The 5 Pluses of Japan


November 14, 2018

The 5 Pluses of Japan

By Phar Kim Beng http://www.malaysiakini.com

COMMENT | There are three Japanese policies embedded into Malaysia. The Look East Policy is but one. Even then, Look East involves learning from the rapid economic developments of South Korea and China as well.

Thus, the Look East Policy alone, while necessary, is not sufficient to understand what Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad seems to want to achieve by making three trips to Japan over the last six months.

The other two policies are Malaysian Incorporated, abbreviated as Malaysian Inc, and the policy of sogososha (huge conglomerates).

Second, as a democracy, albeit an Asiatic one, Japan was in a position to explain to the rest of the G7 if the region was heading towards more democracy. To the degree the emphasis was not on democracy but business, Mahathir was hoping that the West and Japan could see Southeast Asia as a location where their foreign direct investments (FDI) could grow. Thus the ritualistic attendance at the Nikkei Asian Conference every June, which Mahathir attends without fail.

Third, Mahathir knows, from watching it intensely from the 1960s onwards, that Japan has capable acts of heroism. While the conversation threads can occasionally veer into “hara-kiri” or ritualistic suicide to atone for one’s shame, it has also headed in the direction of volitional resignation.

When Japan Inc or the government made any mistake, it was adept at either offering a contrite apology, changing its previous behaviour completely or resigning from the positions of responsibility.

Calling the Pacific War a war of necessity rather than a war of Japanese imperial aggression, for example, was enough to make any minister resign within a window of 24 hours. Japan has, and did, learn from the conflicts of the past which is why the Peace Constitution of Japan is something which Mahathir continues to admire, even suggesting as recently as August that it could help Malaysia avoid from being entrapped in any armed conflict.

Fourth, there is a high degree of congruence between the Japan of the past, especially Tokyo Olympics 1964, the first Olympics in Asia, and the impending Tokyo Olympics 2020, which is 18 months away from now. The key point is the Japanese fascination with making things, and the future, better.

Image result for tokyo 2020 look of the games

Both are events to show case the future of Japanese technology within the context of what Asian technology can achieve. Invariably, this ranges from receiving the athletes at the major metropolises like Tokyo and Osaka to transferring them to other cities for various events. If in 1964 the focus was on bullet trains, in 2020 the key experiment would be driverless cars.

Not brittle nor delicate

Fifth, Japan is not often seen through the optics of strategic balance or to counter to the emergence of China or even North Korea.

When Mahathir became the Seventh Prime Minister in May 2018, he did not block Malaysia from reopening its mission in Pyongyang in North Korea. Yet North Korea, to this day, remains the arch enemy of Japan.

Nor did Mahathir try to pitch Japan against China, another strategic rival to Tokyo. The Mahathir doctrine is about clearing all warships from the South China Sea without fail.

By using Robert Kuok (on left in photo) as a conduit to get to know President Xi Jinping and Vice-President Wang QiShan of China, Mahathir knew he was using a practical “centrist” (and one who is Malaysian, too) to reach out to the top leadership in China.

He wasn’t trying to use someone who believes in transforming Japan into America’s “unsinkable aircraft carrier”, an expression used by former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone during Mahathir’s first tenure as the fourth Prime Minister of Malaysia (1981-2003).

By obviating the importance of the fifth aspect of the Japanese Malaysian relationship, Mahathir is indeed Looking East without being locked into any conflict with Japan’s nuclear and conventional arms rivals in the Northeast Pacific or the East China Sea.

In the months to come, the Japanese and Malaysian relationship can only strengthen when Anwar Ibrahim, the Prime Minister-in-Waiting, also exercises the same level of energy and pulsating pace to keep the two countries locked in a strategic embrace.

Image result for anwar ibrahim the asian renaissance

There are no signs to suggest that Anwar won’t keep up the tempo with Japan. First, Anwar is a big believer in the “Asian Renaissance,” a theme he explored in the book which he wrote in the 1990s.

He is also an ardent admirer of the Quranic scholarship and hermeneutics of the late Toshihiko Izutsu , one of the best scholars to have ever emerged from Japan.

 

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Philosopher Toshihiko Izutsu

Anwar  is also a huge fan of Rabindranath Tagore, the Indian writer who was inspired by Japanese Pan Asianists like Ogawa Shumei and Tenshin Okakura at the start of the 20th century. The trio believed that Pan Asianism could be the ideological glue for the region.

