On Malaysian CID Chief’s Funds in Australia

March 6, 2018

Nades’ Take on Malaysian CID’s Chief Funds in Australia

by R. Nadeswaran@www.malaysiakini.com

Image result for R. Nadeswaran

The scenarios and characters depicted in this article are real. However, we assume the characters are innocent unless proven otherwise. The issue and the events that followed require a full and lengthy explanation. It should provide reasons for such activities which have breached Australian legislation.

Let it be emphasised that no one is being accused of any wrongdoing. Neither is there any insinuation of anything sinister or ominous, nor is there the casting of aspersions on the truthfulness of answers provided to date.

Image result for Malaysian CID Chief

Lest it be misunderstood–This Guy,Wan Ahmad Najmuddin Mohd,  is the cleanest Police Officer in Malusia relatively speaking

Many issues affecting the nation in the welfare of its people are often discussed over lunch, over a few drinks or at gatherings and are subsequently forgotten. Many yearn for answers and never get them. Having been a career journalist, we have been trained to ask – when required – even the toughest questions have to be asked and plausible answers are expected.

Instincts sometimes compel journalists to look beyond the ordinary because some situations are remote and the details hard to believe. Even if some fibs are said along the way, the questions can always be repeated.

Take the case of Bukit Aman Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Director Wan Ahmad Najmuddin Mohd, whose Australian bank account was deposited to the tune of almost RM1 million. The irony is that he is not laying claim to the money and has declared that the Australian government can have it. Without being judgmental, the man himself has not spoken directly. Others are speaking for him.

Inspector-general of police (IGP) Mohamad Fuzi Harun (photo) says that an internal investigation exonerated Wan Ahmad. So did the deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi who claim that there are no grounds for the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) to investigate the case.

The fact remains that various sums of money were deposited into his account – below the AUS$10,000 threshold each time. The Australian reported that Wan Ahmad wrote off the money and did not attempt to get it back from the authorities, citing high legal cost. Wan Ahmad claimed that he sold his house for RM700,000 and the proceeds were sent to Australia to fund the education of his two children.

Question 1: How did RM700,000 turn into AUS$320, 000 (RM970,000)?

Question 2: If indeed the money was meant for education, why such a fat balance? This means zero sum was spent on education and yet the money grew by almost RM300,000.

Question 3: Many Malaysians educate their children overseas and often remit college fees and living expenses via authorised banks. Why, in this case, was the money was deposited in small amounts at various banks by an individual?

Question 4: Is there a need for such an exercise when all you have to do is give legitimate reasons for the transfer via the bank? Why was this not done?

Question 5: Why would anyone just allow RM879,000 to be forfeited when there are legitimate ways of getting the money back? One former editor remarked that he will “kill any kangaroo or wallaby” to get his money.

As Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng said, the Australian legal system allows for a no win, no fees arrangement.

I have already contacted and an Australian lawyer who is willing to undertake this exercise.

Australian police want some real answers

Will Wan Ahmad make an effort to get his money back? Or will he spurn such an offer because the Australian Federal Police need some “real” answers about Wan Ahmad’s “Indian friend”? This man took so much effort in travelling around Australia to deposit the money in Wan Ahmad’s account.

There are far too many anomalies in the story and they cast doubts of Joe Public. How these questions were answered, or even if they were asked is something we are not privy to. Everyone is in a rush to defend Wan Ahmad without answering the four simple questions above.

As for Question 5, banking in RM700,000 which ballooned to become RM970,000 after using part of the money for his children’s’ education is something even top bankers can’t do. It is beyond belief that Bukit Aman’s internal investigation team accepts this.

Of course, MACC will investigate but will clear Mr. Wan Ahmad of any wrongdoing. Could it be another donation from Somalia or Yemen this time

The MACC went into its cocoon by stating that it will carry out investigations if there is a report lodged. MACC Deputy Chief Azam Baki (photo) was quoted as saying that he only found out about the matter through newspapers.

“I have read the reports and will have to respect the findings of the police investigation clearing Wan Ahmad of any wrongdoing,” The Star quoted Azam as saying.

