Friday, August 26, 2016

Merdeka 59 - clouds of gloom over the nation

Corruption,abuse of power and racism all time high  

Last year the 58th Merdeka celebrations were marred by the massive gathering of the people in Bersih 4 rally, demanding for good governance and the resignation of the PM over the 1MDB scandal. The Bersih 4 rally failed to bring about the change that the people wanted. Instead it was manipulated into a racial issue, like all other anti-government rallies before, and the people at large were silenced once again.

One year has passed and we are yet to see any signs of change for the better. The 1MDB scandal has become more complex especially with the involvement of foreign countries who have joined in to act against one of the biggest financial scandals of all time. More and more evidence has surface over the last few months but our leaders are adamant to refute them one after another and instead they accuse the foreigners, in particular the US Department of Justice (DOJ) as conspiring to bring down our leaders by their latest filing of the civil suit against those related to 1MDB.

As this major corruption saga continues and our leaders refuse to reveal the truth behind it, the nation is sliding downhill economically and the racial and religious tensions keep mounting. Every issue today is being turned into a racial one doesn’t matter what it is. Even sports that used to be a powerful tool to unite the people is made into a racial issue by some unscrupulous people.

As Malaysians are becoming increasingly more racially divided with corruption and abuse of power at all-time high, hopes for a united and progressive country is fast eluding us. Our hopes to join the ranks of the developed world is slowly but surely fading with every passing day. Today we are losing all admiration and credibility in the international stage due corruption, abuse of power and racism. The respect that we worked hard together as citizens is being systematically destroyed by those in power.

With the clouds of gloom looming over our heads, some comfort came with the recently concluded Rio Olympics. We were so delighted at the young men and women from all over the world coming together to prove their endurance, talents and skills in the various sporting events of the Olympics. Colour of their skin, language and culture did not matter but comradeship is all that matter to them. 

We were moved by watching these young athletes, men and women alike, weeping with joy as their national anthems were played and their national flags hoisted in the memorable victory ceremonies.
We were touched by the spirit of sportsmanship shown by some of the young athletes which puts many of us adults to shame. We seem to be preoccupied with greed and racial differences, forgetting the many things we have in common as humans and more so as Malaysians.

The 2016 Rio Olympics came to a close with us having succeeded in winning the most number of medals so far. We may have won 4 silver and 1 bronze medals but we failed to win the one all important gold medal that would have enabled our national anthem to be played and our national flag being hoisted in front of the millions of spectators all over the world. That would have been our greatest pride and glory.

Many smaller and poorer countries did better than us and it is timely for our leaders to take a serious hard look at the reasons behind our failure. We all know the reasons for our failure and we all know we are capable of greater victory but we lack the political will and the right direction to achieve that.

Do we have the political will to place the nation above race and creed? Do we have the political will to say we are Malaysians first then only Malay,Chinese, Indians,Kadazans or Ibans? Do we have the political will to say regardless of race and creed we are all Malaysian, anak Malaysia? Until and unless we acquire that will there is no way we can succeed as we need the talent of every Malaysian to realise our dreams for a developed nation.

This 59th Merdeka our spirits are low as the very fabric of a multi-racial and multireligious nation is being threatened. We may have 59 years of independence but are we truly maturing in our march as a nation? Corruption and racism are not going to take us anywhere but unity and hard work in line with the laws of our country. It is time for all Malaysians to put aside our differences and unite to save our country from the biggest scandals that are threatening to destroy us beyond repair.

The Hyenas, Vultures and Maggots of 1MDB
  1. M. Bakri Musa

1MDB is not yet a bloated carcass (it is bloated only with debt) and already the hyenas, vultures and maggots are feasting with glee. In the wild, hyenas and vultures wait till their prey is dead, and maggots, rotting. Not these human hyenas, vultures and maggots.

Scavengers are vital in the ecosystem; they cleanse the environment of dead and decomposing bodies. In contrast, these human hyenas, vultures and maggots feasting on 1MDB are part of the rubbish. Perverse as it may seem, they have an exalted opinion of themselves. They view what they are doing–defending “Malaysian Official 1” who is related to one of the hyenas Reza Aziz–as honorable.

