Yang Amat Berhormat Dato’ Seri Abdullah bin Haji Ahmad Badawi
Prime Minister of Malaysia
Prime Minister’s Office
Perdana Putra Building
Federal Government Administrative Centre
Dear Pak Lah,
Kong Hee Fatt Choy, Pak Lah. I trust this second open letter finds you in good health. I was told by a reliable source that you read my first open letter. So I thought, since this appears to be the only way to reach you, I would send you a second open letter. I truly hope you get to read this one as well.
Sorry I was not able to also send you my Selamat Hari Raya Puasa wishes. It is not that Chinese New Year is more important than Hari Raya. During Hari Raya Puasa I was in the Kamunting Detention Centre, courtesy of your government. So, I sort of missed Hari Raya, if you know what I mean. But I believe my friends did attend your open house at the PWTC to send you Hari Raya wishes on my behalf, wearing ‘Free RPK’ T-shirts, much to the chagrin of the police who summoned them to the police station later for their ‘statements to be recorded’.
In the past I used to be sad if I was ever away from the family on Hari Raya, not that it happened too often. Even rough and tough Malaysian soldiers serving overseas cry on Hari Raya, so I was told. So it’s not lack of macho that makes you sad when parted from the family on Hari Raya. This time, however, anger overcame my sadness. Instead of being sad, I decided to ‘boycott’ Hari Raya. Maybe anger is a stronger emotion. Anyway, I did not celebrate the recent Hari Raya Haji as well, though I had already been released from detention by then. I have sort of shut out Hari Raya from my mind and have convinced myself that the festival does not exist. I think, from now on, Hari Raya no longer means anything to me.
I suppose this is very useful considering the Attorney General is appealing the Shah Alam High Court decision releasing me from ISA detention. The government’s appeal will be heard in the Federal Court in Putrajaya on 11 February 2009 and if the Federal Court allows the appeal then I will be sent back to Kamunting to serve my two years detention order. So it is necessary that I continue being angry and not get sad about things like being under detention on Hari Raya. Anger makes you strong to resist the powers-that-be. Sadness weakens you.
I really don’t know if the Federal Court will uphold the Shah Alam High Court’s decision to free me. If it does, well and good. But if it overturns that decision then you better get ready for a bloody fight, Pak Lah. Sure, the government can ‘legally’ send me back to Kamunting. But I shall be going back there screaming and kicking. The government is going to see a fight never before seen in the history of the almost 50 years of the ISA. And this is no threat. It is a promise. And, as I said, anger is an extremely powerful emotion, which can make you move mountains.
Anyway, that is not the purpose of this open letter. What I want to talk about today is with regards to the current controversy swamping this country, in particular the police brutality issue. This is actually not something new. It has been going on since before Merdeka. When I was a teenager in the 1960s I have personally witnessed and experienced many incidences of police beatings. Your late wife Endon’s brother, Osman, can testify to this. When I got my motorcycle licence at the age of 15 in 1965, my first bike ride was with Osman. I fetched him from your house in Bellamy Road and we went Jackie’s Bowl in Jalan Ampang and got high on weed all night long.
You see, Pak Lah, in those days we used to sport long hair and wear tight trousers and the police somehow became very upset with this ‘fashion statement’. The police would push a bottle down our trousers and if it could not fall to our feet then we would get beaten up. The same applied to our hair. If it dropped over our forehead or touched our ears we would get beaten up as well. So imagine what we had to go through in the 1960s since we had long hair and wore tight trousers. As I said, Osman, the brother of your late wife, can tell you more about this as we used to run in the same pack.
One night in 1965, while waiting at a bus stop along Jalan Ampang (in front of the El Chico next to the AIA building), a few of us — Tun Dr Siti Hasmah’s nephew, Azlan Aziz, included — were picked up by the police. Our only ‘crime’ was that we were sitting at the bus stop. The police took us to the High Street Police Station and we were all asked to line up to witness the police beating up a Chinese youth. They beat him real bad and he was coughing blood. I don’t know if he died after that but I would not want to put my money on whether he survived.
It became so bad that whenever we saw the police we would run away. We actually became quite good at it. For example, once, about ten of us were sitting on our bikes in front of the HKL and a police van stopped and about a dozen police jumped out. We leaped on our bikes and managed to escape just as the police were within an arms-length from us. They pursued us along Jalan Tun Razak with little success. Our bike numbers were on the top-ten list of the police’s ‘most wanted’ but they never caught us. We knew if they did they would beat the shit out of us so it was definitely an ‘incentive’ for us to never get caught.
That was how it was back in the 1960s and, trust me, it has not changed one bit. The police still beat the shit out of you if you ever find yourself in the most unfortunate situation of ending up in their lockup. In fact, your Director of the CID, Bakri Zinin, once beat me up in March 2001 in front of my wife and six other detainees and about a dozen police personnel.
My only ‘crime’ was that I had walked into the Dang Wangi Police Station. I had not committed any crime or was under arrest. I had, on my own accord, walked into the police station and Bakri Zinin happened to be in the mood to beat someone up. So he beat me up. After he beat me up he arrested me and kept me overnight in the lockup under no charges whatsoever. That is how your police operate. And these are all Muslims, mind you. I bet they even pray five times a day and their wives wear tudongs. Now do you know why I am most unkind to Muslims? Many are hypocrites of the highest degree.