Since when was it the MACC’s policy to investigate only if there is a report? If there is an anonymous tip-off on bribery and money laundering, it would only be prudent to carry out discreet investigations, as in the past. The MACC cannot exonerate anyone based on internal inquiries and findings as this is a dangerous precedent which should never be practised.

If this is indeed a new policy to allow “internal investigations” to supersede MACC investigations, the commission can “tutup kedai”. All forms of investigations and subsequent prosecution of civil servants should be halted and let “internal investigations” reign supreme.

More importantly, how could a minister get involved and seek explanations directly from the people involved?

Zahid Hamidi’s personal intervention, as was suggested, will only show that the investigations were not independent and heavily lopsided.

To even suggest naivety, is an excuse on behalf of Wan Ahmad. As the adage ‘when in Rome, do as Romans do’, the claim of being naïve by Zahid is not acceptable. Wan Ahmad is not an ordinary mata-mata. He holds a senior position and one expects him to abide the laws of any country.

Let it be reiterated that no one is questioning Wan Ahmad’s integrity and honesty or any form of wrongdoing. Not in the least is anyone accusing him of obtaining the money through questionable means.

All he needs to do is to allay suspicions and the assertion that he broke Australian laws and provide more details of how RM700,000 grew to RM970,000 after having spent on his children’s education.

R NADESWARAN feels the only way to come out of this issue unscathed is for Wan Ahmad to answer the questions posed. Comments:citizen.nades22@gmail.com.

Malaysia: No country for honest men, just MO1

November 28, 2017

Malaysia: No country for honest men, just MO1


Image result for Tan Siew Sin and Dr. Ismail Abdul Rahman

READING Robert Kuok’s account of Malaysian leaders of a bygone era, one anecdote stood out.

The anecdote shows how far our current leaders have fallen in integrity, accountability, honesty and sense of responsibility for the country.

In his memoir, Kuok recalls an incident of former Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman writing to then Finance Minister (Tun) Tan Siew Sin to tell the tax department to go easy on a poker buddy.

Image result for Tan Siew Sin and Dr. Ismail Abdul Rahman

Tun Tan Siew Sin with Malaysia’s Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman. Both were men of integrity who served Malaysia with distinction.

Tan was so upset at being asked to intervene and bend the rules that he marched into the office of Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman.

Dr Ismail’s advice was brilliant. He told his cabinet colleague that Tunku Abdul Rahman had done his friend a favour by writing the letter. Now Siew Sin had to do the country a favour by doing his job.

And yes, Dr Ismail also crumpled up the letter and threw it into the waste bin.

These men were the nation’s true trustees.

There wouldn’t have been the BMF and Perwaja Steel scandals, and most certainly, the biggest act of kleptocracy in the world would never have been allowed to happen.

If the PM or UMNO chieftains of the day had tried to propose a shady deal, they would have spoken up against it. What a contrast to the crop of today.

Image result for Najib Razak Bullshit

Cronyism. Nepotism. Every “ism” that the leaders of the bygone era fought against has infected the leadership of the country, from top to bottom. But even sadder is that unlike the towering giants of the past, we now are surrounded by champions of mediocrity.

Not for them the integrity and honesty of their predecessors. They prefer to attend to the more immediate need of short-term electoral gains to stay in power at any cost.

Cronies and acolytes are a must, in the interests of development and to ensure the race and religion remain supreme.


Image result for najib and rosmah

That it is lip service is of no concern to those who preach that the end justifies the means. People may remain poor decades after Merdeka but they are fed hope while cronies scoop up the contracts and concessions.

Image result for jho low

Why is the Penang-born Arab still at large? Because he is a Najib crony who knows too much about his patron, MO1

Will anyone in government stand up to such blatant abuse of their mandate? Will any blow the whistle on those who abuse their power?

The long answer is, no way for sure. The short answer, d’uh. It will never happen and the few who dared to say yes have been sacked and punished.

The simple fact is, Kuok is talking of a time in Malaysia that is long gone. And will never return again. – November 25, 2017.


