Monday, April 27, 2009

To understand the Perak Constitutional Crisis

To understand the Perak Constitutional Crisis
27 Apr, 2009

To understand what is happening in Perak today, one must go back 25 years or so to the time when Anwar and Ghafar made those many trips to Istana Negara to engage the Rulers in the Constitutional Crisis. The Rulers got burned badly. And it was Anwar that they had to face, not Mahathir.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

Ku Li: Why Nizar is still the MB
THE STAR, 7 February 2009

Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin is still the Perak Mentri Besar until he resigns of his own accord, or is removed by a vote of no-confidence in a formal sitting of the State Assembly, said Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah.

“Only the answer of the assembly counts, regardless how many sworn statements, defections, press conferences and declarations, or what forms of advertisement, display, inducement or force you bring to bear on the question,” he said in a statement yesterday.

“The Constitution makes no provision for his removal by any other means, including by petitions or instructions from any other authority,” he added.

He also said that a legitimate constitutional government draws all its authority from the consent of the people and only from that consent. The people consent because it is their government formed according to their constitution, whose leader is chosen through free and fair elections.

“To formally test the mandate of the current government, the question must either be put to the people through state elections, or to assemblymen through a formal vote in the Dewan,” said Tengku Razaleigh.

He said to remove and install governments in any other way was to violate the Constitution, erode the rule of law and run the risk of forming an illegal government.


That was what YBM Tan Sri Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah said on 7 February 2009. And, on 7 May 2009, we are going to see another chapter in the Perak Constitutional Crisis when the illegitimate Menteri Besar calls for a state assembly meeting and probably, as most already suspect, call for the removal of the Speaker of the Perak State Assembly.

Umno is just driving more nails into its own coffin. The majority of Perakians do not endorse the illegal and unconstitutional takeover of the Perak government. It is nothing short of a coup, by whatever name you wish to call it. The outcome of the recent Bukit Gantang by-election is proof enough that the people do not endorse what Umno did in Perak. If that is not a clear enough message of where the people’s sentiments lie then I don’t know what is.

Many legal minds have spoken on the issue, renowned and respected judges included, and all are of the opinion that Umno’s move is illegal and unconstitutional. Expect the people to converge on the Perak State Assembly on 7 May as a demonstration of their disgust. Even those within Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s circle have expressed dismay at what is going on in Perak. They feel that Najib has been ill advised and has made a huge tactical blunder.

Members of the Royal Family, the Perak Royal Family included, are no less perturbed. Not all Royals support the opposition of course. But not all agree with Umno as well. To put it mildly, the Royal Family is divided as to its support for the ruling party. While many support the ruling party for personal and business reasons, they worry that Umno’s blunders may not only see the demise of that party but also of the institution of the Monarchy as well. The Regent of Perak himself feels that the damage done to the Monarchy may not only be long term but may be irreparable as well.

Of course, we can’t interpret the sentiments of the Royal Family as being pro-rakyat or pro-democracy. After all, the succession to the throne is hereditary and no Ruler is democratically elected into office. So, democracy is probably the last thing in the minds of the Royal Family. But the Royals of today are not like the Royals of yesteryear. Nowadays, the Royals are well educated, many having received their education in overseas universities. So they know history. They studied history. And they know what the storming of the Bastille means and how it came about.

The Royals fear for their future. They fear that if they swim against the tide, they will drown. No matter how strong a swimmer you may be, you just can’t swim against the tide. What more if it is not just a tide but, in fact, a powerful Tsunami? A Tsunami will swallow everything in its path and suck all out to sea on its retreat. Malaysians learned the power of the Tsunami on Boxing Day of 2004 -- and, again, on 8 March 2008, when, for the first time in Malaysian election history, the voters demonstrated the potency of people’s power.

The Royals are getting very nervous. They realise they can’t oppose Umno. This would be even more so since the architect and engineer of the mid-1980s Constitutional Crisis, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, is now back at the helm of Umno, pulling all the strings from behind the scenes. The Royals do not fear Najib as much as they fear Mahathir. After all, Najib is more or less a Royal just like them, as was his late father, Tun Razak.

Malays, by nature, are feudalistic. And Umno, therefore, is also a most feudalistic party. It is just impossible to separate the Malays, Umno and feudalism. All three come as a package. And this was Mahathir's greatest beef. He wanted to break the Malay feudalistic culture, which is also the Umno culture. And to do this he had to break the feudalism mentality of the Malays. So he went to war with the Rulers and taught the Malays how to kurang ajar.

At the time of the 1980s Constitutional Crisis, Tun Ghafar Baba was the Deputy Prime Minister. But unnoticed by most Malays, the move to eradicate the Malay feudalistic culture started earlier than that. It started when Musa Hitam was the Deputy Prime Minister. And Musa made the new plan very clear when he openly declared that it is time the Malays learned how to kurang ajar.

Most did not understand what Musa meant at that time. The Malays must learn how to kurang ajar. But kurang ajarbiar mati anak, jangan mati adat? Yes, better the child dies than tradition dies. Malays would die defending their traditions and this is what was holding them back.

Many could not understand why Mahathir chose Musa over Tengku Razaleigh as his Deputy. Was it not the deal that Tengku Razaleigh makes way for Mahathir as Hussein Onn’s number two and then, when Mahathir succeeds Hussein Onn, he would take Tengku Razaleigh as his number two? Yes, that was the deal. But Tengku Razaleigh is a Royalist while Musa is a Republican. And Mahathir, being a Republican himself, wanted another Republican and not a Royalist as his Deputy.

Umno’s history has always been about feudalism and ‘royalism’. Onn Jaafar was an orang istana. So was Tunku Abdul Rahman, followed by Tun Razak and Hussein Onn. The entire lot since 1946 were people brought up in the palace and who were very close and intimate with the palace. Onn Jaafar was in fact honoured by the Japanese during the occupation years and was given a Japanese officer’s uniform complete with Samurai sword to wear. This was the great respect the Japanese had for Royalty (the Emperor of Japan was considered a God) and the acknowledgement that not only was Onn Jaafar a Malay leader, but one who was close to the Johor palace as well.

Finally, in 1981, Umno managed to rid itself of feudalism and, for the first time, they got a Republican (some say Communist) as its leader. It took two generations for that to happen. But now that Umno no longer has an orang istana as its leader, why would Mahathir want to turn the clock back and appoint Tengku Razaleigh as his Deputy? So, instead, he chose Musa. And, when Musa resigned, he chose Ghafar, again, instead of Tengku Razaleigh.

But Ghafar was old Malay. He was one who held dear the old traditions. And when the Constitutional Crisis erupted in the mid-1980s, Mahathir forced Ghafar to lead the charge against the Monarchy. And Ghafar had to make many trips to Istana Negara with Anwar Ibrahim in tow to negotiate with the Rulers. The message was simple. The Rulers resisted at their own peril. If Malaysians rise up to demand that the Monarchy be abolished then Umno would not be able to save the Rulers.

The Rulers remained stubborn. So Mahathir launched a nationwide demonising campaign. The Rulers were dragged through the mud. Now even the Umno Malays were demanding that Mahathir cut the Rulers down to size. Now, it was no longer Mahathir but the Umno Malays who wanted the Rulers taught a lesson. Mahathir gallantly stepped in as ‘mediator’ and settled the problem between the Umno Malays and the Rulers. The Rulers had been taught who is the real boss in Malaysia. Umno, and not the Rulers, is the boss. The Rulers, with their tails between their legs, gave in and admitted defeat. Umno, or rather Mahathir, had won.

But the Constitutional Crisis proved that Ghafar was too weak. He was too soft. He was old Malay who held to tradition and culture. And one of those traditions and cultures is one does not derhaka with the Rulers. If not for Anwar, Ghafar would not have dared face the Rulers and engage them in a confrontation. That was why Mahathir made Anwar follow Ghafar to the Istana Negara. If Ghafar falters, then Anwar can step in to save the day.

And that is exactly what happened. At one point during the heated debate with the Rulers, Ghafar took off his songkok and placed it on the table. It was a most kurang ajar thing to do but something he did unconsciously. Ghafar was not trying to demonstrate kurang ajar. He was feeling desperate and in his desperation he took off his songkoksongkok and placed it on the table. That was His Highness’s way of saying that Ghafar is kurang ajar so he too is going to be kurang ajar.

Mahathir realised that Ghafar was still very feudalistic at heart. You can’t avoid it though. Ghafar is an old man, seven months older than Mahathir, so he is ‘old Malay’ in thinking. And old Malays do not kurang ajar with the Rulers. Mahathir decided that Ghafar has to go. He can never be a Republican. Anwar can. So Mahathir told Anwar to challenge Ghafar, which he did. And when Ghafar realised that Mahathir wants him out he gave Anwar a walkover. Anwar became the new Umno number two without a fight.

