Khoo Kay Peng
I read that Muhyiddin predicted PR may not last more than 2 years. Mahathir expected the PR to lose Selangor. A number of leaders from BN component parties are expecting the nascent coalition to crumble anytime soon. Leaders such as Khairy Jamaluddin are busy courting the Pan-Islamic Party (PAS) to join UMNO to unite the Malays.
What motivated their prediction? There were bickering in Kedah, Penang and Selangor. Over what? Pig’s abattoir, banning of beer in muslim majority areas, Kampung Buah Pala and other menial issues. Most of them opined that PAS and DAP cannot coexist due to their vast ideological difference.
For BN’s own survival, it is even more dangerous for the leaders NOT to acknowledge that their coalition faces even more daunting challenges e.g. lost of credibility, the death of Teoh Beng Hock in custody, racist media propaganda against non-Malays, Kampung Buah Pala, PKFZ, leadership crisis in almost all BN component parties, abuse of state machinery and public institutions, Perak power grab, corruption etc.
Many of these issues and controversies may not encourage the voters to support the BN coalition.
If the PR has two more years, how long does BN have?
So, what is the issue here? Is the issue Islam? Is the issue about eradicating sin? Is the issue about not allowing vice in Malay neighbourhoods? Is Umno outraged that beer is being sold in ‘Malay’ Shah Alam? What is really the issue?
Raja Petra Kamarudin
There is a controversy sweeping Selangor state. Well, actually there are many controversies sweeping the state. But this particular controversy I am talking about involves the matter of the confiscation of beer.
As explained by the EXCO Member in charge of local government, Ronnie Liu, the confiscation was a mistake, an error of judgment of sorts, and the beer was ultimately returned to the owner the same day with an apology attached.
Furthermore, explained Ronnie, you need a licence to sell liquor. But beer does not come under the classification of liquor. So you do not need a licence to sell beer and therefore the government can’t confiscate beer even if the premises that is selling it does not have a liquor licence. This is not the law that Pakatan Rakyat made. This is the law that the Barisan Nasional government made.
But Umno is not about to allow the matter to end there. They want to organise a protest demonstration and they demand that PAS join them in this demonstration as proof that the Islamic party is committed to its Islamic agenda. Basically, Umno wants to pressure the Pakatan Rakyat state government into reversing its policy on ‘allowing’ beer to be sold in Selangor and it wants PAS to unite with Umno in propagating this stand.
The impression being created is that Umno is opposed to beer being sold in Selangor. But only today is it opposed to the sale of beer. For 51 years, when Selangor was under Umno, it was not opposed to the sale of beer. It is only opposed to the sale of beer now that it no longer rules the state.
Hasan Ali, the man behind the secret talks with Umno soon after the 8 March 2008 general election, has of course jumped onto the bandwagon in ‘defence’ of Islam. He wants Selangor to ban the sale of liquor and beer in the state, or at least in Malay-majority neighbourhoods or townships like Shah Alam.
That is all well and fine. I am certainly in support of eradicating immoral activities. And I will support not only Muslims but also Jews, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists and whatnot to see this happen.
But this is not what is behind the brouhaha. The issue is not about eradicating vice. It is about trying to embarrass the Pakatan Rakyat state government and in the same process create a rift between PAS and its other partners, DAP and PKR.
First of all, how would we define Malay-majority townships? What percentage of the population would have to be Malay before it is classified as Malay-majority neighbourhoods or townships? Malays make up about 51% of the population of Selangor. So would that particular neighbourhood or township have to have at least a 90% population to be classified as Malay-majority? Or is 70% a more realistic percentage since it would be almost impossible to find a township with a 90% Malay-majority population?
TO READ MORE : http://mt.m2day.org/2008/content/view/25592/84/
By Wong Choon Mei
The family of DAP politicaL aide Teoh Beng Hock has asked to meet Prime Minister Najib Razak to express their unhappiness over his “neither here nor there” proposals to investigate their son’s suspicious death after a marathon interrogation by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.
“We hope the Prime Minister will not wait until the findings of the probes are completed before seeing us,” sister Lee Lan said on behalf of their parents on Thursday.
“If he is unable to visit us before that, then we are willing to see him personally in Putrajaya and ask him to change his decision and form a single commission instead.”
