Loyal Followers

Monday, December 27, 2010

Boxing day thoughts

Crime rate is down. Really?

I was at a Christmas dinner and I met an acquaintance. His face was badly swollen and his lips were cut. His cheeks and chin were littered with fresh wounds which were just stitched up. I was shocked to see his face.

As the story goes, two nights before Christmas, he was at a traffic light somewhere in Bukit Bintang at about 2 am. Suddenly, his windscreen was smashed by a motorcyclist.

He made the biggest mistake of his life. He came out from his car. The next thing he knew was that a group of boys on motorbikes surrounded him. They just bashed him up in the middle of the road without warning.

They attacked him like a pack of wolves attacking a lost sheep. They were relentless. The guy thought he was going to be killed. Finally, when he was almost lifeless in a pool of blood on the road, they stopped. Someone pulled his wallet and all of them rode off.

That was it. They just wanted his wallet.

This was not the only story I heard that night. The father of a young man told me how his son was being chased by about 40 rempits on the Federal Highway and on the road to Subang one night at bout 10pm! They threw a brick at his car windshield. But he was lucky. He managed to escape.

Some months ago, my neighbour's young teenaged son was involved in a verbal skirmish with a 19 year old college student. Within half an hour, about 19 youths on motorbikes arrived at my neighbour's front gate ready to go to war with the whole family. As a father of two young kids, I was horrified. Luckily nothing untoward happened.

These stories are indeed frightening.

Idris Jala and his band of statistic junkies should really rethink what they are doing. Rates are nothing but numbers. Numbers are what they are, namely, numbers.

If previously, there were 48 petty thefts and 2 murders and now there are 8 murders and only 2 thefts, the numbers do indeed look good. From that numbers, crimes have been reduced by 80%. And so, the country is 80% safer, right? What utter tosh!

Numbers do not and can never reflect intensity. From the extreme example above, although crimes have been reduced by 80%, the intensity of the crimes is not reflected in the numbers. And the numbers for sure do not tell and are in fact incapable of telling how safe our streets are. Or how safe we feel.

If our police could go out an arrest some people wearing red shirt gathering peacefully at the compound of our National Mosque, my obvious question is, why can't our police come out with water cannon, tear gas, batons and what-haves-you against these pack of wolves roaming our streets at night? After all, the rempits are also assembling without a permit and therefore, illegally, no?

It is not as if this is a new phenomenon. It's been around for years and years. And yet this problem, far from being solved, has gotten worse.

I would love to hear from Minister Idris and his Pemandu-pemandu, is there some sort of a KPI criterions imposed on the authorities to solve this problem? If so, can I know what they are? If not, why?

Polis merempit

By now I am sure everybody and his dog (for Muslims, please substitute cat for dog, nanti IKIM marah), has read about the guy who had lodged a police report alleging that he was beaten up and robbed by about 11 police men after he was stopped for apparently driving with an expired road tax.

In a seemingly related article, Malaysian Insider reports that two policemen have been arrested. The two were "believed to have caused hurt to a man arrested for allegedly carrying drug during a road block last Saturday." I presume these two policemen were involved in the above incident.

There is however a twist. Where the assaulted man mentioned that he was stopped for a road tax offence, the Malaysian Insider reports that the man was arrested for allegedly carrying drug.

Wow. Someone must really be telling a bloody lie!

Whatever it is, the point is this. If the report about the man being assaulted and robbed is true, then our police force really has some deep soul searching to do. And the same applies with our Home Ministry.

In a civilised society and in a country aiming to be a high income country by the year 2020, the act of the police being involved in beating up, torturing and even causing the death of any arrested person is totally and categorically unacceptable. It is despicable, in fact.

The police has been in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons too many times and too frequently. The number of death caused by the police shoot-to-kill actions is alarmingly high. 279 persons have been shot dead by the police between 2000-2009. Everybody would remember the late Aminurasyid, a 14 year old boy who was shot to death, for example.

By contrast, New Zealand only has 22 police shooting death in 70 years! The UK, with almost double our population, only has 48 police shooting death in 22 years between 1985-2007.

