A television channel reported that officials with the Drug Enforcement Administration were at Dr Conrad Murray’s clinic in north Houston.
Video footage showed two Houston police officers guarding the front door.
Murray was Michael Jackson’s personal physician, and was with Jackson when he died.
Murray, who is based in Las Vegas and is licensed in California, Nevada and Texas, has been interviewed by police but he has not been considered a suspect in the singer’s death.
Meanwhile, investigators in California are also seeking more information from Murray, according to his attorney, Edward Chernoff.
The attorney posted a statement on his law firm’s website late on Tuesday saying investigators from the Los Angeles County coroner’s office have asked for medical records in addition to those already provided by Murray.
“The coroner wants to clear up the cause of death; we share that goal”, Chernoff said in his statement.
“Based on Dr Murray’s minute-by-minute and item-by-item description of Michael Jackson’s last days, he should not be a target of criminal charges.”
Murray has emerged as a central figure in the investigation into Jackson’s death.
The doctor, who had been recently hired by Jackson, was with him in his mansion and tried to revive him.
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.”
On 3-4 June 1989, hundreds – possibly thousands – of Chinese protesters were killed when their call for democracy on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square was brutally crushed.
Here some of the people affected by the massacre describe their experience to the BBC in video and text.
OFFICIAL | BAO TONG
Bao Tong was a senior Communist Party official with a reformist agenda. He was arrested shortly before the Tiananmen crackdown, and remains under house arrest.
STUDENT LEADER | WU’ER KAIXI
Protest organiser Wu’er Kaixi fled China following the demonstration, and remains a political commentator and democracy activist.
MOTHER | DING ZILIN
Ding Zilin is one of hundreds of parents whose children were killed in the Tiananmen massacre.
WORKER | HAN DONGFANG
Han Dongfang, a railway worker, became the spokesman for China’s first autonomous workers’ union, set up in the square on 19 May 1989.
PHOTOGRAPHER | JEFF WIDENER
Jeff Widener took the image of the lone Tiananmen protester who stood in front of a convoy of tanks – probably the most iconic image of the crackdown.
LOCAL RESIDENT| ANONYMOUS
This eyewitness was in Beijing throughout the protests and saw many injured people. He is still afraid of speaking out about what he saw.
China’s unofficial leader at the time, Deng Xiaoping, said the crackdown was necessary because the government was dealing with “a number of rebels” and people who were “the dregs of society”. Click here to read a speech he made shortly after the massacre, explaining the government’s actions.
Published: 26 May 2009
Even after declaring victory in Sri Lanka’s 26-year civil war, the country’s leaders seem unable to distinguish between the enemy — the brutal but apparently vanquished Tamil Tiger separatists — and innocent bystanders. Despite appeals from Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations secretary general, and from others, the government has not given international aid organizations full access to government-run camps, where an estimated 280,000 civilians are said to be in desperate need of food, water and medical care.
The Tamil Tigers have a history of using civilians as human shields and the government claims it must screen out rebels hiding in the camps. But aid workers suspect other motives, including a desire to deny access to witnesses who may have seen abuses by government forces. In the last months of the fighting, President Mahinda Rajapaksa callously rejected international pleas for a cease-fire to let civilians escape the war zone, while his troops shelled the area.
We support the call by Navi Pillay, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, for an international investigation into possible war crimes committed by both sides. The United Nations Human Rights Council is debating the issue this week in Geneva.
After killing most of the rebels, including the Tigers’ ruthless leader, the government is now offering reconciliation with the Tamil minority. We hope this is more than just lip service.
It must be prepared to forge a political settlement that gives Tamil civilians, who make up about 12 percent of the population, more autonomy in provinces where historically they have lived. It must also end all abuses, including restrictions on movement, and politically motivated killings. And it must work swiftly to resettle civilians back in their villages.
The government has asked for international help to rebuild. Foreign donors should make clear that any support is dependent on an agreement to open up the camps to international aid workers.
Some experts fear that President Rajapaksa and his government view all Tamils — long oppressed by the Sinhalese majority — as supporters of the Tigers. Most were driven to the guerrillas as a desperation move after decades of abuse. Until the government treats all of its citizens fairly, there is no chance for the peace that President Rajapaksa has promised his country.
