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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Ex-transport minister Chan before PAC on PKFZ

Jui Meng, why PKR?

Najib 'an iron fist in velvet glove'

Teoh's inquest adjourned to Aug 5

Manipulasi kenyataan, Utusan kena bertanggungjawab

My brother died in police custody

THE family of 31-year-old toddy shop assistant R. Gunasegaran who was arrested by police in Sentul on

July 16 is asking for an inquest to determine the cause of his death as he had died in police custody.

The sister of the deceased, R. Ganga Gowri, yesterday lodged a report at Dang Wangi police station.

She is not convinced that her brother had died of a drug related death as she claims to have witnesses who have alleged that they saw her brother being beaten up by police and had died because of the beatings.

A copy of the burial permit issued by the hospital authorities, stated that Gunasegaran died from drug related causes.

In her report, Ganga said she had met the three witnesses, identified only as Ravi, Suresh and Selvam. They were also arrested with her brother at the Sentul police station. She also claimed that her brother was arrested around 5.30pm and had died sometime after 7pm on the same day.

During a Press conference yesterday, Ganga said Gunasegaran’s body is still at the Kuala Lumpur Hospital mortuary and she had been informed that it would take about two months before the postmortem report would be made available.

Ganga said while her family wishes to remove the body of Gunasegaran as soon as possible to perform the necessary religious rituals and thereafter cremate the body, at the same time, they also want to know the truth behind Gunasegaran’s death.

“I hope there would be accountability in the death of my younger brother and there must be justice for him. Cases like this should be put to an end,” she said.

A team of seven lawyers headed by Haris Ibrahim, M. Visvanathan and Edmund Bon are also making a call to the authorities to put a stop to the practise of delaying the delivery of the post-mortem report to the next-of-kin until after the body has been buried or cremated.

“The post-mortem report must be made available to the next-ofkin as soon as possible in light of a possibility of a need to carry out a second post-mortem to determine the cause of Gunasegaran’s death,” Visvanathan said.

He also added that the witnesses in the case had also alleged that Gunasegaran was kicked in the chest area and was also beaten up with a piece of wood.

“He was also subject to further assaults by the same police officer who had assaulted him earlier, but with much greater severity, causing Gunasegaran to lose consciousness which he never regained until his death,” Haris said.

When contacted, Sentul police chief Assistant Commissioner Zakaria Pagan said police did not find any foul play in the death of Gunasegaran.

“The post-mortem report revealed Gunasegaran died of drug intoxication,” said Zakaria. He said the case has been classified as sudden death.

Gunasegaran was arrested by the district narcotics department for drug related offences, Zakaria added.

He said the deceased’s family is welcomed if they wanted to apply for an inquest.

“We have nothing to hide,” he said.

Malay Mail

Politics, Power and the Violence of History

By Farish A. Noor

(Note: This is a summary of the paper I gave at the Conference on Progressive Islam and its Global Challenges organised by the Sharif Hidayatullah Islamic University (UIN) in Jakarta over the weekend. – Farish)

The guillotine, it ought to be remembered, was originally conceived of as a safe, clean, efficient and ironically ‘humane’ method of murdering people when it was first introduced. Dubbed the ‘revolutionary razor’ when it was first used to execute the enemies of the state at the outset of the French revolution, it was seen as an improvement and advancement from the age of neo-feudal rule where the despotism of the King of France was manifest in the macabre and gruesome spectacles of public violence that were enacted in the kingdom against those who were seen as the enemies of the regime.

In time however it is clear that even this mode of public execution has been inscribed with negativity and regarded as a brutal way for the state to express its power in the public domain. Robbespiere, Danton, Saint-Just were all victims of the same mode of state violence that they had originally supported and promoted, and it is ironic that Robbespiere and his contemporaries met their end at the same guillotine that they had used to execute their enemies earlier.

The tale of the guillotine is an apt reminder of the historical impasse that Muslim societies are in today, and how the dream of political Islam is now turning onto itself and demonstrating its internal unsustainable contradictions in no uncertain manner. In his landmark study of the regimes of violence and punishment before, during and after the Iranian revolution of 1979, Darius Rejali notes that the Iranian revolution – despite its distaste for all things secular, western and modern – was nonetheless a modern enterprise that was couched in the same secular, materialist and modernist premises it sought to distance itself from.

Today the Muslim world is witnessing an internal pluralisation on a scale that is unprecedented. Modern developments ranging for mass rural to urban migration, the urbanisation of Muslim societies (Iran was the most urbanised Muslim country in the world at the time of the Iranian revolution in 1979), mass education accompanied and aided by the rise in Muslim literacy levels, the availability of off-the-rack communications technology etc. have all conspired to create a Muslim global community that is wired up, networked, integrated and which lives in a virtual time-space that is forever present and immediate.

Yet despite these material advances that have been furthered by the march of global capital and its attendant technologies, there remains a huge disconnect between the material-economic life of Muslims and their social-cultural-religious realities.

Part of the problem lies in the fact that Muslim normative social, cultural and legal discourse has remained by and large stuck in the past, harking back to an age of Empire where Muslim power was dominant and where the epistemology of Empire – to paraphrase the term made popular by Ebrahim Moosa – remains the defining epistemic standard by which all utterances in the public domain are made. It is partly thanks to this disconnect that we witness the manifold contradictions that now exist in the Muslim world, where even the most materially and economically developed Muslim states may still cling on to an understanding of Muslim law and legal-social praxis that is out of date, if not outright medieval.

A case in point in the present furore in Malaysia – long since regarded as one of the most economically developed Muslim countries in the world and a model for other developing Muslim states in South Asia and Africa – where a Muslim woman (Kartika Sari Dewi) has been sentenced to whipping by the Shariah court for the offence of drinking alcohol in public. It is not often that such news reports reaches the wider global community for the simple reason that Malaysia has long since cultivated its image as a ‘model Muslim state’ for others to emulate and prides itself with the role it wishes to play as the cultural bridge-builder between the Western and Muslim worlds.

Yet this is the same Malaysia where books are banned on a regular basis, where the state-employed morality police regularly raids homes and public spaces to morally police the private lives of citizens, where the religious authorities see fit to pronounce judgements on all matters ranging from sexuality to the use of witchcraft, and where authors like Karen Armstrong are allowed to speak at conferences hosted in the capital while their books are banned and not allowed to be sold or read in the same country.

Furthermore it should be noted that in Malaysia today where political Islam has made an impact thanks to the constant political instrumentalisation of Islam by the two main Malay-Muslim parties UMNO and PAS, the public domain has been increasingly defined by Islam (of a politicised variety) and has shrunk as a consequence. Despite the heated political contestation between the two parties, neither PAS nor UMNO have shown any willingness to engage with other Islamist/Muslim actors and agents, be their alternative Muslim intellectual groups, NGOs, lobby groups, Muslim minority faith communities (such as the Shias or Ahmadis) and Muslim women’s groups.

It is telling that in the case of the sentence of whipping meted out to Kartika Sari Dewi in July 2009, both UMNO and PAS leaders claimed that the judgement was in keeping with Islamic law and ethical norms. The PAS leader Dr. Lo’ Lo’ Ghazali – who initially expressed her reservations over the judgement – later reversed her stand and came out in support of the Shariah judge who had meted out the punishment of whipping thus:

“When the Shariah Court passed the sentence I was shocked not by the decision but by the boldness of the judge. I congratulate him for it.”

On both sides of the political divide, the leaders of UMNO, PAS and the state’s religious authorities maintain that the punishment was in accordance with Islamic legal norms and ethical values; that the punishment was not intended to physically harm or mutilate the condemned but rather to ‘reform her’ through the ‘symbolic’ act of publicly whipping – and thereby humiliating her; and that such forms of public humiliation and punishment were carried out to maintain and police the ethical standards of society and to safeguard public morals.

In short, as was the case of the guillotine of the revolutionaries, the public act of whipping someone in public was presented as ‘humane’ and meant to serve the utilitarian needs of society as a whole and to maintain a sense of social order and cohesion – albeit through a regime of social policing, public humiliation, sanctioned (and therefore legitimate) state violence and social conditioning. This was yet another instance where Muslim law and social policing was and is understood in terms that deny the rights of the individual and the sanctity of privacy, private agency and the right to personally conduct one’s life on the basis of one’s own personal judgement.

To compound the matter further, practically none of the major political parties of the country have spoken out against the judgement, for fear of appearing to challenge the primacy of the Shariah court and legal system when it comes to the policing of the private morality and private choices of Muslims in particular. It would appear as if despite the hype and talk of how Malaysia is such a developed country in material-economic terms, its religious laws have evolved in a completely different direction from the march of capital in the country. What is more, with the exception of a small minority of dissenting voices emanating from Muslim lawyers, scholars and human rights activists, it would appear as if the normative ethical and moral standards of Malaysians – Muslims and non-Muslims alike – have been set by those whose moral standards are based on a legal and moral vocabulary that is traditionalist, essentialised and bound by scripture.

The legal reasoning that has gone into the justification of the sentence meted out to the condemned in this case – as with the legal reasoning that has informed so many other instances of moral policing, book banning, marginalisation of minorities – is one that is rooted in history, but that history happens to be one that is defined mainly by conservative scholars who have opted to highlight the evolution of only one stream of Muslim legal thought, the conservative tradition. Muslim power and politics in Malaysia as in so many other Muslim countries is understood and foregrounded with history as its springboard, but we need to ask, which Muslim historical tradition is being used to justify the present-day policing of Muslims all over the world? And are there no other alternative historical traditions that we can consult? Where, in short, is the history of progressive Islam in the midst of all this sound and fury?

Was Teoh Beng Hock killed upstairs rather than downstairs?

Image

Was Teoh Beng Hock killed upstairs and then his body placed downstairs to make it appear like he jumped out of the window? Look at the two pictures below and see the difference. Judging by the photo of Tan Kian Chong, it appears like Teoh did not really fall but his body was placed there after he died.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Student Tan Kian Chong was found dead at the bottom of Apartmen Vista Angkasa in Kampung Kerinchi yesterday, suspected of falling down 16 floors. See the 'mess'. And eyewitnesses said they heard an 'explosion' when his body hit the ground while his blood was splattered right up to the second floor of the building.

See how 'clean' Teoh's death is.

Was Teoh manhandled? Other male DNA found on his clothes

benghock2

(Suara Keadilan) - The coroner’s court was told on Wednesday that more than one male DNA sample was found on the clothing of Selangor political officer Teoh Beng Hock, who fell to his death after a prolonged interrogation by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.

The news bolstered already widespread speculation that the 30-year old Teoh was manhandled prior to his death or even ejected through the 14th floor window of the MACC office to which he had been taken for questioning as a witness.

“According to the first DNA report, the DNA profile derived from the swab from the back outer side of the blazer worn by the deceased Teoh Beng Hock consisted of a mixture of male DNA types from two individuals,” Tan Hock Chuan, a criminal lawyer appointed to represent the Attorney-General’s chambers told the court.

“One is concordant with the blood stain specimen of the deceased Mr Teoh and one unknown male individual.

“Another DNA profile derived from the swab taken at the tear region of the waist belt worn by the deceased Mr Teoh consisted of a mixture of male DNA types and indicated concordance with the blood stain specimens of Mr Teoh and at least one other unknown male contributor.”

Tan was quoting reports from the Bukit Aman forensic team. One showed a swab from the outer layer of Teoh’s jacket held traces of his DNA and that of another man. Another test on his belt revealed at least two male DNA samples – Teoh and at least one other man.

Tan also said a total of 102 people have been asked given their DNA samples for testing.

“I’ve been told by the chemist that the results on 90 people are ready and further tests will be conducted on 12 male persons. I’ve also been informed by the Investigating Officer that two persons have refused to give sample swabs for this DNA. That is what’s holding up the second report,” he said.

But when pressed by Gobind Singh Deo, the lawyer for Teoh’s family, Tan declined to confirm if any matches have been made so far.

The inquest has been adjourned to Aug 5.

Ex-minister sought Queen’s Counsel advice over PKFZ documents

By Lee Wei Lian - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, July 29 — Former Transport Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy sought legal advice from a Queen’s Counsel in the UK before giving his testimony to the Parliament Public Accounts Committee (PAC) today on his involvement in the scandal-hit Port Klang Free Zone(PKFZ) project.

Chan testified today that the three letters he had signed in support of PKFZ did not contain guarantees. The distinction is important as the ministry is not empowered to guarantee the project and a letter indicating otherwise would be tantamount to fraud.

According to sources, Chan provided summary legal advice from a Queen’s Counsel to back his claim which he showed to members of the PAC but without distributing copies.

The Malaysian Insider understands that some PAC members feel Chan’s testimony contradicts that of the ministry secretary-general who said that Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail had indicated Chan’s letters have elements of a guarantee.

The PAC is expected to summon Abdul Gani on August 12 to obtain his opinion.

Chan was the last of the three transport ministers, whose tenures straddle the PKFZ project, to be summoned. So far former transport minister Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik, current Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat, PKA chairman Datuk Lee Hwa Beng, and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief Datuk Seri Ahmad Said Hamdan have already testified.

After the meeting, PAC chairman Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid told reporters that the committee was deliberating but had yet to arrive at any conclusion. “We don’t know if they are letters of support or letters of guarantee. It is subject to legal opinion. We are not the authority to determine it, we are only conducting an inquiry.”

The details of the PAC findings are expected to be tabled during the next sitting of Parliament in October.

Since the 1980s, Queen’s Counsels have rarely been granted approval to appear before Malaysian courts although clients are free to seek their advice.

In 2006, Cherie Blair, the wife of Tony Blair and a prominent Queen’s Counsel, was denied her day in Malaysian court when the Federal Court dismissed her application to appear on behalf of Fawziah Holdings in a dispute with Metramac over a tolled highway contract.

Melayu Lemah Helah UMNO Yang Di Makan Segelintir Orang Kuat PAS

Sheih Kickdefella,

PRU2004 Melayu

PRU2008 Melayu

Melayu sekarang lemah? Apakah indikasi Melayu lemah? Dimanakah statistiknya?

Sudah lebih setahun kita berbicara soal Melayu kini di dalam keadaan terpinggir di tanah tumpah darah mereka. Kelemahan Melayu didalam negara yang sudah lebih setengah abad ditadbir oleh kerajaan yang berterajukan parti Melayu bernama UMNO memaksa kononnya perlu ada penyatuan dan kerjasama diantara parti UMNO dan PAS.

Apakah penyatuan dan kerjasama yang dirindukan UMNO ini adalah satu manifestasi pengakuan pimpinan UMNO terhadap gagalnya pentadbiran mereka sehingga dikatakan Melayu terpinggir di bumi sendiri?

Dakwaan bahawa Melayu terpinggir di bumi sendiri adalah tidak betul. Bumi ini tidak lagi dikenali sebagai Tanah Melayu. Bumi ini bernama Malaysia dan milik penuh warganegara Malaysia. Jadi bumi ini milik Melayu, Cina, India, Dayak, Iban, Kadazan, Senoi dan lain-lain suku etnik.

Saya tidak percaya Melayu lemah dan Melayu perlu bersatu mengatasi kelemahan itu. Tetapi saya percaya,

  • Melayu menjadi mangsa ketamakan elitis di dalam UMNO dan kroni-kroni mereka.
  • Melayu dipajak dan digadai sesuka hati UMNO menerusi pelbagai polisi yang amat sedikit hasilnya sampai ke tangan orang-orang Melayu yang benar-benar memerlukannya.
  • Demi untuk mengikat Melayu supaya setia pada UMNO, UMNO telah membesarkan jurang perkauman menerusi perlaksanaan dasar dan permainan isu-isu sensitif.

UMNO begitu angkuh di teraju Kerajaan Malaysia selama lebih 50 tahun, jika formula yang dibawa oleh UMNO betul mengapa Melayu masih ditakuk yang membimbangkan pimpinan, ahli dan penyokong UMNO sendiri?

Yang lemah sebenarnya ialah UMNO dan bukan Melayu. Dari segi politik sesungguhnya Melayu bertambah kuat bukan semakin lemah. Kekuatan Melayu ini bukan kerana UMNO tetapi terimakasih kepada Pakatan Rakyat.

Selepas pilihanraya umum 2004, Barisan Nasional yang diterajui oleh UMNO meraikan kemenangan terbesar didalam sejarah dengan menguasai 198 daripada 222 kerusi di Dewan Rakyat.

UMNO sendiri memenangi 109 daripada 198 kerusi Barisan Nasional. Secara keseluruhannya, jumlah Ahli Parlimen Melayu di dalam Dewan Rakyat ketika itu adalah 126 orang atau 57% daripada isi Dewan Rakyat.

Apakah sumbangan besar UMNO didalam penggal tersebut sebagai parti yang hebat? Apakah sumbangan besar 109 ahli Yang Berhormat parti Melayu itu sepanjang tempoh tersebut?

Apapun sumbangan mereka, mungkin terjawab bila didalam pilihanraya umum 2008, jumlah 109 itu dicantas dan UMNO hanya menang 78 kerusi sahaja. Barisan Nasional pula kehilangan majoriti dua pertiganya bila hanya memenangi 140 kerusi daripada 222 kerusi yang ditandinginya.

PRU2008 Overaal

Tetapi pilihanraya umum Mac 2008 itu menyaksikan lonjakan jumlah ahli-ahli Yang berhormat berketurunan Melayu di Dewan Rakyat. Hari ini jumlah ahli Dewan Rakyat Melayu ialah 131 orang kesemuanya atau hampir 60% dari jumlah keseluruhan ahli Dewan Rakyat.

Maka jika pencapaian politik yang menjadi ukuran, ternyatalah tidak berasas mengatakan bahawa Melayu semakin lemah. Yang lemah bukannya Melayu tetapi UMNO.

Oleh yang demikian, apakah perlu di bantu UMNO sebuah parti yang lebih 50 tahun diberi kepercayaan memakmurkan anak bangsa sendiri tetapi gagal. UMNO bukan sahaja gagal didalam memperkasakan orang-orang Melayu tetapi juga telah merosakkan hubungan antara kaum di Malaysia dengan segala bentuk ketidak adilan perlaksanaan polisi kerajaan yang diterajuinya.

Hari ini UMNO, MIC, MCA dan GERAKAN yang berpolitik atas dasar etnik telah buntu di Semenanjung Malaysia. Pendek kata, bukan sahaja orang Melayu menolak UMNO, orang Cina dan India juga menolak parti-parti politik yang telah bersama UMNO sekalian lama di dalam kerajaan.

Pimpinan di dalam PAS yang mahu bekerjasama dengan UMNO harus mencari alasan yang lebih kukuh kerana alasan untuk menyatukan dan memperkuatkan Melayu adalah alasan yang amat-amat daif sekali.

Didalam pilihanraya umum 2008, kita juga telah menyaksikan bagaimana pengukuhan kedudukan Melayu di dalam Dewan Rakyat telah banyak dibantu oleh masyarakat bukan Melayu sendiri.

Anak-anak Malaysia dari keturunan Cina dan India telah sanggup menumbangkan calon dari keturunan mereka sendiri dan mengundi calon-calon Melayu yang bukan dari UMNO untuk mewakili mereka. Saya amat yakin pilihan ini dibuat kerana mereka ini sudah maju kehadapan dari segi pemikiran dan wawasan mereka. Mereka tidak lagi melihat politik berdasarkan warna kulit, agama dan keturunan. Mereka melihat politik dari perspektif masa depan anak-anak mereka dan wawasan mahu membawa Malaysia jauh ke hadapan.

