Sunday, July 31, 2011

Palanivel makes dubious history

July 31, 2011
FMT

His appointment as a minister has nothing to do with his personal merit or quality, says DAP's Lim Kit Siang.

COMMENT

By Lim Kit Siang

MIC president G Palanivel has made dubious history – being the first, unashamed and most blatant “I help you, you help me” barter Cabinet appointment in the nation’s 54-year history, nothing to do whatsoever with his personal merit or quality.

It must rank as the most cynical Cabinet appointment ever made in Malaysian history under six prime ministers.

Palanivel also made dubious history in other aspects.

Although the Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak said that he was returning to his father Tun Razak’s practice of having two MIC ministers, there is a great difference.

In Tun Razak’s time in 1976, MIC was in a position of strength but today in 2011 MIC is in position of unprecedented weakness.

In his speech yesterday, Palanivel revealed that MIC had about 600,000 members nationwide of which 390,000 are voters.

MIC must be the only political party in the country where less than two-thirds of its membership are voters.

Palanivel’s “barter” appointment, announced at the “Don’t debate Interlok novel” 65th MIC General Assembly yesterday, will inflate an already over-bloated Cabinet and set dubious records of:

  • The most number (six with Palanivel) of Ministers in the Prime Minister’s Department or some 20% of the Cabinet strength; and
  • The most number of Senators in the Cabinet.

All in all, a cabinet appointment not in the spirit of ‘People First, Performance Now’ but ‘BN leaders first, performance later’ – further undermining the legitimacy of the Najib cabinet.

Lim Kit Siang is DAP Parliamentary Leader and MP for Ipoh Timor.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

PSM6: The end of the farce — The Malaysian Insider

July 30, 2011

JULY 30 — Just this once, please apologise.

Own up to this despicable mistake of arresting six innocent Malaysians and, maybe, the rest of their fellow citizens will move on and cut the police as well as the Najib administration some slack.

Just this once, drop the political posturing and say sorry to Sungai Siput MP Dr Michael Jeyakumar and his party colleagues, Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) deputy chairman M. Sarasvathy, central committee members Choo Chon Kai and M. Sugumaran, Sungai Siput branch secretary A. Letchumanan, and Youth chief R. Saratbabu.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had an opportunity to right a wrong yesterday but he chose to indulge in official talk, saying that the release of the six was according to due process.

The release was based on some “observations” by the police, said the PM.

One wonders whether these are the same powers of “observation” that led the authorities to accuse the PSM officials of attempting to wage war against the King and trying to revive communism.

All these allegations were bunkum and aimed at intimidating the people behind Bersih 2.0. In all likelihood, the PSM6 were made scapegoats because they belonged to a party with little heft or appeal.

Can anyone imagine the police putting PKR, DAP or PAS bigwigs under detention without trial these days? The outcry would be deafening in and out of the country.

But what Putrajaya did not count on was the sense of fairplay of Malaysians, and the refusal of the average citizen to accept that Dr Jeyakumar and the five were nothing more than social activists, men and women who work tirelessly for the poor and socially disadvantaged.

Their detention has been a terrible injustice, a major blot on the record of the Najib administration and the police.

An apology would have helped. The lack of it just reinforces the meanness of the whole episode.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Welcome Penang Governments's decision to name a road after P.Patto

Penang Deputy Chief Minister Prof Dr P. Ramasamy’s announcement that a newly-built access road in Mak Mandin, Butterworth, would be named Jalan P. Patto on July 31 is most welcomed.

The Penang state government’s decision is a fitting honour for Patto, -- the great political fighter who had undoubtedly made immense sacrifices for and contribution to the nation and Malaysians.

The late P. Patto was one of the best and most respected leaders of the DAP.

Patto had held various positions in the Party including the post of Deputy Secretary General.

He had served as a Member of Parliament in both Penang and Perak states as well as an Assemblyman in Perak.

Known for his powerful oratory skill, Patto was a self less leader who had always stood by his principles and fought courageously to advance the DAP‘s struggle for a Malaysian Malaysia.

Patto, who had always lived a simple life, was detained without trial under ISA during the infamous 1987 Operasi Lallang.

But the incarceration did not in any way weaken his devotion and courage to serve the Party, the people and the nation.

DAP lost a great leader and Malaysia lost a great Malaysian son when Patto passed away on July 12, 1995.

It was unfortunate that the plan by the Pakatan Rakyat Perak state government to name a road after Patto in 2008 could not materialize.

Let’s hope that Pakatan Rakyat will come back to rule Perak at the next general election so that Patto will be honoured with a road named after him in the state where he was born

Unjustified detention prompts Kumar to launch hunger strike


By Aliran executive committee
28 July 2011

Aliran is gravely concerned to hear that MP Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj, one of the Parti Sosialis Malaysia 6 who have been unjustly and unjustifiably held in detention under the Emergency Ordinance, has decided to go on hunger strike.

PSM Central Committee member and Kumar’s wife Rani Rasiah, together with party colleagues, announcing today that the detained MP has started a hunger strike

We know Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj, a long-standing and outstanding Aliran member, well enough to know that he does NOT engage in such acts for theatrical effect. Rather, given his steadfast and tenacious character in facing threats and intimidation from the police before, there is every reason to expect that Jeyakumar Devaraj conduct his hunger strike with complete seriousness.

At the same time, knowing he has a poor heart condition that has required treatment and hospitalisation during the period of his detention, we can only be alarmed at the potential damage to his health that this action may bring about.

We understand his frustration and impatience with the endless and pointless attempts by his police interrogators to extract confessions of guilt where none exists except in the imagination of the Special Branch officers and the political masters whom they serve, in particular Prime Minister Dato Seri Najib Tun Razak and Minister of Home Affairs Datuk Hishammuddin Tun Hussein.

Perhaps our politicians have become so used to believing that all politics is about perceptions and images that can be moulded by lies, distortions and propaganda that they cannot anymore recognise that there can be politics of the highest moral level, such as that exhibited by Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj and his fellow detainees from PSM.

Politicians like Najib and Hishammuddin and the Inspector-General of Police have been issuing irrelevant and self-serving warnings about how Bersih 2.0 was trying to import the Arab Spring into Malaysia. Let them, who try to hoodwink the Malaysian public and frighten others with images of chaos, remember how the uprising in Tunisia began with the needless self-immolation of one protester.

We in Aliran, together with other concerned citizens, non-partisan but admiring and supportive of the courageous stance of Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj and the other members of the PSM 6, demand their immediate release from an unjust imprisonment.

Free Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj!

Release the PSM 6 unconditionally! Now!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Press Statement by M Kula Segaran, DAP National Vice Chairman and MP for Ipoh Barat in Ipoh on Thursday, July 28, 2011


Call on the government to set up a Parliamentary Select Committee to study the total revamping of the nation’s education system and policies.

A few days ago, Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced that the government is planning a total revamp of the education system to promote a global mindset.

He said a team led by Director-General of Education Datuk Abd Ghafar Mahmud had been entrusted to prepare a report on the proposed review which was expected to be tabled to the prime minister and Cabinet for approval by the year end.The plan does not come as a surprise as it was already announced last year that the education system would be revamped under the 10th Malaysian Plan (10MP) in line with the government's move to create a first world talent base.

I welcome the revamp. Such revamp is necessary and timely as the nation certainly needs to produce innovative, analytical, thinking students who can compete in the globalised world.

As pointed by Muhyiddin himself, it was high time the system was revamped as the current policies were based on the 1956 Razak Report.

1956 was a long time ago and many policies have certainly gone outdated or are no longer suitable for the rapidly changing world.

One major complaint about our present education system is that it is too examination oriented so much so that our students have become bookworms who can study hard and excel in examinations but unfortunately do not think and analyze issues with a critical mind.

Even though the country is producing more students with straight As in PMR and SPM examinations but this is not an indication that our level of education is getting better.

In fact, Parent Action Group for Education (PAGE) president Datin Azimah Rahim recently said that the examination grading has become too lenient ..

"There was a time when grade A meant 90 per cent correct answers but now grade A means about 70 per cent thus producing lower quality graduates and that has to change.” She was quoted as saying.

There are other weaknesses in the present system and policies.

Two other major complaints are firstly, our education system has been politicized and polarized, and secondly, the government is not giving fair and equal treatment to Tamil and Chinese primary schools .

Muhyiddin had mentioned that "although his ministry officials will do the necessary review but feedback from the ground, including parents and the parent-teacher associations will take place.

I call on the Government to establish a parliamentary select committee comprising members of parliament from all political parties to travel nationwide to get views and inputs from all and sundry.

This process will be the best manner to reach out and obtain the necessary feedback.

Thereafter this reported could be presented to Parliament for debate and adoption.

http://ipohbaratvoice.blogspot.com
http://twitter.com/mkula



Fed power not entirely impossible, says Kit Siang

Fed power not entirely impossible, says Kit Siang
Joseph Sipalan and Lee Way Loon
Jul 28, 11

INTERVIEW
There are very few who can claim to be an equal to Lim Kit Siang, who has spent nearly as many years as Malaysia has existed in relentlessly pursuing his beliefs as opposition leader.

