UMNO Needs To Revisit Its Past

It has been more than a month since UMNO’s disastrous show in its history of general elections. Although as an individual party UMNO has the most number of parliamentary seats won, it effectively controls two states – a far cry from the grand old party it once was.

As a party, it has failed to show its support for its leadership (I shall go into this a bit more later) it failed to garner the support of the young and first time voters; it failed to retain the support of those who have been its staunch supporters. Most importantly, UMNO failed to remember the reason for very existence.

I sense nothing but trepidation in the first few weeks after the general elections when one by one government institutions come under “reforms”, and then the attacks on the Rulers Institution, namely the institution of the Yang DiPertuan Agong. Hardly any word came out from UMNO’s leadership save for those that came from the normal members.

The strong hands that led to the resignation of two of our nation’s top judges also did not result in strong rebukes from UMNO despite it being a direct interference by one instrument of His Majesty’s government into another.

Of course I am of the opinion that the two top judges are also idiots for caving in and resigning as demanded. It was their job to show the independence of the judiciary and to protect the integrity of their institution, yet they failed miserably to show the example of stewardship to their subordinates as those in charge of that institution.

UMNO is a far cry of what it was back in the late 1970s, let alone what it was in 1946. Losing its power to govern also means that UMNO no longer enjoys the facilities that come with being a government. There have been members who left the party for the other side just because funds are no longer readily available as it was prior to May 9.

Branches find it difficult to hold their annual general meetings because the community halls are no longer available to them. Furthermore, they do not receive sufficient funds to hold their meetings at hotel meeting rooms. They have never had it this difficult and have no institutional memory of how it was before 1981 and Malaysia Incorporated. Members simply do not have the same fighting spirit possessed by their forefathers. What has happened to the ‘unity is strength spirit?

Furthermore, branches were set up without actually soliciting the support of the local residents. You can find that many of the branches are filled with people who are not from where the branch is actually located. How can these people understand the local issues? Branch leadership pays the annual membership fees for fear of being deregistered. How many UMNO members actually go to their respective branch to pay their annual dues?
Which is why at every UMNO General Assembly the Secretary-General would read out the number of UMNO members to-date, not realising that those are false numbers. It would have been almost impossible for UMNO to only get 2.55 million votes, including from non-UMNO members when there are 4 million members!

When the President was attacked from outside and within the party three years ago, hardly anyone stood up to defend him save for a few like Rahman Dahlan, Salleh Said and Ahmad Maslan. There was no ‘defending of the institution of the President’. It was every man for himself. I am of the opinion that members are to defend the leadership of the party when attacked, and change the leadership from within if needed.

How many division actually hold sessions with all members to explain about party policies, how to handle current critical issues after each general assembly? How many members who represented the division members actually attend the general assembly to listen to the speeches and proposals put forth by each state, instead of wanting to get as close as possible to personalities trying to push proposals or hand business cards to them?

There was very little done by UMNO divisions and branches to win the hearts and minds of the community they were supposed to represent. I only see programmes done for their own members.

On the federal level, you see more of UMNO members and members of the BN component parties attending ministerial events than from members of the local community. I chanced upon an event attended by a former federal minister who was lending support to a BN parliamentary candidate in one of my rounds to gauge the election temperature. Of the hundreds who attended, perhaps only a handful – less than 100 were from the local community. The rest were those who were following the former Minister, members of the RELA, police, local council and government officers from an agency the former Minister presided. You cannot gauge how much do the locals actually like the candidate because they were swamped by these extras.

UMNO is also famous for having one-off self-gratification programmes – blood donation, voters registration, skateboarding, free car wash. Unlike with the DAP, there were no follow-ups, no explanation done on why voters should be voting for BN, what a BN victory would mean for the voters.

UMNO’s information machinery at the branch and division levels was also absent. I have never seen any UMNO ‘ceramah’ at any kampung except during by-elections and general elections. Now that UMNO is the opposition, where is this machinery? It has been one month but everyone seems to be busy eyeing for party positions. Pakatan was already at it the moment the results of the previous general elections came out, and they never stopped.

