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Fwd: MGG - Sandiwara! Oh, Sandiwara! -- Or How A Kettle Calls The Pot
By web aNtu

27/8/2000 10:00 pm Sun

Baca sampai habis - nanti tahu siapa dia General Bersara!

[sangkancil] [MGG] Sandiwara! Oh, Sandiwara! -- Or How A Kettle Calls The Pot

The Prime Minister tells Mr Lee Kuan Yew he did not know his just sacked deputy prime minister, Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim, was detained under the Internal Security Act after his arrest on 20 September 1998. Never mind that he, as home minister, had to sign the order. He is, after all, a man in his seventies, and one could forgive him his occasional lapse of memory. Yet, no government would dare go against any senior official without his express clearance. He was annoyed with the Anti-Corruption Agency chief for investigating one of his senior civil servants without his approval. His Sandiwara visits to international conferences is well known: his speeches and comments, if you read or listen to what passes for the "national" media in Malaysia, dominated the conference, the other leaders present restricting their role to agree to what the Great Man had to say. The latest is the South African International Dialogue in Maputo. A posse of Malaysian journalists were on hand to be told what took place behind closed doors, and they were regurgitated for the edification of the Malaysian official media readers and listeners. The Prime Minister, lest we forget, is an international statesman on whose words reduces other statesmen to slithering jelly before his presence.

Closer home, there is the Sipadan kidnap, and the Grik arms heist. Both are sandiwaras. No doubt about that. There is more than meets the eye. When the Philippines stood firm about conducting the negotiations for the release of those kidnapped -- as they must for the Malaysian writ does not run in Mindanao, nor even Manila's as fully as it wishes -- the Prime Minister allowed it to be turned into a sandiwara: now a Philippines newspaper reveals a retired general shut off the radar just before the kidnap. One does not know if this specific allegation is true or false, but the Malaysian armed forces' active involvement in southern Mindanao affairs is an ill-kept secret. The only retired general I know who married a Filipina is Lieut.-General Raja Rashid bin Raja Badiozaman, the younger brother of Raja Tun Mohar and grandson of the Sultan Abdullah of Perak who signed the Pangkor Treaty in 1874, which brought the British colonial presence in the Malay states and who two years later was implicated in the murder of the first British Resident of Perak, Mr J.W.W. Birch, at Pasar Salak two years later; he was also director-general of military intelligence until his retirement earlier this decade. He is now a business man. He was at Sandhurst with the Myanmar finance minister, Brig. Gen. Abel, in the 1960s.

The sandiwara involved in the release, with no attempt made to get the kidnapped victims out of the Abu Sayyaf rebels, short of direct negotiations, which Manila refused, and the presence of high ranking Malaysian officials in Jolo, underscored the Malaysian concern not for the safety of the Malaysians and foreigners detained for ransom, but more to preserve their existing links. Malaysia's links with the Mindanao rebels is a long standing irritant in Malaysia-Indonesian relations. The former Sabah chief minister, the late Tun Mustapha Datu Harun, helped the Mindanao Muslims to secede from the Philippines, providing the present government of Mindanoa with a Malaysian passport, and with largesse from Libya, which broke the impasse over ransom by providing it.

Then there is the arms heist. What the government did not want discussed in Parliament -- the Speaker rejected attempts to because it was not of importance -- is now, or so we are told, nothing short of an attempt at a fundamentalist Muslim attempt to take over the government. How does the cabinet and the defence minister react to this? By proving that the Islamic group could stack a hundred weapons in three Pajeros! It made no attempt to inquire the massive security breach which led to this, or put those involved on courts martial. Dato' Seri Najib Tun Razak, the minister, is blase about this security breach, but is proud, as he told Mr Lee Kuan Yew, to report that it was wrong for peopleto believe the raid did not take place or if the weapons could be stacked in three Pajeros! We are told we must accept this sandiwara or face the consequences. But the heist itself, as information trickle down, could well be the result of an internal UMNO political infighting.

Now, the Prime Minister returns from Maputo, and accuses the opposition of sandiwara politics. Its refusal to accept the government's confusing, convolution, official diktats is proof of sandiwara, he says. The government does not lie. Never mind, the government insists Dato' Seri Anwar was safe when he, in fact, had already beaten up to a pulp by the Inspector-General of Police himself; who denied it until an official inquiry found otherwise. It has the people's welfare at heart. That is why it would not discuss these weighty matters with the opposition. The opposition are a bunch of fools, who should not be allowed on the political spectrum. You see, we are a democracy, and we have to suffer these fools. Their bad habit of challenging government policies and, horrors of horrors, defeating National Front candidates, and even take over states. The worst sandiwara, the Prime Minister implies, is what the opposition can inflict upon the people. And he rounds it off with the greatest sandiwara of all: if the opposition, which has benefitted from government policies, which it extends to these rascals but are now ungrateful, it should return the benefits to the government. The Prime Minister's biggest problem is that the people are fed up with sandiwara, the government's, not the opposition's. The government's affect each and every Malaysian; the opposition's only some. The problem, Prime Minister, is not sandiwara, but credibility; little of that clings around him and his administration, at the centre and the states his National Front control.

M.G.G. Pillai