Sunday, 17 January 2010

Ear biting is fighting dirty

Brave New World (The Star)
January 7, 2010

"There are ways and means to deal with the alleged leak of evidence yet to be tendered to the Teoh Beng Hock inquest. The most obvious and fair procedure would be to make a complaint with the inquiry itself."


YOU know someone is in trouble when he starts to play dirty. Take for example the fight between boxing heavyweights Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield in 1997.
I have always thought of Holyfield as a great fighter ever since I saw him fight George Foreman in 1991.
Those were the days before satellite TV and you could get live heavyweight championship fights for free on normal telly.
Holyfield had just beaten Buster Douglas, who put up a weak and spiritless defence of the title he had won from Tyson in Japan.
It was clearly a win, but could Holyfield stand up to a real opponent? Someone who comes to fight and not just to pick up a pay cheque?
Enter Foreman, 42 years old and only recently re-entering the fight scene he had quit in 1977.
He was tubby, he was old and he was laughed at. He joked his training diet was cheeseburgers, and looking at his belly you would have thought it was true.
But after 24 fights – all of which he won, 23 by KO – people stopped laughing. He wasn’t just beating journeymen but guys who were genuine contenders.
Somewhere beneath that genial, bald, preacher facade the monster who destroyed Joe Frazier with tremendous hitting power was lurking there.
Holyfield won on points. He couldn’t knock out Foreman, but more importantly, despite many clubbing blows by a man larger and stronger than him, Holyfield himself was not beaten.
He had a chin of stone and a heart to go with it. It was then I thought that he was a true champ.
When Tyson faced Holyfield in 1997, he was facing a man who would not be intimidated, who was not going to crumble under his usual barrage and who was hurting him in return.
Tyson knew he was in trouble. So what did he do? He bit Holyfield’s ear. He played dirty.
Which brings me to the MACC and its police report against Thai pathologist Dr Pornthip Rojanasunan for supposedly making a sub judice statement to the press.
I have not read the actual press report in question so I would not want to comment whether such a claim has any merit.
My point here is that there are ways and means to deal with a complaint of this sort. The most obvious and fair procedure would be to make a complaint with the inquiry itself. In other words to allow the inquiry process to sort out any problems “in house”.
By making a police report, what the MACC has done in effect is to bring a third party into the mix.
A chief witness now has to not only deal with justifying her findings to the inquiry but also with her possible arrest and interrogation by the police.
Instead of playing fair, the MACC has taken a route which could at the very worst intimidate a witness or at the very least irritate her to the point where she won’t come to the country to take part in the inquiry.
And even if she did come back to the country to face down her accusers, just how swift would the police be in handling the problems of their fellow government servants?
In other words, the MACC, by making the police report instead of simply lodging a complaint to the inquiry, has put a spanner in the works.
I wonder why? Is it not interested in finding out the truth about Teoh Beng Hock’s death? If it were concerned with justice, then surely it would want the inquiry to continue smoothly and honestly.
Unless of course, it does not view this as an inquiry but some sort of scrap that it has to win at all costs, where it has to ensure that what really happened in Plaza Masalam remains uncovered.
Why it would want this is beyond me, but what is clear is that if it views this inquest as a fight, it is obviously in trouble because it is playing dirty.

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