If ever there was a wish which I could be granted when I grow really old – this is not to say that I am not already old, it is just that I am not that old, yet – that would be a wish that I could be given the wisdom of knowing when to keep my mouth shut. Because really, people who are pass their “best-before” date could really sound curious and funny, especially when what they are saying now goes against what they have been saying and doing while they were younger.
Amidst all the grief and disbelief caused by the tragic loss of life of an innocent son of Malaysia in the past week, two Tuns have also been hogging the headlines over what they said. In a way, these two Tuns almost connived to provide me – and many others, I believe – with much needed comic relief in times when such relief was really needed.
And so, I should have perhaps thanked both of them but for the fact that their statements were laced with so much irony and insidiousness.
Firstly it was Tun Abdullah. He was apparently conferred an Honorary Doctorate in Democracy by Universiti Utara Malaysia.
It is now of course fashionable within the ruling elite to have the prefix “Dr” somewhere between the array of prefixes preceding their names. Like Tun Tan Seri Datuk Seri Dr Hj So and so. It gives them the comfort of being in possession of something extra. Something which others do not have. Or so they think. Like when they buy a Mercedes, they must buy a Brabus. Things like that. Sorry, I digress.
Anyway, yes, Tun Abdullah was conferred an Honorary Doctorate in Democracy by UUM. I would not go into whether or not such conferment was justified – because this article would be too long otherwise – but what he said during his acceptance speech was what, in my opinion, precipitated the saying “silence is golden”.
Upon being conferred, our newly minted Doctor in Democracy proceeded to the microphone and, inwhat was believed to be nothing short of an astounding moment, called for the abolishment of the ISA. I really hope he had read his prepared speech before delivering it. And if he had read it, I hope he understood what he was saying. If anything, I hope he was awake while he was doing so.
That call would have, in the normal course of things, been met with jubilant celebrations of orgasmic proportions. However, coming from an ex-Premier under whose administration there were 82 arrests; 76 new detention orders and 87 renewal of detention orders under the ISA as at the end of 2007 (figures are from SUARAM’s Human Rights Report 2007), that call was as funny as – if not funnier than – a drunken kangaroo spinning like a top on its tail while shouting “kangaroo boleh!”
Added to that, under his administration, the ISA was abused beyond anything which was thought possible when Raja Petra Kamaruddin and Teresa Kok were arrested for apparently “insulting Muslims and Islam”. Raja Petra, as we all know, was later detained at Kamunting before a brave Judge, Justice Dato’ Syed Helmi of the Shah Alam High Court, released him (the government’s appeal against that release is still pending in the Federal Court).
To top it, it was under Tun Abdullah’s administration that the ISA, an Act which was designed to protect the security of the nation, managed to morph itself into PSA – short for Personal Safety Act – without sanction of Parliament, when a journalist of Sin Chew Jit Poh, Ms Tan Hoon Cheng, was arrested under the Act in order to protect her own safety.
Not enough with killing the audience with that call, the good Tun said he felt compelled to now give his “honest view” on the matter. Which begs the question, has he been dishonest about the matter all this while, particularly when he was the PM?
He then was reported to have said that the ISA should be replaced with a law which allows preventive detention and – hold on to your seats guys and gals – “at the same time protects fundamental rights”. It’s like saying Hitler should be allowed to kill the Jews in a way which protects their fundamental rights to live. Awesome. I suppose only great minds could understand the depth of this statement. I must confess I can’t.
A day later, the good Tun continued by saying that he would have reviewed the ISA had he been given more time. Which begs the question, how long did he need? And what was he doing all that time?
Then he was reported by NST to have said:
There was not much pressure to abolish the system at that time but if I had continued my term up to the next general election, I would have eventually reviewed it (ISA) myself.
Thank you Tun for finally revealing to us that you were a man of “reaction” rather than “action”. That you only worked when you were pressured to do so.
If I had the ability to invent something useful, I would love to invent a “Talk Cock Eater”, which would work in the same manner as an odour eater. I would spray it on Tun Abdullah and watch him disappear after a few seconds.
The next stand-up comic over the past few weeks was none other than Tun Mahathir.
Firstly, this doyen of listen-to-the-people-movement started a poll on his blog in order to find out what the public thought about the present government’s move to abolish the teaching of Maths and Science in English in 2012.
During your time as Prime Minister dear Tun, how many times have you sought public opinion over anything? Did you hear the public outcry over the Cheras toll? How about the public outcry over “Operasi Lalang”? Or Bank Bumi scandal? Or the Tun Salleh Abas’ dismissal and the subsequent molestation, rape and sodomy of the judiciary? And speaking of sodomy, did you ever notice what the public said and continue to say about Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy case? About Konsortium Perkapalan having to be rescued by MISC and later, Petronas? About Putrajaya? About the removal of judicial power from the Courts? About whoever whatever and howsoever?
Now that you have retired and become insignificant, you are turning back to the people. The very people whom you ignored, time and time again, during 22 years of you being the Prime Minister.
Not enough with that, he recently bemoaned the fact the Malays are apparently not the “real masters (Tuan)” in their “own” country. He lamented that after 39 years of the NEP, the Bumiputeras only hold 20% of corporate wealth when Bumiputeras form 60% of the total population while the non-Bumis hold 50% of the wealth when they only form 26% of the total population.
Let me tell you, dear Tun, that the 39 years of the NEP’s life consisted of a good 22 years of your rule, which amounts to 56.5% of the whole time the NEP was implemented. Thank you for telling us that you have failed Tun, Sir.
I have one question. As far as I know, every corporate exercise involving the public listing of corporations and also involving privatised projects under your famed EPU, at least 30% of the shares (wealth?) must go to the Bumis. If so, how come 20% are now being held by the Bumis? Where have the 10% gone to? They (the Bumis) disposed them?
You see, you don’t teach people to drive well by giving them Ferraris and expect them to transform themselves into the Schumachers of the world. You have got to teach them how to drive, how to take corners, when to brake, when to change gear and appraise them on things like a smooth weight transfer, the danger of over-steering and under-steering, counter-steer and the like. You give them Ferraris and what will they do? They will sell it!
That was what happened Tun. The Chinese get better and better because they were the ones who actually did all the work, the very work which under your policy, were dished out to some well-known Bumis, who would make a quick buck by promptly sub-contracting the work to the Chinese. Why are you screaming now?
Speaking of categorisation, Malaysia is not only divided into Bumis and non-Bumis. There were also, under your rule, registered Bumis (registered with the MoF) and non-registered Bumis. Only registered Bumis will be able to share in this so-called “corporate wealth” of yours.
What happened to the actual Bumiputeras on the buses, in the LRTs, riding bicycles in the kampung, in the rubber estates, in the sawah bendang in Kedah, who toil under the sun in their small rented perahu in the middle of the sea, who “kais pagi makan pagi and kais petang makan petang”? Compare them to the Tajuddin Ramlis of the world. The Halim Saads of the world. The Amin Shah of the worlds. The Daims of the world. I wonder out of the meager 20% of the “corporate wealth” which the Bumis have, how many percent are held by these people?
Oh, the non-Bumis (non-Malays?) are the one who are the real “Tuan”? How about 22 years of you being the PM? Are you saying that you are not a Malay?
For Tun Mahathir, I wish I had the ability to invent a virus. I could upload it on my laptop. It would then infect all computers in the world and erase all articles and writings by Tun Mahathir, his pictures and news about him and what he said. The virus would then come out into the air, infect everybody, and erase him from their memory.