At the height of the Reformasi Movement, and soon after I was released from ISA detention in 2001, I was summoned to the Palace and asked why I am so stupid as to support Anwar and get incarcerated. I replied that I am not supporting Anwar as much as I am opposing Mahathir. I am doing this for the Monarchy, I replied, because Mahathir is anti-Monarchy and would turn Malaysia into a Republic if he could.

The Sultan replied that Anwar is no different. Anwar was one of the key players during the Constitutional Crisis, the Sultan said. It was actually Anwar and not Ghafar who gave the Rulers a hard time. No doubt Mahathir was the architect and engineer. But Anwar was Mahathir’s ‘hit man’ who did much damage to the Rulers. Ghafar did not talk too much. Anwar did most of the talking and was the one the Rulers faced most problems with. The Rulers can never trust Anwar and will not accept him as a Prime Minister.

That meeting with the Sultan revealed what was in the minds of the Rulers. Anwar was perceived as a Republican, just like Mahathir, and it did not matter who won the fight in the Anwar-Mahathir war that erupted in 1998. They realised that Anwar was Mahathir’s victim and they did not believe all the allegations against Anwar, in particular the sodomy allegation. But it is good that Mahathir and Anwar are now at war. A united Mahathir and Anwar would not be good for the Monarchy. It puts the Monarchy at risk. Now that Mahathir and Anwar are at war, they are too occupied to worry about the Rulers and will leave the Rulers alone, at least for the next couple of years.

And that is why the Rulers did not come to Anwar’s aid in 1998 when Mahathir threw him into jail. They welcomed the Reformasi Movement in that it kept Mahathir busy and helped weaken Umno. A strong Umno would mean a weak Monarchy. On the other hand, a weak Umno would mean the Rulers would be needed as Umno can then hide behind the Monarchy to perpetuate its evil deeds, like what is happening in Perak now. Furthermore, would the Rulers dare take Anwar’s side and risk antagonising Mahathir? At least, with the Rulers remaining ‘neutral’, Anwar and Mahathir can go for each other’s throats rather than for the throats of the Rulers like in the mid-1980s.

But Najib is different. Sure, he is carrying much baggage. But then so are many of the Rulers. No one is perfect, in particular the Rulers. After all, the Rulers are also human, just like Najib and all the Umno leaders who have numerous skeletons in their closet. But Najib is an orang istana and he would never dream of abolishing the Monarchy and of turning Malaysia into a Republic. With Anwar they could not be so sure, as the mid-1980s Constitutional Crisis proved. Better a devil like Najib that one knows than an angel like Anwar who might turn out to be the death of the Monarchy.

We must remember that Anwar played a crucial role in the mid-1980s Constitutional Crisis. Najib did not. Najib, in fact, kept the lines of communication with the palace open the entire duration of the Constitutional Crisis. Najib demonstrated that he is a friend of the Monarchy, just like his late father was. Anwar demonstrated the reverse.

It is not puzzling as to why the Sultan or Perak appears pro-Umno, or rather pro-Najib -- because it is Najib who is behind the current Perak Constitutional Crisis. The key word here is survival. Najib can ensure the survival of the Monarchy. Anwar cannot. In fact, in the mid-1980s, he already demonstrated he is anti-Monarchy. You can always argue that Anwar had no other choice as he was under the orders of Mahathir. But then so were Ghafar and Najib but they did not whack the Rulers as hard as Anwar did.

If one wants to argue that Anwar is not anti-Monarchy and was only doing Mahathir’s bidding, the clash Anwar had with the Kelantan Palace put this theory to sleep. Anwar was the Finance Minister at that time and he ordered the Customs Department to impound the Sultan’s Lamborghini on grounds that the import duty was unpaid. Actually, Sultans are exempted from import duty on the first seven cars they import while the Regent, Raja Muda or Tengku Mahkota gets exemption on three. So that makes ten cars altogether and the Sultan of Kelantan had not used up his full quota.

The Sultan was furious and he asked his palace official to go to the Customs office and take the car by force. The palace official just drove off with the car under the very noses of the Customs officers, much to the chagrin of the Customs Department and Anwar who accused the Sultan of stealing the car. Later, it was proven that the Sultan was right and that Anwar was wrong and the issue was quietly laid to rest without any further hullabaloo. But the damage had been done. Anwar’s actions were entirely on his own initiative and not on the instructions of Mahathir. No one can now say that Anwar’s role in the mid-1980s Constitutional Crisis was just to carry out the instructions of Mahathir.

To understand what is happening in Perak today, one must go back 25 years or so to the time when Anwar and Ghafar made those many trips to Istana Negara to engage the Rulers in the Constitutional Crisis. The Rulers got burned badly. And it was Anwar that they had to face, not Mahathir. Yes, the Rulers know it was Mahathir pulling the strings from behind the scenes. But it was Anwar and not Mahathir who tegang leher and bertekak with the Rulers while Ghafar sat there sighing, wishing he had never been dragged into this fight.

Sure, the Rulers are selfish. What they are doing is only to ensure their own survival. But is this not the natural instinct of humankind? Is it not natural for anyone to make a decision that ensures your own survival? And this is exactly what the Sultan of Perak is doing. He backs Najib over Anwar. And he gives the Perak government to Najib’s party instead of Anwar’s. That is what anyone would do when his or her survival is at stake.

But is the reverse going to happen instead? Is what the Sultan of Perak doing going to actually accelerate the demise of the Monarchy rather than the other way around? Time will tell. Maybe what is happening in Perak will just put to question the relevancy of the Monarchy. Maybe the Tsunami of people’s power will challenge the wisdom of the Monarchy and demands for its abolishment may reach a crescendo. Or maybe Najib will owe the Monarchy a huge favour and he will ensure that the Monarchy is retained, at least during his tenure as Prime Minister.

7 May 2009 may, or may not, be the turning point for the Monarchy. 7 May 2009 may see the Monarchy strengthened or may see it weakened. We will know which it is going to be when 7 May 2009 is upon us. Will the people turn out in droves? Will they hit the streets in tens of thousands like what they did on Nomination Day in Bukit Gantang? Are we going to see the storming of the Bastille on 7 May 2009?

Sure, Umno too will make sure they are represented in great numbers. Umno will probably bus in its supporters from all over Malaysia to make up those numbers. No doubt Umno has the money to finance this ‘great assembly’. With money you can do many things. But the ‘other side’, made up of opposition supporters, will also be in Ipoh on 7 May -- not because they have been paid to be there, but because they want to be there. You do not need to pay opposition supporters to come out. They will be there on their own accord and at their own expense.

Expect the police to soon issue a statement. The people will be warned that they must not go to Ipoh on 7 May 2009. The police will declare that the gathering in Ipoh is going to be classified an illegal assembly and that action will be taken against anyone who assembles in Ipoh on 7 May 2009.

I doubt, however, that the people can be intimidated. Gone are the days you can threaten the people and frighten them into staying indoors. The crowd will be there. Both sides will be there. And how the government handles the situation will depend on what happens thereafter.

And don’t say Malaysia Today has not warned you. We are warning you that for every action there will be an opposite and equal reaction. Force begets force and violence begets violence. And there is only so much you can do to oppose the will of the people. Many countries all over the world, our neighbours included, have demonstrated this. The people always win in the end. And there are no two ways about it.

See you in Ipoh on 7 May 2009.
against whom? The Chinese? The government? Umno? No! Musa Hitam is not a racist. All his women, and he had loads of them, were not Malays. Musa meant the Malays must break away from tradition. And one of these ‘counter-productive’ and ‘outdated’ traditions was the feudalistic culture that prevented the Malays from progressing and from moving forward. Is it not a Malay proverb: without realising he was doing so. The head negotiator for the Rulers, the Yamtuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan, also took off his

Sun Tzu and the art of war

Sun Tzu and the art of war
27 Apr, 2009

In 1998, when we first started using the Internet to fight Barisan Nasional, there were only 280,000 Internet subscribers against 8 million registered voters. Today, ten years on, there are almost 16 million Internet subscribers against 12 million registered voters.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

The Internet has been abuzz the last couple of days about the ‘accidental’ police report an NGO made against Malaysiakini. Those who had made the police report did not know the difference between Malaysiakini, The Malaysian Insider and Malaysia Today.

The following day, they ‘corrected’ the mistake and two more ‘Malay’ NGOs made a police report against Malaysia Today. While I am honoured that the news reports talk about Malaysiakini, The Malaysian Insider and Malaysia TodayMalaysia Today should not be compared to Malaysiakini or The Malaysian Insider.

Malaysiakini and The Malaysian Insider are proper or legitimate online newspapers or portals run by professional media personnel, most who have many years experience in the media industry. Malaysia Today, however, is not in that same league. We are not a proper or legitimate online newspaper. Neither are we run by professional media personnel. Malaysia Today is a ‘weapon’ that is meant to bring about political change in Malaysia.

