My Anthem

Monday, June 30, 2008

Two CONtrasting Responses to Alleged Smears

Desi seldom carries Updates on news breaks carried by MSM ONline, but as in Life, there are always EXCEPTIONS.Here's one more:


Anwar sues former aide

KUALA LUMPUR, MON (Updated:2:20pm):

Parti Keadilan Rakyat de-facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has filed a defamation suit against his former aide for allegedly lodging a police report on June 28 against him for sodomy, claiming that the report is false and malicious,

The suit was filed at the High Court registry at the Jalan Duta Court complex at 10.30am through Messrs Ranjit Ranjit Ooi & Robert Low.

DESIDERATA: CONtrast this response with an earlier epi(C)sode of Raja Petra Kamarudin's Statutory Declaration with an allegation involving the current Deputy Prime Minister's wife Rosmah and two others being present at the scene of the crime related to the murder of Mongolain Altantuya.

Najib Tu Razak only commented some five days had passed following RPK's claims in his sworn affidavit, and only stating that it was all lies and fabrication.

The natura reaction of any normalhuman beings would be to more or less take out a "defamation suit" to protect one's reputation, especially when the allegations implied either a party or accessory to committing murder.

MORE FOOD4THOUGHT NOWADAYS, which is healthy since most people, including Desi, are cutting down on "material food" like nasi lemak, roti canai dan char keow teow! The thing is that we must really digest our food -- both mental and pysical -- and see (4) the Truth. Sei (C) liau LIAU, anywan?

Deja Vu -- No place is safe for citizen Anwar Ibrahim

Desi is relying on The Malaysian Insider for a good chronological record of events surrunding Sdr Anwar Ibrahim, PKR leader and PM-in-waiting. The eralier piece is a fair and insightful ANALYSIS, IMHO-lah!

Since a 23-year-old lodged a sodomy charge against the man popularly deemed to be the "next" PM if and when the Pakatan Rakyat wins controlof the Malaysian Parliament, touted by PR leaders to take place before Sept 16, 2008 -- Anwar is experiencing a "Deja Vu" nightmare. The first outing saw two key figures who are now quite likely to be reprising other roles almost ten years later.

From the earlier report's UPDATE is extracted the key points,which I have marked 1-3:

"(1) I have been told that my assassination has not been ruled out as means to subvert the people's will and bring an end to the transformational changes taking place in Malaysia.

(2) Notwithstanding the threats which are intended to silence my voice, I intend make public new evidence implicating that the Inspector-General of Police Musa Hassan and Attorney-General A. Gani Patail engaged in criminal acts of fabricating evidence in cases launched against me in 1998.

(3) The allegations that have been made against me on Saturday are nothing more than a replay of the events which transpired in 1998 when I was sacked from the office of the deputy prime minister, jailed and beaten, and then charged and convicted by a kangaroo court for crimes which I never committed.

DESIDERATA: It's Deja Vu as I said earlier as the two protagonists back in 1998 named in point (2) are also now holding powerful positions today, namely the Inspector-General of Police Musa Hassan and Attorney-General A. Gani Patail , who allegedly, according to Anwar, "engaged in criminal acts of fabricating evidence in cases launched against me in 1998".

Point (1) highlights the fact that Malaysia is no more a safe place as far as Citizen Anwar is concerned, as evidenced by the fact that he became a near-daeth victim of the then IGP in 1998 when he was assaulted while held as a prisoner in the early days after the sacking by then PM Dr Mahathir Mohamad (the (IN)famous Black-Eye picture when Anwar emerged from a Black Maria to be brought before the Court in Jalan Raja,KL, remember?)

So it's litle wonder that a Malaysian citizen who came back from the throes of Death would be compelled to seek temporary refuge in a Foreign Embassy for then Anwar is out of reach of the Malaysian Police now headed by someone Anwar has good grounds to fear, Musa Hassan.

Yes, maybe an advantage by hiding out at the Turkish Embassy would shine the inernational media spotlight in greater light,and why not, this is a GAME OF SURVIVAL,nothing less than the possibility of death by assasination of apotential Head of Malaysain Government.

"Fellow Malaysians, pray very hard that the law-makers and law-enforcers do not become the law-breakers. I think many Malaysians have grounds to be 'very afraid' of their so-called leaders."


Here's another news report, and later, when you are freer, surf to Malaysia-Today to get a picture of Anwar's ACCUSER, and also some peeps of the newsmaker-at-what-price/
and make sure you READ THE FIRST FEW COMMENTS accompanying that Post, allin Bahasa Malaysia.-- YL Chong

Anwar drama heads for standoff with govt

KUALA LUMPUR, June 29 — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is holed up in the Turkish embassy here, setting the stage for a standoff with the government. By seeking refuge in a foreign mission, the de facto Opposition leader is also preparing to internationalise the alleged sodomy case being built up against him in Malaysia.

Parti Keadilan Rakyat's Azmin Ali did not disclose to The Malaysian Insider whether Anwar was seeking political asylum abroad but his supporters said that they believe that his life is in danger and that he could be on the hit of those who do not want him to come to power.

"He has been there since 6am," said Azmin.

His choice of the Turkish Embassy for protection is not surprising. Since his release from jail after the Federal Court overturned his conviction for sodomy in 2004, Anwar has struck a close relationship with Turkish Premier Reccep Erdogan.

The Opposition politician leaned heavily on strategists from Erdogan's AKP in planning Pakatan Rakyat's successful election campaign. This assistance was frowned upon by the government and since then, government officials have been suspicious of Erdogan's motives and of Anwar's link with the AKP.

Meanwhile, there was surprise and puzzled looks in Putrajaya as government ministers burnt the telephone lines trying to find out if the police report by Anwar's aide against him for alleged sodomy was part of a political campaign to discredit the former deputy prime minister.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi denied that the aide, Saiful Bukhari, was a pawn in the government plot to kill off its formidable political opponent.

The key oint to note pertains to "...his supporters said that they believe that his life is in danger and that he could be on the hit of those who do not want him to come to power."

Our country in the past 50 years before the March 8, 2008 General Elections has witnessed the almost unassailable power and dominance of the Barisan Nasional machinery, which is at the beck-and-call of the UMNO chieftain, presently he is the Prime Minister whose premier post is under threat from within and outside UMNO, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Responsible Media vs Couldn't care less wans...

A recent Blogsworld-begotten buddy DPP sms-ed in the graveyard shift hour lust night (he knows this Midnight Voiz would be on the PC, BC...
"Refer mkini police report new sodomycase anwar ibrahim"

After t'anking him with a cyber-tehtari', Desi dared not access the Net as he's bitten once, three times shy because it was raining cats, dogs and wolves (yes, this species are coming out of the political woods!:( and a lightning strike always repeats,if you believe the story i "The postman rings twice...". You fathom the link between te Postman and Lightning -- my only sweet recall is one of juicy actress whose name I shall nowt share with but TEAse my ER because then you'll Giggle her name and Desi's knot into sharing prized numbers.

Where was I?
DIGRESSING, off course!

OK, after con BF, not at men kee Cos that outlet did not open but at a Lobak eatery whose price is more than 50% ...can't be lower-lah, you optimistic masochistic Malaysians. mGf ancient mariner, who just joined Desi as among 3 groups vying for fame/ignonimy? at a certain Best Blogger in Malaysia (English) Poll as informed by Mr X, has his famous quote reprised many times, so to that bugger who lodged the new Sodomite report against DSAI, I repeat: "Go eat shit and die...!"

My copy of the New Sunday Times ran this frotpage, bottom-of-page one-liner:

So I updated DPP aka SHANKAR (y)ES that all I saw on P4 "... a newsreport without mentioning DSAI, only 'opposition leader', NO second report with DSAI's answer...?"
Anyone Lawyer hear can offer help to Desi to file a suit against the NST for "FALSE ADVERTISING," ah? -- leading Desi to part with RM1.20 this dull, storm-nigh moUrn? Let's split 50-50 with a 40million claim, can?The little law and consumerism I knwo tells me I stand an almost zero chance of winning, but "What's this life, if full of care, we have no time to write and dare?..." Mr (late as usual) WH DAVIES must be smirking somewhere...

Since I don't have a subscription to Mkini -- churchmousey writHer, remember? -- I despatched another SOS to the ucourtly but civil DPP to C&P ***'s report to forward toDesi, please... I almost fell to my knees.

*** I'm joining some cheapO Blogger-frenetics in citing (two words, not wan!) Mkini in fool as it is promised the online newspaper would highlight thy Blog -- so this is an EXperinMENt to test the TRUTH! Remember one of MBH's objectives is to seek out the Truth, the "Hole T..., never mind, you lose readers once you go +long-winded... (+ BTW, which stands for By The Way in blogspeak, + is part of my name. Another part which provides a perennial defence when I stumble is ++++Errata...

NB: I left an Errata++++ msg at Mr X's when he mixed up johnlee mk and Dr azy Rahman in a current POLL at www.thex... somethin' which I will fill the hole late!, but that's covered o'lady!:(

Here's a GEM of an ANALYSIS I stole from a professional news site giving pay2view MKini a run for its or Georrge Soros' money...

Sound the trmpet for an intelligent breakdown of the nation's state-of-affairs concerning The-PM-in-Waiting

BY The Malaysian Insider

Sunday June 29, 2008:

A different Malaysia 10 years on


JUNE 29 — Here we go again. Like 10 years ago, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim appears on the cusp of taking power. Like 10 years ago, he is facing a career-ending charge of being a sodomite. Like 10 years ago, this charge is going to put the country into a tailspin, split families right down the centre, drive a wedge between life time friends.

The Malaysian Insider finds out what has changed since 1998 when Anwar was accused of sodomy and sacked from government by the then prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.


Anwar Ibrahim

Six years in jail, a message of change and a promise of a better future for all Malaysians has turned Anwar from political opportunist into the hope of the nation. The Anwar of today and 1998 share some similarities – both appear more comfortable in the company of rhetoric than in substance. Both appear in a hurry for the ultimate political prize. Both crave for the international spotlight.

But the Anwar of today is genuinely admired by Malays, Chinese and Indians and viewed by many as the one politician who could unite the nation and chart a new era of growth and stability for Malaysia. Few believe that he was guilty of corruption and sodomy and are convinced that he was a victim of trumped up charges by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

His ability to rise from the depths of defeat and despair, and unite the Opposition with a reform message has caught the imagination of the Malaysian public.

In 1998, he and his close circle of supporters believed that it was his time to occupy the top political seat in the house. Today, many Malaysians think that he is the prime minister-in-waiting. They are more than willing to overlook his faults and shortcomings.

There is going to be a fair bit of cynicism going around today about the police report lodged by his aide. The name of Sukma Darmawan will pepper lunchtime conversations.

On Sept 19, 1999, Sukma was jailed six months by Sessions Judge Hasnah Mohamad Hashim after pleading guilty to allowing Anwar to sodomise him.

He had pleaded guilty to committing an act of gross indecency under Section 377(d) at the official residence of the former Deputy Prime Minister in Kuala Lumpur in April 1998.

In 2006, the Court of Appeal comprising Justices Gopal Sri Ram, Hashim Mohd Yusoff and James Foong unanimously allowed Sukma's appeal and set aside the conviction and jail sentence.

The judges said they were convinced that "in the circumstances, the conviction was wholly unsafe."


One of the chief concerns during the recent Umno supreme council retreat was the independent streak displayed by several mainstream newspapers. Party officials felt that the Star, New Straits Times and the Sun seemed anti-establishment on certain days and fawning in their coverage of Anwar and Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng on other days.

