Najib to Stand Down in 2015?

A STOP GAP THAT LEAKS

The end of the road for Najib Razak as prime minister of Malaysia appears nigh. We understand from sources close to government and within UMNO that there have been intense (and confrontational) albeit secret discussions between groups jostling for the position of prime minister and by default leadership of the United Malay Nationalist Organization (known by its acronym UMNO).

Najib Razak’s tenure as prime minister of Malaysia was as it now appears only a stop gap for convenience and borne out of necessity following the the disaster of the Abdullah Badawi government that tore apart UMNO.

The past 6 years from all the evidence of infighting has been fraught with instability and internecine fighting within UMNO at almost all levels. The organization once the Achilles heel of Malay unity has been the subject of internal power struggles, betrayals and allegations of massive corruption, financial excesses, impropriety and personal feuds between regional political leaders.

UMNO AND THE GREAT BETRAYAL

Many Malays believe that UMNO has lost its direction, its political and its moral authority to validly represent the Malays as a people. They believe UMNO as an organization and they as its beneficiaries have been abused and used to further and to advance the personal ambitions and fortunes of UMNO’s current crop of leaders.

Many more Malays believe the excesses of UMNO’s current leadership has been nothing short of a betrayal of the promises of the founding fathers of UMNO that the organization in whom they placed their trust would be custodians of their future, their land and their inherent political and cultural rights into perpetuity.

The general neglect of the Malay community and the deep class divisions that now prevail within is evident in not only the political and social dialogue over cyberspace but also in the emergence of what appears to be a credible preferred alternate political group claiming ascendancy over UMNO to represent Malay aspirations. That group and new entity is Perkasa.

UMNO is widely seen as a platform for the promotion of the interests of the Chinese, some Indians and the wealthy connected urban elite group of Malays to the detriment of UMNO’s grass root constituents now being absorbed by groups like Perkasa whose appeal appears more in focus with Malay aspirations.

NEGOTIATIONS OVER SUCCESSION 

From the information provided to us, it is indisputable that negotiations on a succession plan have been on going for some time now (accelerated since the outcome of GE 13) between factional leaders. Our sources tell us that these negotiations have been held in secret and conducted largely outside Malaysia in places as Australia, London, the US and at other times in secret locations within Malaysia.

Dr. Mahathir Mohamed who although not directly involved in these discussions and negotiations has been asked to refrain from any overt comment or direct action in the dispute and succession plans  for fear it may add to greater volatility in an already tense situation. It is feared that any comment by the former prime minister now elder statesman would serve to further inflame the present situation adding to the inertia of Perkasa’s momentum and its ascendency amongst the Malays.

The situation is volatile and the Malays deeply divided. Dr. Mahathir’s input it is believed by many political observers will inevitably hasten if not bring about the  demise of present day UMNO. The Malays are from all indications demanding radical surgery for UMNO, the dismantling of the current power structures within it and a more inclusive organization and a more meaningful consultative role in government.

THE ALTERNATIVES FEW BUT CLEAR: “GO”

The alternatives for UMNO and prime minister Najib are limited. Any failure on his part to address the current situation pro-actively, sensitively and with haste, paramount to which is the divide amongst the Malays and address the excesses (perceived and real) and indulgences of an elite within its leadership  according to political observers, will further undermine his and UMNO’s credibility. Unless he takes some drastic and immediate steps to bridge the divide and rein in corruption within UMNO the current leadership of both government and UMNO it is inevitable that UMNO will implode leaving Perkasa standing as the only legitimate representative of the majority Malays.

Perkasa and Isma and the momentum they have gained given the vacuum created by UMNO appear to be more representative of the aspirations of Malays. They will emerge to victorious, fill the void and assume the mantle of UMNO as representatives of the political and cultural will of the Malays.

No one contacted within Perkasa’s leadership recently has been prepared to comment on the subject matter of this article.

We stand by our sources and the credibility of their information

Syariah in a Secular Constitution

SYARIAH THE CONSTITUTION AND THE PROMINENCE OF NOUGHT

The debate currently raging on Islam and the constitution in Malaysia raises some very pertinent and perplexing questions not only about the character of the federal constitution, its role in government and politics, but it also reflects how little of the constitution is understood by those who comment on it and then attempt to interpret its provisions.

At the heart of the current debate on the perceived ‘rise of radical Islam’ ‘in breach of the secular character of the constitution is that “clash of civilizations” narrative conceived and conceptualized by conservatives in Washington post 9/11. That narrative and all that it stands for is now being played out in Malaysia.

Ventilating the position of what even the right wing in Washington refer to as the “rabid looney far right”, is an urban, ‘educated’ elite, embedded in the cities and metropolises of Malaysia. They and judging from their socio political dialect are an elite, alienated from the mainstream of Islam and their own culture. They have little connection to the realities of the daily lives, struggles and aspirations of the vast majority of Malaysia’s Muslims, Its Malays. Yet they claim to speak on behalf of Islam and the Malays in pronounced western monologues and tones .

THE GANG OF 25 AND ITS SECULAR ARGUMENT

The latest barnacle of this socially and politically aware coterie, attached to the hull of an opposition ship piloted by civil societies and other so called NGO’s is the Prominent group of 25. Led by former Malaysian Ambassador to the Netherlands Datuk Noor Faridah Ariffin, the group raises amongst other things, ‘a head of steam’ in what many in their class perceive as the unwelcome ascendancy of Islam as a religious and political force in national politics. They see this as threatening a breach of the secular character of the federal constitution. But they don’t raise any argument capable of supporting the non secular aspect of the  ascendancy of Islam as they see it or how it breaches the constitution’s secular character in the process.

Relevantly Faridah Noor is quoted as saying “It is high time moderate Malays and Muslims speak out. Extremist, immoderate and intolerant voices as represented by Perkasa and Isma do not speak in our name,”  in an open letter sent to all Malaysian media. What she failed to say was that the letter was not meant for the media. And then there were 24.

Noor Faridah fails to qualify or substantiate her claims in respect of the constitution, Islam and secularism  in that letter. She fails to address or ignores the fact she and her group of 25 Datuks and Datins have little in common with the wider body of the Malay Muslim population, from which it could be argued that the 25 have little in the form of a credible mandate than Perkasa or Isma to speak out for Muslims  or for Malays.

The 25 decorated, socially connected, upper middle class signatories to that letter have little connect with the vast body of marginalized mainly rural Malay Muslims for whom Isma and Perkasa speak so eloquently and effectively drawing Noor Fardiah’s ire and attention.

So much for her respect and knowledge of the constitution, of secularism, of democratic principles and  the needs and aspirations of Malays.

ONE MANS EXTREMIST ANOTHER MANS CHAMPION

Interestingly Noor Faridah refers to Perkasa and Isma as extremists for a few misplaced sentiments of its members. One swallow it appears does a summer make. She conveniently avoids comment on the totalitarian mindset and extreme language of chauvinistic (the exclusive and Chinese dominated) opposition politicians from the DAP, Bersih and elements of the Malaysian Bar. Each of these groups seek to overthrow government outside the ballot box.

Noor Faridah ignores reference to the plethora of  insults hurled at Islam and the Malays and the litany of lies and defamatory remarks in propaganda prior to and during the general election period of 2013 by her allies.These are the foreign funded rioters who  threaten to undermine democratic, representative, government by their actions.

Not even after Ambiga Sreenivasan’s audacious admissions on record to being foreign funded with an agenda to disrupt the elections and government has Noor Faridah anything to say about that threat and its extremist undemocratic non secular tones. Faridah and the 25 are not outraged. Nothing extreme there it seems. Nothing unconstitutional or intolerant about Bersih either. Yet the language she choses in her contumely against Islam is couched in very similar language to that used by Bersih, the DAP’s, PR and the civil society’s other assets in the region .

Noor Faridah  is deafeningly silent also about the Catholic church and its unwarranted divisive provocations of Muslims in cahoots with the US sponsored evangelistas. Critically and conveniently she fails to demonstrate why Perkasa and Isma are racist.

Could it be that she believes that Isma and Perkasa by one or even 10 of  their number have  issued political statements like those of Bersih’s, Fr. lawrence’s or Rev. Ong Moon and Anwar’s that do not meet with her approval? or worse still could Isma’s offending statements have been in the mold of the former Pope’s (Ratzinger)“Islam is a religion of evil” remark? or more to the point,  is it because Isma and Perkasa  are not of the same social pedigree of the 25?

WHERE DOES THE TRUTH LIE?

Nothing could be further from the truth than Noor Farida’s implied negativity and interpretations of secularism and the constitution arising as she implies from inclusion and recognition of Syariah law as an equal or parallel civil code in the Malaysian legal system.

It is a very long bow to draw to suggest that Malaysia, Afghanistan and Pakistan in some respects are in a parallel orbit because the Malays in a majority in exercising their constitutional rights appear to support Syariah whilst also resisting in a tide of opposition to their rights by non Malays.

This group of 25 does not comprise Islamic or legal scholars of any repute or distinction. Nor do they comprise anyone of standing with theological or academic credentials (Islamic) in Islamic or constitutional jurisprudence capable of supporting their arguments.

The group of 25 speculate, create fear and loathing of Muslims and invite incitement to sectarianism with the open letter. Nothing more, nothing less. Noor Faridah’s credentials as a lawyer and one who held such a high position in the public service and as one who may have instructed counsel in the Pulau Batu Puteh litigation leaves a lot to be desired.

SEPARATION OF CHURCH-STATE  A FICTION OF THE SEPARATION OF POWERS DOCTRINE

Truth is that religion, inspite of the fictional doctrine of separation of church and state has, always been like the Syariah, an integral part of state and politics.

The same applies to Holland (where Noor Faridah served) which is ruled by the House of Orange as it is in the UK ruled by the House of Windsor (the Queen) as it is in Malaysia.

The Syariah has from time immemorial been an integral part of Malay politics and deeply ingrained in the Malay psyche. Its existence and influence predates encroachment by the British colonial government and the ensuing influences of waves of imported migrants both cultural and religious. The conventions and influence of Syariah remains alive inspite of Anglo Christian legislation having obscured its existence, tarnishing its history and questioning its legitimacy.

The once seemingly dormant and benign force of Islam stirred up recently by provocative religious minorities and foreign funded anti Islamic forces appears to have finally found their sea legs. The opposition appears to have precipitated a crisis from which it is desparate to withdraw but unable to find the means to do so honourably.

These so called Liberal Muslims who the 25 appear to appeal to must in part shoulder responsibility for the increased radicalization,isolation,  militancy and rise of the politics of Islam in mainstream Malaysia today.

Islam is seen as The political doctrine, ideology and shield of a largely marginalized polity amongst the Malay population. The group of 25’s discomfort at the rise of Syariah is of their own making, their own negligence and their own incompetence.

