Friday, May 1, 2015

Permatang Pauh Revisited (Yet Again)

Anwar Ibrahim plays the crowd like a maestro at the Kelana Jaya Stadium, 6 July 2008 (photo by TV Smith)

I salute and thank Sessions Court judge S.M. Komathy Suppiah for releasing Anwar Ibrahim on a personal bond of RM20,000 this morning after recording his plea of innocence. From all reports, the judge performed her duty fairly, honorably, and with all the courtesy due to a Prime Minister elect. There is a glimmer of hope yet in the Malaysian Judiciary.

My heart was heavy last night, pondering the possibility that Anwar might well be detained and forced to contest the Permatang Pauh by-election from behind bars. He himself had steeled his resolve for such a possibility, quipping that in that eventuality his songkok and sarong would have to represent him. So it was a profound pleasure to learn today that Anwar is free to campaign in person and be in the loving company of his family, colleagues, and friends. The pleasure was doubled by the simple fact that the judge acted compassionately, humanely, and wisely by letting Anwar walk out a free man. This is evidence that there are still a few members of the judiciary capable of doing their job without fear or favor and who refuse to be browbeaten into subservience to political puppetmasters.

Anwar & Azizah bask in the glow of his freedom after his sodomy conviction was overturned in September 2004 (photo courtesy of AP)


Being conscious of the Quranic injunction which urges striving towards betterment;

And inspired by the Asian traditions, which all encourage renewal for the individual and for society;

And acknowledging that Malaysia is in the grip of a terrible crisis and requires recourse to its inner strengths in order to rise again,

We the citizens of Malaysia of all cultural and religious backgrounds are determined to launch a movement for comprehensive reform:

A reform movement shining with a light radiating from aspiring and pure hearts; from the awareness that man is truly noble and free, with rights and responsibilities, that it is a sacrilege to abuse and denigrate any man or woman, to bind and restrict any man or woman without following the due process of just laws;

A reform movement to establish justice for all, the weak and strong, the rich and poor, to preserve the institutions and processes of law from the defilement of graft and abuse of power;

A reform movement to sanctify the power of the people through democratic means, for democracy is an imperative: man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man's inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary;

A reform movement that champions economic justice, one that advocates fairness in economic growth and distribution so that the rich do not get richer at the expense of the poor, for the world has enough for everyone, but too little to satisfy everyone’s greed;

A reform movement to eradicate graft and abuse of power, to strip the opulent and greedy clique of their power to manipulate the market;

A reform movement to reinforce a dynamic cultural identity, where faith in our noble cultural traditions is intact, but there is openness to all that is good in all traditions;

A reform movement to launch the Malaysian nation into the information age and the borderless world, encouraging wisdom, self-assurance and openness towards a global friendship based on the principles of truth and justice.

We launch this reform movement as a peaceful movement, in accordance with the spirit of the Constitution and in observance of the principles of the rule of law.

The time has come. Unite for Reformasi.

Permatang Pauh
12 September 1998

[First posted 7 August 2008]

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

FLASHBACK TO JUNE 2007: The infamous Mongolian murder trial

Altantuya's letter: Razak wants me dead

By Soon Li Tsin | Malaysiakini                                                                                           
28 June 2007

Murdered Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu had written an ominous letter before her death that she believed her ex-lover, political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda, wanted to kill her.

The undated letter, written before she disappeared, was addressed to the 'Malaysian government or police or Embassy of Mongolia or newspapers'. 
The letter, which was revealed by the prosecution team, took the packed courtroom by surprise and was read out by the deceased's cousin Burmaa Oyunchimeg in the Shah Alam High Court today.

Burmaa, 26, who is also known as Amy, said she found the two-page letter in a white Guess bag among other belongings left behind by Altantuya in the hotel on Nov 20.
In the hand-written letter bearing Hotel Malaya's letterhead, Altantuya said in poor English that she was going to commit suicide before Razak's private investigator P Balasubramaniam and his assistant K Suras Kumar get to her.