Sekurang-kurangnya 5 kerusi parlimen telah menjadi saksi kenyataan di atas. Ini tidak termasuk banyak lagi kerusi-kerusi Dewan Undangan Negeri.

KUANTAN

KOTA RAJA

BKT GANTANG* Nota: Pada 2004 Bukit Gantang dimenangi oleh GERAKAN.

BAYAN BARUBANDAR TUN RAZAK

Kesimpulannya, usahlah kita termakan dengan agenda memperkukuhkan Melayu kerana agenda itu semuanya hanyalah dalang kepada usaha pengukuhan semula UMNO.

Untuk apa harus kita kukuhkan UMNO? Adakah untuk Melayu? Kalau untuk Melayu maka bertanyalah, datuk dan nenek kita, ibu dan bapa kita telah berikan UMNO peluang selama lebih 50 tahun, kalau UMNO telah berjaya sudah pasti mereka tidak lagi perlu bercakap soal perpaduan, penyatuan dan menyelamatkan orang-orang Melayu.

Poll : Should Rela be deployed to combat crime?

Malaysianinsider reports today that Najib plans to deploy Rela members “to curb escalating crime”.

The same report has it that human rights activists and opposition lawmakers are alarmed at this intended move on the part of the government and contend that the use of these “armed, untrained Rela members, who number about 700,000, to fight crime could lead to “massive” rights violations”.

What do you think?

Have your say here.

Should Rela be deployed to combat crime?


Is Ong Tee Keat just “crying wolf” in the MCA “Ong-Chua” power struggle or is his revelation of death threat to him and BN-underworld politico-busines

By Lim Kit Siang,

MCA Vice President and Health Minister, Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai thinks he is being smart when he is being downright foolish.

He thought he had found a very clever way to respond to my lodging a police report on Monday to protect Ong Tee Keat’s life from death threat revealed repeatedly in the public by the MCA President himself.

What Liow does not seem to be able to grasp is that my police report is not just to protect the life of the MCA President, but that of a Minister and all members of the Cabinet as Ong had revealed multiple serious crimes being committed not only because of the death threat to him but also about “dark forces” of politico-business underworld combined with Barisan Nasional elements to compromise and suborn government decision-making process all the way to the Cabinet.

It is therefore not just a matter of concern solely to MCA leaders and members but a public issue concerning the integrity of the government and Cabinet which must be the concern of every public-spirited Malaysian citizen.

Why is Liow completely unconcerned that Ong has received a death threat and Ong’s serious allegation of “dark forces” of politico-business underworld and Barisan Nasional elements to coerce and arm-twist Cabinet Ministers?

Has Liow information that all this is just a big bluff, that what Ong said was untrue and just propaganda in the “Ong-Chua” power struggle in MCA, and need not be taken seriously as far as personal security is concerned?

If so, what Ong had done is the height of irresponsibility and Ong should apologise to the people and nation for such irresponsible and despicable conduct completely unbecoming of a MCA President and Cabinet Minister. In fact a MCA President and Cabinet Minister who could tell such lies about death threat from the underworld when it was completely untrue should resign forthwith in disgrace!

Liow said Johore MCA is prepared to lodge a police report on behalf of DAP on underworld elements in Johore DAP.

I do not know what the DAP Johore Chairman Dr. Boo Cheng Hau had actually said, but I have told him by phone today that if he had said that there were underworld elements in the DAP, he should lodge a police report. If he had not actually meant that, he should make the necessary clarification.

Unlike the MCA and MCA leaders, the DAP in our 43-year history had nothing to do with underworld elements as we derive our support fully and completely from the people.

MCA is different. After all, it was Ong when he was MCA Youth chief who publicly made the allegation in 2003 about “black gold” politics in MCA, and in particular that certain MCA leaders had connections with triad characters and that there were even MCA leaders with “triad” backgrounds.

“Black gold” politics is no ordinary criminality involving a few individuals but a national and systemic curse and threat to society as it is a fusion of organized crime with corruption to subvert the political system, economic system, the rule of law and social justice.

Has “black gold” politics in MCA degenerated to a state that the MCA President and Cabinet Minister could be threatened with death by the underworld and the integrity of the Cabinet compromised with the suborning of its decision-making process?

Let Ong and Liow tell Malaysians – is Ong’s allegations of death threat and underworld-BN politico-business “black gold” phenomenon for real or is Ong just crying “wolf”?

High Chaparral: Last ditch effort to resolve Kg Buah Pala controversy

Himanshu Bhatt , The Sun

GEORGE TOWN (July 29, 2009): In what appears to be a last ditch effort at a compromise over the Kampung Buah Pala controversy, the Penang government has called for a meeting with the villagers this Saturday (Aug 1) to discuss a new proposal from the developer.



The meeting has been scheduled just ahead of an Aug 2 deadline set by developer Nusmetro Ventures (P) Sdn Bhd for the 24 families there to leave.

Deputy Chief Minister (II) Prof Dr P Ramasamy said today Nusmetro was considering offering each family a double-storey terrace house adjacent to its project. Nusmetro representatives held a meeting with the Penang Island Municipal Council (MPPP) on Tuesday to iron out details of the new plan and make revisions to its original development project.

Ramasamy said if the residents accept the new proposal, the eviction deadline could be pushed. "If it gets resolved, we are in a position to give the residents more time," he said.

The state had already directed the MPPP to revoke the development approval issued to Nusmetro.

Ramasamy also questioned MIC president Samy Vellu’s statement that the party was willing to pay the state RM3.2 million to buy the land on behalf of the villagers.

He said the estimated value of the land was RM150 million, far more than the amount MIC was willing to dish out. He pointed out that the land transfer to the Koperasi Pegawai-Pegawai Kerajaan Pulau Pinang had been approved by the previous administration.

"We don’t own the land," he said. "Contact the Koperasi and ask to buy the land from them."

Meanwhile, Penang Gerakan Youth urged the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to investigate the alienation process of the 2.6ha Kampung Buah Pala land.

"The primary concern and condition attached to the land alienation process by the previous government was that the needs and welfare of the affected residents must be catered to," said the wing’s vice-chairman H’ng Khoon Leng.

He said this condition was not fulfilled satisfactorily when the land title was issued under the current state government on March 27, 2008.

Thank you, Dr Mahathir

By Wong Chin Huat
thenutgraph.com

I WAS not disturbed at all by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's recent communalist remarks that Malay Malaysians have been marginalised after sharing the country with "outsiders". While I applaud the powerful critiques by the likes of Dr Toh Kin Woon, I do not share the anger and disappointment many Malaysians feel. I certainly do not feel hurt.

Another Ahmad Ismail

Alien squatting, showing peace sign
Squatting alien?

I did not feel hurt in August 2008 when former Umno Bukit Bendera division head Datuk Ahmad Ismail said non-Malay Malaysians were squatters in this country. At that time, many Malaysians — including some critics of the Internal Security Act (ISA) and some Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders — wanted him to be detained under the ISA or charged for sedition. I wrote two pieces defending Ahmad Ismail's freedom of expression and questioning the authoritarianism in the Malaysian psyche.

I argued that support for the ISA cannot be attributed to the BN alone. The ISA is alive because it fulfills the need amongst many Malaysians for a strong government. We cannot do away with the ISA unless we first do away with our obsession for authoritarianism.

Not surprisingly, the pieces invited some nasty comments in the blogosphere. Some thought that I was supporting the BN or Ahmad Ismail. Some thought that I must be insane. I was, of course, neither. I supported Ahmad Ismail's freedom of speech simply because I always believe that a society should be open and confident enough to tolerate even idiots and lunatics. This applies both ways. Ahmad Ismail is free to see me as an idiot, a lunatic or even a villain, but he must respect my constitutional rights as long as I do not profess violence.

To me, Mahathir was but another Ahmad Ismail when he made the ethno-centrist statement, notwithstanding the intellectual gap between them. So what if he is a former prime minister? Would a drunken man you meet outside the pub be less drunk if he were a former minister or movie star?

Once a Malaysian

There is however a big difference between Mahathir and Ahmad Ismail. Ahmad Ismail was never known for promoting national unity or nation building. He was never a poster boy for all things Malaysian. Dr Mahathir was. Go to his official website and listen to the speeches of Mahathir the prime minister and you will find beautiful images he painted for an inclusive Malaysia, in sharp contrast to what Mahathir the blogger now says.

In 1991, for example, he talked about the dream of "establishing a united Malaysian nation with a sense of common and shared destiny. This must be a nation at peace with itself, territorially and ethnically integrated, living in harmony and full and fair partnership, made up of one 'Bangsa Malaysia' with political loyalty and dedication to the nation."

If we are on track, that dream should be achieved in a mere 11 years from now. It was part of Mahathir's Vision 2020, once the standard essay topic for all Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia and Penilaian Menengah Rendah students in secondary school.

This is perhaps the reason why so many people are disappointed with him. They believed in him, thinking that he was a true leader for Malaysia who would rise above communal politics. He was not. Just three months before his inspiring Vision 2020 speech, he won the bitterly-fought 1990 elections with a smear campaign that could have dwarfed former US President George W Bush's smear campaign against Democratic candidate John Kerry in 2004. As in the 2008 elections, the BN lost about 70% of non-Malay Malaysian support in 1990.

Tengku Razaleigh
Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah

Unlike in 2008, however, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah's Semangat 46 party — arguably the functional equivalent of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) except that PKR is multi-ethnic — and PAS failed to win a single parliamentary seat outside Kelantan and Terengganu. Razaleigh was portrayed as a traitor of Malay-Muslim Malaysians. He was accused of selling out his race and religion to the Kadazan-Christian Malaysians after the defection of the Kadazan-dominated Parti Bersatu Sabah to the opposition camp after nomination day. The proof? Razaleigh wore Kadazan traditional headwear with a crucifix-like pattern at a Kadazan function.

