BREAKING NEWS! . . . ‘Old politics’ DEADER than DEAD in Borneo, Malaya . . .

‘New political force’ in M’sia mere wishful thinking, living on hope.

Democratisation dominates both sides of the South China Sea.

My COMMENT on the above link . . .

Professor Murray Hunter’s thesis statement in the link above on “effective new political force” in Malaysia may be too little, too late, the Mother of All non-issues.

The jury isn’t out on whether it even remains theory on paper, it probably may not take off at all and remains “mere wishful thinking and living on hopes”.

New political force or otherwise, ten democratisation issues dominates politics on both sides of the South China Sea viz. the Cabinet system complying with the consensus principle i.e. no voice against; the end of proxy gov’ts in the Borneo Territories, Sabah and Sarawak; full Federal gov’t compliance on the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA’63) and Borneo rights; disallow the formation of pre-election coalition; advent of “caretaker gov’t for the two months before an election; ban on selling nomination forms; say NO to compulsory voting; legitimacy via run-offs in elections; and the return of local gov’t elections to bring back bottom up “grassroots democracy” for better community development and taxation system.

The 10th democratisation issue sees the minority, i.e. the losing votes in seats, getting the right to be heard in Parliament via non-constituency seats.

Except during 1990 to 1994 in Sabah, and despite public displays of bravado in Sarawak, the gov’ts in the Borneo Territories have virtually been “proxies” of Putrajaya since Malaysia Day on 16 Sept 1963. That explains the Federal gov’t’s non-compliance on MA’63 and Borneo rights. Besides, there’s a lack of leadership in Sabah and Sarawak on Borneo rights and no political will in Putrajaya on the matter. There’s only political rhetoric and polemics which blows hot and cold, including against Malaya, come election time in the Borneo Territories.

Those with nothing . . .

New political force means nothing in practice. Malay and Orang Asal, the great majority, have nothing but the proverbial shirts on their backs after 65 years of Merdeka (independence) and 59 years of Malaysia. It’s said that we can bluff some of the people for some of the time, since there’s a “sucker” born every minute, but not all the people all the time. Just take a look at the Great Debate in the social media.

Media the pits . . .

The online media meanwhile, exercises self-censorship, imposes censorship and denies the right of reply, under so-called “prerogative and discretionary powers”, on even their own content. It’s about the communist-style stage-management of news, and, to put it in Taib Mahmud’s words, “news manufacturing”.

The social media, after having killed the print media, will bury the online media for violating free speech.

None of them have ever broken even. Yet, they keep going month after month, without being supported financially by the people. Google ads, being based on how much time readers spend on a story, bring in pittance.

The media in Malaysia, in deciding which side their bread is buttered, have openly become “political propaganda vehicles”. They wouldn’t last a month with their paymasters if they don’t toe the line. Apparently, the US State Dept is also involved in the media in Malaysia despite a certain online media denying it from time to time until they turn purple and blue in the face.

There are very few independent media, a labour of love, manned by volunteers.

Tribalism and feudalism . . .

New forms of tribalism and feudalism, under the guise of democracy, are no longer sustainable in Malaysia.

Modi’s Hindu Rashtra (Hindu nation) India, Trump’s America First and Make America Great Again (MAGA) and Xijinping’s “No to rule-based international Order” China, three extreme rightwing examples which stalk the world and dominate the Narrative, remain an aberration in history.

It has no place in Malaysia.

No political personality in Malaysia can attract sufficient votes as in the past and gather a disproportionate share of the political power. Najib, Mahathir and Anwar Ibrahim, to cite three examples who are creatures of the media, have limited options. Time has virtually run out for Mahathir, and it may be running out for “I have the numbers!, I have the numbers!” Anwar.

Najib, who has “star drawing power” despite the 1MDB “Scandal” and related “scandals”, may be in the lead. Anwar may yet back him to keep his politics alive and his Family in the reckoning. Both are dead set against Mahathir who allegedly makes up stories as he goes along, did a number on them, and stays in a glasshouse and continues to throw stones.

