The House at the heart of Mara scandal - R Nadeswaran
Tuesday, August 22, 2017
Malaysiakini : COMMENT | He was a former suburban footballer who had helped manage a
jail for young offenders before starting his own window and door
company in Melbourne. Like all fathers, he doted on his son, Cooper.
During the summer break, the young man asked the father for some money
to travel for an inter-state football carnival. John Bond had nothing to
give – he was broke.
All his money had been used to supply and install windows and doors
in a downtown building in Melbourne in 2013. Having worked on the
development to almost completion, his company, Trubuilt Properties, did
not get paid. Neither did his workers and dozens of other contractors.
They were left in the lurch and the owners of the building slipped away
Bond, having to borrow from his parents to send Cooper for the
carnival in Darwin, was a bitter man after his whole business collapsed.
With other creditors, he went to the Victorian Supreme Court, and
sought the appointment of Andrew Yeo, a senior partner in Pitcher
Partners, who assigned the case to a bright young man, Odie Henzel. Infuriated at Bond’s treatment, Henzel joined the mission to unearth
the secrets of the property – Dudley House, which is now become one of
the three buildings in what is now known as the “Mara Scandal.”
Three Malaysians –Azizi Yom Ahmad, Abdul Ghani Yusof and Dennis Teen
together with Australians, Peter Mills and Chris Dimitriou, had set up a
company – Wanissa Properties – to sell Dudley House to Mara for A$17.8
million but inflate the price to A$22.5 million. Court records show that Henzel discovered an email dated March 2013
in which Mara agreed to buy Dudley House – to be used as a hostel for
Malaysian students – and a payment of “AUS$4,785,000 in the form of
introduction and consultancy fees” would be wired to a mysterious
Singapore shelf company.
Nick McKenzie is an award-winning investigative journalist working for The Age and produces the Four Corners documentary programme for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. He caught the whiff as he had already been working on stories of
foreign buyers and “dirty money” being used to push up property prices
in the state of Victoria where Melbourne is located. McKenzie started
his own investigations only to discover a trail of “dirty dealings” by
He roped me in and we worked on the scandal, unearthing a trail of deceit, money laundering and fraud. On June 22 last year, The Age and The Sun
broke the story simultaneously. This was followed by raids carried out
in both countries but to date, no one has been prosecuted. In April, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) deputy chief
commissioner Azam Baki said 24 witnesses had been called up and officers
visited seven premises, including a law firm, the offices of both Mara
Inc and an appraiser and their associates.
“We need more time to complete this case as it involves another
country. We have put in a request for mutual legal assistance with the
Australian Attorney-General’s office but have yet to receive any
response,” he was quoted as saying.
While the criminal aspect of the case may have ground to a halt, the
case has not ended up in the back burner. In December, Pitcher Partners
as liquidators of Trubuilt filed a civil suit against Azizi and Abdul
Ghani. (The liquidator had previously sued Teen, a Malaysian with Australian
permanent resident status. The case was settled out of court with
undisclosed sums being paid. Records show that Teen was engaged by the
Azizi and Yusuf to act as their agent.)
They are seeking about A$3 million from the duo for payments due for
the renovation work carried out on the building. Yeo alleges that the
“two Datos” (as they are referred to in court papers) were involved in
the renovation and sale of the property to Thrushcross Land Holdings
Limited – a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mara for A$22.5 million. It is
learnt that attempts are being made to serve the court papers on Azizi
and Abdul Ghani.
The writ filed at the Supreme Court of Victoria in Melbourne further
claims that notwithstanding the contract (sale) price, a sum of A$4.7
million was paid out of the proceeds to three Malaysian companies –
Leuven Capital Sdn Bhd, Optimus Capital Group of Companies Sdn Bhd and
TRR Heritage Sdn Bhd.
These three Malaysian companies, Yeo avers, are directly or
indirectly associated with the interests of Yusof and Azizi and the
former Mara CEO Ahmad Nazim Abdul Rahman and/or other current or former
employees of Mara, Mazrul Haizad Marof and Izaddeen Daud.
It had been previously reported that on Jan 17, 2013, TRR Heritage
had billed Wanissa for A$725,000 for “Marketing and Professional Advise
(sic)”. Two weeks later, Optimus Capital submitted an invoice for
A$675,000 as “advertising and promotion fee” totalling A$675,000. On March 31, 2013, Leuven Capital submitted an invoice for A$2
million for “consultation and advisory fee”. At the end of April, it
submitted yet another invoice for “sales commission” for A$1.35 million.
Australian authorities believe the money paid to the three Malaysian
identities were on the basis of scam invoices. Their investigations
showed that no such fees were payable to Malaysian companies as Wanissa
had made a direct sale to Mara Inc. It was a private sale and there were
no commissions, promotions and advertising fees to be paid for.
Investigations by the police and tax authorities are ongoing in Melbourne.
COMMENT | Amanah communications
director Khalid Samad is mistaken. If Dr Mahathir Mohamad returns to the
Umno/BN fold for whatever reason after the next general election, it
would not be a betrayal to Pakatan Harapan. The only betrayal would be that which Harapan commits to the
opposition voting public. However, there would be neither any sting nor
moral condemnation to that betrayal because most Harapan supporters
welcome the alliance with the former Umno president and prime minister.
While I have argued that this is a Hobson’s choice of the opposition’s
making, any attempt to minimise such betrayal is unwarranted and
Mind you, this is not a jab at Khalid whom I think is an honourable
politician - a trait lacking in the current political leadership - but
rather a rejoinder that “betrayal” of any kind in the current political
climate is meaningless. So what if Bersatu, Mahathir or any other politician betrays Harapan?
This is a single-issue election – the wrong issue in my opinion – which
means the current Umno grand poohbah is vanquished or he is not. The
best-case scenario if the opposition fails in that endeavour is that it
retains Selangor and Penang.
While I have no doubt that opposition political strategists are
working that angle (retaining Selangor and Penang at all cost), the real
issue is whether Mahathir and Bersatu can deliver. If he cannot, and if
the opposition loses support from their base, then the real question
is, will Harapan cling on to the former prime minister?
But you ask, why are the stakes so low? Well, the stakes are low
because even if Najib wins and this kleptocrat prevails, it would not be
as if the sky will come tumbling down. We have endured a corrupt
kleptocracy for decades and many would argue that we as a people,
despite the overt systemic discrimination, have thrived.
I have argued
numerous times of the futility of this strategy – “And right here is
the problem for the opposition because this is really is what most
voters who vote Barisan National think. Through the decades, despite all
the corruption scandals, the sustained attacks against independent
institutions, the slow process of dismantling our individual rights,
Malaysia, in the words of Josh Hong, ‘for all its flaws, Malaysia
remains a prosperous, relatively efficient and economically vibrant
Besides, the history of Harapan is littered with betrayals that most
opposition supporters have accepted. Harapan has always managed to find
allies – maybe except PSM – that they managed to do business with, who
eventually betrayed the opposition alliance. I would argue that the opposition is extremely comfortable with
betrayals. How many political operatives, political entities and the
rest of the flotsam and jetsam of establishment politics have betrayed
the opposition? Honestly, I have lost count.
And let us be honest. The opposition was not fooled because they were
naive. The reality is that the opposition has never met a political
outfit or personality that was anti-Najib that they did not have use
for, until ultimately, they were betrayed because they were outplayed.
No cohesive platform
I am not making the argument that disparate interests should not
attempt to come together but rather, the opposition has never really
made an attempt to work together in an honest way. There was never any
attempt to form a cohesive ideology or a platform that honestly
addressed the agendas that opposing interests brought to the table.
There were always these piecemeal efforts to bury the political and/or
ideological differences and shoe horn everything into the “save
Moreover, many opposition supporters were comfortable with this. I
would argue that these “betrayal” narratives sustained the opposition
when things fell apart because of their own ineptness. “We were
betrayed” when it should be “we should never have been in this position
in the first place”. Meanwhile, the Umno regime has its own cries of betrayal. The urban
demographic has betrayed them. Former members have betrayed them. With
Umno, it goes further. Betrayals are not just against the political
party. Betrayals are against race and religion. This is why I suppose
Bersatu is attempting the same strategy.
