Altantuya murder – the missing links

By Americk Sidhu
Malaysiakini
Apr 6, 2015

COMMENT This is the first time in 34 years I have actually found myself in agreement with former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his recent, although rather belated, queries in respect of the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder saga.

These questions make sense. These are the same questions a very large portion of the Malaysian population has been asking for over eight years now.

Khalid Abu Baka, our beloved inspector-general of police (IGP), has in the meantime, been performing backward somersaults trying to avoid the entire issue and instead, appears to have dedicated his entire career to tracking Twitter messages on social media.

‘Twitter Khalid’ has even had the audacity to threaten (which he is very good at) anyone who dares to bring up the issue of ‘motive’ in the grisly murder of an innocent female foreign national at the hands of two of Malaysia’s best trained commandos. Read the rest of this entry »

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Khalid’s failure after 48 hours to name police officers who had met Sirul in Sydney immigration detention centre and rebut the former corporal convict’s accusation that the top cop in the country had lied is the top national embarrassment of the year

Malaysia is probably the first country in the world with the top cop who operates in the Internet time zone, who seems to be running the 130,000-strong Royal Malaysian Police from his twitter post, twittering immediate police commands to police subordinates to harass and investigate Opposition leaders and civil society activists for alleged offences under the Sedition Act and other laws affecting civil rights such as freedom of speech, expression and assembly.

As a result, the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar has established a reputation of being twitter trigger-happy and earned the moniker of Twitter Cop, thereby raising different expectations from previous IGPs.

In the past, the public expect the IGP to respond within a day to issues of national importance affecting the police.

However, under Twitter Cop who operates in the Internet time zone of 24/7/365, the public expects Khalid to respond with faster speed in line with the new Social Habit on the social media. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Curse of The Obsession With Single-Issue Politics

M. Bakri Musa
www.bakrimusa.com
6th April 2015

We Malays are obsessed – and cursed – with the single-issue politics of bangsa, agama dan negara (race, religion and nation). We have paid, and continue to pay, a severe price for this. Our fixation with those three issues detracts us from pursuing other legitimate endeavors, in particular, our social, economic and educational development. Perversely and far more consequential, our collective addiction to bangsa, agama dan negara only polarizes us.

We, leaders and followers alike, have yet to acknowledge much less address this monumental and unnecessary obstacle we impose upon ourselves. The current angst over hudud (religious laws) reflects this far-from-blissful ignorance. With Malays over represented in the various dysfunctional categories (drug abusers, abandoned babies, and broken families), and with our graduates overwhelmingly unemployable, our leaders are consumed with cutting off hands and stoning to death as punishments for thievery and adultery. Meanwhile pervasive corruption and endemic incompetence destroy our society and institutions. Those are the terrible consequences of our misplaced obsession with agama.

If we focus more on earthly issues such as reducing corruption, enhancing our schools and universities, and on improving economic opportunities, then we are more likely to produce a just and equitable society. That would mertabatkan (enhance the status of) our agama, bangsa dan negara on a far more impressive scale.

Make no mistake, if we remain marginalized or if we fail to contribute our share, then it matters little whether Malaysia is an Islamic State or had achieved “developed” status, our agama, bangsa dan negara will be relegated to the cellar of humanity. Our hollering of Ketuanan Melayu (Malay Supremacy) would then be but a desperate and pathetic manifestation of Kebangsatan Melayu (Malay Poverty). Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia’s Wasted Decade 2004 – 2014 – The Toxic Triad of Abdullah, Najib, and UMNO Leadership

By M. Bakri Musa
April 3, 2015

Library of Congress Catalog No: 2014914568
ISBN 13 978 1500776305 Indexed 308 pp; US $14.95
Now available on online stores like Amazon.com

Back Cover:

The tragedy of state-owned Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight MH370 that disappeared amidst mystery and without trace over the South China Sea on March 2014 exposed to the world the gross incompetence and lackadaisical attitude of Malaysian officials, from senior ministers dismissive of pleas from victims’ families to radar operators uncurious of strange intruding beeps on their screens. Malaysians have long endured these; their surprise was that the world was surprised.

These essays chronicle the continued erosion of Malaysia’s once reliable institutions, the corrosion of its economy through endemic corruption and crony capitalism, and the polarization of its citizens along race, region and religion. These are the crippling consequences of the toxic leadership of the triad of the vacuous Abdullah Badawi, rudderless Najib Razak, and the sclerotic ruling party, UMNO. Not an auspicious beginning as Malaysia enters the new millennium. Read the rest of this entry »

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Excerpt #1: Chicken Coop At Dusk

by Bakri Musa
6th April 2015

Malaysia’s Wasted Decade 2004-2014. The Toxic Triad of Abdullah, Najib, and UMNO Leadership

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad stunned his followers when he announced his resignation at his UMNO’s General Assembly in June 2002. He had been in office for over 22 years. The unexpected announcement triggered mass hysteria among his followers. Senior ministers and party leaders openly wept, and pandemonium broke out in the hall.

