Duty of the Malaysian King

May 13, 2018

Duty of the Malaysian King is to preside over smooth and orderly transition of power, not a hindrance

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

Image result for The King of Malaysia


Every year Malaysia spends billions of her precious revenue paid for by the rakyat through GSTs and other taxes to maintain the Agung and his fellow nine brother rulers, as well as the four sultan wannabes – the governors of Sabah, Penang, Melaka, and Sarawak – together with their assorted, expensive multitude of hangers-on. The Agung’s new palace alone cost over a billion, quite apart from the running expenses.

The one crucial and very visible duty of the Agung, sultans, and governors is to ensure the smooth and orderly transition of power, as with following an election or resignation of the Prime Minister, or in case of the states, Chief Minister.

It is difficult to say anything positive on the role of the Agung who is from Kelantan in the transition between Najib and the newly-elected Prime Minister Mahathir. During the more than 24-hour period following the 14thGeneral Election, Malaysia was, as Mahathir reminded everyone, without a government. That is dangerous when you have thousands of illegal immigrants at her borders and warships of great powers prowling the seas beyond.

Indonesia and the Philippines do not have ceremonial heads yet both handled their transitions of power far more smoothly even in more perilous conditions than what Malaysia went through in her immediate post-GE14 days.

If the Agung, sultans and governors could not handle the smooth transition of power during a stable and peaceful period, could Malaysians depend on them during tough and more challenging times?

Image result for The King of Malaysia

Malaysians had a preview of that back with GE-13 in Perak. Then we had a sultan who was a former Chief Justice (Lord President then). Yet he too became embroiled in the political battle. He was far from being part of the solution. It looks like the circus is going to be repeated with GE-14, this time with his Oxford and Harvard educated son as sultan. The show has not yet begun. Stay tuned! Negri Sembilan has a clear winner but its ruler has yet to swear in the new Chief Minister. And that ruler has a law degree!

If the Agung, sultans, and governors are not part of the solution, then ipso facto they are part of the problem. Time to reexamine their roles and pose such basic questions as whether the nation still needs them.

The history of Malay sultans has not been illustrious. I did not study history and as such I am ignorant of the supposedly glorious days of the Malacca sultanate and the exploits of its luminary knights like Hang Tuah. I can only draw on the experiences of my lifetime, having been brought up in a village in the shadow of the Royal town of Sri Menanti.

As could be expected, I was used to the tantrums of those spoiled royal brats having attended the same religious school in the afternoon with some of them. Later when they became adults, they did not change. Only the expressions of their tantrums did, and with far greater consequences. Those are tolerable to me now as I no longer live in Malaysia. If anything, I am bemused.

On to more substantive matters, right after WWII, also within my memory, Malay sultans gave away the sovereignty of the whole peninsula to the British in return for some measly pensions. Only the wisdom and bravery of Datuk Onn Jaafar stopped that. He did it even after the sultans had signed the papers! Those early colonials should have tried Najib’s current morality of “cash is king.” Or maybe they did, but the first UMNO President, Tunku Abdul Rahman was unlike its current one!

Image result for tengku mahkota johor

Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad represents the sovereignty of the Malaysian People. He is the 7th Prime Minister.

Back to the colonials after WWII, I wonder why they did not just banish those sultans to join their uncles and f th who had been earlier shipped out to Madagascar and the Christmas Islands?

Further back in history, the Sultan of Johore gave away Singapore to the British, again for a few measly pounds and the knighthood of some ancient medieval order.

Back to my childhood in the early post-war period, I remember accompanying my mother fishing in the river with the other women in the village, including the future first Queen of Malaysia. There was nothing regal about her in a tattered cheap sarong fighting over the choice fishing holes in the muddy river.

A few years later, Merdeka. There she was, regal in her glittering tiara. She had not changed. We had put her up there.

I wonder who coined the canard that sultans are defenders of the faith. Islam does not need defenders, least of all from these characters.

I wish Malaysian economists would study the opportunity costs of these sultans. We could send scores of Malays to the Harvards of the world at the price of maintaining one of them. That would be a wiser expenditure of precious public funds.

These thoughts percolated through me as I saw clips of Prime Minister Mahathir being yanked back and forth to the Istana the day after the election. The Palace should release the Agung’s schedule of that day to show the people what was so important that the Agung had to delay Mahathir’s swearing in. It would also be interesting to subpoena Najib’s as well the election chief’s cellphone records for that day.

The Agung was not part of the solution in the immediate confusion of post GE-14. Instead he embarrassed the nation.

