Talkback

Jealous Of My Vaccine?

Artist and activist Fahmi Reza was arrested this evening for alleged sedition.

His lawyer Yohendra Nadarajan said police arrested him at his home at 7pm before taking him to the Dang Wangi police district headquarters in the capital.

As of 9pm, he was still being questioned and will be detained overnight in the police lockup.

“Remand (hearing)  is tomorrow at 10am at the Dang Wangi police station itself,” Yohendra told Malaysiakini when contacted.

Our comment

So, the same police force who arrested cartoonist Fahmi Reza for correctly depicting Najib Razak as a kleptocratic clown have now arrested him for listing songs about jealousy on Twitter. The situation must be serious.

Bemused folk from anywhere but Malaysia may well ask why is satirising jealousy (if that is what this was supposed to be) regarded as a seditious act resulting in the most serious charges?

The reason is that the police, like everyone in the country, know that jealousy was the topic of a major ‘faux pas’ by the Queen last week – an utterance that has acted as a spark to a tinderbox of public rage against a self-serving and unelected backdoor regime propped up by her husband.

Indeed, sticking to the French motif, there can hardly have been a more incendiary remark made by a reigning Queen since Marie Antoinette notoriously suggested “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche” (“let them eat cake”) after being informed that the folk of Paris were marching on Versailles because her husband’s ruinous policies had run them out of bread.

It seems there are those even in the Malaysian police force who know what happened next to her (and her husband and the bulk of the French nobility). Hence, presumably, the sedition charges.

In Malaysia the issue in hand is not basic foodstuffs, although for many these also are becoming extremely scarce along with cash, but vaccines against the deadly Coronavirus. These have yet to start to be rolled out to the most vulnerable and elderly in the general population of Malaysia, despite vast sums of taxpayers money having been appropriated to buy them.

Meanwhile, the ‘Top 400k’ of elite Malaysians – politicians and government workers – have all smugly received not just their first but second dose. When a citizen asked if these included the palace chef with whom the Queen was making tasty morsels for her table (as depicted on her instagram account) the sovereign messaged back “Are you jealous?”. When a wave of anger then washed over the internet she snapped shut her account.

So, which lady is to be least forgiven? It has been pointed out that the pampered Austrian princess on the eve of the French Revolution was simply vastly naive and had no concept of poverty and hunger, matters she had never encountered in the vast palaces she had dwelt in all her life. She simply revealed how out of touch her kind had long become and they paid a vicious price.

The Malaysian royal on the other hand was smug. She knew exactly what the question was all about and appeared happy to flaunt her privileged position as a safely vaccinated creature (as well as being vastly rich, pampered and all the rest) compared to all her compatriots who are suffering thanks to the incompetence and suspected corruption of her husband’s government.

Thankfully, in the present era and under the present constitution of Malaysia there are ample means by which an out of touch, unsympathetic, thieving set of politicians can be ejected from office without resorting to the methods forced on Parisiennes in 1789.

The Constitution could even be altered, if necessary, to rein in the powers of royals should they be shown to have abused them.

What Info Did Ex-Spy Chief Have On Whom?

Former spy chief Hasanah Abdul Hamid has been granted a discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA) in a US$12.1 million (RM50.4 million) criminal breach of trust (CBT) case involving funds from the government.

The High Court in Kuala Lumpur today allowed the prosecution’s application for the accused to be granted the DNAA.

Today was initially set for continuance of the prosecution’s stage of the trial against the former director-general of the Malaysian External Intelligence Organisation (MEIO).

Under the law, an accused granted a DNAA may still be charged for the same offence in future, in contrast to an accused given a discharge amounting to an acquittal.

On Oct 25, 2018, Hasanah, 62, claimed trial to one count of CBT amounting to US$12.1 million in government funds when she was serving as then director-general of the Prime Minister’s Department Research Division.

She was accused of committing the offence at the office of the Research Division in the Prime Minister’s Department in Putrajaya between April 30 and May 9, 2018.

Our comment

There is no information given as to whether the bloated, shifty-eyed ex-Madame Spy even gave back the US$12 million she embezzled in this abuse of the highest position of trust for her country.

She just got let off no conditions applying!

One must be therefore forgiven, as others suffer horrendous penalties and even death for lesser crimes daily in Malaysia, for speculating about what information Madame Spy had obtained in the course of abusing her various duties and about whom?

Someone who had the authority to call up the AG and tell him to drop all prosecutions against this phone-tapping, email-cracking Surveillance Queen for sure. Someone who wanted her to keep quiet about her stash of incriminating tapes and photos.

Guilty persons in top positions of power?  Surely Not!