The scene resembled a chicken coop at dusk when the birds were settling down in their comfort zone when suddenly their head rooster flew the coop, or attempted to. The cacophony settled down and calm returned only after senior leaders cajoled Mahathir to delay his retirement until October 31st the following year, and he agreed.

That collective hysteria and mass crying were reflective of how dependent UMNO members were on Mahathir. He was their messiah, and now he was abandoning them. Read the rest of this entry »

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What does the Garissa attack mean for the fight against ISIS?

J.M. Berger
Brookings
April 3, 2015

The horrifying and lethal Al-Shabab attack on Garissa University this week and its Mogadishu hotel siege last week highlight one of the fundamental difficulties that arise when jihadi movements metastasize from terrorism to insurgency and devolve back again.

Purely terrorist groups, such al-Qaeda before 9/11, are typically small. Insurgencies generally require much more manpower. Taking and holding a given town or a province takes hundreds or thousands of fighters. When a terrorist group adopts an insurgent approach with any degree of success, its ranks typically swell. If the insurgency fails but is not definitively crushed, it can free up potentially thousands of experienced fighters for terrorist activities.

And as Garissa shows, killing civilians requires far fewer people than taking and governing territory. It only takes a handful of fighters to create a tragedy of massive proportions. Even a small insurgency, transformed, makes for a huge terrorist capability. Read the rest of this entry »

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Somali Militants Kill 147 at Kenyan University

By JEFFREY GETTLEMAN, ISMA’IL KUSHKUSH and RUKMINI CALLIMACHI
New York Times
APRIL 2, 2015

NAIROBI, Kenya — Somali militants burst into a university in eastern Kenya on Thursday and killed nearly 150 students in the worst terrorist attack since the 1998 bombing of the United States Embassy here, laying bare the nation’s continuing vulnerability after years of battling Islamist extremism.

A small group of militants, most likely between four and 10, roved from dorm to dorm, separating Christian from Muslim students and killing the Christians, the authorities said. Students described being awakened before dawn by the sound of gunfire and fleeing for their lives as masked attackers closed in.

Officials said that by the time Kenyan commandos cornered and killed the attackers on an upper floor, 147 people lay dead.

Despite new security laws, significant Western help and a heightened state of vigilance that has already put police officers on almost every major street corner in the capital, Nairobi, Kenya remains squarely in the cross hairs of the Shabab, the Somali terrorist group that immediately claimed responsibility for the attack on Thursday. Read the rest of this entry »

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Zahid should not assume that although Pakatan Rakyat is opposed to IS and Islamic extremism, he has a blank cheque to enact anti-terrorism laws without proper consultation with the Opposition and the civil society

Home Minister, Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi is mistaken if he thinks that although Pakatan Rakyat is opposed to Islamic State and Islamic extremism, he has a blank cheque to enact a spate of anti-terrorism laws without proper consultation with the Opposition and the civil society.

I am quite disturbed by Zahid’s complacency and cavalier attitude as reflected by his statement after the presentation of the spate of anti-terrorism bills like the Prevention of Terrorism Bill 2015 (POTA) that he is confident the opposition will back POTA and that rejection would most likely come from activists and human rights’ lawyers.

Up to now, in finalizing the spate of anti-terrorism bills, Zahid has never bothered to consult with Pakatan Rakyat MPs and the civil society or seek their views on adequate safeguards against abuses of far-reaching powers. Read the rest of this entry »

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The final stillbirth after 17 days of “labour pains” of the Prime Minister’s statement declaring UMNO/BN opposition to Hadi’s private member’s bill on hudud implementation – and the five-step metamorphosis of MCA stand

Has the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s statement declaring UMNO/Barisan Nasional opposition to PAS President and MP for Marang, Datuk Seri Hadi Awang’s private member’s bill on hudud implementation suffered “still birth” after 17 days of prolonged “labour pain”?

Seventeen days ago, the MCA President was so cocksure that the Prime Minister would declare the UMNO/BN stand opposing Hadi’s private member’s bill that the “news” was leaked to a Chinese national daily which published the “exclusive news” on the front page, but which proved to be the major false news leak in the history of Malaysian journalism.

