When you are lied to the first time, you tend to get upset because you have been lied to. When you are lied to by the same party many times, you would not only get even more upset and angry but you would also develop a sense of distrust of the lying party. However, what is even more upsetting than continuous lies would be lies which are so stupid and so unbelievably astounding that it is a gross insult for the perpetrator to actually think that his or her lie will be believed by us.
The audacity with which the current government is lying to the people would make the ruse involving a certain wooden horse pregnant with soldiers in its belly seems meek, if not downright tame and uninventive. "Bersih rally by 4000 people", screamed the government gazettes last year. It was of course a blatant lie. When the whole world could see the truth from photographs splashed all over the internet, one began not to get upset only by the fact that they have been lied to but also from the audacity of it all. It prompted me to write and send this letter. It of course did not get to see the light of day.
"I don't have anything to do with Jean", said the PM. He of course married her not too long after that. "I am not going to dissolve the Parliament", again, said the PM. The very next day, when the ink on the newspaper quoting him saying so was barely dry, he dissolved the Parliament. Malaysia holds many world records, among which, the longest ikan bakar grill in the Milky Way. Add to that is the fastest time in which a major newspaper headline is proven untrue or incorrect.
The latest is of course the lie about the trip to Taiwan and Macau being a trip arranged for the Barisan Nasional's MPs to learn about agriculture in order to enable them to better argue and debate the budget in Parliament! Why don't they just say that the trip was arranged to enable the BN MPs to visit a UFO site where aliens with solution for our racial integration problems; budget deficit; inter-faith issues; incompetent Judges; corrupt politicians and civil service and men with small dick had landed? It would easier for all of us to swallow.
1.1 Maths and Science - to English or not to English
No less than Khairy Jamaluddin has critisised the "half-baked" (to borrow his own words) policy of improving the standard of English among Malaysian students by teaching Maths and Science subjects in English. I don't really know what motivates him for doing so but the odd thing is he now seems to be critisising his superior in UMNO Youth. As we all know, that policy was mooted and implemented by the current Education Minister, Hishamuddin Hussein who is of course the Youth movement's chief. So, is this a sign of a sudden surge of intellectualism within UMNO Youth or is it some kind of a political posturing or both, one wonders?
Be that as it may, I have been saying all these while that that policy is not half baked but it is actually baked in an electric oven without the mains switch being switched on. Just imagine a 14 year old students in Form 2. For 8 years of his life he has been learning Maths and Science in Bahasa Malaysia. "Add" means "campur" to him. So does "fraction" mean "pecahan". His English is not good. Suddenly they teach those subject in English. How does that help him to improve his English? And we have not even begun to talk about the teachers. These teachers were all from Bahasa Malaysia school. They themselves were taught Maths and Science in Bahasa Malaysia. They were trained in Bahasa Malaysia. And one day, they woke up, brushed their teeth, took a bath, went to school and they had to teach these subjects in English. You don't have to graduate from Oxford to know that that policy will not work! In fact, it is a burden on the students and teachers alike.
The problem with this government is its inability to grasp a problem, analise it and come up with a holistic solution for it. It is so used to sweeping things under the carpet so much so that when it is confronted with problems, it's knee jerk reaction would be to come up with stop gap measures. In other words, it knows next to nuts about governing!
Dear Ministers, please read this. I am no expert in education but I think I am blessed with a slightly clearer head than all of you put together. The low standard of English among our students is a product of a wrong education policy which started in early 1970s. That was the era when the then government suddenly thought that efforts must be made to "mendaulatkan Bahasa Melayu/Kebangsaan/Malaysia/Baku/Kebangsaan and back to Melayu" again. Lets not go into the rationale for that policy. Lets just accept the fact that the result of that policy is that most students - and even graduates - nowadays can't even construct a decent sentence in English. Students did not just wake up one morning and found out that they could not speak English. It was a rapid evolution, if ever there was one. (Well, it could be a slow revolution, if you want to be argumentative).