We learned how useful the Internet can be back in 1998 when the Reformasi Movement first exploded onto the Malaysian political scene. More than 100 Reformasi websites mushroomed overnight to give Barisan Nasional a run for its money. Of course, then, most of these websites were aligned to Anwar Ibrahim and/or PAS. There were some that were aligned to DAP as well.

In 1998, however, there were only 280,000 Internet subscribers. But that was enough to sufficiently damage Barisan Nasional in the 1999 general election that was held about a year after the debut of Reformasi. No doubt the Internet was not the major contributor to the opposition victory in November 1999. But it did contribute enough, though in a small way, as to how Barisan Alternatif performed.

Then the opposition became complacent. Their 1999 ‘victory’ lulled them and put them to sleep. Not long after that DAP pulled out from Barisan Alternatif and that aggravated the problem. In the March 2004 general election, the voters demonstrated their disgust for the opposition coalition.

I have already talked about this matter so many times in the past so there is no need to go over all the issues and statistics again. The bottom line is: the opposition practically got wiped out.

Soon after that, Anwar Ibrahim was released from incarceration. There was jubilation all around. My wife, Marina, and I stood on the steps of the Palace of Justice in Putrajaya, quite amused at the chanting and cheering going on. My phone rang but I could not hear properly because of the noise. I handed the phone to Marina, who has better hearing than me. “It’s the BBC from London,” she told me as she handed me back the phone.

“Hold on,” I shouted into the phone. “It’s so noisy here. Let me move to a quieter place.”

Marina and I quickly walked to the side of the Palace of Justice where it was quieter and I spoke to the chap from the BBC.

“We heard Anwar has just been released. Can we get your statement?”

“Sure, but why me?” I asked.

“Well, you are the Director of the Free Anwar Campaign and you run the freeanwar dot com website. I suppose you are now out of a job since Anwar has just been released. What do you plan to do now?”

“I suppose you could put it that way,” I laughed. “I must be the only Director who got retrenched from his job because he is successful.”

The BBC chap laughed and asked, “So what do you intend to do now, now that you have been retrenched?”

“I am going to now focus fulltime on the new website I just started three weeks ago.”

“Oh, what is it called?”

Malaysia Today. It’s at malaysia dash today dot net.”

“You said you started this website three weeks ago? Does this mean you anticipated that Anwar would be released?”

“Yes, I did. In fact, that was one of the first articles I wrote on Malaysia Today. I said that Anwar would be released with a two-one verdict and that the lady judge would be the sole dissenting voice.”

“How did you know? Do you own a crystal ball?”

“It’s my business to know. That is what I do. I find out what people don’t know or try to hide and publish the story, while crossing my fingers in the hope that I am right.”

“So what do you hope to achieve with your new website?”

“Let me put it this way. It took us six years to free Anwar from jail. But only Anwar is free. Malaysians are not yet free. And Malaysians will never be free until they can be allowed freedom of expression and freedom of choice. It may take us 60 more years to free Malaysians, I don’t know. I may even never see that happen in my lifetime. But that is the mission and vision of Malaysia Today, to free Malaysians by allowing them freedom of expression. Freeing Anwar was phase one. Phase two is to free Malaysians.”

“Thank you Raja Petra. And I wish you luck in your new endeavour. Can we call you again if we need anything further?”

“Sure, no problem. Bye.”

That was my ‘interview’ with the BBC on the steps of the Palace of Justice on the morning of 2 September 2004. Malaysia Today was then only 20 days old. But Malaysia Today was created with a vision and a mission. It is not, as the government said, a hobby of bored and unemployed housewives. Malaysia Today was created to gain back the territory that we lost in the March 2004 general election when Barisan Nasional performed its best ever in the history of Malaysian elections.

“What do you think we are going to see?” Marina asked me. “This is going to involved a hell of a lot of work. And you are going to suffer all sorts of hassle from the police. Is it going to be worth it?”

“Hun (we call each other Hun, which is short for honey, not hantu),” I told Marina. “Come the next election, in 2008 or 2009, Malaysia Today is going to be the weapon we use to hit Barisan Nasional where it hurts most. We are going to engage Barisan Nasional in the cyber-world and use hit and run guerrilla tactics. They will be running around in circles trying to duck our hit and run attacks but they will not be able to do anything about it. By then the Internet will be the most powerful ‘terrorist’ weapon in the elections. And we will be there, ready to take on Barisan Nasional in 2008 or 2009.”

Yes, in 1998, when we first started using the Internet to fight Barisan Nasional, there were only 280,000 Internet subscribers against 8 million registered voters. Today, ten years on, there are almost 16 million Internet subscribers against 12 million registered voters.

Over the last ten years, the number of registered voters increased only 50%. However, in that same period, the number of Internet subscribers increased 328.9% (according to the official statistics). Today, the Internet reaches 62.8% of the Malaysian population. Malaysia has more Internet subscribers than it has voters. (See the statistics below).

Yes, that was our plan back in 2004 when we launched Malaysia Today. No, Malaysia Today is not a newspaper. And it is not in the same league as Malaysiakini and The Malaysian Insider. Malaysia Today is a guerrilla outfit. We are cyber terrorists. Our job is to hit the government whenever and wherever we can. And if hit and run is what it takes, then hit and run is what it will have to be.

We almost succeeded in meeting our aspirations in March 2008. But, in our books, that is a job only half done. We have to finish the job. We have to complete what we started back in 1998. And the completion would be when Barisan Nasional has been brought down from its high horse and made to eat humble pie. We will consider to have met our objective when the government admits that it serves the people, and not the people who serve the government.

On a slight digression, when I was in Kamunting from September to November last year, Marina sent me loads of books to read and one of those books was The Art of War by Sun Tzu. It was a most interesting book and took me only a day to finish. I must say that book gave me new insight into guerrilla warfare.

The government calls the Barisan Rakyat Bloggers cyber terrorists. Actually, I had never thought of it that way. I suppose, under the circumstances, since we have been classified as cyber terrorists, then we have no choice but to act as one. And terrorists must master the art of hit and run.
in the same breath, I have to correct this misperception and declare that


Internet World Statistics

Total world: 1,581,571,589
Asia Only: 650,361,843
Malaysia: 15,868,000 (62.8 % of the population) (user growth 2000-2008: 328.9 %)

Source: Internet World Stats
( )


The Art of War: Sūn Zǐ Bīng Fǎ

Chapter summary

1. Laying Plans explores the five key elements that define a successful outcome (the way, seasons, terrain, leadership, and management). By thinking, assessing and comparing these points you can calculate a victory, deviation from them will ensure failure. Remember that war is a very grave matter of state.

2. Waging War explains how to understand the economy of war and how success requires making the winning play, which in turn, requires limiting the cost of competition and conflict.

3. Attack by Stratagem defines the source of strength as unity, not size, and the five ingredients that you need to succeed in any war.

4. Tactical Dispositions explains the importance of defending existing positions until you can advance them and how you must recognise opportunities, not try to create them.

5. Energy explains the use of creativity and timing in building your momentum.

6. Weak Points & Strong explains how your opportunities come from the openings in the environment caused by the relative weakness of your enemy in a given area.

7. Manoeuvring explains the dangers of direct conflict and how to win those confrontations when they are forced upon you.

8. Variation in Tactics focuses on the need for flexibility in your responses. It explains how to respond to shifting circumstances successfully.

9. The Army on the March describes the different situations in which you find yourselves as you move into new enemy territories and how to respond to them. Much of it focuses on evaluating the intentions of others.

10. Terrain looks at the three general areas of resistance (distance, dangers, and barriers) and the six types of ground positions that arise from them. Each of these six field positions offers certain advantages and disadvantages.

11. The Nine Situations describe nine common situations (or stages) in a campaign, from scattering to deadly, and the specific focus you need to successfully navigate each of them.

12. The Attack by Fire explains the use of weapons generally and the use of the environment as a weapon specifically. It examines the five targets for attack, the five types of environmental attack, and the appropriate responses to such attack.

13. The Use of Spies focuses on the importance of developing good information sources, specifically the five types of sources and how to manage them.

Sun Tzu

Sunday, April 26, 2009

What will irritate them the most?

What will irritate them the most?
25 Apr, 2009

Everyone breathed a sigh of relief. I was mere seconds away from being sent back to Kamunting. Malik was just about to inform the court that we were giving it a walkover. And, suddenly, the court changed its mind and said, yes, it will give us the time we requested after all.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

Recently, the new Information, Communication and Culture Minister Rais Yatim hosted a dinner for 50 ‘prominent’ socio-political bloggers at a local restaurant in a move to engage the New Media.

Raja Petra Kamarudin and his gang of Barisan Rakyat bloggers were not invited; to ask the reason why would be stupid of me.

