DEC 22 — What do protesters, submarines, airport robberies, Kedai Rakyat 1 Malaysia, PAS misfits, Muhyiddin Yassin and illegal immigrants have in common? Nominations in the 2011 Malaysian Things and Stuff Awards, Rambutan (type of tropical fruit) for short, of course.
The panel of one, came up with these “unusual” nominees and winners who have in their own way made their mark in 2011.
A rally dominates this year, but the usual suspects like Ibrahim Ali, Umno, MRT have come up with strong nominations, showing they do matter, somewhat. So the Rambutans go to…
Defining moment of the year
Bersih. Two months preceding the July 9 rally and the months since have evolved from that day in the rain which was not big enough or important enough according to the police, state media and the home minister no less.
Arrests of Parti Sosialis Malaysia members as a preventive measure, involving royalty and Istana Negara and banning a colour ensued, and that was even before the rally happened.
The capital city went into shutdown. By the eve, some in government might be tempted to feel that it was just the calm before no storm.
Yet in the backgrounds, the most underreported part of Bersih, a citizenry made of middle-class and some more, affluent and not, young and old, mad and madder with a country run awry, got on with the show.
They were in small groups, and social media not national leaders guided them. In a real democratic movement there is no need for a leader to articulate the freedom already in the veins of the people.
They planned arrivals in the city, they paid for hotel rooms, they crashed at friends’, they hung out at McDonalds, they took the train, they took the bus, and when all those things failed, they just walked to a place, so that they could walk some more.
As if disparate groups raised together, they swarmed.
Baharuddin Ahmad died, A. Samad Said walked alone in yellow, an old lady stood defiant, and this columnist ran from a haze of tear gas and gushes of chemically laced water.
A hospital gets hit with tear gas, a minister says no; its doctors say yes in writing, the minister says… well; eyewitnesses say yes oh yes, minister says well it seems we might need to study this; enough people join in and tell the minister there are lies and there are his words, he shuts up, never to be heard from again.
Police claim — after gassing, showering, hunting, chasing, handcuffing peaceful citizens and detaining them for hours — they are really nice because they gave the detainees catered food.
After a period of denial, the prime minister and gang commenced fighting harder and harder to appear like the progressives major news channels say they might be, after being influenced by paid-for foreign media consultants (FBC, anyone?).
Sometimes an exasperated Najib gives up and just tells Malaysians there are cheap things in stores “facilitated” by his friend (Kedai Rakyat 1 Malaysia, anyone?). Shop till you drop, much better than drop by baton swing.
A mad Dr M moment award
Honestly, are there sane moments with the ex-prime minister? The title is a misnomer, all Mahathir Mohamad quotes, from his gems on “anti-Muslim” Singapore’s ex-PM Lee Kuan Yew to Perkasa having a point unnerves those choosing to think.
And this year he released a book to tell Malaysians he’s never been wrong, but always misunderstood. Yes Tun, the human flaw has always been in not recognising genius.
We will try Tun, but till then enjoy the Rambutan.
Best election effort
There were the by-elections; Tenang, Kerdau and Merlimau, all won by Barisan Nasional (BN), but the Sarawak state election eclipsed them and showed that the BN election mojo has gone AWOL.
15 seats won from 70, but this is fortress Sarawak for BN. With every urban, partly urban seat in play and a growing young electorate, a tipping point may have been met. DAP’s 12 seats scoop the award, and the anti-DAP overdrive in Umno since results day only underscores it.
You can’t make this up award
This did not require nominees, there was a winner by a mile — the KLIA money changer heist players. This classic rob-and-go caper was all too good as four men “pretended” to be members of Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency (MACC). They got away with RM1 million apparently. In a police line-up later, the victim identified some of the alleged perpetrators.
Three of the four were, in fact, actual officers of the MACC. An acting assistant commissioner, senior assistant superintendent and assistant superintendent, no less.
Police can’t find the final dude, seemingly the civilian has skedaddled better than trained officers, but they found some of the loot, oh great. But they won’t tell how much, oh no.
Then they lose some of it, more like a police officer does. He was holding RM11,700 in his office, had the amount stolen from him. So the cops start to question cops, 26 of them to be precise.
Who robbed who? Is Malaysia competing with necrophilia for what constitutes a victimless crime? We don’t know, but we do know the award goes to both MACC and the police, we hope they don’t lose it to theft thereafter.
Never got started
There is every temptation to give it to Unit Peneraju Agenda Bumiputera (Teraju), the agency to help Bumiputeras compete in the new economy. CEO Husni Salleh has been made ahuman piñata for not doing enough.
But the Rambutan has to go to Prasarana Nasional’s — government public transportation agency — initiation of the MRT project for the Klang Valley. As they readied to carry out the RM50 billion project (started from RM20 billion, went to RM36 billion with no end in sight on what will be the final cost will be), Najib decided MRT Co is better suited for the job.
That’s right, a non-government company formed overnight with no structure, no history, no role in the selection of all the present main and subsidiary contractors, no previous involvement in the largest infrastructure project the country has ever seen and a whole other bunch of NOs will get the job done.
Sarawak barring entry to Pakatan Rakyat and Bersih activist in April, is worth a mention too.
And the cyclical claims of S. Subramaniam, human resource minister, that the Indonesian maids are finally coming. If only there was a 1,000 Rupiah wager for every time he said they’ve sorted it in 2011, then this column will have something to take to the KLIA moneychangers.