The dispossessed amongst the Malays who are greater in number than their ‘Liberal’ counterparts the 25 appear to appeal to, have a far greater right to an expressive voice (however offensive and disagreeable) in a democracy. And from what is happening they appear to be prepared to use their voices to express their rights to their advantage in numbers. What is so wrong about that that others have to stand up to and be counted according to Noor Faridah?

A MUSLIM IS A MUSLIM -NOT LIBERAL NOT RADICAL- JUST MUSLIM

Liberal Muslims (whatever that term means) can no longer avoid the obvious, the inevitable and the consequential damage from decades of suppression of the deeply personal and religious aspirations of a silent marginalized majority, the Muslims.

Being Muslim and being Malay is as analogous to being celibate and being the Pope at the same time. These are inseparable characteristics of both concepts and not mutually exclusive terms or propositions. These are truisms we cannot ignore.

Terms like ‘moderate Islam’ and ‘liberal Islam’, ‘radical Islam’ and ‘progressive Islam’ are terms coined in places like the creative media rooms of the powerful Hill & Knowlton and other consultancies to the anti Islamic lobby in Washington more than a decade ago. They are colourable terms used to distort and to defame, to destroy and to debilitate.

These same terms now embarrassingly find currency amongst a belatedly ‘secularized’ community 13 years too late. The language is a dead give away of where the strings to these anti Islamic campaigns are attached.

THE AFGHAN PAKISTANI PARALLEL-IGNORANT AND UNFOUNDED

When all else fails………….Noor Faridah unfairly and unjustly draws parallels to what has occurred in Pakistan and Afghanistan to what is likely to happen to Malaysia if the Syariah Isma Perkasa juggernaut is not stopped. 

Afghanistan like Pakistan are two states cursed by their strategic location as entry points to central Asia and the Arabian sea. Historically the British, the Russians and the Americans had all sought to subjugate and rule a martial race of people in the Hunzas, Baluchi’s, Waziris (the people of Samson from Samson and Delilah of the bible) the Pathans and the other tribes that make up the two regions. None of Britain, the US or the Soviet army succeeded.

Pakistan and Afghanistan had a strong liberal, educated class who aspired and sought to claim for their people a fair share of the goods and services of a functioning democracy which would enable them to co-exist alongside the conservative principles and rigours of Islam and their tribal parochialism.

It was the British first, then the Soviets second then the Americans (under Ronald Reagan and William Casey) who militarised and radicalized the people of these two nations, assassinating, imprisoning and exiling their intellectuals, their liberal politicians, then setting up a false intellectual pseudo liberal class in an effort to lend a facade of legitimacy to their subjugating and ruling Pakistan and Afghanistan under an extreme form of Islam ‘Wahhabism’ to which the US was midwife at its birth in Saudi Arabia.

DEMOCRACY BY THE GUN-ISLAM BY WASHINGTON-FREEDOM BY DEATH

Coup after coup after assassination they failed. The west had by now brutalized, radicalized and militarized Islam in these places. It was now their brand of Islam that would exist in the region destroying it and its people whilst promoting western designs and supporting strategies in the region.

The lynching of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto one of the very few democratically elected Pakistani leaders was a watershed in Pakistani and South Asian politics.

Pakistan has had a sleuth of despots, military brutes, medieval warlords and tyrants all installed and supported by the US before and after that event. Noor Faridah appears to latently support the myth of Islam being the root cause of the problems of Afghanistan and Pakistan with her ill informed misdirected rhetoric.

If Malaysia is to become like either of these two states it will not be because of Isma or Perkasa  or the Syariah. It is more likely to be so because of the fear mongering and ill informed claims of a misguided Noor Faridah and her cohots and their ignorant (however well meaning) rants in this debate. This is exactly what occurred in Egypt and in other places in the middle east where American sponsored springs resulted in totalitarianism anarchy and bloodshed. The writing on the wall is the same.

What Noor Faridah and others like her are doing is precisely what the US did to Pakistan and to Afghanistan before destroying their liberal cultural and democratic and secular political institutions before turning these places into chaotic irredeemable failed states.

These agents of change achieve the destruction of their subject states by first creating then deploying a class of pseudo intellectuals with little limited knowledge, or regard for their own history or for fact.

Each of the extreme elements of Islam from the Taleban, Osma Ben Laden, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Algerian Brotherhood (the anti French resistance), the Chechen Rebels, (Saudi Arabian and American intelligence) the Filipino Abu Sayef (US intelligence to keep Marcos under check) and the Ayatollah’s Iranian Revolutionary Guard (the French), Hamas, Amal and Hezbollah (by Israel to keep the PLO under check) was a direct or collaborative instrument of US foreign policy. The same applies to ISIS.

Sadly for Noor Faridah there are no parallels to draw with Malaysia’s situation unless she is referring to the nexus with her group and these same forces of US foreign policy.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy them make mad first“.

WHAT’S IN A NAME A DEFINITION OR A LABEL?

There is no such thing as liberal Islam or liberal Christianity. These are socio political concepts in theologies (religions) born out of revolts, rebellions and social upheaval against oppression during their time.

The religious edicts of Islam demands strict personal disciplines as ‘ordained by God through his prophets’ and adherence to an even stricter moral code which is also claimed to be derived from the word of God.

For man (or woman) to alter the word of God in any way is more than merely Haram worthy of a Fatwa. It reduces God to a creation of man and a subject of man and not the other way round as it should be. There are no liberal or progressive or extreme versions of Islam. There is Islam and there is Christianity. It is absolute. You take it or leave it. But you can’t reinvent it.

SECULARISM VS SECULARISM-  ‘CONSTITUTIONAL EXPERTS’ VIEW- AMBIGA SPEAKS

The Malaysian constitution is secular in nature as Malaysia’s system of government is that of a parliamentary democracy. But whether or not one accepts these descriptions of Malaysia’s constitution, its government and its character the question is this. What is the meaning of secular in the context of government and the constitution. What is a democracy?

Ambiga Sreenivasan was quoted recently as explaining the meaning of secular in the framework of a similar constitution, the Indian constitution in which she as she explains “ it is to make the Christians and Muslims feel safe and to protect them against a government being pro Hindu”.

Ambiga failed to take the opportunity to disabuse the ill informed of why the word constitution and secular should not be cast in stone with copious references to articles of the constitution by their number and paragraph.

As an example of the point. Secularism is described as being an ‘areligious concept’ of politics in government where no religion or spiritual belief takes precedence over the laws or of government. Another way of describing this is simply” ” The rule of law. No one is above the law (institution or individual). That does not necessarily mean no religion can prevail within the confines of the law.

However in India, you have marriage and property acts directly applicable to separate religions. An example of a few appear below for convenience:

Anand Marriage Act, 1909. (07 of 1909)Arya Marriage Validation Act, 1937. (19 of 1937)Converts’ Marriage Dissolution Act,1866. (21 of 1866)Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act,1939. (08 of 1939,)Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956. (78 of 1956)Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. (25 of 1955) Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937. (26 of 1937) Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986. (25 of 1986) Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936. (03 of 1936) The Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1872. 

This example in the Indian constitution and its idea of secularism in truth can be argued as being the very antithesis of secularism. The law is subjected in part to religious doctrines and the various theologies which the law accommodates in varying degrees of discrimination resulting in a form of sectarianism. But they call it secular in India.

IGNORANCE IS NOT SECULAR- IT IS NARROW AND CANNOT ENLIGHTEN

The point is this. India’s constitution like that of Britain’s is said to be secular. But what secular means is clearly not understood by all. Secularism is like the elephant to the three blind men in the room. Each sees and feels it from a perspective of his or her own short comings and limited knowledge.

The US it is difficult to forget called itself a democracy for over a century defined by the “Gettysburg Address”. “ A government of the people by the people”. But no one dared ask the vexed question for over a century about, “a government by which people  for what people”. And for a century at least the Native Americans and the African American population lived under a shadow of unappalled oppression, deprivation and brutality till the events that culminated in Dr. Martin Luther King’s civil rights million man march of 1968.

Yet the world recognized this ‘moral, economic and military power’ as being not only a democratic state but also the model of democratic government and a secular constitution others had to aspire to or face their wrath in the breach. The demon then was communism. Today it is Islam.

WHY THE INCLUSION OF SYARIAH IS NOT A BREACH OF SECULARISM IN THE CONSTITUTION

Malaysia’s constitution is secular, its government a parliamentary democracy, its majority and therefore its social fabric fundamentally cloaked in a Muslim Malay character. By introducing Islam into the legal system the constitution does not in any way become non secular or breach  its ‘secular character’. It in fact gives it a wider interpretation and adorns the secular characteristics of the constitution. It in fact recognizes and gives legitimacy to the popular notion of the concept of secularism. Separation of church and state. But is that separation real?

Malaysia’s constitution, a variant of the Westminster English constitution according to the Malaysian Bar’s ‘constitutional experts’ and by implication of the call by the group of 25  is said to be secular.

In England the constitution its laws and every element of government in its preamble is by reference to the Queen in whose name parliament is called, prorogued and in whose name every law is enacted. Now how is that secular?

The Queen is head of the Church of England and the Protestant Churches. All government is hers. Her Prime Minister her Ministers, her armed forces, her courts and her civil service. Where therefore is the separation of state and church?

The laws which determine what is wrong and what is right has its origins in the 10 commandments beginning with the first “I am the Lord thy God thou shalt not have strange Gods before me”. Interpreted in simpler form “ The King and parliament is sovereign and no other power or law shall have precedence over them”. The “constitution is the supreme law of the land” Not the US constitution, not the British constitution, but the Federal Constitution of Malaysia is the supreme law of the land.

One can go on about the other laws such as the homicide act which is derived from the fifth commandment “thou shall not kill”, the tenth “thou shalt not covet they neighbours goods” the origins of the theft act and so on and so forth. But is it necessary?

SYARIAH VERSUS CHRISTIAN CIVIL CODES

Now where is the problem in the introduction and recognition of Syariah on par with the Christian civil code? Syariah is often ignorantly viewed through a ‘sensationalist ignorant’ prism as a regime of prohibitions alone leading to amputations and stoning.

Such perceptions are further reinforced by exaggerated media hype about organizations such as Boko Haram and ISIS whilst ignoring the equally evil “cult of the Christ of death” (Santa Muerta) in Mexico. Santa Muerta  has been responsible for the tens of thousands of deaths over the past decade where innocents have been hacked to death, mutilated, kidnapped, raped and beheaded indiscriminately. Referred to by the media as the Cocaine wars all care is taken to avoid reference to Santa Muerta a Catholic cult of death which hangs over this murderous rampage.

The US has done nothing to stop the carnage and continues to merely report it as organized crime. It in fact is far greater a danger than what ISIS (which the US created) is today. Yet the narrow minded amongst us sheepish and shallow in their intellect are willing to further advance these myths  riven by fear and a healthy dose of Islamophobia to the extent they have denigrated themselves in the process.