This is the same 3-in-1 Minister who not long ago warned bloggers “not to twist the truth or face the music”. It was a naked threat for bloggers to toe the line or face the full force of the law, no matter how unjust the laws are in the repression of our right to free speech.

Such laws are often described as ‘draconian’.

Draco was the law scribe called by the tyrannical nobilities in ancient Athens around the turn of the 7th century BC to codify all the unjust laws used to persecute the ordinary poor citizens. Draco’s laws were infamous for their severity of punishment, even for a minor crime like stealing an apple from an orchard. Death was the commonest punishment for both serious and minor crimes.

Of this grim code of laws, men said they were “written in blood”. That is how the term “draconian laws” came to be synonymous with pieces of harsh inhuman legislation.

Fortunately for ancient Athens, the tyrannical nobilities - especially the “accursed Alcmaeonidae” – were overthrown and banished. The great poet, statesman, and lawmaker, Solon, was authorised to prepare a new set of laws relieving the miseries of the poorer people of Athens. There is a historical lesson to be learned by Malaysians.

One of the people currently persecuted by our Malaysian version of draconian laws is RPK. He has even chosen to be a fugitive of these laws, choosing to exile himself from his home state. “They” are after his blood with “laws written in blood”. Only a change of government at the federal level can save him now, and we may not have to wait long for that to happen.

To 3-in-1 Minister, 'go eat cake!' by Sim Kwang Yang, Malaysiakini (Go here to read the rest of the article


I was just seconds away from being sent back to Kamunting. That was the day the Federal Court sat to hear the appeal against the Shah Alam High Court’s decision to release me from Internal Security Act detention on 7 November 2008.

It was a decision I took against the advice of my panel of lawyers. It was not until the morning of the hearing that we knew who the quorum of judges were going to be. We had asked for a quorum of seven -- if not seven, then at least five. But the Federal Court would allow us only three. Why three? And whose decision was it that it should be three?

The decision was an ‘administrative decision’. In other words, all it needs is for a clerk in the court to decide that it should be three then it would be three. Can we appeal this? Is there a body or panel that can sit to hear our arguments as to why we want it to be more than three? No! It is a unilateral decision by someone unknown -- a faceless and nameless person -- in the court bureaucracy that makes that decision and the decision is final and undisputable.

That morning, to our horror, we found out that one of the three was Justice Augustine Paul. You might as well have asked Rosmah Mansor to hear my case. The effect would have been no different. Augustine Paul was my sworn enemy and, based on what I have said about him over the last ten years, I would be extremely surprised if he does not hate me like hell.

We informed the court that we would like to file an application for Augustine Paul to recuse but the court would not allow us time to do so. They did not want to waste any time, they said. They wanted to get my case over and done with that very day.

“Why did you not file your application earlier?” the court wanted to know. Why the rush? Why the need to make a decision on my case that very day? How could we file our application earlier when we did not know until that very morning that one of the three judges was going to be Augustine Paul?

We did try to find out earlier but the court refused to divulge who the judges were going to be. They would only tell us that it was going to be three judges. But they refused to tell us who these three are. So, not knowing who the judges were until that very morning itself, how could we have filed our application to recuse earlier?

Anyway, we raised all the issues as to why we objected to Augustine Paul and why he should recuse. If he did not, then we would need to file a formal application to get the court to order him to recuse.

And the strangest thing happened after that.

The court said no! They refuse to allow us time to file the application. The case has to proceed with no further delay. My lawyers were perplexed. Why the hurry? Can’t they allow us just another day or two to make a formal application?

Azhar stood up and walked over to the public gallery where I was seated.

“So, how Pete?” Azhar asked me.

“Walk off. If they refuse to allow us time to file our application then walk off. Boycott the hearing.”

Azhar hung his head low and shook it from side to side. “That would mean they would get judgment in default and they will send you back to Kamunting.”

“So be it.” I was determined not to give in even if it cost me my freedom.

I could see that Sam was utterly perturbed with my decision. “Then you had better get ready to run, and run far, if that is your decision.”

“No. No running. I will not allow them to say I am scared.”

“Fuck you! We went through all that trouble to get you out and you just volunteer to walk back into Kamunting.”

Sam walked out of court -- I am not sure whether out of disgust with my decision or to get a nicotine fix. My wife was beginning to suspect that something was wrong. I would not look her in the face lest she read what was on my mind. She can always tell what I am thinking just by looking at me. I suppose after being together for more than 40 years that is inevitable.

Azhar walked back and whispered into Malik’s ear. Malik turned to look at me as if to get my confirmation that this is what I wanted. He need not have said anything. His look was enough to indicate that he had a question on his mind. I nodded, indicating that what Azhar had whispered was correct.

Malik stood up to inform the court that the lawyers were going to stage a walkout. In short, we are boycotting the hearing and the court can go fuck itself for all we care. But before Malik could open his mouth and say what he was about to say, the court suddenly did a U-turn and agreed to give us time.

Everyone breathed a sigh of relief. I was mere seconds away from being sent back to Kamunting. Malik was just about to inform the court that we were giving it a walkover. And, suddenly, the court changed its mind and said, yes, it will give us the time we requested after all.

I had just bought myself six extra days of freedom.

The second time the court sat I did not attend. This was not my decision but that of the lawyers. They expected the court to turn down all our applications and rush through with a decision. This means, if I were in court, they would detain me on the spot and whisk me back to Kamunting. And the same as for the third hearing six days later -- I also did not attend the hearing.

True enough, our application for another court to hear our application to recuse Augustine Paul was rejected. The same Federal Court that was hearing the appeal against my release wanted to hear the application to recuse Augustine Paul.

How can that be? We are asking that this judge be disqualified and the same judge is being asked to hear the application to disqualify him? Which judge would agree that he is not suited to be a judge? This was ludicrous.

No, Augustine Paul would not be asked to hear the application to disqualify him. He will be asked to leave the room, leaving the other two judges to hear the application. Two judges? We wanted seven. If we cannot have seven, at least five. But you insist on only three. Now you are giving us only two judges? This was getting even more ludicrous.

We objected to this decision but our objection was shot down. Two, and only two, judges will be hearing our application. Malik pointed out that this was illegal and unconstitutional. He argued his case well. He even showed the court where it says that two judges just cannot sit to hear our application.

The court just brushed aside Malik’s arguments. Two judges would sit to hear our application. And the two judges that sat ruled: Augustine Paul need not recuse. He need not be disqualified from hearing the appeal against my release.

Malik then informed the court that, under the circumstances, a sitting of two judges would be unconstitutional and unlawful and he further informed the court that we reserve the right to challenge the decision of the court. Justice Nik Hashim shot back arrogantly: “You can do what you want”. Then Nik Hashim declared that Augustine Paul “could now take his rightful place on the bench”.

That was the last straw. The remark that Augustine Paul “could now take his rightful place on the bench” showed that, in the mind of the court, they had prejudged the case. It was futile to even continue with the hearing. They had written their judgement even before the hearing started.

After that, every application and objection that we raised was shot down, one by one. In some instances, the court would not even demonstrate patience and they just brushed aside whatever we raised without giving us time to present our arguments.

When Azhar informed the court that we would like to present our evidence, Augustine Paul asked Azhar what the relevance of the further evidence was. Azhar replied that it was to establish a jurisdictional error on the part of the Minister as detention under the Internal Security Act was intended to be preventive to avoid further threat. Augustine Paul exclaimed in a dismissive manner “What jurisdictional error?” and subsequently dismissed the application.

Yes, that was how the appeal hearing at the Federal Court was conducted. It just brushed aside everything that was raised and refused to consider whatever was argued, even when it was pointed out that the law and the Constitution allows our applications or arguments.

Classifying the appeal against my release from ISA detention as a kangaroo court would be putting it mildly. However, after all that hullabaloo in the Federal Court and the hurry-burry attitude it had demonstrated, the Federal Court suddenly went very quiet. For two months now nothing has been heard from them. Why?

I did not realise that something was amiss until much later. Around the time of the three by-elections, there were massive traffic jams all over the Kelang Valley because of police roadblocks that had been set up. I was not in town then.

A friend sent me a SMS about the matter and I replied I had already been informed about it. “Do you know?” my friend replied, “that some of the police are your fans?”

“Why do you say that?” I asked.

“Because I saw one holding your photograph.”

I don’t know whether he was just plain naïve or this was his attempt at tongue-in-cheek. Nevertheless, this triggered off the alarm bells in my head and I called up an Umno friend who owed me a favour, big-time.

“Your file is on Najib’s table,” my Umno contact told me. “I attended a meeting where you and Anwar were discussed. Najib told us that you and Anwar have to be dealt with as soon as possible. He wants you both out of action.”

I called up Anwar and he confirmed that he too had received the same information. So it must be true then. My Umno contact then told me a very interesting story.