Najib had a day ago announced the formation of a much-awaited Royal Commission of Inquiry. He also said he would personally inform the family of the outcome of investigations.
But instead of tasking the high-level panel to investigate what caused Beng Hock’s controversial death, the PM said the RCI would only focus on the MACC’s standard operational procedures for interrogation.
An inquest would be separately conducted by a magistrate to investigate the cause of his death.
The PM’s announcements caught the nation by surprise and has drawn sharp rebuke from both opposition politicians and civil society leaders.
Even Beng Hock’s family harbors doubts. They expressed their disappointment and questioned the government’s sincerity to get to the bottom of their son’s death without bias or trying to cover up for the MACC.
“We were elated when we first got the news but then later felt disappointed when it became clear that the Royal Commission would only investigate MACC’s procedures while the inquest would be carried out to probe my brother’s death,” Lee Lan told a press conference.
“This is not what the family wanted as we had made our request known to several ministers including Najib’s political secretary when they visited us last week.”
The family had thanked Najib when initially informed of the move on Wednesday although they did not yet have the full details.
Sadly, he has not fulfilled their trust in him and the family now wants his assurance that Beng Hock will get the justice he is entitled to.
“We understand how they feel and will stand by their decision to reject the government’s proposal,” said PKR strategic affairs director Tian Chua.
“We hope the Prime Minister will heed their call and broaden the terms of reference for the RCI. Najib should not try to escape his responsibility. That would be totally unacceptable.”
Consultation with civil society vital for independent probe
The 30-year old Teoh was found dead on the 5th floor podium of an adjoining building to the MACC headquarters in Shah Alam, Selangor at 1.30pm on July 16.
He was called in on July 15 for questioning as witness in a probe over alleged misuse of state funds by his boss, Seri Kembangan assemblyman Ean Yong.
But there is huge politicking behind the scenes and it is an open secret that Selangor Umno – which Najib heads – has been trying hard to destabilise the Pakatan Rakyat state government through all ways and means.
Weeks before Beng Hock died, the MACC piled pressure on seven Chinese Pakatan assemblymen including Ean by raiding their service centres and questioning their aides and associates.
Kajang municipal councillor Tan Boon Hwa, who had supplied RM2,400 worth of flags to Ean, was also interrogated at around the same time as Beng Hock.
Tan has since blown the whistle on the MACC’s interrogating methods which he said included torture to force false confessions from witnesses. He has filed a lawsuit against the agency for illegal detention and for trying to extract a false statement from him to implicate Ean in corrupt activities.
His revelations sparked a huge uproar, forcing Najib to conduct a more thorough probe. The authorities had initially said Teoh had apparently “jumped” while the police were quick to deny foul play.
However, latest clues including the discovery of Beng Hock’s missing handphone have bolstered postulations that foul play was indeed involved in his death. The seat of his pants and his shoes were also badly torn when his body was found.
Civil society leaders have also urged Najib to consult the public before broadening and setting the terms of reference for the RCI.
This was to ensure that the Inquiry would be independent and that vested interests with the MACC and the government itself would not be able to mislead the direction and scope of investigation so as to deflect attention from areas they wished to keep under wraps.
“I hope the government will take into account the deep and wide concerns of the people. There is still time to review and expand the terms of reference before members of the commission are appointed. Let this opportunity be seized,” said Ramon Navaratnam, chairman of the MACC panel for prevention of corruption and consultation.
“In drawing up the terms of reference for any public commission, it is always better to consult people from outside and who are concerned with the future of the country because sometimes if done in-house, there can be unhealthy inbreeding.”
THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
Flanked by Pakatan Rakyat leaders, Soh Cher Wei addresses the crowd. – Picture by Choo Choy May
By Debra Chong
KUALA LUMPUR, July 24 – Teoh Beng Hock’s fiancee Soh Cher Wei, two months pregnant, stepped on the stage at the KL and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall last night, looking pale but bright eyed.
The crowd packed into the hall leapt to their feet and gave her a standing ovation.
Surrounded by Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders on both sides, the 28-year-old looked straight out at the crowd and spoke, in Mandarin, steadily and clearly: “I can do nothing more for Teoh Beng Hock but I’ll take care of his child. Thank you.”
