Friday, October 31, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Health Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai said all quarters including the industry and the Cabinet in its meeting on Sept 17 had agreed to the introduction of the minimum price.
He told reporters here today that the ministry was in the final stage of drafting the Control of Tobacco Products (Sale of Tobacco Products) Regulations 2008 to implement it.
"According to a study by the World Bank, taxes on tobacco and the price of cigarettes in the market are the most effective strategy in controlling the use of tobacco especially by the younger generation, namely children, youths and low-income earners.
"For the sake of children and youths, to keep them off cigarette addiction and probably the risk of drug abuse, the government is very committed to protecting the younger generation by reducing their accessibility to cigarettes," he said.
Liow said the minimum price would be determined by taking into account all taxes imposed by the government and the profit made by the cigarette industry -- probably not less than 30 sen per stick by year end.
The minimum price would be adjusted each time there is a change in taxes, he added.
Under the regulations, retailers found guilty of selling cigarettes below the minimum price could be fined up to RM10,000 or sentenced to jail not exceeding two years or both, he said.
From January next year, cigarettes sold in Malaysia must have picture warnings, information on cigarette content, statement on the prohibition of sale to people below 18, the name and address of the manufacturer or importer, date of manufacture and the number of sticks per pack following the gazetting of the Control of Tobacco Products (Amendment) Regulations 2008 on Sept 15, he said.
"By June 1, cigarettes which do not have the all these must be withdrawn from the market," he said.
Following the amendment also, the use of false, confusing and deceptive descriptors and terms which could create misconception such as "low tar", "light", "ultra-light" and "mild" is prohibited with immediate effect, Liow said.
The new regulations also saw National Service training centres being turned into no smoking areas and this is applicable to all trainees, staff and visitors.
Meanwhile, the no smoking areas at shopping complexes now include five foot ways around the building.
"The amendments are made to fulfil the government's commitment to the provisions in the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control which Malaysia is a party since December 2005," Liow said.
He said those found breaking the regulations would be fined up to RM10,000 or sentenced to jail not exceeding two years or both.
So far this year, 2,622 smokers had been slapped with compound fines totalling RM564,000 while 1,946 cases had been brought to court, he said.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
The National Fatwa Council could be issuing a ruling relating to ancient practise of yoga, which some argued that the popular exercise contains Hindu 'religious elements'.
An announcement on the matter is expected to be made soon by the fatwa council's chairperson Prof Dr Abdul Shukor Husin.
This was revealed by the deputy director-general of the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) Othman Mustapha, reported Bernama today.
Yesterday, UKM lecturer Prof Zakaria Stapa advised Muslims who have taken up yoga - a widely popular exercise which has its roots to India and Hinduism - to stop practising it for fear that it could deviate them from their belief.
"Yoga originated from the Hindu community and it combines spiritual as well as their religious aspects. They believe it brings them closer to their god," he was reported as saying in Berita Harian today.
Zakaria was reported to have said that more Muslims were resorting to yoga exercise to find a balance in their hectic lifestyle.
Pray to find peace and good health
He said involved "chanting mantras while in various positions".
"Why should we look for other alternatives to exercise and search for peace? Yoga could cause (Muslims) to stray from their faith because its movements are according to the style and traditions of Hinduism," he said.Zakaria added that Muslims should instead apply the Islamic teachings such as prayers to find peace and good health.
"If the Muslims want a healthy body, prayers are the right choice... why must we find alternate ways... a single mistake can deviate our teachings as yoga movements follow the style and tradition of Hinduism," he was reported as saying.
Harussani Zakaria , a controversial cleric Perak, said the government-backed fatwa council would soon release a decree that would decide if Muslims were allowed to practise yoga.
"If it involves any faith or religious elements it is definitely not permissible but if it is just a form of exercise that is all right," Harussani told AFP.
"Muslims cannot practice yoga in its original form because it involves another religion," he said in response to a call to ban Muslims from engaging in yoga.
The practice of yoga, a popular stress-buster in Kuala Lumpur, dates back thousands of years in India, where it was a favourite of holy men before becoming hugely popular internationally.Ban on tomboys
The perils of yoga to the Muslims is reported to have been discussed at the recently held fatwa council meeting in Kota Baru, Kelantan.
At the fatwa council meeting, the religious scholars have also decided to issue a fatwaagainst females from dressing or behaving like men and engaging in lesbian sex.