Having experienced first-hand practically every pivotal moment that shaped the country into what it is today, the 45-year political veteran can be excused if he maintains a critical view of even the most promising developments.

NONELim became (right) DAP's secretary-general in 1969, at a time when racial tensions blew up into the bloody rioting of May 13, was detained for more than a year on two separate occasions under the ISA - first in 1969 and again under the controversial Ops Lalang in 1987 - and even convicted for leaking official secrets related to dodgy arms deals with a Swiss company.

He also suffered his first and only electoral defeat in 1999, resulting in his quitting his powerful and long-held post of party secretary-general.

But as he goes through his 70th year of life, Lim feels the opposition has finally reached a point where change is no longer a pipe dream.
"... I will say that for the first time, taking federal power is something not completely impossible, it is achievable," he said in an exclusive interview with Malaysiakini, wearing a pair of dark glasses following an eye surgery.

In characteristic fashion, Lim kept a lid on his enthusiasm going into the 13th general elections, but couldn't help but admit that chances look brighter with each passing day.

NONEHe highlighted the recent Bersih 2.0 rally as a strong indicator of Malaysians' desire for change, coupled with the numerous gaffes committed by Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and his administration.

"It would appear we have a PM and incumbent government that is unable to see and empathise with the changes that the people want... (the public is) more and more alienated, (and the government is) taking actions and steps making them more and more cut off from the ground.

"Can we achieve it (change of government), I really don't know, but with the passage of time it looks more and more optimistic. Whether it is enough for us to make it is a separate question, but (we are) more and more optimistic," he said.

Don't underestimate electorate

Lim, who was with other Pakatan and Bersih 2.0 leaders at KL Sentral when police carried out one of several clampdowns on protesters on July 9, said he was "surprised" to see the large public turnout in support of the banned movement, despite what he called "threats and intimidation" issued by the authorities in the weeks preceding the rally.

Recounting his personal experience at the rally, Lim said it was "utter chaos" when police fired tear gas from opposite ends of the bus tunnel at protesters, who were sandwiched between two FRU NONEblockades.

"... it appeared without any warning, no notice. Tear gas was fired and into an enclosed space, which I think is most criminal, wreckless and dangerous, heedless of the harm they could do. And of course that was my worst tear gas attack.

"(I) tried to run away from (the) front, then found at the back tear gas (was) also fired in both directions, and then arrests were taking place, people gasping for breath... I also fell down, so in that confusion, there was utter chaos at that time," said Lim, who eventually managed to escape with several party colleagues into Brickfields.

The alleged police brutality aside, Lim stressed that the greater significance of the Bersih 2.0 rally was that it presented a clearer representation of the true unity among the various races in Malaysia.

NONE"Maybe the (general election) strategy will be to write off the Chinese voters, and hope on bringing back Malay and Indian votes and that is the formula... that is in a way underestimating Malaysians' yearning for change.

"... I think that as (the) Bersih rally has shown, it is an opportunity for Malaysians regardless of race, religions, class, region, gender and age (to) come (sic) together, and when they sang Negaraku, it was the first time with real meaning, everybody (was) proud, and very moved.

"It's different from when (the) PM and cabinet ministers go around and distribute (the) national flag for instance; it would evoke no feeling whatsoever. This is something which (shows), maybe we should not underestimate Malaysians," he said.


Bersih 2.0 dispelled Utusan bogey

NONELim, who is also Ipoh Timur MP, said the Bersih 2.0 rally is doubly important in that it has effectively proven that the pro-government spin perpetuated by Umno-owned Malay daily Utusan Malaysia no longer holds sway among the public.

He admitted that in the past, whatever negative press published by Utusan against the opposition would have had damaging and far-reaching consequences, especially when it touched on sensitive issues such as the recent alleged Christian state issue, racial rights and the May 13 racial riots.

NONE"Of course we are (still) very upset and unhappy (with such reports now), but we felt that the times have changed, (and) people are not going to buy it, even among Malays as a whole.


"I think what Bersih 2.0 has created, (is) to show that all these poisons of Utusan have failed. The Malays, Chinese, and Indians (have) come together as Malaysians. It (poisons) just could not work.

"... before 709, all the terrible (sic) talk about racial and religious things, you sometimes wonder (if) it had (an) effect or not, but 709 wash(ed) them away. I think Utusan's campaign is not as powerful as they think," he said.

Sabah, Sarawak , Johor, hold future

Returning to the impending general elections, Lim declared in no uncertain terms that the fight for the country's future lies in its two largest states - Sabah and Sarawak.

NONEHe acknowledged that the two states, with a total of 52 parliamentary seats on offer, are "fixed deposits" for the BN ruling coalition, but this only makes them more crucial in determining whether or not Putrajaya remains standing.

Pushing the 'Save Sabah, Sarawak to Save Malaysia' slogan, Lim insisted that changing the government at state level means little without federal support, particularly in Sabah which has a history of being an opposition hotbed.

"You cannot save yourself. The (illegal) immigrant (issue) for you remains, (and) you will need federal intervention. So if the people of Sabah want to save Sabah, they will need to save Malaysia. Change Malaysia in order to change Sabah.

"So for the first time in Sabah, it's a question not only about Sabah politics... (for) Sabahans standing up to shape your own destiny, they must be able to also shape Malaysians' destiny," he said.
In the peninsula, Lim set his sights on Johor as the place where change would carry the most impact on the country's future, coupled with Sabah and Sarawak.

tenang by election 280111 dap dinnerHe admitted that Johor is a "most difficult state" to penetrate, but in the same breath called it a "frontline state" - the same description DAP tagged on Penang before it fell to Pakatan hands after the 12th general elections in 2008.

"It (Johor) has been regarded as a fortress not only for Umno but also MCA. And (looking at) the history of Johor, Umno has always been very strong and considered as untouchable, in fact.

"But I think the 308 (March 2008 general elections) events have shown that Johor is not that invincible, and I think you can feel the type of change taking place also in Johor.

How far (change will happen) is the question," he said, adding that a shift in one-third of the seats towards the opposition is enough to signal a "major change" in the national political landscape.

But while fellow opposition leader, PKR de-facto chief Anwar Ibrahim, came out declaring that the next general elections will be a sure win for Pakatan thanks to Bersih 2.0, Lim was far more cautious.

"I would say 709 gives a greater hope that Putrajaya is within reach. But I wouldn't make the definitive statement that we are there," he said with a laugh.

RCI + inquest = ‘big, big mess’

Teoh El Sen | July 28, 2011-FMT

The two decisions from a coroner and inquest have led to uncertainty, says lawyer Malik Imtiaz Sarwar.

PETALING JAYA: The Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) into Teoh Beng Hock’s death, which released its findings in a report last Thursday, has created a “big legal mess” by generating more questions than answers, said prominent human rights lawyer Malik Imtiaz Sarwar.

Malik, who represented the Selangor government during the inquest and RCI, said rather than serving its original function to bring a closure to the issue, there are now different conclusions by the RCI and inquest.

“What has resulted is a big, big, mess. We have now a coroner’s decision and a RCI’s, which are saying different things. In law, the coroner’s findings is the determinative one,” the National Human Rights Society president told FMT.

Malik said the three Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officers – Negri Sembilan MACC director (then Selangor MACC deputy director) Hishamuddin Hashim and two enforcement officers Mohd Anuar Ismail (then the investigating officer) and Mohd Ashraf Mohd Yunus, who are being internally investigated for allegedly driving Teoh to suicide – would most probably make the same argument (that the RCI finding is inferior to a court finding) if they were brought to court.

“Both findings (RCI and inquest) are inconsistent. The inquest ruled out a suicide and said there were insufficient evidence to come to a finding of homicide. It also accepted that there were pre-fall injuries on Teoh, but the RCI totally ignored all that,” said Malik.

Malik said before the Selangor government and lawyers of Teoh’s family decided to pull out of the RCI, they suggested and raised concerns over the “dual” findings that would eventually emerge but their arguments fell on deaf ears.

“The RCI then should have stood down until the outcome of the revision (on the inquest) had been done away with. Or, the Attorney-General should have withdrawn his application to revise the inquest decision to push for a suicide finding and all parties to start off on a clean slate. But that was never decided on,” he said.

“At the end of the day, the A-G, who recommended for both a revision and most probably also advised the government to hold the RCI, was asking for two different sides,” he said.

“Also, the RCI decided to ignore all the evidence in the inquest and reboot the whole case… and it seems that somehow everyone got a second chance to restate their case. They (the commissioners) should not have done that; (RCI chairman) James ( Foong) could have found a way to include the coroner’s findings,” he added.

‘There’s no certainty’

Malik expressed his disappointment that the RCI now gave rise to more uncertainty than definitive answers.

“Where do things stand right now? There’s no certainty. What we have now is a whole mess of uncertainty,” he said.

“Has the RCI served its function? From the very beginning, the decision not to hold a RCI before an inquest was ill-conceived, and having a RCI as a knee-jerk reaction to public anger was also not well-thought out,” he said, adding that the original intention of having a RCI was because of public anger and lack of confidence in the inquest’s findings.

