported to boom again, this time saying it was Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and not Karpal Singh who ruined his attempt to apply the hudud laws in Kelantan and therefore, make the state he heads as Menteri Besar (Chief Minister) an Islamic State.

There goes the brief hope that Abdul Hadi Awang had meant to relief us of the hudud laws in his policy speech a few days ago. It's predictable, you see.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Changing Monsoons - Will Pas join BN?



Wrenched from the dreamscape of the old man into the stark reality of a streak of losses in the recent series of by-elections beginning with Galas in Kelantan and ending in Merlimau in Melaka, the Islamic party, Pas, must decide now whether to continue with the malfunctioning PKR and the DAP with its new outlook, or join the Barisan Nasional (BN) before the 13th General Elections.

The venerated Nik Aziz Nik Mat, after his foiled attempt to hoist his son-in-law, Ariffahmi, into the heights of Kelantan to succeed him as Menteri Besar (Chief Minister), confused party members everywhere.

Morale in the party buckled in misery.

It was behavior unbecoming of a stoic puritanical, his charisma, though only slightly injured because of his age (78), nevertheless cast him into the shadow of doubt, the injury generally reasoned as sourced in senility.

The man has been handsomely clean. The person is otherwise loaded with graceful sense of humor and political wit that have made him a rustic legend.

Until he skidded on the crest of power and his willful political ambition bloated and burst into the open last year, Nik Aziz has been an international figurine of the patriarch who had successfully mixed the traditional Islamic ideology with an astuteness that kept the Pas alive in a pact with the Democratic Action Party (DAP) that has recently taken to making it up with the Christian Right.

But now there is an intruder in the tested equation, an instant put-together vehicle of Anwar Ibrahim.

But the 11 year-old Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) has become some wonder.

After winning 31 seats in parliament in March 2008 it soon lost five of its lawmakers who jumped boat, citing as the reasons their disability to work with and to have faith in the party leadership, meaning Anwar and his lieutenant, Azmin Ali, formerly his confidential secretary.

Gross malpractices were alleged in the recent party elections.

Of the listed membership, which was supposed to have been more than 400,000, only about 40,000 cast their ballots, a record vanishing act the super illusionist, David Copperfield, should attempt to outdo to retain his stature in the world of magic.

In the wake of the frantic comedy a few top leaders of the Pas had agreed to talk it over with the Umno, no doubt as a safety measure to ensure the Malays will not lose all in what can be a political wind of change that may blow nobody any good.

It was something the old man, Nik Aziz, found critically adverse and he baulked publicly, then he let fly against the party president, the deputy president, the chief of the party’s council of scholars (ulama) of which he is a member, and the secretary-general to boot.

He had publicly bashed the highest echelon of the party’s policy-makers, declaring himself as the “ship’s captain”. He is the general guide (murshidul am) of the party.

When the comic tempest subsided, the combustible captain found he had grounded his ship.

But there was no mutiny.

The stoic who has been going in and out of intensive care has quite apparently become senile but was still needed for the Pas to keep Kelantan.

The Prime Minister, Najib Tun Razak, who had denied him the state’s oil royalty worth more than RM 120 million annually, obviously fueled the fire in the belly of the sage, prompting the wonderful displays of his tremendous temper.

In the wracking tensions inside the Pas, suddenly His Majesty, the Yang Dipertuan Agong (King) hosted a dinner bringing the leaders of the Pas and the Umno into the amicable ambience of the palace on 24 Dec 2010.

Mahameru (Mount Olympus) had taken notice and the winds were meant to change henceforth.

Even if nobody in the Pas or the Umno had been willing to tell what, in fact, had transpired in the august chamber of royal diplomacy, Malaysians, as a common display of political erudition, generally expected great shifts of the political bulks to happen at any time.

The options are a matter of simple arithmetic, like if the DAP with the solid Chinese support were to win 50 parliamentary seats in the next general elections, the PKR, which is left with 26 and the Pas with 23, cannot dream of outdoing the presently Christian-friendly social democrats to provide for a Muslim Prime Minister.

The winning number in parliament is 112. You can add on the numbers above for the Pas and PKR where you believe it can happen and then see if the equation will fit a formula for sustained stability in Malaysia.

