Anwar Ibrahim New Year Message - 2013

Umno's last tango before its reckoning

"Politics, noun. A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage." - Ambrose Bierce (The Devil's Dictionary)

Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin called for patience concerning the date for the ultimate grudge match between BN and Pakatan Rakyat. I wonder when the "appropriate time" is.

One would have thought, with all the gerrymandering, "voter education", electoral rolls discrepancies, violence against opposition parties campaigning in the rural heartlands, granting of citizenships to foreign nationals, goodies thrown at all and sundry, overtures to simpatico Islamic elements (in the opposition) and the rest of the Umno bag of dirty tricks, confidence if not in your base but voter manipulation would entail a speedy date for a day of reckoning with your political opponents who you have characterised as enemies of everything Malaysians hold near and dear.

NONEPrime Minister Najib Razak and BN spin doctors, have no idea what a populist message is and continue treating the opposition as though they were pre-Tsunami 2008 wannabes instead of the national power players they are.

Even more damaging, Umno continues treating a sizeable section of the electorate with access to the alternative media and who actively participate in civil disobedience walkabouts as enemies of the Umno state.

When you have stupidly defined this upcoming general election as a "war" with racial and religious undertones, losing becomes a prospect too unimaginable to consider. The only real loss for Umno would be the possibility of Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim's retribution and of course, ejection from the gravy train which has sustained Umno all these decades. This is the great loss which Umno attempts to portray in terms of Malay hegemony and the decline of Islam.

They never once consider that the election of Anwar whose policies are very similar to their own and the ascendance of PAS by popular legitimate will, points to the exact opposite of what they fear.

Why the obsession with Deepak?

With each passing day, more tales of corruption, most often unsubstantiated and delivered by the most unreliable of tellers is passed off as gospel truth by Pakatan kool aid drinkers. This is really a minor point since there is more than enough well-documented cases of Umno malfeasances that should have sealed Umno's fate decades ago.

Why Malaysiakini even bothers with what someone like carpet trader Deepak Jaikishan has to "reveal" is frustrating but not surprising. In my opinion, he (Deepak) is the poster child for what is wrong with what Umno has wrought, the disingenuous nature of oppositional politics in this country and the sometimes-yellow journalism of the alternative media which some Pakatan supporters most notably DAP apparatchiks consider as black and white, unbiased (sic) reporting.

NONEAs usual, in the Deepak case there are Umno forces at play working towards ends that would further their objectives of retaining the Putrajaya throne. Who knows what foul schemes are hatched in the corridors of Umno power. The best strategy is not to engage in an orgy of speculation less we inadvertently further such schemes.

In any other functional legal system, everyone (including those propagating his revelations) involved in the Deepak drama would have been investigated, charged or been on the receiving end of some form of legal censure. Here silence from the ruling regime and selective legal threats from the opposition (on a wide range of issues) makes a mockery of the search for the truth of the death of a young Mongolian woman.

While the ‘other' component parties of BN or rather those cannon fodder in the so-called upcoming Umno ‘war' attempt some semblance of ‘unity', Umno and its go-at-it-alone policy and internal fighting, sabotages any kind of coherent offensive against the opposition.

The Kedah MCA, for instance, has mounted a successful coherent counter attack against the opposition but what gets much play is the debacle of Chua the Younger's foray into the Talam fiasco, which the Selangor Pakatan administration has yet to satisfactorily answer for.

Malaysiakini is on the right track when it highlights the plight of the Orang Asli community under the pious PAS administration in Kelantan. Nigel Aw's contribution to journalism in this country through his work in Malaysiakini more than justifies the latter's "news and views that matter" tag.

Pakatan supporters mean well but...

Pakatan supporters are a diverse demographic, united in their abhorrence of Umno and for the most part are right-thinking Malaysians (attempting to escape their racial preoccupation cage) who support the three opposition parties and their sometimes conflicting agendas. However, there are different strains of vocal supporters that unfortunately define Pakatan's online presence.

Pakatan kool aid drinkers mean well but unfortunately buy into the multiracial new (disingenuous) deal which Pakatan offers that often times clouds their objectivity. DAP online apparatchiks are so hypocritical (not to mention most of them are crypto racists) that principle, political expediency and racial politics are all the same.

Then there are Pakatan supporters who are not blind to the flaws of our preferred political parties and who view a change of political leadership as a basic democratic principle that could lead to a better Malaysia through a two-coalition power tussle.

NONEThe only real demographic that Umno-BN has left - I should be clear on this - is this so-called "non-partisan" demographic who think that "Umno has been allowed to run riot for too long" but the opposition is offering the "same shit with a different shovel".

This demographic which the mainstream media mischaracterises as the pro-BN ‘silent majority' is probably more influential than either coalitions, but who nervously wait in the sidelines.

