National Unity in Malaysia


August 5, 2017

Between The Lines: National Unity in Malaysia

Channel News Asia

What are the challenges of forging national unity in a post-colonial, multi-ethnic state? From Kuala Lumpur, our panel of Malaysian experts evaluates the country’s progress, and outlines the tasks ahead.

 

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COMMENT: Today, Malaysia is a divided nation led by a corrupt Prime Minister. Before unity can be restored, Najib Razak and UMNO kleptocrats and their surrogates in Barisan Nasional (namely MCA, MIC and Gerakan) and PAS must be removed via democratic elections. Otherwise, it is all talk, which is at best purely speculative and futile. The country is in a political crisis. Malaysians know that, but they are not willing to openly admit that their country is a dysfunctional state heading towards a financial crisis due to the 1mdb scandal, and high national debt and a weakening economic fundamentals.–Din Merican

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http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/catch-up-tv/between-the-lines/national-unity-in-malaysia-9072398

Malaysians are forgetful


July 25, 2017

Malaysians are forgetful about scandals, that is why they keep coming back from Mahathir to Najib Razak

by R.Nadeswaran

http://www.malaysiakini.com

 

Forex, Maminco, Cowgate, Mara, FGV, 1mdb…what next?

 

COMMENT | Dr Mahathir Mohamed recited a sajak (poem) entitled ‘Melayu Mudah Lupa’ (Malays forget easily) at the 2001 UMNO General Assembly. After 16 years, is it still appropriate or does one word need to be changed?

Replacing “Malays” with the “Malaysians” would better describe how events and scandals of yesteryears have been consigned to the burial grounds and entombed.

But even the dead can be awakened for political expediency. After 30 years, the ghost of the foreign exchange market (forex) losses, said to run into billions of ringgit, has arisen from the grave – with hopes of it demonising the leading opposition figure, Mahathir.

So, a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) has been set up and will soon start the proceedings, in the hope of establishing a host of facts. There’s certainly nothing wrong with this – perfectly legal. Using provisions provided in the Federal Constitution, the system allows Joe Public to have privy and access to the reasons for decisions to the commitments made by our leaders and their reasons for doing so.

But what can RCIs do? What does our government do with the findings? What happens after the findings? Will they bring about changes or will they be consigned to gather dust in some steel cabinet in Putrajaya?

There have been many, but let’s look back at just two. The first was on the VK Lingam video and the other was the RCI on illegal immigrants in Sabah.

V.K. Lingam–Vincent Tan’s Correct, Correct, Correct Lawyer–Fixing the Judiciary with Tun Ahmad Fairuz

In 2007, a five-man panel chaired by the former Chief Judge of Malaya, Haidar Mohamed Noor, examined a video clip allegedly of lawyer VK Lingam (photo) being involved in the manipulation of judicial appointments.

Subsequently, Lingam was barred from practising in 2015, but he has since challenged the decision of the Bar Disciplinary Committee, which found him guilty of interfering with judicial appointments. The case is scheduled to be heard next month.

In 2013, the former Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak, Steve Shim, chaired a five-man panel to investigate “Project IC”, in which citizenship was allegedly given unlawfully to illegal immigrants in Sabah during the Mahathir administration for electoral support.

‘Project IC probably existed’

After hearing 211 witnesses and recording more than 5,000 pages of evidence, the panel concluded that “Project IC” probably existed. It recommended the formation of a permanent secretariat, along with either a management committee or a consultative council, to address the issue of illegal immigration in Sabah.

But the immigrant problems still continue to prosper across the porous borders between Malaysia and The Philippines.

Against such backdrops, what would yet another RCI bring about? For a while, the proceedings will be the talk of the town, after which, it will enter into a sleep mode to be awakened when yet another scandal surfaces on our shores.

The Cowgate Scandal–The Gatekeeper got awa ,thanks to UMNO

Can someone update Malaysians on the National Feedlot Corporation (NFCorp)? On July 25, 2013, NFCorp chairperson Mohamad Salleh Ismail (photo) told a press conference that Japanese company, Kirimitonas Agro Sdn Bhd, had agreed to purchase its entire shares and related companies, and accordingly take over all the assets and liabilities, including the RM250 million loan with the Malaysian government.

