Almost a year ago, voters voted for change and hailed the dawn of a new era. They kicked out the Barisan Nasional administration for a coalition that promised them better life quality, better pay, freedom of speech among others.
A month later, the Minister of Education announced that public universities could organise debates and forums “like in other renowned universities around the world” (Menteri: IPTA kini boleh anjur debat, forum – Malaysiakini, 6 June 2018).
This prompted an academician, Dr Khoo Ying Hooi, to pen his feelings saying that the newfound freedom of speech is needed to create a new narrative that academicians do not only teach in universities but have a bigger responsibility, that is to contribute to society (Suara hati ahli akademik yang kini bebas selepas berdekad dirantai – The Malaysian Insight, 9 June 2018).
Just six days to a year of taking over the administration, the same Minister of Education wants the four academicians who presented their views to the Rulers Council to resign from their post (Maszlee: Academics must take responsibility for executive summary on Rome Statute).
He was alluding to the fact that they should not continue to hold their post due to alleged lack of integrity.
The four are Professor Datuk Dr Rahmat Mohamad, Associate Professor Dr Shamrahayu Ab Aziz, Dr Fareed Mohd Hassan and Hisham Hanapi. The four were summoned by the Yang DiPertuan Agong to present their views of the Rome Statute to the Rulers Council. The four were opposed to the Statute and cited their reasons.
The Rulers Council also summoned Professor Shad Saleem Faruqi and Attorney-General Tommy Thomas to present their views and reasons for their support of the Statute.
If the government is truly serious about respecting freedom of speech and expression, then it should also respect dissenting views. Furthermore, the four academicians, like Professor Shad Saleem Faruqi and the A-G, were summoned by the Rulers. They did not just appear in front of the Rulers at their own time, whims and fancies. It was an order.
It just happens so that the views of the four managed to convince the Rulers Council that the Rome Statute is not good for the nation while Shad Saleem Faruqi and the A-G failed to convince their Majesties otherwise.
Therefore, in the name of integrity, shouldn’t Shad Saleem Faruqi and the A-G resign too?
AS we all know, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had announced on April 5, 2019 Malaysia’s intention to withdraw from ratifying the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
However, just a week ago Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah said that it is only a dead end for ICERD, but not for the Rome Statute (Jalan mati buat ICERD tapi bukan Statut Rome, kata Saifuddin – Free Malaysia Today, 23 April 2019).
Parliamentary Opposition Leader Ismail Sabri Yaakob hit out at the Foreign Minister the very next day. In a blog post, Ismail asked if the Foreign Minister still wants the Rome Statute ratified and what is the Pakatan Harapan government’s agenda? (Menteri Luar Masih Mahukan Statut Rom Diratifikasikan. Apa Agenda PH? – dsismailsabri.com, 24 April 2019).
What I find most interesting among all the points that were brought up by the Opposition Leader are the date when the statute comes into force for Malaysia, and the period of withdrawal from ratification.
Paragraph 1 of Article 126 of the Rome Statute states that the Statute shall come into force on the first day of the month after the 60th day following the ratification. For Malaysia, that date falls on June 1, 2019.
Paragraph 1 of Article 127 states that a State Party may, by written notification, withdraw from the Statute. The withdrawal shall take effect ONE YEAR after the date of receipt of the notification.
What the above means is that come June 1, 2019, Malaysia becomes a State Party. Any withdrawal following that date will only take effect ONE YEAR AFTER the receipt of the written notification. Until the withdrawal comes into effect, Malaysia is obliged to honour the Rome Statute.
Enter Article 7 Paragraph 1
At a glance, the ICC does not cause a nation’s sovereignty to diminish. Unlike the International Human Rights Law, the International Criminal Law does not directly impact national constitutional arrangements.
However, according to an expert in International Criminal Law, Rupert Elderkin, when International Criminal Law comes into play, it may perform quasi-constitutional functions, in particular offering the only means under public international law to remove state officials from office when they are believed responsible for the most harmful abuses of power (Elderkin, R. (2015). The impact of international criminal law and the ICC on national constitutional arrangements. Global Constitutionalism, 4(2), pp. 227-253).