If we go back further, we will see how ethnic sentiments had helped to hold Umno and the Malay Malaysian constituency together after the battle royale between Mahathir and Razaleigh in 1987. These ethnic sentiments were also used to justify the ISA crackdown, code-named "Operasi Lalang", later that year. At one point, Umno Youth held a mass rally in which some of its leaders threatened to bathe the Malay keris with Chinese Malaysian blood, a threat which Datuk Seri Najib Razak — the then Umno Youth chief — recently denied ever making.

How did Chinese Malaysians provoke Umno Youth to threaten ethnic riots? Many Chinese Malaysians fervently objected a controversial personnel policy introduced by then Education Minister Anwar, which was seen as a conspiracy to eliminate Chinese-medium schools.

But it would be wrong to think that Mahathir is a genuine racist or ethnic bigot. Other than his inclusive Vision 2020, Mahathir has helped many non-Malay Malaysian businesspersons — Tan Sri T Ananda Krishnan, Tan Sri Vincent Tan, and Tan Sri Eric Chia, to name just a few — in building their empires. He rhetorically condemned the "tongkat (crutch) mentality" amongst Malay Malaysians and he enthusiastically praised non-Malay Malaysians for their hard work. I wouldn't be surprised if he repeats these lines soon.

Mahathir
Mahathir: not looking very worried

Contempt at the core

The truth is, Mahathir is just such a talented politician that he is capable of holding all ideological positions. He is neither left nor right. He can be both left and right. Does he not worry that the voters will see his contradiction?

A politician would worry only if he or she believes that the public is smart enough to judge and read his or her contradictions. The politician wouldn't have to worry about this if people trusted the politician like children do their parents or pets their masters.

To me, at the core of Mahathir's Machiavellianism is contempt for his fellow citizens. He would have been a great democratic leader had he respected the intelligence of ordinary Malaysians. So, I thank him for his latest statement if it helps us to mature as a nation by deconstructing the cult of his personality.

In a similar way, I thank the pro-ISA protesters who will defend the draconian law this Saturday, 1 August, in the name of Islam and Malay Malaysians. They are helping the ideologies of both political Islam and Malay nationalism to mature, by forcing Malay-Muslim Malaysians to decide if they want to embrace or denounce authoritarianism as part of their identity. They help to open the eyes of all Malaysians to see what an Umno-PAS unity government could potentially mean.

Inquest into Teoh's death adjourned (Updated 5.40pm)

Sketch of the late Teoh Beng Hock

SHAH ALAM, 29 July 2009: The inquest into the death of political aide Teoh Beng Hock has been adjourned to 5 Aug.

Coroner Azmil Muntapha Abas adjourned the hearing to enable lawyer Gobind Singh Deo (representing Teoh's family), lawyer Malik Imtiaz Sarwar (representing the Selangor government) and the Bar Council to study new documents submitted this morning by lawyer Tan Hock Chuan, who is assisting the inquest.

The documents submitted included photographs of the location where the incident took place, the autopsy report, visuals of the closed-circuit TV (CCTV) recording, and the chemist's report. However, notes on the testimonies of witnesses were not submitted following objections from Tan.

Gobind had requested for the inquest to be adjourned following Tan's failure to supply the documents to him. Gobind said he needed at least 10 days to study all the reports and to refer to other experts, especially on the autopsy report and the DNA.

"Investigations into the case had just been completed. This is not a joke. [We need] at least 10 days because we have to make preparation. This is a national issue which is drawing attention. Many people are waiting ... It is not aimed at delaying the proceedings," Gobind said.

He questioned how the proceedings could be held so soon when investigations had only been completed last night, and there were still several documents that had not been submitted.

Tan, however, stressed that his side was ready for the hearing. He had earlier told the court that he had received permission to represent the Malaysian government through the Attorney-General's chambers, and would be assisted by Deputy Public Prosecutor Mohd Idham Abdul Ghani and two other lawyers.


Gobind
He said written permission had been sent to him two days ago.

The court allowed Gobind to hold a watching brief for Teoh's family and to participate in the inquiry. The same applied to Malik, who held a watching brief for the Selangor government.

However, the Bar Council's representative, Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, was allowed to hold a watching brief for the council but could only pose questions to the witnesses through the court.

Teoh, 30, political aide to one of the Selangor executive councillors, was found dead on the fifth floor Plaza Masalam, which houses the Selangor office of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in Shah Alam, where he had been called up to give statements in an investigation on an alleged misappropriation of the Selangor State government funds.

The inquest, which began at 9:20am today, had been set for 15 days, and would call 77 witnesses, including 28 MACC officers, chemists and pathologists, as well as Teoh's close friends.

The precinct and public gallery of the Magistrate's Court here were packed with nearly 200 media representatives, lawyers, politicians, and members of the public. The media had gathered as early as 5:30am, but only 40 were given passes at 7:45am and allowed to enter at 8:30am.

Also present were Teoh's father Leong Hwee, brother Meng Kee, sister Lee Lan, and fiancee Soh Cher Wei. Yesterday, Teoh's family had met with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to request widening the scope of the inquiry to include investigations into the cause of Teoh's death, on top of the circumstances and method of questioning used by the MACC.

Speaking to reporters outside the court today, Lee Lan said her family appreciated the prime minister having met them, but felt that the cause of her brother's death should be determined by the royal commission.

Meanwhile, DAP Parliamentary Leader Lim Kit Siang also said the inquest was not suitable as it had limited scope to determine Teoh's death.

"Public confidence is involved and public confidence demands a royal commission of inquiry. So I call for the prime minister, attorney general and the cabinet to respect the wishes of the family by suspending the inquest and establishing a royal commission to find out the cause of Teoh's death," he said. — Bernama

Gunasegaran: One more who went down Teoh Beng Hock’s road? Funds needed for post-mortem

by Nathaniel Tan

This death happened at almost exactly the same time as Teoh’s.

At the time, details were scant, but now:

According to the police, R Gunasegaran, 31, had died from a drug abuse.

His sister, R Ganga Gowri, 32, disagreed with this version in her police report today in which she alleged that he may have died after being assaulted.

This was claimed by three witnesses who were said to be detained in the same lockup with Gunasegaran, she stated in her police report.

“These (witnesses) are very afraid. They do not wish the authorities breathing down on them and shall remain anonymous.

He added that the witnesses said that Gunasegaran was kicked in the chest, hit with a hose and a piece of wood.

Once again, the autopsy is the key.

However, Ganga Gowri had not examined the body for wounds, which is still at the Kuala Lumpur General Hospital mortuary.

She will not claim the body until a post-mortem and toxicology report is released.

Visvanathan said that although the standard practice by the authorities is to release the reports after two months, this had to be changed.

It is insane to have the family claim the body and perform funeral rites and then wait for the post-mortem report, say for instance if the body had evidence of an assault whilst in detention,” added Harris.

Harris said the police should be fair and kind to the family of the deceased and allow them access to the reports in order for them to request for a second independent autopsy if necessary.

Harris’ blog has how you can help out too:

Tomorrow, or in the days to come, a decision may have to be made to remove Gunasegaran’s body from the mortuary at the Kuala Lumpur Hospital to be take to another hospital facility for post-mortem.

We are given to understand that this procedure would cost around RM3,000.00

The family of Gunasegaran are not people of means.

Will you help to bear the cost of the post-mortem?

If you care to, send me an e-mail at thepeoplesparliament@gmail.com for details.

Kahang Rep Vidyananthan To Contest MIC Youth No 2 Post

JOHOR BAHARU, July 29 (Bernama) -- Kahang assemblyman R.Vidyananthan will contest the Number Two post in MIC Youth at the party's polls on Aug 16.

Announcing his intention to go for the post at a press conference here today, Vidyananthan said he had met MIC president Datuk Seri S.Samy Vellu to get the latter's "blessings" for the move.

He pledged that if elected he would work extremely hard to ensure MIC Youth continued to play an active role in working for the people and helping its Barisan Nasional counterparts prepare for the next general election.

Johor MIC Youth chief B. Panirselvam, who was also present at the press conference, said Johor MIC fully backed Vidyananthan's candidacy for the post.

Zaid: Let parliament confirm key positions

Written by Sharon Tan, The Edge

Former de facto law minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim said the public should know the rationale behind the appointment of individuals to key government positions such as the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), the Chief Justice and the Chief Secretary to the Government.

As such, he said that the confirmation of the individuals to such positions should be made by parliament.

Speaking at a parliamentary roundtable discussion today, Zaid also questioned the government's failure to investigate allegations by former Deputy Home Minister Datuk Johari Baharom that top police officers have links with the underworld.

PAS vice-president Salahuddin Ayub told the audience that he had sent a letter to the home ministry together with affidavits from police personnel regarding the ties of certain people with the underworld.

"If I don't get any answers before the next parliament sitting, I will reveal all the names in parliament," Salahuddin said at the roundtable discussion entitled New IGP for a Safe Malaysia.

Speakers generally called on the government to appoint a new inspector-general of police in line with the country's reform agenda.

Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said he believed that there are many credible police officers with good credentials and professionalism who could be entrusted with the position, but with a clear interest in wanting reforms.

"We want a new IGP with a clear reform agenda. Improving the performance of the police force, their professionalism and ridding the police force of crime and suspected involvement with the underworld," said Anwar.

Pre-empting criticism, he told the discussion which was attended by about 40 opposition MPs and 16 NGO representatives that the issue was not a racial one.

"This is not an issue about eroding Malay leadership. This is about justice and human rights. It is not about race," he stressed.

A notable attendee at the discussion was former Special Branch chief Tan Sri Yuen Yuet Ling who said members of the police force who grew up during the Emergency had forgotten that "we are not fighting communists but must allow democratic processes to take place".