It seems the AG had summoned the DPP handling my two court cases, Roslan Md Noh, and asked him whether they can secure a conviction in my sedition and criminal defamation trials. Roslan replied that they really don’t have a case against me and should actually consider dropping the charges.

The AG went berserk. He shouted at Roslan and said that Roslan is negative and has an attitude problem. He then removed Roslan from my case and appointed Shahidani Abd Aziz as his replacement. Roslan was then sent into cold storage at the industrial court. That is probably the end of Roslan’s career so he might as well resign from the government and go into private practice.

“They are going to detain you on the 23rd when you attend your sedition trial,” my Umno contact told me.

“How do you know,” I asked him.

“Okay, if on the 23rd Roslan does not turn up and if, instead, Shahidani turns up in his place, then you will know my information is correct.”

I informed one of my lawyers about this matter so that no one can say this is after-the-fact information.

“They know they can’t win their case against you. Roslan has already told the AG this. The only way they can silence you is to send you back to Kamunting under a fresh detention order. That is why they have gone cold on the appeal. They are no longer interested in the appeal because they have issued a new detention order. You turn up in court on the 23rd and you will be back in Kamunting the same day.”

I did not respond to this. I did not know how to.

“Do you know what they fear most?” my Umno contact asked me.

“That I will launch a hunger strike and die in prison?”

“No. They don’t care about that. They are going to set up CCTVs in your cell so that they can prove to the world you caused your own death and that the authorities tried their best to convince you to eat to save your life.”

“Come on Pete. They are ready for you. They know your only weapon is a hunger strike and that you plan to use it. You have been detained twice before and each time you launched a hunger strike while under detention. They are well prepared for that. It will not work the third time.”

“Okay,” I replied. “Then what are they most worried about?”

“They are most worried that you will disappear or go underground or overseas where they can’t touch you and where you will become even more dangerous. That is the greatest fear.”

Hmmm…..interesting. Now that is a thought. They are expecting me to surrender and then launch a hunger strike while under detention. What if I do what they did not expect and what they fear most? That would really knock them off-guard.

Ooooo…..I just love it when I have a devious mind. It is so………so me.

The Mamak Gang strikes again

The Mamak Gang strikes again
25 Apr, 2009

Aiyah, Mamak, stop lah all this nonsense. We do not need a Hindu-Muslim war in Malaysia like you had in India. Two million people died when you Mamaks and Hindus fought each other 50 years ago in India.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

IRIMM secretary-general M Thajudeen, who is also a PPP supreme council member, described the Malaysia Today commentators as “uneducated beasts”.

"The blog owner's licence should be revoked, while the commentators should be exiled from the country. They are not Malaysians."

"We urge all Malaysians to show respect towards the monarchy. No one should be allowed to make criticisms against the royal institution," said Thajudeen.

IRIMM president Amir Amsaa added, "This is not the first time that abusive comments have posted on the website."

"We hope that by lodging this police report, the government will finally draw a line in stopping these people from making remarks that ridicule the monarchy."

"The Malay rulers must be defended because they are the symbols of Islam and the Malay race in this country."



Women moan and sigh and with clenched teeth call me a beast. “You are an animal…oooooo…but I just love it,” they would say with a deep trembling voice as they dive under the blanket to get a second helping of a dish they had never tasted before. But an uneducated beast? No, this is the first time anyone has ever called me an uneducated beast. Beast, yes! But uneducated, never!

That is the trouble with Muslims. They look for symbols. Now the Malay rulers are symbols of Islam. At the end of the day that is all you have left, symbols, nothing but mere symbols.

I have read the Quran from cover to cover, many times over, and I have never once found any mention of symbols of Islam in the Quran. I know green has sometimes been associated with Islam. So has the crescent or one-quarter moon. But even then these were later inventions and not decrees from God as laid down in the Quran.

Now these Mamaks are hot under the collar about Malaysia Today’s commentators not showing respect to the symbols of Islam. And they have come out to make police reports in an effort to defend the symbols of Islam. And they want those who did not show respect to the symbols of Islam to be exiled from Malaysia. Yes, exile. And what if the police do not escort us to the Thai border to exile us from Malaysia? Should we then impose self-exile in the true spirit of defending the symbols of Islam?

Do these Mamaks know that this is what is wrong with Islam? Islam is suffering from a serious image problem because of the conduct of Muslims. No, it is not the Jews, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, etc., who are running down Islam. They do not need to. Muslims are doing a good job all by themselves without the need of any help from those of the other religions. Did I not say many times that Muslims are Islam’s worst enemies? And was I right or was I right?

Muslims regard ‘true’ Islam by the symbols and rituals. As long as you fly these symbols high and religiously perform your rituals then everything is honky dory and peachy rosy. Never mind about the substance. Substance is not crucial. Symbols and rituals are all that matter.

The tudung is mandatory. All women must wear the tudung and no one had better question or dispute the issue or else you will be considered a deviant or apostate. The fact that Malay Muslim women civil servants arrested and charged for corruption appear to all be wearing the tudung, and so far I am yet to see an ‘uncovered’ Malay Muslim women civil servant being dragged to court (maybe I missed that particular news item), is not an important matter that needs debate.

Do not dispute the tudung. The tudung is mandatory. Just make sure your wife (or wives) and daughters were it. That is all. Never mind that they may not be good Muslims under that tudung and are in fact corrupted and take bribes. The tudung is a symbol of Islam and only symbols matter. Conduct does not.

Sure, the rulers are symbols of Islam. So we must defend the rulers and take action against anyone who insults the rulers because those who insult the rulers are insulting Islam.

No, we can never allow anyone to insult the symbol of Islam. If they do then all the Mamaks in this land will close their nasi kandar stalls and rush to the police station to make police reports. And after that we shall stand outside the police station and shout slogans like Hidup Mamak! Daulat Tuanku! Allah Akbar!

Do these Mamaks realise that not all their so-called symbols of Islam lead an Islamic lifestyle? There are also unsavoury characters amongst those symbols of Islam. You mean you did not know that some are hard-core gamblers who spend millions upon millions of the rakyat’s money in casinos all over the world? Some drink like a fish. Others make Sex in the City appear like a children’s matinee.

Don’t talk to me about symbols of Islam. That is utter crap and we all know it. There is nothing Islamic about these so-called symbols of Islam save for a few who I would really regard as true Caliphs. The rest I would not trust farther than I can throw them.

Oh, and please, please make another police report against me. And while you are at it you can also tell them that I have asked Malaysians to boycott Mamak shops just to teach you a lesson. It is you Mamaks who tried to trigger an anti-Chinese riot in Penang soon after Lim Guan Eng took office as Chief Minister.

What, you thought you wanted to start another May 13 in Penang so that the government can fall and Barisan Nasional can take back the state? You guys are dangerous racists. It was you Mamaks who almost started a Hindu-Muslim war in Penang back in the 1990s.

Yes, it was Mamak versus Hindu Indians, not Malays. The Malays were not involved. Then you summoned the Malays from Perak and Kedah to come to Penang to join you in this ‘holy war’. And the bodoh Malays who did not know anything started sharpening their parangs to go to Penang. Luckily Anwar Ibrahim stepped in just in time to stop what would have been bloodshed.

Aiyah, Mamak, stop lah all this nonsense. We do not need a Hindu-Muslim war in Malaysia like you had in India. Two million people died when you Mamaks and Hindus fought each other 50 years ago in India.

Malays are actually quite peaceful. But the problem is they are also quite stupid and it is so easy to hasut the Malays to mengamuk. And you Mamaks are good at that. Luckily, last year, when you tried to start an anti-Chinese riot in Penang, the Malays did not respond. So, in the end, it became a MIC-PPP gathering shouting anti-Chinese slogans.

Now you want to hasut the Malays with this police report and allege that Malaysia Today’s readers are not respectful to the symbols of Islam. Are you hoping that the Malay parangs start flying? Whose head do you hope these parangs will chop? Chinese heads?

I get it. Someone must have told you that the majority of Malaysia Today’s readers are Chinese. Well, that is not quite true. There are many Malays in here too. And make sure that these Malays don’t start to mengamuk. The Malays in Malaysia Today are not anti-Chinese. They are anti-whoever tries to stir race riots. And we know how to deal with such people.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Nine S Koreans to be charged in actress suicide case

Nine S Koreans to be charged in actress suicide case
Fri, Apr 24, 2009

SEOUL, April 24, 2009 (AFP) - South Korean police said Friday they would charge nine people in the case of a TV actress who committed suicide after suggesting she had been forced to provide sexual favours to advance her career.

Police said the nine, who were not detained, would face various charges such as coercion, physical assault or defamation.

Three are entertainment agency officials, two are television programme-makers, three are bankers and one is a businessman.

A probe into five other suspects has been suspended until the actress's former agent returns from Japan, police said in a statement.

