by Din Merican
On February 24, Center for Strategic and International Studies based in Washington DC will host several representatives of the UMNO ruling party for a “seminar” on Governance and the Rule of Law in Malaysia & Malaysian Legislative Initiatives. The program is as follows according to an email I received from CSIS Senior Advisor for Southeast Asia Ernie Bower (Partner at BrooksBowerAsia).
As an aside I have met Ernie and found him to be a reasonable person just trying to make a dollar in Asia, but I am somewhat surprised that even he would stoop so low as to share a stage with this group. In 2004 there is a statement attributed to him “Though [Ernie] Bower and [Karen] Brooks are close to many ASEAN leaders, they said they would not act as a lobby group or as “agents” for Southeast Asian governments in Washington. That’s obviously not true.
Here is a copy of the email:
Those of you who wish to attend, or register a protest,
please send an email to SoutheastAsia@csis.org
or call Mary Beth Whyel at +12027753278.
Don’t abuse her though…she’s just the messenger.
The invite says “CSIS Malaysia is honored to invite you to a presentation and discussion with a panel of leading Malaysian officials with the responsibility for the legislative agenda, parliamentary affairs, governance, rule of law and anti-corruption initiatives in Malaysia.”
Of course its nothing new for K street think tanks to be used by lobbyists for political stunts like this. [Read this article on Democracy Now] This is what companies like APCO promise when they receive contacts in the amount of RM 20 million. They promise to place your client in prominent speaking venues in Washington DC and get you meetings with key political figures.
So on this trip we should not be surprised that Nazri, Gani and Abdul Hamid will try to pay calls on Capitol Hill to Senator John Kerry, Congressman Richard Berman, and whoever else is willing to open their doors to these groveling dogs.
If they were sent to talk about rule of law and governance then the topic of their lecture should be the the decreipt condition of Malaysia’s judiciary starting with the 1988 Crisis, followed by the handling of Anwar IBrahims 1998 trial and then the most embarrassing incident of the VK Lingam tape, which led to the findings of a Royal Commission confirming that there is political and corporate interference in the appointment of judges and decision of cases.
They should admit that nothing has been done to restore confidence in the system and some paltry reforms that have been made are inconsequential. They should talk about how corporations in Malaysia prefer to have their disputes resolved in Singapore or Hong Kong courts. They should talk about Perak and the illegal overthrow of a democratically elected government.
Instead, these individuals will talk about the Judicial Appointments Commission and the revised MACC laws passed a year ago. They will pat themselves on the back for three minutes and then immediately start their barrage of attacks on Anwar Ibrahim, who they will say is being tried under the laws of Malaysia and will be given a fair trial.
I am all for free speech and the Malaysian government should be allowed to represent its position. But to send government officials to basically go lobby K street on behalf of Saiful Bukhari is pretty pathetic. I don’t think it’s a good use of taxpayer dollars and I do think it makes a further mockery of our government and the elected officials in the Barisan Nasional.
APCO, I’m very disappointed. You’ve been at it for a year now. And this is all you have to show for it? By the end of 2010 it is a fact that the nail will be hammered into the coffin of 1Malaysia. Najib will continue to cower in front of foreign media over his inability to answer questions about caning, church bombings, murdered Mongolians, submarines that don’t sink, 2 missing jet-engines and Anwar’s trial. Malaysia’s reputation will continue to sink and slide, money will continue to leave the country and Malaysians will continue to migrate overseas.
And the best you can do is send Gani Patail to talk about the Rule of Law? Really? You sent the former head of the MACC to talk about anti-corruption the same week that the autopsy of Teoh Beng Hock is being released? Why don’t you send Musa Hasan as well to talk about how crime rates have increased geometrically in the last decade and prisoners are routinely killed and abused while in custody? And maybe throw in a few officials involved in human trafficking? Do you think the Americans are that dumb to not see through this charade?
And then to top it off you have JJ (Jamaludin Jaris) there as well. The racist, butt pinching representative of the Malaysian people in America.
Right now Malaysia’s foreign policy consists of one thing and one thing only and that is demonising Anwar Ibrahim and spending as much money as they can to compete with his strong international networking. It’s not a surprise that MPs and politicians around the world with a shred of credibility are speaking out in his favour. He has cultivated strong relationships over the last three decades premised on a commitment to some basic principles of good governance, pluralism and democracy.
I look forward to hearing back from my friends in Washington DC how this event goes. I expect US media to be present and to grill these clowns. I expect friends and supporters of Anwar Ibrahim, KeADILan and Pakatan Rakyat to be present and show strength. I don’t expect anyone in the policy making establishment to take this delegation seriously. I expect CSIS to make some easy money in hosting this event. And we’ll be laughed at even more as the useless trial to incarcerate Anwar Ibrahim slogs on.
Sumber: Din Merican
Pejabat Ketua Angkatan Muda Keadilan