I was moved to tears when you said: "I felt my eyes stinging. I could not see clearly and had to remove my glasses." But this could be a blessing in disguise. You will now be able to empathise with those, who, like you, want to speak the truth but have to suffer a similar or more cruel consequence.
You were so right when you declared "This is not the Malaysian way." But you may not be accurate when you said: "We are a non-violent people." Remember how a former top cop had opened wide the door to violence with his near-lethal assault on the former deputy PM in the sanctuary of Bukit Aman?
Stories abound and some even suggest that the spray-incident was self-inflicted. I hope you will understand where these people are coming from. They are only seriously considering all possibilities just like you did, when you said the black eye injury suffered by Anwar Ibrahim was self-inflicted.
I was quite relieved when I read that the pepper spray was not intended for you. The incident was said to have been linked to rivalry between two groups of your supporters over who should chauffeur you to your hotel! I am sure you are quite used to this very useful "I-use-you-you-use-me" culture.
One of the groups was led by Ibrahim Ali - the great Katak of Kelantan. He has hopped back into prominence and is all hopped-up about traveling with you throughout Bolehland. He was hopping mad over the incident, called it "an act of sabotage" and blamed it on the leader of the other group.
Within hours you bounced back peppering the government with your snide remarks and sarcastic swipes. The powers that be found what you had served them, too pepper-hot to swallow. Soon after that, the Minister of Information went into a delirium and a verbal diarrhea about controlling the Internet.
It was the best ever wayang kulit in Kelantan - a recalcitrant retired PM speaking to political dinosaurs and moonstricken mullahs of a party badly mauled in the last elections and who, as Tengku Razaleigh has so rightly put it, are only preoccupied with their party's survival than running Kelantan.
Never mind even if some have called your meeting at the hotel a political hotchpotch of has-beens, hoppers, and hypocrites. The fact that you had addressed a full-house in Kelantan who were all ears, was undoubtedly a miracle - one as great as the cow jumping over the moon.
Never mind if you have not kept your initial promise of not interfering in the government. (Not many of us expected you to, anyway.)Your resolve to "dig until (you) find the source of the worms" and to persistently pepper the government with questions, has won the praise of some of the people.
In the midst of your new role to "deworm" the government, and to keep on churning out questions - whatever the answers - perhaps you could also find the time to attend to the increasing number of questions posed to you and which have wiggled their way out since your retirement?
Ani Arope, ex-chief of Tenaga, felt enlightened enough to blame you for the one-sided contracts awarded to the independent power producers (IPPs), with Tenaga being arm-twisted to accept onerous terms. Anwar Ibrahim has revealed that you were one of the key players in foreign exchange (forex) speculations resulting in losses of up to RM30 billion.
Tajuddin Ramli has alleged that you and Diam had directed him to sell back to the government MAS shares (resulting in a profit of RM1.8 billion) to help recover from foreign exchange losses. As Proton's advisor, I hope you have a copy of the Pricewaterhouse Cooper Report on the Mismanagement of Proton Holdings (1996-2005), which The Edge has called "Proton's Can of worms".
Your legacy is beginning to show, Tun - worms, warts and all. The chickens have come home to roost, but you refuse to allow anyone to ruffle your feathers. In spite of the increasingly evident flaws and failures of your 22-year-old government you deem yourself worthy enough to label the present three-year-old government "half-past-six". Alas, this contradiction is more stinging to the eyes than a pepper spray. You have complained that you have been deprived of the right to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association with others. You are scandalized by the muzzled press. But all these are a great part of your legacy Tun - and of which you are now a privileged beneficiary.
You were so right in saying that Pak Lah should not hide behind the OSA. You should know - 22 years of such a practice is more than enough. You need not worry at all about the possibility of being detained under the ISA. It is meant only for those bold enough to suffer for what they believe in.
I cannot help but wonder dear Tun, what would you do if the roles were reversed, i.e., if you were the new PM and Pak Lah the former PM. You would probably sack him from UMNO or pronounce him a homosexual and drag him to court to make him "irrelevant", or offer him a lucrative job overseas, say, in the UN? You may even get the police to point a water cannon straight into his face?
When Pak Lah began as PM he had asked the nation to tell him the truth. Three years later the nation is asking him to tell the truth. When you retired you promised not to "interfere". Now you insist that Pak Lah should resign. And both of you are slugging it out for the love of the nation!
Can there be a more exciting and entertaining moment than this? The citizens of Bolehland should just sit back and relax and watch the drama that continues in true Umno-fashion - a script filled with tall tales, telling characters, threats, taunts and (political) thrills and spills and even tears. Please pass the salt and pepper!
- Martin Jalleh - 9 August 2006 - Forwarded by Kelapa Muda