The Hyenas, Vultures and Maggots of 1MDB

August 23, 2016

The Hyenas, Vultures and Maggots of 1MDB

by Dr. M. Bakri Musa, Morgan-Hill, California

1MDB is not yet a bloated carcass (it is bloated only with debt) and already the hyenas, vultures and maggots are feasting with glee. In the wild, hyenas and vultures wait till their prey is dead, and maggots, rotting. Not these human hyenas, vultures and maggots.

Scavengers are vital in the ecosystem; they cleanse the environment of dead and decomposing bodies. In contrast, these human hyenas, vultures and maggots feasting on 1MDB are part of the rubbish. Perverse as it may seem, they have an exalted opinion of themselves. They view what they are doing–defending “Malaysian Official 1” who is related to one of the hyenas Riza Aziz–as honorable.

This 1MDB mess is humungous; it will burden Malaysians for generations. That is a grim and undeniable fact.Other facts, also undeniable, include these. One, 1MDB’s debt in excess of RM42 billion, and growing fast, exceeds the current budgetary allocation for education. No other entity, private or public, then or now could come even close. Those loans are ultimately the responsibility of taxpayers as well as those who do not pay tax. Those non-taxpayers, meaning the poor, are impacted because funds meant for them would be diverted to servicing those debts.

Two, 1MDB has gone through as many accounting firms as Britney Spears with boyfriends.  Its latest, Deloitte, has resigned, but not before making a most unusual declaration. That is, the US Department of Justice’s June 20, 2016 asset forfeiture lawsuit contained information that, if known at the time of the 2013 and 2014 audits “would have impacted the financial statements and affected the audit reports.”

The Carmas in the Malaysian Civil Service

“…these human hyenas, vultures and maggots feasting on 1MDB are part of the rubbish“–M. Bakri Musa

Along the same vein, the Auditor-General’s Report on 1MDB which the government had promised to make public is now under the Official Secrets Act. Those reports have always been public. Why keep this one secret?

Three, 1MDB has gone through as many chief executives in as many years, not the sign of a well-managed company. Four, drive by the site of the proposed Tun Razak Exchange, 1MDB’s signature development. It is empty. Last, 1MDB has yet to generate a sen of profit despite being in existence since 2009.

Meanwhile Switzerland has forced the sale of the bank involved with 1MDB and imposed an unusual and tough stipulation. Its new owner must not employ any of the existing senior managers of the sold bank. Singapore summarily closed the local branch of that bank. Its head now faces criminal charges. He was denied bail while awaiting trial, reflecting the gravity of the alleged crime. Singapore admitted to being lax in monitoring the bank’s activities with respect to 1MDB. Singapore also froze the assets of Jho Low, Najib’s financial confidant and key 1MDB player, an unprecedented as well as severe action.

There are other facts. The Attorney-General and Bank Negara have closed their investigations with no negative findings. Then there are the American DOJ’s asset forfeiture lawsuits and the class-action suit of Husam and Chang.

In America anyone can file a lawsuit. Thus you may dismiss the American lawsuits but not the actions of the Swiss and Singaporean authorities. As for the Attorney-General and Bank Negara Governor exonerating 1MDB, I let readers give that its proper weightage and relevance. Nonetheless that would still not explain 1MDB’s huge debts, changes in management and auditing firms, empty TRX lot, and the Auditor-General Report being kept secret.

For those who believe that Najib is God’s gift to Malaysians, you can’t argue with them. It would also be blasphemous to dispute Allah’s choice. For the rest of us, we need a more rational explanation, one that does not assault credibility or insult intelligence.

Back to the hyenas, they are now uncharacteristically quiet, their former flamboyance gone. Perhaps they are enjoying their morsels while they can, in their penthouses of Manhattan, mansions of Beverly Hills, and luxury yachts cruising the South China Sea. One would expect that having benefited handsomely from 1MDB they would harbor some gratitude to defend their benefactor.

The vast majority of Najib’s supporters are simple, unsophisticated Malay villagers still under the grip of feudalism. To them it is a simplistic “my leader, my race, my country, right or wrong!” Their loyalty to leaders is intense and unquestioning, up to a point. Betray that, and you pay the price. Datuk Onn was a hero for stopping Malayan Union, and Tunku Abdul Rahman for bringing merdeka. When they fell out of step with their followers, their drop from hero to villain was precipitous and merciless. Najib is nowhere near the caliber of those two giants. We must remind him and his ardent supporters of that.

Those villagers aside, only those vultures and maggots remain Najib’s supporters. The hyenas should be, but for reasons best known to themselves have chosen to remain silent. That leaves the vultures to be his noisiest and ugliest cheerleaders. Unlike the hyenas with their bounties in the millions, those vultures are satisfied with a promotion or two and a federal award (second or third class) thrown in. Satisfied because stripped of their new appointments, they would earn but a mere fraction back at their old law practices or whatever they did before prostituting themselves to Najib.

The maggots are there as long as there is a decaying carcass. A few ringgit tossed their way to fill the tanks of their used motorbikes, and they are happy parading their red shirts or polluting the social media with their inane comments. Once the carrion is gone, so will they.

Some support Najib out of inertia, buttressed by the havoc of regime change in Iraq and Libya as well as the performance of the opposition. Others reflect the forbearance of Malaysians. Najib, they rationalize, won the last election albeit without the majority of the popular votes. Nonetheless that victory was reaffirmed by the recent state elections in Sarawak as well as the two by-elections in Peninsula Malaysia.