They suggested that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi take stern action against the top media bosses. Sad. They just don’t get it.

The era of controlling media coverage or expecting newspaper to sugarcoat all reports about the government is over. It ended officially on March 8.

Fact is that the editors of the mainstream media had to face one reality after March 8: that 48 per cent of the Malaysian electorate voted for Pakatan Rakyat. As such, the newspapers and television stations had to recalibrate their bias against the Opposition or flirt with irrelevance.

Sure there will be wall-to-wall coverage of the police report filed by Anwar’s aide but in the days and weeks ahead Anwar and critics of the government will also get their space in the Star, Sun, Edge Financial Daily and other mainstream outlets. Some writers will scrutinise all the actions by the police and let the public know if the stench of a stitch-up is overpowering.

There will not be the Pravda-like journalism of 1998 which saw the NST, Malay Mail, RTM and TV3 convict Anwar even before he stepped into court. Why? Because the editors know that the punishment from Malaysians will be swift and painful. Why? Because the media bosses know that unlike 1998, Malaysia’s alternative media is fully developed.

If the mainstream media is one-sided, Anwar and his supporters can take comfort that the public will turn to the vast number of blogs and news portals that have mushroomed in the last decade for their source of information.


It’s gone. Malaysians have lost their fear of going against authority, of voting in the Opposition, of challenging the prime minister, of demonstrating on the streets and of the unknown. The result: a messier but a far more accountable Malaysia.

There was a time when Malaysian would have opted for stability over anything else. They would have put up with stock answers from Barisan Nasional politicians, and accepted blindly assertions by the police.

Not now. Even the mighty are finding this out. Perhaps no other group has benefited from the unshackling of fear as much as Pakatan Rakyat. Perhaps no other politician has urged Malaysians to cast aside their traditional caution as much as Anwar Ibrahim.

If the police believe that they can walk up to Anwar’s spacious home, whisk him away in unmarked police cars and detain him indefinitely under the Internal Security Act like they did in 1998, they will be in for a rude shock. Not only will Pakatan Rakyat bring large crowds onto the streets across the country but the authority of the BN government to rule Malaysia will be severely undermined.

Anwar has to be given due process, the police investigations must be transparent, and the evidence must be able to withstand the toughest scrutiny. Otherwise, it will be Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and his administration which will end up being on trial. And it will not be a pretty sight.

The Opposition

The sacking of Anwar from government and Umno in 1998 split the Malay community. Parti Islam SeMalaysia (Pas) benefited greatly from the fissures, overnight transforming itself from a political bit player into a mainstream heavyweight. In the 1999 general elections, Pas retained Kelantan, won control of Terengganu and won 27 parliamentary seats.

But the Opposition was weak, an alliance in name only, and greatly outnumbered in Parliament. Not today. Today the PKR-DAP-PAS alliance has 82 MPs and controls Selangor, Perak, Penang, Kedah and Kelantan.

Today, Opposition politicians have the stature and command the respect of a significant number of Malaysians. They have the numbers and can send the country into paralysis with demonstrations if they choose to do so.

An UPDATE, also from The Malaysian Insider:

Anwar's latest statement
Released at 5.30pm from the Turkish embassy in Kuala Lumpur

JUNE 29 — I am issuing this statement from within the embassy of the Republic of Turkey in Kuala Lumpur.

I was transported to the embassy earlier this morning fearing that my personal safety was in danger. I thank all those who offered to assist me in this time of need and am grateful to the Turkish ambassador for extending an invitation to seek refuge within the embassy.

Since the March 8 elections, numerous credible sources from within the government and military intelligence have advised me that certain agents from within Barisan Nasional leadership have initiated plots to cause harm to me or my family or my supporters.

I have been told that my assassination has not been ruled out as means to subvert the people's will and bring an end to the transformational changes taking place in Malaysia.

Notwithstanding the threats which are intended to silence my voice, I intend make public new evidence implicating that the Inspector-General of Police Musa Hassan and Attorney-General A. Gani Patail engaged in criminal acts of fabricating evidence in cases launched against me in 1998.

The allegations that have been made against me on Saturday are nothing more than a replay of the events which transpired in 1998 when I was sacked from the office of the deputy prime minister, jailed and beaten, and then charged and convicted by a kangaroo court for crimes which I never committed.

This charade was orchestrated by a corrupt Barisan Nasional leadership which made use of the entire apparatus of the state power including its control of the judiciary, the police force, and its grip on the mainstream media.

These actions are being repeated today to undermine the forces of reform and renewal which were unleashed in the March 2008 elections.

I would like to assure my family, friends and supporters in Malaysia that I am safe and remain committed as ever before to continuing the struggle for a free and just Malaysia.

Anwar Ibrahim

English language from Borneo Post

desiderata.english CCR:)
WARNING: some DDC hear/here!

TEAser Challenj: First THREE emailers wit' an answer to "CCR" above get a kopi of YLChong's "Midnight Voices" as "long" as I can reach you and not at that graveyard near Shah Alam where some C4 sexpert took aMore than wan life -- 4 in Kantonis sounds like "Sei", and oft is followed by liau LIAU!

For Malysians including Desi knot wellnursed in
Canton, get in touch with Yan-ny or Helen or Sabrina, yes all myGOoDfriend in the plural -- to explain why the blardy health Desi aweways has been reprising Sei-loh! LOL! and the lust is "laughing Out Loud" allowed on Blogosphere, but get my AP Okay! Along the way, buy them tehtari' and they may even, without my permission, oblige wit' a thesis clarification on DDC!

A quick benefit Desi reaped from Blogging was that within 1-1/2months of flagging off My Blue Heaven, I was privileged to be invited to run a column called Desiderata.English in an East Malaysian newspaper named THE BORNEO POST. As an act of gratitude to mGf Yan who was the "enabler" -- a combo meaning encourager and able -- to my using that platform based nigh Catsville, today I highlight a subject close tomy hear -- THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE.

I have always taken pride in my mastery of Shakespeare's languange -- thanks to the colonial masters, and if the BN YOuth wings want to take umbrage with my paying high regard to this heritage, go ahead, jump into the fire and burn, just like you might follow on ShiHuangTi in China making a bornfire of books -- welcome to make my day. More of some people resisting to use any language for that matter to advance themselves, I say Syabas, remain in the well. That makes my class and fellowmembers more valuablein the marketplace.

Meanwhile, here's Cut&Paste from two Sundaes:):), part of serving for CON BF six hours from now should you find thy way to join Desi at Men Kee!Even ladies likeAnak Merdeka are welcome -- but bring your own kopi as I only serve tehtari'>>>>>>> TwistedHeels, Sabrina Tan&Tan sisters, care to bring some WitstakerChoc?

Sunday, June 15th, 2008

The wonders of English

By Kaypo Anak Kuching

Part 1

NOWADAYS, the letters section of our major national daily newspapers is still flooded with complaints bemoaning the decline in the standard and scope of English usage in Malaysia. Certainly, most fresh university graduates find themselves quite unemployable in the private sector because their proficiency in the English language is often found wanting.

Again, the debate on whether the teaching of math and science in English should be discontinued rages on. On both sides of the coin, people talk incessantly about the need to acquire this linguistic skill as a ‘universal tool of communication’.

Indeed, English is not an easy language to master for non-native speakers. There are numerous rules in grammar, pronunciation, and spelling, and there are numerous exceptions to each rule. For instance, there are 20 ways of making a plural.

Then, there is the problem of acquiring a comfortable vocabulary for the communication to be powerful and elegant even. Exactly how many English words there are is still a matter of debate. The estimates among expert range from 750,000 words and 1.5 million words, depending how you define a ‘word’.

Do you count ‘set’ and ‘setting’ as two different words? The Oxford English Dictionary, the most authoritative lexicon of the English language, a complete set of which has probably yet to be found in Sarawak, has given 200 separate meanings to the word set. Are they considered different words? How about verbal phrases such as set to, set upon, and set off? Are they different words as well?

The vast and rich complexity of the English language owes a great deal to its evolution through the long passage of time. So the natural question to ask is: where did it all begin?

In his celebrated book The Adventure of English — The Biography of a Language (2003), Melvyn Bragg has this observation to report:

“In 1786, Sir William Jones, a British judge and amateur linguist on service in India, after a close study of Sanskrit, which had been in existence since at least 2000 BC in the Vedic hymn, wrote: ‘Both the Gorthik and the Celtick, though blended with a different idiom, have the same origin with Sanskrit.’”

“He was right; Proto-Indo-European is the mother of us (Europeans) all and Sanskrit is certainly one of the older attested members of the family of languages out of which came all the languages of Europe (save Basque, Estonian, Finnish, and Hungarian) and many in Asia.”

One of the numerous tributaries of this Proto Indo-European linguistic river emerged around 15 hundred years ago as a tribal dialect in Germanic lands for about 150,000 natives collectively known as the Anglo-Saxons, comprising mainly the Saxons, the Angles, and the Jutes.

The Anglo-Saxons and their descendents have been known to be a restless lot, always on the move across vast expanse of water in search of new land and perhaps a better life. In the first phase of adventure in England, the success of their military prowess was equalled only by their linguistic dexterity in exiling the native languages on the British Isles, the Celtic and the Gaelic tongues in particular.

Their earliest recognisable version of the English language is known as Old English, and we would find it incomprehensible today. The poem Beowulf first written down in Old English about 1000 years ago would have a line like this: ‘Da weason burgum Beowulf scyldinga…’

Nevertheless, according to Bragg, our modern day English is still founded on and funded by words from the Old English. The following words are Old English words: is, you, man, son, daughter, friend, house, drink. Here, there, the, in, on, into, from, come, go, sheep, shepherd, ox, earth, home, horse, ground, plough, swine, mouse, dog, wood, field, etc.

Over the next few centuries, the English tongue slowly changed into the vaguely comprehensible Middle English. The most representative literary work of Middle English is Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales written in the 14th century, a book that I had to study when doing English Literature in a university overseas. Two lines from the book will give you an idea of Middle English:

“Whan that the knight had thus his tale ytoold, In al the route ne was ther yong ne oold.”

By the 16th century, modern English was already taking shape, and most of us would have no problem enjoying the genius of William Shakespeare (1564-1616) today, especially if we are forced to study his plays for passing examinations, often against our will.

“It is Othello’s pleasure, our noble and valiant general, that, upon certain tidings now arrived, the mere prediction of the Turkish fleet, everyman put himself in triumph.”

By and large, the English people would cherish Shakespeare as their foremost national treasure. This is what Richard Watson Todd has to report about the Bard in his very entertaining book entitled Much Ado About English (2006):

“With 37 plays, 154 sonnets, and a few other assorted poems to his name, the prodigiously productive playwright had a massive influence on the theatre and English literature in general.”

“What is less well known is Shakespeare’s influence in the English language. His entire work contains over 20,000 different words, and some authorities reckon that one in twelve of these was an invented word or gave a fresh meaning to a current term.”

“Shakespeare made up words, added prefixes and suffixes to existing words, combined words, and change nouns into verbs.”

“When we say something is fashionable, marketable, obscene, or flawed, when we say someone is critical, generous, lonely, or useless, and when we talk of accommodation or a bump, we are using words that Shakespeare originated. His influence is unparalleled.”

The growth of the English language over the past millennium has been very much propelled by great works of art in English literature. Poets and writers are constantly trying to explore the limits of the language, seeking new ways of saying things, and inventing new words.

