Friday, May 21, 2010

Sarawak Headhunter's Email Under Attack From UMNO/BN Cyber Thugs

Since the results of the Sibu by-election, Sarawak Headhunter's email ( has come under attack from and, cyber thugs of UMNO/BN, who have been using it to spam with their message of hatred.

Any strange or unlikely emails received purportedly from Sarawak Headhunter's email, were not sent by Sarawak Headhunter.

If they do not stop, Sarawak Headhunter will be forced to retaliate in self-defence.

WHOIS search on reveals the following:

The Registry database contains ONLY .COM, .NET, .EDU domains and
Registrars.Registration Service Provided By: JENTAYU KREATIF SDN.BHD
Contact: +603.80631994

Domain Name: KITAGEMPUR.COM[Who Is Domain]

Syarikat Kaya Raya
Matamata ([Who Is Domain])
2 tmn. aman
Tel. +603.564456

Creation Date: 07-Jul-2009
Expiration Date: 07-Jul-2011

Domain servers in listed order:[Who Is Domain][Who Is Domain]

Administrative Contact:
Syarikat Kaya Raya
Matamata ([Who Is Domain])
2 tmn. aman
Tel. +603.564456

Technical Contact:
Syarikat Kaya Raya
Matamata ([Who Is Domain])
2 tmn. aman
Tel. +603.564456

Billing Contact:
Syarikat Kaya Raya
Matamata ([Who Is Domain])
2 tmn. aman
Tel. +603.564456

And WHOIS search on reveals the following:
The Registry database contains ONLY .COM, .NET, .EDU domains and
Registrars.Registration Service Provided By: N/A
Contact: +60.124728570

Domain Name: SELANGORKEMBALI.COM[Who Is Domain]

Beruang Sakti ([Who Is Domain])
Badan Perhubungan UMNO Negeri Selangor
Persiaran Perbandaran, Seksyen 14
Shah Alam
Tel. +6.0350312020

Creation Date: 05-Apr-2010
Expiration Date: 05-Apr-2011

Domain servers in listed order:[Who Is Domain][Who Is Domain]

Administrative Contact:
Beruang Sakti ([Who Is Domain])
Badan Perhubungan UMNO Negeri Selangor
Persiaran Perbandaran, Seksyen 14
Shah Alam
Tel. +6.0350312020

Technical Contact:
Beruang Sakti ([Who Is Domain])
Badan Perhubungan UMNO Negeri Selangor
Persiaran Perbandaran, Seksyen 14
Shah Alam
Tel. +6.0350312020

Billing Contact:
Beruang Sakti ([Who Is Domain])
Badan Perhubungan UMNO Negeri Selangor
Persiaran Perbandaran, Seksyen 14
Shah Alam
Tel. +6.0350312020

Monday, May 17, 2010

SUPP Chokes On Its Kampua Mee, Sibu Voters Reject Najib & Taib’s Money Politics


“Eighteen million for Chinese schools? They don’t need it. One hundred and ten Iban longhouses have no water, no electricity.”

Notwithstanding the narrow winning margin, which was to be expected in view of the BN's politics of divisiveness, racism, electoral corruption, bribery and general chicanery, the majority of the Sibu voters must be congratulated for saying no to the BN.

The margin of victory would have been decisively larger had not many of the Sibu voters still fallen prey to the BN's dirty tactics and tricks.

Then again, it appears that many of SUPP's traditional voters also protested by not voting. What exactly were they protesting about or were they just as disgusted with the BN's tactics and what has been happening in Sarawak and the rest of Malaysia, but didn't know how else to get their party to listen to them?

Even SUPP doesn't seem to know! Or maybe they are just pretending not to know!

Nevertheless, this victory belongs to the people of Sibu who withstood all manner of inducements, threats and promises, as well as DAP and Pakatan Rakyat who proved that they could work together as a potent force. It certainly does not augur well for the BN in the coming State elections which may be called at any time now.

Even those who were bribed, intimidated or tricked into voting for the BN will be happy with the results as are those who protested by not voting.