Can the Pas become like the PKS (Partai Keadilan Sejahtera) of Indonesia and open its doors to everyone regardless of race and religion while pursuing Islam without the Shariah (Religous Law)?

It will probably become the largest political organization in Malaysia if it does that. But will it do it?

DAP

The DAP, which succeeded Singapore’s PAP, cannot be believed to have completely cut the umbilical.

When the PAP government in Singapore said Anwar was guilty of what he was charged in the sodomy trial, it raised doubt and caused a lot of people to demand Anwar deny the allegation by oath.

Singapore said Anwar had known it was a trap but chose to walk straight into it anyway, which was damning.

Yesterday the Pas’ council of scholars’ chief, Harun Taib, asked Anwar to dispel the doubt by oath.

The monsoon has swung around. It is clear the party is once again thinking of the options before it and the likelihood is it will sit in conference with Umno and decide to change the equations.

Has the stoical sage been tamed? Or has he himself finally given in to the doubt caused by the Singapore condemnation Anwar has not dispelled?

Anwar is obliged to take the oath. But it is entirely up to him.

Someone has written to say the denial by oath is all there is between him and power in Putrajaya.

While that may be an exaggerated view of the equation at present, Najib’s failure to arrest the bread-and-butter price-hikes and to moderate the property bubble will finally bring the regime change in a rush.

There will be a storm soon accompanying a world currency breakdown and the accompanying economic and political turmoil. If the economic mismanagement is allowed to run uncontrolled in Malaysia, all state governments can be expected to become bankrupt in 2012, including solvent Selangor and Penang.

It is up to Anwar to bring change. The other messiah, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah (with Muhyiddin Yassin in a duo) is still in need of a little time to ready himself.

All Anwar is expected to utter in the Saiful Bukhari sodomy case is “By God (Wa’l-Lah), I did not do it.”

In the Eskay blue video allegation, it is simply “By God (Wa’l-Lah), the man in the sex-video is not me.”

Prostitution is allowed in the Holy Qur’an (Q.24:33) some Muslims argue and hence, this grand mastery of sex video-making by Eskay can be a source of lucrative income for those of such ilk.

The sex video, therefore, is not dynamite. But alas, indelible doubt over the Saiful sodomy event persists after Singapore successfully raised it by deliberate political and diplomatic deliverances.

So, will Anwar take the oath? He can simply do it before the Press at his residence, and be done.

Doubt, in cases such as this, must be eliminated and no matter what Maulana Yusof Qaradhawi may have said or may have to say to Anwar on this matter, the venerable scholar will agree the resident traditional ideology cannot be dispelled even by the peerless such as him.

Take the oath or it would be best for the Pas to decide joining the BN and avoid the confusion of a leader whose character and integrity violate the residing ideological nuances.

Who is Anwar playing the game for? What will be the naked reality in the next chapter of the Anwar Saga and what shall be the dream unchecked?

The Pas will be in its annual general meeting and electing a new crop of leaders in the first week of June. Then, pending Anwar's choice of action or inaction, the deliberations will settle in the Pas and in the Umno a decision in the reaches of the Malay collective conscience. ----a. ghani ismail, 24 May, 2011






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Saturday, May 7, 2011

After Najib Is the two party system




The way of Prime Minister, Najib Tun Abdul Razak, forked following the grand slam of his nemesis, Anwar Ibrahim, in the forefront of Paradise Lost of Sarawak.

Only the DAP struck gold in the April 16 state–election, winning 12 from 15 seats the party contested. The Pas came home empty handed and the PKR won three from 49 contested.

But after Najib had chosen to invest in a bolder-than-stupid sex-video showing a make-belief Anwar whoop-whapping a Chinese belle in the bed of a cheap room of a spa, Najib’s forked path had nowhere to take him other than into a steep fall.

The resentment is overwhelming. He is unlikely to survive.

The stunning sex-show of a man who was cosmetically a close resemblance of Anwar and apparently event-managed and paid for by Datuk Shazryl Eskay Abdullah (Eskay) now wraps Najib in a gossamer that is bursting into a fury of the Malay and Malaysian traditional values like it happened in 1998-1999.

That extended event surrounded Dr M, the Jekyll with the special Hyde, after he saddled the society with an assortment of Anwar images on videos as a sodomite and in a dozen sexual embraces with women.

