A look back at 2008, with commentary by Times photo-
Compelling images from 2008, as published in The Sunday Times Magazine
A look back at 2008, with commentary by Times photo-
Compelling images from 2008, as published in The Sunday Times Magazine
IT seems to me that Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is suffering from paranoid delusions. His preoccupation with what he sees as political conspiracy against him is doing his reputation and credibility, such as it is, enormous damage.
To compound the growing cynicism about his version of events, he has not, to date, been able to produce any verifiable evidence to support his contention.
As far as I am concerned, and for all practical purposes, his claim of victimisation at the evil hands of the authorities is just so much political posturing, and has to be viewed, sadly, as a ploy to gain sympathy for his cause and confuse the gullible in our midst.
And there are many who see a conspirator in every nook and corner, in much the same way that Americans, at the height of McCarthyism, looked under the bed before retiring for the night, half expecting to find a communist lurking there.
While Anwar expects the highest standards of proof in others, he is somehow both careless and cavalier about his own. He has made the preposterous accusation that the charge of sodomy brought against him by his former aide is part of a diabolically clever plot to stop his prime ministerial ambitions dead in their tracks.
That, too, must remain a matter for conjecture unless it can be proved otherwise. Many Malaysians await Anwar’s irrefutable evidence with bated breath.
Does he not realise that many people can, and will, draw their own conclusions about the real reason behind his persistent refusal to give his blood for the purpose of a DNA test?
Let us get that over and done with so that the police can make a quick determination as to whether or not he had been maliciously accused of something he is innocent of.
Readers will no doubt recall that when he was in custody 10 years ago, he accused the authorities of administering arsenic to poison him.
All very dramatic, and the world was understandably aghast and shocked by that revelation.
Independent tests done in Australia, however, proved negative. Anwar showed absolutely no remorse about his having blackened his country’s good name and reputation.
On the premise that there is one law for all, no one should reasonably expect normal police criminal investigation procedures to be set aside or compromised on the spurious ground of a lack of trust in the police. What is the evidence for this?
Anwar, for all his political savvy, now runs the risk of being likened to “the boy who cried wolf” — once too often.
He should submit himself voluntarily to the DNA test, and if need be, under an independent expert observer group if this would help.
The police have been more accommodating in his case than I have seen in some others. And if he is innocent of the charge against him, there is “nothing to fear, but fear itself”.
Conspiracy or no, even Anwar must know that the devil is in the detail: how does he propose to seize power except by resorting to unprincipled political machinations and manipulations?
He has to show that he has not totally abandoned his moral and ethical principles and this is the only way that he will ever recover the moral and intellectual high ground that he once occupied.
The moral support of right thinking people everywhere that he could at one time take for granted is beginning to wear thin.
What has happened to the mass exodus to his camp of ethically deficient political malcontents from The Land Below The Wind, across the South China Sea, that he predicted with an almost messianic zeal and prophetic certainty to help him topple the government and transform the nation?
He has done our Sabah politicians grave injury to their reputation. They have proved that they stand by certain personal values and standards of ethical behaviour.
I cannot imagine anything baser and more grotesque than attempting to corrupt and seduce perfectly decent and honourable parliamentarians to betray the trust of the voters who had put them there in the first place to represent them in their constituencies.
What kind of message is Anwar sending to the people of this country, and in particular to the young people now beginning to take an interest in political issues?
Dislodge the government by all means, if this is your purpose in life, but there is a time and place as provided under our electoral process.
The place is the ballot box, and the time is the 13th general election.
This is all part of our democratic system and what business have any of us to bring about a change of administration outside of the legal electoral framework?
I am well aware of the opposition song-and-dance about what they claim to be a defective electoral system before every election. But this constant refrain about the unfairness of it all is muted, now that the same defective process that they used to vent their spleen on with demonic vehemence has catapulted them into power in five states.
I suppose even they must now admit that it has not been that bad, after all, for those who were not expected to pick more than a few crumbs off the floor.
Anwar has made great play of his having to remove his clothes for his medical examination and implied that he was being singled out for special treatment.
I am assured by my doctor friends that it is normal procedure for certain types of examination. Many of us have been through this and we were none the worse for wear.
In my own case, on my visit to Israel two years ago, I was asked very politely to remove all my clothes by airport security.
More than at any time in my entire life, faced with the prospect of having to bare all, and not even paid for it in front of total strangers, I remembered my mother, thinking how right she had been to remind my brother and I always to wear clean underpants!
Like Anwar, I did not like the strip act one little bit, but unlike him, I did not kick up a fuss and neither did I call a press conference to denounce this “barbaric” practice against a senior United Nations official which was what I was at the time.
If I had been gripped by paranoia, I suppose I would have seen the whole exercise as being specially devised to humiliate me, a Muslim.
It was a security requirement and I respected their right to do everything possible in the interests of their country’s security.