SUPP's stupid "killer" weapon not only killed SUPP itself but also stabbed UMNO in the process. See Sarawak Headhunter's post on "Senjata Maut BN Makan Tuan Di Sibu". SUPP said in their ceramahs "Even the UMNO Malays do not want Islam...", which is probably true, given the way the UMNO Malays behave. SUPP may not have realised what they were saying and this certainly would have caused them more than a few Malay/Melanau (Muslim) votes on top of being insulting to the Non-Muslims who know better.

Anyway, it is not the Sarawak Headhunter's job to show them where they went wrong. It would be much better for the state and the country if they didn't learn where they went wrong, since it is quite apparent that they don't want to learn and therefore will never learn.

At the end of the day, it can be said that in spite of the Election Commission's attempt to cheat and win the by-election for the BN, the majority of the people of Sibu did not buy the BN's lies, even with all the incentives that were thrown at them and with practically the whole of the Federal Cabinet campaigning for SUPP's candidate and abusing government machinery, staff, money and allocations (led by none other than the PM himself and his Deputy in his absence).

It is also notable that this by-election showed up Taib and Najib's conceit, hypocrisy, deceipt and deviousness for everyone to see. It was a mistake for both Najib and Taib to show themselves in Sibu but they both couldn't resist it.

Congratulations, YB Wong Ho Leng! Raise the banner of Sibu high and fight for the rights of all oppressed Sarawakians in Parliament, as you have done in the Sarawak State Assembly in spite of all the constraints placed upon you by Taib, the evil Thief Minister and his gang of marauding looters.

Sibu is also the hometown of Sarawak Headhunter, so this victory is all the more sweet. Yes, the spirit of Rosli Dhoby still lives on in Sibu! May this be an example for the rest of Sarawak and even the rest of Malaysia to emulate.

Be it known that Sarawak Headhunter voted for Wong Ho Leng.

Be also assured that Sarawak Headhunter will not rest until Taib's head rolls and with it the rest of the BN ADUN's heads as well, beginning with the main culprits like Abang Jo, Alfred Jabu, George Chan, Awang Asfia, Awang Tengah, Wong Soon Koh, James Masing and the other rogue YBs.

As a side issue but connected to the Sibu by-election as well, to the people of Kapit who will soon get a brand new road, remember that the timber wealth of your ulu areas is being barged down the river and to the sea into the waiting overseas bank accounts of Taib, his family, henchmen and cronies, while all you enjoy are polluted waters, dying and dead fish.

This new road that you have been waiting for since 1963 will make it easier for them to truck down the timber wealth from the Murum Dam site and you will see it all pass by you as well. You will not enjoy a single log of it but the dust from their lorries. And then they will sell you electricity at exorbitant rates even as they take your land away from you while you toil for them for meagre wages, all in the name of Taib's "politics of development" - which is more the politics of self-enrichment for him and deprivation for you.

Natives of Sarawak, rise up! You have nothing to lose except your poverty and impoverishment and the chains of oppression and deprivation of the rightful fruits of your own resources, hard work, sweat and tears - taken from you by one man and his cohorts.

The people of Sibu have shown you the way. Just do it! (NOT duit!) Evil can be defeated and it will if you are willing to make an effort for change - for the better - for not just your own sake but the sake of your future generations as well.

Get rid of the BN! It has become a party for the rich, and its representatives no longer represent, let alone fight for, the people and their rights and interests.

Did you vote them in so that they could become rich and powerful at your expense? Did you vote for them so that they could kick you off your land at their whims and fancies? Did you vote for them so that they could represent the rich and powerful only? Did you vote for them so that they would kow-tow to Taib? Did you vote for them because they could intimidate you and bribe you with your own money? Did you vote for them so that they could commit blatant corruption and all other manner of atrocities on the face of our beautiful land?






Saturday, May 15, 2010

What The BN Police Tried To Hide From The People Of Sibu

Police confiscated "After The Tsunami" a video documentary on March '08 by KOMAS, then said it's not seditious, but didn't return the 243 VCDs.

Selepas Tsunami (After the Tsunami) from Pusat KOMAS on Vimeo.

Friday, May 14, 2010

BN - Between Dependence, Benevolence & Malevolence

Najib: “But please. We help you, you help us, I will deliver what you want, you must deliver what I want and you know what I want”.

Yes, what he wants is to have this nation at the mercy of him and his cronies for a long time more. They have much more evil planned in store for Malaysia.