For that plunge into the bucket and his own display of hysterical comedy against Anwar he wanted the people to hate, Dr Mahathir and the Barisan Nasional (BN) lost 70percent of the Malay votes in the 1999 general elections.

Najib is repeating the 1998-1999 phenomena, only this time about 80 percent of the Chinese and 50 percent of the Indians are also certain to reject the BN for reasons of their own.

That will bring the BN to heel in a slosh of the hyper-privileged elite’s mega corruption the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) cannot otherwise reach, a case in point would well surround the One Malaysia [Free?] Email Najib suddenly rushed into the rump of the ETP or another of his alphabetical contrivances.

It’s about yet another crony company’s sumptuous dinner, people say.

As for Eskay, the physiotherapist, some say he could have a clutch of federal and state ministers compromised in bed as he had claimed he had led Anwar into. It could be a twist in the turnings of an extortionist the police should have investigated first.

But this Anwar sex-video he showed at the expensive Carcosa and which was finally scooped into a four-part triumphant display on YouTube, was of a male that nobody this writer knows or read has believed was Anwar Ibrahim.

The exceptions are a handful of Umno propagandists writing in a couple of mainstream “newspapers” and the dirty dozen of Umno bloggers whose job it is to convince their readers the fellow in the video, which was said to have been first shown in 1998, was, indeed, the foxy Anwar.

To make matters worse, some members of the police force have been reported to have publicly confirmed the dumb and naked figure of sexual transparency in the video is Anwar.

How come?

How can the lightly pot-bellied fellow with the sloppy chest of a couch-potato pass as Anwar?

Anwar was in 1998 the Deputy Prime Minister Mahathir did not want. Now he is the Opposition leader Najib and his wife, Rosmah, want undone.

He has been in the news for ages and people know him by his images. The man in the sex-video is not Anwar, they insist.

People say not even after a cosmetic surgery probably done on his face for fiteen tousand Malaysian dolaars at a downtown surgery in Bangkok can that man be Anwar Ibrahim.

Miiister, you want to remove bellicosity of fats round stomach and puppet booosum, can be done. Plus solders and fats over the ribs only fitty tousand Malaysian dolaars and discount five percent, also can.


That chap who contracted the job (Eskay?) did not spend the extra Malaysian dolaars and hence the “bellicosity of fats” (adipose fats) was clearly shown on YouTube - cuts of middle-aging beef that can hardly belong to the slim body of the fox whose stomach is too flat for him to tuck in without laboring his breathing.

The result is patently clear. It’s the return of the 1998-1999 phenomena Dr M has consistently denied as having been caused by him.

He repeatedly said the 70 percent skid of the Malay votes in 1999 had been caused by the Black Eye, meaning the terrible beating Anwar had endured in police custody in 1998, leaving a blackened eye that stayed on him until he was produced in court weeks later.

That was done by the former Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Rahim Noor, an abuse at the very height of the custodians of the law and of security, the event a chilling memory sending thousands to the streets to demand civil liberties in Malaysia, which is an early fragrance of Jasmine.

The Black Eye added to the total Opposition votes in 1999 but the bulk of the Malay votes that the Umno and BN lost in that election had been caused by the failed attempt to discredit and to humiliate Anwar, by Mahathir.

Jumanji

Now it is Jumanji, the supernatural game of the jungle that would bring to appear wild imaginations with every move you make.

With Najib at the helm and him failing to control the price rise of food and essential items while he dumps upon society a One Malaysia and a New Economic Model that have gone out of control like badly plotted novels, the way forward is forked and leading to his fall, making a repeat of the 1998-1999 reactions the only referent for social behavior of the sort in Malaysia.

Does that mean Umno and the BN will probably lose when Najib rings in the 13th general elections?

The answer is simple and it is positive.

No matter the fact the Pakatan is new and fumbling, the fact Najib, Rosmah, Hishamuddin, Mahathir and the Police are now incredible, and resented, will repeat the 1999 elections syndrome, this time causing the BN to finally lose.

Unless the members of the Pakatan were to spoil the progress of historical forces by sudden seizures to betray their friends and betray society as well for a handsome consideration or by sheer madness, the conclusion above is the only one to make.

However, BN fixed deposits in Sabah, Sarawak and some West Malaysian constituencies still remain, meaning the margin will be hairline.