The Attorney-General can argue that the Yang DiPertuan Agong will not be affected if Malaysia decides to declare war against another nation. Maybe not so. That is the least of my worries. It is Article 7 (Crimes Against Humanity) that I am more concerned about.
This Article deals with any act when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack that includes persecution against any identifiable group or collectively on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious, gender, or crimes of apartheid.
Persecution means the intentional and severe deprivation of fundamental rights contrary to international law, while the crime of apartheid is explained as an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups.
I can name several Articles in the Federal Constitution, and the numerous policies aimed at protecting the special rights of the Malays and Bumiputera, as well as the special position of Islam, that are already against Article 7 of the Rome Statute.
The Malay Rulers act as a shield in their respective states for protecting the religion of Islam. If a Sultan refuses to appoint a state assemblyman whom he thinks has the majority support of the Dewan, as the Menteri Besar, on grounds that the latter is not a Muslim, then the Sultan is already acting in direct contravention of Article 7.
In the case of HRH The Sultan of Selangor and the issue of the use of “Allah” in Bibles five years ago, although the State’s religious affairs department acted in accordance with a state enactment that was made under the state’s constitution, that, too, would have contravened Article 7 of the Rome Statute.
It is immaterial whether or not the State’s constitution or enactments contravene the Federal Constitution. It can only be so when a Constitutional Court deems it to be.
Can the Agong and Malay Rulers be prosecuted?
But will the Yang DiPertuan Agong and the Malay Rulers still be protected from prosecution by the ICC? Or, can they be prosecuted by the ICC?
The Malay Rulers know of the policies and Articles that give Islam its status as the religion of the Federation; that give special status to the Malays and Bumiputeras over others; that makes Malay the national language – all of which come under their protection.
One can argue that since the Malay Rulers are constitutional in form, they cannot be held responsible, as argued by the Attorney-General saying that the Agong cannot declare war and is therefore not accountable. However, the Eighth Schedule of the Federal Constitution clearly states their executive powers.
Although the Latin phrase actus reus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea is the common law test for criminal liability meaning the act is not culpable unless the mind is guilty, it also means that a crime can be committed not only through one’s intention, but also through the knowledge that one’s action or inaction would contribute the same.
In Prosecutor vs Tihomir Blaškić (ICC Appeals Chamber, 29 July 2004), the ICC Appeals Chamber held that “the person who orders an act or omission with the awareness of the substantial likelihood that a crime will be committed in the execution of that order, has the requisite mens rea for establishing liability under Article 7(1) pursuant to ordering. Ordering with such awareness has to be regarded as accepting that crime.”
In other words, there is no legal requirement of an ideology, plan or policy to articulate the mens rea applicable to crimes against humanity. In this context, the Malay Rulers can be found culpable to promoting and enforcing policies and plans that oppress targeted race or religion, while holding the supremacy of one race or religion.
In the words of Catherine Gegout, and Associate Professor in International Relations, Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Nottingham,
“The ICC can prosecute any individual anywhere in the world, but for suspected criminals who are citizens of a state which has not ratified the ICC Statute, a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution is necessary.” (Gegout, C. (2013). The International Criminal Court: limits, potential and conditions for the promotion of justice and peace. Third World Quarterly, Volume 34, 2013, Issue 5, pp. 800-818).
How effective can ICC prosecute will depend on how cooperative a State Party is. If the government, as the executive branch of a State Party, decides to cooperate with the ICC and have a Malay Ruler tried by the ICC, then It could.
So, what is the government’s intention?
If there is something that may affect the status of Islam as the religion of the Federation, the special privileges of the Malays and Bumiputera, the National Language, and the status and functions of the Malay Rulers, it is imperative that the government bring it to the Malay Rulers to be deliberated.
By going quietly and ratifying the Rome Statute without first bringing the matter to the attention of the Malay Rulers is an act that contravenes the Federal Constitution. The Malay Rulers have every right to be consulted, to warn and to encourage. The cabinet members all took an oath to serve in His Majesty’s government, a Malaysian government; not a political party’s government.
So, what was the intention of ratifying the Statute? To take Myanmar to the ICC? China for the mistreatment of the Uighurs
Most importantly – June 1, 2019 is getting nearer each day. Why has the government not sent the formal letter to the Secretary-General of the UN to notify of Malaysia’s intention to withdraw from ratifying the Statute? How difficult can drafting a letter be? Does it need more than 25 days to draft one?
