By Raja Petra Kamarudin of Malaysia Today
What the eye does not see
Now you see it, now you don’t. Yes, people like David Copperfield make a very good living doing silap mata. The English call it magic. Actually it is more a sleight of hand. The hand moves faster than the eye, they always say, so while they make you focus on one hand, the other hand does the ‘magic’ trick. Malays call it silap mata, which translates literally to ‘fault of the eye’. Whatever it may be, and whatever language you are comfortable with, the main gist to the whole thing is: what you see is not what you get -- or in ‘computer language’, WYSINWYG.
And today the Government of Malaysia tried doing a David Copperfield on us.
“Tuanku Mizan Regrets Claims He Supports Illegal Rally,” screamed the Bernama headlines. The Malay version said, “Tuanku Mizan Kesal Dakwaan Baginda Sokong Perhimpunan Haram.” Both versions can be read below.
Wow! To the layman this sounds very serious indeed. A very ‘high-ranking’ Istana Negara official named Datuk Wan Mohd Safiain Wan Hasan and going by the title of Datuk Pengelola Bijaya Diraja has issued a statement of behalf of The Agong. Who is this guy anyway?
Well, this guy holds the position that Jeanne Danker used to hold before she dislodged the Raja Permaisuri Agong to become Malaysia’s so-called ‘First Lady’. Actually, the Prime Minister’s wife is maybe the ‘22nd Lady’ after the Raja Permaisuri Agong, the consorts of the nine State Rulers, the four Undangs, the four Governors, followed by the few ex-Raja Permaisuri Agong still living. But the government-controlled media would like us to believe that the Federal Constitution of Malaysia is wrong in placing 21 other ladies above the Prime Minister’s wife.
This Wan Safiain chappie hails from Terengganu and works for the Prime Minister’s Department. In fact, the entire office of the Istana Negara comes under the Prime Minister’s Department. I remember relating an incident which happened way back in November 1999, a few days before the Tenth General Election.
In November 1999, I was tasked with the job of delivering a letter from Barisan Alternatif to the Istana Negara requesting an audience with The Agong then, my uncle. I delivered the letter at noon on Friday and went off to the mosque for my Friday prayers. When I went back to the office around 2.30pm there was a reply waiting for me in the fax machine turning down our request for an audience, with a suggestion that we try again after the general election. Our letter was addressed to The Agong. The reply came from the Prime Minister’s Department. The Agong never got to see the letter and was not even aware that one had been sent. And that was probably the fastest reply ever from a government department in Malaysia’s entire history.
So now we know how the Istana Negara office works. The office comes under the Prime Minister’s Department and the people in that office are planted there by the Prime Minister’s Department to be the eyes, ears and sometimes mouth of the government as well. And today we saw an example of how it has become the mouth of the government. Today’s announcement by the Datuk Pengelola Bijaya Diraja, not the Keeper of the Royal Seal but the Keeper of the Royal Linen a la Jeanne Danker before she became ‘First Lady’, is a prime example of how these plants from the Prime Minister’s Department are the eyes, ears and mouth of the government.
That is why it was not wise to quietly deliver the BERSIH Memorandum to The Agong. If that had been done, then the Memorandum would have been hijacked and would have been diverted to the Prime Minister’s Department instead -- and The Agong would have never seen it. And that was also why it was necessary for 100,000 citizens to march to the Istana Negara to ‘escort’ the Memorandum -- although only 50,000 eventually got through because they sealed off all the roads into Kuala Lumpur which resulted in one of the worst traffic jams in history.
This Datuk Pengelola Bijaya Diraja chappie is a most unpopular personality in the Palace office. Everyone in the Palace office knows he has been planted there as the eyes and ears of the government. And his job is not only to keep a watch on things and report back to the Prime Minister’s office whatever is happening in the Palace, but he has also been tasked with the job of frustrating every effort of The Agong in interacting with the rakyat (citizens).
Today’s press announcement did not come from The Agong. It did not even come from the Keeper of the Royal Seal whose job it is to make official statements on behalf of The Agong. It came from a glorified chamber maid planted in the Palace as an enemy in the blanket. These are the worst kind of slime-balls and scumbags. They smile and call you friend. Then they stick a dagger in your back.
100,000 rakyat wanted to meet their Monarch that afternoon of Saturday, 10 November 2007. The Agong did not say no. The Agong will never say no to 100,000 rakyat who wish for an audience with His Majesty. The Agong just wanted to know how many people will be representing the 100,000 rakyat and what their names are.
