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Hafidz Baharom, yes, justice for all victims of torture please

Hafidz Baharom condemns the politicising of Beng Hock’s death, calling “the suspension of the MACC team involved in the investigations” which has not happened yet “lynch mobs” and hailed “online evidence that clearly points out a case of corruption which took place not only in the past government of the state, but even embroiling the current one as well”.

I could not help but to respond immediately on the face book, which took five messages as facebook messages have limited lengths.  I reproduce them here, sorry for the poor organization and repetition:

There is one thing confirmed – at least by the voluntary confession by MACC – they tortured a witness by interrogating him for nearly 11 hours. Another one for 7 hours.

Of course, unless in your dictionary, long hours of interrogation and sleep deprivation do not constitute tortures!

Now, you call the proposed – not actualized – suspension of the MACC team involved in such torturing lynching? So, rule of law means letting them continue their institutional sadism?Read More

One wonders how Mr Hafidz can give MACC benefits beyond doubt that “even his detention and interrogation are under speculation right now” on one hand;

and claim “we’re finding online evidence that clearly points out a case of corruption which took place not only in the past government of the state, but even embroiling the current one as well” on the other.

2. While Pakatan Rakyat may hope to score political points, does this make MACC innocent? Even if some Pakatan Rakyat politicians are corrupt, would that justify the torturing of Beng Hock and other witnesses?

Now, this is why many Malaysians are so angered by Beng Hock’s death, more than other custodial deaths. He was technically clean – other casualties were easily painted as criminals and drug addicts. For many, suspicion of criminal involvements means that the torture one suffered is somewhat justified. Look at how Kugan’s was labeled by minister as car thief and the public were asked to be reasonable.

Beng Hock’s death was the jimmy-comes-lately last straw that breaks the camel’s back because he was innocent, not because he had not yet been proven guilty, but because he was not even detained as a suspect. Read More

The online blog that Mr Hafidz seems to hail as a great discovery is exactly an attempt to destroy the sympathy Beng Hock enjoys.

3. I dont care much if Pakatan Rakyat scores political points if BN wants to once and again score their own goals.

I do take offense when the dead was treated with less respect than he deserve, by any party including DAP, as well as defenders of MACC – people who can’t wait to dismiss any suspicion of MACC in torturing witnesses by declaring suspicious online allegations of corruption as clear evidence; as if torturing would be justified if there is some truth in the allegation.

I used to enjoy Mr Hafidz’s column and really think he is intellectually more capable than reacting to what he sees as wrong.

While there may well be institutional racism in MACC, the greater problem is its institutional sadism. Just half a year ago, Halimi Kamaruzzaman, was remanded by MACC Pahang. He alleged his treatment was compared to that in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq: punched, stripped and threatened to have his private part burned with cigarettes.

Halimi is a Malay, Muslim and in fact UMNO leader!

4. So, why was Mr Halimi’s ordeal ignored by Pak Lah, by the great 1Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak, by the opposition and by the public? Are we racist?

No, I would argue that Halimi was unfortunate for two reasons.

First, his party did not stand up for him. Why? Allegedly, he was actually tortured to implicate another UMNO politician Norza Zakariah (KJ’s boy) in money politics in UMNO. His party did not stand up for him. Nor KJ. There was no political mileage to score in standing up for him!

Second, everyone else – the opposition, the NGO and the public also could not care less. For one I did not write anything to demand justice for him. I am guilty on my part. Why? Is it because he did not fell off the MACC Pahang headquarters? Isn’t it sick that we care to check MACC’s excess only when someone fell off a building?

I suspect even then some still may not truly sympathize with Mr Halimi because many would believe that he was corrupt.

5. This is exactly the problem: does one need to be innocent to be treated humanly and to fear not torture?

Isn’t this the cultural reason why over 1,800 persons had to die in custody in a span of six years time? Most of them were detained for suspicion of criminal involvement.

The allegation of Halimi – cannot be falsified till now because no independent investigation has been carried out – suggests that the main problem of MACC is not institutional racism, but institutional sadism.