“The RCI was more of a political resolution rather than a legal one,” he said.

Meanwhile, Malik also said that a judicial review being planned by DAP veteran lawyer Karpal Singh for the Teoh family would not likely result in the Federal Court overturning the decision of suicide.

“Usually judicial reviews are not so concerned over the correctness of the result, but the process taken to achieve it. It won’t say the RCI is wrong. It may say the RCI did not take certain facts as factors and came to an unreasonable conclusion; or that the RCI was biased and was in contrast with natural justice… But no judicial review would substitute the decision,” he said.

He cited an example in Australia where a parliamentary commission decision was challenged in court and relief was granted only because the reputation of persons mentioned was damaged.

Asked what would happen if the government failed to implement the recommendations of the RCI, Malik said the government was not legally bound to do so but would suffer political implications if it did not.

On whether a RCI result should be questioned, Malik said if it impacts a person then there should be a judicial process to address it.

‘Making a mockery’

However, Umno legal adviser Mohd Hafarizam Harun told FMT that pursuing a judicial review would be “making a mockery of its (RCI) inception since it is commissioned by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong himself”.

He said that questioning the RCI would be defeating the whole purpose of having a finality to the issue, adding that the RCI was different from the court process of going as far as the Court of Appeal and having exceptional cause to reach the Federal Court.

“What’s appalling to me is the consistently inconsistent position taken by certain quarters when all that has been done is what they initially wanted. I see it as none other than politically motivated,” he said.

“We must have faith in our system, be it whether it’s the best system we have (or not) and if we are not happy, we deliberate for the betterment. There must be acceptance in order for us to move on,” he added.

Harafizam said that “no one wants that dreadful incident to happen; it could happen to us, but it has happened and there is nothing much we can do to undo it’.

His view was echoed by former Bar Council president K Ragunath, who said that it was fine to question the findings, but a RCI’s stand should not be reviewed again by the courts.

“These are merely recommendations and not a decision and it should not be reviewed. Let’s say the report says ABC is guilty of murder; it does not mean the person can be prosecuted immediately, the police still have to investigate, A-G still has to order prosecution and we go to court,” he said.

No faith in judicial system

However, Associate Prof Azmi Sharom said at the end of the day, even if a review is granted, the problem is that the general population’s faith in the judicial system is at a “low ebb”

“Since 1988, there’s been very little faith in the system; (I am not) saying all judges are biased. This government has systematically destroyed the public system and the RCI has shown that the people have already decided that they will not trust the court’s findings.

“But it would take years to revamp and rebuild the institutions to make sure that there is impartiality,” said the Universiti Malaya law lecturer.

Former DAP political aide Teoh, 30, was found dead on July 16, 2009, on the fifth floor of the then Selangor MACC office in Shah Alam, after undergoing an overnight interrogation as a witness in the case of alleged abuse of state funds by his boss Selangor exco Ean Yong Hian Wah.

A coroner’s court held an inquest to investigate the cause of Teoh’s death but delivered an open verdict, ruling out both suicide and homicide.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Amanah agenda (Part 3) — Sakmongkol AK47

July 27, 2011
The Malaysian Insider

JULY 27 — There’s a practical side as to why I usually break up my articles into several parts. One is that I am writing from memory and therefore the output depends on my power of recall; if the issue at hand has decelerated, I can discontinue. I am also able to include responses to comments that come in if I judge them to be of material relevance.

Many of the comments on my articles on Amanah for example said they know of Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah’s well-meaning intentions and all that. But they lamented that this country needs action. The action will come in the next elections is the short answer.

I think, if I may put it as such, we don’t have to rush Tengku Razaleigh into doing something strategically inopportune. It will eventually be incorporated into a political agenda on a political platform. For the moment a little patience is prudent.

It’s true, that the faces on the stage have long passed their political prime. But some of them are not looking for offices. Amanah isn’t a political party; it is at the moment, an NGO where like-minded concerned citizens come together to find the means for articulating their concerns. Kadir Sheikh Fadzir said so himself, we on this stage sudah tak tahan lagi. We have to speak out.

So why not speak out through existing political parties if it’s not Barisan Nasional they want to do so? My answer is they chose Amanah precisely because it’s led by Tengku Razaleigh. The other non BN political parties simply do not have a figure that can serve as a singular rallying point. DAP is practical minded. PAS knows its own limitations. PKR has other problems. But in Tengku Razaleigh, it is possible to find such a figure.

Why is Umno quiet about it? Because they can’t do anything about it. Even among Umno members there is increasing disquiet about how things are managed. Saifuddin Abdullah’s recent “out-of-line” statements and Khairy Jamaluddin’s conscientious objections are only tips of the icebergs.

Tengku Razaleigh is merely pointing out the realities. He is still an Umno member, so what can Umno do at the moment? It can’t sack a person of his stature without precipitating its own implosion. So go ahead, sack him and it will make the days of many.

Tengku Razaleigh is, of course, mindful of the possible repercussions of his actions. He may not be fielded as an Umno candidate in the next elections. He may lose the support of Umno Gua Musang. The last time I spoke to him, he was telling me of these reservations.

I pointed out to him that his victory doesn’t just depend on Umno votes. It depends on the rakyat. Given the history of seeing only 60 per cent of Umno members voting for their own candidates and 60 per cent of Malays voting for non Umno candidates, I would rate his chances as being above average. The opinion of the present Umno leadership is quite simply inconsequential.

So that is why Umno is quiet about the whole thing.

At the moment, this is what Amanah provides. A platform for speaking out against the abuses on the Merdeka heritage. The assault on fair and free elections. Because, if I may continue from the last article, the means by which we achieve our end, to get a clean and fair government, is also the end itself. The clean and fair government that is the end must be justified by clean and fair means.

We want to speak out against the endemic corruption that has engulfed this country; the assault on the judiciary that has caused public distrust and haplessness, the divisiveness of the people because of opportunistic racism and all that.

The first portion of Kadir’s speech was interesting. How does a government hold on to power?

Whoever wrote the American diplomatic dispatch that was made available to us through WikiLeaks and Malaysia Today gave what seems to be some correct observations:

The ruling party wants to stay in power indefinitely; for instance, the ruling party defines national security primarily as a matter of protecting Umno’s superiority and ensuring that “people power,” or a level electoral playing field, cannot become the opposition’s means of toppling the ruling party.

That would explain the bludgeoning of the Bersih planned rally.

The ruling party is relying primarily on its own party structure and the embedded system of carrots and sticks to keep party membership in line. As in other one-party states, the party is seen opportunistically as a mechanism for personal advancement and enrichment.

The ruling elite maintain control over the security apparatus through party stalwarts who run the security institutions, mainly the police but also the military. We believe the military will remain loyal to legitimate leadership and is not a likely tool to overturn an elected, royally-approved and Malay-led government from either the ruling or opposition side. The police, on the other hand, follow orders from the ruling party.

That is why I find Kadir’s anecdotal description of Nigeria’s political experience, while amusing, very instructive. He was telling the story of how the Nigerian President Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan came to power.

In Nigeria, there is a rotation system whereby Christian and Muslim leaders take turns to become president. Goodluck Jonathan is a Christian and the current roster is for a Muslim to be president. Having served as deputy president for the maximum allowed period of two terms, he was obliged to retire. Jonathan does not have a standing to offer himself as presidential candidates when by convention, it’s the other fellow’s turn.

But he successfully offered himself by doing the unconventional but doing what Nigerians have always wanted. The North and the South gave him the victory. How? Jonathan did offer himself by promising to do what justifies the end of getting a clean and fair government. He did it by offering the Nigerians the only means to get the end — clean and fair means.

He changed the head of the judiciary, the head of the police install a neutral and fair minded elections commission and so forth. These fair and clean means to achieving a desired end, in the end rallied the people behind him.

Malaysians have a choice, really, to adopt the method by which Goodluck Ebele Jonathan retains power or the way, the American diplomat observed above.

That is the typical way by which totalitarian governments keep their power. Everything is defined in terms of primarily their interests. Hence Bersih’s march for fair and clean elections is taken as a challenge to Malay security, an assault on Islam and Malay rulers, etc, and hence a threat to Umno’s security is taken as a threat to the country.

The Amanah platform now serves primarily as a clarion call for people to set aside their partisan politics and see what the country has become into. The beneficiaries of an independent country are now witnessing the blatant abuse of what has been bequeathed to them by our founding fathers.

While it serves as a clarion call or sounding board, the cudgels will be picked up by others hopefully. True, Tengku Razaleigh hasn’t got the organisational structures at the moment, but only because it’s only just launched and it’s not a political organisation.

But more important, I think, by launching this Amanah, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah is signalling that his is ready and willing to offer leadership. — sakmongkol.blogspot.com

* Sakmongkol AK47 is the nom de plume of Datuk Mohd Ariff Sabri Abdul Aziz. He was Pulau Manis assemblyman (2004-2008).

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication. The Malaysian Insider does not endorse the view unless specified.

