THE CORRIDORS OF POWER
Raja Petra Kamarudin
The Deputy Minister of Internal Security, Johari Baharum, made the decision to investigate the organised crime syndicate. Johari also made the decision to detain half a dozen or so leaders of this organised crime syndicate, which included the number two man, 'Tengku' Goh. Johari signed the order to send them to Simpang Renggam for detention or, in the case of 'Tengku' Goh, for Restricted Residence in Kelantan.
You may have heard of the unholy trinity of Putrajaya -- the father, the son, and the holy ghost. No, Jesus Christ does not live in Putrajaya, so abandon your plan of rushing there this Tuesday. The father we are talking about is Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, his son, Kamal, and his son-in-law, Khairy; whom some would rather place closer to the devil than a holy ghost. Even with the arrival of Gabriel, Khairy's son, the unholy trinity cannot receive the blessing of being transformed into a holy trinity.
While all eyes are focused on this 'First Family' unholy trinity, there is, however, another unholy trinity that has thus far remained unnoticed and has been quietly going about doing their evil deeds without any spotlight and fanfare on what they are doing. This is the unholy alliance of the Attorney-General (A-G), the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) and the head of the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA).
Let us take a step back for the benefit of those who have not been following developments in Malaysia Today to recap what has transpired thus far.
The Director of the Commercial Crime Division (CCD) is currently in Mekah performing his Haj. Even as he circumbulates the Ka'bah, the ACA is preparing a new round of charges in which to slap him with on his return home to Malaysia. It makes one wonder whether God really listens to your prayers in spite of you offering them in front of His 'house', as what Muslims believe the Ka'bah to be. Maybe God has chosen to maintain a policy of non-intervention, which will dovetail with the Muslim belief that God will not change your fate unless you take steps to change it yourself.
Yes, God will not do your job for you. You have to take pains to do that yourself. And if you step in front of a speeding bus and scream, “God, save me!”, you will be dead meat in seconds. Maybe this is what the Prophet Muhammad meant when he was reported as having said, “First you tie your camel, then you pray to God for the safety of your camel.” Malays should take cognizance of this philosophy. You are in control of your own destiny. God will not lift a finger to help you if you yourself refuse to take action. And going to Mekah to pray for help in front of God's 'house' will not prevent the ACA from pressing more charges against you when you return home to Malaysia after performing your Haj.
Awhile back, some 'unknown' sources leaked to the media information that the CCD Director was being investigated for not declaring RM27 million in assets. Take note of this. He was not being investigated for amassing RM27 million in assets. He was being investigated for not declaring these assets. In short, it is not a crime for a police officer acquiring RM27 million in assets. It is only a crime if he does not fill in this little form declaring those assets. They don't care a damn how you acquired those assets. They care only if you don't fill in this form declaring them. It is, therefore, a mere 'technical' offence.
But when this CCD Director was finally charged, it was not for either acquiring or failing to declare RM27 million in assets. It was for 'abusing' his authority by flying over the Sabah jungles in a police aeroplane. Yes, the man who was then the Commissioner of Police for Sabah and who drives around town with a flag on the bonnet of his car is going to be sent to jail for flying in a plane that in the first place was under his jurisdiction. If that is a crime then the entire government would be in jail for driving or flying in a government-owned asset. And some like the Cabinet members, which include the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, even bring their family, friends, business acquaintances and girlfriends along for the joyrides. And we, the taxpayers, are paying for all this.
What is the real issue here? Is it that the CCD Director abused his authority by using a police plane? Is it that he acquired RM27 million in assets and did not declare them? No, none of the above, so read on.
The CCD Director challenged the allegation of failing to declare his assets. He enlisted the help of a lawyer to prepare his defence. He enlisted the help of a firm of accountants to audit his income and expenditure and to prepare a detailed statement of accounts the thickness of an Encyclopaedia Britannica of his financial affairs for 37 years from 1970 to 2007. The lawyer prepared his defence, and with the detailed statement of accounts as evidence, demolished the entire allegation and ripped the charge of failing to declare assets to shreds.
It was a superb piece of defence and the CCD Director was elated that the government had no case against him and that his lawyer and accountants had been able to rebut every allegation down to the last ten cents. Then the ACA made a surprise visit to the lawyer's office a day before Hari Raya and arrested him, and you will not believe this, for also failing to declare his assets. That's right, the lawyer who had superbly prepared the CCD Director's defence that would now see the latter off the hook was himself arrested by the ACA. The target of the investigation, the CCD Director, was not even under arrest yet. The investigation was not yet complete. But his lawyer was arrested and had to spend the night in the ACA lock-up in Putrajaya for 'failing to declare his assets'.