What gives?

Malaysia has abstained from voting on the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel and Unusual Treatment 1984 although this protocol was adopted by 127 countries, including Indonesia, Cambodia and East Timor, on 18.12.2002. 42 countries, including Malaysia had abstained and 4 voted against it.

One wonders, had Malaysia adopted the protocol, wouldn't A Kugan  be still alive now? And wouldn't Teoh Beng Hock be happily married and seen walking around carrying a healthy toddler now?

It is with these kind of happenings that civil societies of Malaysia have been calling for the government to immediately implement the proposal of the Royal Commission for the establishment of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC).

It is ironic that while the Prime Minister had pledged to protect the civil liberties of the people, some police men are doing their darndest best to achieve the exact opposite.

1Malaysia ban

Initially, I just have three words to say about this. Ha, ha and ha.

The PKR-led Selangor government's initial decision to ban the 1Malaysia logo in Selangor is almost as funny as Samy Vellu being given a standing ovation at the Barisan Nasional convention recently.

Is it not PKR's main complaint that freedom of speech has been much curtailed by the BN government? Is it not PKR's main gripe that the BN government has behaved in a thuggish way every time an issue of national importance is raised, preferring to ban discussions rather than engage?

What a whole load of bollocks, PKR?

It looks like PKR, like BN, is bereft of any ability to counter an opposing thought or argument. For God's sake, banning things isn't going to make those things disappear! Jeez! Did you all have Christmas drinks to early, eh?

You do not counter an idea by banning it. That is so Mahathir! And I thought PKR did not like to  and will not ever rule like Mahathir did? What is wrong with you people?

If Selangor government thinks that 1Malaysia is a propaganda and a waste of money, than go ahead and show 1Malaysia for what it is. Counter it. Argue against it. Analyse and rationalise. Show the whole world the exact hypocrisy of that concept. Make all of us minions understand. Not ban it!

And why didn't the PKR Selangor government - if it thinks that 1Malaysia is so full of bulls - show the way by promoting a true multi-cultural-society programe by, for example, launching 1Selangor?

I suppose, it was a case of UMNO-citis huh?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Seasons Greetings

Dear Readers,

Here's to wishing you all Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Happy Holidays.

May your life be always filled with joy, peace of mind, good health and goodness.

Do spare a thought, or two, to the underprivileged while we celebrate the year-end festivities. A bowl of rice and soup would go a long way to make them smile. Spread the love.

And, do drive safely.

christmas-tree

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Dear Mr Lee,

I am Malaysian. And a very proud one at that.

While my former Prime Minister, Tun DrM has apparently, and suddenly, agreed with you on what you had apparently said about Anwar Ibrahim and his alleged dalliance with an ass - "ass" here refers to the anatomy of a human being, not the animal, although sometimes in your country, that word could also refer to members of your government - I, on the other hand, could not give a rat ass to what you or any of your colleague say about my country or its people.

I will be blunt because I am not a politician. Nor am I a diplomat or a member of my country's civil service. So, here goes. Neither you, nor any of your colleagues, have any moral standing, or any standing at all, to pass judgement about my country or my fellow Malaysians or any other country for that matter.

If what was reportedly said by you and your colleagues about my country and our leaders was in fact said by you and your colleagues, than I just have one word to say to you and your colleagues. Buzz off! (Well, they are two words actually, but I don't give a hoot!)

I am not bothered by what you and your colleagues think about my country or my leaders simply because I have always known that you and your government have always suffered from chronic and almost incorrigible Napoleon Complex (to borrow a phrase from Mariah Carey's song about someone who has a small appendage).

All those chatters over golf matches with Tun Abdullah, warm embrace between your son and Prime Minister Najib and nice tete-a-tete over some scones and tea between you and our Prime Minister's wife are just for show. I have always, in my heart of hearts, doubted your country's sincerity in almost whatever you do, whether on a private or even more so, governmental basis.

In short and plain language, I have never trusted you or your government. You and your government, to me, had pioneered and perfected a "cocktail diplomacy" that had, over the years defined your external policies in South Asia.

