Drama Kera La Sebelum Terhempas

Mahathir kini agak tertekan untuk meraih simpati para pengundi akibat bekerjasama dengan DAP yang sejak azali menjadi musuh utamanya.  Beliau hanya membohong apabila berkata bahawa beliau ingin ‘menyelamatkan’ Malaysia, sedangkan kita tahu apa agenda beliau berbaik-baik dengan Pakatan yang amat membenci beliau.

Sejak dari tahun 1980an sendiri kita telah disajikan dengan janji-janji DAP untuk mengheret beliau ke mahkamah untuk membicarakan beliau di atas jenayah-jenayah salahguna kuasa dan penggunaan wang rakyat untuk menyelamatkan perniagaan anak-anak dan kroninya.  Kalau tidak, masakan Anwar Ibrahim gunakan isu kronisme dan nepotisme untuk menjatuhkan beliau dari takhta UMNO pada tahun 1998?

Tidak mustahil di antara Mahathir mengharapkan perlindungan daripada Perdana Menteri-Perdana Menteri selepasnya daripada tindakan undang-undang yang mungkin akan diambil terhadapnya.  Beliau mengharapkan kerajaan Barisan Nasional yang kuat, serta Perdana Menteri yang menurut telunjuk beliau, untuk terus berlindung dari tindakan undang-undang.

Apabila Pak Lah enggan mengikut telunjuk beliau, Pak Lah telah diserang dengan begitu hebat hingga hampir menyebabkan kejatuhan kerajaan Barisan Nasional.  Apabila Najib Razak pula enggan mengikut telunjuk beliau, orang-orang yang rapat dengan beliau telah dihantar ke luar negara untuk membuat seberapa banyak laporan terhadap Najib Razak.

Akibatnya, Najb Razak telah diserang hebat oleh bukan sahaja musuh-musuh UMNO, malah diserang juga oleh mereka yang di dalam UMNO.  Tujuan Mahathir hanyalah untuk menjatuhkan Najib Razak dan menggantikannya dengan pilihan Mahathir, ketika itu merupakan Muhyiddin atau Mahiaddin.

Namun, serangan tersebut gagal apabila Najib Razak bangkit menangkis dan membalas serangan-serangan tersebut.  Akibatnya, Muhyiddin dan Shafie Apdal kecundang, lalu meninggalkan UMNO.  Mahathir tiada tempat untuk berpegang, apatah lagi untuk melindungi beliau dari ancaman tindakan undang-undang terhadap salahlakunya semasa menjadi Perdana Menteri.

Lalu beliau tubuhkan parti sendiri sambil menjilat ludahnya sendiri agar dapat diterima oleh DAP serta rakan-rakan sekutu mereka.  Dan perjuangan Mahathir kini adalah untuk menjatuhkan Najib Razak agar Pakatan dapat berkuasa.  Sehubungan itu, Mahathir juga mengangkat dirinya sebagai calon Perdana Menteri Pakatan Harapan dan mengharap agar beliau terlindung dari tindakan undang-undang.  Tidak apalah sekiranya DAP memerintah secara proksi dan berpeluang untuk melaksanakan impian Malaysian Malaysia mereka di mana semua rakyat akan diberi hak saksama – termasuk dari segi peluang dan agama.

Tetapi tembelang Mahathir lama-kelamaan berbau juga, dan rakyat telah dapat menghidu segala pembohongannya.  Kalau kita lihat dalam video di bawah, jelas Mahathir hanyalah merupakan kuda tunggangan DAP, dan bukanlah calon yang mereka kehendaki.  Malah, DAP masih belum lupakan dosa-dosa lampau Mahathir dan tidak akan melindungi beliau:

Untuk tidak kehilangan sokongan akibat kerjasama beliau dengan musuh-musuh, beliau telah cuba meraih sokongan dengan membuat siri pembohongan yang mengatakan beliau akan dibunuh dan pesawat jet sewaan beliau juga telah disabotaj.  Meskipun siasatan telah dilakukan terhadap pesawat tersebut oleh Pihak Berkuasa Penerbangan Awam Malaysia serta pemilik pesawat tersebut dan didapati tidak disabotaj, beliau masih berkeras mengatakan bahawa ianya telah disabotaj.

