The Pick And Choose Patriot

Hishammuddin Hussein delivering his speech at the recent UMNO General Assembly

It is bad enough that there is a large number of non-Malays who do not have good command of the Malay language despite it being the National Language, and despite this nation’s being in existence for 60 years, but nothing can be worse than Malays who do not understand the language themselves.

Left-leaning media have been slamming the speech by UMNO Vice-President Hishammuddin Hussein, who is also the Defence Minister, on the so-called deployment to Jerusalem in response to President Trump’s recognition of the city as Israel’s capital.

This began with the criticism by a group of political ex-soldiers calling themselves the National Patriots Association (NPA).  Its President, Brig-Gen Arshad Raji (Retired), said that Jerusalem is not a military issue to begin with.

The international conflict in Jerusalem is a political issue. It is best left to diplomacy to sort out this historical mess. If diplomacy fails, the next course of action can be international condemnation.  Blindly making a declaration to commit our troops is unwise,” he said.

I would like to know who authorised Hishammuddin to prepare the army to be deployed in the Middle-East? Was there a special session of parliament on this matter for the matter to be debated?” asked DAP’s P Ramasamy.

You can see how this issue is being played in Israel.  The Jerusalem Post reported it as:

The issue made headlines on The Jerusalem Post

Whereas, in relatively sober Malaysian media it reads as:

The not-so-kosher Malay Mail Online sought clarification on the matter with the Deputy Defence Minister

However, if one were to listen to the speech made by Hishammuddin, nowhere in the speech did he mention about committing the troops to defend Jerusalem.  All he said was if the need arises, if the King as The Commander-in-Chief decrees it, then the Malaysian Armed Forces is always ready to contribute in any manner.  You can listen to the part where this is mentioned from 18:19 to 19:47 of the following video:

The issue also sparked a debate between myself and a fellow defence blogger Danny Liew versus two of his Facebook followers who criticised the speech saying that our troops are not ready nor trained for desert warfare.

The truth is, our troops have had its fair share of desert operations that started off with the UNIIMOG mission of 1988-1991 to monitor the ceasefire between Iran and Iraq after a lengthy war.  This was followed by UNTAG in Namibia (1989-1990), a country named after the vast Namib Desert that makes up the most of its countryside. We still maintain our presence in the Western Sahara as part of MINURSO and we have been there since 1991.  We were deployed to monitor the Kuwait/Iraq border as part of UNIKOM, after the first Gulf War and were there from 1992 to 2003.  Don’t also forget that we were in Somalia from 1993 to 1994 as part of UNISOM, and this was where we saw full combat rescuing US troops from their disastrous unilateral operation at the Bakaara Market.  We have been deployed in South Lebanon as part of UNIFIL since 2007. And we are part of Exercise North Thunder in Saudi Arabia as part of the International Military Alliance To Fight Terrorism (IMAFT), a coalition that was formed to combat Da’esh.  You may read more about that HERE.

The NPA picks and chooses its quarrels, and the quarrels are mainly with the government despite Arshad Raji having said that they are apolitical.  But the apolitical nature of the NPA is the same as that of BERSIH.  It never attacks the Opposition.

The NPA is silent about DAP’s P Ramasamy who supported the Gerakan Aceh Merdeka, a separatist movement in Indonesia whose aim used to be to liberate Aceh from Indonesia, and also supported the internationally-recognised terrorist organisation Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) otherwise known as the Tamil Tigers.

The NPA also claims to be loyal to the Rulers Institution and the Country.  Yet, they only provided deafening silence when U-Turn Mahathir and DAP’s running dog Zaid Ibrahim were rude towards the Sultan of Johor and Sultan of Selangor.  So, what are they patriotic about? Supporting a DAP-led coalition to form the next government?

The NPA is nothing more than just Mahathir lackeys

Maybe their pension is not enough to support them.