And all of us have bloods in our hand because we have tolerated it so far. Beng Hock’s death wakes us up because he was seemingly so innocent. He took away any excuse of tolerance of custodial death, exactly what the “Truth for Teoh Beng Hock” blog and its echo chamber try to provide.

So many of us are now saying: over 1,800 custodial deaths in 6 years is simply not acceptable, for even one life lost is too many.

Mr Hafidz wants us to rally for justice, please condemn MACC’s torture even if DAP is corrupt.

—–

This is not the first time Mr Hafidz Baharom dismissed critics or protesters of the government by presenting some arguments that sound reasonable.

But I have to thank him for evoking my anger and helping me to understand the possibly most important rootcause of our apathy to custodial death.

An usual funeral – by Yasmin Ahmad

Nothing about politics. The only political is that it was commissioned by the Singapore’s Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS).

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nw0s4C0g5SM&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ewretch%2Ecc%2Fblog%2Fsweekuan%2F32282112&feature=player_embedded%5D

Found in Swee Kuan‘s blog.

Seven Conspiracy Theories for the Sodomy II

Looking for a conspiracy theory to explain the Anwar-Saiful saga?

Here’s an interesting list of seven theories:

1. A certain political rival of Anwar

2. Anwar

3. Both of them

4. Saiful Bukhari

5. One of the close aides of either of the two top politicians

6. An even bigger player

7. It actually happened…

Read Scott Hong in full.

ST: Abdullah’s fuel-hike move fall short

This is an informed critique on Abdullah’s petrol hike move. The problem is not the price hike, but the counter-measures that should have been in place but not. They come too little and too late.

Abdullah’s fuel-hike move falls short

From The Straits Times Southeast Asia correspondent Leslie LopezKUALA LUMPUR, June 15 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi’s scramble to stem the widening fallout from his high-stakes gamble to raise fuel prices is exposing his government’s shortcomings in crisis management.

What’s more, the policy flip-flops and the raft of poorly-designed counter-measures have only brought into focus the distortions in the Malaysian economy and Datuk Seri Abdullah’s reluctance to confront the powerful vested interest groups that profit from it.

The government’s missteps have also allowed the Opposition headed by former deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to seize the initiative with public sentiment building against the government.

If Malaysians were beginning to feel a tad sympathetic to the many challenges facing Abdullah’s government, last week’s fuel hike only served to bring to the fore concerns that dominated the public mood just before the early March national election – anger over the rising cost of living, the perception that the Barisan Nasional coalition government is insensitive to the plight of most Malaysians and widespread corruption in government.

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Perak ahead in “local” elections!

There are one good news and one bad news.

The good news is that Perak will have its village chief elections as early as next month (April). (full news below) So we are seeing something new after March 8. Unlike his counterparts elsewhere, the PAS Menteri Besar has no problems with more elections.

On this count, Mr Nizar has shown more democratic credential than the PKR Menteri Besar in Selangor which have similar vacancies to fill up. Not sure if the Penang CM, Kedah MB and Kelantan MB are in similar positions.

The bad news will come in the next post.

Election of Perak village chiefs to start next month

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2008/3/31/nation/20798883&sec=nation

 
BAGAN SERAI: The election of new village chiefs in Perak will start next month and not early next year following the end of their tenures on Dec 1.

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Elizabeth Wong: Don’t call me YB!

Two days ago, I have received an email from a reader:

“I do not know where to put up this suggestion. So, I write to you as I do not belong to any party.

The new MPs of the Opposition should from now on not be accepting titles such as -

Yang Berhormat for a start but should chagne it to Yang Berkhidmat or Yang Berkorban.

Secondly, they should not expect to receipt pangkats like – Datuk, Datuk Sri, Tan Sri, Tun Sri, Seri Paduka etc etc. These titles only make people BIG headed and make them think they are now bosses to be served and no longer representatives of the people.

Please if you can some how, convey my sentiment to Anwar Ibrahim. All politicians should be referred to as Mr. so and so or Ms. so and so.”

To her disappointment, I don’t have personal access to Anwar Ibrahim. Today, I find that her request has been answered.
The new state assemblywoman for Bukit Lanjan, Elizabeth Wong, posted this on her blog: “And don’t call me YB please“.

