A prominent opposition politician is facing more allegations of a sexual nature (read: sodomy) and our top cop has said what we’re all thinking - that he is just sick of it all and it’s a waste of police resources. In other news, there’s political trouble brewing in Sabah thanks to the decision to let a certain politician with a corruption case hanging over his head run the show for BN there; there’s hope yet that we may see an anti-party frogging law in the land; and, the gomen has done it again by allowing sports and co-curriculum activities in schools without first telling us what the damned SOPs will be.

Btw, tomorrow is Awal Muharram and we'd just like to wish all our Muslim friends a happy new year. And as always, a public holiday means we give ourselves a day off. See you on Friday!

Yet another sodomy allegation

I’m sick, you’re sick, we’re all sick of it

What is it with Malaysian politics, statutory declarations and sexual misconduct allegations?
 
Yesterday, more allegations came to light about a prominent opposition politician who shall remain unnamed, in the form of an SD. While the SD first made its appearance on the Internet over the weekend, it was actually filed on June 29.
 
In the explicitly detailed SD, a man claimed to have engaged in oral sex and sodomy with the politician on several occasions in 2013 and was paid a sum after each visit. He also (allegedly allegedly) introduced a male friend to the politician and they, too, had sex.
 
When the SD made an appearance in a blog, the man lodged a police report claiming manipulation. We are, however, unclear on the details of the manipulation claim. In any case, police are investigating the SD.
 
Top cop Hamid Bador, however, is not amused. Declaring he is “sick” of it, the IGP says investigating such things are a waste of police resources (preach it brother!) You see, as long as a report has been lodged, the coppers are obliged to investigate. So, sick of it or not, an investigation paper (IP) has been opened and police have recorded statements from the commissioner of oaths with whom the SD was filed and the man who filed it. 
 
Now, this is the second high profile sex allegation to come out since Hamid took over as IGP, the first being the one against senior minister Azmin Ali back in the good ol’ days when he was still a bigwig in PKR and sparring with party president Anwar Ibrahim. However, investigations into those allegations came to naught after prosecutors said leaked video clips purportedly showing a man resembling Azmin being Ron Jeremy in a tryst with another man was too low res to clearly identify the “actors”. 
 
Anwar himself, of course, is no stranger to sex allegations being thrown against him. Who can forget the so-called Sodomy I and II cases? These are aside from the more recent allegation against him from one Muhammed Yusoff Rawther, the grandson of the late consumer rights and environmental activist SM Mohamed Idris. Anwar, of course, denied the allegations
 
Like Hamid, we are all really sick of being dragged into such cases time and again and for such ‘dirty laundry’ to be aired so publicly. Of course, these accusations tend to surface at “convenient” times. Sodomy I came after Anwar’s famous falling out with Dr Mahathir Mohamad and is largely seen as an effort to oust the former deputy PM from power, Sodomy II came at a time when opposition leader Anwar was released from prison and was a growing threat to the ruling BN gomen, while the allegations against Azmin came amidst widening rift among top PKR leadership during the Pakatan Harapan era of government.
 
But we would also like to inform our five-star police officer that there are other investigations which are a waste of time and resources. The first one that springs to mind are the two IPs against a certain burger seller for saying that our coppers and soldiers don’t pray, or against journalists just trying to do their jobs.
 
Then there are cases which we really feel deserve more police attention. Take for instance the case of M. Indira Gandhi, or rather her fugitive ex Muhammad Riduan Abdullah. Hamid yesterday said he’s appointed a senior copper to lead the case to track down the man who kidnapped his own daughter (over a decade ago!) and is believed to be hiding out in another country.  

We understand police must investigate every police report lodged but sex allegations against politicians should really be low on the totem pole of priorities.

Trouble in paradise

Speaking of politicians, it would seem things are heating up now that the Election Commission has set the date for the Sabah polls.
 
Amidst behind-the-scenes political wrangling within Perikatan Nasional for seats in the upcoming election, BN has decided its state numero uno Bung Moktar Radin would lead the charge and decide on its CM candidate should the coalition win the elections. Note that Umno president and BN chairman Ahmad Zahid Hamidi talks about BN winning the elections, and not Perikatan. 
 
If you think Bersatu will be the only one within Perikatan who would be dismayed by that, think again. There are voices of dissent within Umno itself, with supreme council member Rahman Dahlan, who is from Sabah, voicing out his displeasure.
 
