The 2007 had been a very long year indeed. Too many political ups and downs, boons and banes. Certainly, 2007 will not be easily forgotten for its ‘colourfulness’, which in time, will shape the Malaysian political landscape and decorate the plural history. This blog will attempt a brief re-cap of the major highlights for the year.
New Year saw Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi with his family and close personal friends, having a ball of time of their life in ‘down under’, against the sensitivities of ten of thousands of Malaysians living in appalling distressed conditions, due to the massive floods that hit the country, especially in the South of the Peninsular. He even officiated a nasi kandar restaurant in Perth in this year end-new year visit.
Then former Malay Mail Executive Editor, Ahirudin “Rocky” Attan was officially served his summons paper on 18 January 2007 by Kalimullah “Riong Kali” Hassan and three other executives in NST for the earlier’s postings in his blog, “Rocky’s Bru”.
The nation was shocked with the scoop about a wholly owned GLC Penerbangan Malaysia Berhad, the holding company of Malaysia Airlines taking delivery of a brand new intercontinental very large and luxury executive jet, even though the TUDM is currently operating three other luxury executive jets.
Perdana Global Peace organized the third Perdana Global Peace Forum 5-7 February 2007 at PWTC, Kuala Lumpur, where former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad called Western leaders, especially President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair as “War Criminals” and strongly urged the world to ‘criminalize war’.
Then former Prime Minister and UMNO President Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, made a landmark call for UMNO members whilst in Johor Bahru on 10 February 2007 (his first political engagement after his 8 November 2006 ‘mild heart attack’) to have a leadership, even though it is premature. He also added that UMNO had seen several premature leadership changes and it brought progress to the Malays and the nation.
A lot of attention was placed on the Public Accounts Committee, head by then BN backbencher Chairman, Johor Bahru MP Dato’ Shahrir Samad and consist of both BN and Opposition MPs, such as YB Salahuddin Ayub, YB Dr. Tan Seng Giaw and YB Datin Seri wan Azizah Ismail. PAC is plagued with expectations to solve ‘scandals’ which involve public funds such as the ‘merger’ of Avenue Capital to ECM Libra.
March saw the much awed statements from politicians against bloggers, which drew a lot of flak in the bloggosphere. First it was Tourism Minister Tengku Dato’ Adnan Mansor. Then it was Information Minister, Dato’ Zainuddin “Zam” Maidin, who was a one time for Chief Editor of Utusan Malaysia and long time journalist. Then were was this report on the Malaysian Government’s intention against bloggers.
Tun Dr. Mahathir again repeated this call in Kulai, on 29 March 2007. The next day, he openly demonstrated his support for once arch political-enemy Tengku Tan Sri Razaleigh Hamzah openly, during the latter’s lecture on former Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein’s legacy in University Malaya (although some other politician openly claimed that he is the ‘political son’ to the Bapa Pembangunan Malaysia!). Certainly, this ‘renewed association’, gave a lot of Malaysians, especially the Malays some glimmer of hope for things to be made better.. So many issues that still have not been settled and rectified, nor explained, which include the nineteen points raised when the former Prime Minister met his successor in Seri Perdana Complex in a four-eyed-engagement, two days before Hari Raya Aidil Fitri 1427H.
In late March also saw the sensation of the expose’ of Prime Minister Abdullah’s family own a RM 60 million property in Perth, Australia.
In April, the Malaysian political scene saw the formation of the practitioners of newest medium of information dissemination, ‘Blogs’, an alternative to mainstream media, came into crystalization. The new ‘cyber-warriors’ of the “information-age-war” came forward to unite under a formal organisation, National Alliance of Bloggers (All-Blogs). This new alternative and efficient medium of information dissemination, which is growing and exponentially getting attraction, was seen as something ‘prickly’ by some Government and BN leaders.
The same month also saw how former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, who was a convicted criminal and a ‘sandiwara’ performer, trying to make a political comeback and defeated humiliatingly, despite so many of his own PKR strong supporters exodus far away from him, which include his able lieutenants. Another major Malaysian ‘sandiwara’, also was revealed in the same after these men purported to have “sold of the holdings in ECM Libra”, after the scandal attracted too much attention and attacks, which include the Malaysian Minority Shareholders Watchdog Group Bhd. The plot thickens as the new ‘player’ revealed explained the amazingly seamless meteoric rise of a low cost carrier.
