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Sedition charges a smokescreen for a coup in Selangor

Mariam Mokhtar

Selangor is the prized gem in the crown jewels. The treasury is low on funds, corruption has sapped our economic life-blood, there is much opposition to the GST, our international image is dented and cronies are calling in their dues.Selangor, with its RM3 billion honey-pot, looks increasingly attractive. The recent, unprecedented blitz on Malaysians, on trumped-up charges of sedition, is possibly a prelude to Umno-Baru, retaking Selangor. This is Malaysia, the land of endless possibilities.

The Umno-Baru modus operandi is predictable. Anyone who stands in the way of the party’s advance and grip on power, is either silenced, imprisoned or deported. Umno-Baru is good at distracting the public and diverting our attention from their plots and schemes.

There are three things which usually trigger a crackdown on dissenters. One. The Umno-Baru general assembly is approaching and Najib Abdul Razak needs to flex his political muscles to show that he is the boss. Two. Umno-Baru wants to bury bad news. Three. Umno-Baru has a crooked plan up its sleeve.

The Umno-Baru party political conference is approaching and Najib’s ministers use this occasion to prove their worth. Last year, the new Home Minister, Zahid Hamidi demonstrated his golden credentials with his attack on non-Malays, his warning to alternative media journalists and his defence of violent gangs, like Tiga Line.

Umno-Baru knows how to instill fear. Cast your mind back, over the years.

In 2008, when he was the prime-minister-in-waiting, Najib sensed Anwar’s threat to his premiership. Najib recalled that in 1998, former PM Mahathir Mohamad felt threatened by his deputy. A soiled mattress was dragged into court, in the infamous Sodomy I trial. Side shows were provided by the Virgin Queen, Ummi Hafilda Ali, and her damning allegations about Anwar.

In 2011, Umno-Baru’s seedy plots, were much the same as before. The only change was the principal boy. Saiful Bukhari stepped into the limelight and paraded his semen stained briefs (his underwear not his barristers) and rectal swabs through the court. Despite their prominence in the mainstream media, these are mere distractions.

Najib, had to win GE-13, even if it meant assassinating the character of a political foe. Both Mahathir and Najib were consumed by the corrupting power of unbridled ambition. Moral constraints mean nothing to either of them.

Umno-Baru leaders have perfected the art of gutter politics, because of their fascination with sex and salacious gossip. Ummi Hafilda is the perfect agent provocateur. She was a distraction in the Kerdau and Merlimau by-elections in 2011, and also before the verdict of the Sodomy II trial, in January 2012. Whenever Anwar scores a political point, it is almost guaranteed that a sex video will emerge.

People must wonder why Malaysia, with its population of 30 million, has only one sodomist, who has been dragged through the courts, with monotonous regularity for two decades.

In May 2012, Suaram confirmed that the French judicial probe into the Scorpene scandal had evolved from a “civil complaint” into a “criminal investigation”. When other corruption cases started to rock the Umno-Baru boat, the rakyat was distracted by the claim that Bersih’s sit-down protest was a plot to topple the government. Najib accused Bersih 3.0 of wanting to turn Dataran Merdeka into Tahrir Square.

In 2013, Najib’s erstwhile Home minister, Hishammuddin Hussein said the Suluks were “a bunch of old men on a picnic”. When members of the rakyat and Opposition politicians questioned Najib’s leadership skills, (it was many weeks before Najib broke his silence on the invasion) sedition charges were brought against them.

Last December, Zahid alleged that PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu, aka Mat Sabu, was a Shiite. The Shiite community in Malaysia was hounded by the authorities. Despite not being arrested or charged in court, Zahid told Mat Sabu to prove his innocence. In Najib’s 1-Malaysia, people are guilty until proven innocent.

Mat Sabu had been targeted to distract the rakyat from the collapse of a ceiling in the Serdang hospital, the structural defects in the KLIA2 complex, the proposed rise in road toll charges, the GST, the excessive spending by ministerial spouses, the increased cost of living, illicit outflows of money and a lousy Malaysian education rating. Then, the Allah issue blew up in Selangor. Using religion to distract the rakyat from these issues was a dangerous game!

The IGP, another insecure individual who had to show his power, alleged that the 2013 New Year celebrations at Dataran Merdeka, was a plot to overthrow the government.

In Terengganu, the problems caused by the resignation of the former mentri besar were resolved within days, amid rumours which were damaging to both Umno-Baru and Najib. Najib is aware that he had to quell dissent among Umno-Baru members and show he is in charge, because he knows the damage which can be caused by a prolonged power vacuum in a party.

The sedition sideshow shows the desperation of the government; but whilst we are distracted by it, we may wake up to find that Umno-Baru has taken over Selangor.