Council chairperson Abdul Shukor had said that many young women admired the way men dress, behave and socialise, violating human nature and denying their feminity.
"It is unacceptable to see women who love the male lifestyle including dressing in the clothes men wear," Abdul Shukor was quoted as saying.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
After I'm done with this, I'm gonna watch The Incredible Hulk next!
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
I meant to post this earlier however I was caught up in a series of events that I let it slide. Yesterday when I came across this article, I then decide to post this anyway for completion sake. This article is about UPKO's decision in staying put in Barisan Nasional to act as its conscience. The party head, Bernard Dompok, also made some strong statements about his party's stand on the illegal immigrants, Borneonisation of the civil service, religious freedom and Petronas' arrogance plus more. The religious freedom may have struck a cord to some religious sensitives that they are demanding a police investigation on Dompok's speech.
After having the read the article, I felt sick in the stomach. For I believe that we shouldn't forcibly impose our religious beliefs upon an unwilling neighbour, whether it is constitutionally correct or not. To me anything relating to loss or abuse of personal freedom is a sin of the highest degree.
Anyway, that is only my own opinion. You are entitled to yours.
Sunday, October 12th 2008
Upko president Bernard Giluk Dompok has pledged to remain with the Barisan Nasional as the “the coalition’s conscience” for now, although he warns the tide in Sabah, as elsewhere in Malaysia, is very much against the ruling coalition.
He made the pledge in a 21-page keynote policy address which set the tone for his party’s three-day 12th triennial meeting which ends today.
“Without your commitment, we would not have been able to rise against the onslaught of the opposition at an election (the March national polls) where the tide against the BN was very much evident in Sabah but perhaps not as strong compared to the semenanjung (peninsula) states,” admitted Dompok.
Upko has four MPs, six members in the state legislature and a senator.
The Upko president chartered three salient points to illustrate the party’s role in the wake of the March political tsunami whereby the BN lost its two-thirds majority in Parliament, four states, one Federal Territory and failed to wrest back Kelantan despite all the earlier pre-poll predictions.
First, the results of the March general election changed dramatically the political landscape of the nation, ushering in an emerging trend of a discerning electorate willing to look beyond the comfort of a government that has a proven track record of bringing post-independence development.
Second, the electorate of today seems to say that there are very serious neglects in our national life which growth rates at the national level alone will not be able to address.
Third, for the BN, the time has come to take stock of the situation; to identify these neglects and offer remedies that will rekindle the trust and the high esteem that we were once held in the hearts of those who had given us dizzying majorities in previous elections.
Sabah and Sarawak now vital
However, there was a strong note of disappointment and frustration in Dompok’s address when he pointed out that many issues raised by the party during previous meets remained unresolved at the community level, the state level and the national level although these have been raised through various meetings and dialogues.
“National issues, those that are directly under the purview of the national government, were the major cause for the big swing towards the opposition as the biggest casualties came from the national parties,” said Dompok.
“Today, the BN would not be able to form the national government without the members of Parliament from Sabah and Sarawak. It is to no one’s surprise therefore that the people of East Malaysia now want the Federal Government to pay serious attention to the many grouses which have been brought to their attention and which so far has received unsatisfactory responses from them.”
Dompok directed much of his party’s wrath at the long festering problem of illegals in Sabah and other issues - including what he said was gross under-representation in the federal cabinet - which has been conveyed to Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi when he took a fact-finding trip to Sabah and Sarawak recently “to ascertain the views and the unhappiness of the two states”.
He reiterated his party’s long-standing call for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the state National Registration Department, its complete revamp, and the issuance of ICs in Sabah including to illegal migrants as a result of lax administration.
“We have informed the prime minister that action on the problems faced by Sabah with regards to illegal immigration is long overdue and the government must now muster the political will to finally address this subject,” said Dompok. “Indeed, we are not alone in asking for urgent action. The sentiment is shared by all component parties of the Barisan Nasional.”
Local issues unsolved
Relating his unhappy experience as chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Integrity, Dompok again raised the issue of departments under the Home Ministry being directed not to attend his committee’s meetings.
The ministry's officials admitted during previous meetings that “all was not well at the state NRD and Immigration Departments”, among others.