Corruption And Lies - OK So Long As It's PAS

There is no point for a government to command a huge majority when it has no integrity, PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang said.

“What is the benefit if one enjoys majority support but has no integrity and if one lied to the people to secure majority support?

“Lies are enough of a sign that one has lost their integrity, which will definitely lead to other bad behaviours, including becoming a kleptocrat,” he said.

Our comment

One has to remind oneself that this fellow considers himself a scholar. Sadly his efforts to justify his party’s conduct are laughable and lamentable.

PAS do not want to lose their perks of office, bought by betraying their constituents as the original opposition frogs. They are clearly relishing the rewards (listen agin to Muhyiddin’s tactics for buying their loyalty) of being part of the present unelected coup government. Therefore, PAS does not want to face the test of Parliament, let alone another election, by ending the bogus emergency designed to keep them all in office and kleptocrating away.

So, to hell with democracy, which is what he is saying, he wants to stay in office majority or no majority.

The excuse is that PAS, according to Hadi, has more ‘integrity’ than those parties who did not lie to their voters and defect after the election and who actually won the election. In fact, he has the brass neck to say other parties are the liars, which he deplores even though he has admitted that he lied about his allegiances at GE14 and claimed ‘Allah is OK’ with his lying for the political benefit of the party.

By his own words and deeds there is not an ounce of basic moral understanding or integrity in this political party leader who claims to have religion on his side – he has not even the wit to disguise it.

 

"Something Wrong?" You Bet!

Awang Tengah dispensing largesse

Awang Tengah dispensing largesse

An Umno leader has mooted that financial allocations for elected representatives are better channelled to government agencies that serve the rakyat.

Umno information chief Shahril Hamdan told an online forum that the country already has a system in place for which the rakyat can tap for assistance. Elected representatives should instead be playing the role of facilitating this process rather than giving out cash to polish their political image, he stressed.

Why do we rely on elected representatives to solve welfare issues? Is it not the task of existing agencies in the first place? Like the Welfare Department for example?

Surely there is something fundamentally broken. If I am an elected representative…. “I can give out food baskets and some cash aid. Meaning that if I have money, then I am more likely to succeed (as a politician). Surely there’s something wrong,” he said.

Our comment

It is refreshing to hear a young UMNO leader reflecting on the corrupt practices that formed the bedrock of the system his own party has operated by looting public money to promote its prospects over very many years.

He is entirely right. The stomach churning scenes that have just gone viral in Sarawak of the local thug politician Awang Tengah swaggering through the market place handing out RM50 notes to hardworking constituents (as if the cash was his) is the perfect illustration of the sick system at work.

Awang Tengah became rich through public office. He hands out cash he gained through his access to public funds over which he and his party owe a duty of trust. For such politicians to raid the public coffers to hand out cash in such a manner to buy gratitude and votes – and further to deny the same sums to opposition parliamentarians is corrupt practice.

People must understand the money is theirs in the first place, not his kind personal gift to them. Likewise the fat constituency grants, the distributions of bags of rice with minister’s faces printed and all of the rest of the state-funded handouts channelled through elected MPs instead of state agencies as they should be.

All state funded benefits should be carefully shared out according to clear public policy by neutral public bodies to those identified as the most deserving by the elected government. The elected representatives can claim credit for the policies but should never directly touch a single ringgit to buy favour … let alone be seen tossing it (as if to beggars) at the folk they took it from in taxes and state assets in the first place!

Maybe, by championing such reforms the upcoming generation of UMNO will recommend themselves as better servants of their people than the dirty predecessors who tarnished the name of government in Malaysia?

This particular call for change should be implemented immediately.

There Is A Reason Malaysia Is Not Invited

Are we lagging in fight against climate change, asks Najib

Former  prime minister Najib Razak wants to know why Malaysia is not invited to US president Joe Biden’s virtual leaders’ summit on climate next month.

Najib said the new US president has invited 40 world leaders for the summit on April 22 and 23, which will be live streamed for public viewing.

Three of Malaysia’s neighbours – Indonesia, Singapore and Vietnam – have received invites.

“So why hasn’t Malaysia been invited when the summit is to be held online?

“The internet connection in Malaysia is unstable?

“Or is Malaysia seen as lagging in its fight against climate change and pollution?” he said in his Facebook posting today.

The White House press release stated that the leaders’ summit on climate will underscore the urgency – and the economic benefits – of stronger climate action.

It will be a key milestone on the road to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) this November in Glasgow, United Kingdom.

Our comment

The Answer Is Clearly Yes!

