War legends and lies.

War is very much on my mind, as I happen to be writing this on the day before Australia’s commemoration not only of Anzac Day, but of the centenary of the 1915 landing in Gallipoli by Australian and New Zealand troops that inspired the Anzac tradition.

A tradition that, however noble in its intent, is itself part-legend and part of a conflict that exemplifies not only the oft-quoted wisdom that “truth is the first casualty of war”, but the even more fundamental fact that falsehood is always the true cause of war.

All wars are actually about greed, on the part of at least one side if not both, but those who start them always falsely justify their aggression on such grounds as creed or need.

So-called “holy” wars are forever being fought for the alleged greater glory of imaginary gods, or even between same-god sects like Catholic and Protestant, Sunni and Shia.

And if the pretext is not theological, it’s ideological, as in communism’s assaults on capitalism or fascism’s against freedom, or else just plain illogical or even outright insane, as in the case of the North Korean regime that employs its pretence of being constantly at war with the rest of the world for the purpose of permanently keeping its people in a state of paranoid psychosis.

In other words, beneath all the piously self-serving and above all lying propagandist rhetoric of warmongers everywhere, it’s always and forever about nothing but all the usual profane lusts for power and loot.

But let me not for a moment give the impression that I mean to diminish or demean the countless millions of servicemen and women who have sacrificed their lives in humankind’s unending struggle against greed-driven aggression.

Some see those who fought at Gallipoli and all the other battlefields of the bloodbath we call World War 1 as unwitting pawns in the spat between the megalomanic German Kaiser and his cousin the head of the British Empire, and also as naive victims of the war profiteers on both sides.

But I disagree. Certainly there must have been some who were motivated by the cynical official “King and Country” propaganda, or any of several other similarly unimpressive impulses like imperialist jingoism, peer pressure or simple pugnacity.

Most, however, by the time they found themselves in the trenches and as a result had wryly dubbed themselves “diggers”, came to justly perceive themselves as fighting as bravely as possible for the purpose of winning what they sincerely saw as “the war to end all wars.”

As courageously as they devoted themselves to this cause, however, and as dearly as it cost them in blood and sweat, and their loved-ones in sorrow and tears, they failed to end all wars.

In fact, as Anzac Day sadly recalls every year, there have been even more wars since, and there’s no end even remotely in sight.

Rapacious regimes and terrorist organisations around the world keep employing race, religion and patriotism to empower and enrich themselves at the expense of innocent, ignorant and gullible young men and women.

And even the cause of peace is at times perverted for pressing into the service of war. For example, former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s so-called Perdana Peace Foundation is actually an anti-semitic pressure group, protesting as it stridently does against Israeli assaults on the Palestinians, and completely ignoring atrocities committed by Islamic regimes against other nations and their own people.

The weapons trade continues to flourish as never before too, with giant merchants of high-tech death in the US, UK and Europe hypocritically selling arms and ammunition to just about anyone, even their nations’ current or future enemies, as perhaps most notably to both sides in the bloody Iran-Iraq war, and to the Mujahadeen, now better known as the Taliban, in Afghanistan.

And it’s not just killing that the arms trade enables, but systematic corruption. Countries that clearly have no intention of or capacity for fighting wars are regularly sold billions of dollars in arms, at prices knowingly inflated to provide massive “commissions” to middle-men and defence-department and other regime officials, as in Malaysia’s notorious Scorpene submarines scandal.

As for the defence departments in question, most have nothing whatever to do with protecting their nations against offensive warfare, but defending the regimes they serve against the wrath of their citizens.

The most spectacular current example of this is the al-Assad regime’s massively destructive and murderous war against the majority of the Syrian people.

Though in many other countries, like Burma, Thailand and still to a large extent Indonesia, for example, the military actually is the so-called government, and also a major player in business, both legitimate and criminal.

Which brings us to the fact that the so-called war on crime in many such countries is actually a war on criminals who have the effrontery to set themselves up in competition with the military and their accomplices in politics, the police and judiciary, as currently evidenced by the intended execution of foreign and small-time drug-traffickers in Indonesia while well-connected local drug-lords get off lightly if not scot-free.

A similar system of “justice” prevails in Malaysia too, of course, where the only notable victims of the regime’s avowed war on corruption seem to be witnesses like the late Teoh Beng Hock.

And where the only apparent battle the defence department has fought and won in living memory has been against Altantuya Shaariibuu, the Mongolian woman allegedly implicated in the Scorpene submarines purchase and mysteriously murdered before being dismembered with C4 military explosive.

A case that has resurfaced recently as ammunition in the war that former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad is waging against his latest successor, Najib Abdul Razak.

Who is going to win this conflict is anybody’s guess, but I’m betting it won’t be the truth. Thanks originally to Mahathir and currently to Najib, and with the help of the propagandists of the regime’s mainstream media, the truth was and remains the first casualty of the Umno/BN regime’s almost 60-year war against the Malaysian people.