The Amanah agenda (Part 2) — Sakmongkol AK47

July 25, 2011
The Malaysian Insider

JULY 25 — This is a gathering of concerned citizens. On the stage forming the committee members of Amanah were Kadir Sh Fadzir himself, Daniel Tajem, S. Subramaniam( a former MIC deputy president), Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah as chairman, Ong Tee Keat, Bujang Ulis from Sarawak and a sitting MP from Sabah.

The audience was made up of mainly concerned citizens of all races, with Malays making the predominant number. I am sure not everyone in there in the hall that day will commit themselves to the rigors of field politics; but I was sure of one thing. Everyone were united in the revulsion and rejection of what is going on in the country — the politics, economy, the divisiveness in our society, the future of democracy, the future of this country.

Being present there is already an indication that attendees cannot accept the things that are happening in the country.

The feelings were adequately expressed by Kadir Sh Fadzir. What he said was exemplary; coming from a person who has had everything — wealth, power, service to the country, enjoyed the esteem and respect of his peers.

He would rather be enjoying his leisure days. So too would the others. Daniel Tajem, a sincere looking fellow who is committed to uplift the Sarawak people out of misery, Subramaniam (he may be motivated by his own pursuits), BUjang Ulis, Ong Tee Keat — the MCA man who wanted to do the right thing with regards to the PKFZ.

What the current Umno is, MCA is that to the Chinese. MCA cannot be a den of thieves and plunderers irrespective of how many truckloads of Class A durians the perpetrators of the PKFZ financial fiasco bring over to the bosses. A former MCA leader when he was a deputy minister would often treat his boss at TNB first class durians from Bentong!.

What the country has got itself into is no longer tolerable. These “has-beens” and veterans of Malaysian politics cannot endure the transgressions, the abuse, the bullying and the direction the country is travelling in. It’s made worse by a leadership who is more suited to become a poster boy, popular but incapable of managing this country properly.

Amanah is really, for now, a group of conscientious objectors. Our objection must therefore be well put.

And what do we object to?

Utusan Malaysia recently revealed the kind of warped thinking the leadership of this country has or even worse, they are unthinking at all. It writes that it’s a common outcome of those subjected to interrogation to commit suicide.

This kind of thinking is just another unfortunate and grossly stupid gloss of the general notion that the all ends justify all means. Hence the deaths of persons under the duty of care of the custodians are but collateral damages to the desired end of achieving the truth.

Except the truth in this case, as Colonel Jessup says in “A Few Good Men”, can’t be handled by the truth seekers.

So, it will be used as a general explanation — that all transgressions- corruption, cronyism, are all justifiable means because of our desired end. What is the desired end then? This is the basic objection to these totalitarian tendencies. For that is what these transgressions amount to, unchallenged they will serve the interest of totalitarian tendencies. The government wants to govern and rule unchallenged.

This country is teetering towards totalitarian tendencies which require objections from all fronts. The diversity of parties and NGOs pursuing the same objectives must be seen as the necessary repeat of struggles and fights to overcome wrong politics.

So don’t decry if Amanah emerges by saying “Ah, it’s just ‘another one of those bodies’”. It’s NOT just another, but is instead the sufficiently and necessarily required instrument in the pursuit of victory over evil that must be fought over and over again not just by one, but by as many as possible.

We must be clear what our general objection is. Very often we inure ourselves and accept the various transgressions and abuses as necessary evil or the ends justifying the means thinking. We must also be clear about this.

When we object to the idea that the means are not justifiable no matter what the ends are, we mean, really that the actual end is not the end itself but the means for achieving that end. Hence to elicit truth does not justify murdering someone.

To achieve development can be never justify the cronyism and corruption and the marginalisation of the whole people. Solving the traffic woes of people cannot justify building RM 50 billion worth of edifices. The list goes on and on.

This is our most fundamental objection: The means by which we achieve whatever ends must be correct and principled. — sakmongkol.blogspot.com

* Sakmongkol AK47 is the nom de plume of Datuk Mohd Ariff Sabri Abdul Aziz. He was Pulau Manis assemblyman (2004-2008).

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication. The Malaysian Insider does not endorse the view unless specified.

The Amanah Agenda — part 1 — Sakmongkol AK47

July 24, 2011
The Malaysian Insider

JULY 24 — Last Friday, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah launched the setting up of another NGO. It is called Amanah. Its full name is Angkatan Amanah Merdeka. The name suggests that, independence and the wider meaning term, freedom, is a responsibility entrusted upon our shoulders.

It seems the main ingredients of an independent nation are being eroded and violated with irresponsible impunity. Our economy is slowly going to be run by powerful economic plutocracy. An elite group has taken over the planning and running of the country. We are simultaneously enthralled and goaded into believing that our economy can get better miraculously through stylish presentation using Microsoft PowerPoint authored by expensively paid consulting companies. Those people in Balakong, Sungai Besi and Jalan kelang Lama did not need power point presentations authored by McKinsey consultants. They didn’t have to pay Idris Jala for leveraging on McKinsey people either!

The economic elite are working hand in hand with the political elite of this country so that from democracy, we are moving toward Plutarchy. Plutarchy is the combination of plutocracy- the rule of the wealthy and oligarchy- the rule of the few. These people are no longer talking about development costs of millions- they are now talking about billions- the billion Ringgit MRT, the billion Ringgit River of Life Project, no billion- no talk. How is our country’s finances managed? Can we trust them?

Our founding fathers gave us a Westminster’s type of democracy and we accepted it. We accept wholeheartedly that the way to form a government is through peaceful means and that is through fair and clean general elections. It must also mean that combatants and contestant are accorded the same facilities and treatment en route to forming a government. We accepted also a constitutional monarchy whereby the Malay rulers accept unreservedly that this country belongs to the people. By that, the rulers accept that they are also subjected to the powers of the constitution, whereby, rulers are also governed by the rule of law and do not have unbridled and absolute discretionary powers. What has happened then? The tipping point came in the late 80s when one person hijacked the democratic heritage and enthralled the nation with the glitter of fast-tracked material advancements. Since then, this country has traveled only on one option- divisiveness. Our heralded and self-congratulatory development is generally paid by the erosion of the democratic ingredients that we spoke of above. We praised and patted ourselves by calling our leaders, fathers of this and that. These terms are alas, empty phrases aimed essentially at according ourselves the feel good feeling.

The aim of Bersih for example, was directed at one of these- which is, fundamental in a democracy is the way we choose our government. It must be done in a fair and clean manner. We have chosen a free market economy but nowadays, what is free, is the freedom by certain cliques in our country to plunder and gobble up the economy. Hence we no longer speak of millions and even 100 of millions but billions. The traffic congestion which is the bane of people in the Kelang valley can easily be solved cheaper by construction of elevated highways. But powerful economic oligarchs proposed to build an MRT whose final costs cannot be determined as yet.

I am not going to repeat its agenda, mission statement etc. these can be found in the concise booklets that were handed out on that day.

Let me cut to the chaff or cut to the chase what Amanah actually stands for. I attended the inaugural launch the other day. I had the chance to listen to the rather long welcoming speech by Kadir Sheikh Fadzir.

Now, Kadir has never struck me as a thoughtful and thinking person. He was the quintessential bon vivant with the bow tie. He would, I think be more at home dining at Lafite at Shangri-La rather than with the thrust and parry of raw politics. On that day however, he was talking sense. Perhaps the articulation was the product of a profound appreciation of the sorry state of affairs that has overtaken our country.

But that, my readers, will in another installment.

* Sakmongkol AK47 is the nom de plume of Datuk Mohd Ariff Sabri Abdul Aziz. He was Pulau Manis assemblyman (2004-2008).

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication. The Malaysian Insider does not endorse the view unless specified

4 new leads from the TBH RCI Report providing powerful reasons why police should re-open investigations on who were TBH’s killers

--Lim Kit Siang

The James Foong Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) into the death of Teoh Beng Hock (TBH) is a great disappointment, as it has come out with a finding of “TBH was driven to commit suicide by the aggressive, relentless, oppressive and unscrupulous interrogation by certain officers of the MACC”(Para 119) , which is rejected by all right-thinking Malaysians.

There is however a silver lining in the TBH RCI Report as it has provided four new leads which are powerful reasons why the police should re-open investigations into who killed TBH at the MACC headquarters at Shah Alam on July 16, 2009.

LEAD ONE

the TBH RCI was most scathing in its indictment of the character and testimony of the MACC officers especially from Selangor at the RCI. Apart from two brave and truthful souls from Selangor MACC, i.e. Azeem Hafeez Jamaluddin and Azlan (Para 176), the TBH RCI virtually dismissed the rest as a pack of liars led by Hishamuddin Hashim (HH), the “mastermind” of the massive and unjustified operation which resulted in TBH’s death.

This is what the TBH RCI has to say about Hishammuddin, the “mastermind”:

“We found him to be arrogant, given to falsehoods, untruthful and uncompromising in his stand. His falsehoods, particularly of his non-active involvement in the entire operation at the material time, were exposed from the contradictory statements he made before us. But more compelling was the confirmation from two of his own officers, namely Azeem and Azian who were brave enough to reveal towards the later part of our proceedings the actual role of HH in this operation despite the fact that HH was their superior and still holds a senior position in the MACC as director of the MACC Negri Sembilan.”