I mean take a look at what Bersatu Youth chief Syed Saddiq Abdul
Rahman says while describing the current Umno grand poohbah as the
“Malay race's number one enemy” - “Pawning the interests of the Malays
by giving mega contracts to communist China while we have to shoulder
the debts amounting to billions of ringgit.”
I made my stand on this issue of the PRC deals clear here
– that pro-opposition rhetoric consists of furthering the narrative
that China is taking advantage of the natives and the country is being
sold piece by piece to a foreign power to settle Najib's debts. While my
disdain for Najib administration is well-documented (by me, mostly),
making the argument that these China deals have no credibility merely
because they come from the Najib regime is disingenuous.”
So, sit back and enjoy the show. Nobody is going to betray the
opposition because nobody was loyal to the opposition in the first
place. PAS will eventually engage in three-concerned fights with its
former allies because they have a new sugar daddy. I am sure there will
be defections on both sides in the upcoming general elections.
Betrayals will be rife and teeth gnashed, but ultimately the losers
will not be the urban demographic but the “lower classes” that many
politicians and analysts are banking on to save the opposition.
The only gun pointed at anyone is the one pointed at the marginalised
communities here in Malaysia, and they know that that gun will be
passed to anyone who claims the throne of Putrajaya.
Harapan should also collaborate with Uthayakumar - By Commander (Rtd) S THAYAPARAN Royal Malaysian Navy
Monday, August 21, 2017
Malaysiakini : “I served the highest prison sentence in this country for a
sedition charge, at two and a half years and later reduced to two years
by the Court of Appeal, for highlighting the plight of the most
vulnerable and most racially, religiously and economically victimised
Indian poor by the supremacist Umno regime. I stand by what I said and
did. I have no regrets.”- P Uthayakumar
COMMENT | Former prime minister
and de facto opposition leader Dr Mahathir Mohamad is right when he said
that Indian representation in Pakatan Harapan is inadequate. He is also
correct when he claimed in the nomenclature of that specific class
(read this as the hypocritical ruling elite class (establishment and
opposition), that Hindraf in its various incarnations represents the
marginalised Indian communities rather than the urban professional
opposition-leaning class of the Indian Malaysian polity.
As for Umno vice-president Hishammuddin Hussein’s contention that
Mahathir’s alleged unilateral decision to meet Persatuan Hindraf
Malaysia (PHM) chief P Waythamoorthy as indicative of the lack of “team
spirit” within Harapan, I would like to remind the minister that pacts
amongst kleptocrats and their enablers does not qualify as “team
Meanwhile, MIC Youth chief R Sivarraajh is in dreamland if he thinks
that the Indian community has lost faith in Hindraf. The marginalised
Indian community has lost faith in politics, period, and there is an
overt distrust of the thuggish behaviour of the MIC, and more
importantly the establishment, when it comes to religious matters that
concern the Indian community. Waythamoorthy openly challenging Zakir
Naik plays better with them than a minister who makes excuses as to the
delay of a bill which corrects unilateral conversion. Chew on that for a
It is great to see that DAP would keep an open mind on this matter,
because really, when you are collaborating with a right-wing “Malay
only” political party, what are you going to say about Hindraf or any
politician who “champions” Indian rights? That we are not a race-based
coalition? Seriously, get over yourselves.
However, Harapan should also collaborate with P Uthayakumar. Hindraf
partisans should not take this to mean that I favour one brother over
the other, but rather, that both working with the opposition should be
able to galvanise the Indian community, which is apparently needed to
“save Malaysia”. In fact, Harapan should give Uthayakumar a place at the Harapan table
by allocating a seat for him in whatever constituency they think he
will be most effective. If anyone is a credible candidate for
galvanising marginalised communities, it is P Uthayakumar.
Not only has he on-the-ground knowledge of working class issues, he
has spoken truth to power to the Umno establishment and the opposition.
He has been jailed by the regime and instead of being chastised, he has
taken up prison reform as a means to combat social injustice.
You can read my most recent interviews with him here
about his incarceration and his efforts in prison reform – “As it
stands, I see a lack of political will because the Indian poor draw no
or very little political mileage in Malaysia. If we are serious about
bringing down the crime rate, then we must discard the race, colour,
creed and religious considerations.”
On a collision course
Uthayakumar’s politics have always been confrontational but not in
the mainstream sense, which is blame everything on Umno. He mixes
politically incorrect rhetoric with deeper societal truths that have
never gone done well with mainstream political activists and politicians
drunk on the Bangsa Malaysia kool aid.
In a series of interviews after I was declared Hindraf’s public enemy number one, which you can read here,
it was apparent that Uthayakumar was on a collision course with not
only the Umno regime but also with the then Pakatan Rakyat.
“The Hindraf struggle is about permanent and wholesome solutions from
Umno and Pakatan state governments as granted to the bi-racial
1Malaysian Malay and Chinese communities and not the temporary piecemeal
solutions for the Indian poor like dishing out hampers, rice bags, ang
pows, mock cheques and other handouts.
“Hindraf supports regime change and wishes Pakatan all the best, but
it does not want the federal government to be replaced by an Umno clone.
Nevertheless, on a people-to-people basis, the Indians have no or very
little problems with the Malay or Chinese communities at the ground
level.” Talking to Uthayakumar these days, his views may have been tempered
but he still has a deep level of cynicism towards the political elites
of this country. No doubt this new alliance with former Umno
powerbrokers may not sit well with him, which is why Harapan should
consider having someone like him, who has no trouble speaking to power
if only to establish a rapport with communities outside the oppositional
Mind you, this article was not written on the request of Uthayakumar.
I have no idea if he would be interested in collaborating with Harapan
or even if he is interested in getting back into politics. Here is a man
who because of his “race” has felt what most other oppositional
politicians who have fared similarly with the Umno have not.
That is by virtue of his marginalisation – granted, his polemics did
not help – was maliciously treated by the state as a criminal instead of
a political prisoner. This, of course, was a mistake since for someone
like Uthayakumar it merely meant that he focused on a cause that most
people had no interest in – prison reform.
What have we seen in the past few weeks? We have seen the sordid
state of our prison system. We have seen how the system inflicts abuse,
disregard rights, in many cases actually sanction the murder of
prisoners by action or negligence.
These are problems which have an overt effect on society and while
there are many committed activists who seek solutions to these problems,
having Uthayakumar as a spokesperson for this issue and his history
with advocating for the marginalised of the Indian community would be
something more than mere tokenism for Harapan.
I have no idea if anyone from Harapan has reached out to Uthayakumar
or if he is even interested in this possible gig, but I do think that
this is a good opportunity for Harapan to attract votes from the
marginalised community by having Waythamoorthy and Uthayakumar on board
the Harapan Express. Lastly, I would like to thank Centre for Policy Initiatives director
Lim Teck Ghee for this article and contextualising how and why
Uthayakumar would be an asset to Harapan.
When Harapan can’t talk about race and religion - By Commander (Rtd) S THAYAPARAN Royal Malaysian Navy
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Malaysiakini : “Beware the ridiculous. It will one day rule you.” - Steven Dietz, ‘God's Country’
COMMENT | We do not normally see pieces like Fa Abdul’s piece ‘And the award for best actor goes to…’ on Malaysiakini
very often. This is to say that the “serious stuff” that Fa Abdul wrote
is ignored for pieces that highlight the corruption scandals in this
country and not the underlying moral and intellectual bankruptcy of the
I realise long-standing friends from the opposition do not like it
when I write these – as one political operative often says – “screeds”.
However as each day passes, I keep thinking of how even if the
opposition loses in the upcoming general election, they will not have
the moral or intellectual high ground. Those people who voted opposition
would not be able to say they voted for change but did not succeed.
If “racism” is such a big issue to people who support the opposition,
if the systemic inequalities that some describe as an “apartheid”
system is really destroying this country, then do we really have a
future when the opposition will never address these issues? Even if by
some miracle they do manage to take over Putrajaya, the opposition would
always be beholden to a demographic that supports institutionalised
When questioning the Pakatan Harapan new deal, I wrote
– “Anti-Chinese narratives fuel ‘ketuanan’ politics and while it may
seem like a good political strategy to further the narratives that the
Malay community is under threat from foreign Chinese intervention, the
reality is thanks to Biro Tatanegara (BTN) courses, the social contract,
the racist rhetoric of Umno, the ‘putar belit’ narratives of the
opposition, this meme that the Malay community will always be under
siege, is what is going to destroy this country in the near future.”