Corruption: Now the Joke is on Malaysians

November 20, 2017

Corruption: Now the Joke is on Malaysians

by R.Nadeswaran@www.malaysiakini.com

Image result for Najib Razak-- I am not a Liar

These UMNO Rogues are laughing at us because we are gullible and naive

There was a time when the jokes were on African states, their leaders and how they ran their governments. We despised the apartheid regime in South Africa and laughed at Idi Amin in Uganda and other kleptocrats who stole money and precious metals from their own people. Now, the joke seems to be on us.

Former Kenyan premier Raila Amolo Odinga’s not-so-flattering remarks on corruption in Malaysia made during a 2013 conference at the Wilson Centre in Washington DC, was uploaded to YouTube on 10 days ago.

He spoke as if he was an authority and had full knowledge of Malaysian affairs. Not surprising as a year earlier, he had been conferred an Honorary Doctorate of Leadership in Societal Development by the Limkokwing University of Creative Technology.

How long can Malaysians go on hearing all kinds of hurtful things being said of the country and its leaders? Why aren’t we responding to such insults, instead of pretending that they were never made? The more we play deaf and dumb, the more we become disrespected and slighted.

In 2015, the Wall Street Journal alleged RM2.6 billion had been deposited into the AmBank account of Prime Minister Najib Razak and linked it to 1MDB. Almost immediately, he threatened to sue the newspaper. A year later, nothing materialised but his lawyer, Mohd Hafarizam Harun was quoted as saying that it would be a futile move.

Image result for Najib Razak-- I am not a Liar

The more important issue, the lawyer argued, is the Malaysians’ own thoughts regarding 1MDB, noting that reports and statements from local authorities such as the Attorney-General and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) have cleared the prime minister.

“What matters are the Malaysians, whether you believe with all the public accounts committee report, the attorney-general and the MACC, that the PM is not involved. If you say you do not believe because the international media are saying otherwise, nothing much I can do,” he told reporters, adding that it would show a mindset of continued colonisation with the belief that “the Americans, the British, the whites are far superior” than Malaysians.

Well, that was before the US Department of Justice came out with its deposition on the funds it alleges had been stolen from 1MDB. Since then, there have been other disclosures from other monetary authorities.

Image result for Najib Razak-- I am not a Liar

MIC thinks Najib Razak is the Father of Indian Development and our Indian brothers think so too

Singapore closed a couple of financial institutions; banned a few bankers and even sent three of them to jail. The line that the money was a donation “from an Arab prince” has been demolished on more than to report the big money transfers to Bank Negara.

‘Tidak apa’

ANZ chief executive Shayne Elliott told an Australian parliamentary inquiry in October last year that no ANZ employee was involved in what has happened in the AmBank. (The AmBank Group was slapped with a RM53.7mil fine by Bank Negara in November 2015, but the exact reasons for the fine were not specified.)

If the bank has been penalised, what about the account holder? The Police have continuously prosecuted individuals for having monies which they could not account for. And our leaders have often thumped their chest and screamed: “No one is above the law!”

There has been hardly any reaction to the Australian report. To scream “fake news” and consign 1MDB, its humongous borrowings and losses, its links to the Prime Minister and the government to the dustbin are not going to be easy.

The annals of history will record the massive misinformation campaign and its perpetrators of 1MDB and those attempting the cover-up exercise. With the rakyat are being continually starved of accurate data, the government has created a new strain of disease called the truth deficiency syndrome.

Instead of addressing this issue, the government seems laid back and has adopted a “tidak apa” attitude. Lawmakers who raise the issues are not given proper answers in Parliament.

There seems to be no will and determination in wanting to tell the truth and find closure to an issue that has dragged down the country through slime and mud. Does it not matter to our MPs and ministers? What do they tell their foreign counterparts when attending conferences and meetings? Packs of lies?

It has been said that those who are riding the 1MDB tiger refuse to or cannot dismount for fear of being eaten up. If that is so, let it happen.

What about the roles of our elected representatives? Instead of addressing more important issues, they seem to be more apt or fixated with sex. Why else would they be debating the aphrodisiac qualities of durians instead of 1MDB?

