It does not matter where you are nowadays, Uruguay, Chile or the USA, news on anything will reach you in such a jiffy that anything happening in this world will and can inform you in relatively real time.
Immediately after a seminar organised by the Center or International and International Studies (CSIS) titled “On Governance & Rule of Law in Malaysia & Malaysian Legislative Initiatives”, held in Washington DC, the United States on 24th February, 2010, I received an e-mail summary of the conference and I pretty much understood the ramifications of the respectable CSIS sponsored seminar attended by Malaysian politicians from both the opposition and the ruling parties members of parliament.
The communication I received via e-mail stated that the conference, chaired by a respectable no-nonsense CSIS’ Southeast Asian studies director Ernest Bower, was a meeting described as a window of opportunity for at least 50 influential Americans to hear information on Malaysia’s legal reform programs, the Rule of Law in Malaysia and on how the Malaysian government is combating corruption and graft, and the method used to counter this scourge.
Unfortunately for me, I noticed a name that leaves a bad taste in my mouth; the name is Malott, John Malott. He was one cantankerous and one of the most un-diplomatic US Ambassador to Malaysia, under the Bill Clinton administration, tha I have ever met. I had the misfortune to attend one of his press conferences at the US Embassy in which he lambasted the Malaysian government under Tun Mahathir without compunction.
He accused the Mahathir administration of trying to victimize former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim and also claimed a “Malaysian citizen “ sent a bomb threats to the US Embassy, to which I asked: “How did you know that they were Malaysian, sir?” To which he replied: “By his accent.” And I said: “You are kidding me right, because anybody can fake an accent!” and to which he relented by saying “I supposed you are right….” Malott was so anti-Malaysia I was wondering why he was even an ambassador to Malaysia with his belligerent stance and all.
On February 24th 2010, in Washington DC this moron was at it again defending a man who was charged with sodomy that has nothing to do with the government. I was told a Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz handled the event impressively and did not lose his head with irrelevant questions about the issue of the word “Allah” by Catholics, and comparisons between Anwar Ibrahim and Ang Sang Syu Kyi?? No sir there is no any comparison to be made.
Anwar Ibrahim is being charged with sodomy, a charge brought about by another private citizen and thus the due process of the law has to take over. If it didn’t, that would be corrupt. Syu Kyi IS a political prisoner in her own country! Apart from Malott, other hostile questions also came from representatives of Amnesty International, but Nazri took them on with a stride and finesse.
An example of Nazri’s responses to hostile questions was when he stated the fact of the matter in Anwar’s case was no one from the government was looking forward to it, or desired or needed to prosecute his case was in response to a complaint brought by a victim, thus setting into motion a process that had to be respected.
In answering on the “Allah” issue, Nazri described the background history of the Malays and their relationship with Islam and logically brought the argument forward to the current insistence of the Catholics use of the word Allah in its newsletter, and the reasons for the government’s appeal on the usage of the word. I was also told that a Malaysiakini reporter was at the meeting and took photographs and then was told the conference was off the record, but the story came out in another news portal namely Malaysia Today.
The Malaysian Ambassador to the US Datuk Seri Dr Jamaluddin Jarjis also took the opportunity to say that the conference was a fantastic opportunity for the American audience to hear Malaysian officials’ point of view, for far too long many have heard half truths or lies told about Malaysia. It was also mentioned that the seminar was a testament to the fact of strong bilateral relations between the US and Malaysia, that have been in existence in recent history, and no lies and misinformation can change that fact.
I was informed that there were no rebuttals or criticisms from the presentation made by Nazi, except one participant asked whether the Malaysian government would prosecute UMNO leaders for corruption; however the MACC commissioner furnished the participant with numbers of UMNO related prosecutions in 2009, the enquirer was stumped by the figures.
On the sidelines and prior to the conference, Malott wanted to have the event cancelled arguing the representatives of the government weren’t legitimate, but was shot down by CSIS as improper for they concluded that Americans have the right to be exposed to alternative views from Malaysia, and not just from the opposition.
It was widely believed that attempt to cancel the event was the result of a request from the “leader of the opposition”, which fears that Washington policy makers should not to be directly exposed to alternative views, or THE real view borne out by those from the Malaysian government officials.
It was also agreed that continuing high-level government officials meetings such as this one must be made more frequent between the two countries in order to reduce unnecessary misunderstanding.