This is why racial politics in this country is so screwed up. While
Bersatu Youth chief Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman gets to wax eloquent
about how a Chinese man is a hero because he defended a Malay man in a
political gathering organised by right-wing Malay nationalists – and
this is precisely what Bersatu is - Tourism and Culture Minister Nazri
Abdul Aziz, a member of another right-wing nationalistic Malay party,
gets to call Perkasa – a right-wing nationalistic NGO - "racist" because
Perkasa cast aspersions on “Chinese” (PRC) development in Malaysia
While I have claimed that a two-party system is the only moral and intellectual argument that one could make for supporting
the opposition, the reality is that I think no political party is
interested in resolving the systemic dysfunction in this country because
the single issue of removing Najib from power dominates mainstream
politics these days. Consider this piece as an attack on my own argument.
Let say the opposition removes Prime Minister Najib Razak from power,
then what? Does the opposition stop all trade deals with China that the
past regime made? Does the new regime repeal all those “security laws”
that the former “kleptocrat” made? Does the new alliance stop peddling
in identity and racial politics that they claim was needed to oust the
Does the new regime start up local council elections even though former prime minister, now the de facto opposition leader, Dr Mahathir Mohamad has claimed that this would be detrimental to race relations in this country?
Will Islamic extremism – which I am on record believing this as the
existential threat facing Malaysia – be halted because the new regime
is “secular in nature? On every “Islamic” issue that has cropped up, and
please keep in mind Islam and race here in Malaysia are not mutually
exclusive, the opposition (especially Muslim opposition politicians
enabled by their non-Muslims counterparts) have dodged, evaded or fudged
from taking any stand which is opposite from the ruling Umno regime.
This is why, this passage from my article – ‘Benching Umno will not preserve our constitution’
– was greeted which much dismay from certain opposition political
operatives who claimed that I was “attacking” the opposition when there
are bigger issues at stake.
“While everyone was blaming Umno for the ‘sandiwara’ of PAS president
Abdul Hadi Awang’s bill, the reality is that Muslim politicians,
especially from the opposition, made no clear statements on their stand
on this Islamic bill. Now some would argue that this is about playing
the game safe and being mindful of the ‘Malay’ vote but the reality is
that since there are no Muslim oppositional voices that are a direct
contrast with that of Umno and PAS, there can be no alliances that
defend and preserve the secularity of the constitution.”
Fa Abdul asks, “But if right is right and wrong is wrong, why do we
take the wrong path to achieve what is right?” Of course, some people
would say that we have to be pragmatic. Yes, because pragmatism under
the decades-long Umno rule delivered us to the current Najib regime.
Pragmatism has led us to collude with the supposed architects of the
mess we are in and pragmatism means that oppositional apparatchiks
attack committed activists who voice concerns about the trend of falling
back into old bad habits would mean further erosions of our civil
rights and liberties.
I have given this hint
before - “If you want to stop religious and racial extremism, stop
funding - on a state level - institutions that enable such impulses in
the guise of reaching out to the Malay/Muslim community. As long as you
are held ransom to the idea that in order to defeat Umno you must use
the same tactics to secure the Malay vote, there is always going to be
that Malay tilt to Umno.”
Here is the thing, though. There is nothing anyone can say that would
change people’s mind. I worry about the day when a smart Umno political
operative would debate an oppositional political operative and it would
be revealed that beyond the 1MDB issue there is not much difference
between the opposition and the establishment when it comes to policy and
ideology, especially now that Bersatu is in the mix.
It would not make a difference though. It has become so bad that
opposition leaders cannot talk about race or religion anymore because of
what the opposition and its supporters have embraced.
If that is not the definition of the wrong path, I do not know what it.
COMMENT | Would it surprise anyone that when the dust of this recent scuffle
at the Nothing to Hide 2.0 forum settles, the perpetrators – always
young Malay youths – would be portrayed as the aggrieved party, much
like the thieves of the Low Yat fiasco? Umno has always been protective
of its voting base with Malay oppositional voices harassed and
intimidated when it comes to courting this specific demographic.
While I have been skeptical of the efficacy of this particular tactic
of the opposition when it comes to using the 1MDB issue as a vote
getter, the response from the regime and the attempts to derail any form
of dialogue points to how much this regime fears the architect of
modern Malaysia – Dr Mahathir Mohamad -and his designs on the throne of
While the current Umno grand poohbah holds solidarity prayers with
Muslims begging God for peace and stability, the Najib refuseniks busy
themselves with the task of destabilising Umno hegemony. There is no
point talking about a Malaysian tsunami
because the violence in this event, the harassment that Malay
oppositional figures face, the use of the state apparatus to investigate
Najib refuseniks’ sympathisers points to the reality that the next
general elections will be the ultimate Malay scuffle.
While some would argue that the questions asked by these so-called
provocateurs were meant to derail the forum, the reality is that those
questions form the basis of right-wing Malay politics and are the means
to which Umno has maintained hegemony.
Those question about the Memali incident, Bersatu’s simpatico with
the DAP and the supposed sins of jailed political prisoner Anwar Ibrahim
– rights, race and religion – were meant to demonstrate that the former
Umno prime minister had abandoned the Malay community and conspires
with the ‘Chinese DAP’ to supplant the rightful place of Malays and
Islam in this country.
So, while urban opposition propaganda promulgates the narrative that
we are all in this together, the reality is that this “scuffle” between the Malays in the existential threat facing Umno today. This fight will
eventually determine not who controls the destiny of the Malay polity –
mainstream Malay politics is based on “ketuanism” – but rather who
controls the gravy train.Nothing will come of any investigation into this matter as nothing has ever come of any investigation where the Umno ‘titushkas’
have used political violence to disrupt the numerous oppositional and
other activists’ forums meant to highlight or discuss the malfeasances
of the state.
Ironically, a friend of mine from PAS told me just recently that he
remembers the time when the Umno ‘titushkas’ disrupted ceramahs and
various other political gatherings to demonstrate that the opposition
could not maintain stability in their own house, then how could they
with the country. In case anyone assumes that it is prejudicial to jump to conclusion
as to Umno’s role and my description of the Umno provocateurs, read the
comments of Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi with regards to the
intersection between organised thuggery and Umno – “He said, ‘The 6,171 Malays, they are not real thugs (samseng), they were Pekida members and were part of the Tiga Line group, Gang 30, Gang 7 - these are festivities (kenduri-kendara) gangsters." Furthermore, he added, ‘I tell our Tiga Line friends, do what should be done.’”
And what exactly should these groups be doing? I would argue
that if three years ago you made the claim that Tiga Line was
disrupting Bersih activities, you would get Umno members saying that
these thugs are only doing what needs to be done.”
In other words, it should surprise no one that what needed to be done
was to disrupt Nothing to Hide 2.0 to instil a sense of fear in any
Malay participant that there would be violence in Bersatu’s political
gathering. This is why the state security apparatus is shifting the
blame to the organisers of the forum instead of the disruptors of the
Always keep in mind Umno veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah’s rejoinder
– “(Bagaimanapun) jangan memandang rendah kepada kerajaan kerana mereka
ada kuasa, ada televisyen, radio, duit dan media. Mereka juga ada
alat-alat risikan dan sebagainya. Media dia lebih tahu pada kita. Dia
tahu kita belum tahu lagi. Sama ada dengan kekuasaan itu, parti yang
berkuasa akan kalah saya tidak tahu.”
What makes this a little more dangerous is the fact that Umno is not
only turning on the Malay community, it is also turning on its own. It
should surprise nobody that the former prime minister has many
sympathisers within Umno who do not make up the elite of Umno but who
are the “ordinary people” of the party and the beneficiaries of his
patronage of his long Umno watch.
These true believers are pining for the days where the corruption was
managed and Umno kept the Islamists – PAS – at bay while the Islamists
within worked their dark sorcery on the Malay community. These are the
sleepers that the current Umno elite fear. What damage have they done in
terms of leaks (propaganda) or could they do during the election
One of the complaints I get from Malay opposition operatives is that I
always seem to highlight the political violence against non-Malay
oppositional parties and personalities and imply – I disagree with this
description – that Malays have an easy ride when it comes to spreading
their message to the Malay demographic.
