Archive for July 11th, 2007

Anti-corruption record in tatters – top leaders caught in maze of corruption allegations

At the monthly assembly of the staff of ministries and agencies under the Prime Minister’s Department on July 2, 2007, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi made the surprise announcement of the extension of the term of service of Tan Sri Musa Hassan as Inspector-General of Police to enable Musa to “continue with his crime-fighting agenda”. Musa is to retire on Sept. 13, 2007.

Such an announcement was most unprecedented for many reasons and the circumstances indicate that it was more a statement of intent on the Prime Minister’s part than a statement of fact in that all the due process of such an extension had been completed, including conveying the decision to the Conference of Rulers which will only meet later this month.

The very fact that no one knows for how long Musa’s term as IGP had been extended although it is more than a week after Abdullah’s surprise announcement lends support to the view that the Prime Minister’s statement was one of intent rather than of fact about Musa’s extension as IGP.

The question is why was it necessary for Abdullah to act in so uncharacteristic a fashion in “jumping the gun” to rush such an announcement of his intent to extend Musa’s term as IGP when there are more than two months to go before the expiry of the tenure, and when the practice is to make the announcement of such top-level appointments or their extensions at the last minute.

There are even cases where high offices are left vacant for months like the office of Chief Judge of Malaya, which had remained vacant for more than six months, raising the question whether the country is facing a constitutional crisis in filling top judicial posts.

Was Abdullah forced to announce his intent to extend the tenure of Musa as IGP when it only expires on Sept. 16 to fob off mounting pressures against the extension of Musa’s service, and if so, what are these pressures and reasons for them?

The most critical question which calls for Abdullah’s explanation is the reason for the double standards in extending Tan Sri Musa Hassan’s tenure as Inspector-General of Police while refusing to extend Datuk Seri Zulkipli Mat Noor’s term as Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) director-general when serious corruption allegations against both remained outstanding and unresolved?

Deputy Internal Security Minister, Datuk Mohd Johari Baharum told Parliament during question time yesterday that “the Internal Security Ministry had lodged a report with the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) on the allegations of corruption involving Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan” about a RM2.1 million bribe to release a group of gangsters. Read the rest of this entry »


Malaysia’s Shame

By Farish A. Noor

It seems as if there are some folk in Malaysia today who believe that the country cannot get enough bad publicity. Over the past few years the country’s religious authorities in particular have been at the forefront of the effort to show Malaysia and Islam in the worst light imaginable: A few years ago Malaysia made the international headlines when members of the religious morality-police vice squad raided a nightclub in the capital, arresting and detaining all the young Malaysians there who happened to be Muslims, while allowing their non-Muslim friends and companions to party the night away. Those arrested later complained to the media that they were harassed and abused, locked in cages and humiliated by the morality police themselves.

Then came the spate of other raids of peoples’ homes, including a rather embarrassing raid on the flat of an elderly American couple who were woken up in the middle of the night on the grounds that they were suspected of having Malaysian Muslims in their flat and presumably up to no good. The fact that the raid took place on the resort island of Langkawi further dampened Malaysia’s efforts to promote the country as a holiday paradise and second home for retiring couples from abroad.

Over the past three years the country has witnessed angry public demonstrations by conservative Muslims over the issue of freedom of religion; sparked off by the case of Lina Joy, a Malay-Muslim who had converted to Christianity only to be told that her conversion would not be recognised unless she put herself through the religious court system first, thereby incriminating herself in the process.

The latest case involves Massosai Revathi, a Malaysian citizen whose parents had converted to Islam but who was brought up by her Hindu grandmother and who had lived most of her life as a Hindu. Revathi is therefore one of the unfortunate cases of Malaysian citizens whose complex identity was bound to get her into trouble with the religious authorities in Malaysia, and it finally did. Following her marriage to her Hindu husband according to Hindu rites, they had a child who was also brought up a Hindu. Revathi was later called in by the religious authorities and told in no uncertain terms that she was legally a Muslim and had therefore committed a crime in the eyes of Islamic law and Muslim jurists: She was then sent to one of the country’s ‘Faith Rehabilitation Centres’ so that she could be ‘persuaded’ to return to Islam. Read the rest of this entry »