FROM ARJUNPUR’S BLOG
NEVER SAY TAJ MAHAL IS A TOMB – SAYS BBC
One of my old colleagues, Sudarshan Bharatiya sent me a mail today on Taj Mahal. Indeed, it was an interesting revelation and the pictures with the text made it much more worth to save and share the mail.
IS HISTORY JUSTIFIED??? ??
BBC says about Taj Mahal — Hidden Truth – Never say it is a Tomb.
TO READ FURTHER THIS AMAZING REVELATION GO TO :
Chennai, 21 May (Asiantribune.com): The endless rumor mills keep churning that the death of the LTTE supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran, is not true. Whereas the Sri Lankan army placed on record through internationally broadcast images of his body. His whereabouts is still a big question mark for many in Tamil Nadu. Many kinds of theory is being floated here. If two meet or call on phones, this first question being asked: is it true that Prabhakaran is killed?
Tamilnet.com, which prides itself in reporting to the world on Tamil affairs on the Internet, is still on a denial mode, “rejecting Colombo’s claim of the killing of LTTE leader V. Pirapaharan (which is how Jaffna Tamils spell and pronounce his name) and assuring his safety and well-being.”
Even the pro-LTTE leaders in Tamil Nadu are yet to come out with an eulogy on Prabhakaran. The TN Chief Minister Karunanidhi has also not come out with his ode on Prabhakaran. He had penned one on Tamilselvan, close aide of Prabhakaran when he died during an army attack. “The news is not confirmed. I have nothing to say on this issue,” he said in New Delhi on Tuesday.
The Sri Lankan Tamils Protection Movement (SLTPM) convener Pazha. Nedumaran said it was a Sri Lankan lie. “LTTE chief Prabhakaran is not killed. There is no truth in the pictures released by the Sri Lankan Army,” he added.
He also said the SLTPM would organize the pro-Eelam rally, in a big way, on May 21, Thursday, as announced earlier. When asked to clarify on the visuals of Prabhakaran’s body, released by the Sri Lankan Army he denied the reports on the death of LTTE chief Prabhakaran.
The MDMK leader Vaiko on Tuesday appealed to his party cadres not to pay heed to any of the rumors on LTTE chief Prabahakaran. In a statement issued in Chennai he said LTTE leader Prabhakaran is very much alive.
“Our MDMK cadre Prakasam in Cuddalore has tried to immolate himself. It is my request to my party men, please don’t believe the news broadcasted and published by the media. LTTE leader Prabhakaran is alive,” he said in the statement.
The PMK leader S.Ramadoss said yesterday that Prabhakaran was still alive. “But Chief Minister Karunanidhi would be shocked to know this,” said.
The LTTE’s international relations head Selvarasa Pathmanathan said that the LTTE supremo was still alive. “Our beloved leader is alive and safe. He will continue to lead the quest for dignity and freedom of the Tamil people.”
BBC also raised the possibility of a look-alike double being shown in TV clippings.
CBI enquiry on fact-finding mission
What people feel here is if the pro-LTTE leaders can say so emphatically that Prabhakaran is still alive, why not the Central government institute a CBI enquiry to find the truth of the matter, and ask the leaders to divulge information known to them. So that the true information is available to all.
The two envoys the Central government has sent today to Colombo— National security Advisor M.K.Narayanan and Foreign secretary Shivshankar Menon– should besides taking up issues like devolution of powers to Tamils in the island and their immediate rehabilitation, also try to settle the dust on the rumor mills.
-Asian Tribune –
THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
KUALA LUMPUR, May 13 — I’ve spent many of my formative years being told why my life in this country has been shaped by May 13. And today will be its 40th anniversary.
Seventy per cent of the country at least will not have a living memory of it, and those who do have only the bits from their personal experiences. The rest of us have to do with what our parents tell us.
For my parents, it was grabbing my toddler brother and taking their Vespa back to the Sungai Besi camp, where they resided. My dad was not asked to participate in the military’s role in bringing law and order back to KL as, according to him, “all non-Malays were asked not to”. What that means, and if that is true, is all up to who you talk to, and how they feel about the event.
So Malaysia’s race policy, and we are one of the few countries in the world to have an explicit race policy for almost every facet of our daily lives, has been based on a series of events that most Malaysians don’t have an objective knowledge of.