This is the man who promised to bathe his keris in Chinese blood some time ago, and now his keris-wielding cousin is the Minister of Home Affairs, and the police are running wild. He may be deceptively baby-faced and pink-lipped and his cousin rather effeminate, but have they really managed to charm the Sibu voters with their guile?

How much more demeaning and degrading can it get to hear the Prime Minister of our country talking like this? He must be really desperate!

He must be absolutely desperate to openly commit election bribery and corruption. But that seems to be the BN trend not the least from the Bagan Pinang and Hulu Selangor by-elections.  They are really beginning to sound like losers and act like losers (and sore losers at that). It appears that the only way the BN can win any by-election nowadays is to throw big money at the voters, money which happens to be the people's money anyway, if only the people would realise this.

Well, some do and possibly the voters of Sibu, like Kuala Terengganu, will not fall into the BN's trap. We have to give the Sibu voters credit for being smarter than Najib!

Sarawak Headhunter urges all Sibu voters to read Romerz's article posted here. See also Zorro-Unmasked here and Nat here.

Hopefully, the voters of Sibu will get the message. If they don't then we still have a lot of work to do changing their mentality of dependence on the lies, promises and threats of the BN.

The other problem is that  if the electorate no longer depends upon the "benevolence" of the BN then they  (the BN) become malevolent! Upon the malevolence of the BN we can trust!

That is why they have absolutely no shame in making both subtle as well as overt threats when they do not get what they want, even if these threats also constitute breaches of election laws - to which they think they are immune because the Elections Commission is on their side and will do anything including abuse its powers to ensure that they get their way.

 Only the voters can tell them otherwise.





Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Senjata Maut BN Makan Tuan Di Sibu

"Negara Islam perlu ditolak kerana Malaysia akan jadi negara hukuman zalim, semua akan potong sana - potong sini..... Orang Melayu Umno pun tak mahu Islam kerana zalim maka orang cina Sibu harus tolak DAP kerana DAP bersama parti Islam PAS yang nak buat negara Islam".

Di sini jelas sekali kenapa UMNO dan BN tolak prinsip keadilan dan memeluk kejahatan.

Pengundi-pengundi Sibu harus tolak BN!

Sila baca laporan Rakyat Marhaen di blog Anak Sungai Derhaka.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Difference Between Elections in the UK & in Malaysia

1. In the UK, the election commission is impartial, not like in Malaysia. . ., macam baruah BN aje!
2. In the UK, there is no such thing as "if you do not vote for us, we will not develop your constituency".
3. In the UK, there is no such thing as "if you do not vote for us, you are ungrateful," or "you are pendatang", or "you can leave this country"!
4. In the UK, there is no such thing as what has been done by UMNO goons, i.e., taking your ID card before election by force or by bribing you!
5. In the UK, there are no phantom votes. The EC does not register 30 phantom voters in one address!
6. In the UK, there is no magic show of a sudden appearance of another ballot box to rig the votes.
7. In the UK, the armed forces personnel or government servants can vote for whoever they wish without fear or favour!
8. In the UK, you do not need to bribe 20 Sterling pounds to the voter.
9. In the UK, the police work for the voters and do not become the baruah for some particular political party!
10. In the UK, the political parties are not divided according to ethnic groups, skin color or religious faith.
11. In the UK, they do not threaten you with bloodbath a la May 13 if any party loses the election.

by arazak, May 10, 2010 comment on Malaysia Today, "Malaysians who voted in UK: Beware!"

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Ibans Have No Reason To Be Loyal To BN

“Every time an election comes along like now, they (BN) ask us to help them but after they win they disappear. We support the BN, but the BN is not supporting us.”

Joseph Sipalan and Wong Teck Chi
May 8, 10

Limbai Semakau looks out to the Igan river, wistfully thinking of bygone days of plentiful catch and a decent income.

He beams with pride when he tells of a village fact – it is one of the few villages in Sarawak that never fears crocodile attacks.

“They don’t bother us, we don’t bother them. In the 46 years of my life, there has never been any case where someone lost a leg, or had it fractured badly or was pulled down. We can dive in the water with no fear,” he said beaming.

Recounting the village legend, Limbai explains that both villager and reptile are safe there because of a pact of mutual protection made a long time ago between their ancestors.