While Shakespeare employed 20,000 words for his plays, most writers would use less the 10,000 words for a modern novel. After all, the book would not be overtly popular if every new page would send the reader to the dictionary. Some would argue that simplicity is elegance, and Hemmingway’s prose is even childlike!

Contrast them with James Joyce, arguably the most profound writer of English Literature in the 20th century, though he was an Irishman who preferred to live in France in the later part of his life. He is reputed to have used 50,000 different words in the novel Finnegan’s Wake, albeit most of these words he made up. I have tried to read this particular book many times, but it is hard to proceed beyond the first few pages.

My point is this: the English language, or any language for that matter, cannot be treated as a mere tool, as is advocated by our politicians and our educators. You cannot learn to be proficient in English as you learn to use the computer.

You have to appreciate the beauty and the complexity of the language, through daily usage, total immersion by daily reading and writing if possible, and above all think in the language.

Above all, the best way to learn English through appreciating its beauty is by teaching English literature, especially poetry, though there ought also to be regular English classes for the teaching of grammar and rules.

I remember my great delight in the music of the spoken words when my English teacher taught us about alliteration in the poems of William Wordsworth on the first day of English class in Form One:

And sing a solitary song

That whistles in the wind.

Then we were asked to say out loud the following lines:

She sells seashells on the seashore.


The sixth sick Sheikh’s sixth sheep’s sick.

That kind of English lesson you would remember for life! The trouble with teachers teaching math and science in our schools to day is that they are probably not proficient in the language themselves. They have also probably been corrupted by the mangled Manglish so endemic nowadays. I shudder to think of the disaster of using our school children as mere guinea pigs by teaching math and science to them in English.

(To be continued next week)


Sunday, June 22nd, 2008

The wonders of English

Part 2

FROM its distant roots as a mixed-bag of local dialects spoken by about 150,000 tribesmen in Germanic lands some 1,500 years ago, English has evolved into the closest thing we have to a universal language today.

This long journey in the historical evolution of the English language has been nothing less than both tortuous and perilous. Twice in the early stage of its life, English was threatened with extinction.

More than a thousand years ago, the Anglo-Saxons had already invaded and settled down in England. The language that they had brought with them had done well in competition with the native Celtic and Gaelic tongues.

But they had to face their first crisis when the Vikings started to raid their island homes. These northern Nordic people spoke the Old Norse, and among the invaders, the Danes were the fiercest, driving the English monarch King Alfred into hiding in the marshes.

The Danes were ‘heathens’ who had no respect for books and learning. If they had succeeded in decimating the English people and the English tongue that they spoke, the English language would perhaps have perished forever.

Fortunately, King Alfred was able to marshal a loyal army of 4,000 men in the spring of 878 AD, and challenged the invading army of 5,000 Danes at the Western edge of the Salisbury Plain. What happened next was a rout, a massacre of the Danes against all odds. King Alfred had saved England and the English language. He is the only English monarch to have earned the title King Alfred ‘the Great’!

The second crisis came in 1066 when the Norman King William the Conqueror and his army crossed the English Channel from their Normandy homes and landed at Hastings on the English shore. There, they defeated the army of the English monarch King Harold and claimed sovereignty over England.

The Norman conquerors were French, and so French and Latin were used in the court and the church as the official languages of England. Fortunately for the English language, the Normans were a minority, and so the English tongue continued to be spoken and used by the masses, limiting French and Latin to the small circle of the ruling elite.

In subsequent centuries, the Norman kings had to fight against the French in France. Sometimes, power struggle also drove them to fight among themselves in a contest for the throne. In order to mobilise the local English masses for their cause, they had to resort to the use of the English language.

In 1399, Henry, the Duke of Lancaster, overthrew King Richard II, and ascended to the throne as King Henry IV. In a great symbolic moment, he made his inaugural royal speech in neither the Latin language of state business, nor in the French language of the royal household, but in what the official history calls ‘His Mother Tongue’: English. English was once again a royal language in England.

Another element of the élan vital of the English language to survive and grow to immense size and complexity is its seemingly limitless capacity to absorb other languages, to convert others, certainly to take on board others without yielding the ground on its own basic meaning and vocabulary.

For instance, the ‘sk’ sound is a characteristic of the Old Norse, and to-day, we have English words borrowed from the Vikings like ‘skin’, ‘sky’, and ‘score’. Other Old Norse loan words include ‘birth’, ‘cake’, ‘call’, ‘dreg’, ‘eggs’, ‘guess’, ‘happy’, ‘law’, ‘leg’, ‘ransack’, ‘scare’, ‘sister’, ‘skill’, and ‘smile’.

During those three centuries of Norman rule, under the linguistic hegemony of the occupying forces, it is estimated that some 15,000 Old English words were lost. But French flooded the English vocabulary with numerous new words. About 10,000 French words were thus integrated into the English language during this period.

In the language of war, the French words absorbed are ‘army’ (from armee), ‘archer’ (from archer), ‘soldier’ (from soudier), and ‘guard’ (from garde). French also spelled out the new language of the social order, as in ‘crown’ (from corune), ‘throne’ (from trone), ‘court’ (from curt), ‘duke’ (from duc), ‘nobility’ (from nobilite), ‘peasant’ from ‘paisant’, and ‘traitor’ (from traitre.)

After the start of the Industrial Revolution in England a couple of centuries ago, the need for raw materials and new market drove the English overseas in search of colonies. The British Empire emerged as the most successful imperialist superpower of the world, with the Union Jack flying high wherever there was sea water.

Wherever they went, the British colonial government imposed their own brand of linguistic hegemony on the local population, much as the Normans have done to the English people during the early part of the second millennium. That has had much to do with the almost universal usage of English nowadays throughout the world.

All over their colonies, the English language was enriched by the words and expressions it absorbed and made its own. In his book Much Ado About English, author Richard Watson Todd quoted Booker T. Washington as saying:

“We don’t just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.”

The notorious and much feared word tsunami is Japanese in origin. The word tornado comes from Spanish, curry from Tamil, mosque from Arabic, bog from Gaelic, and wombats from the Australian Aborigines. Our Malay words like kampong and amok have certainly been long accepted as legitimate entries in any English dictionary. Even Gweilo, the Hong Kong Chinese’ term for all Caucasians, meaning ‘foreign devil’, is now used by more and more English writers.

What make English such a difficult language to master are precisely the varied sources from which it derives its vocabulary as well as its hoard of borrowed expressions and idioms. By knowing from where the word or expression has originated, you can get a rough idea of how to spell and pronounce them.

When I choose a dictionary, I always pick one that gives you the etymological background of the word. In this, the Oxford English Dictionary is peerless: it gives you the entire long history in the evolution of the meaning and usage of the word or expression back to the occasion when it was first encountered!

For instance, the word condom was likely derived from the Italian for glove, guanto. And the word jazz originated from the Creole word jass, meaning strenuous sexual activity.

Richard Watson Todd tells us that many idioms have very ancient root indeed. Both hair of the dog and living in cloud cuckoo land date back to 400 BC and the Greek poet Aristophanes. Let sleeping dogs lie is derived from Chaucer in 1374, and a needle in a haystack comes from Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes in 1605.

The growth of American English has since increased the prowess and influence of the English language in no small measure. As Sir Winston Churchill was reputed to have observed, American and England are two countries divided by a common tongue. The emergence of the United States as the new superpower of the 20th century has also contributed to the prestige and the power of English in international relations and foreign affairs.

Last but certainly not least is the new language of Internet English in cyberspace. Any old-timers and linguistic purists who like their ‘i’ dotted and their‘t’ crossed will certainly cringe at the corruption of the English language in chat rooms and interactive websites. Some of the conversations going on there are really incomprehensible!

Finally, we have the many patois that have been born through a strange marriage of English with the local native tongues. One of these is our very own Manglish, the mangled English spoken mostly by Malaysians in West Malaysians. Fortunately, Manglish has not invaded Sarawak in a big way, and we should keep it that way.

For many decades now, the question of language has been the most contentious political issue in Malaysia. Nationalists have for too long regarded English as the remnant of our shameful colonial past. Official policies on education has led to a decline of the standard of English, much to the detriment of the country.

To me, English is just another language, a common heritage of the world. If we can speak and write in English, we might as well do it as best we can.

DESIDERATA: I may just be inclined to get away from the madding crowd and egain my literary worlde on Sundae having garden tea partee whiling away the dime wit' companions like Ancient Mariner recity his "long" rime, and mindful mariner song-ing Irish folks songs plus dronking Irish cafe!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The mountain from afar

sunny rays peepin through de clouds
of cottony blue, white and grey
i look towards the beckoning green canopy
mount furong looks breathy from afar

i stand in the valley of seremban
starting a hike of hope and breakaway
from a jungle

of politcians shouting at the top of their
sweetmelody to shouters' ears
jarring to the enforced audience

alm st four -- Sei in kantonis -
blardy months after march 8
the chorus is still out of harmony
the conductor looking Hi&LO for his baton

the orchestrator seems just mported from Great Britain
out of tune, out of mind

the mountain looks serene
Parliament House inhabitants sound a gaggle of geese

i reach the top
it's heavenly up hear

you Politikus wake up
the world is slipping us by

as you writHe in your whirlpool of self-interest
among slithery mobs of dfferent hues
but within

still little mounds of cow dung
duck's tales and bull shit

i'm goin' to the mountain top
for a breather
away from the din and meanness
of meanness behind that handshake

and artificial s-mile-s
mounted on mounds of dung, well-lined coattails and bullshit

of the sub-human species of Homo sapiens
we lovingly call YB ...

Yang Bullshitter

PS: Composed in a moment of madness that cometh quite often
post-March 8; mayhaps NegaraKu is becoming a semi-asylum,
or a jungle of treehouses fool of cuckoos?

slithery rattle-snakes

CSM: Statement on 'Mythical Bumpitera Corporate Equity'

Press statement by Dr. Lim Teck Ghee

Obsession of BN Government with Attaining Mythical Malay Corporate Equity Target Shows UMNO Failure to Learn From Election Losses

It is disappointing that the Government in the recent parliamentary tabling of the Mid Term Review of the Ninth Malaysia Plan continues to harp on the attainment of racial corporate equity share targets as a key economic goal to be pursued for the country. Indisputable evidence exists that the methodology used by Government for calculating racial shares is seriously flawed. Past attempts by many quarters to persuade the Government to open the official data sets on corporate ownership have been met not only with foot-dragging but also by a flood of misinformation in the belief that a big lie told repeatedly will appear to be the truth and prevent further public scrutiny.

Quite apart from the dubious accuracy and integrity of the official data, why is the Barisan Nasional Government - and UMNO in particular - so obsessed with pursuing a policy of redistributing wealth based on ethnic quotas which has - in its over 30 years of implementation - only benefited a small group of already rich and privileged Malays? Have the lessons of the March election losses not sunk in sufficiently yet? Or is greed and self interest still trumping all other considerations?

If the Government is really serious in improving the lot of the poor Malays through what I consider to be an anachronistic and badly premised redistribution strategy, let it do so by having publicly-listed shares distributed to poor Bumiputera through trust agencies, such as the ASN and ASB rather than to select individuals. At the same time, there should be equal determination by the Government to increase the share participation of the Indian and East Malaysian Bumiputera community through similar community-based trust agencies. If not, we will see a continued recurrence of an elite benefiting from this policy of IPO-obtained shares divesting them for huge profit - and in the process generating much discord and discontentment.