UMNO needs a total overhaul and improvement in terms of mind-set, approach and its constitution. It needs to look at how PAS conducts itself as an opposition party, and its consistency.
In its party elections delegates would have to forget nostalgia. Some have not moved on from the ‘Najib Days’. Wake up. Najib is gone. He has stepped down. He may have been the best Prime Minister and party president but his branding failed. There is no point reviving that.

Instead, UMNO needs to look forward and have an approach that is outside the box. Vote for different people to do different things. The party president should not also be the person who is the Prime Minister-designate. The Prime Minister-designate should also not be the parliamentary Leader of the Opposition. UMNO would be better run if these three people are different people altogether. And top party offices cannot be held for more than two terms.

UMNO also needs to open up to members of other races – not necessarily as members, but members of an appendage: Friends of UMNO, who cannot vote in party meetings, but can run on UMNO ticket during elections. After all, UMNO used to have non-Malay members. PAS has been successful with this approach. There are so many BN-friendly non-Malays out there who do not want to be associated with the other BN component parties (there are only four BN parties left) but support the BN concept.

Talking about membership, UMNO should also allow for direct memberships, approved only at the headquarters level. This would allow for young professionals to join the party without being blocked by branch or division heads. And do away with the quota system if it is still there. As long as a member gets one nomination from a branch (or division for a national-level post), he or she should be eligible to run for any post in the division.

If UMNO is serious about making a comeback, it needs to forget the form it morphed into after 1981. It needs to evolve, incorporating the non-Malays for support, have its leadership subscribe to more accountability. Most importantly it needs to embrace the spirit of 1946 and have members who would not mind sacrificing for the party without ever expecting anything back. It needs to have hundreds of its own Rafizis without the negative aspects, and an information machinery that is aggressively going out there to win the hearts and minds of the masses. UMNO has to become a constructive opposition, with real professionals running and representing the party.

Until then, it can just dream on and wait for another 61 years.

(This article was first published by The Mole)

The Political Hyena

Hyena-Main-1000x469
Hyenas are opportunistic killers as well as cadaver feeders

 

The Keralan Rise

In June 1969, a month after the 13 May tragedy, Mahathir wrote a letter to Tunku Abdul Rahman and began it with the following sentence:

“Patek berasa dukachita kerana tujuan patek membuat kenyataan kepada akhbar telah di-salah faham oleh Y.T.M. Tunku. Sa-benar-nya tujuan patek sama-lah juga dengan tujuan Tunku, ia-itu untok menyelamatkan negara ini daripada bahaya yang menganchamkan-nya.”

The Tunku’s popularity was at an all-time low.  He had lost control over the issues that were dogging the population and had allowed that to spiral into a nationwide communal violence.  Mahathir saw that as an opportunity to finally conclude a personal battle against the Tunku that had begun 27 years earlier, and end the latter’s political career.

That letter earned the Tunku’s wrath.  Mahathir was expelled from UMNO.  Seeing that the end is nigh, the Tunku chose to step down a day after his nephew, Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah, was sworn in as the Yang DiPertuan Agong.

Mahathir was brought back into UMNO’s folds by the Tunku’s successor, Tun Abdul Razak, with the recommendation by Selangor Menteri Besar, Harun Idris.  When Razak died in January 1976, his cousin Hussein moved up and Mahathir became his deputy.

In 1981, Hussein had had to go for a coronary bypass surgery at the Harley Street Clinic in London.  Mahathir saw this as an opportunity to have Hussein out of the way.  In a post taken from Tian Chua’s Malaysia Chronicles, it is said that the DAP mysteriously received documents alleging that Hussein’s wife, Suhaila, was running Petronas from their residence in Sri Taman (now Memorial Tun Razak).  There were also documents alleging that Exxon was stealing oil from Malaysian oilfields without Petronas’s knowledge.

In the same article, it was reported that it was Mahathir himself who started a rumour when Hussein was seeking treatment in London saying that the latter had a “terrible heart condition” and would be stepping down as Prime Minister upon his return from London “for health reasons”.