A Lesson On Fake News In Malaysia

STUDENT activism in Malaysia peaked in December 1974, having started in September of the same year in Tasek Utara, Johor Bahru, when some 5,000 students demonstrated at the Selangor Club Padang (now Dataran Merdeka) and as expected, clashed with the Federal Reserve Unit (FRU).

As a result, the students retreated to Masjid Negara with the FRU hot on their heels.  The demonstration was culled and 1,128 students arrested. The student leaders who were holed up on the University of Malaya campus were soon arrested and so were those who hid inside their rented rooms in nearby Kampung Kerinchi.

Three representatives of Kampung Kerinchi complained that the FRU had taken harsh measures to apprehend the students by firing tear gas and that had resulted in the death of a baby.

My father immediately summoned his then deputy, the late Tan Sri Mahmood Yunus, and then Director of Special Branch, the late (Tan Sri) Mohamed Amin Osman, and asked them if the FRU had indeed fired tear gas into Kampung Kerinchi. Amin was adamant the FRU did nothing as such.

When asked if he (Amin) had checked the allegations himself and also the report received from the FRU troop leader, Amin said no.  So my father instructed Amin to go to Kampung Kerinchi to check himself.

Celaka! Depa tipu saya!” (“Hell! They lied to me!”) exclaimed Amin when he saw the empty tear gas canisters that littered the lanes of Kampung Kerinchi, to which my father replied, “You fell for it because you did not check the information yourself!

Fake news is a neologism that has entered the lexicon, used to collectively describe rumours, hoaxes, misinformation, propaganda and recycling of old rumours that had been debunked, that mislead people into believing that they are current and true.

Fake news caused the Barisan Nasional to lose its long-held two-thirds majority in 2008 because it was complacent and not quick enough to react and dispel these rumours.  Back then, political discussions and dissemination of fake news or propaganda occurred in chat rooms, in SMS, and blogs which were only a handful then.  Now there is Facebook, Twitter, Line, Telegram, WhatsApp, YouTube over and above the media available almost ten years ago.

Claire Wardle, Executive Director of First Draft a non-profit organisation dedicated to finding solutions to the challenges associated with trust and truth in the digital age housed at the Shorenstein Centre on Media, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, categorised mis and disinformation into seven types:

Satire or parody – this type of misinformation has no intention to cause harm but has potential to fool. A good example of this is of a message purportedly sent by a passenger of the MH370 who said he managed to hide his iPhone5 up his anus!  This had been debunked as a prank, but there are those who still believe that the person did manage to shove a five-inch by two-inch phone up his anus without any problem on the island of Diego Garcia.

Misleading content – most recent would be issues tweeted by two artistes that evolve around the rising cost of living, the weakening ringgit, a shambolic economy, designed to rile up anger in their followers. The tweets, not backed by published facts and figures, would do damage to those who have no inclination to check for the truth and to retweet or forward to others.

Imposter content – these are usually propaganda designed to use genuine sources but impersonated as theirs. A simple example would be of Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Azmin Ali’s recent event officiating the opening of the Rawang-Serendah Bypass, eight days after the bypass was opened by a minister.

Fabricated content – this type of content is 100 per cent false and is designed to deceive and cause harm. If you remember in July 2007, PKR’s Tian Chua admitted that he had fabricated a photo to show that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak was together with Abdul Razak Baginda and now dead Mongolian-model Altantuya Shaaribu in Paris.

False connection – this is when headlines, visuals and captions do not support the content. The most famous example from recent times was of The Star’s headline that said “Malaysian Terrorist Leader” while having a huge photo of Muslims praying during the first night of Ramadan. Although The Star apologised for the error, it was not the first time it had made a similar mistake.

False context – this is when genuine content is shared with false contextual information. Artiste Fathia Latiff put up a screen capture of the price of fuel in various OPEC countries on Twitter, asking why Malaysia, as an oil producing country, charges very high for petrol?  The screen capture is of oil prices back in 2014. The average value of fuel prices for Malaysia between September 4, 2017 and December 11, 2017, was RM2.23. For comparison, the average price of petrol in the world for this period was RM5.82!