Kuala Lumpur

28 June 2008

Dr Lim Teck Ghee is the CEO of the Centre for Policy Initiatives (CPI), and is now heading a team in developing a new Think Tank website at tentatively planned for launch in early August, 2008..


Friday, June 27, 2008

Two Takes on Effects of Oil Touching Record USD140(ERRATA 400 corrected!)

On the local front, from The Star Online:

Friday June 27, 2008 MYT 11:33:02 AM (Msian time)
Stocks fall, oil at record US$140

KUALA LUMPUR: Stocks opened sharply lower Friday as investors’ sentiment took another round of battering, weighed down by the fall on Wall Street as oil spiked to a new record high of US$140.39.

At 9.30am, the KLCI was down 16.75 points to 1,187.14. Turnover was 37 million shares valued at RM83.88mil. There were 25 gainers, 224 losers and 71 counters unchanged.

Asian markets fell, with Japan’s Nikkei 225 down 280 points or 2.03% to 13,542.27, Singapore’s Straits Times Index lost 1.73% to 2,929.51 while Shanghai’s A Sahre index opened 3.58% lower at 2,935.23.

In New York, US stocks plunged Thursday, with the Dow sliding about 360 points to a 21-month low as oil hit a record and Wall Street powerhouse Goldman Sachs urged investors to sell bank and automaker shares, escalating concern about the outlook for profits.

Reuters reported that oil surged above US$140 a barrel in New York trading, compounding fears that soaring inflation will hamper a global economy already on the ropes.

General Motors' stock sank to its lowest level in 53 years, after Goldman warned that the big US automaker could have to raise capital and cut dividends in a brutal slowdown for the auto industry.

The Dow Jones industrial average slid 358.41 points, or 3.03%, to 11,453.42, putting it within the grasp of a bear market.

At Bursa, the major losers were BAT and DiGi, down 50 sen each to RM43.25 and RM23.90, TM International 35 sen lower to RM6.35, KL Kepong 30 sen to RM17.20 while Genting lost 25 sen to RM5.55 and Public Bank and IJM 20 sen each to RM10.30 and RM5.25.

Luxchem, which made its debut, fell 16.5 sen to 93.5 sen.

Aictively-traded AirAsia fell 2.5 sen to 82.5 sen while Resorts and Gamuda gave up three sen each to RM2.68 and RM2.30 respectively, MRCB shed two sen to RM1.14.

DESIDERATA: You punters out hear -- giving benefit of the doubt to some of my Esteemed Readers who still have spare cash to play on the Bursa Malaysia, a caution from YL, a newshound of 'some' Business experience, things are going to get worse before it gets better. Trust my instincts -- post US presidential elections in November, 2008, the lightning and thunder will slay the sleeping punters, some may even lose their pants, eexposing the colour of their underwear. Please spare the underwear, lest you be also chatrged for indecent exposure!

PS: You chance of winning at Tai-Sai at Genting's is 50-50 except for the six combinations of all 0s, all 1s, etc, to all 6s, which you BUY INSURANCE at certain intyervals to win handsomely by placing timely bets.

DISCLAIMER: Blardy health, I don't offer professional tips so IF you take positions, frontal, back or sideways, it's at your own risk. Don'tsend me no letter letter -- I am allergic to any letterheads from legal offices. I had had a bad experience since age 22. (The two digits add up to 4, which is SEI in Kantonis...) So if you don't have cash to punt, please forget having read my Post today:(

On Down Under front or back, from

Petrol to jump after oil hits fresh record
By staff writers
June 27, 2008 11:17am (Oz time)

Prices likely to break $1.70 a litre next week
Could go as high as $1.80 over the next month
Related story: How to reduce your petrol bill

PETROL prices could push back through $1.70 next week, after the price of crude oil broke through $US140 a barrel overnight.

NRMA boss Alan Evans said last night's oil spike wouldn’t be felt at the petrol pump until this time next week when prices are likely to be "in the $1.70s" per litre.

"That rise (in oil) should probably see the highest price in the week (increase) by about 5c, and we should see it this time next week," Mr Evans said.

Commsec economist Savanth Sebastian said record oil prices would only affect Australian drivers if they proved to be sustained increases.

"Any sort of price on one day, and a fall back is not going to have an impact," he said.

Australian petrol prices are set against an international benchmark, Singapore Mogas 95 Unleaded, this is a refined petrol not crude oil.

Mr Sebastian said because the Singapore petrol prices have recently fallen, Australian prices could actually fall to a national average of $1.58 a litre over the next couple of weeks. But if the record oil prices are sustained, petrol could hit as high as $1.80 a litre within a month.

"While motorists may see some benefits over the next fortnight, it's likely that if the price continues to remain at these levels (of $140 per barrel) then it's going have a strong impact over the coming months."

The price of crude oil broke through $US140 a barrel overnight. OPEC president Chakib Khelil predicted further price spikes could push oil up to $US170 a barrel later this year because of the ailing US dollar.

Mr Sebastian backed this outlook, saying there was a "good chance" the oil price could reach that in the short term.

"If you start seeing prices rise by those sort of levels, you're probably looking at the national average petrol price getting up to $2 a litre (by the end of the year), so you'd see prices around $2.10, $2.15 at the higher end of the cycle."

Expect a record pump price

Caltex spokesperson Richard Beattie said any change in petrol price from the latest spike wouldn't be significantly higher than what we've seen before, as the crude price wasn't "materially different to the previous peak crude price".

"You wouldn't expect there to be any significant difference in the peak petrol price from what it's peaked at previously."

But Mr Evans said that was unlikely.

"That's a record price for a barrel of crude oil, so we'd expect to see a record price at the pump," Mr Evans said.

Mr Beattie reiterated prices wouldn't spike at the bowser straight away.

"We can expect changes in prices do take a week to two weeks to flow through to the Australian market, as the market is based on a seven working day rolling average of the Singapore petrol price."

If you are concerned about Malaysians who migrated to Ozland (many of my friends did, some 10-15 years back -- I wonder if they once a while think of Desi?) -- DON'T. While they are taxed lots, they also enjoy WELFARE BENEFITS IN HARD & BAD TIMES. You heard of the Dole, yes?

(Yaeh, yeah, yeah, some mornoic APs will AP in the steal of the night to call Desi names like Moron of a socialist, but dare not engage in rational discourse. Hiding beind cowardly wolf's clothing!:( Damn you, the ilk of big mac!)

If you are laid off a job, or suddenly become unable to work due to unforeseen circumstances, please help thyself. The Government has no "fallback" plan for you.
If you have EPF savings, lucky you. If you have working child/children who are still filial, God has blessed thee a thousand fold, say a grareful prayer every night that your children continue to hold to their jobs, and yes, drink lots of tehtarik or PUerh tea to stay healthy.

To others less fortunate, you can borrow a phrase from mGf and whisper ludly: Go eat shit and die. One fan responded: Go eat more shit and die slowly. I think their targets is the blardy BN government,Yes/No/Mayhaps? Okay, let's leave PETRONAS alone for now.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I Didn't Make 'it to Double Datuk Honours list!:(

Sigh, sigh -- Desi's name was not included in the double Datuk honours list/listing at the recent Awards in conjunction with the Yang diPertuan Agong's BD, Sigh...; rumour has it YL Chong egotist-writHer-that-he's also is knot ap-ing in the coming NS Yang DiPertuan Besar's BD list! Sigh aMore...

Blardy health, I didn't make wit to the single Latuk list!

NOTE aside: mGf ancinet mariner's swearing due to the fuel price hike has spread his flu to Desi, so if F*** words like Fake! fly out of YL's orifice, blame the Foul emission on Capt Yusof Ahmad, I believe you can hammer him for polluting the PKFZ by overwhelming the issue with rumours of megabuck losses, which became self-fulling wisdom truths like most of RPK's, but I am digressing, Minta Maaf ia, Dar'ing!

I think someone else -- also related to media, olde or nu'e, why do you need to no? -- heaved the heaviest sigh heard throghout the 'hole of Malaysian blogsphere when rumour had it he was to be uplifted to Tan Sri status, but when the results came, it was still a grade lower. Luckily his stars were stil shining, less bright,he wasn't delisted. Somehow,somewherewan blardy Blogger lust year created a new category on Bursaa Malaysia under Laughing Stocks. I believe mGf rockybru's had something to do wit' this, No brudder? -- the letdown, I mean, no,not on rocky's part, that ***Sigher's butt. (*** mGf writers like Kim Quek, donPLAYpuks and johnleemk, who has just come of age and can now go right on top of that blondie at the United States Conquest library...:) ~~ is this NOUN form permissble, ala a 17-year-old Y&A jumping to 19-year-old on reaching shores A-broad?

Hey, this late morning a new Commenter greAted Desi wit' more than Datuk or Tan Silevel-honours, intimating I am an esteeemed writHer in Ingerris -- one grade higher than ex-MB caught in Australia with his pants, not down, filled with more than 2.4million bucks and his Xxcuse was he DID NOT UNDERSTAND OZ ENGLISH IMMIGRATION FORMS to fill up/follow regulations.

I reproduce hear, to show it's not my wilde imagination, as by now, from my Anthem up there, you know I'm a Beatles' hardcore/softontheoutside fan! Hey Jude, Don't make it bad, take a sad song,and make it badder...


1 comment(s):

Just wanna inform you this blog has been officially nominated as a candidate for …

The Greatest Malaysian Blog – BLOGGER (English) A(


Message from:
the X opinions

By Mr. X,

Tapping on the signature of Mr. X, it led Desi first time to this trail:

The Greatest Malaysian Blog - Blogger (English) A
0 Published on XX-XX-XXXX by Mr. X

Poll: Which BLOGGER do you think has the the Greatest ENGLISH BLOG in Malaysia?

I have divided the blogs into three groups as there is a big number of quality English blogs in existence. The top 3-4 winners of the respective group will eventually contest with each other to be crowned as of King of the All English Bloggers.

Raja Petra – No Holds Barred
Dr. Azly Rahman – A Republic of Virtue
Patrick Teoh - Niamah!
Farish Noor - The Other Malaysia
Anil Netto
Sheih Azidi - Kickdefella
Marina Mahathir - Rantings by MM
Amir Muhammad
Eric Woon - I Am A Malaysian
Y L Chong - desiderata

NB: You may always CHANGE the selected option later. Vote ‘Mr. X’ (available in some polls) if none of the listed candidates is good enough for you.

DESIDERATA: I have an eerie feeling mGf moo_t is up to some bad nominating Desi-YL in the steal of the night so that he can soon get a byte -- 30%? -- of that 20million for My Blue Heaven now refurbished minus the autumn brown when Puerh tea leavers were flying through the air and dancing on my Blue Sude Toes!:):)


Objective of the poll is basically to create AWARENESS and to elevate COMPETITIVENESS among Malaysians as well as the nation as a whole.

If you have a better candidate than the listed ones, please do not hesitate to leave a comment with details of your preferred candidate.

Suggestion will be appreciated and if you’d like to propose a new poll, please try to propose up to 10 options as the technically allowed maximum for each and every poll.

You’re welcome to REPRODUCE any of the polls published herein in any website simply by following the ‘COPY POLL’ link (only visible after you have voted).

Admittedly, Mr. X is no guru in most of the polled areas. Rest assured no error and omission is intentionally created. His apologies for any inconvenience caused.

Thanks for voting … YOUR OPINION COUNTS!