Umno assumes it has their loyalty but the recent political messes that both coalitions find themselves embroiled in could translate to voter apathy (the more things change the more they remain the same, is the rationale) which would mean partisan voter turnout is what decides the fate of this country.

However should the Malay vote swing back to Umno, then prepare for a new era of Umno hegemony replete with retributions to those who have dared crossed the Umno line. Of course, Umno has the edge with its dirty bag of tricks, which makes any victory and there could be a real possibility of a pyrrhic one, devoid of any moral legitimacy.

Najib begs for a second chance to show his ‘leadership' skills but the reality is that in Umno and BN, such skills have never been a prerequisite for holding power. The internal mechanism of choosing a ‘leader' in Umno is predicated on money politics, sycophancy and political patronage (and not necessarily in that order) refined by that old master of dark political sorcery, former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Anwar deserves second chance

If anyone gets to have a second chance, it is Anwar Ibrahim. He is perhaps the most successful political operative Umno has ever created.

anwar ceramah in melaka 040112By reinventing himself as the voice of a moderate Malaysia and by sustaining (which takes leaderships skills never imagined by Umno) his fragile coalition made up of disparate voices united in their ‘Umno must go' harmony, it is Anwar who has some moral claim to the idea that he is the ‘people's choice' or at least a sizeable section of the voting public, to lead them into a much hoped for new Umno-free era.

A long-time articulate Umno friend asks, "Doesn't stability mean the middle ground, anymore?" The question he should be asking, "What led Umno to arrogantly believe that they could define the middle ground, forever?"

If Umno loses, it will not be because a partisan electorate thinks that Pakatan is a better choice to lead the country, it will be because for some, Pakatan (for a wide range of reasons) is the only alternative to Umno. Just as Umno has declared a certain section of the public as traitors, said section has returned the favour in spades. I have made this argument before of the partisan nature of Malaysian politics and what each coalition is peddling.

I would much rather usher in a new era of political squabbling a two-coalition paradigm offers than stagnate under a decrepit Umno who over the years has been devouring itself. At least in the former, there is a small possibility of change since Pakatan has demonstrated that it is aware of the will of the people.

NONEAt the end of the day, this is Umno's last great political fight. Already the rumour mills in Kuala Lumpur are in a frenzy of the war chest jealously guarded to fund party hopping initiatives. Pakatan has a poor record when it comes to this issue. Anwar's Sept 16 fiasco is a cogent reminder that the Umno apple does not fall far from the tree.

Very soon, Umno's day of reckoning will be not only a test for Umno but also for those of us in the opposition. It would surprise (and delight) me if Umno loses, but the real test for the opposition is if Umno wins or worse reclaims its mythical two-thirds majority. Either way, it will be a new era in politics. The political tsunami of 2008 has irrevocably changed things.

No matter how much Umno attempts to keep the malice of May 13 in the minds of people (Kua Kia Soong's work on the subject should be required reading for all right-thinking Malaysians), the reality is that people will remember the importance of the Tsunami of 2008 as a turning point in the history of Malaysia.

My New Year hope is that we have another turning point in favour of the opposition.

S THAYAPARAN is Commander (rtd) of the Royal Malaysian Navy.

Only one man stands to gain from Bala's second SD

Private eye P Balasubramaniam affirmed his first statutory declaration (SD) on July 1, 2008. It was released at a press conference held at the PKR headquarters on July 3 that year. It was 55 paragraphs long.

NONEhost of personalities were mentioned in thisfirst SD. They are as follows (in the sequence they appear); Abdul Razak Baginda; private investigator Ang; murdered Mongolian woman Altantuya Shaaribuu; Rowena Abdul Razak; Suras Kumar; Dhiren Norendra; Najib Razak; Lance Corporal Rohaniza; Azilah Hadri; Sirul Azahar; Amy; DSP Musa Safri; DSP Idris and ASP Tonny.

The second SD, which emerged a day later, purposefully referred to only seven of those 55 paragraphs set out in the first SD.

These seven paragraphs (8, 25, 28, 49, 50, 51 and 52), were specifically identified and transcribed, after which their contents were traversed in the order they appeared in the first SD. In other words, these paragraphs were intentionally extracted from the first SD, repeated and subsequently retracted by denial. No other details appearing in that first SD were touched upon or even mentioned.

najib abdul razak in perth chogm 1It may be an unfortunate coincidence that each and every paragraph so traversed in the second SD specifically bore reference to Najib. Nothing of all the other personalities mentioned in the first SD was referred to. Only the details relating to Najib were set out in the second SD and retracted.

This, by a very rudimentary analysis, would lead any reasonably minded person to surmise that the personality standing to benefit from this partial second SD retraction must have been the one whose name had been mentioned in the paragraphs referred to above. There is no logical reason why anyone else would have been interested.