He added that people should be allowed to demonstrate if they want to while the police are there to make sure they do not break the law.

Yuen said if a new IGP is to be appointed, it should go to the most senior in the force.

DAP's MP for Ipoh Timur Lim Kit Siang called on the government to adopt the objective of a democratic policing as the new modus operandi of the Royal Malaysian Police Force (PDRM) so that the force serves the people.

Lawmakers from the opposition bench passed four resolutions at the discussion. They are:

  • to call on IGP Tan Sri Musa Hassan not to seek a further two-year renewal of his tenure (expiring in September) on the grounds of his supposed failure in the past three years to keep crime low, eradicate corruption and protect human rights;
  • to call for the appointment of a new IGP to ensure a safe Malaysia as well as to present a new image of democratic policing in Malaysia;
  • to call on the prime minister to include in his key performance indicator (KPI) for crime prevention, not just the reduction in street crime by 20% in 2010 but also all categories of crime as proposed by the Dzaiddin Police Royal Commission in its report in May 2005; and
  • that the prime minister set up the IPCMC as recommended by the Dzaiddin Police Royal Commission.

And for saying this they detained me under ISA?

Image

"In the Muslim world, we talk about issues which have no significance whatsoever, like the dress code. What is Islamic attire, and we have all kinds of people telling us what we should wear. What we wear is not Islamic attire, according to them.”

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

I was detained under the Internal Security Act for two alleged crimes. One was for sedition and the other for insulting Islam. I have always maintained that I never insulted Islam. I do admit, however, to insulting Muslims. No, let me rephrase that. I did not insult Muslims. I just revealed the hypocrisy of the majority of the Muslims.

The Malays say: bikin tak serupa cakap. The English say: not walking the talk. Islam calls it plain and simple munafiq.

Well, today, other Muslims have come out to say what I said. Okay, maybe they are more ‘diplomatic’ in their choice of words while I am more abrasive and don’t care a damn about diplomacy. But the message is the same. Muslims are hypocrites. They don’t practice what they preach. And they sure do preach a lot until the cows come home.

Tok Guru Nik Aziz said the same thing back in the early 2000s. But since there were no Blogs back then the message was not widely known. Tok Guru said this at the time the government detained his son under the Internal Security Act, soon after I was detained in April 2001, my first ISA detention. And Tok Guru even back then had said that detention without trial violates Islamic principles.

But it is not just about the ISA or the hypocrisy of Muslims that is the issue here. It is also about how Muslims focus on trivial issues while conveniently sidestepping the more crucial matters. Racism, discrimination, persecution, corruption, abuse of power, and many more are also a big no-no in Islam. But no one talks about these. They would rather argue about whether women should wear headscarves or whether men and women should swim in separate swimming pools or whether there should be separate checkout counters for men and women at supermarkets.

The problem is these so-called religious scholars do not have the balls to speak out. They are more concerned about their salaries and want to ensure they do not lose their jobs. These are not ulamak. These are ular dalam semak (snakes in the grass).

I will stop here for now and allow the others to do the talking on my behalf.

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Ulama more concerned about insignificant issues, says IKIM D-G

(Bernama) -- The ulama today are more concerned about addressing insignificant issues involving individuals rather than society, thus stifling the advancement of the Muslim world.

Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia (IKIM) director-general Datuk Dr Syed Ali Tawfik Al-Attas said rather than focusing on fardhu kifayah (responsibility to society), the ulama confined their views on fardhu ain or the "dos and don'ts" of a Muslim.

"In the Muslim world, we talk about issues which have no significance whatsoever, like the dress code. What is Islamic attire, and we have all kinds of people telling us what we should wear. What we wear is not Islamic attire, according to them.”

"This is nonsense and not an issue which will benefit our society. It's up to you whether you want to wear like this or like that," he told reporters after delivering a keynote address at the International Conference on Muslims and the Frontier of Knowledge in the 21st Century: Issues, Prospects and Challenges, here, Tuesday.

"People who have been given the mantle of authority speak only on "remeh-temeh" (insignificant) stuff which is within the fardhu ain framework. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying fardu ain is not important. It is very important. Both fardhu ain and fardhu kifayah are important, but fardhu ain is more about the individual," he said.

The ulama, he said, had failed to discuss things that affected society such as education and Islamic economics and finance.

"After all, one cannot simply introduce Arabic terminologies such as mushawarah (consultation), musharaqah (partnerhip) and mubaralah into a capitalist system to make it Islamic.”

"Look at some of the banks here, they are all murabahah (about terms of finance/sale), with the exception of one and two, so how can you call it Islamic? You have Islamic syariah compliance apparently, yet credit card interest is 25 per cent per year. Is that not riba (usury)?".

He said the ulama's narrow-minded views had given birth to extremism in Muslim society.

"We are hypnotised by symbolism such as McDonalds, K-Mart, Disneyland, Internet...these are symbols, symbols of western technology...and we are saying this cannot, this is bad, so we must get the Islamic ones.”

"As a result, we have groups in society who after listening to the so-called ulama, have become extremists. These are the ones who are causing problems, these are the ones who are killing people, these are the terrorists. They are hypnotised by the symbols, they are fighting against the symbols, not against the substance," he said.

Syed Ali also felt that the country's political leaders were ignoring the real ulama, while the West tapped into their knowledge.

"For example, where is the Nobel prize winner for physics now? At the University of California. He's a Muslim from Egypt, but they (Egypt) don't care about him, so he goes there.”

"The West always depends on the Muslim world. So, if we want to advance, we have to listen to the real ulama."

However, he said, the ulama now were depending on political leaders before giving out advice.

"They shouldn't look to the political leaders, instead, the political leaders should look to the ulama...the real ulama. They (political leaders) should get advice from them, not the other way round," he added. – 28 July 2009

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Majlis Fatwa Kebangsaan Kena Keluarkan Fatwa Isa

Majlis Fatwa Kebangsaan perlu mengeluarkan fatwa mengenai ISA. Ini kerana isu ini telah berulang kali diminta oleh Umat Islam agar dilihat di sudut agama.

Namun fatwa itu hendaklah adil, bebas dari keterikatan dengan mana-mana pihak, dibahaskan secara saksama dengan kehadiran pakar perundangan, pihak berkuasa dan mangsa. Juga ahli-ahli politik yang bersetuju dan yang membantah perlu dijemput memberikan pandangan.

Penilaian adil perlu untuk panduan kerajaan. Malanglah jika isu-isu pinggiran dibincangkan sedangkan isu-isu besar yang membabitkan kepentingan umat ditinggalkan. Majlis Fatwa Kebangsaan menggunakan wang awam, maka pastikan faedahnya balik kepada awam secara jelas. Mesyuarat yang biasanya berlangsung di hotel-hotel yang hebat itu perlu mengeluarkan pandangan-pandangan yang hebat untuk kemaslahatan umum.

Hari ini rakyat berbagai pendapat tentang ISA, berikan pandangan para mufti pula. Masakan mungkin mereka tidak peka, sedangkan semua rakyat berbicara. Saya secara peribadi semasa menjadi mufti telah mengeluarkan pandangan dalam Bulan Ramadhan lepas di Perlis, Kelantan, Kuala Lumpur dan berbagai tempat. Media tempatan telah berulang kali menyiarkannya. Kali ini kita menuntut pandangan rasmi agensi agama kerajaan pusat pula.

- Dr. Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin, Lampeter, UK.

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ISA: Mengapa Majlis Fatwa tidak berani?

(Harakah) - Majlis Fatwa Kebangsaan tidak berani mengeluarkan fatwa isu-isu berkaitan kezaliman yang sah bercanggah dengan nas al-Quran dan hadis seperti mana Akta Keselamatan Dalam Negeri (ISA).

Naib Presiden PAS, Dato' Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man berkata, Majlis Fatwa harus ada keberanian mengeluarkan fatwa dalam isu yang berkaitan kezaliman disamping memastikan fatwa itu dipatuhi.

Kata beliau, mereka sepatutnya memberi panduan kepada rakyat dalam urusan-urusan yang melibatkan hukum.

Malangnya, kata beliau banyak fatwa yang dikeluarkan Majlis Fatwa tidak ada tindakan yang diambil.

"Fatwa yang dikeluarkan oleh Majlis Fatwa tidak ada kekuatan sebagai contoh fatwa melarang memberi penghormatan di Tugu Negara, kalau pemimpin buat pun tidak ada tindakan apa-apa," katanya semasa dihubungi.

Tegasnya, Majlis Fatwa Kebangsaan sepatutnya sudah ke hadapan dalam memberi panduan kepada pemimpin tetapi yang lebih penting daripada itu ialah pemimpin mesti ikut mereka supaya integriti Majlis Fatwa itu dapat dipelihara.

Tambahnya, kaedah Islam telah menentukan bahawa seseorang itu tidak dianggap bersalah perlu diberi peluang untuk membela diri dan didakwa di mahkamah.

"Jadi dalam sejarah ISA sudah beribu umat Islam ditahan tanpa bicara, rakyat yang diseksa, ini dikatakan zalim."

"Saya rasa rakyat bukan suka sangat hendak berhimpun dan turun demonstrasi di jalanan tetapi bila hampir tidak ada jalan lain, apa yang kita tidak buat? Kita sudah hantar memorandum, ambil tandatangan orang ramai, kita adakan seminar dan bantahan jadi kemuncak kepada kemarahan kita akan menyerahkan memorandum melalui himpunan aman," jelasnya.