Rahman says having the MP with an ongoing corruption case against him in charge would be suicidal. For the uninitiated, this is also the same Bung known for his lack of tact, including a sexist remark about menstrual cycles resembling leaky roofs.
 
Rahman is right. Yes, innocent until proven guilty and all that but one would expect a politician fighting a serious criminal charge to take a backseat until the court case is settled.
 
But if the Sabah elections are creating a ruckus for Perikatan, things are not all that rosy in the peninsula either.
 
Bersatu is still bleeding members and a supreme council member has conceded that the new Pejuang party to be registered by former chairman Maddey Mohamad will cause a problem. But, the same person also seems to be entertaining the delusion that Perikatan will become an official “grand coalition” despite BN repeatedly saying it has no plans to formalise the coalition. 
 
This, too, after PM and Bersatu head honcho Muhyiddin Yassin said the party will join Umno-PAS up in their Muafakat Nasional clubhouse. Yet a former Bersatu office bearer warns Bersatu will be “eaten up” by Umno. Former Bersatu supreme council member and top Maddey Mohamad kiss-ass A. Kadir Jasin says the same thing will happen with PAS
 
So basically, Umno will eat up all the other Malay-based parties. They certainly have the track record. Remember Semangat 46, the splinter party which was eventually dissolved and absorbed back into the almighty Umno? Despite losing badly in GE14, Umno still has massive grassroots machinery which most others lack. The party recorded a membership of 3.2 million, as of December, last year. 
 
But the bigger question is whether or not this is better for the rakyat? Is it better to have one consolidated grouping of Malay-based parties, supposedly to represent Malay-bumiputera interests, or having the option of several such parties to choose from, even if this will splinter the voter base?
 
By the way, an attempt has been made to formally register Perikatan as a coalition with the Registrar of Societies, but there is one speedbump, apparently. It seems that ‘Perikatan Nasional’ is already being used by an NGO. So, the coalition may use Parti Perikatan Nasional as a formal name. 

Kataks beware

MPs from both sides of the great political divide have come together to form a bipartisan caucus to look into reforming the country’s electoral system to prevent party hopping by elected reps. The caucus, to be chaired by BN/Umno man Nazri Aziz, has been given six months to gather the views of relevant stakeholders before tabling its recommendations in the Dewan Rakyat. 
 
Speaker Azhar “Art” Harun has also agreed to it, with Nazri saying since there is a ruling by the 1992 Supreme Court (which is what the Federal Court used to be called) that such laws were unconstitutional, the caucus would have to find the best way to resolve it. 
 
If the caucus can work its magic and come up with a solution, that would be great. Defections have long been a curse to political stability here, but none more so than during this particular session of Parliament.
 
Since the historic14th general election in 2018, defections have led to the collapse of the ruling Pakatan regime, the fall of several state governments and the rise of Muhyiddin Yassin and Perikatan. More recent still in Sabah, we saw the reverse of 2018 (when frogs hopped it over to Warisan, causing BN to lose its hold and Shafie Apdal to leapfrog to the fore), where party jumping has led to the dissolution of the state assembly.
 
But any attempt to enact anti-katak laws have met with roadblocks. Apart from the Supreme Court ruling, lawyers, judges and legal experts have long argued that such laws would go against the guarantee of freedom of association under the Federal Constitution
 
Pakatan, when it was in power, declined to enact such laws because of the Constitution. Only recently, it was Perikatan’s turn to do so. There is, of course, the suggestion of the ‘party-list‘ system to be considered, which would see parties contest elections, whereby a constituency is tied to the winning party rather than the elected representative. This was proposed before and again by Nazri himself just a couple of months ago.  
 
There were a bunch of other things that came out of Parliament yesterday as well, so here’s a round-up of some of the bits of news:

  • There have been 1,721 reports of sex crimes against children in the first six months of the year. That roughly works out to about nine or so cases each day, which absolutely sickens us. And how many cases don’t go reported? 
     
  • The gomen has re-tabled amendments to the National Security Council Act. The amended bill retains all the amendments that had been pushed by the Pakatan administration, including shifting the power to declare emergency zones from the PM to the King. However, there are additional clauses to remove the DPM as deputy chair of the council (kinda appropriate considering we don’t have a DPM) and instead allow for the deputy chair to be chosen from one of the existing council members. 
     
  • The gomen is considering allowing parcels to be delivered by motorcycle in a bid to create more e-hailing jobs. The service would be called “parcel e-hailing” or “p-hailing” (pronounced ‘failing’?) to differentiate it from passenger e-hailing services. 