Some of the think tanks of Anwar – such as the Institut Kajian Dasar (IKD) and the Institut Rakyat – have had good relationships with the Sasakawa Peace Foundation and the Nippon Foundation in Tokyo. Such links have been cultivated over the course of the last 25 years.

Their ties are not brittle and delicate. In fact, these organisations are keen on working with Mahathir and Anwar jointly. The future of Malaysia and Japan can only brighten when all Malaysians take Japan as seriously as the top two.

When Waseda University, the University of Tsukuba, the Toyo University, and potentially other Japanese education groups begin working closely with Malaysia, the Look East policy will then gain in ascendancy, creating room for similar entities from China and South Korea to do the same in Malaysia.

For now, the key is to send more workers, students, trainees, interns and even future leaders from Malaysia to Japan’s Graduate School of Policy Studies.

By 2020, the Japanese Prime Minister wants a total of 300,000 foreign students in Japan.

It would be an exceptional feat if one-third of them are Malaysians. That would be 100,000 Malaysians who understand contemporary Japan and how she competes with South Korea and China in a healthy manner.

These 100,000 Malaysians will help to move the country towards 2025 – the period when Mahathir believes Malaysia can be a developed country on par with Japan.


PHAR KIM BENG is a former visiting scholar of the Japan Institute of International Relations in Tokyo.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

 

Why I am very disillusioned with PKR


November 7, 2018

Why I am very disillusioned with PKR

 

 

Opinion

by Francis Paul Siah@www.malaysiakini.com

–“The majority of Malaysians are not interested in your internal party problems. They are fed up”.–Francis Paul Siah

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COMMENT | I didn’t mince my words when I sent this message to a very dear friend who is a key leader in Sarawak PKR the day he and his party comrades lodged a report at the Kuching MACC over alleged ambiguities in the Julau PKR division. “Do you know that all of you look like clowns in the media requesting the MACC to go after one of your own MPs?

“What nonsense is this? You cannot even resolve a simple problem within a small division in your party and you expect us to believe that you can run the country!

“Again, I say ‘paloi’ to all those fighting one another in PKR. Sorry, my friend. The majority of Malaysians are not interested in your internal party problems. They are fed up”.

My friend attempted this feeble response: “So what do you expect us clowns to do? Keep quiet and let them destroy our party? It’s quite obvious that party members often do not see what is wrong within their own organisation and it takes an outsider to awaken them with the truth.

So let the truth be told.

Replying to my friend, I said that no one is destroying PKR from outside. It is PKR leaders themselves, due to their greed and lust for power, who are destroying the party. When they have power, they cannot handle it.

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I’ve just viewed the video of the fracas in Keningau in which PKR Deputy presidential candidate Rafizi Ramli was allegedly assaulted. It should have been a typical BN vs Pakatan Harapan scene during an election. Now, it’s a PKR vs PKR brawl. How sickening is that?

Many of us are probably aware that a top PKR leader is a notable schemer. He has been scheming throughout his long political career. At times, one wonders whether his political enemies only exist in his imagination. Such a leader who frequently indulges in shadow boxing is unfit to lead any organisation, let alone the nation.

Whether my friends in Sarawak PKR trust my words or not, this was my sincere message to them:  “You guys in Sarawak PKR deserve better. I do not see any problem in Sarawak PKR. You are all decent and responsible folks. Why get entangled in nonsense imported from Malaya?”

“And why do you need the whole Sarawak PKR committee to be present to lodge a report against a member who only joined the party five months ago? You are all giving (PKR Julau MP) Larry Sng too much ‘face’ when he doesn’t deserve it? Wrong move!”

“The problem with PKR leaders now is that when there is no enemy to fight, they fight among themselves. No different from those UMNO parasites whom Malaysians had just said good riddance to. Very disappointing and sad indeed!”

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I ended with this poser to my friend: “So what if (deputy president) Azmin (Ali) wins? So what if Rafizi wins? What do Sarawak or Sarawakians benefit? Only some of you in the party will probably gain from the spoils of war if your ‘ayam sabong‘ (fighting cock) is victorious. Is this what the PKR election is all about – just for the benefit of a few in the party?”