A holistic approach towards solving this problem would be to start all over again. There is no fast cure -nip-in-the-bud kind of solution. So, what needed to be done was to start training teachers to teach whatever subject in English. Lets say we start doing so next year. It takes 3 years to train the teachers. So, 3 years from then, we would have to start teaching whatever subjects in English and make English more prominent in the curriculum from the standard 1 intake of that year, namely, 2012. Than we continue doing so until the whole system is filled with such curriculum. That is how we should do it.
Mr Prime Minister, you asked the people to work with you. Here I am. I had just done so. When will I be invited for tea?
1.2 The Unholy Trinity
Of all the news this week, this takes the cake. Muhyidin Yasin, a vice-President of UMNO, has managed to persuade Dr Mahathir to rejoin UMNO. Just how much persuasion did Dr Mahathir, the has-been of UMNO, who had left UMNO 3 months ago in disgust over the ineptitude of the Prime Minister cum current chief-in-command of UMNO and who vowed to never return to UMNO as long as the Prime Minister remains as such, need? Did Muhyiddin have to cry like Rafidah Aziz when Dr Mahathir announced that he had wanted to resign on stage before? Or was Dr Mahathir tied up, beaten like Anwar Ibrahim while he was in detention in 1997 and forced to submission? Or was it all it takes was a simple pact involving Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah challenging Abdullah Ahmad for the UMNO presidency and Muhyiddin challenging Najib Razak for the number 2 spot this December? That's all? Or is there more? Something like Dr Mahathir becoming some sort of a Minister Mentor or puppet master or whatever?
Dr Mahathir Mohamad. I just love that name. I love that name in the same vein I do the name Mawi. Or George Bush. Oh, Mugabe too. This is the guy who wrote a really rude letter to Tengku Abdul Rahman in 1969 after the 13th May riot. He was then sacked from UMNO. Then he rejoined. IN 1987, he was challenged for the UMNO Presidency by non other than Tengku Razaleigh. He won by a mere 46 votes (if memory serves me right). 12 UMNO members (later reduced to 11 as one withdrew) brought a court action challenging the validity of the voting process as there were representatives from unapproved divisions attending and voting. The younger generation now do not actually know what happened in Court in that UMNO 11 action. Let me tell you what actually happened. You can make up your own mind whether Dr Mahathir loves UMNO, as he says he does, or whether he is just in love with himself. What I am about to tell here are facts, nothing but facts.
The UMNO 11 action was never aimed at obtaining a Court order to declare UMNO illegal. Remember that. The UMNO 11 were just asking the Court to declare the voting process invalid because of the above reason. That was all. The order to declare UMNO illegal was never asked for by the UMNO 11. The UMNO 11 were represented by Raja Aziz Addruse, if I am not mistaken. Dr Mahathir's camp was represented, among others, by Gopal Sri Ram, who was then a practising lawyer. Now he is a Court of Appeal Judge. During the hearing, it was agreed by both sides that there were in fact representatives from unapproved divisions attending the assembly and voting. Under the law, societies, such as UMNO, must be registered. Not only that, the societies' branches or divisions must also be approved by the Registrar of Societies before they could be established. And UMNO at that time had several divisions which were unapproved.
If unapproved branches or divisions existed, the Societies Act provide that not only the unapproved branches or divisions shall be illegal, the society itself shall be illegal. This ridiculous law was enacted by the BN government than to catch PAS, which was known to have many unapproved branches. So, during the hearing, suddenly, and out of the blue, Gopal Sri Ram submitted that UMNO was illegal! It was not Raja Aziz Addruse or the UMNO 11 who said so but it was the lawyer acting for Dr Mahathir's camp who said so! That lawyer must have instruction to say so or otherwise he couldn't have said so.
Raja Aziz was caught by surprise with that submission. I vividly remember he was reportedly saying in the newspaper that that was a "kamikaze defence"! He then reminded the Court that he wasn't asking for UMNO to be declared illegal. But the Court declared UMNO illegal instead. Dr Mahathir, in all his speeches and writings have always blamed the UMNO 11 for causing it to be declared illegal. But it was Counsel acting for his side who submitted that point to the Judge. And it was through his sheer negligence that unapproved UMNO branches/divisions existed and were permitted to send delegates to the assembly to vote.