To say that I have no respect for you or your government would be, Mr Lee, an understatement. I laugh at the nakedness of the cold and wrinkled anatomy of your cocktail diplomacy.

Unlike many of your citizens, I am not stupid to swallow hook line and sinker your heavily masked political assurances of neighbourly goodwill and co-operation. I don't believe you or your government because I have always known - from your actions and deeds - your condescending and patronising views about everybody else in this world, save for probably, your masters, the United States of America and probably too, Israel.

You think you are the best. When in fact you are nothing but an amalgamation of flesh and bones without any semblance of a soul. Your country is consumed by and obsessed  with what your neighbours intend to do and the ways and means to defeat your perceived competitors - which, in most cases, only exist in your tiny little mind - and procure a perceived victory over them. In short, you and your colleagues suffer from multiple phobias over nothing.

You boast of economic success. May I ask, at what price? Your people have traded their soul, their freedom and liberty, their right to even think of what is right and what is wrong for just a slice of economic and material gains. How shallow can one be?

Your society is exactly what Herbert Marcuse was describing in his "One Dimensional Man", when he says, finally, under the condition of a mass society, shaped and moulded by the State,

"the multi-dimensional dynamic by which the individual attained and maintained his own balance between autonomy and heteronomy, freedom and repression, pleasure and pain, has given way to a one-dimensional static identification of the individual with the others and with the administered reality principle."

That is what I think of you and your colleagues, Mr Lee.

You and your colleagues huddled together in cafes, holding whiskies and passed judgment on my country. My country is, apparently, "declining." And the cause of that decline, apparently, is "incompetent politicians."

Well, who exactly are you or your colleagues to pass judgment on us? Incompetence, you say?

You and your colleagues boasted that Orchard Road will never ever be flooded. Remember? And this was what happened.

flood1

What do you say about that? Competence? Go and fly kite, Mr Lee.

And true to your government's multi-phobic affliction, you even arrested, handcuffed and detained a reporter who was photographing the flood. Read about it here. 

And what was your people's explanation for that incident? Your Minister for Environment and Water Resources Yaacob Ibrahim, had even copied and used the answer given by our former Home Minister in explaining why  a journalist was arrested under our Internal Security Act a couple of years ago, in trying to explain that incident.

This was what he said (as reported here),

From what we understand, the photographer was warned because of safety issues, not because of privacy issues.”

Yes, apparently, that guy was arrested, handcuffed and detained because of safety issue. Your Minister can't even be original in his reply! He has to copy what our Minister said!

Incompetence you say? Go and stand in front of the mirror and look at yourself. You can't even predict a flood in the middle of your commercial district!

And what about a certain guy by the name of Mas Selamat? Remember him? Yes. He escaped from your maximum security detention centre.

What do you call that? Excellence?

Who, dear Mr Lee, managed to track him and re-arrested him? Who was the kind soul who, in the spirit of good neighbourliness and goodwill, surrender that guy back to you? Who else but your incompetent neighbour, eh?

Frankly, would you do the same to my country? Well, don't answer. That is a rhetorical question. I know the answer already.

You have and know of no other way to deal with public grievances and opposition than to arrest them, harass them with defamation suits and utilise  your executive might and power. Your country would think of nothing about utilising your pliant judiciary to mask your purely political actions against your opposition in order to lend a semblance of judicial justification for their extermination.

Democracy you say? I laugh and I laugh. And I laugh at you and your government's shenanigans Mr Lee. It is the idea that everybody is stupid that makes me laugh so hard. The stupidity of thinking that every other people could be hoodwinked makes me want to die laughing!

Under the guise of good governance and security, your government would go out of its way to silent critics. What did you do to a web site called Temasek Review Mr Lee?

You cringed at the thought of intellectual discourse in cyber space. Because really, you are not equipped to deal with it. That is because your society has been shaped and moulded to comply and follow, and not to question and demand. So, Temasek Review had to be stopped.