So much so that it feels almost sacrilegious to be discussing such a bunch of lying, criminal scum in the same column as the true legends of Anzac Cove and all the countless other battle-fields in the sometimes honourable but always woeful history of warfare.

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Pota? Ptui!

It’s not just pitiful but outright spitiful the way Malaysians are being taken for yet another ride with this so-called Prevention of Terrorism Act.

The Umno/BN regime has propped-up its criminal misrule of Malaysia for decades with state-sponsored terror, historically by means of the Internal Security Act, the Sedition Act and of course systematic suspicious killings of ‘suspects’ by its police and the so-called anti-corruption commission.

And now this gang of crooks has replaced the ISA with the equally pernicious and unconstitutional Pota on the pretence of protecting Malaysians against ‘threats’ by Islamic State.

But some of us haven’t forgotten that as recently as last year Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak called on Umno members to “emulate the bravery of ISIL if the party is to survive.”

And this was on top of his notorious declaration to the 2010 Umno General Assembly that “even if our bodies are crushed and our lives lost, brothers and sisters, whatever happens we must defend Putrajaya.”

Yet this spitiful apology for a prime minister was just this week not only presiding over the passing of Pota and a more severe Sedition Act, but also spouting such hyper-hypocritical nonsense as “Malaysian graduates must be taught good moral values so they do not become villains who will destroy the nation.”

“If they are clever but don’t possess morals,” Malaysiakini quoted him as continuing, they can use their intelligence to destroy this country.”

“The most extreme example is someone highly educated using their knowledge to build bombs,” he raved on, clearly overlooking in his love of the sound of his own lies that the word “bombs” would remind most of us of his own reign of error and terror.

For example, the C4 bombing of Altantuya Shaariibuu and her unborn baby by her two murderers, members of Najib’s own bodyguard; the “debt bomb” to which Malaysia is exposed by Najib’s financial baby 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB); and the fact that he has cost the nation an absolute bomb in special VIP aircraft and jet-set living, not to mention billions more in BR1M handouts and other electoral bribes.
Precisely the same explosive issues, in fact, that former Malaysian terrorist-in-chief Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has been employing in his latest attempt to blow Najib out of office.

But Najib apparently believes he can survive Mahathir’s blasts, having broken his initial days-long deathly hush to declare that the “silent majority” will continue to support the country’s leadership “despite some extremists’ attempt to split the unity among Malaysians.”

“Only some quarters like the extremists tried to sensationalise small issues and divide us apart,” he added, though where he thinks he gets off describing such crimes as murder and the blatant misuse and bare-faced theft of billions of ringgit in public money as “small issues” I can’t imagine.

Nor can I imagine that his even more recent appearance in an allegedly “live” but clearly pre-recorded television “interview” has done much to convince his precious “silent majority” that he should survive as prime minister.

In a carefully if far from cleverly-scripted question-and-answer session on one of his tame TV channels, Najib was at pains to avoid any mention of most of Mahathir’s criticisms, but did take the opportunity to repeat his claim that he is entirely innocent of any involvement in the murder of Altantuya, as evidenced by the fact that he long ago swore on the Quran that he had never met the woman.

This oath may well have been absolutely true, of course, but if so cynical Najib-watchers like myself could be forgiven for observing that this would be the only case of his not lying through his teeth that has ever been publicly recorded.

In fact Najib has shown himself to be such a habitual, indeed pathological liar that his credibility among all but total morons and those who rely on him for a steady supply of corrupt money is pretty close to absolute zero.

Especially in light of the GST he has instituted to rob the rakyat even more blind than ever for the purpose of replenishing Malaysia’s pathetically waste- and theft-depleted public wealth so he and his accomplices will have ample funds for more robbery and bribery in the future.

As anybody with a grain of good sense could have foretold, the GST is not only an absolute shambles organizationally, but is being shamelessly misused by every opportunist from the smallest stall-holders and shopkeepers to the largest telecommunications companies to royally rip their customers off.

Which is great by me, as lots of the dummies who are customarily content to betray their principles by keeping quiet and thus composing Najib’s allegedly supportive silent majority might be moved to cry out against direct impacts on their pockets.

But let’s not hold our breaths for any meaningful public outrage or uprising against Najib and his gang of crooks. And let’s not get our hopes up to high that the elected federal opposition parties will do much better.

The turnout by the Pakatan Rakyat parties for the admittedly very late vote on the Pota legislation was an absolute disgrace, as has been their refusal, at least so far, to name their members who were absent.

Many observers have hinted that most of the absentees might have been from PAS, and thus far more concerned with their accursed mission to implement hudud than with issues in the national interest.