Juxtapose it with America. The civil war tore through the heart of the union, and in many senses underlined fundamental differences. The south was not willing to give up its past, and the present is always about looking back to that period through different lenses. However, a large portion of the facts are known, even if the motives, purpose and harm never quantified.
The south attacked Fort Sumter in April 1861, and the various battles saw high attrition rates on both sides. To some, Abraham Lincoln is the seal of the union, or a man who ended state rights.
Some are facts, and some need a little interpretation, and the debate goes on.
Malaysia’s defining moment had no facts disclosed, and little to interpret, with debate on it disallowed.
So why are we surprised that we are such a dysfunctional nation?
An expatriate pointed to me last week that he had never seen a country so openly racist. I think he was referring to all of us, not any particular race.
People here can make summary judgments on people just based on colour and background.
As an Indian, I can be a well-educated and cultured person from Sri Lankan Tamil stock, all with English education and civil service experience. Or I am the child of general workers, with an odd way of speaking Malay, bereft of good English and looking always for things to steal.
Trust a snake more than me, they’ll say — especially if you ask Perak executive councillor Hamidah Osman from Umno.
The diversity forced by a globalised world has allowed for more categories, but categories still.
What is this event, May 13, then to me, or any of my countrymen?
If the argument is murder, pillaging and violence are repugnant, the argument is well made.
But you don’t need a specific act of violence to rationalise the dangers of mob violence.
Then the idea would be about social redistribution. No one when financially oppressed is a stable member of society.
True, a man with a great need for a means of life is on the edge. Victor Hugo’s Jean Valjean stole to feed his dying family, and lived a life to explain himself.
Unemployed thousands in KL would be more likely to grab your handbags and run because being caught is less of an issue than going poor.
But the principle of alleviating all men from the burden of penury is synonymous with all noble intents to build a society of equals. It is not predicated on one group being needy. The needy are a group of people with only one commonality, a lack of things.
That is how you recognise them.
Single mothers in this country are needy. Many of them Malay. Giving their husbands handy contracts will not improve the lives of the children they had, for instance. And neither is it OK to give state support to the widow of a millionaire.
It is weird, to say the least, that generations of Malaysians have always been reminded of May 13, with absolutely no opportunity to talk about it, or exchange ideas pertaining to it with their teachers.
I am sure it is not fun, fun, fun talking about the civil rights movement in the old south, in Birmingham, where they beat blacks wholesale. Being that 12-year-old white kid talking and discussing the brutality of white policemen on their black brethren. That today’s police would be black and white. That every time a black person is killed by a police bullet, race is the theme.
No period of pain will be easy to pass, but without talking about it, how do you pass it?
Umno has an infallibility complex. Therefore it cannot talk about its past without having the precondition of having a monopoly over truth, or writing that truth.
So in some ways, this country cannot move forward with Umno at the helm.
When hate fills the hearts of men, only one voice speaks for them, the language of destruction. It takes a life of its own. It does not define society, it merely explains its frailties.
Societies do not become better because they deny their frailties but because they muster the courage to face them.
So May 13, this May 13, the 40th time we will recollect it, perhaps we need to recollect it with some honesty. That all our hands have blood on them, and the blood of a brother is unacceptable. Above that we have greater things binding us than dividing us, and that talking about our common pain is not a blame game.
Then my country will away walk from the memory of violence, and a cleansing begins
Praba Ganesan heads Balairakyat and his writings can be found at http://prabaganesan.wordpress.com/
The Special Branch wanted to know how much of these tactics were being used to enable Anwar to communicate with the outside world and thereby organise his Reformasi Movement and other political activities from behind the high walls of the Sungai Buloh Prison.
NO HOLDS BARRED
Raja Petra Kamarudin
When I was about 11 or 12 years old, I was made to sit for an IQ test. I just enjoyed these tests because I had already done many before that. You see, my parents subscribed me to the Junior Readers Digest and every month, whenever I received my copies, I would relish reading them from cover to cover. One of my favourite chapters was the one on IQ tests.
Some questions were in text format and others in graphics form. Invariably, you are asked to solve puzzles and problems and how to get over sticky situations. My favourite question was the one about the bridge closing at 7.00pm and a guard being placed in the middle of the bridge to prevent anyone from crossing it. Those on the left bank would not be allowed to cross over to the right bank and vice versa.