Najib and Anwar, if given an opportunity, would drag Mahathir and Family to justice for alleged money laundering.

Mahathir’s ‘My Way’ . . .

It was Mahathir who created the system of inflated gov’t contracts to feed the small Malay capitalist class which emerged on 13 May 1969. Malay capitalists have more than their fair share of nominees, proxies and cronies. They include any number of “self-serving” non-Malay valued for “keeping secrets”.

What’s the system created by Mahathir?

Deviations and distortions of Article 153, New Economic Policy (NEP 1970 to 1990), and the notorious quota system.

Hijacking of “pink shares” meant for ordinary Orang Asal and Malay in publicly listed Companies.

AP (Applied Permit); concessions, permits and quotas a la the infamous Licence Raj in socialist India after Independence in 1947.

Inflated gov’t contracts going for twice, thrice and even up to ten times what it should cost the tax payer.

Plundering of the public treasury through “non performing” contracts as discovered by a judge who was subsequently suspended and retired recently.

Yet, Mahathir did not hesitate to “rubbish” Najib recently as “the first convict to be Prime Minister”. He was not ruling out Najib’s return.

Badawi took wrong turn . . .

Umno may have been an effective political force at one time. That may have ended in 2007 when Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, in hindsight “a vague wishy washy leader influenced reportedly by extremists and MIC”, refused to meet with ex-estate wallah Hindraf activists — led ironically by non-estate wallahs — on the plight of the Indian in Malaya, in particular the ex-estate wallahs. In Malaya, Indian decide in 67 parliamentary seats.

In 2008, Malay voters upset with the “kurang ajar” (disrespectful) Hindraf’s demands, refused to vote for MIC which was blamed for the emergence of an alternative Indian political vehicle which emasculated MIC and “threatened” the ketuanan Melayu Mantra (Malay political supremacy and dominance). The ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) lost five states in Malaya to a shocked Opposition in a daze for two weeks.

In 2018, BN collapsed and imploded. Public perceptions, worked up to a feverish pitch in the media by Mahathir and the Opposition, ruled against the ruling coalition. The rest is history.

Malay political parties . . .

Umno was a merger of several hundred, if not thousands, of Malay associations, societies and organisations in 1946.

Thereafter, Umno was weakened by sackings and defections, ISA detentions, warlordism, party branches degenerating into tribal and feudal family-owned affairs which kept out ordinary Malay, and breakaways in protest against the lack of democracy in the party.

Mahathir, for example, was always returned “unopposed” as Umno President. Therein lies the seeds of destruction.

Many new Malay political parties emerged despite the draconian Internal Security Act (ISA) being used to crush them. Many new Malay political parties continue to emerge and flood the Opposition.

The powers that be approved as many non-Malay political parties as possible to help strengthen Malay political power. It was about weakening non-Malay leaders and preventing their emergence as a political force against “ketuanan Melayu”. These colonial divide and rule tactics have fizzled out. Indian and Chinese would not vote for race-based parties including Hindraf.

Malay also join multiracial parties especially if they are given seats. Malay political parties deny seats to ordinary Malay i.e. those not part of the “old boy network”.

Politics Defined . . .

All politics are about restructuring the distribution of power and restructuring the distribution of revenue and resources.

The taxation system can be used in the latter case, the IRB (Internal Revenue Board) can take action on tax evasion disguised as tax avoidance, Bank Negara can pursue money laundering cases in Malaysia and abroad.

In practice, it doesn’t happen.

Former Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman for example, facing 46 charges on various allegations, admitted in court that he collected RM380m in political donations.

In law, all donations above RM5K have to be reported to the IRB and the donors named. It’s not clear whether the IRB went after Musa for unpaid taxes. The IRB doesn’t care how one makes money as long as taxes due are declared and settled.

It’s not known why Bank Negara did not pursue Musa for alleged money laundering. I stand corrected.

