Todds Give Up

The parents of Shane Todd have given up on the inquiry in Singapore. A witness testified that he met the parents of Shane Todd after Shane’s death in Singapore, despite the Todds claiming that they had never met the man. This man, Luis Montes said he met Shane the night before he died and this buckled the Todds’ theory that their son was murdered earlier. The Todd’s expert witness,  retracted his statement that Todd was garroted while 2 senior and certified pathologists made their stand that Todd died from hanging. The Todds wanted the FBI to prove the Singapore police wrong in the forensic results but FBI and our police stood on the same side of the fence on this.

The Todds still cannot accept that Shane was not murdered although evidence points to suicide by hanging. Like his depression, mood swings and research of suicide websites. My sympathy for them is diminishing day by day with their antics and conspiracy theories.  The Todds would now turn to the court of public opinion and try to convince anybody who wants to hear that their son was killed by an assassin. Lobbyists against the import of Huawei technology into the US to compete with US companies are one rich pool of Todd conspiracy theory supporters.

Right from the start before the court inquiry commenced the parents insisted that there was a cover-up by Singapore and China.  They were fixed in their minds that Shane was assassinated and nothing in the inquiry could change it. Looking back, it all seemed as if it was a show staged by the Todds.  With the Todds giving up and walking out of court, it makes a great controversial open ending for a movie or at least a documentary. Good luck to the Todds for monetising Shane’s death.

 

The family of a young US engineer who died in Singapore last year were preparing to leave the city-state on Wednesday as the foreign minister expressed regret they had turned their backs on a coroner’s inquiry into the case.

The parents of Shane Todd, a 31-year-old electrical engineer who had been working at a top Singapore government research institute, said they “no longer have confidence” in the inquest, now in its second week.

“We regret the fact that the Todd family has chosen to walk out of the proceedings,” said K Shanmugam, foreign minister.

“For reasons best known to them, they walked out and it’s unfortunate that they decided to leave,” Mr Shanmugam told a news conference. “It would have been useful to hear the family’s side as to how they had come to a different view of the facts.”

The inquiry, which is due to hear from dozens of witnesses, was set up to explore how Todd died – including whether Todd committed suicide or, as his family believes, was murdered. Todd was found hanging in his apartment in June last year, two days after he left his job at a top Singapore government research agency, the Institute of Microelectronics.

At IME he was part of a team working on the development of gallium nitride (GaN), a substance with commercial and military uses. He had been working on a project proposal between IME and Huawei, the Chinese telecoms company, though IME officials this week have testified that project never went ahead.

Singaporean officials have presented evidence at the inquest that the engineer had visited suicide-related websites multiple times in the weeks before his death. This week a medical examiner called by the family retracted an initial statement that he believed Todd had been garrotted.

The Todds in leaving the inquest said they believed that the outcome “had been predetermined” and that insufficient focus had been given to examining whether he might have been murdered.

“We had been told that the coroner inquiry is not adversarial; rather, it is a fact-finding mission with the sole purpose of getting to the truth. This has not been our experience,” Mary and Rick Todd said in a statement.

“We no longer have confidence in the transparency and the fairness of the system. It appears to us that the outcome has been predetermined. We believe we’ve given the judge ample evidence to make a fair judgment, and therefore our presence here is no longer needed.

“The Todd family will now turn to the court of public opinion with all the concrete evidence that our son was murdered.”

The inquiry, in front of a single judge, is set to continue until May 28. A verdict will be delivered about three weeks later and cannot be appealed.

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Shane Todd’s Death and Denial

A John le Carre FT article by Raymond Bonner and Christine Spolar launched the Todd’s grief-stricken lobby only now although their son Shane Todd died in 2012. The parents of Shane are already here in Singapore to prove that their son Shane was murdered in Singapore over an illegal transfer of sensitive military technology to China. Rick and Mary Todd are also insisting that if the Singapore coroner stuck to the original police finding of suicide, the distraught parents would lobby the US Congress to place pressure on Singapore and China for the murder and cover up. This was their reverse-psychology ultimatum that the coroner and court better ruled their way if they were smart:

“We believe China and Singapore are illegally transferring technology, our technology, from the United States. We believe it’s so high up that if our son was murdered, the implications for Singapore and China are so extreme that they will go to any lengths to make it look like suicide.”

This had all the right story elements to rally US public support and a Hollywood straight-to-DVD movie – wave the US flag, show theft of US defence intellectual property, pick on a small country like Singapore, pit against a rival power like China that is partly the reason for the Asian pivot, talk about conspiracy theories of deceit and murder.