Purging of Cabinet Members and Interference in the Judiciary

After Hussein was gone, Mahathir had to remove other obstacles.  The biggest obstacle was in the form of Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah.  The ‘Team A’ versus ‘Team B’ rivalry saw Mahathir being returned after beating Razaleigh 761 votes to 718, Mahathir took further steps to eradicate Razaleigh’s influence by purging all Team B members from his cabinet.

This led to 12 Team B members to bring the matter to the High Court alleging that 78 of the delegates had been selected by branches not registered with the Registrar of Societies, and as a result were not eligible to vote. They also claimed that certain documents related to the election had been “tampered with”. Although Razaleigh was not among the twelve plaintiffs, he was widely believed to be funding and co-ordinating the suit

As a result, Justice Harun Hashim declared UMNO “an unlawful society” in 1987, but it took Mahathir, who was also the Home Minister then, just two weeks to have UMNO (Baru) registered – a process that would have taken months, if not years.  The Registrar of Societies come under the Home Minister’s purview after all.

Mahathir did not take Harun Hashim’s judgment lightly.  In an attack on the judiciary, he had several judges, including Harun Hashim, reassigned to other divisions.  Salleh Abas, who was the Lord President of the Supreme Court, was pressured to convene a meeting with 20 Supreme Court and High Court judges where they agreed that the Lord President should write to the Yang DiPertuan Agong and the Malay Rulers expressing their grievances against Mahathir’s interference in the Judiciary.

Being the opportunist that he is, Mahathir knew that the then-Yang DiPertuan Agong was not in favour with Salleh Abas, over an issue about the noises that came from the construction of His Majesty’s private house which was in Salleh Abas’s neighbourhood, took advantage of the situation to agree with the Yang DiPertuan Agong that Salleh be removed.

A tribunal was set up. Five Supreme Court judges were removed – Tan Sri Azmi Kamaruddin, Tan Sri Eusoffe Abdoolcader, Tan Sri Wan Hamzah Mohamed Salleh, Tan Sri Wan Suleiman Pawanteh and Datuk George Seah.  With the Supreme Court suspended, the challenge toward the legality of the tribunal could not be heard.

Salleh Abas was removed as the Lord President.  Soon after, two other Supreme Court judges were also removed.  They were Tan Sri Wan Sulaiman and Datuk George Seah.

Removal of Dissent via Ops Lalang

In 1987, tensions between the Malays and Chinese were high, partly as a result of Anwar Ibrahim’s education policies in particular the replacing of Chinese-educated assistant headmasters of Chinese schools with those unversed in Chinese language (Mandarin)  On 5 September 1987, Lim Kit Siang had to send a wire to Anwar Ibrahim asking him to stop all transfers until the issue had been resolved.  What did Mahathir do? Absolutely nothing to appease both sides.

Within a month, the tensions turned ugly and the threat of another 13 May loomed.  The police had to take drastic action by executing Ops Lalang.  A list of troublemakers and potential trouble makers were drawn up in a meeting between senior police officers in Fraser’s Hills, away from the eyes of the public, and when the danger of a racial clash was imminent, the police arrested those shortlisted.

The police did not have to seek the blessing from the Home Minister (who was Mahathir then) to conduct the arrests.  However, the police would have to brief the Home Minister on the person(s) arrested.  According to the now defunct Internal Security Act, 1960, only the Home Minister could sign a detention order to put a person behind bars without trial for a period not exceeding two years, IF THE HOME MINISTER IS SATISFIED WITH THE REASONS FOR ARREST. If not, they should be released.

And only the Home Minister was given the power to review the detention of a person, and extend the detention period for a period not exceeding two years each time. Not the police.

Turning the Brits into Suckers

The UK economy was in a bad shape back in the 1980s.  Mahathir took the opportunity to strike at the UK by starting the ‘Buy British Last’ campaign in order to launch the infamous “Dawn Raid”.  It was a time when Thatcher was trying to tackle high inflation. She tightened up her fiscal policy and aimed at reducing inflation by increasing taxes and interest rates, and cut spendings.  As a result, the British government decided to increase foreign students’ fees by threefolds, from around £300 to £900.  That was one of the reasons for the “Dawn Raid”.

