How we'll cry, how we'll cry, for the thirteenth of July...
see end of post for photo credits
Granted, it's somewhat trite, and not as elegant or catchy as "Remember, remember, the fifth of November...", that famous line from V for Vendetta. But playing connect the dots with the various news reports surrounding the remand of Nathaniel Tan, however, Walski cannot help but feel exasperated over what has become this nation, just weeks before celebrating our 50th anniversary of Merdeka.
It's now becoming clear that perhaps Nat is the victim of another vendetta.
Malaysiakini reported yesterday that it was Deputy Internal Security Minister Johari Baharum that ordered the investigation, resulting in Nat's apprehension.
Fresh from being cleared of corruption allegations found on an anonymous website, Deputy Internal Security Minister Johari Baharum now wants the police to clampdown on Internet-based “lies”.
Johori said that he had instructed the Police Commercial Crimes Investigation Department (CCID) to trace authors that spread “lies” through websites.
(source: Malaysiakini - subscription required)
A bit vindictive, if you ask Walski. And once again, for all the wrong reasons, Malaysia becomes the focus of the world's attention.
(global and kneejerk reactions, and more, in the full post)
Jeff Ooi's Screenshots reports that Nat's case has been picked up by the World Organization Against Torture. Jeff also cautioned Malaysians to not lose focus on the real issue at hand, in a separate post.
Nat's arrest has been condemned by de facto PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim, and Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang, as reported by Malaysiakini. Closer to the ground, blogger ShanghaiStephen has dubbed Friday, July 13, 2007, as "the day the music died". Scanning through the bloggerhood, condemnation has been unanimous. Even a certain someone who champions moral policing has spoken out saying that Malaysia "is becoming a police state" (ironically hypocritical, but we'll leave that as it is for now).
But what irks Walski to no end is the attempt by the police to carry out the investigation and remand, without following due process. Malaysiakini yesterday reported on the attempt by the police to quickly get the remand hearing done, without Nat being given access to counsel.
One of Tan’s lawyers, R Sivarasa, alleged that there was an attempt by the investigating police officers not to inform them of the remand proceedings.
“He was lucky because (human rights lawyer) P Uthayakumar was in court to attend to another proceeding. Uthayakumar spotted him and later informed me,” said Sivarasa.
He said that the court police also played a role by informing the police investigating team that Tan’s lawyers were on the way.
“Those interventions help frustrate the police team to do the remand proceedings behind our backs,” he added.
(source: Malaysiakini - subscription required)
Walski will not comment on what he thinks about Johari being absolved from any connection to the accusations levelled against him previously. But what is perplexing is that if the police had solid grounds to detain Nat, why the cat and mouse escapades, to the extent of trying to deny Nat his legal right to counsel?
Why the lack of transparency, and hints of underhanded manipulation of the legal system, if all this is just an investigation of slanderous lies? The Star has indicated/speculated that it is in relation to the possession of police case files. The NST? Elegant silence.
Coming just seven weeks before this nation of ours celebrates 50 years of independence, Walski cannot help but feel a certain sadness.
Just as the bitch-slapping the Knights Templar got from a church-state conspiracy purportedly made Friday the Thirteenth legend, our own Black Friday a couple of days ago is a bitter reminder that Malaysia and its citizens are still not free from the threat of draconian whims. Like Jason Voorhees, the feudalistic warlord mentality of our politicians in power keeps resurfacing, bolder and more ludicrous with every incarnation.
Perhaps this year, Walski will skip any celebrations related to August 31st (which coincidentally also falls on a Friday). He can't find much to celebrate, truth be told. The events that have unfolded this year alone are indications that instead of progressing, we are doing quite the opposite.
Friday, July 13th 2007 is but another layer of icing, topping the nutty fruitcake that Malaysia is fast becoming. And for that, Walski sheds a blood-red tear...
Walski's Image Credits & Related posts footnote: The montage image above was composited using Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher's work, entitled Eye, and using the 50th Merdeka Logo (created by Nor Azian A. Hasan), courtesy of blogger Kean-Jin Lim. The rest is Walski's handiwork...