The 13th Seri Paduka Baginda Yang DiPertuan Agong, Tuanku Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin Ibni Almarhum Sultan Mahmood of Terengganu was sworn into office and coronated in a regal and highly illustrious ceremony in Kuala Lumpur on 26 April 2007. This coronation made history as it will be the last coronation and swearing in ceremony in the current Istana Negara. The next Seri Paduka Yang DiPertuan Agong will be expected to be sworn into office and coronated in the new Istana Negara Complex, on Jalan Duta, Kuala Lumpur. For the first time, the coronation of the Seri Paduka Baginda Yang DiPertuan Agong was encapsulated in a full length documentary by the renowned National Geographic channel.
In May, Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi concluded an understanding and agreement with Singaporean Prime Minister in Langkawi on Singapore’s involvement in the IDR. A special joint task force will be formed to look into areas which the Singaporeans have a ‘direct’ interests into Johor, namely environment (particularly water), immigration, tourism and transportation.
Later, Prime Minister Dato Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, announced a handsome pay package increase for the civil servants. This 21 May 2007 announcement drew so much happiness from the over the one-point-two million civil servants although many other questioned the pay hike without attaching any productivity and efficiency condition to it.
The same month saw the editors of major mainstream news papers made some really major ‘boo-boos’. One was exposed on plagiarism. The other one, who practiced gross biasness in journalism, was highlighted on his ‘ass-kissing’ism. Another one, lied! (He definitely lied a year ago!)
The champion of socialism through democracy, now clearly proven themselves ‘undemocratic’, despite their vehement viscious attacks on another political party in 1999, when the latter deferred their party elections in anticipation of an upcoming ‘rough’ General Elections. One of their leaders, tried to ‘revisit’ on old wounds, from a skewed but narrow-angled perspective.
The trial of Azlina “Lina Joy” Jailani, to tried to omit the word “Islam” from her official identification records drew so much attention, local and abroad. The Federal Court decided at the end of May that she must obtain a decision from the Syariah Court. The Chief Justice Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Halim made a vehement call against ‘infidels’ in his judgment of the case. The case was a test against the Judiciary, especially with regards to the interpretation of the freedom to embrace any faith. Later, another ruling against a high profile case, Subshini created a precedence against any future non Muslim appeal in the Syariah Court.
In June, the nation saw the widowed Prime Minister wed again. Many hoped this will create more stability in the Prime Minister’s personal life (which somewhat affected his professional life). As a wedding gift, a balanced score card was republished.
The elusive and much misunderstood Iskandar Development Region (IDR) drew so much attention as the mega development plan went radically against Government’s own agenda and national development policies.
Proton was a dog of different fleas. The once highly profitable high technology company, which had enough reserve to develop their own huge industrial complex on its own internal funds, is now on a systematically slow death. A lot of bet was put on the possible merger with either VW or GM, for a credible technological provider. However, both negotiations failed.
The trial of a former strategist with the Deputy Prime Minister and two Policemen for the alleged gruesome high profile murder Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu started in mid June. The case drew too much attention and speculation that it became a major ‘item’ in Anwar Ibrahim’s and PKR’s campaign in the April Ijok by-election.
July, saw a blogger was detained and investigated, purportedly for his involvement in the fake photo which depicted the Deputy Prime Minister and the dead Mongolian model. He was allowed to go away after three nights and until today, he has yet to be charged with anything.
A TUDM helicopter went missing and later found crashed on the side of a mountain, near Genting. All seven crew died and the Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister announced the replacement program for the fleet of air force vertical transporter which has been in service since 39 years ago. An inquiry board was formed where ‘human error’ was concluded as the cause of accident.
UMNO Information Chief Tan Sri Muhammad Muhd. Taib made a Police report against online political portal Malaysia Today and its editor, Raja Petra Kamaruddin on 11 July 2007. The latter was later called by Dang Wangi Police for an interview and his statements be recorded. His wife, Marina was called too. Several active commentators were also questioned by the Police to the report made remarks posted against Islam and defamation of the King.
Another ambitious economic development project was launched, this time in the North called Northern Corridor Economic Region, on 30 July 2007. The focus will be on industrialization and ‘revolutionization’ of the agriculture industry, on top of physical development synergize by the high growth Penang metropolitan to be extended into Northern Perak, Kedah dan Perlis.
August saw the delivery of the first six of Russian made Su 30 MKM multirole combat aircraft, in an acquisition deal comprising of 16 aircraft. Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Dato’ Seri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak offciated the delivery in a ceremony at TUDM Subang on 11 August 2007. During LIMA ’07, Prime Minister Abdullah officially graced the new first line of defense squadron of TUDM.