Elsewhere, Dompok touched on the question of religious freedom, Borneonisation of the civil service, and Petronas’ “arrogance and disrespect” for even the prime minister who had earlier made certain decisions in favour of Sabah despite the national oil corporation ruling against “the interest of the state”.
“On May 13 this year, the prime minister promised before a gathering of BN leaders in Kota Kinabalu that Petronas will stop plans to ship gas from Kimanis in Sabah to Bintulu in Sarawak,” said Dompok.
“Despite the prime minister’s pledge, Petronas melawan the perdana menteri and is going ahead with its gas shipment plans. It was a big mistake for Sabah to have agreed to yield to Petronas the rights to petroleum in the 70s and to accept in return only five per cent as royalty payment.”
Dompok decried the fact that although Sabah is potentially the biggest supplier of crude oil with known reserves of 2.2 billion barrels out of 5.4 billion barrels and 11.6 tscf gas reserves, “we have nothing to show for it unlike Terengganu, Sarawak, Pahang, Johore, Kedah and Malacca. Labuan has a methanol plant”.
“After more than 30 years, can’t we produce even one Sabahan to occupy even one of the senior positions in Petronas and its subsidiaries?” queried Dompok.
Among his concluding remarks, Dompok pointed out the tussle between the civil and syariah courts in matters involving non-Muslims.
“Natives of Sabah who have Muslim-sounding names and ascribed a religion (wrongfully in their IC) can have a hard time making the necessary correction. Some have been advised to go to the Syariah Court to clear their religious status. How can someone who has never been a Muslim be subjected to the Syariah?” asked Dompok.
In concluding, Dompok thanked Abdullah who is on his way out for his services to the nation and warned that while “we can work for BN even in the most difficult circumstances, we are prepared to lose elections in protecting something right. We cannot go against our conscience or become apologists for other people”.
Two key events which unfolded in Umno within the space of a few months have influenced the race to replace the current Youth chief Datuk Hishammuddin Hussein.
Firstly, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced on July 10 that he will hand over power to his deputy Datuk Seri Najib Razak in June 2010 after massive rumblings and ramblings among the party rank-and-file following the results of the March 8 general election.
Many elements within and outside of Umno have blamed Abdullah and to a certain extent Khairy for the disastrous electoral performance suffered by Umno and the Barisan Nasional. Abdullah, in a magnanimous show of “leadership by example”, has gentlemanly offered to step down in a long drawn out transition plan. This has turned Khairy into unfortunate collateral damage in the political manoeuvres led by vice-president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to unseat Abdullah. Umno Youth leaders have been distancing themselves from Khairy ever since.
Grassroots leaders in Umno do not want to be seen with anyone whom they view as living on borrowed time. When a leader loses power or is perceived to be on the wane, his or her supporters will jump off the bandwagon and exit at the next stop where they perceive power is heading to.
This happened to Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah after he lost, albeit narrowly, in the party elections of 1987, as well as to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who was unceremoniously dismissed in 1998, and Dr Mahathir too lost his core supporters within Umno after he stepped down in 2003. This time around it is Abdullah's time, and his so-called hardcore supporters are abandoning ship to jump on the trawler that bears the name Najib on it.
Secondly, Abdullah's announcement on Oct 8 that he will not be defending his presidency, indicating that he gave in to the groundswell of discontent among the Umno grassroots which was seemingly “created” by the political power play of Muhyiddin and Dr Mahathir.
This was almost the killer blow that Dr Mahathir and his son Mukhriz had been eagerly awaiting for. To them, Khairy will not be able to withstand the tsunami within Umno and will be left out of the Youth race totally.
The outcome of the divisional meetings has shown an obvious trend and the herd mentality within Umno. President — Najib, deputy president — Muhyiddin, vice-president — Hishammuddin and to a certain extent Datuk Zahid Hamidi and Datuk Shafie Apdal; and the Youth chief — Mukhriz. This is Najib's “cai tan” — list of leaders aligned or perceived to be aligned to Najib.
Rightly or wrongly, many people perceive that with the fall of Abdullah, so goes Khairy. However, not everyone within the Youth wing is willing to give Mukhriz a blank cheque in his pursuit for the Youth chief's post. After some 120-plus Youth divisional meetings, Mukhriz has only managed to capture barely half of the nominations. In the face of the supposedly “winds of change” within Umno and the Youth wing, Khairy has been able to hold his own and is just a few nominations shy from breaching the threshold of 39 nominations to be eligible to run for the Youth chief's post. Nevertheless, Mukhriz has zoomed to the lead in the number of nominations at a ratio of around 2:1 to Khairy, with only 60-odd Youth divisional meetings to go.