It had nothing to do with the crime of failing to declare assets. It was far from the crime of illegally acquiring assets, which was not even the brunt of the investigation. It was because the CCD Director had arrested the number two of the organised crime syndicate that has just gone national and has its tentacles from South Malaysia all the way up to North Malaysia. Yes, the prostitution, drugs, loan sharking and illegal gambling syndicate had just gone national. And the number one of the syndicate, BK Tan, was alleged to be in partnership with the IGP himself. And the allegation was not based on rumours or idle talk. It was based on numerous Affidavits signed by senior police officers and two underworld figures who submitted sworn testimonies to the Deputy Minister of Internal Security, Johari Baharum.
Now, in case any of you may have forgotten, Johari was the man tasked with the job of sabotaging Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in last year's Umno Kubang Pasu division elections. The 500 or so delegates were each bribed RM200 to not vote for Mahathir. Four delegates subsequently made police reports and signed Affidavits testifying to this fact, which they lodged with the Umno headquarters when they filed their official complaints. The Umno headquarters, however, said that it had investigated the matter and found no evidence to support the allegation. One of the complainants was later beaten up by some 'bouncers' from the Umno Kubang Pasu division. He of course personally know these Umno people who beat him up in his home in front of his family and he made another police report naming those who beat him up. But the police found no evidence of any assault and no charges were pressed against the Umno gangsters.
Based on the police investigation and the Affidavits signed by the many senior police officers and two underworld figures that a national organised crime syndicate does exist and that it has links all the way to the very top of the police force, Johari instructed the CCD Director to arrest Goh Cheng Poh a.k.a 'Tengku' Goh, the number two in the syndicate, and banish him to Kelantan under Restricted Residence Order. They then started investigating 'Tengku' Goh's boss, BK Tan, with a view that he too would be put out of circulation. A few other second-liner syndicate bosses from Johor were also arrested under the Emergency Ordinance and detained without trial in the Simpang Renggam detention centre. Last week, they were all released by order of the A-G as what we reported in the previous episode of The Corridors of Power, All that crap (read the article here). Action was also taken against all those police officers involved in investigating the organised crime syndicate. Some were arrested and detained overnight in the lock-up. Some were charged for various offences of abuse of power. And one was found dead in his car due to a gunshot wound which until today the police has never explained what happened.
See the following reports on the matter:
1. Malaysia’s organised crime syndicate: all roads lead to Putrajaya
2. The roaches are scurrying and the rats are hurrying
3. Please, IGP, explain this!
4. The latest update on Infohub Sdn Bhd
5. The walls come crumbling down
6. No peace on Peace Hill
7. Who’s running the asylum anyway?
8. Blow away the whistle-blower
9. Nothing but a den of thieves
10. The land of Walt Disney
11. I rather make the ACA a respected agency than a feared one
The Deputy Minister of Internal Security, Johari Baharum, made the decision to investigate the organised crime syndicate. Johari also made the decision to detain half a dozen or so leaders of this organised crime syndicate, which included the number two man, 'Tengku' Goh. Johari signed the order to send them to Simpang Renggam for detention or, in the case of 'Tengku' Goh, for Restricted Residence in Kelantan. And the dozen or so police officers, including the CCD Director, merely carried out the Deputy Minister's order. But when the dozen or so police officers were arrested, Johari kept silent. And when the A-G sent him a letter ordering him to release 'Tengku' Goh, he complied in spite of the evidence proving that all these people were guilty as hell and that the police were just doing what they had been ordered to do.
The issue here is actually quite simple and you do not have to be a genius to figure it out. Johari was at war with the IGP. The IGP was eliminating the underworld figures aligned to him (Johari). In fact, three of these underworld figures had earlier been detained and sent to Simpang Renggam for detention without trial. Johari was alleged to have released them and he was further alleged to have received RM5.5 million in bribes as inducement for releasing them. But no one knew about this until a mysterious website suddenly appeared that revealed this matter of the three detainees being released and the matter of the RM5.5 million bribe. The ACA immediately launched an investigation and it appeared like Johari was about to suffer a big-time fall from power.
Johari hit back. He threatened to reveal that Abdullah and the Umno Supreme Council had instructed him to sabotage Mahathir in last year's Umno Kubang Pasu division meeting. This is a breach of the party's Constitution as well as the party's Code of Ethics. The entire Supreme Council will have to resign, Abdullah included, if this matter became public knowledge. It in fact was already public knowledge as Malaysia Today had already exposed this matter in this same column in an article called Dolahgate (read the article here). But thus far no one had come forward to testify to this and now Johari was threatening to do so.
