Articles, Opinions & Views: Stop the harassment of Boo Su-Lyn - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy

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In A Foxhole
“When you're left wounded on

Afganistan's plains and

the women come out to cut up what remains,

Just roll to your rifle

and blow out your brains,

And go to your God like a soldier”

“We are not retreating. We are advancing in another direction.”

“It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it.”

“Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.

“The soldier, above all other people, prays for peace,

for he must suffer and be the deepest wounds and scars of war.”

“May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't .”
“The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.

“Nobody ever defended anything successfully, there is only attack and attack and attack some more.

“Fixed fortifications are a monument to the stupidity of man."
“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died.
Rather we should thank God that such men lived.

The Soldier stood and faced God

Which must always come to pass

He hoped his shoes were shining

Just as bright as his brass

"Step forward you Soldier,

How shall I deal with you?

Have you always turned the other cheek?

To My Church have you been true?"

"No, Lord, I guess I ain't

Because those of us who carry guns

Can't always be a saint."

I've had to work on Sundays

And at times my talk was tough,

And sometimes I've been violent,

Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny

That wasn't mine to keep.

Though I worked a lot of overtime

When the bills got just too steep,

The Soldier squared his shoulders and said

And I never passed a cry for help

Though at times I shook with fear,

And sometimes, God forgive me,

I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place

Among the people here.

They never wanted me around

Except to calm their fears.

If you've a place for me here,

Lord, It needn't be so grand,

I never expected or had too much,

But if you don't, I'll understand."

There was silence all around the throne

Where the saints had often trod

As the Soldier waited quietly,

For the judgment of his God.

"Step forward now, you Soldier,

You've borne your burden well.

Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,

You've done your time in Hell."

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Stop the harassment of Boo Su-Lyn - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Monday, June 29, 2020
Malaysiakini : “I have no doubt that the nation has suffered more from undue secrecy than from undue disclosure. The government takes good care of itself."- Daniel Schorr
COMMENT | It is frustrating that the police are questioning the health news portal CodeBlue's editor-in-chief for reporting on the Sultanah Aminah Hospital fire in 2016 that killed six patients, which was classified as an official state secret at the time. What's so frustrating about the interrogation of Boo Su-Lyn (above) is that this is an instance where the system worked, but the political apparatus is failing us. The fact that there was “confusion” over what exact laws she broke further highlights the capriciousness of the “investigation”.
Now, it has been reported that former Court of Appeal judge Mohd Hishamudin Yunus, who was the chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) has also been called in for questioning. The then Pakatan Harapan government, in one of its attempts to present the findings of their investigation into the fire, acknowledged that there were failures among various agencies. Former health minister Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, in arguing for transparency said, "What we want is transparency, including the weaknesses of the hospital or others (agencies), which will be revealed next week."
As reported by CodeBlue, “The investigating committee handed its report to the Health Ministry in June 2018 under the Harapan administration. On Oct 2, 2019, the cabinet decided that the Health Ministry was to publish the report. Dzulkefly did not do so. However, he confirmed with CodeBlue on Feb 24 this year that the Hospital Sultanah Aminah report was declassified as a state secret." As I write this, the former health minister has not come forward to deny or confirm what the CodeBlue editor claimed. This, of course, is extremely worrisome, coming from a former government official who campaigned on transparency and press freedom.
The work of the independent committee investigating the fire at the hospital clearly demonstrated that there were grave lapses in safety protocols. Among them were the lack of staff training, malfeasance on the part of Medivest Sdn Bhd (which the committee suggested for the government to commence legal proceedings against) and the serious issues with the way the Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) carried out its duties.
What the independent inquiry exposed was systemic dysfunction in the various parties that were supposed to ensure public health and safety, but more importantly, the findings finally explained why six people had to die because the system failed them.
Independent committees like these cause embarrassments to the government machinery because of the revelations they uncover. The Wang Kelian inquiry, for instance, where 147 mass graves were found in alleged human trafficking camps in Perlis, managed to reveal a little of the bureaucratic underbelly unseen by the average rakyat.
Boo was merely the messenger. She was doing her part in ensuring the rakyat were aware of the facts that the independent investigation unearthed. She was not making any allegations against any parties beyond reporting and presenting the findings which, no doubt, vexed corporate, political and institutional interests. Why is it important to intimidate the press for reporting the findings of an independent government commission?
For instance, this report pointed out the deficiencies in the Bomba. This, of course, alerts the rakyat that there is a problem in the way how this particular government agency interacts with the bureaucracy and the political apparatus. So, of course, if a government fears transparency, they would object to the findings of this independent commission being made public.
The government, of course, has no problem using the Bomba service as propaganda, especially when it came to the death of firefighter Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim. Do you see the difference in the way the state attempted to use the Bomba and hampered questions of the dysfunction of the agency?
If you go through the four-part articles you will discover:
1. The incompetence of the hospital administration, which was allowed to operate in a “fire hazard”;
2. The alleged malfeasance of Medivest (the private medical support company);
3. The dereliction of duty – in my opinion – of the Bomba; and
4. The brazen indifference of the Health Ministry (at the time) of one of its charges, but more importantly, the tolerance of systemic dysfunction in agencies that are vested with the power to ensure the safety of the rakyat. These are not issues that should be ignored by the public.
Read the extract of the transcript between then-Johor state Fire and Rescue Department director Othman Abdullah and Suhakam chairperson Mohd Hishamudin Yunus (above) and you would be shocked to discover the passivity of the Bomba services when it came to the lack of compliance by the hospital and which was defined as a “fire hazard”:
“Othman agreed with the chairperson's suggestions that the hospital had displayed a nonchalant attitude by not taking measures for 14 years to obtain a fire certificate and, in the process, endangered patients and hospital staff. The Fire and Rescue Department official also agreed that it was Bomba’s responsibility to take stern action.”
All this because the Bomba, according to the investigation by the commission, did not want to sanction a government agency. In the words of Othman, it would create “havoc” – "Kebiasaannya, kalau premis kerajaan ini, bila kita ambil tindakan mahkamah, dia akan berhenti sampai ke peringkat TPR (Timbalan Pendakwa Raya). Dia tidak bawa terus ke mahkamah." (Usually, for government premises, when we take court action, it will usually stop at the deputy public prosecutor. It will not be taken all the way to court.)”
In 2016, then Health Minister Dr S Subramaniam (below) denied in Parliament that he was “…shielding a private medical support services company amid questions in the wake of six fatalities resulting from a fire at the Hospital Sultanah Aminah".
The independent investigation not only urged the government to initiate legal proceedings against the company but also detailed a litany of malfeasances that contributed to the tragedy:
“This lackadaisical attitude on the part of the staff of Medivest persisted despite several incidents of fire outbreaks previously occurring in the Main Building of the hospital on July 30, 2008; January 2010; May 5, 2016; as well as Oct 14, 2016."
The tragedy here is that Boo provided a vital service to the Malaysian public and she is being harassed for it. As Codeblue reported this March, the newly appointed health minister would look into the reports of the findings: “Definitely the Prime Minister and Ministry of Health will look into that." This is the result of the state looking into it. As Boo said, all this is a distraction, so I will end this piece on where this editor believed the focus should be on.
The victims of this tragedy:

Logeswaran Krishnasamy
Kaliama Muniandy
Neeramaladevi Chandran
Choo Lin Fung
Yusuf Hasan
Toh Ah Wah
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 1:01 PM  
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