Soh stepped off the stage, head held high, followed by the crowd’s thunderous applause in support of the steadfast school teacher.
By the stage, roses and chrysanthemums were beginning to droop in the heat. Their delicate petals – white and yellow – bruised easily, releasing a sweet, heavy, heady perfume that also smelled a little sickly with the thousands that thronged the hall here last night in memory of Teoh, the DAP political aide who was found dead last week outside the national anti-graft body’s office.
Many who came did not seem to know Teoh personally. When asked, they shook their heads, no.
Why did they come? They came to show they were angry, said those who wore something black – shirts, tee-shirts, blouses, pants, a headscarf.
Because they were sad, said those who dressed in other colours. They came because there were so many questions unanswered.
How could a 30-year-old man who was going to get married die suddenly? Why was he held for so many hours for questioning? Why is the “go’men” always doing this?
Before Teoh’s fiancee took the stage, the master of ceremonies also read out a personal letter she had first dedicated to her dead husband-to-be at his funeral, promising to marry him even if they were now living in separate worlds.
The crowd had earlier listened to the impassioned speeches of the politicians blaming the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) government.
Many stood up and pumped their fists in agreement, especially when veteran politician Lim Kit Siang called on them to stand up and let the media photographers snap their pictures protesting the Cabinet’s move to hold separately investigations into Teoh’s death and into the way the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) interrogated him.
Lim had earlier mocked the Cabinet decision on Wednesday to let a magistrate’s court carry out an inquest instead of getting the royal commission of inquiry, which they had also agreed to set up soon, to handle everything, from Teoh’s death to possible procedural abuses by the MACC.
He noted that if the people had no confidence in high court judges and federal judges, what more magistrates under pressure from the BN government?
“They are asking for the moon!” he cried, referring to the Cabinet members.
“We must dare to be sad and dare to be angry,” the DAP parliamentary leader said.
“But we must translate our sorrow and anger into People’s Power,” he added.
“Then at the next elections, these people who refuse to listen to the voice of the people to set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the death of Teoh Beng Hock will descend into the dustbin of history!” he concluded.
As one, the crowd roared their approval.
An enlightening article by By Dr. Azmi Sharom.
“Yet, if one were to examine the Constitution as a whole and if one were to also study the history behind this seeming paradox, then what can be discovered is that at the heart of this “supreme law” of the country, and arguably at the heart of the founding fathers of the nation, lay a desire to create a pluralistic and equal society.”
“The question that lies before us is where did it all go wrong, and is there any possibility of repairing the damage done?”
Malaysia Today –
In 1835 Malays made up nearly 90% of Malaya’s population. In 1947 this number was closer to 50%. Therefore during a time when Malayan political consciousness was awakening (the 1946 British introduction of the Malayan Union which effectively placed the entire peninsular under direct British rule galvanised what can be described as the Malayan left and the forefathers of the current ruling elite), it could hardly be described as homogenous.
The 1957 Federal Constitution of Malaya reflected this change in the personality of the country. It was and is a strange creature that combines liberal democratic ideals and what can only be described as racially based preferential treatment. It also has elements of religiosity (the establishment of the scripture based Islamic law as the personal law for Muslims for example) which appear to contradict Article 4 of the constitution which reads:
“This Constitution is the supreme law of the Federation and any law passed after Merdeka Day which is inconsistent with this Constitution shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void”
Race and religion litter the document in a way that scream “different treatment for different people”; a situation, which a mere 12 years after the excesses of Nazi Germany and nine years after the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (a United Nations document which Malaysia as a prospective new member would have to respect) would seem out of place with the growing zeitgeist of the time. However, considering the socio political situation at the time, with an indigenous population feeling overwhelmed both in numbers and in economic disparity, the nature of the constitution can be accepted as an understandable compromise.
Yet, if one were to examine the Constitution as a whole and if one were to also study the history behind this seeming paradox, then what can be discovered is that at the heart of this “supreme law” of the country, and arguably at the heart of the founding fathers of the nation, lay a desire to create a pluralistic and equal society.
The question that lies before us is where did it all go wrong, and is there any possibility of repairing the damage done?