Two Premium Takes on Petronas and Subsidies

Today just past the midnight hour when I'm dog-tired and Sunday's CON BF is too far away, I shall find an easy out of Blogging originals by syphoning off a former Premier's writes at remodelled after alleged "spam" (?) plus another from Dr R Thillainathan on an issue that's impacting most Malaysians' daily lives in chiefly negative ways. I hear groans and moans from fellow Malysians after the Government raised petrol prices by 40% recently, which fuelled an all-round increase in almost all other goods and services, especially basic foods and transportation charges -- everyone, especially the businessmen and traders, blames it on the fuel price without clear explanations, compounded by flip-flop measures, when many of us consumers guess it has more to do with the BN Government's systemic corruption, rampant wastage and leakage worsening year by year over the past 20 years, and finally, the fowl/foul has come back to roost/roast,making the Rakyat the main victims, and the leaders, especially well-connected establishment politicians and their cronies, piling up indecent gains and loot in overseas banks, but that's another story for sunnier days:(.


Posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at June 24, 2008 7:32 AM

Certain members of Parliament are focusing on Petronas, apparently trying to divert attention from Government over the thoughtless increase in oil prices. If I am not mistaken this is a prelude to appointing a 4th floor candidate as head of Petronas as they did when removing Tengku Mahaleel of Proton.

There is also an attempt to blame me for "advising" the Government on removing the subsidy. I would like to clarify again that although I am called Adviser to Petronas, I do not advise at all, least of all to the Government.

Once in a while I get a briefing from Tan Sri Hassan Marican, the President of Petronas. I also get the annual report which is available to the public. My main job is that of a post box. I pass on to Tan Sri Hassan numerous requests and proposals which people send to me. I have absolutely no say in the decisions made by Petronas.
During the time I was Prime Minister, Petronas reported to me and I made certain decisions e.g. the price of gas to be sold to power stations, the need to go abroad for oil exploration and production. To keep electricity price low I did not allow gas price to be increased. Petronas sustained losses but not much as crude prices were around US30 dollars per barrel. Today it is US139 dollars per barrel. Gas prices have likewise increased so that losses sustained by Petronas is much higher. That is for the Government and Petronas to sort out.

The public may have noticed that only Petronas supplies Natural Gas for Vehicle (NGV) for motor vehicles. The amount is also limited. This is because sale of NGV incurs a bigger loss to Petronas as the Government did not reimburse. The other oil companies refuse to sell gas as they would lose money at the price fixed by the Government during my time.

I have an office at the Petronas Towers and I am paid an allowance of RM15,000 per month, less RM5,000 income tax. If the Government wants me to step down now that I am not an UMNO member it is welcome to do so.

It would be a pity if politics is brought into the management of Petronas. Unlike other national petroleum companies Petronas has become one of the international petroleum companies like Shell, Essso, Total and others.

It operates in 36 different countries worldwide and its business includes upstream and downstream activities, onshore and offshore. One-third of its revenue comes from foreign operations. It is a Fortune 500 company listed at around 250.

If the 4th Floor takes over, Petronas may suffer the same fate as most national petroleum companies. Petronas staff are very well trained and much in demand overseas. If they leave I am not so sure Petronas will continue to be the model national petroleum company that many oil producing countries desire to emulate.


And if you cae to surf to, there has been a section highlighted as FEATURED THEMES -- OIL & GAS running for some time,keping abreast of the ramifcations and fallout of the fumes and foul air arising from leaking petrol pumps and government's so-called megabucks disappearing into thin air.

So much so many in Blogsworld, including one donPLAYpuks and wan Desiderata, have been/are/will still be asking:

Petronas Billions -- Quo Vadis?

A Critical Review of Price Control & Subsidies in Malaysia
Written by Dr. R.Thillainathan
Friday, 20 June 2008 16:00
A Critical Review of Price Control & Subsidies in Malaysia

(A Note prepared for delivery at LSE Alumni’s Forum on Rise & Fall of Subsidies on 26.5.08)

The Forum is on the subject of the Rise & Fall of Subsidies. Under Dr Mahathir Mohamad (Dr M) the extent and size of subsidies widened and expanded. The framework he created for the control of prices of petroleum products was a time bomb. I am sorry it did not explode in his face. Instead it exploded in the face of his chosen successor PM Dollah Badawi (DB). In the process it led to subsidizing consumption on a colossal scale and on an indiscriminate and inequitable basis. More areas of investment were also subsidized. Such investment subsidies is being further expanded under DB.

Production & consumption subsidies – nature, extent & implications

Historically, the economic and financial management of Malaysia has been generally prudent. Reliance on subsidies and price control was limited and very selective. But DrM was more radical with his price control experiment. An experiment that has turned out to be a nightmare for Malaysia and his successor. It distorts resource allocation, makes for inequity and threatens to undermine the country’s sacred legacy of fiscal prudence.

Before DrM subsidies were aimed at production and investment and not at consumption. A more serious problem with subsidies then – it was implicit and opaque and not explicit or transparent. Therefore it was less amenable to public scrutiny. And it made it more difficult to question the government on its subsidy program.

Investment activities that were subsidized heavily but implicitly were as follows:

- double cropping of padi (with irrigation provided free of charge);

- land development and resettlement (with the administration cost of the scheme not recovered from the settlers);

- provision of education (where fees charged were small relative to cost and more so for higher education) and

- key areas of manufacturing and tourism (where profits earned were exempted from tax).

As the padi farmers and settlers were amongst the poorest in the country, the subsidies extended to them were not wholly inequitable. University graduates and businessmen (in non-traditional areas) singled out for subsidies were less deserving no doubt. But in the first few decades of independence it may have been justifiable to subsidize graduates and businessmen given the high rate of unemployment and the critical importance of knowledge workers for development.

DrM greatly widened fiscal incentives (to cover agriculture and IT services) and expanded the size of implicit subsidies (by exempting profits earned over a longer period).

Dato Seri DB has also aggravated inequities. Firstly by widening the class of exempt investors. It now covers even those engaged in real estate development. And secondly by withdrawing the tax-exempt status of equity investments of workers with the EPF and of retail investors with PNB and the likes (by replacing the imputed system of taxation of dividends with a single tier system of taxation).

Let us now look at explicit subsidies. Its coverage and size was always limited until DrM’s time bomb exploded in DB’s face. The handouts under the school food & nutrition program are the only items of consumption that were subsidized and strictly in a limited way. Production inputs subsidized were fertilizers as well as (to an extent) credit in padi farming and textbooks for schooling. The payment of a guaranteed price to local padi farmers has been, until recently, more in the nature of a production and not a consumption subsidy. (See footnote 1 in the attached Annex Schedule). Now with a run-up in the world price of rice and a near unchanged guaranteed price, the padi farmers are likely to be the real losers and the licensed traders/importers the big winners.

Dr M’s consumption subsidy time bomb took the form of the approved price mechanism (APM). He erected this back in 1982 for petroleum products. The mechanism maintained the price payable by the consumer to the government’s fixed (or controlled) price. To ensure that the producer received the market price, it adjusted the tax payable by the oil companies or the subsidy payable to them.

DrM was the lucky PM. During his long over-stay as PM, to maintain the fuel price (paid by consumers), only the tax rate had to be adjusted and little or no subsidy was payable.

DB was not so lucky. Since he became PM oil price has escalated, (partly thanks to the easy money policy of the US).

In 2008, assuming an oil price of USD100-120 pb, the fuel subsidy is estimated at RM18 billion and the tax forgone at RM7b. Therefore the total consumption subsidy to motor vehicle owners, the well-off in Malaysia, is a colossal RM25b.

In 2006, when oil price averaged USD70 pb, the total subsidy paid was RM10 billion. Of this RM7.6b was captured by motor vehicle owners and operators. This excludes the tax revenue forgone of RM7.3b.

In 2002, during DrM’s last full year in office, when oil price averaged USD25.50 pb, the total subsidy paid was only RM3.7b (of which fuel subsidy was probably RM2b).

DrM’s rotten legacy (with respect to price control and the resulting consumption subsidy) was not confined only to controlling the price payable by the consumers (to an arbitrary price it had fixed).

It also extended to a second type of price control – one aimed at regulating profit of utilities with monopoly power. A utility was permitted to increase its price provided the return on its capital was below the prescribed threshold return. However, under the Mahathir Administration, the maintenance of price of a utility (at an unchanged level), was accepted as an end in itself.

This applied not only to the utilities such as water, electricity and telecommunications but also to gas.

Petronas, which is the producer and distributor of gas in Malaysia, is required to sell it at a controlled price to the electricity generators at a price well below its international price. The Mahathir Administration had decided to control the price of gas because it was also controlling the price of electricity. This has led to cross-subsidization of not only electricity generators but also electricity users. It interferes with the smooth operation of the market mechanism and distorts resource allocation. To the extent that the subsidy is an off-budget financing arrangement it is more opaque and makes meaningful analysis of such arrangements more difficult

For an oil price of USD100-120 pb, the implicit subsidy from the control of gas price is estimated at RM20b.

It is staggering to note that now the consumption subsidy, and just for fuel, will far outstrip the development expenditure of the public sector. The fuel subsidy in 2008 is estimated at RM45b versus the projected total development expenditure of RM40b. Interestingly the RM200b 9MP development expenditure target was itself a record. The size had worried many economists on its likely inflationary or crowding out effects.

Fuel price control & subsidy – an inspired insight or a monumental folly

I am surprised that some had viewed Dr M’s design of the APM as an inspired insight. It was in fact a monumental folly. Stabilizing the fuel price through an adjustment in duty (which offered in any case only a limited cushion) or through a subsidy payable, leads to the squandering of a scarce resource. And as this is a depleting resource the government failed to take into account the real risk of a continued rise or a sudden jump in price (as has certainly been the case from 2004). And once the public gets used to a fixed price, the government will find it very costly (except in a crisis) to raise the price, and hence remove the subsidy especially in a democracy, (again as is amply evident in Malaysia).

The massive subsidy for fuel (almost the only consumer good subsidized in the country) is enjoyed by motor vehicle owners and operators, the better off segment of society. There is no case for the granting of this subsidy. No such subsidy is being granted to non-vehicle owners and operators, the worse off segment of society. Only some users of public transport may deserve the subsidy but there are less indiscriminate and inequitable ways of addressing their needs.

The removal of the fuel subsidy will no doubt greatly increase the cost of owning and operating motor vehicles and force the less well off amongst them to use public transport. As the coverage and frequency of public transport services is not satisfactory this will greatly inconvenience this group. Therefore the removal of the subsidy has to be accompanied by a corresponding improvement in public transport, (both bus as well as mass transit rail transport including an effective system of feeder buses to support mass rail transport). And given the very bad state of traffic congestion encountered by road users in getting to their work place and back, priority should also be given to the introduction of urban congestion charge on road users. There is a strong case for the revenue collected from this charge to be spent on cross-subsidizing public transport. Of course the imposition of the congestion charge will immediately reduce the number of motor vehicles getting into the city. Public bus transport can be stepped up concurrently (which is not very difficult) to cope with the increased demand (with mini buses re-introduced to service commuters in the suburbs)

The removal of the subsidy will also impose a painful readjustment on energy-intensive industries or force them to become more fuel efficient. But this is something to be welcomed in the interest of building a more competitive and resilient economy.