And Najib himself, together with his cronies over many years, is as culpable as anyone. These destroyers of Malaysia’s natural habitat, resulting in vast climate changing emissions, have included the leadership of Sarawak and Sabah and various royal families who have cashed in the forests and rolled out huge plantations at the expense of indigenous people.

Malaysia’s land and agriculture could have been developed much more sustainably and with the benefit of all the people in mind, but instead it has been turned into a destructive resource grab in order to line the pockets of a handful of decision makers as quickly as possible – corruptly and illegally in very, very many cases.

So, Najib asks the question having presided over the process for years whilst the rest of the world already knows the answer, having observed the situation in Malaysia and faced only denial of the facts and defiance of concerned criticism by the leaders of the country.

As European countries and the US have sought to implement responsible sourcing in their markets Malaysia has responded with accusations and legal complaints about the impact on their irresponsible businesses.

Other countries (like the present government of Indonesia) have more sensibly sought to work with the global campaign to mitigate climate change and address bad practices – which is why they are being taken in as partners, offered injections of climate change cash and invited to the right meetings in the lead up to COP in the UK at the end of this year.

Do Malaysia’s decision makers care about such matters, as long as they can still find resources to cut down and sell to China to make themselves rich whilst others suffer?

Under the present government plainly not. Or at least that is the conclusion of the leading countries who have in turn blackballed Malaysia from their meeting.

 

Fake Minister Cries 'Fake News' Over Fake Emergency

Claiming that the government sought an emergency declaration because it lost its majority in the Dewan Rakyat violates the fake news ordinance, said de facto Law Minister Takiyuddin Hassan.

“It is an offence. To me, it is an offence,” Takiyuddin said at a joint press conference to explain the fake news ordinance.

He said this when asked if critics claiming that the government sought an emergency declaration because it lost its majority was considered fake news.

The ordinance makes spreading “fake news” on Covid-19 or the emergency punishable by up to RM100,000 or up to three-year imprisonments, or both.

The emergency was declared by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on Jan 12 on the advice of the cabinet.

Officially, it is to help the government curb the spread of Covid-19. At the time, there were around 2,000 to 3,000 cases being reported daily.

However, critics have questioned why Parliament was also suspended under the emergency – and continues to be closed despite businesses and schools re-opening.

The declaration came two days after the Perikatan Nasional government lost majority control of the Dewan Rakyat after Umno’s Machang MP Ahmad Jazlan Yaakub withdrew support.

On the same day the emergency was declared, Umno’s Padang Rengas MP Nazri Abdul Aziz also withdrew support from the PN government.

The government has since secured the defections of two PKR MPs to make up for the support deficit after the King said Parliament can reconvene during the emergency.

Our comment

So it is up to this minister from the PAS party, whose leader admitted he lied for political gain before the last election (by denying he was in a secret tryst with UMNO) to decide what is Fake News under this ‘Emergency Ordinance’?

He wants to throw into prison critics who say that Parliament was suspended because PN had lost its majority rather than because of Covid.

Is it his excuse that this would combat Covid?

The fact is, as all Malaysians know, PAS are enjoying having their snouts firmly in the Federal Government trough for the first time since independence, having been at last befriended by a failing UMNO and defectors seeking power.

They want to keep stuffing themselves with public money for as long as possible by supporting the coup coalition made up of former long-term foes – all in the name of deepest piety, of course. Covid has provided a ‘God given’ excuse to break all the democratic rules and impose a bogus state of emergency to keep in office.

As the global and local media pointed out at the time the ‘Emergency’ was called the day ‘PM8′ lost his majority of two in the Parliament, which ought to have provoked a vote of no confidence or sent him to the Agong to submit his resignation. Instead, he conspired to advise the Agong to declare a bogus ‘State of Emergency’ in order to shut down Parliament and suspend elections.

He made no secret of it and it was reported everywhere. Muhyiddin admitted the reason for the ‘Emergency’ was because he no longer commanded a majority so an election beckoned if Parliament was called:

“The main thing that is stopping me from advising the Yang di-Pertuan Agong from dissolving Parliament and pave the way for an election is the Covid-19 pandemic,”

Yet, despite the admission of the PM himself and the global reporting of the situation this minister now threatens local media he will prosecute them for Fake News if they mention it again.

The TRUTH of the situation is that in no other democracy in the world has Covid been used as an excuse to close down Parliaments, which to the contrary have been used to support genuine emergency legislation to assist in the pandemic, such as raising relief funds.

As for elections, in the US over 150 million voters cast their ballots in a campaign where the winner Joe Biden campaigned virtually and voters used mail in ballots. PN itself had just weeks before triggered an election three years early in Sabah because it suited them politically.