The Agong also realised that the government will certainly try to frustrate the effort of the 100,000 rakyat who wished for an audience with His Majesty. And this did happen. The government said that a police permit would be required and that the organisers should apply for one. So the organisers did, but the application was rejected. And the government warned that if the 100,000 rakyat still insisted on pursuing the march then the government would retaliate with force. And the government did as promised.
When the first volley was fired on the assembled marchers around the Masjid Jamek-Masjid India area, word was passed down the line that the 19th Brigade of the Royal Malay Regiment or Regimen Askar Melayu Di-Raja (RAMD) was on stand-bye, to move in if there are any fatal casualties. Fourteen armoured cars (kereta perisai) had earlier arrived from Sungai Petani and were parked at the Sungai Buloh military camp, ready to roll at a minute’s notice. It would take them ten or fifteen minutes to arrive at the scene of any violence against the rakyat.
Panic buttons were pressed and alarm bells rung. This had happened once on 13 May 1969 in Kampong Baru. The Royal Malay Regiment is not one to mess around with. The Agong is their Commander-in-Chief and soldiers are trained to obey their Commander-in-Chief at no consequence to their own lives.
The police backed off. They were reduced to traffic control where those positioned at junctions stopped cars to allow the marchers to safely cross the road. The RAMD remained on standby and the next morning the fourteen kereta perisai quietly slipped out of Sungai Buloh and went home.
This has worried the government. The Agong did not say he did not wish to meet the representatives of the 100,000 marchers. He in fact asked for their names. And when the government issued threats of violence against the marchers, the 19th Brigade of the RAMD was brought into Kuala Lumpur with fourteen kereta perisai. This was The Agong’s way of saying that if you shoot the marchers, just like you did in Batu Burok in front of The Agong’s palace in Kuala Terengganu, then all hell will break loose.
So the government backed off. They had no choice. The 100,000 rakyat wanted to meet The Agong and His Majesty had said yes. And the 19th Brigade of the RAMD came to town to ensure that yes means yes.
Abdullah Ahmad Badawi issued a decree at the Umno General Assembly the day before the Saturday, 10 November 2007, march. He said he ‘pantang dicabar’. This translates to mean he is allergic to being challenged. And his son-in-law, Khairy Jamaluddin, asked the police to arrest all the marchers. Yes, arrest all the marchers. Arrest all 1,000 of them! Arrest all 2,000 of them! Hey, even if it is 5,000, arrest all 5,000 of them. But wow, it is 50,000 with another 50,000 on the way. How to arrest 50,000, or 100,000 if the other 50,000 reach Kuala Lumpur?
Oops, forget about arresting them. 50,000 is too large a number to arrest. There are not enough trucks to ferry 50,000 and not enough jails to house 50,000 people. Instead, close all the roads leading into Kuala Lumpur. Seal off Kuala Lumpur and not allow anyone in. Let it remain 50,000. Don’t allow it to grow to 100,000. Then we will announce we won. We will announce that the march failed and the ‘illegal demonstrators’ were prevented from assembling at Dataran Merdeka.
Shit, now we are told that they never intended to assemble in Dataran Merdeka in the first place. The Dataran Merdeka thing was a decoy, a Red Herring. They wanted the police to assemble in Dataran Merdeka so that they can march unhindered to the Istana Negara. We were tricked. They won. We lost.
Okay, all is not lost. We can still announce that The Agong is not happy with the march. We will announce that The Agong did not agree to the march. We will announce that The Agong did not consent to the march. That will give the perception that we won and the 100,000 marchers lost. And we will get the head of housekeeping to make that announcement. After all, he is our plant in the Palace. He is our man and on our payroll. And, since he carries this very impressive title, no one will know he is just in charge of making the beds and not actually anyone important.
Oh yeah? Well, Malaysia Today knows. And Malaysia Today knows that most in the Istana Negara regard him as a slime-ball and a scumbag. And anything he who makes the beds says does not matter as long as it is not The Agong himself who said it. Try again guys. Maybe you will have better luck next time. And please, don’t ask that slime-ball and scumbag to make any statements if you want us to believe that it is really The Agong who is saying it.
What in the name of heaven and hell is someone with obvious political interests (an UMNO membership) doing in the Istana Negara??