Earlier in the trial, the murdered woman's two Mongolian companions - Namiraa Gerelmaa and Uuriintuya Gal Ochir - hadtestified that Balasubramaniam and Suras had threatened to kill them and throw them 'out of the window'.

"And before I write (this) letter I'll (kill) myself, because I have no choice, he (Altantuya's PI Ang Chong Beng) told (me) that they (Bala and Suras) have my letters so they kill me and say (it was) suicide," she wrote.

In the letter, she had expressed her fear over the threats from the duo and described how they have been harassing her at 5am in Hotel Malaya where she was staying.

"They have been following me for four to five days. Even my hotel where I staying, workers know."

She wrote that Razak had allegedly promised to help her when she was in Mongolia and that was why she came looking for him.

She called him her boyfriend but Ang testified yesterday that she said they were married.

In the letter, Altantuya also conceded it could have been a mistake to 'blackmail' the analyst and wrote, "Maybe I (was wrong) to have bothered and blackmailed him.

"But if he didn't promise me, I would (have) never come from far away to Malaysia," she wrote in black ink.

Altantuya disclosed that she did ask Razak for money but she had her own reasons.

"Mr Razak Baginda promise to help me when I was in Mongolia. That's why I came to see him and for help but he trying to kill me.

"I'm nice person. I can't hurt someone but (Razak) is a powerful person, he (has) money (and) he (has) connection (to the) police (and the) government," she stated.
Altantuya also revealed that she had gone to his residence in Bukit Damansara, Kuala Lumpur, on several occasions and knew that he was married and had a daughter named Rowena.

Like a couple 
Earlier on, Burmaa told the court that she had met Razak on three occasions since 2004 in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Singapore.

"Altantuya was always there with him," she answered in Mongolian and translated through by her interpreter, Enkhjargal Tsetsgee.

Asked by DPP Manoj Kurup to describe how they looked when they were together, Burma said: "They looked like boyfriend and girlfriend."

Burmaa (right), who studied English in Hong Kong, told the court that Altantuya would visit her and they had a very close relationship.

She said that Razak would contact her mobile phone to speak to Altantuya when she was in Hong Kong.

Burmaa also revealed that she had received a text message from Razak last year saying: "Amy, can you let Altantuya know I don't want to see her again."

"I told Altantuya about it but she said there was a little misunderstanding and told me that she would go to Malaysia, meet Razak and sort it out," Burmaa said.

The management graduate said she knew Razak had sent Altantuya money because she was asked to relay information of the transfer of some money through an agency by the former to the latter.

"He told me 'the reason I called you is because I've transferred money to Altantuya by Western Union. I have a reference number so I'll let you know and you can tell her'," she testified.

Manoj then proceeded to cross-examine Burmaa about the letter and said there were another two documents allegedly bearing Altantuya's signature for her to identify.

Judge Mohd Zaki Md Yasin then broke the session for lunch and told Manoj to resume his questioning at 2.15pm.

Razak has been charged with abetting the murder of the 28-year-old Mongolian national.

Two police officers - chief inspector Azilah Hadri, 30, and corporal Sirul Azhar Umar, 35 - are charged with the murder.

Prosecutors allege that Abdul Razak and Altantuya met in 2004 and began a whirlwind affair, during which he gave her money.

After they broke up a year later, he allegedly continued to give her money whenever she demanded it. But the payments stopped last year, prompting her to become dissatisfied and travel to Malaysia in October, the prosecution said.

Prosecutors say Abdul Razak planned her killing and ordered two police officers - members of a special unit charged with protecting the country's leaders - to carry it out.

Altantuya was killed by "probable blast-related" injuries in a clearing in Shah Alam after she was driven away from outside Abdul Razak's house in mid-October.

Abdul Razak is close to Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak, who has vehemently denied any involvement in the case, which is seen by observers as a test of Malaysia's judicial and political integrity.

The high profile trial continues tomorrow with a new witness.