If so, and in any case, it’s high time that PKR, the DAP and PSM performed a hudud-style punishment of their own, and amputated PAS from PR for once and for all.
Then those PAS members and supporters who have been helping the regime survive will be forced to choose between openly joining Umno/BN or throwing their support behind one of the saner, more sensible and above all less sectarian opposition parties.

Meanwhile, let’s hope that Mahathir is madder than ever to be rid of Najib for the purpose of moving the mediocre Mukhriz higher up the sordid Umno organisation, and that more formerly silent Malaysians than ever are spitting chips about the GST, the VIP jets, the 1MDB scam, the Altantuya, Teoh Beng Hock and countless other killings, if not about people-terrorising legislation like the new Sedition Act and Pota.

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Najib’s insanity defence.

When the happy day finally and inevitably comes that the Umno/BN regime is overthrown and its members, cronies and supporters in its ‘justice’ system, uncivil services, fake NGOs and mendacious media go on trial for their multifarious crimes against Malaysia, it’s not hard to guess what most of them will plead: the defence made famous at the Nuremburg trials of Nazi war criminals that “we were only following orders”.

Of course the man who’s currently apparently issuing the aforesaid orders, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, could always similarly claim that he’s been playing second fiddle to and thus merely following orders from First Lady of Malaysia, Rosmah Mansor.

Though in view of the current evidence I’m more inclined to think he’s preparing to plead insanity. And by insanity I’m not just instancing the combination of narcissistic personality disorder, megalomania, mythomania and kleptomania from which he and his accomplices chronically suffer, but outright babbling lunacy.
Thus if there’s a decent lawyer remaining who’s prepared to defend him when he finally faces an honest judge in a legitimate court, instead of a spell behind bars with his accomplices in the Umno/BN wing of Sungei Buloh, Najib might get to spend his retirement in the relative comfort of Tanjong Rambutan or some other hospital bahagia.

Because, let’s face it, he appears to have genuinely gone barking mad. Witness, for example, his latest looney-tunes attempts to loot Malaysia, first with the phoney ‘sovereign wealth fund’ 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), and now a GST forcing ordinary people to foot the bill for all the billions stolen and squandered by Umno/BN.

And if all that wasn’t enough proof that he’s living in some wacky world of his own, there’s the fact as well as the timing of his splurging on the fabulously luxurious and outrageously expensive replacement of the VIP Airbus in which he and Rosmah having been flying high for years in the face of popular fury and scorn.

Then there’s his ordering of the ongoing rabid-dog response to critics and opponents of these scams by his madcap official enforcers, Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar and Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

Both of whom Najib is crazy for not having fired long ago; Khalid for his virtually psychotic delusion that he’s entitled to interpret the laws as selectively against critics of the regime as he likes, or else to simply make up his own laws as he goes along; and Zahid for letter he notoriously wrote to the US authorities in support of alleged illegal gambling kingpin and, as many of us strongly suspect, Umno/BN money-launderer Paul Phua.

Of course all this current evidence of criminal insanity is hardly surprising, as Najib’s grip on reality has long been highly suspect in light of his penchant for spouting a pack of lies that nobody in his her right mind could possibly believe. Ever since he came to power he’s been babbling away with such patent nonsense as “1Malaysia. People first. Performance now”, “making Malaysia the world’s best democracy”, “zero tolerance for corruption”, the pre-GE13 “Election Integrity Pledge”, and promises to repeal the Sedition Act that he’s now psychopathically employing against his critics and opponents.

But not, I hasten to add, against all his critics and opponents, of whom former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is the most prominent and even, at times, outspoken. And here we reach the very crux of Najib’s case for his eventually pleading insanity, as he’s crazy if he doesn’t silence Mahathir by slapping with a sedition charge, and equally crazy if he does.

Najib must also be dimly aware, at least somewhere his disordered mind, that in Mahathir he’s dealing with an adversary that’s not only even crazier than himself in all the customary Umno/BN senses of monomania, megalomania, mythomania and kleptomania, but also crazier in the deliberate and self-serving sense of “like a fox”.

A fox that Najib would be suicidally insane to try to hunt down and politically assassinate with some trumped-up charge and travesty of trial as both he and Mahathir have done to Anwar Ibrahim, or to outright slaughter as members of Najib’s bodyguard have been convicted of doing in the case of the Mongolian ‘model’ involved in the Scorpene submarines scandal back when Najib was defence minister, Altantuya Shaariibuu.

Mahathir’s recent blog calling for an investigation into allegations by Sirul Azhar Umar, one of the former police commandos convicted of Altantuya’s killing and was unaccountably allowed to flee to Australia, that he and his partner in the crime were “only following orders” is the old fox’s most vicious attack yet on Najib.

Not that I or anyone else imagines that this effort to imply that Najib or some close associate was what he called the “hidden hand” behind the murder of the Mongolian and her unborn child is in anything like the public interest on Mahathir’s part, or a sign of some belated, not to say death-bed conversion to the concepts of truth and justice.