Malay academics and social activists always remind me that when it
comes to violence carried out by the state, the Malay demographic feels
the boot the most. However, what should be of concern is that this time
because of the political actors involved, the level of support of the
Najib refuseniks and the hidden hands of the Malay oppositional
political elite, the violence could escalate.
It would be easy to dismiss Nothing to Hide 2.0 violence as just
another episode where the state disrupts a gathering – or as some have
argued, a black bag operation from the master manipulator – because this
is, in reality, the shape of things to come.
When you have a sitting prime minister who refuses to acknowledge if
he would abide by the results of the democratic process, when there are
laws in place which override the traditional mechanism for declaring
emergency and a security apparatus which is not independent (and has
more or less made such a claim), what you have is a Molotov cocktail of
racial and religious disorder.
The most important question is who is going to throw that cocktail,
and if you think that Umno is the only one capable of doing that, you
have not been paying attention.
Muslims converts do not suffer; the law will not permit this - By Commander (Rtd) S THAYAPARAN Royal Malaysian Navy
Thursday, August 10, 2017
Malaysiakini : “If you are a Muslim and you know that it’s un-Islamic and you
are not voicing it out, you have done a great injustice and that is
haram.” - Jihad for Justice chairperson Thasleem Mohamed Ibrahim
COMMENT | PAS secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan uttered the most odious defence of his religion here in Malaysia when he claimed
“for the last 10 to 20 years, the 'muallaf' (Muslim converts) also
suffered. It is the same thing" (as M Indira Gandhi). Really? Of course,
he does not explain how their suffering is the same.
Let us take these examples, which are demonstrative of the worst
excesses of the state and the state-sanctioned religion which has caused
distress in countless non-Muslim lives.
Have Muslim converts had their children unilaterally converted to a
religion which the child cannot renounce when he or she comes of age?
Has the Muslim convert been denied justice in the civil courts? Has the
Muslim convert had their child kidnapped and then had the state claim
that they would not interfere because the ruling of the civil court
conflicted with the syariah court?
Has the Muslim convert watched in horrified anger and grief over the
years as the child is indoctrinated to a state religion which the child
could never leave and if the child attempted to do so would be sent to a
rehabilitation camp where more alleged abuse awaits the now adult
child? This is how S Deepa suffered, and also M Indira Gandhi. Has a Muslim
convert ever suffered the same way? Let us unpack the statements made by
Takiyuddin a little bit more. He said, "The amendment appears as if the
Muslim convert will be forced to settle his marriage dissolution in the
civil courts. It's a contradiction (with syariah jurisdiction).”
What does this really mean? The civil courts ostensibly apply to all
Malaysians equally. This idea of conflict with the syariah courts is
merely code for the reality that the syariah courts favour the Muslim.
So, it is not justice that the Muslim is seeking but preferential
treatment conferred by religion.
When in the S Deepa case, her allegedly criminal husband says that he
embraced Islam so he could get special privileges, what this says is
that he believed that he would get special treatment because he was a
Muslim. This is exactly the underlying theme of the PAS
secretary-general's objection to the proposed amendments.
What is sickening about Takiyuddin’s comment is that it implies that
Muslims and non-Muslims are operating on a level-playing field. That if
there were injustices, then the Muslim and the non-Muslim suffers the
same. This is clearly not the case.
Indira Gandhi’s child, as was S Deepa’s, was unilaterally converted,
now their grief is hijacked by this Islamic party, the Umno state and by
Muslims who support this weltanschauung. These Islamists do
this as a means of dismissing the grief, loss, and powerlessness of
these two women to camouflage the injustice of how their religion, their
“ketuanan” and their hegemony is inflicted upon Malaysians who are not
Islam trumps secular laws
There are two important pointsI
have made over the course of writing about the state-sanctioned ‘crime’
of unilateral conversion. These two points are the real issues. All the
rest is just a diversion to hide the fact that the superiority of Islam
trumps secular laws and that non-Muslims would always be at the mercy
of an oppressive system that does not care about their rights which we
are constantly reminded are enshrined in our constitution.
1. “What unilateral conversion does, and we should be clear that this
involves Islam as the Islamic (sic) minister is wont to remind
everyone, is rob the child of the right of his or her religious freedom.
This has far-reaching consequences in Malaysia because race and
religion have legal obligations along with the so-called special
privileges that place a Muslim in the harsh glare of federal and state
2. “If an adult wishes to place himself or herself under such
obligations, then it is their right to do so, but a parent unilaterally
deciding to convert a child without the consent of their partner is not
only morally reprehensible but should also come with legal consequences,
preferably jail time with a couple of strokes of the rotan.”
So you see, the problem is really not unilateral conversion. If a
parent, for whatever reason, chooses to convert the child to a specific
religion, the remedy is that when the child becomes an adult, he or she
is free to leave the religion that was imposed upon him or her. The
problem here in Malaysia is that Muslims – even though they were
unilaterally converted – cannot leave Islam.
This means that they remain
Muslims with all the obligations that come with professing the faith
here in Malaysia. Let me remind everyone that if the executive wanted to change the
laws, it could do it easily. In fact, when it involves elections,
especially where non-Muslims play an important role, the executive has
stepped in and personally interfered in the administration of justice in
this country. The Rooney Rebbit case is a prime example.
The words of Sabah Council of Churches president Reverend Jerry
Dusing states the case plainly – “This turn of events clearly project
two things - firstly, the NRD (National Registration Department) which
is an administrative arm of the federal government has no regard and
respect for our religious freedom guaranteed under the federal
constitution and the Malaysia Agreement 1963. Secondly, that our
exercise of religious freedom is subject to political interference.”
Therefore, when the government claims that it needs a two-thirds
majority to remedy this issue, this is total horse manure. It is a big
lie that these so-called defenders of race and religion propagate to
deceive non-Muslims into voting for a corrupt regime which would impose
their religion on the non-Muslim demographic and then claim that they
are suffering as those (non-Muslims) who feel the boot of the state on
To answer DAP parliamentarian M Kula Segaran’s question,
these extremists do not care if Tevi Darsiny is a Muslim or a Hindu.
All they care about is in the eyes of the law, she is a Muslim. Her
children will be Muslim. This is religious kidnapping. This is the
ongoing agenda of cultural hegemony. This is a crime, and there is
nothing you can do about it.
Muslim atheists? O ye, of little faith - By Commander (Rtd) S THAYAPARAN Royal Malaysian Navy
Wednesday, August 09, 2017
Malaysiakini : “We will see that the greatest problem confronting civilisation
is not merely religious extremism: rather, it is the larger set of
cultural and intellectual accommodations we have made to faith itself.” - Sam Harris
COMMENT | So Mahadi Awang, a representative from the Yayasan Dakwah Islamiah Malaysia (Yadim), claimedthat
“Muslims who turn atheists only do so because they wish to break away
from the chains of the Islamic way of life in order to experience
pleasure”, which seems a rather dubious assertion.
If anything, what the official narratives of Islam in this country
have demonstrated are that Muslims have to be prevented from seeking
“illicit” sex, alcohol, smoking, music videos, movies, books,
pornography, the company of the opposite sex and of course, excessive
laughter. Now the reality is that many Muslims have sex, drink alcohol,
smoke, watch music videos, movies and pornography (online), mingle with
the opposite sex, and laugh a lot. Hence as Muslims, they already
experience pleasure but what prevents them from openly experiencing
pleasure are the religious police who are paid to ensure that they stop
Of course, if you are a rich Muslim, then you are exempt from the
overt policing that your average Muslim is subjected to. Hence the more
logical explanation as to why some Muslims become atheist – let’s
dispense with the deeper intellectual motives for a moment – is not
because they want to experience pleasure – they do that already – but
because they do not want their pleasure policed by the state. Of course,
in Malaysia they have to be quiet about it but sometimes affirming your
non-belief with simpatico people provides clarity that all the
religious indoctrination that they have received since birth has not.
