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

ISA – Who Got To Play God

(This article appeared as a commentary on The Mole – 30 October 2017)

October 30, 2017

THIS would be my mellow version of the Ops Lalang.

The Internal Security Act, 1960 or the ISA, was probably the most draconian law to ever exist in Malaysia.  Prior to having the ISA, preventive detention was done through the Emergency Regulations Ordinance of 1948 aimed at combatting the communist threats.

With the end of the first Malayan Emergency in 1960, the Ordinance of 148 was done away with but was replaced with the ISA.  The mood of the period must be understood to see the reason for having such law.

Although the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) had lost the fight, the struggle was continued from across the Thai border by cadres, as well as their supporters (Min Yuen) in Malaya.  They penetrated unions, the press, as well as associations, causing occasional racial tensions in the country.

Pre-1970 Malaysia was not all dandy when it came to race relations.  The economic power was held by the Chinese since the days of the British administration while the Malays had been relegated to being farmers or lower ranking civil servants.

The Chinese immigrants first came to the Malay states in 1777, and first settled in the state of Perak in 1830 (Patrick Sullivan, 1982: 13). Within 44 years, they numbered 26,000 in Perak alone.  In 1921, the number of Chinese immigrants in the Malay states numbered 1,171,740.  Ten years later, it was 1,704,452. In 1941, it became 2,377,990 while the Malays were at 2,277,352 (Paul H Kratoska, 1997:318). The Malays remained as a minority until the census of 1970.

During the war, the Malays did not face much hardship as the Chinese did at the hands of the Japanese.

After the war, the CPM/MPAJA and their Chinese supporters took revenge on the Malays. In Batu Pahat, Muslims were forbidden from congregating at mosques or suraus to perform the Terawih prayers (Hairi Abdullah, 1974/5: 8-9).

The same occurred in Perak and some parts of Batu Pahat where Muslims were gunned down and burnt together with the mosque they were in during Friday prayers.

Mosques and suraus were often used as places of meeting for the Chinese community (WO 172/9773, No.30: 478) and were tainted by incidents such as slaughtering of pigs, and mosques’ compound was used to cook pork, where Malays were forced to join the larger Chinese groups. Pages were torn from the Quran to be used by the Chinese using these mosques as toilet paper.

Racial clashes had begun in September 1945 where Malays and Chinese clashed in Kota Bharu, Selama, Taiping, Sitiawan, Raub.

This culminated in the slaughter of Malays early one morning in a hamlet near Kuala Kangsar called Bekor where 57 men and women, and 24 children were killed by about 500 members of the CPM aided by 500 Chinese villagers from Kelian in March 1946 (CO 537/1580: 21 and Majlis, 24 Februari 1947:5).

All in all, 2,000 lives were lost.

Such was the mood and the ISA was introduced to also prevent further racial clashes by preventing instigators from achieving their objective whatever that may be.

Therefore, it was an Act of Parliament that was used to preserve public order and morals.  If one is to read the ISA thoroughly, then it would be easier to see that the Act was not just about detention without trial, but also as a weapon for the Royal Malaysian Police to nip any cancerous threat to public order and morals in the bud.

Datuk Seri (now Tun) Dr Mahathir Mohamad was Prime Minister as well as Home Minister when Ops Lalang was executed on Oct 26 1987 (arrests were made in the early morning of Oct 27).

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was Umno Youth chief and also Education Minister in Dr Mahathir’s Third Cabinet.

Anwar had made several unpopular moves that earned the wrath of the MCA such as the removal of crucifixes from missionary schools, introduction of Bahasa Malaysia as the medium of instruction for Tamil and Chinese studies at the University of Malaya, as well as the introduction of non-Chinese educated senior assistants and supervisors to Chinese vernacular schools.

Deputy MCA president Datuk Seri (now Tan Sri) Lee Kim Sai who was also Selangor MCA chief, on the other hand, had also uttered words implying that the Malays were also immigrants.

A 2,000-strong gathering by the Dong Jiao Zong that was also attended by the DAP, MCA and Gerakan was held and a resolution was made to call a three-day boycott by Chinese schools.

Umno Youth responded with a 10,000-strong gathering at the TPCA Stadium in Kampung Baru.  It is said that Dr Mahathir then instructed Datuk Seri (Tan Sri) Sanusi Junid, who was Umno  secretary-general then, to organise a rally of 500,000 members in Kuala Lumpur.