Mahathir has never shown the slightest remorse for his perversion of Malaysia’s formerly proud justice system or his muzzling of the news media to enable him to escape punishment in the court of informed public opinion for his regime’s systematic corruption and other crimes.

In fact, in the only instance I can remember of his agreeing to appear to give evidence at one of the so-called Royal Commissions of Inquiry regularly staged by Umno/BN to whitewash its nefarious activities, he claimed almost complete loss of memory.

Despite acceptance of this bout of amnesia by the RCI into irregularities in judicial appointments, however, nobody, even or perhaps especially Najib, imagines that Mahathir has less than total recall of every guilty secret of every Umno/BN administration in living memory.

Thus when he calls for Najib’s resignation on account of the 1MDB scandal, as he did several weeks ago, and now ups the ante as with his current declaration that Umno/BN is doomed in the next general election unless Najib steps down, and further twists the knife by resurrecting the Altantuya affair, the entire regime goes gaga with fear.

At the fact that he not only has the goods – or rather bads – on every single one of them, but that he’s so desperate to get his son Mukhriz into line for the eventual premiership, and at his advanced age so virtually immune from retribution, that they’d be bonkers to call his bluff.

Not that many have attempted this yet. Admittedly a few small-fry have attempted pathetically weak rebuttals of his remarks, as in Sabah speaker Salleh Said Keruak’s lame claims that Najib’s lavish new jet is for “security” reasons and that 1MDB is only five years old, and Pulai MP Nur Jazlan Mohamed’s delusional driveling that he “has not seen anything to prove 1MDB’s difficulties in paying its debts or Najib and his wife Rosmah Mansor’s alleged lavish lifestyle is costing the PM support.”

But, as customary at such crunch times, there has been nothing but dead silence from Najib, save for a couple of characteristically nitwitted remarks like “the GST is haram” and that at times he finds hawker food tastier than far costlier dishes at five-star hotels. More evidence, in other words, for the proposition that in case he finally goes on trial for crimes against Malaysia, he’s planning to plead inanity if not outright insanity.

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Hidup, Kita Lawan!

Though the Kita Lawan (We Fight) public rallies have been quite small so far, at least they have provided a ray of hope to those of us who believe Malaysia can be cured of the rot of the Umno/BN regime. And the more people that this gang of crooks punishes for participating in these protests against it, the more promising that their fellows will be inspired to take to the streets.

So here’s hoping that the rally planned for this Saturday 28 March is the best-attended yet, and that there are many more and much bigger such public gatherings to come.

Granted, the hopes of a great many Malaysians were dashed by Umno/BN’s stealing of the 13th general election, and that the state of the nation has become even more dire since.

But while the old cliché that “it’s always darkest before the dawn” may be trite, it is nonetheless often true. And there are countless historical causes for optimism, among them the storming of the Bastille and the so-called Boston Tea Party that respectively triggered the French and American revolutions with much smaller numbers of fighters than have been mustered by Kita Lawan.

And the revolutionaries of France, the United States and countless other countries that have overthrown oppressive regimes since, were faced with odds even more apparently daunting than the present-day citizens of Malaysia are.

Malaysians, however, very wisely indeed in light of the slaughter that has followed most of Arab Spring revolts, clearly prefer to follow the example of their fellows who used peaceful people-power to topple the Marcos and Soeharto regimes in the Philippines and Indonesia.

And, though the Reformasi movement of the late 1990s failed to get the job done for Malaysians, maybe Kita Lawan might just do it.

Admittedly Malaysia’s hopelessly corrupt and incompetent ruling regime, having long falsely promised to repeal its anti-constitutional Sedition Act, it is employing the thing more severely, not to mention selectively, than ever.

But this is arguably less likely to discourage people from protesting than it is to inspire them to join the fight in ever-increasing numbers, as it clearly reveals that the regime is running scared.

As it has every reason to be, in the face of growing public awareness of, and consequent resentment and rage at, the shameless and remorseless rapacity of its members and cronies.

There’s nothing new about Umno/BN greed instead of promotion of the public good, of course, or lies, dissembling and deceit despite proclamations of dedication to transparency and truth, or racist and religionist divide-and-rule tactics disguised as a quest for unity.

But Malaysians, or more of them than ever, far from any longer being fooled by such falsehoods and frauds, are increasingly offended if not outraged by them.

And, let’s face it, they’d be idiots if they weren’t. Having witnessed former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad make himself, his sons and cronies filthy-rich through countless crooked schemes, Soeharto style, people would be stupid beyond the wildest dreams of the regime to tolerate, let alone keep silent, at seeing Najib Abdul Razak and Rosmah Mansor doing a double act in apparent emulation of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos.

So if the first couple and their cronies imagine they can get away with their jet-setting lifestyle funded not only by misuse of public funds but also financial frauds as blatant as 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), they’re even crazier than they and Mahathir have taken the Malaysian people for.

