Didn’t I tell you so?

Raja Petra Kamarudin

It is quite understandable many would harbour reservations about some of the articles and reports in Malaysia Today. However, if one was to flashback or review, say the earlier episodes of The Khairy Chronicles, one would find that many of the ‘predictions’ and exposes have actually come true. Take, for instance, the reports on ECM Libra, Ethos Consulting, and so on. Have these not all been proven true?

Anyway, seeing that we have said much thus far, and more will be revealed as we go along, you may have to give it some time for the many points raised to prove themselves. Pray we shall all still be around the next couple of years to witness all that was said materialise before our very eyes — then I will be able to say, “Didn’t I tell you so?”

But let us leave The Khairy Chronicles aside for the moment. After all, we have not finished revealing the inner workings of the Abdullah Ahmad Badawi government and the pull and push the Prime Minister’s son-in-law has on decisions made by his administration. Let us review what we said (and also what I said before the birth of Malaysia Today) over the last few years and assess whether my ‘accuracy rate’ is acceptable enough or whether it leaves much to be desired.

Some of you may be Harakah readers, the now fortnightly tabloid and party organ of the Islamic Party of Malaysia (PAS); which used to be a bi-weekly before it got cut down to size. In 1997, Harakah launched its English section which consisted of four pages once a week. It was then increased to eight pages once a week and then eight pages twice a week.

After the first few issues or so, Mustapha Ali, Harakah’s Chairman, invited me to contribute articles to the English section. I did not write under my own name at first but used the name Sulong Kamarudin. Only after Anwar was sacked and sent to jail did I write under my own name much to the amusement of Mustapha Ali who could not hold back his laughter. “How come you are now surfacing after hiding for so long?” he asked me. “Is it because you want to join Anwar in jail?”

Actually it was because many of my Harakah articles were critical of Anwar so I did not want him to know it was me. After I ‘refocused’ and set my sights on Dr Mahathir did I surface. From then on, I wrote in defence of Anwar and attacked Dr Mahathir instead.

Amongst the articles I wrote in 1997 and 1998 were about the expected ‘Battle Royal’ between Anwar and Dr Mahathir. I said Anwar has no choice but to make his move on Dr Mahathir. If he does not make his move, those who want his job would make their move on him instead and challenge him for the Deputy Presidency’s post. So he needs to ‘vacate’ his Deputy’s post and challenge the Presidency purely as a means of survival.

(I wonder whether Dr Mahathir read this piece and decided to make his move first?)

No doubt there would be risks attached. If Anwar fails in his bid for the Presidency, then he is finished. However, if he stays put and they take him on for the Deputy Presidency, then he would lose as well. Either way he faces a risk. But rather than take the risk of being ousted from his Deputy’s post, he might as well make a bid for the Presidency. Even if he loses it would be worth it. He would go down fighting instead of getting massacred like a sitting duck and dies as the number two.

Well, we all know what happened in 1998 so I need not go into details. Another article I wrote was called ‘The rise and fall of Anwar Ibrahim’. In this article I predicted Anwar’s downfall and the reason why he will fall. Many were extremely unhappy about this article but today no one would disagree with the arguments I presented in 1998 although, then, they whacked me hard for what I said.

A third article, ‘Malaysia does not need another political party’, was about the trap Dr Mahathir was laying for the Reformasi Movement. I have already mentioned this article in my previous column so I need not repeat what I said. Suffice to say, I predicted that the Reformasi Movement would die once it becomes a political party — which is what Dr Mahathir would like to see as it is easier to defeat the Reformists in a general election than on the streets. Street demonstrations have been the downfall of dictators in Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines, so the Reformists needed to be taken off the streets and bunched into a political party where they would waste all their energy fighting among themselves in the scramble for party positions.