Sehubungan itu, beliau yakin apa yang rakyat akan buat pada 1 Ogos nanti bukan satu suasana untuk mewujudkan kekecohan tetapi sekadar luahan rakyat yang berbilang agama dan kaum dalam isu-isu yang berlaku iaitu kezaliman ISA. – 28 July 2009

Melayu tak wujud sebenarnya

JULAI 29 — Hang Tuah sebenarnya bukan Melayu; Hang Tuah sebenarnya orang berketurunan dari China mengikut kata sesetengah orang lah (bukan saya OK). Mengapa pula dikatakan begitu? Sebab diambil contoh dari Hang Li Po seorang puteri dari China, namanya bermula dengan Hang, atas dasar itu orang keturunan dari China maka namanya bermula dengan Hang dari perkataan “Han” iaitu nama satu dinasti lama di China. Hang Li Po bererti Li Po orang Han, itulah ceritanya maka atas sebab samalah Hang Tuah itu bukan Melayu. Kalau nak diikut begitulah Hang Jebat, Hang Lekir, Hang Lekiu dan juga Hang Kasturi. Malah ada yang lebih jauh mengatakan yang Hang Tuah itu namanya sebenar adalah Han Too Ah, Jebat pula Han Jee Fat (macam watak utama dalam komik Alam Perwira pulak) manakala Hang Lekiu pula adalah Han Lee Kiu.

Ada ada kemungkinan, mungkin betul, bunyinya macam betul, tapi kalau hendak diikutkan kesimpulan begini bolehlah saya mengatakan yang sebenarnya “Tong Sampah” bukanlah perkataan Melayu akan tetapi ianya berasal dari China. Ini adalah kerana Tong Sampah adalah dari Thong Sam Ah seorang ushawan karung guni berbangsa Hakka yang suka mengambil barang-barang lama di sekitar tahun awal 1930an di Taiping. Maka apabila ada barang hendak dibuang orang kampung suka berkata “ahh ko bagi la barang nak dibuang tu ke Thong Sam Ah, dia memang ambil barang hendak dibuang”. Bunyinya memang macam betul tapi itu tidak menyebabkan ianya fakta bukan walau berapa puluh kali saya mengulangi cerita ini sesungguhnya Tong Sampah bukanlah Thong Sam Ah.

Penulis telah beberapa kali juga terserempak dengan sesi perbincangan atau perbualan mengenai bagaimana sebenarnya konsep atau orang “Melayu” itu sendiri tidak wujud. Jangan kata Hang Tuah bukan Melayu, Melayu itu pun bukan Melayu. Dikatakan sebenarnya Melayu itu adalah ciptaan atau rekaan penjajah British yang hendak memudahkan pemerintahan di Malaya (Tanah Melayu tidak wujud ye dalam konsep ini).

Orang Melayu itu adalah rekaan semata-mata, kalau ikutkan “hakikat” yang ada adalah orang Jawa, Bugis, Minang, Siam, Acheh dan sebagainya. Malah orang Melayu (kerana ianya tidak wujud) bukanlah orang asal keturunan di semenanjung Malaya (Semenanjung Tanah Melayu tidak wujud) akan tetapi orang asal adalah Orang Asli dan bukanlah orang Melayu. Merekalah Bumiputera yang sebenarnya dan yang lain adalah rekaan semata-mata. Hujah ini banyak digunakan apabila sesetengah pihak hendak mempertikaikan atau mendebatkan mengenai Dasar Ekonomi baru atau hendak memarahi suatu parti politik tertentu. Penulis tidaklah mengatakan yang hendak memperdebatkan Dasar Ekonomi Baru itu salah, tapi janganlah sampai adat resam dan keturunan terus dipertikaikan dan dipersoalkan atau diperlekehkan. Hanya kerana kegiatan berpolitik berlebihan dan taksub marah terhadap sesuatu tak tentu pasal habis dijahanamkan dan dikorbankan adat resam dan kebudayaan yang umurnya bekurun-kurun lamanya. Maka terpaksalah sejarah ditulis semula yang Hang Tuah pernah mengatakan yang “Takkan Bugis, Jawa, Minang, Acheh, Bali, Baweyan dan sebagainya (bukan Melayu) hilang di dunia.” Penat tu nak sebut.

Itu yang membuatkan penulis rasa terkedu sedikit sejak kebelakangan ini kerana seolah-olah persepsinya bahawa segala yang penulis dibesarkan dengan, diajar dan bahasa ibunda sendiri adalah penipuan semata-mata. Rupa-rupanya segala adat resam seperti pantun, gurindam, Bahasa Melayu, baju Melayu, sepatu, kuih raya dan sajak malah sejarah sendiri adalah rekaan British semata-mata. Malah kalau nak diikutkan terpaksalah kita mengubah Rukun Negara nampak gayanya. Ini adalah kerana orang Melayu itu tidak wujud. Maka atas dasar itu terpaksalah kita mengakui yang Raja-Raja Melayu bukanlah pemerintah yang hak negara ini, masakan ada kesultanan Melayu kalau Melayu itu sendiri tidak wujud. Maka Rukun Negara yang kedua iaitu Kesetiaan Kepada Raja dan Negara terpaksalah dipinda, maka tak gunalah kita memakai baju kuning berarak ke Istana Negara dan menjerit Daulat Tuanku sambil menyerahkan memorandum.

Pembaca sekelian kalau hendak dikatakan Melayu itu tidak wujud atas sebab-sebab di atas maka bolehlah kita pertikaikan macam-macam. Kita bolehlah mengatakan bahawa orang Cina juga tidak wujud kerana yang ada adalah orang-orang Manchu, Hakka, Canton, Han dan sebagainya. Mandarin adalah ciptaan pemerintah kejam yang memaksa mereka ini berada dibawah pemerintahan Maharaja dan menghapuskan susur galur etnik. Begitu juga dengan tidak wujudnya orang India akan tetapi yang ada adalah Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam, Sinhala dan sebagainya. Bahawa India itu juga adalah ciptaan British. Maka atas dasar itu buat apa diadakan sekolah jenis kebangsaan yang mengajar dalam Bahasa Mandarin kerana Bangsa Cina itu tidak wujud, sepatutnya di Pulau Pinang diajar dalam bahasa Hokkien manakala di Kuala Lumpur diajar dalam bahasa Cantonese. Malah kalau nak diikutkan juga konsep bangsa Malaysia itu juga adalah ciptaan British kerana sebelum ini tidak wujud Malaysia sehinggalah pihak British mencadangkan untuk menggabungkan Semenanjung Tanah… Malaya dengan Sabah dan Sarawak. Oleh sebab kini Melayu sudah tidak wujud maka timbul juga persoalan tentang Brunei nanti, ye lah orang Brunei ini orang apa? Jawa? Bugis? Yahudi?

Seperti biasa pastinya banyak yang akan mengatakan bahawa semua ini adalah salah sebuah parti tertentu yang mempunyai nama Melayu didalamnya. Bahawa segala sejarah yang kita belajar ini adalah rekaan agenda politik tersembunyi dari mereka. Kalau anda berpendapat begitu itu adalah hak anda akan tetapi berfikirlah sebelum berkata-kata. Sesungguhnya kalau nak diikutkan begitu, orang yang paling berdosa adalah ketua pembangkan sekarang kerana suatu ketika dahulu dia adalah Menteri Pelajaran dari tahun 1986–1991 ketika mana banyak dasar-dasar dan buku teks sejarah ditulis ketika itu. Malah jangan lupa ketika itu dialah jaguh ketua pemuda yang hendak mengumpulkan setengah juga umat Melayu di Dataran Merdeka yang mencetuskan Operasi Lalang 1989. Tapi ye lah, itu dulu, masa bersongkok berbaju Melayu menjerit hidup Melayu. Sekarang dunia politik sudah berubah, lain padang lainlah belalang. Tapi betullah kalau hendak dikatakan semua masaalah politik sekarang berpunca dari satu parti, mana taknya kerajaan dan pembangkang sekarang semuanya berasal dari tempat yang sama.

Tidak salah kalau kita hendak mengkritik, berdebat atau kita hendak membincangkan tentang konsep kenegaraan dan hal-hal melibatkan politik. Demokrasi membenarkan ini semua dan ianya adalah suatu aktiviti pembetulan yang menyihatkan. Tapi janganlah sampai dikorbankan, dibunuh dan dipijak adat resam dan keturunan yang telah berlangsung selama beratus-ratus tahun hanya kerana aktiviti politik taksub yang berlebihan. Mungkin ini adalah perasaan penulis semata-mata tapi sejak kebelakangan ini banyak dilihat anak muda Melayu sendiri malu hendak mengaku Melayu.

Saya terus-terang mengatakan bahawa saya bukan anak Bangsa Malaysia, saya rasa saya tidak perlu malu, takut ataupun merasa berdosa mengaku diri saya ini orang Melayu. Saya adalah seorang Melayu yang merupakan warganegara Malaysia. Malah kalau nak diikutkan perlembagaan sesiapa sahaja tidak kira keturunan boleh mengaku dirinya Melayu, pergi baca. Dan kalau anda hendak mengaku diri anda Bangsa Malaysia, Iban, India, Cina, Hakka, Kadazan atau apa sekalipun saya tidak mempunyai masaalah, kita semua rakyat Malaysia. Suka hatilah janji anda bahagia, tapi janganlah hendak memadamkan identiti saya — itu salah dan tidak patut.

Saya hanya mempunyai masaalah dengan orang-orang yang dengan bangga dan lantang mengaku dirinya Bangsa Malaysia tapi sepatah haram Bahasa Malaysia pun tidak tahu. Bahasa Malaysia adalah bahasa yang digunakan hanya ketika hendak memesan nasi lemak dekat gerai makcik depan rumah. Tatabahasa yang ada cumalah nasi lemak, satu, bungkus, rendang daging, sambal kurang dan thank you. Yang kelakar apabila orang-orang ini dilihat lebih “Englishman” dari “Malaysian”. Saya ingat lah kan, tak perlulah kita buang identity Melayu, Cina, India, Iban, Kadazan atau apa-apa sekalipun kalau kita hendak bersatu dan mencapai perpaduan. Anggaplah macam kita ni semua rojak, lain rasa lain warna tapi bila campur dalam satu kuah sedap rasanya. Kalau semua sama pun bosan jugak kan. Nak tulis panjang lagi tapi tak pelah saya simpan lain kali.