As for Anuar Ismail (Anuar), who was appointed investigation officer (IO) of the operation by “mastermind” Hishamuddin, the TBH RCI statement cannot be more condemnatory: “Anuar lied about the role he played in order to cover up for HH. And on top of these factors, he was a trusted senior officer of HH who was prepared to sacrifice himself for HH, the other such officer Hairul Ilham having gone home by that time.” (Para 195).

In Para 337, the TBH RCI said: “That HH and others under his command lied in this inquiry is borne home by the testimonies of Azeem and Azian, the two MACC offices who were courageous enough to testify that attempts were made to get them to say that HH was not directly involved in the operation and that it was Hairul Ilham who was in charge”.

In fact, the TBH RCI report is fertile source for the formulation of multiple perjury charges against Hishamuddin and other MACC officers in giving false testimony at the RCI – a judicial proceeding under the definition of Penal Code Section 193 which provides for the maximum sentence of seven years jail and fine on conviction.

Para 336 of TBH RCi is an example where a perjury charge could be framed against Hishammuddin, as it said:

“The evidence adduced showed that the MACC officers were prepared to go to great lengths to lie. One glaring example is that of HH, a very senior officer, who was overall in charge of operations on that fateful 15th evening and spilling over into the early hours of the morning of the16th. In testimony before us, he was adamant in his stand that he had no knowledge whatsoever that complaints of assault and use of force had been lodged against officers under his charge with the police. However, his lie was exposed with startling clarity when DSP Kamaruddin Ismail from the Selangor police produced a letter written by HH himself in 2008 responding to police inquiries in relation to the complaints of assault and related abuses of power that had been lodged against MACC officers under his command.”

Will the Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani for Patail arrest and charge Hishammuddin for perjury just based on Para 336 of the TBH RCI?

With all MACC Selangor officers led by Hishammuddin dismissed as “a pack of liars” (apart from Azeem and Azian), this would mean that they had lied all the way from the initial police investigations into TBH’s death, the TBH inquest and the TBH RCI about what happened to TBH in MACC on the fateful days of July 15/16, 2009.

As the police had been lied to in police criminal investigations into TBH’s death, this means that all the police statements given by Hishammuddin and the MACC Selangor officers (except for Azeem and Azian) about what happened to TBH in his three interrogations in MACC from 6 pm on 15th July to 3.30 am on 16th July were untrue, worthless and must be rejected – justifying a re-opening of police investigations into TBH’s death.

LEAD TWO

The TBH RCI reported that apart from the three interrogations from 6pm on 15th to 3.30 am on 16th July, there was a hitherto unknown “Fourth Interrogation” of TBH between 3.30 am and 7 am on the 16th “that broke the camel’s back, so to speak, that propelled TBH to commit suicide” (Para 166).

Para 229 said: “By the time, the fourth or final stage of the interrogation was over, TBH would have been almost a mental and physical wreck.”

Police investigations into TBH’s death never knew about this “Fourth Interrogation” between 3.30 am to 7 am on 16th July – a second lead from the TBH RCI report on why police should re-open investigations. In fact, it should also investigate whether there was a “fifth” interrogation between 7 am to 11 am – depending on the time of TBH’s death.

LEAD THREE

– Hishammuddin was the “mastermind” in the host of criminalities and breaches of the law in the massive operation resulting in TBH’s death. Though deputy director of MACC Selangor at the time in charge of investigations and intelligence-gathering, Hishammuddin “appeared to have absolute authority to investigate anyone whom he suspected to be involved in any corrupt practice in the state without even informing or obtaining the consent of his superiors in the in the MACC headquarters in Putrajaya (HQ) or his superior on the ground, the director of Selangor of MACC.” (Para 23).

Hishammuddin blatantly abused his powers when he launched the massive 33-officer operation which resulted in TBH’s death “solely on a mere belief and without supporting facts” (Para 184) based on a “mere” telephone call (Para 188).

These are revelations which would justify police re-opening investigations into TBH’s death to find out who gave Hishammuddin the sense of immunity and impunity for breaking laws and committing crimes, going over the head of his superior in Selangor and in national headquarters resulting in TBH’s death?

LEAD FOUR –

A few days after TBH’s tragic death on 16th July 2009, a “black blog” appeared which accused DAP of TBH’s murder to distract public attention from the real cause of TBH’s death – raising the suspicion that the “black blog” was the work of people responsible for killing him.

Furthermore, the “black blog” had the finger prints of MACC or MACC officers as it contained documents related to TBH investigations which were only in the possession of MACC.

This is the fourth lead justifying the re-opening of police investigations into TBH’s death as police investigation into who was behind the “black blog” would probably have found TBH’s killers as well.

[Speech (Part 2) at the DAP forum on “Teoh Beng Hock Royal Commission Inquiry Report – Where is the promised truth?” on Tuesday, 26th July 2011 at 9 pm]

Have the TBH RCI absolved MACC and MACC officers of responsibility for the death of Teoh Beng Hock?

--Lim Kit Siang

On Thursday, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz made public the James Foong Royal Commission of Inquiry Report on the death of Teoh Beng Hock while in custody, control and care of the MACC at the MACC headquarters at Shah Alam on July 16, 2009.

In an interview with Mingguan Malaysia on Sunday, Nazri said among other things that although the MACC “needs to revamp itself, the RCI had absolved it of murder charges and this should not be questioned further”.

In my speech at the DAP Taman Housing Trust dinner/ceramah in Ipoh on Sunday night, I took Nazri to task for his Mingguan Malaysia interview and in particular his stand that the TBH RCI had absolved MACC and MACC officers of all responsibility for Teoh Beng Hock’s death.

This was why I challenged Nazri to quote the RCI report to show where it had “absolved” MACC of responsibility for Teoh Beng Hock’s death.

I had instead quoted two paragraphs in the TBH RCI report where the RCI pointedly referred to “MACC officers responsible for TBH’s death”, viz:

1. (when expressing “grave reservations” over the evidence of one MACC officer Raymond Nion anak John Timban who had testified that he saw Beng Hock at 6 am on the fateful morning of 16th July 2009 “lying on the sofa outside Nadzri’s room”), the TBH RCI said:

“In our opinion, he was not a reliable witness and was used by those responsible for TBH’s death to distance them from their wrongdoings by creating an impression that TBH was not only alive at 6am on the 16th but was also resting comfortably and peacefully on the sofa outside Nadzri’s room.” – Para 198

2. In Para 201, the TBH RCI said:

“ As it become obvious to us that Raymond’s evidence was tailored to fit certain objectives which in this case dovetailed those of the MACC officers responsible for TBH’s death, we rejected his evidence as being unworthy of any weight or consideration in respect of the time he claimed to have seen TBH at 6am on the 16th.”

I had asked how Nazri could jump to the conclusion that the TBH RCI had “absolved” MACC of responsibility for Beng Hock’s death when it specifically in Paras 198 and 201 pinpointed on “MACC officers responsible for TBH’s death” (words used by TBH RCI)?

I continued:

“Any reasonable person who read the ‘horror stories’ of the lawlessness and heinous criminalities rampant in MACC particularly in Selangor, as described by the TBH RCI report, can only arrive at the conclusion without having to rely on Paras 198 and 201 of the TBH RCI that several MACC officers must be held responsible for TBH’s death.

“Yes, the TBH RCI did not specifically name the MACC officers responsible for TBH’s death (although their identities are quite obvious to anyone reading the RCI report) but how can Nazri claim that MACC had been “absolved” of responsibility for Beng Hock’s death when the TBH RCI had openly and directly pinpointed ‘MACC officers’ as responsible for the death?

“I would advise Nazri to re-read the TBH RCI report carefully.”

On Sunday night, I also challenged Nazri to defend his “clearly wrong and misguided stand that MACC and its officers are ‘absolved’ from all responsibility for Beng Hock’s death” to come tonight to the public forum “Teoh Beng Hock Royal Commission Inquiry Report – Where is the promised truth?” to defend and justify his stand.

I subsequently learnt that Nazri had gone to London to attend the 57th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference 21-28 July and his press secretary Ahmad Fazli posted on my twitter and facebook that he received instruction from Nazri to accept my “challenge for the debate” but suggesting that the debate be held after Hari Raya Puasa due to the Holy month of Ramadan.

I had not used the word “debate” but had challenged Nazri to come to the forum tonight to justify his stand that the RCI had “absolved” MACC and MACC officers from responsibility for Beng Hock’s death – which I disagreed.

This was why I had quoted two passages from the RCI report referring specifically to “MACC officers responsible for TBH’s death” although the RCI had come out of with the finding of “suicide” as the cause of Beng Hock’s death, viz:

“119. Having considered all the evidence in its entirety, we found that TBH was driven to commit suicide by the aggressive, relentless, oppressive and unscrupulous interrogation to which he was subjected by certain officers of the MACC who were involved in the ongoing operation by the Selangor MACC on the night of the 15th and into the morning of the 16th.”

Is this a simple and straightforward “suicide”, forced suicide or homicide, especially taking in account the “horror stories” in the TBH RCI report about rank lawlessness and heinous criminalities rampant with MACC officers involved in the TBH interrogation?