The singular incidents of a conflict of laws involving the Syariah and civil codes are but conflicts of law which cannot be resolved through name calling, hurling insults and demonizing one side or the other. Needless to say for a population as proportionately large as the Malays are in Malaysia they are dwarfed by the enormity of the resources in money and technical expertise of English and Chinese anti Malay anti Islamic online publications whose primary purpose is to insult them and hijack everything from their culture to their religion to their language and rights.

Isma and Perkasa are but creatures of necessity having been ignored for far too long by the comfortable middle classes and the voracious lofty ambitions of the mainly Chinese land grabbers in their midst. In the end they will prevail not because of us and what we think of them, but inspite of it all.

A CONCLUSION FOR ALL

Noor Faridah and any of the signatories to this “open letter to government” have an obligation to resign from any government position they now hold. A resignation in these circumstances is part of the Westminster Constitutional convention  Malaysia has adopted. It is imperative that they resign because their “open letter” is a disendorsement of confidence in the government they serve. They are therefore unfit or in the alternative not able to serve a government in whom they have expressed no confidence.

The other side of this situation is that the Prime Minister to whom and to whose government the letter is in effect addressed must resign if he does not immediately respond and put his position on the table. His response must be to sack any serving civil servant in the list of signatories to this “open letter” if he does not himself tender his resignation and that of his governments.

Anytime there arises an expression of no confidence in government, there are but very few options available to the protagonists if they are within government. It is the underlying principle of responsible government that demands such a response.

Floods and the Sultan’s Anger

A RIGHT ROYAL RAGE

The Sultan of Pahang, HRH Sultan Ahmad Shah may have opened up a Pandora’s box with his recent outburst directed at those who he believes responsible for the damage to the crown jewel of his state the Cameron Highlands.

The Camerons and surrounding areas suffered great physical and environmental damage following heavy rains recently precipitating a torrent in the rivers especially Sungei Bertam that resulted in heavy flood damage to the areas through which it flows.

The Sultan’s reaction to this calamity is captured in his comments published in the NST (New Straits Times 20 November 2014). The Sultan’s comments are surprising for his apparent ‘lack of knowledge’ of what has been occurring in his state over time. Surely the Sultan must have known of the stealthy encroachment into his territory through illegal means by certain groups, many of which are fronted by people he has decorated with knighthoods (Datukships), bought and paid for with the money from their illegal activities.

ILLEGAL LOGGING THE SULTANS AND DATUKSHIPS- THE KING’S NEW CLOTHES?

The degradation of the rainforests of Malaysia through illegal logging and ‘farming’ is legend. The rest of the world has been screaming out in anger and outrage for ages about this environmental disaster in the making (the deforestation of Malaysia), but It appears that the Sultan is about the only person in his state oblivious to the fact.

The Sultan thinks it is the lowly public servant who is to blame. He singles out a minister in Palanivelu a minister of government apportioning blame on the man for the problem which is decades old and then threatens to interfere in the electoral process by saying ‘the minister can forget about his chances for re election’ or words to that effect ‘if the situation is not corrected’. How convenient indeed.

The former Prime Minister of Malaysia Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohammed during a recent road trip through that state observed a large number of logging trucks and the abundance of valuable timber being carted on them to their final destinations. He wrote a comment on it on his website Che Det which is worth a read.

Each of the Malaysian states abundant with timber resources has been hijacked by rich and powerful business interests and communities all of them by-passing legal process and procedure to acquiring rights to these resources. They are then hailed by the same Royals as the Sultan as hard working examples of enterprise.

As a first step to their looting of the environment and state resources, these groups infect the integrity of the rulers of their target states. They pay them generously for their ‘Datukships’ and lavish upon these Royals gifts of cash, overseas trips, cars, women and other luxuries in an age old ritual that has become all too commonplace in Malaysia.

IGNORANCE BY DESIGN BETRAYAL OR WILFUL BLINDNESS?

To claim ignorance of the rape of state resources, land and forests is to feign ignorance in these matters is an insult to us all.

It is an unimpeachable truth that the Sultan’s claimed ignorance is feigned. And here are my reasons for saying so.  The claim to not knowing about what is happening in Pahang state is being made by a person who has both a moral and legal obligation to make it his business to know what is happening in his state, not after a tragedy like the recent floods in the Camerons but before it occurs.

At the Sultan’s disposal is the machinery of the state and the federal government. If he so desires he has access to these resources at any time. This same position applies to all Sultans and rulers of all states throughout Malaysia. In fact it is also true a position when applied to all politicians and parliamentarians.

Such a claim as is made by HRH the Sultan of Pahang (which I am quite certain is a defence likely also to be raised by other Royals if questioned) is not only laughable (if it were not so tragic) and indefensible, but it is also demeaning of the integrity and the sanctity of the office of the ruler of a state. His Royal Highness the Sultan of Pahang is not alone in this regard. His comments and his response to the floods is regrettable. It exposes the weaknesses of the Royal Households and the calibre of the traditional rulers of Malaysia.

If however the Sultan is genuinely as he implies ‘in the dark‘ about these practices of land grabbing and illegal logging in his state, then it is those who surround him in office that need to be identified, thoroughly investigated and punished for keeping the ruler insulated from reality and isolated from knowledge of the affairs of his state. What has occurred now has brought the Sultan and his office, through his comments and his actions, into disrepute. The damage to his reputation and to the office he holds is irrepairable.

Such conduct by the Sultan’s advisors and  minders is high treason, unpardonable and impermissible. It amounts to undermining the authority of both the Sultan and eroding the power of the state he rules over and deserves immediate and independent remedial action.

STATE AND SOVEREIGN COMPLICITY IN PILFERING NATIONAL RESOURCES 

The rape of the land in places like the Camerons is legend. It stands out like a pair of dog’s proverbials and no one, not least of all the Sultan could possibly have missed out on noticing it or claim not to know about it. The Camerons is but an isolated example of what is happening nation wide which needs attention. And the Sultans recent comments may have been the catalyst for action against these land pirates.

Kuala Lumpur and its surrounds has for decades been the scene of unlicensed, unlawful and unabated environmental damage for “development” purposes by unlicensed and licensed developers alike many working under the protection of the Royals. Local councils have been bought and planning laws sidelined if not completely ignored in pursuit of the development dollar.

Selangor, Johor, Perak and Kelantan have all become captive to groups of opportunists who help themselves in disproportionate amounts, to assets which rightfully belong to the state/ All this achieved through the device of a compliant Royal house or member of a Royal household.

Datukships are sold like confetti to the highest bidder and used by recipients as an accessory to be flashed at social functions and to embellish the otherwise pallid characters and under achievements of its recipients.

The practice has to stop. What the award of Datukships has served to do is to reduce the integrity of the office of ruler (Sultan) to that of being a captive to a community of law breakers.

These robber baron law breakers then  wave their paid for knighthoods (Datukships) as a badge of honour and a ‘get out of jail’ free pass in pursuit of their destruction of the social fabric and physical and cultural environment of the country.

In the process knowingly or otherwise the Sultans have allowed their reputations to become tainted, sullied and their positions seemingly tied to a leash controlled by these monied communities.

The Royal households of each state are complicit in the environmental vandalism that has led to tragedies such as the Cameron highlands floods and the erosion of law and order. There is no getting away from this allegation. The overwhelming body of evidence clearly implicates the Royal households of each state to the activities of land vandals, logging companies and improperly sanctioned developers.

FARMING SLAVES AND LAND GRAB-THE CAULDRON BOILETH OVER

The illegal market gardens and farms mainly Chinese owned in not just the Camerons but nationwide are now the property of corporate squatters from as far away as mainland China, using local fronts and imported slave labour from India, Bangladesh and Myanmar.

The practice endures in east Malaysia too on a very grand scale where the involvement of members of the state legislature are directly involved in these enterprises. The recent case of an Indian national who escaped a surreal and bizarre experience of being kidnapped and being forced to work as a slave in Sabah appears to be the tip of a very large iceberg of human trafficking in this area.

Unless the federal government acts and acts immediately, effectively and with sincerity, the anticipated change people  expect of government may not after all come through the ballot box.

There is a stygian anger brewing amongst not only the migrant population of the country. It now engulfs the grass roots rural Malays. And  unless there is immediate action by government against organized resource thieves and environmental vandalism, these problems will meld into a single cause that will inevitably cause the cauldron of the weak and dispossessed to explode into uncontrollable rebellion. If this does occur as many suspect it will, the human torrent of anger and inequity will outdo the overflowing and fast Sungei Bertam in a flood and consume everything in its path including an indolent government.

Considering UN statistics on the numbers of illegal workers and trafficked humans in Malaysia, disruption in this area may be an understatement. Any change at this level would be by an uprising in violence led by slaves imported from neighbouring countries in large numbers who have no recourse to justice or relief from their enslavement. Joining them will be the marginalized Malays. And they count for very large numbers.

The current government is and has been aware of human trafficking, illegal land clearing and unlicensed industries for decades. State governments and the Sultans too have been aware of these rorts which has made hundreds of millions of ringgit in untaxed wealth for their promoters.

IGNORANCE IS NO EXCUSE

Sadly an angry Sultan, and I suspect angry at the unavoidable murmurings of his own people at the grass roots level has decided to deflect responsibility by re directing his anger at low level public servants instead of directing it where it ought to be aimed at.

Public servants of the caliber the Sultan of Pahang has attacked have no legal power, authority or capacity to effectively restrain powerful business communities who hold him and his government captive to their enormous and tempting wallets.

Unless the Sultans of each of these states in Malaysia where illegal trades flourish do something fast and sincerely to abate these practices (including the award of knighthoods for sinister and unmeritorious purposes) , their own subjects will eventually out of necessity dislodge the power base upon which they now rest through direct action.

Either Ways Anwar is Doomed

DAMNED IF HE WINS DAMNED IF HE LOOSES – THE SAD TALE OF ANWAR IBRAHIM

Whatever the outcome of Anwar’s appeal against his conviction on Sodomy II in the Federal Court of Malaysia, one thing remains beyond doubt. The reputations of the system of justice, the judiciary, and Anwar Ibrahim will forever be under a cloud of suspicion, their integrity, collectively and severally irreparably damaged by the politicization of the trial of Anwar Ibrahim.

The reputation of government is irreparably damaged for its inexplicable failures to prevent and to discourage attacks against the judiciary or to protect the judiciary from these attacks by the opposition and the Malaysian Bar. The Malaysian Bar is culpable for the conduct of its members in their relentless and unjustified attacks on the judiciary and the courts over the past 2 decades.

The Malaysian Bar for its part has failed dismally in failing to rein in the more destructive, self serving, political and vocal members within its ranks or to discipline them for their conduct in attacking and vilifying the judiciary, undermining of the courts in the process.

In all of their politicization of the courts and judiciary sections of the Malaysian Bar have been aided by elements within the media to propagate and to advance their political campaign against the judiciary and courts whilst a seemingly impotent government looks on silently as a spectator to the undermining, the erosion of public confidence and gradual destruction of its key institutions and with it its integrity.