In the end, it was an excuse to get the already weakened British government to provide financial aid to Malaysia in what is now known as the ‘Pergau Dam Affair‘.  According to UK’s The Independent, Thatcher’s determination ‘to bat for Britain’ led her to agree to a huge development aid package as part of an arms deal which she negotiated during a visit to Kuala Lumpur in September 1988. The deal, at that time involving the sale of Tornado jet fighters, artillery, radar, submarines and Rapier missiles, was so sensitive that civil servants were banished from the room during the final stages of the negotiation.

The original Tornado jets deal, worth more than £1 billion, was cancelled when Mahathir decided to buy instead 18 MiG-29N fighters from Russia and eight F/A-18 Hornet fighters from the US.  The deal with Britain was reduced to a mere £400 million sale of 28 BAe Hawk 108s and 208s.

More Treacheries In The 1990s

In 1986, Mahathir persuaded the docile Ghafar Baba to become his deputy.  This move was to appease those who were against him in UMNO, and was made of want to be seen to welcome some form of neutrality.  But really Anwar was his choice for a deputy.  But Anwar was still “too young” then in political terms.  Furthermore, Ghafar pledged his loyalty to Mahathir – a weakness that Mahathir exploited very well.

In 1993, Anwar was ready to take on the seasoned Ghafar Baba. When asked why did he not fight back, Ghafar had this to say:

“I had no means to fight, no money. Also, I did not want to attack Anwar then. How could I? We were in the same party. It would have only benefited the Opposition. My mistake was I did not see that politics had changed. In the past, they supported you based on your track record. Now it’s something else –this money politics.”

What did Mahathir do to stop Anwar from attacking Ghafar?  As usual, nothing.

Anwar Ibrahim’s meteoric rise to the No.2 spot made him a very popular man especially with the youth.  Many were already disenfranchised with Mahathir who not only by then had been in power for 12 years, but had two deputies removed before Anwar.

Soon, Anwar’s popularity became a threat to Mahathir.  When the Asian Economic Crisis caused a financial meltdown, Mahathir allowed it to go on.  On 3 December 1997, a cabinet meeting was held in Langkawi.  Mahathir got a shock when, upon arrival, seeing that the meeting had been chaired by Anwar and had already been concluded. The cabinet members had decided to adopt an austerity plan similar to those imposed on neighbouring Thailand and Indonesia by the International Monetary Fund. The plan would cut public spending and halt infrastructure projects championed by Mahathir.

Mahathir agreed to go along with the cabinet’s decision.  However, the very next day he announced that he would proceed with a controversial USD2.7 billion rail and pipeline project, effectively shooting down the cabinet decision.  That sent alarms to investors and caused the Malaysian Ringgit to tumble to a new low.

As Prime Minister, Mahathir did nothing to arrest the fall of the Ringgit. At one point in January 1988, the Ringgit was traded at RM4.88 to the USD.  Anwar being the impatient Anwar, launched a veiled attack on Mahathir with his “cronyism, nepotism” war-cry.  Mahathir was then handed on a silver platter two reasons to get rid of Anwar.

The Opportunistic Hyena Now

Observers commented that Mahathir now spits at the sky.  When his successor Abdullah Ahmad Badawi made errors of political judgment and received salvoes of fire from the Opposition, Mahathir saw that his successor may not win the 12th general elections – an event that would not augur well with Mahathir.  Furthermore, Abdullah refused to interfere in the Federal Court’s decision to quash the sodomy conviction against Anwar.  Anwar would then be released and was free to launch attacks on his former boss.

When Najib Razak was being attacked over the 1MDB issue, Mahathir thought that there was no way that the former would be able to explain himself.  Naturally, the Barisan Nasional could even lose the next general elections.  In the run up to the 13th General Elections, the Opposition promised that they would bring Mahathir to trial for his sins as the 4th Prime Minister.  If BN loses, Mahathir would be sitting duck.

Being the opportunistic political hyena, Mahathir launched an all-out attack on Najib.  At one point, political observers were very sure that Najib was going to crumble.  However, when Najib fought back and started to gain grounds, Mahathir was left with no choice but to align himself with the very people he sent to prison without trial.