As for the fear of the Chinese overwhelming the Malays because of the ethnic solidarity, them cannot gain a simple majority by themselves even if every Chinese majority were to fall to the DAP.

Nor can they gain a two-third majority in Parliament to change the constitution.

In other words, Malaysia is now poised to follow through the making of a two-party system, a chance nobody should miss. That is an essential part of needed progress. --- a. ghani ismail, 7 May, 2011.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Tinkerbell and Anwar's tendril - a story of uprightness that may be a lie







It’s the watch, mademoiselle, which would have scuttled the tale of the video-man, Eskey, and not the shape of the actor’s body, which are merely lumps of doubt like the sorts that get stuck in the throats of writers and journos in this kind of Malaysian gutter madness with a sex-video to show, yet again.

It’s the watch, mademoiselle, ‘watch’ as in chronograph, not like in ‘watching’ over and over again a blue video that, as it turns out now, could have been a professional take from a seedy joint on Phaholyothin Road in the anything-can-do shades of Bangkok.

Meester, you want cheap money? Malaysian dolaars … tirty Baht for Fitty Ringgit? Amerikan dolaars?....... You want Malaysian Paspor?

Written in a strip across a sneak teaser of the Anwar Video posted on YouTube on April 4 was the address of the probable source of the Eskay tape. It said ‘Phaholyothin Road Bangkok, Thailand 10400, Copyright 2011.’ The tape was not taken in a spa in Kuala Lumpur on March 20 or thereabouts as we were earlier told. It was instead taken from somewhere along ‘Phaholyothin Road Bangkok, Thailand 10400.’

With “the only available copy” surrendered to the police, the sneak show-time on YouTube forced the IGP, Ismail Omar, to quickly say the police did not upload the teaser on YouTube.

Who is playing who out then?

But does it matter that the police is not responsible?

In the rush of popular reactions over the sex-video caper that’s going from bad to worse by the day, people who make surveys have reported the majority of Malaysians blame the Umno and the Barisan Nasional (BN) for the lewd and filthy sex-politicking.

It’s a sure kindling of the people’s temper that will become converted into People’s Power yet again in an environment that has been on the boil over dictators, authoritarian regimes, bad governments and corrupt elites.

The thrust of the combat is now about moral legitimacy and not the cut-and-dry eventual vote-count by the force of “purchasing power parity”, which, in the stalled, immobile and tropically humidized social memories, the sensitization of crisp legal tenders slipped from hand to mouth can resuscitate the worst political garbage from natural rot to be recycled in a dump-yard of politics and diplomacy.

Anwar’s wife, Datuk Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, also reacted.

Looking drawn in the interview she gave at her home on April 5, a day before nominations in the Sarawak state elections, she could have stumped the agony of this filthy Umno politicking by producing the gold Omega watch Eskey said he retrieved from the prostitute who had taken it after fulfilling her role in the video.

Someone had asked Wan Azizah about the watch. She replied it is in her keeping. But why she did not produce it is somewhat of a let-down since that watch, if it is materialized, will trap Eskay.

Still the noose appears to be a living reality that’s haunting the threesome in the menage that may finally bring the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) to its ruin.

Does this mean the writer is convinced the stud in the Bangkok opera is not Anwar Ibrahim?

Someone said Eskey appeared like he was playing the role of a director of the show and it seemed to have been based on a clear sight of the movements in the video clip.

Others have said the actor was a carefully chosen Anwar-double but was simply too vigorous for the Opposition Leader who had a spinal injury.

The man in the video had a slight stomach spread and his chest was sloppy. People can hardly think of Anwar being like that.

Others noticed the prostitute patted her hair to be sure she sustained the hair-do, before the camera she knows is rolling.

Eskey is the central member of the trio, Datuk TKO, who screened the sex-video featuring a man with the likeness of Opposition Leader, Anwar Ibrahim, to a select group of journos in the costly Carcosa on March 21. This we already know.

The other two are former Malacca Chief Minister, Rahim Thamby Chik, and the Treasurer of Malay rights group, Perkasa, Shuib Lazim, who is also the Member of Parliament for Sungai Petani, Kedah. We already know this too.

But were the trio together in the joint along Phaholyothin Road in Bangkok and did they enjoy a snack in a klong, of salted wide-eyed Chinese-carp with the woman who could be a pretty ipoh-mali fish-monger, we would need police investigation to tell.