This paper will examine the issue on two main grounds that the author believes lie at the crux of the problem facing plurality in Malaysia, race and religion.
Article 3 of the constitution reads:
“Islam is the religion of the Federation; but other religions may be practiced in peace and harmony in any part of the Federation”
Does this phrase mean that Malaya was to be an Islamic state? The answer is clearly in the negative for two main reasons. Firstly one has to look to the Reid Commission Report and it states that the Alliance (this were the three political parties that made up the Malayan government at the time, the United Malay National Organisation, the Malayan Indian Congress and the Malayan Chinese Association, UMNO, MIC and MCA respectively) upon examining the draft constitution had this to say:
“The observance of this principle…shall not imply that the State is not a secular state” [Report of the Federation of Malaya Constitutional Commission page 73].
It is very clear therefore that Malaya was not to be an Islamic state. This is not an assertion made by the Reid Commission, it is an assertion made by the very people who were to become the government of the newly independent nation. This statement combined with Article 4 which places all laws in the country under the overarching principles of the Constitution means that to claim Malaya was meant to be theocratic in any way is disingenuous.
The contention that Malaya is a secular country is further strengthened by the decision of the Supreme Court (the highest court in the land – now known as the Federal Court) in the case of Che Omar Che Soh  where it was held that secular law governed the nation and Islamic law was confined only to the personal law of Muslims. Article 3 was taken to mean that as far as official ceremonial matters are concerned Islamic form and rituals are to be used.
With regard to religious freedom Article 11 is explicit: “Every person has the right to profess and practice his religion and subject to clause 4 to propagate it”. Clause 4 allows the state governments (and the federal government in the case of the federal territories) to control the propagation of religion to Muslims. This is not limited to non Muslim propagation to Muslims; it includes Muslim to Muslim propagation as well.
Harding suggests that “…the restriction of proselytism has more to do with the preservation of public order than with religious priority” [Law, Government and the Constitution in Malaysia page 201]. He argues that even states like Penang which does not have Islam as its official religion has laws regarding propagating religion to Muslims therefore there can’t be an assumption that Islam is deemed superior in some way. If we were to work on this premise, then it would appear that this limitation, as restrictive as it is, does not actually stop individuals of any faith from choosing their religion.
This can be seen in the Supreme Court decision of Minister of Home Affairs v Jamaluddin Othman . In this case a Muslim convert was detained under the Internal Security Act. It was held that such a detention has to be made for the purpose of national security. The conversion of this individual does not breach national security and furthermore his detention was in breach of his freedom to choose his religion as enshrined in Article 11. Thus, although the propagation of religion to Muslims is restricted, their freedom to choose their religion would appear to be not.
THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
Anwar addressing the crowd in Sungai Besar last night. — Pictures by Choo Choy MayBy Adib Zalkapli
SABAK BERNAM, July 22 — In an attempt to stop certain quarters from turning the death of Teoh Beng Hock into a racial issue, opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim likened it to his black eye incident.
The former deputy prime minister was arrested soon after he was sacked in 1998 and was assaulted while in police custody by the then Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Rahim Noor, resulting in a black eye.
“I was beaten up to a pulp, but thank God I was rescued, but some people died in custody,” said Anwar to some 3,000 people at a public rally in Sungai Besar, near here.
The rally, held near the Selangor-Perak border, appeared to be an attempt by the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) to mobilise the Malays to support the coalition in pressuring the government to form a Royal Commission of Inquiry to investigate Teoh’s death.
Anwar told the largely Malay crowd that it was hard for him to accept the outcome of police investigations.
“Our ministers said do not politicise the issue, let the investigations be completed, but who is going to investigate? Musa Hassan?” said Anwar.
“Last time they said, ‘Anwar was safe and sound’,” he added, referring to Rahim’s remark soon after his arrest 11 years ago.
Pakatan has been accused of undermining Malay institutions by Umno-controlled newspapers because of their criticism of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) over Teoh’s death.
Four Things Najib can do on Teoh’s 7th Day
by Wong Chin Huat
Teoh Beng Hock does not need flowers from PM Datuk Seri Najib Razak, note attached in Chinese: “Heaven envies talent”. Don’t blame Heaven for his death. Some earthly beings have caused his death after a torturous 11-hour interrogation.
