THE TUN OF COURSE (OR OFF COURSE)
Tun Dr. Mahathir is an elder statesman who must be respected and heard for a number of reasons. However none of these reasons are those that appear to be symmetrical or allied to an opposition generated litany of rumours and odd ball accusations directed against the current Prime Minister Najib Razak (Najib)and his wife Datin Rosmah Mansour (Rosmah).
Any attempt at word play and ‘pin the tail on the donkey blindfolded’ is irresponsible. It is a self indulgent pursuit capable of backfiring not only on the author of such statements but also on the nation as a whole in this case.
Najib did not kill Altantuya. Datin Rosmah did not kill Altantuya either. Sirul and his co-accused murdered Altantuya Shaariibu (Altantuya). That is fact. That fact is admitted by both Sirul and his co-accused.
Both Sirul and his co accused had the opportunity to defend themselves in open court and were represented by lawyers. And neither of the two were able to defend themselves against or deny the findings by the courts that they and they alone were responsible for the murder of Altantuya. In fact Sirul has admitted to murdering Altantuya.
To suggest otherwise or to suggest that there should be an investigation (by implication of what the Tun has suggested) to find out who ordered the killing of Altantuya, is a reflection of the inexcusable “the devil made me do it” defense from the mindset of guilt and a total disregard for the law.
To advocate as the Tun does for Sirul on the run because it suits a particularly expedient situation or to engineer a preferred outcome to that which resulted from Sirul’s trial is the worst form of intellectual dishonesty one can imagine.
And the Tun is an honourable man.
THE PRINCE AT WORK- A PIED PIPER PLAYS HIS TUNE
It is quite clear that Machiavelli’s “the Prince” is at work here. The Tun is quite rightly and efficiently shepherding the prodigal flock of the Barisan by ‘dog whistling’ to the strays who abandoned the party expecting a Pakatan victory at GE 13.
And as elder statesman and UMNO’s best known son, the Tun has a right and a duty to act in the interests of the party, even if that means ‘cutting off the hand or plucking out the eyes that offend’. And this is politics.
The Tun is in his element when his back is against a wall. Politics, especially the divisive, opportunistic, multi racial politics of Malaysia is not a pursuit for the faint hearted. It is not about friends. Relevantly David Ben Gurion once said the following about friends in politics: “there are no permanent friends, just situations”.
The shameless, mercenary attention and credibility accorded Tun Mahathir by Lim Kit Siang and his allies in opposition, by Malaysia Kini and its shadows in the media because Mahathir is undermining an aloof Najib under attack, is to say the least embarrassing and cringe worthy.
To suddenly fete the very same man they blame for all of Malaysia’s ills including the floods, droughts, crime rate and their own personal failures is a sign of how fickle and hollow the opposition really is. But this is Dr. Mahathir Mohammed, the same man who united a nation in one singular objective, fear of his wrath, at his best.
The Tun is galvanizing a rudderless anti Najib coalition into a single pro Barisan opportunity and constituency sufficient to regain that historic 2/3rds majority at the next GE. For that you can’t fault the man. He knows how shallow Malaysia’s opposition is. And they are flocking to him like rats behind the fabled pied piper of Hamlin.
THE INVISIBLE MAN STRATEGY
The current Prime Minister Najib Razak’s biggest enemy is himself and his selective silence over very serious allegations of misconduct and criminality against him, his family and his government.
He appears to be surrounded by highly paid and highly remunerated coterie of political eunuchs. A college student amateur could bring him down with that crowd around him today. Najib’s team is bereft of strategy or strategic thinking and dare I say an appropriate response. Silence is never an option in situations like those Najib is faced with.
It appears from all accounts that the best defence available to Najib is playing the ostrich in times of crisis. There is no public relations or strategic media planning capable of handling a crisis of any sort. And such a situation is critically dangerous for the PM.
The absence of effective and timely media responses to allegations of any sort may be fatal to the Prime Minister and his wife both in their personal capacities and as holders of the first office in the land. The damage done can never be reversed.
The evidence doesn’t just speak for itself. It screams obscenities.
POOR JUDGEMENTS AND EVEN POORER FRIENDS
As an example, the first family’s decision to engage Deepak Jaykishan the carpet salesman and to befriend him for whatever the reason, is a case in point of very poor character judgment by Rosmah and Najib.
Whether any of the allegations made by Deepak against Najib and Rosmah are in fact true (and there is serious doubt about the man’s credibility) as published on YouTube is a question of perception and proof. What is important is that the allegations are damaging.
Deepak is inconsistent and he is incredulous. Deepak appears to be surrounded by the same group of lawyers who drove the Balasubramaniam scandal if not created and nurtured it from behind the scenes.
Throw mud and some of it will stick.
There appears to be a string of allegations against the first family none of which have any semblance of reality to them. These include stories of criminal conduct emanating from the Malaysian Bar and NGO’s encouraged by Anwar Ibrahim if not spawned by each of these groups.
There are lurid rumours fed through the alternative opposition sponsored media infecting not only the public’s perceptions of government and the first family but also in the process distorting the perception of what Malaysia as a nation is in the outside world.
For these sins, both the Tun and the opposition must accept some blame. Many of their statements are without a factual basis and as such are irresponsible. A reinforcement of the rumours by the Tun via Malaysia Kini is thus far the most extravagant of propositions by the statesman.