Or is the announcement by the Prime Minister 26 days ago a form of strategic withdrawal that will only see a letter sent days, weeks, months or years after June 1, 2019 that will see Malaysia bounded for another year after?
HRH Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah is known to be a private person and rarely voices out. The only times that he would voice out is when matters pertaining to the Constitution is touched upon, and yesterday was one of those times.
He said that the act of a certain group questioning the sanctity of Islam, the special rights of the Bumiputeras, the national language, and the function and position of the Malay Rulers enshrined in the Federal Constitution need to be immediately addressed and curbed.
I have come across such people, and unfortunately, many are young Malays. They do not seem to understand that the social contract made between the various races of Malaya prior to 31stAugust, 1957 and Malaysia prior to 9thJuly 1963 are now part of the Federal Constitution.
Nor do they know the parties who signed both agreements for the independence of Malaya, and the formation of Malaysia, and understand why those agreements were made. I put a partial blame on the education system where we were taught that we were all colonised by Britain when that is not true, except during the Malayan Union period.
Although Islam had been preached in the Malay Archipelago, Indo-China and China as early as the seventh century, it is largely held that Islam arrived in the Malay peninsula in the 12thcentury. Syariah laws such as the Batu Bersurat of Terengganu, Hukum Kanun Melaka, Undang-Undang 99 Perak became the laws of the land.
In 1908, Richard James Wilkinson, a British colonial administrator who, with the backing of Sultan Idris I, was responsible for the establishment of the Malay College in Kuala Kangsar, and who was also a scholar of Malay and history, wrote on the status of Islamic law in the Malay states:
“There can no doubt that Moslem law would have ended up becoming the law of Malaya had not British law stepped in to check it.” (William R. Roff, Patterns of Islamization in Malaysia, 1890s-1990s: Exemplars, Institutions and Vectors, Journal of Islamic Studies Vol. 9, Is. 2 (1998), 210-228, at 211).
This was reinforced by two British judges in the landmark case of Ramah binti Ta’at v Laton binti Malim Sutan 6 FMSLR (1927).
It is due to these facts that the sanctity of Islam was retained in the Federation of Malaya Agreement of 1948, and was introduced into the Federation of Malaya Constitution of 1957.
The English law was only introduced to Pulau Pinang as it was the original British colony. It was on 25thMarch, 1807 that a Charter of Justice was granted by the Crown establishing a Court of Judicature in Pulau Pinang, with jurisdiction and powers of the Superior Courts in England. This was then introduced to Melaka and Singapore when they became part of the Straits Settlements under British rule.
Only with the arrival of the British residents in the Malay states in the last quarter of the 19thcentury was the English law introduced there in the form of Orders, Regulations and Ordnances, save for the laws and regulations affecting the Malay customs and the administration of Islam. These laws provided for the administration of justice, the law of contract, sale of goods, bills of exchange, company law, criminal law and procedure, the law of evidence, land law, labour law, and the regulation of many matters of public interest.
The Civil Law Enactment, 1937 (No.3 of 1937, FMS) introduced the whole body of the common law of England and of equity of minor modifications. It provided always that the common law and rules of equity are “subject to such qualifications as local circumstances render necessary”. Local laws and custom were made applicable.
Islam was made the religion of the Federation of Malaya. Although Lord Reid felt it was unnecessary to have such a provision as the Sultans would be the Head of Islam in their states, it was added to the draft of the Federal Constitution at the suggestion of Justice Hakim Halim bin Abdul Hamid of Pakistan, who was a member of the Reid Commission, because he said the suggestion by the Alliance party that represented the people of Malaya to have that proviso added was inoccuous.
Sir Donald Charles MacGillivray personally felt that such a provision would be advantageous because the Yang DiPertuan Agong could at the same time become the head of the faith in the Settlements of Penang and Malacca (CO 1030/524 (10), MacGillivray to Secretary of State, 25 February 1957; See also CO 1030/524 (18), MacGillivray to Secretary of State, 21 March 1957).