Jointly these two groups have engaged in a political and undemocratic exercise. A witch hunt of unprecedented unimaginable proportions, vilifying parliament, the judiciary, the courts and government with relative impunity.

The judiciary (and the legal system) is now widely perceived to be tainted by Anwar’s trial, the executive’s inaction in protecting them, undermined and caught in a political cross fire, incapable of defending themselves by responding to these attacks.

ANWAR’S APPEAL- A LIKELY OUTCOME

It is objectively likely that the Federal Court by a narrow margin will uphold the lower court’s decision finding Anwar Ibrahim guilty on the charge of Sodomy.

The Federal Court will likely also uphold sentence imposed on Anwar by the lower court but perhaps reduce the term of imprisonment imposed on Anwar by the lower court. In nay event Anwar Ibrahims political career is over. And with it Parti Keadilan’s future as a viable political party.

Even if the Federal Court were to overturn the lower court’s verdict there is nothing that can undo the damage to Anwar’s personal reputation, his integrity or the fact that he has demonstrated little of the qualities needed to take Malaysia forward on an alternative platform of government. In short Anwar was finished a long time ago by his own hand.

They may reduce the sentence for a number of reasons to include the time it has taken for this matter to reach its conclusion (not forgetting that it was Anwar’s legal team that interrupted the process with application after application many of which had no merit at all). That is a maybe not  a certainty.

If on the other hand the Federal Court increases the term of imprisonment for Anwar, it will not come as a surprise to anyone with an objective mind having observed proceedings and the conduct of Anwar’s defence throughout the hearings of this matter.

MISSING: THE CHARGE OF RAPE

It seems odd that Anwar Ibrahim has not been charged with the more serious offence of rape. Aggravated rape that is. Anwar in fact should have been charged with the offence of rape for a number of reasons. It is a subject no one has thus far broached during the trial and the subsequent appeals.

Questions arise as to why Anwar has not been charged with rape, given that  Anwar did in fact come to be charged in the first place on a complaint brought by Saiful that he was unlawfully anally penetrated by Anwar (and against his will). That complaint and its description is by any definition by any legal standard a complaint of rape. So why was Anwar not charged with the offence of rape?

What remains baffling and unanswered in this matter is the fact that Saiful has not also been charged for the same offence of sodomy (or of being an accessory to sodomy) if indeed he was not a voluntary consenting participant to the offence of sodomy. If Saiful’s account is correct, it would confirm the rape theory.

If Saiful was not raped, then it would have had to have been consensual sex between Anwar and Saiful. And in such a situation, if thats how it occurred, Saiful too should have been charged with a similar offence or of being a party to and abetting in the offence of sodomy unless of course under the Malaysian legislation only the penetrator and nor the object of his penetration is considered to be the offender in the commision of sodomy.

EVIDENCE TACTICS AND STRATEGIC BLUNDERS

The evidence against Anwar has not been rebutted, not denied and has not been explained away with any conviction or reasoning.  His defence team and the style they have adopted in his defence has led to the prospect of the court drawing the inescapable inference and conclusion that the allegations and the evidence supporting those allegations against Anwar Ibrahim is either admitted or not denied.

Judges in criminal matters have a discretion to exclude evidence that they think may be unduly prejudicial to the defendant. But when Anwar decided to take the stand in his defence at his trial, he opened up an avenue for the prosecution to cut through much of what he chose to say or not say, leaving him and his team vulnerable and open to fatal attack.

Critically the DNA evidence which Anwar’s defence has challenged is being challenged for reasons they believe Anwar’s DNA recovered from Saiful’s rectum has been degraded. Now here is the puzzle. Why did they not challenge the DNA evidence on scientific grounds or rebut the allegation decisively and unambiguously thus.

That the DNA recovered from Saiful’s rectum was not Anwar’s DNA“.

The defence should have on a denial supplied the scientific evidence to support its denial or rebuttal to the allegation that ‘the DNA recovered from Saiful’s rectum, was Anwar’s DNA’. Instead they claimed the DNA was illegally obtained and that the DNA has been degraded. But not that the DNA did not belong to Anwar.

It is for the prosecution to prove the DNA found in Saiful’s rectum is Anwar’s DNA. And that it has proved that scientifically without proper challenge by the defence sufficient for the DNA evidence to be excluded.

It is often a good defence to say nothing where the onus of proof falls entirely on the prosecution. But it is suicidal for a defence team to attack the evidence presented by the prosecution in the way in which Anwar’s defence team has attacked the prosecution evidence against Anwar. They have not rebutted the claim the DNA is Anwar’s. Instead they have focused on the condition of the DNA said to be Anwar’s as a defence.

By their strategy the defence may well have shifted the burden of proof on the DNA evidence from the prosecution to Anwar which may be more difficult for them to resile from now.

THE AFTERMATH

There will be the usual street noises if Anwar’s conviction  is upheld. Anwar may go hell for leather before a willing and ready foreign media and Malaysia Kini his stalking horse to claim political persecution if the Federal Court does uphold his conviction.

Given the history of Anwar’s conduct when a decision goes in his favour, he will likely repeat his previous performance before the cameras of Al Jazeera of 2 years ago and thank them and the judges for supporting him (which Al Jazeera disassociated themselves from in 2012) and praise the judges for being “brave and courageous”.

It is time the government of Malaysia dissolved the Malaysian Bar for not being able to rein in its overtly political leadership and start afresh with a new and more representative and responsible legal peak professional body as it has been promising to do for a long time.

Anwar sleeps in a bed of serpents from within his coalition. Bersih especially has been not an anchor but a dead weight around his neck. He has been betrayed by Bersih. Bersih’s leadership has on record said he will not be their leader if the opposition wins. The Kit Siang dynasty (with the tacit blessings of Singapore’s PAP) do not fully approve of his domination of the opposition. They too have other plans.

For a government to successfully have divided the opposition, that could only have come about with the full albeit covert support of key players within Bersih and the Pakatan. Those with most to lose.

ANWAR DOOMED-WHAT’S GOOD FOR THE GOOSE……..

Anwar Ibrahim has never ever been shy of coming forward to shoot himself in the foot since his attempts at a street coup to overthrow the government of Malaysia in 1998.

Anwar is a repository of lost opportunities, an archive of hit and misses and a store of knowledge on how not to run an opposition, an electoral campaign and a political party.

What he is unable to do whatever the outcome from the Federal Court Appeal is to redeem his badly damaged reputation as an individual, politician and a public figure.

Anwar will always be the man in the film with a prostitute. A man guilty of sodomy. A man whose political party is dominated by his family. A man who promised to form government in 2010 with a “group of rebel Barisan members crossing the floor” via Taiwan then failed to deliver. Most of all Anwar will always be remembered as the man who used a video tape to entrap then besmirch the reputation of not only the chief justice of Malaysia but also to taint the reputation of the judiciary in the process then cry foul when a tape of his own infidelity surfaced.

People in Malaysia it appears have other things on their mind at the moment than to attend another political “Woodstock” of unruly political gatherings ending in violence and name calling by a bunch of wannabes who fail time and time again at the ballot box.

The ABC Australia the Pakatan’s partner in crime has been busy doing interviews with Anwar’s supporters and family filming then editing for effect those sound bites about Anwar and the Malaysian government even before the Federal Court has settled on this matter.

The ABC have a team working in Kuala Lumpur based out of Singapore whilst their correspondent for south east Asia sits quietly and safely in Bangkok.

1 MDB – WHOSE MONEY TO BURN?

THE SOVEREIGN WEALTH FUND: COMPLIANCE RESPONSIBILITY AND OVERSIGHT

I always take great pleasure in responding to the many postings and discussions of public interest issues presented on Che Det, the Tun’s blog. The most recent of his contributions is no exception. It is made more interesting for me as the subject matter is right up my alley and consists of subject matter of great personal interest to me.

Commercial borrowings incurred by governments from any sector should be subject to the highest levels of scrutiny before any approval is given or even considered by parliament to commit.

Preceding any approval for government to incur large financial debt obligations on behalf of the state, is the requirement for scrutiny of the transaction, open debate on every aspect of it with full disclosures to parliament being made. There are of course exceptions to this rule but they are far and few. Full oversight and compliance is always necessary where money matters are concerned.

Where there is a significant financial commitment by government using state (public) funds, there are few exceptions to the rule and requirements covering oversight, compliance and disclosure. It is applicable to  everyone especially the state save maybe in mater involving state security and defence.

In fact state financial transactions is by law required to be scrutinized independently, forensically with great degree of diligence and care.

Failure to manage compliance and good governance in this regard must necessarily result in prosecution with the relevant sanctions applied where liability and culpability in any wrong doing or negligence against any party to the process is proved.

Strict observance of the process is necessary to counter the abuse of the privilege of immunity from prosecution parliamentarians ordinarily enjoy in the discharge of their duties. That same immunity extends to government ministers and civil servants as a general principle of law and under the constitution.

Oversight is vital in to prevent abuse of those privileges, protections and powers bestowed on government and its officers in the  discharge of their duties. Power without responsibility and oversight is is an invitation to absolute power. And it has been said that parliament is where this despotic power resides.

IGNORANCE: A BAD COMPANION OF GOVERNMENT

In 2012 and 2013, the Selangor state parliament, it was disclosed, gave state monies to Ambiga Sreenivasan and her Bersih movement in pursuit of what was in fact an attempt at the overthrow of the state. (Malaysia Kini interview admission by Ambiga Sreenivasan on outside funding for Bersih published by You Tube).

Berish’s actions was an act of criminality and high treason. That criminality extends by implication of their involvement and participation in Berish to the parties involved in that act of treason. They being Bersih and its leaders and the Selangor state government at the time. However inspite of Ambiga’s admissions to having received state funds from the Selangor government for that purpose without due process being followed by the Selangor state government, the matter has gone largely unpunished and was not investigated as it ought to have been. Neither was the matter and parties to that transaction prosecuted as they should have been.

Selangor state parliament did nothing about the matter and neither did the Federal government pursue the admission made by Ambiga. The state opposition did not raise the issue inside or outside the House which leads one to conclude that the composition of the Selangor state Assembly comprises a class of people who are as incompetent as each other  considering their attitude and lack of knowledge on such a critical issue. And that itself presents a danger to everyone.

LEND TO ME AND TAKE A POUND OF FLESH AS WELL

With respect to the issue raised by the Tun in his blog about the Federal government of Malaysia borrowing from commercial banks, the claim alleges that the government allowed  a bank (or banks) to make loans to them at above market interest rates usually charged to a sovereign client, the issues needs further investigation.

A government is sovereign. A sovereign debt never dies which makes it very a attractive  proposition to any lender to loan to a government over any other entity. Interest rates payable by governments (sovereign borrowers) on their borrowings normally attracts the lowest rate of interest (often only a couple of basis points) above the prevailing reserve bank published inter bank rate on the strike date.

