Word wars.

(NOTE: This piece is ancient history, as I wrote it almost 15 years ago for Adoi, a Malaysian marketing-communications magazine I was working for at the time. But I post it here as background to the updated report on my subsequent battles in the word wars that I’m writing – or at least intending to write – for my Malaysiakini column this week)

It wasn’t until my Adoi deadline came up that I realised it’s been weeks since I gave advertising a thought, so busy as I’ve been fighting in a war of words.  In two wars actually, one still being waged in the Australian media over our government’s decision to deny landfall to would-be illegal immigrants rescued from an Indonesian vessel by the Norwegian freighter Tampa, and the other of course the global “war on terrorism”.

And no, there’s no sign I’m winning in either conflict.  The pen may be mightier than the sword, but I’m finding it’s no match for gunboats and the forces of xenophobia on the Australian scene, or suicidal hatred, cruise missiles, stealth bombers and blitzkriegs of propaganda in the global sphere.  But as impotent as my words have proven so far, and as defeated as I’ve felt at times, somehow I can’t call it quits.

It’s been said ad nauseam that the first victim of war is truth.  But in these current wars in which I’ve been fighting my losing battles, the conflicting truths lie in the terminology.  Australians supporting the exclusion from our shores of what our Immigration Department calls “unauthorised arrivals” choose to demonise them with epithets like “illegals”, “queue-jumpers” and “criminals”.  Those of us of a more merciful frame of mind, and more mindful of our own or our ancestors’ relatively recent arrival in Australia from elsewhere, use the terms “asylum-seekers” or “refugees”.

Similar terminological errorism surrounds the question of terrorism.  The mass-murderers who committed the atrocities in New York and Washington on September 11 were called “cowards” by President Bush and “heroes” or “glorious martyrs” by their supporters and sympathisers.  Osama Bin Laden referred to the U.S. as “terrorists”, while to the U.S. government the word “terrorist” seems to apply primarily if not exclusively to foreign killers of American citizens.  While it seems to me and perhaps many of my fellows that a “terrorist” is a person of any race, creed or colour who anytime, anywhere uses killing or the threat of it for his or her own ends.  A definition that embraces not just a host of organisations devoted to political murder and mayhem in dozens of countries around the world, but also ruling regimes, some U.S.-supported or tolerated, that terrorise their own citizens, and also criminal terror organisations like the Triads, the Yakkuza and the Mafia.

The last of which, incidentally, is suspected of as ghoulish a crime as could be imagined under the current circumstances in New York.  While firemen and other rescue workers have been removing the rubble and human remains from the World Trade  Centre, trucks owned by Mafia-controlled companies are alleged to have hauled debris not to Staten Island for forensic investigation as they were supposed to, but elsewhere for sale as scrap for their own grubby profit.  When it comes to making a killing, it seems some people are just too terrifyingly efficient for words.










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Ape-ruled fools.

Way back in the days when I still blindly and thoughtlessly aped the opinions (apinions?) of my fellow self-perceived ‘humans’, I blithely perceived April 1 or ‘April Fool’s Day’ as simply an opportunity for us all to play allegedly amusing pranks or practical jokes on each other.

But growing political awareness eventually alerted me to the fact that, as I’ve mentioned many times before in Malaysiakini and elsewhere, most of us on Planet Earth are treated like April fools every day of every year by countless governments that, like China’s fake Communist Party, North Korea’s Kim dictatorship and Malaysia’s Umno/BN kleptocracy and countless others, are nothing but jokes at their citizens’ expense.

Even more dire, however, as I have gradually come to realise, all of us humans, whether we’re playing the fool every April 1 or being played for fools every day of every year by bleeders posing as leaders, have been busily fooling both each other and ourselves for the past couple of million years.

Ever since, in fact, our emergence as a new species of chimpanzee evidently equipped with such superior manual, intellectual and linguistic abilities as to enable us to see, define and declare ourselves as superior to not only other chimps, but also the rest of creation.

‘Creation’ being the crucial word in this discussion, as, paradoxically, the superior intellectual powers that enabled us perform and perceive ourselves as champs failed to replace all our instincts to think, feel and act like chimps.

And the complex of confusions and conflicts that this intellectual/instinctive, human/animal duality produced has rendered us uniquely and incurably capable of thinking and behaving like not only champs or chimps, but chumps.

It would take several books to do even the slightest justice to a discussion of humankind’s seemingly limitless capacity for chumpery.