The caper is getting to be a lark. It’s the same as it was in 1998-1999 when the antagonist kept the allegations going on and on in the belief as Herr Goebel had, which is to keep repeating a lie until people believe it is true.

As the moral distresses warp the clime in Sarawak today (April 6), which is Nomination Day, Malaysian web-portals and some newspapers wrenched the people into another twist to the Anwar-Video rub-a-dub-dub following the tell-all press conference Wan Azizah held.

In a sentence, the meaning of all that she said is he, Anwar, needs Tinkerbell’s magic to put his tendril upright.

He has been disabled the past one year, she said. He has been going with his children for exercises and for therapy.

That means the “Anwar” in the video is not Anwar since that fellow had a different body shape and the real Anwar had not been able to perform sexually for about one year.

That’s a bombshell, of course.

But in an arena as evil as the one in which this combat is being fought, it will need the testimony of several medical specialists before it can explode and crush the rude and crude political quest to demolish the character of the rival by the practiced exertion of simple filth.

Is that planned as a follow-up?

It’s like the crap allegation against Anwar made by Saiful Bukhari in June, 2008.

The tough-looking young man who alleged Anwar Ibrahim forced him into a passive partnership in bed has been found to have had five DNA specimens in his rectum. It’s a miracle!

It is getting clearer by the day that this sort of sex-caper that has become a fetish of the Umno and BN is undermining the ruling coalition and depriving it of the moral legitimacy that is required to inspire the people to want to retain it as the governing party.

The BN is likely to lose in the 13th general elections. ----a. ghani ismail, 6 April, 2011

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Anwar's Sex Video – An Overkill Bringing Back A Mocking Bird




The penny is in the mouth of the “Datuk TKO”, the trio with a blue video of the rub-a-dub-dub three men in the tub type. Two from the three have an axe to grind against beleaguered Opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim. It’s a game move not many people will want to accept either as politically valid or as factual.

Anwar is in court once again on a sodomy charge. His sperm was found swimming with three or four others in the anus of the “passive” Saiful Bukhari, so we were told. He may or may not be the man in the video show too.

People the writer contacted said it is unlikely for any person in Anwar’s position to expose himself to such a degree of risk.

The video stunt is an overkill, the overkill causing PM Najib Tun Razak and the Barisan Nasional (BN) to need a recess against the growing excesses of a police state, a marred judiciary with judges ruling against themselves and an Umno that is once again becoming filth in the eyes of a lot of Malays and Malaysians.

Democratic Revolutions


The environment is serious.

As the “democratic revolutions” rise in the Mena countries with Nato having to take the lead in the invasion of Libya by “the world”, it doesn’t take anyone clever to guess that Asean is designed to return to the Southeast Asian turmoil of the sixties and seventies.

That was a time of fractious regional frivolity of big power geo-political interplay. It followed World War II and it dined at Pork Chop Hill in Korea and then at My Lai in Vietnam.

Pakistan is thoroughly a failed state and in hell. That is South Asia.

Now in Indonesia, after the ouster of Suharto in 1998 via the American Enterprise’s Reformasi which took Anwar’s friend, B.J.Habibie, to the top from number two, religious conflicts threaten to wrack the experimental democracy and the open market economy that can reach one trillion in less than four years if all goes well.

That is the largest nation and economy in Southeast Asia, a sitting duck in the spread of the hegemonic design, now disturbingly colored in Yellow and Red in Thailand, bordering trouble with Kampucea and with Muslims in the south, and in Myanmar a dreadful military stranglehold to nearly complete the jest of ruins in Southeast Asia once again.

In the Philippines, a bankrupt individual, the struggles with the Muslims and the remnants of Communist insurgents can drag the nation down into the slough of despondence.

It’s the sort of turmoil that kills aspirations and that represses the people with police states or military governments.

In Malaysia the powers-that-be kill the freedom of conscience and the rights of religious minorities, this time taking the Christians too, after thousands of Bibles in the national language were impounded for reasons known to the government and decidedly disagreed by the popular hosts, paving the way to the fire next time, to catch James Baldwin's book of that title before the twilight turns dark and the moon stands still over a burning Malaysia.

Small Town

In a taxi from a small town to another a few weeks before, the driver said to me the present day is no longer like it was when the people were uneducated and dependent on the largesse of the government.