Police have issued an arrest warrant for the man identified only as Kim and have formally asked Japan to deport him.

Kim is suspected of having forced actress Jang Ja-Yeon to have sex with influential figures in the entertainment and media industry to promote her career, a police spokesman told AFP earlier.

The former agent has protested his innocence.

Jang, 26, hanged herself at her home in early March, leaving a note reading: "I am a powerless young actress who can't fix what is so evidently wrong."

Media reports say the note contains names of people who had drinking parties or sex with her but police declined to give details.

Jang starred in "Boys Over Flowers", the nation's most avidly watched soap opera.

10 Ways to Be Happier

10 Ways to Be Happier

How happy are you―really? If there’s room for improvement, try one of these suggestions.
By Gretchen Rubin

A few years ago, on a morning like any other, I had a sudden realization: I was in danger of wasting my life. As I stared out the rain-spattered window of a New York City bus, I saw that the years were slipping by.

"What do I want from life?" I asked myself. "Well...I want to be happy." I had many reasons to be happy: My husband was the tall, dark, handsome love of my life; we had two delightful girls; I was a writer, living in my favorite city. I had friends; I had my health; I didn't have to color my hair. But too often I sniped at my husband or the drugstore clerk. I felt dejected after even a minor professional setback. I lost my temper easily. Is that how a happy person would act?

I decided on the spot to begin a systematic study of happiness. (A little intense, I know. But that's the kind of thing that appeals to me.) In the end, I spent a year test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific studies, and tips from popular culture. If I followed all the advice, I wanted to know, would it work?

Well, the year is over, and I can say: It did. I made myself happier. And along the way I learned a lot about how to be happier. Here are those lessons.

1. Don't start with profundities. When I began my Happiness Project, I realized pretty quickly that, rather than jumping in with lengthy daily meditation or answering deep questions of self-identity, I should start with the basics, like going to sleep at a decent hour and not letting myself get too hungry. Science backs this up; these two factors have a big impact on happiness.

2. Do let the sun go down on anger. I had always scrupulously aired every irritation as soon as possible, to make sure I vented all bad feelings before bedtime. Studies show, however, that the notion of anger catharsis is poppycock. Expressing anger related to minor, fleeting annoyances just amplifies bad feelings, while not expressing anger often allows it to dissipate.

3. Fake it till you feel it. Feelings follow actions. If I'm feeling low, I deliberately act cheery, and I find myself actually feeling happier. If I'm feeling angry at someone, I do something thoughtful for her and my feelings toward her soften. This strategy is uncannily effective.

4. Realize that anything worth doing is worth doing badly. Challenge and novelty are key elements of happiness. The brain is stimulated by surprise, and successfully dealing with an unexpected situation gives a powerful sense of satisfaction. People who do new things―learn a game, travel to unfamiliar places―are happier than people who stick to familiar activities that they already do well. I often remind myself to "Enjoy the fun of failure" and tackle some daunting goal.

5. Don't treat the blues with a "treat." Often the things I choose as "treats" aren't good for me. The pleasure lasts a minute, but then feelings of guilt and loss of control and other negative consequences deepen the lousiness of the day. While it's easy to think, I'll feel good after I have a few glasses of wine...a pint of ice cream...a cigarette...a new pair of jeans, it's worth pausing to ask whether this will truly make things better.

6. Buy some happiness. Our basic psychological needs include feeling loved, secure, and good at what we do. You also want to have a sense of control. Money doesn't automatically fill these requirements, but it sure can help. I've learned to look for ways to spend money to stay in closer contact with my family and friends; to promote my health; to work more efficiently; to eliminate sources of irritation and marital conflict; to support important causes; and to have enlarging experiences. For example, when my sister got married, I splurged on a better digital camera. It was expensive, but it gave me a lot of happiness.

7. Don't insist on the best. There are two types of decision makers. Satisficers (yes, satisficers) make a decision once their criteria are met. When they find the hotel or the pasta sauce that has the qualities they want, they're satisfied. Maximizers want to make the best possible decision. Even if they see a bicycle or a backpack that meets their requirements, they can't make a decision until they've examined every option. Satisficers tend to be happier than maximizers. Maximizers expend more time and energy reaching decisions, and they're often anxious about their choices. Sometimes good enough is good enough.

8. Exercise to boost energy. I knew, intellectually, that this worked, but how often have I told myself, "I'm just too tired to go to the gym"? Exercise is one of the most dependable mood-boosters. Even a 10-minute walk can brighten my outlook.

9. Stop nagging. I knew my nagging wasn't working particularly well, but I figured that if I stopped, my husband would never do a thing around the house. Wrong. If anything, more work got done. Plus, I got a surprisingly big happiness boost from quitting nagging. I hadn't realized how shrewish and angry I had felt as a result of speaking like that. I replaced nagging with the following persuasive tools: wordless hints (for example, leaving a new lightbulb on the counter); using just one word (saying "Milk!" instead of talking on and on); not insisting that something be done on my schedule; and, most effective of all, doing a task myself. Why did I get to set the assignments?

10. Take action. Some people assume happiness is mostly a matter of inborn temperament: You're born an Eeyore or a Tigger, and that's that. Although it's true that genetics play a big role, about 40 percent of your happiness level is within your control. Taking time to reflect, and making conscious steps to make your life happier, really does work. So use these tips to start your own Happiness Project. I promise it won't take you a whole year.

Remember, remember, the twelfth of September

Remember, remember, the twelfth of September
22 Apr, 2009

The Permatang Pauh Declaration was Anwar’s declaration to the rakyat of Malaysia. The People’s Declaration was a declaration by the civil society movements, which was endorsed and adopted by seven political parties, Pakatan Rakyat included.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

The Penanti by-election will soon be upon us. This is going to be the sixth by-election since the last general election of 8 March 2008. We have seen battles of the giants in Permatang Pauh last year and Kuala Terengganu and Bukit Gantang this year. In a way, these were proxy wars between Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat. Penanti, however, is going to be the mother of all battles. Penanti is going to be a proxy war between Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

This is going to be a take-no-prisoners battle. This is going to be a winner-takes-all battle. Whether Anwar is going to continue to be seen as the opposition leader and whether Dr Mahathir is going to continue to be seen as the Grand Old Man of Malaysian politics will be decided on the battlefield of Penanti.

In a way, Penanti will be the Waterloo for both Dr Mahathir and Anwar. But only one is going to be the Duke of Wellington of Malaysia. The other will be relegated to the role of the Napoleon Bonaparte of Malaysia. Who is going to be ‘Wellington’ and who will be ‘Napoleon’ will be decided on the battlefield of Penanti. And it is going to be a battle not to be missed.

Some say Pakatan Rakyat is going to win hands down. Don’t be too sure of that. Complacency and overconfidence is going to be the death of Pakatan Rakyat if it is lulled into believing it cannot but win in Penanti. Was that not the arrogance of Goliath just moments before he was felled by a mere stone from David’s slingshot?

What has each got to offer the Malaysian voters, in particular those from Penanti? Currently, nothing new! It is going to be the same old shit except on different days, that’s all. Politicians talk, as the Malays would say, with manis mulut. Translated literally this means ‘sweet mouth’. But is it not the characteristic of politicians to play to the gallery? Some even run with the hares and hunt with the hounds when it suits them. Malays call this main kayu tiga, or play with three sticks, whatever that is supposed to mean.

The greatest mistake any politician of this era can make is to take the voters for granted. This would be a cardinal and most unforgivable sin and punishable by humiliation at the ballot box. And once punished it will take many elections before one is forgiven again.

Penanti is a good battlefield. Penanti is within the Permatang Pauh parliamentary constituency. And slightly over ten years ago, on 12 September 1998, Anwar delivered his most famous Permatang Pauh Declaration.

What is the Permatang Pauh Declaration? What was it all about? Many Malaysians were not politically awoken on 12 September 1998 and probably never heard of the Permatang Pauh Declaration.

Slightly over one year ago another declaration was launched. This is called the People’s Declaration. Probably more people have heard of this declaration although there would still be many who are totally ignorant of what the People’s Declaration is all about.

The Permatang Pauh Declaration was Anwar’s declaration to the rakyat of Malaysia. The People’s Declaration

Today, I want Anwar and Pakatan Rakyat to renew their vows. Let the Permatang Pauh Declaration and the People’s Declaration become the foundation of the Penanti by-election. While the People’s Declaration was born in the Blog House in Kuala Lumpur, the Permatang Pauh Declaration was born where the Penanti by-election is going to be held.

Read the Permatang Pauh Declaration below. And read the People’s Declaration here ( During the Penanti by-election campaign we want to hear these two Declarations chanted over and over again or else be prepared to face the wrath of the voters.