This is because  government securities, (bonds and other instruments) are considered gilt edged, carrying with it the privileges that go with their status in financial markets. This is true especially for a state like Malaysia with its excellent credit ratings. Of course there are exceptions to this generalization too. Some states like Sudan and Nigeria would not fall into the same category as Malaysia for their political risk. However Malaysia does not fall into that category as Nigeria or Sudan nor does it come anywhere close to the two on a ratings list.

The decision to award management of Malaysia’ Sovereign Wealth Fund to Wall Street Behemoth Goldman Sachs given its recent history and its nexus to the US government and its various agencies further investigation is also necessary.

Lack of transparency and perhaps even a possible breach of protocol and law is often fertile ground for suspicion, rumour and conspiracy theories. Outstanding suspicion and justifiably so in the minds of those who need answers is the question of the possibility of secret commissions, kickbacks and unlawful inducements having tainted the process. Goldman Sachs has a history of “aggressive, unlawful” conduct in respect of bagging business in this regard.

If there were kickbacks, secret commissions, undisclosed commissions or inducements to anyone in the process, it will come out in the wash. It need not require government or Goldman Sachs to initiate the inquiry, all it requires is a complaint by an individual or entity to the relevant authority and that may already have occurred in New York.

On this issue of state money business being suspected of being “funny money business” one cannot help but be reminded of the Whitlam government’s Khemlani loans affair of 40 odd years ago.

Gough Whitlam the then prime minister of Australia at the centre of that  financial scandal which brought down a labour government died in Australia in the second week of October 2014. The scandal and its history has been revived for public debate because of his death.

The current government of Najib Razak appears to be engaging in similar conduct to that of Whitlam in his government’s management of the Sovereign Wealth Fund according to members of Malaysia’s opposition and their media.

WHY GOLDMAN SACHS

Goldman Sachs recent history, its complicity and involvement in the CDO toxic debts scandal and its massive breaches of US securities laws prior to and even after the GFC ought to have provided food for thought for a government (Najib’s) under attack for its failures of compliance and good governance.

That having been said one wonders why was there no discussion as to who would end up with the privilege of managing Malaysia’s Sovereign Wealth Fund and on what terms?. And how Goldman Sach’s tender or its offer, when compared to that of its competitors, if there were in fact any, made the critical difference?

There are other excellent and more compliant and law abiding funds Managers in the world in Japan, India, Brazil, Holland and even in the US, why did they not succeed in securing the management rights to Malaysia’s Sovereign Wealth Fund? Many more Funds Managers apart from Goldman Sachs are competitive, compliant (and aggressive) though not beholden to the US government or its agencies. So why were they not approached or given the job given to Goldman Sachs?

Goldman Sachs managed the sovereign wealth fund of Libya, a nation embargoed by their own government and the UN. That in itself should tell anyone how powerful an entity Goldman Sachs is.

Till 1988 no non Jew from the upper classes of New York’s Jewish establishment moved passed the 10th floor of Goldman Sachs building into higher management. It was in 1989 that a graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology broke that barrier and the rest as they say is history. Thats how unaccountable and closed Goldman Sachs is.

Goldman is like a Sovereign State as described by the late professor Anthony Sampson. So too are many of the US Hedge Funds.

If a nation state like Malaysia needs to engage in future investment using its Sovereign Wealth Fund for any legitimate purpose, it needs internal and external control mechanisms in place, accountability and responsible people at the helm selected from a pool of skilled talent from anywhere to make execute those functions independently and under legislation to cover oversight.

PAYING TOO MUCH FOR AN ASSET-MONEY LAUNDERING?

The Tun’s further reference in his article about what appears to be a plunder of this fund in transactions such as the sale of the power station which appears to have been not at arms length (my words) and other dealings and ‘investments’ entered into by the Malaysian Sovereign Wealth Fund if true could be the result of there being no proper oversight of regulation or compliance standards in place. The absence of the any proper oversight of the management of the Sovereign Wealth Fund opens it to being squandered and pilfered by those with access to it.

There are no proper safeguards at all in Malaysia where government expenditure is concerned at least on the evidence available over the past decade. Such oversight and rules if they exist in Malaysia are often only recognized in their breach but not for their observance.

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST- WATCHING THE GATEKEEPER

The role of economic groups, law firms, lobbyists & investment bankers needs to be brought more sharply and critically into focus and placed under the spotlight.

Who valued the power station the Tun mentions that was sold to government at a premium. Was it a money laundering exercise for the private sector with government connivance?

What methodology was applied t the valuation process and was there an independent audit of the process? were the seller and purchaser independent of each other and at an arms length? Was the premium paid by government in its purchase price for the power station justifiable. And if so how were the proceeds distributed amongst the sellers and agents.

Internationally binding anti money laundering legislation that also binds countries like Malaysia compels government to make disclosures and to avoid any transaction that is likely to breach money laundering provisions of its international obligations. Such a duty overrides any obligation to protect the privacy of any party involved in a transaction that breaches anti money laundering laws.

None of the large 4 accounting firms is independent in the true sense of the word and that is a huge red flag to be concerned about. Following the GFC it was revealed that all of the top accounting firms and the major credit ratings agencies were all conflicted in issue of toxic debts in collateralized debt obligations that brought the US and world financial systems to its knees.

Each of these firms had unchecked conflicts of interest which they did not care to reveal in their pursuit of the dollar. So too it was with the major money managers of Wall Street, the City of London and Singapore. Yes Singapore too.

LITTLE THINGS LEAD TO BIG DISCOVERIES

It is from the smallest and apparently least significant inquiries that we often unravel the complex and deeper, darker mysteries of our universe and of those of our governments. The multi billion dollar mismatch of capital commitments and transactions entered into by the state under the cloak of the official (state) secrets act are as mysterious and forbidding as black holes in the Milky way.

Unravelling Watergate and the Iran Contra Affair was only possible after someone raised the alarm about a most insignificant discovery, the result of an even more insignificant inquiry, leading to and uncovering a complex web of intrigue, illegality, criminal conduct, murder,arms trafficking, drug smuggling and dark dealings involving the highest levels of government. That too in the world’s most powerful government espousing as part of its creed, the highest morals of Christianity and good ethics.

Somehow people tend to forget that no matter what devices one uses to ‘conceal’ large scale money transactions, there is a paper (now electronic) trail that can be uncovered without too much difficulty from even a simple desk top computer.

NO SUCH THING AS A SECRET TRANSACTION- JUST UNDISCLOSED ONES

The Cayman Islands, Switzerland, Gibraltar, Singapore, none of these offshore havens cover the trails of money to an extent that it becomes untraceable or invisible. That statement is is a marketing myth created and spread by these offshore havens and their banking system to attract those with something to hide. More on that side of things later and in detail.

As regards ‘investments’ made by anyone, government’s included, there are two types of financial analysis that is often useful to employ when deciding the viability of those investments. From these we are able to ascertain the reasoning or logic behind an investment and the price paid for it.

Technical analysis refers to analysing data involving price movements over a period of time using charts, numerical data, algebraic equations and other forms of scientific and mathematical ‘tea leaf reading’ of financial markets.

For simplicity’s sake  “twin heads and shoulders” is used to forecast future movements in prices of assets and investments. It is one such ‘leaf’ in the ‘tea leaf reading’ science when predicting a rise or fall in the market using technical analysis.

Fundamental analysis by contrast takes into account all those other things in a corporation. like for example the composition of its board, their track record (as individuals as well), the character and performance record of the company’s management, connections between external managers, suppliers, its management and its board, again at a very simplistic level.

This is a form of risk evaluation. 90% of all failed financial institutions and government agencies over the past 3 decades conducted no fundamental analysis which if they did could have weeded out the problems that brought them down before they occurred.

What is perhaps easiest and a most efficient path to discovering anything and everything that occurs between government and private enterprise is the use of ‘market intelligence’ these days. It is available in a much more sophisticated and pervasive form than ever before. And it does not cost too much.

Many of these intelligence services are run by former spooks let go after the collapse of the Berlin Wall from both sides of the Cold War divide. They work famously well and efficiently sharing the product of their skills and their craft for the dollar (or tens of thousands of it).

MARKET INTELLIGENCE FROM WHICH NO ONE CAN HIDE

Market intelligence ( or “commercial and strategic intelligence” as it is now termed) is available discreetly to any client or customer government agencies and private alike on a simple request and payment of a fee and retainer.

Intelligence gathering and its outcomes in its many forms is a widely used tool to uncover fraud and impropriety especially in the case of government and their operatives.

The Swiss company that goes by the name of ‘Reconnoiter’ sits at the top of this industry. It does not advertise its services nor is it registered in Switzerland nor does its registered name bear any resemblance to the name Reconnoiter. It is a case in point of one such quality service provider amongst the hundreds now in existence.

Think, If oil companies and oil traders have the ability to identify the origins of a shipment of oil the origins of payments and the bargains people strike between themselves in buying and trading oil which looks all the same to the rest of us mere mortals, what else can be deduced from not just documents and conversations but also from information prized from the transactions itself?

This same science is as effective when applied to government and private transactions secret or semi secret, between government and non-governmental parties especially in developing countries like Malaysia. And the intelligence and information is already out there waiting to be picked for a fee. It is a question of knowing where to look and the willingness to look for it.

IF WE DON’T SOMEONE ELSE WILL-AND THE STATE WILL SUFFER THE “CHINESE BANKER” 

The US, British, Israeli, Japanese and Singapore governments have all of the information about private deals involving governments and the private sector at their fingertips. They operate on the basis that everyone is a potential enemy and a potential competitor. They are able to detail how when and why such transactions occurred and who benefitted from it. Malaysia for all its wealth and first world aspirations appears not to have the capacity or willingness to create such intelligence gathering apparatus simply because the legal culture that requires to give rise to the need for it is non existent.

As long as that element of meritocracy required to police the system is absent from regulation, countries like Malaysia will continue to suffer the consequences of ‘Chinese banking’

‘Chinese Banking’ is the system of patronage employed by overseas Chinese communities whereby privileges like banking licenses and permits and the benefits that go with it  are reserved by them for them to be exercised in favour of a parochial group or community which is exclusively theirs.

That privileged position is reinforced and secured exclusively with  the money they receive in customer deposits to pay to their patrons (corrupt government officials). And the banking they practice is along high risk lines favouring family and community connections of bankers with depositors money underwritten in risk by government central banks in the event of illiquidity or failure. Typically this too is practiced along racial and clan lines at the expense of the rest of the public.

Losses from their risky undertakings where they fail are then absorbed by government as underwriter and lender of last resort as has been the case in Malaysia, Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia in particular and the Philippines in their private banking system.

The rescue is usually by means of a government infusion of public funds under one pretext or the other or an un prosecuted wind up of the failed institution as was the case of the non banking financial sector in Malaysia (Mercantile Insurance) in 1991.