“It may or may not be true, but it’s a nice story,” he says, as he and a few villagers work to complete a special podium in time for a visit to the Iban village by Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Maximus J Ongkili tomorrow.

Limbai admits it stands as mere folklore, but points out that their crocodile story is one small thing the villagers can hold on to in facing their daily struggle to simply stay alive.

Fleeting dreams and drinking water

He and his family of five children, as with over 100 families living in eight longhouses in Kg Nanga Tutus, have no electricity or potable water despite being just a 45-minute boat ride away from Sibu town.

Steady employment nearby is a fleeting dream, and after the water in their Barisan-Nasional-sponsored water tanks finish, they will have to drink from the murky waters of the Igan, a large tributary of the Rajang River, until they collect enough rain water to refill their tanks.
A villager working with Limbai adds on the side that things haven’t changed all that much for them despite the many election promises of a better life.

“Every time an election comes along like now, they (BN) ask us to help them but after they win they disappear. We support the BN, but the BN is not supporting us.”

This was the same argument put forward by the tuai rumah, or headman, of one of the longhouses which was at the time hosting a visit by Communications, Culture and Arts deputy Minister Joseph Salang Gandum.

“We have supported you (BN) all this while, so we hope that you can support us.”

Limbai points out that the older generation are set in their support for BN, but sees a big shift in support among the village’s youths towards the Pakatan Rakyat.

And this is what the Pakatan is hoping to capitalise on to boost their support base among the Dayaks.

PKR election director Fuziah Salleh said the young Iban electorate are crucial to their target of getting 40 per cent of the Dayak votes in the May 16 Sibu by-election.

Indebtedness is the name of the game they are fighting against the BN, she says, on top of the alleged money politics strategy that seems to have a choke-hold on the Dayak community.

“The BN makes them feel indebted (by providing development), and if the tuai rumah says he supports one party the whole longhouse will go along with it.

“Our hope lies with the young voters, because they have broken out of that culture.”

But the challenge comes in actually getting the young voters, many of whom work either outside the state or overseas, to come back and vote, something that Fuziah admits is a major handicap for the Pakatan.

With Gawai coming only in June, she said many of the young voters would have planned their trip back to coincide with the annual Dayak harvest festival.

She suggested that the young voters reschedule their trip home to make it in time for the by-election and stayback long enough to celebrate Gawai when it officially starts on June 1.“I hope they can come back earlier.”

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Mahathir - His Evil Ways & Deeds

Mahathir, maverick, machiavellian or mainstream?

Sunday, 02 May 2010 00:00

With comments by Sarawak Headhunter in red.

Is Mahathir a maverick, machiavellian in his ways or merely mainstream? That’s the question Maznah Mohamad poses in her review of Barry Wain’s book ‘Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times'.

As far as Sarawak Headhunter is concerned, Mahathir, just like Taib Mahmud and those who support him, are just plain scheming evil maniacs.

My first reaction to the book was, how could this be any different from the several others already written of the man, for example, that of Khoo Boo Teik’s Paradoxes of Mahathirism and  In-Won Hwang’s Personalised Politics (Not forgetting articles and commentaries generated by countless number of print and virtual writers before this)?

After going through the first few chapters of the book I knew that this was going to be different, more impactful and more of a fine strike at the core of the matter.

Mahathir has remained enigmatic and so far, seems to be unmoved by the tons of criticisms directed at  him. Perhaps this was balanced by the loads of adulation and fawning by his coterie of loyalists, as exemplified by the quality of the commentators in his own blog (which could number up to a 1,000 comments for a single post, with most starting their address with Yang dikasihi Tun – The Most Beloved Tun).

This is the epitome of evil - to remain unmoved and unrepentant in the face of all criticism. Enigmatic? Far from it, just plain downright evil. Even Satan would be put to shame.

In gossip circles, Mahathir is known to have the thickest skin on the planet and is impervious to any verbal assaults on his character and his ways. People are astounded by his ability to trounce all of his rivals and those he simply could not tolerate even when he is out of power.

Even the thickest skin on the planet cannot disguise the true evil nature of this man. Are we to be astounded by his purported "ability" or to be thoroughly repulsed and disgusted by it?