I really do not blame the Umno state for coming down hard on Muslim
atheists. Since the constitution defines who a “Malay” is and Islam is
the most important part of that definition, what happens when a Malay
chooses to shed his or her faith? Does he or she cease being “Malay”? If
someone is not a “Malay” anymore, what happens to the special
Since there are Christian and other “bumiputeras”, the argument can
be made that an atheist Malay is still technically a bumiputera unless
of course there is legislation in Malaysia which sanctions a lack of
belief in God. But wait, the first principle in the Rukunegara is
“Belief in God”, which is annoying to many atheists but more
importantly, it means that a Muslim atheist is in a religious quagmire
that he or she may never break free from.
I mean no oppositional political party is going to defend an atheist
Muslim’s non-belief. So-called “secular” parties fund Islamic religious
institutions, champion the rights of non-Muslims faiths and champion the
rights of religious freedoms offering a mixed bag of secular principles
that more often than not does more damage to secular principles than
inaction itself. This is why Islamic extremism is on the rise. Of
course, if folks got their noses out – just for a minute – of the 1MDB
cesspool, they would realise that the opposition mired in religious
politics is part of the problem.
Read what Yenny Wahid, daughter of the late Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid, said
- “We're not just coming up with a counter narrative, we are coming up
with a counter identity, and that's what AI (Archipelago Islam) is all
about. We believe we're good Muslims but to be a good Muslim, we don't
have to accept the recipes that are handed out by some radicals from the
What are the Muslim counter identities here? The Muslim as feminist?
The Muslim as liberal? The Muslim who does not believe? The gay Muslim?
The secular Muslim? The non-observant Muslim? All these counter
identities the state wishes to expunge and the opposition has no
interests in nurturing for obvious political reasons.
A lack of understanding?
Seriously, the atheist plague? How I wish there was really an atheist
plague. If there was an atheist plague in this country, then Umno, PAS
and Bersatu would be cast aside as would every politician who bleats
about how god put him or her on his or her political path. The religious
card would be totally ineffective in the national discourse and money
wasted on religious initiatives would be channelled elsewhere.
However, let us not kid ourselves. Corruption would still exist but
at least we would not have to put up with the hypocritical religious
rantings of the state or politicians – whatever the religion – asking us
to look to god to solve our problems or hide our problems.
I mean, we do not have any gay pride parades here so what are these
so-called atheists going to do? March on the streets and hope the god
they do not believe in will save them from the chemically-laced water
cannons of the state? Demand that their special privileges be stripped
from them because they are not “Malays” anymore, or worse still, feel
entitled to their special privileges even though they are not Muslims
anymore? Carry around posters claiming that they are ex-Muslims and they
are here to stay?
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Shahidan Kassim says that
Muslims who become atheist do so from a lack of understanding of Islam.
This is the excuse given to any Muslim who does not subscribe to the
Muslims who want to reform the religion do so from a lack of
understanding of the religion. Muslim women who demand equal rights do
so from a lack of understanding of the religion. Gay Muslims who want to
be accepted – one wonders why – do so from a lack of understanding of
the religion. Liberal Muslims do not understand the religion.
Non-Muslims who speak up for their fellow citizens do not understand the
Maybe if so many people do not understand your religion, the problem
is with the religion and not with the people attempting to leave or
reform it. Furthermore, this obsession of the state in their belief they
can “fix” Muslims who stray from the state-endorsed path is the apogee
of ignorance that some Muslims take pride in.
Apparently, the state can “fix” gay Muslims. They can “fix” liberal
Muslims. They can “fix” feminist Muslims. They can “fix” atheist
Muslims. The only things they cannot seem to “fix” are Muslims who are
engaged in nationwide and worldwide financial corruption scandals.
As Sam Harris, author of ‘Islam and the Future of Tolerance: A Dialogue’, opens this piece, he should end it – “The great liberal betrayal of this generation is that in the name of
liberalism, communal rights have been prioritised over individual
autonomy within minority groups. And minorities within minorities really
do suffer because of this betrayal.
“The people I really worry about when we have this conversation are
feminist Muslims, gay Muslims, ex-Muslims - all the vulnerable and
bullied individuals who are not just stigmatised but in many cases
violently assaulted or killed merely for being against the norm.”
Umno should just ban all non-Malay political parties - By Commander (Rtd) S THAYAPARAN Royal Malaysian Navy
Monday, July 17, 2017
Malaysiakini : “A fascist is one whose lust for money or power is combined with
such an intensity of intolerance toward those of other races, parties,
classes, religions, cultures, regions or nations as to make him ruthless
in his use of deceit or violence to attain his ends.” - Henry A Wallace
COMMENT | Communications and
Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak claimed “the opposition coalition
can never match BN, which has a track record of cooperation between the
different ethnic groups and tolerance between its leaders, without
compromising party principles”. This brings us to the question of what
exactly are Umno’s principles.
We know from the National Civics Bureau (Biro Tatanegara, BTN)
courses that Umno’s principles are an unholy brew of racial supremacy,
religious bigotry and corporatism that was endorsed by a compliant
Malaysian polity, resulting in a cascade of religious and racial issues
that compromised every facet of government. With the ouster of the
charismatic, jailed political prisoner – Anwar Ibrahim – from the Umno
fold, the contemporary Umno narrative is one of loss of power and
influence by attrition.polity, resulting in a cascade of religious and
racial issues that compromised every facet of government. With the
ouster of the charismatic, jailed political prisoner – Anwar Ibrahim –
from the Umno fold, the contemporary Umno narrative is one of loss of
power and influence by attrition.
The Malay vote is the most important vote to Umno. I wrote about how
the dialectic in the Malay community is a threat to Umno hegemony, which
is the real reason behind the racial and religious sabre-rattling. This
is the existential threat Umno is facing – “what would happen if a
majority of Muslims in this country decide that they have had enough with state religious authorities intruding into their lives?
They have had enough with money going into religious organisations
while essential services that benefit their community are underfunded
and mired in bureaucratic corruption. What would happen if they grew
tired of the hypocrisy of the state where Muslim elites were immune from
the harsh glare of Islam but the rest of the polity was not?”
While the non-Malay component parties of Barisan National scramble to
discover their relevance in a post-Pakatan era, the reality is that
their days of being handmaidens to Umno warlords are over. Most
non-Malay opposition supporters have realised that it is better to have
no representation in an Umno Parliament than the compliant non-Malay
representation that the traditional mainstream component parties
Just a couple of articles ago, I asked what can the MCA
do for Umno – “the answer to that is MCA obviously cannot do anything
much for the ruling BN coalition anymore. How do you remain relevant
when you have lost your voting base? Umno does not need MCA to win
elections. The dodgy meme that the current Umno prime minister is a
“minority” prime minister is as fallacious as the so-called 'Chinese
The split in the Malay polity
The Chinese community has borne the brunt of the dark art form of the
propaganda warlocks of Putrajaya, but what has really rattled the Umno
hegemon is the split in the Malay polity. While their former master
strategist – Dr Mahathir Mohamad – has thrown in with the opposition,
the only viable Malay/Muslim political party left is PAS. And those
folks are really kooky.
When you have Umno members, ministers and the prime minister claiming
that the Chinese would usurp the power of the “Malays” if the
opposition ever came to power, this is the very definition of racism.
When you claim that “Islam” is under siege by make-believe non-Islamic
bogeyman, this is the definition of religious bigotry.
Because the Registrar of Society (ROS) is playing coy with the DAP by
not officially asking them to hold re-elections and there is an
established chain of events that point to a conspiracy between the
executive and a public institution, the only conclusion any rational
person can make is that Umno and ROS are acting mala fide against the
When you consider the racist rhetoric coming out of Umno power
brokers, government ministers and government institutions, the religious
bigotry from the same, Umno should just drop this charade of democracy
and ban all non-Malay/Muslim political parties. This way, the Malay
community, or least that section of the Umno voting base, will not have
to be encumbered by the existential threat the non-Malays supposedly
pose to their “bangsa” and “agama”.
If banning the DAP is not enough, they could also partially ban PKR,
since it has non-Malay members and this could possibly pose a threat to
Umno/Malay hegemony. However, even if you ban non-Malay/Muslim political
parties, the problem persists in that the non- Malay polity will still
vote. If non-Malays vote, what is stopping non-Malays from voting for
opposition candidates who do not support the policies of Umno? If the
Malay vote is split, then non-Malays, especially in the urban areas, may
cast their vote for independent non-Malay candidates. So, perhaps the
answer is banning all non-Malay/Muslim candidates.