NOT EVEN THE BEST & MOST POWERFUL AMONGST US IS IMMUNE TO FINANCIAL FAILURE

Tamasek holdings, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund manager is reputed to have lost over $65 billion in the GFC when the PM’s wife was at the helm of the manager at the time. Although a brilliant scholar and experienced banker, she failed to foresee the disaster and the consequences of Tamasek’s involvement and heavy investments in the banking sector at a time when the sector was over valued. More important she or Tamasek failed to foresee the disaster that led to the GFC knowing how over exposed US banks were in the toxic CDO scandal that was to come and regardless they continued to invest heavily in that sector.

Tamasek later brought in Chip Goodyear the Harvard educated former CEO of Australia’s mining giant  BHP. After just 3 months on the job Goodyear quit from what it is revealed he was about to discover in Tamasek. Clever move by Singapore. And a justifiable one at that. Here is why:

A nation’s sovereign wealth fund is an integral part of its overall security. The damage that can be wreaked on a nation if its funds are depleted is immeasurable and unthinkable. The economy is after all a security issue as much as it is a social issue for any government.

Anyone with control of a nation’s purse strings has their hand on its proverbials. A painful truth to contemplate.

CECIL ABRAHAM- A LYNCHING BY THE MALAYSIAN BAR

A PUBLIC INQUIRY INTO A STATUTORY DECLARATION DRAWN BY CECIL ABRAHAM

In what may be a case of over playing their hand, the Malaysian Bar may have unwittingly created then walked into a trap of its own making by demanding, that a hearing into allegations of professional  misconduct against Cecil Abraham a lawyer of their own ranks be conducted in public.

Cecil Abraham is alleged to have, in short, ‘concocted’ the  a Statutory Declaration (SD) made by the late Balasubramaniam Perumal (Bala). In addition to this, Abraham is alleged to have coerced the late Bala into signing a retraction of an earlier SD Bala swore, courtesy of his handlers, lawyers Amrick Singh Siddhu and another lawyer Sivarasa MP.

BALASUBRAMANIAM A TICKING TIME BOMB-AN UNMITIGATED LIAR

Bala came into notoriety after having made several claims which he later retracted, amended or materially changed about his involvement in and his engagement with those allegedly involved with the woman called Altantuya. He also claimed to have had first hand knowledge of the circumstances surrounding her mysterious and controversial death.

Notably none of Bala’s claims about the Altantuya affair and the surrounding peripheral issues that kept the story and media attention on him alive were consistent. He provided no proof of his assertions nor did any of the evidence in the courts on the trial of the two people convicted of murdering Altantuya corroborate Bala’s exaggerations and fanciful stories.

Bala’s recollection of events, facts and statements about the Altantuya affair, whenever presented an opportunity to wax and wane over his role as a bodyguard of Razak Baginda and his time with Altantuya were at best irrelevant, inconsistent or hazy the second time round. much of it on reflection made up by the man caught up in the spotlight of someone elses misery.

BALA-AMRICK SINGH SIDDHU-SIVARASA AND MANJIT DHILLON-BIRDS OF A FEATHER?

Balasubramaniam and his lawyers, Amrick Singh Siddhu and Sivarasah have both of their own material made admissions in public on the record to having ‘assisted’ Bala, a semi literate man, not only to prepare his SD but also in the process to author and edit its contents. There are words in the Bala SD that did not belong in Bala’s limited vocabulary.

Siddhu, with Sivarasah and Dhillon in the now infamous “press briefings”  of 4 July 2008 admit to their part in crafting Bala’s litany of lies they call his SD. Lies because Bala’s statements have not been proved to be anything else and have no basis in the truth.

AN IMPARTIAL TRIBUNAL? NOT THE MALAYSIAN BAR

The call by the Malaysian Bar for Cecil Abraham to have the proverbial torch put to his belly in a public circus they intend to choreograph over Bala’s SD is something Abraham and his lawyers ought to welcome and encourage. However in order that a hearing against Cecil Abraham be seen to be impartial and fair, the Malaysian Bar and Abraham must have no part in the selection process of the panel to conduct that hearing.The Malaysian Bar because it is a political organization. Cecil Abraham on the other hand for the lesser reason that he is the accused the subject of disciplinary proceedings brought against him.

OPEN TRIBUNALS TO CHECK CONSPIRACIES AND LIES

Self regulation even in the hands of trusted and highly learned men and women of the professional classes is subject to the frailties and weaknesses of human nature. And no better example of self regulation falling victim to the frailties of human nature can be found anywhere else than in the recent history of the Malaysian Bar.

JUST FOR THE RECORD-LEST WE FORGET

In 4 July of 2008 the following event occurred staged by the protagonists featured in a youtube recording of a press briefing by Siddhu, Sivarasa and Dhillon about the Bala SD.

In this press briefing is a taped Malaysia Kini press conference called by Siddhu, Sivarasa MP and Manjeet Dhillon to explain the circumstances in which Bala’s SD was created. In that briefing Dhillon referring to himself as Siddhu’s lawyer provides critical admissions with his destructive inculpatory testimony of Siddhu’s conduct  in the drafting of Bala’s SD. (A point to note here. Sivarasah does not come to the conference armed with a lawyer but Siddhu does. Why?)

The following is a transcript of the final minutes of that press briefing called by Siddhu, Sivarasa and Dhillon recorded by Malaysia Kini uploaded 4 July 2008 given by Siddhu, Sivarasa and  Siddhu’s lawyer Manjeet Singh Dhillon.

In that press conference Siddhu’s legal representative, lawyer Manjeet Singh Dhillon takes to the microphone to defend Siddhu by making the following statements appearing below in italics. (Notably none of the lawyers present rebutted any of the statement below issued by Dhillon:)

Fatally, lawyer Sivarasa’s contribution to the conference implicates him as well in what has always been suspected to be a politically motivated conspiracy (the Altantuya affair) by members of the Malaysian Bar on behalf of Anwar Ibrahim and the opposition political parties:

Manjeet Singh Dhillon commenting on Balasubramaniam’s affidavit and Siddhu’s role in the July 4 press briefing in 2008 says thus.

As far as Amrick is concerned he is (sic) discharging his duties as lawyer. He was basically helping to prepare and format the document (in context the Balasubramaniam SD)

He was not concerned with the truth or otherwise of the document. The document was presented…information on the document was coming from his client and he merely put it in the necessary language of the SD. That declaration was then sworn voluntarily before a commissioner of oaths. Mr. Amrick Singh’s position was that is was a voluntary document……..”  

A LAWYER’S DUTY TO HIS CLIENT THE LAW AND THE COURTS

Critically Siddhu says through Dhillon his lawyer ‘he was not concerned with the truth or otherwise of the document’ (meaning Balas statements in the controversial Bala SD). If that does not constitute professional misconduct or potentially misleading conduct by Siddhu and Sivarasa then the tribunal has a problem which goes to its own credibility and competence.

Such a statement as that made by Dhillon on Siddhu’s behalf and not withdrawn or retracted by Siddhu or Dhillon within a reasonable time incriminates Siddhu in a material particular in so far as the offence of professional misconduct is concerned.

In Siddhu’s case he knew well what the purpose of the Bala SD was drawn and sworn for. He cannot deny that knowledge now having for so many years been embedded in the heart of the political circus now know as the Altantuya affair.

A lawyer as an officer of the court cannot afford to be negligent, callous or unconcerned about the truth or otherwise (meaning falsehoods) of a statutory declaration he draws up on behalf of a client.

A lawyer has a duty to caution his client (the deponent) about the penalties for falsehoods and the consequences of perjury, make every reasonable effort to determine the veracity and the truth of the statements the deponent swears to before him (especially where he assists in drafting it contents) as an SD.

Where the lawyer does not witness the signing of the deposition in the SD, then he ought to at least be certain that what he has drawn in the SD on behalf of the deponent is as far as he is able to reasonably ascertain, the truth.

A lawyer has an overriding obligation to ensure the document is neither false, over stated nor made without regard for the truth or prospect of proof being reasonably deduced out of what is deposed to in the SD. It is after all evidence.

WHO DID BALA BELONG TO?

A client as Bala is no one’s property especially as a witness in proceedings. In order to demonstrate there was an ongoing exclusive relationship between lawyer and client in Siddhu’s case, the panel of inquiry must be shown that there was  an unconflicted relationship between Bala and his interests as a client of Siddhu and Siddhu.

Conversely with Abraham the panel must be shown there existed an unconflicted relationship between Bala and Abraham at that point of time that Bala approached Abraham to act for him on. Further it must be shown to the tribunal that those interests of Bala’s for which Siddhu is said to have originally been retained by Bala to act on his behalf (if in fact he was) did not conflict with any of Abrahams ethical obligations to Siddhu as a lawyer.

WHOSE CLIENT WAS BALA AND WHEN DOES A RETAINER TERMINATE?

Critically the relationship between Bala and Siddhu can only be resolved by Siddhu placing before the tribunal evidence of the written retainer he claims between himself, his firm and Bala signed by the parties. Equally important a question will be how Siddhu was paid for his services to Bala a man said to be impecunious (and subjected to the torments of temptation with bribery by many).

Once that element of the professional lawyer client relationship between Siddhu and Bala is established as proof of what it purports to be, it is then open to Abraham to rebut Siddhu’s claim by demonstrating that the matter Bala came to see him for (the controverted later Statutory Declaration) did not in fact place him, Abraham (and not Siddhu) in a position of potential conflict with his ethical obligations to Siddhu and the legal profession act.

This simply means that at the time Bala approached Cecil Abraham, Abraham did not have an existing retainer to say act for Siddhu in some other matter: or that Abraham was not engaged in a matter with a nexus to Siddhu’s interests conflicting with Bala’s instructions to Abraham or Siddhu.

If such a relationship arose through Bala’s ‘lawyer shopping’ it could well have breached Abraham’s ethical obligations to both client (Bala) and Siddhu under the Legal Profession Act. No such conflict is known to have existed. If it did it has not been placed in evidence before the tribunal from our knowledge.

If Abraham is to be believed, then Abraham was dealing with a matter that necessarily by implication of Bala’s conduct in approaching him, ended the retainer between Bala and Siddhu.

TERMINATION OF RETAINER-  MOVING FROM CIVIL TO CRIMINAL

In approaching Abraham over the issue of the SD, Bala is necessarily and by implication of his conduct suggesting that there was a problem with his previous SD drafted by Siddhu. It is implied that something caused Bala to either loose his confidence in Siddhu or feel that he needed to end his retainer with Siddhu.

In such circumstances as described above all that was needed was for Bala to formalize the termination of his retainer with Siddhu in writing or for Abraham to write to Siddhu with a note from Bala confirming his instructions he Bala would be terminating his retainer with Siddhu.

At this point the relationship changes and Siddhu becomes a potential witness in a criminal matter involving Bala and his SD. Such a situation carries with it professional misconduct implications.