Because of that your agency, Temasek Holdings claimed that it had the intellectual property right to the name of Temasek Review. How very convenient? And Temasek Holdings than, apparently sold the right to use that name to an unknown party for S$1.00. The report is here.

Sorry, but I have to laugh again. Hahahahahahahha...you think the people are as stupid as your government? You have always had the ability to mask your political moves with commercial dress ups. And that move was so you, so Singapore, Mr Lee.

Speaking of Temasek Holdings, what were they doing in Indonesia so much so they were found liable for breaching anti-monopoly laws there? See the report here.

What do you call that?

The truth is Mr Lee, you, your colleagues, your government and your country are not perfect. Nobody is.

So please. Take your smug pimply face away and mind your own business.

Malaysia can survive without you. Can you survive without Malaysia?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Drowning in the sea of irony

Among the many things which our laws prohibit young people of less than the age of majority (age of majority is 18 years old) from doing are:-

a) buy tobacco products;

b) buy alcoholic beverages;

c) enter  nightclubs/discos;

d) enter into any kind of contract unless the contract is for the provisions of necessaries and scholarships;

e) cannot be owners of land or deal with land;

g) cannot be employed unless such employment is specifically allowed under the Children and Young Persons (Employment) Act 1966;

h) cannot be tried in any court other than the Juvenile Courts;

i) cannot enter internet cafe during school hours;

j) cannot be seen gallivanting around town during school hours especially in school uniform;

k) children under 16 cannot have motorbike license and therefore legally are not allowed to ride a motorbike;

l) children under 17 cannot have car license and therefore legally are not allowed to drive a car;

m) people of less than 21 years old cannot have lorry license and therefore legally are not allowed to drive a lorry;

n) people of less than 21 years old cannot vote.

In the meantime, university and college students, regardless of their age, are not allowed to participate in any political activities, according to our law. This includes being driven in any vehicle with any member of any political party - especially opposition parties - or being caught in the possession of any banner or flyers of any political party, especially opposition parties.

All these prohibitions are legally designed to protect the kids who, presumably, are not endowed with the wisdom which we, the adults, have in abundance.

Yes, our kids are a protected lot.

Oh, but hold on.

In our country, children as young as 11 year old can get married, especially the girls. Fantastic. They cannot ride motorbike, drive a car, enter a nightclub, buy ciggies, drink beer or even enter an internet cafe.

BUT THEY CAN GET MARRIED. Cook for their husband. Do his laundries. Have sex with the hubby like bunnies on heat. Get pregnant. Deliver babies. Take care of the babies. Raise them up.

A 20 year old cannot even vote.

A 24 year old who studies in the university cannot even talk about politics.

But a 14 year old can get hitched and it will make big front page news of the newspaper.

And the Women, Family and Community Development Minister, herself a full blown woman, said it's okay as long as the Syariah Courts approve the marriage. Superb.

I want to ask a hypothetical question.

If the Honourable Minister had a 14 year old daughter and she is divorced from her husband, and the husband wants to marry off her 14 year old daughter, would she be okay with it just because the Syariah Court has approved the proposed marriage?

Don't laugh at me. I am serious. Apart from all these inter-faith controversies which we are now facing, where the ex husband who has converted to Islam is converting his children from, say, Hinduism, to Islam and such, another controversy will soon emerge, I am sure.

The controversy is like what I had described above. A couple has underage kids. They divorce. And one parent would want to marry off the underage kid, especially if she is a gal.

Just wait and see.

What will the Civil Court, especially our esteemed Federal Court say if that happens? Oh, I know the answer already. They will say they have no jurisdiction as it is a syariah matter.

Just you all wait and see.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Plea bargain - the Malaysian way

Plead guilty and get only half the punishment: Chief Justice

The above headline in the Star yesterday almost made me choked.

The report says,

"Those who plead guilty in court will soon get half the maximum punishment due under the law as they save the courts' time and reduce the number of backlogged cases."

The reason for this judicial sale is apparently this:

“The step was taken to help reduce the numbers of backlogged cases so the cases can be cleared as fast as possible,” he said.

The Chief Justice also hoped that the amendments would encourage offenders to plead guilty instead of going through a long trial."