It is indeed troubling that a Youth wing of an established political organisation in the country is evaluating and selecting a leader based on perception of power, and not on capacity or capability. Mukhriz has called for Umno Youth to go “back to basics” and to become a pressure group within Umno, while Khairy has called for Umno Youth to reach out to the mostly non-partisan youth and for an end to right-wing politics. Nobody really understands what Khir Toyo stands for except that he represents the views of a typical grassroots leader — which can be seen by the respectable number of nominations he has received thus far — while Zahid can be termed as just another “joker”, using Dr Mahathir's term of the candidates (apart from Muhyiddin) in the deputy presidency race.
Mukhriz's idea of Umno Youth returning to its heady days is a step backwards for the movement. His intention of turning the wing into a pressure group, to be far to the right, will turn off even more youths at the sight of Umno. In an era where inclusiveness and moderation stands tall, the voice calling for a return to the protective and nationalistic stance is very inward looking and will embolden further hatred for Umno. In short, what Mukhriz aspires for Umno Youth is not something revolutionary, in fact it is a very digressive stance and may turn Umno Youth into a very chauvinistic wing.
Khairy took a very bold step in denouncing right-wing politics, the exact type of politics that Mukhriz is in favour of. Khairy's intention to reach out to the youths who are not within the party structure is an important measure to stifle Pakatan's growing influence among this group. However, Khairy has some credibility issues of his own as he was a right-wing politician himself while Youth vice-chief. Some of his actions — in pushing for the re-introduction of the New Economic Policy, the numerous slip-of-the-tongue episodes that angered the non Malays including BN component parties — did little to boost his flagging credibility.
Umno Youth has a choice of two very similar leaders — western educated, affable and young — with two very different ideas on the path that the movement should take. One veers too far to the right and in turn will hardened the already Malay-centric Youth wing. While the other acknowledges the measures required for the party to regain the support of the youth even though he is fighting credibility issues. One thing is for sure, whoever inherits the throne of the Youth wing, grassroots leaders will flock to him as the scent of power is too alluring to resist.
To many leaders and supporters, the outgoing king is Abdullah, and the new kingmaker is Dr Mahathir. Those who have been kissing Abdullah and even Khairy's hand before this are now turning to Dr Mahathir and Mukhriz to kiss theirs. They better hope they are kissing the right pair of hands come March '09.
In my opinion, this is very much an unfortunate aspect in Astro's business decison. The Indonesian channel is one of the most tuned on in the Astro programme especially for Indonesians working here. I can't speak for others but I know my kid will miss the nice shows. Me? I don't get to watch my Astro shows anymore since the kids started growing up. That's why I'm blogging...
The Malaysian Insider
Wednesday October 22 2008
JAKARTA, Oct 21 — Malaysian satellite TV operator Astro All Asia Networks Plc (Astro) yesterday switched off all broadcasting services to its Indonesian pay-TV arm PT Direct Vision in the latest chapter of a spat between two of Southeast Asia's wealthiest tycoons, Malaysian T. Ananda Krishnan and Indonesian James Riady.
The pay-TV venture is one of two known to be in trouble with the other one being a feud over managing property and hotel company Overseas Union Enterprise, which both jointly control, that is now under arbitration.
In a notice to the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange yesterday, Astro said as no payments had been received from PT DV since 2006, Astro's board of directors had decided to cease all support and services and to terminate the trademark licence agreement.
"As Astro has never been compensated for any of the approximately 2.5 trillion rupiah (RM750 million) in support and services that it has provided to PT DV and given that there has been no attempt by the Lippo Group to find an acceptable alternative to the previously proposed joint venture, and that Astro is not and has never been a shareholder in PT DV, this is clearly a situation that cannot be allowed to continue indefinitely," Astro legal counsel Todung Mulya Lubis was quoted as saying by the New Straits Times daily.
He added that Astro has yet to receive a single share in PT DV despite supporting the venture since February 2006 with the understanding that there will be arrangements to invest or being paid for support and services.
