How low will Umno-BN go in order to win the upcoming 13th general election? Perhaps if there are enough Malaysians who make their anger against the injustice to Altantuya known, and Umno-BN realises how desperate the electoral situation is for them, they may consider the ultimate move of winning in perception contest by charging the one perceived to be linked with the case.
The history is clear. On Feb 12, 2004, the then Land and Co-operative Development Minister, Kasitah Gaddam, was charged in court for corruption. On Mar 31, 2004, Umno-BN called for 11th general election (and it won Abdullah Badawi a landslide victory).
On Aug 12, 2009, after dragging on for more than 5 years, Kasitah Gaddam was acquitted when the court decided that the prosecution has failed to prove a prima facie case against the ex-minister. Note that the case has even failed at the prima facie stage, and yet it attracted (or rather, should I say, being played up with) such an unprecedented publicity. All for the positive perception of Umno-BN.
Likewise is the case of Khir Toyo yesterday. And it's an insult to the intelligence of the rakyat. To think that by merely charging the ex-menteri besar of Selangor with corruption is enough to rid the long-established culture of corruption associated with Umno-BN is like slapping on the wrist of a child and think that he/she would grow up a well-behaved adult.
Worse, charging Khir Toyo now only after he has been arrogantly roaming about freely for years even after his disastrous defeat in 2008 is only raising our anger level. It is reminding us of how criminals of political class are even more privileged and protected than ordinary, law-abiding citizens.
And the show put up by Khir Toyo himself worsens it. Look at how he came to the sessions court guarded by a car load of security detail, wearing his insulting smile at all of us.
If Najib's administration could spend RM36 million of public money on American consultancy firm McKinsey and Co to make it look good, it should consider spending a few millions to hire a Hollywood director to make the 'Khir Toyo' show more convincing.
I would imagine putting Khir Toyo on the orange colour 'lokap' uniform, with a little make-up on his face for some injury usually suffered by victims of Polis Raja Di-Malaysia. And remind Khir Toyo not to wear any smile but to bow his head all the time. Better still, cover his head with a paper bag. He should feel so ashamed of himself that he must act like he wants to hide his face.
No, Khir Toyo's performance yesterday morning just gave everything away. His look of confidence and ‘business as usual’ is telling us the disgusting reality: he would just be another 'Kasitah Gaddam' in a few years.
He would keep his mansion (and all other dirty fortune that he has amassed for himself over the years). The 'deal' must have been struck within Umno: you are now useful to put up a show of anti-corruption and we guarantee you a safe retirement.
Interestingly at the session court yesterday, a minor show was also played out, between the subordinate (the sessions court judge) and the boss (the attorney-general). The truth is, a session court judge is a civil servant reporting to the attorney-general. For him to bypass the convention by taking on the case directly himself, the attorney-general has created undue pressure on the judge and left the case in the hands of himself effectively.
In case you naively think that it means the prosecution will win the case and thus convict Khir Toyo, the reverse is more likely the case - to ensure the case goes the way the 'deal' has determined.
While the show is on and the mainstream media goes on its high gear of spinning in the days to come, we must not forget that the agency responsible in the investigation of this case is MACC, which has had its hands tinted with blood of Teoh Beng Hock. The highly controversial 'suicide note' and the performance of its lawyer in the recent rounds of inquest proceedings come to mind. We can already see a body of judiciary interested in selective justice.
And we also must not forget the infamous lawyer, VK Lingam, who continues to roam free despite the damning report against him by the Royal Commission of Inquiry. And those who squandered billions of public funds from the PKFZ scandal. And so on and so forth.
And on the other extreme of things, we have the continued persecution of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim through the trumped up charges of sodomy.
About the idea of parading on stage, perhaps the right sequence, in the order of usefulness for perception, might go like this: MCA president Chua Soi Lek for being caught on video having unnatural sex and watching porn (not that I am condoning the law against unnatural sex), Sarawak chief minister Taib Mahmud for corruption, and chief of it all, prime minister Najib for the allegations of a connection between him and the Altantuya murder.