Saturday, September 13, 2008

Malaysia teetering toward full dictatorship

Today, a journalist, a blogger and a prominent opposition politician were detained without trial under the notorious "Internal Security Act", a legacy of colonialism which is wielded by the government to silence critics when it cannot present evidence that an offense has been committed. They are:

Raja Petra bin Kamarudin - Blogger who is critical of the government, has been accused of allowing comments on his blog which are critical of Islam
Tan Hoon Cheng - Journalist who recently reported the comments of a low-level UMNO official who referred to Chinese Malaysians as "squatters"
Teresa Kok - Opposition politician who was rumored in the UMNO owned newspaper UTUSAN to have complained about the volume of the call to prayer in her local area

In addition, three newspapers ~ Suara Keadilan, Sin Chew Daily and The Sun ~ were also issued show cause letters by the Home Ministry today. These newspapers have covered recent stories about racial provocations by members of the ruling party.

This blogger believes that we will see more arrests over the next few days, and that these actions are designed to generate protests. Government instigators will ensure these become violent, giving the government the excuse to call in the armed forces and perhaps even declare a state of emergency. They have accused these figures of insulting Islam, an accusation designed to promote irrational nonsense and justify government oppression.

I am a regular reader of Raja Petra's blog and sometime contributor. I have read each of the articles the government has referred to in making this accusation, and there is simply no substance to the government's claims. This UMNO government has never cared about Islam, they only wish to manipulate the emotions of Muslims for their own ends. The fact that they can stir hatred between the races of Malaysia in the name of Islam - something Raja Petra has repeatedly criticised - and that they are doing so in the month of Ramadan, shows that it is they who are in rebellion against Allah. God is all-knowing, but it is my belief that among these UMNO politicians are munafiq who have no fear of Allah, so that they can use His religion to spread mischief and protect their own political positions.

I hope that there are backbenchers in UMNO who will realise, enough is enough, your leaders are dragging Malaysia into the toilet. This path leads to hell - international isolation and economic catastrophe. I beg you, in the interests of your nation, abandon the government and join with Pakatan Rakyat.

It is also time for the council of rulers to step in and refuse to allow the armed forces to be used against protestors. This will allow the people to rise up as MALAYSIANS and prevent this government from instigating violence and racial strife like their predecessors did in 1969. This is not the cold war, the world will not stand idly by and allow the government to kill their own people. It is up to you to show you deserve the people's trust and are not simply a meaningless institution that belongs in the past.

May Allah bring justice and democracy to Malaysia and put courage in the hearts of the people to stand up for justice and not allow themselves to be manipulated by those who love only power and fear nothing except losing it!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Ramadhan Mubarik 2008

Wishing all the readers of my blog the blessings of Ramadhan which the council of ulema have just announced will commence on the 1st September in Australia

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Nurture or Nature?

As happens about this time in every Olympics, various pontificating journalists are raising the issue of why certain "races" appear to dominate certain Olympic events.

Such an argument always questionable because it does science in reverse - it starts of with an established pattern of success and then attributes it to various causes. I'm particularly skeptical that genetics explain why white people dominate events such as swimming or field events. All of these - compared with sprint running for instance - require specialist training in technique from quite a young age, something usually more available to middle-class youth from developed nations. We saw an Australian win the Pole-vault - how many working class black kids in the US, let alone those in Ethiopia have the chance to receive the training in technique he has got? Similarly, swimming is starting to see athletes from Japan and South Korea coming through - are we supposed to believe that it is a coincidence that these nations are among the wealthiest non-European based nations in the world? Or will we invent some new genetic theory that these "races" are better at swimming? The physical shape of champion swimmers is not very typical of most white people either - those huge shoulders (especially among women) are clearly a result of years of swimming up and down heated pools and targeted weight-training and body conditioning.

I personally found it pathetic the way certain journalists kept going on about how Nick Willis' (NZ) bronze medal in the 1500m was somehow remarkable because he was not an East African. He was even quoted as saying he was "representing the Western world against the Africans". I felt proud of his achievement given NZ's history in the event and my country of birth but I would feel a lot less ambivalent about it if he would just shut his mouth. Let's look at the facts:

The fastest 1500m time in 2007: Alan Webb (US) - a white guy
2004 Olympic champion over 800m: Yuriy Borzakovskiy (Russia) - a white guy
Winning time from Rashid Ramzi (not an East African - born in Morocco and with fairly white skin anyway) 3:32.94: At this pace, Seb Coe, Steve Ovett, Steve Cram and even our own John Walker would have been competitive - all ran faster at various stages of their career.

