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Righteousness and justice

Posted: 26 Aug 2013 03:57 PM PDT

Frankly speaking, the legal system is generally Greek to many members of the public. The verdict has all the more puzzled the public and begs a question: can righteousness and justice be upheld legally? Does the acquittal of the accused uphold legal justice or reveal the impotence of prosecution?

Lim Mun Fah, Sin Chew

The two alleged suspects in Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu's murder were acquitted after they had brought the case to the Court of Appeal. The sentence immediately sparked a chorus of controversy. But Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail informed that the prosecution would appeal, that said this 159-day trial hasn't yet come to an end.

This trial has since aroused global attention. The reason is twofold. Firstly, Altantuya was a Mongolian beauty with a legendary and murky identity. She was reported to have come all the way from Mongolia to meet her lover in Malaysia but ended up murdered, and her remains destroyed with C4 explosives. This amorous, exciting and atrocious plot of the narrative is arresting at its best to the stalking oriented public.

Secondly, there were three influential accused initially, namely, the then defence analyst from the Malaysian Strategic Research Centre think-tank, Abdul Razak Baginda, Chief Insp Azilah Hadri and Cpl Sirul Azhar Umar.

The trial was tedious and teemed with surprises.

Abdul Razak was acquitted of abetment. Later, the other two accused were also acquitted.

This verdict, to date, has raised an uproar as well as legal controversy.

Former minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Zaid Ibrahim was disappointed with the verdict. To him, the Court of Appeal should have ordered to review the case and not to pronounced acquittal. Furthermore, Pakatan Rakyat officials had called for a royal commission of inquiry for further investigation to restore the reputation of our legal system.

Frankly speaking, the legal system is generally Greek to many members of the public. The verdict has all the more puzzled the public and begs a question: can righteousness and justice be upheld legally? Does the acquittal of the accused uphold legal justice or reveal the impotence of prosecution?

Most common folks are kindhearted. They tend to sympathise with Altantuya despite not knowing who she was. "A murderer must pay with his life" is their logic. When the verdict goes against their expectation, the prevailing sense of disappointment and discontentment should be understood and justified.

Different stance would result in disparate interpretation. No sentence can be made without sufficient evidence and it is to the core an uncompromising principle.

For Altantuya and her family, as long as the murderers are at large and not convicted, her apparition will always linger in the Malaysian sky.

In passing, I recalled the acquittal of Orenthal James Simpson for the alleged murder of his ex-wife and a waiter. After hearing the verdict, the waiter's father said: "Today is not the day prosecution has lost the trial but the nation as righteousness and justice was not upheld."

Indeed, to uphold righteousness and justice is a universal calling. It is also our expectation and hope for each and every trial. 


Was the appellate court doing the right thing?

Lam Choong Wah, TMI

The duo accused for the brutal murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu were acquitted unanimously by the Court of Appeal's three member bench on August 23.

The news spread like shockwave across the country. Not only did the verdict disappoint many Malaysians, but it also generated countless condemnations on social media.

Who killed Altantuya? This question has flooded the social media. So if it is not former chief inspector Azilah Hadri and former corporal Sirul Azhar Umar, who else? As a result of this verdict, some people are questioning the credibility of the courts.

Contrary to public opinion, I think the three member bench had done the right thing, and their judgment could compel the prosecutors to carry out more in-depth investigation on this case.

There were several ambiguities that were pinpointed by the Court of Appeal, which should be answered by the prosecutors:

1. The whole case was full of flaws that could easily be used by the defence counsel to counter accusations made by the prosecutors. One of the best examples was the fact that the prosecutors were reluctant to investigate the intention of causing Altantuya's death. In any culpable murder case, as defined by Section 300 of the Penal Code, proving the murder intention of the accused is a must for the prosecutors. Otherwise, the accused can only be charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder under Section 304 of the Penal Code and punishment upon the conviction is only imprisonment.

2. The prosecutors weren't interested to find out where the C4 explosives came from. Why were the prosecutors not interested in the most important evidence?