Further still in circumstances as sensitive and controversial as that which Bala had made out about his personal security and safety, it would not have been unprofessional or unethical for Abraham not to have informed Siddhu immediately or at all about the change of Bala’s circumstances until perhaps after receiving advise from the police to who he Abraham should have reported Bala’s approach to him over his complaint.

Given the circumstances of Balas history of duplicity and contradictions and his paranoia of the police it would be excusable if he instructed Abraham not to contact the police.

SELANGOR- A CONSTITUTIONAL MISUNDERSTANDING

INTRODUCTION

A primary consideration which escapes the minds of all those who argue against the Sultan’s exercise of his discretionary powers under the constitution vis a vis the appointment of the Mentri Besar is the flawed reading of the constitution. The flaw lies in the suggestion that the Sultan is bound to accept blindly the wishes of the majority in the assembly.

All things being equal and in a perfect world, the Sultan would act in a manner that could suggest that his role in such matters (appointment of the Mentri Besar and cabinet) is purely ceremonial. However the Sultans and the Agung are far from ceremonial rubber stamping monarchs. The rulers have an active role to play in the governing of the country that if misunderstood could have very serious consequences for government and lawyers alike.

EXERCISE OF THE SULTANS CONSTITUTIONAL POWERS IN CONTEXT

The Sultan’s constitutional discretion (which is what it is) does not exist in a vacuum or in isolation from his many other obligations under the constitution which includes his duties and rights as monarch (or ruler of the state).

Paramount or at least running a close runner up to all his duties is his position as “defender of the faith of Islam” (the English equivalent of the Queens corresponding duties in this regard).

The Sultan has two important and paramount duties to consider in the execution of any of his other functions as they necessarily influence the decisions he has to make.

The first of these is as guardian and protector of the faith of Islam, the other being as protector and guardian of Malay culture. Neither of these two duties which reside in the powers of the Sultan under the constitution can be ignored or side stepped for convenience for the consequences it will  bring to bear on both the religion of Islam and Malay culture if they are ignored or sidestepped.

Wan Aziza’s conduct, by her comments, her silence, her alliance with people like Anwar Ibrahim and those opposition political parties who have brought ridicule and disrepute to the courts, the judiciary, parliament, the rulers and Islam, would have weighed heavily against her appointment to the post of Mentri Besar and that’s that. The Sultan’s decision had nothing to do with her gender or the Sultan being wrong. Far from that.

THE SULTAN’S CONSTITUTIONAL AND MORAL OBLIGATIONS

In weighing up the choices of who the most suitable candidate for the post of Mentri Besar would be, the Sultan has an overarching obligation to consider in the appointment and the context of his two other duties. After all the Mentri Besar is his Mentri Besar just as ministers in England and Australia are ministers of the crown and not that of any political party. The subtleties of these points are lost on those “experts” who claim to know all there is to know about the constitution, Tommy Thomas included.

More important to note, the constitution does not expressly recognize political parties. It recognizes representatives of constituencies who assemble in parliament on behalf of the people. These representatives then nominate a single person from their ranks with the confidence of the majority of the house to be Prime Minister in federal parliament or as it is the case of the states the Mentri Besar.

The PM (as with the Mentri Besar) then forwards a list of names to be sworn into cabinet as ministers of the crown. They are ministers of the crown not of the Mentri Besar or his party.

These are conventional positions that have developed over the centuries though not cast in stone. It can be said that in Westminster and in Canberra there is tacit recognition of political parties in the constitution because out of the consolidated fund the chief whips of each party receives a special payment. But that’s neither here nor there in this argument.

WHERE THE “EXPERTS” GOT IT WRONG

Tommy Thomas’s ( constitutional law expert?) analogy and analysis of the Sultan’s position and his decision in the context of the Selangor Mentri Besar appointment, which he says the Sultan got wrong suffers from a number of embarrassing defects Thomas is himself appears oblivious to.

In citing the example of the Queen’s involvement in what he claims was a “refusal” by the sovereign to have Mrs. Thatcher removed from office Thomas is misinformed a far as the facts relating to that particular event is concerned.

Whether the Queen agreed to the move to remove Margaret Thatcher (in his example) or not (as was the case) was a question of the exercise of her “discretion” under a constitutional power she enjoys just as the Sultan enjoys in Selangor under the Selangor constitution. It had nothing to do with gender issues as is suggested by Thomas.

The details of this power and discretion Thomas does not explain properly because he understands little about the constitution I suspect. Yet it is all about a discretion and a power the Queen, like the Sultan enjoys under the constitution.

In fact by providing this example Thomas answers the very question he poses by the examples he provides. Likewise the Sultan has a discretionary power he exercised and that is that. Nothing to do with gender issues as Thomas appears to suggest was the case in denying Wan Aziza the Mentri Besar’s job..

THE AUSTRALIAN EXAMPLE

In the case of the second example  posted by Thomas, that of the deposing of Kevin Rudd in Australia by Julia Gillard his successor in office, it was the same situation.

The discretion exercised by the governor general of Australia in accepting Gillard’s appointment over Rudd as expressed by the labour government in office at the time pleased some but not everybody.

But that did not make the governor general’s decision illegal or a demonstration of his affirmation on the subject of gender equality as Thomas appears to suggest.

What Thomas is suggesting in his ‘analysis’ of the constitution is that the governor general of Australia appointed Julia Gillard over Kevin Rudd inspite of her being a woman as if that was a conscious act by the governor general underwritten by an emphasis on gender equality. That’s a nonsense and sheer drivel which Thomas has no evidence to support.

Gender played no part in that decision of the governor general. Gillard herself would disagree vehemently with Thomas’s suggestions in this regard as she has in numerous interviews and in her memoirs released just recently said otherwise.

Gillard in fact condemns and accuses all Australia of being chauvinistic males and parliament of being a chamber of misogynists. How could Thomas have missed that point? It was the hilite of Gillard’s career in politics. Her comments on misogyny.

Thomas is attempting to push the misogynist barrow for a failed Wan Aziza who failed on the merits of her attempts to become Mentri Besar of Selangor. Again her gender is a point she raises to explain her failings.

In 1975 the governor general sacked an entire popularly elected government in Australia. It was not wholly unprecedented but it rattled a nation who believed till then that the Queen was nothing more than a figure head.

Thomas should inform himself of the powers that reside within the monarch before condemning him. The Malaysian Bar ought to do the same.

Sultans may lie dormant like volcanoes erupting in a demonstration of their  dormant powers from time to time. That does not mean their exercise of that power that lies dormant within them makes them wrong or deserving of comments like Thomas’s. Instead they ought to be applauded for being more than simple puppets of tradition and convention especially when they re required to make a decision that is above politics.

The Sultan of Selangor’s decision in difficult circumstances is a sign of Malaysia’s political maturing.

The old phrase in the constitution “The King can do no wrong” is misunderstood by many like Thomas and his “learned friends” at the Malaysian Bar.

MAS-PRIVATIZATION OR ASSET STRIPPING

MAS-GOLD UP FOR GRABS

Even before the bodies of MH 17 passengers had turned cold, representatives of Malaysian Airlines now under siege and in severe financial stress, have laid out on the table, the assets of their company to be devoured by a regional competitor, suitor and raider.

That suitor raider is the national airline of a large and powerful neighbor. In between that proposed acquisition of MAS stands a Vulture fund. That Vulture fund appears to be Kazanah (raider) and a third party financier.

Nothing is likely to happen in the immediate aftermath of this revelation nor any announcement made in the short term about the proposed merger/ acquisition of MAS by the acquirer national carrier of a neighbour.

MAS and Kazanah in the event the acquisition is queried by the public will say that “the deal has always been on the cards. There is nothing new about it”.

Such a response will not only be misleading but it will not be reflective of the true situation regarding the planned asset stripping of MAS. The truth is more like this:

Whilst the proposed takeover of MAS has been in the contemplation of both sides for some time now as it has been in the minds of others still, it has not been taken so far as to allow the Australian media to run a paid and lengthy campaign by one of its media channels to further run MAS to the ground with sordid allegations of sexual impropriety by MAS staff making any acquisition of the airline cheaper than it should be.

BEAT IT UP AND MAKE IT LIGHTER

An allegation of a sexual assault by an Australian woman the subject of an Australian TV station run documentary is no coincidence. The allegation has not been tried in a court of law, yet the paid for and aggressive campaign by the Australian TV station against not only the steward at the centre of the complaint but MAS as an airline has been allowed to run unchallenged by MAS or the Malaysian government.

The silence by MAS management and the Malaysian government in the face of this allegation and trial by media, a breach of all norms and the legal rights of both MAS and the steward in question if not hopelessly incompetent is criminally negligent of Malaysia’s government and MAS’s management.

The purpose of this media exercise we understand is to run the reputation of MAS to the ground by those forces acting in collusion with a potential buyer of the airline so that any proposed acquisition of MAS’s assets will be considerably less than if its goodwill and reputation was part of the bargain.

But the delisting (as a first step) then proposed stripping via a merger of MAS with this foreign airline had never been simply “on the cards” so to speak as far as the long term intentions of asset stripping of MAS by the suitor is concerned. It has been a planned campaign waiting in the wings. It is just that the script has recently been changed to accommodate the recent tragedies involving MAS.

MAS A TOP 10 AIRLINE- THE SUITOR A BOTTOM 5 LOSER

MAS’ assets are and have been for some time coveted by many major airlines. The airline industry has been in a state of flux for over a decade with volatility in labour markets, cost overruns with aircraft manufacturers, delays in delivery times for new aircraft, volatility and unforeseen price fluctuations in the price of fuel and finally last but not least risks presented by foreign exchange fluctuations all of which have impacted on MAS’s bottom line.

Barring some of these contingencies and unforeseen events MAS has for sometime been a profitable and well managed airline. The foreign airline presently seeking to acquire MAS via a proposed “merger” has been a complete opposite in terms of its image, profitability, quality of service, reputation and long term viability. The suitor raider airline has a great record for airline safety but nothing else to show as an airline. No two airlines given their respective histories could be more different and incompatible.

The opportunistic and some would say mercenary, insensitive approach to a take-over of MAS at this time in its history, for a song at that, is from the information available, nothing short of ‘stealing the pennies off a dead mans eyes’. And further still what appears to be an irrational accommodation by the Malaysian government of the foreign airline’s ambitions through Kazanah may well be unlawful.

30 SEN IN THE RINGGIT OR 30 PIECES OF SILVER FOR A BETRAYAL

The rumoured offer of 30 sen for every share held by non-government shareholders is not a proper offer for the purpose of an acquisition and privatization of MAS by Kazanah. The terms of the offer have not been properly disclosed. The authority and the power under which such a restructure or offer can be made is not properly addressed. Even if they have been they are not complete as far as disclosures under the companies act is concerned to the level required.

The remaining 30% of the MAS share register is being held ransom to the ambitions of those at Kazanah who stand to reap millions in fees in order to “midwife” this privatization (prior to an asset sale or striping as we see it) is unfair.