Astro had extended the cessation of services twice from Aug 30 to Sept 30. It was extended again to Oct 19, Astro said, adding it agreed to the extension as a gesture of goodwill.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Hmmm. The Kadazandusun Paramount Leader finally made a stand. To me, he has been very quiet in the recent issues of illegal immigrants and Mykad ownerships. So now he has made a stand. But it is a personal stand against former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamed. To me, its a sign of desperation. PBS' return to BN occurred during the twilight of the Mahathir-era. It is a known fact that the 2 resented each other since the 1990 PBS pullout from the Barisan Nasional.
Since the Prime Minister's announcement of not defending the UMNO presidency, everybody is re-positioning themselves in the political landscape. The air is hot that Dr Mahathir will make a return to the national scene once Najib Razak's position as Prime Minister is secured. He could even be a 'minister mentor' in the new cabinet. So, if Dr M is back in power, then Pairin will have to find other avenues fast in order not to be swallowed alive in the 'cleansing' process that is certainly to be followed.
My money will be on PBS' pullout next year.
Kota Kinabalu: Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) said it was bullied by the Umno-led Barisan Nasional (BN) when Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed was Prime Minister.
Its President Datuk Seri Joseph Pairin Kitingan said after attending the Rural Development Ministry Hari Raya open house in Sembulan, Monday.
"If I were to look back, during the time of Dr Mahathir, of course we were bullied."
He said the over the years, there have a number of cases where people have raised the issue of a BN component bullying its partners.
However, he said the most important is to sit down and discuss the issue in a roundtable meeting in the spirit of the BN.
He also said that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had commented on the issue recently.
Abdullah said that Umno had never bullied its partners in the BN and blamed the opposition parties for coming up with such an accusation to deny the people's support for the ruling coalition.
He said that if Umno had bullied its partners, other component parties would have left the BN a long time ago. PBS left the BN in 1990 and rejoined the coalition a decade later.
Meanwhile, Pairin said MCA was only thinking of itself when it proposed two deputy chairman posts in Barisan Nasional (BN) with one of them filled by an MCA leader.
He said since the issue was brought up in the open, it meant that the MCA is using the subject as a political tool.
While the proposal is not an urgent issue, he felt other parties might demand similar recognition should the extra BN deputy chairman post be created.
"If you create an extra (post), why not another oneÉwhat about Sabah and Sarawak," he said.
He was asked to comment on a statement by former MCA Youth chief, Datuk Liow Tiong Lai at the MCA Youth delegates conference in Kuala Lumpur recently.
Liow had said that the extra post is necessary to reflect the position, importance and representation of all the component parties.
Pairin, who is Deputy Chief Minister cum Rural Development Minister, however said in the 50 years the BN has been operating, the system of one Chairman and one Deputy Chairman has been working very well.
Nevertheless, he said that such suggestion should be presented in a more formal manner through a working paper for consideration and discussion within the BN roundtable meeting.
However, he stressed that more pressing and important issues such as the implementation of various promises to complete unfinished development programmes should be given more priority.
"We all ought to try and be level-headed and to ensure that we do not bring ourselves and the country into a situation where we would find ourselves in difficulty to cope," he said.
He said that political parties which intend to be champions for the people would only make things worse if they terlanjur kata (go overboard in their statement).
"In the BN spirit, we all ought to sit down together and talk in a roundtableÉthis is a very sensible way.
"We must not fall into the trap of getting our emotion all worked up to the extent that we cannot think rationally," he said.
Pairin said that in all they do, they must think in the context of what is good for the country in general. He expressed hope that political leaders would help bring about a more sober situation to that the family spirit of the BN could be maintained.
Personally, he said that irrespective of whether an extra post for deputy chairman is created, the most important is power sharing.
"It's all a question of equitable sharing, fairness and justice and feeling of a win-win situation," he said.
He said by establishing another post, the government would have to fork out extra money when they are supposed to be prudent during the economically challenging period.
Also present were his assistant ministers Datuk Sairin Karno and Datuk Ghulam Haidar Khan Bahadar.
Two PAS Sabah leaders have taken issue with his remarks, alleging that these were “not sensitive to the Islamic ummah (faithful) in the nation in general and in Sabah in particular”.
Over the weekend, Sabah PAS deputy commissioner (1) Hamzah Abdullah lodged a report at the district police headquarters in Karamunsing, Kota Kinabalu.