The question was: you arrived at the bridge at 11.00pm and found the guard asleep in the middle of the bridge. If you crossed the bridge the guard would wake up and catch you trying to cross and will force you to go back the way you came. So how are you going to cross the bridge to get home?
Hmm….this was one tricky question. I pondered for a while and my reply was I would quietly creep across the bridge and just before I reached the guard I would turn around and walk back the way I came. I would then make a lot of noise, which would wake the guard up. The guard, seeing that I was trying to sneak across the bridge, would chase me and catch me and force me to return to the opposite direction. And the opposite direction is where I actually wanted to go in the first place.
So that would be how I would get to cross the bridge and go home. But this would mean the guard would have to be not too bright and can be easily fooled. He sees you heading back from where you came and he would think that you came from the other direction. So he would force you back to the opposite direction, thinking this is where you came from rather than this is where you actually wanted to go in the first place.
Confusing? Not really. All you need to do is to create the impression that you are coming from one direction whereas you are actually coming from the opposite direction. And when they force you to return to the direction they thought you were coming from, you end up, with their help, heading for the direction you really wanted to go.
And this is the cat and mouse game that one has to play with the officers in blue from the Royal Malaysian Police.
The officers in the Malaysian police force rejoice when they think they have got you covered and have figured out your every move. They monitor your movements, your phone calls, those of your friends, and whatnot. If they don’t get what they want they will dig deeper. And maybe, in the end, they will find what they want to know. So you need to give them something to work on. Let them think they have got you, whereas it is you who have got them.
For example, on 10 April 2001, the police picked up four people under the Internal Security Act — Tian Chua, Saari Sungib, Hishamuddin Rais and Ezam Mohd Nor. The police had been following me for three days and I knew I was also about to be picked up.
I got into my car and with my wife driving we went to our daughter’s apartment. My wife noticed we were being followed.
That evening, my wife went out to buy some ice cream and she saw a bunch of police officers loitering at the entrance. She knew they were waiting for me.
The next morning, we left the apartment, and about one kilometre down the road, they stopped our car and took me in. I could have sneaked out the back and would have been able to give them the slip, but it was crucial that we find out what their game plan was.
To cut a long 54-day story short, Anwar was facing nine criminal charges and was already convicted for the first and was facing trial for the second. He was eventually found guilty for both and his jail sentences were made to run consecutive rather than concurrent. The first conviction attracted a six-year jail sentence and the second nine years. Together with the seven months remand period during the trial, Anwar was given a 15 years and seven months jail sentence. And he still had seven more trials to go through.
Anwar was probably going to be in jail for at least 100 years, which meant he was going to die in jail.
My interrogation took 54 days and my signed ‘confession’ was more than 200 pages. There was a lot they asked me and a lot I told them. The most crucial piece of information they wanted was how did Anwar manage to run the Reformasi Movement from behind the high walls of the Sungai Buloh Prison? They knew the Reformasi Movement was being guided and run by Anwar. They just did not know how it was being done.
I was posed this question and I spilled the beans. I could not hold anything back. The information just flowed.
We meet Anwar in court during his many trials and that is when he dishes out his instructions. In fact, not only the Reformasi Movement, but also the party itself is run in this manner. We look forward to his trial dates because that is when we are able to meet Anwar and receive instructions from him.
Three days later, the Special Branch officers came to see me, bringing a copy of a newspaper. “Read this,” they told me.
It was the newspaper headline about the government dropping the balance seven charges against Anwar.
“So, now there are no more trials. Anwar will no longer be going to court. So how are you people going to meet him now?”
“Aiyah,” I said, with a very disappointed and dejected look on my face. “Now the link to Anwar has been severed. There would be no way we can continue meeting him to get further instructions from him.”
I sat back and looked my Special Branch officers in the face. They had this very pleased look, as it they had pulled off the coup of the century. These are five very happy Special Branch officers. They even offered me a cigarette and ordered some Kentucky Fried Chicken for my lunch. They had broken the link of communication between Anwar and the outside world. That is the end of Anwar’s communication network.
The Special Branch officers were probably made to sit for a course where they studied how Chin Peng communicated with his guerrillas in the Pahang, Perak and Kelantan jungles, plus those along the Malaysian-Thai border. I, in fact, discussed this with them and knew of the ‘dead letter boxes’ and all such primitive communication methods of 50 years or so ago.
