- Better to let 10 guilty men go free
- Mahathir’s Continuing Burden Upon The Nation
- Altantuya changed everything
Posted: 25 Aug 2013 04:37 PM PDT
By overturning the decision, the Court of Appeal is not saying that no one killed Altantuya. It is not even saying that the two accused did not kill the victim. What the Court of Appeal is saying is that the evidence presented at trial is not enough to prove, beyond reasonable doubt, that the two accused are guilty. Thus, because there is not enough to prove, the decision of the High Court judge to convict the two is wrong and should be overturned.
Syahredzan Johan, The Star
In 2009, two police commandos; Azilah Hadri and Sirul Azhar Umar were convicted by the High Court of the murder of Altantuya Shaaribuu. Last week, the Court of Appeal, in a unanimous decision by a three-man panel, Datuk Seri Mohamed Apandi Ali, Datuk Linton Albert and Datuk Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat, overturned the conviction of the two accused and freed them and in doing so sent shockwaves that reverberated throughout the country.Understandably, people are shocked and outraged. The decision was met with derision, criticism and ridicule. Conspiracy theories mushroomed, as people tried to make sense of the Court of Appeal's decision. Who killed Altantuya? they asked, since all those who were charged with her murder have now been freed?
Several reasons were put forth by the Court of Appeal as grounds for its decision. Amongst others, it found that the High Court judge had erred by not taking into account several important issues such as the alibi and telephone logs of one of the accused. It also found that there were also inconsistencies in the testimonies of the prosecution witness leading to the discovery of the crime scene.
According to the Court of Appeal, the High Court judge also did not make a finding on how the two accused could come into possession of the explosives used in the murder, since the type of explosives used were not found in the police armoury. Most importantly, the Court of Appeal held that the failure of the prosecution to call a material witness was essential. This material witness, the Court of Appeal held, should have been called to unfold the narrative which the prosecution's case was based on.
Syahredzan Johan is a young lawyer and partner of a legal firm in Kuala Lumpur.
Posted: 25 Aug 2013 12:24 PM PDT
It is pathetic that after having served as the nation's longest serving chief executive, Mahathir could point only to those physical monuments as his legacy.
M. Bakri Musa
Mahathir is the only prime minister who devalued the ringgit, the very symbol of the nation's sovereignty. If that were to be his only negative legacy, Malaysia could easily bear it.
Unfortunately the man has burdened (and continues to burden) Malaysia with many more ugly legacies. He has also devalued our culture and institutions. Most of all he has devalued the trust we have in each other, a vital but scarce asset in a plural society.
On a much lesser scale, and to serve more as a concrete example, the upcoming UMNO leadership convention will be another. With its "no contest" rule now the norm, the convention mocks the very meaning of a leadership election, reducing it to the same level as the old Soviet "elections." This coming event will again expose the party's corruptness and how pathetically bereft it is of talent. The same old tired and tainted candidates will be recycled. It is an exercise less of renewal and rejuvenation, more of an old and leaking sewer treatment plant, with nothing to hide the stench.
As for the candidates, they would be like desperate monkeys elbowing and clawing each other for the top braches, their howling effectively drowning out the sound of the tree crashing down.
Legally speaking, this party is of course not the original UMNO, rather "UMNO Baru," Mahathir's own creation after he maneuvered a less-than-honest squeaky victory over his challenger, Tengku Razaleigh, back in 1987. The party was subsequently deregistered. UMNO Baru is but a pretender to that glorious old party, the spirit of 1946, the one that bravely fought against the Malayan Union and ultimately brought the country to independence. No surprise then that this UMNO Baru has all of Mahathir's ugly trademarks.
I am privileged not to have met the man; thus my analysis is strictly based on his policies and performances as a leader. It is not colored by personal feelings or show of gratitude. I am spared the "mudah lupa" (ingrate) epithet.
Again thanks to Mahathir, this mudah lupa is a special burden in our culture where one's personal kindness and familiarity could hide and indeed excuse many a sin. Mahathir himself is not spared this burden; hence his being easily hoodwinked by the put-on piety and humility of his chosen successor, Abdullah Badawi. Even Mahathir's subsequent enthusiasm for Najib to replace Abdullah was based less on Najib's talent, more an expression of Mahathir's gratitude to Najib's late father for having "rehabilitated" Mahathir into UMNO.
Yes, Mahathir was once kicked out of that grand old party back in 1970 in the aftermath of the deadly 1969 race riots. Those early leaders of the original UMNO were wise and prescient.
Rehabilitated he was, and with his subsequent ascent to the top post, the country now bears the burden of his follies. We will continue to do so long after he is gone, such was the damage he inflicted upon the country.
The currency devaluation was painful enough, especially to the poor. We still bear it today. Judging by past performances, this upcoming leadership contest would again assault our sensibilities, especially of Malay culture. Forget about our budi bahasa (gracious) and halus (soft) ways.
Those previously found guilty of "money politics" (that's corruption, to the rest of us) like Isa Samad and Khairy Jamaludin would again be elected to top positions. So too would former Selangor Chief Minister Khir Toyo, except that he is now serving time for corruption. Incidentally Khir Toyo is regarded as "clean" by his fellow UMNO members. As for Isa and Khairy, the former is now put in charge of the multi-billion ringgit FELDA, the latter, a cabinet minister. That too, is part of Mahathir's legacy.
One might quibble about Khairy for he once bragged about being Mahathir's vocal critic. However, Mahathir's legacy is the overall negative culture he fostered in UMNO Baru. In any other culture or jurisdiction, that young man would not even be nominated for dog catcher. That speaks volumes to the degradation of UMNO Baru.
That is Mahathir's legacy, its destructiveness is pervasive and permanent precisely because it is less obvious.
Posted: 25 Aug 2013 10:21 AM PDT
A matter of timing
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