Teoh’s death is anything but an “act of god”. It is neither natural nor purely accidental. He died after a lengthy interrogation without his counsel present. This is an established fact now, which needs no any commission or panel to verify.
It is unlikely that the MACC officers did not find out during the marathon interrogation that Teoh was to tie the knot with his fiancée the very next day. Yet, they kept drilling the bridegroom-to-be from 5 pm to 3.45 am.
MACC chief Ahmad Said had the guts to disown responsibility for Teoh’s untimely death even before the body was buried. Whatever you say about it, however you spin it, no official denial, no fanning of ethnic sentiments, and no white-wash can wipe off the anger and grief most Malaysians feel for his family, his fiancée and their first child she now carries.
Read More :
My CSI findings I (drrafick)
1. The following writing is done based on assessment of various images and writings on the mainstream media (MSM) as well as the online media. I am trying to understand the tragedy that took place at Plaza Masalam. It would be great if I have access to MACC office and location where the body was found but without such access, readers can expect some gross margin of error in my writing. Do let me know what the errors are so that we can come to a clear conclusion on what transpired.
2. It was reported that Teoh Beng Hock (TBH) was supposedly to register his marriage on the 16th July 2009 at the registrar of marriage. He was already married (via traditional marriage ceremony) and his wife is pregnant. Is there a problem at home that is so gravely torturing that would force TBH to take his own life? My reading so far showed that there is no grave problem at the home front.
CONTINUE READING :
My CSI findings II (drrafick)
1. After the release of the first part of my investigative findings on TBH death which is based on the information in public the domain, it appears that what I have been postulating so far seems to fall into place. With the trickling information from Selangor Police Chief and other readers, I believe we (me and my blog readers) would probably solve the first part of the mystery ahead of the police revelation.
2. I believe we are the first to postulate that TBH actually fell from height (possibly the MACC office) and first to highlight the relevancy of the torn pants on the motionless body and the possibility that the pants was caught in the window latch that leads it to a big tear.
CONTINUE READING :
My CSI Findings Part III (drrafick)
1. After the first two write ups and further reading and observation of the various statements by several individuals in the media, I believe the police findings may not vary very much with what I have wrote. The IGP press statement after meeting Najib at KLIA indicated that the investigation is almost complete and they are expected to submit their report to the AG Chambers very soon.
2. The conclusion of the last 2 days of internet research and photographic evaluation has led us to the following conclusion.
CONTINUE READING :
So the heat was on. Friday was the dateline. They wanted Tan Sri Khalid and his team arrested that same day. And they would have to use force if necessary to get Teoh to say what the MACC wanted him to say to meet this dateline.
NO HOLDS BARRED
Raja Petra Kamarudin
Some of you may think that the MACC Downfall Parody video is in bad taste. I mean, how can we make fun of Teoh Beng Hock’s death when we should instead be mourning him? Yes, it was a hard decision to make as to whether to publish that video or not. But we decided to do it anyway not with intent to make fun of Teoh’s death but to reveal the real circumstances behind his death. And the video best describes the events behind what really happened.
Many months ago, soon after Perak fell, Malaysia Today had revealed the plan to bring down the Pakatan Rakyat state governments of Selangor, Penang and Kedah. Unfortunately, instead of taking corrective measures by strengthening their defences against the onslaught, Pakatan Rakyat became embroiled in inter-party and intra-party bickering. And most of the bickering was about petty and personal issues involving personalities and egos.
Perak was supposed to be the beginning. Selangor, Penang and Kedah were supposed to follow suit. In time, all the states under Pakatan Rakyat, save Kelantan, would be back in the hands of Barisan Nasional.
The Selangor plan was simple. The Menteri Besar, Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, and a few of the Selangor State EXCO Members would be arrested for corruption. They would be held a day or so in the lockup and then dragged to court to be charged. The trial would be speedy so that their resignations or disqualifications would come fast. And that would be the end of the Pakatan Rakyat Selangor government.
The modus operandi would be the same as what they did to Anwar Ibrahim in 1998. One need not actually receive money or benefit financially for it to be regarded as corruption. Even if your office is used in what could be perceived as an abuse of power or you personally instruct someone to ‘do something’ — even if it does not involve money or financial gain — that too would be considered corruption and you can be sent to jail.