I really do not know whether I should cry or do the proverbial hara kiri

Just consider this. What if someone is charged for murder. The mandatory sentence for murder is death by hanging. So he pleads guilty. Then what? Sentence him to hanging till he is half dead?

Or take a case of somebody being charged under section 378 of the Penal Code for stealing a pair of slippers. That offence would be punishable under section 378. The punishment is imprisonment which may extend to seven years, or with fine, or with both, and for a second or subsequent offence shall be punished with imprisonment and shall be also be liable to fine or to whipping.

So he pleads guilty. What does he get? In accordance with this brilliant proposal he would automatically get 3.5 years for stealing a pair of slippers.

Then on the same day a top corporate man is charged under the same section for stealing 100 million Ringgit from his own company. He pleads guilty too. And he also get 3.5 years of imprisonment.

Brilliant isn't it?

This is the problem when people who are running a certain essential arm of the country's administration are missing the concept, either out of sheer shallowness, deep inability to rationalise or non-understanding of the underlying reasoning for a certain act, rules or law.

Sentencing is an act which the Judge must exercise after considering all circumstances and facts before him or her. After a guilty plea is recorded or a conviction is made, the Judge must consider all the facts of the case, the surrounding circumstances and also the mitigation speech made by the Counsel or the accused.

The sentence imposed on a guilty party is a reflection of the society's abhorrence of his criminal act. It is also a means to punish the guilty party for his criminal act. Apart from that, in certain situations, the sentence is also meant to serve as a deterrent to other parties not to commit the same crime.

However, care must be taken to impose a fair and just sentence. The sentence must be proportionate to the offence committed. In the example that I have given above, the wholesale dishing of half punishment upon pleading guilty would make a mockery of the whole criminal justice system. Just imagine, a person stealing a pair of slippers receives the same jail term as a person who steals 100 million Ringgit. What kind of justice are we talking about?

In addition, modern approach towards a sentence of imprisonment is encapsulated by the recommendations made by the Council of European in the area of penal reform. These emphasise the principle that prison should only be used as a sanction of last resort.

Recommendation No. R (99) 22 concerning prison overcrowding and prison population inflation states:

“1. Deprivation of liberty should be regarded as a sanction or measure of last resort and should therefore be provided for only where the seriousness of the offence would make any other sanction or measure clearly inadequate.
2. The extension of the prison estate should rather be an exceptional measure, as it is generally unlikely to offer a lasting solution to the problem of overcrowding."

The Halliday Report - Making Punishment Work: A Review of the Sentencing Framework for England and Wales, for example, lists out the following important principles of sentencing, namely,  proportionality; consistency; freedom from improper discrimination; compliance with human rights; transparency; efficiency; effectiveness; and economy.

That is how sentencing should be approached. It should not at any rate and under any circumstances be approached as a wholesale discount policy upon pleading guilty. That would make a mockery of the whole criminal justice system in this country and reducing Malaysia to a laughing stock before the eyes of the whole world!

The astounding - and most alarming - thing about the piece of news in the Star is how the Chief Justice tried to justify the proposal to half the sentence upon a plea of guilt.

According to him, the sentence will be halved because,

  • they save the courts' time
  • they reduce the number of backlogged cases
  • it will help reduce the numbers of backlogged cases so the cases can be cleared as fast as possible.

He concluded by saying he "hoped that the amendments would encourage offenders to plead guilty instead of going through a long trial."

All that matters for this Chief Justice is speed. And clearing backlog. To him, the Courts and their efficiency is to be judged by looking at the number of cases disposed off by the Courts. Never mind the quality of judgments. Never mind justice and fairness. In other words, never mind the laws!

Did the Chief Justice refer to ANY ONE of the principles of sentencing in his announcement of this ground breaking proposal? No.

Did he refer to justice and fairness? No.

Did he even attempt to talk about proportionality, consistency and human rights? No.

The most frightening aspect of this news or announcement is the fact that the Chief Justice - the head of our Courts - saw it fit to announce this proposal instead of the de facto Law Minister. And he did that at the Judges Conference no less!