There may well be a case that in short-distance sprinting events, people descended from West Africans have a born advantage. But perhaps environmental factors - lack of swimming pools and specialist coaches, a generation of white, western kids spending too much time sitting on their butts playing computer games and being driven everywhere rather than running miles just to get to school - are far more plausible explanations for certain "races" domination of olympic events.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

A high stakes game in Malaysian politics

I think enough has been written on the internet and elsewhere about the recent accusations against Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. But, now living in Australia, I have been embarrassed how many people are aware of what has happened to DSAI over here. Why am I embarrassed by this? Well as a Muslim and married to a Malay, I have always tried to hold Malaysia up as, well not perfect, but certainly on the way to being a first class society. The recent elections and the Prime Minister's initial acceptance of them with apparent good grace was a credit to the maturity of the Malaysian nation and a sign that its democratic functions had come along way since 1969, when a similar election result led to riots, recently claimed to have been seeded by elements of the UMNO leadership. It's harder to make that case when the primary news story about Malaysia is about a man who has a serious chance of bringing a change of government by peaceful means being charged with such a bizarre offense.

The charge is so strange for several reasons. Firstly, the charge amounts to anal rape - sodomy without consent. Does anyone actually believe that someone like Anwar, who has clearly shown himself to be tenacious and driven towards taking the highest office in the land, would be silly enough to forcibly sodomize someone in a condo in KL, just when he was on the brink of a political comeback? If he were indeed homosexual, don't you think as a good looking bloke with plenty of money he would be able to find consensual partners, perhaps in Singapore or Western countries which he can easily visit? Of course I don't want to say that rapists never act stupidly, or imply that many do not enjoy the power they feel through sexually imposing themselves on others, but it certainly makes the case less credible given the history of the thing. What about the size difference between alleged perpetrator (60 year old man of short stature and known health problems) and alleged victim (23 year old man, tall and healthy)?

Ordinarily I would say that any allegation of rape should be investigated and I don't believe that Islamic rules of needing 4 witnesses to verify the act should preclude this given the alleged sex was forcible and not consensual. But it stinks to high heaven that the alleged victim apparently visited DPM Najib, a man who many Malaysians believe to have ordered a murder(Altantuya Shaariibu, for which his former associate is now on trial) just a few days before making the allegations. The fact that senior politicians have been involved in publicly commenting about the case is also suspicious. The fact that the police report hasn't been made available to Anwar's lawyers is also hard to understand.

I have come to the conclusion that the government will eventually tell the police to drop the charges against Anwar before the issue comes to trial. They will say that they have insufficient evidence to prosecute him although (they will say) there was strong evidence suggesting his involvement. They will do so because any conviction would be perceived as implausible and tainted, and would make Anwar a matyr and convince many Malaysians that the only way to change things is by drastic means. So why are they doing this then?

The government knows that it has lost the votes of many of the educated people who live in the urban areas. It knows that most Chinese and Indians couldn't give a damn whether the future PM is gay, and that many urban, educated Malays don't believe the charges and would rather have a PM who is accussed of being gay than one who is alleged to have used the police to murder a former lover, in any case. I believe this is all about winning back the traditional Malay heartland - those who don't read blogs, or English newspapers, and who are dependent on Berita Harian, Utusan or Metro for their source of information. They want to throw enough mud so that Anwar will not be able to form a coalition with a Malay majority - something which he needs to do to remove them from office. Hence the emphasis on asking for DNA - although educated people might understand that DNA is far from a silver bullet and seldom leads to a conviction, especially when several days have elapsed between the alleged incident and the alleged victim being medically examined, many others don't understand this and will find Anwar's refusal to submit DNA as evidence pointing towards his guilt.

The fact is that many in the government and those associated with it have more to lose than mere political office if the government changes. Some - like Najib for instance - have a very good chance of being convicted of serious crimes. Tun Dr Mahathir is another who knows that his associates, his children and above all his own legacy would be in serious danger should Anwar ever become PM. For these people, this is a fight to the death. It is certainly a lot more plausible that they would be behind these allegations than it is that Anwar would be stupid enough to derail his own political career in such a way at the very time he is making a comeback.