This accord was reached between those who were party to the discussion – the Malay Rulers, the British who administered the Rulers’ sovereign states on their behalf, and the multiracial government chosen by the people in 1955 to represent them.
There is even a separation of jurisdiction when it comes to the position of Islam in the Federal Constitution.
The Syariah Law comes under the purview of the respective Rulers, and the Attorney-General of Malaysia, under Article 145(3) does not have the jurisdiction over proceedings before a Syariah court, a native court of a court-martial.
This separation of jurisdiction is also present as provided by Article 121(1A) where both the High Court of Malaya and High Court of Sabah and Sarawak do not have any jurisdiction over Syariah matters. Therefore, any claim that the Syariah law infringes on the rights of the non-Muslims is fallacious.
The Malaysia Solidarity Consultative Committee chaired by North Borneo’s (later Sabah) Donald Stephens (later Tun Fuad Stephens) stated in its memorandum dated 3rdSeptember 1962 that the acceptance of Islam as the religion of the to-be-formed Federation of Malaysia would not endanger religious freedom within Malaysia nor will it make the country less secular (Malaysia Solidarity Consultative Committee Memorandum on Malaysia, 3 Sep 1962, p.p 120).
And that is how Islam became the religion of Malaysia.
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.
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.
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.
I received this copied in a Veterans’ WhatsApp group. I omitted some parts of the message as it was just gibberish talk:
_Copied from write up by Mej **** ***** TUDM (Rtd)_
Good afternoon to all. The fight for a free Malaysia must go on!
Let us get one thing clear – the country and the government are separate entities. Governments come and go, the country is eternal.
We owe our allegiance to the country, not to the government. Therefore, saying bad things about a bad government is not being anti-national. Most important of all, voting against a bad government is not being anti-national. A bad government does not deserve loyalty. Disloyalty to the government is not disloyalty to the country; in fact, voting out a bad government is being loyal to the country.
Right to dissent
Save our economy
Fine words they are, but for someone with some legal training to write as such shows how much understanding the author has of the Federal Constitution.
Let us address this “call”:
“Good afternoon to all. The fight for a free Malaysia must go on!
Let us get one thing clear – the country and the government are separate entities. Governments come and go, the country is eternal.
We owe our allegiance to the country, not to the government. Therefore, saying bad things about a bad government is not being anti-national. Most important of all, voting against a bad government is not being anti-national. A bad government does not deserve loyalty. Disloyalty to the government is not disloyalty to the country; in fact, voting out a bad government is being loyal to the country.”
The country and the government cannot be separated, neither can a state be separated from its state government. Yes, governments come and go, but a government is still a government. Officers and men of the civil service, the Armed Forces, the Police owe their allegiance to the King and Country. The King rules the Country, as do the Sultans their respective state, through a government that was picked by the people. Be they the Federal Government or the State Government, they administer the country and the states on behalf of the King and Sultans, as well as the Governors. This is prescribed by Article 39 of the Federal Constitution where the Executive Authority of the Federation is vested in the Yang DiPertuan Agong by him, or by the Cabinet, or by any Minister authorised by the Cabinet.
In the case of the Armed Forces, the King exercises his power through the Minister of Defence. Which is why the officers and men of the Armed Forces are required to salute the Minister of Defence who represents the King’s executive power over the Armed Forces, and the Prime Minister who is the King’s Chief Executive, representing the King.
Article 41 states that the King is the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces and therefore those representing the King as prescribed by Article 39 are performing their duties on behalf of the King.
Therefore, it is imperative that the Armed Forces, as well as the civil service and the Police, remain loyal to the government of the day as the government of the day represents the King – be it bad or otherwise. Whether or nor a member of the Armed Forces, or the civil service, or the Police subscribes to the government of the day politically is a secondary matter. The oath that was taken was to be loyal to the King and Country; therefore loyalty shall be given to the government of the day.
The Minister who represents the King in matters of defence is also made the Chairman of the Armed Forces Council which is responsible for the command, the discipline and the administration of the Armed Forces, except for matters relating to their operational use. This is prescribed in Article 137 of the Federal Constitution.
And it is the Parliament that passed an Act to amend and consolidate the law relating to the establishment, government and discipline of the Armed Forces is made which is called the Armed Forces Act, 1972.