And in case you’re interested, several of the many books I’d recommend on the subject included Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs and Steel and The Rise and Fall of the Third Chimpanzee; Philippe Gigantès’ Power & Greed: A Short History of the World; and Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind.

Not, I presume, that readers in Malaysia will be able to find the latter volume in bookstores, as its author hails from Israel, a country reviled by the anti-Semitic Umno/BN regime.

But that’s another story, in light of the issue I’d like to focus on in this mercifully brief column, Immanuel Kant’s concept of mankind’s promotion of satiable animal needs with insatiable human greeds.

Kant argues that, while sharing with all other animals basic needs like that can be at least temporarily satisfied, like nutrition, excretion and reproduction, we humans, or, if you prefer, we humanimals, as a result of our conception of the future and capacity for identifying or inventing additional ‘wants’, are insatiable.

Insatiable for the better, perhaps, in our apparently boundless capacity for inventing new, more efficient or otherwise apparently beneficial products, processes and social institutions.

But equally for the worse, as evidenced, for example, by the sordid spectacle of the rich ever-lusting for more, more, more despite the increasingly desperate further impoverishment of the poor, and the rapid depletion of Planet Earth’s resources.

As reprehensible and indefensible as such greed for tangible wealth and its attendant status and power may be, however, to me by far the most destructive human greed is for such entirely imaginary constructs as immortality.

The invention of some invisible and every other way unknowable omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent entity or group of entities that can be sufficiently entreated, begged, adored or worshipped into to supporting us in this life and granting our allegedly ‘immortal souls’ eternal life in some ‘other world’ has long been, and continues to be, a curse on the human race.

How many billions of lives have been blighted and wasted, not to mention cruelly ‘sacrificed’ since the dawn of human history in the service of ‘gods’ and ‘religions’ allegedly guaranteeing to assuage people’s fear of death by feeding their greed for life without end in some hereafter, while really only serving to empower and enrich their inventors and promoters, is anybody’s guess.

As is why the self-proclaimed ‘faithful’ can so deny their human intelligence by not only believing the loads of irrational, incredible trash presented to them as ‘theology’, but also allowing themselves to be preyed-on by all the professional peddlers of such slop, and oppressed by potentates who cling to power by piously pretending to ‘protect’ their abject subjects from the adherents of rival sects.

Such travesties of human avarice are, as ever, still unfolding virtually everywhere on earth. Most obviously, of course, in those locations where the neediest in this life are preyed-on by Islamic State, Boko Haram, the Taliban and other groups so driven by their greed for power both here and in the ‘next’ life that they’ll happily kill and die for it.

Less overtly vicious, though far more common and thus arguably just as evil, are a great many allegedly ‘religious’ governments, or, like Malaysia’s Umno/BN regime, governments comprising people who claim to be ‘believers’, that are riven with corruption and other forms of criminality behind their veils of piety.

And lest I appear to show a bias against Islam in this regard, I must make the point that, having myself suffered and thankfully recovered from early indoctrination into one of the countless so-called Christian sects, I’m especially cross that so many ‘conservative’ politicians in Australia, the US and elsewhere in the West who claim to be Christians are nothing of the sort.

In fact, as opponents in the social sphere of the Christian virtues of tolerance and compassion, and the supporters of the crassest forms of free-market capitalism in economics, they’re double-Crosstians, or, if you like, Crasstians.

But, thank goodness, it seems to me that, at least in Australia, all the signs are that so many people are so fast losing faith in these fakes that by this time next year when the next election is near, it’ll be them and the hard core of humanoids who ape them and their attitudes who will be feeling like April fools.



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Making America gate again.

As John Dean commented on the Australian Broadcasting Commission’s ‘Planet America’ program the other day, the Watergate scandal that blew Richard Nixon out of the US presidency was a minor matter compared with the Russiagate that’s building against Donald Trump.

And, of all people, Dean should know. He was, after all, Nixon’s legal counsel, and he’s had loads of time during the jail sentence he served for the perjury he committed on Nixon’s behalf, and through the many years since, to come to terms with reality.

Which is that, as a result of the enlistment of Russia as an ally in his race for the presidency against Hilary Clinton, Trump is not just cruisin’ for a bruisin’, but rushin’ towards a crushin’.

Or, if you prefer, in light of the method he favours for communicating his mendacities, he’s tweetin’ for a beatin’. Because whether it was Trumpski himself or one of his henchpersons that had the rush of blood to the head that resulted in the unholy alliance with Russia, he can’t possibly come up with enough denials or distractions to counter the emerging or existing evidence against him.