Utusan Borneo quoted Hamzah as describing portions of the speech by Dompok as “simply too much, irresponsible and carrying elements of agitation against Islam which is the official religion of Malaysia and Sabah”.
Article 3 of the federal constitution states that ‘Islam is the religion of the federation but other religions may be practised in peace and harmony in any part of the federation’.
“The Upko president’s speech can disrupt peace, security and public order in the state and the nation,” claimed Hamzah.
“We made a police repor
Hamzah labelled several portions of the speech as “offensive to Muslims, Islam, the (Agong) and the (Sabah) governor who are heads of the religion”.
This was an apparent reference to 10 paragraphs of the 21-page speech delivered at the meeting held from Oct 12-14.
Making special reference to the situation in Sabah, Dompok mainly touched on the fear that freedom of religion is being eroded; issues linked to conversion to Islam; the predicament of those wishing to leave the religion; and the question of jurisdiction over cases taken to court.
“Converts of the 60s and 70s (in Sabah) who have not realised the seriousness of conversion and continued to lead their old life,” reads paragraph 7 of the speech.
“The children... may feel that they have never been Muslims but their identity cards show otherwise. When they marry either under customary law or civil law, they encounter problems in registering the births of their children.”
Natives of Sabah who have Muslim-sounding names and who are ascribed a religion can have a hard time making the necessary correction, said Dompok, who is also a federal minister.
“Some have been advised to go to the Syariah Court to clear their religion. How can someone who has never been a Muslim be subjected to Syariah (law)?”
“We plead to the authority for understanding on the predicaments of the local bumiputeras and to allow them to decide on their religion. I feel that Indonesia, a predominantly and easily the most populous Muslim country provides the best example for Malaysia in as far as religious practices are concerned.”
Reasons for complaint
In their police report, the two complainants pointed out that apostasy is not allowed by Islam and “is the very antithesis of the religion”.
“By raising the prospect of allowing murtad (apostasy), Dompok clearly has bad intentions,” said Sabah PAS Youth acting deputy chief Lahirul Latigu.
“This can create a tense situation among the people in the state and disrupt the racial harmony which has long prevailed (here).”
Both contended that Dompok has ignored advice by Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, not to dispute or raise sensitive issues which touch on “Islam, Malay Rulers and the rights of the Malays”.
Dompok also pointed out in his remarks that he had raised “some of the prime concerns of a multiracial Malaysia in his speech at the Upko convention last year” which the premier had attended.
“These concerns were also in the memorandum that was sent to the prime minister (in January 2006) by nine (of the 10 non-Muslim) ministers. I was a signatory to this memorandum. Sadly, those who signed it were later asked to withdraw it,” added Dompok.
“I did not withdraw my signature because I felt that there was nothing improper in the memorandum. Indeed, the contents were very much consonant with the effort by the government to strive for a Malaysia that recognises the (special) position of Islam within the federation and the rights of others to practise the religion of their choice”.
As a student I knew of the horrors of the Holocaust and other human tragedies, but merely as a distant thunder: The violation of human rights and crimes against humanity were only an abstract notion.
That was all fated to change with my arrest under the draconian Internal Security Act (ISA) of Malaysia, which allows for indefinite detention without trial. My crime? I had known Anwar Ibrahim, the deputy prime minister and finance minister of Malaysia, as a close personal friend for many years. We shared and strove for a vision of life firmly rooted in human dignity. We struggled for building an intellectual and political milieu for free expression. Together, we subscribed to the idea of economic prosperity, gender and racial equality and a civil society.
Alas, the Malaysian dictator, Mahathir, under the growing burden of corruption and cronyism, conspired to halt the march of freedom. In order to build his fraudulent case against Anwar, Mahathir himself ordered my arrest.
My kidnapping and detention by the infamous Malaysian Special Branch taught me how it feels to be forcibly separated from one’s wife and children. How it feels to be searched and seized, disallowed to make phone calls, handcuffed, blindfolded, stripped naked, driven in an animal cage, shaven bald, endlessly interrogated, humiliated, drugged, deprived of sleep, physically abused. What it’s like to be threatened, blackmailed, tormented by police lawyers, brutalized to make a totally false confession, hospitalized for a consequent heart ailment, and treated as a psychiatric patient with symptoms of Stockholm syndrome.