So the MACC was instructed to build a case against various people in the Pakatan Rakyat Selangor government, from the Menteri Besar down to his team of EXCO Members. And to implicate these people in corruption the junior officers would be hauled in and forced to make statements that their bosses instructed them to ‘do certain things’. This would be the ‘evidence’ they use to arrest and charge the Pakatan Rakyat leaders.
We must remember, Anwar Ibrahim was arrested, charged, put on trial, pronounced guilty, and sent to jail for six years in exactly the same manner. All they needed to do was to get the Special Branch to ‘reveal’ that Anwar had instructed them to ‘interfere’ in a police investigation. And that was strong enough evidence to send Anwar to jail.
This whole thing came out in Anwar’s trial back in 1998 although many did not understand the implications at that time. The Special Branch officers testified that Anwar had summoned them to his office. And in Anwar’s office they engaged in a conversation. And the conversation involved Anwar asking the Special Branch to help force the witness, Azizan Abu Bakar, to retract his allegation of sodomy.
Azmin Ali, Anwar’s political secretary at that time, testified that Anwar did not summon the Special Branch officers to his office. They had in fact come to Anwar’s office with a request to meet Anwar. Azmin told them that Anwar is busy and would not be able to meet them. But they told Azmin it is important that they meet Anwar and insisted that they be allowed to meet him.
And when they met Anwar they tried to persuade him to give them permission to arrest Azizan so that they could interrogate him and find out who are the ‘forces’ behind the allegation of sodomy. But Anwar was reluctant to allow them to do that and told them he would have to think about it first.
Anwar then went to meet Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to seek his advice. Mahathir advised Anwar to just ignore the allegation. Mahathir said if he acted on every allegation made against him he would have no time to do any other work.
The Special Branch officers came to meet Anwar again and Anwar told them what Mahathir had said. The Special Branch officers, however, insisted that Anwar allow them to arrest Azizan. This matter involves national security, they said. It is not about Anwar. It is about ‘certain forces’ plotting the downfall of the Deputy Prime Minister and it is important that the police find out who they are for the sake of the nation’s security.
Finally Anwar had no choice but to say yes.
The issue is simple. Did Anwar summon the Special Branch officers to his office or was it they who came to see Anwar? And was it Anwar who wanted them to arrest Azizan or was it the Special Branch who sought permission to arrest Azizan?
Anwar and Azmin said it was the Special Branch officers who came to Anwar’s office and it was they who insisted that they meet Anwar. Anwar did not summon them to his office. And Anwar did not agree for them to arrest Azizan. It was the Special Branch that insisted Anwar allow them to arrest Azizan. But before they could do that Anwar would first have to make a police report.
The court accepted the Special Branch’s version of the story rather than Anwar’s and Azmin’s although during the trial the Special Branch officers testified that they were prepared to lie while on the stand if ordered to do so. Nevertheless, Anwar was found guilty and was sent to jail.
So it is not difficult to send someone to jail for corruption. All you need to do is to get someone to testify that someone instructed him or her to ‘do something’. And if that ‘something’ is considered an abuse of power then you go to jail.
The MACC wanted Teoh to say that he too was ordered to ‘do something’ by those in the Pakatan Rakyat Selangor state government. If he says that then the MACC would have a case against the Pakatan Rakyat leaders. And they wanted the whole thing done fast. It must be settled by Friday because that was the day they wanted to arrest Tan Sri Khalid and a few of his EXCO Members.
So the heat was on. Friday was the dateline. They wanted Tan Sri Khalid and his team arrested that same day. And they would have to use force if necessary to get Teoh to say what the MACC wanted him to say to meet this dateline.
And in their eagerness to get Teoh to talk they killed him. So the crucial witness was now dead. And they could not arrest Tan Sri Khalid and his team of EXCO Members on Friday as planned after all.
So it is back to the drawing board. They will now need new ‘witnesses’. Other junior officers in the Pakatan Rakyat state government would need to be hauled in as ‘witnesses’ and would have to be made to testify under force that they had been instructed to ‘do certain things’ by ‘certain people’. Then these ‘certain people’ can be arrested and charged for corruption. And only then will the Pakatan Rakyat Selangor state government fall as planned.