Eli Wong

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Ask free press from the new state governments!

Opposition always like to complain that the mainstream media black out their news.

Why don’t you have your newspapers then?

I am not joking. They could have done it for the past 18 years when they ruled Kelantan, Terengganu and Sabah. They can do it now in Kelantan, Kedah, Penang, Perak and Selangor.

What’s the way out?

While newspapers fall under item 21 in the Federal List in the Constitution, Section 25 (1) of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 says:

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Today, non-Malays determine whether Bumiputeraism will go

Contrary to the perception held by many that the non-Malays carry no weights in this country, they will determine the destiny of the country today.

We may bid farewell to Bumiputeraism after its entrenched existence for nearly four decades.

According to the “no pain (for BN), no gain (for voters)” logic that dictates BN’s rule, concession will be given to the community that make the loudest protest noise.

That’s why you had NEP after 1969 – in 1969, the Malay votes deserted UMNO to PAS by about 9 percentage points while the non-Malays’ support for the Alliance stayed put! Then PAS did not care to win non-Malays support, so UMNO could alienate the non-Malays at no electoral cost.

That’s why the BN repaid the Chinese support that saved UMNO from Reformasi Wave in 1999 with attacks on Suqiu in 2000 and the announcement of Islamic State in 2001. BN wanted to win back the Malay-Muslim ground. Thinking in the “zero-sum game” mentality, it thought bashing non-Malays would woo the Malays, the majority of whom however did not buy the divide-and-rule tactic anymore.

This time around, if the non-Malays swing heavily against the BN, it will have to wake up from its “right-track” dream. It will have to give what the non-Malays want, just like what it did in 1990 when the non-Malays voted massively for opposition. They did not get any retribution. Instead, they got partial liberalisation in education and culture policies, in the name of Wawasan 2020.

If 90% of the non-Malays vote against BN this time, it may end Bumiputeraism no matter how the Malays vote.

Why?

If the Malays support BN, BN will not have to worry about loosing Malay ground. It will therefore only be braver to make necessary concession to win back the non-Malay ground, without which BN’s governability will be threatened.

If the Malays vote against BN, BN will not read that as a protest vote to keep NEP. For it’s the Malay-based Opposition parties, Keadilan and PAS, that want an end to NEP. Keadilan’s call for National Economic Agenda and PAS’s call for Welfare State are but different ways of saying the same thing.

So, thanks to Keadilan and PAS, whichever direction Malays vote, they will not form the obstacle to the replacement of Bumiputeraism by some forms of welfare state.

The fate of Bumiputeraism will depends solely on the non-Malays.

A vote for MCA, Gerakan, MIC, PPP, SUPP, SAPP or LDP is a vote for Bumiputeraism.

By voting BN, a non-Malay tells BN that “Yes, we are indeed at the right track. We non-Malays want Bumiputeraism even though the Malays are abandoning it.”

Should Malaysians continue to be divided as Bumiputera and Non-Bumiputera? You decide.

(Read my analysis What this election will change in theSun today.)

On Elections – Do you want to see Najib/Khairy as the new PM in 2012 with 91% majority?

In 2004, Abdullah led BN to a great landslide with 91% of parliamentary seats – unprecedented for the ruling coalition since independence – with only 64% of votes.

Why? It’s not because of his popularity. BN under Mahathir in 1995 was more popular, but he only scored 84% of seats.

What was Abdullah’s secret?

The constituency re-delineation exercise in 2004. A combination of mal-apportionment (apportioning constituencies with unequal size of electorate) and gerrymandering (drawing constituency boundary to benefit particular parties) result in this grave seat-vote disproportionality in 2004:

1 vote for BN = 3 votes for DAP = 8 votes for PAS = 26 votes for Keadilan.

Two years from now, in 2010, EC can redelineate the constituency again. If you do not deny BN two-third at your state assembly, they will have their way.

What does that mean? In 2012/3, you may see Najib or Khairy win 91% as the new Prime Minister?

Think about the image of “Mat Rempit PM” before you vote.