An aside on Dr M’s zero inflation target & price control

In passing it is also instructive to refer to a third type of price control - reliance on which was greatly increased by DrM as a means to achieve his so-called zero inflation target[1]. This form of price control was aimed at price maintenance as an end in itself, and applied to industries dealing in so-called essential goods such as sugar, cement, steel, motor vehicles and even chicken. To make price control more palatable to the businessmen, the authorities protected their profits by strictly regulating competitive imports or entry into these industries, and by allowing the businessmen to seek a price review based on changes in their cost of operations. This type of price control activity with import or entry restriction can expose the regulator to capture by the regulated.[2] It can enable the businessmen to charge a higher price or short-change on quality thereby undermining the welfare of consumers or the competitive position of other businessmen who are end users of the controlled products.[3] Where the authorities have been slow in allowing price adjustments in the face of major shifts in supply or demand conditions, such price control activities have led to shortages and black marketeering. This has been found to be the case from time to time in the cement and steel industries.

Where the Government control activity has taken the form of a severe restriction on imports regulated through the issue of import permits with a nominal regulation of prices, as is the case with the import of motor vehicles, this has led to abnormal profits in such distributive trades and intense competition amongst rent-seekers to capture such profits.[4] Rent-seekers are always on the lookout for opportunities to create contrived scarcities to earn monopoly rents. To eliminate such incentives and opportunities, the Government has to make a firm commitment to competition in all its economic pursuits.

Badawi Administration’s limited attempt at curbing growth in consumption subsidies

The Badawi Administration, after the general elections of March 2004, started raising the prices of petroleum products. But it halted this process from 2007, partly on account of some public disquiet and more in order not to prejudice its prospects in the subsequent general elections which it called in April 2008. Now that the elections are over it has no choice but to raise the fuel price and eliminate the unprecedented and massive subsidisation of consumption if the country’s legacy of fiscal prudence is to be restored.

In 2004, the total Government revenue was around RM100b. But only RM8.8b was generated from taxes on motor vehicles. However, petroleum products were enjoying a subsidy that year of RM4.2b. Less the subsidy net taxes on motor vehicles was only RM4.2b. In 2008 motor vehicle owners are likely to end up enjoying a subsidy on a net basis of around RM10b.

There is no case for motor vehicle owners, certainly a very well-off group, to enjoy such subsidies. There is also a strong case for the Government to subject the consumption of petroleum products to sales tax. The level of the sales tax on petroleum products in Malaysia is a lot lower than most countries, including those in the Region. At the current level of oil prices, the duty has to be waived. In fact the Government has to provide a substantial subsidy, in addition, to keep prices at the current level. Even if Malaysian consumers pay prices which reflect market prices and which includes the full Malaysian duty, the prices paid by Malaysian consumers will still be lower than overseas prices. Therefore, in the interest of fiscal prudence as well as equity the Government should let prices rise to the desired level, at least on a phased basis.

Collecting taxes on motor vehicles through a duty on petroleum products is also more efficient as the duty payable will be related to usage. Therefore, it will create the right incentive for users to be less wasteful and to economise on their use when prices are higher.

Road tax as well as import and excise duties on motor vehicles are a less efficient form of tax.[5] They cannot be justified as a wealth or luxury tax as other forms of wealth or luxury consumption are not subject to such taxes. If the purpose is to regulate the car population, it is best to require a certificate of entitlement (COE) to own a car (as in Singapore) or to operate the car (as can be done for use of a car in Kuala Lumpur’s Central Business District or CBD.) The certificates can then be auctioned off amongst the higher bidders. The Government is now better placed to make this policy shift with the sizeable investment it has made on mass transit rail transport. The additional investment required to improve this form of public transport will be a lot less than that required on flyovers and elevated highways. The massive investments for an improved road network in any case can alleviate traffic congestion only on a temporary basis.

The Government continues to build more flyovers and elevated highways in the Klang Valley instead of improving the inter-face between the different mass rail systems, extending their coverage, reintroducing a mini bus feeder system within each suburb and by ensuring a more effective enforcement of traffic rules. One wonders if the DB administration’s continued reliance on the system of negotiated tenders – another rotten legacy of the DrM administration – (and in spite of the DB Administration’s declared intention to rely on it only on an exceptional basis when it came to power in October 2003), has distorted incentives of the decision makers.

Where improvements in public transport (including better bus services) are combined with a Road Pricing System for entry into KL’s CBD, the use of revenue generated from COEs and the Road Pricing System to cross-subsidise public transport can be easily justified as users of public transport do not impose any external costs on other road users.

The improvements will greatly reduce the multi-billion RM losses the economy is presently suffering from the time lost in commuting within the Klang valley and from the enormous stress traffic congestion imposes on commuters.


Price control and price subsidy has been on the rise in Malaysia from DrM’s early years as PM. There is no sign of its fall under the DB administration.

Price control is inefficient for attaining economic or welfare goals for several reasons. Firstly, it distorts resource allocation. Secondly, it dispenses with the services of the price mechanism which provides a costless way of coordinating economic activities which are by their very nature extremely complex and involved. Thirdly, beneficiaries cannot be targeted and thus ends up benefiting those who do not deserve any assistance. Often those who deserve the assistance are only a small minority and there are other more efficient and less inequitable ways (such as income transfers) of reaching out to them. Fourthly, price control encourages illegal and immoral activities including bribery, corruption, smuggling as well as illicit manufacture.

The size of consumption subsidy, (and almost entirely due to the control of fuel price), has gone almost completely out of control. Ineptitude, opportunism or lack of grit is now threatening the integrity of the government’s finances as well as the very fabric of the economy.

The production subsidies accorded to businessmen through a system of fiscal incentives (or tax breaks) have been increasing from the early years of the Mahathir administration. Many corporations including MNCs have thus not paid taxes for many, many years running. More importantly, under the current full employment environment, investments generated by fiscal incentives create no additional jobs and in fact reduces tax revenue. Why is this so? With full employment, the new investment displaces an existing investment which is currently paying taxes. And hence the country ends up collecting less tax revenue.

The alternative to a system of fiscal incentives is to rely on a lower tax regime to promote investment. A lower tax regime can make for more investment, higher profits and hence more taxes. This happened in Malaysia in spite of the big reduction in tax rates during the mid and late 80s. If there are no tax breaks, there will be more corporate taxpayers. The resulting gains on tax revenue from the removal of fiscal incentives will far outweigh any likely losses in tax revenue from the reduction in the tax rate. These reforms will also make for less distortion in resource allocation.

R. Thillainathan


Appendix: Relationship between total subsidies1 paid and oil price, 1999-2007 (Please REFER original table at -- Desi)


1.As per 2002/03 TER goods accorded subsidies were as follows: diesel & LPG, rice, fertilisers, textbooks as well as items given under the food & nutrition program for school children. With respect to rice, the government controlled the price payable to padi farmers. Those licensed to buy the poorer quality rice from the local farmers are also licensed to import the higher quality rice from abroad such as Thailand. The higher the guaranteed price for local rice, the more likely is the buyer/importer to make a loss from engaging in the rice trade business. So where the government fixes a high guaranteed price it has to subsidise the rice trader to cover his losses and make a normal return for engaging in the business.

2.As is clear form the data DrM’s administration did raise the fixed price in response to the increase in oil price from 2001. Fortunately for him the extent of the rise in price was small relative to the rise in oil price in the mid-2000s. There is no doubt that he would also not have raised the fixed price from 2007 on account of electoral considerations. This is readily evident in his decision not to introduce the VAT/GST in spite of its widespread adoption the world over. In designing the APM he should have realized that once set up it becomes an excellent tool in the hands of any populist politician to maintain himself in power and he is probably no exception.

3.In 2006 as per the TER fuel subsidy accounted for 76% of the total subsidy paid.

4.These are best estimates and not actual.

[1] DrM’s infamous experiment with price control (through the restructuring in 1994 of the Department of Domestic Trade into the Ministry of Consumer Affairs) was aimed at achieving his target of zero inflation. In this context he had opined that the pursuit of inflation targeting by economists via the control of money supply and interest rate was simplistic and easy.

[2] This type of price control was dealt with at length in R. Thillainathan, Malaysia’s Experiment with Zero Inflation and Price Control – An Assessment, Malaysian Institute of Economic Research, 1995 (See MIER Monograph Series No. 4).

[3] In the steel industry, end users who wish to import steel products on account of their more stringent quality requirements, have to convince a panel made up of domestic steel manufacturers and regulators as to why they should be given a permit to import the products. The domestic car makers have also faced this requirement but as they are in a promoted industry, one promoted by the previous Administration, their challenge was a less onerous one.

[4] From January 2004 until 2007, the Ministry of Domestic Trade & Consumer Affairs started the practice of licensing jobbers to supply diesel and Mogas to independent distributors in the rural areas who are not a franchisee of an oil company. As the price of diesel was controlled well below its market price for many classes of consumers, this opened up possibilities for smuggling diesel to foreign countries or reselling it to consumers who are not eligible for such a subsidy. This licensing requirement therefore opened up a new rent-seeking opportunity in classic text book terms.

[5] High road tax has led to evasion. And bribery of enforcement officers by the evaders is not uncommon.

Dr. R. Thillainathan
is past president of the Malaysian Economic Association. He obtained his 1st degree from the University of Malaya and Masters and PhD at the London School of Economics.

Add New Search

donplaypuks - Kudos | |2008-06-26 06:02:17

Dear Dr. Thilli

Your searing insight into a subject many comment on as though
fully informed(PM's, Ministers, MP's and CEOS's) but actually know little about,
is a gem!

I wish your article could be published in the NST, STAR and MSM so
they understand who is really responsible for hocking our long-term future for
short-term political gain.

Perhaps, in the wake of the 'winds of change' that
are blowing over M'sia more illuminaries like you should become publicly vocal,
and not merely reported in the halls of academia.

Your parting recommendation
that reduced taxation can play a major role in promoting re-investment, and
hence sustained economic growth, is something the authorities would do well to
pay heed to. A reduction of corporate rate of tax to 15%-185 as in HK/S'pore
might work?

I look forward to reading more of your opinions. At last, a voice
of sanity among a babble of doctrinaire, arm-chair

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Silent Salute to a fellow Malaysian standing, or sitting, Tall

Judge opens Pandora’s box

By Raymond Tan, The Borneo Post
Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

Ian Chin details humiliation at boot camp to soften them to take orders of previous administration

SIBU: High Court Judge Datuk Ian Chin continued to make explosive disclosures in the Sarikei parliamentary election petition mention yesterday, exposing how judges sent to the boot camp were made to go through punishment and humiliation so that they would be softened to take orders for the benefit of the former administration.

Chin delivered a 16-page statement after the one he made on June 9 that astounded the nation. It was alleged that Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had exerted undue influence upon the judiciary to make it decide in the government’s favour.

Chin said he was sent to a boot camp for that.

In yesterday’s statement, Chin went on to reveal further details of what had happened in the camp.

Chin said for the participants, the objective was “to make us take orders and that is why apart from what I have said earlier in the last sitting, a junior officer was made our leader, from whom we have to take orders, and one Sessions Court judge who disagreed with that was made to publicly apologise on a podium to his junior officer leader”.

Chin added that “another method was to chisel away the view we held of how independent we should be in our job as High Court judges, and this they did by punishing or humiliating a High Court judge by making him carry a brick all the time after he broke the egg which each of us must carry wherever we went, including marching.”

Incidentally, he said: “You surrendered your wallet, your air ticket and handphone when you checked into the camp, and you cannot go anywhere, as it is in an isolated place, and you cannot leave for anywhere, as there is no transport.