Money laundering has been defined in international law as having assets far in excess of what can be legitimately accumulated during a lifetime. Such assets can be frozen, seized and forfeited by the state by civil action.

Criminal suits would only be instituted if the civil action is challenged.

In Musa’s case, the MACC brought criminal charges with the consent of the Attorney General.

The MACC Act is only about simple “giver and taker” situations. Bribery and corruption stand defined in law as “deriving personal benefits”. The MACC does not do due diligence on inflated gov’t contracts. The MACC has declared, with a straight face, that gov’t contracts are not corruption since both parties signed the contract.

In the rule of law, the basis of the Constitution, there’s greater emphasis on the spirit of the law, read with the letter of the law.

The letter of the law by itself, as read by the MACC on gov’t contracts, isn’t law at all.

The 46 charges against Musa, as the public knows, were dropped apparently based on an Affidavit by Attorney General Gani Patail. Attorney General Tommy Thomas may not have been aware that Musa and Gani were related or he looked the other way.

Online news portal Malaysiakini was fined RM500K by the Federal Court last year for facilitating contempt of court by five subscribers on the Musa and related cases.

Selective persecution . . .

Ironically, in a study in contrast with Musa, Najib was fined RM210m by the court based on the main RM42m charge in the SRC International case. RM210m is the minimum five times the RM42m “personal benefit” amount. The maximum is ten times.

RM210m is a fatal flaw in law based on self-explanatory errors in facts and errors in law.

No evidence was produced in court that Najib derived “personal benefits” to the extent of RM42m.

“Whistleblower” Clare Rewcastle, The Sarawak Report Editor, claims that Rosmah the wife of Najib bought anti-aging creams with the money. If so, there’s no proof that the former “First Lady of Malaysia” (FLOM) spent RM42m on anti-aging creams.

The Agong will decide on miscarriage of justice. No court will go against Agong. The matter is nonjusticiable.

I rest my case.

Political power . . .

re political power, run-offs should be held between the top two candidates in seats where no candidate obtained at least 51 per cent of the votes counted, assuming that at least 50 per cent of the voters turned out in seats and nationwide. This is the norm not only in democracies worldwide but also even in communist parties. Indeed, communist parties may be more democratic than parties in so-called democracies. Furthermore, undemocratic pre-election coalitions are the norm in Malaysia but disallowed elsewhere in the world.

If run-offs were held in the recent Sarawak election on Sat 18 Dec 2021 for example, GPS (Gabungan Parti Sarawak) would have been dethroned. They have been in power, uninterrupted, since 1966 when the Federal gov’t declared emergency in the Territory and ousted Chief Minister Stephen Kalong Ningkan, twice within weeks.

He was restored, the first time, by the court. Ningkan became case law 1966.

Penghulu Tawi Sli, another Iban became Chief Minister briefly after Ningkan. Thereafter, no Orang Asal (indigenous) has been Chief Minister of Sarawak although they form the majority community in the demography.

Joseph Pairin Kitingan was Sabah Chief Minister from 1985 to 1994.

The Federal gov’t fears that Orang Asal Chief Ministers in Sabah and Sarawak would preside over the exit of the Borneo Territories from Malaysia.

Mahathir even cautioned Jeffrey Kitingan, after releasing him from ISA detention in early 1994, against “telling the people what they do not know” i.e. MA’63 and Borneo rights.

Sovereignty . . .

In law, when a gov’t can’t be changed through elections, the people have lost their sovereignty to a handful of “control freaks”, for want of a better term, in power uninterrupted.

It’s the responsibility of the international community, under international law, to restore sovereignty to a people who have lost it. Here, we are reminded on the “coalition of the willing” which ousted Iraqi Dictator Saddam Hussein in early 2003.

Sleeping between elections . . .

Democracy isn’t about voting once in four or five years and then going home and sleeping until the next general election.