As if his continual praise for the corrupt and power-mad Putin hasn’t been evidence enough that there’s been something highly suspicious going on, and as if his pick for Secretary of State hadn’t already been dispensed-with for publicly lying about his contacts with high-ranking Russians, now US security agencies are busy amassing hard evidence of secret, illicit if not outright criminal collusion between Trump and his accomplices and the deplorable Putin regime.

And if they can find hard evidence, and they will, and if Trump, like Nixon before him, lies to Congress in the process of defying the facts and denying his guilt, this lying, lowbrow blowhard will be confronted by his richly-deserved Russiagate, and thus justly removed from the presidential office to which he’s so predictably proving such a total disgrace.


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Nothing to fear but fear-mongers.

Possibly the best-known warning against fearfulness is US President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s attempt in his 1933 first inaugural address to encourage Americans facing the great depression with the ringing reminder that ‘the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.’

But of course what Roosevelt and many others who had expressed this sentiment before him actually meant was that what we have to fear is excessive fear.

Because a moderate degree of fear, or at least caution, is essential to the maintenance of human, indeed all animal, life in the face of potential threats like hunger, thirst or physical assault.

So that, as a former Australian government sensibly advised its populace following the terrorist bombings in Bali bombings that killed a good many of its own and other countries’ citizens in 2002, it pays to be ‘alert, but not alarmed.’

This represented a most welcome change of attitude from the state of xenophobic paranoia if not outright panic at the imagined threat of being swamped by the so-called ‘yellow peril’ that until all too recently inspired the disgracefully racist so-called ‘White Australia Policy’.

However relatively less fearful my country has sensibly and mercifully become, though, ugly traces of old anti-other attitudes unfortunately persist in the disordered minds of at least a small minority of Australians, as witnessed by the existence of the appalling party that Pauline Hanson and her supporters call One Nation.

Or, as I prefer to think of the thing, One Notion, given that its sole policy and preoccupation appears to be the winning of a share of political power by promoting fears of ‘threats’ to Australia allegedly posed by the nation’s admitting and failing to assimilate ‘too many’ non-European, non-Christian immigrants and refugees.

In other words, it’s the same fear campaign that’s being waged around the world by right-wing, or in other words wrong-wing, parties and pressure groups like those headed by the likes of Geert Wilders in the Netherlands, Marine Le Pen in France, and Donald Trump in the US.

Trump being, by dint of his pre-eminence as the president of the world’s richest, most culturally influential and most militarily powerful nation, by far the most dangerous of these and countless other leaders, or rather misleaders, who busily seek to seize or retain power by playing on the fears of their most racist, religionist or otherwise ignorant, gullible and insecure citizens.

And as regrettable as Trump’s exclusionary efforts are in theory, they’re even more ridiculous in fact. For example, his list of Muslim-majority countries whose citizens he is determined to deny entry to the US illogically doesn’t include  Saudi Arabia, of which most of the 911 terrorists were citizens, or Pakistan, the country whose secret police harboured Osama Bin Laden while George W. Bush was busy hunting him in Afghanistan.

Furthermore, his exclusion of selected Muslims for the purported purpose of protecting US citizens from terrorism is a spectacular case of errorism, given that home-grown citizen-on-citizen terrorism disguised as the ‘right to keep and bear arms’ costs infinitely more lives than imported terrorism could imaginably do, as US deaths by gunshot total some 30,000, or 8 or 9 times the toll taken by the 911 atrocity, every year.

And there is as little sense behind Trump’s claims that American jobs have been ‘taken’ by other countries, in light of the fact that the US has been the most tireless promoter of so-called ‘globalisation’, or in other words, US corporations’ exploitive export of production and other facilities to other, poorer countries in the pursuit of cheaper labour, expanded markets and thus fatter profits.

However little sense fear-mongering makes, though, it will persist for as long as there are mongrels prepared to resort to it, and to demonstrate that it apparently works, as in the case of Trump’s recent election, for example, and the success of so-called ‘Brexit’ case for the UK to quit the EU.

But there’s also ample evidence that it doesn’t necessarily work for very long. For example, despite his virtually writing the book on fear-mongering, Mein Kampf, in which he declared that ‘the art of leadership…consists in consolidating the attention of the people against a single adversary and taking care that nothing will split up that attention’, Adolph Hitler only managed to sustain his projected ‘Thousand-Year Reich’ for a decade or so.

On the other hand, however, today’s ultimate example of fear-mongering, the North Korean regime’s terrorising and enslavement of its people by sustaining the pretence that it is still fighting a war that it lost over 60 years ago, continues to work after a fashion, though arguably only with China’s assistance.

