It’s all about the money

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Well, money talks, bullshit walks; and Islam is bullshit, so it too walks. Yes, Islam Hadhari, now we know what it means don’t we? Bullshit! Let me say that again: Islam Hadhari bullshit! It’s all about the money.

This is what Bernama, Malaysia’s official news agency, reported on November 25:

(Bernama) — Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi asked the police not to “hide” any facts in the probe into the case of a woman, believed to be a Chinese national, forced to strip naked and ordered to do ear squats in front of a woman in police uniform as featured in a video footage.

The Prime Minister said he had told Deputy Inspector-General of Police Datuk Seri Musa Hassan that the incident must be investigated thoroughly and immediately.

(Bernama) — Deputy Inspector-General of Police Datuk Seri Musa Hassan gave an assurance stern action would be taken against the people responsible for stripping naked a woman, believed to be a Chinese national, and ordering her to do ear squats as featured in a video footage.

He said the police would not protect or compromise with the culprits involved in the incident which had embarrassed the police force.

“We have rules and regulations, regardless of the person’s status, whether he is a Malaysian, a police officer or a non-police officer.

“If they break the law, we will take stern action. We will not cover-up anything or protect them,” he told reporters after attending a function at the Royal Malaysia Police Museum.
(Bernama) — Word and action must go in tandem if efforts to clear the misconception that Malaysian authorities have been targeting Chinese nationals are to be successful, China-bound Home Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid said.

He said verbally convincing the Chinese that Malaysian agencies had never specifically targeted Chinese women would be meaningless if allegations of Chinese women visitors being subjected to wrongful treatment still cropped up.

“It will be shameful if I go there and tell them one thing but here we do something else,” he told reporters after attending the National Registration Department’s Quality Day.

Azmi was asked to elaborate on the instruction by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi for him to travel to China to restore the confidence of the Chinese following reports of Chinese women in police custody were humiliated and wrongfully treated.

Asked whether he would offer an apology to the Chinese, he said: “We will apologise where we are wrong, definitely. There’s nothing wrong to admit if there are mistakes.”

Parliament is upset about it. The Cabinet is upset about it. The Prime Minister is upset about it. It appears even the police are somehow upset about it. So now the newly-wed Minister has to make a beeline for China to grovel at the feet of whoever it is he is going to meet and apologise profusely for the manhandling of Chinese tourists in Malaysia — well, not Chinese tourists per se, but female Chinese tourists.

Show me the money! Show me the money! Show me the money!

Yes, that’s right, money talks, bullshit walks. And that is exactly what is at stake here, the hundreds of millions or maybe even billions of Ringgit that Malaysia stands to lose if tourists from mainland China decide to bypass or boycott this country because of the notorious reputation we have earned in calling the white skins “Sir” and “Madam” while yellow skins are labeled prostitutes and ‘China Dolls’.

We must remember that Malaysia is a ‘Malay’ country so it can get away with treating the non-Malay Malaysians shabbily. Maybe we are so used to treating Chinese and Indians as second-class citizens that we have taken it for granted they can be subjected to violence and brutality without protest. But Chinese nationals are not Malaysian citizens so they need not clam up and take this animal-like treatment without a whimper like Malaysian Chinese and Indians who still vote in the Barisan Nasional government in spite of the treatment they receive.

I know it is most unkind of me to say this; but I am going to say it anyway; the Indians protest about the high incidence of deaths under police detention. The legal fraternity and NGOs send Memorandum after Memorandum to the Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) and call press conference after press conference to highlight the plight of the Indians. However, come election time, 80% to 85% of the Indian voters vote for the ruling party. Aren’t the Indians outraged by the treatment they are receiving? Let us look at the Pengkalan Pasir by-election this 6th December and see how the 55 Indian voters there will vote.

Anyway, back to the issue, the stripping of Chinese women under detention.

Why make such a huge fuss over it? Why are Parliament, the Cabinet, the Prime Minister, the police, and every man, woman and their dog so outraged? Isn’t this normal practice in Malaysia? When I was detained I was stripped? When my wife was detained she too was asked to strip. All the other women detained together with my wife — a teenage girl and an elderly lady included — were also asked to strip.

Was there any outrage? Did I call a press conference to highlight what my wife and I had been subjected to? No, because this is what one must endure when detained by the Malaysian police. It is an accepted practice in Malaysian lockups.

Did the newspapers run stories about the cousin of the Sultan of Selangor and grandson of one-time Governor of Penang, and his wife, having to submit to the shame of stripping naked in front of total strangers? Of course not! Because we are Malaysians and it is common for Malaysians, even if they were once the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia like Anwar Ibrahim, to be subjected to this.

Did the Minister go meet the Sultan of Selangor to make his apologies that a member of his family was treated like an animal while under police custody? Did they even imagine what my wife I had felt having to stand naked in front of all those people, then having to sit in handcuffs while chained to all the other detainees?

I was also hit by the Dang Wangi OCPD, Bakri Zinin, who sent me flying, in full view of my wife and all the other detainees. I was then handcuffed while the police officers refused to take the police report I wanted to make about the beating. And mind you, I was not even under arrest. I was just visiting the police station to make an enquiry. Yet I was beaten, handcuffed and detained in the smelly and filthy lockup the next 24 hours. Imagine if I was actually under arrest and not just visiting the police station. (Bakri wanted to beat me up some more but he was held down by about seven other officers who could see he was going berserk).

There is further outrage that not only was this Chinese national stripped but she was also forced to do ear squats while stark naked. So what? The Free Anwar Campaign highlighted this in 2000 when Nora, a Reformasi activist and mother of six, was stripped naked and forced to do ear squats in the nude in front of a crowd of people. Malaysiakini also ran this story.

Was Parliament outraged? Was the Cabinet outraged? Was the Prime Minister outraged? Was the police outraged? Was the Minister sent to meet Nora to apologise for this treatment she received while under detention? Of course not! Nora is a Malaysian and she does not bring tourist Dollars into this country. Now, if Nora’s treatment would result in the country losing millions or billions of Ringgit, then certainly all and sundry would have been outraged and she would have received a visit for an apologetic minister.

It looks like this country is concerned with only one thing, the impact to our economy. Money talks, bullshit walks. Never mind that Islam says a woman is supposed to cover her aurat or modesty and stripping naked in public goes against what Islam stands for. Money matters, not Islam.

Hold on, aren’t the Prime Minister, some Members of Parliament, the Minister, and all those others expressing outrage at the potential loss of tourist Dollars also Muslims? Well, money talks, bullshit walks; and Islam is bullshit, so it too walks. Yes, Islam Hadhari, now we know what it means don’t we? Bullshit! Let me say that again: Islam Hadhari bullshit! It’s all about the money.