By Musafir Kelana
I really like Raja Petra’s writing in The Corridors of Power for Malaysia Today (well, that’s his blog anyway). Most of the so called rumours are proven with facts and sometimes the proof itself (letters, agreements, etc.). Actually, my point is, spend some time to read lah! I can’t strain myself to write everything that I think everyone should know. It kills sometimes! Nevertheless, I do like to write (and sometimes talk…). Whatever!
By Raja Petra, from Malaysia Today
Unfortunately, rumour-mongering is not an event in the Olympics. If not, Malaysia would probably win gold. Nevertheless, whenever the world chooses to ignore Malaysia’s achievements, we always have ways of navigating around that by creating our own records. For example, since Guinness refuses to list Malaysia’s records in its Book of Records, Malaysia has created its own Book of Records.
One record we charted was in parachuting the first Proton into the North Pole. Well, actually it was the first car ever. No one thus far has seen fit in parachuting a car into the North Pole, Proton or otherwise. We also wanted to chart a record of the first car, Proton or otherwise, to be driven around the North Pole. Then they discovered why no one has ever thought of parachuting a car into the North Pole. The engine oil froze solid and the engine could not start. So instead they pushed the car a few inches and charted the record of the first car that would not start that was pushed in the North Pole.
Whatever it may be Malaysia did chart a record that day and notwithstanding the fact that Guinness would not acknowledge this record in their Book of Records the Malaysian Book of Records did justice to that feat. The only minor detail left out was that the car was pushed, not driven. I of course do not blame the organisers. Would we want to admit we did not realise beforehand the engine oil would freeze solid and that the car would not start after spending all those millions of Ringgit parachuting a Proton and an entire team into the North Pole?
Another record not listed in Malaysia’s Book of Records is the number of rumours spread throughout the land. This is basically because Malaysians do not trust their government or the government-owned media so they believe whatever rumour they pick up. The other thing that Malaysians have discovered is that the government interpretation of rumours may differ from Malaysians’ understanding. For example, when the story first broke that Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had remarried, or will be remarrying, the Prime Minister remarked at an official press conference that it was merely rumours. He pointed his finger at the members of the media and gleefully said that they must have been listening to rumours.
Now, this ‘rumour’ has proven to be fact and not a rumour at all. This was the Chief Executive of Malaysia mind you and he was brushing aside talk that he had remarried, or will remarry, as mere rumours. But that rumour has now been proven to be not a rumour at all. Can you now understand why Malaysians tend to take rumours as fact?
The other ‘rumour’ is that Abdullah had in fact married Jeanne Danker earlier than announced. Abdullah and Jeanne were officially married in the first quarter of this year. But in December last year they holidayed together in Perth. Now, if they were not married last year but were in fact married this year then how could they have holidayed together last year unless they were, as the English would say, living a life of sin? Certainly the Grand Imam of Islam Hadhari would never do something like play footsies with a woman he is not married to. Therefore he must have married Jeanne earlier or else he would be setting a very bad example for the rest of the 26 million or so Malaysians.
Then there is the matter of the house in Perth. The Perth house is legally registered in the name of the wife of Patrick Lim. Patrick Lim, whom Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad calls Patrick Badawi, is the organiser of the RM300 million a year Terengganu Monsoon Cup and the manager of the RM1 billion or so Wang Ehsan (Goodwill Money) that Terengganu earns on its 5% share of the oil and gas extracted from the state. Patrick Lim a.k.a Patrick Badawi is also the owner of the company that owns all the land where the Second Penang Bridge is going to be constructed. What he is sitting on is a goldmine in the true sense of the word. And it is his or his wife’s house in Perth that Abdullah and Jeanne spent their Christmas Holidays at.
Now, this again triggers more rumours. When was Abdullah and Jeanne really married and what is their relationship to Patrick Lim a.k.a Patrick Badawi and is it a mere coincidence that he happens to own all the land where the Second Penang Bridge is being constructed or is it by grand design that he owns all the land where the bridge is being built? Rumours, rumours and more rumours — and we shall allow the rumours to provide the answers to these questions.
