UMNO is beyond redemption due to its deeply embedded Corruption–Part III
by Dr. K J John
We need a new culture of governance in Malaysia but one that puts personal ethics and morality at its core; not simply as an appendix to certain espoused theories but one applied and lived out by choice and design intent.–KJ John
My last two columns focused on how corruption has become an embedded value and culture of UMNO, premised on the admission and critique by two important UMNO stalwarts. This column will focus on how and why we must move beyond this form of moral and financial corruption within UMNO if we want to become a serious player in international development and justice issues.
But, first one anecdotal story I first picked up after joining the public service is as follows. Three finance ministers were on a train in India traveling First Class Coach. A beggar came into their cabin and asked for alms. Being thoroughly embarrassed about the incident, the finance minister of India took a 100 Rupee note gave it to the poor man.
Not to be left out, the Finance Minister of Singapore took a Singapore 100 dollar note and gave it to the poor man who was visibly delighted. The then Fnance Minister of Malaysia took out his cheque book and wrote a cash cheque for 1 million ringgit, crossed it, and gave it to the beggar. The man left the cabin happy with his collections, though he did not have a bank account.
UMNO and public trust
There is a major lesson we can all learn from the changes in the mode and method of the last two presidential election politics in the US; since Internet-linked medium has defined its sway. Almost no mainstream pundit predicted this outcome so categorically; that Donald Trump would win and win comfortably. Neither was Trump’s message lost on white middle class majority of the countryside.
After almost 70 years in office; the UMNO government is no less corrupt than the Washington Consensus; or those called the Beltway Bandits. Many of them must now be consulting ‘out of the box thinkers’ to plan and figure out their next steps.
It reminds me of the time when a good friend was aide-de-camp (ADC) to the late Sultan of Johore when he was the Agong. The ADC told me that by design and intent the man preferred to be unpredictable. Of course, over time the political system did discipline him and the Conference of Rulers did sign its own neuter warrant as a result, but the federal government could not contain the man any other way.
I expect Trump to be no different and could meet with the similar results, unless he becomes a real politician. But, there is a clear lesson for the UMNO politico-economic elite from the Hillary Clinton downfall; as we all saw, heard, and witnessed real time how that process unfolded. Thanks to social media for keeping all of us informed of truth matters.
UMNO, as the core of the BN government, has some serious trust issues and let us assume that Malaysians are not stupid either; to say the least. The distrust of UMNO must be at the highest ever possible level; whether from within or from without government.
Allow me to highlight some of these severe but tragic flaws visible to ordinary citizens – deceit, cheating, and lies are core values of governance today. When the speaker of the Parliament rules that a most serious breach of governance by the executive cannot be discussed in Parliament; the writing on the wall is very clear for any democracy.
The 1957 and 1963 arrangements have been equally violated by the current leadership of the federal government. Most peninsular and Borneo peoples have been cheated.
The Federal Constitution is no longer supreme; and instead the UMNO President’s kitchen cabinet is now supreme law of the land; with their public servant allies.
Article 121 (1A) violated every Malaysian constitutionality in its core structure, and therefore needs to be reviewed before Sabah and Sarawak exercise their breakaway privilege for breach of the 1963 contract. It has unwisely made an appendix to the Federal Constitution, now the supreme defining logic in the name of the religion of Islam.
In the name of parliamentary democracy, all institutions of good governance have been manipulated for the benefit of incumbency. Free and fair elections are no longer free or fair any more; as the number of complaints filed this time prove this point.
Whither trusteeship of public interest?
Tun Siew Sin–Tunku Abdul Rahman’s Choice as Finance Minister who became Chairman, Sime Darby Group. It was my privilege to serve him in my capacity as Director of Corporate Affairs and Planning, Sime Darby Group in the 1980s.–Din Merican
The above story which I had modified was actually about the Tun Tan Siew Sin’s shrewdness and prudence when he was Finance Minister. His integrity and reputation is well-known and there was never any doubt about it. Singapore has fully pursued and institutionalised a similar view of the stewardship of all public interests and assets. Integrity is a good measure of Singapore’s quality of governance.
In Malaysia today, the public story line about the culture of stewardship of our Finance Ministry and all other public assets is less than credible. Consequently, one UMNO MP and cabinet minister actually resigned and chose to express his genuine concerns vide unanswered questions when he volitionally raised them in Parliament.
But our systemic integrity is so rotten that even parliamentarians are disallowed to openly discuss all such matters of public and financial interest.
The Ringgit has taken a beating against the Greenback under his leadership of the Malaysian Treasury. Najib Razak is the most corrupt and irresponsible Malaysian Minister of Finance.
The concept of personal responsibility and accountability for good governance is now completely absent in UMNO; save those who have spoken up and left. All those who remain have somehow legitimised their current organisational culture of self-interest and self-preservation over that of either national interest, or party interests, or even community interest.
Consequently, the obvious corruption and decadence in UMNO is visible for all Malaysians to see. Therefore, I call upon all Moderate Middle Malaysians (3M) who love this country and accept both; our current successes and failures to date and reject all aspects of this culture of cheating, stealing, and lying or what I have labelled CSL. UMNO is rotten to the core; only death can heal it, or a complete but miraculous internal transformation.
We must totally reject this culture of buying power with money and reinstitute the older culture of personal moral and ethical integrity for all public affairs; as a new political value and way of life. Good governance values can return to the people and serve the public interest; but just like in America, the ordinary people must speak loudly.
We need a new culture of governance in Malaysia but one that puts personal ethics and morality at its core; not simply as an appendix to certain espoused theories but one applied and lived out by choice and design intent.
Such a transformation can only come from within when one is fully connected to the Author and Perfector of one’s faith. May God bless Malaysia to move in that direction; even if we have to see a Donald Trump-like uncharacteristic, non-politician lead this nation forward.