Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Daim praises Najib's Honesty in sending that SMS Sincerity in Saving the Child Rapist

The latest installment in a long saga of smears against Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim is afoot, even as his second trial for alleged sodomy drags on. Three anonymous men calling themselves the "datuk trio," now exposed and under police investigation, showed a group of hand-picked journalists a video purporting to depict the former deputy prime minister having sex with a female prostitute a month earlier. The three said their motivation was to "show the truth." But as with past attacks on Mr Anwar, the timing is politically significant: Snap elections are expected later this year.
The way in which the tape became public is also suspicious. Many of the invited journalists proceeded to impugn Mr Anwar without revealing the identity and motivations of the tape's owners. Nor did they determine whether the tape was doctored, or other details of its provenance. Mr Anwar's denials that he is the man on the tape, and his defense that he was busy posting on the Internet on the night in question, have been given short shrift by the country's mainstream media outlets, many of which are owned by the government and the parties in the ruling coalition.
Dirty-tricks campaigns like poison-pen letters are depressingly common in Malaysia. But public skepticism about the ever-lengthening list of allegations against Mr Anwar suggests they may no longer have the power they once did to ruin political careers. Alternative sources of information are developing, and as Malaysians become better informed they are more independent-minded. If Mr Anwar can convince Malaysians that he is not the man on the tape, this latest attack will only make him stronger, since it will bolster the belief at home and abroad that he is the victim of politically motivated persecution.
That would spell bad news for the ruling United Malays National Organization, which says it has nothing to do with the sex tape. Its support has been slipping away in the Malay heartland, leaving the ruling coalition vulnerable. In the March 2008 general elections, the opposition substantially increased its seats and polled 46.8% of the popular vote. Mr Anwar then came close to toppling the government by enticing MPs to defect from the government benches. Prime Minister Najib Razak has since managed to rally government forces, but this could be a temporary reprieve. UMNO is vulnerable to complaints that corruption scandals such as that over the funding of Port Klang are occurring on its watch.
The transfer of power might have happened much sooner but for Mr Anwar's conviction for sodomy in 1998. He served six years in prison before the Supreme Court reversed a verdict that had become a stain on the country's body politic—the defendant was beaten in custody by the inspector general of police, evidence was inconsistent and witnesses were found to have been coerced. So it's understandable that many Malaysians regarded the latest case with skepticism—especially given irregularities in the investigation, such as the lack of medical evidence and delay in collecting DNA evidence.
Mr Anwar has maintained his innocence, but the pressure has taken its toll. While even the Islamist PKS party dismissed the latest sodomy allegations and affirmed Mr Anwar's leadership at first, the opposition coalition has been fracturing and losing by-elections in recent months.
Many Malaysians have had enough of dirty tricks. But Mr Anwar still faces an uphill struggle to convince a majority that despite all the smears he is a worthy leader.