But – and this is an important “but” – non-Malays who do not have a
choice of non-Malay candidates may vote for Malay candidates who do not
support the polices of the ruling hegemon. These Malay politicians may
become proxies to non-Malay interest and in this way, subvert the
policies of “bangsa” and “agama”.
This would also mean that the utilitarian value of the non-Malay
component parties would be non-existent. If it is true that non-Malays
would rather have no representation than representation of BN component
parties, then the fig leaf of inclusion could be discarded. There would
be no need to govern by consensus. Instead, Umno could rule by fiat.
This would mean that, in order for Umno to safeguard the “Malays” and
“Islam”, the only candidates that should stand for elections are those
Malay candidates who support the policies of Umno as they relate to
“bangsa” and “agama”. But how does a political hegemon ensure that
people vote in the “correct” way?
More importantly, how does the hegemon ensure that the “correct” candidates stand for elections? So, what Umno really needs are only Malay candidates who support its
policies and a voting public that would vote the correct way. There are
only two options, as I see it.
1) Umno could give the illusion of choice and have various Malay
political parties that are, in reality, just another head of Umno like
the mythical hydra; or
2) Just cancel democracy and have members of Umno vote in their candidate.
Of course, by this time there would be no need for the non-Malay vote
and by this, I mean that non-Malays would not have the vote.
As long as Umno members continue their racist and religious bigotry
against the DAP and, by extension, all non-Malays, these are the only
two options to the logical conclusion of our fascist end.
Public flogging replaces ‘Malaysia Truly Asia’ slogan - By Commander (Rtd) S THAYAPARAN Royal Malaysian Navy
Sunday, July 16, 2017
Malaysiakini: “There must have been a moment, at the beginning, were we could have said - no. But somehow we missed it.” - Tom Stoppard, ‘Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead’
COMMENT | When Deputy Prime
Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi says that the amended enactment allowing for
(amongst other things) public whipping in Kelantan only affects
Muslims, it is yet again another falsehood told by the state to
non-Muslims in this country.
There is empirical evidence - something I know that some Muslims
frown upon - which collaborates the fact that anything concerning Islam
in this country affects every single citizen in this country.
Furthermore, there is ample evidence that the minions of Umno are exempt
from the harsh glare of Islamic laws which is not the reality for every
other Muslim in this country.
While corruption scandals will never be investigated and wrongdoers
subjected to public canings, there will be hundreds of Muslims who will
be subjected to such public humiliations for “crimes” that ultimately do
not affect the country as the crimes committed by the political elites
and rich Muslim cabals.
When it comes to justice and fairness, remember what PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang said about the prime minister despite the mountain of evidence of moral and criminal wrongdoing surrounding the 1MDB fiasco - “As reported in the press, Hadi has no problem saying that Najib is
only human and not a saint, and humans make mistakes, but the act of
attacking and bombarding the prime minister with unfounded allegations
is uncalled for.”
“In other words, Hadi condemns the so-called ‘unfounded allegations’
and dismisses the alleged corruption scandals against the current Umno
prime minister as the regular failings of human being. Is this what his
syariah system would look like?”
So, when the Kelantan state government warns non-Muslim political parties not to meddle
in the affairs of Islam, I say to the Kelantan state government - when
Islam does not intrude into the lives of non-Muslims is the day I, as a
non-Muslim, will stop commenting on Islam in this country. Do I need to
remind anyone that the rhetoric coming out of many Islamists in this
country that our rights as non-Muslims should be curtailed?
I think I will. Remember when Minister in the Prime Minister's
Department Jamil Khir Baharom wanted Umno to crack down on religious
pluralism because “there were numerous organised efforts being carried
out to challenge the freedom allowed in Islam”?
Here was my response
to that horse manure - “What exactly does ‘freedom allowed in Islam’
mean? My own thinking is that the way Islam is defined by the Umno
state, ‘freedom’ means freedom to curtail the rights enshrined in our
constitution. Freedom means the freedom to not enforce secular laws when
it comes to conflict with Islamic laws. Freedom means the freedom to
impose religious edicts on non-Muslims because the religious
sensitivities of Muslims are paramount. Freedom means the freedom to
restrict laws that make it easier for the citizenry of this country to
express their opinions and dissent in a very public manner.”
A prime example of how Islamic imperatives affect non-Muslims is
unilateral conversions. Furthermore, this phenomenon and the state’s
reluctance to settle this issue once and for all, and the various
Islamic hate peddlers from within and outside the Umno state who hamper
any form of secular reform to this issue, points to the siege that
non-Muslims are under from the Islamists in this country.
As I detailed in another piece
- “Islamists like Hadi and the numerous other peddlers of hate like to
remind us that their laws do not affect non-Muslim communities. We are
told that we are bullying the Muslim community by arguing for rights
applicable to all. We are warned that our secular trespass into their
religious domain would lead to violence. Unilateral conversion is the
corrosive truth that it is the Islamists who would invade our sacred
domain of family in the name of their religion.”
It’s not about whipping
What would happen if a state decides to carry enact secular
enactments which as defined by the constitution but runs afoul of
Islamists who see it as an “an attack” on Islam? You better believe that
the Umno federal government would step in and the Islam would be used
as a rallying cry against those Malaysian citizens who believe in the
supremacy of the constitution and that all Malaysians regardless of
ethnicity or religion deserve the rights enshrined in the Malaysian
constitution and common basic standards of treatment.
I guess because we have Muslim opposition candidates who bend over
backwards when it comes to anything Islamic in this country, someone
like Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Azalina Othman Said can
make the claim that state’s right is immune from federal scrutiny. If
the day comes when an opposition-controlled state decides to rethink the
way how Islam is practised in the state, would someone like Azalina be
so gung ho on state’s rights?
Let me be very clear. This is not an issue about canning. Singapore
carries out whippings - I personally believe that corporal punishment
like canning should only be carried out in the armed services - and most
people do not seem to have a problem with that, which I find strange.
Malaysia too has whippings as a form of punishment for several offences.
So, this is not an “Islamic” issue when it comes to this form of
While you could make the argument that the offences in Islam
sanctioned by whipping are different from those under secular law, it
should not make any difference for anybody against whipping as a
barbaric form of state sanction.
No, this is about how Islam as practised in this country and most
Islamic states attempts to normalise brutality in the guise of religious
piety, circumvent secular law as a sign of superiority and humiliate
Muslims by subjecting them to public ridicule as a means to ensure
We have all seen those videos online of public whippings and
beheadings that happen in Muslim countries. Some Muslims take great
pride in those acts of barbarity. Some Muslims I have talked to - not
necessarily politicians - approve of how Islam is promulgated in this
country and are supportive of those they claim to know what is best for
Islam and Muslims in this country.
Can anyone tell me the difference between an Islamic State video of
public canings and beheadings and the videos of public canings and
beheadings that goes on in Saudi Arabia for instance? Could anyone tell
the difference between public caning that would happen in Kelantan and
those depicted in IS propaganda videos?
People will not talk about Malaysia being truly Asia. There will talk
about how this supposedly moderate Muslim country bent over backwards
for the Islamists because we have a compromised prime minster.
Playing the losing non-Malay race card - By Commander (Rtd) S THAYAPARAN Royal Malaysian Navy
Thursday, July 13, 2017
Malaysiakini : “The
question of racism has been abolished... that is what is more important
to us than that little fight that he (former prime minister Dr Mahathir
Mohamad) is trying to create. I always stand by the ruling prime
minister.” - S Samy Vellu, former MIC chief
COMMENT | Former MIC chief S Samy Vellu admitted in a Malaysiakini interview
that the MIC really did not have a voice in the Mahathir regime. And it
may very well be that the current Umno potentate hasdone more
for “Tamil education” in this country than the former Umno prime
minster with “Indian heritage”, but the real question will always be,
has all this money helped the “Indian” community in this country?
