Anwar, the media, and us

As I write this, it is now 6pm Malaysian time.

I first found out about the  medical report on Saiful which stated that he was never sodomised, on Malaysia-Today this morning, at 4:56am Malaysian time. It has been a 13 hour gap between then and now.

Malaysiakini reported this at approx 1:01pm today. It has been a 5 hour gap since then till now.

Malaysiakini had their news updated at 4:50pm. It has been about an hour’s gap since then till now.

Malaysian Insider had a news article on it at about 4pm. Two hours between then and now.

TheSun has an article updated 5:32pm. Half an hour from then till now.

The Star: nadda
NST: nadda
Bernama: nadda

My question is: why?

Malaysiakini has already authenticated the medical report:

A senior Pusrawi official told malaysiakini this morning that the hospital had launched an internal investigation on how Saiful’s medical report was leaked, which is widely considered as a major infringement of patient privacy.

When malaysiakini showed him a copy of the report, he refused to return it saying, “It’s our document.”

Taken from Din Merican’s blog HERE.

What are they afraid of, the people from The Star and NST and Bernama?

Not even Wong Chun Wai’s personal blog carries any such news item.

Have the papers not learnt anything? Don’t they know that speed is something that they cannot lose out on when reporting on items like this?

This is very similar to the time when Balasubramaniam first came out with the first SD, linking Najib to Altantuya. None of the mainstream news portals reported on the issue, until the evening when Najib came out to deny all allegations.

The Star, NST and Bernama all reported on Najib denying the allegations, without reporting on the allegations prior to Najib’s press conference.

Am I to assume that they are not going to report on this at all until and unless Saiful makes a statement? Or until and unless any government official comes out to say that the medical report was fabricated? Or until and unless the IGP comes out to say that he knows nothing of it?

Must there be a denial of sorts from the government before this issue gets reported in the mainstream media?

I hope not. But it’s not looking good for them.

UPDATE: 6:15pm, NST has an article. Go HERE.

According to the report, the police say that whatever is being circulated on the Internet is yet another attempt to sabotage the investigations.

I guess it is true. Mainstream news portals need someone from the government to deny it before they can report on it.

*****

And nor is this looking good for the police and the government.

I have been aptly reminded by several comments left around blogosphere, about something I once wrote when Bala came out with the first SD.

I said:

It’s not just about them. It’s about us. It’s about how we understand the situation at hand. It’s about how we, as a society, will handle this issue. It’s about how we react.

I have to admit, amidst all the cacophony, I have forgotten the most elementary part of the issue. It’s not only about vindicating Anwar. It’s not only about Saiful being un-sodomised.

It’s about how rotten the system has become. It’s about how we could have let it become the way it is. It’s about what we say, what we do, and where we stand from here on.

RPK ended his article with this:

Civil society movements, NGOs and the Malaysian Bar Council must not remain silent.

WE, the rakyat of Malaysia are the civil society. We cannot afford to remain silent anymore.

Lim Teck Ghee, Director of Centre for Policy Initiatives has this to say:

Further attempts at one sided or politically biased and manipulative handling of the case will cause the nation even more grievous damage than what has already been inflicted.

Taken also from Din Merican’s blog HERE.

Comments from Haris’ blog HERE:

This goes beyond Anwar. I think it is what we do as a nation that will matter. What we demand how far we want to go is what matters now. Telling the truth and standing for it at a time of universal deceit is what makes partiot get counted. We will have to demand the best of our nation and it is now. Keeping silent or standing aside is being part of the crimes being commited against our motherland. Abdul

How are we going to trust our system ever again. I think we all have to stand p and be counted. Inaction rather than opposition is the country’s worst enemy. arianna

This is beyond me. My reaction to this so far has been: What has Malaysia come to?

Are we being led by leaders who don’t lead? Are we being duped by reporters who don’t report? Are we being silenced by fear and paranoia? Are we being robbed by unfair policies? Are we being stepped on by rubbish politicians? Are we being spat at on the face by the very persons we voted into office?

Are we going to keep silent about all this? Are we going to say “I’ve had enough of this,” and simply turn our cheek? Are we going to slowly kill ourselves by thinking it has nothing to do with us?