MACC is serious about combating Corruption in BolehLand?

May 9, 2017

COMMENT: I always enjoy reading TK Chua’s plain speaking articles and have often featured them on my globally read blog. I thank http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com for hosting them and my friend Nelson Fernandez for allowing me to use them. Mr. Chua never fails to call a spade nothing but spade. But this is something elsehttp://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/opinion/2017/05/06/hail-to-the-macc-chief-for-being-bold/.

Image result for Justice Harun Hashim

The last of the Anti-Corruption Mohicans was the late Justice Tan Sri Dato’ Harun Hashim. He was competent, fearless and very professional. He had no regard for politicians because he was a public servant par excellence and an outstanding member of our Judiciary who served King and country with dignity and distinction.

Today, most of our civil servants starting from the top are apple polishers who are out to suck up to politicians in power. The manner in which the 1MDB scandal was handled is my case in point.  The Auditor- General, the Attorney-General and others  let us down. They did not have the conviction and courage to do what is right.

Yes, Mr. Chua, I note you used the word “resolve” in quotes. The present MACC Chief Commissioner is the new broom. I am not optimistic about what the Chief Commissioner can do to refashion the organisation, even with the benefit of the advice and wisdom of  former  UN Kofi Annan’s ethics crusader Tunku Abdul Aziz.

Image result for Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission

Remember his predecessor, Tan Sri Abu Kassim.  Abu Kassim promised a lot but failed to do his duty faithfully.  Why? Because  there is no political will to fight corruption. After all, our Prime Minister himself is corrupt and worse still, he is incompetent.–Din Merican

MACC is serious about combating Corruption in BolehLand?

by TK Chua@www.freemalaysiatoday.com

I want to support the Chief of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in his “resolve” to make the anti-graft agency more respectable in combating corruption in the country.

However, I would like to comment on some of his statements. First, one swallow does not a summer make. The arrest of a Tan Sri here and a Datuk Seri there does not signify that the MACC has become bold to “venture” into the turf of the rich and powerful.

I have seen enough of many agencies having the tendency to indulge in the “flash in the pan” syndrome. They do things to impress, not with the enduring objective to solve a problem at hand.

Image result for Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Chief Commissioner

The New Broom at The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency (MACC)

Efforts against corruption must be relentless, imminent and without fear or favour. When too many perceive that the rich and powerful are being protected, usually it is because such a view has some semblance of truth to it.

To prove otherwise requires efforts more than arresting a Tan Sri or a Datuk Seri. A Tan Sri trying to broker a royal title is very different from other Tan Sris in charge of millions in government funds.

Persistence and being resolute are key to curbing corruption. The rich and the powerful have become bold and blatant in their deviant ways because they perceive the likelihood of being hauled up, too slim.

Most of us are creatures of greed. Given an opportunity, many would abuse the law and enrich themselves. But if the consequence of our corrupt practices is clear and imminent, I think many would think twice before committing it.

Another point the MACC chief mentioned was the lack of personnel and funding in combating corruption. According to him, the MACC has only 1,900 enforcement officers whereas there are 1.6 million civil servants to be monitored. Please forgive me for being harsh, I just find this excuse so typical of most government agencies.

No organisation, including the MACC, has unlimited resources to play with. Ultimately it is always the 80-20 rule and the need to prioritise.

Certainly not all the 1.6 million civil servants have the same opportunity to be involved in bribery. The MACC ought to know the departments and the agencies that are more prone to corruption.

This is where priority and concentration come in – MACC’s should focus on the 20% to give them the 80% result.

If the MACC chief knows that RM5 million is paid each month by syndicates to foil enforcement actions, it shows that corruption has become institutionalised and endemic. More than that, it shows that corruption is now a retainer.

If he knows the amount paid each month, he ought to know the personnel and the agencies involved.

By the way, it is quite illogical to assert that MACC’s action against corrupt politicians just prior to the next general election is considered as indulging in politicking. On the contrary, it is the lack of action that has given rise to the impression that the MACC is not above the politicians.

Action should be rightly based on offences committed and evidence adduced, nothing else matters.

TK Chua is an FMT reader.

Tunku Aziz glorifies crooked Rosmah Mansor at the expense of United Nations

September 21, 2016

This statement (below) smacks of sour grapism from the former UN Adviser on Ethics. What relevance has the decision by UNESCO to defer its decision to award for her work in countering extremism through an educational system initiated by Permata to do with US Foreign Policy and UN corruption, I wonder.