This, by a simple process of deduction, indicates that Najib or someone close enough to him, entrusted or vested with an interest to maintain and preserve a favourable public perception of him, must have been instrumental in the organisation of a very rapid attempt to stifle what must have been perceived as a formidable threat to his pending ascension to the position of prime minister.

Who drafted the second SD?

Unfortunately, matters such as this, if done in haste, will eventually unravel.

It has recently emerged that a lawyer(s) other than M Arunampalam, was/were involved in receiving instructions to formulate a ‘U-turn' SD to be signed by Balasubramaniam . It had been assumed Arunampalam was instrumental in the drafting of this second SD, for the simple reason he turned up purporting to represent Balasubramaniam at that infamous press conference held in the lobby of the Prince Hotel in the morning of July 4, 2008.

NONEHowever, as we now know, carpet trader Deepak Jaikishan has dispelled that assumption. He has said Arunampalam was there basically as a stooge for the person(s) behind these shenanigans. He was used by Deepak as a player in the entire plot.

It is no secret Arunampalam has been Deepak's lawyer in certain property transactions in the past. Appearing for someone he had never met and knew nothing about was probably a rather tenuous extension of the conveyancing portfolio he was handling for Deepak. Let's leave it at that.

We now know Arunalpalam didn't draft or prepare that second SD. Deepak has said so.
So who received instructions, ostensibly from Najib, or one or more of his cohorts, to do this?

Out of the 14,000 odd practising lawyers registered with the Bar Council, it can reasonably be assumed that only a handful of these lawyers would have had the privilege of being at the beck and call of Najib or his entourage.

We have now narrowed down the range of potential participants. This should assist the Bar Council in its endeavours to trace the culprit (s) who unilaterally and without instructions, drafted a false statutory declaration for my client to sign under circumstances in which the question of voluntariness remains highly suspect.

A revisit of the contents of that first SD is appropriate at this juncture.

Balasubramaniam's motives

What was the purpose of releasing that first SD? The answer lies in paragraph 54.

This paragraph sets out in detail the reasons why it was affirmed. These details need to be repeated so that the entire issue can be contextualised and afforded some prominence as it appears the wood is being ignored in favour of the trees and weeds.

The reason why Balasubramaniam affirmed this first SD was primarily due to the fact that the Altantuya murder trial was still on going at that stage and he was concerned that a massive cover-up was being orchestrated to detract from the most crucial question in the entire trial, the question which is still on everyone's lips until today... what was the motive for this murder?

altantuya trial 160707 azilahBalasubramaniam's complaint was that although he had been called as a prosecution witness, he was not asked, during examination-in-chief or under cross-examination, fundamentally basic and pertinent questions relating to individuals who could throw some light on the chain of command.

Paragraph 54 of that first SD sets out the reasons why it was made and I reproduce those contents as follows: (Balasubramaniam said he wished to):
  • State his disappointment at the standard of investigations conducted by the authorities into the circumstances surrounding the murder of Altantuya.
  • Bring to the notice of the relevant authorities the strong possibility that there were individuals other than the three accused who must have played a role in the murder of Altantuya.
  • Persuade the relevant authorities to reopen their investigations into this case immediately so that any fresh evidence may be presented to the court prior to submissions at the end of the prosecutions' case.
  • Emphasise the fact that having been a member of the Royal Malaysian Police for 17 years, he was absolutely certain no police officer would shoot someone in the head and blow up his or her body without receiving specific instructions from their superiors first.
  • Express his concern that should the defence not be called in the said murder trial, the accused, Azilah and Sirul, would not have to swear on oath and testify as to the instructions they received and from whom they were given.
Explanation needed

As it turns out, Balasubramaniam's predictions were rather accurate to a large extent.

Abdul Razak Baginda was acquitted at the end of the prosecutions' case and both Azilah and Sirul chose not to give evidence in their defence, which effectively meant they were not subject to cross examination. (They gave statements from the dock instead).

abdul razak baginda pc 201108 07In other words, all three accused were spared the embarrassment of having to actually answer very relevant questions which would have revealed a motive for the murder. This is of course based on the assumption that the prosecution were ready and prepared to ask these very pertinent questions.

It is also rather intriguing to note that despite my making it very clear at that initial press conference that some of the material Balasubramaniam was alluding to was hearsay in the sense he was merely repeating what Razak Baginda had told him, these revelations have never been denied by Razak Baginda, despite having had every opportunity to do so once he had been acquitted.

What has been stated above is not intended to cast unwarranted aspersions on any individual involved but merely serves as an objective analysis of the circumstances surrounding this whole issue which I believe necessitates an explanation, especially in light of the recent revelations made by Deepak, all of which have yet to be disputed by the individuals named or implicated.

This reticence, unfortunately, only lends credence to these aspersions.

HOT NEWS 2012 - form Malaysian must know the truth