Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Dean Johns on Khir Toyo & the Tooth Fairy

Reproduced as a community service from Malaysiakini for non-subscribers...
By Dean Johns
Malaysiakini | Dec 15, 2010 | 12:04pm

I wonder how many Malaysians are still gullible enough to fall for BN's latest fairy tale, that the prosecution of erstwhile dentist and former Selangor Menteri Besar, Mohd Khir Toyo (left), is a sign that the BN regime is serious about combating high-level corruption in its ranks.

Especially in light of the fact that the authorities have shown themselves so utterly toothless in countless former and current cases ranging from Mahathir Mohamad's bailout of his son Mirzan's failed shipping line, through the misallocation of approval permits (APs) by Rafidah Aziz, the Maika Holdings and Telekom shares affairs involving Samy Vellu, and current suspicions surrounding the obscene affluence of Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud.

And that's just a very small sample of the blatant selectivity of the BN government's crime- and grime-fighting activities.

In fact the nation's chief law-enforcer himself, Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail, actually personifies this grossly iniquitous situation, having been promoted to his current position in reward for services rendered in the prosecution of Anwar Ibrahim on his first trumped-up sodomy charge.

Abdul Gani (left) and Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein are both apparently content to preside over a system of 'justice' that condones execution-style shootings of unarmed and even underage 'suspects', the faking of 'accidents' or 'suicides' by unfortunates in police and MACC custody, and the fabrication of 'evidence' against critics and opponents of the BN gang.

But when it comes to the investigation and prosecution of rich or politically-connected criminals, or investigating murder suspects among themselves and their supporters, they're quite astonishingly incompetent.

So it's no wonder that Khir appeared so relaxed and all toothy smiles when he was arrested and charged, and that Gani Petail came across as so utterly unconvincing when discussing the matter with the media.

For example, while it emerged that Khir is simply accused of buying two plots of land for his mansion at a suspiciously steep discount, not for the massive corruption that must have enabled him to afford the land in the first place and the magnificent mansion he subsequently built on it, Gani Petail claimed that the investigation had been so slow because of its complexity.

And then he appeared to be confused, or else deliberately confusing, about whether the case was being conducted under the criminal code or the MACC Act, thus calling into question what the possible penalty could involve state seizure of the property in the unlikely event that Toyo is found guilty.

"You have to go back to the basis of it, how the matter was transacted, (getting) witnesses, recording of witness statements, getting everything clear...especially since this happened some time ago...we cannot have a flimsy investigation," he was quoted as explaining.

Perhaps recalling the disgraceful parade of suborned and perjured witnesses back in the days of his involvement in the notorious trials of Anwar Ibrahim ten years ago, he also stressed that the prosecution would apply "the full force of the law" to prevent tampering with witnesses in the Khir (left) case.

Despite such sanctimonious assurances, many Malaysians saw this case as the wayang kulit performance or sandiwara that it so evidently is, staged specifically to restore some of BN's tattered credibility in advance of a forthcoming general election.

Fable and fiction

Prime Minister Najib Razak (right) responded to these allegations with his customary far-fetched fictions, like the old fable that "the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) an independent body."

He then went on to claim that the issue of corruption had long been politicised by the opposition, adding that "they want to imply that we're not serious, or that we want to cover up, or that we practise selective prosecution and so on."

As Joe Fernandez recently wrote in Malaysiakini about such lack of seriousness, determination to cover up, and practise of selective prosecution, BN's "time-honoured tradition" in these regards "can be seen from the fact that the number of MACC files opened this year alone, an incredible 700-odd, involves only some RM6 million in bribes."

This is an absolute disgrace to any organisation claiming to be anti-corruption in a country where billions are routinely looted every year by its misleaders and their cronies. And a massive rebuke to any prime minister who has the presumption to claim that the corruption over which he presides is "politicised" by critics of his misgovernment.

Recently he went even further than "politicised," demonising those alleging that Felda is bankrupt as "traitors to the nation."

"Who says Felda is bankrupt? There's no such thing," he fulminated, before going on to lamely claim that "the management said not to mention it (the amount), but Felda has a lot of money in its savings...(and) it's safe."

How long, I wonder, does Najib fancy he can fool the Malaysian people with the fairytales his spin-doctors dream-up to try and forestall his Humpty-Dumpty-style fall? How long can he strut around in his emperor's new clothes before the overwhelming majority of Malaysians see him for once and for all as naked Razak?

How much longer can he get away with playing Ali Baba to the 40,000 or 400,000 or however many thieves of BN?

How much longer can he persevere with his ploy of presenting himself as the hero of "1Malaysia" while simultaneously sponsoring Perkasa as the Big Bad Wolf huffing and puffing and threatening to blow the piggies' houses down?

The recent proposal by Perkasa's president, the odious, toadious Ibrahim Ali (right), to set up a museum commemorating the riots of May 1969 would be enough to get any opposition figure arrested and jailed under the ISA.

But this racist ratbag is apparently BN's special, untouchable Ugly Duckling, and thus free to swan around in parliament and in public stirring-up as much strife as he likes on the government's behalf.

Just as Khir Toyo's surprising wealth will be found to have reached him legitimately via some magical agency like the Tooth Fairy, or if you prefer the Fairy Gigi, and thus the giggle will once again be on the BN-plagued Malaysian people.

DEAN JOHNS, after many years in Asia, currently lives with his Malaysian-born wife and daughter in Sydney, where he mentors creative writing groups. Already published in Kuala Lumpur is a third book of his columns for Malaysiakini, following earlier collections Mad about Malaysia and Even Madder about Malaysia.