3. The court and prosecutors had never subpoenaed Najib Razak's chief bodyguard DSP Musa Safri, or even Najib himself to testify. Without their testimony, one is unable to clarify whether or not the accused received any directive from other parties.

The appellate court judges pointed out that the prosecutors couldn't convict the accused beyond reasonable doubt and that led to the case's judgment, i.e. acquit the accused. The prosecutors have two options now, either appeal to higher court or give up.

If the authority chooses the first option, then they have to answer the doubts raised by the appellate court. In other words, they have to find out why the two police commandos killed Altantuya and more pertinently, where did C4 explosives come from?

If the prosecutors choose to give up, then they will have to be prepared to face gigantic repercussions from public.

Some say the appellate court should send the case back to High Court to retrial, but I think the verdict leaves the prosecutors no more room to escape from finding the truth and to pretend they are serious in this case anymore.

What say you?


Dr M’s objection to TPPA: Is he really anti-US?

Posted: 26 Aug 2013 12:24 PM PDT 

Kenneth Lee, FMT

Truth is not what matters to Mahathir but perception. He wants the Malays to see him as pro-Malay and pro-Islam. With the Umno elections round the corner, and Mukhriz, Muhiyiddin and other Mahathir loyalists seeking to control Umno, Mahathir has become very open in his racist attacks of the Chinese. For a while he was quiet about the US but the TPPA has provided him the perfect opportunity for him to mount his usual anti-US song and dance to further garner support for his faction in Umno.

There is ample evidence to show that Mahathir, in reality is anything but anti-US. US was and is one of the biggest investors and trading partners of Malaysia. Mahathir launched the billion-dollar MSC on the strength and support of major US companies such as Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, Cisco, Dell, AMD, DHL, etc.  Malaysia spent billions of dollars on military purchases from the US during Mahathir's tenure as PM. Mahathir  engaged  and consulted American economic advisors and writers such as Jeffrey Sachs and Naisbit.

Mahathir loves Western lifestyle and now lives in a 'Swiss' mansion in the Mines. Mahathir secretly allowed the US military to conduct exercises on Malaysian soil when he was PM  (see Barry Wain's 'Malaysian Maverick'). Openly, however, Mahathir has been a vitriolic critic of the US.  But secretly he has been not just a close ally but a lackey of the US. That is why Mahathir is still around because he remains a lackey of the US and is of use to the US in global Islamic matters and the super-power's interests in Malaysia and the region.

Just consider this. Who is Mahathir compared to the Marcos and Suhartos and other notable dictators of the world in terms of strength, control and influence? They fell or rather the US allowed them to fall when they were no longer of use to the US or their continued dictatorships were no longer tenable. It would have been a kid's play for the US to destroy Mahathir, the PM of a country which has marginal influence on the world stage in terms of military, political, strategic or economic power.

The US's track record shows that they would have most certainly done so in response to Mahathir's regular and often ridiculous out-bursts against the US, unless he served a greater purpose for the US and the open criticisms were merely distractions from the truth that he, Mahathir, was a US lackey.  In order to hide his close links with the US, Mahathir often diverted the people's attention through his harsh and often illogical  rhetoric against the US and would subsequently make up with the US when the rhetoric goes beyond the limits – e.g.,  Mahathir's million dollar payment to the Heritage Foundation to meet George Bush in 2002 to "normalise" relationship.

Mahathir, despite his open vitriol against the Jews, is in fact also a close friend of the Jews. Mahathir's reason for the open animosity for Jews is the same as that applicable to his diatribes of the US – the open animosity is a diversion so that Mahathir's close relationship with the Jews will not be apparent, and he can continue to deceive the Malays and the Islamic world. Let us look at the facts. Mahathir was a close buddy of Soros (a Jew)  in hedge-fund deals and currency manipulation, later blamed Soros for the financial crisis of 1997/1998 and called him a "moron", and subsequently  absolved Soros of any responsibility for Malaysia's financial crisis when Sorosvisited him after his retirement.