Manipulated content – this is when genuine information or image is manipulated to deceive. Recently, there was a video of a skinny polar bear with muscle atrophy struggling to find food in a snowless land that was made viral. This was attributed to global warming. However, the video was filmed in August when the tundra was snowless. It was only published in December.  Even the indigenous community living in the area thought it was a stunt to raise more funds and was doing a disservice to the war against climate change.

I don’t know why Malaysians are so gullible and eager to share fake news.

In WhatsApp groups, you can see how some people could post about something religious and then help spread fake news – something totally against religions. Nowadays, this fake news comes with a disclaimer – “Dari group sebelah”.

Every time we forward or share a post without double-checking or verifying, we add to the noise and confusion.  We never consider the source, we never consider the supporting sources and worst of all, we never check our biases.

The late Tan Sri Amin learnt this the hard way.

Having seen that he was misled about the FRU not firing tear gas into Kampung Kerinchi, he went on to check about the claims of a baby that had died as a result of the tear gas.  None of the three village representatives had themselves seen the dead baby and no one had actually reported to them of the death.

When asked where the information had come from, they replied, “From Anwar Ibrahim and the other student leaders!”

It seems that nothing has changed since 1974.

(This article was first published on The Mole)

Jumping To Conclusion

Arul Kanda was spotted at the opening of the UMNO General Assembly

I don’t know why Arul Kanda’s presence at the opening ceremony of the UMNO General Assembly is made a fuss.  So did Khazanah Nasional Bhd managing director Azman Mokhtar, Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) group chairperson Abdul Wahid Omar, CEO Abdul Rahman Ahmad and Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera (LTAT) CEO Lodin Wok Kamaruddin.

It has always been a tradition for CEOs of Government-linked companies to be invited to the opening ceremony to listen to the UMNO President’s speech where it always touches socio-economic concerns.  Even President of BN component parties are invited.  In fact, among those who attended the final UMNO General Assembly with Mahathir as President were MCA’s then-President Ong Ka Ting and also PPP’s M Kayveas. So, what is the big deal?

Not too long ago, an archnemesis of the Opposition attended DAP’s Convention.  There, those who swore to spit on his grave lined up to smile, bow and shake hands with the man they all had wanted to send to prison for being a corrupt dictator.

Heil Mahathir!

Behind Mahathir in the screen capture above is the very man who used to go around the country calling the former a PEROMPAK (robber).

Of course, now Mahathir is forgiven.  All the RM100 billion according to both Lim Kit Siang and Barry Wain that Mahathir squandered have been forgotten, all in the name of politics.  And in the name of politics, all those with past sins are forgiven the moment they work hand-in-hand with Pakatan.

Arul Kanda, President of BN component parties, all sat with the rest of the guests an delegations. Mahathir, however, was given a seat on the stage with DAP’s central executive committee members.

DAP Member 001A was given a seat on the stage

So, is Mahathir a DAP member?  Maybe, Malaysiakini can answer this question.

Non Compos Mentis

Zaid Ibrahim on a campaign trail (courtesy of parpukari.blogspot.my)

His Royal Highness Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah Alhaj, the Sultan of Selangor from my observation is a calm and very private person. He rarely makes any statement or gives interviews to the media except during his birthday celebration.  Only once in a blue moon would Sultan Sharafuddin voice out his concern, especially during the Kajang Move, because it was affecting the efficiency of His Royal Highness’s state government.  The Sultan had also expressed his concern over the rudeness of the Opposition and its supporters towards the late Sultan Azlan Shah of Perak during the Perak constitutional crisis of 2009.