And Malaysia’s Barisan Nasional (National Front) has sustained itself in uninterrupted power since 1957 by apparently taking a leaf out of Mein Kampf (My Struggle) and literally putting the fear of God into the majority of its subjects by pretending to ‘struggle’ to save not only their religion but also their race and royalty from attack by alleged enemies.

Enemies primarily including ‘the Jews’, George Soros and ‘The West’ in general, according to former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad during his 22 democracy-crippling, rule-of-law-destroying and kleptocracy-creating years in office.

And now, with Najib Abdul Razak desperately defending his even more disastrous premiership, he and his BN accomplices are busy mongering even more frightful fears.

Borrowing or rather stealing Donald Trump’s concept of the spectre of ‘fake news’ to attempt to discredit inconvenient or incriminating truths about them and their crimes; fomenting or at least magnifying a fake ‘conflict’ against an allegedly hostile North Korea to foster faux-patriotism; and just for good measure, inventing untold other, un-specified ‘enemies’ to further terrify the timorous.

According to BN’s own fake news agency, Bernama, Najib recently ‘reminded the people regarding crucial matters which could destroy the country including being the country’s covert enemies or conspiring with the country’s enemies,’ then continued with a litany of lies and further confusion in the same vein.

Thus signifying that he’s absolutely terrified that someday a majority of Malaysians will finally find the courage to face the non-existent fears that have kept them in thrall to BN all these years, and throw Najib and his fellow fear-mongers out on their ears.

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This past couple of weeks, I’ve been delighted to see what flops so many of the world’s self-declared ‘populist’ political figures are proving to be with the populaces they so confidently claim to represent.

The vast majority of Dutch voters chose to keep that fascist git Geert Wilders in the political wilderness where he so rightly belongs.

Less than four per cent of West Australians voted for candidates fielded in their State’s election by the appalling Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party, and punished the incumbent Liberal-National Party Coalition for preferencing One Nation candidates by deserting it to the point of its near-destruction.

And resident US President Donald Trump proceeded to further rat on his promise to make America great again by making himself and America grate on everything from one of its richest and most powerful allies, Germany, to every sector of its own economy except the already dangerously bloated military-industrial complex.

And continuing to grate on the media, as usual, by keeping on demonising as ‘fake news’ their every attempt to rebut this arrogant nitwit’s false tweets and outrageous televised lies.

It must be evident to even some of Trump’s supporters that, far from ‘draining the swamp in Washington,’ he and his appointees and policies constitute such a load of sludge as to threaten to swamp the drain.

Not that it comes as any great surprise that populism and its practitioners are proving a flop, as the very concept is a total fraud.

Defined by my Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, as based on a belief in the ‘rights, wisdom or virtue of the common people,’ populism is no such thing.

Firstly, a coherent entity identifiable as ‘the common people’ simply doesn’t exist. And secondly, even if it did, practitioners of populism appeal not to the ‘rights, wisdom or virtue’ of this mythical group, but to the wrongs, stupidities and vices that a deeply-prejudiced minority would dearly love to inflict on the broader-minded majority.

A majority that I fondly hope still exists in France, and that thus in the forthcoming general elections its citizens will reject Marine Le Pen’s nasty if not outright Nazi National Front as peddling nothing but poisonous political slop to saps stupid enough to swallow it, and thus, along with Wilders’s, Hanson’s and Trump’s attempts at populism, deservedly doomed to flopulism.






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Yet another alleged column.

Many readers have complained about what they see as the over-use of the word ‘alleged’ in the alleged columns that allegedly appear in Malaysiakini under my alleged name.

And I sympathise with these critics to the extent that I agree that constant over-use of ‘alleged’ or indeed any other word can be very tedious.

But in my own defence I have to say that a good many appearances of ‘alleged’ in my columns are there by courtesy of my long-suffering sub-editors, in their ceaseless attempts to lend some sense of journalistic propriety to my practice of accusing members of Malaysia’s Umno/BN regime of crimes of which, despite apparently overwhelming evidence, they have not, at least so far, been proven guilty.

Far from convicted, in fact, most have never even tried, investigated or identified as suspects, or even, for that matter, have even admitted that the crimes I and others allege against them have ever actually occurred.

As, for example, in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) case, which the court of public opinion and a good many legal jurisdictions around the world regard as a monstrous swindle and money-laundering scam, but whose alleged mastermind, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak aka MO1 and his alleged accomplices and supporters claim is entirely free of any shred of irregularity or impropriety, let alone criminality.

