Monday, December 31, 2012

A year of infamy

Malaysians cannot look back with pride at all the disturbing events that have rocked the country in the past one year. The curtain will soon fall on the old year but Malaysians will have nothing to shout about. The events of the past one year have been a blot on the canvas that is Malaysia, a country that is still being ruled by the same power for more than half a century. What happened in 2012 has wiped out the smile on the face of the nation. Let’s rewind the reel and replay some of the notable scenes that would forever remain etched in the memory of Malaysians.

Coming into sharp focus is the yellow tide that flowed down the streets of Kuala Lumpur only to be stopped at the gates of Freedom Square. What happened on that April day will long be remembered as a day of infamy. The Bersih 3.0 rally united thousands of fellow-minded citizens for a lofty and principled cause that won the unstinting support of all races. The government did not see that way. It crushed the mass movement and spilled blood on the streets. It rudely snuffed out the light of democracy.

Now the scene shifts to the home of the Bersih leader, S Ambiga. Condoned suspiciously by the government, a bunch of rowdies put on a disgusting show that only invited all-round condemnation. Their insolent behaviour merely mirrored the rotten conduct of the authorities. The powers-that-be thought they could manipulate public opinion against the Iron Lady but they were dead wrong. The people poured scorn on all those leaders who misused and abused power to advance their nefarious ends.

Then there is the unforgettable show of “green power”. The 300km long march from Kuantan to the heart of Kuala Lumpur city is a powerful statement of human courage in the face of overwhelming odds. The big walk started with a trickle but soon swelled to a wave as people volunteered to join in to fight for a safer Malaysia. The government, blinded by corporate greed, chose to ignore the event. Malaysians took it seriously. The march under the banner of Himpunan Hijau sent a loud message to all those out to destroy the environment: Malaysia will not be a “garbage dump” for overseas companies.

The camera moves to another setting and there standing on the stage are the cows. These cows have been “short-changed”. They are supposed to be the pride of the country, supplying enough beef to the country but only dung was heaped on the plates. The National Feedlot Corporation that manages the National Feedlot Centre (NFC) that is looking after the cows did a botched job. Now the whole country knows that the bovine business stinks to high heaven because something had gone terribly wrong.

The exposé led to the downfall of Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, the “god” minister who claimed ignorance of the “cowgate” scandal. Her husband and son are running the business and yet Shahrizat told the incredulous world she did not know what they were doing although all are staying under the same roof. It is a shame that whistleblower Rafizi Ramli, for his pains, was charged with allegedly disclosing confidential information relating to the NFC debacle. But in the court of public opinion, the whole episode reeks of greed and dishonesty and those responsible for this despicable action should pay for it.

The biggest story of the day must surely be the “Deepak Jaikishan” revelations. The dirt, long kept under the carpet, is swept out and there exposed is the triangular relationship starring Mongolian translator Altantuya Shaariibuu, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and Rosmah Mansor. This sordid tale is all about statutory declarations. Deepak revealed he was the man who goaded private investigator P Balasubramaniam to retract the first statutory declaration (SD). The first SD is fatally damaging to Najib because it tied him to the murder of Altantuya.

Pouring more oil into the fire is Rosmah. Najib’s wife allegedly sought Deepak’s help to contact Balasubramaniam to get the first SD withdrawn. Balasubramaniam them came out with a second SD which repudiated the first SD. The plot grew thicker with the entrance of Najib’s brother Nazim Tun Razak and a certain Tan Sri lawyer. In this web of intrigue, Nazim allegedly got the lawyer to draw up the second SD and “forced” Balasubramaniam to sign it. The private investigator did not even get to see the contents of the second SD. The lawyer is now in hot water. All this revelation is unravelling the mystery surrounding the tragic death of Altantuya.

In the midst of this swirling tempest, Najib goes about his work with much pomp and splendour. Rosmah too keeps her haughty distance probably because she has more important business to attend to. All is peace and harmony because the mainsteam media also maintains a colossal silence. But the storm has been let loose and it is impossible for the country to carry on with its business with equanimity. The relentless howling presages more troubles ahead.

[Source: FMT]

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