A deal was struck. The ACA will declare that it had investigated the allegation against Johari and that there is no evidence he had received the RM5.5 million bribe. Johari would then maintain his silence and not put Abdullah and the entire Umno Supreme Council in jeopardy. But Johari was still not satisfied. He got the CCD Director to investigate the parties behind that website alleging he had released three underworld figures aligned to him for a bribe of RM5.5 million. The trail led to the door of the Director of the Criminal Investigation Division (CID), Christopher Wan. Johari was outraged. It was an inside job. Christopher is the IGP's running dog. Therefore, thought Johari, the IGP must have been the one who fixed him up. Johari wanted to strike back and he ordered the CCD Director to move in on the underworld figures aligned to the IGP. And that was why these various underworld personalities were rounded up -- not to clean up the streets and eliminate the prostitution, drugs, loan sharking and illegal gambling syndicate, but to put the IGP's men out of business.
But the IGP had something which Johari did not have. The IGP was in cahoots with the ACA Director and the A-G. It was three against one. And the Prime Minister, who is also the Minister of Internal Security and therefore Johari's boss, needed the IGP, ACA, and A-G more than he needed Johari. So Johari will have to take the fall. But Johari is smart. He is, after all, a politician. He quickly made a deal and abandoned the police officers and allowed them to take the fall instead. Well, if he can sabotage his ex-boss, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who brought him up from a mere schoolteacher to where he is today, then what are a dozen police officers by comparison? So those who carried out the order will be going to jail while he who gave the order is sitting pretty. This should serve as a lesson to all civil servants, including the police force. Never do the bidding of the politicians because when the chips are down you will be left holding the baby.
The six pages of the Affidavit signed by Johari below tell the whole story, so we really do not need to explain it again in detail.. Suffice to say, the order to break the organised crime syndicate and arrest its leaders came from Johari. Item 32 of the Affidavit states that 'Tengku' Goh actually confessed to his crime. Item 8 of the Affidavit states that on 12 March 2007 Johari gave the order to launch the investigation. Johari further admits in item 14 that on 5 July 2007 he signed the warrant of arrest. But it is the police officers and the lawyer who will be going to jail, not Johari.
And where does Abdullah Ahmad Badawi come in on all this? Abdullah's hands are tied. He had earlier ordered the IGP to detain BSA Tahir under Section 8 of the Internal Security Act. If the police had detained him under Section 73, then the Special Branch would have him for 60 days. And once they have him they can interrogate him and find out who else is behind Scomi's export of nuclear components to Libya. This would be dangerous as Scomi belongs to Abdullah's son, Kamal, and once the interrogation reveals that Kamal knew all along what was going on and that he is not an unwitting party to the whole thing as they say he is, then the United States will want Kamal's head on a silver platter.
So Tahir was detained under Section 8 of the Internal Security Act which is signed by Abdullah himself and not by the police. Section 8 is the Minister's prerogative, not the police's who can only detain you under Section 73. And this is exactly what happened to the HINDRAF 5 as reported in the previous episode of The Corridors of Power, All that crap (read the article here). But an even more interesting question is not why was Tahir detained under Section 8 instead of Section 73 of the Internal Security Act which will allow the Special Branch to investigate who else are behind the Scomi centrifuge scandal? What is more important is where is Tahir now? He is supposed to have been detained under the Internal Security Act, which means he is in the Kamunting Detention Centre. But is he there? And if he is not there then where is he?
Yes, that is an even more important question than the question of why he was detained under Section 8 instead of Section 73 of the Internal Security Act. Tahir is not under detention. Tahir is under protective custody. He is under protective custody so that the Malaysian Special Branch and the American CIA can't get their hands on him. And Abdullah has the power to do this as he did for the HINDRAF 5 whom the Special Branch are also dying to get their hands on but can't.
Abdullah is not entirely in control though. The IGP, A-G and ACA chief have their own unholy trinity. And they will serve Abdullah just as long as Abdullah does not step on their toes. The Dolahgate affair, the Scomi centrifuge affair, and the Oil-for-Food affair are enough to put Abdullah away for a long time. But that will only happen if the IGP, A-G and ACA decide to launch a case against him. And it appears like at the moment 'got no case lah'. So Johari is on his own in his war with the IGP. And the two rival organised crime syndicates will have to fight it out in the turf war for control of the prostitution, drugs, loan sharking and illegal gambling rackets. And the way it is currently going, the IGP's side will win because Johari has backed off and has allowed the dozen or so police officers to become the sacrificial lambs.
Yes, not only goats, sheep, cows and camels are being sacrificed this Hari Raya Haji. Police officers too are being sacrificed. I shed no tears for police who detain Malaysians without trial and beat up detainees under custody. I also shed no tears for police who serve the political masters instead of the rakyat who are paying their salaries. But I have to admit I do pity these police officers who were used in the organised crime syndicate turf war between the Deputy Minister of Internal Security and the IGP and will all soon go to jail for the crime of 'saya hanya menjalankan arahan'. The next time a police officer gives me that famous and often-used line, I am going to laugh loudly in his face and remind him of what happened to the CCD Director and the dozen or so others when they hanya menjalankan arahan.