That is a dicey defense. Winning elections is no license to steal or be corrupt. Nixon won a landslide in 1972, yet that did not stop his impeachment and subsequent resignation in disgrace for covering up the Watergate break-in.

A few would argue that Najib’s shenanigans are no different from Mahathir’s many opaque UMNO proxy companies plus London Tin, Maminco, Bank Bumiputra, and Forex debacles. To them 1MDB is merely a different crocodile, albeit much more menacing, but from the same fetid swamp. Malaysia will never progress with that attitude.

Then there is the reflected glory argument. Riza Aziz, Malaysian Official 1’s stepson, is one of the producers of the Academy Award-winning The Wolf of Wall Street. Most would miss the irony as the film is banned in Malaysia. Nonetheless Malays in particular should celebrate that achievement.

Malaysians would have, and proudly too, had the film not been tainted. Indeed, the Academy publicly demanded that Riza Aziz’s name be officially deleted. It is like winning at the Olympics, and later disqualified for doping. Instead of glory, shame.

Another aspect of Najib’s support is crude anti-American rage triggered by the DOJ’s lawsuit. That was seen as interference as well as double standards. America too is blighted with corruption, they sniff. True. But as South Korean Tongsun Park and Indonesian James Riady, as well as former Attorney-General Mitchell and President’s Counsel John Dean found out, the corrupt do get caught, convicted, and jailed. That’s the lesson Malaysians should draw from America.

As for American interference, if Najib and other corrupt Third World leaders do not want that, then next time accept only Zimbabwean dollars and use a bank in Uzbekistan. Buy properties in Bali or Cancun, not Manhattan or Beverly Hills, and bet at casinos in Macau not Las Vegas. There are no shortages of hyenas, vultures and maggots in those countries to clean up your mess.

8 thoughts on “The Hyenas, Vultures and Maggots of 1MDB

  1. // Some support Najib out of inertia, buttressed by the havoc of regime change in Iraq and Libya as well as the performance of the opposition. Others reflect the forbearance of Malaysians…. did not stop [Nixon’s] impeachment and subsequent resignation in disgrace for covering up the Watergate break-in.

    Dr Bakri, I maybe a fly, but I am no maggot!
    We must remember that there is no working two party systems in Malaysia.
    We must get real, and realize Malaysia is closer to Iraq, Libya, and Syria than United States of America. We don’t want a Egypt nor a seem to be self-coup scenario like Egypt. We don’t want a Burmese 8888 incident also.

  2. The existing system established by MM cannot be dismantled overnight however the administration is possible but, it will not help if the current system of administration is not reviewed to prevent free hand and or mismanagement of government funds by department heads. The only option is to appoint the best of Malaysia or internationally on a 3 year term and not just muslim background. Good example UAE government with limited resources and income from oil revenue estimated less than Malaysia, yet all GLC either headed or jointly headed by internationals to maintain healthy professional work ethics. Good example their passenger airlines. Look at UAE cash reserves, stable currency. New Malaysia, must get the best professional people to manage the government funds not a bunch of swindlers in the waiting.

  3. ‘ Datuk Onn was a hero for stopping Malayan Union, and Tunku Abdul Rahman for bringing merdeka. When they fell out of step with their followers, their drop from hero to villain was precipitous and merciless ‘.

    Both leaders were doing the right thing to build the country at that time…….but some Malay/Muslim political ‘ leaders ‘ and their supporters were impatience, intolerant and greedy. They want their share wealth and ‘ entitlement ‘ NOW at all cost, by hook or crook.

    The longest serving PM came up with Amanah, Cekap and Bersih, this is in the 70/80s, which are essential to good leadership, governance, peace and stability.

    Now it is replaced with Hyenas ( Amanah ), Vultures ( Cekap ) and Maggots ( Bersih )…….nothing has really changed since the 70/80s.

  4. Dr Bakri, If I dream that a 1PM would not be described by race, I would only be dreaming.
    If I dream that Chinese, Indians would live happily together with Muslims in this world, I would only be dreaming. If I dream that my great grandfather’s China motherland would be all calm and peace, I would only be dreaming. Perhaps, a fly ain’t that bad. Perhaps, a butterfly that all of the above would be better. But, that could only come true if all is willing.

    Now, a butterfly would dream of a world led by one BraveNewWorld. Would Tun M fly with that idea? I am trying, Dr Bakri. Tun M’s seven, Lim’s Dapsy and DSAI followers are the ones missing in action to tell us their simple dream of how so small a nation could peacefully fit in so diverse a culture that span three quarter of the world’s population. I too am a fly trying not to give up on the butterfly. But BraveNewWorld has to come. Just like you, I am trying.

  5. 1. A country needs to be ruled at her best by the most credible person.
    2. A company deserves it’s best management to turn profits to safeguard its survival.
    3. A family needs good parental love, care and discipline to mould good children of a nation.

    Very good example is Singapore. The island state that was thrown out from the federation of Malaysia. Rags to riches story and from third world nation to best in the world just within 50 years. Malaysians have the brains all the people needs to do is appoint the most deserving to govern and administrate their country. Cast your votes diligently and responsively as Malaysia is at your stake.

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