We are different now, he said. People who were afraid before will now stand and walk for their rights.

That is, of course, correct. The BN has been slow but fairly successful.

The urban population is now 63 percent, when it was 62 percent rural the day of the racial riots of 13 May 1969.

Today in the rural are teachers, nurses and an assortment of government extension workers, ex-army and police personnel plus students of fully residential schools and colleges, many far better informed than the members of the disinherited urban groupies who become politically branded as opposition because of their drug and sex video-strips lifestyles.

It’s a patchwork population, quite unlike the 60s to 80s generations who willfully sank in with the rich and mighty in search for money and a social standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the titled members of the super-privileged elite.

The elite replaced the superior colonial whiteness with a paintwork of cultural blandness and a big nose that can and do become inefficient or swiftly filthy, which is the main bases of the widespread rejection.

The video overkill of Anwar Ibrahim occurs in such an environmental disuse of the political leadership. It almost lost traction in a day, as it did in 1998.

Prominent people and journos simply said they have seen the tapes and the hero was not Anwar.

It’s not about any love for Anwar. It is simply hate of the filth stuck somewhere in the ruling herd.

In the course of the Anwar Saga since Mahathir unleashed his fury against his unwashed deputy and rival in 1998, the judiciary which was once before respected and cherished bent with the wind like it was doing obeisance to the gods on Mahameru.

Years later, after Mahathir had retired and Abdullah Ahmad Badawi became premier, the judges swayed and one declared Anwar had been the victim of a conspiracy at the highest level of government and society.

Punch & Judy

Everything seemed to have come back, like in a replay of Punch and Judy. In this segment of the saga a bunch of DNA was found residing in the victim’s (Saiful) rectum.

Meantime that fellow, Saiful Bukhari, was seduced and bonked by a DPP, Farah, a member of the Attorney-General’s “esteemed” team.

What’s left of the credibility of the case and of the allegation is anybody’s guess.

Is that why the blue video surfaced on the eve of the Sarawak elections?

The PKR was already routed and the Pas was punch-drunk following the risqué bickering at the very top of the party. It led to a series of knockdowns in bye-elections the Pas sustained, votes receding like the foreheads of the human from the Homo sapien to the Neanderthal.

Now they have a rallying point, the dying horse whipped back into vigorous aggression by a do-it-yourself CCTV blue-job.

Will a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) help convince the public it’s really Anwar who romped in bed in the video?

Have you ever heard of a RCI that was convened for a purpose like that?

Drop it friend! It’s a lost cause. It's a repeat of 1998-1999, only this time not less than 70 percent of the Chinese will oppose the BN and the Indians are split in two. In 1999 about 70 percent of the Malays turned against Mahathir's leadership.

Just let the police investigate, decide and be done. ---a.ghani ismail, 26, March, 2011

Monday, March 21, 2011

Tan Sri Robert Phang Goes Round and Round Again




At Killiney Kopitiam on the evening of Thursday 17 March, 2011, barely two days away from the UNSC-endorsed military intervention in Libya the world knows as “no fly zone”, about 50 persons listened to the good Tan Sri Robert Phang, the contrast to the bad guy Attorney-General (AG), Gani Patail, in the sock-it-to-me fight over Tajuddin Ramli’s Mas-Kebab swop.

Tajuddin, Executive Chairman of the Malaysian Flag-Carrier, Mas, from 1994 to 2001, was said to have caused the company to lose about RM 8 billion. Though said to have been recommended to be charged in court by the former head of the Commercial Crime Division, the AG hasn’t acted on it yet.

As this saga began to unfold its new chapter in 2009 when well-known blogger, Raja Petra Kamaruddin, ran a series of 10 installments on the Tajuddin’s Mas story, few would have expected the recount of Tajuddin’s embarrassment would light a fire that combusted in the MACC, causing two advisors to burn.

That was the subject of a “Kopitiam Discussion” my old friend, Baha Zain, organized through his outfit, Malaysian Digest, at Killiney Kopitiam on Thursday, a topic few Malaysians followed because of the bad journalism it drew, the bulk of writings on it showing the writers’ emotions and flaunting the what, when, where, who and why that are basic to reporting.

Raja Petra and a few others are exceptions, the former better described as exceptionally gifted.