The Special Branch knew that I knew. And I knew that the Special Branch knew that I knew. So they wanted to know how much of these tactics were being used to enable Anwar to communicate with the outside world and thereby organise his Reformasi Movement and other political activities.
Well, I could not hold anything back. I spilled my guts out and told them everything. And the result of that was they dropped the balance seven charges against Anwar so that he can be cut off from the outside world and can no longer direct things from behind the high walls of the Sungai Buloh Prison.
But that was not really how it was done. And of course I can’t tell you how it was done in case we need to do it again. But what matters is that they believed this was how it was done and they dropped the seven charges against Anwar to ‘plug the holes’.
They were one happy bunch of Special Branch officers the day they broke the news to me that they had dropped the balance seven charges against Anwar. And I had to pretend I was so disappointed and unhappy that they had outsmarted us.
Yes, I bet those Special Branch officers did not have to sit for IQ tests when they were 11 or 12 years old. If not they would have had to figure out how to cross the bridge after 7.00pm when the guard is sitting right in the middle of the bridge to stop anyone from crossing. And then they would have figured out you need to fool the guard by pretending that you are crossing from one direction whereas you are actually crossing from the opposite direction. Then they would have known that, if you can successfully fool the guard, he would actually assist you to cross to the side, where you actually wanted to go.
Yes, there is more I want to reveal. But let this suffice for today. In the next article we shall talk more about how to play cat and mouse games with the Malaysian police. No, nothing that has happened thus far is anything we did not want to happen. They think they have us on the run. They think they have sent us underground. Is that so? Lt Col George Armstrong Custer also thought he had the Indians on the run. By the time he realised it was the other way around, it was too late. Little Bighorn was Custer’s last stand and where the Seventh Calvary met its doom.
More later, and stay safe till then.
The Malaysian Insider
SHAH ALAM, April 15 — The following is the full statement from Bukit Lanjan assemblyperson and Selangor executive councillor Elizabeth Wong about staying on in her post and state seat:
These past two months have been more than an ordeal, one which I would never have wished for any citizen to have to suffer through.
I have been stripped bare publicly — both figuratively and literally — by force and against my will. My personal life has been violated and assaulted by none other than criminals. Even up to this evening, I continue to receive threats from unknown persons.
This is not a scandal, as some have suggested, but a clear criminal act. This is no less a form of criminal intimidation, a form of political violence, and one which, if I chose to retreat into silence, would in turn indirectly affect women, especially women politicians.
Gutter politics is not and should not be part of our political culture, and for those who depend on exploiting and supporting such a crime, is an indication of the kind of politicians and persons they are.
I stand for a person’s right to privacy. I stand for ‘New Politics’ — a politics that encourages intellectual discourse, reasoned polemics and ideological debates, not one which resorts to gutter-level politicking which seek to smear, to slander and to violate one’s privacy to score political points.
This is the hardest decision that I have to make in my life and it is with the greatest humility that I accept the Selangor state’s offer to remain in office.
I wish to thank Mentri Besar and the Selangor exco, my staff, my fellow Aduns, fellow politicians from Pakatan Rakyat and Barisan Nasional, PKR leaders, the women’s wing of PKR and the grassroots, and my legal team for their support and guidance. I wish to thank my lawyer Derek Fernandez for his legal counsel and unwavering belief in me.
Respectfully, I wish to thank HRH the Sultan of Selangor for his guidance.
I am humbled by the encouragement and support shown by the media, my family and friends, the NGOs, the tens of thousands of people who signed the petitions on my behalf and who wrote to me, and especially my constituents who stood by me in these trying times.
I also wish to thank the police for their professionalism in addressing the issue at hand and I look forward to them apprehending and charging the criminals soonest.
My only wish is to serve my constituents and the state to the best of my abilities and with the help and cooperation of the people, to make this state, this country a better place for all.
The struggle continues, and our work has just begun.
Adun Bukit Lanjan
Exco for Tourism, Consumer Affairs and the Environment
You must be really ignorant about religion, or just downright stupid, to covet that job of community leader. If you just knew the curse that comes with the job you would never accept that responsibility for all the gold in the land.
