Thursday, February 26, 2009

Barbarians at the Gate

Umno Youth members block wheelchair-bound Member of Parliament Karpal Singh in the Parliament compound. Karpal's son as well as other MPs come to his defence, including Lim Lip Eng and Fong Po Kuan. The Star reported:

"Lim's tie and coat had been pulled by the men in full view of Parliament security.

During the commotion, Fong shouted: 'Where is security? Where is security?' and a reply was heard: 'We only jaga (look after) inside (Parliament), not outside.'"

Apparently, the partial Parliament security take good care to jaga who butters their bread, whether it be inside or out.

To roll back the political impact, an 8-man team headed by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Nazri Aziz will "take appropriate action against those responsible."

That really shouldn't be difficult: after all, the media have taken extensive photography and video of the barbarians... which then can easily be crossed-checked with the police. Unless there was an easier way to find out who they are. Oh wait, there is: Umno Youth records.

As easy as it may be to protect the integrity of Parliament from hooligans, what you wanna bet this gets swept under the carpet? I'll bet Ahmad Ismail is having a grand old laugh right now.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Holy cow! Selangor now?

After a coup in Perak, the Mentri Besar of Selangor has been investigated by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) for abuse of power in regards to the servicing of a car and the purchase of sacrificial goats.

The MACC states that it has evidence, and even before the Attorney-General decides whether to prosecute, it's makes the headlines. TV3 actually regarded as "news" a question to Tan Sri Khalid about whether he is now going to resign due to the allegations. And the poor fella hasn't even been charged with a crime.

The alleged cow-purchase was apparently around 10 thousand ringgit.

Let's put this into a little perspective. If Khalid is guilty of wrongly misusing power, well, he must be a real idiot not to really raid the kitty. Not to mention that he used it to buy things which are, by definition, sacrificed.

The last I recall, the Prime Minister's monthly entertainment allowance is around 15 thousand ringgit... a month. Never mind the allegations that bribes of up to 60 MILLION were offered to realize the Perak coup. Or the very the convenient donations to mosques during the Permatang Pauh election by our dear Deputy PM. Or the 15 million someone necessary, apparently, for the police to run the Kuala Terengganu by-election. Both of which, as if we needed reminding, the Barisan lost, nonetheless.

As someone mentioned to me, at best it isn't corruption. It's cowruption. In the Year of the Ox, it seems that we're headed for a lot more bull.

Friday, February 6, 2009

A Grim Silver Lining to a Mess Called Perak

To paraphrase from Hamlet: there’s something rotten in the state of Perak.

The quote of the day comes from The Star:

“Just as Barisan Nasional had accepted the results of last year’s general election, Pakatan Rakyat must now accept a new government in Perak, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.”

The problem with that statement being that in last year’s general election the people of Perak booted out the Barisan Nasional. The same rakyat whom it seems the B.N. is wary of allowing back at the voting booths.

Despite the freakshow in Perak, in the larger picture there are cases when a resignation or crossing parties has a certain legitimacy. People tend to forget that national-level defections were the plan of Sept 18, 2008, or that former defacto law minister Zaid Ibrahim quit his post and began being an iconic face at Pakatan Rakyat events. Recent events don’t change the morality that one shouldn’t be suddenly investigated for corruption for no reason other than that of crossing over to another party.

That being said, doublecrossing within 10 days, makes you wonder how you could have left out of principle and then gone back without sacrificing those same principles. Unless principles weren’t the real motivation. Or whether it is pure coincidence the two assemblymen from PKR who resigned were the same two – and the only two – being charged with corruption. And as far as backstabbing is concerned, let’s remember that in support of them, MB Nizar publicly stated that one is innocent until proven guilty. That’s not even getting into the constitutionality of the Election Commision overriding the Speaker of the state legislature, or the question of if the Agong could decide against the advice of a Prime Minister in dissolving Parliament.

When such doubts linger, as well as allegations of attempted bribes of up to RM60 million for defections, and when the official count is 28 for Pakatan Rakyat and 28 for Barisan Nasional, how the Sultan of Perak could not allow his rakyat to provide a new mandate is more than a little surprising.

A friend of mine put it best when he noted that these defectors were the very ones whom the Sultan himself had insisted on a check of their loyalty to MB Nizar before nodding on the Pakatan Rakyat government.

The result of the turmoil is that the people, denied access to the voting booth, have taken to the streets and to prayer, with moment-to-moment updates being made by Anil Netto.

As with all storms, there are silver linings, though the ones from this debacle are grim in their own right. We have, for the first time, the legislative head of a state government challenging the constitutionality of a ruler’s decision. As the Malaysian Insider noted, this is the start of a much larger debate as to the role of Malaysian royalty and its relation to the democratic rights of the citizens. Most importantly however, the Pakatan Rakyat now know who in their ranks were real bozos – including the double-defecting Bota assemblyman whom they should not have taken in at the very start. The larger lesson – regardless of whether an anti-hopping law is created – is that no matter how good your party platform, you really cheat the people when those who bear your party standard, are really of no standard at all.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Just the shortest thought: now that our dear Bota assemblyman has jumped ship once again, will he be charged twice with corruption?

While we're on that subject, finally Dr M says something of sense.