Thursday, August 08, 2013

Fiddling away while Rome burns

Nero fiddled while Rome burnt.

Though pedantic (wakakaka) historians have proven that it couldn't have happened because there was no fiddle (or violin) in the period of the Great Fire of Rome (AD 64), some have suggested it might have been the lyre or the cithara.


There have also been other challenges to the accuracy of the above famous saying (eg. Nero was said to have actually participated actively in the fire fighting), but the belief that Nero fiddled while Rome burnt has been steadfastly popular for the last 2000 years it has now taken a very comfortable place in English idioms.

When we use it in the present terms, say as in, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi fiddling while Rome burns, we mean it to say that Zahid is doing nothing or something trivial (like busybody-ing himself with RoS and DAP) while knowing that something disastrous is happening in Malaysia, as in the frightening escalation of crimes.

Please read Mariam Mokhtar's latest article in her Malaysiakini column titled Trapped in a vicious cycle which tells us, just as a start, that a retired South African couple who left Johhanesburg, South Africa, reputed to be a very violent country, to make Malaysia their more peaceful 'second home' under the ‘Malaysia My Second Home’ (MM2H) programme, have now returned to South Africa because they consider "Malaysia is more dangerous than South Africa".

What a damning indictment of the state of public security in Malaysia today.

Mariam Mokhtar lamented what most Malaysians lament:

Unlike this South African couple, ordinary Malaysians are trapped in a vicious cycle of emboldened criminals, an inept police force and a government in denial. Few have access to guns like the Tan Sri who recently shot dead a thief at a clinic in Kuala Lumpur.

Owning a gun is not what Malaysians desire. We want a police force which is committed to tackling crime and not being the lapdog of Umno Baru. Cabinet ministers deny that a state of lawlessness exists. They issue statements and are then trapped by their own spin.

And the biggest culprit for our horrendous crime rate, unprecedented in our nation's history, would be, as Mariam has written, Former home minister Hishammuddin Hussein, more noted for his incompetence than his achievements in office.

Like Mariam we all are aware of his ... complete disregard for the concerns of the public. He ridiculed the rakyat after they complained about rising crime levels and told them that increased crime was only a perception.

Unlike we mere peasants and workers, Hishamuddin, his family and BN colleagues are not exposed vulnerably on a daily basis to criminal elements since they enjoy living in highly guarded communities and with the added protection of bodyguards etc.

The former Police Minister had failed miserably, while the current one is more interested in sic-ing RoS on DAP on some nebulous issues of their own making than in protecting the public and fighting the escalating incidents of violent crimes.

Even PM Najib was driven to say in sheer helpless desperation he would give the police ANYTHING they want to curb, combat and control the criminal elements. When a PM is wont to utter those desperate words of appeal to the police, it tells you not only of the scary state of lawlessness we are now living in, BUT of the abysmal failure of the police.

Just prior to GE-13 I posted Who I will vote for in GE-13 and sent to Malaysiakini a letter titled (by MKINI) Forget pork-barreling, vote for public security about the No 1 priority for Malaysians, namely public security in the face of crimes in our country. Some extracts of my letter are as follows:

Some aspects of pork-barreling have been outrageously mindless and if implemented, likely to lead to national bankruptcy, thus we may expect these to be not fulfilled.

But I dare venture that most Malaysians TRULY want only one assured avowal from the politicians, that of public security and safety.

We Malaysians want to be safe and secure from threats to our lives and property and we request for this requirement, nay, even appeal for it, because not one of us currently feels safe and secure as we go about our daily lives. We are not even referring to the intrusion by Filipino terrorists into Malaysia.

We have seen a mother, Irene Ong, slain before her daughter’s eyes during a jogging run. We have read of a number of public members being shot at, with a recent fatality in the person of Shaharuddin Ibrahim, the Royal Malaysian Customs deputy director-general, while he was being driven to his office.

Young girls like Nurin Jazlin Jazimin and Preeshena Varshiny were evilly murdered, and a young woman in a northern state disappeared while jogging and is yet to be found. We may presume she has fatally fallen prey to wicked person or persons.

Women were killed through violent falls caused by ferocious bag snatchers. Robbers, burglars, murderers, assassins, gangsters, thugs, rapists and molesters plagued our daily lives.

Since then, we have daily armed shootings, not by police but, by hardened criminals. These have been happenings that my uncles said we Malayans/Malaysians used to laugh condescendingly at and pity our neighbours in the Philippines and Thailand for their misfortune in living in their lands of lawlessness. Guess they must be having the last laugh.

I also wrote:

What happened to our once safe Malaya-Malaysia? 

Has the Malaysia Boleh spirit even imbued and motivated those nefarious villains as well?

More importantly, the Malaysian police have failed the public miserably. Its claim of decreasing crime rates has obviously been a lie.

And we have caretaker Home Affairs Minister Hishammuddin Hussein brazenly informing us that violent incidents would worsen during the campaign period due to police shortage. His predictions have come true but his casual abdication of responsibility or non-proactive strategy to address his forecast violence is lamentably disgraceful. If he has any self-respect or filial regard for the names of his illustrious father and grandfather, he should have resigned then.

When the domestic security of Malaysia has become so scary to the public, it becomes obvious the ruling party for the last twenty five years, BN, is unlikely to fulfil our most urgent expectation of a ruling government, that of a secure and safe Malaysia. Those BN politicians and their families and friends can live safely under escort and bodyguards and in gated communities, but what about us ordinary rakyat?