Haris had this to say in reply to a comment:

Let this fight for equality reach to the highest heavens, I am up to the task, God-willing.

Question is, are you?

I am too.
Are YOU?


Bala; Lost and Found

Well, sort of found, I think.

KUALA LUMPUR, July 9 – Missing private investigator P. Balasubramaniam and his family are hiding in a neighbouring country, the police confirmed yesterday.

Meanwhile, his nephew, K Kumaresan, said that Balasubramaniam contacted him on Monday night to say that he was well. He also managed to speak to the private investigator’s wife during the two-minute conversation.

“I don’t know where they are. The call came through my mobile phone. I am just relieved that they are still alive, ” he said.

Full article here.

Somehow I don’t get it, but the StarOnline seems to be having slightly more “news” than the Malaysian Insider these days:

Sources said police here with the help of Interpol traced his whereabouts to an Asean country but declined to name it or say when he would be brought back.

It is learnt that the private investigator is fine and left the country on his own accord, contrary to reports and rumours that police were behind his sudden disappearance.

Full article here.

Ah… so they’re “found” him, but not telling us where he is. He’s in an ASEAN country, and they had to use Interpol to find him. He left on his own accord, and the immigration department couldn’t even go through their records to see when he left and to where?

They had to use INTERPOL to find a man with a wife and three children tagging along. 5 people means 5 passports. Meaning the Immigration Dept should have found their records and details of departure from the country quite easily. Or am I to believe that we aren’t that “savvy” after all? That our RM300 passports with “modern micro-chip technology” actually carry no function.

So now I have a question for them. Bala’s nephew, Kumaresan was the person to lodge the missing person’s report. And now that they have “found” him, shouldn’t Kumaresan be told of Bala’s location?

Keep the information from all of us, if that is what you wish. But surely the person who lodged the report has the right to know all the details of this “search”.


A strike, a sodo-mi case, speculations, and Interpol

I read it fleetingly yesterday on Rocky’s Bru that he would be refraining from posting anything on his blog regarding the current political mess for the next couple of days. I had read before that on Marina Mahathir’s blog that she would be going on a self-proclaimed strike, and simply not write about the current political scene.

I didn’t pay much attention to it, because, well, what another blogger wants or wants NOT to do, is pretty much up to them. And for me, Marina’s “strike” was one I didn’t really understand anyway, because she’s been writing on pretty much everything BUT politics these days, presumably because of the circumstances.

I don’t want to question what other bloggers want to do with their blogs. And besides, for me, being fed-up with the current state of affairs was the thing that fuelled this drive for change, right?

Hence I was a little curious about the StarOnline article that mentioned something about Malaysian bloggers going on strike. My reaction, similar to that of Haris’: What strike?

But I guess, there’s a lot more to this than I initially thought. Susan has posted her view on this so-called strike, and so has Din Merican.

My view? Well, I’m Malaysian, a blogger, and NOT on strike. Should pretty much sum up my stand.

*******

Meanwhile, police have said that they have taken statements from 18 different people on the alleged sodomy case against Anwar. They have yet to get a statement from the man, but would have to soon.

Nothing new, in the world of investigations and taking down statements. But I find it frustrating that the police and “other people” go on repeating the same sentence again and again:

[The police officer] urged and warned the media to not speculate about the case as it could jeopardise police investigations.

Now, I’ve seen this word far too many times. So I’ve decided to go after it in the dictionary, not because I don’t know what it means, but so that we can get a universal understanding of it. The meaning of the word speculate, is:

..to consider the circumstances or possibilities regarding it..

I come to my own conclusion that to speculate, in the manner mentioned above, is human nature. We live every single day of our lives in search for knowledge, for the truth, to know what we don’t already know.

I personally THRIVE on possibilities. Certainly harmless speculation with no malicious intent should be alright?

But I digress.

*****

The search for Bala and his family have now gone up a couple of notches. They are pulling in Interpol.

KUALA LUMPUR, July 6 – Malaysian police today urged P Balasubramaniam’s to come forward and help them in their probe into his conflicting statutory declarations, saying they have sought Interpol help to find the missing private investigator. Criminal Investigation Department director Datuk Bakri Zinin said police suspect that Balasubramaniam was either in hiding or being hidden by someone.