Two weeks earlier, the then Finance Minister II Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah, told Parliament that the government had recovered RM79.9 million from the RM250 million it loaned NFCorp.

Ahmad Husni said the government also sealed NFCorp’s assets worth RM23.3 million – two pieces of land in Putrajaya, two units of real estate in Menerung Township Villa and three plots of land in Gemas.

“Out of the RM250 million, close to RM80 million has been received and RM170 million is yet to be received,” he said when winding up the debate for his ministry on the motion of thanks for the Royal Address in the Dewan Rakyat then.

Ahmad Husni said the Finance Ministry took three steps to resolve the NFC project controversy, namely bringing the case to court, taking over or getting back the amount owed and the assets, and finding a new company to continue the project.

And they drive around in their Porsches…

What happened to the real estate that was seized? Can someone give Malaysian taxpayers a status report on the case? After all, RM250 million belonging to the people was given in loans and surely, the least we can expect is some decent, truthful answers. No need for an RCI to tell us how the money for cattle breeding was used to buy luxury condos and property.

Almost two years ago, Mara, its associated companies and senior officials were caught with their hands in the cookie jar. They were involved in a multi-million ringgit scandal where buildings (student accommodation) in Melbourne were bought at inflated prices and the difference filtered down to some people’s pockets.

Police reports were made; the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission briefly detained a couple of people, and the Mara Chairperson was replaced. So, what happened to the investigations? Have the crooks been brought to book? Some of them are driving around their Porsche cars, acting as if nothing ever happened.

The construction of the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) was the biggest financial scandal in the country prior to the emergence of an entity called 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB). Six people were charged and all were acquitted. But, if no one is guilty, then the question is: Where did our money go?

The government continues to service the loans taken by the developer. Even as this is written, the Port Klang Authority (PKA) owes the Treasury billions of ringgit. By the year 2051, PKA’s commitment will accumulate to RM12.4 billion. How is it going to get the money? As a regulatory body, its revenues are meagre. Did anyone think about an RCI to get to the bottom of the issue? Bottom line: The loan will be written off and we, the people, will have to bear that burden.

Image result for The Mother of All Malaysian ScandalsThank You MCA and MIC–Gua Tolong Lu, Lu Tolong Gua

There are dozens of other instances or issues that may not be of the magnitude of the forex losses but have made headlines that require some form of inquiry. The obvious one is the 1MDB, which has made headlines all over the world for the wrong reasons.

But does the government have the political will and determination to get the bottom of all these, especially the Mother of all Scandals?

 

Malaysia: Corruption is a Way of Life under Najib Razak


July 7, 2017

Malaysia: Corruption is a Way of Life under Najib Razak

by Rais Hussin@www.malaysiakini.com

Thank You, Mr Prime Minister for making Corruption a Way of Life–We are all corrupt today. Integrity is Arabic. Your political buddy Hadi Awang understands since he is Fake Arab.

Just half a year ago, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak urged those who were out of a job to resort to becoming a driver with ride-sharing app Uber. He further cited the example of an industrious female graduate who put bread and butter on the table by selling “nasi lemak” (coconut milk rice).

Fast forward to the eve of Hari Raya, and almost dramatically, the Malaysian economy was said to be growing at more than 5.6 percent, and rated the best Asian country to invest in, according to BAV Consulting and the University of Pennsylvania.

Now, something is obviously not right here. When the Prime Minister is experiencing a litany of alleged corruption and malfeasance scandals, exposed by the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Washington Post not least, his spinners in Putrajaya and UMNO – including the equally tarnished Hadi Awang – claimed that there was an “American plot” to bring down the Malaysian government and its ostensible “Muslim or Islamic” leadership.