15 August 2007 saw the former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad went on a further sting against the Prime Minister Abdullah’s management of this country, at an event organised by PRIMA. On top of the that, former IGP earlier published his own opinion on the deterioration state of Police. Few days previously, a mainstream daily published a story that illustrate UMNO Youth Vice Head Khairy Jamaluddin as a “young Dr. Mahathir”.
An article was published that stated the mysterious Malaysia foreign policy shift, after four different Prime Ministers. The shift was first detected in November 2005, when Malaysia hosted the ASEAN leaders summit. In this summit, Malaysia bowed into Western flavour and took lead of “pressuring” against Myanmar to ‘democratize’ their political system.
A young girl Nurin Jazlin went missing on 20 August 2007 which attracted so much attention, especially she was discovered dead four weeks later. She was laid to rest in an emotional episode that drew so much sympathy, anger and dismay. UMNO Youth Exco in charge of public complaints Dato’ Subhan Kamal later criticized the Police for their slow progress on the case.
Synergy Drive Bhd., a creature created from the merger of Sime Darby Bhd., Kumpulan Guthrie Bhd. and Golden Hope Plantations Bhd. is undoubtably the largest palm oil estate corporation in the world.
All-Blogs hosted a forum on Bangsa Malaysia, the first in the newly operationalised Blog-house. Amongst the panelist were UMNO MP for Kota Bahru, lawyer Dato’ Zaid Ibrahim, civil rights lawyer Malik Imtiaz Sarwar dan law lecturer and activist, Azmi Shahrom.
Pelabuhan Klang ADUN Dato’ Zakaria Deros, who gained national attention with his 2 room mansion, was dropped from an earlier 27 charges violating companies commission ruling by 23 August 2007. In October, he was arrogant enough to hold a boastful and ambitious Hari Raya Open House for 60,000 guests. Whether they really support him as their wakil rakyat or completely oblivion and don’t care about what have been said about him is not clear enough.
31 August 2007 saw the 50th celebrations of the Independence of Malaya (later Malaysia), in the most glorious pomp and pageantry. Foreign Monarchs and head of Governments attended. UMNO founder Dato’ Onn Jaafar, was selected as the most prolific personality in commemoration on these celebrations. He was instrumental in galvanising Malay NGOs all over country to fight against the formation of Malayan Union, which saw UMNO being born.
September was another colourful month. Former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, 82, underwent a second coronary arterial by-pass graft surgery in IJN on 4 September 2007, after the first one over eighteen years ago.
September is a also month of defiance. It started with the pig rearing community in Alor Gajah, Melaka vehemently rejected the authorities’ attempt to cull their over-excessive and illegal farming, which has proven to be detrimental to the environment.
Two illegal assemblies were held within this month, although one turned violent, which include the burning of the Malaysian flag “Jalur Gemilang” and one Policeman opened fire on the mob. One of the illegal assembly was actually organised by the Bar Council and attended by hundreds if not thousands of legal practitioners, as a reaction to Anwar Ibrahim’s revelation of ‘Judiciary rigging’.
An inquiry was formed to investigate on the alleged corruption and abuse of power and later a Royal Commission with specific powers and objectives was formed.
The Angkasawan Negara, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor Al Masrie, 35, was announced to be the crew of ISS 16 mission after a year of careful and meticulous evaluation and selection process. He was blasted off into space on 10 October 2007.
Prime Minister Abdullah, who is also the Finance Minister I announce the 2008 budget on 7 September 2007, with a three prong concentration approach; to improve Malaysia’s competency, to strengthen and enrich the ‘human capital’ and making Malaysians more compassionate society.
Telekom Malaysia will be demergered into highly subsidised domestic and internet operations, which is deemed as “national service” and profitable international operations.
1 October was Malaysia Airlines 35th anniversary in independent operations, a transformation from a Government agency into a corporation, listed on the bourse and now a Tier 1 intercontinental carrier in over six continents.
The Perdana Menteri Class Scorpene diesel-electric conventional submarines, which currently are under fitting out at the DCN shipyard in Cherbourg, France was officially named in an illustrious ceremony which marked a new notch in the armed forces history. Named KD Tunku Abdul Rahman, it was launched by the wife of the Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister. A second boat, named KD Tun Abdul Razak will launched in 2008 at the Navantia dockyards in Cartagena, Spain. This blog also made history when its article on the launching on the submarine was translated and uploaded in the French Navy website.