They have also not ruled out the possibility that he may have left the country, and have asked for the help of Interpol and authorities in neighbouring countries.

“I give a guarantee of his safety if he comes to meet us and he is free to bring his lawyer,” said Bakri at a press conference.

Full article here.

The StarOnline has more to add:

Police are looking at three likely possibilities for private investigator P. Balasubramaniam’s dissapearance – he could be hiding out of fear, does not want to cooperate in investigations or has been forced to go into hiding by certain parties.

I’m glad that the police are not ruling out every possibility. But I’m not jumping for joy yet. Because we still don’t know what has happened to the guy. What I hope now is that they don’t practice double standards when they do find Bala and family. No hiding of the truth behind his disappearance.

Speculation/Analysis/Possibility: Bala and family have disappeared. 5 people in total. Disappeared after he made the second SD public, in which he was looking rather distraught. So it’s most probable that he has went into hiding, either he chose to himself, or someone else forced him to. But with his photo splashed all over the television news, newspapers, and even computer screens, there wouldn’t be many places within Malaysia that he can hide safely without anyone knowing who he is.

So then maybe he had to go overseas. Say someone paid him to make the second SD, or say he was forced to go overseas. So then his trip would be paid for. But there would be records of his leaving the country. But then again, it’s not impossible that the records have been erased, right? Because it’s not like it has never happened before.


Bala is now missing! (UPDATED)

UPDATE:

This is an excerpt I read on the StarOnline:

[Kumaresan] said neighbours told him that his aunt had broken her normal routine to pick up the neighbour’s children from school at noon which was very unusual.

Kumaresan also disclosed that on July 1 after his uncle had prepared first statutory declaration (two days before it was released at the PKR headquarters), his uncle had met and given the original copy to his brother for safekeeping.

“He asked my brother, Segar, to show it to me and asked us to just wait and see and watch the TV because he (Balasubramaniam) was going to give a press conference.”

Full article here.

Now, this is seriously becoming murkier and murkier. What has happened to him?

For his entire family to disappear is no small thing. Did he fear for his safety, and hence went into hiding? Kumaresan doesn’t think so.

If not, then has something happened to him? Or is he being held up somewhere else?

That the children were pruposely picked up from school early is something to take note of. Why were they in such a hurry? Where to?

And that Bala gave the original SD to his nephew, and also telling them to watch the TV is something worth pondering over. Would a man who made a false declaration under oath, under duress, hand over that piece of false declaration to someone else for “safekeeping”? I don’t think so. If he had been forced to sign papers he didn’t wish to, he wouldn’t have told his nephews to keep a look out for him on the television. You don’t advertise something you’re not proud of.

But for now, no matter whether he went into hiding himself, or was forced to take flight, I pray that him and his family are safe and not subjected to any sort of threat or abuse.

**********

Original post:

Seems like Bala has been in the news non-stop since the press conference on July 3rd.

FIrst, it was the explosive SD. And then another explosive retraction of the first SD by means of a second SD.

And now, Bala, his wife, and his three children are missing.

A family member, R. Kumaresan, lodged a report at the Brickfields police station this afternoon, saying that the private investigator, his wife and their three children have disappeared from their home in Rawang.

From the Malaysian Insider here.

Kumaresan, who is the nephew of Bala, said that Bala and family have not been seen since after the second Press Conference of the Second SD.

Dodgy..dodgy..

The Malaysian Insider article ends like this:

This latest twist is going to make an already messy situation worse and give credence to claims by the Opposition that Balasubramaniam felt compelled to revise his statutory declaration because he and his family had been threatened.

I would say I agree.

Even the police don’t know where he is.

We have no idea where he is and we appeal to anyone who knows of his whereabouts to contact us and this includes his lawyer who was last seen with him. – Deputy IGP

From the StarOnline here.

*******

My bets are that he was threatened after making the first SD to retract it, and make a second SD to say that he made the first one under duress. And my bets are also that after making the second SD, he was again threatened to “disappear” and not meet up with anyone who can possibly question his reasons for retracting the first SD, or to change his mind, or to find out about what was happening behind.