The discussion at the Kopitiam was not a curtain-raiser. It served instead as a discussion with Tan Sri Robert Phang, and enabling us to see the woods from the trees pertaining to the new chapter of the Tajuddin Saga the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) would want us to believe was intimately interwoven with the selective prosecution of the senior police officer who had recommended that Tajuddin be charged.

Ours is a troubled environment. Trouble has been brewing all over the Muslim world, the new sets in the Mena countries stemming from complaints about police states, dysfunctional institutions, ethnic, religious and gender discriminations, income inequalities and rising prices of food and essential items, all of which are residing in this country too.

Closer to home, in Indonesia, where Muslim extremism has been clobbering the Ahmadiyya and Christian minorities over and over again, someone sent parcel bombs to “moderate Muslims” several days before, taking the country into Takfirism which may lead her into the kind of purgatory Pakistan has become.

There the moderate Muslim Governor of Punjab and a Christian Minister had been killed.

It is turmoil.

The Killiney Kopitiam session with Robert Phang on Thursday, which was somewhat of a jumble because of the varying foci, should have been finally about these – the rotting images of our institutions, beginning with the Police Force which we have been given to believe is divided into factions and a part of which is corrupt or is corruptible.

Then the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has been soured by the death of political assistant, Teoh Beng Hock, in its custody.

Several big fishes the Commission charged failed to be secured by a guilty verdict in court. That brings us to the disappointment with the Attorney-General (AG), Gani Patail.

The AG, Gani Patail, and the former Inspector-General (IGP), Musa Hassan, were implicated in Anwar Ibrahim’s Black Eye Incident in 1998 by the testimony of a senior police officer.

This rounds up why Anwar’s outfit wants the AG and the former IGP dissolved in vitriol, but says nothing about why the MCA big shot, Robert Phang, would want to ride on the fame and flames Raja Petra stands for, first in the making of the Free Anwar Campaign and now in gunning for the people who were believed to have conspired to reduce Anwar to political ashes.

Robert Phang, a big operator in the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) and an advisor to the MACC, walked straight into the amazing swirl of terribly sensitive political events the Anwar outfit had been conjuring, causing a question mark to arise like a zombie in Haiti.

He is a social activist. He continued to crusade until after he had resigned in a huff in January 2011 following a blog accusation he had tried to corrupt a high government official involving a business deal.

He is a big man, a rag-to-riches story that may have once been the president of Magnum and is still the publisher of The Star.

Why did such a big guy take issue against the AG following the writings of the blogger, Raja Petra Kamaruddin? Is he in the outgoing camp in MCA? Or is it about putting the pressure on the government for action to be taken?

Gani, having gone to Mecca for the Hajj last year with Shahidan Shafie, allegedly Tajuddin Ramli’s proxy, was suspected to have become obliged to the businessman who was once a police officer.

But Robert Phang should have been well-disposed to know Raja Petra and his friends in the blog merely suggested Shahidan must have paid for the trip involving Gani and his family.

They had no supporting evidence.

They were again guessing when saying Shahidan had meant to persuade Gani not to prosecute Tajuddin Ramli.

But while Gani Patail had obviously attracted suspicion for the pilgrimage with Shahidan and family, he quickly reacted to a call from the MACC and attended a tell-all meeting on 4 January.

He submitted the receipts collected in his Mecca trip to show he paid for his family from his own pocket.

More than a decade ago the then Chief Justice, Eusoff Chin, had gotten into a crap for his family tour of New Zealand together with Berjaya Corporation lawyer, V.K. Lingam.

It was clear the events were good meat for the PKR spinners and if Phang chose to stay his ground he would be drawing the kind of flak Muammar Gadhafi would not want to think about in Libya.

But he did just that. No matter the fact that Gani Patail had submitted evidences to show he was clean concerning the trip to Mecca, and said he was willing to cooperate should he be investigated, Robert Phang and one other of the attendees were apparently not satisfied.

Chairman of the MACC Corruption Prevention Panel, Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam, issued a statement to the effect that the MACC members who attended this meeting were satisfied with Abdul Gani’s explanation.

There were 30 attendees of 42 invited. As far as this writer is aware, only two persons, i.e. Robert and one other, had protested the statement Ramon made on 4 January after the meeting.