And if Umno/BN imagines the populace will meekly tolerate the GST it has designed to replenish sufficient funds to buy and bribe itself to ‘victory’ in the 14th general election just as it did in the 13th, it has another think coming.

If Kita Lawan has any say in the matter, that is. And I’m hoping and betting that it will have a very big say indeed. Recalling the immense gatherings Bersih attracted in support of its single issue of free and fair elections, it is predictable that Kita Lawan could be an even bigger and in the end more successful drawcard if it comes to represent a coalition of causes.

In fact it seems to be organically growing this way, having originally been inspired by opponents of the latest unjust jailing of Anwar Ibrahim, and now already grown into a movement not only protesting against the GST, 1MDB scandal and abuse of the Sedition Act 1948, but also calling for the resignation or removal of inspector-general of police Khalid Abu Bakar and Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak himself.

And every day, it seems, the regime attracts more recruits and adds more issues to the Kita Lawan cause by committing or condoning fresh crimes like the killings of even more ‘suspects’ in police custody, or reopening old wounds like Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Razali Ibrahim did recently.

In response to a question in Parliament from Teo Nie Ching (DAP-Kulai) as to why Hishamuddin Hashim is not only still employed by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) but promoted to state director level despite the finding by the Court of Appeal last December that Hashim and others must be held responsible for the death in 2009 of ‘witness’ Teoh Beng Hock, Razali replied that the MACC man “had his rights too.”

A statement that reminded us all that Teoh Beng Hock has never been accorded his rights, or his family and supporters satisfaction, since a royal commission of inquiry found not only that interrogation tactics by Hashim and two other MACC personnel had caused Teoh to jump to his death from the 14th floor of MACC headquarters, but that Hashim was an “arrogant leader” and “dishonest person.”

Further giving the lie to Razali’s claim that there is nothing amiss about Hashim’s subsequent promotion to director of the Negeri Sembilan MACC and now of Sabah MACC, was the ruling by the Court of Appeal following re-investigation of the case, in which all three judges agreed that Teoh Beng Hock’s death was “a result of or which was accelerated by an unlawful act or acts of persons unknown, inclusive of the MACC officers who were involved.”

This ongoing gross injustice, along with the even more notorious and long-running case of the murder of Mongolian translator Altantuya Shaariibuu, plus of course the dozens of unsolved and even largely uninvestigated suspicious deaths in police ‘shootouts’ and custody, will of course also always add fuel and fire to the wider cause of Kita Lawan.

A cause that, if or rather when the BN regime’s crimes, injustices and cretinisms finally alienate and outrage enough Malaysians to inspire them to fight back in overwhelming numbers, could eventually proudly rename itself Kita Menang (We Win).


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Suffer, suckers!

As you may or may not recall, I wrote a column last week entitled ‘Always April Fools’ in an attempt to make the all-too-obvious point that the Umno/BN ‘government’ is not only a joke at the expense of ‘ordinary’ Malaysians, but, to add insult to injury, openly laughs in their faces if they complain.

But I must have expressed myself badly, because by no means everybody got the point.

For example, somebody calling him/herself ‘Peacemaker’ commented that “Mr Johns’ sense of humour is offensive when he laughs at the billions looted from the national treasury by BN-UMNO insiders. It is a cause for tears of grieve (sic) brought on by the systemic impoverishment of the vast majority of Malaysian (sic) who have trustingly entrusted these Ali Baba’s (sic) and their band of more than 40 theieves (sic).”

Let me say first that my reason for quoting this comment here is not to poke fun at Peacemaker’s slightly imperfect employment of English, as it is far better than that of the cyber-bangangs that Umno/BN pays with public money to stage gangbangs against articles critical of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and his ‘first lady’, Rosmah Mansor.

And in any case I’m not about to laugh at slight errors in anybody’s use of his or her second or even third language, as I not only have a pathetically poor to non-existent grasp of any language but English, but am far from word-perfect even in that.

But I would like to correct Peacemaker’s misreading of my previous column, which was to remind as many people as possible of the preposterous practical jokes their ludicrous government has been playing on them for decades, not to ridicule Malaysians themselves.

Even as I type this, however, I realise how remiss I was last week in lumping all ‘ordinary’ Malaysians together as deserving of sympathy for their being the butt of Umno/BN’s criminal antics, as a significant number are either too stupid to see that the joke’s on them however obvious it becomes, or else either passively or actively complicit in helping the regime make fools of them along with their more enlightened their fellows.

For a start, there are all those suckers in the so-called ‘silent majority’ who, while doubtless claiming to love Malaysia, are so apathetic if not outright pathetic, or cowed or simply bovine in the face of the laughing-stock that the regime has so long been making of them, their families, fellow citizens and allegedly beloved country that they can’t be bothered raising their voices or even voting.