But, purely my bets. I will see what else there is in the newspapers tomorrow.

*I pray that Bala and his family are safe.


Bala: I lied.

He called for an impromptu press conference this morning. To revoke his first Statutory Declaration dated July 1. And to make a new Statutory Declaration. And this new one states, to the best of my knowledge, the points stated below:

“I wish to expressly state that at no material time did (Abdul) Razak (Abdullah) Baginda inform me that he was introduced to Altantuya Shaariibuu by a VIP and at no material time did Razak Baginda inform me that Datuk Seri Najib had a sexual relationship with Altantuya Shaaribu and that she was susceptible to anal intercourse.

“At no material time did Razak Baginda inform me that Datuk Seri Najib instructed Razak Baginda to look after Altantuya Shaariibuu as he did not want her to harass him since he was the Deputy Prime Minister.

“At no material time did Razak Baginda and or Altantuya Shaariibuu inform me that Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, together with Razak Baginda and Altantuya Shaariibuu, had met and all been together at a dinner in Paris;

“At no material time did Altantuya Shaariibuu inform me that she wanted money in the sum of US$500,000 as a commission for a submarine deal she assisted with in Paris;

“At no time whatsoever did Razak Baginda and/or Altantuya Shaariibuu inform me that Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak met with Altantuya Shaariibuu in Singapore;

“At no time whatsoever did Altantuya Shaariibuu inform me that she wanted me to arrange to see Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak;

“At no time did I tell the police during the course of their investigations about any relationship between Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak andAltantuya Shaariibuu as no such relationship existed to my knowledge. Accordingly, the statement I signed before the police is complete;

“At no time did Razak Baginda inform me that he had sent Datuk Seri Najib an SMS the evening before he was arrested; and

“At no time did Razak Baginda inform me that Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had sent him an SMS on the day of his arrest to the effect that he was going to see the IGP (Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan) that day and that the matter should be resolved and for Razak Baginda to remain calm.”

Sourced this from The Malaysian Insider. I’m not sure if this link will lead you to the article, because it seems that the server is down at the moment.

Why has Bala changed his stance? He has claimed that he made the first SD under duress.

And together with that, he has also changed his lawyer. His lawyer from yesterday has no idea as to why the sudden change, and here’s what Malaysiakini had to report:

Balasubramaniam’s lawyer has told Malaysiakini that Balasubramaniam was contacted by the police soon after his press conference yesterday. He last saw his client after dropping him off at the Brickfields police station at 4.45pm.

Quoted from Nathaniel Tan’s blog here.

I have yet to find the full SD on the Internet, so I really don’t want to make any harsh comments about this latest development in what is fast becoming the scandal of the year.

I have posed a question to Haris on his blog about the legal implications that this “changing of SD” would have on Bala. This, to me, is tantamount to giving a false declaration under oath, and should warrant a police charge, though I’m not sure if this is a fact, and not sure what Section it should come under. I await for Haris’ reply. If there are any lawyers reading this, I would appreciate some enlightenment.

**Haris has replied to my comment:

The legal implications of the second SD are that, without more, Bala would on the face of it have commited an offence by swearing out the first SD.

Unless the veracity of the second SD is to be thoroughly investigated by the police to ascertain its correctness, and not immediately treated as the correct one, it would follow that Bala should be charged with an offence under the Oaths and Affirmations Act.

Scott Thong has been updating his blog on this issue being posted on other blogs. Almost like a one-stop portal for links to other writings.

This is no joke, and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Making false declarations, whether under duress or not, and then making press statements to make it public knowledge, and then retracting the declaration in barely 24 hours is very serious.

If what he said today is TRUE, and that he was previously forced to make a false SD, will the police file a report against him? Who forced him? Will they investigate? And who/what convinced him to go public with it? And he even stood by it at the press conference yesterday.

If what he said today is FALSE, then who is forcing him to retract his previous SD? Why is he retracting it? Why did he change his lawyer? Does he, or does he not know how serious an offense this can be? (I’m still under the assumption that it is an offense, waiting for someone to either correct me, or confirm it with me)

I have one question for the people/person who are/is pulling the strings behind this. What do you take us Malaysians for? Dungus?