Mahathir is perhaps the only person in the world who could evoke sympathy on this by proclaiming that he was wronged by the wrong people he had chosen to be under him, from Musa Hitam to Abdullah Badawi. He survived at least five major financial scandals and still had the audacity to reprimand his heir-apparent Abdullah Badawi by sniping in one of his blog postings that Abdullah’s “Mr Clean image meant that he had cleaned everything up”.

Anyone who sympathises with Mahathir and his evil not only needs to have his head examined but his soul as well. Whatever Abdullah cleaned up were the leftovers from Mahathir's and Daim's high suction vacuuming. Most Malaysians still don't realise that they and their grandchildren are going to have to keep paying for the costs of all these shenanigans far into the foreseeable future.   

The following had become standard facts, not just opinions — he destroyed the independence of the judiciary, manipulated democracy and controlled the media to his liking and is still able to say that he had been denied his freedom of expression by the Abdullah government. It appears that there is no remorse in the man, nothing can break him, and he remained confident right up to Barry Wain’s last line in the book that his wrongs would some day be debunked.

Can there be any remorse in evil? Nothing can break him in this life perhaps except for the public humiliation of a trial for all his wrongdoings or even a dose of imprisonment without trial under his much beloved ISA. Otherwise we shall just let Allah take care of him. 

For those reasons above Mahathir Mohamad is a tale worth telling and re-telling. What I like most about this book is that it just tells the story as it is, rather than try to link the episodes to some abstract generalisation or grand theories. This makes the book richer because it does not straightjacket the reader’s thinking into a particular direction. The book charts the rise of Mahathir, his stepping down, small-steps, really because he was never a hair’s-breadth away from the centre of power.

Style of book

The book is written in a breezy and enthralling style, at some parts it is almost like a political thriller and would make great material for a film of that genre. The most remarkable thing is that it is not fiction, and were a film to be made about Mahathir it would really be a case of art imitating life.

It is indeed an achievement that Wain’s book manages to focus on the personal, even heart-warming sides of  Mahathir, the family man, but ends up as a powerful treatise of the public Malaysia.

"Heart-warming"? "Spine chilling" more like it.

The party state

From 1981 till today, Mahathir has given Malaysia its particular feature as a state. The most useful, if not intriguing  concept that Wain has stated (just once on page 53) in describing Malaysia under Mahathir is that he had created a party-state. Hence, the useful contribution of the book is that it has provided much data to chart the birth of this party-state, its peaking and its possible eventual decline.

The so-called "party-state" was nothing more than an instrument of evil, which sooner or later will dig its own grave or have to be killed for the greater good of Malaysia.

This concept of the party-state, though not elaborated by Wain, appears as the trademark of the Mahathir-rule.  Elsewhere, studies on the Kuomintang in Taiwan by Karl Fields have indicated the blurring of the distinction between party and state as leading to this particular phenomenon of the party-state. This would be a good time to undertake a comparative study of all the “party-states” of Asia – Umno, KMT, LDP and the PAP, to name the most outstanding ones.

I summarise Wain’s suggestion of this same phenomenon developing in Malaysia which quite clearly originated from Mahathir’s ascendance to power. 

They are associated with how he had:

•    weakened state and informal institutions
•    packed the state bureaucracy with loyalists rather than technocrats
•    intervened to subdue the judiciary so that it would yield results whenever the leader or the party’s political control is endangered.
•    downgraded the status of the MCA and the MIC, which were coalition party stalwarts of equal standing with Umno before this.
•    blended and merged Mahathir the strongman with Malaysia the rising middle-power state.

Malaysia was nothing but Mahathir, but Mahathir was larger than Malaysia. Not that he is unaware of this view as lately he had become quite defensive of his actions. In one of the more recent blog entries, he declared, “Thank you for agreeing that I am a dictator. Tell me which dictator ever resign. (sic)”

Every evil man will one day have to resign or be forced to resign.

Important chapters   

Let me now try to excavate the more important insights and revelations from some chapters in the book.

I consider Chapters 3 to 6 to be the most crucial in charting the growth of the party-state helmed by a strong man.

Chapter 3 is especially critical. It showed how  Mahathir achieved his crowning moment in deploying his political and Machiavellian skills in saving himself and the party. The manoeuvre to outdo Tengku Razaleigh and the threat of a legal pronouncement that would spell the death knell for him and Umno provided the greatest motivation for him to upset the separation of powers doctrine of the modern democracy. 