Read more at https://www.malaysiakini.com/columns/402499#fc7WYSjfAyZWKyc3.99


The Theocratic Threat to our Constitution and Democracy

October 20, 2017

The Theocratic Threat to our Constitution and Democracy

By Mohamed Tawfik Tun Dr Ismail


Image result for Tawfik Tun Dr. Ismail

The danger in Jakim preacher Zamihan’s video is not just the inflammatory racial slurs on the non-Muslims, specifically non-Malay non-Muslims, but the dare he threw to the Constitutional Monarchs and the elected Government of the day to make him a Martyr for the Islamo-Fascist agenda.

This agenda, from his own mouth and as a Jakim officer, is to replace the monarchical system with a theocracy when he dismissed and belittled the Sultan of Johore’s decree on the Muar laundrette.

It was reinforced a few days later when the Deputy Minister in charge of Jakim publicly declared it was Barisan Nasional’s goal to create an Islamic State in Malaysia, ignoring the Constitution as well as ignoring what many in East Malaysia believe to be the secular foundation upon which Malaysia was formed. He erroneously declared it was Umno’s agenda for the last 60 years, ignoring the secularism of Umno’s leaders till Umno’s demise in 1988.

The means of implementing this has been to test the limits of the relationship between the monarchs and the government. Something as innocuous as renaming the main roads after the sultans was not to flatter them, but to do it as a fait accompli without their consent.

Image result for Kassim Ahmad

If the Government could get away with this the next step is to erode their powers over religion. If the Rulers resist, then a Zamizam type assault would come into play to test the waters. There is no need here to rehash the Kassim Ahmad episode where jurisdiction is ignored and harassment becomes the means of punishment.

No need to repeat Jawi’s heartless response when after Kassim’s demise, Jawi declared it had no further interest in the case, as though Kassim’s death was the end they sought. What more the vigilantism practiced by catching sons for khalwat with their mothers, or married couples caught for legitimately being together?

The above actions not only alarm ordinary citizens but also undermines the institution of Rulers, for is it not in their name that such actions are taken? In fact is it the case of the tail wagging the dog when Zamizan is summoned by his superiors to explain himself, as though Jakim has no control over it’s officers?

Image result for mustafa akyol

Is it also the same in the Mustafa Aykol case where the officers act of their own accord in the mistaken belief they are “protecting the image of Islam” when the end result to the world at large is to demean and diminish the beauty of Islam, and belittle the warmth and hospitality that Malays are known for?

Image result for Council of Rulers Malaysia

The Malaysian King and HRH Sultan of Johor

I suggest that the Conference of Rulers among themselves appoint a Privy Council to advise them on Constitutional issues and reassert their powers over religion to thwart any attempt by stealth by the Islamo-Fascist to impose a theocracy. It is time for the sultans to assert their authority over religion as His Majesty the Sultan of Johore has done.

The Cabinet, Members of Parliament and the Civil Service have sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution, and those who openly defy the constitution like Zamizan should be punished not just for sedition, but also for treason against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the people of Malaysia.

Tawfik Ismail is an FMT reader.

The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.



10 Rs why we are not Independent; not Malaysia but Malusia

August 25, 2017

10 Rs why we are not Independent; not Malaysia but Malusia

by P Gunasegaram@www.malaysiakini.com

QUESTION TIME | At the stroke of midnight heralding August 31, 1957, the Malayan flag was raised in front of Selangor Padang, Kuala Lumpur before a crowd of thousands and the Union Jack lowered ushering in an era of an independent Malaya which would become Malaysia on September 16, 1963.

Image result for Raising of the Malayan Flag at the Padang on August 31. 1957

The Pinnacle –August 31. 1957 and from then on it was a secular decline into Malusia under Prime Minister Najib Razak–August 31, 2017 and sinking fast due to corruption, incompetence, racism and religious extremism and ketuananism

In the morning, at an elaborate ceremony at Stadium Merdeka, Malaysia’s first Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman cried out “Merdeka!” seven times, echoed by a capacity crowd at the stadium, before the new national anthem “Negaraku” was played for the first time publicly. You can watch a short video here and a longer one here.  If you have not seen them before, I recommend that you do.

