Friday 21 September 2012

Suaram hounded, harassed for trying to expose corruption — P Ramakrishnan

SEPT 20 — The only crime committed by Suaram – it seems – it had dared to expose the massive corruption involving the Ministry of Defence when the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, was the defence minister.

The purchase of the Scorpene submarines is a scandal that can be termed as the mother of all scandals.

It cost taxpayers hundreds of million ringgit; it cost a Mongolian beauty her very life; it had caused the disappearance of records from the immigration system involving Altantuya’s entry into Malaysia; it led to a mystery over the release of the C4 explosives without authorisation to blow up a human body into smithereens; it perpetuated the puzzle regarding the conviction of two police personnel who had no motive to commit murder; it freed Razak Baginda, the lover of the murdered Mongolian beauty, without the prosecution appealing this bewildering court decision.

All this and the hidden hands of those involved in this scandal are in danger of being exposed with the case coming up in the French court. It is this fear, according to many thinking Malaysians, that has set the ball rolling to demonise and harass Suaram without let up.

It is clearly a political decision, some argue, to go after Suaram and divert attention from the real issues of massive corruption.

It is no secret that Suaram was registered as a company. Its annual reports and statement of accounts, one would presume, have been regularly submitted to the Registrar of Companies as required by law. Otherwise the law would have gone after them especially when the group  are known to be a pain in the BN’s butt.

Their source of income and lawful activities are an open book for those who cared to scrutinise. It is unlikely that the government would have shut an eye if there was anything questionable or deserving prosecution.

We wonder why nothing was suspected about their activities all these years. How come nothing was wrong with their functioning as a human rights organisation before this political furore broke out? Why were no questions raised regarding their sources of funding before this?

For more than two decades, what they did and received was not an issue – it had never been! They were recognised as a legitimate society operating in the open for the good of the country.

So why did it suddenly become an issue? Why the turn of events now? Is it because Suaram had decided to pursue the reeking corruption in the purchase of the Scorpene submarines? Is it because names and identities of the unsavoury characters who have been robbing the country and plundering the national coffers have to be protected and hidden from public exposure? That seems to be the case.

The BN, as perceived by many, has never gone out of its way to curb and eradicate corruption. In fact it has gone with a vengeance after whistle-blowers who had on many occasions the temerity to expose horrendous corruption in public life.

The recent example of PKR’s Rafizi Ramli is a case in point. He exposed the RM250m National Feedlot Corporation (NFCorp) scandal. He has been charged in court for this. He is also facing four charges under the Banking and Financial Institutions Act (Bafia) relating to the NFCorp exposé.

Well, with the 13th General Election imminent, the ongoing investigation by the French court into the procurement of the Scorpene submarines threatens to blow the lid off the closely guarded corruption. Many heads, for sure, will roll. Many so-called respectable persons will be exposed as imposters and avaricious politicians. This will cost the Barisan Nasional the elections.

This is the only reason why Suaram is being hounded and harassed.

But thinking Malaysians will not be fooled. They know what is happening. They know the track record of the BN. They know it is time for change!

It seems, to stop corruption, you must defeat the BN!

P Ramakrishnan, immediate past president, now serves on the Aliran Executive Committee

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