Internal strife, bigger problems

What is happening in PKR today has greatly disappointed Malaysians. PKR emerged as the biggest party in the Harapan coalition after GE-14 because of the support of Malaysians who wanted change. All the Harapan candidates who contested under the PKR symbol (except in Sarawak and Sabah) had greatly helped the party gained prominence too. PKR leaders should do well to bear that in mind.

A few months later, PKR turned out to be one big mess, a party which has lost the respect of many, mine certainly. The ongoing party polls are getting messier and dirtier with the police and MACC now involved. This makes the UMNO elections, with the alleged involvement of money politics, pale into a fight among kindergarten kids.

No one, perhaps not even the PKR leadership, expected the party elections to turn out this way – one gigantic mess which could split the party right down the middle.

And we were told earlier that a party election is normal and part of the democratic process and that this would be a friendly contest within the family. Haven’t we heard enough of such crap from politicians?

I’ have posed this before in a previous article, so let me repeat it to the warring factions in PKR: Are you all happy to see either Azmin or Rafizi destroyed politically or would you be happier to see them working together and contributing positively for the betterment of the nation and people? At this stage of the game, I predict a victory for Azmin. I also foresee more internal strife and bigger problems for PKR in the weeks and months down the road.

And one more thing – I also think it’s okay for Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad to renege on his promises by saying, “Oh, when I said it, I didn’t know we were going to win the elections”. So PKR, don’t say you have not been warned. The people are watching.


FRANCIS PAUL SIAH heads the Movement for Change, Sarawak (MoCS) and can be reached at sirsiah@gmail.com

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

A collective Malay shame and tragedy


November 5, 2018

A collective Malay shame and tragedy

by Dr.M Bakri Musa  |www.malaysiakini.com

 

COMMENT | Reading the US Department Of Justice’s (DOJ) criminal indictment of November 1, 2018, relating to 1MDB, as well as its earlier (July 2016) civil forfeiture lawsuit on assets allegedly linked to it, I am struck by three singular observations.

First is the appalling avarice of the alleged culprits; second, the utter impunity with which they conducted themselves; and third, the sheer stupidity of the man without whose authority those shenanigans would not have been possible – Malaysian Official 1, as referred to in both charges. The world now knows him as Najib Abdul Razak. While he is not facing any DOJ charges as yet, in Malaysia he faces several criminal ones that could put him in jail for the rest of his life.

This 1MDB heist is by far the most complex and largest in terms of monetary value. The sheer hubris of the perpetrators to think that they could get away with it. As for Najib, he is not terribly bright, just wily enough to know that his fellow ministers and UMNO leaders could be bought cheaply with the loot from 1MDB.

As for his rise in UMNO, that too is more the consequence of Malay culture. Malays are suckers for terhutang budi, an excessive sense of gratitude. With Najib, it was for his father Abdul Razak Hussein – Malaysia’s second Prime Minister who died unexpectedly while in office in 1976.

 

Had Najib not been a Bin Razak, he would be but a middling civil servant, at best. Think of it; had his Bin Razak status been ignored, or the powerful had not been terhutang budi, Malaysia would have been spared much grief today, and a whole lot less debt.

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Najib Razak and his Master Yoda

The trail of financial liabilities of 1MDB, though massive and painful, is at least quantifiable. Not so the associated lost opportunities. Had the billions not been squandered on luxuries in London, Beverley Hills, and New York or funding soft porno movies, but on improving national schools and Felda settlements, we would be that much closer to the goals of Ketuanan Melayu and Vision 2020.

This being Malaysia, the dangerous race factor is never far from the surface. That is the most pernicious and consequential legacy of 1MDB. Already there are ugly rumours, and not just within UMNO but also other segments of the Malay community, blaming those smart, greedy Chinese once again taking advantage, if not outright cheating, of sweet, innocent Malay leaders.

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Even Najib is now distancing himself from Jho Low  This potential explosive component is the most dangerous and incendiary, and one that cannot be unquantified.

 

Even uglier and more painful to express publicly is this: Malays are downright ashamed by the outrageous behaviour of their corrupt leaders. Not stated but obvious is that all those charged in Malaysia are Malays, not ordinary ones but top leaders.

Malaysians must thank Mahathir for appointing Tommy Thomas as the attorney-general. It is amazing what you can achieve when you put a premium on honesty, integrity, and competence. Yes, there were many Malays who complained of Thomas not being a Malay or Muslim, as well as on his less-than-polished Malay.