Anwar Ibrahim and Dr Mansor Othman, the people have spoken. Do not take us for granted. So many times in the past we have heard manis mulut talk whenever you needed our votes. Our votes do not come cheap. Our votes come with a price. Are you prepared to pay that price? Let us hear it in Penanti.
was a declaration by the civil society movements, which was endorsed and adopted by seven political parties, Pakatan Rakyat included.


Anwar Ibrahim launching the Permatang Pauh Declaration on 12 September 1998


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 instinct for justice makes democracy a possibility, but the existence of tendencies to oppress makes it a necessity;

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 hour has come. Unite for Reformasi.

Permatang Pauh
12 September 1998


Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail launching ADIL, the forerunner to Parti Keadilan Nasional, which was launched on 4 April 1999

Bahasa Malaysia Translation: Deklarasi Permatang Pauh

Menyedari gesaan al-Quran yang bermaksud “tidaklah kami mahu melainkan untuk melakukan islah sekuat daya kami”;

Dan berilhamkan tradisi budaya-budaya Asia yang keseluruhannya menganjurkan pembaharuan diri dan masyarakat;

Dan menginsafi bahawa Malaysia kini dicengkam kemelut yang dahsyat dan memerlukan kekuatan dalaman untuk bangun semula;

Maka kami rakyat Malaysia yang berbilang bangsa dan agama bertekat untuk melancarkan gerakan reformasi yang menyeluruh:

* Gerakan reformasi yang terpancar perjuangan hati nurani, dari kesedaran bahawa sesungguhnya diri manusia itu mulia dan merdeka, mempunyai hak dan tanggungjawab, diri manusia haram dizalimi dan diaibkan, haram di belenggu dan disekat tanpa mengikut proses dan undang-undang yang adil;

* Gerakan reformasi untuk menegakkan keadilan untuk semua, yang kuat dan yang lemah, yang kaya dan yang miskin; membersihkan institusi dan proses undang-undang dari dicemari oleh penyalahgunaan kuasa dan rasuah;

* Gerakan reformasi untuk mendaulatkan kuasa rakyat melalui proses demokrasi. Democrasi itu satu kemestian, kerana semangat keadilan yang ada dalam diri manusia membolehkan demokrasi dilaksana, tetapi kecenderungan manusia untuk berlaku zalim menjadikan demokrasi satu kewajipan;

* Gerakan reformasi untuk memperjuangkan keadilan ekonomi, menjana pertumbuhan dan pengagihan yang saksama, jangan yang kaya bertambah kaya yang miskin papa kedana. Dunia ini mencukupi untuk keperluan semua, tetapi tidak mencukupi untuk memenuhi kerakusan individu;

* Gerakan reformasi untuk membanteras rasuah dan penyalahgunaan kuasa, mengikis manipulasi pasaran oleh segelintir golongan rakus dan mahakaya;

* Gerakan reformasi untuk memperkukuhkan jayadiri budaya yang dinamis, setia kepada warisan bangsa yang murni dan terbuka kepada segala yang baik dari semua budaya;

* Gerakan reformasi untuk membawa bangsa Malaysia ke zaman maklumat dan dunia tanpa sempadan, menjana kebijaksanaan, keyakinan dan keterbukaan untuk menjalin persahabatan sejagat berdasarkan prinsip kebenaran dan keadilan.

Kami akan menggerakkan reformasi ini dengan aman, mengikut semangat perlembagaan dan bernafaskan prinsip pemerintahan undang-undang.

Masanya telah tiba. Bersatulah untuk reformasi.

An act of sedition

An act of sedition
24 Apr, 2009

Even renowned historians like Emeritus Professor Dato' Dr Khoo Khay Kim would find great difficulty in disagreeing that the line of succession for most of the nine Malaysian thrones has been broken and those who now sit on the throne are no longer the legitimate successors ‘appointed by God’.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

Karpal sedition trial: Decision on discharge on April 28

(The Star, 22/04/09) - DAP chairman Karpal Singh will know on April 28 whether he will succeed in his bid to get a discharge not amounting to an acquittal of the sedition charge against him. The High Court here would make its ruling on that date, it said on Wednesday.

The veteran lawyer is alleged to have uttered seditious words during a media conference relating to Sultan of Perak Sultan Azlan Shah’s consent to remove Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin as mentri besar.

He allegedly committed the offence at his law firm Messrs Karpal Singh & Co between noon and 12.30pm on Feb 6.

If convicted he faces a maximum RM5,000 fine or three years jail, or both, under Section 4 (1) (b) of the Sedition Act.

He was initially charged in the Sessions Court on March 17, but the case was transferred to the High Court.


Karpal Singh will know in the next few days whether he would have to answer to the charge of sedition for the statement he made during a press conference in his office in February. What Karpal said, simply, was that the Sultans could be brought to court. And that, according to the government, is an act of sedition.

I remember, back in the 1990s, when Umno, in particular Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, criss-crossed the length and breadth of this country to inform the rakyat that the Rulers’ immunity had been removed and that they could now be brought to court if they commit any offence, criminal or civil. And, in fact, since then, some have had to face court action and have, sometimes, even lost the court case.

The Malay Rulers sold out this nation to the British in 1946, screamed Umno. The Sultans signed the document agreeing that Malaysia becomes the Malayan Union. Under the Malayan Union, the Rulers would lose all their powers. But Umno opposed the Malayan Union. So the British had no choice but to abort the Malayan Union and, in 1948, the Federation of Malaya was formed. Because of Umno, the position of the Rulers was restored whereas it was the Rulers who betrayed the nation but Umno saved them.

Yes, that was the song Umno was singing back in the 1990s after they removed the immunity of the Rulers in 1993 whereby the Rulers could now be dragged to court. But there was something in this song and dance routine that Umno did not mention. Umno kept this point well hidden. And that point is, under the Malayan Union, the immigrants would be given Malayan citizenship and all races would have equal rights and status. This, Umno did not dare mention, because this was the main reason why it opposed the Malayan Union. It had nothing to do with the fact that under the Malayan Union the Rulers would lose all their powers or that Umno wanted to restore these powers of the Rulers.

Umno did not hold its punches in the nationwide anti-Monarchy campaign. The traitors in the 1946 Malayan Union ‘conspiracy’ were the Rulers. They were the ones who sold out the nation and their race. In the same process, they, the Rulers, also lost all their powers. But Umno stepped in not only to save the nation and the Malay race but also to save the Rulers as well. Because of Umno, the Rulers got back all their powers, which the British took away and with the consent of the Rulers on top of that.

In short, the Rulers acted in a treasonous manner, even to the extent that they themselves lost all their powers. But Umno, the patriots, came in to save the day. And even those traitors and treasonous Rulers who had signed away all their powers by agreeing to the Malayan Union were saved by Umno.

But the nationwide campaign to inform the rakyat about how, in 1946, the Rulers had betrayed the nation and their own race, and about how Umno had saved the day, was not considered a treasonous act in spite of what they were saying made the Rulers appear really, really bad. It was not even considered seditious although this campaign turned the people against the Rulers and, for the first time in history, Malaysians were beginning to talk about abolishing the Monarchy and about turning Malaysia into a Republic.

You can criticise the Rulers, said the then Deputy Prime Minister Tun Ghafar Baba. In fact, you can even drag the Rulers to court. But you must not talk about abolishing the Monarchy and for Malaysia to be turned into a Republic. That would be seditious, explained Ghafar.

Sedition is an old and archaic law. It was a law at a time when the Rulers were considered God’s representative here on earth. To criticise the Rulers would tantamount to criticising God Himself. So it is seditious to criticise the Rulers as you would be criticising God. That was how it worked back in the days of jahiliyah (ignorance) when people did not know any better.

But how many of the Rulers, today, are legitimate Rulers? How many of the Rulers have been ousted from their throne and pretenders to the throne installed onto the throne in their place? We shall talk about all this in another article in another time. Suffice, at this point, that I say the legitimacy of many of the Rulers can be questioned. And if these Rulers are not the legitimate Rulers then how can they be considered as appointed by God? It was not God but the powers-that-be or the government-of-the-day who installed them onto the throne. Leave God out of this. It was man, not God, who gave the Rulers their throne, at least in many of the cases, if not all.

The crime of sedition no longer exists. It ceased to exist when man took over the job of God in appointing the Rulers. Even renowned historians like Emeritus Professor Dato' Dr Khoo Khay Kim would find great difficulty in disagreeing that the line of succession for most of the nine Malaysian thrones has been broken and those who now sit on the throne are no longer the legitimate successors ‘appointed by God’.

Karpal did not commit sedition in February. He did not commit sedition because the law should no longer exist. And it should no longer exist because it is impossible to commit a crime of sedition against God’s appointees on earth when God never appointed them His appointees in the first place.