This was not just a normal manoeuvre - he cheated to win, as evil men are wont to do.

What was remarkable was that he resolved this issue in less than four months. 

The four months that shook Malaysia involved:
•    the pronouncement of  Umno’s illegality (February 1988)
•    the registration of Umno Baru
•    the ousting of Team B from the new Umno
•    the sacking of the Lord President (8 August 1988)
•    the sacking of five Supreme Court judges
•    the transfer of all assets of the old Umno to the new Umno (March 1988)

The last point is not quite correct. The assets of the old UMNO, other than its building, the PWTC, were transferred to purported "nominees" or "trustees" of the new UMNO, who under the supreme authority of Mahathir and Daim dealt with these as their (Mahathir and Daim's) personal assets. Thenceforth, the new UMNO officially had no say in these assets - which were used to keep Mahathir in power.
On 27 May 1988, Tun Salleh Abas, the Lord President was suspended from his office, by the then King Mahmood Iskandar.  This is the most intriguing revelation of the book, as Mahathir had managed to use his skills as a “blackmailer” to persuade the King to sign the letter of dismissal in return for protection from being removed from his throne. There were talks that the King was involved in the murder of his caddy, and was about to be dethroned by his fellow brother-rulers (The Council of Rulers).

Allegations of the killing of a caddy seemed to have been verified by both Mahathir and Anwar in Wain’s interviews with them.  These are mentioned in Chapter 3, page 73.

I must also add that Mahathir would not have succeeded in saving himself if not for the MCA, although this was not noted in the book. Apparently he owed a great debt of gratitude to Ling Liong Sik, who became the first Chinese to become leader of the Barisan National, a short history worth noting, but missing in Wain’s pages. In the midst of Umno’s deregistration, Ling Liong Sik as leader of the BN had the choice of accepting Tengku Razaleigh’s party (Semangat 46) or Mahathir’s party (Umno Baru) into the coalition.

Mahathir was still the Prime Minister - would Ling Liong Sik have gone against him when he had more to lose (and more to gain later of course)?

In Mahathir’s blog entry of 23 November 2009 he expressed his emotions: “But for Liong Sik, the MCA President who headed BN, accepting Umno Baru and not Semangat 46, life would have been difficult for me.”

Hence a correction to Wain’s rendition — it may not have been Machiavellian deftness all the way which saved the strongman, but a little bit of goodwill had helped too! 

Only evil, not goodwill, can save evil.

Party and business

From the events of 1988, from which Umno Baru was birthed, the episode just spelled an uphill ascendance of Mahathir the astute autocrat - or perhaps  a downhill trajectory for Mahathir the scrupulous and ethical leader, as the other quarter would have seen it.

This is when the notion of the party-state could really take shape — Umno had to get into business and Umno had to undermine the state in order to replace the state with itself.

Wain’s book pointed out that under the Societies Act of 1966, the party was not permitted to do business. For this Umno had to conceal its assets by setting up nominee companies and executives and lined up trusted individuals to hold stakes in various companies, which were in fact Umno-owned. 

By 1988, Umno succeeded in accumulating vast amounts of resources under this arrangement. Chapter 5 seems to suggest that the registration and de-registration of Umno had originally put the party’s financial standing in a quandary. Here was where the wizardry of Daim Zainuddin came into the picture. The mix of politics and business towards Umno’s advantage would not have happened if not for Daim and his boys.

Before mixing politics with business, Umno was extremely poor. In an embarrassing detail, the book cited interviews with Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah as to how dependent Umno was on the MCA and Chinese businessmen to fund their election campaigns, including paying for routine expenses such as transport costs to talks to villagers.

But the involvement of Umno in business did not start with the Mahathir-Daim partnership. Way back in 1972, Tun Razak and Tengku Razaleigh created the secret, “Umno Political Fund”, which is discussed in chapter 5.  Ku Li defended this move about getting into business because of the need to be financially independent.

Umno’s involvement in business started with their acquisitions of newspaper shares, the first time of Utusan Melayu’s in 1961 and then in 1972 of the Singapore Straits Times’.