Regardless, he put to shame his predecessor, Mohamed Apandi Ali. He, together with Najib, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim and others, is but an unmitigated disaster and gross embarrassment to Malays and Muslims, bar none.Image result for UMNO Leaders charged

UMNO new Leadership devoid of Honour and Integrity

By normal reckoning, Apandi should have been impeached. Again in a perversion of values, Najib made him a Tan Sri, and the Yang di-Pertuan Agong agreed. Like it or not, to many non-Malays as well as Malays, the likes of Najib and Apandi represent the best that our community could offer. That hurts!

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UMNO’s Bro Azeez Mamak Rahim

As for those other champions of Ketuanan Melayu, their goals would be achieved that much faster and more efficaciously if they would first get rid of these characters in their midst.

It is good to be reminded that with DOJ’s filings, a pivotal defendant in its criminal case has already pleaded guilty; with its civil (case), at least two have agreed to settle.

Much can be deduced from the local reactions, and even more so from the lack of same among some notable quarters. It is not surprising that simple kampung folks still believe Najib despite those charges as well as the boxes of gold and cash hauled from his residences. They still believe that the money was for them!

What stretches one’s credulity is that UMNO leaders too bought Najib’s snake oil, and they included many lawyers and accountants, as well as an Oxford graduate and even an Ivy League PhD! That is the greatest Malay shame and tragedy.


M BAKRI MUSA, a surgeon in California, is a frequent commentator on Malaysian affairs.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

Can UMNO-BN defectors ever reform?


November 3, 2018

Can UMNO-BN defectors ever reform?

By Dean Johns

http://www.malaysiakini.com

COMMENT | As Bersih, Amanah and many concerned individuals have said recently, any move on the part of Pakatan Harapan or any of its component parties to even think about accepting UMNO-BN no-hopers into their ranks, let alone seriously consider doing so, is an absolute outrage.

 

There has been no sign that these 40 thieves have turned over a new leaf; that these pathological liars have seen the light, or perceived the error of their ways.

All of them – without exception – have been either accomplices in or accessories to the massive crimes allegedly committed by their former UMNO-BN leaders, and none have shown the slightest sign of regret, remorse, repentance or intention to reform.

And until they have publicly done so, and surrendered their ill-gotten assets to the national treasury, they should remain criminal suspects, and at the very least be subjected to forensic audits of their financial affairs.

So for Pakatan Harapan to consider admitting UMNO-BN defectors without their confessing, and serving sentences or even periods of probation for their crimes and corruption, or repaying the rakyat, is like placing rotten apples into a fresh new barrel, or incorporating cancer cells into a young, healthy body.

 Image result for pakatan harapan

Or to put this another way, unless and until they sincerely reform, it should be assumed that their motive for aspiring to join Harapan is to insert themselves into a force, hell-bent on undermining and eventually destroying the new government from within.

And thus, far from entertaining their hopes of hopping sides, Harapan should tell off these “frogs and toads”, which happens to be rhyming slang for “road”, which they should be hitting.

Considering that they’ve betrayed the Malaysian people – especially the Malay-Muslim people whose interests as UMNO–BN members they falsely claimed to ‘protect’ – and have now shown their willingness to betray those who voted for them as well as UMNO-BN itself, they can hardly be seen as trustworthy converts to the Harapan cause.

And then there’s the thought that Harapan, and especially its Bersatu component, is already stuffed full enough with unregenerate UMNO-BN renegades and rejects.

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Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad is the most prominent example. While admittedly it seems unarguable that Harapan could not have won without him, many of us strongly suspect that he’s still the same old autocrat and even the same old mad hatter at heart.

And that it was his personal hatred for ex-premier Najib Abdul Razak in particular rather than for UMNO-BN in principle that impelled him to make a comeback as the head of Pakatan Harapan.

Little sign of regret

Certainly, despite his appearing to be a reformed character, he’s shown little sign of regret for the countless crimes, corruption and perversions of justice that characterised his 22 years as President of UMNO Baru and UMNO-BN Prime Minister.

Nor has there been any sign that any of his sons are about to be retrospectively investigated any time soon for past scandals and dubious business successes.