NO HOLDS BARRED
Raja Petra Kamarudin
When Prophet Muhammad died, the Medina community was embroiled in a heated debate as to who should succeed him as the community leader. For three days they argued and finally it was agreed that Abu Bakar would be the successor. The Arabic word for successor is caliph. Abu Bakar was now the new Caliph of the Medina community, although there were some from amongst the community who did not agree it should have been him.
One member of the community questioned Abu Bakar whether he should be the Caliph. “How would we know you would be a just community leader?” asked this man. Abu Bakar took out his sword and placed it on the floor in front of him. If I were to deviate from the true path and commit an unjust act, then take this sword and cut off my head, said Abu Bakar.
That was the standard by which a community leader should rule. He should be beheaded, and by his own sword, if he does not rule in a just manner. In those days communities were small. Today, communities are larger and a country like Malaysia no longer has a small committee of a dozen or so community leaders entrusted with the task of choosing a successor from amongst them. The community leader is chosen through an election system and, in Malaysia, that community leader is called a prime minister.
Nevertheless, whether he is called a caliph, a prime minister, a chairman, a secretary-general, a president, or whatever, the concept remains the same. That community leader is chosen, by whatever means, by the community from amongst the community, and he must rule by certain standards or else face punishment from the community.
Today, Malaysia has a new successor, a new Caliph, and that successor is called Najib Razak. And he must rule this community called Malaysia by the same standards set by the first successor to Prophet Muhammad, Abu Bakar.
Najib is not King. Neither is he Emperor. He is a mere successor, successor to Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. And he must rule this community called Malaysia as any successor or caliph since the time of Abu Bakar should.
A religious person would certainly believe, and would never dare deny, that a community leader, by whatever name you wish to call him or her, is chosen by God. God decides everything. In Islam this belief is even stronger. Innalillah hainaillahi raajiun. From God we came, and to God we shall return.
What does this mean? It means, basically, that we are God’s creation and God decides what happens to us. That is how the Muslim mind works. Therefore, whether we become the community leader or not would be determined by God and would be part of God’s grand design. To think otherwise would be considered blasphemous because we would be suggesting that we and not God has the power to determine what becomes of us.
The responsibility of the community leader is a very heavy responsibility indeed. Those who know their religion would never want to carry that responsibility. The job of a community leader is not about glamour. It is not about the excitement of power. It is about representing God and in ensuring that you fulfil the amanah from God. Amanah means trust. And God has amanah or trusted you to lead the community in a just manner. You, in short, are God’s trustee.
Would you dare become God’s trustee? Are you so sure you would never violate that trust and commit breach of trust? Would you be aware you are committing breach of trust even as you are committing breach of trust? In the first place, do you even know what constitutes breach of trust?
Thus far, all the community leaders since 1957 have demonstrated that the concept totally escapes them. They regard the position of community leader as a right. It is not a right. It is a privilege. And with this privilege comes attached the heavy responsibility of fulfilling the task of God’s trustee.
I would never in a million years want to undertake the task of community leader even for all the gold in Malaysia. That same gold will be used as fuel to burn me in hell when my time comes to meet my Maker. Why do they covet so much that job of prime minister? Don’t they know there will hardly be any community leader who will not face punishment in the afterlife?
I don’t know whether I can escape all my own sins when I face trial in God’s court. I will need to balance my books very carefully to ensure that my credits outweigh my debits. Even then I am not confident I will have a black bottom line. I suspect my bottom line will be red and I will be made to account for my sins and face a most terrible punishment for the shortfall of credits to offset my debits. And you want me to add to those already excess debits the sins of this nation? Why in heaven’s name would I want to do that?
The job of the leader of the community is not a blessing. It is a curse, a most terrible curse. If you are not yet sure whether you are destined for hell, the liability that you suffer for taking up the job of community leader will help assure you that you are certainly going to hell.
No, keep the job of caliph, president, prime minister, chairman, or whatever. I would never want that job. I have enough problems as it is. I do not need to tie an albatross around my neck and sink into the lowest pit of hell just so that people can idolise me and polish my apple and call me YAB for a couple of years.
You must be really ignorant about religion, or just downright stupid, to covet that job of community leader. If you just knew the curse that comes with the job you would never accept that responsibility for all the gold in the land. And here we have people falling over each other and scheming and plotting to outdo each other just so that they could become the Prime Minister of Malaysia.
May God have mercy of their soul. They would need it because they have just made a pact with the devil and the devil now owns their soul.