 

The latest episode involves the adverse reaction by DAP’s Zaid Ibrahim to the Sultan’s statement on Mahathir’s remark on the Bugis people.  The statement was made as part of an interview with The Star for this year’s celebration of the Sultan’s birthday.  In his Twitter postings, Zaid said that when some Rulers play politics, they must know the consequences. Do not think there is no price for partisanship.

 

What earned Zaid the wrath of many was when he also Tweeted a warning to Sultan Sharafuddin saying the Sultan should be careful with his words (as) no one is immune when (the) country burns.

 

That is typical of Zaid, when he displays the usual non compos mentis character.  Often displaying his republican attitude, Zaid suits well in the DAP – a party known historically for its rash behaviour when it comes to respecting the Rulers Institution.  It is also well that he is a Malay, from Kelantan, as it would appeal to the fence-sitting Malays in Kelantan who are politically torn after the departure of PAS from Pakatan Rakyat effectively ending the coalition.

 

The late Karpal Singh once petitioned to sue Sultan Sharafuddin’s late father, Almarhum Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah Alhaj, in 1987 over a speech by Sultan Salahuddin to the Selangor branch of the Ex-Servicemen’s Association saying that he would not pardon drug traffickers in Selangor. The petition was rejected on the grounds that there was no lis.  In 2009, Karpal Singh had intended to sue Sultan Azlan Shah of Perak for appointing Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir as the new Menteri Besar, replacing DAP’s choice Nizar Jamaluddin.  Karpal was found guilty of sedition in 2014.

 

Since gaining some grounds after the 2008 general elections, the DAP has time and again displayed its disrespect to the Rulers Institution by not abiding by the dress code at state assembly openings.  One good example is of DAP’s Gwee Tong Hiang who was the Johor state assemblyman for Bentayan who did not wear a songkok at the state assembly opening.  The late Sultan of Johor, Almarhum Sultan Iskandar Ismail was not amused.

 

Two days ago someone here tried to be a hero by refusing to dress accordingly. If he wants (to differ), then get out of here now!” the late Sultan chastised.  Tong Hiang, unfortunately, was not present then.

 

The DAP had wised up since then.  Seen as a Chinese chauvinist party, such rude behaviour turned them into punching bags of the Malays, especially those from UMNO who had a feast turning the DAP into cheap meals.  The DAP quickly recruited liberal Malays into its fold, including Zaid, to do their dirty jobs for them.  This keeps the heat off the Chinese in DAP, but pit Malays against Malays.

 

What the authorities should realise is that such behaviour displayed most recently by Zaid Ibrahim sends the wrong signal that it is alright to reject Malay traditions including respect for the elders and the Rulers to the younger Malaysian who, at their age, would be mostly anti-establishment by nature.  If this goes unchecked, it would certainly give birth to more Zaid Ibrahims.

 

The authorities should take cue from Sultan Sharafuddin.

 

I am aware that Zaid had long been making false and incorrect accusations against me. He is a politician and a former minister whom I understand is against the royal institution. My advice to Zaid is simple, do not forget where you come from,” the Sultan said.

 

Faux Pas Today

Online “news” portal Free Malaysia Today (FMT) today published a story on the level of preparedness of the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) if faced with a situation such as Marawi, and got an expert opinion to strengthen its story.

While FMT was talking about clearly refers to the recent statement made by the Chief of RMAF, General Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Haji Affendi bin Buang RMAF, stating that the RMAF will be including urban warfare in its doctrine. This was a reply to a question by a journalist during the recently-concluded Exercise PARADISE 4/2017 in Kota Belud, Sabah.

FMT sought the expert opinion of a Dr Zachary Abuza, a political scientist at the National War College in Washington DC, who focuses on security and political issues in the region.

Dr Abuza instantly criticised the RMAF for not being prepared for urban warfare.

“RMAF’s training is based on preparing to face traditional threats. It’s birth was when fighting the MCP (Malayan Communist Party) in the jungles. It has never had to adjust its training.

“To me, this is understandable but reckless,” he said to FMT.