Mahathir’s fear has always been of being prosecuted in a court of law for corrupt practices during his tenure as the Prime Minister. He needs a strong Prime Minister who could protect him.  By getting on the wrong side of Najib, he had lost all the protection he could get from the BN government. His solution was to form an alliance with his enemies, form a political party and join the Pakatan coalition.  At least if Pakatan wins the next elections, he would be protected.

But at the back of his mind he knew that someone in Pakatan might turn his or her back on him and decide that he should stand trial for corruption – and that the billions his family owns would be frozen and confiscated.  Therefore, he made his other move – be Pakatan’s Prime Minister-designate.  All he needs is about two years if he lives that long, to escape the law.

As for now, Mahathir would say just about anything to show his relevancy, and to plead to the voters to accept him as their Prime Minister again – just as how his long-time friend Robert Mugabe has decided to form his own political party.  It does not matter how damaging his words may be to the country, as long as he gets to fullfil his personal mission.

This brings me to remember the time when the Tunku launched attacks on Mahathir.  Anwar Ibrahim was interviewed on the matter by foreign journalists.  Anwar said the Tunku is a voice of the past, speaking for a style of politics that no longer exists. ”A grand old man who has done his bit,” he said to the journalists ”But I don’t know if he’s even conscious of what he is saying.”

We don’t know what Mahathir the Hyena is saying either.

madeytersasul

Mahathir Finally Seeks Help From Waytha Out There

Today is a historic day for the Malaysian Indian community. The man who for 22 years of his life did nothing to help alleviate their socio-economic status has finally sought help, in the most famous phrase, like from one Indian to another Indian.


After the meeting, HINDRAF chairman P. Waythamoorthy expressed confidence in delivering Indian votes to help Pakatan in GE14.

Of course the Kampung Buah Pala issue has been forgotten and forgiven by Waytha. Let us also look at several other Indian-related issues that Waytha had raised when questioning about Mahathir’s ability to lead Pakatan just a year ago this month.

Last year, Waytha said the displacement of the estate workers was rampant during Mahathir’s leadership and he failed to provide socio-economic reliefs to the 800,000 Indians displaced from the estates. 

He ordered the City Councils to demolish the Hindu temples and Hindu grave yards which existed for almost 150 years in the estates.

Also according to Waytha it was Mahathir who caused the serious rise in discrimination against the Non- Malays which has caused racism to be entrenched in the administration of the government and yet he would stand next to Nelson Mandela to declare his anti-apartheid vehemence.

Mahathir’s arbitrary arrests and detentions of many political opponents under the ISA and Official Secrets Act on many occasions especially for his own political survival how he would hone to perfection and use a gamut of archaic repressive laws.

Waytha added that Mahathir’s arrests besides politicians were environmentalists, consumer association spokesmen and also caused the suspension of publication of The Star, The Sunday Star, Watan, Sin Chew Jit Poh under Operasi Lalang.

His interference in the Malaysian Judiciary saw the Chief Justice and several top Federal court judges suspended and sacked. The way he went about colluding with Justice Hamid Omar, a senior Federal Court Judge, tarnished the reputation and the integrity of the judiciary till this day.

In March 1988, he made constitutional amendments to Article 121 and Article 145 which effectively took away the power of the judiciary that was embedded in the constitution and handed it over to Parliament through statutes. The power of judicial review too was removed. Hence he virtually modified the separation of powers where Judiciary was stripped of its independence and power overnight.

Mahathir banned various independent foreign journalists and has records of charging them with various offences.

Yes, Mahathir did all that according to Waytha. And it was just a year ago this month that Waytha was mad at Mahathir for using the term ‘Keling‘ as an inference to the Indians.


Waytha warned Malaysians about Mahathir’s intentions (of making a political comeback):

Politics is more than the eyes could see and the mind could perceive. Should one support him blindly for the sake of removing the present premier and replacing him with another. Politics is a strange and dangerous game.

Waytha must have said millions other things about Mahathir but all has been forgotten in just one meet – in the name of power.

Hopefully Malaysians especially the Indians see how HINDRAF has now gone Waytha out of line.