It also concerns me greatly when Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) took on board a former inspector-general of police (IGP) on its so-called security advisory panel when it is well known that the crime rates during the tenure of this former IGP were shocking. PKR’s lack of judgment in allowing the former IGP to join its security advisory panel is equally shocking.

Forget about the obscene and nonsensical pork-barreling of free this and free that. I will give my vote to the party which can convince me it is likely to ensure a rejuvenated police force to ensure the security and safety of the Malaysian public, and a police force which will not be a ‘pagar makan padi’, one which neither extorts from nor oppresses members of the public.

We should also recall that in May 2006, when the IGP-then Mohd Bakri Omar, went into merajuk non-professionalism over the IPCMC that PM AAB agreed to set up, I posted in IGP worried, PM wishy-washy, PAS whoring? that:

DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng criticised the police threats of its work-to-rule and en bloc resignation consequences if the IPCMC is established:

“By threatening to allow crime to rise is utterly irresponsible and a complete surrender of the moral and legal authority of the police."

“Those who can even entertain allowing crime to rise and put property and public safety at risk as a mark of protest should either resign or be sacked for such selfish and anti-national interests attitude.”

“Abdullah must act quickly to regain the initiative over his agenda of anti-corruption, transparency, accountability and good governance by ending the open police ‘revolt’ so as to regain control of the police force.”

Would you agree then that it has been a seditious conduct of unmitigated proportion in ... threatening to allow crime rate to rise?

And that was from a former IGP who was allowed to retire with full honours!

Think about that!

Najib has only one course to go about addressing the utter failure of our public security system, and that would have to be to immediately sack the current Home Minister, the IGP, the Deputy IGP, the Director and his deputy of CID, and severely reprimand (expel from his cabinet) his cousin, the former Home Minister, all for their collective failures, and replace them with competent people.

Najib should not be like his Home Minister, fiddling away while Malaysia burns.


  1. In the last 2 weeks or so, the Government's song has suddenly, totally changed track.
    180 degrees turn from playing the "The Perception" game and dumbing down crime statistics.
    MSM, TV and Print , are now playing up violent crime to the hilt.....because it is now politically expedient for the government to drum up support for new draconian Emergency Ordinance measures - detention without trial, without right of judicial review, without right to confront what evidence police claim in a court...

    Even The Star's Double Datuk Wong who was in denial singing the "perception song", just a couple of months ago is now screaming for the Emergency Ordinance, excoriating anyone who opposes it.

    The PDRM has never admitted how many "Crime Bosses" it ever charged and brought to court, just lazily depending on EO is no solution.

  2. KT,
    We have gone down the slippery road of no return, and will it get any better? Looking at all the recent shootings in DAYS, the answer is obvious after all the police have YET to identify the shooter/s! The police blame the ex-EO detainees/harden criminals and the withdrawal of EO and ISA but what i can never understand is, " surely you have all the evidence/proof/facts in hand, so why not just charge them in court?"

  3. Violent Crime is rising...the police need full support and additional powers to fight it.

    Are you with us or are you against us ?

  4. Kau Tim kia. To add another idiom to your series - “How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?” Malaysia has ended up in the vortex of this idiom. Your last posting revealed two sides from responses posted - our deep graditute to what we have from the lords we serve or the missed opportunity to see change with PKR and co. At least LKY answered that lingering question for us and for the idealist that are hoping beyond hope in a saviour.

    So, we still argue on restrictions to do this or not allowed to do it, Rome burns. This is where Mariam is wrong. Who says Malaysians are not thinking about fire power? Philip Golingai expressed it openly once in The Star. Well, at least for now, not all are thinking along similar lines but give it another year or two. Then Thailand & Philippines will look like paradise. At least we know they carry guns there, have occassional assasinations but at least gun violence isn't rampant. But the most chilling part to her views is that the home affairs guy is now in charge of defense... maybe now we can look forward to things going to the next level? International?

    Whatever, looking forward to a piece from you on LKY-AAB-TM views/books and the Najib connundrum if any forth coming... wakakakaka

  5. Your second last paragraph is 100 per cent wishful thinking. Perhaps when the sun rises in the west or when the moon is purple!!

  6. Private security firms are doing very well now.


  8. Night spots are raided almost on daily basis. Perhaps our safest places ! WAKAKAKA !

  9. Well written Kaytee. There are indeed many shortcomings that contribute to this crime spree. I believe central to the problem is the lack of professionalism of the police. Due to low wages we get low quality policemen and women. They don't have the brains, resources or even desire to solve crime. They rely on "mata mata" technology, eg use of EO to put away criminals. If only they can investigate crime like we watch on Crime Investigation (Astro TV) we see the dedication and professionalism of real-life policemen in other countries, who actually solve criminal cases and put the guilty in jail, sometimes even years later. Here we just hold them under EO until time runs out and they have to be released, like the fishing "catch and release" method.

  10. Malaysia has entered the period of the "Wild, wild West" although about one and a half centuries late. Since the police-force has been found to be lacking determination to face such escalating serious crimes, will the government allow citizens to own weapons for self protection?

  11. Yo KT, What do you expect from the Crime Minister of Malaysia.???
    So put you vote on a change of gomen lah,whether you like Anwar or not.
    Anyway, very well said about our rotten Police "Force" Is it the same "force" as the star wars one.???
    The ex IGP was more PM than AAB eh.???
    Keep up the good work bro,

  12. Fight crime ?

    Police, police, on the streets !

    We beg you !

  13. Expecting any action from Najib when he is mostly minding the stability of his own chair is like expecting to strike Jackpot la...