Much has been made of the alleged 52 per cent popular vote for the opposition in GE13, as against around 48 per cent for the regime. But in view of the combined facts that only around 70 per cent of potentially eligible voters were registered, and only 70 percent of this 70 per cent bothered casting their ballots, the result was actually more like 26:24.

That little more than a quarter of adult Malaysians were sufficiently fussed about the ludicrous situation they found themselves in after more than 50 years of the bad-joke Umno/BN regime to bother registering, voting or otherwise lifting a finger in their own or their nation’s defence was very, very far from funny.

And even less amusing than the passivity of this silent, seriously stupid and spineless majority is the active complicity of those of those of their fellow Malaysians prepared to prostitute themselves in the service of the clownish government’s conspiracy to keep the majority silent, stupid and spineless for as long as possible.

All the so-called ‘civil servants’, for example, who, for relative pittances in pay and whatever perks they can pick-up from petty thefts and corruptions are prepared to shame themselves and their families and sell-out their friends and neighbours by staffing entire government agencies that, like the bloated Prime Minister’s Department and the Home Ministry, are devoted not to serving but to deceiving, misleading and silencing the populace.

And like the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), which is apparently powerless against massive corruption, fraud and theft by its political paymasters, and even, in the cases of Teoh Beng Hock and others, capable of getting away with murder.

As, of course, is the Royal Malaysian Police Force, which in addition to half-heartedly protecting the public from common criminals, also routinely engages in extra-judicial and custodial homicide and acts as suppressor and silencer of dissent on behalf of the regime to which it reports.

When it comes to spreading public silence and stupidity, though, there’s nothing, not even the determinedly dumb and endlessly-plundered Department of Education, to match the power of the Umno-BN owned and/or controlled mainstream news media.

Ever since self-styled ‘wit’ former Prime Minister Mohamad Mahathir made a joke of the media along with the judiciary back in the 1980s, the so-called ‘journalists’ of Malaysia’s print and broadcast media have been betraying their fellow citizens with a corrupt combination of secrecy and spin about Umno/BN crimes, and lies about opponents of the regime.

In fact these polluters of the truth and perverters of the public’s constitutional right to be informed have been such total suck-ups to the ridiculously criminal ruling regime that it’s a delight to see them starting to get their come-uppance.

As far as I’m concerned, the fact that, as a result of more than a decade of legitimate reporting of genuine news online, the regime’s joke mainstream ‘news’ media have lost so much credibility, circulation and advertising revenue that they’re having more and more trouble paying and keeping their disgraced staff is quite a chuckle.

But don’t, like Peacemaker so evidently did last week, get me wrong. I’m as sincerely sympathetic as ever for those upstanding, outspoken, enlightened Malaysians who deserve better than to be the victims of regime jokes like the 1MDB mega-scam, splurges on VIP jets and a GST designed to recharge the Umno/BN funds and justify crony price-gouging as in the current hiking of transport charges.

On the other hand, however, all I have to say to such jokers as unemployed mainstream journalists and the silent, stupid, spineless majority they worked so tirelessly to create and support, not to mention the 24 per cent of Malaysians persuaded by Najib’s laughable lies and petty handouts and bribes to vote Umno/BN last time around, is suffer, suckers.

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Always April fools.

Though there are still two weeks to go before April 1, we might as well follow the lead of Malaysia’s clownishly criminal ever-ruling regime and celebrate Hari April Fool in advance.

Or indeed every day, in light of the fact that the members, cronies and sycophants of Umno/BN have been making very bad jokes at the expense of the Malaysian people day in, day out for decades.

And now that less and less people are seeing the funny side of this rank regime’s pernicious pranks, it seems hell-bent on laughing in Malaysians’ faces more insultingly than ever.

As evidenced, for example, by its timing of the launch of its goods and services tax (GST) for this April Fools’ Day, as if to make a point of what a jolly jape it is to make every Malaysian pay compensation for the countless billions stolen from the nation’s coffers by Umno/BN.

And of course it’s not just the timing that makes the GST such a joke, but also the amazing jumble of goods and services that are zero-rated or exempted altogether in favour of special-interest groups related to or supportive of the regime.

But the GST, or, in other words, the graft and stealing tax, is far from the only piece of funny business this ludicrous regime is entertaining Malaysians and the rest of the world with in the lead-up to this April Fools’ Day.

In fact the list of current Umno/BN comedy routines is almost endless in both number and duration. One of the longest-running, for example, is what could, as long as we’re so close to 1 April, be appropriately called Altantuya Fools’ Day or more accurately eight years of days, a production so ridiculous it would have had us all dying laughing by now if it wasn’t so tragic.

Then, in much the same vein, there’s the latest of a whole series of Anwar Fools’ Days, complete with a road-show featuring rib- or rather nipple-tickling public appearances by one of Umno/BN’s troupe of performing legal jesters, Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, under the auspices of the laughably useless and increasingly youthless Minister for Youth and Sport, Khairy Jamaluddin.