Malaysia Today was launched on Friday, 13 August 2004, slightly over two weeks before Anwar’s release from prison on 2 September 2004. On 26 August 2004, I wrote an article called Crisis erupting in the Malaysian judiciary where I said:

Well, Dr Mahathir has now left the scene, as has Mohamed Dzaiddin Abdullah, the man who served as Chief Justice towards the end of Dr Mahathir’s tenure as Prime Minister and who is equally guilty of manipulating the Judiciary as a tool of the political masters and powers-that-be. In their place are Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim.

But Abdullah (Pak Lah) does not have the clout of Dr Mahathir and Ahmad Fairuz does not have the respect of the judges. Ahmad Fairuz was not next in line for the job of Chief Justice and he was put there mainly because he can be controlled, as opposed to the many more senior judges he leapfrogged who are seen as ‘Reformists’ and who would therefore be impossible to control.

In the past, all the Chief Justice had to do was to instruct the judges what to do and how to rule in specific cases, and the directive would depend on what the Prime Minster wished. Many judges have in fact come forward to admit that they had received phone calls ‘from the top’ instructing them on how to rule before they delivered their judgements.

This no longer works though. Today, the judges are defying the Chief Justice and resent his interference. And they are not scared of the consequences of their actions. They realise if they stand united there is very little the Prime Minister or Chief Justice can do. They can sack a couple of judges like what Dr Mahathir did in the late 1980s. But they cannot sack the entire judiciary. As it stands now, there are not enough judges to go around. How would they be able to replace the entire judiciary?

And the pending Federal Court decision on Anwar Ibrahim’s appeal against his 10 August 2000 sodomy conviction and nine-year jail sentence is going to be the acid test for the rebellion in the Judiciary.

Anwar’s appeal in the Federal Court — that sat from 10 May to 30 May 2004 — was heard by Justices Abdul Hamid Mohamad, Rahmah Hussain and Tengku Baharudin Shah Tengku Mahmud. Abdul Hamid and Tengku Baharudin are in favour of acquitting Anwar while Rahmah wants to uphold the verdict.

When Rahmah discovered she was outnumbered, she went running to the Chief Justice who then instructed the court to delay the case, which was originally slotted for 9 August. Pressure was then exerted on the two judges to change their verdict but thus far they have refused to do so.

Not able to delay the case any longer due to pressure from the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) and Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), they have now scheduled to deliver their verdict on Saturday, 28 August 2004. In the meantime, over the next ten days, attempts will be made to ‘persuade’ the judges to change their mind and uphold Anwar’s guilty verdict and nine-year jail sentence.

But the two Federal Court judges are getting moral support from their colleagues on the bench. Even those High Court judges who originally convicted Anwar are asking that these Federal Court judges rule in Anwar’s favour. They sheepishly admit that Anwar is a victim of a terrible injustice and that they had no choice but to comply with the instructions from higher up to convict Anwar even though there was absolutely no evidence against him.

The Malaysian judiciary is fighting back. They no longer want the Judiciary’s independence to be compromised or allow the court to be a tool of the political masters. They are going to rule solely on points of law, not on political considerations.

Those who want to see the dispense of justice in the Malaysian courts restored are in the majority. It is a small group indeed that wants to continue doing the bidding of their bosses. 28 August 2004 is a significant date. It is not significant because that could possibility be the date Anwar Ibrahim finally walks free after 2,168 days behind the prison walls of Sungai Buloh. It is significant because, finally, after almost 18 years, the Malaysian Judiciary is attempting to restore the independence of the courts and is trying to rule based on justice and not politics.

Let us wish them success and hope that they continue demonstrating the courage they have thus far shown.

Everyone thought I had lost my mind, even Anwar Ibrahim. One of Anwar’s lawyers phoned me to tell me he thought I was not only nuts but totally irresponsible for spinning this absolutely untrue article. No way Anwar would be released, he told me. Not one of Anwar’s many lawyers agrees with my prediction. And how, in the first place, did I get my hands on all this insider information when even the lawyer’s themselves are not aware of this?