Can you see now how one unanswered rumour leads to yet even more rumours? Because of the unanswered question to the rumour that Abdullah and Jeanne may actually have been married earlier than officially announced, there are now new rumours that they could not officially announce the marriage and had to delay the announcement because Jeanne did not have any legal divorce papers. No doubt she had verbally divorced from her husband earlier but there are no papers to prove it. And the marriage to the new husband can only be concluded 100 days after the date of her divorce. So they had to delay the official marriage to allow a decent period to pass before announcing it. If not then Jeanne would be regarded as officially married to two men at the same time.
This must be a lesson to all of us that rumours must never be allowed to remain a rumour but must instead be clarified. And because of this unanswered rumour, there are even further rumours that she had actually married two men before this and that Abdullah is really her third husband. This rumour is quite suspect and I for one would not want to place any money on it. But this will certainly not stop the rumour-mill from circulating this rumour. The problem is, when rumours are not only denied but are proven fact in the end, people will believe all and any rumour, never mind how incredible they may sound.
Thus far five people have been detained under the Internal Security Act for spreading rumours that there were incidences of racial clashes in Pasir Gudang, Johor. The police said they are still investigating the source of this rumour and they expect more arrests to come. Okay, are they saying that the clashes did not happen and no one was injured or died in Johor? Or are they saying that there were clashes which resulted in injuries and/or deaths and it was not racial in nature but due to other reasons? Yes, this is what needs to be clarified. The issue is: did it or did it not happen and if it did what was the clash all about? By passing this off as mere rumour without further explanation, and by detaining people without trial, this would not dispel the rumour but would instead convince people that the rumour is in fact true and no rumour. This, the government has to understand. The more you say rumour the more people will not believe it is rumour. And the more people you detain the more everyone will be convinced that the government has something to hide. That is how the Malaysian mind works.
Then there are the reports of other clashes in other parts of the country which the government did not deny and which the media reported. This was the killing of the Malay youth in Bukit Bintang in Kuala Lumpur and the two incidences in Penang, in Sungai Dua and Jelutong. According to one Wakil Rakyat, the Bukit Bintang incident involved a Malay Mat Rempit on a rampage. It seems these Mat Rempit have been terrorising the area for some time but this time they went too far and one of them paid for it with his life. Another Wakil Rakyat told me he saw on TV the blood-splattered Malaysian flag that the Mat Rempit was carrying when he was stabbed. This is what two Wakil Rakyat told me and I trust these two Wakil Rakyat are telling the truth because in Malaysia’s entire 50 years history since Merdeka no Wakil Rakyat has ever lied to us.
I have no further feedback on the Johor and Penang incidences, though I believe the Bukit Bintang incident is not in any way connected to the Johor and Penang incidences — that is if the Johor incident did occur. This is because while the mainstream newspapers reported the two Penang incidences they did not report anything on Johor. And, as I said, in the absence of credible reports then the rumour-mill takes over.
Many believe Malaysia Today thrives on rumours. Actually we don’t. Malaysia Today depends on Deep Throats and we trust only reliable Deep Throats. If we were to publish every unquantifiable report which the government would classify as rumours then there would be much more which Malaysia Today reports. For example, while we all know that Abdullah handed RM600 million to 191 Umno Divisions last year, and this is based on letters and Minutes of Meetings so this is no rumour, there is this story that Singapore gave Khairy Jamaluddin RM840 million which was handed to the Governor of Melaka so that he could buy off all the Cabinet Ministers and Members of the Umno Supreme Council.
Now, there are no documents to prove this other than the testimony of one high level Umno official who obtained this information from an operative of a foreign intelligence agency who followed the money trail from Singapore to Australia and which finally ended in Malaysia. The story related by this particular high level Umno official is as follows:
Tun Dr Mahathir had announced his resignation during the mid-2002 Umno General Assembly. Of course no one noticed the then Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi breaking out into a smile because most, if not all, were focused on Trade Minister Rafidah Aziz rushing to the podium screaming and breaking her high heel shoes in the process. Abdullah rapidly regained his composure and did what was expected of him — demonstrate shock — while quickly taking charge of the highly emotional situation. Mahathir was ushered into the backroom, and after a short lapse which left the 2,500 or so delegates in the hall in an utter state of confusion, Abdullah re-emerged to announce that the Umno Supreme Council had successfully persuaded Mahathir to delay his resignation until the following year.
