Archive for January 22nd, 2008

Challenge to Sabah DCM for night-tour of Sandakan ghost-town (his 3-term constituency)

This morning I was in Sandakan where I had issued a challenge to the Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Raymond Tan Shu Kiah to a night-tour of Sandakan as he had disputed my statement that Sandakan is a ghost town after dusk.

I had given Tan 48 hours to respond to my challenge and if he dares to accept, we can then fix a date for a joint night-tour of Sandakan to establish whether Sandakan becomes a ghost town as soon as the sun goes down, with the local people of Sandakan deserting the town centre for the safety of their homes or to the outskirts of Sandakan from the third mile.

I am very shocked that Tan, who is a three-term State Assemblyman for Sandakan, representing Tanjung Papat, should challenge my statement that Sandakan is a ghost town after dusk – as this is not a recent phenomenon but is the sad fact about Sandakan for over two decades, covering the entire period that Tan had been elected representative for Tanjong Papat.

What did Tan do in his 15 years as Sabah State Assemblyman for the area, with two terms as Cabinet Minister and now as Deputy Chief Minister, to revive Sandakan to its past vibrant and flourishing glory as “Little Hong Kong”?

Instead of restoring the night-life of Sandakan so that it does not become a ghost town after dusk, the “ghost town” problem has spread its tentacles outwards to cover an increasing stretch of real property which is now some three miles from the town centre. Read the rest of this entry »


Will RCI get infamy of being a “It looks like me, it sounds like me” royal commission?

Senior lawyer V.K. Lingam has probably coined the quote of the century with his “It looks like me and it sounds like me” statement to the Royal Commission of Inquiry hearing yesterday.

What is even more serious, the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Lingam Tape may forever be known as a “It looks like me and its sounds like me” Royal Commission unless it can shake off the infamy of being dismissed as a “cover-up” commission.

After the scandalous competition between former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and former Chief Justice, Tun Eusuff Chin to out-forget each other in their testimony before the Royal Commission of Inquiry last week, it would be hard-put for anyone to out-scandalise the public – but Lingam was clearly up to the task in putting the two Tuns in the shade!

Lingam has applied to expunge all evidence tendered at the Royal Commission of Inquiry on the New Zealand holiday in 1994 taken by him and then Chief Justice Eusoff Chin at last week’s Royal Commission of Inquiry on the ground that they were irrelevant to the scope of the inquiry.

The Royal Commission of Inquiry will decide tomorrow after hearing submissions by lawyers representing various concerned parties.

Whether Lingam’s application to expunge the evidence on his holidaying with Eusoff Chin in New Zealand in 1994 from the Royal Commission of Inquiry succeeds or otherwise, nothing can expunge Eusoff’s testimony from public mind and memory, for they are most pertinent to explain why the state of the judiciary is in such a sorry state, plunging from one crisis of confidence to another about its independence, integrity and competence in the past 19 years.

Even if Eusoff’s evidence before the Royal Commission of Inquiry is expunged from the Royal Commission proceedings, they cannot be expurgated from the public mind and Eusoff owes the nation a full responsibility to come forward to fully account for his integrity as Chief Justice during the period when he held the highest judicial post in the land. Read the rest of this entry »


Mr. Vacuum Cleaner, Sabah and Sabah Development Corridor

Many legitimate questions have been raised about the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) to be launched by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi at the Sepanggar Bay container port, 35 km from Kota Kinabalu, next Tuesday, including:

• Why the SDC is the last “corridor” to be announced and launched by the Prime Minister when it should be the first as Sabah has the worst poverty rate in the whole country.

• How the SDC will eradicate poverty in Sabah, which is the worst of all states in the country, with an incidence of poverty of 23% in 2004, much higher than the two other poverty-stricken states of Terengganu (15.4%) and Kelantan (10.6%). Sabah has also the worst hard-core poverty rate at 6.5% as compared to the next three states with the highest incidence, i.e. Terengganu 4.4% and Kedah and Kelantan 1.3%.

• How the SDC will end the long-standing socio-economic marginalization of the Kadazan-Dusun-Murut (KDM) community as the new underclass in Sabah.

• Whether it is possible for Malaysia to implement five “development corridors” simultaneously or is the “corridor” concept more hype than reality.

A poster raised a pertinent question on my blog on the SDC when he said the Barisan Nasional is “simply trying to hoodwink the rakyat into throwing support for the BN”. Read the rest of this entry »


RCI on Lingam Tape: Boys Sent To Do The Job of Men

by M. Bakri Musa

Regardless of the outcome of the Royal Commission of Inquiry on the “Lingam Videotape,” these public hearings have already given us a rare and instructive glimpse on the inner workings of our government at the highest levels, and of the caliber of individuals in such positions.

This is also clearly demonstrated by the commissioners themselves. Their individual impressive credentials notwithstanding, they are merely boys sent to do the job of men.

In forcing Prime Minister Abdullah to convene this Royal Commission, Anwar Ibrahim has done a great service to the nation. Malaysia owes a huge debt of gratitude to him, as well as to the son of businessman Loh Mui Fah for having the foresight to tape that infamous conversation in the first place, and to the anonymous individual who subsequently gave that tape to Anwar.

The alternative media, in particular Malaysiakini and Malaysia Today, together with various bloggers and members of non-governmental entities, helped ensure that the evolving scandal was not conveniently ignored by the government. The mainstream media were, as usual, irrelevant. They not only missed this most important story but tried initially to dismiss it. Read the rest of this entry »