Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I never cease to wonder ...

There had been many noteworthy news and events over the last one month or so in our public life. My own personal circumstances however do not permit me to respond to each of them separately, yet I feel compelled to respond in one form or another. So I figure some brief notes may suffice, lest these news and events pass me by without recording some response in my blog

Of course the public is following the case of Anwar Ibrahim on the sodomy charge with much interest, only to have their enthusiasm dampened somewhat by the technicalities raised by the defense over the judge’s impartiality or the lack of it. When the judge refused to cite Utusan Malaysia for contempt of court over its reporting of the case, the defense contended that was a measure of bias against the defense, rendering the judge unsuitable to preside over the case. The defense filed that the judge concerned should recuse himself. This stratagem seems to be very much favored by the defense, who had extended its application to the RM100m defamation suit brought by Anwar Ibrahim against Dr Mahathir Muhammad.

For my own mental note, I call this stratagem ‘judging the judge’. Law students and aspiring lawyers should note some of the possible effects of ‘judging the judge’. It is very effective as delaying tactics as it compels the court to sidetrack to other issues besides the main case. As a stratagem, ‘judging the judge’ is very effective also in bridging the gap between the legal and the political. Where political groups had alleged that a particular case is politically motivated, ‘judging the judge’ serves to reinforce the aspersions cast against the authority and the judiciary outside the court, within the framework of legality and the trial process itself. Another possible advantage of ‘judging the judge’ would be to exercise some degree of influence in the selection of a judge more favorable to its advocate.

Which reminds me of another issue generating much news and responses. 50 members of the Australian parliament had demanded that the sodomy case against Anwar Ibrahim be dropped. There are many other news in the opposition run media that certain groups and personalities the world over had made similar demands. While opposition affiliated groups are hyper sensitive to alleged interferences of the government in the case, they seemed to invite and welcome such ‘intervention’ by foreigners. Such intervention of foreigners had been publicized by them as being loft y and concern for justice. Clearly this is all orchestrated and is part of the move to politicize the sodomy case against Anwar. On my part, I see the contradiction on the part of the opposition. While ever picky on alleged government interferences, they don’t seem to feel the indignity of being patronized by foreigners in our own internal affairs. In fact such foreign meddling has gone much well beyond ‘interfering ‘to the point of demanding the case be dropped altogether!

Lately the management and administrative tool of ranking had been utilized in a rather bizarre way in politics. Opposition news work was in euphoria over a ranking which placed Nik Aziz of PAS in the top 500 Muslim thinkers in the world, while Anwar Ibrahim even higher up within the top 40. The opposition had been careful to point out, obviously tongue in cheek, that no BN leaders had been placed anywhere worthy of note. I think we should know better than to fall for this, hook and sinker. We know ranking is often abused as a tool to influence or condition public evaluation in a manipulative way. Just fix the questionnaires or the basis of evaluation in a way that gets you the result you want. Having achieved this, use the result itself to condition (or con) the public towards your own evaluation or conclusion. The term or appellate ‘thinker’ is by convention best reserved for great scholars or intellectuals who had bequeathed some great tradition or heritage to their society or humanity. Their works are generally acknowledged for their great depth or wisdom, capable standing the test of time. Normally the ‘greatness’of such thinkers are not amenable to ‘ranking’ in a mechanical and superficial manner, as in the case referred to above. The naivety of such ranking makes one wonder, is it a case of ‘thinker’ or ‘tinker’ that is being dished out to the public!

About a week ago, the Sun dated 23 February 2010 published an interesting case in the headline. This involved the case of Mr Lye Piang Yin, 71, a retiree who had been given back the title to his land in Hulu Langat, which was stolen from him in the words of the Sun ‘ through the hidden hands of government officers and individuals’. Here, I am not so much concerned with the legal aspects and the details of the case. For these, I refer readers to the copy of the Sun. But in other respects, the case should send shivers down our spine. Judging by this case, all property owners could very easily lose their properties.

This is how, in parallel to the shocking case of Mr Lye Piang Yin. Without your knowledge, some crooks register you as the director of Company X. Then by forgery of documents and signature, the fictitious director transfer the land to the company in exchange for the company shares. After that the fictitious director is ‘arranged’ to resign from the company ( of course leaving all his stakes and land in the company) , being replaced by some dishonest element as director. The new replacement director then sells the land to another party outside the Company X. The buyer or the new owner of the land is then quickly appointed as director in Company X. Hence, to cut a long story short, in this manner you can simply wake up one morning to discover that you are simply no longer the owner of your property! Mr. Lye Piang Yin was fortunate there had been a recent court decision which made the return of his land possible. Can you believe that until recently the position of the law actually favored the frauds. Before the legal loophole was plugged, had the buyer bought the land in good faith from the frauds with no inkling of the illegality, good title would have passed on to the buyer, depriving the original owner of his title. In this respect, to a certain extent, it can be said that a ‘good’ fraud who can convince his client that ‘ all is well’ would have been rewarded by the law and stood to gain by his crooked ways.

This reminds me of an interesting posting by Che Det. I read it as ‘how to pilfer a government linked company’. The details run as follows. Proton bought a motorcycle company for more than RM500m. Then somehow the company ‘became’ unprofitable and a huge liability. In response Proton sold it to a mysterious Italian for US1. The new owner sold the company to Harley Davidson for about RM628m. Hence from Proton’s point of view, theRM500m, the initial cost of buying the motorcycle company , simply vanished, evaporated, but somehow reappeared in somebody else’s coffer, with a further RM128m profit to boot! I am at a loss for words…

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