Malaysian politicians have all now been vaccinated and are being given special exemptions to travel round the world, yet they are not allowed to do their elected jobs. Casinos and cinemas are open but Parliament is forced shut. Only the prospect of buying more frogs has tempted talk of a possible re-opening…. re-enforcing the highly valid observation that the reason it was suspended owed to politics and not to Covid.

So, on what grounds can the law minister’s case be upheld as true and his critics false? He doesn’t care because he prefers to rely on bogus emergency legislation to lock up those who speak the truth and accuse them of Fake News. After all, he has no answers to the charge being made.

For a party that proclaims itself religious, the well heeled Mr Takiyuddin and his Mercedes driving colleagues clearly consider themselves untouchable, from either Allah’s wrath or a furious electorate. And that’s not even news.

'Fake News' 2.0

The federal government has gazetted an ordinance supposedly to combat “fake news” relating to Covid-19 or the emergency proclamation but which in reality gives it sweeping powers with grave implications for press freedom.

The Emergency (Essential Powers) (No. 2) Ordinance 2021 dated March 11, which takes effect tomorrow, stated that perpetrators who spread “fake news” in writing, videos, audio recordings or in any other forms that may convey “words or ideas” will face action.

The ordinance grants the courts powers to order the removal of a publication if it is determined to be “fake news”, failing which the court may order the police or an authorised officer to do so.

The ordinance also overrides the Evidence Act 1950 and gives the police the powers to arrest, enforce, investigate and inspect.

It also grants authorities access to computerised data as well as the preservation of website traffic data. It requires the disclosure of stored traffic data if requested.

Under the seizable offences section of the ordinance, any investigation under the law does not require a warrant.

The law also applies to any person regardless of their nationality or citizenship who spreads fake news outside the country.

The punishment would be a fine not exceeding RM100,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or both and in the case of a continuing offence, a further fine not exceeding RM1,000 for each day the offence continues after conviction.

It is worth noting that the gazetted ordinance bears a resemblance to the Anti-Fake News Act which was passed by the BN government just before GE14 in 2018 and which was subsequently repealed by the Pakatan Harapan administration.

Our comment

There is no greater self-admission that the truth has become dangerous than when an authoritarian regime, which is what this  ’emergency’ minority government now is, imposes an arbitrary ‘Fake News’ law, together with harsh punishments against critics.

As matters became desperate for Najib back in 2015 as the facts emerged about 1MDB, the now convicted kleptocrat enacted an almost identical law (on which this one is based) and started arresting, harassing and generally intimidating the press and ordinary social media users to shut people up as the truth closed in.

Under legislation such as this (which has not even been passed through parliament but imposed under as bogus ‘Emergency Ordinance’ whilst the PM cavorts abroad) it will be up to the coup regime to decide what is ‘Fake” to punish critics.

The problem is that no-one will believe them. This gang of usurpers and defectors may terrorise the media in Malaysia, but they should should understand that in a global news environment the facts they want silenced will emerge elsewhere. Has no one learnt anything from 1MDB and Najib’s hopeless cover-ups?

So now, as before, Sarawak Report can expect to soon receive arrest warrants and extradition requests as an angry ‘Moo’, stamps his foot over our reporting of the facts. Will it be our questioning over 5G that sets him off? Or our reporting on his dodgy settlements over 1MDB, where he has sought to cash in on hard work by others to try and restore the finances destroyed by his former boss Najib?

If anything the corruption of PN is worse and more blatant even than that of the same bunch of brigands under BN – time is shorter for them to snatch their prizes after all.

We therefore challenge Moo to yet again make an example of SR – to file his charges and then bring his ‘fake news’ cases to the UK.

All the better to shine a much needed global spotlight on his dirty antics in Malaysia.

The PAS (Religious Party) Struggles To Understand Morality

PAS vice-president Mohd Amar Abdullah said the opposition practised a double standard when it came to political defections.

He said the opposition had no trouble with government MPs defecting, but were upset when it was the other way around.

“The problem with the opposition, if their people go and support the government, they get angry.

“But if someone from the government jumps to support them (the opposition), that’s okay. That’s the problem with them,” Amar (above) told reporters in Kota Bharu, Kelantan today.

Our comment

A party led by a man who thinks it is OK to lie admittedly lacks a moral compass, so let us help the bewildered PAS Vice President to answer his own question.

When a government or wealthy party abuses its powers to blackmail and bribe MPs to ditch their voters and hop parties in return for stolen and corruptly channelled public money this is immoral.

It is bad. Very haram.

If someone switches parties because they have a dispute this can also be criticised and there are political consequences, but it is not immoral or illegal in the same way as theft of public money and abuse of power.

