Saturday, November 7, 2009

Crap! Why didn't I think of this before?

Young Gordy lived in Vancouver and bought
a donkey from a farmer for $100.
The farmer agreed to deliver the donkey the next day. The next day he drove up saying, 'Sorry son, but I have some bad news, the donkey died.'

Gordy replied, "Well, then just give me my money back."

The farmer said, "Can't do that. I went and spent it already."

Gordy said, "Ok, then just bring me the dead donkey."

The farmer asked, "What ya gonna do with a dead donkey?"

Gordy said, "I'm going to raffle him off."

The farmer said, "You can't raffle off a dead donkey!"

Gordy said, "Sure I can. I just won't tell anybody he's dead."

A month later, the farmer met up with Gordy and asked, "What happened with that dead donkey?"

Gordy said, "I raffled him off. I sold 500 tickets at $2 each and
I made a profit of $898."

The farmer said, "Didn't anyone complain?"

Gordy said, "Just the guy who won, so I gave him his $2 back."

Gordy now works for the government.

Geronimo's Take: Now that's lateral thinking at work!

The Art of Rhetorics

I would like to believe that I am well-trained in the art of rhetoric. It is a case of “syiok sendiri”, of course.

But then again, if I am not even able to be “syiok” about myself, how would others be “syiok” with me? And today, in the spirit of “syioksendiri-ism”, may I bore all of you with my thoughts on this subject.

It is common knowledge that some of our Ministers – and members of Cabinet – are quite intellectually-challenged. This is obvious from the various statements which they make in public.

Zahid Hamidi’s “we must respect their culture” – when he was trying to deflect the embarrassment caused to the BN, and himself, caused by the Chinese sex concert – was but one example of an absolute failure of the brain to take control of the tongue.

Further back in time, Nazri Aziz’s “he called me because I am his Minister” – uttered while attempting to explain why the Lord President called him to issue a denial respecting the V.K.Lingam tape – was a shining example of a lack of appreciation of how the legal system worked.

Mahathir Mohammad is a champion when it comes to rhetoric. After his retirement, he is fond of laying the blame for everything which has gone wrong on everybody but himself.

“I did not sack Tun Salleh, the tribunal did”, said him. Of course, he forgot that he was the one who established the tribunal.

“I did not put Anwar in jail, the Court found him guilty and put him in jail”. Yes, yes, haven’t we all heard of that too. “I did not destroy UMNO, Abdullah did”. “I did not do this, you did”.

What these esteemed intellectuals failed to realise, and appreciate, is the fact that their audience are not at all stupid. Their audience are not some 3 year-olds with phlegm running down their nose holding a half-sucked lollipop standing still with mouth wide opened in awe of them and their speeches. In fact, it is quite stupid of them to think that we are.

The ability to project oneself to an audience is a must if one were to aspire to be a good politician and consequently, a good leader. What more if one is a minister. Even more if one is a foreign minister.

Anifah Aman’s obsession with the Altantuya murder and Anwar Ibrahim’s moral standing in the USA was astounding, by any standard. It is taken right out of the book of diplomacy, namely, from the first paragraph of the Chapter titled, “What not to do”.

It was totally unprovoked, irrelevant and too insignificant, especially when viewed from the perspective of the State Secretary, “Her Excellency” Hillary Clinton. In fact, for our foreign minister to address her as such, is a protocol disaster for Malaysia.

I hate to wonder what Americans and other civilised nations think of us.

And to think about a headline in The Star proclaiming that “America wants to learn from us” – when in fact what was said was “we (America) must learn from each other (in dealing with the economic meltdown)” – makes me ticklish all over. That was “syioksendiri-ism” taken to the extreme!

Eco Umberto, in a paper given at University of Bologna on May 20, 2004 posits that rhetoric is a technique of persuasion. It involves discussing, arguing or debating over matters in order to find an opinion which is agreed to by the highest number of people. In short, it is the mechanics by which a consensus on a particular issue is achieved.

It is therefore important that the participants in that debate or exchange of rhetoric should work out arguments that are hard to dispute, to use proper and suitable language and also to “arouse in the audience those emotions appropriate to the triumph of our arguments”.

Let us analyse Anifah Aman’s latest statements about Anwar Ibrahim’s interview by the New Yorker recently.

Hishamuddin Hussein was quick to say that Anwar was trying to “fool the world”. Not to be left out, Anifah was quoted as saying that Malaysians should be “very, very hurt” by what was published in New Yorker and continued to say “Malaysian who do not feel embarrassed, is not Malaysian” (sic).