In his speech that morning, the Tunku, as the Kedah Prince with a common touch was known to most Malayans, said the nation is based on a constitution and the foundations of freedom (kebebasan), democracy, independence, justice and harmony.

Hopeful faces from all communities and all walks of life packed into the stadium that day, but 60 years later have their hopes, dreams and aspirations been realised? Sixty years later, are we really independent? Sadly, no.

Here are 10 reasons why independence still eludes us.

1. We don’t have freedom in key areas. Freedom is the right to do what you want to do so long as you do not affect the rights of others. But in Malaysia, you can’t even express what you truly feel as many things are considered to be seditious.

Informed debates are out, different lifestyles are looked down upon, you can’t even start a newspaper without the approval of the Home Minister, you have religion interfering in administration and state matters and the Constitution being blatantly disregarded in the name of expediency and a higher law.

2. We don’t have democracy. Democracy is not just only about proportional representation but the right to air your valid opinions and to have the means to spread them to others without restriction. We don’t even have proportional representation because rural seats are given a lot more weightage, sometimes as much as 10 times urban ones. Constitutional safeguards for this have either been ignored or changed over the years. The ruling party holds sway over the mass media by extensive controls as well as ownership webs.

3. We have oppressive laws. The Sedition Act, Sosma, Poca, OSA and various provisions in other legislation provide extensive power to the police and the home minister designed to keep things under wrap and to stifle legitimate dissent. Some of these are even more draconian than the laws which were in place during the time of the British occupation, which is astonishing considering that we have been “independent” for over 60 years. (and we don’t have bola too!)

4. Our government is not transparent. Because the government does so much wrong, it shields so much of what it does, coming up with the infamous Official Secrets Act which dishes out a mandatory jail term for disclosing “secrets”. These so-called “secrets” are most often not even in the national interest to be kept secret but instead reflect serious corruption within government. Unjustly, those who unearth and reveal such secrets face heavy punishment under the law.

5. Our government is not accountable. Our government stopped being accountable long ago. Bad things get done but nobody is brought to account. Billions are lost but no one is charged in court. The same problems crop up over and over again and the same excuses are trotted out over and over again. We don’t ever learn from the past – and the reason is obvious. Corruption prevents correction. This and the previous point reflect the emasculation of our key institutions of check and balance, as our next five points indicate.

Image result for Mahathir the destroyer of institutions
Tun Dr. Mahathir is back to rebuild institutions which he conveniently destroyed


6. Our Judiciary is not independent. Mahathir Mohamad infamously put paid to what was once regarded as an independent arm of the government which will rule on the basis of existing laws and the Constitution, resulting in a number of decisions not being made in accordance with legal principles and precedents. This continues to haunt us today with judges now being increasingly influenced by religious beliefs rather than the law and by who is in power.

Image result for IGP Khalid Abu Bakar retires

Hey, Chief, after September, 2017, we don’t care too

7. Our Police are not independent. Selective implementation of the law with the opposition and dissidents feeling the brunt of Police action while government and ruling party elements often get by with a rap on the knuckles or no action at all when others face jail sentences for similar offences. The all-encompassing Sedition Act, OSA, Sosma and Poca have all been selectively used by the police.

8. Our MACC is not independent. While the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission suddenly seems to be active, its image is shattered by the omission of action against the largest theft in the country and probably the world as a result of which a huge sum of money came into the accounts of the prime minister. Also, MACC’s actions are quite clearly one-sided towards the opposition, ignoring many cases of corruption involving ruling party officials.

Image result for Paul LowMr Integrity Paul Low –We owe him a lot for allowing corruption to be rampant. We need more big talkers like him 


9. Our EC is not independent. The Elections Commission has not shown itself to be independent, allowing gerrymandering to realign boundaries of constituencies and allowing by a large amount proportional misrepresentation to continue by giving undue weightage to rural constituencies.