Tunku Aziz, in his capacity as MACC Commissioner, should look at corruption in our own backyard as typified by Rosmah Mansor and her pliable Prime Minister husband before commenting on the United Nations, his previous employer.

Image result for Tunku Aziz at The United Nations

I was told that Tunku Aziz was engaged by then Secretary-General Kofi Annan to be his ethics adviser as a favour to Tan Sri Razali Ismail, who was then President, United Nations General Assembly. Lord Mark Malloch Brown, Kofi Annan’s Deputy, ought to know  Tunku Aziz well.–Din Merican

“Datin Seri Rosmah has earned, by her dignified reaction, the admiration of right-thinking Malaysians who appreciate and value her commitment to the fight against violent extremism through the right system of education…World recognition of the sort we have just seen is not worth bothering about; the true reward is reflected in the well being and happiness of the children right here in Malaysia who are being given an opportunity to become good national and, by extension, world citizens. A thought has crossed my mind”.–Tunku Abdul Aziz 


Tunku Aziz  glorifies crooked Rosmah Mansor at the expense of United Nations

Corruption is no stranger to the UN System.

When I was appointed in 2006 as the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser, following a UN resolution to set up an Ethics Office at the UN Headquarters in New York, I began for the first time to realise the pervasiveness of corruption that had taken hold of this organisation in spite of Kofi Annan’s strenuous efforts.

The Iraq Oil for Food Programme was just one small example; there were others relating to the UN Peace-Keeping-Operations that would make the most laid-back and sanguine among us sit up and be jolted into a sense of outrage and indignation. It is institutional moral arrogance that is at the heart of the problem.

As far as the UN and its multifarious agencies are concerned, while corruption is not officially tolerated, confronting it seriously is discouraged as that might demoralise the staff numbering in their thousands.

That is the kind of argument that has sustained this unwieldy, arrogant and insufferably complacent organisation for much of its near irrelevant existence.

Image result for Rosmah Mansor

It is fair to say that the UN has given international organisations as a whole an unsavoury reputation. So, it came as no surprise to learn that in its typical bumbling, merry way, UNESCO, co-host of September 22, 2016 event since deferred to 2017 to honour Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor for her work in countering extremism through an educational system initiated by Permata that she set up in 2007, has seen fit to allow the advisory board of the organising committee to be swayed by what its chairman Professor Tudor Parfitt describes as “interventions” by the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.

Lest we forget, these were the self-same newspapers that proclaimed shrilly that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction even as a group of UN appointed weapons inspectors declared that no such weapons existed.

That did not stop Iraq being attacked by warmongering criminal George Bush.

The consequences of the US war, sanctified by nothing more compelling than rotten lies and subterfuge were, in the event, counted in the millions of innocent Iraqi victims.

Look around the Muslim world to see what American democracy has done.

Image result for Rosmah Mansor

The decision to review the award to Datin Seri Rosmah is a sad commentary on the credibility of Professor Tudor Parfitt and his committee. They are pathetically malleable and easily persuaded to take this ethically unprecedented action on pure speculative, unsubstantiated reports by two newspapers whose less than rigorous professional standards are a matter of international public record.

Image result for irina bokova unesco

The decision to review the award to Datin Seri Rosmah is a sad commentary on the credibility of Professor Tudor Parfitt and his committee. They are pathetically malleable and easily persuaded to take this ethically unprecedented action on pure speculative, unsubstantiated reports by two newspapers whose less than rigorous professional standards are a matter of international public record.

My brickbat is reserved for UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, UN Secretary-General aspirant, whose diplomatic skills are in serious question as a result of her inept handling of this affair, and her judgment is highly suspect.

I very much doubt whether she will ever have the moral authority to lead the world organisation by standing up, like Kofi Annan did, to US bullying.

I suppose she has come from the same mould as the outgoing Mr Ban, the man who has led a moribund UN during his unremarkable leadership.

Bokova who has shown a complete lack of sound diplomatic skills cannot surely be entrusted to carry out the duties of the world’s most difficult diplomatic job.

Datin Seri Rosmah has earned, by her dignified reaction, the admiration of right-thinking Malaysians who appreciate and value her commitment to the fight against violent extremism through the right system of education.

World recognition of the sort we have just seen is not worth bothering about; the true reward is reflected in the well being and happiness of the children right here in Malaysia who are being given an opportunity to become good national and, by extension, world citizens. A thought has crossed my mind.

If UNESCO is so fastidious about how kosher the funding of Permata is, then maybe, just maybe, the United Nations Organisation would wish to reject Malaysia’s annual assessed contribution. Just a thought as I said.