November started with the much awaited annual event after ‘Budget Day’, the UMNO General Assembly. As per the previous, years, the Deputy President UMNO’s speech has more ‘meat’ in it, as compared against the UMNO President’s.
This year’s UMNO General Assembly was ‘bland’ like expected, as the delegates have been limited on the issues they could raise and debate. Despite the UMNO President’s call against corruption and his vow to combat the ‘crime against society’ in the 2004 BN manifesto, it was not raised at all by any of the delegates throughout the four days annual convention.
During the UMNO General Assembly, one UMNO member from Sekijang UMNO Division, near Segamat, Johor, former Bernama journalist and MB Johor Press Secretary Johari Ismail, made a Police report against the UMNO President during this year’s UMNO General Assembly. He asked the Police to investigate the allegations against the UMNO President’s instruction to expunge three pages from the 28 August 2006 UMNO Supreme Council Meeting which discussed in details the ‘conspiracy’ to stop former UMNO President Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad from being elected as UMNO Kubang Pasu delegate at the Division’s annual general meeting on 9 September 2006.
Despite Prime Minister Abdullah stern warning against illegal assemblies stated explicitly in the President’s rebuttal speech, November saw another month of political discontent and more defiance. A massive street demonstration was organised by Opposition leaders, who fronted several NGOs united as ‘BERSIH’ to complain to HM Seri Paduka Baginda Yang DiPertuan Agong on the 10 November 2007 against the unfair and biasness of ‘un-free’ elections conducted by the Elections Commission. It was rumoured that the street demonstration received the blessing of HM SPB YDP Agong. However, it was vehemently denied.
Two weeks later, another massive street demonstration was organised, purpotedly to handover a memorandum to the British Government. It turned violent (later found out they actually ‘planned’ it to turn violent!) and after constant vile attacks issued by the Hindu Rights Action Force (HINDRAF) leaders against the Government, alleging ethnic cleansing and other unsubstantiated malicious and inciteful charges and attempting to instigate racial and religious anger. This drew a lot of flak from the various facets of society, including HRH Rulers. Some were persistent in asking the Government to act sternly against them, who have been described as ‘extremist militants’ and ‘guilty of high treason’ to the country and its people.
HINDRAF leaders and other opportunistic leaders, went abroad to further narrowly discredit Malaysia. It almost caused a diplomatic row. After stubbornly unheeded to stern warnings against making for making statements that will cause anger to certain quarters in the society, five of its leaders were arrested under the ISA law.
In December, the Bursa Malaysia composite index (KLCI), reached a new record high of 1440 points on 6 December 2007. Despite many corporations still are in the reds, it managed to breach a new record because of several GLCs and Bluechips were doing amazing well and announced record profits. A lot analysts and critics question why TNB made over RM 2.2 billion in profits and still plan to increase tariffs. It is part of the Khazanah Holding Bhd. long term strategy to hold the KLCI at a handsome position and psychologically create an artificial “Feel good” factor.
The month also saw more defiance against the law of illegal assemblies. This time it was the lawyers again. Bar Council already failed to get a Police permit for a planned ‘walk’, in commemoration of the world human rights day. Instead, some lawyers went against the ban and some were arrested.
Later, the nation saw an undoubtedably really disappointing decision made by the Prime Minister. 31 youth and men were charged for “attempting murder on a Policeman on duty” during the HINDRAF organised illegal street demonstrations that turned violent. The Attorney General Tan Sri Gani Patail personally took to task in charging them in court and argued against the bail on them, citing the severity of the case. A week and half later, 13 Indian NGOs met the Prime Minister and he asked the AG to consider withdrawing from the case, which saw the Shah Alam Sessions Court discharged these men. This ‘Flip-Flop’ decision was a major disgrace and utter humiliation, especially for the AG’s Chambers and Police.
The 2007 curtain was closed with UMNO Secretary General Dato’ Radzi Sh. Ahmad openly lambasting Perlis UMNO and BN Chief, Menteri Besar Dato’ Seri Shahidan Kassim on national tv. This ‘unhealthy’ bickering in the open, which include the Gerakan Youth Vice Head S. Paranjothy statement to Malaysiakini clearly proven that PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s control and his management of everything is falling out of place.
Certainly, 2007 will always be remembered for its ‘roller-coaster’ ride through out the year. By far, Malaysians will make their decisions when the go to the much anticipated polls soon (just around the corner after the new year).
Good bye 2007 and welcome, 2008!