Archive for December 17th, 2007

Challenge to AG/IGP to substantiate or withdraw terrorist charges against Hindraf

I just came back to Parliament from the Shah Alam Sessions Court where the Attorney-General, Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail as expected dropped the attempted murder charge against the Batu Caves 31 after being incarcerated for close to two weeks on the ground that they are “national security” threats.

Of course I welcome the Attorney-General’s change of mind and the withdrawal of the charge of attempted murder of a policeman preferred against the Batu Caves 31 – as I had right from the beginning called on Gani to drop the charges of “attempted murder” against the 31 as well as the manhunt for another 30 on the same charge of attempted murder, as it would precipitate a new crisis of confidence in the administration of justice over selective and malicious prosecution in the abuse of the Attorney-General’s discretionary prosecution powers.

However, I am still very disappointed by Gani’s conduct in the Shah Alam Sessions Court.

Although the charges against five students for causing mischief and illegal assembly were also dropped (and they should never have been charged in the first place), the charges of causing mischief and illegal assembly against 26 remained, with their case adjourned till December 27 for sentencing following their guilty pleas this morning.

The very fact that Gani had to drop the capital charge of attempted murder against the Batu Caves 31, (which also means the abandonment of his intention to charge 30 others with the same capital offence) – which could land the guilty with a sentence of life imprisonment – is proof that the Attorney-General had abused his powers in preferring such capital charges in the first place.

It raises the question as to the real motive of the Attorney-General in abusing his powers in slapping the Batu Caves 31 with such a serious charge when there is no basis or justification whatsoever.

The two-week incarceration of the Batu Caves 31 who were denied bail on the ground of being “national and security threats” remains a blot on the nation’s administration of justice and the tenure of Gani Patail as Attorney-General. Read the rest of this entry »


Fake IPCMC Bill consultation tonight – will anybody be there?

Will anybody come for the Emergency Public Consultation on the Special Complaints Commission (SCC) Bill – the fake Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) Bill – at the Kuala Lumpur-Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall auditorium tonight, December 17, 2007 at 7.30 pm?

Or will there be an empty hall?

Half of me was telling me that it was foolhardy to convene such a Public Consultation at such short notice, with only two days’ notice – and a weekend to boot –with minimal or non-existent mainstream media publicity and that one possibility is a virtual empty auditorium.

This will be grist in the mill of those who will claim that there is no public concern or support for IPCMC and that Malaysians are quite happy with SCC proposal.

The other half of me felt that there is no choice and the risks must be taken to convene a Public Consultation at such short notice because of the great importance to provide an opportunity for the public and civil society to express their views on the SCC Bill – not only because the IPCMC proposal is the most critical of the 125 recommendations of the Royal Police Commission for police reform to create an efficient, accountable, incorruptible, professional world-class police service but also because of the endemic crime which has haunted Malaysians and the country since publication of the Royal Police Commission Report 19 months ago.

Two-day notice falling during a weekend is not the only problem in making a success of the Emergency Public Consultation on the SCC Bill – it is also the end-of-the-year with many taking or preparing their year-end holidays. Read the rest of this entry »


Hishammuddin’s antediluvian pledge of “no closure of Chinese primary schools”

“Hisham pledges no closure of Chinese primary schools” is the front-page headline of Nanyang Siang Pau today. Similar headlines also appear in other Chinese newspapers.

Education Minister and UMNO Youth leader, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and the Barisan Nasional spinmeisters must have regarded this a coup and sure vote-getter after his unforgettable “keris-wielding” stances and his determination to repeat them every year until the non-Malays are “desensitized”.- what I had said in Parliament as manifestation of the “boiling frog” syndrome.

But I am really astounded by two things, that 50 years after Merdeka:

(1) the nation’s Education Minister could seriously believe that his “pledge” not to close Chinese primary schools would be regarded as a boon akin to a message of deliverance from heaven; and

(2) that it could be taken so seriously as to merit being treated as front-page headlines by Chinese newspapers – when it is totally ignored by other language newspapers.

Hishammuddin’s pledge is 50 years behind time. It would have some relevance even during the time of his father, Tun Hussein Onn, who was Education Minister and then Prime Minister from 1976-1981. But it is totally antediluvian today.

Let me tell Hishammuddin and the Barisan Nasional spinmeisters that what the Malaysian Chinese and fair-minded Malaysians want is not a pledge not to close any Chinese primary school but a pledge to build new Chinese primary schools whenever and wherever there is the need arising from demands for such school-places by the pupils and their parents.

Then and only then is such a pledge deserving of front-page headline treatment!

When will such a pledge be forthcoming?


Tinpot Tyrant In The Making

by M. Bakri Musa

Someone ought to tell Prime Minister Abdullah that he is not up to the job. Malaysia deserves better. If he truly loves his party and country, as he frequently professes, he should acknowledge his limitations and gracefully pave the way for someone else.

As one prominent Malaysian wrote me, it is a tragedy at this stage of our development to have foisted upon us a leader who is clueless, incompetent and arrogant. He has taken all of us for a ride, he continued.

His is the sombong si bodoh (arrogance of ignorance).

This is not the time to maintain our silence, elegant or otherwise. That would only embolden Abdullah, prodded by his advisors, to pursue his current disastrous path. We already have too many preacher boys who for peanuts would willingly spread his message that the world is flat. The next day and with a few more cheap candies thrown their way, they would preach with even greater gusto that the world is indeed round.

Abdullah’s crude handling of the recent Bersih and Hindraf rallies, the largest in a decade, was merely the latest demonstrations of his ineptness. The choice is not, as he naively put it, between public safety and freedom, rather in enhancing both.

There is no safety without freedom. Suppressed, humans will ultimately erupt like a volcano, and with equally unpredictable devastations. Freedom without safety is anarchy. Safety and freedom are two sides of the same coin; each complements the other and both are hallmarks of civilized societies. “Safety” without freedom is illusory.

Abdullah’s “public safety before public freedom” argument is specious; it only reveals the latent tyrannical streak or prison-warden mentality in him. A few more years of him and Malaysians would lose whatever little freedom we have, and the much-sought safety would still elude us. Read the rest of this entry »