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Saturday, May 22, 2004

Hypocrites in our Midst

:: Compare these two scenarios ::

On 29th September 1998, former deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim [DSAI] appeared in court, bruised and with a black-eye, and pleaded innocent to charges of sodomy and corruption, charges which to this day, many believe were trumped up. DSAI claimed that he was assaulted the night of his arrest on 20th September 1998. He was allowed to address the court and had this to say regarding the assault that night ::
"I was boxed very hard on my lower jaw and left eye. I was also boxed on the right of my head and then hit on the left side of my neck very hard. I was then slapped very hard, left and right until blood came out from my nose and my lips cracked. I was half conscious and the police helped me clean up the nose and lips."

In court that day, DSAI told that just hours after he was brought to the Bukit Aman police headquarters, he was handcuffed and blindfolded and subsequently assaulted by an unidentified police officer until he lost consciousness. He was not allowed access to doctors until the fifth day of his detention.
How did the then PM respond to DSAI's injuries, he suggested that the might have been self-inflicted. One lady MINIster was even said to have described in great detail how the black eye could have been self-inflicted. The local media had little to say and there was no hue and cry regarding the injuries sustained by the former deputy PM or the perpetrator(s). It was left to those who supported reformasi and the NGOs and the foreign media to take up the cause.
After some two months, the police were unable to come out with any findings as to how DSAI sustained his injuries and who the perpetrator or perpetrators were. Also no one came out to claim responsibility till much later. On January 5, then Attorney-General Mohtar Abdullah finally admitted that the police were responsible for Anwar's injuries, adding that none of the police involved could be identified. Two days later, the IGP Tan Sri Rahim Nor assumed responsibility for the police actions and tendered his resignation. It took no less than a Royal Commission of Inquiry to finally get the Inspector General of Police, the highest police officer in the country then, one Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Noor, to admit and confess that he had assaulted DSAI that fateful night.
And for what he had done, the former IGP was given a sentence of 2 months subsequently when the case came to trial. But to this day there are many unanswered questions and as far as my foggy memory can recall the government has yet to apologise for the assault by it top polisman nor has the Tun or that particular lady MINIster apologise for their suggestions of self-inflicted injuries.

Contrast the above with what has been happening over the past few days with regards to the repeated assault of an Indonesian maid by the name of Nirmala Bonet (or should it be Bonat?). Ms Nirmala has bruises on her face and scald marks on her breasts, back and lower limbs and a broken nose. We have fellow Malaysians, Ministers and even the present Attorney General expressing horror, shame, revulsion, anger, frustration and moral outrage at the wounds inflicted by her employer's wife. Cries of injustice are heard from all segment of society, a good number have also been baying for an eye-for-an eye treatment of the perpetrator(s) of the assault on the poor maid. Cash contributions from our former Transport MINIster and his friends, from a fellow domestic maid are prominently featured in our papers. Cries that the assaulted maid should be given the best medical treatment money can get are made.
Three cabinet MINIsters, inclusive of the lady MINIster who happens to know how a black eye can be self-inflicted, were outraged by the maid assault and demanded for harsh sentence. This exceptionally vocal lady MINIster was quoted as saying :: "I will lash out at the media. I will also shout at the editors and raise this in Parliament. The identity of the housewife's husband should also be made public for allowing the abuse. Any media organisation which blurs the culprit's face is an accomplice." And then there was this other MINIster who said :: "It is not in the culture of Malaysians to abuse or treat others badly." The Deputy Internal Security Minister Datuk Noh Omar offered our apology and said: "As a representative of the Government, we apologise and wish to extend our sympathies to her and family, who had placed high hopes on her earning an income, but she was abused instead."
Even a nine year old, one Daryl Ong, is reported to have condemn the maid assault and asked the authorities to mete out the harshest punishment possible on the person responsible for the act. Doctors advised that abusive employers should be given psychotherapy to abate their anger. Was this offered to our former IGP, i wonder?
Calls have been made to screen and check on the mental health of potential employers. Are potential IGP similarly screened? Meanwhile the authorities were called upon to get the probe speedily carried out. And swift indeed it was, for the alleged perpetrator of the maid assault has been charged within days of the police report being made.
The call for the books to be thrown at the alleged perpetrator, if found guilty, was made by many fellow Malaysians and even by none other than our present Attorney General, one Tan Sri Abdul Ghani, who is pushing for the maximum sentence possible and is quoted in the papers as saying :: "I want justice to be done. We will ask for the maximum sentence, and definitely for the sentences to run consecutively."

It looks like the two above mentioned events cannot possibly have happened in one same country, judging by the vastly differing reponses which have resulted by the reporting of their occurrences. But then again, when told that they were indeed events in one and the same country, even a nine year old would have commented :: "There are hypocrites in our midst", for even a nine year old can see the differences in our reponses. Even a nine year old may be able to link the two events and even others together, and say that the way the high profile perpetrator of the 1998 assault was dealt with may have inadvertently led to the many events which have taken place subsequently and also the recent assault on Ms Nirmala. It is time for us all to say :: No More.

LONE's rantings for all interested, COMMENTS/KOPI-0s welcomed. Comments are solely the views of their makers
MALAYSIA, a great place to be in, BUT we can, will and must make HER better.
You may say I'm a dreamer but I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one.
IMAGINE:youtube::John Lennon

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