That is a clear example of how a debater or participant in an exchange of rhetoric should not start his or her argument. That technique is called “captatio malevolentiae”, a technique which is normally aimed at alienating the audience from the speaker and turning them against the speaker.

It is like me, standing up in court to begin my case by saying, “I know morons like you won’t understand me but allow me to teach you”. (I must hasten to add that I am not saying that there are moronic judges in our courts). Or, how about me saying, “I think you are an idiot if you don’t agree with me on this”.

The exact response of the audience to that kind of rhetoric would be one of isolation and soon, one of anger and resentment. “What do you mean I am an idiot if I don’t agree with you?”, would be the silent response.

Soon, somebody would loudly say, “I am not the idiot, you are!”. And from then onwards, the debater would just be drowned with so much negative responses that his or her arguments would not even take off, let alone heard, dissected, analysed and agreed with.

Putting that to the fact, our obvious response to minister Anifah would be, “what do you mean I am not a Malaysian if I don’t feel embarrassed?” “If I am not a Malaysian, what am I, a Martian?”, says a more cynical and sarcastic audience.

“In fact, what you said, Mr Minister does not make sense. You said any “Malaysian who do not feel embarrassed, is not Malaysian”. That is rather inconsistent. How could a Malaysian not be a Malaysian?”, asked another one who was obviously more detailed and analytical.

Just to complete this short dissertation, allow me to explain the opposite of “captatio malevolentiae”. It is called “captatio benevolentiae”.

This is aimed at getting approval from the audience by indirectly – and without sounding condescending – complimenting them.

I can begin a debate on the abolition of the ISA, for example, by saying “I am sure the right thinking people in the room would agree with me that the ISA is draconian and uncivilised”. Soon, everybody would be agreeing with me because then, they would be “right thinking”.

Or how about, “it is an honour for me to speak before such a distinguished and learned people”.

And so, I suppose, minister Anifah should have said, “I think right thinking people of Malaysia would be embarrassed at what Anwar said to the New Yorker.”

I am sure all of you, highly-intelligent readers of this post, would agree with that. :)

[Source : Art Harun]

Friday, November 6, 2009

OTK & KTK kena kau kau ....

After this tirade from our MP of Sri Gading, in all good sense of dignity, Ong Tee Keat and Koh Tsu Koon should have resigned from their posts in the cabinet. The words used to describe these two fellas were utterly out of line and degrading
and I am wondering what gives them the ability to stomach these insults. If a fellow component party member of the BN could pass such adverse remarks, how much more respect do MCA and Gerakan expect from the ordinary man in the streets?
Such behaviour by UMNO against BN component party members will not end here. It will happen again and again and MCA and Gerakan, in their usual selves, will sit there smiling with mud thrown at them. For once, the MP for Sri Gading was right.
Gerakan or KTK is nothing but a "balls carrier".

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Latest on the Nizar/Zambry court case

Regretably, the final number of judges sitting on the bench to hear the Nizar/Zambry case this morning is five and not eleven as requested by Nizar, and furthermore, Justice Gopal Sri Ram is not one of the five either. The latest as reported by Malaysiakini ....

The future of the Perak Pakatan Rakyat state government and that of ousted Menteri Besar Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin hinges on his crucial appeal, which is being heard at the Federal Court today.
nizar and zambry court 130509
Much is at stake at this hearing, which will determine not only who is the legitimate menteri besar but also set a precedent for future similar political imbroglio.

The apex court is also expected to interpret the rulers' powers in dissolving the legislative assembly and the appointment of its chief executive.

Five of the country's top judges have been picked to hear the case despite that Nizar has sought a full 11-member bench given the importance of the case.

Court of Appeal president Alauddin Mohd Sheriff is leading the five-member bench. Others are Chief Judge Malaya Arifin Zakaria and justices Zulkefli Ahmad Makinuddin, Mohd Ghazali Mohd Yusoff and Abdull Hamid Embong.

Attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail, who acted as an intervener to help interpret the Perak and the federal constitutions, was also present in court.
Nizar is represented by a team of lawyers led by senior counsel Sulaiman Abdullah, while another senior lawyer Cecil Abraham is representing Perak menteri besar Zambry Abdul Kadir.

Journalists and members of the public were at the Palace of Justice in Putrajaya as early as 7am, where the hearing will be held.
Security was tight as police and security personnel require those planning to go into the courtroom to obtain special passes.
Three key questions
Three constitutional questions have been posed for the country's highest court to decide:

1. A proper interpretation of Article 16(6) of the Perak constitution under which a menteri besar can advise the sultan to dissolve the assembly. What if there is no motion of no-confidence against the MB and that he refuses to resign?