Why MCA (Or YMCA) award
Nothing really matters anymore in a party without a plan. But they do own a newspaper which sells even if the ads outstrip the news in the prime news section.
No party or group of leaders spend so much time explaining and re-explaining why race based thinking and politics is on the way out, but denies membership to 75 per cent of Malaysians. So talking, not doing makes the future possible, eh Chua Soi Lek?
From starting the year with a party member in an Pantai Hillpark azan furore to PKFZ trialdefendants, to a double-speak health minister, AGMs with low turnouts to a year of no national consequence, the MCA achievement award must go to Dr Chua. Under him, they’ve done nothing but they have not gone under, not yet anyways.
It’s not porn if you wear Gucci
Three dudes unveil a sex video, and the courts let them off with a slap on the wrist. Apparently if you show something at an expensive but more importantly exclusive hotel, and you have a state title, then it cannot possibly be pornography.
Pornography is what the illiterate, itinerant with single syllable-nicknames peddle in back-alleys.
Just for that Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Tamby Chik, Datuk Shazryl Eskay and Datuk Shuib Lazim deserve an award, if not a movie written about them. Just don’t let them write the screenplay.
Hear me scream award
Politicians need the attention, but some just need it more.
No more than leading candidate Perkasa chief Ibrahim Ali. Walking proof, even if not standing proof, that if you are angry when you speak, someone will listen. His cameo withHimpun (anti-proselytisation rally) in October earns him a double nomination. His rants against Christians and Martians alike (we are convinced he wouldn’t be able to tell them apart) are stuff modern day Mein Kampfs are written. He is fun, if you like freaky.
He leaves the poster burning to his henchmen though.
Bandar Kulim Baru MP Zulkifli Nordin gets a nod for securing a VP post in Perkasa (It is not easy to show your hate credentials in a room filled with small, bald men who hate) in October. Dr Yusri Mohamed of Himpun does get a nod for his continued arms akimbo waving over the 135 out of 15 million Muslim Malaysians who officially left Islam.
Dodgy legislation award
Peaceful Assembly Bill, now everyone can protest apparently. We say how about the RM10,000 fine if the home minister feels you have protested wrong? In a nation where you intend to give the people a one-off RM500 next month because you think it is pretty pathetic most of us, husband and wife put together, only earn RM3,000 or less a month, you want us to pay a fine exceeding our annual income?
Got your freedom tips from Singapore? Don’t stop people, just bankrupt them?
So much in a year, these deserve mentions:
Khairy Jamaluddin remains without a Federal position. Wonder what he says to Mukhriz Mahathir when they meet.
Ridhuan Tee reconsiders. After seeing the ire of so many against him for just speaking his absolutely convoluted thoughts, the man has gone a bit quiet. Not so much fun when people have a go at you eh, use that in your “kenegaraan” (citizenship) classes.
Solar bibles are like the Empire’s Death Star. Well personally I save all my fears for the neighbourhood Mormon preachers, but OK. Will look out for these tools of doom, Hasan Ali.
Utusan Malaysia says we are all going to hell. But with a simple subscription to the paper at your local newsstand or complete submission to their “Please fear the reaper” theories, then anyone can escape the fires of eternal hell and get instead Umno membership.
Talent Corp, is preparing for a report to say more people have shown interest to return. They are glad they can recycle the same remarks and not be laughed at any harder by the reading public.
The 6P amnesty project for immigrants goes on, and sometimes the imprisoned immigrants show their delight by setting their oppressive detention centres alight and run off. Luckily it is not that expensive to rebuild utterly shocking facilities.
In other news, the Melbourne High Court rules very late that Afghan and Iraqi refugees might be unwelcome in Australia, but sending them to cruel Malaysian processing centres, is well cruel. We did not say it, the refugees who filed the case did, and the court agreed. The Malaysian Solution is no more.
AirAsia and Malaysian Airlines become one, sort of. And we are told all the announcements of route reductions by both are unrelated. What do they say about fiction and life again?
Mat Sabu is told over the Bukit Kepong British police station episode there is only one way to look at history, when in doubt he and other Malaysians should watch a 1980’s movie by an Umno member.
We were surprised that through the hullabaloo, most Malaysians were indifferent. We were glad former servicemen and their families were given something after decades, even if it was just politics.
DNA, sperm and science will be decided at the next Umno political bureau meeting.
Proton will be sold to DRB-Hicom. This column cannot determine when the latter will sell it to the next GLC.
Ahmad Sarbaini and Teoh Beng Hock’s families remain baffled by the Malaysian justice system. And the MACC gets a new interrogation facility in Putrajaya with a digital timer, talk about being unclear of the concept.
Sosilawati murders trial goes on. Names have been thrown in with state media playing them down while a prosecution relies on forced confessions to win the death penalty for four men.
Lynas wants to give Malaysia an economic boost; residents, greenies and lefties feel the boost might be radioactive. Huge decision for Najib very, very soon.
Khir Toyo and Shahrizat Jalil wait for tender mercy from the political boss, but the public is not letting up.
Zaid Ibrahim comes from the cold, and says KITA will take sick leave from the general election. Asal Bukan Umno (As long as it is not Umno) movement picks up late 2011.
* The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the columnist.