Is it within the ambit and purview of the Chief Justice's duty as the head of Judges/Courts to announce a new law which alters the policy on sentencing?

Is that not mixing up and blurring the lines which separates the powers between the Executives, Legislature and the Judiciary?

The Judiciary should just be concerned with its business, namely, implementing the law. And that includes implementing the current laws and rules on sentencing. It should not be concerning itself with the works of the Legislature and even more so, the Executive.

The Judiciary should not be seen to be an active participant  in promulgating new laws in respect of sentencing just on the basis that the Court would like to reduce backlogs. How warped can the Judiciary be?

What in heavens is happening to the judicial system of this country? Don't we understand - let alone practice - basic and fundamental principles anymore? Hello?

As for the last statement, that it is "hoped that the amendments would encourage offenders to plead guilty instead of going through a long trial", I just have three words to say, OH MY GOD!

We want to encourage offenders to plead guilty instead of going through a long trial by offering them a discount on the punishment? So the avoidance of the long trial should be a motivation to plead guilty, huh? What about the long trial should be the motivation to find the truth and to ensure justice and fairness?

So, it's okay for us to tell the "offenders" - why are we calling them "offenders" when they are not yet convicted? - "you should plead guilty for a 50% discount of the punishment or otherwise we would subject you to a long trial?" So the long trial is a deterrent to pleading not guilty?

How warped!

I really don't know what to say anymore.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

The AG and Documents

I read with particular interest a report by the Malaysian Insider that the AG was ready to declassify documents which are now classified as official secrets under the Official Secrets Act in the Tun Ling Liong Sik's prosecution.

The AG was quoted as saying, "I have no problems. I will provide the documents." The reason for doing so, according to the report is, "we have an understanding...that this will be sorted before the trial proper starts."

The report continues to say that "the top government lawyer said he was doing it to ensure the trial would run smoothly."

Tun Ling is charged under section 418 of the Penal Code. That charge, upon conviction, carries a sentence of imprisonment of up to seven years or a fine, or both.

It is good to see the AG willingly disclosing all documents to the defence for once. In this case, those documents are deemed so important to the nation, so much so they were categorised as official secrets. The disclosure of these documents may even affect national security. That is why they are so categorised.

However, in order for the court to arrive at a fair and just decision, the truth must come out. It is therefore only fair for the AG to declassify the documents so that the trial will run smoothly (as the AG is quoted to have said) and also to enable the defence team to prepare its defence properly.

The willingness and the speed by which the AG agrees to declassify the documents and is releasing the same to the defence is however a far cry from the Sodomy 2 case, where the AG is unwilling to even release medical notes and reports to the defence team.

The medical notes and reports are personal in nature. They are not categorised as official secrets. They are just about the accuser's rectum, what it contains and how the rectum looks like. To put it bluntly, those reports and notes are about, well, to be crass, they are about a person's ass. Nothing more.

These documents are essential to the defence. They will serve to justify and verify the truth and accuracy of what the various medical doctors are saying in their testimony. The disclosure of these documents will no doubt ensure justice and fairness.

It will reveal the naked truth.

However, the almost belligerent unwillingness to disclose those documents to the defence in the Sodomy 2 case is surprising, especially when viewed against the  almost voluntary co-operation to disclose official secret documents by the AG in Tun Ling's case.

Tun Ling is facing, at the most, a 7 year sentence and yet documents deemed to be official secrets of the nation are easily and promptly released. Meanwhile, Datuk Seri Anwar is staring at a 20 year sentence and yet, personal notes and reports of doctors in respect of a certain part of the anatomy of the accuser are being withheld as if their disclosure would cause Armageddon and the whole mankind might be wiped out upon their disclosure.

Why, may I ask, the difference in treatment of the two cases in so far as disclosure of documents are concerned?

Monday, December 06, 2010

ISA for Datuk Seri Wan Azizah?