But the Abdullah/Khairy show, as hilarious or even hilairious as it may have been, wasn’t nearly such a hoot as the more recent Anwar-related farce enacted for a global audience by the Umno/BN cyber-comedians who got sprung by the White House trying to fake public opposition to a John Mallott-inspired pro-Anwar petition to the US President.

The very same President, of course, who must have been far from amused at Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s recent attempts to use him as a straight-man in his comical attempt to fool the Malaysian audience that his so-called ‘golfing diplomacy’ in Hawaii took precedence over the floods back home.

Speaking of Najib, the man who has arguably done more to caricature himself as the very personification of a crooked politician and make Malaysia an international laughing-stock than anybody but the supreme sultan of sarcastic self-satire, Tun Dr Mahathir, he’s always good for a droll one-liner.

Unintentionally droll, unfortunately, as he clearly has neither a shred of wit nor the slightest sense of humour. Though somehow that makes him all the funnier when he comes up with such dead-pan comedy classics as “making Malaysia the world’s best democracy”, “zero tolerance of corruption”, “kangkung economics” and “1RM chickens”, or more contemporary zingers like “inheritance” in explanation of his wealth and “rubbish” in response to calls from Malaysiakini for his comments on the Altantuya case.

Of course his consort, Rosmah Mansor, is always good for a belly laugh too, as Malaysia’s iconic cartoonist Zunar never tires of observing. Rosmah’s claim that she was able to afford obscenely expensive diamonds because she had “saved up since small” was almost enough to turn April Fools’ into April Jewels Day.

And her more recent quip that the forthcoming joke GST might save her some of the RM1200 she pays for a home-delivered hair dye and snip surely cemented her status as the world’s funniest First Lady.

But as great a giggle as Najib and Rosmah may be, they’ve got some pretty hot competition in the comedy department from a whole gaggle of up-and-coming and supporting acts.

Like the whole cast of relatives, friends and cronies in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) show, from alleged ‘finacier’ Jho Low, who can’t see why anyone would think it’s funny as in strange that he or his buddy, Rosmah’s son and Najib’s stepson Riza Aziz, can afford high-end New York real estate, to the members of the Umno/BN regime cabinet, who have collectively given 1MDB a clean bill of health.

Surely Najib is joking, too, in fact experiencing a personal April Fools’ Day, in trying to convince himself that his staging of an “investigation” of his ridiculous 1MDB, by a “special taskforce” comprising his compromised attorney-general, Keystone-Kops-style police force and utterly ineffectual Malaysian Anti-corruption Commission (MACC)will placate the Malaysian public, let alone foreign governments and financial regulators.

Certainly there’s no sign that such transparently contrived antics are fooling former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who, let’s face it, should recognize a massive financial fraud when he sees one, having presided over and escaped liability for literally countless such scams during his own 22 years in office.

But if Najib and his gang’s gags as in jokes aren’t going over too well these days, at least, thanks to Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, himself something of a sick joke as a result of a letter he wrote to the FBI in support of an allegedly criminal Malaysian gambling identity, Umno/BN’s long-standing gag as in silencer of the mainstream media remains firmly in place.

Thus the regime continues to keep as many Malaysians as possible living in some kind of permanent April Fools’ Day, and as both witlessly amused and unwittingly abused as ever, by such nonsense as Najib’s recent declaration that “I cannot imagine Malaysia without Umno, especially Malays and Muslims.”

“The answer will make Malays destitutes in their own country,” he went on and on at the close of the Perak Umno convention and Umno branches conference 2015 in Ipoh, before concluding by urging the practice of “no longer rigid politics but new politics.”

But lest his listeners imagine he meant the end of Umno/BN corruption or “money politics”, he immediately retracted this statement with the words “but this does not mean the old politics cannot be practised..some politics of development, needed by the people, is the core to the old politics that still needs to be implemented by us.”

In other words, for Najib and his Umnoputras, the vast majority of other Malaysians of every race, creed and condition are just a bunch of April Fools with no choice but to blindly obey regime rules and cough-up the cash for which Umno/BN endlessly drools.

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Bad-hair and bad-heir days.

These days it seems that karma is getting ever-closer to catching up with Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and his kiasu consort Rosmah Mansor.

This week Rosmah once again demonstrated that she is not so much the first lady of Malaysia as the first liability of her husband’s rotten regime, with an embarrassing attempt to support the forthcoming GST with the claim that it could save her some of the RM1200 she proudly boasts she’s been paying for home visits from her hairdresser.

Even the very name of the group to which she gave this address, the Welfare Association of Wives of Ministers and deputy Ministers (Bakti), is an affront to ‘ordinary’ Malaysians, suggesting as it does that the spouses of the regime’s top rip-off merchants have had the hide to set up a charity for their own benefit.