Saya yakin, sehari dua sebelum pengundian dijalankan, beliau akan melakonkan suatu kemalangan terhadap diri sendiri dan akan meraih simpati para pengundi dari katil hospital di Hospital Langkawi dengan menuduh Barisan Nasional.  Drama Kera-La ini telah dijangkakan kerana Mahathir merupakan seorang pelakon yang amat baik.  Beliau sanggup lakukan apa sahaja untuk tidak membenarkan parti Pribumi terhempas ke bumi.


Out With The Fake


I remember a huge debate being made in 2012, especially on Twitter on the implementation of the Automated Enforcement System (AES) on Malaysian roads.  Being a proponent of road safety, my argument was: if you do not want to get caught, abide by the law.  In 2014, as a result of the installation of 14 cameras, the rate of fatal accidents was reduced by 36.84 percent in just eight months.

That was a time when a journalist in China was arrested for single-handedly causing the shares of a company to tumble.  The journalist claimed that the company had lost state assets and had engaged in abnormal sales practices and false financial reporting.  After being arrested a year later, the journalist admitted to have been paid over US$ 70,000 to write the “news”.

Sensationalism sells – and as the saying goes, fear sells until you stop buying it.  Fox News political commentator, Chris Wallace, once noted that The Washington Post and the New York Times were biased towards sensationalism because, instead of getting the masses to read through the Obama Healthcare Bill, they asked them to go through Sarah Palin’s e-mail trove.

So bad is the effect of fake news that Germany passed a law to combat that serves a fine of up to £43 million in January 2018. “There should be just as little tolerance for criminal incitement on social networks as on the streets,” said Heiko Maas, the German Minister of Justice.

In 2013, someone sent a fake Twitter post from the Associated Press’s account saying that Obama had died in an explosion.  The market almost immediately reacted and US$130 billion in stock value was wiped out.

This country has not been spared from the spread of fake news either.  Global economic downturn is being blamed on the government; global oil prices is being blamed on the government.  When the authorities here in Malaysia did not investigate the alleged theft of 1MDB money by Reza Aziz and Jho Low, they are being accused of protecting the duo.  Even one former Minister dared to ask why didn’t the Malaysian authorities seize the motor yacht Equanimity when she herself could find it?

The global economic downturn is called as such because it is a global phenomenon.  It does not affect this country alone.  The same goes to global oil prices – so any promise by the Opposition that it would bring down retail fuel prices is just a promise that cannot be realistically achieved, unless we want to end up like Venezuela.

Malaysia did not investigate the alleged theft of 1MDB money because that allegation was made in the USA by people with no locus standi – 1MDB has not lost any money and did not make the report.  The Malaysian authorities do not have any power to investigate any crime committed abroad except in the following situations: first, it is seditious in character; secondly, it involves a breach of the Official Secrets Act; thirdly, if the Attorney-General agrees in writing that the offence committed abroad has grave consequences to the public security and safety of Malaysians; and, fourthly, if they are inchoate offences.

With the Anti-Fake News bill, another category is now needs to be added to the Extra-Territorial Offences Act.  You can no longer spread lies that would be detrimental to the health of the economy especially, abroad.

The Anti-Fake News bill is something that should have been in place at least 10 years ago.  Had it been around, I doubt if we would see the “Rosmah used 1MDB money to buy diamonds” message of WhatsApp being circulated back into our mobile phone every now and then despite Rafizi Ramli’s desperate attempt to say it was all a joke.

The joke is now on those who love to spread fake news.  I am now laughing.

A Royal Poser

The above Facebook account has been posting stuff which raised many eyebrows, and as usual many gullible Malaysians fall for it.

If it was true that His Majesty The Sultan of Brunei did indeed post especially the one above, he needs to employ someone with better command of the English language and maturity to post on his behalf. It sounds like an elementary school student wanting to sound intelligent.

In a previous post I wrote on how gullible Malaysians can be, often taking “news” at face value without verifying for truth. So, I checked the above account with my niece. She is a Brunei government servant married to a member of the Brunei royal family who is also a diplomat serving at one of Brunei’s embassies in Europe.

She confirmed that the account does not belong to His Majesty and that he does not post his own self. She also pointed me to the official Facebook of His Majesty.

It is very sad to see that we are moving towards getting a developed nation status but Malaysians remain as cultured as the Neanderthals.

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)