But let us see what the court says on 28 April 2009. Maybe it will call in Emeritus Professor Dato' Dr Khoo Khay Kim to testify as to whether God was involved in the appointment of the Sultan of Perak and whether, therefore, Karpal did, in fact, commit a crime of sedition.


It’s in the Constitution

"Sultans and Rajas are constitutional monarchs and have powers determined by the Federal Constitution."

Brave New World (The Star)
February 19, 2009

I wish that all those people calling for Karpal Singh’s head would just take a minute and pick up the Federal Constitution. Turn to Article 182 and you will see provisions for a “Special Court”.

The job of this Special Court is to try civil proceedings brought against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or any of the Sultans.

This was not always the case. Before 1993, the rulers had absolute immunity. And before 1984, they actually had the power to veto legislation. These powers were taken away by the Barisan Nasional government headed by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

DAP chairman Karpal Singh’s desire for the Sultan of Perak to be brought to court is reasonable and allowed for by law. Besides, I think it is a good thing that the King and the Sultans can be brought to court.

You see, the days of the all-powerful king is gone now and that is, for me at least, progress. It shows that we are a society that values democracy.

Yes, we have Sultans and Rajas, but they are constitutional monarchs. This means that they have powers determined by the Constitution and not some divine power to do as they wish. This being the case, surely if they overstep their boundaries, if they behave in an unconstitutional manner, they should be challenged – respectfully, properly – in a court of law.

Now, did the Sultan of Perak act in a way that was unconstitutional when he appointed a new Mentri Besar? It is arguable.

The power to appoint a Mentri Besar is clearly at the discretion of the Sultan. This is one of the few real powers that he has. A power that he does not have is to dismiss an existing Mentri Besar.

Usually this does not raise many problems. During the last general election, we saw the Sultan of Perlis and the Sultan of Terengganu both deciding on who should be the new Mentri Besar of their respective states.

They made decisions that went against the desires of the majority party in both state legislative assemblies. The two monarchs thought that their choices commanded the confidence of the two Houses and were the best men for the job. It was their prerogative.

But the current case in Perak is different. The Sultan chose a new Mentri Besar while the old one was still in office. By appointing a new man, he was in effect sacking the old one. And sacking the Mentri Besar is not within his constitutional powers.

I think there is room for debate on this matter and, ideally, it should be settled in the Special Court.

Actually, I am rather curious as to why the Sultan did not just dissolve the state assembly when requested. All this party-hopping business was wreaking havoc on the public’s faith in the democratic system.

Surely, the clearest and fairest way out of the debacle was to have fresh state elections.

For the sake of continued faith in democracy, I would have thought the Sultan, who has spoken many times so eloquently about democracy and rule of law, would have just said “right, let the people decide again”.

After all, the greatest threat to political, and thus national, stability are a people who have lost their faith in the democratic system. It is only when such faith is lost that extreme behaviour emerges.

Anyway, what is done is done; legal battles are being fought over the Perak matter and that particular crisis will be settled in its own time.

Meanwhile, there is much that can still be achieved. The states ruled by Pakatan Rakyat must continue to push their agenda forward and live up to their election promises.

For example, I notice with a little dismay that the new Selangor government has yet to withdraw the case against Sagong Tasi.

In 2002, Sagong obtained a judgment in his favour by the Court of Appeal which held that his Orang Asli community had a propriety interest in their customary land. This meant that when the land was taken by the government, they should have been properly compensated.

This case was against the former state government and, of course, Datuk Seri Khir Toyo and his men appealed the decision.

Considering the fact that Pakatan Rakyat is concerned about justice and fair treatment to all Malaysians, and considering also that the last MB of Perak was making headway in granting proper titles to the Orang Asli in his state, the current Selangor government should just stop the action.

Yes, the battle of Perak must continue. But there are many other battles to be fought and won. Fairness and justice must be striven for on all fronts, continuously. It’s easy to forget this amid the shrill cries of “traitor” by the ill-informed.

The other side of Hudud

The other side of Hudud
24 Apr, 2009

If Suk Yee is proven to be really poor and needs to steal out of necessity, then the authorities would be summoned to court and would be asked how come Suk Yee is so poor that she needs to steal.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

Poor pregnant mum jailed a day and fined RM1,000

JOHOR BARU: A pregnant woman was sentenced to one day in jail and fined RM1,000 after she told a Magistrates court she stole baby clothes worth over RM150 because she was too poor to pay for it.

Housewife Chai Suk Yee, 26, from Taman Daya, was charged with committing the offence at Level 2 of Jusco Tebrau City at around 3.30pm on April 23.

She was accused of stealing a list of 10 items of baby clothes and accessories worth RM158.70.

Chai, who pleaded guilty, told Magistrate Hafizah Johor Ariff Johor that she took the clothes for her unborn child because she could not afford to buy the clothes.

She also said that she was unemployed and her husband did not have a stable job.

Hafizah then sentenced her to one day jail and an RM1,000 fine or one month jail if the fine was not paid. Chai paid the fine.


The detractors of Islam love to talk about hand cutting. They are of course referring to the Islamic Shariah law called Hudud, which deals with seven specific crimes. Hudud, for the uninitiated, is only one of the many Shariah laws. But this appears to be the only Shariah law yet to be introduced in Malaysia. The others are already in place.

Okay, before anyone jumps on my case, let me categorically state that I am opposed to Malaysia being turned into a theocracy. And, no, it is not because I am anti-Islam. It is because Malaysia has a parliamentary system that chooses its government using the Westminster system and therefore that makes Malaysia a secular and not theocratic state.

If they run a referendum and, say, 66.6% of Malaysians vote for the parliamentary system to be abolished and for the Federal Constitution to be amended so that Malaysia can be turned into a theocracy, then I have no problems with that since it represents the wishes of 66.6% of Malaysians. For that matter, if 66.6% of Malaysians pass a referendum to turn Malaysia into a Republic I also would have no problems with that.

Okay, back to the issue of the Star’s news item above. Malaysia is NOT a theocracy, and for sure not an Islamic State. And, therefore, we have common law and not Hudud law. So Chai Suk Yee, the poor pregnant woman in the report above, will not lose her hand for the crime of stealing baby clothes worth RM158. Instead, she goes to jail.

But that is just it. Even if we did have Hudud as the law of the land she would still not be punished anyway. Now, Suk Yee has to go to jail for one day and pay a fine of RM1,000 -- or else go to jail for another month if she fails to pay the fine. Can you imagine a pregnant woman having to go to jail for 31 or 32 days because she was too poor and had no choice but to steal baby clothes?

Under Hudud law, Suk Yee would be asked why she stole. And if the thief is as rich as Daim Zainuddin who steals not because he is poor but because he is just downright greedy, then even I agree that his hand should be chopped off. I mean, RM42 billion of the raykat’s money not enough or what? Still have to steal RM158 baby clothes on top of that?

If Suk Yee is proven to be really poor and needs to steal out of necessity, then the authorities would be summoned to court and would be asked how come Suk Yee is so poor that she needs to steal. Assuming Suk Yee was not getting any aid from the government -- maybe because she is not a Bumiputera and not an Umno member -- then those in charge of dishing out aid would be chided by the court.

The court would order that the state looks after Suk Yee. And if the state fails to do so, then those in charge would face the wrath of the court. Suk Yee would not be punished. The state would. And the state would be punished because it did not look after Suk Yee resulting in her being forced to steal for a living.

That is the other side of Hudud never discussed. Okay, okay, okay, I know. Now some of you are going to argue that Hudud may not be that bad after all but you are more worried about the implementation or abuse of that law. What happens if someone is fixed up and loses a hand because of that? You can’t sew the hand back on.

True. But the same goes for all other ‘less-cruel-than-Hudud’ laws as well. If they plant bullets or drugs in your car and then send you to the gallows for this, can they bring you back to life if later they discover you have been fixed up? Once you are dead you are dead. They cannot reverse your death after hanging you from the gallows even if they find you innocent later.

So it is not about whether Hudud can be abused or not. All laws can be abused. The issue is not only in the laws itself, but also in how they abuse those laws. For that matter, the Internal Security Act, as it was originally intended, is a good law. But the ISA is never used as it was originally intended. It is used to silence dissent and opposition. So we oppose the ISA because it is being abused.

Okay, say the government abolishes the ISA as what we want. Do you think that is the end of our problems? No! There are still many other laws, other than the ISA, which the government can use to stifle dissent and curtail free speech.

More important than abolishing the ISA and all those other laws would be to abolish the present government. Then the laws would not be abused. Then people like Suk Yee would not go to jail because she was too poor and had to steal RM158 worth of baby clothes.

By the way, if anyone can help me track down Suk Yee I would like to reimburse her the fine of RM1,000 that she paid. It is my duty as a Muslim to ensure that poor people do not become victims of a cruel system. Doing otherwise would mean I have failed in my duty as a Muslim. Just drop me a message and I will get back to you.