Just like Sodomy II, this latest sex video is about distraction. The grainy sex video showed a man performing sexual acts with a woman. The idea was to identify the man as Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim and hence discredit him. The main aim behind this video was to distract Malaysians from issues that affect the nation. Another was to divert the attention of Sarawakians from concentrating on the problems that will influence the state elections.
Malaysia is in deep trouble and after 53 years, BN has milked the country dry and divided a once harmonious nation.
The three Umno dim-wits who fabricated lies was never a good idea. But then, who would expect Umno to win the hearts and minds of the people using intellect?
People who are blinded by power can never see where they have gone wrong. Najib who is so fussy over image, seems to be blinded by his own greed and self-importance. Of only he could see who forms his Cabinet, heads the GLCs or Umno institutions, past and present.
The ringleader of this latest sex video is Rahim Tamby Chik. He is the disgraced, former Chief minister of Malacca who allegedly raped a minor and then had to resign. The underage girl’s grandmother sought a DAP MP’s help to bring Rahim Thamby to trial. That just shows how much trust ordinary Malays have in the elected Umno Malays. The DAP MP was himself thrown into prison. Did any of the other Umno Malays come to the defense of the girl?
Perhaps, the following questions should be incorporated in the history curriculum at school.
Who was the onetime UMNO deputy home affairs minister, who was allegedly implicated in the murder of a young woman? He is just like a current serving minister who is allegedly accused of rape. The widespread gossip connecting this onetime Umno deputy home affairs minister with the murder didn't do his political career any harm. He was ultimately named Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister in the late 90s although he lost his parliamentary seat two years later and retired from politics.
Who was the Chief Minister who had an affair with a girl who eventually gave birth to an illegitimate child? He also kept an under-aged mistress at a condominium in Kuala Lumpur. In 2003, he was also rumored to be involved with the death of another attractive young woman was found murdered in an apartment in a Kuala Lumpur suburb. Although another individual was arrested and charged with the murder, he was later declared not guilty and no one else was ever charged. The inspector general of police, Mohd Bakri Omar, classified the case under Malaysia's Official Secrets Act and no details were ever released.
Who was the non-politician but Umno mouthpiece who had an affair with a young girl while his wife lay paralysed in bed?
Who was the Chief Minister who eloped to Thailand to secretly marry his second wife?
Who is the Federal Minister who was caught with a female artiste in a Port Dickson hotel?
Who is the Federal Minister whose brother was arrested for drug trafficking?
Which Federal Minister had an affair with someone else’s wife and this eventually resulted in a broken marriage?
Which religious leader had an illicit affair and who now holds a prominent position in a very important government religious body?
Which Chief Minister had an affair with his sister-in-law who then gave birth to an illegitimate child?
Who is the son of the prominent politician who was implicated in the 2007 death of a beautiful Indian actress? The woman's body was cremated almost immediately after her death.
Who is the minister who was implicated in Malaysia’ own deep throat sexploits and would put Emmanuel to shame?
Who is the current serving cabinet minister who is accused of raping his maid?
Who is the current MP who betrayed his first wife by marrying a young starlet? His second marriage was not blessed by a recognized person of the court official and he himself is reknowned for using gutter langauge in the Dewan Rakyat ?
Which Malaysian Ambassador has been guilty of sexually exploiting women?
With ministers like these in Najib’s Sex Cabinet line-up, how could the rakyat trust the government, its courts, the police and its ministers?
Very few of the privileged elite who make up the politically powerful and rich in Malaysia ever get punished.
Now we know why BN maintains its iron grip on Malaysians so that they can continue plundering the country and robbing its rakyat. That is what BN fears most – Anwar and Pakatan.

Among the people I find most interesting in the world of development data are data visualisers: economists, statisticians and political scientists who present data in ways that radically change the way you think about the world.

My hands-down all-time favourite is Bob Sutcliffe's lovely book 100 Ways Of Seeing An Unequal World. My favourite graph in the book is one called "The Unequal City" (scroll down to number 17). The graph plots the income share by decile of the world's countries in a three-dimensional chart, so that the spread resembles a block of buildings in a city center, some low-rise and some very high-rise. The world's richest people, then, live on the top floors of each of those blocks, and the richest of them all live on the tops of the highest rises. It doesn't take much imagination to see all the metaphorical possibilities in that one!

Another rock star in the world of development data visualization is the enormously energetic and entertaining Hans Rosling of the brilliant websiteGapminder. (Warning: I have lost entire afternoons playing with that one.) Gapminder's principal contribution is that it is able to show a more dynamic and comparative view of changes in income, health and other development indicators than conventional statistics often allow.

Which brings me to the latest image that's changing the way people view the world, or the economic world at the very least (hat tip: Bill Easterly). This one comes from London School of Economics professor Danny Quah and demonstrates the eastward shift in the world's "economic center of gravity".
(Black dots represent shift in global economic centre of gravity up to 2007. Red dots represent projected shift up to 2050. Source: Quah, 2011)

Quah takes into account all the GDP produced on the planet to show that "in 1980 the global economy's centre of gravity was mid-Atlantic. By 2008, from the continuing rise of China and the rest of East Asia, that centre of gravity had drifted to a location east of Helsinki and Bucharest." Quah extrapolates growth in almost 700 locations across Earth, to project that "the world's economic centre of gravity [will] locate by 2050 literally between India and China."
Read Quah’s whole article here. It’s fascinating stuff.

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