The MCA President’s cocksure confidence that Najib would be making a statement within 24 hours on UMNO/BN’s opposition to Hadi’s private member’s bill has under gone a five-step metamorphosis in the past 17 days of “labour pains” of the Prime Minister, viz: Read the rest of this entry »

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Let Khalid reveal who were the police officers sent to Sydney to question Sirul and when to prove Sirul was wrong in accusing the IGP of lying

The Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar is on the losing side in his spat with former police commando, convicted murderer of Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu and fugitive in Australia, Sirul Azhar Umar.

Sirul had accused the IGP of lying when the police chief said that he had sent his men to Australia to meet the fugitive.

Sirul, who is currently held in the immigration detention centre in Villawood, Sydney, has categorically denied this in his phone interview with Malaysiakini, declaring unequivocally:

“Let me tell you, there were no officers or police personnel who met me in Australia.

“He (IGP) is lying to the police force and lying to the public with his claims, and is trying to protect his boss.”

Read the rest of this entry »

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Desperate times at 1MDB

By P Gunasegaram
Malaysiakini
Apr 3, 2015

QUESTION TIME Recent developments at 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) have raised fresh concerns over the self-styled national strategic development company, on top of the numerous longstanding concerns it already has.

The changes in decision, flip-flops, contradictory statements and so on indicate an atmosphere of increasing desperation, the overriding reason for the anxiety being money, or more precisely the lack of it.

That is a rather dangerous situation for 1MDB to be in. At last count, end-March 2014, using figures from its annual report, it had borrowings, including some payables, of a massive RM46 billion, liabilities of RM48 billion and assets of RM51 billion.

With RM46 billion in borrowings and only RM13 billion in solid assets in power generation, why is 1MDB so illiquid? It should be floating in a veritable sea of liquidity instead of scrounging around to pay for loans which are coming due. Read the rest of this entry »

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Thanks to DAP’s opposition and PKR support, Hadi’s private member’s bill on hudud implementation will not be passed in Parliament next week

Thanks to DAP’s opposition and PKR support, PAS President and MP for Marang, Datuk Seri Hadi Awang’s private member’s bill on hudud implementation will not be passed in Parliament next week.

It is now more than two weeks since the initial claims of the MCA President, Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai and Gerakan President, Datuk Mah Siew Keong that the Cabinet had discussed and taken a stand to oppose Hadi’s private member’s bill and that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak would come out with an unequivocal statement declaring UMNO/BN’s opposition to Hadi’s private member’s bill.

But these claims have been debunked by two events:

Firstly, Najib’s 15-day silence on the issue, as Liow and Mah had leaked the “exclusive news” that the Prime Minister would be making such an announcement two Fridays ago on 20th March 2015;

Secondly, the denial by three UMNO Ministers, the Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, the International Trade and Industry Minister, Datuk Mustapha Mohamad and the Youth Minister, Khairy Jamaluddin that the Cabinet had discussed, let alone taken a stand on, Hadi’s private member’s bill on hudud implementation.

These three UMNO Ministers are virtually calling Liow a “liar” with the MCA President insisting today (Sin Chew) that the Cabinet had discussed Hadi’s private member’s bill at its meetings on March 20 and 27. Read the rest of this entry »

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Khalid will not last long as IGP under a Prime Minister who exacts the highest professional standards from the top cop in the country and who does not just play with twitter or come out with nonsensical answers to serious questions

Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar will not last long as Inspector-General of Police under a Prime Minister who exacts the highest professional standards from the top cop in the country and who does not just play with twitter or come out with nonsensical answers to serious questions.

Khalid’s response to the query by former Prime Minister, Tun Mahathir as to why there had been no investigation as to who had issued the order to murder Mongolian translator Altantuya Shaariibuu is most nonsensical to say the least.

With great magnanimity, Khalid excused Mahathir for his ignorance in raising questions about Altantuya’s murder on the ground that the former Prime Minister was unaware of details of the police investigations into the matter, including allegations made by the fugitive police commando Sirul Azhar Umar.

Khalid said yesterday:

“Of course (Mahathir) doesn’t know what actions we have taken (and) what investigations we have conducted.

“What Sirul recently raised has also been probed by us and we are of the view that there is nothing (in his claim) for us to continue (with) the investigation.”

Khalid said Sirul had many opportunities to raise the claim but he did not.

“My response to Yang Amat Berbahagia Tun Mahathir: this case happened eight years ago.

“Sirul has plenty of opportunities to raise this issue – before the trial, during the police investigation, after the trial, while waiting for the appeal – but why now? This is the big question.”

