My friend is 68 years old today. He is a few months older than me - I will be 68 in October - but while I will celebrate reaching my 68 birthday in the company of my loved ones my friend is spending his birthday in jail.
Even as he is being held in solitary confinement under conditions that would challenge many who are in the best of health, my friend endures what he must because though his physical self is ailing, his indomitable spirit is willing for him to see through yet another incarceration by his political tormentors who knows too well what my friend can and has done to their cause when free.
Yet they forget what happened the last time my friend was jailed. They forget but we don't. We do not forget that a decade after my friend was freed from jail his political tormentors lost their two thirds majority in parliament, lost five states to the opposition and at the last general election, lost their popular mandate to govern.
Today, 182 days into his sentence - 182 of solitary confinement - what is happening to my friend's political tormentors?
The leader of his political tormentors, Najib Razak, stands accused of being a liar, a cheat and one who has deposited RM2.4 billion "donated" to Umno into his own account. His Deputy whom he has sacked, did not know about it. Umno's treasurer did not know about it. No one in Umno knew about it. We the public knew about that RM2.4 billion donation in Najib's personal account the same time as Umno and everyone else in Malaysia knew about it - and we all knew about it because the truth of the matter was exposed by the Media.
Remember in the last jailing of my friend by his political tormentors, it took a decade after my friend was release before his political tormentors finally faced him in an uneven political war - and though his political tormentors have won so many political battles before, they definitely lost the war as the results of the last two general elections have shown.
Now 182 days into my friend's incarceration, and while he is still in solitary confinement, his political tormentors are debating the future of their leader - Najib Razak. Najib's position has become untenable. The only thing standing between Najib and political oblivion is "Cash in the Bank" - RM2.4 billion of it...or whatever is left of it! When that "cash" is gone - Najib too will be gone.
Meanwhile my friend's political tormentors are being buffeted by "typhoons and hurricanes strong winds of discontent, disgust and contempt not only from within their own party but from the electorates and all right thinking Malaysians.
And increasingly our nation is becoming the object of ridicule by world opinion and world leaders leaders who are seeing the RM2.4 billion in Najib's account for what it really is : The abuse of trust by a leader who has hidden that donation for his own use and is now found out and is desperately attempting to find a way out of his predicament by whatever way possible.
This friend of mine is a brave symbol of what men are willing to endure in the fight for the freedom and well being of others. Not his own well being, not his own interest but of others! If anybody had questioned his commitment to stay and faced the prosecution and persecution of himself by a judiciary not of his peers but a judiciary mindful of its vulnerability should it not do the bidding of its political master, then perish that thought. My friend not only stayed to face his political tormentors but he eschewed all pleadings by others to go into comfortable exile knowing full well that at 68 years of age he may be asking too much of himself in going to jail once again for his beliefs and that of Pakatan Rakayat, for PKR and for the many many Malaysians for whom my friend has been a symbol of all that may be possible if we continue with our fight against a corrupt, contemptible, arrogant Umno led Barisan Nasional.
Be strong my friend for as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow the time will come when once again you will walk out of that jail and once again be amongst us as we all work towards the Malaysia that we aspire for - a Malaysia govern by an accountable, responsible, decent and gracious government.
Happy Birthday Friend.