 

The suggestion made by UMNO legal advisor, Datuk Hafarizam Harun (no relation to me), that the ISA be used against, particularly, Datuk Seri Wan Azizah, is symptomatic of UMNO's psycho terrorism response to any opposing intellectual proposition. This technique has been a feature of  UMNOlitics for as long as all of us would care to remember.

Psycho terrorism, like any other form of terrorism, is aimed at creating fear. With the target in a state of utter paralysis caused by the crippling fear, the psycho terrorists move to control the target's mind and eliminate the target's action. Without the target's action, there would not be any reaction. Mission accomplished.

The target's action here is her rejection of the much quarreled about - though never properly debated or well argued - concept of Ketuanan Melayu, or the Malay Dominance/Supremacy.

Lately, UMNO's potency, even  among its own members, is suspect. While outwardly its President - also our Prime Minister - has been preaching social justice and the concept of a fair and just society and has been blah blahing about equitable distribution of wealth as well as a culture of inclusiveness in his idea of 1Malaysia, it is felt that UMNO cannot do away with its post-war-nationalistic stance. Lest UMNO might lose the support of the grassroots.

Thus, a balance has to be achieved between pandering to the needs and aspirations of the young and educated  as well as the middle to upper middle class urbanites on one hand and the lower rung of the society, whether in urban areas or rural on the other.

That is precisely the reason why we, Malaysians, are seemingly marooned in a state of paradox since 2008. One fine day we would hear the Prime Minister extolling the advantages and benefits of equitable wealth distribution among all Malaysians only to be told a week or so later that the special "rights" of the Malays will be defended come rain or shine.

The next day we would be duly entertained by a call from the Prime Minister to the international community not to be involved in the politics of hate only for us to be brought back to Earth by Perkasa claiming that Ketuanan Melayu is guaranteed in our Federal Constitution and Utusan Malaysia proposing with complete impunity that 13th May should be commemorated ala Christmas Day.

It would also not go unnoticed among all Malaysians that despite UMNO's express neo-economic agenda which espouses openness, fair competition and transparency in non-Malay and international forums, it continues to dance to the tune of Perkasa, Gertak and the likes before a Malay audience.

I loath to think what the international community and investors think of us as a result of all these different posturing before different audiences. It reminds me of one of Batman's nemesis, the creature known as Two Face.

Contrary to what analysts believe, UMNO is not at a cross-road. It is on a 6 lane highway, driving against traffic, in a car made in 1956 with a lose drum brake. It is a calamity waiting to happen.

It goes without saying that Ketuanan Melayu, its propagation and sustenance, is UMNO's most weighty balancing act, as far as its leaders are concerned. Any challenge - real or perceived - against that concept would and could not be tolerated as that challenge would spell the cessation of UMNO's relevancy and significance to the common denominator - the Malaysian peasantry - in UMNO's dream of totalitarian-absolutist-feudal democracy state.

Datuk Seri Wan Azizah's rejection of Ketuanan Melayu must therefore be checked immediately. Lest that idea would catch up and a reaction would follow.

The thought of Malaysians, especially  the Malays, coming to terms with the obvious failure of the so called affirmative actions  thus far implemented by the UMNO-led government - which has further divided the society into "the haves" and "the have nots" depending on the accumulation of political contacts and patronages -  and the prospect of them seeing the economical and political truth behind the cries of Ketuanan Melayu, would send shivers across UMNO's fiefdoms.

When pushed against an intellectual wall, UMNO has always resorted to fear mongering.

This is borne out of the culture of speak-only-when-asked-to and  the-leader-knows-best practiced from within for much of the existence of UMNO, especially during the 22 years of total  subjugation by Dr Mahathir. The end result of that culture is UMNO's inability - despite it actually having highly intelligent people within its circle - to unemotionally engage in an intellectual discourse with civility on issues close to the hearts of the people.

UMNO's only answer then is psycho terrorism. T-shirts with drawings deemed unacceptable to UMNO would be seized. At the height of the Perak Constitutional crisis, people wearing black t-shirts were arrested. People carrying candles in car parks were arrested. Police reports were lodged. Books, even cartoon collections, were seized and banned.