2. Can the sultan determine if a menteri besar commands the confidence of the majority of the House without a vote in the assembly?

Article 16(6) of the state constitution also relates to a motion of no-confidence being made at the state legislative assembly and an interpretation is being sought on this.

3. Whether the state constitution allows the sultan to sack a menteri besar or can the position be deemed vacant if he chooses not to resign.

To hear Nizar's application first

First on the agenda is Nizar's application for his appeal to be heard before a full bench of judges given the importance and constitutional implications in the case.

Nizar had on Oct 28 filed an application for the matter to be heard before either an
11-member bench or an enlarged quorum of more than five Federal Court judges.The basis for this application, as the former Perak MB states in his affidavit, is that it involves constitutional issues regarding the interpretation of the Perak constitution which would have a direct impact in the interpretation of the provisions in the federal constitution.

Nizar also said that the apex court's decision would affect all Malaysians and would become a precedent to similar cases in the near future.

“The issues and constitutional problem in Perak have not been resolved and a full quorum of Federal Court judges is important as it involves public interests and the jurisprudence history of the court in Malaysia.

“Furthermore, the legal issues which is raised following the Court of Appeal decision involves the rejection of strong constitutional cases involving the powers of the menteri besar or the chief ministers of Sabah and Sarawak,” Nizar had said in his affidavit.
Nizar wins one, Zambry wins one

The MB vs MB case, which began in March. saw Nizar winning in the High Court on May 11 when justice Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahim declared the Pakatan leader, who is PAS Perak secretary, the rightful menteri besar.

Subsequently, Zambry was granted stay within 24 hours
by recently promoted justice Ramly Ali on appeal at the Court of Appeal.
This was followed with appellate court decision by a three-member bench on May 22 to overturn the High Court decision and
acknowledged Zambry as the legitimate menteri besar.

Nizar had encountered problems filing his application for a stay at the Federal Court after the three judges
delayed submitting their written judgments.

Two of the written judgments were only made available on June 27, a month after their oral decision, while the third was made available in early July.

Are the figures true?

Were there really 40,000 people who turned up to listen to Najib and his cakap-cakap on 1Malaysia in Ipoh recently? Mmmmm ...... maybe you should read this article to judge for yourself. Scroll down to the heading that reads : "How One Can We Be?" [page 3]

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Justice Gopal Sri Ram it is!

Ousted Perak Menteri Besar Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin's final appeal at the Federal Court tomorrow [November 5 2009] will be closely watched as the reputation of the judiciary is at stake.

Speculations are rife if Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak, Justice Richard Malanjum and highly-respected judge Justice Gopal Sri Ram may be on the bench.

This is because out of the 13 Federal Court judges, Malanjum and Gopal, along with recently elevated judge Justice Heliliah Mohd Yusoff have not taken part at all in the Perak case.

nizar interview parliament 261009
Chief Justice Zaki Azmi, along with recently elevated Justice Md Raus Sharif, who were part of the three-member bench at the Court of Appeal, that overturned the decision in favour of Zambry Abdul Kadir as the menteri besar, are not expected to be part of the panel to hear this appeal.

Zaki had said in the past that he is keeping himself out from handling political cases, owing the fact that he was Umno's legal advisor.

That leaves 11 judges to be selected to the bench tomorrow. However, the apex court can call or promote judges from the Court of Appeal as part of the panel as has been practised in the past.

Mohd Nizar (
above) had
applied for a full bench of 11 judges to hear the appeal that he hopes could end the Perak political imbroglio.

President of Court of Appeal Alauddin Mohd Sheriff and Chief Judge of Malaya Arifin Zakaria have been permanent features in handling all Perak cases that comes before the Federal Court.

Certainly, impartiality, along with justice and fairness are important characteristics needed when hearing the case as outlined by Mohd Nizar in his affidavit in support of a full bench.

And certainly, to show impartiality, judges who have not played a role in any part of the Perak matter will be seen to have this characteristic.
Sri Ram delivered Metramac judgement

Sri Ram (
right), who was the most senior judge in the Court of Appeal prior to his elevation earlier this year, is scheduled to retire in about six months.
gopal sri ram
He is known for his bold and reputed judgment in the Vincent Tan vs MGG Pillai case.

His judgments are highly respected and have been used as guidelines for the lower courts.

One of his well-known judgments was in the Metramac case where in his decision, he implicated corporate figure Abdul Halim Saad, and former Finance Minister Daim Zainuddin, in having to pay damages to Fawziah Holdings Sdn Bhd.