 Image result for muhyiddin yassin

Then there’s Najib’s onetime Deputy Prime Minister, Muhyiddin Yassin, whose highly likely involvement in or at least strong support of UMNO-BN malefactions back then, is somehow never mentioned, and whose ‘conversion’ to Harapan principles and values has gone largely, if not, totally unexamined.

 Image result for pakatan harapan

There are some, I know, who suspect that Mahathir and Muhyiddin, now that they have used Pakatan Harapan as a vehicle to wreak vengeance on Najib, will eventually reveal that, far from being agents of reform, are actually on a secret mission to re-form a revised or alternative version of UMNO-BN.

And some of the same conspiracy theorists are similarly suspicious of the intentions of Anwar Ibrahim, if and when he replaces Mahathir as Prime Minister. Despite his apparently impeccable credentials as the former leader of the Reformasi movement and such a bitter enemy of Mahathir and Najib that each of them jailed him for years, many still see him as being cursed with UMNO-BN DNA.

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But whatever the true motivations and intentions of these and other former leading members of UMNO-BN, the last thing the Pakatan Harapan coalition or the citizens of Malaysia need right now, is to risk accepting allegedly reformed deserters from this defeated and disgraced regime, lest they re-form and threaten the new government.

Exactly eight years ago, I suggested in a column entitled ‘From Putrajaya to Putrajail’, they should be hauled into court and, following a fair trial, of course, be sentenced to years in the UMNO-BN.

*DEAN JOHNS, after many years in Asia, currently lives with his Malaysian-born wife and daughter in Sydney, where he coaches and mentors writers and authors and practises as a writing therapist. Published compilations of his Malaysiakini columns include “Mad about Malaysia”, “Even Madder about Malaysia”, “Missing Malaysia”, “1Malaysia.con” and “Malaysia Mania”.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Mal


aysiakini.

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People voted for a newer Malaysia, not racialised Politics 2.0


November 1, 2018

People voted for a newer Malaysia,  Ketuanan Melayu 2.0

Image result for new melayu hilang di dunia

20th Century Mindset in A 21st  Century 4th Industrial Revolution Pluralist Era–The Kris Vs Technology and Innovation

“The voters in GE-14 voted for a new Malaysia. Equal opportunity in education, lessening of race-based politics, abolishing of tolls and whatever that was promised by the then opposition, the “Coalition of Hope” of the Mahathir-led campaign against kleptocracy and the materially, morally and ideologically corrupt regime of Najib.

At least that was the promise which then turned into a primarily false one, leaving the voters feeling lied to and short-changed”–Dr. Azly Rahman

Opinion  |
by Dr. Azly Rahman*

COMMENT | As we read about the “Operasi Lalang 2.0” or “Weed-Out-the-Corrupt Campaign of the New Regime” at play and in full throttle as in the McCarthyism of our cultural sensibility, as we see more leaders hauled up to be tried for grand theft, money-laundering and for bankrupting and corroding society, we ask: what next in this metamorphosis and game of political karma we are to see?

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All these against the backdrop of talks of the third car project, crooked bridge, political-party border-crossings, renewed demands to strengthen Malay rights, postponed promises, and to rebrand fundamentalist Islamic identity in preparation for the challenges posed by the super liberals and the LGBT. What will the new coalition transform into in a country whose political parties are addicted to a race-based ideology?

Then, there is the crucial issue of a newer UMNO and newer BN emerging, with talk of 40 UMNO MPs crossing over to Bersatu. There was also the latest statement by a minister that Ketuanan Melayu will end soon, replaced by the idea of making every Malaysian prosperous. Then the idea was immediately repudiated by another minister, a former Deputy prime Minister in the regime of the Najib Abdul Razak.

I have a sense that the latest developments in the continuing chaos produced in PKR, the seemingly silent DAP in addressing the issues the party once opposed, the talk of a new Indian party, and, of course, the strengthening and enlarging of Bersatu – all this points not only to the emergence of a BN reloaded, a 2.0 version of Malaysia’s race-based politics.

I might be wrong. We shall observe the developments. We may even see more “Kajang Moves”, cross-overs, and more intense struggle for power within and amongst the coalition parties.

Image result for new UMNO?

The voters in GE14 voted for a new Malaysia. Equal opportunity in education, lessening of race-based politics, abolishing of tolls and whatever that was promised by the then opposition, the “Coalition of Hope” of the Mahathir-led campaign against kleptocracy and the materially, morally and ideologically corrupt regime of Najib.