A situation that explains why I have to plead guilty of frequently pre-empting my sub-editors by personally employing, and in the process arguably over-employing, the word ‘alleged’ for the purpose of making the point that there is no evidence, let alone proof, that any of the Umno/BN regime’s alleged agencies of alleged government can be accused of honestly carrying-out its sworn duty.

There’s precious little or no proof, for example, that the alleged Royal Malaysian Police force properly performs its function of impartially and equally enforcing the laws of the land and protecting the populace, as it is evidently far too busy protecting the interests, allegedly criminal and otherwise, of the regime that effectively owns it.

Just as there is lamentably little evidence for the proposition that the alleged judiciary administers the laws, either criminal or civil, for the benefit of the Malaysian people at large. Especially in light of the fact that an attorney-general (AG) who some time ago showed signs of intending to investigate the 1MDB can of worms was summarily ‘retired’ in favour of a successor who immediately decided that allegations against Najib/MO1 and his fellow suspects were false and without foundation.

Similarly, the alleged ‘journalists’ of Malaysia’s alleged mainstream ‘news’ media can never be suspected or accused of performing their professional duty of reporting the news without fear or favour, or indeed of reporting anything at all that might inconvenience, embarrass or more likely incriminate the ruling regime.

While the regime’s alleged ‘religious’ authorities, for their part, persistently support Umno’s alleged, indeed all-too-obviously false claim to be the ‘defender’ of Islam, despite the regime’s routinely committing such excesses of corruption and criminality as to disgrace Islam or any other alleged ‘faith’.

And the alleged Electoral Commission (EC) is apparently on a mission to avoid even the hint of any suggestion that it might honestly perform its function of ensuring relatively equal numbers of voters across electorates, as specifically required by the constitution, let alone polls free of bribery or other forms of rigging in the regime’s favour.

Indeed, the alleged EC is so extremely biased toward Umno/BN that the current alleged government, since it lost the majority vote in the 2013 general election, can arguably be considered not guilty of actually being legitimately in power at all.

And as far as many of us are concerned, Najib Abdul Razak is only allegedly Prime Minister of the country, as he clearly prefers playing a more presidential role in which he seldom deigns to attend parliament, and he and his alleged ministers are protected from replying to questions by an alleged speaker who perceives his function solely in terms of preventing the alleged opposition from speaking.

Speaking of speaking, I suspect that at least some of the readers of Malaysiakini who allege that ‘allege’ appears far too often in my alleged columns are themselves only allegedly regular, honest Malaysians.

In other words, a great many anonymous alleged readers, to judge by the low standard of their alleged English and the idiocy and suspicious uniformity of their alleged ‘opinions’, are actually so-called ‘cybertroopers’, or in other words paid propagandists, or, if you prefer, propagandistutes, for Umno/BN’s alleged ‘government’.

Admittedly, of course, it could be alleged that my ceaseless allegations against Umno/BN and its members and minions could be nothing but figments of my alleged imagination, and evidence of a tendency to paranoia into the bargain.

It’s altogether possible, of course. But, as boring as all my alleging may be to some, I can’t bring myself to either apologise for this practice or to allege that I intend to engage in it any less.

After all, I owe it to myself as a genuine rather than merely alleged writer, and even more so to you as a truly rather than allegedly respectable and intelligent reader, to go right on expressing my allergy to Umno/BN’s countless alleged Ali Babas and their ridiculous alleged alibis.

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Kims a godsend to Najib’s crims.

The alleged assassination at KLIA2 of an alleged half-brother of North-Korean dictator Kim Jong-un and the subsequent alleged holding of Malaysian citizens ‘hostage’ in Pyongyang have provided Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak with such an apparently heaven-sent opportunity to play the super-pious, super-patriotic super-statesman that we cynics could almost be forgiven for suspecting that the whole thing is nothing but yet another Najib-style con to divert attention from the fact that he’s the head not of a government but a gang of criminals.

After all, the only evidence that we appear to have for the proposition that the assassination victim was in fact Kim Jong-un’s half-sibling Kim Jong-nam comes from the alleged investigation of the crime by the alleged Malaysian police.

A force whose alleged ‘investigations’ into such previous high-profile killings as the murders of the Mongolian ‘model’ Altantuya Shaariibuu and MACC ‘witness’ Teoh Beng Hock, not to mention the countless suspicious deaths of ‘suspects’ in its custody or alleged ‘shoot-outs’ with its members, have turned out to be more like unvestigations.