This 1MDB mess is humungous; it will burden Malaysians for generations. That is a grim and undeniable fact.

Other facts, also undeniable, include these. One, 1MDB’s debt in excess of RM42 billion, and growing fast, exceeds the current budgetary allocation for education. No other entity, private or public, then or now could come even close. Those loans are ultimately the responsibility of taxpayers as well as those who do not pay tax. Those non-taxpayers, meaning the poor, are impacted because funds meant for them would be diverted to servicing those debts.

Two, 1MDB has gone through as many accounting firms as Britney Spears with boyfriends.  Its latest, Deloitte, has resigned, but not before making a most unusual declaration. That is, the US Department of Justice’s June 20, 2016 asset forfeiture lawsuit contained information that, if known at the time of the 2013 and 2014 audits “would have impacted the financial statements and affected the audit reports.”

Along the same vein, the Auditor-General’s Report on 1MDB which the government had promised to make public is now under the Official Secrets Act. Those reports have always been public. Why keep this one secret?

Three, 1MDB has gone through as many chief executives in as many years, not the sign of a well-managed company. Four, drive by the site of the proposed Tun Razak Exchange, 1MDB’s signature development. It is empty. Last, 1MDB has yet to generate a sen of profit despite being in existence since 2009.

Meanwhile Switzerland has forced the sale of the bank involved with 1MDB and imposed an unusual and tough stipulation. Its new owner must not employ any of the existing senior managers of the sold bank. Singapore summarily closed the local branch of that bank. Its head now faces criminal charges. He was denied bail while awaiting trial, reflecting the gravity of the alleged crime. Singapore admitted to being lax in monitoring the bank’s activities with respect to 1MDB. Singapore also froze the assets of Jho Low, Najib’s financial confidant and key 1MDB player, an unprecedented as well as severe action.

There are other facts. The Attorney-General and Bank Negara have closed their investigations with no negative findings. Then there are the American DOJ’s asset forfeiture lawsuits and the class-action suit of Husam and Chang.

In America anyone can file a lawsuit. Thus you may dismiss the American lawsuits but not the actions of the Swiss and Singaporean authorities. As for the Attorney-General and Bank Negara Governor exonerating 1MDB, I let readers give that its proper weightage and relevance. Nonetheless that would still not explain 1MDB’s huge debts, changes in management and auditing firms, empty TRX lot, and the Auditor-General Report being kept secret.

For those who believe that Najib is God’s gift to Malaysians, you can’t argue with them. It would also be blasphemous to dispute Allah’s choice. For the rest of us, we need a more rational explanation, one that does not assault credibility or insult intelligence.

Back to the hyenas, they are now uncharacteristically quiet, their former flamboyance gone. Perhaps they are enjoying their morsels while they can, in their penthouses of Manhattan, mansions of Beverly Hills, and luxury yachts cruising the South China Sea. One would expect that having benefited handsomely from 1MDB they would harbor some gratitude to defend their benefactor.

The vast majority of Najib’s supporters are simple, unsophisticated Malay villagers still under the grip of feudalism. To them it is a simplistic “my leader, my race, my country, right or wrong!” Their loyalty to leaders is intense and unquestioning, up to a point. Betray that, and you pay the price. Datuk Onn was a hero for stopping Malayan Union, and Tunku Abdul Rahman for bringing merdeka. When they fell out of step with their followers, their drop from hero to villain was precipitous and merciless.

Najib is nowhere near the caliber of those two giants. We must remind him and his ardent supporters of that.

Those villagers aside, only those vultures and maggots remain Najib’s supporters. The hyenas should be, but for reasons best known to themselves have chosen to remain silent. That leaves the vultures to be his noisiest and ugliest cheerleaders. Unlike the hyenas with their bounties in the millions, those vultures are satisfied with a promotion or two and a federal award (second or third class) thrown in. Satisfied because stripped of their new appointments, they would earn but a mere fraction back at their old law practices or whatever they did before prostituting themselves to Najib.