Daim came fully into the picture in 1982, a year after Mahathir had become PM and elevated his role in fashioning Umno as a giant corporation to great heights.

In reality, this was only in name as Daim and Mahathir gained more personally than either UMNO or the country did.

In Wain’s words, Daim “would be primarily responsible for integrating business and politics in Malaysia”. Accordingly, Mahathir merely made the “philosophical” connection rather than having a hands-on role in the whole matter.

In one of the  most classic defences of why Daim did not think that there was any conflict of interest between making money for himself, for the party and the nation, he declared a series of “why-nots”,

“If I think the government can make money with me, why not?...since I have details of the company and I think it is good investment for my family, why not?... If everybody is going to make money, why not?” (pages 133 - 134)

In reality, did everybody make money or just Daim and his boys? Why did so many bailouts have to take place at the taxpayers' expense then?

Chapter 6 titled, “Scandal, What Scandal?” is also a fascinating, if not troubling read. In this chapter, Wain revisits Malaysia’s past financial scandals by presenting them as a series of Mahathir failures. From the mid-1980s till the late 1990s, this was the decade of serial failures for Mahathir. Financially, he was a serial failure.

For the country, even if not many realised it then or realise it even today.

The events and background of the tin trading fiasco, the BMF affair, the forex trashing and the Perwaja mess were all skilfully traced in this chapter. The conservative estimate of the worth of these failures was RM100 billion. What is useful about this chapter is not that any of these shenanigans had not been exposed before, but having them all documented together in one read allows one to discern a certain pattern of the party state.

Mahathir lamely claimed to have been misinformed about many of the dealings, or that he was not fully culpable of the acts, by justifying that:
•    he  needed to rescue the faltering party from financial ruin (Maybank and BBMB ended up paying for the costs of Umno’s Headquarters);
•    Umno needed to be involved in business as a means of creating the new Bumiputra entrepreneurial class, basically in the form of Daim and his boys;
•    Malaysia needed to stand up against the West –”to take on the developed countries at their own gains”. For example the tin and forex trading misadventures were manoeuvres to outfox the Western economies.

Besides the unsuccessful plan to outdo the West, all that the above had succeeded in generating was endemic and appalling corruption within the system. The masterminds behind the BMF and Perwaja affairs  remained unpunished. To date nobody has ever been prosecuted under Malaysian laws for any of the above misappropriations.

Chapter 7 is about Mahathir’s penchant for big projects and colossal structures. But by the time he had built Putrajaya, the new administrative capital, he was already on his last legs as premier – the swan song before exit. 

Megalomania is also another distinctive trait of evil. The true cost of this megalomania to the nation has yet to be accounted for.

Chapter 8 is another invaluable chapter as it describes in great detail how Mahathir tamed the Malay Royalty by getting rid of their judicial immunity. The amendment to the federal Constitution allowed for a sultan to be tried in a “special court” if caught breaking the law. Another change was to get rid of the constitutional provision which prohibited any member of Parliament or of the state assembly from saying anything about the King or sultans without being liable to proceedings in court. But in looking at the current situations involving Umno and the royalty - in Terengganu, Perlis and Perak -  it doesn’t look like the amendments have much bite in preventing royal intervention and meddling.

Chapter 9 is about Mahathir’s  use of pragmatic Islam to shore up his credentials, which in the end he had little control over. Chapter 10 is about his performance on the foreign relations stage. I would say that he was most successful in his Third World persona, admired by outsiders as the champion of the Southern underdogs. But even so he did not go the full mile in resisting the West, as he was quite easily persuaded into supporting many unpopular resolutions such as the one which approved the invasion of Iraq in 1990; he even worked hard under questionable circumstances to get a meeting with Bush in 2002.

While the book is an excellent account of events from a vantage point of having Mahathir as the central, arresting  character of the plot, the picture of Malaysia is not complete without considering bit players and marginal actors. 

In this regard Wain’s book says little about the involvement of civil society or even Mahathir’s detractors in being responsible for many of his reactions and backlashes. Nevertheless, Wain has featured DAP leader Lim Kit Siang prominently as the most consistent admonisher of Mahathir’s wrongdoings and transgressions. Almost every chapter features Kit Siang’s parliamentary dressing-down of the Mahathir malpractice. I would think that another book on the former would be a welcome addition to the list of political biographies of Malaysian leaders.

