The latest issue of Far Eastern Economic Review said Alvin Toffler, author of Future Shock, Kenichi Ohmae, "an old Mahathir acquaintance", had resigned "in a major blow to the cutting-edge development" represented by the Multimedia Super Corridor.
"They did so through through sharp letters to the premier that professed disappointment over his treatment of former deputy Anwar Ibrahim," the Review said.
If the appointment of 41 "Who’s Who" in the world Information Technology to the International Advisory Panel to be personal advisers to the Prime Minister is regarded as a positive promise in the ambitious effort to create a new Silicon Valley in Malaysia, the resignation of Toffler and Ohmae and the distinct cooling of interest of the other members of the panel, must be regarded as a warning that the success of the MSC is now at risk.
Alvin Toffler had in fact warned of this consequence in a recent article entitled "Bad News for High-Tech Malaysia", where he said that "the future of one of the world's most ambitious digital age projects is in doubt because of the political upheaval in Malaysia".
"Unfortunately, these events will reduce the likelihood that the many companies pledged to participate in the Multimedia Super Corridor project will continue to do so.
"The Internet cannot deliver its full economic and cultural benefits in a climate of political fear. Mr. Mahathir cannot expect the world's greatest high-technology companies and leaders, to whom he promised complete freedom of information and a host of other guarantees, to help bring the digital future to his country while his police throw his former protégé and people like Munawar Anees into jail, beat them, and have to hospitalize them."
In this connection, the statement by the Prime Minister in his live CNN inteview on Tuesday night on police investigations into Anwar’s "black eye" when under police custody was most unsatisfactory.
Claiming that an independent police investigation team is responsible for investigating into allegations by Anwar that he had been beaten up on the first night of his detention while under police custody on Sept. 20, and that he knew nothing about it, Mahathir was then asked whether the investigation should take such a long time. The Prime Minister said: "I should not think so. I do not know what is holding up these things."
It is coming to almost two months since Anwar was assaulted by the police when in police custody on Sept. 20, and there can be no satisfactory reason why any investigation into the cause of Anwar’s "black eye" should take such a long time unless there is a strategy of evasion to avoid public accountability and responsibility.
The public stance taken by the Prime Minister and even the Inspector-General of Police claiming that they know nothing about the investigations, and that only the Attorney-General will know when the independent police investigation team submits its report, has no credibility whatsoever, and can only contribute to the further deterioration of national and international confidence in the government handling of the Anwar issue.
The government should drop all strategy of evasion on the issue of Anwar’s "black eye" and immediately make public the outcome of police investigations or explain why such a simple investigation has to take close to two months!