It is also the Armed Forces Act, 1972 that gave the powers to the Armed Forces Council to enable Brigadier-General Datuk Fadzlette Othman Merican Idris Merican be promoted to Major-General while she is being seconded to a Federal Government Department. Section 5C of the Armed Forces Act, 1972 determines that she remains a member of the regular forces but her remuneration shall be paid by that Federal Government Department.
By the same token, even the ordinary people who are citiens of Malaysia must realise that the Federal Government represents the King, the state governments represent the resective state’s Ruler. These are governments chosen by the people but was appointed by the Rulers to administer the country and states on their behalf. The only way to change these governments is by a democratic process called ELECTIONS (unless you have not heard of that word before).
Since 1955, Pulau Pinang, Perak, Kedah, Kelantan, Terengganu, Selangor and Sabah have all seen a change in government. If the elections were not clean, would it have been possible for the Opposition to have won cash cows such as Pulau Pinang and Selangor?
I must admit there are bad hats in the government, be it the Federal government or the states government. This is why we have seen people like Harun Idris, Mokhtar Hashim, Khir Toyo, Lim Guan Eng charged in court for corruption. All but Lim Guan Eng have served jail time. Guan Eng, who said that he is not afraid to go to prison, has been delaying his corruption trial using technical issues.
Many more state excos have also been arraigned in a court for corruption. This is not possible without agencies such as the Auditor-General’s Office and the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission which act as checks and balances to ensure that the Federal as well as states governments are run efficiently and cleanly.
Of course there are those who have yet to face the music. For example those responsible for the Maminco scandal in 1985 that saw a loss of RM1.6 billion (about RM2.56 billion in today’s terms); the Perwaja scandal in 1982 that saw a loss of about RM10 billion (RM18.73 billion in today’s terms); the BMF scandal of 1983 that had caused a loss of RM2.5 billion (RM4.5 billion today); the 1986 Deposit-Taking Cooperative Scandal that caused a loss of RM1.5 billion (about RM2.58 billion today); the RM30 billion loss by Bank Negara Malaysis through foreign exchange gambling in 1994 (RM45.25 billion today); the Malaysia Airlines scandal of 1994 with the loss of RM9.4 billion (RM14.18 billion today); the PKFZ scandal of 1999 with a loss of RM12.5 billion (RM13.5 billion in today’s terms).
The above all happened during the tenure of a certain former Prime Minister. The grand total of losses is RM67.5 billion (or RM101.3 billion in today’s terms). The amount shown does not include the bailouts reported in various books, Opposition leaders’ blogs and so on.
I do hope that the cry for a clean government will also call for the arraignment for the Prime Minister during whose tenure the financial scandals happened. Had the RM101.3 billion been put to good use during those 22 years, Sabah and Sarawak would have had SIX toll-free Pan Borneo Highways, or 1,013 80-bedded Government hospitals all over the country!
Instead, it enriched the few and killed one person.
“Right to Dissent”
I have not seen any Opposition-leaning media being taken off print or air, unlike during a certain 22-year period of my life. Malaysiakini et al are still spinning their version of what they call “balanced news” (read: news the way we want you to see it). The way these media operate reminds me of a character in Netflix’s limited series called “Godless” called A.T Grigg, a newspaper owner-editor who writes news the way he sees it, not how it truly happens.
The ISA was repealed six years ago by this present administration. Although replaced with SOSMA and POTA, it doesn’t give powers to the authorities to hold anyone without trial as the ISA did. And the ISA was being used a lot against political dissenters especially in the late 1990s during the tenure of a certain former Prime Minister.
This administration also introduced the Peaceful Assembly Act, 2012 that has allowed more freedom to assemble peacefully, unlike during those days of a certain former Prime Minister where at the slightest hint of a political dissent, you get whisked away to the University of Kamunting.
Has the author of the message been arrested yet? Of course not. Even when he actually committed sedition against Malaysia by encouraging Sarawak to secede from Malaysia.