Downwards Accelerating Party – Part 2

There is nothing democratic about the Democratic Action Party (DAP).

Before the results of the party’s election on 15 December 2012 got changed because Microsoft Excel did not give the DAP a good version of the software, the Top 20 results were as follows:

  1. Lim Kit Siang – 1,607 votes
  2. Lim Guan Eng – 1,576 votes
  3. Karpal Singh – 1,411 votes
  4. Anthony Loke – 1,202 votes
  5. Vincent Wu – 1,202 votes
  6. Tan Kok Wai – 1.199 votes
  7. Gobindh Sing Deo – 1,197 votes
  8. Tony Pua – 1,162 votes
  9. Teng Chang Khim – 1,152 votes
  10. Fong Kui Lun – 1,137 votes
  11. Nga Kor Ming – 1,075 votes
  12. Chong Chieng Jen – 1,011 votes
  13. Chong Eng – 1,006 votes
  14. Chow Kon Yeow – 985 votes
  15. M Kulasegaran – 984 votes
  16. Liew Chin Tong – 984 votes
  17. Dr Boo Cheng Hau – 958 votes
  18. Teresa Kok – 925 votes
  19. Teo Nie Cheng – 903 votes
  20. Ngeh Koo Ham – 824 votes

I made note of the results as they came out and quickly blogged about it.  Christopher Ross Lim, the Chinaman who goes by the Malay name Zairil Khir Johari could only muster 305 votes despite being Tokong’s closest lieutenant.

19 days later, blaming Microsoft Excel, a whole new result was published.  You can see how the spreadsheet format looked different than it did the first round at the DAP’s website. Let us take a look at the results that was endorsed by Emperor Lim Kit Siang and his son the Tokong:

The Top 20 who made it into the CEC. Compare this with the list above

You can see that Christopher Ross Lim, who only managed to get 305 votes, suddenly received 803 votes and made it as an “elected” member of the CEC.  Vincent Wu disappeared from the Top 20 list.  Guess who was at Number 21 and just one vote down?

The Emperor’s Archnemesis, Tan Seng Giaw, was at No.21 and was effectively out of the CEC despite being very popular in the DAP

This prompted two DAP life-members, David Dass Aseerpatham and Mahendran Krishnan, vice-chairman and secretary of the party’s Ladang Paroi branch respectively, to lodge a report against the DAP at the ROS.

The ROS has since rejected the results asking the DAP to provide proof that there was indeed a glitch in the software.  ROS deems the current CEC members as well as those holding positions in the DAP as invalid and has instructed the DAP to hold fresh CEC re-elections.

The Emperor Does not think that he and his team can win without cheating

This has prompted Emperor Lim Kit Siang to hit out at the ROS citing the directive given as ‘most ridiculous.’  Are the Emperor’s balls shrinking now that he knows his team cannot win without cheating?  Is he afraid that the diminishing popularity and increasingly dictatorial son will influence the CEC re-elections?  You can read here how the Emperor cheated in the CEC elections to win.

The DAP will be holding a meeting tomorrow (Saturday 8 July 2017) to discuss the ROS directive.  It is widely believed that the DAP will be challenging the ROS’s directive in court in order to be able to contest in the next general elections.  This is because the Red Bean Army has now begun to play on the issue of the Judiciary after the appointments of the Chief Justice and the President of the Court of Appeal as additional judges of the Federal Court.

Chief Justice, Tan Sri Dato Seri Md Raus bin Sharif has been appointed as an additional judge of the Federal Court

The DAP will definitely use ‘questionable impartiality’ of the Judiciary in case the court decides in favour of the ROS later.

But that is all DAP’s game.  And this game can end with the resignation of both Emperor Lim Kit Siang and Tokong Lim Guan Eng who has been charged in a court of law for abusing his office to conduct corrupt practices.

Only then can the DAP be saved, as envisioned by the Emperor himself.

DAP’s Emperor Lim Kit Siang offers to reisgn in order to save the DAP

Meanwhile, former DAP leaders have frowned on the Emperor’s remarks.  Janice Lee, who is a former DAP state assemblyman for Teratai, said that Lim Kit Siang has to justify and explain to the public how this (irregularity) had happened and also answer issues raised by sacked DAP members.

