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CM: Mahathir's mockery a travesty of justice
By Peter Wear

30/6/2001 5:08 am Sat

[Mahathir memang dungu kerana menyerang bahasa atau pelat Australia, sekaligus dia menjadi lebih terkenal dan semakin haprak di sana.

Rencana ini mengimbau kes keracunan arsenik yang mungkin sudah dilupai. Mengapa Anwar dan peguamnya tidak dituduh menipu mendakwa diracun jika itu tidak benar? - Editor]


26Jun2001 AUSTRALIA:

Mahathir's mockery a travesty of justice.

By Peter Wear.

DID my ears deceive me? Was that really ol' Doc "Grumpy" Mahathir on the radio yesterday mimicking an Australian accent? Or is some Malaysian village somewhere missing its idiot? No, it must have been the Doc, as the rest of his act, a Saturday night vaudeville performance in front of his United Malays National Organisation's annual congress, was vintage Mahathir - testy and xenophobic.

Doc apparently feels that the Chinese language is brutally suppressed in Australia, and everywhere else except, you guessed it, Malaysia. He lamented this oppression by ridiculing the alternative, mouthing in mangled strine, "the rain in Spain falls mainly in the plain". A more appropriate version might have been "the rain in Malaysia falls mainly on the Chinese" but I guess it wouldn't have got the same laughs. Still, we mustn't knock the glimmering of a late-developing sense of humour in such an infamously grouchy 75-year-old. It wasn't a bad impersonation, but seriously Doc, if you really want to talk and act like an Australian, you're going to have to learn bigger tricks than mimicry.

Let me draw you a picture.

First up Doc, in this country we don't sanction our major newspapers being owned by the government or the opposition. It was a little unfortunate that your stand-up comedy coincided with the last two independent major papers in Malaysia being swallowed up by your coalition partners.

Call us cynical, but in Australia we'd worry that now they might hesitate to criticise their bosses. Oh, and they were Chinese language newspapers. We'd wonder if those papers would report, for example, how your erstwhile deputy, Anwar Ibrahim, was beaten up, shortly after his arrest, by a thug who just happened to be your police chief.

Would they draw attention to this top cop's release, a fortnight ago, after serving just two months for the assault? And would they encourage a bitter laugh among Malaysians by noting that he got off early for good behaviour in the cells?

We sometimes throw politicians in jail here, too, Doc, but when their supporters demonstrate peacefully we don't hurl them in for good measure. We can't. Your beloved Internal Security Act, a euphemism for detention without trial, is a little bit of nastiness we don't have in Australia. We'd feel that a piece of draconian injustice, introduced 41 years ago to suppress communism, might have had its day. And any Australian prime minister who tried to keep it alive, croaking on and on as you do about the imminent danger of "a violent overthrow of the government", would become a laughing stock. And when a lawyer, such as Anwar Ibrahim's, suggests that his client has been poisoned in prison, not an improbable scenario after his beating, we wouldn't charge the lawyer with sedition - a charge that will see him dragged before the High Court in September. If convicted, he faces three years' jail.

In Australia, we put high profile opponents of the government into our parliaments, not our prisons. It's called democracy. You should try it. Sure, Australian politics, especially in Queensland, throws up its share of racists, conspirators and dingbats. We had a flurry of them recently. But most of them are now looking for a job, and none was in your league. Let's just recap on some of your more tolerant observations.

In your 1970 book, The Malay Dilemma, you wrote, "The Jews for example are not merely hook-nosed, but understand money instinctively." At a conference of the Unaligned Nations you, thoughtfully, clarified this. "The expulsion of Jews from the Holy Land 2000 years ago and the Nazi oppression of Jews have taught them nothing. If anything at all, it has transformed the Jews into the very monsters that they condemn so roundly in their propaganda material. They have been apt pupils of the late Dr Goebbels."

In Australia Doc, I'm sorry to tell you, you'd be identified for what you are - a racist. We wouldn't chuck you in the clink, or detain you without trial, or charge you with sedition or any other trumped-up nonsense. We'd simply tell you that you're old and in the way. Then we'd have an election in which you ran last. But please Doc, don't be completely discouraged. Keep up the impersonations. Maybe you'll get good enough to give up your day job, and that would be a blessing for us all.

(c) 2001 Queensland Newspapers Pty Ltd.

Source: COURIER MAIL (QUEENSLAND) 26/06/2001 P13



No longer a leader to be taken seriously

THIS editorial could not be printed in Malaysia. Almost all of our editorials could not be printed in Malaysia. Absolutely none of them could be printed without the explicit or tacit approval of the Prime Minister, Dr Mahathir.

Because the press routinely criticises governments and prints whatever it wishes, constrained only by laws upheld by an independent judiciary.

This is but one of the measures showing how Dr Mahathir has suffocated democracy. Another is the way his former deputy, Anwar Ibrahim, suffers in jail on trumped up charges. That in itself is merely a facet of the way the Malaysian Government has assumed - and ensured - that the judiciary is a branch office of its current requirements.

The latest, sad demonstration of Malaysia's descent from a quasi democracy to a personal near dictatorship came with the Prime Minister's weekend vaudeville-style attack on Australia at a conference of the ruling United Malay National Organisation.

He sneeringly attacked Australia for our attitudes to the Chinese community and claimed the very large Chinese population of Malaysia had more rights than those in Australia.

The Malaysian Government's approach to openly, formalised discriminatory ethnic policies, favoring Malays over its Chinese and Indian minorities, would be illegal in Australia and rightly so. Whenever he feels threatened locally, Dr Mahathir puts on one of these stunts. By now they increasingly lack conviction.

(C) 2001 Advertiser Newspapers Limited.