Sri Ram remains a highly respected judge who is not only held in high regard by lawyers but the public as well.
Malanjum lone dissenter in Lina Joy case

The Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak, who is the youngest to be appointed to the post, is seen as one of the better judges who is not only sharp but delivers excellent writen judgments.

Justice Malanjum was the only dissenting judge on the apex court who sat in the controversial Lina Joy conversion case.

Many have commended his reasons and basis to dissent the majority judgment that ruled that Lina had to go to the Syariah Court to renounce Islam.

He had ruled to allow Lina to change the status of her religion in her identity card, as she could not get legal recourse in the Syariah Court.

Mohd Nizar in a press statement on the eve of his case is hoping that the presiding judges selected for his case are well versed in constitutional law.
Judiciary's reputation at stake

"At a time when the reputation of the judiciary is being questioned, the public expects a fair trial," said Nizar.
"I venture to suggest certain judges have been conspicuous by their absence although they are eminently qualified. Why have they been sidelined?
"The best way to convince the public that the hearing tomorrow is a fair one is to ensure that all Federal Court Judges sit on that day as this case is of national importance," he added.

He said public perception is that justice must be seen to be done.

Besides the judges mentioned above, the other federal court judges are justices S Augustine Paul, Hashim Yusoff, Zulkefli Ahmad Makinuddin, Ghazali Mohd Yusoff, James Foong and Abdul Hamid Embong.

There will be five judges, identities yet unknown, who will first hear Mohd Nizar's application for a full bench.
[Source: Malaysiakini]

Pathetic Police Play Politics in Perak - Martin Jalleh

I was in Ipoh last week on business and checked in at the Casuarina Impiana Hotel. Just as I was about to press the lift button to go to my floor, two persons rushed into the lift. Hey, what do you know? It was that Jelapang Hii and a male companion. The lift door closed and there we were, just the four of us - me, my associate, Hii and her partner. I was looking at her and all she could do was either looked down or looked away from me. It happened again on Tuesday morning when she checked out of the hotel. Talking about coincidences!! Anyway, it is worth the while to read what Martin Jalleh has written on the Perak crisis. Darn it, why can't the Sultan just dissolve the assembly and be done with it, and probably have peaceful sleeps after that instead of the nightmares he has to put up with.

Bolehland continues to boast of the world’s one and only State with two Chief Ministers (Menteris Besar), two Speakers, two State Governments and two State Assemblies conducted simultaneously under one roof.

The Prime Minister’s slogan of 1 Malaysia is beginning to bear much fruit as the Government, Police, Judiciary and Election Commission bond and blend together as one to bury any political dissent and opposition.

The doctrine of the separation of powers is blighted by the usurpation of power by the PM and those willing to do his bidding. There are no longer any boundaries or checks and balances – only cheques waiting for those who bow in subservience to the political elite.

The only “boundaries” left are those separating the government from the people – barricades, blockades, barriers and barbed wires like those put up by the police at the Perak State Assembly building recently. Be prepared for more barbaric times.

It has become standard police practice to brandish a blanket court injunction a day or two before every Perak state legislative assembly sitting, thereby barring the people from their very own public arena or forum so that the police can do what the PM and Umno likes.

Beholden & Blind

On the black day of May 7 this year, the police had barged into the Perak State Assembly, forcibly dragged out the Speaker, and detained him for about 90 minutes.

Even a Umno leader, disgusted by what he saw, described the brutal act as “high-handedness at its foulest”.

Never before had Bolehland seen such a blatant aggressive invasion and intrusion by the police into the august chambers of a State Assembly – the highest and most sacred institution in a democracy, one which is out of bounds to even the police!

The footage of the Perak Speaker being manhandled and bundled off and the arrests of 60 opposition MPs and state representatives outside the State Assembly badly blunted the image of the Government. They were banned from being aired on all TV stations and even at a DAP dinner!.

Through the new media however, footage of the police’s public notoriety was beamed across the globe. But the police were not at all bothered by the rakyat’s perception! They were back again with their brute force before the state budget assembly sitting on Oct 28.

The Police blindly and zealously enforced the “Emergency Rule(s)” of the fraudulent BN Speaker. Obviously beholden to the powers that be, they treated the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) assemblymen like a bunch of criminals or enemies of the State.

The state assembly building bristled with about 400 men in blue armed with the latest gear, guns and gadgets. It looked like a battlefield. The headline of a Malaysiakini article so rightly read: “BN Perak took counter-terrorism-like measures”.

Bullies in Blue

The PR assemblymen later related how they were harassed, huddled, hindered, hampered and some even hammered by the bullies in blue as they “hurdled” through three barriers and two checkpoints (!), whilst a helicopter hovered above!

