Archive for March 30th, 2007

Sleaze and crime – cleaning up?

Sleaze saps the prime minister’s election prospects
The Economist
22nd March 2007

CHEERY statements on the economy by Malaysian ministers and the pro-government press are prompting speculation that the prime minister, Abdullah Badawi, will call an election this year, even though he need not do so until 2009. The economy is doing fairly well–although economists think growth will be perhaps 5.5% this year, not 6% as the government predicts. However, hanging over Mr Badawi is his failure to keep his promise to curb official corruption. Two surveys out this month suggest that little progress is being made on this front. Worse, some big sleaze scandals have broken, suggesting that the rot reaches close to the top.

The man who is supposed to lead the clean-up, Zulkipli Mat Noor, the head of the country’s Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA), has himself been accused of illicit enrichment by a former underling. In a separate case, a deputy police minister is accused of taking bribes to set criminal suspects free. Mr Badawi has rejected calls to suspend the two officials while the allegations, which both deny, are investigated.

If all this were not disturbing enough, a gruesome murder case involving a government adviser, due in court in June, may prove even more incendiary. Two members of an elite police unit are accused of killing a Mongolian fashion model, whose corpse was apparently blown up with explosives. Abdul Razak Baginda, a political analyst, is accused of abetting them. Mr Razak Baginda is close to Mr Badawi’s deputy as prime minister, Najib Razak, who also oversees the police unit in question. Though Mr Najib has not been accused of any wrongdoing, there is speculation that the trial could force his resignation. Read the rest of this entry »


Is IGP heading police investigation into Zulkipli by “remote control”?

The announcement by the Inspector-General, Tan Sri Musa Hassan that he has directed his officers to record Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) director-general Datuk Seri Zulkipli Mat Noor’s statement, with New Straits Times front-page headline “IGP: GRILL ZULKIPLI” – which is reminiscent of a similar NST front-page headline eight days ago, “Johari grilled by ACA – deputy minister’s statement taken IN: 10 am OUT: 10 pm” — has caused many Malaysians to ask whether all this “grilling publicity” is just for the media and news bytes or for real.

Who is heading the 10-member police team to investigate Zulkipli? Is Musa himself personally heading the investigation into Zulkipli? If so, is the IGP leading the operation by “remote control”?

This is because Musa said he had issued the directive on Tuesday when he “instructed Federal CID director Datuk Christopher Wan to have his officers call Zulkipli and record his statement”.

However, Musa declined to say whether this had been done. Reason? “I have not yet been briefed on the progress by my officers.”

It is clear that if Musa is heading the investigation into Zulkipli, he is doing so by “remote control” as he is clearly not conducting a “hands on” operation with him directing all aspects of the investigation.

Is Christopher Wan heading the police investigation into Zulkipli, and if so, why is Musa interfering with the police investigation team which should independently make such a decision (and should have done so already without any “directive” or “green light” from anyone above), and if Wan is not heading the investigation team, why is Musa instructing Wan to interfere with the police investigation?

If neither Musa nor Wan is heading the police investigation into Zulkipli, who is this mysterious police officer spearheading the police investigation that his identity cannot be revealed?

All this hush-hush and strange goings-on only highlight the grave problem of credibility which the police investigation into the serious corruption allegations against Zulkipli is belabouring under, when an independent and impeccable commission must be empanelled to clear the name of the ACA director-general. Read the rest of this entry »


Corruption of our history books

(Thanks S.L. for the following write-up by JA)

Knowledge of our roots will benefit us

IN very recent times, the starting date for the study of Malaysian history in the schools has been conveniently fixed around 1400 C.E. It probably coincides with the founding of the Sultanate of Malacca by Parameswara.

Today, Malaysian school children only learn a little bit about the early Proto Malays and then are conveniently taken on a historical quantum leap to the founding of Malacca.

Early Indian works speak of a fantastically wealthy place called Savarnadvipa, which meant “land of gold”. This mystical place was said to lie far away, and legend holds that this was probably the most valid reason why the first Indians ventured across the Bay of Bengal and arrived in Kedah around 100 B.C.

Apart from trade, the early Indians brought a pervasive culture, with Hinduism and Buddhism sweeping through the Indo-Chinese and Malay archipelago lands bringing temples and Indian cultural traditions. The local chiefs began to refer to themselves as “rajahs” and also integrated what they considered the best of Indian governmental traditions with the existing structure.

I learnt Malayan history in the 1950s and taught it in the 1960s and 1970s in secondary schools. All the history textbooks at the time had the early Indian connection specifically mentioned in them. Teachers of that period taught about the early Indianised kingdoms of Langkasuka, Sri Vijaya and Majapahit that existed from as early as 100 C.E. Read the rest of this entry »