Jangan terkejutlah kalau artikel ini masuk dalam artikel popular dibaca di dalam The Malaysian Insider, almaklumlah tajuknya sendiri memang dekat di hati pembaca TMI.

Teoh inquest postponed to Aug 5

By Debra Chong - The Malaysian Insider

SHAH ALAM, July 29 — After a morning spent hearing from the Attorney-General's team and lawyers representing Teoh Beng Hock’s family, the state of Selangor and the Bar Council, the magistrate decided to postpone the inquest into Teoh’s death to Aug 5.

The biggest surprise of the morning was the Attorney-General's team being led by criminal lawyer Tan Hock Chuan instead of the deputy public prosecutor which is the usual practise.

Other than that, the inquest into political aide Teoh’s mysterious death at the national anti-graft Selangor office started without incident early today.

A total of 77 witnesses have been called up to testify in the inquest which was originally slated to end on Aug 12.

Among them are Teoh's father Teoh Leong Hwee, brother Beng Kee and his lawyer M. Manoharan, who is also Kota Alam Shah assemblyman.

The Teoh family is represented by Gobind Singh Deo and Sankara Nair while Malik Imtiaz Sarwar is representing the Selangor government.

The Bar Council sent a 12-man team led by Hisyam Teh Toh Teck.

Gobind applied to the court for family, Selangor and Bar Council lawyers to take part in inquest.

The government team agreed except to the Bar Council's participation. However, magistrate Azmil Munthapa Abas allowed all three to take part.

The deputy registrar, who is sitting as a magistrate in the coroner's court, also said the proceedings will be recorded and given to the relevant parties.

Gobind told the court that Teoh's family was attending the inquest under protest as they feel the inquest should be part of the royal commission of inquiry. He then asked for a postponement pending the outcome of the Cabinet meeting today on the issue.

"If the PM agrees, your honour, then this inquest will become unnecessary," he said.

He also said the police just ended their investigations and the report may not be ready, which supports his request for a postponement.

Gobind then asked for access to key reports on the autopsy, forensics and DNA, arguing that interested parties have a right to the documents under inquest rules to prepare for the hearing. Imtiaz and Teh supported his request for a postponement.

The A-G's team replied that it would share the documents with the state's and Teoh's lawyers although it is not legally obligated to do so.

Imtiaz said the state was willing to hire its own experts to study the reports.

The court then adjourned for 30 minutes for the magistrate to decide on whether the inquest should continue after the A-G's team defers to the coroner on the request.

When the inquest resumed, the court heard from Tan that an unknown male's DNA was found on Teoh's clothes. The chemist had taken DNA samples from 102 people.

Among those in the three-quarter-filled courtroom at the Shah Alam courthouse were DAP strongman Lim Kit Siang, and Selangor exco members Dr Xavier Jeyakumar and Ean Yong Hian Wah, who was Teoh's employer.

The 30-year-old political secretary was found dead on the rooftop of a five-storey building next to Plaza Masalam, where the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has its Selangor head office on the 14th floor, last July 16.

Teoh was there as a witness in a probe into alleged misuse of state funds. He was due to register his marriage to his two-month pregnant fiancee the day he was found dead.

The Cabinet has formed a royal commission of inquiry into MACC's investigation procedures after it was revealed that Teoh was questioned from 6pm to 3.45am the next day.

Pakatan assemblyman says Utusan must apologise for suggesting Teoh’s guilt

Lau today lodged a police report against Utusan and said more would be lodged. — File pic

By Asrul Hadi Abdullah Sani - The Malaysian Insider

PETALING JAYA, July 29 — Kampung Tunku assemblyman Lau Weng San wants Utusan Malaysia to apologise over an article that appeared to suggest political aide Teoh Beng Hock, whose suspicious death has sparked public outrage, was aware of alleged misappropriation of funds by Selangor executive councillors.

In the article “Selangor Oh Selangor 2: Apa ada dalam notebook Beng Hock” ( Selangor Oh Selangor 2: What was in Beng Hock’s notebook), the unnamed writer speculated that Teoh was nervous when his computer notebook was accessed by the interrogators.

“It was understood that Beng Hock was a bookworm and a soft-spoken young man. He started getting nervous when his notebook was open at around 1am. It was not sure what was in the computer but it caused him to become very agitated. But what was certain was that the contents in the notebook were very important for the investigation,” the newspaper reported.

Lau told reporters that the article was highly speculative and misleading because it suggested that Teoh was guilty of a crime.

“I think they should withdraw the statement and offer an apology to the family of the late Teoh Beng Hock because it has implied that Beng Hock is guilty of something. I think the police should investigate whether the article is true or not. If it is not true then Utusan should take responsibility,” he said.

He also wants the writer of the newspaper lodge a report to help with the investigation into Teoh's death if he has exclusive information which could help the police.

Lau today lodged a police report here and confirmed that more reports against Utusan would be lodged soon in relation to other articles.

“There will be more reports made against Utusan Malaysia, not only on this article but also other articles with racist remarks. I think Utusan has been notorious in this issue and therefore I think it is time for us to continue to press them to be more ethically responsible,” he added.

Teoh, the political aide to Selangor executive councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah, was found dead on July 16 outside the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) office in Shah Alam. The 30-year-old was earlier interrogated as part of MACC’s investigation into the alleged misuse of state allocations by Selangor assemblymen.

Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders have accused the MACC of being a political tool of the Barisan Nasional (BN) and Umno in the ruling coalition's attempt at toppling the Selangor state government.

The Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia and other newspapers controlled by the party have also been accused of publishing stories with a racial slant or which suggest guilt on the part of PR leaders.

In unusual step, criminal lawyer appointed for Teoh’s inquest

Malik said the appointment was done within the law. — Picture by Choo Choy May

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid - The Malaysian Insider

SHAH ALAM, July 29 — In a rare move, the government has appointed experienced criminal lawyer Tan Hock Chuan, who is in private practice, to lead the Attorney-General's team in the inquest into the death of Pakatan Rakyat (PR) political aide Teoh Beng Hock.

It is standard practice for the government to have the deputy public prosecutor leading its team but in exceptional occasions, the government is allowed to appoint a private lawyer as provided by the Criminal Procedure Code.

Observers however have questioned such a need, pointing towards the possible lack of resources or quality among those in the A-G's ranks.

There are also suggestions that the political sensitivity of the case was such that a person unaffiliated with the government was picked to portray impartiality.

Tan said he was only appointed by the A-G two days ago and was unaware of the rationale behind his appointment.

"I don't know why," he said bluntly when asked to comment. Tan said the appointment was done at the A-G's discretion.

The criminal lawyer, who has 25 years’ experience, was previously a DPP before leaving the A-G's office for private practice.

Prominent lawyer Malik Imtiaz, however, said he does not believe there is anything extraordinary about Tan's appointment, concurring that it was done within the law and there have been similar instances in the past.

"It's also good to have a Bar Council member as your opponent," said Malik, who is representing the Selangor state government in the inquest and will be participating in the cross-examination.

Bar Council president K. Ragunath shared the same thoughts.

"I think it's a positive thing. Tan is an experienced and good lawyer, a member of the Bar. I believe it just boils down to the government wanting to get the best person to do the job," he told The Malaysian Insider.

A total of 77 witnesses have been called up for the inquest of whom 28 are Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officers.

Where’d you learn this, Jibby?

Malaysianinsider reports that today Jibby “once again conveyed his sympathies and heartfelt condolences to the family” of Teoh Beng Hock.

You’ll remember that he had previously despatched one of his officers to the residence of the Teoh family to convey his condolences.

Courtesy of Malaysianinsider

Courtesy of Malaysianinsider

No, no, this is not the home of the Teoh family.

This is our PeeM’s plush office in Putrajaya.

That’s right, our busy PeeM had the bereaveed family brought to his office rather than he go to commiserate with them at their home.

Times, they must be changing, cos we always went to the homes of the grieving to condole.

Never mind, Jibby, real nice of you.

Does give us all a little glimmer of your ‘Towering Malaysian”.

Way to go!- Haris Ibrahim

Inquest into Teoh Beng Hock’s death begins

by Lim Kit Siang

Coroner adjourns 1 wk to Aug 5
11.53am from TwitterBerry

Ct told on DNA checks – 1dna swap 2 males 1from TBH 1unknown male dna taken from 90 persons want dna from 12 others
11.50am from TwitterBerry

Ct resumes
11.45am from TwitterBerry

The 30 min adjrnmt of inquest has dragged out 4 more than an hour What is happening?
10 minutes ago from TwitterBerry

79 witnesses summoned 4inquest why necessary 4so many most of whom cannot b relevant? TBH father brother sister fiancee also summoned
10 minutes ago from TwitterBerry

Coroner adjourns inquest 2date 2b anncd in half hr
half a minute ago from TwitterBerry

Malek n Bar Council supports Gobind 4 adjournment
5 minutes ago from TwitterBerry

Ct rules require minimum 2 wk notice of inquest b given 2deceased fmly n 4 1st mention max 3 wks b given 4 parties 2appear why now the rush?
10 minutes ago from TwitterBerry

Gobind submission – Documents whether postmortem forensic dna rpts need 2be studied by ind experts why is govt in such hurry?
29 minutes ago from TwitterBerry

Other reasons applying postponement – family counsel not given documents esp pathologist rpt
36 minutes ago from TwitterBerry

Substantive issue – gobind says TBH fmly participates inquest in protest as it wants PM seyt up RCI as cabinet meets 2day applies 4 postpone
38 minutes ago from TwitterBerry

Coroner allows gobind appln 4lawyers rep family Sel govt. Arguments over status bar council lawyers coroner allws them 2hold watching brief
43 minutes ago from TwitterBerry

Gobind applies 4 formal observer status 4 Karpal gobind sankaran 4 family malek 4 sel govt n 6 lawyers 4 bar council watching briefabout
1 hour ago from TwitterBerry

Inquest into TBH death begins
about 1 hour ago from TwitterBerry

Gobind 4TBH family Malek Imtiaz 4Sel govt Coroner Azmil Muntapha Bar Council watching brief by Hisham Tehh n others Bar President Ragu here
about 1 hour ago from TwitterBerry

But why the desperate hurry without giving adequate time 4deceased family lawyers 2prepare? Also 4family 2convince Najib 4RCI 2b formed?
about 1 hour ago from TwitterBerry

1st time in remembered history AG given fiat 2leading criminal lawyer Tan Hock Chuan 2lead inquest proceedings instead of by DPP
about 1 hour ago from TwitterBerry

Arriving ShahAlam ct 4 TeohBengHock inquest Still maintain inquest shd b adjourned 4Royal Commission Inquiry Public confidence requires it
about 2 hours ago from TwitterBerry

A Government of the People?