Malaysia Outlook


Lowering the Bar in support of Malaysia’s Already Mediocre Leadership

August 10, 2016

Lowering the Bar in support of Malaysia’s Already Mediocre Leadership

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

I am baffled at the continued praise and support for Prime Minister Najib in the face of the mounting 1MDB mess. To be sure, those come only from Malays, specifically those in UMNO, plus a few scattered voices elsewhere. They are lowering the bar for Najib’s already mediocre leadership.

Najib is but a Third World corrupt kleptocrat robbing billions belonging to the people of Malaysia, to quote the US Department of Justice (DOJ). Meanwhile those toadying Malays continue blathering “let justice take its course” or “innocent till proven guilty.” Those may be fine in a courtroom but for leaders we demand and impose a much higher standard, as “without even the hint of impropriety.”

Those praises for Najib come in various contortions. Consider the absurd statement from PAS Hadi Awang who ventured that DOJ must produce four witnesses or that the accusation against Najib could come only from Muslims. Which cave did Hadi emerge from?

The evidence of Najib’s impropriety abounds, not just in the DOJ filings or complicated charts tracing the cross-border flows of illicit money as reported in The Guardian, Wall Street Journal and elsewhere, rather by the simple and obvious fact that 1MDB has saddled Malaysians with billions worth of debt and little to show for it. The proposed Tun Razak Exchange site is still empty while power plants once locally owned are now in foreigners’ hands.

Najib denies that he is the “Malaysian Official 1” referred to in the DOJ documents. I wonder who could that top Malaysian public official related to Reza Aziz be? Najib also denied being linked to the DOJ’s lawsuit. Poor Najib! Despite his expensive British boarding school education, Najib could not comprehend the difference between the legal term “defendant” and the everyday meaning of “linked.”

This 1MDB mess is now being investigated in no fewer than six jurisdictions. Singapore has already frozen the assets of Jho Low, Najib’s financial confidant. Switzerland terminated the license of its bank involved in the transactions. It would take great effort on Najib’s part not to know that. Perhaps his staple of reading does not extend beyond UMNO newsletters New Straits Times and Utusan Melayu.

The behaviors of Najib’s courtiers and political whores, like his ministers and party chieftains in UMNO-BN, do not surprise me. They are paid to pleasure the man. The Rahman Dahlans and Khairy Jamaluddins remind me of Saddam Hussein’s cartoonish Information Chief “Bagdad Bob” just before the fall of that city. The American tanks could be heard and seen rolling in the background but he kept insisting otherwise in a televised press conference. Those UMNO boys fancy themselves heroes defending their leader, but the world sees them as cretins.

As for Najib’s nonchalance, I am certain that Saddam Hussein felt the same way right to the very moment before he had to flee to that rat hole in the desert; his Bagdad Bob had earlier assured him that everything was fine. Muammar Gaddafi probably felt likewise moments before he was caught and butchered by his fellow Libyans.

Najib’s personal fate does not concern me; Malaysia’s does. If Najib were not to get off the stage on his own volition and soon, the price for him as well as Malaysia would be high. Malaysia must be spared such a fate. Leaders in the mold of Najib, like Saddam and Gaddafi, have an unwarranted sense of invincibility, surrounded as they are with their flatterers.

It annoys me only a tad to read the toadying comments of the Khairys, Rahmans, and Nazris. What upsets me is that these characters are seen by non-Malays as the best of what our community could produce.

What pains me most are comments by the likes of Tunku Aziz, former Chairman of Transparency International and member of the Anti Corruption Advisory Committee. Does he think keeping the Auditor-General’s Report secret increases transparency? Then there is Bernama Chairman Azman Ujang who quoted an obscure Malaysian-born Australian lawyer’s opinion that the DOJ’s filing was flawed! Azman must have undertaken quite a search to find that character!

The shocking silence of our ulamas and intellectuals too disturbs me. Surely there must be a competent economist in the Majlis Professor Negara (Professors’ Council) who could enlighten us on the implications of 1MDB’s massive debts and the associated opportunity costs.

There were notable exceptions of course but few and far between. Dr. Asri (MAZA), the Perlis Mufti, chastised his fellow ulamas for their silence. Mustapha Kamil, Group Managing Editor of the New Straits Times finally reached his limit and quit. Former Law Minister Zaid Ibrahim continues to warn Malaysians of the danger Najib’s leadership poses for Malaysians. Law Professor Azmi Sharom is another brave soul. For that he is often charged with sedition. So far they have not been able to nail him. Rest assured that Azmi will not be nominated any time soon to the Professors’ Council.