The parents of Shane could not accept that their son could commit suicide. This is natural especially when Shane claimed to them before his death that he was involved in a supposedly shady project and transfer of military technology to Huawei through his employment with a Singapore company IME. During his work, he was stressed and took anti-depressants, proof that he had anxiety over the nature of the work. On the other hand, the stress and pills were also proof that Shane’s mental health can be questioned. What parent would accept that their son is so distressed that he could commit suicide?

The Todds are so certain that it was murder from the evidence in the speaker hard drive they found but would not share with the FBI and the Singapore police. Despite FBI and the police’s reqeust for it to follow leads. An incriminating hard drive that the hypothetical killer did not take away with him. A hard drive that contained sensitive military technology Shane took from his company to work on at home, instead of keeping it under lock and key in the office.  These are also inconsistencies pointing that the Todds might be in denial.

Still, whether the Todds are right or not about their son’s death, to be fair maybe he was murdered, we have to wait for the coroner’s findings first in the end.

Nizam Ismail’s “Response to MCCY Letter – My Intentions being Misperceived”.

With the Malaysian election as little more than racial politics on steroids, what about Singapore with the Nizam Ismail storm in a teacup few days ago?

Nizam Ismail’s main purpose in issuing his response is to debunk the government’s assertion that he is promoting race-based politics, and that he has used Association of Muslim Professional (AMP) as a platform for self-promotion .

He goes to great length to explain that Community Forum (ComFor) was not created for the purposes of pushing a Malay agenda. He clarifies that ComFor is rather an extension of Community in Review forum (CIR) and is meant to track strategies of the AMP Convention.

Nizam has however failed to convincing explain the necessity for a new forum to track CIR. What he essentially did not say, or cannot say, is that his vision for ComFor was to push for community-based approaches to be included within the national approach adopted by CIR. ComFor would do what CIR could not officially? ComFor is a watchdog group if you like, to make sure the rights and privileges of the Malays are front and center.

Nizam is also known to have used other platforms on social media (e.g. Suara Melayu Singapura) to argue for an alternate political structure for the Malay community. This comprises a system whereby the Malay community nominates its own leaders. This is clearly a political model of racial representation to advance Malay interests, and “Collective Leadership” by another name even. Incidentally, “Collective Leadership” was frowned upon by the government years ago and made know to AMP as it was too racial in its politics.

Nizam kept saying his ideas are made on a personal capacity basis despite his positions within AMP and its subsidiary Centre for Research on Islamic and Malay Affairs (RIMA). What it means is that he is pushing for Malay affirmative action in one platform, and claim to focus on the national approach on the other. In so doing, he is merely attempting to mask race-based politics under the guise of class-based programs.

A central point to his proposed class-based programs would be whether he is championing for Malays to have priority in the receipt of state funds. As it already stands, assistance schemes and programs are dished out at the national level, and dispersed progressively based on the principle that those that are most in should receive them first.

Is Nizam therefore suggesting that Malays in need of economic assistance form an under-class of their own? How is this a national-level or fair class-based initiative as he claims to espouse?

Confusingly, in his blog post he argues that race-based self-help groups perpetuate cultural stereotypes or myth of race-based deficiencies. This statement runs contrary to his actions as he took the advantage of AMP’s race-based machinery anyway to advance Malay interests, instead of working in a race-neutral enterprise. He is an advocate of racial politics. Clearly, he has not been misperceived.

Malaysia’s Race-Based Politics and Election

This Sunday, Malaysia’s race-based politics is put to the test yet once again. MCA, MIC and UMNO vs PAS, DAP and Keadilan. Both are fairly race-based in form but UMNO is more racist between the 2 coalitions in function. Right from the May 13 1969 race riots, the resultant New Economic Policy affirmative action towards Malays and the recent racial politics during the elections, Malaysia is a lit dynamite and integration might just finally imploded. Already there is election violence and intimidation with BN being the bigger culprit.

Race-based politics is primal and populist. A winning formula for disaster in multiracial Malaysia where political power resides with the Malays and economic dominance with the Chinese. Pakatan, centrist and reformist, promises movement away from racial divides that BN used in a divide and conquer political strategy to scare voters along scary racial stereotypes.

PAS is painted as Islamic fundamentalists who would ban bars and introduce hudud laws even for non-Muslims, according to BN. This message is meant for the Chinese voters who are tired of BN’s leadership. On the other hand, DAP is painted as a Singapore puppet and that once DAP takes over, Malays in Malaysia would be subjugated just like they are in Singapore, according to BN. This message is meant for the Malay voters who are frustrated at BN’s leadership. The messages contradict each other because if PAS and DAP get into power, using BN’s Islamic fundamentalists and foreign Chinese bogeymen logic, it would mean a Muslim shariah country that is a stooge of Chinese-dominated Singapore? Preposterous and most Malaysians know that.

There is a lesson for Singapore from watching how our neighbours behave. We should not go down BN’s path of race-based politics.