“You are totally cut off from the outside world, with no newspapers or television.”

He said only selected news were conveyed to them then for the purpose of sampling reaction, like the news that a certain party had won a by-election, which elicited some applause from some young officers.

He said two of the judges left, one because of illness and the other because of his wife’s illness.

“Everyone who was not otherwise sick had to remain, and we all did save for the duo, with each given a certificate after the end of the stay.”

During the mention which started at 4pm, Chin started by saying he had prepared in advance yesterday’s statement and had emailed a copy each to the lawyers.

“In case I meet with an accidental death, both counsels have agreed that this statement would be regarded as having been pronounced in court,” he said.

Chin also mentioned in his statement about him being condemned for his June 9 statement with allegations made that he took the opportunity to speak up because he thought Dr Mahathir was responsible for blocking his promotion.

He went on to say that he had never wanted such a promotion, as it was his wish and that of his wife to return to Sabah so that they could be with their children.

He also mentioned about the alleged veiled threat by Dr Mahathir that he disclosed in his June 9 statement. He then went on to talk of the events in the boot camp.

Chin ended by saying that he had never wanted a promotion, “not before, now or in the future, nor any appointment after his retirement”.

“What do I get out of all this, knowing very well that I will be the target for vilification? It is this: I must be able to sleep well after I retire, knowing that I have done all I can, like all the crucified judges before me, to tell Malaysians the danger they are in, regarding the state of the judiciary.”

Hearing will resume July 7.

DESIDERATA: I also dedicate My Anthem for Now "LET IT BE" to such Malaysians who wish to be able to sleep with peace in their hearts, whether hot day, sizzling afternoon, or slent night. God Bless Ian Chin and his like:) ~~ Amen

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Two Contrasting Views on RPK Epi(C)sode

As Desi is On The Move -- no, not On The Beat, nyet, m ssing Epic stories! -- to cari-cari Makan&Jalan-jalan up north -- no, not to Alaska,I'm no gold-digger like John Waned -- this morning so gloruosly cool I think I may walk all the way from Furong to Koala Lumpu, I won't do any Ori post. I'm borrowing -- daylight robbery? -- from two fella Bloggers to give a balanced picture of what I had termed COLE KING's 'I hear the earth move' quite "earth-shattering" RPK's Statutory Declaration.

I did not get an AP from the writers, so I'll offer up two tehtari' from Haridas -- hari-Ehari does it -- and s

ome kambing at Lingam's should these two generous Bloggers take up my INVITE to kambing down to Furong anytime by day. (Emel, jest don't bring the SpeciaBrunch! Can't afford them!) Lingam's is afraid to open at night, or maybe he's headed for VK-tion down under, or above. Never mind if my readers don't get the drift, not all are drifters like Desi:)! "I should know, YL owns him:("


From What A Lulu!

June 22, 2008
Lulu Suspects This PM Likes His DPM

On Sept2 1998, Anwar was sacked by his boss.
On Sept3 1998, four affidavits were served on Datuk Nallakaruppan (who was charged for an offence under the Internal Security Act [ISA] for possession of some 125 rounds of ammunition without a licence) at about 8:35 a.m. that morning.
By 1:30 p.m. that day TV3 in its news broadcast made public the allegations made in one of the affidavits, which were very detrimental to Datuk Anwar. Those allegations were also published among others, in a special edition of the Malay Mail newspaper which went to print at about 12:00 noon and became available for purchase by the public at 2:00 p.m. the same day. Lulu's mum sent her out to buy this [noC4 required] explosive edition which contained sex, lies and no videotape.

Fastforward 10 years.
On 18th June 2008, RPK signed a statutory declaration concerning what he had been informed regarding the Altantuya murder. It made its way around the internet.
There was no special edition printed by the Malay Mail even though the boost in sales would have been much appreciated in a time where their sales have gone the same direction as their reputation.
There was nothing, not even a hint of it in the normal papers.

ahh.... Lulu suspects this PM really, really likes his DPM, unlike the 1998 PM and his DPM.

Go here*** to read more about the Anwar affidavit. It is a document dated 15 September 1998 and signed by Raja Aziz Addruse, Tun Mohamed Suffian, Rasamah Bhupalan, Dr. Chandra Muzaffar, Dato’ Param Cumaraswamy, Ramdas Tikamdas, P. Ramakrishnan, Mehrun Siraj, Zainur Zakaria, Cecil Rajendra, Yang Pei Keng, Rustam A. Sani, Gan Teik Chee and Sivarasa Rasiah

Update [9:00am, June 23]
ahh.... finally. a hint of it on the Star regarding a "prominent woman"'s presence
Posted by What A Lulu


MALAYSIA: Rule of Law Under Threat

(Ed. note: The arrest of sacked Malaysian deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim and the suppression of protests supporting him have sparked both domestic and international concern. A group of lawyers and human rights activists in Malaysia have jointly spoken out against the way the authorities handled the incident, which has threatened the rule of law in the country. The following are their views.)

The rule of law and the principles of natural justice are the mainstay of a progressive and civilised society. These two elements together ensure that peoples’ rights are not trampled upon and that everyone shall be treated equally before the law. The principles of natural justice dictate that everyone shall be entitled to the due process of the law, that is, no person shall be deprived of his rights and privileges nor be subject to condemnation or punishment until and unless he has been given an opportunity to defend himself to the full extent of the law and to be heard by a fair and impartial tribunal.

There has been an ever steady and increasing disregard for and erosion of the rule of law and the principles of natural justice. Events in the recent past have served to bring this to prominence.

Most recent of these relates to the summary sacking of the former deputy prime minister and the minister of finance. In his press conference on 3 September 1998 (the day after his removal from his cabinet posts), Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim made allegations of government machinery being used against him.

The events which occurred on the morning of the 3rd appear to lend credence to what he alleged. According to newspaper reports, four affidavits were served on Datuk Nallakaruppan (who was charged for an offence under the Internal Security Act [ISA] for possession of some 125 rounds of ammunition without a licence) at about 8:35 a.m. that morning; the affidavits were intended to be used to oppose Datuk Nalla’s application to be transferred to the Sungai Buloh Prison from the Bukit Aman lock-up; the affidavits were later produced by the deputy public prosecutor in the High Court at about 9:35 a.m. when the application came up for hearing; as counsel for Datuk Nalla objected to their admissibility on the ground that their contents were irrelevant to the offence the judge adjourned the hearing of the application to 2:00 p.m. that afternoon in order to hear and rule on the objection and to review the affidavits; because of the adjournment, counsel had applied to have the affidavits "embargoed" pending the judge’s ruling, but the judge refused to make an interim order to impose the embargo, holding that the affidavits had been filed and had, therefore, become public documents.

Who Distributed Affidavits to the Press?

At 1:30 p.m. that day TV3 in its news broadcast made public the allegations made in one of the affidavits, which were very detrimental to Datuk Anwar. Those allegations were also published among others, in a special edition of the Malay Mail newspaper which went to print at about 12:00 noon and became available for purchase by the public at 2:00 p.m. the same day.

On the above facts, a number of points arise: it has always been accepted as a principle that documents do not become public documents by reason only that they have been filed in court. The contents of a document filed in court only become public after the document has been read or deemed to be read in open court. The judge’s ruling was, therefore, contrary to principle.

Apart from the affidavit not having been read in open court, was it not incumbent upon the judge, having regard to the nature of the allegations made against Datuk Anwar in the affidavit and bearing in mind that he was not a party to the application before the judge, to at least withhold making a ruling on the status of the affidavits until he had heard the objection and reviewed the contents of the affidavits? He should have been aware of the prejudicial effect the affidavits would have on Datuk Anwar.

Who was it who sought to have the contents of the affidavits made public at that stage of the proceedings? Datuk Nalla had, by his counsel, objected to the affidavits: it could not have been him. The press was not a party to the proceedings and could not have requested for the court’s ruling. There was no mention in the newspapers that the deputy public prosecutor had asked for such a ruling.

More importantly, who actually distributed copies of the affidavits to the press and to TV3? It has been ascertained that it was not Datuk Nalla or his counsel. As it was, when the court resumed hearing in the afternoon, irreparable damage had been done to Datuk Anwar by the media blitz.

Detained for Ammunition Possession, But Questioned on Anwar’s Case

Equally important issues arise from the way the various authorities concerned dealt with Datuk Nalla’s application to be transferred to the Sungai Buloh prison.

Although arrested for possession of the ammunition without a licence, his interrogation by the police during the 20 days he had been detained at the Bukit Aman lock-up had been on matters not related to the commission of the offence. In one of the affidavits, which was affirmed by the attorney-general, the detention of Datuk Nalla at the Bukit Aman lock-up was stated to be necessary in order that he could be questioned regarding allegations made by third parties implicating Datuk Anwar’s sexual activities. According to the attorney-general, he agreed that the investigation involved security and national interest. He was reported to have further said:

"Police investigation is still on-going, and statements which have been obtained are serious and involve the security of the nation."

Where in the ISA is the police authorised to question a person arrested and detained for a specific offence under the ISA on matters not related to that offence, just because the police consider those other matters involve national security and the attorney-general agrees with the police? Datuk Nalla was arrested for an offence under section 57 of the ISA for possession of 125 rounds of ammunition without a licence.

The allegations of sexual impropriety on the part of Datuk Anwar were listed in the newspapers. It is far-fetched for the attorney-general to say that those allegations (yet to be substantiated) can warrant the continued detention of Datuk Nalla on the ground allegedly of national security.

The court nevertheless accepted the attorney-general’s contention. It is already a fact that the courts have, by their past decisions, allowed the police an unfettered discretion to arrest and detain any person under section 73 of the ISA. The court, in accepting the attorney-general’s contention in the application of Datuk Nalla, has extended that arbitrary discretion to other areas.

It is understood that the counsel for Datuk Nalla applied to the court to be allowed time to reply to the four affidavits which were served on Datuk Nalla that morning. This application, though normally granted as a matter of natural justice, was disallowed by the court. Datuk Nalla’s reply to the affidavits were, therefore, not before the court when it made its decision.

‘Shocked with the Use of Government Machinery to Frame Me’

In his press conference Datuk Anwar made, among others, the following statements:

"I am shocked with the use of government machinery to frame me. In the past with Abim (Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia) I was harassed but never to this extent. The entire process ... they questioned everybody, all my friends, even members of the judiciary. If he is a man, he is transferred out; if a woman, she is asked whether she is for PM [prime minister] or DPM [deputy prime minister] or if she has some private, private, private dealings with me."

The High Court judge who granted Datuk Anwar the injunction to restrain the dissemination of the book alleged to defame him is scheduled to be transferred to the Shah Alam High Court. He is a very senior High Court judge in Kuala Lumpur. His imminent transfer to Shah Alam soon after he granted the injunction must, therefore, raise questions. It is, of course, difficult to ascertain the actual reason for his transfer, but if it had anything to do with the granting of the injunction, an even more serious question arises as to the independence of the judge or judges responsible for his transfer and as to whether any judge can ever be independent and impartial in performing his judicial function.

Some time ago, serious allegations of corruption were made in a poison-pen letter against a number of judges of the superior courts. The attorney-general announced publicly that the allegations would be fully investigated. The investigation apparently disclosed that the allegations were unfounded and false. But no prosecution was instituted against the author of the poison-pen letter, a judge of the High Court, for publication of false news as was done against Irene Fernandez for submitting Tenaganita’s findings of alleged irregularities committed in a refugee camp, and against Lim Guan Eng.