Image result for jho low 1mdbPenang born Financial Whiz –Not even his own can trust him

 

Two issues arise here: If the Malaysian government and party mouthpieces, including PAS and UMNO, ask the people to distrust the American media, why then cite American indices to showcase the growth of the country?

Now, if the reverse is true, that the statistics and revelations from America are indeed valid, why then ask Malaysians to reject them only when the issue revolves around 1MDB?

Obviously, the Malaysian Prime Minister and his spinners cannot get the facts right, and are nitpicking their way through a heap of ludicrous propaganda materials as they see fit. If there was anything related to corruption or malfeasance, out they went. When the numbers seemed to reflect their own spin, in they came, into the prime minister’s speech.

With a prime-minister-cum-finance-minister who cannot get the narrative right, why does Putrajaya even care what the people think?

But then they do. The election is coming. Come hell or high water, the 14th general election has to be called by the middle of 2018. The government can only enjoy a certain margin of advantage, if at all, only by lying through its teeth – the same way it has lied about 1MDB, Felda Global Ventures Holdings Berhad (FGV), incoming Chinese investments and even the infamous Saudi donation.

Barring a repeated narrative of falsehoods and deceptions through coordinated fake news dissemination, the prime minister and his cabinet cannot survive.

But what did the Prime Minister name in his Aidilfitri speech as the “five risks” facing Malaysia?

On geopolitics, Malaysia has clearly lost the plot. Instead of being fair and good to all great powers, Malaysia has become entrenched in China’s corner, at a time when China is behaving aggressively and assertively in the South China Sea.

When the US and members of ASEAN cannot trust Malaysia on our foreign policy – granted our tilt to the axis of Beijing – why does the government even want to mention geopolitics as a national risk to begin with?

Well, Najib had to. If not, he would have risked looking more irrelevant than ever. Despite claiming to be a golfing buddy of President Donald Trump, has Trump made any phone calls or extended any visits to Malaysia yet? No.

In fact, during the ASEAN Summit in April this year, Trump invited the Thai Prime Minister, the Singaporean Prime Minister and the Philippine President to visit the White House. But there was no invitation to Najib. In fact, when Trump spoke to President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, he asked Duterte if China could be “trusted” to handle North Korea.

Najib himself must have assumed that such a question could have been posed to him, as he has been trying to position himself as an insider on China. But, wait, something is not right here. If Najib is an insider on China, as he likes to claim, how did he invite Wanda Group to invest in Bandar Malaysia, only to see Wanda Group being investigated for financial irregularities?

And, if Najib is such a savvy insider on China, why are there illegal Chinese trawlers and fishing vessels still operating in the waters off Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, Johor, Sabah, and Sarawak?

It would have been better if Najib did not place geopolitics at the top of the risks Malaysia currently faces. After all, Najib’s impotence in issues ranging from 1MDB to Malaysian fishing rights has been as clear as night and day since 2009.

As for the threat of Islamic State, Najib affirmed that Malaysia is one of the safest countries in the world, ranked well within the first fifty. But with more than 160 Malaysians fighting in Iraq and Syria, and several others already fighting in Marawi in the Philippines,  how safe can Malaysia be when the shores of Sabah and Sarawak could be easily breached?

In fact, there have been numerous cases of kidnappings off the coast of Sabah and Sarawak, all of which have hit families without the means of paying the ransom. Several families have had to go down on their knees in opposition rallies – not government rallies – to beg for donations to rescue their loved ones who have been kidnapped.

Additionally, when a recent ransom was paid for four Sarawakian hostages, Inspector-General of police Khalid Abu Bakar claimed ignorance about the money collected for the ransom.

When Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, Najib’s own cousin, could not resolve any of the issues above, he was appointed as a special functions minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of Islamic State.

When the shares of FGV went under, former Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Idris Jala was brought in to look into the issue. Instead of resolving it, Idris Jala took to declaring that he only needed six days to find a solution. Six days came, and went, and again no solution was presented. But did the Prime Minister hold him accountable? No.

If this is a normal country, it is only “normal” by Najib’s own “Jho Low” standards. This is how Jho Low went missing with a vessel named “The Equanimity”.

