Thursday, November 11, 2010

Anson Wong Is the Product of Our Reticence


A Kadir Jasin

FROM the political animals, let’s us now shift to people with animalistic instinct preying on fellow humans and helpless animals.

But let me first explain myself. I am not calling politicians animals. I am merely echoing Aristotle’s political theory and philosophy, where he said human beings are by nature political animals.

I joined the Bar Council and other parties in welcoming the recent decision by the Shah Alam High Court to impose a 5-year jail sentence on international wildlife smuggler, Anson Wong Keng Liang.

This man, like all other Malaysian criminals, is bringing a bad name to our beloved country. This man had pleaded guilty to trafficking in wildlife in the US in 2000 and was sentenced to 71 months’ jail.

On Sept. 6, the Sepang Sessions Court sentenced this international wildlife smuggler to six months jail and a fine of RM190,000 for illegally exporting 95 boa constrictors.

On Nov. 4, the Shah Alam High Court enhanced the jail sentence to five years after allowing an appeal filed by the Attorney-General's Chambers for a heavier sentence.

It’s incumbent upon our learned judges to help salvage our sagging international reputation by imposing deterrent sentences on convicted criminals, in particular those engaged in cross-border crimes.

On Nov. 1, the newspaper The Australian reported that a mother and her son had been charged with organising one of Australia's biggest heroin smuggling attempts. Ying Ma and her son Bin Xiao were arrested along with 33-year-old Hong Kong national Nam Leung Lau in Sydney after the police seized 168kg of heroin in a shipping container sent from Malaysia to Sydney.

Because of people like these that our country is being profiled as a centre for money laundering, drug, human and wildlife trafficking, and the transit point for illegal immigrants, and innocent Malaysians travelling abroad are often viewed with suspicion by airport officials.

The ease with which people like Wong were able to carry out their illegal trade past our ports’ and airports’ officials suggests something fishy. Either they are sleeping on the job or are being paid to fall asleep.

And it does not help to boost our morale that the AG, the police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission had lost so many high profile criminal and corruption cases on technicality.

A sample of what outsiders thinks of us: “MALAYSIA (TIER 3) [Extracted from U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June 2009]. Malaysia is a destination and, to a lesser extent, a source and transit country for women and children trafficked for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation and for men, women, and children trafficked for the purpose of forced labor. Malaysia is mainly a destination country for men, women, and children who migrate willingly from Indonesia, Nepal, Thailand, the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the Philippines, Burma, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, and Vietnam for work – usually legal, contractual labor – and are subsequently subjected to conditions of involuntary servitude in the domestic, agricultural, food service, construction, plantation, industrial, and fisheries sectors……”

It does not help that some animalistic Malaysians are raping, beating, scalding, starving and murdering their foreign maids and workers. These people do not deserved being Malaysians or, for that matter, human beings.

I know some people will be angry. But let’s face fact. We can do better if we want to. Unfortunately we are not. We allow the “tidak apa” attitude, corruption, laziness and a misplaced sense of superiority to get the better of us. We are becoming less humane.

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