Covid-19 and all things else

So, the guidelines for schools during the RMCO will be further relaxed come Sept 1, as sports and co-curriculum activities will be allowed to begin.
 
In announcing this, however, former Datuk Seri of Colourful Shirts Ismail Sabri Yaakob says kids would require parental consent before being allowed to take part in such activities. SOPs include a capacity limit for shower and changing rooms and physical distancing of one to 3m for static activities, and 3-5m for dynamic activities. 
 
OK, so we have some reservations here, considering that four people from the Tawar cluster are a teacher and three students from a school in Kulim, Kedah. What really gets our goat is that the full SOPs for this will only be out on Sept 1. Yup, folks, the SOPs will only be known on the very day the activities are set to begin! 
 
Why is it that our gomen doesn’t feel the need to plan early and come up with guidelines before things are allowed to happen? Isn’t the idea being flattening the Covid-19 curve is that people adhere to the SOPs, which one can only do when one actually knows and understands what said SOPs are. That’s not rocket science.
 
Incidentally, the current RMCO period is set to expire on Aug 31, so does this mean that we will see it extended? Medical experts have called for an extension since there has been a recent upswing in the number of infections and we hope so too. 
 
More on schools during the Covid-19 era, some five million students will receive reusable face masks under a government programme aimed at reducing parents’ expenses, at least as far as the masks are concerned. Meanwhile, the gomen has unveiled the 2021 school calendar which, presumably because of the lateness of the start of the school year due to the disruption of lessons this year, will see a shorter year-end break
 
Anyhoo, here’s a compilation of some of the other Covid-related news, as well as some bits and bobs which appeared yesterday:

  • There were only seven new cases reported yesterday, bringing the total number to 9,219. Four of these cases were imported. Happily, there were 26 recoveries, pushing the total number of active cases down to 192. 
  • Of the local transmissions, two were from the Sala cluster and one from the Tawar cluster, with Health DG Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah saying the spread of cases in these two particular clusters was likely down to non-compliance to SOPs set by the Health Ministry. 
  • Putrajaya, apparently, is mulling two things. The first is to enact a law that makes use of the MySejahtera app mandatory, and the second is a tiered system of fines for violations of the ruling for face mask usage. 
  • Penang’s move to bar medical tourists has drawn the federal gomen to say that states can’t supersede decisions by Putrajaya to impose their own restrictions on social and business activities. 
  • Economists say the worst is over as far as our economy is concerned, with an aggressive rebound on the cards by year’s end. 
  • A key prosecution witness in Mama Rosmah Mansor’s corruption trial said he had given RM5 million and another RM1.5 million to the former PM’s wife to secure an RM1.25 billion project in Sarawak, adding that all she said when he told her about it was “hmmm”. That’s how we all reacted when we first found out about all this, though probably not quite in the same tone she did. 
  • The former private secretary to former Tourism Minister Mohammadin Ketapi will be charged with corruption involving RM3 million today. The case is believed to be related to the award of an advertising project to a company. 
  • A man who allegedly drove a teen to suicide by threatening to release compromising photos of her will be charged at the Balik Pulau Magistrates Court with criminal intimidation and circulating obscene material. Good. Throw the damned book at him. 

“If time be of all things the most precious, wasting time must be the greatest prodigality.”

- Benjamin Franklin -

IN INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • The number of Covid-19 infections worldwide has risen above 22 million, with roughly 775,000 deaths. With the alarming number, the World Health Organization has written to every country to urge governments to join its global shared vaccine programme, even as Australia announced that it would manufacture a vaccine and provide it free to its citizens. 
     
  • Israeli warplanes have bombed Gaza in response to fire balloon attacks from the Hamas-controlled Strip, even as Egyptian authorities strove to calm things down. 
     
  • Tensions are also rising over the China-India border dispute as the People’s Liberation Army flexed its muscles by conducting more live-fire drills in Tibet. 
     
  • The US Postmaster General has moved to postpone all changes to the US Postal Service – changes which were said would have given an unfair advantage to POTUS Donald Trump – till after the Nov 3 presidential elections after at least 20 states announced plans to file federal lawsuits. 
     
  • A team of international marine scientists have discovered 30 new species of invertebrates in the depths of the Galapagos archipelago. 

ABOUT THIS NEWSLETTER

This weekday newsletter is brought to you by Trident Media, a group of Malaysian journalists with 60 years of combined media experience in four countries across TV, print and digital media.

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Trident Media · Seksyen 35 · Shah Alam, Selangor 40470 · Malaysia

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