Was Mahathir a hypocrite, lambasting first and later embracing and absolving Soros? Mahathir had engaged Saatchi & Saatchi, Goldman Sachs and other Jewish firms for various projects and tasks during his tenure as PM. In fact, he engaged Salmon Smith Barney, a Jewish firm, to advise him on how to manage the financial crisis and implement currency control in 1998.  Mokhzani, Mahathir's son, worked for Lehman Brothers, a Jewish firm.

Another of Mahathir's son, Mirzan, worked for Salomon Brothers, another Jewish firm. Prof Jeffrey Sachs from Harvard, one of Mahathir's top economic advisors, is a Jew. Mahathir (ok, some unknown person) engaged Abramoff, a Jew, to arrange the meeting between Mahathir and George Bush mentioned above. Could Mahathir make an enemy of the Jews (who, according to Mahathir himself, control the world) and still survive, unless he had been granted the leeway?

Mahathir's Oct 16, 2003 speech at the OIC meeting contained some of the most outrageous statements any leader of a country has made publicly against the US and the Jews. Mahathir explicitly labelled the US and Jews as the enemy of Muslims and said that Muslims need "guns and rockets, bombs and warplanes, tanks and warships for our defense."

How is it that Mahathir is still alive and kicking and can even visit the US after having seriously offended the most powerful nation in the world (the US) and the most powerful people in the world (the Jews), not once but repeatedly? Something to think about. Something that must be clearly explained to the Malays so that they will know the real Mahathir.

The Government Doesn’t Understand Patriotism

Posted: 26 Aug 2013 12:11 PM PDT 

Who would want to die for a country that is shabbily governed, headed for financial distress, and one in which the Government plays politics to divide the people?

Kee Thuan Chye 

I would like to talk about patriotism. Not just because Merdeka Day is coming up this Saturday, but also because the Government has lately shown its lack of understanding of what patriotism means.
It doesn't mean flying the flag during the Merdeka month or at any time. That's put-on patriotism and counts for nothing. It doesn't mean playing the national anthem at cinemas and getting people to stand up for it.
Patriotism is what you carry in your heart – your love for your country, if you want to put it that way. It is something that makes you decide you will fight to protect it, perhaps even die for it. It is not something for you to shout out and tell the whole world about. Not even in Malaysia, which has a habit of wanting to show off and grandstand – for example, by sending to the prime minister last Merdeka Day the highest number of twits … sorry, tweets.
Patriotism is also about showing concern for your country. At no time was that kind of patriotism more evident than during the run-up to the last general election, on polling day and even after the results had been announced. At no time before had so many Malaysians shown their concern for the country in expressing their reasons to save it from its current corrupt mess. They cared enough for the country to want to see it improve and stop it from going the wrong way.
This was not something forced on them, unlike what the Government is doing now by getting cinemas to screen videos from Aug 28 to Sept 3 to remind people about the significance of independence, and to get cinemagoers to SHOW that they are patriotic by standing up at the end of the videos when 'Negaraku' is played.
Worse, the cinema operators have been asked to switch on the cinema hall lights when the national anthem is played and to ensure that their patrons stand up. 

Nawawi Mohamad, writing in the online news portal Malaysia Chronicle, is right in observing that this is "Umno's brand of false patriotism", and that it pathetically contrasts with the real spirit of patriotism: "If you were to attend any of the Opposition's ceramahs or political rallies, and these are usually multi-racial unlike Umno's only-Malays, you will find the 'Negaraku' is sung spontaneously and each time before the crowd disperses. It is always with joy and participation."

Read more at:'t-understand-patriotism#page=0 

Khairy now a polished gem

Posted: 26 Aug 2013 11:48 AM PDT

The Youth and Sports Minister's ability to reach out and explain a moderate Malay standpoint without losing his credibility with the Malay heartland goes to show that there's still 'some' hope in Umno.

Watching Khairy at the recently concluded Malaysian Student Leaders Summit (organised by the United Kingdom and Eire Council of Malaysian Students or UKEC), I was struck by the extent to which he's gained from his time in the political "wilderness".

Karim Raslan, The Star 

KHAIRY Jamaluddin (pic) has and always will be different. He's taller, more handsome (in a dark way), smarter and sharper than most if not all, Malaysian leaders.