This means that they don’t have the right to sack me because the CEC in that year was not valid,” she said.

Former DAP leaders say Lim Kit Siang owes an explanation on how the irregularity had occured

Former DAP life member Shamsher Singh Thind said that as a leader of a so-called democratic party, Kit Siang must ensure that party matters were dealt with transparency and integrity.

You must ensure people can see that you have done everything by the book, which means you should hold a re-election to sort this matter out once and for all,” he added.

Will the Emperor and his son Tokong resign now?

When The Bar Is A Place To Drink

I am not sure if I am supposed to be surprised or if I should express shock at the latest statement issued by the President of the Bar Council of Malaysia, because no matter the President, they all speak like they have been doing nothing but drinking.

The courts should not refer to laws, says the Bar Council President

The currrent President, George Varughese explained that tort of misfeasance in public office is derived from British common law, which is unwritten but fully applicable in Malaysia.

“The action was therefore not brought under the Federal Constitution or any written legislation, and the High Court should therefore not have relied on either of these in determining whether the prime minister is a public officer. The nature of the powers of the office of the prime minister ought to have been examined to determine whether that office qualifies as a public office under common law,” said Varughese in a statement yesterday.

In striking out the suit, Justice Abu Bakar Jais had ruled that Najib, as the prime minister, is not a public officer and hence the suit has no cause of action. He based his decision on Article 132 of the Federal Constitution and the Interpretations Act 1948 and 1967, under which the prime minister, ministers, deputy ministers, and political secretaries are not considered public officials but as members of an administration.

This is the first time that I am hearing a call for judges not to refer to any written laws or the Constitution under which laws are made and enacted.

Firstly, Varughese himself explained that the tort of misfeasance in public office is derived from British common law, the ‘common law‘ being the operative phrase here.  Malaysia’s legal system operates three kinds of laws: the common law, the Shariah law, and the customary law.

Under the common law, what Varughese is suggesting is for Justice Abu Bakar Jais to have tried the case under primae impressionis, a legal case where there is no binding authority and the findings adjudicatory in nature.

However, the learned judge (which is why he is a judge, and the present AG also is an ex-judge) knows he is bounded by laws and the Constitution, and therefore has to make interpretations based on the laws and the Constitution of which his ratio decidendi is derived.

I see lots of negative comments have been made because of the decision of the learned judge.  Some cite American laws and interpretations of the Australian law on the definition of the”public officer” but forget that this is a Malaysian common law case applied in a Malaysian court of law.  If one wants to cite Section 3 of the Corruption, Crime and Misconduct Act 2003 of Western Australia, we might as well refer to and use the Saudi Arabian Criminal Law here and let us see if more than 95 percent of the population would wish to migrate!

This is why Justice Abu Bakar Jais is a judge, and not some gobbledydook like the commentators are.

And another gobbledydook commented that if Najib Razak is not a public officer, then he is a coolie. He would know that word. That is the occupation of his ancestors when they were brought here from Kerala to toil the rubber estates.

I cannot imagine how many judges would have been fired from their job for deciding in favour of the opposition if he is being given powers again.

Fortunately, Najib Razak is not a dictator like this coolie-descendant is.

Says the descendant of coolies

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

My father is 76 this year. He is still as sharp as ever. He only learnt to use a smartphone about a year ago after the passing of my late brother. He relied much on his trusted Nokia mobile phone until that got spoilt. He now sends and forwards Whatsapp messages to his children and grandchildren. Previously they were all sent as SMS. Of course, some of the messages he forwarded to us make me cringe as they were either older than the age of his smartphone, or unauthenticated; something you would not see if this was 21 years ago when he was still the IGP that he was for 20 years.

Having been the IGP for 20 years means that his opinions, in law and order as well as public moral and safety, count. This he continues to speak out at public forums. When he does so, he would relate it to the history of this nation most would have forgotten, or never experienced. He does so without interfering with or meddling into how the current leadership of the Royal Malaysian Police manages the force, and law and order. He knows his place – he was the IGP. He no longer is one.