I remember feeling the tension in the air, especially when an army personnel, Private Adam Jaafar, ran amok with his M-16 in Kampung Baru, adding more fuel to a potentially explosive situation.

The senior police management met in Fraser’s Hill to plan and then launched Ops Lalang to prevent bloodshed.

Whether or not Dr Mahathir disagreed with the police for Ops Lalang to be launched, it must be remembered that even if the police had wanted to launch the operations unilaterally, Section 8(1) of the ISA specifically mentions that it is the Home Minister who, upon being satisfied that the detention of any person is necessary, may make an order for the person to be detained for a period of not more than two years.

According to Section 73 of the Act, the police were not given the power to detain a person for more than 30 days unless the Inspector-General of Police had reported of the detention and its reason to the Home Minister.

Nowhere does the Act mention that the Home Minister SHALL or MUST act as advised by the police.  The police provided the names in a list, with reasons why they should be or were detained, but only the Minister could sign the detention order.

Dr Mahathir may now claim that Ops Lalang was the police’s idea, which may be true.  But as mentioned at the beginning of this article that the ISA is an Act of Parliament giving powers to the police to diffuse potentially explosive situations and also to protect and preserve public safety and morals.

The police used the ISA during Ops Lalang as it was intended to be used (there were also detainees from Umno during the sweep), but the Home Minister was the one who played God, and decided whom to be released before the 60 days was up, and whom to hold up to two years.

And that Home Minister is the same unrepentant person now touted to become the next PM by the DAP.

YABhg U-Turn Mahathir

There is only one thing that has more U-Turns than the Jitra-Bukit Kayu Hitam stretch of the North-South Highway.

It is called YABhg U-Turn Mahathir.

He has made so many u-turns on so many of his previous stands that if he was walking instead of talking it would seem like he is suffering from Alzheimer’s but only with the memory intact.

The latest about turn was on BR1M where he said the Opposition would continue to disburse BR1M if it comes to power when just days before he said that BR1M is a form of bribery and is Haram.


Reeling after being caught with his langoti down the seemingly old but mulish Republican of Indian-descent trained his sight on Johor, lambasting HRH The Sultan of Johor for the sale of Forest City properties to investors from China specifically.

The Sultan struck back running the old Republican into the ground.

If you watch ‘The Roadrunner Show’ Wile E Coyote would always get up, brush himself, and continue executing his dastardly plans. Only that in this case it is more damaging than cute.

Mahathir got up and returned salvo even challenging for him to be arrested for lèse majesté.


It was expected of Mahathir who habitually treats the Royal institution as an equal much like Chin Peng who regarded himself an equal to a Prime Minister when addressing former Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi only as Home Minister or Minister.

A letter from Chin Peng to Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi

Anyway the spat between HRH and HUT (Habitual U-Turn) is not what I was interested in.
I am more interested in Mahathir’s claim that his 22-year dictatorship never once saw blood being spilt.

Another example of Mahathir’s Alzheimer’s while having his memory intact

I still remember watching the BBC on TV in Mecca during the Haj season featuring on racial clashes in Taman Medan, Petaling Jaya in March 2001 that went on for days that resulted in the death of six people with scores injured.

Was that not during Mahathir’s administration? Or was that during Tun Razak’s watch?

And what about the near-tragedy between Malays and Chinese in 1987 that ended with Ops Lalang being executed? Who was the Prime Minister who had allowed the situation to spiral almost out of control? Tun Hussein Onn?

Even as late as 2013 before they became bosom pals, Lim Kit Siang was still labeling Mahathir a racist.


So YABhg U-Turn Mahathir s/o Mohamad, you were wrong when you coined the phrase ‘Melayu Mudah Lupa‘ as this Melayu has never forgotten the 22 years you ruled this country with an iron fist, dividing and conquering and then leaving the cohesiveness of the people of this nation in tatters.

As a result the openness introduced by your successor allowed the minorities marginalised during your reign of terror to now question or attack anything that is Malay, Islam or even linked to the Rulers Institution.

The only person who seems to have forgotten your wrongdoings is you yourself.

Go learn from the Malay adage “Memaku dulang paku yang serpih.”

Alas, you are not Malay to understand what that means.