If asked, I believe all right-thinking Malaysians can only give a categorical and thunderous answer of: “homicide”!

Whether Teoh Beng Hock died of “suicide” or “homicide” cannot be ascertained by a public debate, but only through further thorough and intensive police investigations and prosecution.

If Nazri, not able to attend this forum still wants to have an opportunity to justify his stand that the TBH RCI report had “absolved” MACC and MACC officers of all responsibility for TBH’s death, I am prepared to oblige and we can discuss the details after Nazri’s return from London.

But the more important question is whether Malaysians can absolve MACC and MACC officers from TBH’s death.

The most pressing issue at present is what action could be taken to get the authorities to press on with further investigations into TBH’s death from the leads opened up by the TBH RCI.

Teoh Beng Hock’s wife and family members have rejected the “suicide” finding of the TBH RCI.

The Bar Council has rejected the TBH RCI finding of suicide as the cause of TBH death, demanding that the authorities should investigate the MACC officers for possible offences under Sections 304 and 304a of the Penal Code, for culpable homicide not amounting to murder and for causing the death of Teoh by negligence, respectively.

The Association for the Promotion of Human Rights (Proham) agrees that MACC and its officials must be held responsible and has called on the federal government “to take very seriously these findings and to take the immediate appropriate action necessary so as to send a message to all enforcement and investigating agencies that a person in their custody is their utmost responsibility”.

Malaysians who do not accept that that TBH had committed suicide and believed that it was a case of homicide want further investigations to be conducted and his killers to be brought to justice.

[Speech (Pt 1) at the DAP forum “Teoh Beng Hock Royal Commission Inquiry Report – Where is the promised truth” at Kuala Lumpur-Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall on Tuesday, 26th July 2011 at 8 pm]

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Teoh Beng Hock RCI: A Sham That Deceived Malaysia

LOYARBURUK

Inventing a suicide out of thin air. A sham, and a shame.

As the news filtered in on Thursday that the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Death of Teoh Beng Hock (“the TBH RCI”) had issued its findings, the conclusions seemed simple enough. The TBH RCI concluded that Teoh Beng Hock had been driven to commit suicide due to interrogation by 3 MACC officers in a manner that was “aggressive, relentless, oppressive and unscrupulous”. It seemed straightforward.

The newspaper reports of the findings were simple – after considering the evidence (70 witnesses, 750 pages of written submission, 19,200 pages of written testimonies, and 256 exhibits) before them, these learned members of the TBH RCI had come to this clear conclusion. Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Nazri Aziz, added that the TBH RCI findings were supported by psychiatric forensic expert Paul Edward Mullen, hired by the Bar Council as part of the proceedings. When announcing the findings, Nazri was quoted as calling Teoh Beng Hock a “weak character” and that “Professor Mullen said that Teoh Beng Hock had truly committed suicide based on his character…”

If I had stopped at reading those reports linked above (and many similar reports in other media sources), I would think that the TBH RCI findings had finally cleared up the mystery. Further, Nazri Aziz’s seemingly helpful extraction of the findings of a psychiatric forensic expert would have solidified the conclusion that yes, Teoh Beng Hock committed suicide after all. And previous RCIs have resulted in findings and recommendations that seemed very reasonable based on the known facts – the Anwar black-eye incident, the nude squat fiasco, the revamp of the police force, and of course VK Lingam’s infamous “correct correct correct” video clip. The individuals who make up RCIs are respected and assumed to be independent and knowledgeable. They could be trusted to reveal the truth.

But I did not stop at reading these convenient summaries.

A blatant deception of the Malaysian public

I downloaded and read the full report by the TBH RCI (please download it here and read it for yourself). I researched the numerous articles and reports that had been written about the proceedings. I discussed the matter with many friends, some of whom had been very closely following the twists and turns since Teoh was found dead on 16 July 2009.

Having done all that, it appeared obvious that things were not as simple as they seemed. It is not an exaggeration to say that the seemingly straightforward conclusion that Teoh had committed suicide is in fact blatantly deceiving the Malaysian public.

Before going into the reasons why I firmly believe that the conclusion of the TBH RCI that Teoh committed suicide was wrong, allow me to give a brief summary of some of the findings of the TBH RCI for the benefit of those who have not been following the proceedings, or the report.

Some conclusions from the TBH RCI

The TBH RCI made the following findings:

1. It rejected the suicide note because it was from the chain of evidence an “afterthought” and further, not authenticated to have been written by Teoh.

2. It rejected the evidence of Arman and Ashraf, Teoh’s interrogators at the 2nd “interview” (15 July: 10 pm to 12/1 am).

They said they only asked Teoh basic questions, and did not threaten or abuse him. The Commission found that “threats of physical harm were most probably used by Arman and Ashraf when interrogating” Teoh.

3. It rejected the evidence of Nadzri, the Recording Officer who recorded Teoh’s written statement (16 July: 1.30 to 3.30 am). The Commission found that the session “turned out to be another forum of interrogation”.

4. It rejected the evidence of Anuar, the Investigating Officer of the 52/2009 operation regarding the use by Ean Yong of his allocations. Anuar said he was sleeping at a sofa in front of his room from about 1.30 to 3.35 am, and then at the surau to 5 am, and then at the bilik tamu next to the main lobby from 5 to 8.30 am. The Commission found that Anuar’s alibi “had been proved to be false”, and continued to say:

Further, Anuar lied about the role he had played in order to cover up for HH [Hishamuddin Hashim]. And on top of these factors he was a trusted senior officer of HH who was prepared to sacrifice himself for HH, the other such officer Hairul Ilham having gone home by that time.

5. It rejected the evidence of Hishamuddin, the leader of the 52/2009 operation and the highest-ranking officer in the premises that night.

The Commission found Hishamuddin to be “arrogant, given to falsehoods, untruthful and uncompromising in his stand”. Despite his denials, Hishamuddin conducted cross-checking of witness statements obtained and actively interrogated Teoh in a 4th interrogation session from 3.30 am onwards. He only left the building at about 6.15 am on 16 July and returned at about 7.55 am. Hishamuddin is to “be held responsible for the actions taken by him and his officers which propelled TBH to commit suicide”.

6. It rejected the evidence of Raymond, a MACC officer who said he saw Teoh at about 6 am lying on the sofa outside Nadzri’s room.

The Commission found that Raymond “was not a reliable witness and was used by those responsible for TBH’s death to distance them from their wrongdoings by creating an impression that TBH was not only alive at 6.00am on the 16th but was also resting comfortably and peacefully on the sofa outside Nadzri’s room”.

7. It rejected the MACC’s contention that Teoh was free to leave the building at about 3.30 am but Teoh wanted to stay behind to rest.

The Commission found that the MACC, through Hishamuddin, Anuar and Ashraf continued to interrogate Teoh post-3.30 am.

8. It accepted the Bar’s theory that cross-checking (or the cross-interrogation of suspects/witnesses) occurred in the early hours of the morning of 16 July. Teoh was not released after his statement was taken by Nadzri at about 3.30 am, but was interrogated further. The respective statements of Teoh, Tan Boon Wah and Lee Wye Wing were being cross-checked and cross-referred during that time.

9. It accepted the evidence of two MACC officers, Azian and Azeem, who revealed that Hishamuddin attempted to cover up his actual role in the 52/2009 operation by directing his officers to say he was not involved. In fact, he was “the one who gave all the instructions and directions on how the witnesses were to be interviewed and interrogated and by whom”.

10. It accepted that the MACC erected a “blue wall of silence” in the spirit of brotherhood between the MACC officers that hindered the Commission’s work:

The characteristics of this “blue wall of silence” came amply into play in the present case as evidenced by the untruths spouted by the MACC officers to cover up the nefarious activities that took place on the 15th and the 16th. This clinging to brotherhood ties by those officers has resulted in our facing extreme difficulties in gathering evidence to arrive at the truth.

Did the Commission make these mistakes by design, or through sheer inadvertence?

The TBH RCI, to its credit, adopted a purposeful and unflinching attitude when it came to the extraction of information at its hearings. During the course of proceedings, the media played its part in highlighting important issues and inconsistencies in the MACC’s version of events. Why then did the TBH RCI commit unforgivable errors of fact and further, decided not to consider or appreciate the “killer points”? Consider at least 10 of these for yourself:

1. Time of death

The Commission held that Teoh’s death occurred from 7.15 to 11.15 am (16 July) relying on the evidence of Dr Prashant and Dr Khairul. Estimating the time of death is not an exact science but Dr Khairul actually said the time could be narrowed down to as early as 6.30 to 7.00 am. In fact, the MACC’s expert, Dr Vanezis said that it could have been as early as 11 pm to 12 am (15 July).

Why did the Commission then say the earliest time of death was to have been 7.15 am? Was it to “match” its theory that Teoh was driven to suicide after the 4th interrogation session after Hishamuddin and Ashraf had left the MACC building?