That is a question that only the Indian community can answer. However
with regard to the general race discourse, as I outlined in the last pieceabout
the "Indian" problem and the rabbit hole of Malaysian politics -
“Because politics in Malaysia is race-based and the alternative media
(especially the English media) is defined by the crudest partisan
expectations, issues like tokenism, appropriation and crypto-racism, are
subsumed beneath a steady diet of Umno transgression and
socio-political red herrings” - this idea that there is a difference in
the discourse concerning race in the mainstream and alternative media is
complete bull manure.
While MIC chief Dr S Subramaniam may be right about what the current
Umno poohbah has done for his collection plate, he forgets that Prime
Minister Najib Abdul Razak has also done far more for the Indian Muslim
community than the former prime minister with Indian heritage when he
accepted Kimma - The Malaysian Indian Muslim Congress - as associate
members of Umno.
Like all good Indian Muslims and their relationship with their Malay
Muslim brethren, the parameters of the union were well-defined.
According to the grand Umno poohbah - “But they (Kimma) cannot be
involved in Umno’s internal matters” - and since Umno internal matters
bypass cabinet decisions (which has been proven time and again), I
suppose Indian Muslims, when they are not running Umno in a de facto
manner - which is the main gripe of Malay nationalist types and
especially against former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad - they have
to be content to be observers (at least publicly) like the MIC.
Anyone who is interested in what people think of the Indian community
should lurk on social media forums and alternative news sites’ comments
sections. As one Chinese academic and proponent of Chinese-language
education said to me, he has not seen such overt racism and this coming
from someone who has dealt with the Umno regime for years. If the race
discourse in this country is dominated by the Malay/Chinese dialectic,
it is because the opposition has not moved it from this safe zone. I
mean does anyone really care how the Indian community votes?
What is the latest statistics on the “Indian” demographic? Does the
fact there are so many stateless Indians skewers the official
statistics? And does the fact that there are so many “Indian” foreigners
who have been given citizenship but who because of their religion
become something else, skewers the statistics?
Some people do not even self-identify as “Indian”, preferring instead
to highlight whatever sub-group they come from, making cultural and
economic variations to differentiate themselves from the disenfranchised
Indian community who make up the bulk of the criminal underclass in
this country and are the object of derision of a particular type of
Value of Indian vote
Forget about dodgy official statistics for a moment and consider the
value of a Malay vote - because of gerrymandering, it is greater than
that of a Chinese vote. What do you think the value of an Indian vote
is? At this stage because of the idiotic way in which how the “Malay”
race is defined in this country and because of the phenomenon of
constitutionally-created Malays, I would argue that the Indian vote is
If the Indian vote is meaningless, this would mean that the MIC is
meaningless. If the MIC is meaningless, this would mean that whatever
issues the Indian community faces are meaningless from a political
capital standpoint. Before anyone says there are only “Malaysian”
issues, I think you should take a good hard look around at the comments
of your fellow partisans, the narratives of the state, the policies of
both Umno and the opposition, and see how hypocritical, duplicitous and
malicious such rejoinders are.
MIC political operatives tell me, like their opposition counterparts,
Indian politicians have to rely on Malay and Chinese votes to get
elected. While MIC candidates have some leeway (meaningless as it were)
when it comes to pushing Indian issues, opposition Indian politicians
have a harder time justifying “racial” issues in the Bangsa Malaysia
So, someone like Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) president
Muhyiddin Yassin can go on about a Malay tsunami, and the DAP and MCA
can bicker on about who better represents the Chinese community but
whenever the Indian issue comes into play - and truth be told this is
mainly an opposition tactic - everyone suddenly becomes race-blind.
One political analyst recently got into a discussion with me about
voting across racial lines. He took exception with a quote of mine that
he disagreed with, because according to him, the opposition has an
ideological stance which is completely different from the ruling Umno
hegemon. I reproduce the specific quotebelow:
“In addition, this idea that voting across racial lines as some sort
of evidence of burgeoning multiracial solidarity is complete bunkum. The
real test is when people vote across ethnic and religious lines in
support of ideologies that run counter to the interests of their
communities and by this, I mean egalitarian ideas that run afoul of
constitutional sacred cows and social and religious dogma.”
My argument has always been that there is really very little
difference between the opposition and the Umno establishment when it
comes to the racial politics in this country. Just a couple of months
ago, I made this point again - “Part of the reason for this kind of
thinking is that the opposition has never really addressed the systemic
dysfunctionality that plagues the country. There has never really been a
serious dialectic within the opposition on the issues of race, religion
and institutional integrity.
The 1MDB issue has been the centrepiece of
the fight against Umno but as anyone on the ground will tell you, this
has not gained any traction with the demographic that the opposition
needs most.” What this latest MIC fiasco demonstrates is not that the MIC is
irrelevant or that this is merely just another opportunity for partisans
to pour scorn on the MIC and Umno. The real issue here is that the MIC
is the first political party to fold in the racial card game of
You can bet that there will only be one political party left at the
table of this racial card game and it will not be the one which believes
in Bangsa Malaysia.
The muzzling of Dr M - By Commander (Rtd) S THAYAPARAN Royal Malaysian Navy
Monday, July 10, 2017
Malaysiakini : “The one pervading evil of democracy is the tyranny of the
majority, or rather of that party, not always the majority, that
succeeds, by force or fraud, in carrying elections.”
- John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton
COMMENT | So now we have proof
that Umno members “cover” for their president. We have proof that the
corruption of Umno presidents are covered up by Umno members. We have
proof that Umno members will overlook any kind of malfeasances to keep
their leader in power.
We have this proof because, Umno vice-president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi,
who is now acting deputy president of the party, admitted as much when
he told former prime minister and de facto opposition leader Dr Mahathir
Mohamad (aka Our Great Leader) to shut up or recite Quranic verses to Allah, whichever comes
This is what Zahid said:
“He unveils the flaws of the present leaders, don’t forget we also used
to cover his flaws. Don’t let it be our turn to show his shame and
‘scabs’. There is so much that we can reveal.”
Let us unpack this statement. We can discern three important facts from it.
1) Zahid does not dispute that the current Umno leader and Prime
Minister Najib Abdul Razak has “flaws” and in this case, the only flaws
that the current de facto opposition leader Mahathir is unveiling are
the numerous corruption scandals that are plaguing this regime. You
would note that the Umno acting deputy president is not disputing those
flaws, indeed he acknowledges them as human “weakness” that every Umno
politician (leader) has.
2) He acknowledges that Umno members “cover” the flaws of their
leaders. So, as an Umno member, he is admitting that over the years Umno
has engaged in acts to cover the possibly criminal or unconstitutional
acts of their leaders to safeguard the position of Umno and the position
of the president of Umno and the office of prime minster of this
3) That by claiming “there is so much we can reveal”, Zahid is
admitting that Umno members have evidence of wrongdoing and have
purposely concealed these alleged criminal acts from the state security
apparatus, the judiciary, the press but more importantly, the public.
So, let me be clear. What Zahid’s statements reveal is that (1) Umno
members know that their leaders are corrupt (flaws); (2) that Umno
members cover for their leaders; and (3) Umno members have evidence of
the wrongdoings of their leaders.
How do Umno members cover for their leaders? Now, I am just
spitballing here, but they would have to ensure that their leaders are
insulated from the banalities of accountability. This would mean that
independent institutions that are meant to investigate and prosecute the
“flaws” of politicians would have to be accountable to members of Umno,
whose primary goal is to cover for their leaders. This would mean that the security apparatus, the judiciary and the
press would have to answer to Umno because these would be the
institutions that the Umno leader and prime minster would need
In other words, Umno members, like Zahid and every other Umno member
who are covering for their dear leader, are collaborators and/or
accomplices to the crimes committed by their president. Now I am not
making an accusation, I am merely clarifying what the Umno deputy
president said. So, when Umno members defend the indefensible, when they claim that
their leaders have done no wrong, when every state apparatus clears Umno
leaders of wrongdoing, what we are left with is the knowledge,
articulated by the Umno deputy president, that all this was done because
Umno members cover for their leaders.
So, this means that the so-called Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI)
on the foreign exchange market (forex) issue of the past is merely an
attempt by Umno members to “reveal” the wrongdoings of Mahathir? This
would also mean that this RCI is indeed politically motivated in defence
of the current Umno president and Malaysian prime minster because the
Zahid publicly threatened to “reveal” the “shame” and “scabs” of the
former prime minister.