Does the Prime Minister even know what “equanimity” means? Well, it means mental calmness and composure.

With a prime minister who allegedly allowed someone who graduated from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business to steal billions from Malaysia, it is no wonder that he still looks up to Wharton’s rankings. In other words, one can borrow heavily, and steal from Malaysian coffers, and not be punished at all. With a prime minister like Najib, who needs enemies?

The real challenges the nation is facing now are corruption, malfeasance, abuse of power, the destruction of democratic institutions, and the complete eclipse of integrity. Corruption used to be a fact of life in Malaysia. Now it is a way of life.

 

Can Mahathir’s return save Malaysia?


July 6, 2017

Can Mahathir’s return save Malaysia?

by William Pesek*

http://asia.nikkei.com/

Bold change is needed to restore Malaysia’s competitiveness

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Malaysians, Keep your cool. Dr.Mahathir is around to save you from Najib Razak

Malaysians could be excused for wondering if they are stuck in a time warp as Mahathir Mohamad rails against a sinister force wrecking an economy he spent two decades building.

But times have changed. The last time 31 million Malaysians witnessed this spectacle was 1997, and the target was billionaire investor George Soros. Today, the former prime minister is denouncing the current one, Najib Razak. And in a delicious twist of irony, even Soros shares Mahathir’s misgivings about Najib’s willingness to burn down one of Southeast Asia’s most promising economies just to stay in power.

Image result for doctor in the house mahathir

Malaysia’s 92 Year Old Comeback kid

Might this headline-grabbing tussle change policies that are undermining Malaysia’s living standards? Unfortunately, the probable answer is “no.”

Mahathir, 91, says he “may be forced to consider” abandoning retirement to rescue Malaysia from corruption scandals and neglect. Among the problems: since 2009, Najib has broadened affirmative action policies that benefit the ethnic Malay majority at the expense of productivity, deterring foreign investment. The state fund Najib created, 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), is the subject of money-laundering investigations from Singapore to Zurich to Washington.

Image result for Najib Razak

Malaysia’s Infamous Prime Minister Najib Razak is feeling the political heat

The 1MDB fiasco accelerated Najib’s slide from Mahathir prodigy to nemesis. Mahathir rarely misses a chance to demand Najib step down over disclosures that some $700 million found its way into the prime minister’s pockets (Najib denies any wrongdoing and claims “personal donations” from Saudi Arabia, whatever that means). Soros, a U.S. citizen, appears equally aghast. According to emails released by WikiLeaks, Soros lobbied the U.S to disassociate itself from Najib even as Washington engaged with Malaysia to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

But would a return to Mahathir’s firebrand ways really help? He deserves considerable credit for transforming a tropical backwater into an Asian tiger with some of the region’s most impressive skylines. But Mahathir’s 22-year tenure that ended in 2003 was marred by authoritarian leanings, media intolerance and insular industrial policies like building national car brand Proton. His impolitic tirades found a global audience in 1997 and 1998 when he, bizarrely, blamed Jews — Soros, especially — for a plunge in Malaysia’s currency. His capital controls and jailing of his pro-capitalism deputy prime minister drew admonitions from around the globe.

There is also what Mahathir’s return says about today’s Malaysia. For one thing, it speaks to the dearth of young leaders to replace the old warlords. For another, the opposition is too feckless to provide Mahathir a plausible route back to the premiership. His old party, United Malays National Organisation, is also Najib’s, and it has held power for more than six decades. Barring a critical mass of party elders tossing Najib to the curb, which is highly unlikely, Mahathir would have to find another way in.

The wild card here is that Mahathir`s battles with Najib prod the government to do its job, not just dole out patronage. The main task is increasing competitiveness. When Mahathir left office, Malaysia ranked 37th on Transparency International’s corruption index. By 2016, it had slumped to 55th place. Since Najib took over in 2009, Malaysia has also lost ground in the productivity and efficiency scales — ranking 21th in competitiveness by the World Economic Forum then and 25th now. Najib’s team is big on splashy conferences to tout success in raising Malaysia’s game, even though the facts belie the claims.

