Thursday, July 7, 2011

Darkest hour before a new dawn

Baggage on his back, blood on his hands, Altantuya albatross around his fat neck

Things have never looked so ugly since the May 13 massacre of 1969 orchestrated by an ambitious Malay supremacist faction of UMNO led by Razak Hussein, father of Najib Razak.

It is now clear that Malaysia has further deteriorated from a kleptocracy (a nation run by thieves) to a kakistocracy (a nation mismanaged by the vilest, most vicious, most venomous and violent elements). With the benefit of hindsight, we can see how the Polis Di Raja Malaysia (Royal Malaysian Police) was systematically co-opted (especially during Mahathir Mohamad's 22-year reign) to serve the narrow interests of the ruling elite rather than the general public. Those of cynical bent will say, quite correctly, that all police departments on earth exist primarily to protect the vested interests of the ruling elite - not the ordinary citizen, whose function is to fund the scam by paying involuntary taxes - but it's time to clean up the police, perhaps even delete the concept from the human imagination!

Muscle-brained Gestapoman
Arbitrarily arresting anyone promoting the concept of Clean and Fair Elections - even charging a handful under the dreaded ISA for "trying to revive Communism and for waging war against the King" - the recently appointed deputy Inspector-General of Police, Khalid Abu Bakar, has conspicuously taken over from Ismail Omar, who appears more of a bureaucrat than a bully. When Khalid Abu Bakar was Chief Police Officer of Selangor, a large number of people died under gory circumstances.

Take the case of A. Kugan, a 22-year-old arrested on suspicion of involvement in a car theft sydicate, who was cruelly beaten to death in a police lock-up in January 2009. Khalid Abu Bakar immediately began lying about the circumstances of Kugan's unnecessary death at the hands of uniformed sadists. A gentleman would have publicly apologized for this glaring instance of police misconduct and resigned - especially since the police subsequently issued, without any sign of regret or remorse, a statement that criminal charges against Kugan had been dropped.

Khalid Abu Bakar, 
shooting for Top Cop
A few months later, there was a high-speed car chase in Shah Alam, which ended in 14-year-old Amirulrasyid Amzah getting a bullet in the back of his head for the crime of driving without a licence and panicking when he saw a police patrol car. Within months there was a spate of unexplained teenaged deaths at the hands of the police, all accused of being armed criminals, and all summarily executed with bullets through their heads fired at point blank range. Khalid Abu Bakar wasn't asked to resign in those instances either.

Obviously, he was earning himself brownie points with the top crooks in UMNO as a potential high-ranking Gestapo Officer. They appreciate tough cops without moral scruples who know which side the bread is buttered.

There were many other alarming reports of citizens being harassed at roadblocks, arrested, robbed and beaten black-and-blue by police officers - and not a single case has been brought to justice. The big bosses in UMNO have covered the cops' arses in every instance. Even in a case as gruesome and sensational as the cold-blooded abduction, torture and murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu in October 2006, the two policemen assigned to the dirty deed by Najib's security chief were protected from public view because they were allowed by the judge to conceal their faces throughout the long-drawn and ludicrous trial.

Malay supremacy club
So the signs have all been there, ladies and gentlemen. Indeed, they have been there since the days when the Internal Security Act was abused, even by the generally benign Tunku Abdul Rahman, as an all-purpose weapon against political dissent. It may be argued that in primate politics, a savvy and strong leader must be prepared to don jackboots from time to time and stomp on serious threats to his leadership. That's how Lee Kuan Yew retained control of his party and remained at the helm of Singapore for so many decades - indeed, many say he still has the final say from behind the scenes.

The use of police and army to suppress angry populations is nothing new - but there is a growing sense around the world that such repressive measures reflect negatively on those who wield them. It reveals that they have lost their legitimacy to lead.
HINDRAF 25 November 2007: fearless in the face of the FRU

Like a tyrant father who cannot control his kids without brutally beating them, any state that succumbs to the temptation to unleash violence upon its own people has declared itself a rogue nation - unfit to be invited to the feast.

As we transit from one evolutionary cycle to the next, the rule of Might-Is-Right will rear its ugly head one final time before it falls into the fiery abyss of transmutation.

40,000-strong BERSIH Rally, 10 November 2007

The time is upon us now as we brace ourselves for the BERSIH showdown on July 9. Will the police lockdown the entire city so that a virtual curfew is declared? Or will they allow enough people to assemble "illegally" before whacking down hard on them - round up a few hundred to scare the rest? Whatever the outcome, one thing is obvious:

UMNO's secret weapon Saiful, the infamous anus
Najib (grime minister in charge of organized crime, dirty tricks and salacious sex scandals) and his cousin Hishammuddin (home minister in charge of doublethink, nonsensespeak and the keystone kops) can no longer pretend to be urbane and savvy leaders of a harmonious, stable and mature nation. They have only two options - voluntarily step down because nobody respects or trusts them, or lash back petulantly at their critics.

Despite my eternal optimism, it's hard to envision either capitulating at this juncture - not when they still control the PDRM and Petronas. In effect, it appears they are on the verge of running amok and cracking a few skulls.

Can we the people afford to back down at this juncture? This is a moment of destiny when we each have to decide: whether we love our nation enough to overcome our fear of jackboots, truncheons and obscenely oppressive and archaic laws.

Ugly jingoist display by UMNO in Penang after GE12

If I were in a position to consider migration, I must admit I might be seriously looking into the options available to me. However, I swore many years ago that I would live to see the dark age of Mahathirism fade away like a vampire caught in the first rays of the morning sun.

I will stay and I will fight - not with weapons but with clarity, a sense of purpose, and fearless resolve. People like Anwar Ibrahim, Karpal Singh, Raja Petra Kamarudin, Lim Kit Siang, Irene Fernandez, Ambiga Sreenevasan, Lim Guan Eng, Haris Ibrahim, Nurul Izzah Anwar, Fuziah Salleh, N. Surendran, Mat Sabu . Chegu Bard , Hisham Rais and a large army of idealistic young men and women who constitute Lawyers for Liberty, Sisters in Islam, Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia and the Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement are my inspiration, and I thank them for having courageously stood up and be counted.

Samad Said (photo: Wazari Wazir)
All the youngsters who have produced inspirational videos on YouTube, exhorting their compatriots to rise to the occasion and reclaim their land from the pirates and parasites in UMNO/BN; everyone who has "liked" a Facebook group advocating openness, justice and truth; and all those who have quietly served as mouthpieces for the downtrodden - heroes like Dr Michael Jeyakumar and his colleagues in Parti Socialis Malaysia - there are so many out there who have been doing exactly what they were born to do, simply because they have consciously chosen, like national laureate Samad Said, to cari makna (seek significance and meaning) - not just cari makan (make money).

Saturday, 9 July 2011, will be the day the tide turns. UMNO/BN have had more than 3 years to get used to the idea that in politics, as in sports, nobody gets to hang on to a trophy forever. If they insist on being sore losers and resorting to violence, may their violent intent boomerang back a hundredfold on themselves and hasten their extinction.