The maggots are there as long as there is a decaying carcass.  A few ringgit tossed their way to fill the tanks of their used motorbikes, and they are happy parading their red shirts or polluting the social media with their inane comments. Once the carrion is gone, so will they.

Some support Najib out of inertia, buttressed by the havoc of regime change in Iraq and Libya as well as the performance of the opposition. Others reflect the forbearance of Malaysians. Najib, they rationalize, won the last election albeit without the majority of the popular votes. Nonetheless that victory was reaffirmed by the recent state elections in Sarawak as well as the two by-elections in Peninsula Malaysia.

That is a dicey defense. Winning elections is no license to steal or be corrupt. Nixon won a landslide in 1972, yet that did not stop his impeachment and subsequent resignation in disgrace for covering up the Watergate break-in.

A few would argue that Najib’s shenanigans are no different from Mahathir’s many opaque UMNO proxy companies plus London Tin, Bank Bumiputra, and Forex debacles. To them 1MDB is merely a different crocodile, albeit much more menacing, but from the same fetid swamp. Malaysia will never progress with that attitude.

Then there is the reflected glory argument. Reza Aziz, Malaysian Official 1’s stepson, is one of the producers of the Academy Award-winning The Wolf of Wall Street. Most would miss the irony as the film is banned in Malaysia. Nonetheless Malays in particular should celebrate that achievement.

Malaysians would have, and proudly too, had the film not been tainted. Indeed, the Academy publicly demanded that Reza Aziz’s name be officially deleted. It is like winning at the Olympics, and later disqualified for doping. Instead of glory, shame.

Another aspect of Najib’s support is crude anti-American rage triggered by the DOJ’s lawsuit. That was seen as interference as well as double standards. America too is blighted with corruption, they sniff. True. As South Korean Tongsun Park and Indonesian James Riady, as well as former Attorney-General Mitchell and President’s Counsel John Dean found out, the corrupt do get caught, convicted, and jailed. That’s the lesson Malaysians should draw from America.

As for American interference, if Najib and other corrupt Third World leaders do not want that, then next time accept only Zimbabwean dollars and use a bank in Uzbekistan. Buy properties in Bali or Cancun, not Manhattan or Beverly Hills, and bet at casinos in Macau not Las Vegas. There are no shortages of hyenas, vultures and maggots in those countries to clean up your mess.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

A general tibute to fathers

Father’s day 2016 – Finding time for dad

When I was a little girl, I remember that when my dad was repairing something, every time he asked me to hold the hammer, just so we would have a time for a conversation with each other. I never saw my dad drinking or taking a “night out with the boys“, all he did after work was taking care of his family.

I grew up and left home for college and since then, my dad had been calling me every Sunday morning, no matter what. And when several years later I bought a house, my dad was painting it by himself for three days in the 80-degree summer heat. All he asked was to hold his paint brush and talk to him. But I was too busy in those days, I did not find any time for a conversation with my dad.

Four years ago, my dad was visiting me. He spent many hours putting together a swing set for my daughter. He asked to bring him a cup of tea and have a talk with him, but I had to prepare for a trip that weekend, so I did not have time for any long conversations that day.

One Sunday morning we had a telephone talk as usual, I noticed that my dad had forgotten some things that we discussed lately. I was in a hurry, so our conversation was short. Few hours later that day came a call. My father was in a hospital with an aneurysm. Immediately I bought ticket for a flight and on my way I was thinking about all missed occasions to have a talk with my dad.

By the time I arrived at hospital, my father had passed away. Now it was he who did not have time for a conversation with me. I realized how little I knew about my dad, his deepest thoughts and dreams.

After his death I learned much more about him, and even more about myself. All he ever asked me was my time. And now he has all my attention every single day but it is a little too late. He was there all the time for me but I was not there for him when he needed me most.

Happy  Father's Day


A typical story of child today. Life is so busy that she had no time for the father until the very end. She failed to recognize the yearning of the dad trying to spend time with her.

The lesson to learn from this story is that we must a find little time whenever and wherever we can for our parents. Time is running fast and we fail to realise they are growing much faster than us. All parents long for the company of their children so let us do our utmost to find the little very precious time for them.

A general tribute to fathers -