We hope you see the difference, but corruption soon becomes a cancer that destroys the mind, so you probably cannot.

The Judges Judged

Malaysiakini has exceeded its RM500,000 fundraising target in under five hours.

The fundraiser was to help the news portal pay for a RM500,000 fine after the Federal Court found Malaysiakini liable for contemptuous comments by its readers.

Hence, the fundraising has been ended. All donations will be accounted for and Malaysiakini will be transparent.

Our comment

Malaysia’s judiciary have their highest officers to thank for laying them open to popular judgement in possibly the most exquisite piece of justice ever delivered – against themselves.

The judiciary pleaded not guilty. The public said rubbish.

Not without reason a huge number of people consider that the law is used as a political weapon in the country, based on experiences ranging from police harassment, all encompassing catch-all laws against dissent, vindictive prosecutions and, unfortunately, a slew of bizarre judgements over the years favouring establishment privileges against the public interest.

And that is before one considers the highly unfortunate but documented record of corruption, some of which has been referred to in a recent best seller by the former AG himself, Tommy Thomas.

Reputations are earned, not bludgeoned out of people. However, it appears that this lesson has not been learned by the very people who are supposed to sit in judgment on matters such as libel.

After all, when one of their own most senior figures a sitting Appeal Court judge, recently called for a Commission of Enquiry into judicial corruption how did they react? He has been censured and permanently suspended from his job for seeking to reassure the public that accountability exists where it most matters.

Anyone who suggests the law has been abused in Malaysia is attacked for contempt of court. Judges might not all be perfect, but they must be said to be perfect. It is an ideal shield to hide harassment of wider critics also.

No surprise therefore that within days of the new PN backdoor government taking power the newly appointed AG had ‘gone after’ one of the biggest threats to an illegitimate regime – namely the non-compliant independent media.

Malaysiakini is a leading light in that respect, hugely instrumental in the exposes that led to the fall of the previous corrupt BN government, which comprises the majority of PN.

So, by prosecuting Malaysiakini over readers’ comments that suggested a level of mistrust in certain elements of the judiciary in an unrelated article (anger had been provoked by cases such as the treatment of Justice Hamid) the entire country saw the move for what it was. A blatant act of intimidation with the purpose of silencing media critics.

The fact that the government law officer’s move was dealt with by the Federal Court like greased lightening for the swiftest possible judgement likewise resonated with every person in Malaysia.

After all, this is the most trivial and tenuous case. The alleged insult came from a comment that had slipped past the monitors at the paper and was immediately removed (after just 12 minutes) and apologised for when the news team were alerted.

This when major issues such as the appeal by the convicted gross kleptocrat  Najib Razak (who still sits in Parliament, were Parliament allowed to sit) are moving at a snails pace yet to be resolved.

No prizes for guessing therefore that the speed was indeed with a purpose to convict or that the ensuing punishment was blatantly designed to cripple one of the world’s most lauded, awarded and respected independent media operations. A rare jewel in a country that comes pitifully low in world media freedom indexes.

Contrast and compare. Individuals wrongly convicted and imprisoned under oppressive sedition laws have been compensated a mere RM1.00 by the Malaysian courts.

However, Malaysiakini, which had not originated the alleged insult and who had apologised and removed it once alerted to it, was fined RM500,000.00 – MORE than DOUBLE what even the prosecutors had dared asked for (a mere RM200,000).

Justice?

Were the judiciary pleased when the paper immediately announced that it would likely fold as a result?  Has the reputation of the Malaysian courts been strengthened and secured? Were politicians in the shadows likewise delighted at a lesson well delivered?

In which case they should have thought harder and longer before effectively inviting the people of Malaysia to pass their own judgement on the situation by imposing such a monstrous fine.

After all this regime has understood its popularity levels well enough to call a bogus State of Emergency for the very purpose of avoiding an election and the likely verdict that would bring.

Within FOUR HOURS of this attempt to murder media freedom the citizens of the country, at perhaps the most cash-strapped juncture in their modern history, had nonetheless dug deep into their pockets to meet the entire half million ringgit and more!

This is possibly amongst the swiftest  and largest responses ever achieved to support a cause and it clearly demonstrates two things. First, it shows the value that people place on their free media and on freedom of expression – a rebuke to repressive regimes everywhere (see the Human Rights Watch statement on the Malaysian court judgement and the BBC report).

And second, it shows the utter disdain in which the public plainly holds this judgement and by implication those who made it.

There is nothing the judiciary can do about this now. They invited the people to show their opinion and they did so – by putting hand in pocket to help out yet another victim of a system that has not earned the reputation it desires.

The people have spoken and Malaysiakini have ended by not paying a single ringgit after all.