At least that was the promise which then turned into a primarily false one, leaving the voters feeling lied to and short-changed.

The hope for the non-Malays, non-bumiputera to stop being treated as second-class citizens in the land called Malaysia they and their parents and grandparents, too, toiled for will not be realised after all. The rhetoric of today’s new Malaysia is the same old rhetoric of keeping the status quo alive.

Image result for DAP

DAP is the New MCA?–The Silent Partner in Pakatan Harapan

This means that there will be no push for the idea of “Malaysian Malaysia” and equal opportunities in education, especially for all non-Malays. Hope buried. When the new coalition has transformed into a newer version of the old politics, the non-Malays can expect another five decades of racialised politics affecting the future of their children.

This is not a grim view of what I see developing. I am sure some of my esteemed readers, too, share a similar perspective of a hope for the triumph of multiculturalism dashing. Unless the Harapan government can, in unison, with consistency and as a policy, state its commitment to make Malaysia a place in which no Malaysian will be left behind.

Where are we heading?

Back to Umno and its sudden death. The talk about more UMNO MPs leaving for Bersatu is of concern for those who voted for hope and for real change.

But what will replace UMNO in this time of a “new Malaysia” in which race and religion continues to be the strongest force for the current regime as well, to continue policies inspired by her own apartheid system of divide and conquer with wealth, power, hegemony, and ideology as the hybrid of authoritarianism, continue to glue the still-cognitively unliberated society?

The question remains: what kind of Malaysian Malaysia do we wish to see? How will a rebranded Umno be an obstacle to this?

The key to dealing with any rot from happening is to educate for change. If the change we wish to see is for a Malaysia for all Malaysians, education, as the only means for a sustainable cognitive, cultural, personal and social progress should be the one taking lead.

When politics continues to travel the trajectory of ethnocentrism and only pays lip-service to multi-culturalism and the restructuring of society through a philosophy of education based on a truly Malaysian reconstructionism, we will fail as a people.

Education needs to step in and correct the political conveyor belt, changing course. As it is now, we are not seeing the Ministry of Education committed to producing such a change to reverse the major aspects of discrimination in the various levels of schooling. The issues of class, caste, race, religion and privilege is not addressed systemically.

Like many, I am concerned with the disjuncture between politics, education, economy, and national unity. There is an unhealthy development in the way party-politics is moving.

Our concerns may turn into fear of yet another wave of chaos as parties and followers and consumers of ideology and real and fake news alike prepare for another general election that will only bring stagnancy, not change.

Where are we heading? What then must we do to drum into the new regime that race-based politics should no longer be allowed to rear its ugly head?


*Dr. AZLY RAHMAN is an educator, academic, international columnist, and author of seven books available here. More writings here.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

Where is 1MDB’s Brader Arul?


October 28, 2018

Where is 1MDB’s Brader Arul?–Braders  MIA

by R.Nadeswaran

http://www.malaysiakini.com

Image result for  Rosmah Mansor with Hamsa ali

Brader Arul probably back to Sitiawan to sell Boe-Tie Chendol

COMMENT | Six months ago, he was a much sought-after speaker. Not so for pre- and post-dinner entertainment but to propagate to the masses that everything is hunky-dory in a company called 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

He undertook a series of 30 roadshows throughout the country. However, for all intents and purposes, they were political gatherings in support of the then ruling party. The blue buntings and minders dressed in blue vests with the “dacing” logos gave away the charade.

He didn’t exactly draw big crowds or enthral them with his mantra. But the media copiously repeated his chants through interviews.

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Brader Apandi silenced

On eve of Election Day on May 9, he declared that the roadshow had achieved its objectives, claiming more and more people were beginning “to understand and accept the issues facing the 1MDB”.

Forty-eight hours later, Arul Kanda’s world came tumbling down. So did the fate of thousands of others who thought that their shenanigans and tom-fooleries had been adequately covered so that they could continue ripping the nation.

Despite the entire hullabaloo and the worldwide coverage of the US Department of Justice findings, Arul Kanda had once famously boomed: “I have no idea of the identity of Malaysian Official 1 (MO1) in the report and do not want to speculate”— even after BN propaganda chief Abdul Rahman Dahlan’s admission on the identity.