Image result for Apandi Ali

This A-G only serves UMNO and the Prime Minister

10. Our AG is not independent. The Attorney-General has famously decreed that the Prime Minister has no case to answer despite considerable evidence to the contrary, and especially extensive documented investigation by the US Department of Justice.

The latest appointment of the Auditor-General has been called into question because her spouse is a prominent UMNO member who declared that he will die for the Prime Minister. There are more reasons of course but these 10 are among the main ones.

Although this has culminated with Najib Abdul Razak at the top, it did not start with him. It started much earlier, pushed forward through a racial, racist party which thought that it knew what was best for the country and which twisted and turned this way and that to use religion and race to stay in power. It was not about Malaysians anymore – not even Malays.

It was corrupted by power and money, and along the way, as checks and balances were removed one by one giving the state enormous legislative, judicial, policing and administrative powers to ultimately protect the economic interests of its upper classes especially those in UMNO. Now, kleptocracy rules supreme.

This party must change or go so that freedom, democracy, independence, justice and harmony – the five foundations the Tunku mentioned – are restored, and restored in full. And it requires the efforts of all of us Malaysians, no matter how small or big, whichever community we come from, to ensure that happens. Our survival and the survival of our country depends on that.



Institutional Failure continues in Malaysia (aka Malusia)

July 31, 2017

Institutional Failure continues in Malaysia (aka Malusia)

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

If Malaysian civil servants and politicians could not agree on solutions to basic problems, imagine the conflicts that would be triggered by disagreements over substantive matters.

Image result for Mahathir and Anwar

A strange partnership for a change

The conflict that was the consequence of the 1997 economic crisis pitted then Prime Minister Mahathir and his Deputy, Anwar Ibrahim. It ripped apart the nation, or to be more specific, Malays. That fissure is still deep and irreversible; Malays have yet to come to terms with it. Today we have the 1MDB mess. Only the players have changed; the underlying dynamics–unenlightened and unsophisticated Malay leaders–remain the same.

This lack of political wisdom and sophistication among Malay leaders (those in UMNO and PAS, to be specific–remember, UMNO is Malay, and Malay, UMNO–as well as the overwhelmingly Malay civil service) gets worse as we go down or laterally, as with our hereditary and religious leaders. The banality of the latter is exemplified by their current obsession with naming out-of-wedlock babies. You would think they would deliberate instead on how to prevent unwanted births and the care for those innocent babies with the dignity and love that they deserve.

Related image
The Malay Rulers

As for Malay Sultans, consider the roles of Perak’s and Selangor’s during the political crises following the electoral tsunami of the 2008 general elections.

In Perak, the then Sultan proved unable to escape his feudal mentality. He treated the “People’s Representatives” in the state assembly as his handmaidens, to do his bidding. No surprise then that the political crisis there degenerated in short order. Instead of being part of the solution, the Sultan became enmeshed in the problem.

That Perak crisis demonstrated another key point. It is often assumed that if only we have qualified and experienced people in charge, then no matter how battered or inadequate our institutions are, those individuals would rise to the challenge. In Perak, we had a Sultan who by any measure was the most qualified and experienced, having served as the nation’s top judge and later, King. Yet his critical decision following the 2008 election, which demanded the most judicious of judgment, proved unwise and primitive. That is putting it in the mildest and most polite terms.

The protagonists there were Barisan Nasional’s Zamry Kadir, a Temple University PhD, and Pakatan’s Nizar Jamaluddin, an engineer fluent in multiple languages. With the defeat of the incumbent Barisan, Pakatan’s Nizar took over as Chief Minister. It was short lived. Through shady machinations, Barisan persuaded a few Pakatan representatives to switch, triggering a political tussle culminating in a constitutional crisis. All that could have been avoided by calling for a formal assembly vote of no confidence.

Instead, the Sultan decided which party had the Assembly’s confidence. From there it was but a short steep slide to seeing the Pakatan Speaker of the Assembly being manhandled and dragged out, with chairs thrown all round. The sultan’s representative was reduced to cooling his heels in an adjoining room, unable to address the Assembly because of the mayhem.