And this current case has eerie elements in common with the Altantuya one. Firstly that only two junior members of Najib’s bodyguard were convicted of killing Ms. Shaariibuu, and only two apparently junior suspects have at least thus far been arrested in this case, while in both cases more senior suspects and the ultimate masterminds have proven suspiciously difficult if not impossible to apprehend or even identify.

And then there’s the strange coincidence that Ms. Shaariibuu’s body was allegedly blown-up with military-grade explosive C4, and Kim Jong-nam or whoever the victim was in the hit recently carried out at KLIA2 terminal was allegedly killed with a ‘nerve agent’ called VX, which is presumably as strictly restricted to the military as is C4, given that it is reportedly classified by the UN as a weapon of mass destruction.

And, as it appears to me and doubtless a great many other incredulous observers of the Umno/BN regime’s incredible lies and deceptions, an all-too-convenient weapon of mass distraction from widespread and compelling suspicions that Najib Abdul Razak is the ‘Malaysian Official 1’ (MO1) identified by the US Department of Justice in its probe of the massive 1MDB embezzlement and money-laundering scandal.

Such a convenient and timely distraction, in fact, that it is tempting to suspect that it is not a conflict between Pyongyang and Putrajaya as it is portrayed, but a conspiracy between what would far more accurately be called Pongyang and Putridjaya.

‘Pongyang’ because the pariah North-Korean Kim dynasty, or, if you prefer, die nasty, stinks to high heaven in the nostrils of the civilised world in every sense from imprisoning its own people in a gruesome gulag of the body, mind and spirit, to constantly threatening the citizens of South Korea, Japan and beyond with a series of increasingly long-range rockets.

And of course ‘Putridjaya’ because Malaysia’s rotten-to-the-core Umno/BN regime does nothing but enrich its members and cronies at the expense of its citizens with its ceaseless indulgence in criminal rackets.

But whether the recent alleged assassination and subsequent apparent diplomatic spat are truly a case of rocketeers vs racketeers, or pariahs versus putrids, as we’re all evidently expected to accept, or, on the contrary, the two sides are actually acting in collusion, the Umno/BN regime is making as much capital of it as possible.

With the Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi doing his bully-boy best to both pose as a strongman in the face of North Korean alleged aggression and to pretend that he ‘definitely’ intends to ‘investigate a North Korea-linked company that is suspected of operating a sanctions-busting arms business in Malaysia,’ of course in concert with an Umno/BN crony, and Najib Abdul Razak doing his fake-sanctimonious best to look like a legitimate national leader.

As evidenced by his triumphant tweets just the other day when he tried by implication to take credit for the UN-arranged permission for two Malaysian employees of its World Food Program to leave North Korea despite the ban on the exit of other Malaysians.

‘Alhamduillah (Thank God). Two of our citizens under WFP, Stella Lim and Nyanaprakash Muniandy, were allowed to leave Pyongyang and have arrived in Beijing,’ he reportedly twittered.

Claiming that he had spoken on the phone with the counsellor of the Malaysian embassy in North Korea, Mohd Nor Azrin, he added that ‘I would like to update that he, his family along with all of the other Malaysians in North Korea are safe, Alhamdulillah.’

And in case he hadn’t already sufficiently convinced his Malaysian audience of his supreme sanctity, he went on to mention that ‘the whole of Malaysia is praying for them,’ and to ‘let us pray for the best,’ and that he ‘has also requested mosques nationwide to conduct prayers for the Malaysians in North Korea.’

What a pity that Najib so completely fails to extend his virtually orgiastic expressions of piety on behalf of Malaysian victims of alleged North Korean injustice to those who have been preyed on by his own, similarly God-forsaken Umno/BN regime, like the families of the aforementioned Altantuya Shaariibuu, Teoh Beng Hock and countless others, including public prosecutor Kevin Morias and, most recently, ‘missing’ Christian pastors Raymond Koh and Joshua Hilmy.

Not to mention Anwar Ibrahim, who still languishes in jail following his dubious conviction on the second of two clearly trumped-up charges of sodomy, or the passengers and crew of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 who ‘disappeared’ in decidedly murky circumstances three years ago.

In short, to return to the headline of this column, the current alleged conflict with North Korea’s Kim nasties is proving such an absolute godsend to Najib in his efforts to make his criminal regime appear respectable that, to slightly paraphrase the great Voltaire’s famous comment on God, if it didn’t exist, it would be necessary to invent it.

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