Their payment to the government shareholder for its shares may be a preferred transaction and one that could be set aside if challenged by other shareholders in the minority in  a court.

The Malaysian government, the largest single shareholder in MAS is literally being offered pennies for the assets of MAS in this privatization bid, later intended to be a merger of MAS with that regional competitor.

If the Malaysian government as shareholder of MAS accepts the Kazanah proposal without a proper debate on all outstanding issues and disclosures relating to the transaction it will be in breach of the corporations law.

BEGGARS BANQUET?

The regional competitor airline seeking to acquire MAS’s assets through a cosmetic merger is itself a struggling financially distressed behemoth. The would be acquirer airline in this case has itself been spurned by other airlines it has approached to bail it out of its own seemingly insurmountable problems over the past 3 years.

Its own assets and brand has been turned down by almost every major airline it has approached  because of its torrid history of industrial disputes  and staff misconduct in its home base.

Industrial action is believed to be the single most destructive factor that has caused the near demise of the suitor airline who Kazanah is believed to be working with and for. And the situation for the suitor airline it will not get any better unless it is able to register most of its fleet and operations in a foreign jurisdiction like Malaysia or Singapore where labour laws are more rigid and intolerant of disruptive industrial action, compliance and operating costs much lower than it is in its home base.

WHO DARES WINS

Much money has already changed hands in “consultancy fees” “due diligence” and lobbying. It runs into millions of dollars even before a proper shareholder announcement has been made.

MAS’ board must come clean with full disclosure now not through Kazanah which has an agenda of its own and relies on the fat fees it makes from brokering such deals. It has to disclose its intentions, lay bare its creep up acquisitions since MH 370 and before and how much it has since acquired since MH 17 off market. It has an obligation to the investing public as the government has to its constituents at large.

The government of Malaysia appears to be unconcerned by the media campaigns to destroy MAS’s reputation regardless of how and who is conducting that smear campaign against MAS and one of its employees.

Whats particularly disturbing is that the media campaign against MAS of an allegation of sexual abuse is before a court in Paris and the airing of one side of the story by the Australian media channel will not allow a jury or court to decide the fate of the steward with the benefit of impartial and independent evidence.

It is time the Malaysian government showed some spine and upheld the rights and dignity of its citizens and its flag carrier in the face of such a situation rather than remaining indolent and impotent like servants of the old colonials in days gone by.

SELANGOR BACK TO THE POLLS?

SELANGOR TO HOLD FRESH STATE ELECTIONS

It appears that after all Wan Aziza will not be Mentri Besar of Selangor. The Sultan of Selangor is understood to have been advised to accept Khaled Ibrahim’s request for a dissolution of the Selangor state assembly. This necessarily means that fresh writs could be issued anytime soon for a fresh poll to be held in Selangor.

The Sultan it is said had considered all options including the alternative of retaining the current government with Khaled Ibrahim as caretaker Mentri Besar till fresh elections could be held. However it is known that this option although still on the cards will only further prolong the life of a dysfunctional Selangor state government. 

It is further understood that the coalition that rules Selangor has developed very deep divisions within because of the overpowering and overbearing influence and disruptive conduct of a few high profile members of one the coalition. PAS has itself complained to PKR’s leadership of the disproportionate influence wielded by the Chinese within the Selangor state executive, a reason why Khaled Ibrahim himself was removed.

ALL POWER TO THE SULTAN-ALL POWER WITH THE SULTAN

By the PKR machinery moving to weaken and compromise PAS’s earlier position vis a vs the Menteri Besar of Selangor the opportunity for a new PKR government in Selangor will gradually usher in the means by which successive government’s will be able to dis empower the Sultan(s) not just in Selangor but also in every other state in the Federation of Malaysia. That is if the PKR continues to agitate against the Sultan independently exercising his discretion under the constitution to either dissolve parliament, appoint a caretaker for whatever term he sees fit or in a further alternative dismiss the current Selangor government altogether.

These are all discretions in the hands of the Sultan. And they are constitutionally valid even if not expressly so provided for in the constitution.

The ramifications and long term consequences of by passing the Sultan’s legal and constitutional authority in such a situation as the state of Selangor now faces is to say the least, dangerous, especially so for the Malays whose religious and temporal affairs are by the constitution vested in the guardianship of the Sultan.

With the current impasse over the appointment of the Menteri Besar unresolved, the Sultan still has the final say as to who the Menteri Besar will be. The appointment of Menteri Besar under the constitutional powersthe sultan wields still requires his stamp of approval and consent.

There are no real provisions in the constitution to by pass the Sultan his powers and authority in the event he withholds his consent to a PKR nominee to the position. And there are real reasons for that even though the contrary appears to be what the opposition and their lawyers will argue.

SELANGOR IN CRISIS

There has been much speculation of late as to how and why the Sultan of Selangor should act in he face of the current crisis in the Selangor state Assembly. In unicameral parliaments as state parliaments are in Malaysia, there is no house of review such as the senate in the Federal Parliament to review the actions or the legislation from the lower house.

The Selangor government is a coalition government patched together from 3 different and disparate (policy wise) political parties. These are the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) dominated by the nepotistic politics of Anwar Ibrahim and his family, the Democratic Action Party (DAP) a Chinese race based party dominated by Chinese Malaysians and lastly the Parti Islam (PAS) of the emergent Muslim conscience of Malaysia. The latter is more of a symbolic political statement dominated by east coast Malaysian Muslims although the fundamental ideological platform they stand on is universally theocratic and based on the fundamental tenets of Islam (Sunni Islam).

THE THREE STOOGES

In much the same way as Larry Curly and Moe ran around chasing their tails, landing painful blows on each other whilst living and working ( for want of a better word) together, the Selangor state government led by the Anwar Ibrahim family and ably encouraged by the DAP have been running round the table chasing their tails landing blows on all and sundry in their path to no productive outcome since taking the reins of government in Selangor.

Selangor remains a policy free zone with nothing suitably seminal in terms of policy changes to speak of. Inspite of all the rhetoric and fireworks that preceded the elections that brought them into power the only constant in their government has been their dysfunctional existence.

Now they wish for a sitting Mentri Besar to be removed and replaced by someone whose stature in government is unquestionably tainted. They argue through their supporters the move is one that should be entertained unchallenged and the constitution be ignored in the process.

Wan Aziza the wife of Anwar Ibrahim has no known pedigree or demonstrated capacity to run the state inspite of any alleged shortcomings on the part of the incumbent. This is nothing more than a symbolic power play to wrest control of the most important state in the nation by the Ibrahim family’s matriarch In their “long march” to Putrajaya.

Khalid Ibrahim (no relation to Anwar Ibrahim) must now see the Sultan and the Sultan of Selangor has a constitutional duty and a cultural religious obligation inter twined in that constitutional duty to consider. The Sultan must decide who the next Mentri Besar (if the incumbent in the job is removed or voluntarily steps aside). The PR don’t want the Sultan to act independently. Instead they simply wish for him to approve the removal of Khalid Ibrahim and the appointment of Wan Aziza in his place.

DISSOLUTION AND FRESH ELECTIONS

At Khalid’s request and on his advise the Sultan may and is likely to issue writs for fresh state elections to be held in Selangor to break the current impasse that has paralysed the state government there. The alternative reading of the situation with regards the Sultan’s role is that on the advise of counsel via his ministers in government, the Sultan must accept the nomination of the majority and appoint Wan Aziza the new Mentri Besar.

There are a couple of matters for the Sultan to take into consideration if he has to appoint Wan Aziza. Paramount in his consideration would be his obligations and his duty to protect the religion of Islam and the Malay culture.

AND WHY NOT WAN AZIZA?

In considering his obligations and his duty towards protecting Islam (and the image of Islam) the Sultan has to give priority and due consideration and weight to the impact of an appointment of someone as Wan Aziza is into the position of Mentri Besar.

Wan Aziza is the wife of Anwar Ibrahim. Her conduct through her deafening silence on the allegations and subsequent conviction of Anwar Ibrahim on matters of sexual impropriety appears to be at odds with what an observant Muslim person would be expected to do in such a situation. Especially a leader or aspiring leader.

Like the decision or not Anwar Ibrahim has been convicted after an open trial in a court whose jurisdiction he submitted to. Wan Aziza like her husband Anwar has supported causes and political philosophies that run contrary to Islam and to the protection and maintenance of Islam and its religious institutions in Malaysia. The examples of these points are too numerous to detail here.

WHY A FRESH MANDATE IS NECESSARY

It could be argued that the idea of a dissolution of parliament on this issue is unnecessary and as some have argued ‘un constitutional’ and perhaps ‘dangerous’ because it is unprecedented. Neither of these arguments holds much water.

When the people of Selangor went to vote at the last state elections they did so in the belief they would have stable and functioning government. They did not vote for the ascendancy of the Ibrahim family through stealth and sleight of hand.

For the PR to claim that since they have the numbers and won at the last election they somehow have a right to bulldoze parliament and all those within it Khalid Ibrahim included is fanciful.

The PR has lost its moral mandate and now its legal mandate has been placed well and truly in the hands of an independent entity, the Sultan to decide. It was their call and they can’t now cry foul if does not go their way.

The purpose of the constitution and the relevant articles of the constitution empowering the Sultan to act in a number of ways in such a situation requires the Sultan to do certain things in the exercise of his discretion which although unpopular is nonetheless lawful.

The only precedent the Sultan’s actions will establish (however unpopular they may be) such as the dissolution of Selangor state parliament, is the proof in fact (rather than the theory) that the Sultan is neither a puppet or rubber stamp of government but a living and functioning entity in the office of Sultan and in that of his person.

GOVERNMENT FAILURE TO INVESTIGATE OR DISMISS THE SELANGOR STATE GOVERNMENT OVERDUE

What is perhaps a matter that is long overdue having been neglected by the Federal Government is the disclosure by Datuk Ambiga Sreenivasan that the Selangor government financed her anti government movement, Bersih, with funds from state government coffers to advance “projects” including Bersih which was primarily designed to bring down a properly elected Federal Government (Malaysia Kini interview).

That act of itself amounted to treason by the executive in the Selangor state government, Bersih and its members such as Datuk Ambiga Sreenivasan. It is an act based on Datuk Ambiga Sreenivasan’s confessions that has gone unpunished and un remedied for far to long.

To date there has been no disclosure by the Selangor state government as to what authority or power it relied on to by pass parliamentary processes in order to make state government funds available to a group as partial as is Berish for such treasonous acts as the Bersih 1&2, its street  marches, propaganda and smear campaigns all designed to bring down a lawfully elected government.

The Selangor state government has failed to disclose if opposition members within Selangor state parliament were informed of the funding of Bersih or whether such funding was approved by parliament, the subject of parliamentary debate or whether the matter of funding Bersih was tabled in parliament at all before the Selangor state government under PKR facilitated the funding of Bersih.

PAS it is known has some skeletons in its closet which PKR has threatened to make public if they fail to agreeing to the two PKR candidates.

More later.