2. Raymond’s evidence as to the sighting of Teoh at 6 am

The Commission rejected Raymond’s evidence that he saw Teoh at 6 am:

If this was true, then TBH must have committed suicide after 6.00 am on the 16th. This would fit into the estimated time of death of TBH which was between 7.15am and 11.15am on the 16th as determined by the forensic pathologists. However, despite this, we entertained grave reservations over Raymond’s evidence.

With the rejection of Raymond’s evidence, it must follow that there is little to suggest consistency with the time of death between 7.15 and 11.15 am, as the Commission itself points out in the paragraph above. Without any further record of Teoh’s movements after 6 am, how could the Commission then reject Raymond’s evidence yet say Teoh died after 6 am?

3. The death window, and avoidance of it from 3.30 am onwards

The Commission held that there was a 4th interrogation session of Teoh after about 3.30 am. The interrogation was conducted by Hishamuddin, Anuar and Ashraf. What the Commission failed to do was to buttress this finding by also holding that every MACC officer, for the strangest of reasons, “avoided” the window from which Teoh fell from 3.30 am onwards. For example, one officer whose room was near the window said he cramped into and slept with another officer in the latter’s room that was far away from the window.

The Commission failed to hold that pursuant to the 4th interrogation, Teoh was brought to the window for whatever that might have taken place there that led to him falling, by design or accident, from the window. Otherwise, why would everyone distance themselves from the window in the wee hours of 16 July?

4. Cause of death: the 4th interrogation session

On the evidence of the MACC, Hishamuddin left the building at about 6.15 am (and returned at about 7.55 am), Anuar was sleeping throughout until 8.30 am and Ashraf left at about 5 am. If so, then surely Teoh would have been free to go by 5 am when Ashraf left or 6.15 am when Hishamuddin left. Would any person who was finally relieved and free to leave the building exit vide the window in a sudden act of suicide or walk out to his car and drive home? The Commission does not deal with this but assumes that after the 4th interrogation, Teoh suddenly gives up, and jumps.

Surely if the Commission held the view, as it had done in this case, that the 4th interrogation occurred, something must have happened to Teoh directly caused by his interrogators for him to have fallen either by design or accident, i.e. it was murder or homicide, and not suicide whether driven or voluntary. The time of death of about 6.30 – 7 am (allowing for a small margin of error) corroborates this argument because the Bar had pointed Hishamuddin as the main culprit, and he left the building at 6.15 am without stamping his punch card.

5. Role of Zulkefly Aziz

On 15 July, a MACC Klang officer by the name of Zulkefly Aziz was one of those specially called in by Hishamuddin to assist in the 52/2009 operation. Zulkefly is Hishamuddin’s junior in the MACC.

At about 9.45 to 10 pm, Zulkefly along with Bulkini and Hadri brought Tan Boon Wah back to the MACC Selangor office. Zulkefly then returned to his MACC Klang office at about 10.15 pm to collect his car, and drove to the MACC Selangor office. He reached at 11 pm and went to sleep at the surau. (One wonders why Zulkefly was back in the office only to go to sleep.)

At about 3.15 am on 16 July, Zulkefly woke up only to go to another surau on the 13th floor to change his trousers, and stayed there. In his earlier statement to the police (taken shortly after Teoh’s body was found), Zulkefly said he had gone home at about 3.15 am. Zulkefly had to change his story before the Commission because the Bar revealed CCTV footage showing Zulkefly only leaving the MACC Selangor office at 7 am.

So what was Zulkefly actually doing from about 3.15 to 7 am on the 16th? Why did he lie to the police that he went home by 3.15 am? And notice that key suspects Ashraf left the building at 5 am, followed by Hishamuddin at 6.15 am, and finally, Zulkefly at 7 am.

6. Time the MACC knew of Teoh’s death: Zulkefly Aziz

The significance of Zulkefly’s role in the puzzle is much clearer after he left the MACC Selangor office at 7 am. On oath, he testified that he went back to his office, stamped his punch card and immediately returned home. He did not return to work the whole of the 16th. To-date, Zulkefly has not explained why he did not work that day.

The MACC official line is that Teoh’s body was only found at about 1.35 pm on 16 July. But the evidence presented at the RCI TBH showed that MACC officers namely, Azhar, Amin, Fauzi Shadollah had already been speaking about Teoh’s death before or about 1.00 pm! How could MACC Klang officers at the MACC Klang office be talking about a death in another office miles away even before Teoh’s body was found?

The answer lies here. Amin in particular said that at about 12.45 pm, he overhead a group of officers at the MACC Klang office talking about Teoh’s death. He said that the information about Teoh’s death came from a MACC Klang officer who was at the MACC Selangor office on the morning of 16 July and returned to the MACC Klang office that morning. Zulkefly is as described. By 7 am, he already knew that Teoh fell from the window and died.

Why did the MACC hide the fact they knew of Teoh’s death by 7 am? The Commission failed to appreciate and deal with this crucial area that nails the MACC coffin of its suicide story.

7. The MACC cover up started by 7 to 8.30 am: Anuar and Hairul

Lee Wye Wing testified that between 7 and 8.30 am, he went to Sachi’s room at the MACC Selangor office to ask for his handphone and if he could return home. Sachi was asleep. Wye Wing then proceeded to Hairul’s room to ask the same of him. He saw both Anuar and Hairul in discussion over a computer. But Anuar at all times at the hearings said he was sleeping at the particular time.

If one accepts that Zulkefly already knew of Teoh’s death as early as 7 am and Anuar was part of the 4th interrogation, coupled by Anuar having to lie that he was sleeping at that time, the only available inference to be drawn is that Anuar and Hairul were discussing about Teoh’s death between 7 and 8.30 am.

8. The MACC cover up blown

The Commission disappointingly failed to act on the clear instances of cover up by the MACC of Teoh’s death alluded to by MACC officers’ own testimonies.

Among others, evidence elicited at the TBH RCI hearings showed how the MACC and AG top brass had meetings to “streamline” the statements of MACC officers and “coach” them, to build a wall of silence (i.e. not to freely offer information and not to reveal too much) and to distance Hishamuddin from the 52/2009 operation. The extent of the cover up initiated by the MACC even had its own officers, namely Azian and Azeem, expressing their unhappiness and uneasiness at the state of affairs.

Why did the MACC plan this elaborate cover up?

9. Misadventure not explored

The Bar’s alternative theory of misadventure by accident finds support in Dr Vanezis’ testimony who said:

  • That he could not rule out that Teoh was held by a neck hold with the forearm.
  • That such a neck hold may not show bruising.
  • That one could be restrained without having obvious marks on the body.
  • That without marks found on the window, one could exclude the possibility that Teoh climbed out the window himself.

The Commission failed to consider that Teoh may have been asked to and/or helped onto the ledge of the window as a means to threaten him into confessing during the 4th session. Held by a neck hold, an accident occurred which led to his death. DNA evidence of an unknown person was found subsequently.

10. Positive factors to live “transformed” into negative factors to die

It does not take a rocket scientist to surmise that Teoh had everything going for him in terms of his personal life — a baby was on the way, he was getting married, he was planning to leave his job to move back to Malacca and spend more time with his family, he had no history of mental illness, he was of strong character, organised and had a good relationship with his employer and friends, etc. In relation to the 52/2009 operation, he as a seasoned political activist was prepared to be investigated and had by then also informed his colleagues to be ready with documents. The positive list in favour of Teoh goes on.

Mullen unequivocally said that suicide is a rare cause of death and Malaysia has a particularly low rate being one of few countries where the rate is lower than for homicide. His opinion was that Teoh was firmly in the lowest risk group where the chances of suicide are extremely small. How the TBH RCI construed to pick and choose Mullen’s report to fit its pre-judgment theory of “driven suicide” is most unprofessional. Even Badi’ah and Nor Hayati’s report showed how hard-pressed they were to conjure up reasons for Teoh to commit suicide without implicating the MACC.

I leave you to decide if the TBH RCI deliberately or by design chose to ignore the 10 points above.

The big question – murder or suicide?

The MACC argued that it was “voluntary suicide”. The Bar argued that it was murder or at least homicide not amounting to murder, by causing Teoh’s death by misadventure during the interrogation.

Looking at the conclusions of the TBH summarised in the previous section, the TBH RCI had completely rejected the version of events given by the MACC’s key personnel regarding what happened on the evening 15 July 2009 and the wee hours of 16 July 2009. The MACC’s defence of “voluntary suicide” – which had rested on the testimonies of its officers – was therefore completely demolished.

Neither the MACC nor the Bar at any time pursued the “driven suicide” theory.

Cue the findings of the TBH RCI then – driven suicide. The TBH RCI somehow concluded that Teoh had committed suicide, having been driven to do so by the intense interrogation tactics employed by the MACC’s officers. As I mentioned, the MACC did not run the “driven suicide” theory during the TBH RCI proceedings. The MACC must be as baffled as the Bar and any reasonable person as to how the TBH RCI managed to come up with that conclusion.