As though that was not bad enough, the Police, bent on humiliating the PR lawmakers, subjected them to a body search and a metal scan and forcibly removed their hand phones, lap-tops, cameras, video equipment, etc., before they entered the hall.

Once again Speaker Sivakumar had to bear the brunt of the police brutality. According to him, the police, in order to keep the media out of sight and to strip the official speaker's robe off him, had planned to trap him in the basement parking lot of the State Secretariat (Malaysiakini).

(One day before the assembly sitting, the Malaysian Insider sighted notices tacked on all notice boards in the state secretariat informing the staff to keep the basement parking lot empty “to ensure the assembly proceedings ran smoothly”!)

As the PR assemblymen entered the parking lot, a horde of policemen pounced on the Speaker. He was jostled roughly, pulled in all directions, strangled with an arm lock to a point that he could not breathe and had his robe ripped off him (Malaysian Insider). Those who went to his aid were also roughed up.

Simpang Pulai assemblyman Chan Ming Kai said he was pushed to the ground and dragged by his hands on the cement floor when he tried to save Sivakumar. In his attempt to recover the Speaker’s robe he was grabbed and slammed onto the bonnet of a car (Malaysia Insider).

There were even installed video cameras transmitting live the activities of PR assemblymen to the state police headquarters and the national headquarters at Bukit Aman! (Malaysiakini) Will Bukit Aman also spy and intrude into the affairs of Parliament one day? Is it already happening?

Bull & Buffoons

In sharp contrast to the drastic and extreme measures that the PR assemblymen were subjected to, the BN assemblymen breezed through to the assembly hall. At least one of the BN assemblymen was seen using his laptop. The bogus (BN) Speaker Ganesan was protected by a wall of 22 new sergeants-at-arms! Indeed, Umno’s interests were well-protected!

The BN-installed MB Zambry brushed aside the accusations of police assault and harassment by Sivakumar and some of the PR assemblymen. He branded them “drama queens” and claimed that they “just want to dramatise everything, to create a big show …”

Perak Chief Police Officer Zulkifli Abdullah bellowed almost the same lines. No extreme force was used on Sivakumar and other PR assemblymen at the parking lot. There was no conspiracy to attack the Speaker and representatives away from media scrutiny.

When asked why the police had not attempted to confiscate the robe from the beginning, when the PR representatives were outside of the secretariat building and the media were still present, Zulkifli blarred and bulled:

“That is our job. When we choose to do things, and when we decide to do, it cannot be questioned. We cannot reveal our practice. You should know better. I cannot reveal when and how we want to do things.”

Zulkifli added that those PR assemblymen claiming they were attacked wrongfully could lodge reports at the police station: “If reports are lodged, we will conduct the necessary investigations” (Malaysian Insider). The Police will investigate the Police?

Little did Zambry and Zulkifli know that someone had zoomed in on the “inappropriate police action”. Pictures of what they had earlier denied were splashed in the Chinese newspapers. Malaysiakini produced online a video clip showing “Pakatan Aduns, blocked, pushed and shoved ...”!

Is it any surprise that “Dr Zambry was unflappable and his team behaved with utmost decorum” (Joceline Tan, Star) in the State Assembly hall? Outside, their lapdogs in blue had done the dirty and disgraceful job of harassing and humiliating the PR Aduns.

Zambry had accused PR of creating “a big show”. Surely no one can beat Umno’s drama of “1 Malaysia, 2 Peraks and 3 Kataks! What about Zambry’s big show of police power and brute force? Was it really necessary?

The Malaysian Insider provides a brilliant and related answer: “Only those who take power illegally would go to such lengths to shore up their legitimacy to rule a state. The last time this was done was when the British locked down Northern Ireland while fighting off the Irish Republican Army (IRA). Yes, Ipoh now shares something in common with Belfast. Doesn't make it right, though.”

The bare truth that remains is that what happened to Speaker Sivakumar and the PR assemblymen on Oct 28 is yet another example of the Police’s increasing use of the name of public order and security to protect the political security of Umno and to carry out its orders.

What the public saw on Oct 28 was in reality a bulldozed budget, the continued blatant betrayal of the wishes of the majority of the people of Perak, the most bizarre protection given to a bogus Speaker, the bloated ego of a fraudulent MB and the blind and biased subservience of the police to its political masters.

There was, of course, the people’s MB and Speaker and their colleagues who were bold enough to continue to stand up and refuse to buckle under to Umno’s shameless display of belligerence, brazen high-handedness and unbridled arrogance of power.