IS THE TUN A COMEBACK KID OR AN AGEING HERO OUT OF STEP?
Judges in places like Australia reach the ‘age of statutory senility’ at 70. Simply put that means you are too old to function effectively at this age and must by law retire.
In the Asian context in sharp contrast to the Australian western perceptions of the elderly, older people are venerated as repositories of knowledge, experience and wisdom. Is the Tun abandoning those Asian values ith his unfounded crude attacks against Najib and Rosmah once the backbone of his moral policy platform?
Clearly the Tun was not speculating or asking questions. His ‘questions’ rhetorical as they sounded and the propositions he put to that gathering (Malaysia Kini) were statements posing as questions using very narrow and specific examples of highly controversial and topical matters which go to the very heart of the litany of improper allegations against Najib and Rosmah.
SILENCE IS NEVER GOLDEN IN POLITICS WHERE$43 BILLION AND A DEAD MONGOLIAN ARE CONCERNED
The greatest sin in this controversy though lies with Prime Minister Najib. Not on the Altantuya matter alone because there is no legal obligation on his part to say anything even if consequently he is implicated by association in some way with Altantuya which is not the case. This is the fundamental basis of Malaysia’s and many other civilized nation’s constitutional and legal systems.
On the other hand where the processes of parliament and government is concerned and where a question or questions arise from a reasonable inquiry as is the case with the controversial unexplained 1MDB, there is an overriding obligation on parliament, via the prime minister or cabinet to provide an clear, unambiguous, exhaustive and transparent response within reason.
That response unfortunately has not been forthcoming from Najib. Najib has maintained a deafening silence for far too long on too many controversial subjects. And such silence against a barrage of unrelenting and often illegitimate allegations with its consequential inquiry from the public cannot go unanswered for too long.
Goebells once said something to the effect of “a lie repeated often enough gets accepted as fact or truth if not impeached”. And the longer Najib procrastinates in the face of the assault he faces he is helping to create an unimpeachable truth of these allegations against him.
THE TRUTH IS OFTEN STRANGER THAN FICTION- BUT NOT IN MALAYSIA WHERE THEY ARE ONE
Malaysia’s media, its legal fraternity and its citizens have a history of wallowing in gossip, converting baseless allegations and rumours into monuments of truth. In fact Malaysia ranks as one of the highest per capital users of face book, Linkedin, Twitter and the many of the other social media.
Many cannot tell the difference between a maggot and a snake let alone sift fact from fiction. It is to many in Malaysia the same. Many more especially within Malaysia’s legal fraternity can’t tell the difference between evidence and proof. They can’t tell the difference between admissible evidence and fiction. This makes the media a very dangerous place to be in as Najib Razak and his wife Rosmah have discovered over the past 2 years. That’s unless you have some influence over the media. Yet they appear not to have learned anything from their experiences of the past years.
Waiting and jailing or suing people for their defamatory remarks is but one way of dealing with the problem. And that is a right all citizens enjoy in Malaysia. However considering the gravity of the allegations against Najib and Rosmah, one would have thought that given the extent of and the damage caused by these rumours born out of their silence, a well prepared erudite response would have been the appropriate thing to do ‘nipping their troubles at the bud’.
WHERE TWO WRONGS SOMETIMES MAKE A RIGHT- WELL AT LEAST IN MALAYSIA
What the Tun is saying about the Altantuya matter linking it to Rosmah which he is doing or at the very least is being reckless as to how his statements will be interpreted (as it is being interpreted) has a parallel to the many allegations raised about his conduct in office none of which have been grounded properly on admissible evidence but incapable of proof.
It is the equivalent of suggesting that Pak Lah allowed his late wife to die so that he could marry her sister in law who he had been having an affair with during his marriage to his late wife. It is a plausible story to write about because the end result is there if one works backwards from the outcomes anything is possible.
Pak Lah did marry his brother in law’s ex wife. He was close to Jeane Abdullah during his marriage to his late wife Endon Mahmood, and she did in fact die.
The only bits to be proved is in this parallel is whether he Badawi did have an affair with his late wife’s sister in law. And the other question is what an ‘affair’ in this context really means. It becomes a question of perception. Badawi did allow his first wife to die but that does not mean he did nothing to help her live or that he killed her.
Again the point becomes a question of perception Being a Muslim scholar it must be a given that he knew death to be inevitable and did nothing to stop the process which no man really can when it arrives.
So here we have a plausible situation as far as the allegations go. But proving it is not easy either ways. By that same token to lend one’s own distorted perceptions to a set of situations and outcomes is equally irresponsible. What’s happening here is that UMNO is in the process of an internal power struggle.
The families of the late Tun Razak’s (that includes Hishamuddin Onn and Najib’s factions) is in a fight to the death with the families of the irregulars like the Tun. Those without pedigree or do not hail from privilege like Tun Dr. Mahathir and his following are pitted in a struggle to determine the future of Malaysia. And that may not be such a bad thing after all because change comes to us one way or the other.
We can either control change to some extent like these two political giants can or wait for it to happen. In the Tun’s case given his formidable political background and experience, it would be political suicide for Najib to maintain his silence in the old English traditions of maintaining a stiff upper lip. The Tun for his part is taking no prisoners giving no hostage to fortune. Lets hope its alls well that ends well.