The applicable standard of proof in these RCI proceedings is on a balance of probabilities tilting towards beyond reasonable doubt. Looking at how the TBH RCI had rejected the MACC’s version of events, it should have had no other option other than to adopt the Bar’s contention of murder, or homicide not amounting to murder. The MACC’s evidence was demolished, and there was therefore no evidence – absolutely none – to support a finding of any kind of suicide. In criminal proceedings, once the evidence of the accused (in this case the MACC, as Teoh’s captors) is not accepted, there is no doubt that the conviction of the accused must follow. This common practice was, shockingly, not followed by the TBH RCI. It is completely illogical how the TBH RCI came to the “driven suicide” conclusion – it appears to have invented it out of thin air, or the collective imagination of each of the Commissioners.

The way it was worded certainly sounds like bad fiction. Here is the relevant paragraph:

Tormented by this predicament, TBH experienced a change in his state of mind. And in a matter of hours, this change transformed him from being in the low-risk group for suicide into the high-risk group. The doubts, extreme emotional conflict and the immense feeling of guilt were all intolerable. Finally, precipitating the irreversible crisis that happened to him between 3.30am and 7.00am on the 16th, was the last straw that broke the camel’s back. Finding no viable strategies to surmount the hurdle of accusations leveled, he found himself unable to escape from the suffocating quagmire in which he was trapped. Losing all hope, TBH would have felt trapped and have succumbed to despair. Since the window on the 14th floor was either open or could be easily opened and it was conspicuous and easily accessible near where he was on the sofa outside Nadzri’s room, TBH would have found that the only way for escape from the torment he was undergoing was by jumping out the window, even though it meant taking his own life.

Wow. Read that again. Consider all the facts that had been accepted. Consider that the MACC’s version of events had been rejected. Consider that no one had suggested “driven suicide”. And read that paragraph again. The Bar issued a press statement saying that the conclusion “requires a leap in logic and an assumption of facts not in evidence.” This is a stylish way of saying that the finding of “driven suicide” was make-believe. It appeared out of thin air.

The Bar’s press statement also reveals the misleading nature of Nazri Aziz’s summary of the findings of the psychiatric forensic expert. Professor Mullen did not say that Teoh had a “weak character” – in fact, he said that “in [his] opinion, what we learned of Teoh Beng Hock’s personality and behaviour do not suggest any increased risk of suicide” and that the events were not such “which, in [his] experience, leads to suicide in custody”. This is not slightly different from what Nazri said – it is completely different. One of these parties is lying.

What happened?

The purpose of the TBH RCI was to reveal the truth. Looking at the chronology of events, and the findings of fact made along the way, and the sudden and inexplicable conclusion, it is obvious that it has failed to reveal the truth behind the death of Teoh Beng Hock.

I am in shock. The five Commissioners are respected experts in their fields, and are held in high regard. There seems to be no reason to doubt their integrity. The way the report was written points to only one logical conclusion – murder, or at the very least culpable homicide not amounting to murder due to an accident during the interrogation process. But suddenly, without any basis, without any evidence (and in fact with evidence pointing to the contrary), the TBH RCI turns all its key findings on its head with one fanciful, speculative, fantastical – and fictional – paragraph.

No reasonable person of the calibre of those five Commissioners could possibly have come up with that. It beggars belief.

In the spirit of the TBH RCI report, perhaps I should try my hand at a fanciful conclusion. Here we go.

Maybe there was a political intervention – or at least some heavy influence.

Maybe the Government would not have been able to cope with the backlash that would have resulted from a finding of murder. Perhaps, having been pre-informed that the TBH RCI was going to conclude that Teoh was murdered, someone somewhere forced the TBH RCI to invent this “middle ground” – this cop out solution which has cheated Malaysia of the truth. Do you find this theory unbelievable? Well, it is no more unbelievable than the ridiculous finding of “driven suicide” that was contained in that report.

Malaysia is going through some interesting times. Our Judiciary is failing us. Our Government is failing us. Our politicians and leaders are failing us. Our police force are failing us. So many of our institutions are failing us. With their finding of “driven suicide”, the TBH RCI has most certainly failed us. It was supposed to reveal the truth, but instead has thrown up even more deception and doubt.

‘Moderate Najib impinging human rights’

Tarani Palani | July 26, 2011-FMT

Despite Najib projecting himself as a moderate leader, Suaram says there has been little if no improvement in terms of human rights.

UPDATED

PETALING JAYA: Human rights standards in Malaysia continue to deteriorate under Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s administration despite efforts to project himself as a moderate leader.

In its annual report released today, rights group Suaram said there had been little or no improvement for the year 2010.

Speaking to reporters, Suaram chairperson K Arumugam said: “Basically, in 2009 when Najib took office he wanted to be seen as a ‘do good guy’, he wanted to be magnanimous.”

“But I don’t think he wants to lose power by giving people more liberty like what happened to (former PM) Abdullah Ahmad Badawi so he continues to impinge on people’s liberties,” he added.

In its executive summary, Suaram claimed that the government resorted to increasingly regressive steps to suppress political and social dissent as it geared up for the general election.

Noting that human rights defenders, student activists and political opponents came under specific attack, Suaram also said that political harassment of the media resulted in self-censorship and the sacking of media personnel.

“In an attempt to control the unruly cyberspace, the government has announced plans to introduce guidelines for cyber-sedition,” it added.

Politicising race and religion

On the issue of race and religion, Suaram said that the government continued to politicise these issues as seen in the barring of non-Muslims from using the term Allah.

“Despite a court ruling the ban unlawful, the government continued to stoke racial and religious tensions by immediately announcing it would appeal.

“The divisive issue therefore remains in the public psyche,” it said, recounting the fire-bombing of several churches during the height of the controversy.

Suaram also said that government policies continued to institutionalise racism, and government officials had made racist remarks with immunity.

“Human rights abuses are increasing as a direct result of this continuing politicisation of race and religion,” it added.

The executive summary also pointed out that the government continued to allow Islamic authorities to determine unilateral conversion of children and the religious status of the deceased.

“The jurisdiction for such remains confused and civil courts continue to abdicate their responsibilities exclusively to Syariah courts,” it read.

According to Suaram, the government was unwilling to challenge Islamic authorities and conservative Muslims for fear of losing Malay votes.

“In the meantime, human rights violations increase. Non-Sunni Islam remains outlawed, with worshippers labelled as ‘deviationists’ and arrested,” it added.

‘Ineffective judiciary’

Taking a swipe at the judiciary, Suaram claimed that one of the most alarming features of Malaysia’s human rights landscape was that the judiciary was overwhelmingly ineffective at protecting human rights and delivering justice to the people.

The rights group accused the judiciary of making politically-aligned rulings that propped up the government and police, further violating the rights of detainees, protesters and the public.

“The courts continue to demonstrate a pro-establishment bias, handing down decisions in favour of BN when there are contestations with Pakatan Rakyat,” it said.

Suaram also noted that the culture of impunity continued to prevail among the police and other enforcement agencies.

“Complaints against the police increase and the police seem to be getting more ‘trigger happy’ as time goes on.

“The police force is in crisis and needs strategic and ongoing leadership to ensure that law enforcement works for the public and not against them,” it said.

The report said that there had been 18 deaths as a result of police shooting last year, adding that there might be many more undocumented cases.

It also reported that deaths in police custody decreased from 13 in 2008 to seven in 2009.

Authorities must be accountable

However, Suaram coordinator Hasbeemasputra Abu Bakar said that the report was not merely about numbers but rather about the authorities’ accountability.

“Just because the number of deaths go down doesn’t mean things have gotten better. The question is when things go wrong, where is the accountability?” he asked.

On the same note, Suaram stressed on the lack of political will to establish an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC).

This, the rights group added, continued to retard effective and safe law enforcement.

Turning its focus on Suhakam, the executive summary criticised the government for not giving the commission the independence and power it needed, while turning a deaf ear to its recommendations.

As for laws which provide for detention without trial, Suaram said the authorities were stretching the laws limitations.

Such instances were the arrests of alleged human traffickers under the Internal Security Act, when there was designated law under the Penal Code to prosecute such offenders.

Twenty five arrests were made under the ISA in 2010. Out of this, Suaram said, nine were detained for human trafficking.

EO, the new trend

Suaram director Kua Sia Soong also said that there were similar developments with the Emergency Ordinance (EO).

He refered to the detention of the six Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) members under the EO last month for allegedly playing a role in the Bersih 2.0 rally.

“Traditionally, the EO is used for alleged kingpins and criminals. These six are probably a new trend, maybe because they (the government) are a bit shy over (public) condemnation of the use of ISA,” he said.

The report also noted that the number of those detained under the EO had increased by 400% over the last 10 years.

Thumbs up for FOI

On a positive note, Suaram said Malaysia had chalked up several human rights victories, but these were in the Pakatan Rakyat-controlled states of Penang and Selangor.

“The introduction of Freedom of Information (FOI) bills in the opposition-run states are tangible examples of how human rights can be advanced in a tangible manner,” it said.

Some 100 people, including foreign dignitaries, attended the launch of Suaram’s Malaysian Human Rights Report 2010.

The 226-page report is divided into 10 chapters and covered topics such as detention without trial, abuse of power by the police and other enforcement agencies, freedom of religion, refugees, asylum seekers, undocumented migrants and trafficked persons and other areas.

The report also noted that it was “shocking” that such violations continued despite Malaysia’s appointment to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in 2010.