The Price of Silence

Power corrupts and that is true of anybody. The more absolute the power the more corrupting. The period after the last
General Elections when Barisan National won 85% of the parliamentary seats was a bad time for Malaysia. When there was no
effective voice in parliament to question and demand accountability, the ruling party was free to unleash gross excesses and
abuses on the society. One by one, the checks and balances of democracy were removed. The cornerstone of democracy, a
free press was squashed. The mass media has never dared to criticise the government much, but there is a difference between
being passively uncritical and being used as a subservient tool and a propaganda machine as now. The Judiciary, the
Attorney-General's Office, the Police, the ACA which should have been guardians of democracy have become savage dogs of
the ruling party to be unleashed against political enemies. Even the reserve power of the Sultans were removed. We have seen
the sad results of this degradation in our cherished instruments of democracy in the surge of economic and judicial abuses in the
past 2 years. Have Malaysians been so abused that we no longer feel outrage at the rape and plunder of our society? But for
keeping silent, the abuses becomes worse and worse until the price becomes too heavy to pay as what happened in Indonesia.
Here are a sampling of abuses which are by no means exhaustive.

1. Lim Guan Eng & Rahim Thamby Chik

Something is horribly wrong with our judicial system when a rapist is not even charged for his crime and the person demanding
that justice be done is charged and jailed instead. This was what happened when Lim Guan Eng, an opposition MP criticised
the Attorney-General's prosecution of an underaged girl who was victim of a statutory rape by powerful politician Rahim
Thamby Chik. The AG mercilessly prosecuted Lim and secured a conviction while Rahim was not even charged. He was
sentenced to 18 months jail for daring to speak out against the powerful and the corrupt. The sentence was upheld despite two
appeals which shows that there is no lack of puppet judges willing to do the ruling party's bidding. 300,000 Malaysian signed a
petition urging that Lim be pardoned which demonstrate the widespread sense of injustice at his conviction.

2. Anwar's Trial Under Augustine Paul

It was not a real trial but a show kangaroo court, a crude parody of justice in which the puppet judge had been ordered to find
Anwar guilty of a technical point of corruption. Along the way, judge Augustine Paul showed the world just how crude a
kangaroo trial can get until it became bizarre circus on the world's stage. To achieved his master's aim, judge Paul illegally
restricted the defense team, prevented evidence in favour of the defendant from being admitted in court, protected his political
masters from embarrassing evidence, threatened defense lawyers who put forward too good a defense and even jailed one of
them for submitting conspiracy evidence involving the Attorney-General. Never has there been such a shameful trial in the
history of independent Malaysia. Read "Monster of a Judge" for the full details. There is no greater anguish than cruelty and
oppression perpetrated in the name of law and justice.

3. Beating of Anwar

That an ex-Deputy Prime Minister could be brutally assaulted while in a high security prison under the custody of the custodians
of law and order is shocking enough, but when Mahathir suggested that it could be self-inflicted, it became too revolting to
stomach. The perpetrator was not identified in an internal investigation and it took a Royal Commission of Inquiry formed under
intense pressure to confirmed what everybody had known all along, that the culprit who beat Anwar in prison was the then
police chief, Rahim Noor. For almost killing a man, he was treated with kid's glove, charged with a minor offense, released on
bail without any surety and his trial postponed to the distant future. Perhaps he will be let off with a wrist slap when the
establishment thinks that matter has been forgotten by the public. Something is sickeningly wrong with our system. Justice has
been raped, sodomized and left bleeding to death.