Now, how is that seditious? If you look at Section 2 of the Sedition Act, 1948 it tells you the following:
This former Armed Forces officer also committed a crime of sedition under Section 3 (1) (b) of the same Act for encouraging Sarawak to leave Malaysia:
And you thought that the Federal Constitution protects freedom of speech? Yes, it does. But as with all other liberties, they are subjected to restrictions. Article 10(1) guarantees that every citizen has the right to freedom of speech and expression, but at the beginning of the Article it also says the following:
To dissent is okay. To dissent seditiously, or criminally, or dangerously, or incitingly, is not okay.
Any legal-trained person ought to know this, right? What more a former officer of the Armed Forces!
“Save Our Economy”
In April 2017, the World Bank forecasted that Malaysia’s GDP would be at 4.3 percent. This was revised in June 2017 to 4.9 percent due to an acceleration in domestic economic activities (people in Malaysia are actually spending more) by 5.7 percent year-on-year. The GDP growth was revised again in October 2017 to 5.2 percent.
Let me quote several reports here by the World Bank.
World Bank Group lead economist Richard Record said at a media briefing on the update that Malaysia’s robust GDP growth in the first half of 2017 was largely underpinned by strong private-sector expenditure, with additional impetus from an improvement in external demand.
“Private consumption expanded firmly this year, supported by favourable income growth amid stable labour market conditions, and improved consumer confidence. Private investment also sustained rapid growth rates during the period, reflecting mainly continued capital spending in the manufacturing and services sectors,” said Richard Record.
“On the external front, gross exports rebounded strongly from the subdued growth experienced in 2016, supported by double-digit growth in commodity and manufactured exports,” he added.
Economic watchdogs are generally bullish on the Malaysian economy’s performance, buttressed by strong expansion in private consumption and private investment. In the latest update on its World Economic Outlook, the International Monetary Fund has upped its GDP growth projection for Malaysia in 2017 to 4.8 percent from 4.5 percent previously.
Apart from that, the Asian Development Bank has also upgraded its 2017 growth outlook for Malaysia to 4.7% from 4.4%, and indicated that the two-year slowdown in economic growth is likely to have bottomed out last year.
Richard Record also predicted Malaysia’s economy for 2018 and 2019.
“We are forecasting Malaysia’s GDP to grow by 5 percent next year (2018) and 4.8 percent in 2019. Our prediction reflects how we are seeing the country’s macroeconomic fundamentals’ performance and the baseline scenario,” he said.
Online economics portal ‘Focus Economics’ also said the following:
“Economic momentum remained robust in Q3 as confirmed by more complete data. Export growth expanded by a double-digit pace in September, underscoring thriving external demand for Malaysian goods. Household spending was buoyed by a low unemployment rate in September and by higher wages, which were propped up by a thriving manufacturing sector, the key driver of industrial production growth in the quarter. The 2018 budget passed on 27 October is focused on fiscal consolidation and is expected to narrow the fiscal deficit from 3.0 percent in 2017 to 2.8 percent in 2018. Despite the tightening, the budget has consumer-friendly components that will increase disposable income. These include lower income tax rates, especially for middle-income earners; higher public wages; and increased assistance spending.”
Of course, with the oil prices continue to stay below the USD70 per barrel level, Malaysia as well as other countries will continue to experience some sluggishness in the economy. However, good fiscal policies have allowed us to grow unlike a neighbour of ours that is often quoted as being a model economy. That country’s growth have been at 2 percent in 2016, and 2.5 percent this year.
The outlook for the construction sector has taken a sharp turn for the worse, with poll respondents tipping a contraction of 4.2 per cent. The previous survey, released in June, had respondents forecasting 0.2 per cent growth in the sector.
The outlook for the accommodation and food services sector in this model country has also worsened – it is now expected to shrink 1.5 per cent, from previous estimates of a 1 per cent expansion.
Economists polled expect overall economic growth of 2.5 per cent next year for this model country, the same pace as this year.
Perhaps the author of the message we are discussing here should go down South and help revive the economy of that model country.
So, there have you. I really do not know what the fuss is about. All I can deduce is that the author of the message is all hot air – you can feel it blowing on your face, but there is no real substance there. This is the same as BERSIH, and the recycling of petty but stale issues by the Opposition just so that they can remain relevant, and justify for the allowances they receive from the pockets of the rakyat.
You can express your dissatisfaction, but always do so constructively. Especially if you are a member of the Malaysian Armed Forces and Malaysian Armed Forces Veterans.