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Monday, August 26, 2019

Paul Yong's case - Can we trust anything in this country?



"There could be a conspiracy planned to defame Yong that cannot be ignored." 
– Ramkarpal Singh
In Brain DePalma’s conspiracy classic Blow Out, John Travolta, playing the jaded sound effects technician Jack Terry, says, “No one wants to know about conspiracy anymore.” 
Nothing could be further from the truth in Malaysia. Some will claim that the Najib Abdul Razak regime killed our trust in public institutions. I disagree. He just put it on life support.
Embattled DAP Perak exco Paul Yong claims he has a “hunch” who set him up. It would have been helpful of him to point us in the direction of who is setting him up. Is it the dreaded Umno-PAS combo or is it members of his coalition? Is the enemy within or are 'they' out there?

DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, in flipping the bird to conventionality when charged with his crime, had the comfort of the alleged conspiracy of the BN regime. 
Lim Kit Siang even mooted a roadshow around the country where he would ask the grassroots if Guan Eng should take a leave of absence pending his trial.
In Yong’s case, Guan Eng claimed that the DAP would make a decision following the results of the police investigations. As yet, no decision has been made. 
Anthony Loke (photo), meanwhile, shrugged off the Perak menteri besar’s advice for Yong to take leave pending the outcome of the trial, strengthening the political narrative that DAP believes that Yong is innocent.
Loke said, "The (issue) of the exco post held by Yong will be decided by the state and central leadership and then (we will) discuss with the menteri besar,” which on the face of it, sounds extremely arrogant. 
The kind of arrogance which is fodder for the Malay far right and no doubt even for Malay power structures in his coalition. Loke may as well have flipped the bird at the menreri besar too, and said that this a DAP family issue, so tough noogies.
I guess now every menteri besar understands that he has no real power when it comes to advising politicians to take leave when faced with criminal charges, and the only people who should decide are the politicians from the party of the accused. I guess this is the new normal under Pakatan Harapan in New Malaysia.
Believing Yong is innocent and the alleged conspiracy to bring down Yong are not mutually exclusive. If you believe in one, you have to believe the other. 
Hence, the Perak DAP is acknowledging that there is a conspiracy to bring down Yong. The only other way Paul is innocent is if he claims that any sexual activity was consensual, and Paul has denied any sexual involvement with this woman.
So the only narrative – and I know some people, especially activists, will get angry with my use of the term 'narrative' when it comes to a crime like rape – is that there is a conspiracy to bring down Yong. Or at least the only one that Yong's camp can advance.
Now if you can accept this, then the question becomes, who is framing Yong? Again the crime becomes secondary. 
Yong’s legal defence team has made it clear that these allegations – the conspiracy – need to be investigated
Ramkarpal Singh (right in photo), in wanting the attorney-general to drop the case against Yong, said: "It has to be investigated fully. That allegation was made only last night. It would have been impossible for the AG to investigate the allegation before (Yong was charged) this morning.”
Does the defence team know who is setting up Yong? Did Yong let them in on his “hunch”? Keep in mind that Yong has said that although he believes the police is professional, he has a problem with the investigating officer. 
“I trust the police’s professionalism, but I am unhappy with the investigating officer,” he said. “I gave my full cooperation before I was charged, and I didn’t even make any comment as requested by them.”
In other words, Paul is singling out a specific officer and not the entire police force. This brings into question the nature of the conspiracy, the scope of it and, of course, who was involved, which by implication also means members of the Perak police, by insinuation at the very least.
The issue of the back and forth between the Attorney-General's Chambers and the police was described as a way to ensure an airtight case and not any malfeasance on the part of actors within either. 
According to state police chief  Razarudin Hussain, “The investigation papers were also returned a few times by the AGC so that the police could ensure an 'airtight' investigation had been conducted.”
He also said that the report lodged by Perak state speaker Ngeh Koo Ham (centre in photo) would be investigated separately, which is not as dodgy as it first sounds. 
There could very well be a conspiracy to bring down Yong by manipulating a consensual sexual encounter, but since Yong has said that there was no sexual activity with his accuser, there is very little room to manoeuvre in this theory.
When Ngeh wants the police to investigate the possibility of a “hidden agenda” against Yong, and the whole of the Perak DAP believes in Yong's innocence, there is nowhere else to go from there. This has become a political issue and the question now becomes, who is setting up Yong? 
That's the problem with all these conspiracy theories. Politicians always hint at conspirators, but neither they nor the police ever unmask these people, and the excuse always is that the investigations are ongoing. People move on and forget.
Already, social media is flooded with theories about the intra-politics of the DAP, and various narratives are pointing to a fight between state and federal level proxies with Yong as collateral damage.
The question of Yong's innocence or guilt when it comes to this crime has become secondary. 
Like the case of PKR deputy president Mohamed Azmin Ali – which I still have no idea about what is criminal about it beyond the fact that certain sex acts are deemed criminal in this country – the state security apparatus has declared the video genuine, but are unclear of one of the participants. Investigations are ongoing, they tell us.
What happens if the Perak police discover there is evidence of a conspiracy in Yong’s claims, notwithstanding that there is evidence of sexual contact between the accused and the accuser? 
Or that there is no evidence of sexual contact between the two, but there is evidence of a conspiracy? 
I don’t think Malaysians realise how dangerous this is.
What did the boy minister recently say?
Let’s move on.

S THAYAPARAN is Commander (Rtd) of the Royal Malaysian Navy. A retired barrister-at-law, he is one of the founding members of Persatuan Patriot Kebangsaan. - Mkini

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