Abuza felt urban warfare preparedness and capability were still important.

“It’s not that the RMAF has to worry about an invasion, but what if a detachment of RMAF peacekeepers finds itself unexpectedly bogged down during an urban assault?” he was quoted by FMT to have asked.

It is clear to sharp readers that Dr Abuza referred to the RMAF as Royal Malaysian Armed Forces instead of the Air Force. Why would the RMAF have a detachment of peacekeepers anyway?

Therefore, it is forgivable that Dr Abuza had made such a criticism towards the RMAF as the Malaysian Army, which had numerous peacekeeping experiences under its belt. Although the RMAF and the Royal Malaysian Navy participate in peacekeeping missions, the main combat duties is shouldered by the Army.

And FMT being FMT, went to town and published the piece, hammering the Royal Malaysian AIR FORCE for not being ready for urban warfare.

The RMAF’s role in urban warfare is merely a support one, with the Army playing the main role on the ground. All the RMAF needs to do is to insert its Ground Laser Targeting Designator team into the combat zone and paint targets that are to be bombed by its fighters.

Other roles include dropping bombs or perform rocket strikes on targets marked by elements of the Malaysian Army, including interdiction strikes to cut off enemy supply and reinforcement lines, provision of air mobility in support of the Army Air Wing, or perform combat search-and-rescue of downed airmen.

The RMAF and the Malaysian Army have held countless joint exercises to enhance interoperability and coordination and it will take very little tweaking for the two organisations to operate in the urban environment.

Did FMT clarify its story before publishing? I doubt. Else we won’t see the faux pas today.

Erectile Dysfunction

My post yesterday had put lots of knots in many Opposition supporters’ (Penyokong Pembangkang or PEPEK for short) knickers, it seems.  Some questioned why is it that they cannot find reference to some of the things I had written.

The answer is simple – I attended the talk by US Supreme Court Advocate Appellate Tom Goldstein. So did some others whom I saw, like Azmi Arshad, blog owner of Another Brick In The Wall, Tun Faisal of JASA, members of the media (both mainstream and electronic).

The talk was supposed to start at 9am and was to finish at 11am as the auditorium was to be used by another session.  Tom arrived late, around 10.25am and was given only half an hour to speak with five minutes of Q&A session.  Among the questions asked during the very short Q&A session were “Does the US plan to do away with the jury system in its trials” and “The 1MDB is a civil forfeiture suit, why is there now a criminal action being pursued”.

Both were answered by Tom as per the media reports.  And then it was announced that they had to cut the session short because the auditorium had been booked for another programme.

Tom was ushered into a meeting room where he and the Dean of the Faculty of Law had their coffee break, together with some UiTM staff.  The media chaps were ushered to a different place to have their food.  Only Tun Faisal, a journalist from The Mole, and I, managed to bring our food and sat at the same table with Tom.  Tun Faisal and I asked the questions on IPIC, SRC and 1MDB where Tom mentioned the complexity of the case and why there is absolutely no progress whatsoever – the complainants who are in no way linked to 1MDB lodged a complaint with the US Department of Justice saying that money had been siphoned from the 1MDB, to which the 1MDB had denied losing any money.  So to whom should the money be returned to if no one has lost any?

And to this I asked Tom if this is the reason it has taken the DoJ so long to actually initiate something, he answered with a simple, “Yes.”  In other words, the probe has come to a standstill. The only reason they have asked a stay on the civil investigation and changed it to a criminal one is to NOT allow any of the money to be spent.  To date, no one has been named as criminal defendants, not one charge has been filed, and not one targetted to be investigated on a criminal charge.

Which brings me to this:  the Attorney-General of the US, in his speech at the Global Forum on Asset Recovery in Washington DC yesterday said that 1MDB is kleptocracy at its worst.