Anwar should desist from involving the international community in what is essentially a simple case. He somehow feels that the United States, the European Union and Japan should fight a proxy war against his country to shield him from the due process of law of his country.
I do not claim, naturally, to speak for other Malaysians, but there are people I know personally who are beginning to suspect his motives. It is poetic justice.
We must all take responsibility for our actions, and if we feel that we have been defamed or otherwise unfairly accused, we should place ourselves in the hands and at the mercy of the courts.
Anwar should submit himself to the country’s criminal justice system like the rest of his fellow Malaysians and lead by example.
He is, after all, according to his supporters, a prime minister-in-waiting. I hope they are not holding their breath.We are all getting a little sick and tired of the “Anwar factor” that is turning out to be an absolutely unnecessary distraction at a time when we need to get on with our lives
|Virgins from the Philippines at Labuan |
|Joe Fernandez | Jun 10, 08 4:07pm |
All the banks have only one desk in Labuan
IOFC is just a big scam to hoodwink
If you go to Labuan, you will find no
The new international airport is very quiet.
I told the Labuan Malaysian Airports
I am happy for Labuan. No development.
I think the patrons come from the offshore
Labuan is a great place to retire. You have
Better don't take MAS because it's a rip-off.
Don’t die without visiting Labuan and
|Dr M: Blame the 'Sultan' and the Kid|
|Syed Jaymal Zahiid | Apr 1, 08 6:07pm|
Umno was thrashed in the general election because of poor selection of candidates by ‘Sultan’ Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and ‘Kid’ Khairy Jamaluddin - so claimed former party boss Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Later, when asked if he would lead a movement to reform Umno, he asked for stronger support for the suggestion, saying “we have to fight together”.
|PM has 'no shame' for refusing to quit|
|Apr 1, 08 5:14pm|
Veteran ex-leader Dr Mahathir Mohamad launched his strongest ever attack against Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi today, and again called for his resignation following disastrous election results.
Abdullah, also president Umno, is facing increasing calls to quit from party leaders.
"I ask (Abdullah) to resign," the former prime minister, who ruled Malaysia for 22 years, told a gathering of at least 1,000 Umno members.
The focus of the meeting was to analyse the March 8 election results but it turned out to be a platform to demand Abdullah's resignation.
Umno members criticised Abdullah and the alleged influence son-in-law Khairy Jamaluddin, who is a deputy leader of the powerful Umno youth wing, has over him in decision-making.
"Anyone else would have already resigned but (Abdullah) has no shame," Mahathir, who hand-picked Abdullah to succeed him in October 2003, told a cheering crowd.
Dr M: Stand by my side
Mahathir said Abdullah had ignored the will of the people, while the veteran's son, Mukhriz, a lawmaker, echoed the call for Abdullah to go.
"To bring about (reform), the top leadership has to be held responsible. The prime minister must gracefully withdraw," Mukhriz said.
He urged Umno members to speak out and not be intimidated.
"Be brave, if you love your country and speak out," he said. "We have been told to keep quiet but I ask you now to stand by my side."
Abdullah, 68, has claimed a mandate to rule despite unprecedented election losses, but observers say he is on borrowed time.
Senior lawmaker Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah had said he would challenge Abdullah's leadership if he received enough support.
The mysterious Mengalum Anchor is located in Mengalum Island about four hours boat ride from Kota Kinabalu is a mystery, that is no one knows how and when it came to be lying on the island. It appears that its earliest recorded existance was by Captain Edward Belcher in H.M.S. Saracen's log in 1854. The wrought iron anchor is however believed to be a Richard Pering improved anchor or Admiralty (British) anchor, manufactured from ca. 1819 to 1845. Local reports of the anchor, as early as 1931 described it as a "keramat"; it is venerated by fisherfolk who assumed its supernatural powers and which cannot be removed from the island. Therefore, it is not unsual to see offering of rice, tobacco, eggs and other foods placed on the anchor.
|Ahmad to start work as MB tomorrow|
|Mar 24, 08 4:46pm|
Kijal state representative Ahmad Said, who has been appointed
by the Terengganu sultan as mentri besar against the wish
At a massive gathering at his
Earlier today, he had an audience with Sultan Mizan
On his way back to Terengganu, he was escorted by a
Meanwhile, opposition party PAS today fully supported the
Party president Abdul Hadi Awang said he believed the
|MB crisis deepens in Terengganu|
|K Kabilan | Mar 23, 08 10:45am|
Kijal assemblyperson Ahmad Said this morning officially received his appointment letter as the Terengganu menteri besar but a constitutional crisis looms as he was sacked from Umno.
According to observers the swearing-in ceremony now looks remote after Umno earlier today sacked Ahmad from the party for disobeying party leadership.
However Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin of Terengganu - who is also the present king - preferred Ahmad to take over as the state’s menteri besar. Idris is believed to have had a fallout with the sultan over several issues.