Not long after that Mahathir went on leave for two months and this created concern that the two months break would enable him to reflect on his mistake of suddenly resigning and he might return home from his leave to announce he had changed his mind about resigning. To pre-empt the possibility that Mahathir may retract his resignation, the Umno Supreme Council and Cabinet Members needed to be bought off. But Abdullah did not have the money yet at that time to fund this. So Khairy was sent to Singapore to negotiate with the powers-that-be there to advance them the RM840 million that would be required to fund the operation. In return, Malaysia would help Singapore out of its predicament of shortage of land. Firstly, Malaysia would sell Singapore the sand it needs for the land reclamation exercise that will expand Singapore to two and a half times its present land area. Secondly, Singapore would annex part of Johor, though not directly like Province Wellesley was annexed to Penang, but indirectly by creating the South Johor Economic Region which in reality would be the North Singapore Economic Region; now of course called the Iskandar Development Region.
Armed with this RM840 million, says the high level Umno guy who claims he obtained the information from the foreign intelligence agency operative, the Cabinet Members and Umno Supreme Council Members were handsomely rewarded. The plan was, in the event Mahathir changes his mind about resigning, then a 2 September 1998 Anwar Ibrahim ouster would be executed. It seems, according to this same source, Daim Zainuddin himself was tasked with the job of delivering the message to Mahathir that he changes his mind at his own peril. At that point of time Mahathir realised that a very clever coup had been launched and it is clever in the sense that it is being made to look like it was Mahathir who bailed out and not that he is being pushed out.
Now do we understand why Mahathir is bitterly opposed to the sale of sand to Singapore, the IDR, and many more issues all related to Singapore? Mahathir realised too late that Singapore financed his exit and as repayment to Singapore Abdullah now has to do the bidding of this Island State.
As I said though, Malaysia Today can prove that Abdullah used RM600 million of the taxpayers’ money to bribe the 191 Umno Divisions to block Mahathir in the Umno General Assembly last year. The RM840 million from Singapore to buy off the Cabinet Members and Umno Supreme Council Members, however, is based on hearsay from a high level Umno official who in turn obtained this piece of information from a foreign intelligence agency operative. In the absence of tangible evidence, Malaysia Today would have no choice but to treat this story as just one more rumour amongst thousands of other rumours that Malaysia in inundated with. And in spite of the fact that in the end 90% of rumours are invariably proven as fact, we would like to retain the classification of this story as rumour until such a time it is proven otherwise.
Our Deep Throat assures me that this is no mere speculation or rumour and that he trusts this foreign intelligence agency operative friend of his whom he has known for decades. He further explains that they followed the money trail because at the time when it first surfaced in Australia the West was suffering from ‘911 Fever’ and were on the lookout for illegal funds being channelled to Al Qaeda and other Islamic terrorist groups. Their first suspicion was that this was one such Islamic terrorist funding but when they followed the trail to Malaysia they discovered that the money went to Umno rather than Al Qaeda or other similar Islamic terrorist groups.
Chances are this story will eventually be filed in the 10% rumour-confirmed-rumour section. But then it may just be that in time this will be transferred to the 90% rumour-proven-fact category. I suppose time will tell. Anyway, it makes one wonder since Mahathir is up in arms about the Singapore issue and he suffered three heart attacks over the last one year because of this stress could it be that the Grand Old Man of Malaysian politics knows something the rest of us do not?
Talking about Mahathir’s heart, yesterday he was admitted into the National Heart Institute and tomorrow he will be undergoing his second open heart surgery in 18 years. Let us wish him well and may he have a successful operation. We need him around for some time to come as there are still many untold stories and rumours, such as the one related above, which we need him to confirm or deny. Currently, with the three opposition parties in absolute disarray, Mahathir is the closest thing we have to an opposition voice. And what Mahathir keeps close to his chest is not only a heart that will be operated on tomorrow but many secrets of the shenanigans and transgressions of those who walk in the corridors of power which we need him to reveal and help us prove that 90% of rumours are no rumours when it comes to Malaysia.