And why was Salleh shocked?
So, let take this issue of the “appointments as additional judges to
the Federal Court”, which has received a fair amount of justified
criticism from members of the Bar and former judges. Former chief
justice (CJ) Abdul Hamid Mohamad had warned that “an extension of a CJ's
tenure beyond the 66 years and six months may compromise the
independence of the judiciary”.
In other words, what the Najib regime is doing may affect the
independence of the judiciary. This brings us to Communications and
Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak’s shocking revelation that Mahathir, in his interview with The Guardian implied that jailed political prisoner Anwar Ibrahim “was fixed up by a corrupt judiciary and the judges were dishonest.”
Here is the problem. If Umno members cover for their leaders and the
only way they can do this is if they control the apparatus of the state,
then why is it shocking that a former prime minister implies that the
state, through the judiciary covered, up a political problem for an Umno
president? If Umno members cover for their leaders, and the only way they can
cover for their leaders is by controlling the apparatus of the state and
concealing evidence (as articulated by Zahid), then why is it a
surprise to the communications and multimedia minster that the former
prime minister implies a conspiracy by the state (during his tenure) to
imprison a political opponent?
If by stacking the judiciary in favour of Umno politicians means that
it would be easier to “cover” the flaws of Umno presidents, then why
should we be surprised by the fears and warnings that this would lead to
an unnatural relationship between the executive and the judiciary as
articulated by former CJ Abdul Hamid?
With this in mind, how can we not believe that this move by the
Registrar of Societies (ROS) to compel the DAP to hold a further round
of its central executive committee (CEC) elections is anything but a
political gambit by the Umno state to neutralise a political opponent of
a compromised Umno president before the upcoming general election?
Concerning this crippling of the DAP, this quote from Lim Kit Siang’s blog needs to be addressed. “In fact, it has led even independent observers to swallow hook, line
and sinker to believe in these fake news and false information. For
instance, one independent commentator described the whole ROS fiasco as
‘a ticking time bomb of DAP’s own design’ that should have been
addressed a long time ago in a transparent manner. How is the ROS fiasco
‘DAP’s own design’?”
Which is the more plausible proposition?
1) That I have swallowed hook, line and sinker the fake news and false information of this regime and its propagandists. Or
2) That I was sincerely questioning the strategies (as it were) of an
opposition political party that is in the crosshairs of this regime,
the state apparatus that they control and the propagandists who serve
them. I will leave rational readers to decide which they think is more plausible.
Ultimately, muzzling Mahathir says more of the collective guilt and
complicity of Umno members, rather than the agenda of the former prime
minister turned de facto opposition leader.
MCA’s Koh Chin Han in a media statement said - "Jakim's failure to
see things from a wider perspective will certainly result in serious
impingement into the rights of an individual. This will lead towards a
divided Malaysian society along religious and/or gender lines. This
ironically runs against the justice the religion itself calls for."
Here is the thing. Jakim, or any other state-sanctioned Islamic
organisation, is apparently not interested in bringing Malaysians
together. They are interested in the purity of whatever school of
Islamic thought they are promulgating in this country. That is
Remember when there was all this talk about specific labels for Muslim-produced goods. This is what I wroteabout
the turf war between Jakim and whatever the name was of that other
Islamic entity - “Every time the state pushes the edges of what is
acceptable when it comes to social cohesion by coddling interests such
as these and it goes unnoticed by the so-called silent majority or
voices of change in this country, we draw closer to a failed state that
would be the logical outcome, if and when we collapse economically.”
(Appropos everything, remember in that label fiasco, “Rural and
Regional Development Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob was complaining that
Jakim’s halal certification was too stringent and a burden on small
industries run by Muslims.” What this meant was that when it comes to
Islam, you could lower the bar because of race. It all depends on which
So, when a Muslim Malaysian, Nurhanizah Abdul Rahman, decided to use a
social media platform to talk about her relationship with her pet dog,
Bubu, as part of some pet food competition, this has apparently caused
distress amongst some Muslims. Did a few Muslim Malaysian cat lovers
participating in the same competition decide to whittle down the
competition by drawing attention to this video? I mean she has to win
now, right? It is the only outcome where good triumphs over stupidity.
I guess you could argue that Nurhanizah made a boo-boo when she
adopted Bubu. See, with this kind of joke, you do not elicit excessive
laughter. Of course, Jakim would take this act seriously. Remember this
is the same religious organisation which got into Aunty Anne’s business
because of a pretzel dog.
Remember, in the pretzel dog controversy, Tourism and Culture
Minister Nazri Abdul Aziz said, “Please don’t make us look so stupid and
backward...”; well, I guess it is too late now.
The ‘greater good’
However, what really bothers me is that this is really a class issue.
Think about it. Do political and economic Muslim elites have to put
with this harsh glare from religious bodies? Are they subject to
allegations that they are “maligning” Islam?
When an Umno Muslim woman does not wear the tudung, silence; when any
other women, especially if she is opposition-leaning or involved in
activism or merely getting on with her life (but does not have the
economic or social advantage that Umno provides), well, she gets the
short end of the Islamic stick.
This is what really sticks in the craw of these religious bureaucrats
- that a woman is “trying to set a new custom which could lead to
actions which malign Islam”, in the words of Jakim director-general
Mind you, I do not think that Nurhanizah was attempting to do any
such thing. A person attempting such, would not attempt to put the dog
up for adoption and walk her dog (since she had no takers) at night so
as not to upset Muslims in her community.
I do wonder if these same pious members of her community, so easily
distressed, also threw food laced with poison and faeces - cat, dog or
human? - into her compound? No, what she was doing was showing empathy
for an animal, and what she gets in return is a state-sanctioned
religious institution asking her to repent for her sinful ways.
This is why someone like lawyer Siti Kassim who has asked Jakim to
repent, is such a threat. While some men find is funny or pleasurable to
sexually assault cardboard cutouts,
some women like to defend members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and
Transgender (LGBT) community from the prejudice of the state, or in this
case, offer shelter, comfort and love to a stray animal. Life is funny
Moreover, because life is funny or maybe just a tragic comedy, we get
Islamic groups who claim that Islam needs to be defended and decrying
“liberalism”. When you get the Umno president decrying liberalism at a
conference about the "Islamic middle path", linking liberalism to
paedophilia (Nur Fitri Azmeer Nordin case), you understand why most
rational people will never subscribe to the idea that there is a
moderate path in state-sponsored Islam - “This threat (liberalism) will
ruin the Muslim identity because the liberal ones will take the easy
route in matters of religious principles, and from there, groups such as
liberal Muslims, LGBT, human rightism and many more will be born.”
Recently, there have also been calls by various Islamic groups to
name and shame Muslims who do not follow their way of thinking, which is
in the state’s way of thinking. This is an important point. There have been numerous other religious personalities taking Jakim
to task for exceeding its authority by declaring this a “sin” or acting
beyond its jurisdiction but more importantly, drawing attention to the
reality that there are different interpretations of Islam that view this
issue differently. Jakim believes Nurhanizah should repent for the “greater good”.
However, what is the greater good here? Is the greater good, the fact
that this caused “distress” amongst some Muslims? Does the greater good
involve some people in her community acting in a criminal manner by
throwing poison and faecal matter into her compound? Is the greater
good, that some Muslims will fear taking care of stray dogs, for acting
compassionately to animals because they fear opprobrium from some in
their community and possible sanction from the state?
Some folks think this is funny. I do not think this is funny. I do
not think it is funny when another Muslim woman and someone who offers
shelter to stray dogs and cats, Norashikin Ahmad, (as reported earlier
in the year) is kicked out of her house by her mother because the
pressure from pious Muslims who objected to her kind acts towards
animals became too great for her mother shoulder - “The pressure became too much for Shikin’s mother to bear and as a
result, she kicked Shikin, her youngest daughter, out of the house. ‘She
told me take my dogs and cats with me to live somewhere else.’ Only
after Shikin’s older sister interfered did she change her mind. Shikin
now rents the white house from her mother to house disabled cats.”
Nobody is interested of course, but it is issues like these that cause me “distress”.