Also this morning, state Umno secretary Rosol Wahid handed over to a palace official a letter signed by the 22 Umno assemblypersons protesting Ahmad’s appointment. The letter also insisted that Idris should be sworn in as the rightful menteri besar.
A snap poll soon?
He said that even if Ahmad is sworn-in, the BN state representatives can call for a vote of no confidence against him.
|Another BN MP ready to jump ship?|
|Tony Thien | Mar 21, 08 1:12pm|
BN-SPDP's Mas Gading MP Dr Tiki Lafe, dropped from his deputy minister’s post, has neither denied nor confirmed speculations that he is quitting his party to join the opposition when contacted today.
Asked on the rumours over the phone this morning, the Bidayuh 'ear, nose and throat' specialist-turned-politician would only say, "I am on holiday with my family."
Pressed further on the matter, he added, "I am not saying anything."
Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP), one of four components in the Sarawak BN, has four MPs, including Tiki who was not re-appointed deputy minister on Tuesday.
Instead, the party has two new faces as deputy ministers - Jelaing Mersat, an Iban and Saratok MP, and Jacob Sagan, a Kenyah and Baram MP.
Tiki first contested Mas Gading in the 1999 general election, defeating incumbent and State Reform Party (Star) president Dr Patau Rubis.
Immediately after his victory, Tiki’s then party, Snap, nominated him to replace party veteran Peter Tinggom as deputy minister in the federal cabinet.
When SPDP was formed following the Snap crisis in 2002, Tiki joined the new party and continued as deputy minister in Kuala Lumpur after the 2004 general election.
In the May 8 polls, Tiki defeated Patau and two other independents to win Mas Gading for the third time.
Interestingly, it is learnt that there was a lot of lobbying within SPDP for Tiki to be replaced as candidate for the just-concluded election but last-minute intervention from a third party saw his name back on the candidate’s list.
Meanwhile, Tiki is said to have replied to a Sarawak journalist via SMS today that ‘I am still in KL and due to leave for overseas later."
Richard changes his mind
In another development BN-SUPP's Serian MP Richard Riot, who was reported to have quit his party yesterday, has a change of mind today - he has decided to stay.
However, the denial did not come from him directly.
Yap said Richard pledged full support for Supp and loyalty to the BN under the leadership of the Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
He added that the MP, who is a party's vice-president, is now in Kuala Lumpur to meet Abdullah to clarify his position.
Yap did not say when Richard would be returning to Kuching or when he would issue a statement to the media.
Attempts by Malaysiakini to contact him on his mobile today were unsuccessful.
|T'ganu Umno rejects Ku Li's offer|
|Mar 21, 08 2:43pm|
Veteran Umno leader Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah’s offer to take over the party presidency today received a massive blow when the party leadership in Terengganu refused to back him.
Calling for EGM
Earlier this week, Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh said he was willing to take over the leadership of the party in order to heal the party in the face of its disastrous defeat in the polls.
It is believed that while he enjoys the support of the BN state representatives, the Sultan of Terengganu is however rooting for another candidate.
|Anwar says BN MPs mull defection|
|Mar 17, 08 7:01pm|
Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim today said he had held talks with a number of ruling coalition members of parliament interested in defecting after this month's landmark elections.
Anwar, a former deputy premier who was sacked and jailed a decade ago, helms a three-party alliance that made unprecedented gains in March 8 polls against the Barisan Nasional coalition which has ruled for half a century.
"People have come and approached me," Anwar said, adding that he had spoken with "quite a number" and told them their support would not be bought.
"If you want to surrender at a price, then you have chosen the wrong party," he told reporters, adding that they would be welcomed "if they accept our agenda".
Anwar confirmed he was canvassing support from coalition lawmakers in East Malaysia, which represents a power bloc that could unseat the government if it changed hands.
Barisan Nasional will have 140 lawmakers in the new 222-seat parliament, against 199 in the outgoing 219-seat parliament. The opposition alliance claimed 82 seats from just 20 previously, and four more states.
The opposition was today sworn into power in the last of the five states it now controls, including Kelantan which was already held by the Islamic party PAS, while Barisan Nasional was still trying to resolve its power struggles.
Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin from PAS was installed as chief minister in Perak, ending a public squabble among the three opposition parties who will rule there in coalition.
Fighting for political lifeAbdullah is fighting for his own political life as he fends off calls for his resignation to take responsibility for the election debacle.
The premier has rejected the pressure to quit, and pushed ahead with the formation of his new administration, with a new slimline cabinet expected to be unveiled tomorrow.
Abdullah has promised "new faces" and observers said the line-up will indicate his appetite for reform after the polls, which have transformed Malaysia's political landscape.
The previous cabinet had a whopping 32 ministers, 39 deputy ministers and 20 parliamentary secretaries, with jobs handed out to many of the 14 race-based parties that make up the coalition.
The large cabinet had been criticised as unwieldy and wasteful, and there is speculation that some ministries could be merged in line with the smaller Barisan Nasional representation in parliament.