I know you tried to implement the IPCMC but were prevented from doing so. And the reason you are not able to implement the IPCMC is because the police, whom represent the major portion of postal voters, threatened to vote opposition if you do. (IPCMC: Police threaten to vote for the Opposition).
In the March 2008 general election, the opposition needed only 300,000 more votes to form the federal government. Therefore, if the postal votes had gone to the opposition, Barisan Nasional would have been out of power. To ensure that the postal votes remained with Barisan Nasional you succumbed to the threats and agreed to compromise on the IPCMC.
In that sense, Pak Lah, you are indirectly responsible for the continuing problem of police brutality. What the police are doing is your fault. This is a classic case of the tail wagging the dog and not the dog wagging the tail. Maybe you would like to reconsider your decision on the IPCMC and demonstrate to the nation that you, and not the police, are running this country.
While on the subject of the police, let it be known that the police managed to reduce Pakatan Rakyat’s majority in the recent Kuala Terengganu by-election from more than 7,000 votes to a mere 2,631. And I have this on video if you would like to see the evidence. You know that the opposition’s majority in the Kuala Terengganu by-election was much higher than 2,631. And I am sure this is troubling you to no end. And I am equally sure you know that this is because the people do not want Najib Tun Razak to take over as Prime Minister in March. As much as you may try to deny this you know I am spot on.
At 3.00pm on Polling Day, the police set up ten roadblocks and no one in town could get out nor those outside town could get in. Kuala Terengganu was totally cordoned off and the traffic jams were so massive that the town was reduced to a gridlock. I was arguing with the police at three different locations and, as I said, I have this on video. At one roadblock, when the police told me that this was ‘arahan dari atas’, I responded by saying that ‘kalau orang atas bodoh dan kita ikut arahan tersebut maka kita juga bodoh’. You should have seen the police stare at me. They looked like they wanted to kill me.
By 4.00pm, voting almost ground to a halt and the 74% voter turnout troubled me. 74% was too low and since the SPR had announced earlier that morning that the voter turnout was going to be 80% I was worried that this would mean another 6% or so are going to be ‘phantom voters’. True enough, an hour later, when polling ended, the voter turnout jumped to 81%. It was later ‘adjusted’ to 79%. This means 5% to 7% additional votes came in although no one was voting any longer. This represents about 5,000 votes or thereabouts.
Say what you like, the opposition not only won the Kuala Terengganu by-election, but it won with a large majority. And this was in spite of Najib and his wife campaigning fulltime in Terengganu and the RM500 million that was committed to the by-election effort. No doubt RM400 million was spent indirectly when Najib launched the special investment fund. Nevertheless, this RM400 million was still for purposes of the by-election and no one can deny this.
Mind you, the RM500 million is just my conservative estimate. It could be more. But it still makes the Kuala Terengganu by-election the most expensive by-election in Malaysian history and yet Barisan Nasional lost, whether it was by 2,631 votes or 7,631 votes. The police air-conditioned tents alone came to RM10 million. The food, at about RM50 to RM60 per day per person over three weeks, came to another RM10 million. Then there was the outstation allowance and so on. I estimate the cost of stationing 8,000 police personnel in Kuala Terengganu over three weeks at about RM25 million to RM30 million. And it could actually be more considering the normal ‘leakages’ in government expenditure.
Then there are the many free dinners and the RM300 to RM1,000 ‘Ang Pows’ for the 80,000 or so voters. Even the press people received RM300 Ang Pows each, though none were offered to the Bloggers, for whatever reason I do not know.
Are you happy, Pak Lah, that Najib spent about RM500 million in the most expensive by-election in Malaysian history and Barisan Nasional still lost? How does this reflect on the confidence the people have in Najib? Do you know that the ‘battle-cry’ in the Kuala Terengganu by-election was the song ‘Najib Altantuya Mongolia’ sung to the tune ‘When the Saints Come Marching in’? Young Malays from the kampong who you would least expect to know this ‘Christian’ song were singing this song.
Yes, say what you like, the Kuala Terengganu by-election was not a by-election. It was a vote of no confidence against Najib. And it was the Malays who voted against Najib — and young Malays at that, Malays from the kampong. Did not Musa Hitam and Ghafar Baba, both one-time Deputy Prime Ministers, say that Umno’s strength is in the rural areas and that Umno needs to gain the support of the kampong Malays to stay in power? Well, the kampong Malays have spoken on 21 January 2009 in the Kuala Terengganu by-election. I am just not sure whether you heard them; that’s all. If you did not then I am telling you now. The young Malays from the kampong have said no to Najib. Do you still want to ignore this message and doom Umno to the political graveyard?
There is much more I need to tell you but allow me to end my open letter here, for the meantime. I now need to go attend the PKR Chinese New year open house in Kelang and go hassle Anwar Ibrahim on this Anti-ISA thing that I want the five Pakatan Rakyat states to commit themselves to.
Till we talk again, take care, as there are many surrounding you with daggers drawn — which makes Julius Caesar’s predicament a picnic by comparison. Is it not ironical that in your present situation you can trust your enemies more than your friends? Anyway, once again, Kong Hee Fatt Choy, Pak Lah.
Raja Petra Al Haj Bin Raja Kamarudin