It is sad that the Inspector-General of Police did not realise that he was making a fool of himself with such a response as Sirul did raise the issue more than once that he was merely carrying out orders in Altantuya’s murder, but the highest police authorities were not prepared to carry out a thorough investigation into Sirul’s allegations.

In fact, Sirul had consistently said during police investigations, the trial and after the appeal that he was merely carrying out orders to kill Altantuya. Read the rest of this entry »

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The price some of us pay for freedom, democracy

BY Syerleena Abdul Rashid
The Malaysian Insider
3 April 2015

About 158 arrests have been made so far and Malaysians can expect more as our country continues to spiral downwards into an age of iniquity. Racial tension and religious intolerance are at an all-time high, threats and other forms of negative verbal exchanges go on quite frequently with very little consequences and now arrests are being made on a daily basis. As a result, even the more moderate ones who walk among us are now beginning to feel the paranoia and the distrust.

Nelson Mandela once said, “There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountaintop of our desires.” Having spent half of his lifetime behind bars, his name has become synonymous with valiant values like fortitude and perseverance. Mandela understood what struggle meant and knew the importance of believing in the aforementioned values; he was imprisoned simply because certain individuals were not comfortable with his wisdom. Much like how our brothers and sisters in Malaysia are being imprisoned because of differing political ideologies, daring exposes and unwillingness to succumb to conventionalism or maintaining the status quo.

What triggers our irritation is how the well-off and the well-connected celebrate their lives in the most extravagant ways while we grumble about the 6% tax increment being shoved down our throats and worry if we can ever afford sending our children to good schools, but what really sets it off is when innocent Malaysians are being hauled in for the silliest “crimes” ever imagine, while the murders, rapists and bigots roam free. Read the rest of this entry »

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As Parliament’s debate on anti-terrorism bill is also a debate on Islamic State and Islamic extremism in Malaysia, Zahid and Khalid are guilty of gross dereliction of duty in not giving MPs latest updates on these threats

Nine months after the glowing and laudatory tribute paid by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak to Islamic State, even urging UMNO members to emulate the courage and dedication of Islamic State (IS) fighters, the nation was yesterday given the most grim and bleak picture about the threats posed by Islamic State and Islamic extremists in the country.

And this “grim and bleak picture” of the threats to Malaysia posed by IS and Islamic extremists did not come from the Prime Minister himself, or the Home Minister, Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi or the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar, but by the Bukit Aman’s counter-terrorism director Datuk Ayub Khan Mydin at the first special briefing for civil servants where said that evidence gathered so far of Malaysian involvement in the Islamic State (ISO) has led the police to believe that attacks by the groups on Malaysian soil is imminent.

Ayub said it “was just a matter of time” before an attack is launched.

“It is not a matter of if we will be attacked but when,” he declared.

The counter-terrorism director also revealed that Malaysian IS members have made direct threats to attack Malaysia, including plans to bomb entertainment spots as part of its plan to “punish” Malaysia for being an “apostate” country.
“They view us as apostates. First they deem us bidaah (deviant), then they say we are apostates and then then next thing is to say our blood is halal,” Ayub revealed. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia’s Mahathir Asks Who Ordered Mongolian Beauty’s Death

By John Berthelsen
Asia Sentinel
April 2, 2015

But why now?

Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has opened questions on who was behind the Oct. 18, 2006 murder of the Mongolian translator and party girl Altantuya Shaariibuu by two bodyguards of then-Defense Minister Najib Tun Razak. The killing is arguably the most notorious murder in recent Malaysian history.

Another question that has to be asked, however, is why Mahathir didn’t ask who killed the Mongolian beauty eight years and six months ago. It is tempting to suspect that Mahathir, who asked the questions on his blog chedet.cc on April 2, knows the answer. In the wake of the killing, top political circles in Malaysia were throbbing with rumors, especially over the fact that Altantuya was pregnant and that her body may have been blown up with military explosives to destroy the DNA of the person who made her that way. Those rumors have long suggested that someone close to Najib had ordered her killed. Read the rest of this entry »

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Riding a tiger

Economist
Apr 4th 2015 | KOTA BHARU

A floundering government indulges calls to toughen Islamic law

SEVERING a thief’s hand is the work of seconds, but a campaign to introduce strict Islamic punishments in Kelantan, a state in northern Malaysia, has ground on for 50 years. It could now be reaching a climax. In March state politicians in Kelantan’s capital, Kota Bharu, took a big step towards forcing a vote in the federal parliament that they hope will lead to local judges being allowed to sentence miscreants to whipping, amputations and even death by stoning.