At a more esoteric level, the Sedition Act and of course, the dreaded Internal Security Act, would be called into play.

At this juncture, one wonders what has happened to the promise to "review" the ISA made by Minister Hishamuddin about two years ago? How thorough must the ISA be reviewed so much so that the revision process has to take so long? My stance on the ISA has been made known too many times. I will therefore not touch on it here.

I have also written much on the so called social contract and Ketuanan Melayu. I will therefore refrain from repeating myself. I will also not go into the murky waters of whether that concept historically existed.

In UMNO linggo however, one thing is clear. Ketuanan Melayu is not about the sanctity of the Malay Rulers nor is it about the well being of the Malays. That concept and the very phrase Ketuanan Melayu gained  footing on 30th August 1986.

This was when Datuk Abdullah Ahmad, the famous MP for Kok Lanas, made his now infamous "Ketuanan Melayu" speech in Singapore. He was perhaps endorsed by the then PM, Dr Mahathir. (Well, at the very least, Dr Mahathir has never ever said that he disapproved of that speech). He said:

"Let us make no mistake - the political system in Malaysia is founded on Malay dominance. That is the premise from which we should start. The Malays must be politically dominant in Malaysia as the Chinese are politically dominant in Singapore....

The political system of Malay dominance was born out of a sacrosanct social contract which preceded national independence....

There is thus no two ways about it. The NEP must continue to sustain Malay dominance in the political system in line with the contract of 1957...."

He then continued,

"Ours is not a system of discrimination but of Malay preservation which foreigners particularly refuse to understand. Ours is a system of Malay political dominance but not, as is often put across, of Malay political domination."

Again, I have also written extensively on article 153 of the Federal Constitution and I will not go into that here. But the notion that the provisions of article 153 are tied up to Ketuanan Melayu is misconceived, if not misleading. 

With all due respect to Datuk Hafarizam, article 153 has never been about Malay dominance of Ketuanan Melayu. It is there to ensure the Malays and the natives of Sabah and Sarawak could catch up economically with other races. It is about the protection of the legitimate expectation of the other races.

Our Father of Independence, the late Tunku Abdul Rahman, in his book, "13 Mei Sebelum dan Selepas" (13th May Before and After) (Utusan Publications & Distributions Sdn Bhd, ISBN 978-967-61-2073-1), said as follows:

"Even the Constitution has ensured other matters for the Malays. It admits the fact that at the time the Constitution was drafted with mutual consent of all parties, every party was conscious of the fact that the economic position of the Malays  had lagged behind other races who lived in this country. As such, a special condition was inserted to alleviate the economic backwardness of the Malays.....

In other words, the members of the Commission (the Reid Commission) had stated that the economics priority for the Malays was really necessary. They proposed that this provision be reviewed after 15 years. All these proposals were inserted into the Constitution.....

At the same time, we cannot forget the legitimate expectations of the other races as provided for in the Constitution. We must remember that all the other races were were fighting for this country's independence together with the Malays.

We should not put aside the fact that before we achieved independence, we were only an English colony which were divided by them. If all races did not unite for independence, our country would still be a colonised country until today..... (loosely translated from Bahasa Malaysia by myself).

Those are the words of the late Tunku himself on the origin and purports of article 153. He should know as he was the one who led the negotiations for independence and he was also involved in the preparation and submission of the Alliance's memorandum on the Constitution to the Reid Commission.

Speaking from the perspective of documented historical facts, it is obvious that article 153 is not at all about the concept of Ketuanan Melayu. Rather it is about the necessity to balance the economics structure of a young nation which was about to be born in 1957. It is about social and economics engineering. It is about social justice. It is about addressing economical imbalances.

As the society evolves, economical structures were built and altered. Surely there comes a time when stocks are taken. The foundation is inspected. The structures itself is looked at. The good is maintained. The bad is dismantled. Whatever which is deemed better would be put in.

And as far as Malaysia is concerned, perhaps a white ants specialist would also be called to look at the whole structure.

After all, we wouldn't  want the whole roof together with the water tank to crumble and fall on our head one of these days, would we?