Platform for other theories and generalisations

There are many ways of looking at history. One way is to have all analysis centred around one person, which Barry Wain had expertly done. But the other way is to look at the entity in which this person operates from a larger, long-duree perspective which is to look at transformational moments rather than emblematic personalities. Looking at history this way I could view Malaysia differently. For example what were the iconic moments in Malaysia’s transformation?

My take is that there were three:

•  1969 – not just because of the riots but because it triggered a structural revolution in the form of the NEP for Malaysia. This changed race-relations and entrenched Malay dominance as the foundational politics of Malaysia.

•  1982 – this marked the take-off stage of state Islamisation in Malaysia.  Anwar’s entry into government provided the wide discourse of Islam in government and private lives. Umno began to build on Islam for its legitimacy not because the party became more Islamic but because the state was made to perform that role and carry on such an image. This may have masked all the financial scandals and mismanagement by diverting the Muslim masses’ concern onto other seemingly transcendental issues.

•  2008 – the 12th General Election was iconic for several reasons; it was  only the second time  that the BN lost its two thirds majority and it was the first time that all opposition parties succeeded in becoming governments – Pas in Kelantan and Kedah, the DAP in Penang and the PKR in Selangor.

If we were to look at all of the above moments, where was Mahathir in all these? Surprisingly he was not the main actor or the primary mover of these moments. 1969 and the NEP were Razak’s moments, with Mahathir a bit player with his Malay Dilemma needlings.

Razak was just the convenient front for Mahathir, Daim and a host of Malay political "entrepreneurs" who were able to hide behind and use their roles as main supporting actors to hijack both the NEP and UMNO and in the process the nation as well for their personal gains.

1982 was Anwar’s moment with Mahathir playing a role in getting him into the party though Mahathir was not at all central in the Islamic resurgence movement.

In 2008, Anwar and Malaysian civil society (Raja Petra and the internet come to mind) were the main players and galvanisers of that event.

Mahathir may be here, there and everywhere. But all the time he was in fact fighting for regime-maintenance, as asserted by In-Won Hwang in a previous work on Mahathir titled,  Personalised Politics. Mahathir was full of grand visions according to Khoo Khay Jin in an earlier article, written in the 1980s. But by Mahathir’s own admittance he failed in reforming Umno or the Malays. Was he then too afraid of going against the status-quo?

Let me just conclude by posing more questions than can be answered about the subject matter of the book:
•    Was he a failure or a success as a leader? Many of his legacies today are leading to a lacklustre rather than a brighter Malaysia.
•    Was he a maverick or a mainstreamer? He was more obsessed about saving and functioning within Umno, unable to discard neither the content nor the shell of the party.

If Anwar had succeeded in inheriting the position of prime minister, would he have continued the Umno legacy of the party-state and party capitalism? Could it be that even Mahathir was cornered into ridding Anwar, lest Umno would cease to be the party-state?

Stirrer or shaker?

My own conclusion is that Mahathir had stirred many events but he did not shake the system; a provoker of headline news, not a wrecker of vestiges and structures.

Despite the seemingly iconoclastic and non-conformist positions and posturing that he took,  how much of the world or Malaysia did he change?

Mahathir's evil ways and doings have had a great negative impact on Malaysia, and will continue to do so for some time more until the whole system is reformed, whether we realise it or not.

The fact that I find myself asking these questions attests to the valuable contribution of this book and I’m very sure that it will fly off the shelves for many reasons, not least because it is a riveting, thought-provoking, if not disquieting read.

For journalists and scholars, Mahathir’s paradoxes will continue to serve as a veritable textual goldmine in the production of more papers and books.

To the Malaysian citizen and taxpayer, this book is a sobering testament that you almost always do not get the government you deserve. 

Most Malaysians supported Mahathir and his evil ways and doings and therefore deserved the government they got and are still getting under Najib's evil regime as well. It's the Malaysians who fought and continue to fight against this entrenched evil system that do not get the government they deserve.

Dr Maznah Mohamad, an Aliran member, presented the above commentary of Barry Wain’s Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times, published in 2009 by Palgrave Macmillan, at the book launch in Singapore on 4 December 2009.

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