4. Datuk Nallakaruppan

What is the penalty for forgetting to renew your license for 125 lousy bullets? For this minor infraction, Attorney-General
Mokhtar deemed it such a threat to the nation's security to warrant charging Datuk Nallakaruppan under ISA which carried the
mandatory death penalty. It all became clear when Datuk Nalla's attorney Manjeet Singh revealed in a sworn affidavit that his
client who was a close friend of Anwar was being pressured to fabricated false evidence of sexual indiscretion against Anwar in
exchange for a lighter charge. We have sunk to a new low when a man's life is used as a bargaining chip to further political aims
and our AG office acts in tandem with puppet judges to make the judiciary a cesspool of lies and deceit. Datuk Nalla refused
to co-operate and the charge was eventually amended to the Firearms Act. Nevertheless, he was given the savage sentence of
3 years jail after being tortured, abused and his health broken. As Datuk Nalla declared, the sentence was not for 125 lousy
bullets but because he played tennis with a great man.

5. Sukma, Munawar and Mior

Is there nothing that the political leaders are not capable of in their bid to destroy one man? Should all our cherished instruments
of democracy be sacrificed and abused to further their aims? The revolting story of how Sukma, Munawar and Mior were
arrested, mentally tortured and forced to admit to false sodomy with Anwar will haunt our psyche for years to come. All three
of them repudiated their forced confessions as soon as they were released and gave horrifying details of mental torture and
abuse. We have become a modern day Stalinist State. In what must have been a bizzare example of twisted logic, Sukma's
repudiated confession was accepted by Judge Arifin as evidence in Anwar's sodomy trial despite his testimony in court that it
was all forced. It is a clear confirmation of the awful rot that has set in when the police, the AG's office and the judiciary can
collude to trample and destroy innocent lives for the sake of a dictator who wants to find a political enemy guilty.

6. Daim's Corruption as Finance Minister

Is there anybody in Malaysia to match Daim's unholy greed for money? This money-loving billionaire is not shy of using his
power as a Finance Minister to solicit money to feed his vast hunger for wealth. When he was finance minister from 1984 to
1991, Daim received money and shares from three prominent corporate figures worth hundreds of millions of ringgit. Accoding
to Anwar's police report, Renong Berhad's chairman Halim Saad's letter dated April 1990 stated that he was holding about 52
million Faber Merlin. shares and 130 million Renong shares in trust for Daim. Land and General Bhd's Chairman Wan Hamzah
and MAS Chairman Tajuddin similarly confirmed in separate letters at the same time that they were holding in cash RM150
million and RM70 million respectively in trust for Daim. Will the police will investigate? Don't make me laugh.

7. Rafidah Aziz - Business as Usual

For a person whom is publicly known that a prima facie case of corruption has been established, Rafidah Aziz, the Minister of
Trade and Industry looks pretty secure in her job. She still cavorts round the world representing Malaysia and is very much in
the public eye opening functions and trade events quite unaffected by all the fuss. Her corruption case involving the granting of
millions in shares to her nephew was referred to Mahathir who promptly quashed all moves to prosecute her. This has earned
him rabid dog-like loyalty from Rafidah who once pleaded impassionly for her protector not to consider stepping down. A
typical case of how Mahathir keeps people on a leash. The more corrupt the person, the stronger the leash and the more
Mahathir likes them. Would Mahathir go down in Malaysian history as God Protector of the Corrupt?

8. Eric Chia and Perwaja Steel

A near-monopoly market, a booming construction industry and cash payments demanded for its products, so how could
Perwaja Steel chalk up accumulated losses of RM2,985 million and liabilities of RM6,939 million in 1995? Not without a lot of
help from gross corruption and mismanagement. An eyewash ACA investigation has gone nowhere and the man responsible for
this financial debacle lives a leisurely life in his mansion in Petaling Jaya, free as a bird and safe in the thought that he will never
be charged as long as the corrupt political leaders who acted in cahoots with him hold power. It has become a feature of
Malaysian life that a person exposed for massive wrong-doings only just has to resign and all is forgiven. Meanwhile billions of
ringgit in taxpayers money had to be pumped in to save the ailing steel giant, a bitter irony to the thousands of small honest
businesses who had to fend for themselves when the economic downturn came.

9. Daim's CLOB initiative

After he was reinstated to the corridors of power by Mahathir, Daim's actions to increase his wealth is getting far more
aggressive and daring than his earlier days. In a thinly disguised attempt to rob the holders of CLOB frozen shares, Daim had
his close friend, a nobody by the name of Ali Akhbar proposed to buy up the whole CLOB shares at a massive 50%-60%
discount off the market price which would have netted this robber baron at least RM2 billion in guaranteed profit. That this tiny
company with a paid-up capital of RM 1 million had managed to secure all the regulatory approvals for this daylight
CLOBBERY showed Daim's hand behind the scenes. Fortunately the deal was scuttled when CLOB shareholders collectively
rejected this outrageous offer.

10. Muhammad Taib's Wealth

Caught with 4 million ringgit undeclared cash at Sydney airport, so what? In Malaysia's culture of political patronage, all you
have to do is resign your public position and we'll just sweep everything under the carpet. Besides the cash, this ex-Mentri
Besar of Selangor had revealed in his Australian trail of tens of millions worth of properties in Australia which would have taken
a few hundreds of years of living on bread and water to acquire under his official salary. To appease the public, the AG slapped
him with a mild charge of failing to declare assets with a maximum penalty of RM2000.00. To add insult to the AG's contempt
of public intelligence, Mat Taib was charged under a defunct legislation which had already. been amended to higher penalty.
But no matter, he could not even make this mild charge stick for Taib was duly acquitted. The AG said he would appeal…he
did not. Now, shouldn't the IRS be interested?

11. Bridge to Indonesia

A fabulous fairy-tale bridge to Indonesia, to be the longest in the world spanning two countries across the busy Straits of
Melaka. How fanciful can you get? Never mind that it is economically senseless, hugely unproductive, and a massive waste of
resources to build such a gargantum bridge to connect two sparsely populated areas, but when Mahathir pronounces an idea
no matter how absurd and illogical, some party must strive to show that the PM speaks words of wisdom rather than stupid
nonsense. Of course the supine mass media obediently plays up any rubbish as long as it comes from the old man. Even worse
some slavish sycophant may try to bring a bad idea to fruition. This time Renong took it upon itself to expand on this fantasy
bridge, even doing up a model and starting well-publicised talks with Indonesia. Yes, the very same Renong responsible for 1/3
of the nation's bad debts, already almost bankrupt even before the onset of the Asian economic crisis and in no financial
position to start another mega infrastructure project. Pity the crisis dissipated this project like vapour before Renong bankrupt
themselves to the point of no return with it. Come to think of it, when we already have trouble with Indonesian illegals swimming
across the Straits, do we want to make it easier for them? Stupid! Stupid!

12. Eusoff Chin's New Zealand Holiday

Chief Justice Eusoff Chin has Mahathir's stamp of approval. He fulfills the first criteria - being corrupt. You never know when
you need a few judicial favours as you sit on the thick file of his wrong-doings. This totally perverted CJ carefully hand-picks
judges for cases that Mahathir and gang must win. To feed off the legal system, he runs an influence buying ring via his wife's
legal firm where the well-heeled may buy the correct judgement by filling his pockets. Judges are intimidated by Eusoff Chin's
readiness to transfer them to the back of beyond when judgements displease him. In a 1996 defamation suit by Vincent Tan
against an AWSJ reporter handled by V.K. Lingam, the lawyer placed Eusoff Chin in his debt by getting their families to
holiday together in New Zealand. The holiday involved flights together to luxury resorts in Queenstown and Christchurch where
Lingam and the chief justice posed for pictures with their arms around each other and with each other's families. Go to Pictures
From An Album to view these touching "family pictures". Such revelation would have brought down a public servant in any
decently democratic country. But the pictures have been on the internet almost a year and it's business as usual. Eusoff Chin
even got another honorary award from the King. Where others cannot, Malaysia Boleh!

13. Rescue of Mirzan Mahathir's Konsortium Perkapalan by Petronas

It's not easy to run a shipping line. Just ask Mahathir's son, Mirzan. The market has given him a harsh lesson that this tough,
competitive, cut-throat business is for hard-nosed, real businessmen, not softies like him with no track record in business. But
Mirzan has something most others don't have. What he lacks in DEDICATION, he makes up for in DADDY-KASI. When
you have big daddy to order the national oil company to buy up your floundering, money-losing, badly run business you don't
have to pay the price of your lack of business acumen and stupidity in buying up somebody's old rusting ships at high price.
You may even get away with a tidy sum of cash in your pocket. And the next time you stumble, the taxpayers will be ready to
pick up the tab. Daddykasi again.

14. Bailout of Renong

"Renong is responsible for 30% of the nation's non-performing loans", so Halim Saad proudly announced. Of course he can be
smug about it. In Bolehland, you do not have to pay the price of failure from a badly managed, reckless, short-sighted,
politically entangeled corporation with no proper business culture. As with all crony businesses you can keep the profits if you
make any, if not the government will be ready to pick up the tab. And what a tab it was. To rescue this bankrupt company,
UEM had to issue RM8.4 billion in bonds when UEM is not even worth half that amount. And don't think it's not a bailout.
There's government incentives and arm-twisting to financial institutions to buy the bonds. With 10% interest on the bonds piling
up every year, UEM will have to pay back RM16.6 billion at the end of 7 years. Can they get the money? Not likely even if
they milk road tolls until the public screams for the next seven years. No wonder they call it a bullet repayment. And if UEM
can't come up with the money we know which way the gun is pointing.

15. Ling Liong Sik's Billionaire Son

How did Ling Ling Sik's son, Ling Liong Hee acquired RM1.2 billion in corporate assets at the tender age of 27 without any
track record in business and in the space of a few months? After all not too long ago, he was languishing in the jungles of
Sarawak working as a project manager for Uncle Ting of Ekran. Perhaps his Minister father should give us all a lesson on how
to achieve such fabulous wealth so fast. Was he a nominee for his father who would be seriously embarrassed to own up to
such wealth on his government salary? A report was lodged with the ACA but don't expect charges anytime soon. In fact, don't
expect charges any time at all as long as the depraved BN holds the reins of power. Malaysians are known to be tolerant of
abuses, but this one raises the bar to new heights.

16. Daim's Bank Merger Asset Grab

One would think that at his age and his untold billions, money would by now be secondary to Daim. After all you can't take it
with you when you meet your Maker can you? But not to Daim whose rapacious greed knows no bounds. Now firmly
entrenched in the corridors of power as Finance Minister, Daim hatched a plan to consolidate all the country's commercial
banks, merchant banks and financial institutions into six major groups by shotgun marriages. Of the six anchor banks selected,
none is more telling than Daim's tiny Multi-Purpose Bank which was set to swallow three bigger institutions including the
newly-merged RHB-Sime Bank, which is eight times larger than Multi-Purpose Bank. If this forced merger had gone through,
MPH share will rise from 1% to 24% of nation's banking assets. It's bold, it's brazen and it doesn't pretend - only the fear of
losing an election prevented this grotesque exercise from being consummated. Who knows what will happen should BN be
returned with 2/3 majority? As for Daim, his chronic hunger for money is a psychological illness that he would be well advised
to seek treatment.

17. Mahathir's Palace in Putrajaya

It's huge, it's gaudy, it's sumptuous…Mahathir's Palace in Putrajaya is a fantastic, residence he built for himself as a monument
to his megalomania. Claiming in parliament that it only cost RM17 million, one wonders whether this modest sum would be
enough to pay for the fencing and the landscaping. The actual cost may be in excess of RM200 million, an abuse of public
money that is all the more galling in the economic downturn. Small wonder that the public has never been treated to pictures of
his ostentatious palace in the controlled mass media for this modern day pharoah knows all too well that he had overstepped
the bounds of public decency with his gross creation. There are whisperings on the grapewine that when he retires the
government will present the palace to him as a gift from a "grateful" nation. Or should we say a robbed, clobbered and
sodomized public?

18. Jailing of Murray Hiebert

What did Murray Hiebert, a Far East Economic Review journalist wrote to justify being charged for "destroying the integrity of
the court" and jailed 3 months? Did he anger Mahathir? Did he praise Anwar? No, Hiebert merely wrote about the merits of a
court case involving a mother's suit against an international school for dropping her son from the debate team. All Hiebet
wanted to emphasized was that Malaysia is getting more litigious although not at the level of the U.S. yet. For this mild article in
careful polite language, he was dragged to court and sentenced to jail as if he had damaged the super-fragile integrity of the
court. But the real reason for the court's pretend outrage was far more chilling and sinister for it exposed the deep rot of the
Malaysian judiciary. The vindictive mother in question was angered by Hiebert's article because it showed clearly the frivolous
nature of her suit and petitioned the court to cite Hiebert for contempt. She happened to be the wife of Sri Gopal Ram, an
appeals court judge close to Chief Justice Eusoff Chin. When Eusoff Chin wanted a certain decision, no judge dare throw out
the case. The ball was set in motion and when it stopped rolling, it would end up in the court of world opinion which castigated
Malaysia for this piece of backyard justice. The sentence was all the more puzzling as it came on the eve of APEC and the
Commonwealth Law Conference. The appeal court could have easily overturned the lower court, but by then the rot in the
judiciary was too far gone to correct itself.

19. Bank Bumiputra the Politicians' Personal Piggy Bank

For much of its checkered history, Bank Bumiputra is has been operating as the piggy bank of the powerful and the corrupt.
However this is a piggy bank where loans are easily forgiven if you have certain "connections". For the past 12 years this 100%
government owned bank had to be bailed out with taxpayer's money 3 times to the tune of RM4.5 billion. The recent merger of
Bank Bumiputra with Commerce Asset was yet another bailout, the fourth. This mating of a sick bank with a healthy well-run
bank to prop up the sicko was accomplished by Danaharta buying BB's bad debts of RM6 billion at face value when other
better, more deserving banks had to take a haircut of up to 60% on their non-performing loans. So as usual, BB did not have
to pay the price of their reckless, politically motivated lendings, the taxpayers did. Perhaps we'll now have an even bigger piggy
bank for the politicians' needs. Was that the idea of saving Bank Bumiputra all along?

20. Kedah Land Reclamation Project and Northern Region Airport

Never mind that Kedah has lot's of flat land, you don't ask too many questions when personal interests are involved. Besides,
what's RM30 billion to pour into the sea to show that Malaysia Boleh? And when we have poured in all that taxpayer's money
to get from the sea what we have plenty on the mainland, what shall we do with it? It must be huge…and expensive so that we
UMNO greedy politicos can gorge ourselves big. How about an airport costing another RM10 billion? We'll call it an "airport
in the kampung". And just in case there's it may be under-utilised, we'll close down Penang airport for good measure. So there
goes another senseless mega project thinly disguised as development but no more than a scandalous vehicle to enrich those in
power and their cronies. Fortunately the Asian crisis shelved this outrageous plan to take the public for a wildly expensive ride,
but it is just waiting in the backburner to spring up anew as soon as the economy recovers. If BN wins the elections that is.

So here we have a sampling of the worse abuses that have been inflicted on a helpless public? What can we as ordinary citizens
do about it? We have no mass media to voice our grievances, insufficient representation in parliament to object to the abuses,
no right to hold public protest gatherings and no independent court to challenge the abusers. But there is something we can do:
we can use our vote to send a resounding message to the morally bankrupt government.

We must VOTE NO to corruption, NO to cronyism, NO to injustice, NO to judicial subjugation and NO to protection of the
corrupt. We must give the opposition more voice in parliament to function as a check and balance on the government. We must
deny the BN 2/3 majority or we are in grave danger. We must use our votes wisely for this elections is our chance to steer the
ship of our country against the howling winds of corruption and oppression back to the correct course.