Those mute carma (contraction for cari makan; lit. looking for food) professors and ulamas, as well as the Tunku Azizs and Azman Ujangs must remember that although Najib may have appointed them, their salaries are being paid for by taxpayers. Their duty and loyalty should thus be to the public. They should also remain true to their calling.

I could sympathize with their support of Najib if those characters were showered with gravy on the same scale as that Malaysian Official 1’s relative Reza Aziz, or Jho Low and that Goldman Sachs’ bond salesman. Instead those Malays were getting only the crumbs, and for that they were willing to soil their reputation. Meanwhile those who had received the juiciest morsels were too busy enjoying their loot to comment.

There is only one certainty; Najib’s tenure will end and Malaysians will be saddled by his legacy. The questions our children and grandchildren would be asking then would be: Were we part of the solution? If we were not, then we were the problem.

NO, Tunku Aziz, 1MDB is “a modern day wonder”, not the US Probe

July 23, 2016

NO, Tunku Aziz, 1MDB is “a modern day wonder”, not the US Probe

by Bernama


For Tunku Abdul Aziz Tunku Ibrahim (pic above), the total lack of communication with 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) in regard to the filing of civil forfeiture by the United States Department of Justice, are among several features that intrigued him.

In his article published by Malaysia Outlook news portal, Tunku Abdul Aziz who was former United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Adviser, questioned the method used in obtaining information which he described as a “modern-day wonder”.

“How could anyone conduct a thorough and professional investigation without seeking and obtaining information from primary sources such as 1MDB officials and other relevant authorities, including Malaysian law officers,” he asked.

Najib Razak, Architect of “IMDB modern day wonder”

The civil lawsuit for the recovery of assets in excess of US$1 billion accused of being plundered from 1MDB, was announced by US Attorney-General Loretta E Lynch on Wednesday (July 13).

Tunku Abdul Aziz said it was regrettable that the Americans had chosen to fight their war against cross-border corruption by hiding behind a smokescreen of high-minded moral principles that could not stand up to close scrutiny.

“Yet in the same breath, and stopping just short of naming names, they impute improper motives to our Prime Minister (Najib Abdul Razak) and cast aspersions on his reputation and character, without being able to produce an ounce of proof.

“It is worth reminding ourselves that there is absolutely no suggestion in any of the investigations conducted so far by the authorities in Switzerland and Malaysia that Najib had stolen anything from 1MDB,” he said.

He said the Public Accounts Committee, comprising government and opposition lawmakers, after months of exhaustive investigation and in regular consultations with the auditor-general recently produced their authoritative report that exonerated the prime minister from all allegations of wrongdoing.

“In short, the allegations against him were reckless, vindictive and frivolous. In all the circumstances, Najib is innocent until proven guilty under the law.What is shocking is that there are many among us who cannot cope with the truth and the truth is that the prime minister is innocent until proven guilty,” he added.

– Bernama


Ex-DAP Chair Tunku Aziz in the News

May 24, 2016

Ex-DAP Chair Tunku  Aziz  lodges a Police Report against Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad

by Anne Muhammad


Former Transparency International stalwart Tunku Abdul Aziz Tunku Ibrahim has lodged a Police report against ex-Premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad, with regard to his recent remark that the Agong is “likely under house arrest”.

Tunku Aziz said he made the report because he believed Mahathir’s remark may pose a threat to Malaysia’s national security. “Mahathir’s remark was an unsubstantiated allegation that could affect the state of our national security. That’s the reason why we are lodging a police report today. We hope the authorities will take action before this situation gets out of hand. It could be very dangerous,” he told reporters outside the Dang Wangi District Police Headquarters today.

Tunku Aziz was accompanied by a few representatives of Jaringan Melayu Malaysia (JMM). He also claimed that Mahathir had made various allegations against Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak with the sole purpose of removing him from power.

“The pressing issue here is he (Mahathir) is utilising our constitutional laws for his own political agenda. For the sake of national harmony, Mahathir’s antics should not be taken lightly and I urge the authorities to take immediate action,” he added.

Tunku Aziz, who is currently the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) advisory board chairman also stressed that he had lodged the report in his individual capacity.

Mahathir had made the remark in question when he revealed he was unable to secure an audience with the Agong to submit the more than one million signatures collected for the Citizens’ Declaration.

“We have got 1.4 million signatures, and we’ve been trying to show them to the Agong. But as of now I’ve not been able to meet the Agong because it’s likely that he’s under house arrest.The rulers may be confined to their palaces,” Mahathir had claimed.