The judge concerned was merely asked to resign. Serious allegations of corruption, especially against members of the higher judiciary, merit investigation by an independent Royal Commission. Corruption in the judiciary affects its integrity and therefore its independence and impartiality. The recent statement regarding judges made by the attorney-general, made on the occasion of the elevation of Justice Augustine Paul to the High Court Bench at Melaka, indicates that all may not be well with the judiciary.

People Discouraged from Speaking Against the Judiciary

Democracy under our Constitution is founded upon the rule of law. The "rule of law," reduced to its basics, requires everything to be done according to law; and such law must provide for recognised rules and principles which do not allow for the arbitrary exercise of discretionary power. The rule of law has been contrasted with arbitrariness. Underlying the rule of law is an assumption of justice and fairness that should accompany its application.

It is inherent in the rule of law that nobody is above the law and that disputes as to the legality of acts (whether of a government or person) are to be decided by judges who are wholly independent of the executive. In a country such as ours, where a written constitution is the supreme law, it is the function of judges to safeguard and protect the fundamental freedoms provided to the individuals by the constitution. Laws should be so interpreted as to promote those freedoms so that they may be exercised freely. Sadly, recent instances of persons being charged by the court for perceived contempt of court or for expressing legitimate views have shown the lack of sympathy on the part of judges for these freedoms, in particular, the freedom of speech. Granted that these freedoms cannot be absolute but must be subject to restrictions, it is still the bounden duty of the courts to ensure that these restrictions are not such as to render these freedoms illusory. Thus, the warning reported in the newspapers to have been given by the Court of Appeal earlier this year when increasing the sentence on Lim Guan Eng, from a fine to a term of imprisonment of 18 months, that it was sending out a message that no one should criticise the judiciary was misconceived in a society which professes to believe and practise the rule of law. The message clearly has the effect of discouraging anyone from speaking at all against the judiciary. Is the judiciary beyond criticism when even His Majesty the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and their Highnesses the Rulers are not? It has long been accepted that a fair, reasonable and legitimate criticism of any act or conduct of a judge in his judicial capacity or any proper and fair comment on any decision given by him is permitted.

Need for Transparency of Attorney-General’s Decisions

The attorney-general, as another institution involved in the administration of justice, also has a crucial role to play in a democracy. He is the first law officer of the country and the guardian and protector of public interest. It has, however, been observed again and again that he has misconstrued his function. In the investigation into the allegations made by the under-aged girl involving the former chief minister of Melaka, Tan Sri Rahim Thamby Chik, he went to the extent of exposing her admissions of sexual involvement with other persons in order to discredit her complaint. In spite of successfully prosecuting those persons on the girl’s admissions, the attorney-general chose not to believe her on her complaint against Tan Sri Rahim Thamby Chik. Recently, the attorney-general published a set of guidelines setting out the basis for his deciding whether to prosecute or not. It is hoped that these guidelines will provide more transparency and will help improve the attorney-general’s image in the eyes of the public.

Police Invoke Power Under ISA

The police also play a crucial role in maintaining law and order, and society depends on them for upholding the rule of law. It is the duty of the police to invoke their power of arrest and detention to investigate commission of crimes alleged to have been committed. However, their resort to invoking section 73 of the ISA for reasons which are not envisaged by the ISA is becoming more frequent. On many occasions they have publicly issued threats to use that power against persons suspected of having committed various offences which have no relation to issues of national security, i.e. cloning of hand phones and Internet rumour-mongering. The police should refrain from continuing to invoke the power under the ISA. On 24 December 1989, the Malaysian government concluded a treaty with the Communist Party of Malaya in Bangkok following which the Communist insurgency ceased altogether. Thereafter the basis for the existence of the ISA has ceased to exist. In any case, the ISA was not promulgated in order to enable the police to deal with persons suspected of having committed a defined offence (not being an offence under the ISA) but against whom no evidence could be obtained. It is a person’s fundamental right in a society subscribing to the rule of law to be free from arbitrary arrests and detention.

In Datuk Anwar’s case, the police went on television to disclose that new reports had been lodged against Datuk Anwar, alleging he had interfered with police investigation and that he might have committed sedition for what he had said in an interview with foreign media. Should not matters concerning prosecution for offences be determined by the public prosecutor? It cannot be correct for the police to publicly disclose that there is evidence in police possession which may warrant Datuk Anwar’s prosecution. What was the purpose to be served by the public disclosure? Was it to defend the police against some perceived allegation that they had not been professional in the carrying out of their duties? Is there any need to do that? Professionalism is a matter for objective assessment and is judged by the conduct of the police. Their function is to investigate complaints thoroughly in order to gather evidence, and to present the evidence to the public prosecutor to decide whether there is any offence disclosed. If any advanced announcement is required to be made (and there should not be that many cases where that is necessary) it should be the public prosecutor who should do it. It may be useful to bear in mind, that it is inimical to the good image of the police as a law enforcement body to take on the confrontational stance they did in the interview against a person who has not been charged with any offences.

No Rule of Law, No Justice

The activities following the dismissal of Datuk Anwar from his cabinet posts and his expulsion from the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) followed the familiar pattern previously seen when this country had its constitutional crises involving their Highnesses the Malay Rulers. It is also reminiscent of the dismissal of Tun Salleh Abas, the then Lord President of the Supreme Court of Malaysia, in 1988. Opinion was mobilised against Datuk Anwar to support the decision taken. Just as at that time, no reasons were furnished by the prime minister for the dismissal but party stalwarts had no hesitation to agree with it. One senior minister agreed with the decision because the prime minister "must have had good reasons" for making it. The thinking seems to be that the correctness of the decision will be decided by a headcount of loyal supporters.

A number who had publicly supported the decision expressed disapproval of Datuk Anwar’s proposal to go to the people to explain his side of the story, giving different reasons, some fearing that there might be undesirable repercussions and others because Datuk Anwar was no longer an UMNO member. It appears that while it is perfectly acceptable for some UMNO leaders to show the people that the decision receives the approval of UMNO members generally, it is not considered desirable for Datuk Anwar to put forward his case to the people. Such an attitude is not consistent with the principle of justice and fair play. The people must decide, after hearing the reasons presented by both sides, whether what was done was right or not. It is, therefore, hoped that on the issue of his expulsion, the public will have the opportunity to hear Datuk Anwar’s explanation on the allegations made against him, which allegations have yet to be substantiated.

There is a need for all freedom-loving Malaysians to understand and appreciate the importance of the rule of law and to be vigilant that it prevails in this country. Without the rule of law, there can be no justice.

Dated 15 September 1998

Signed by:

Raja Aziz Addruse
Tun Mohamed Suffian
Rasamah Bhupalan
Dr. Chandra Muzaffar
Dato’ Param Cumaraswamy
Ramdas Tikamdas
P. Ramakrishnan Mehrun
Siraj Zainur Zakaria
Cecil Rajendra
Yang Pei Keng
Rustam A. Sani
Gan Teik Chee
Sivarasa Rasiah

Posted on 2001-08-27
Back to [Vol. 08 No. 11 NOV 1998]


From Yein Jee's Malaysia Buzz:

Najib is not yet a murderer

By Yein Jee

June 21, 2008

Raja Petra Kamarudin has made a statutory declaration on June 18 alleging that Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, Deputy Prime Minister Najib’s wife, was at the murder scene of Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu. [Malaysiakini]

The news is not picked up by the main media yet, but the blogosphere has been heated up with all sorts of discussions.

Whether the allegation is truth or not, I don’t know… in fact only very few people would know at the moment. RPK has shown his courage over the years, but frankly, sometimes he is abusing his influence to bully the politicians.

This is not the first time he is alleging that Najib was involved in Altantuya’s murder, but he has failed to produce any solid proofs besides empty talks so far. I hope the cops and authorities will take his statutory seriously… because if Najib is really guilty, I want him to face justice; if Najib is innocent, I would like to see RPK facing the song.

I always believe that everyone is innocent until proven not; that’s one the basic cores of our constitution. It sucks to let go of a criminal, but the last thing I want to see is innocent people being punished.

Don’t bother reminding me how corrupted our government and the judicial system are, because it’s not the point I am trying to make here.

Lots of people don’t like Najib, I personally am not fond of this fella at all. However, that doesn’t mean that we should implicate that he (or his wife) is a murderer without having solid evidences or investigations.

It’s saddening thing to see some Malaysians having their logical minds being taken control by their senseless emotions, just go and read some comments on Malaysia-Today, LKS’ blog, Anwar’s blog ans Susan’s blog… and you would see so many Malaysians sentencing Najib to guilt as if they were right on the crime scene and saw everything.

Imagine how would your love ones feel if you are being wrongly investigated, charged or prosecuted for a murder that you never committed? Imagine how would you feel if your family member is being accused of doing things that they have never been done? It could be one of the worst things that you would want to happen in your life.

What we want to see is to have justice served; and as said earlier, I hope to see the authorities taking RPK’s declaration seriously… after all, it’s not fun to risk being sentenced to jail just to mock a person you really hate. But until then, Najib is not a murderer, and it’s unfair to accuse him of being so without knowing the facts.

Use your heart, use your mind, and not let your emotion taking control of your soul my fellow Malaysians. Show some mercy.

DESIDERATA: My dear ER, please post thy comments; the more the merrier and aMore:) -- have mercy on Desi for once, MAKE YOURS "LONG"2!

UPDATEd @4.26Pm June 25, 2008 wit' C&P from The Star Online, a case of Badder late than Neber:

Wednesday June 25, 2008 MYT 3:18:05 PMNajib on Raja Petra claims: Total lies (updated)

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Najib Razak has dismissed Raja Petra Kamarudin’s statutory declaration implicating his wife as having had a hand in the murder of Mongolian translator Altantuya Shaaribuu as “total lies, fabrication and total garbage.”

The Deputy Prime Minister said the allegations in the statutory declaration were a “desperate and pathetic attempt to discredit and taint my political image.”

He said his wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, had already given her statement to the police.

The Prime Minister too would be making his recorded statement to the police.

“I welcome the police investigation and hope they would be concluded soon,” he told reporters on Wednesday after chairing a Cabinet committee meeting on illegal immigrants.

Raja Petra, editor of online news portal and aggregator Malaysia Today, filed his explosive statutory declarationon June 18 with the KL High Court, claiming to have been "reliably informed" that three other persons were present during the murder of Altantuya on Oct 19, 2006.

He accused Najib’s wife, Rosmah, acting Colonel Aziz Buyong and Aziz’s wife Norhayati who is also Rosmah’s aide, as being present at the crime scene and alleged that Col Aziz Buyong was the person who placed the C4 explosive on Altantuya’s body and blew it up.

He also claimed that Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad was in the know as the Prime Minister had received a written military report on the murder that was then handed over to his son-in-law Khairy Jamaluddin for “safe-keeping.”

Raja Petra was charged for sedition last month for implying the deputy prime minister was involved in Altantuya’s murder.

On Tuesday, Abdullah said he had not received any such military intelligence report and that it was unacceptable for Raja Petra to have made such a claim,

When reporters asked Najib about it at Wednesday's press conference, he said: “Why are you interested in garbage? Why comment when everything is total lies, fabrication and total garbage.”

Asked Raja Petra’s motive for making such a claim, Najib said: "I don’t know. You better ask him. Why ask me?”

“I have no conclusion except it’s a desperate and pathetic attempt to discredit and taint my political image.”

Asked if he believed it was political motivated, Najib said: “I can’t see any other reason.”