A few days later, I had the pleasure of telling all and sundry, even to Anwar to his face, “Didn’t I tell you so?”

Okay, a lucky guess, you may say. Probably a fluke shot. Fine! Then let us look at the following report which was published in the Free Anwar Campaign website on 24 June 2003:

Over the last two years, Dr Mahathir went overboard to prove to the US that Malaysia is its friend. We arrested 73 innocent Malaysian Muslims as proof of this friendship. All those arrested, currently detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) in the Kamunting Detention Camp, are supposed to be “terrorists” who have links with those suspected of being behind the New York Twin Towers disaster, popularly known as “911”.

Then Dr Mahathir made attempt after attempt to meet President Bush. After getting nowhere, he finally arranged for Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) to pay a US lobby firm RM60 million to wangle a tea invitation with the President on the White House lawn. (For his services, the TNB Chairman was appointed a Minister).

According to sources in Washington, but yet unconfirmed, the lobby firm is owned by Jews, so Malaysia has no hesitation working with the “enemy” when its suits it. Well, so much for Dr Mahathir’s Jew bashing. (Was it maybe but mere shadow play for the all-Muslim audience?)

That was three years ago. When I came out with the report then, again, everyone thought I was nuts for making an unfounded allegation without the benefit of tangible evidence. At best I was rumour-mongering, they thought.

About three weeks earlier, on 30 May 2003, I had made the same ‘allegation’ in the Free Anwar Campaign website as follows:

Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad went out of his way to wangle an invitation to tea with President Bush on the White House lawn. Tens of millions of Tenaga Nasional Berhad’s (TNB) money was spent in engaging a US lobby firm to ensure that Mahathir got invited — after so many failed attempts when Bush said he was too busy to meet the Malaysian Prime Minister.

And, as a reward to the TNB Chairman, Jamaluddin Jarjis, who spent so much of the taxpayers’ money to make this invitation possible, he was made a Finance Minister (and squeezed a casino licence in the process).

Mahathir could not understand why the US President would not meet him after he had “endorsed” Bush by saying that Malaysia could never be friends with the US if Gore was to win the Presidency of the most powerful nation in the world.

However, after the cordial meeting, Bush “insulted” Mahathir by telling the media — right in Mahathir’s face — that the US still regarded Anwar Ibrahim a political prisoner. Since then, Mahathir was determined to get his revenge on Bush, and this opportunity came when the US invaded Iraq.

Now, read last week’s news report which was covered by almost all the international media, as well as Malaysia Today on 16 February 2006:

When the government of Malaysia sought to repair its tarnished image in the United States by arranging a meeting between President Bush and its controversial prime minister in 2002, it followed the same strategy as many other well-heeled interests in Washington: It called on well-connected lobbyist Jack Abramoff for help. It was a tall order. The prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, had been chastised by the Clinton administration for repeated anti-Semitic statements and for jailing his political opponents.

The government of Malaysia was looking for an influence merchant with access to the Bush administration and to Capitol Hill leaders. The Malaysians wanted to counter human-rights critics and to buff up the image of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who was known for making anti-Semitic comments.

In May 2002, Mahathir met with Bush in the Oval Office, and his photograph with the president was beamed around the world. Abramoff received $1.2 million from the Malaysian government for his lobbying services in 2001 and 2002, according to an Abramoff associate.

A report by private investigators found PK Baru to be an inactive company run in part by Megat Junid bin Megat Ayob, a ruling party official and close ally of Mahathir who is also the chairman of Malaysia Exchange.

It took three years for my ‘rumour-mongering’ to be proven fact, and by no less than the US Senate Committee investigating the matter. I suppose I was not that nutty after all for what I wrote in mid-2003 or the piece on Anwar’s release in August 2004. Hmm….I wonder what they are going to say about The Khairy Chronicles in 2007 or 2008. Hope I will still be around to say, “Didn’t I tell you so?”