Image result for Hamsa Ali

Model  UMNO Malay Civil Servants–Of Integrity and Political Correctness–Your Obedient Servants (Kami Yang Menurut Perentah)

Equally pathetic and despicable were the behaviors of the permanent establishment; they too were ensnared in the mess through their partisan performances. Those civil servants should have acted as a conciliatory buffer.

The Judiciary too, failed. The ensuing lawsuit did not merit an expedited hearing and thus meandered through the judicial process. By contrast, the lawsuit triggered by the 2000 American presidential elections over the Florida ballots ended at the Supreme Court for a definitive decision in a matter of days, not months.

The credentials of the key players in the Perak mess were all impressive. In performance however, they were no different from street thugs. Their diplomas looked impressive only when hung on walls.

Image result for Zeti Aziz

“An Ivy League PhD. As can be seen, superior education does not always equal courage or integrity”.–Bakri Musa>

The latest failure of leadership, demonstrated to national and international shame, was that of Zeti Aziz, former Governor of Bank Negara. A few years earlier Global Finance named her as one of the top central bankers. Rather premature as it turned out. During the pivotal 1MDB crisis, she remained silent. She later used the excuse that she did not have the power beyond imposing fines! She bragged that she imposed the highest fine to date. That may well be. However, in view of the size of the loot, which was in the billions, a few millions in fine is but peanuts. She would have done a far greater public service had she spoken out and exposed the corruption.

Contrast her performance to her legendary predecessor Ismail Ali, the Bank’s first native Governor. A Queen’s scholar and Cambridge graduate, it would be unthinkable for any minister to even consider undertaking any financial shenanigans during his time.  Zeti’s qualification is no less impressive, an Ivy League PhD. As can be seen, superior education does not always equal courage or integrity.

A mark of a mature democracy, or any system, is the smooth and predictable transfer of power. Perak was a spectacular failure, an unnerving preview for Malaysia.

The transition in Selangor was no better, with the ugly spectacle of the destruction of official documents and the vandalizing of office equipment by the outgoing UMNO Chief Minister, one local-trained former government dentist, and his staff. That revolting display was made even more obscene when compared to the smooth transition in Penang, also the consequence of the 2008 elections.

The transfer of power there was from the Chinese-based Gerakan, a Barisan affiliate, to the also predominantly Chinese Democratic Action Party. It was a model of civility, with the two leaders shaking hands. What a contrast to Selangor with the shift from UMNO to the also predominantly Malay Keadilan! No class, again reflecting the sorry caliber of the Malay political leaders.

This has not always been the case. I remember the 1950s and 60s when opposition leaders, Malays and non-Malays, would attend social functions hosted by then Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman. There were pictures of PAS leaders in their modern suits and ties at ronggeng (dance)parties at the Residency, and no one would raise a howl. Those PAS leaders did not feel that the revelry on the social occasion contaminated their piety.

Today I yearn to see such displays of decorum and civility among our leaders. I have seen DAP leader Lim Kit Siang at Mahathir’s Hari Raya “Open House,” but I have yet to see Nik Aziz give a sermon in a masjid full of UMNO members, or Abdullah Badawi, a self-proclaimed alim, in a mosque in Kelantan.

As for the civil service, in the 1950s and 60s it still had the aroma of prestige, a leftover from colonial rule. That however was more fantasy than reality. The inadequacies of the civil service then so well documented by Milton Esman are still evident today, only far worse. The civil service is now insular, inbred and most of all, highly corrupt and woefully incompetent. Far from being an essential instrument for the development of Malaysia, it is but an encrusted barnacle impeding the nation’s progress.

Revisiting the earlier Perak debacle, the then Crown Prince Raja Nazrin recently lamented on the quality of advice the Sultan (his father) received from senior officials. Dispensing with whether this was but a crude and shameless attempt at shifting blame, two things are worth noting. One, it took the prince this long to acknowledge those inadequacies, and two, his father (the sultan) obviously restricted his sources of counsel! And this Sultan was the nation’s former chief judge!