By Hussein Hamid

As the Chinese say may you live in interesting time. And we do, we do – but what will Tunku, Tun Razak and Tun Hussein Onn think of what is now happening to their country, our country?

Are there ‘external forces’ disrupting peace in the country?
No.

Are there anti social elements within the country trying to create fear in the mind of the Rakyat for their own selfish purposes?
No.

Are racial factions with vested interest fighting over petty issues that will disrupt peace and calm and create panic amongst the population in the country?
No.

And yet we seem to have a Government that see it itself to be under threat. And yet our people seem to be on the brink of despair abandoning any hope for a sense of justice, decency and hope in their daily life.

What we have now is a Government of the people but not for the people. We seem to have a government that operates without the need for the system of checks and balances that are fundamental to and demanded of by a modern state that Malaysia proclaims itself to be. We have a government that is very strong but with shaky foundations because it lacks the absolute mandate to govern as it does now and in continuing to do so has abused the trust placed upon it by the people. A government that seems ready to destroy the very foundation of a modern democratic state to save itself – nay its leaders, from losing power. A Government that time and time again abuses the instruments of states for its own selfish purposes. It will be hard to rid us of this abuse of the democratic process in place within our system because the abuse is not within the system but is the system itself. Or to be more exact the guardians of this system.

Now Najib is faced with too many questions that he cannot answer because he can’t. How is he to answer Razak Baginda’s hideous commission from MINDEF for work done? How is he to answer the questions about Altantuya? What is he prepared to do to put Anwar away again? What happened to Kugan? How many times can the Judiciary be manipulated? How many times will the AG take instructions from the PM? Will PDRM continue to allow itself to be used time and time again in return for the Government closing its eyes to their excesses – quid pro quo? How will he placate Mahathir ? ..and now MACC?

In the best of times Najib has not been known to be a Mahathir. In these trying times even Mahathir himself would be hard pressed to mount any decent rear guard action to protect his flank. Najib will be hard pressed to close the chasm that is opening between image and reality. We now have an UMNO that does not want to hear what the Rakyat is saying but instead is involve in a life and death struggle of its own and of its leader Najib. Every criticism is seen as a campaign and a plot by Pakatan Rakyat to outmaneuver them and create subversion that must be neutralized with the use of all arsenal at their disposal – PDRM, MACC and the Judiciary…and let us not forget money, lots of money!!. And yet they know they are vulnerable. The crack has opened up since the last GE – and not for the first time UMNO/Barisan is on the defensive. This time it will be a life and death struggle that will have its nadir at the next General Election.

Let us hope that the democratic foundation put in place by our Tunku, Tun Razak and Tun Hussein will be able to withstand these assaults by the present. If it is not then our country will surely descend into chaos and trouble as ‘All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing’ …and there are enough good man left who will not do nothing and allow evil to triumph.

Thank you, Dr Mahathir

By Wong Chin Huat
thenutgraph.com

I WAS not disturbed at all by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's recent communalist remarks that Malay Malaysians have been marginalised after sharing the country with "outsiders". While I applaud the powerful critiques by the likes of Dr Toh Kin Woon, I do not share the anger and disappointment many Malaysians feel. I certainly do not feel hurt.

Another Ahmad Ismail

Alien squatting, showing peace sign
Squatting alien?

I did not feel hurt in August 2008 when former Umno Bukit Bendera division head Datuk Ahmad Ismail said non-Malay Malaysians were squatters in this country. At that time, many Malaysians — including some critics of the Internal Security Act (ISA) and some Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders — wanted him to be detained under the ISA or charged for sedition. I wrote two pieces defending Ahmad Ismail's freedom of expression and questioning the authoritarianism in the Malaysian psyche.

I argued that support for the ISA cannot be attributed to the BN alone. The ISA is alive because it fulfills the need amongst many Malaysians for a strong government. We cannot do away with the ISA unless we first do away with our obsession for authoritarianism.

Not surprisingly, the pieces invited some nasty comments in the blogosphere. Some thought that I was supporting the BN or Ahmad Ismail. Some thought that I must be insane. I was, of course, neither. I supported Ahmad Ismail's freedom of speech simply because I always believe that a society should be open and confident enough to tolerate even idiots and lunatics. This applies both ways. Ahmad Ismail is free to see me as an idiot, a lunatic or even a villain, but he must respect my constitutional rights as long as I do not profess violence.

To me, Mahathir was but another Ahmad Ismail when he made the ethno-centrist statement, notwithstanding the intellectual gap between them. So what if he is a former prime minister? Would a drunken man you meet outside the pub be less drunk if he were a former minister or movie star?

Once a Malaysian

There is however a big difference between Mahathir and Ahmad Ismail. Ahmad Ismail was never known for promoting national unity or nation building. He was never a poster boy for all things Malaysian. Dr Mahathir was. Go to his official website and listen to the speeches of Mahathir the prime minister and you will find beautiful images he painted for an inclusive Malaysia, in sharp contrast to what Mahathir the blogger now says.

In 1991, for example, he talked about the dream of "establishing a united Malaysian nation with a sense of common and shared destiny. This must be a nation at peace with itself, territorially and ethnically integrated, living in harmony and full and fair partnership, made up of one 'Bangsa Malaysia' with political loyalty and dedication to the nation."

If we are on track, that dream should be achieved in a mere 11 years from now. It was part of Mahathir's Vision 2020, once the standard essay topic for all Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia and Penilaian Menengah Rendah students in secondary school.

This is perhaps the reason why so many people are disappointed with him. They believed in him, thinking that he was a true leader for Malaysia who would rise above communal politics. He was not. Just three months before his inspiring Vision 2020 speech, he won the bitterly-fought 1990 elections with a smear campaign that could have dwarfed former US President George W Bush's smear campaign against Democratic candidate John Kerry in 2004. As in the 2008 elections, the BN lost about 70% of non-Malay Malaysian support in 1990.

Tengku Razaleigh
Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah

Unlike in 2008, however, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah's Semangat 46 party — arguably the functional equivalent of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) except that PKR is multi-ethnic — and PAS failed to win a single parliamentary seat outside Kelantan and Terengganu. Razaleigh was portrayed as a traitor of Malay-Muslim Malaysians. He was accused of selling out his race and religion to the Kadazan-Christian Malaysians after the defection of the Kadazan-dominated Parti Bersatu Sabah to the opposition camp after nomination day. The proof? Razaleigh wore Kadazan traditional headwear with a crucifix-like pattern at a Kadazan function.

If we go back further, we will see how ethnic sentiments had helped to hold Umno and the Malay Malaysian constituency together after the battle royale between Mahathir and Razaleigh in 1987. These ethnic sentiments were also used to justify the ISA crackdown, code-named "Operasi Lalang", later that year. At one point, Umno Youth held a mass rally in which some of its leaders threatened to bathe the Malay keris with Chinese Malaysian blood, a threat which Datuk Seri Najib Razak — the then Umno Youth chief — recently denied ever making.

How did Chinese Malaysians provoke Umno Youth to threaten ethnic riots? Many Chinese Malaysians fervently objected a controversial personnel policy introduced by then Education Minister Anwar, which was seen as a conspiracy to eliminate Chinese-medium schools.

But it would be wrong to think that Mahathir is a genuine racist or ethnic bigot. Other than his inclusive Vision 2020, Mahathir has helped many non-Malay Malaysian businesspersons — Tan Sri T Ananda Krishnan, Tan Sri Vincent Tan, and Tan Sri Eric Chia, to name just a few — in building their empires. He rhetorically condemned the "tongkat (crutch) mentality" amongst Malay Malaysians and he enthusiastically praised non-Malay Malaysians for their hard work. I wouldn't be surprised if he repeats these lines soon.

Mahathir
Mahathir: not looking very worried

Contempt at the core

The truth is, Mahathir is just such a talented politician that he is capable of holding all ideological positions. He is neither left nor right. He can be both left and right. Does he not worry that the voters will see his contradiction?

A politician would worry only if he or she believes that the public is smart enough to judge and read his or her contradictions. The politician wouldn't have to worry about this if people trusted the politician like children do their parents or pets their masters.

To me, at the core of Mahathir's Machiavellianism is contempt for his fellow citizens. He would have been a great democratic leader had he respected the intelligence of ordinary Malaysians. So, I thank him for his latest statement if it helps us to mature as a nation by deconstructing the cult of his personality.

In a similar way, I thank the pro-ISA protesters who will defend the draconian law this Saturday, 1 August, in the name of Islam and Malay Malaysians. They are helping the ideologies of both political Islam and Malay nationalism to mature, by forcing Malay-Muslim Malaysians to decide if they want to embrace or denounce authoritarianism as part of their identity. They help to open the eyes of all Malaysians to see what an Umno-PAS unity government could potentially mean.