The battle-scarred Mahathir is just as charismatic as Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew in his post-leadership incarnation. Some pundits argue Mahathir could act as a Trojan horse, attacking Najib’s stranglehold from inside. Yet even if Mahathir outmaneuvered Najib and reclaimed the crown, there is no guarantee things would change course significantly. To do so would be to water down the policies and laws that kept Mahathir in power — ones Najib is now using to cling on.

Only bold change will ensure Malaysia thrives in this Asian century. Its neglect of Chinese and Indian minorities, for example, is self-defeating economic apartheid. It encourages many of Malaysia’s best and brightest to flee to Singapore or Hong Kong and increases the relative attractiveness of Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam for foreign executives.Bold change is needed to restore Malaysia’s competitiveness.

The 1MDB scandal continues to do considerable damage to the Malaysian brand. And while 1MDB replaced Malaysia Airlines losing a Boeing 777 in the global headlines, the two incidents are not completely unrelated. The bungled search for flight MH370 — and the opacity and cluelessness of the official response in the weeks following the disappearance in 2014 — exposed a political system unaccustomed to basic accountability. Malaysia’s clumsy response to 1MDB followed a similar pattern, offering insights into how a resource-rich nation with reasonable growth rates could be ensnared in the middle-income trap.

Instead of scrapping antiquated race-based quotas for hiring and business contracts and getting the state out of the private sector, Najib doubled down on 1971 — the year his prime minister father introduced this “New Economic Policy.” In 1991, Mahathir tried to augment it with a “National Development Strategy,” but Malaysia has done much more strategy-spinning than ensuring development keeps pace with Asian peers now pulling away from Najib’s economy.

Asia-based journalists long missed Mahathir’s fiery rhetoric and mercurial style. I was in that Hong Kong ballroom 20 years ago when he complained bitterly about the “rape” of Malaysian markets by Soros and his ilk. And let us face it, Najib brought this wrath on himself. Entertaining as he is, though, Dr. M is a wildly imperfect messenger for what ails the economy. The time warp Malaysians should fear as Mahathir and Najib exchange blows is one that takes living standards backwards.

*William Pesek is a Tokyo-based journalist and author of “Japanization: what the world can learn from Japan`s lost decades”. He is a former columnist for Bloomberg.

Malaysia Practises KorekEconomics


June 12, 2017

Malaysia Practises KorekEconomics (Dig-Economics)

by Rais Hussin Mohamed Ariff

http://www.malaysiakini.com

Image result for najib razak

Finance Minister Najib Razak–The Proponent of KorekEconomics

COMMENT | The history of taxation is synonymous with the rise of the state. When kings and warlords could not go on plundering and pillaging the people, they switched to taxation to prevent the farmers and settlers from avoiding the punitive measures.

By soft pedalling on the extraction, the state was born. Mancur Olson, an economist, referred to the state as the evolution from the “stationary bandit”. Paul Collier, at Oxford University, spoke of the logic of using the state to collect rents systematically, rather than to steal sporadically and in a spurious manner too.

In Malaysia, under the current administration, the two concepts that separate stealing from collecting taxes have been collapsed into one. Both are two sides of the same coin.

By introducing the tourism tax, for example, it seems to be aimed at foreign tourists. Yet, does anyone remember “Cuti-Cuti Malaysia?” This is an ongoing campaign that encourages Malaysians of all ages to travel within the country.

Yet, the moment you do, any five-, four- or three-star hotels you stay in means you would incur an additional cost that will go to the current administration. This ranges from RM 20 per night in a five-star hotel to RM 5 per night in a three-star hotel.

Thus, it doesn’t matter if you are a high-end traveller or a low-end traveller. The administration of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak is there to extract a portion of your hard earned income that you have set aside for a family holiday.

Digging deep for ‘korek economics’

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In other words, in addition to the goods and services tax (GST), your income tax and potentially the service tax too, the government wants to put its hands into your pockets. And they will dig deep to get what they want, in what can only be known as “korek economics”.