It is hard to imagine hudud, corporal and capital punishments laid down in traditional Islamic law, actually being implemented in Kelantan. But the renewed discussion is harming Malaysia’s reputation as a bastion of moderate Islam. It is worrying Malaysia’s ethnic Chinese and Indians, who make up more than one-third of the population, not to mention a great many ethnic-Malay Muslims. It risks tearing apart the country’s opposition coalition. And it should concern America, which has made Malaysia a key ally. Read the rest of this entry »

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Two former Prime Ministers, Tun Mahathir and Tun Abdullah should be sent on a national mission to Australia to find out from Sirul who gave the order to kill Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu

In my media statement of 21st March 2015, I said: “The mastermind of UMNO’s ‘UG’ (Unity Government between UMNO and PAS) conspiracy achieved an unexpected coup within a year when the Kelantan hudud enactment question completely drowned out all the issues currently haunting UMNO and the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak – the 1MDB scandal; Anwar Ibrahim’s five-year jailing; Mongolian Altantunya Shaariibuu’s 2006 murder and conviction of two former police commandos Azila Hadri and Sirul Azhar with motives neither established nor pursued; the new jet for PM; the lavish spending on wedding of Najib’s daughter and above all, Najib’s survival as Prime Minister and UMNO President”.

Yes, the hudud trap and issue has come to the aid of Najib by seemingly drowning out all the grave injustices and scandals in the country, but Najib should realise that these injustices and scandals cannot lay hidden for long or forever, so long as they remained unrectified.

This is why “the ghost of Altantunya rides again” when former Prime Minister, Tun Mahathir has finally included it as among the scandals which have caused Najib to lose the trust of Malaysians, predicting that the ruling UMNO/Barisan Nasional will lose the next polls if the UMNO president remains in power.

The judiciary, the Attorney-General and the Inspector-General of Police have all been guilty of first-degree dereliction of duty when they ignored the “elephant in the room” in the Altantuya murder case when they should have known that the two former police commandos, Azilah Hadri and Sirul Azhar Umar could not have killed the Mongolian whom they did not know, without a motive and a mastermind! Read the rest of this entry »

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Exposing Anti-Islam Author Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s Latest Deception

By Max Blumenthal
AlterNet
March 26, 2015

One of America’s most prominent Islam bashers has a long history of making things up.

While promoting her new book, Heretic, on a March 23 episode of “The Daily Show,” Somali-born author and anti-Islam activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali made a staggering claim: “If you look at 70 percent of the violence in the world today, Muslims are responsible,” she told host Jon Stewart.

Stewart did not demand any evidence and Hirsi Ali provided no citation. However, she made a strikingly similar statement in a March 20 essay previewing her new book for the Wall Street Journal: “According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies,” Hirsi Ali wrote in WSJ’s Saturday Essay, “at least 70% of all the fatalities in armed conflicts around the world last year were in wars involving Muslims.”

I contacted the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), a leading British foreign policy think tank, to inquire about the source of Hirsi Ali’s statistic. According to IISS Media Relations and Communications Officer Kat Slowe, IISS did not explicitly state such a figure in its research.

“I have spoken to a number of our experts and they cannot identify where this statistic may have come from,” Slowe told me.

“Their best guess is that the journalist in question [Hirsi Ali] may have access/a subscription to the [IISS] Armed Conflict Database and may have calculated this statistic independently. There are some concerns that it could be misleading as, without Syria (near 200,000 total deaths, and almost half of last year’s global conflict deaths) the figure would look massively different (and of course, this conflict did not have its root in religion),” Slowe added. Read the rest of this entry »

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Vohrah: Whistleblower judge should be compensated

By Hafiz Yatim
Malaysiakini
Apr 2, 2015

The government should compensate whistleblower judge Syed Ahmad Idid Syed Abdullah Idid, said former Court of Appeal judge KC Vohrah.

Syed Ahmad Idid was forced to resign after making revelations of wrongdoing in the judiciary in 1996.

Vohrah, now a consultant with law firm Lee, Hishammuddin, Allen and Gledhill, also commended Malaysiakini for highlighting Syed Ahmad Idid’s plight after so many years.

“Syed Ahmad Idid deserves it (compensation),” he told Malaysiakini recently in response to an interview this news portal had with Syed Ahmad Idid, a former High Court judge last month.

Syed Ahmad Idid in that interview had commended the revelations made by Vohrah in an article for the Court of Appeal, Malaysia, 1994-2014, 20th Anniversary book, published last year.

Syed Ahmad Idid had said he felt vindicated with Vohrah’s exposure. Read the rest of this entry »

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