Former President of the Republic of Maldives
Waheed has been forced to reward those who put him in power, with huge tax breaks for wealthy businessmen and fat pay raises for the security forces. As a result, the country is sliding towards bankruptcy, while vital public services such as universal health insurance are being slashed. On Sunday, Waheed’s regime announced it would press criminal charges against me for ordering the arrest of a judge in January. The judge in question, Abdullah Mohamed, stood accused of abuse of office, corruption, political bias and, in one notorious incident, instructed a small girl to act out the sex abuse she had suffered, in open court and in front of the accused. Mohamed was detained by the military after he quashed his own police arrest warrant, and used his position on the bench to halt an official investigation into his own misconduct. I know of no democracy that would passively condone such unlawful actions by a judge. Waheed’s Home Minister, Mohamed Jameel, who promised shortly after the coup that I would spend the rest of my life behind bars, has described the charges against me as “historic” and said it is the government’s “first step towards national healing.” I was recently elected as my party’s candidate for the next presidential election. But if I am convicted of these charges — which is a given, considering the political bias of the judiciary — I will conveniently be barred from standing against Waheed or his allies in any forthcoming poll. The United Nations Human Rights Committee in Geneva, which last week grilled the Maldives on its poor human rights record, had this to say of the judiciary:Tourism officials describe the Maldives as “the sunny side of life,” but for those of us who live there, an archipelago nation of 1,200 coral islands off the southern tip of India, there is a dark side to paradise. This weekend, pro-democracy activists hijacked a government tourism campaign
, tweeting that for its inhabitants, the “sunny side of life” is laced with blood, tear gas and brutal police crackdowns.
I was fortunate to be voted into office as the Maldives’ first democratically elected president in 2008, ending 30 years of one-man rule by former president Gayoom. But in February this year, I resigned from office, following a police and military mutiny
and threats from armed soldiers that they would harm me, my family, and my supporters if I did not step down within the hour. My Vice President, Mohamed Waheed Hassan, who I believe had prior knowledge of this coup d’état, quickly assumed office and stacked his administration with figures from the country’s authoritarian past. Since February, the Maldives has been in a political tailspin: the new regime has launched a violent crackdown, arresting over 700 pro-democracy activists who have been protesting for early elections and the restoration of democratic rule; Amnesty International has condemned the use of cruel, inhuman and degrading punishments
against detainees, particularly women; whileReporters Without Borders
and the Committee to Protect Journalists has decried an erosion of press freedom
. The regime has even arrested witnesses, including Members of Parliament and a former police intelligence chief, who have testified before a Commission of National Inquiry tasked with investigating February’s coup. The European Union, India, and the Commonwealth, which represents 54 countries, have all demanded early elections but Waheed refuses to heed the will of the international community, or his own people. The nation’s economy has fared little better than its politics. My administration, with the help of the IMF, managed to reduce the budget deficit from 22% of GDP in 2009 to 9% last year. But since the coup, and the ensuing chaos on the streets, tourists numbers have fallen
Lim Kit Siang challenge the Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to prove he is a responsible political leader and Malaysian nationalist when raising the spectre of May 13 wanting to prevent any recurrence and not indulging in the low- class, irresponsible, unscrupulous and contemptible double politics of fear and race to preserve UMNO/Barisan Nasional in power at all costs in the next general election.It has been reported that at a national youth conference held in Parliament yesterday, Muhyiddin called on the young generation to be united in order to ensure the country remains stable and peaceful and to avoid a repeat of the May 13, 1969 trageedy.Muhyiddin was quoted as declaring at the conference: “We don’t want May 13 repeated.”The recent statement by Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin that it is good to hold the 13th general election this year is an indication that Najib Tun Razak’s days as Prime Minister are numbered, commented PAS Bukit Gantang MP Nizar Jamaluddin.Muhyiddin has already tipped his hand and displayed his intention because his statement is in stark contrast to Najib’s statement of wanting to finish his term as Prime minister, which will only expire in April next year.According to Nizar, it is clear that there are undercurrents in UMNO as the warlords consider Najib a liability and may be attempting to oust him.Najib wants to win big and in order to do that, he wants to be sure of obtaining support from the majority of the rakyat before he calls for the polls. Therefore, he is delaying the polls in order to woo more voters.On the other hand, Muhyiddin, who is watching like a hawk, senses that the hour is at hand when he can deal a lethal blow to his boss. One cannot fault Muhyiddin for trying to seize the opportunity. And it is all due to Najib’s fickleness in regard to the polls date. Najib’s indecisiveness made him fail to call for the polls fast.And that is why till to-date no one knows when the 13th general election will be held. Instead, Najib has announced that the Sedition Act will be replaced by the National Harmony Act. This is all a waste of time. Should just get rid of the Sedition Act. Fullstop. And get the economy going. Prices of foodstuffs are soaring. Especially fish.The nation is bogged down by uncertainty as manufacturers, business owners and investors are in a quandary and financial planners are stuck as their projection has been put on hold.
As the captain of the country, Najib has to be serious in steering the ship and stop toying around with the general election date. He should get it done and finish with it before September 28 when the budget will be presented.“Perhaps he is afraid of dissolving Parliament because once he has dissolved it, he cannot undissolve it should he change his mind and this is what terrifies him the most,” opined Khalid Samad, the Shah Alam PAS MP.That is so but as the leader of the nation, he has to be decisive and not launch and unlaunch things as what had happened in the Civil Servants New Remuneration Scheme and the MAS-AirAsia share swap deal.There is much confusion for the citizens when the captain is unsure of himself. He lacks the ability to command due to his indecisiveness. But then if he is so indecisive, what about his advisers?In the meantime, the UMNO leaders are telling the Malays that if Pakatan Rakyat wins, DAP will be the powerhouse while MCA are telling the Chinese that if Pakatan wins, PAS will be the powerhouse. UMNO and MCA leaders must think that the voters are pretty stupid for not comparing notes.And as long as the polls are not called yet, it is 24-hours politicking orchestrated by BN and Pakatan has got no choice but to be dragged into the game. Actually it has been non-stop politicking since March 8, 2008. Never before has this happened in Malaysian political history.This is the first time that this is happening because Najib is insecure and paranoid with the general election date which must be causing him sleepless nights.
Has he got the courage?
He must get to grips with the date as he has promised the rakyat that his transformation plans will serve as an impetus to spur the nation forward. He must chart the course of the nation but right now he is floundering about and, if one morning he has some bright idea on what sort of goodies he wants to give to the rakyat, he gets about doing it.His whole plan is disjointed and lacks cohesion because it is all in bits and pieces. He is just playing by the ear and does not have the grand design of things in his vision. Is he adopting a wait-and-see attitude due to blur visualising?And as long as this goes on, the ordinary rakyat will be blundering in the dark and suffering because of his indecision. It is high time he put himself and the rakyat out of this agony by calling for the polls before Sept 28.Has Najib got the courage to steer the ship instead of just standing there holding on to the steering?“This is the first time in Malaysian history that we have a prime minister who is afraid of calling for the polls,” remarked Mahfuz Omar, the PAS MP for Pokok Sena in Kedah.