“Korek economics” is not based on collection. It is driven by the degree to which the Malaysian economy has become ruined, or “koyak” in Malay, the lingua franca of Malaysia.

In 1MDB, Malaysians are now saddled with, allegedly, a debt in excess of RM44 billion. When the debt of other government-owned companies are taken into account, the debt is easily more than 80 percent of the GDP.

Not forgetting the on-budget and off-budget debts. Off budget debts are debts created through bond issuance by an entity wholly owned by the government, with guarantees by the government.

Debts like the astronomical ECRL project, which is priced at an inflated price of RM55 billion and funded through debts from China. With an estimated three percent interest rate, seven years deferred payment and 240 months of repayment instalment, it will cost the government or the taxpayers a whopping sum of RM99.6 billion!

If we use the East Coast passenger load to find the breakeven ticket price one way from KL to Kota Bahru, it will cost a whopping RM3,586 one way, the same price for a return economy class air ticket to Siberia, Russia. Get the point?

Not happy with the revenue drawn from GST, the Malaysian government has offered a mere 15 percent discount to more than half a million graduates who remain unable to pay back their PTPTN loan. This harms the ability of the graduates to live an ordinary life. Given the youth unemployment is three times the national average, they seem to resign to the fact that they are in hopeless zone.

Thus, the process to “korek” Malaysia has not merely happened in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, where a hole is dug deep, without any structures on it, but it is proliferating across the whole country. Welcome to Curi-curi Malaysia.


RAIS HUSSIN MOHAMED ARIFF is a supreme council member of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu). He also chairs the Bersatu Policy and Strategy Bureau.

 

Citizen Nades: Malaysians are suffering truth deficiency syndrome


June 8, 2017

Citizen Nades: Malaysians are suffering  truth deficiency syndrome

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by R. Nadeswaran @ http://www.malaysiakini.com

COMMENT | Every other day, the people of this country are jolted, shaken, stirred and dazed by the information put out by foreign news portals and newspapers. Like junkies hooked on opium, a good section of the population eagerly awaits the next fix via the Internet.

From the extravagance in the casinos in the United States running into millions to the six-figure ringside seats for a boxing match from allegedly stolen Malaysian funds, we have heard it all. But has there been an explanation by the parties involved?

The discovery of cash in the millions at the homes of officials of the Sabah Water Board made the transfer of RM2 million into the account of an unemployed housewife child’s play. Has anyone explained?

How would you describe such overindulgence? Crazy or madness or insanity? Yet, these people whose hands are tainted continue to lead lives, living up with the Joneses and pretend as if nothing had happened.

To the average Malaysian wage earner whose taxes have been used to pay for such opulence, there’s cause to be concerned. Not that there is no evidence to proceed.

From across the Causeway, came some dribs and drabs, if pieced together would give us some inkling into this whole fiasco and the key players and perpetrators who should be brought to book.

The trial of banker Yeo Jiawei last year revealed the many fears of that had been previously allayed and dismissed by our leaders. Following coverage of the trial through various media, it is now apparent that someone had put his hands in the till of what was supposed to be our sovereign fund – 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) and its then subsidiary, SRC International Ltd.

Yeo, described in court as former BSI banker for 1MDB, said in open court that the first structure he did for the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund was for US$100 million for SRC International Ltd. The scheme devised was for SRC, then a subsidiary of 1MDB, to invest in a fiduciary fund called Enterprise Emerging Market Fund (EEMF).

He told the court that SRC asked that EEMF extend a loan of US$100 million to a company called Blackstone whose beneficial owner is Eric Tan Kim Loong, an associate of Low Taek Jho or Jho Low. (We were to know later that Eric is allegedly Jho Low.)

Image result for jho low 1mdbThe Master of the Mother of Scandals–1Malaysia Development Berhad

From the box, Yeo said: “I asked what if the investment became zero and what would happen?” SRC then gave an indemnity that shielded BSI from responsibility should all the money be lost. Has anyone explained why SRC, a government-linked company, be giving such indemnity?

