Why whack the Malays?


The Internet was flooded with postings that the only reason this embassy official was brought back to Malaysia and his diplomatic immunity was not withdrawn is because he is Malay. If he were Chinese the Malaysian government would have handed him over to the New Zealand government. This, said the commenters, is an example of what the Malay Umno government does.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

I did not write any article yesterday because I was feeling quite pissed and if I did write it would have been one nasty mother of an article.

You see I was reading all the racist comments flooding the Internet regarding a Malaysian diplomat in New Zealand who was alleged to have committed a crime of attempted rape.

He may or may not have committed this crime. Nevertheless, I doubt the New Zealand government would lie so we shall give New Zealand the benefit of the doubt and assume that this diplomat did commit the alleged crime.

Whatever it may be, given that we claim we are fighters and upholders of justice, human rights, civil liberties and whatnot, should not the principle of innocent until proven guilty apply?

This alleged ‘criminal’ is yet to be even charged, let alone put on trial and found guilty. We are yet to hear the full story of this alleged attempted rape and whether it was an attempted rape or something else. But then, even if all the allegations are true, crucifying him before we even hear what happened is not compatible with the spirit of justice.

The main grouse is that the Malaysian government refuses to withdraw his diplomatic immunity and allow the New Zealand government to arrest him and try him in that country where the alleged crime was committed.

It is said the Malaysian government wrote to the New Zealand government to allow the alleged perpetrator to be brought home to Malaysia to be punished with a promise he would never be allowed back into New Zealand. I am not too clear about the negotiations between the two governments but this is what was reported:

“While the formal request is absolutely unambiguous in seeking the lifting of immunity, it is now clear to me that officials engaged in informal communications over what is a complex case, in a manner that would have been ambiguous to the Malaysian government. I can say the Malaysian side has acted entirely in good faith,” said New Zealand’s Foreign Affairs chief executive John Allen.

The issue here is diplomatic immunity. Governments may not arrest any foreigners in their country who have diplomatic immunity, never mind what the crime may be (unless the foreign government waives the diplomatic immunity of their national alleged to have committed a crime).

This is even more crucial when that embassy staff is a defence attaché or a member of the military. I consider defence attachés ‘legal spies’. Like it or not, countries spy on each other and the military personnel posted in foreign countries sometimes or most times function as these ‘legal spies’.

So we really do not know what this particular person was doing in New Zealand. There may be certain matters of ‘national interest’ that Malaysia would like to protect. I honestly do not know and I do not know because we have not yet heard the whole story.

Anyhow, I am just guessing here, maybe because I have seen too many spy movies. I also know that many Malaysians posted overseas in High Commissions and Embassies all over the world are actually ‘spies’, as are many Americans in the US Embassy in Kuala Lumpur who are actually CIA officers (some who I have personally met and dealt with during the Reformasi days).

In fact, there is something I have never told you. When I was detained without trial in 2001 together with the nine Reformasi activists, one of the so-called ‘charges’ against me was that I was working for the CIA.

I must admit this came as a shock because I never imagined myself as a James Bond. The Special Branch then showed me photographs of my meetings with various US Embassy staff in different places, all who were supposed to be CIA officers.

I actually suspected they were CIA officers and at times I even joked about it when I met them. However, I really did not possess any sensitive information that could compromise the security of Malaysia so I felt it was quite harmless since all we discussed were rumours and scandals.

Once I even helped them prepare the annual Country Report on Malaysia and was very excited when they gave me the draft to look at before it was finalised. I made some amendments to that draft and was pleased that the final report included the amendments I had made.

An even greater shock was that the Special Branch knew about my two-week trip to Washington in 2000 and about what I did there. They knew who I had met and knew in great detail all the discussions I had including what I said and to whom.

My blood ran cold when I realised that the Special Branch was able to tell me what they knew which no one else from Malaysia knew, not even my wife. My only conclusion is that the US had ‘exchanged information’ with Malaysia and had ‘sold me out’. If not how could the Malaysian Special Branch know what happened behind closed doors somewhere in Washington?

Anyway, as usual I am digressing. I started off by saying that I did not write anything yesterday because I was pissed big time. And what pissed me off were the racist postings in the Internet.

The Internet was flooded with postings that the only reason this embassy official is to be brought back to Malaysia and his diplomatic immunity is not being withdrawn is because he is Malay. If he were Chinese the Malaysian government would have handed him over to the New Zealand government. This, said the commenters, is an example of what the Malay Umno government does.

Now, why must race be brought into this? When Malays say the Malays are under attack you get angry and ask how can the minority non-Malays attack the majority Malays? It defies logic, you say. But are not the Malays under attack when it comes to this New Zealand issue? If the Malays are not under attack then what would you call it?

That was what pissed me off yesterday.