I, too, find that as I age, I grow more sensitive. There are times when I wish I am still wearing my uniform. There are times when I wish that the Air Force still runs on the same tradition and system as those times when I was a serving officer. I meet up with veterans from other services as well, and just yesterday I was with a former army commando talking about old times. He keeps talking about “how it was then, as compared to how it is now” something I am also inclined to do.  However, I smiled at him and said, “times have changed. This is the present generation’s time.” I do engage former colleagues and squad mates who are still serving. I give ideas when asked, but always remind myself that I am no longer part of that life I sorely miss.

Tun Dr Mahathir was a towering statesman. For 22 years he managed this country with an iron fist along the line of his favourite Sinatra song, “My Way.” My way or the highway was his style. It was his style that propelled this beloved nation to where it is now. For all the good that he had done, many remember that his ways were often brash and snubbed many people in and out of this country that former Prime Minister of Australia, Paul John Keating, branded Mahathir an incalcitrant.

When Dr Mahathir was at the helm, there were dozens of accusations made against him. From bailouts to cronyism to interference in the independence of the judiciary to name just a few.  Of course when the Bumiputra Malaysia Finance Ltd bailout happened and its auditor got murdered, many of those who cry out against bailouts today were still in diapers. When Perwaja steel was bailed out, the Internet in Malaysia was still in its infancy, hence never received the same level of amplification that the recent “bailouts” have seen.  It was a time when UMNO cohorts thumped their chest and said, “UMNO and the government are one.” I don’t have to dwell on this as Tunku Abdul Aziz and numerous blogs have covered these “abuse of power.”

I don’t care for those in the opposition because it is their job to criticize come what may, but it is those in UMNO who are now taking the same line as the opposition. When the judiciary came under attack for not coming up with a verdict that favoured Anwar Ibrahim, UMNO members were quick to defend the judiciary, or any other government agency for that matter, the Audito-General’s office included.  Now, they too say that the audit report by the Auditor-General may not be transparent or not impartial.

Why the about turn now? Why the change in behaviour from UMNO to becoming the opposition? Why the incessant attack regardless of whatever explanation is offered? Isn’t this the very same opposition method that these same UMNO people criticized and ridiculed? How can public attacks on UMNO’s President be beneficial to UMNO if it means adding friendly fuel to the opposition’s fire?

Of course, now is about now and how best we move forward from here. Calls for Najib Razak to step down have not been accompanied by who should succeed and who should succeed next after the successor. The business continuity plan just isn’t there.  Even Dr Mahathir has stated that he doesn’t know who should lead the nation should Najib step down. So should we continue with this onslaught on Najib?

Dr Mahathir is whom I would describe as a once-in-a-lifetime leader. There is no doubt that I will never live to see another great leader such as he. Sharp, witty, acid-tongued, sarcastic to the point that the west has this love-hate relationship when it comes to Mahathir. I love the legacy he has built for us all, but now I am beginning to have my doubts about the relevance of his spoken facts. It was still okay when in the beginning he asked about 1MDB. However, when he raised the issue of Altantuya not only was he underscoring the opposition’s stand that the judiciary is not impartial, but his act was in contempt of a court decision. Is that the case that he is putting forth? The straw that broke the camel of my respect’s back was the announcement he made on the resignation of the Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat. In my eyes the pre-emptive announcement was a low blow. It would have been alright had such an announcement been made AFTER the fact that a resignation had indeed taken place.

How different is that than Anwar’s 16th September 2008 announcement of having the numbers to form a government?  The funny part is, the announcement was spun by pro-Mahathir people as “the trump card of all announcements.”!

Sometimes I wonder if it is the people around Dr Mahathir, especially those in want of something out of all this or just in want of a raison d’etre, who keep prodding the 90-year old to continue attacking Najib? Why are they taking advantage of an old man? Why use him as a shield? Is there no shame in that? That goes to the pro-Najib people too! Why make matters worse by attacking Dr Mahathir and family? Why are you bringing yourselves down to the pro-Mahathir level if you find their methods despicable?

I just wish they would stop the quarrel and leave Najib and the old man and his legacy alone.