Sandra Rajoo brings you another edition of REFSA Rojak – a weekly take on the goings-on in Malaysia by Research for Social Advancement (REFSA). REFSA Rojak – “trawl the newsflow, cut to the core and focus on the really pertinent. Full of flavour, lots of crunch, this is the concise snapshot to help Malaysians keep abreast of the issues of the day.”
What’s happening right now in Sabah? Little information is forthcoming from the authorities despite a village in Lahad Datu, Sabah being invaded by armed Filipino intruders. The truth about the situation is camouflaged under the excuse that security operations have to be “secretive”.
Sabah has come under the spotlight lately, what with the fight for political domination by Pakatan Rakyat and Barisan Nasional and the furore over the contentious Project IC. But this incident is much more ominous. Our sovereignty is under siege.
Deadlines to leave have been given by both the Malaysian and Filipino governments, but the standoff continues after two weeks. Led by Raja Muda Agbimuddin Kiram of the Sulu Sultanate, the invaders have said they will not hesitate to use violence as a means to their end, and that is to gain control of Sabah.
The problem is dragging on a tad too long, though. That Sabah is invaded by armed militant groups is cause for alarm – more so the fact that they entered our waters in broad daylight, undetected and with our security forces seeming ill-equipped to eject a motley crew of militants.
Whatever happened to the billions of Ringgit spent on defence procurement? It looks like our billion ringgit Scorpene submarines and expensive armoured vehicles are no match for this gang of 100 or so marauders who have furtively sneaked into Sabah and threatened our security.
As the story(ies) goes…
Over in Peninsular Malaysia, the spotlight is hovering over two controversial figures - private investigator, Balasubramaniam (Bala) and carpet dealer, Deepak Jaikishan – both for whom, credibility is a big question mark.
Bala returned to Malaysia recently after a five-year self-imposed exile in India and received a ‘hero’s welcome’ from his supporters. He is notorious for his two infamous statutory declarations (SD) made at the height of Mongolian model, Altantuya Shaariibuu’s murder investigation in 2008 – SD 1, which accused top government officials of being involved in the murder, and SD 2, which negates the first one.
His comrade in arms, Deepak Jaikishan, also changes his stories about the PM’s family as often as the well-heeled changes house carpets. Deepak was indirectly involved in the drafting of SD 2, something he had denied earlier but admits to now. His most recent feat is a defamation suit filed against PM Najib for saying he is not “credible”.
These two men have something in common – i.e. fickleness. If only they could make up their minds. If one wants to be taken seriously, one needs to be consistent in word and action. We are not certain what these two men have in store for everyone, or what their ‘truth’ is, but we are quite sure that two convicted policemen, now languishing in prison for Altantuya’s murder are waiting anxiously to see how this ‘game’ is going to be played out.
Shameful thuggish behaviour…again
Hell hath no fury like a politician scorned. PPP President Kayveas, furious over something written about him by Tamil daily, Malaysia Nanban (MN), stormed the media office with his men and assaulted the journalist purported to have written the ‘offensive’ article. The police had to intervene to diffuse the heated and aggressive exchange.
What was so repugnant about the article that got Kayveas so riled up? MN editor-in-chief, M Malayandy, said the article was “an overall review of all political parties” but Kayveas took offence to a reference made about PPP being “a party that only goes where there is free food served”.
This comment is a non-issue to most, but it brings out the violence in no less than a BN leader. Leave thuggish behavior to thugs. Why do leaders become ‘fearless’ when it comes to bullying pen-wielding journalists but turn obsequious when dealing with gun-toting invaders?
Debating manifestos – the ball is in BN’s court
Could Pakatan Rakyat be basking in the attention, albeit scornful, focused on the election manifesto it revealed a few days ago? Is a negative reaction better than no reaction?
One criticism is that the manifesto focuses on spending but makes no mention of financing. But PR seems confident that funds will be available when “wastages and corruption” are curbed, spending priorities are reorganised and an improved economic system generates revenue.
Now that Pakatan Rakyat has beaten BN to an early unveiling of its manifesto, will we witness BN’s manifesto anytime soon? PR can’t wait as it is keen to engage in a debate with its arch-rival. It has thrown down the gauntlet. Will BN reciprocate? We hope so. Malaysians can then compare and contrast what the two coalitions have to offer.
Why ‘Rojak’? Disparate flavours and textures come together in a harmonious mix to make this delicious but underrated concoction. Our Rojak weekly is much like this mix, making sense of the noise of daily newsflow and politicking.
It is also our ultimate dream that our multi-ethnic melange of communities can be made richer within the unique ‘sauce’ that is Malaysia. Let’s take pride in the ‘rojakness’ of our nation!
Click here for previous issues of REFSA Rojak.