Certainly Rosmah signified that she and her fellow Bakti members consider themselves a cut above the common herd, with her statement that the GST will advantage “people like us” who do not sew their own clothes or do their own hair.

And, in case her revelation that she pays more for a home-visit hairdo and dye job than the minimum monthly wage for a Malaysian worker wasn’t enough to signal her superiority over mere mortals, she underlined how out of touch she is with the rakyat’s reality with the rider that “they say the price is different in the store.”

As many people have commented on this story, it is highly debatable whether Rosmah has been getting her RM1200 worth from her hairdresser, as she looks to be having a bad-hair day every day.

In fact, in recognition of this, Malaysia’s supreme political cartoonist, Zunar, has long made a point of lampooning Rosmah’s rambut as looking like a dyed-in-the wool caricature of some datin’s wet-dream of what a first lady’s crowning glory should look like, and has had his books banned in consequence.

What her hubby Najib thinks of Rosmah’s astonishing hairstyle, not to mention the enormous cost of maintaining the thing, is anybody’s guess. Though only recently he reportedly poked fun at the notorious Samy Vellu’s strikingly similarly-looking black and bouffant locks.

But Najib now has much more to concern himself with than his wife’s and others’ bad-hair days, as he’s since had a bad-scare day to which he responded in such panic-stricken fashion as to cost himself a whole series of bad-heir days.

The whole thing started with a New York Times story that revealed suspicious dealings in expensive real-estate by identities with close ties to him and Rosmah, and made much of the lavish lifestyle of Najib and his family.

The newspaper published photographs of Rosmah with some of her collection of wildly-expensive Birkin handbags, and of course wearing her expensive hairdo, and claimed that it had documentary evidence of the ordering of “millions of dollars worth of jewellery for her in Hong Kong in 2008 and 2009.

And as if that wasn’t enough to well and truly get the shopaholic, golfaholic, jet-setting first couple’s hackles up, the story then went on to quote a statement by a former aide, Ariff Sabri, that Najib had routinely kept “piles and piles” of cash stacked in his safe.

Of course Najib could have simply denied this, in the same way he has always denied allegations of complicity in such cases as the Altantuya Shaariibuu killing or the recent conspiracy to re-convict Anwar Ibrahim. Or, alternatively, he could have given it his more customary silent treatment.

But for some reason, perhaps rattled by all the international flak he’s been getting lately, not to mention Mahathir Mohamad’s increasingly pressing calls for his resignation, he rashly elected to issue a rebuttal of the New York Times allegations and insinuations by way of his bloated and blighted Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

“Neither any money spent on travel, jewellery purchases nor the alleged contents of any safes,” the statement read, “are unusual for a person of the prime minister’s position, responsibilities, and legacy (of) family assets.”

Nothing out of the ordinary about the first part of this. Just the standard weasel words Najib would use on any why-should-I-care, can’t-be-bothered-turning-a-hair, keep-hassling-me-if-you-dare day.

But what turned Najib’s bad-scare day into a serious string of bad-heir days was that innocent-looking final phrase, “legacy of family assets.”

Because not only did it inspire Najib’s countless and very cynical critics to question the nature, source and size of this alleged “legacy”, and to conjecture that “legacy” might be Najib’s latest euphemism for theft, but in conjunction with the words “family assets” it aroused the ire of his brothers.

In what it described an “unusual move”, Malaysiakini reported that “four of Najib’s younger brothers had issued a rare ‘private’ statement…expressing worry that the name of their father…could be tarnished by such talks of family assets.”

“We wish to put on record,” the brothers’ statement read in part, “that Abdul Razak was a highly-principled man, well known to all who knew him for his frugality and utmost integrity and any statement or inference to the contrary would be totally false and misleading to his memory and sacrifices for the nation.”

“We take issue with anyone who taints his memory, whatever the motive,” the statement continued, adding that “we would also like to add that our whole family is united on this issue.”

This latter sentence inevitably causes me to wonder whether the “whole” family referred to here is intended to include Najib and by extension Rosmah, or whether they have been declared as comprehensively persona non grata by the Razak clan as they have by the vast majority of the Malaysian family, and thus condemned to suffer their remaining bad-hair and bad-heir days in increasing isolation.

Not that they’d be lonely, because as long as they can get their hands on plenty of plunderable public money, be it from the forthcoming GST, or the dodgy “investment” vehicle 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) or wherever, they will always enjoy the company of the meretricious members, rent-seeking cronies and paid supporters of the BN regime.

But let’s hope this state of affairs doesn’t drag on too much longer. Because while it lasts Malaysians are condemned to live with the stench of corruption, theft, extrajudicial killings and countless other forms of government-sponsored crime. In other words, every day under BN is by definition a bad-air day. And after decade after decade of suffering this stinking, suffocating state of affairs, it’s time the people finally had their day.

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