Low is also among the people named in civil lawsuits filed by the US Department of Justice, which alleged that more than US$3.5 billion was misappropriated from 1MDB.The latest episode of lawyer Muhammed Shafee Abdullah allegedly receiving RM9.5 million from the prime minister’s personal bank account once again reinforces the need for some plausible explanation.

Image result for muhammad shafee abdullah the rm9.5 million man

Najib Razak’s RM9.5 million Man–Muhammad Shafee Abdullah 

The quantum of fees paid in legal cases is something that is not tariffed. Like a willing buyer and a willing seller, the fees is agreed upon and no one can fault Shafee on the quantum. Like most other professions, there is always confidentiality with the client. But the mind wonders what kind of legal work would justify the quantum.

It is not in the least suggested that there had been any wrongdoing, but the timing of the payment leaves right-thinking Malaysians to ask if there was something sinister. Adding fuel to the already burning fire is the re-release of the exchanges of SMSes between Shafee and the prime minister immediately after the murder of a Mongolian woman, Altantuya Shaariibuu.

There has been hardly any riposte from the alleged giver or the taker. By maintaining stoic silence hoping the issue will fade away is no longer an option. While generally Malaysians tend to forget easily, this issue will continue to haunt the government, the leaders, parties involved and above all, citizens who are quick to make up their own minds after reading such reports.

These reports can be easily and summarily dismissed as “rubbish” or “one-sided” concocted by those who have axe to grind with the government. But when details including cheques and bank statements are thrown in for a good measure to support such accusations, it becomes a different ball game altogether.

Foreign conspiracy?

Malaysians are suffering from a disease called the truth deficiency syndrome. This has certainly been vindicated by the revelations in the court proceedings and what has been reported in prestigious and credible newspapers like the New York Times, the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal.

At the height of the release of the findings of the Public Accounts Committee hearings and the related Auditor General’s Report last year, no effort was spared to paint a picture which depicted otherwise. So many other issues have been exposed. Has there been any response?

First, there was this accusation of a foreign conspiracy to overthrow the government; then we were told that the Western media is giving the wrong picture by publishing false reports; and there were even preposterous claims that the West was jealous of the progress made by the government.

Some may have accepted a “Yahudi” (Jewish) or “Western” plot to de-stabilise the government. But with advent of the Internet and instantaneous communication, like-minded citizens have dismissed these as mere propaganda for political expediency.

The problem is that no one in the officialdom comes forward to address the claims. Usually, they are third parties, “hound dogs” or minor officials who come to the fore, making valiant but yet disastrous attempts to allay the fears of Malaysians.

Banning newspapers and blocking websites is not even a solution. Sarawak Report, Malaysian Chronicle, OutSyed the Box and other portals have been blocked, but one does not need a degree in rocket science to get around this.

Image result for jho low 1mdb

Who’s Who in RoguesLand led by the Notorious Malaysian Official No.1–All Alive and Hearty

It has been said before and it is worth repeating: The people must have trust and faith in the government. For this to happen, it must be open, transparent and accountable to the people.

Mistakes have been made. Misinformation has been fed. Laws have been broken. Punishment must be meted out. Put simply, the people have not been told the truth.

Turning a deaf ear to the issues that have and will continue to emerge does not bode well for the government, the prime minister and the cabinet. As more and more dirt continues to be unearthed, it will come a time when any government announcement will be treated with contempt.

The government must look to the future and that starts with coming clean on this whole 1MDB issue which has had tongues wagging – correctly and incorrectly – for the past three years.

Only the truth will help to re-build our country to be a united nation. Perhaps, an amnesty programme will help the emergence of the truth which will put an end to all the politicking and other issues that are distracting us from achieving our goals.


R NADESWARAN is an award-winning veteran journalist who writes on bread and butter issues with one agenda – a better quality of life for all Malaysians irrespective of colour, creed or religion. He can be reached at: citizen.nades22@gmail.com.