The headline that had gotten all the PEPEKs wet

Mr Sessions said that allegedly corrupt officials and their associates had reportedly used the 1MDB funds for a “lavish spending spree” such as US$200 million for real estate in South California and New York, US$130 million in artwork, US$100 million in an American music label and a US$265 million yacht.

1MDB officials allegedly laundered more than US$4.5 billion in total, he said, through a complex web of opaque transactions and shell companies with bank accounts in various countries such as Switzerland, Singapore, Luxembourg and the US.

This is nothing new. This is something we have heard which was read live on cable TV by Mr Sessions’s predecesor. And this brings me to a question – if this is so, why hasn’t the US DoJ taken any action for the past year and a half?  This only underscores what Tom Goldstein had said – the complaint said the money was siphoned from 1MDB, but the 1MDB said they have not lost a single cent.  So, whose money did these “1MDB officials” siphon?

Those assets have been frozen since mid-2016 and still have not been returned to 1MDB. Why is that?  All the people that have been charged, tried and sent to jail for laundering “1MDB money” in Singapore and elsewhere in the world were bank employees who flouted the local financial regulations.  Yet, not a single 1MDB employee has ever been charged in those courts.  Why?

PEPEKs are dancing today thinking that something new had been revealed, when it is just old news being repeated. No doubt that they money and assets the US DoJ confiscated last year represents kleptocracy at its worst.  But what has that to do with 1MDB? Can we have the money back now if they are 1MDB’s?

The PEPEKs think that they have won the argument, but really they are just dry PEPEKs, giving an erectile dysfunction to the celebration.

What 1MDB Suit?

There is currently no action against 1MDB. Only against properties thought to have been procured using money belonging to 1MDB,” said Thomas C Goldstein, Advocate Appellate, US Supreme Court said when asked about the civil forfeiture action against 1MDB.

Tom Goldstein was answering question raised during his talk on “Criminal Litigation in the United States of America” at the UiTM Faculty of Law today.

He said that based on the US Constitution, no one should be deprived of their assets without due process of the law, and all due processes of the law must have a hearing concluded before assets can be forfeited.

The DoJ, based on the complaint, is just tracing the money and think it may be linked to 1MDB. Right now, there is no suggestion of any criminal target,” he added.

Tom Goldstein is one of the US’s most experienced Supreme Court practitioners and his representations span virtually all of the US Federal Law.

As arguing counsel in the Court, Tom has prevailed in cases involving arbitration, bankruptcy, civil procedure, disability law, employment discrimination, the Fourth Amendment, free speech, habeas corpus, immigration, labour, securities, and trademarks.

When asked to whom would the DoJ return the seized money to, Tom explained that the issue has put the DoJ in limbo as the 1MDB has said that the money is not theirs, whereas the case is based on money taken from 1MDB, made by complainants that do not represent 1MDB.

The DoJ has recently to put on hold civil forfeiture lawsuits against assets acquired (by Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low), because pursuing these may have “an adverse effect” on its ability to conduct the criminal investigation. What the DoJ is doing is it is trying to prevent the money from dissipating by starting a criminal action,” Tom explained. “But right now there is very little activity pertaining to the case and no one has been named as criminal targets.”

Asked if this (that 1MDB says the money is not theirs) is the reason it has taken the DoJ so long to actually initiate something, he answered with a simple, “Yes.”

A huge amount of money made its way into the US, and the DoJ is interested to know where is the source of this money. It is not a criminal case and an escalation into one will only make life more difficult for them as there has been no precedent. No one has been named in the civil forfeiture suit. If a criminal case were to be developed then it would be a classical criminal case and the burden of proof falls on the DoJ that it has to prove beyond reasonable doubt that crime has been committed,” Tom added.

In addition to practicing law, Tom has taught Supreme Court Litigation at Harvard Law School since 2004, and previously taught the same subject at Stanford Law School for nearly a decade.

Tom is also the co-founder of SCOTUSblog – a website devoted to comprehensive coverage of the Court – which is the only weblog ever to receive the Peabody Award.