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Brader Ali Hamsa put to pasture

These prophetic words were plentifully and profusely reproduced in the subservient mainstream media in its election propaganda. After all, wasn’t he the Messiah who had arrived from the Middle East to save 1MDB? Wasn’t he willing to face all and sundry in any debate at anytime and anywhere? Wasn’t he touted by some sections of the Royal Military College alumni that only a “budak boy” could put the house in order?

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Flamboyant Brader Irwan Serigar Abdullah  put in cold storage pending trial

Wasn’t he the man whose magic wand could turn bad to good; wrong to right; losses to profits; and anything he touched would turn into gold?

Creative accounting

Those who questioned any activities of 1MDB were treated as “enemies of the state” and he was the much-sought after person by news persons in the BN-related media houses. He attached labels on his detractors. He could do no wrong. And their responses were spiked by editors.

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 MP Tony Pua –The Luke Sky Walker of The 1MDB Saga

After Petaling Utara MP Tony Pua  made a series of satirical videos, Arul Kanda bellowed: “He is a hypocrite and would make a great comedian.” He described fellow Malaysiakini columnist P Gunasegaram (pic below)  a “coward”. But when the writer invited Arul Kanda to a public discussion on 1MDB, the latter chickened out. The last we heard on the issue was: “I will await their (his lawyers’) legal advice on how best to clear my name and to let the facts stand on its own.”

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T

hen the facts and figures which Arul Kanda and company were fudging with some sort of creative accounting emerged. On May 23, the new Finance Minister revealed that 1MDB was unable to pay its debts. For that too, he had an answer— he didn’t know financial details of the company.

Wasn’t he the same guy, who went on the roadshows to tell Malaysian voters “the truth” among which was his claim that the 1MDB’s debt of US$7.75 billion is backed by US$11 billion in assets?

Why the sudden interest in Arul Kanda? On Thursday, Najib Abdul Razak and former Treasury chief Irwan Serigar Abdullah pleaded not guilty in the Sessions Court in Kuala Lumpur to six counts of criminal breach of trust (CBT) of RM6.64 million of funds belonging to the government.

The offences were alleged to have been committed at the Finance Ministry Complex in Putrajaya between December 21, 2016 and December 18, 2017. Wasn’t this done for 1MDB which was then under Arul Kanda’s watch? And wasn’t he aware of these arrangements when he went on his roadshows?

Let’s digress. Najib wanted to gag the media when he was first charged with offences related to SRC International last month, claiming he did not want a “trial by media”. He failed.

It is the same Najib now, trying to provide his defence via the media. He spoke to reporters after the proceedings, proclaiming innocence.

This man and his infamous wife have been striped of their titles by The Ruler of Negri Sembilan and are now on bail pending trial for corruption, money laundering and abuse of power.

“My conscience is clear that the decisions were taken in the interest of the nation, in context of when you receive certain money, you will have to pay it back.

Otherwise, we would be at default and it would lead to a collapse of the bond market. That would be very serious.”

In a Facebook post, Najib said four of the six charges were related to a settlement with the International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC), where the government had to pay US$1.2 billion in arrears last year.

Let us put this into perspective. N is the owner of a hospital. Money, say RM100,000, has been set aside for payment to the food contractor, RM100,000 for pharmaceuticals and RM50,000 for cleaning services. N tells the finance director, S, to “pakat” with him to pay a bank loan unrelated to the hospital. S then instructs A, the chief executive officer to remit RM250,000 to the bank to prevent foreclosure.

Is it acceptable for N to come out and claim that those transactions had to be done to avoid embarrassment to the hospital and other loans will be recalled? It is true that N, S and A received no personal gain. But wouldn’t that be wrong in the eyes of the law?

We will leave it to the legal eagles to sort this out but on the issue of 1MDB, IPIC and related issues, the silence from Arul Kanda is deafening. He had previously talked about “solid assets” and “units” which could be converted to cash. Where are they?

For someone who came with his guns blazing, giving Najib cover, Arul Kanda appears to have taken to the bunker as the bombs drop all around him.

For a man who thumped his chest and said “take me on”, he has become as silent as a church mouse. Malaysians are not exactly watching a double-tragedy play like Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”, but it is worth asking: “Where art thou, Arul Kanda?”


R NADESWARAN is keeping track on the key players who put their hands in the cookie jar in the name of development. Comments: citizen.nades22@gmail.com

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