Democracy must be a bottom up movement beginning with the restoration of local gov’t elections which remain suspended since 1965. That was the year that Indonesia’s “Ganyang Malaysia” (Hang Malaysia) and “Konfrontasi” (confrontation) campaigns were at their height.

Again, democracy only works if the people form movements on every issue. They should take to the streets if the gov’t refuses to enter into dialogue, closes the door to dialogue, the court declines to hear the People’s Petitions or rules in favour of the gov’t, almost every time, on judicial review Applications.

Gov’t is a form of evil, albeit “necessary evil”. Still, even a “bad” gov’t was better than no gov’t at all as the experience of Somalia in recent years shows.

In law, on paper, it can be argued that a gov’t can do whatever it wants unless restrained by the court or the people taking to the streets.

People’s Movements . . .

We have two examples, one from nearer home, on people’s movements.

In India, farmers took to the streets for months until the Modi gov’t was forced to withdraw three agriculture Bills ostensibly designed to modernise the sector.

Many agree with Modi on modernisation of the agricultural sector but not at the expense of the smalltime independent farmer, the backbone of rural India and democracy. Under the three Bills, big business including foreign Companies would kill the smalltime independent farmer and allegedly deliver a mortal blow to democracy.

The reality is that nothing can kill democracy in India. India defies, as proven time and again, all attempts at description and analysis.

India is the largest democracy in history and the greatest functioning anarchy in the world.

The Supreme Court of India presides over the disorientation, confusion and chaos that reigns. India proves that chaos is the only predictable property of the universe.

Malaysia, Malaya in particular, may be Modi aside a mini India in progress, and not likely to see the emergence of a new political force. Malaysia, like the majority of India, is a microcosm of the British Empire. About 500 Princely states, the major parts being Kashmir and Kerala outside Malabar, were not part of British India.

America . . .

Again, on Jan 6 last year, more than a million people descended on Capitol Hill in Washington to “stop the count” and demand electoral integrity, the basis of the US Constitution.

The Democrats and CNN continue describing Jan 6 as an insurrection and allegations on “electoral integrity” as “the Big Lie”. No court ruled that Jan 6 was insurrection. Opinion isn’t law. Only the court can declare law.

The Republicans charge that US 2020 was “the Big Steal”. CNN does not give airtime to Trump and two social media platforms, FaceBook and Twitter, banned him in a violation of law and the US Constitution. They can’t rebut him and brace for “the worst” in US 2024.

In law, a line must be drawn somewhere, lest Pandora’s Box opens.

No court will allow the floodgates to open.

The US Supreme Court declined to intervene in US 2020, on the grounds that “every vote must be counted”. It left the conduct of the presidential election to the states i.e. the legislature and counting officials.

It appears that under the guise of the pandemic — special circumstances — there was allegedly no electoral integrity in the US 2020 presidential election.

Every Tom, Dick and Harry including illegal immigrants and the deceased voted, there was widespread ballot harvesting, counting deadlines were arbitrarily stretched by counting officials in the states, and machine counting was found wanting.

The Republican states, the majority, have introduced legislation to ensure electoral integrity in US 2024 and the mid-term elections as well.

If America does not regain electoral integrity, civil war is inevitable. It won’t be a walk in the park like Jan 6.

Republicans moan that the BLM (Black Lives Matter) movement has seized a disproportionate share of the political power in US 2020.

Wrong reasons . . .

In Malaya, the Malay did not hesitate to take to the streets in the wake of GE14 on Thurs 10 May 2018, but allegedly “for all the wrong reasons”.

In law, there can be no discrimination.

Discrimination is a violation of human rights.

Human rights, the basis of international law, derives from international customary practices.

Author: fernzthegreat

Joe Fernandez holds a honours degree in management, majoring in economics, and has opted from academia in law to being a jurist. He was trained professionally on the job as a journalist. He's a longtime Borneo watcher, keen on the history and legal aspects of Malaya's presence in Sabah and Sarawak. He teaches the English language privately and has emerged as a subject matter expert in public examination techniques.

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