The statement came close to exonerating Gani. Ramon said there was no need to investigate the allegations of Abdul Gani’s connection with former MAS Chairman, Tan Sri Tajuddin’s proxy, En Shahidan Shafie.

Robert Phang blew his top.

But was Ramon’s statement conclusive? Did Ramon carry such weight as to enable him to open or close an MACC enquiry?

Robert Phang was a member of the MACC panel Ramon chaired. He should know the limits of Ramon’s power. Still he acted quickly to reply on 5 January. His statement is given in full below.

I regret Ramon’s statement that - “ MACC members were satisfied
with Abdul Gani’s explanation and found that there was no need to investigate
the allegations”. I also resent Tan Sri Ramon’s statement that - “We found that
there was no case at all to accuse him of being linked to Tajuddin just because
of this Haj trip. It was irresponsible to allege that he was in any way linked.”

I consider Ramon’s statement to be a direct attack on me as I had
earlier called on Abdul Gani to clear the air over public allegations of his
relationship with Shahidan and the Mecca Haj pilgrimage. I was concerned that
Abdul Gani’s silence would fuel deeper suspicions and confusion
. (Italics mine)

Ramon can speak for himself but he has no mandate from me or the
other panel members to make that statement on our behalf. That was not how I
perceived the meeting. What was certain was that my esteemed colleagues who
attended the meeting did not want to humiliate Abdul Gani any further. It was
not our intention to humble the Top Lawyer of the country.

It is therefore imperative for Abdul Gani to dispel any suspicion
surrounding his conduct of consorting with Shahidan Shafie and [sic] the Mecca Haj
pilgrimage. The public needs to be satisfied as to why Abdul Gani had not acted
on the recommendations of the then Director of Commercial Crimes Department,
Dato’ Ramli Yusuff, that Tajudin should be prosecuted. Inevitable [sic] the public
already perceived that the AG’s decision to prosecute Dato’ Ramli as an attempt
to cover up the MAS scandal
. (italics mine)

Robert Phang invited the fires of hell to be flung at him. It was Raja Petra and several others in Anwar’s outfit who “ …perceived that the AG’s decision to prosecute Dato’ Ramli as an attempt to cover up the MAS scandal,’ but certainly not “the public”.

A friend had earlier asked what could be the connection between Raja Petra and Robert Phang, which he described as “confusing”. That was a member of the MCA.

In the corridors of the BN the episodes were viewed somewhat more seriously.

Phang was alleged in a blog to have tried to bribe a senior government official. The allegation was followed by another blog saying he had donated RM50,000 to the MCA’s nemesis, the DAP, which has been the choice of about 80 percent of Chinese voters in the general elections of 8 March 2008.

At Killiney Kopitiam on Thursday he was not asked for the basis of his allegation that the Director of the (Police) Commercial Crimes Department, Dato’ Ramli Yusuff, had indeed been prosecuted for recommending Tajuddin to be charged in court.

What was Robert Phang repeating the allegation for? Even if Ramli Yusuff had come clean in court, no evidence was offered to prove he had been a victim of selective prosecution.

To members of the BN Robert had joined a chorus in the Opposition in a straight and easy jaunt that must embarrass the MCA.

It needs to be asked is he a member of an outgoing faction in the party whose days are numbered under the new president, Chua Soi Lek?

Robert is 69 and he wouldn't be bothered about that.

To people who had followed the development, Robert will appear as having been affected by Raja Petra’s 10 installments on Tajuddin Ramli’s Mas episode in Malaysia Today posted in 2009, and he recalled it also following Raja Petra’s expose on the Gani Patail-Shahidan Shafie Hajj trip at the end of 2010.

Robert Phang has become a curiosity. Why is he doing this when it is already a glaring fact that the PKR and the Pas have lost credibility and are deemed popularly as no longer fit to lead.

While PKR suffered lawmakers who frogged to the BN, both parties have had their share of leadership crises, the PKR now quite emasculated since Syed Husin Ali retired, Sivarasa lost in the party divisional election and many have chosen to fall quiet before the new and untested leadership line-up.

The Pas has also been severely damaged after serially losing in recent bye-elections, meaning Robert Phang isn’t about to go places outside of the spaces marked “Down” or “Out”.

He called Gani Patail a rogue. Robert should have ridden on a moral movement.---a. ghani ismail, 22 March, 2011