There is clearly no such thing as “natural” justice. Most creatures are condemned to living under the law of the jungle, in which might is right and only the fittest, fattest, fastest or fiercest survive. And in any case life inevitably ends in a death sentence.
A patently unfair situation from which we humans have devised two ingenious ways to try and escape. First a system of earthly justice designed to make things more equitable for us all in this life, and secondly a concept of “heavenly” judgment to reward virtue, punish vice and thus even things up in some great hereafter.
But both kinds of justice appear to have failed in Malaysia this past week. Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, otherwise affectionately known as Tok Guru, the “spiritual” leader of PAS and longtime menteri besar of Kelantan, sadly died at the age of 84.
Why a divinely-decreed death sentence, I have to ask, for this humble and virtuous man, when his vicious virtual opposite, the malicious, malevolent, mendacious and megalomanic former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, is still alive and kicking?
Of course one could argue that Tok Guru has been lovingly called to his richly-deserved eternal reward. But what’s the point of calling him so many years younger than Mahathir?
Maybe the Almighty rightly considers that Mahathir needs much more time to repent before he faces the heavenly court. And possibly also that in the meantime his continued presence will serve as a punishment for others of his ilk.
Certainly he’s hell-bent on handing-out as much punishment as possible right now, what with proclaiming in a speech that if he was a prime minister as unpopular and incompetent as Najib Abdul Razak is he would resign, and blogging at length about what he considers “rotten” about the current BN government.
So rotten as to be utterly irredeemable, if the response to the death of Nik Aziz by Najib’s cousin, Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, is any indication. Claiming that he and his colleagues had been “enlightened” by the passing of the PAS veteran, he added that he respected Nik Aziz as a leader based on “various values that he encapsulated and could be adopted.”
It strikes me as pathetic as well as pertinent in the extreme that Hishammuddin could not bring himself to even so much as name the virtues that he perceived Nik Aziz as personifying, let alone consider himself and his colleagues’ following such a shining example.
And, let’s face it, almost any example would be shining in comparison with the criminality of the regime that Hishammuddin and his BN accomplices represent.
A regime so deeply and incurably criminal that even its so-called judicial system is complicit in its repeated, indeed systematic perversion of justice, as in this week’s jailing of Anwar Ibrahim following a Federal Court decision to reverse his earlier acquittal on a second trumped-up sodomy charge.
This was such a travesty of justice that it was highlighted rather than mitigated by a lame attempt by the Prime Minister’s Office just minutes after the verdict to claim that the sodomy charge had been made by an individual and had nothing to do with the government, and that in any case the judges had arrived at their decision independently.
But the most outrageous lie of all lay in the statement that “Malaysia has an independent judiciary, and there have been many rulings against senior government figures.”
Everybody in Malaysia and around the world very well knows by now that Malaysia has not had an independent judiciary since then Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad criminally crippled the institution back in the 1980s.
And the world is also vividly aware that, far from having made many rulings against senior government figures, the judiciary has since been used by a succession of attorney-generals to selectively fail to prosecute regime members and cronies, and to persecute critics and opponents.
In fact, if Malaysia’s judiciary had any genuine independence at all, Mahathir and his accomplices in literally countless political, economic and civil crimes against Malaysia and its citizens would all have been in jail instead of the hapless Anwar Ibrahim.
Mahathir was absolutely right in his blog that there’s “something rotten” about the Malaysian government. But what he didn’t mention was that the rot started with him, and has steadily progressed to the point at which, as I’ve said many times before, the ruling regime is not a political coalition, but a criminal cartel.
Complete with not just a compromised and compliant judiciary, but massively corrupt and outright criminal institutions of every kind, from the police force, anti-corruption commission and electoral commission to the massively over-staffed and suspiciously over-funded prime minister’s department.
Not to mention a home minister who, having only weeks ago suspiciously demanded the release of some gambling kingpin held on criminal charges in the US, had the effrontery to assure the public that his former friend Anwar would receive no special treatment in jail.
Everywhere you look, there’s evidence of criminal activity and crude attempts to cover it up. One highly pertinent and current case in point being the so-called 1Malaysia Development Fund (1MDB), which has massive debts on which it keeps missing deadlines to pay the interest.
And not only is the Prime Minister a patron of this can of worms, but his consort, the shopaholic Rosmah Mansor, and other shadowy first-family relatives and cronies are also heavily implicated.
Recently the New York Times ran a series of investigative stories on massive US real-estate purchases by members of various unsavoury regimes around the world, and Malaysia turned out to be one of them.
A fact that leads to the thought that, rather than merely diplomatically criticizing such wrongdoers for their illegal acts, as the US, UK, Canada and Australia have done in the case of the Malaysian regime following its latest judicial assault on Anwar, nations that respect the rule of law should put their money where their mouths are and freeze or confiscate assets that have clearly been purchased with the proceeds of crime.
But unfortunately international justice can be even slower and more uncertain than the domestic kind. So let’s for now concentrate on just removing Mahathir’s admittedly “rotten” BN from office, and, as I suggested in a column way back in 2011, justly sending these criminals from Putrajaya to Putrajail.