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.

NO HOLDS BARRED

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 http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/103085)

*************************************************

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 na├»ve 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……so me.


No comments: