People’s petition

In solidarity within the Band of Bloggers, agreed upon in February 2007, I am compelled to post this People’s Petition, as per posted on Malaysia Today. However, I have been given the freedom to ammend from the original petition.

1) The reported gang clashes in Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Johore over the 50th Merdeka celebration holiday that resulted in a few deaths.
2) The Auditor-General’s report that revealed gross and blatant abuses and transgressions in the management of the peoples’ money involving billions of Ringgit.
3) The state of affairs in the Royal Malaysian Police where even the former IGP Tun Hanif Omar admitted that selected corruption is a serious problem.
4) The dangerous and alarming racial and religious divide.
5) Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s implication in the Oil-for Food scandal.

I would like to add my own items in this petition (if permitted).

National level scandals within GLCs such as the merger between Avenue Capital and ECM Libra and the state of affairs how majority of Malaysia Airlines employees were treated and not involving GLC like the cancellation of the Scenic Bridge replacing the Johor Causeway and Scomi’s involvement with the centrifuge for nuclear device.

I would also sought the grace of HM Seri Paduka Baginda Yang DiPertuan Agong to look into the matters where Malaysian foreign policies shifted like the decision to take the lead to discipline Myanmar into democratization process, which is against the cardinal principle of ASEAN as not to interfere into neighbour’s/members domestic affairs, at the ASEAN Head of Government Summit, KL Convention Centre, November 2005.

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Published in: on September 12, 2007 at 23:01  Comments (1)  

Erap Estrada gets life sentence

Former Deputy Prime Minister and corrupt practices ex-convict Anwar Ibrahim’s closest ASEAN ally, former the Philippines President Joseph “Erap” Estrada was convicted for corruption and gets a life sentence.

From BBC.com:

Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 September 2007, 03:06 GMT 04:06 UK

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Estrada gets life for corruption

photo of ex-President Joseph Estrada, released by the Philippine National Police

Mr Estrada was detained after being ousted from power in 2001

 

 

Former Philippine President Joseph Estrada has been found guilty of corruption and jailed for life.

The former film star was accused of embezzling about $80m (£42m) before he was forced from office by street protests in 2001.

Estrada was also ordered to forfeit a mansion and more than $15.5m. He will serve out the sentence under house arrest on his country estate.

He described the verdict as a political decision by a kangaroo court.

Estrada was found not guilty of a separate charge of perjury.

His son Jinggoy was acquitted of the charge of plunder.

‘Sad episode’

There was tight security in the Philippine capital, Manila, as Estrada’s supporters were kept several blocks away from the courthouse.

I thought the role of justice would prevail here but really it’s a kangaroo court

Joseph Estrada

Profile: Joseph Estrada

A spokesman for President Gloria Arroyo called for calm.

“We hope and pray that the rule of law will prevail,” Ignacio Bunye said, quoted by AP.

“Meantime, we have a country to run, an economy to grow and a peace to win. We hope that this sad episode in our history will not permanently distract us from this goal.”

Estrada denies the allegations, accusing Mrs Arroyo and Church leaders of conspiring against him, and has said he will appeal if found guilty.

“I thought the role of justice would prevail here but really it’s a kangaroo court,” he said after the verdict was announced.

Analysts say that the fact that Estrada will be spending more time behind bars is likely to anger the urban poor who make up the bulk of his support.

Divisive figure

The trial began soon after Estrada was ousted from power in 2001, amid violent street protests.

Joseph Estrada

Estrada has protested his innocence and said he will appeal

The former movie star still has mass popular appeal, and over the years the court proceedings have attracted plenty of media attention.

“I have been imprisoned for six years, four months and 17 days but because of your prayers, help and love, I have endured all these,” he said on Tuesday, in a taped message smuggled out of his home, where he is under house arrest.

He said he believed the public was already convinced of his innocence, adding: “Whatever the Sandiganbayan (corruption court) will decide, I am ready because I know my countrymen have acquitted me.”

 

This is from CNN.com:

Deposed Philippine president given life sentence for plunder

  • Story Highlights
  • Deposed President Joseph Estrada convicted and sentenced to life in prison
  • Landmark six-year trial found that he took bribes and kickbacks in office
  • Estrada was ousted in January 2001 by a “people power” revolt

MANILA, Philippines (CNN) — A Philippine court convicted deposed President Joseph Estrada of plunder and sentenced him to life in prison Wednesday, following a six-year trial in which the constitutionality of the law was challenged.

 

art.estrada.ap.jpg

 

Joseph Estrada in a police booking photo following his arrest on corruption charges in this April 25, 2001 photo.

Estrada, 70, was found not guilty of perjury. Prosecutors alleged he falsely declared his financial assets.

In a phone interview with CNN, Estrada said the next step for his legal team would be to appeal his conviction in the Sandiganbayan anti-graft court to the country’s Supreme Court.

“It’s not yet the end of the road, we still have (an) option to appeal our case to the Supreme Court,” the former president said.

Estrada’s son Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada and Attorney Edward Serapio were co-defendants in the case, but were acquitted of the plunder charges.

Prosecutors, however, lauded the decision in news reports. “This is the last chance for the state to show that we can do it, that we can charge, prosecute and convict a public official regardless of his stature,” special prosecutor Dennis Villa-Ignacio said in an Associated Press report. “It shows that our judicial system really works.”

Plunder is a capital offense in the Philippines, although the death penalty was abolished recently, according to AP reports. The law, passed in 1994, was prompted by the outcry over the illegal wealth acquired by former President Ferdinand Marcos while in office and ironically, Estrada was one of its main proponents when he was a senator. Estrada was the first person prosecuted under the law.

 

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He was convicted of pocketing tens of millions of dollars during the 31 months of his presidency. As a part of his sentencing, Estrada was ordered to forfeit about $15 million and a mansion.

He was acquitted of perjury related to allegations he falsely declared his assets, according to the AP

Estrada was ousted after three years in office in January 2001 in the midst of an impeachment hearing on corruption charges that had lost its credibility with the public.

Following massive protests, current President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo — then Estrada’s vice president — was swept into power on a wave of public support and the backing of the military.

Estrada remains a popular figure in the Philippines and security forces have been on alert in the event his conviction stirs violence amongst his supporters.

“Of course, I’ll try to calm them,” Estrada told CNN.

Riot police and troops kept hundreds of Estrada backers several blocks from the anti-graft court in Manila that Estrada inaugurated before he was ousted, The AP reported.

Security also was very tight around the presidential palace as President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo worried about a repeat of violent protests that followed Estrada’s arrest in April 2001.

 

 

 

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Arroyo spokesman Ignacio Bunye appealed for calm.

“We hope and pray that the rule of law will prevail,” Bunye said in AP reports. “Meantime, we have a country to run, an economy to grow and a peace to win. We hope that this sad episode in our history will not permanently distract us from this goal.”

 

 

Anwar too was convicted at Kuala Lumpur High Court by Justice Augustine Paul on corruption charges on 14 April 1999. He was given six years in jail. As they say, birds of a feather flock together.

Published in: on September 12, 2007 at 13:58  Comments (3)  

Mesra, Cepat dan Betul, again

There had been too much bad publicity and negativities about the Royal Malaysian Police aka Police Force, lately. The truth is that, some people find it is a grotesque that we question the blanket of security the Police Force had provided us all these years and the manner how it had been provided.

First it was the “nude-ear-squat-in-the lockup” case. Then the incomplete/incompetence case/investigations of certain high profile murder cases; ‘The Norita Shamsuddin murder’, ‘The Ipoh’s ex-mayor’s son’ etc., arrest of two policemen and now on trial for the high profile murder of Mongolian national Altantuya Shaaribuu, all the expose’ made by Raja Petra and published in Malaysia Today, the claims about crime in places like Johor Bahru is on the rise and latest, the former IGP Tun Mohamed Hanif Omar’s article, et al.

Could we have progressed, this far as a society and endure the everyday life normal economic activities, which propelled Malaysia into a major global trading nation had the Police Force completely failed in the duties, all these years?

The formative half of post-WW II Malaya (then Malaysia), the country had been bogged with acute security issues like ‘The Emergency’ and later, ‘Confrontation’. The Police Force was a major and integral part of these trying and challenging moments in our colourful history. Maybe Malaysians conveniently forgotten tragedies such as the attack on the Bukit Kepong Police Station (23 February 1950), the assassinations of then the Perak CPO Tan Sri C T Khoo and IGP, Tan Sri Abdul Rahman Hashim (on 7 June 1974), the Japanese Red Army hostage crisis, August 1975 and the attack on the Batu Pahat Police Station by deviationists, Jaafar Fathullah in 1981.

Then there was the success of negotiating the Malayan Communist Party surrender and end of armed struggle in a peace treaty signed in Haadyaii, Thailand 2 December 1989, by then the Director of Special Branch, Dato’ Abdul Rahim Mohd. Nor. After an illustrious career in the Police Force, Tan Sri Rahim resigned in disgrace after punching former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim in the Bukit Aman lock-up, after a day of stressful anti-Reformasi engagement, during the height of the 16th Commonwealth Games.

Of course how could anyone forgotten the night notorious criminal Bentong Kali was gunned down by Police Special Forces in an operation conducted by Serious Crime Division, Bukit Aman at a terrace house in Damansara Heights, 1993.

Then everyone should not forget how Chief Inspector Abdul Razak Yusof negotiated and persuaded Mohd. Amin Mohd. Razali and his Al Maunah millitant group to surrender, at the Sauk incidence, 6 July 2000.

For a force of 90,000 men and women, to provide the heavy burden of primary security for the 26 million highly complex multiethnic, multifaith and multicultural Malaysians inhibiting an area 330,000 sq km in two land mass separated by a large body of water, over 4,800 km of coastline and a domestic economy over RM 1,050 billion (PPP) per annum, the Police Force had already been grossly overworked, under staffed, under equipped and overtly scrutinised, on top of the extra burden the Malaysian public placed on them for the pettiest and sundry issues.

On top of that, some quarters chose to antagonise, provoke and test the Police Force, especially their professionalism in handling very volatile and high tension incidence, such the chaos purposely created at the recent Terengganu riots.

However, most of the time, the Police have been known to carefully discharge their firearms, especially when duty calls. This was demonstrated in the foiled armed robbery outside a bank very near to where I lived. As per featured by NST today:

2007/09/12

High drama as police foil robbery bid

By : Fay Angela D’cruz

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Plainclothes policemen with the two suspects outside the Public Bank branch in  Uptown, Damansara, yesterday. The suspects were  in a stolen Proton Perdana when they were confronted by the police. — Pictures courtesy of NST reader Chow Yin Hon
Plainclothes policemen with the two suspects outside the Public Bank branch in Uptown, Damansara, yesterday. The suspects were in a stolen Proton Perdana when they were confronted by the police. — Pictures courtesy of NST reader Chow Yin Hon

PETALING JAYA: They were waiting for their next victim, but alert policemen outside a bank foiled their plan and in the process busted a gang high on the wanted list.

Police leading one of the suspects away while another suspect can be seen in the background bleeding at the leg.
Police leading one of the suspects away while another suspect can be seen in the background bleeding at the leg.

But it took more than 10 shots and a desperate escape attempt before two members of the “Bankers Gang” were nabbed yesterday in Uptown, Damansara.

The two robbers were in a stolen Proton Perdana outside the Public Bank about 3.30pm when plainclothes policemen confronted them.

The two suspects sensing their game was up tried to escape by ramming into the police team who opened fire on the vehicle.

The robbers crashed into a divider and were pounced on when they tried to escape on foot. One suspect was shot in the leg. He was sent to the University Malaya Medical Centre for treatment.

Selangor deputy CID chief (intelligence and operations) ACP Chee Cheng Wan said they believe the robbers, a foreigner and a local, had two accomplices waiting nearby.

“They escaped when they saw their gang members being chased by police.”

Chee said the gang had been operating for over a month and had committed at least 10 robberies.

“We believe they have amassed at least RM500,000 from the robberies,” he said.

“Their victims were those who had made withdrawals at banks. They would usually smash the victim’s car window before robbing them.”

The dependence of the Malaysian public on the Police Force is undoubtably very significant. They may not be ‘Mesra, Cepat dan Betul’ all the time but so far, they have done exactly that for most of us, most of the time and especially when it matters most.

Crimes committed gets more complicated as criminals are more sophisticated in their methods. They deploy highly sophisticated communication equipments and processes, to elude the authorities.

The society themselves support organised criminal activities such as vices created from illegal gambling, prostitution, business extortions, illegal money lending (Ah Longs), designer drugs manufacturing, software and IP piracy and eventually, money laundering. The fast expansion of these crimes are the mainstay that smaller crimes thrived upon and the rakyat in our own societies support and play a very big role in these vices growth and expansion.

So now we blame the authorities, especially the Police Force for these vices and crimes growth? Aren’t the rakyat and society themselves a factor of these immoral acts?

Shifting the burden and responsibility to other people, though convenient, it is not the right thing to do. Its time the Malaysian public should do more to make the place we live, earn a living, raise a family and retire a much better place by contributing and make the burden of providing security for us, much easier and lesser for the Polis DiRaja Malaysia, even though they promised with an oath of ‘Sedia Berkhidmat‘.

Published in: on September 12, 2007 at 12:36  Comments (1)