Who destroyed UMNO? You tell me.
All Dr Mahathir cared about is himself and his position as the Supreme chief of UMNO, Barisan Nasional and Malaysia. After UMNO was declared illegal, Tengku Abdul Rahman, Rais Yatim (if I am not mistaken) etc out of their love for the party formed a new party called UMNO Malaysia. Of course, the registration of this new party was strangely blocked by the Registrar of Society. The registry comes under the Home Ministry and it does not take any imagination to guess who the Home Minister was at that time. After that, Dr Mahathir formed UMNO Baru and he managed to register it. Strange. The earlier one was rejected and unapproved but the later one was accepted. Funny? Well, you make up your own mind.
Then Dr Mahathir passed a new law which says a new party with a certain percentage of members from an old party can retain the old party's name. Hahah...and so UMNO Baru was back to UMNO. Meanwhile, the rejection of UMNO Malaysia became a Court case. And Dr Mahathir fought that case as if his life depended on it. If he loved UMNO so much, why didn't he work together with Tengku Abdul Rahman, the Father of Malaysia to re-establish the real UMNO? You tell me.
Then he changed UMNO's constitution to make it real difficult for anybody to run for the office of President or Vice-President against the incumbent. This, according to him, was to make sure that only serious contenders would run for such office. Like, wow!
The rest, as they say, is history. Before he retired, he handpicked Abdullah Badawi, in the true tradition of UMNO, the passing-the-baton adat. He thought Abdullah Ahmad would be submissive to him and his ilk. He thought Abdullah Ahmad was a meek lackey who would yield to his whims and fancies. Little did he know what was to come. Now UMNO has lost all credibility and is destined for extinction. Who caused it? You tell me.
He now admitted that it was a mistake for him to pass the baton to Abdullah Ahmad. He asked people to oust him from UMNO. When that did not yield result, he left UMNO hoping many others would revolt and follow him. As it turned out, only one of his son and his wife, and Sanusi Junid followed him. Even baby Mukhriz did not do so! He failed. He then complained that the provision in UMNO constitution, which he inserted, makes it difficult for Abdullah Ahmad to be challenged. Irony personified!
Now, he has ganged up with Muhyiddin Yasin and his old nemesis, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah to challenge Abdullah Ahmad.The guile of this man. Would make Nicollo Machiavelli proud, this one.
UMNO Baru/UMNO Lama/UMNO Asal whatever is a sinking ship because of Dr Mahathir. All this void in the party's leadership is caused by him. He never appreciate dissent. Any voice of rationale or dissent would be perceived as opposition and would quickly be killed off. UMNO "leadership" has always been, under Dr Mahathir, about listening to and following him and doing what he wants. That creates a big hole in its leadership. When Dr Mahathir left, UMNO was like a headless chicken. That is why UMNO is where it is now. It is not because of Abdullah Ahmad.
But the again, Dr Mahathir will never ever accept this fact.
1.3 Transfer of cases
Under the law the Attorney General has the power to transfer any criminal case from the lower Courts to the High Courts. I think the validity of this law has been argued and determined. It is apparently a valid law. This power is exercised at the sole discretion of the AG. He doesn't even need to give reasons for it. All he needs to do was to sign a certificate of transfer and that's it.
Now he wants Anwar Ibrahim's sodomy case to be transferred to the High Court. Apparently because of who Anwar is (whatever that means!) and because of public interest. Well let me tell you something Honourable AG. Nobody gives two hoots about Anwar's sexuality.
Frankly, this absolute power to transfer is unconstitutional, I think. It gives a lot of room for abuse. It even gives the possibility to the AG to choose a Judge. It should be struck down as unconstitutional because it transgresses the very basis of our legal and judicial system. An accused person is entitled to a fair trial in a Court not of the AG's choosing but in a Court which has the proper jurisdiction over the offence of which he is being accused.
That's my two cents' worth.