Yes, watch the MACC Downfall Parody video again. There is many a truth in that parody. The video may appear funny. It may look like it is meant as a joke. But it is not at all humorous in what they did to Teoh in their effort to bring down the Pakatan Rakyat Selangor state government.
THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
JULY 20 — Whatever support Datuk Seri Najib Razak managed to gain for himself with his recent attempts at reforms has now gone out the window along with Teoh Beng Hock.
Teoh, the political secretary to Selangor DAP exco member Ean Yong Hian Wah, was found dead on a neighbouring rooftop below the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s building in Shah Alam on July 16. According to reports, he had endured 10 hours of questioning by the MACC throughout the previous night.
Later that afternoon, his body was discovered on the roof of the adjacent building. The police have quickly announced that there is no evidence of foul play.
Teoh was apparently not even a suspect in the MACC’s fervent operation recently launched against Selangor state assemblymen belonging to the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) coalition. What makes his death more painfully tragic is that Teoh’s fiancée is pregnant, and the couple was scheduled to register his marriage the following day.
Given the lack of public confidence in the police, the anti-corruption apparatus and the federal government itself, calls for a thorough investigation by an independent commission into the case can be expected for a long time to come.
When the anger and sadness that this incident is generating subsides, the fingers of blame cannot but point beyond the MACC officers involved, and at Najib himself. He will be called upon to clarify why his party and coalition should not bear the responsibility for failing to reform the police and the anti-corruption authorities from the bottom up, as recommended by an endless number of experts.
The suspicion will grow that the federal government under Najib — judging from the mix of tactical reforms and sly politicking — does not appreciate how badly compromised the federal apparatus actually is. Despite continuous defeats at the polls, his administration has continued to treat the success of the opposition as if it were the result of clever tactics on the part of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and his allies, and not as a public outcry for clean and reliable government.
Criticism that his recent reforms are cosmetic and more tactical than sincere will continue to grow. Given the difficult times that the Pakatan Rakyat has had in recent weeks, Teoh’s death provides renewed focus for its disheartened supporters.
Unlike the few recent cases of deaths under police custody, this one at the Selangor MACC headquarters involves a young man known for his political engagement. His demise therefore carries great political implications, and will be a milestone in the nation’s painful history that future students of Malaysia will have to commit to memory for their exams.
It is a tipping point. “Remember Teo Beng Hock” will be a battle cry for a long time to come.
The ball has now landed squarely in Najib’s court. If he is serious about reforming Malaysia beyond foreign investment regulations and quota changes, he now has his chance of putting partisanship aside, seizing the moment, and acting as a national leader who realises how vital the integrity and professionalism of its investigative authorities are.
Teoh’s death is too big to be swept under the carpet, and will continue to arouse anger unless properly investigated. And even then, strong demands for some decisive action on the government’s part to make sure that no such thing will happen again are to be expected.
Needless to say, the many young activists who have arisen since the Reformasi movement started in 1998 will sympathise at a personal level with Teoh’s family. As long as the case is not openly cleared up, the misgiving will remain strong that it could have been any one of them who might have suffered — or may suffer — an end similar to Teoh’s.
Just a day before Teoh died, the ruling Barisan Nasional was asserting that the narrow margin of 65 votes with which it lost to PR in the Manek Urai by-election showed that the pendulum that had been swinging in PR’s favour for two years was now going the other way.
Indeed, Najib’s popularity had risen sharply according to a recent survey done by the Merdeka Center. Teoh’s death sends a reminder to voters that the police and the anti-corruption body are in pressing need of serious reforming. For PR supporters, their resolve to work for a change of federal government will be strengthened.
What one must conclude from this incident is that Najib’s chosen course of reform avoids his major challenge, which is to restore the credibility of the police, the judiciary and the anti-corruption apparatus.
As long as he sidesteps this duty, his other attempts at change will not be taken seriously. Indeed, even his allies within BN are feeling a greater need to put pressure publicly on Najib.
For starters, it would be wise of Najib to call off MACC’s blatant campaign against the Selangor government.
The writer is a fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. His latest book is “Arrested Reform: The Undoing of Abdullah Badawi” (Refsa).