Only Rafizi Ramli (who desperately needs to lose weight) can match him blow for blow – intellectually and politically.

The others whether they're in Pakatan or Barisan are merely on-lookers in what is shaping up to be a major battle for the future leadership of the Malay community and by extension, Malaysia.

Needless to say, PAS' hapless Youth chief, Nasaruddin Tantowi is fast becoming an irrelevance, leaving the two young men locked in political combat for many years if not decades to come.

Watching Khairy at the recently concluded Malaysian Student Leaders Summit (organised by the United Kingdom and Eire Council of Malaysian Students or UKEC), I was struck by the extent to which he's gained from his time in the political "wilderness".

Just over three months into his Cabinet post, the 37-year-old seems to have settled well into his Youth and Sports Ministry portfolio.

The fact that he came to represent the Government and the Prime Minister at the prestigious conference underlines the level of trust placed upon the Umno Youth leader by the current administration (notwithstanding his prominent detractors).

Of course, it also helps that Khairy, a father of two, looks and sounds like most of the young men in the audience.

He's definitely the kind of guy who knows all the latest apps on his iPhone.

Indeed, his youthfulness and intelligence has enabled him to build a degree of trust and mutual respect with the UKEC's members whose annual gathering in KL has become one of the most important dates in the Malaysian political calendar.

Suited-up and in front of a tough and yet thoroughly Malaysian audience, Khairy was confident, articulate, frank and witty (a rarity in Umno) – navigating adeptly through a range of thorny questions posed to him from the floor.

As a veteran student activist, Khairy's responses were well thought through and astute – ideal for the twitter generation.

Having watched him debating with Rafizi earlier last year in London (also at a UKEC event) it was good to see that he'd raised his game.

Eighteen months of constant campaigning and ceramahs in between has made him a far more polished performer, confident enough to show a little vulnerability in the face of tough questions, thereby earning mounds of sympathy from an distinctly ambivalent crowd.

For example, when he was asked what he admired about Pakatan, he paused before answering and very graciously – "their camaraderie".

Needless to say his candour and honesty (neither of which are Umno traits) won further points.

Moreover, the Rembau MP who more than tripled his constituency majority in the 13th general election was straight-forward enough to admit to his Government's shortcomings and brutally frank when he outlined the three C's that were needed to be tackled in order to win back younger voters – corruption, crime and cost of living.

Indeed, if the 3Cs are addressed effectively, it may even solve Barisan's conundrum in getting back urban support.

More importantly and despite being in an Umno election season – where contenders for top posts are expected to sound extremely pro-Malay – Khairy was able to balance the demands of the party's right wing with the broader Malaysian agenda.

He didn't ask those who disagreed with him or his Government's policies to opt to live elsewhere.

Instead, he offered a well-reasoned explanation of the moderation at the heart of the grand old party while acknowledging the more conservative elements.

Much to the excitement of the 500 plus crowd, he also criticised those who labelled the recent Metallica concert as hedonistic and a threat to one's faith.

It's refreshing for "Middle Malaysians" such as myself to have Khairy centre-stage.

He has his weaknesses – there's an arrogance and a meanness – but in an environment where brutishness dominate, his studied confidence and sheer brain-power is reassuring.

In a way, Khairy's ability to reach out and explain a moderate Malay standpoint without losing his credibility with the Malay heartlands goes to show that there's still "some" hope in Umno.

I especially appreciated his tact and razor-like pointedness when he was pressed by a questioner to choose one word that best summed up the Head of the Opposition.

Instead of picking something insulting and vulgar as most in Umno would do when discussing Anwar Ibrahim, Khairy chose the word "inconsistent" that neatly summed up the former ABIM leader's disappointing vacillations. In short Khairy was withering and dismissive without being rude: Malay elegance, understatement and disdain all in one.

Judging by Khairy's performance over the weekend, he's really benefited from his years in the political wilderness. He has gained humility and a real sense of grassroots sentiment. Now if only there were a few more like him...



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