(function() { (function(){function b(g){this.t={};this.tick=function(h,m,f){var n=f!=void 0?f:(new Date).getTime();this.t[h]=[n,m];if(f==void 0)try{window.console.timeStamp("CSI/"+h)}catch(q){}};this.getStartTickTime=function(){return this.t.start[0]};this.tick("start",null,g)}var a;if(window.performance)var e=(a=window.performance.timing)&&a.responseStart;var p=e>0?new b(e):new b;window.jstiming={Timer:b,load:p};if(a){var c=a.navigationStart;c>0&&e>=c&&(window.jstiming.srt=e-c)}if(a){var d=window.jstiming.load; c>0&&e>=c&&(d.tick("_wtsrt",void 0,c),d.tick("wtsrt_","_wtsrt",e),d.tick("tbsd_","wtsrt_"))}try{a=null,window.chrome&&window.chrome.csi&&(a=Math.floor(window.chrome.csi().pageT),d&&c>0&&(d.tick("_tbnd",void 0,window.chrome.csi().startE),d.tick("tbnd_","_tbnd",c))),a==null&&window.gtbExternal&&(a=window.gtbExternal.pageT()),a==null&&window.external&&(a=window.external.pageT,d&&c>0&&(d.tick("_tbnd",void 0,window.external.startE),d.tick("tbnd_","_tbnd",c))),a&&(window.jstiming.pt=a)}catch(g){}})();window.tickAboveFold=function(b){var a=0;if(b.offsetParent){do a+=b.offsetTop;while(b=b.offsetParent)}b=a;b<=750&&window.jstiming.load.tick("aft")};var k=!1;function l(){k||(k=!0,window.jstiming.load.tick("firstScrollTime"))}window.addEventListener?window.addEventListener("scroll",l,!1):window.attachEvent("onscroll",l); })();

M. Bakri Musa

Seeing Malaysia My Way

My Photo
Location: Morgan Hill, California, United States

Malaysian-born Bakri Musa writes frequently on issues affecting his native land. His essays have appeared in the Far Eastern Economic Review, Asiaweek, International Herald Tribune, Education Quarterly, SIngapore's Straits Times, and The New Straits Times. His commentary has aired on National Public Radio's Marketplace. His regular column Seeing It My Way appears in Malaysiakini. Bakri is also a regular contributor to th eSun (Malaysia). He has previously written "The Malay Dilemma Revisited: Race Dynamics in Modern Malaysia" as well as "Malaysia in the Era of Globalization," "An Education System Worthy of Malaysia," "Seeing Malaysia My Way," and "With Love, From Malaysia." Bakri's day job (and frequently night time too!) is as a surgeon in private practice in Silicon Valley, California. He and his wife Karen live on a ranch in Morgan Hill. This website is updated twice a week on Sundays and Wednesdays at 5 PM California time.

Monday, August 29, 2022

Investigate Mahathir With The Same Vigor As With Najib

 Investigate Mahathir With The Same Vigor As With Najib


M. Bakri Musa



The praises heaped upon Chief Justice Maimun and her fellow Federal Court Judges on their handling of Najib Razak’s criminal appeal were not misplaced. They could have rendered a very different verdict.


Imagine had the Chief Justice been that character who was caught holidaying in New Zealand with a member of the defense bar (I wonder who picked up their tab!), or the former UMNO Legal Advisor who perjured himself in hiding his secret second marriage in Southern Thailand. Worse, remember that infamous lawyer whose VVIP clients at the time included then Prime Minister Mahathir? That attorney was caught on videotape uttering “Correct! Correct! Correct!” on the phone. The party at the other end was a senior judge, later to become Chief Justice; they were trying to fix an upcoming case.


            Then consider had the Anti-Corruption Agency still been under Dzulkifli Ahmad, the ilk who was caught holidaying in Bali with someone other than his wife. Personal morality aside, this was the same idiot who later tipped Prime Minister Najib of the then on-going 1MDB criminal investigation. It was unfortunate for both but lucky for Malaysians that their phone conversation was tapped and later released by Latheefa Koya, Dzulkifli’s successor. Dzulkifli was confused on whether he was on the nation’s or Najib’s payroll. Dzulkifli was not alone in being confused. Witness the many court testimonies of other civil servants. Chief Secretary Sidek Hassan was paid more than his official salary to be on the 1MDB Board to “do nothing.”


Likewise, had the prosecution been led by career civil-servant “Kami menurut perentah” (We follow orders!) lawyers, the outcome would also have been very different. There is more! If that third-rate former UMNO lawyer Apandi had remained as Attorney-General, Najib would not have faced any charges. Najib would today be lauded a Wira Negara (National Hero!), with the Agung feting and decorating him on a garish obscene scale as only a Malay sultan could.


There are many honest, dedicated and competent civil servants, but those are not the ones being promoted. Instead we have the likes of Dzulkifli and Sidek Hassan reaching the top. I am also aware that there were many brave civil servants who literally paid with their lives for their integrity. Remember the late Deputy Public Prosecutor Kevin Morais? 


            Those aside, the tipping point that led to the unmasking of Najib’s sinister nature and egregious greed was voters’ denying his UMNO-led coalition victory in the 2018 national elections. Prior to that the UMNO-led Barisan and its earlier Alliance coalition had suffered only two major but not power-shifting electoral setbacks.


            The first was in 1969 when the Alliance failed to secure a supra-majority of Parliamentary seats, and polled less than half of the popular votes. That setback triggered a race riot that nearly tore the nation apart. The second was in 2008, also with a loss of its supra-majority. That resulted in Abdullah Badawi’s resignation and Najib’s ascendancy to the top slot.


            As for Najib, he had a near-death political experience in the 1999 elections when he barely held on to his long-held Pekan seat which he had won with over a 10,000-vote majority in the previous election. In that 1999 contest he scraped through with a threadbare 241-vote majority, rescued at the last minute by “mail ballots” from the nearby army base.


            The 2018 national election was a game changer. Unlike the Nigerians and Pakistanis,  Malaysians were finally disgusted with their leaders and voted out the corrupt UMNO-led coalition. The new administration, though brief, nonetheless triggered the subsequent cascading events that led to Najib’s incarceration.


            As such, praises for Najib’s final conviction should go to the Malaysian electorate. That is the key lesson for the next election. The most powerful instrument in getting rid of corruption is for voters to know where to put the “X” on their ballot.


            Had Malaysians been similarly wise in 1999 and booted out the Mahathir-led coalition, they would have uncovered similar egregious corruptions and gross mismanagement of the past. Think of London Tin, the massive Forex losses, and Bank Bumiputra bankruptcy, among others. Then remember the gruesome murder of the Bank’s auditor, Jalil Ibrahim. With Najib, there were the model Altantuyaa, banker Ahmad Najadi, and prosecutor Kevin Morais. 


Had a similar tough scrutiny been done back then, Malaysia would have been spared the later 1MDB and other boondoggles. The nation jailed the wrong leader following the 1999 election. 


            Najib is Mahathir’s political son. Najib would not have risen so early and so fast had it not been for Mahathir. He was also instrumental in Najib replacing Abdullah in 2009. Mahathir greasing Najib’s path was in the old Malay tradition of berbalas budi (reciprocating a debt of gratitude). Earlier, Najib’s father Tun Razak had resurrected Mahathir when the latter was in the political wilderness following his expulsion from UMNO back in 1970. 


            Come the next election Malaysians must again repeat the 2018 lesson and boot out the Mahathir-controlled coalition as well as the UMNO-led one. Only then could the nation do a similar much needed albeit delayed scrutiny of Mahathir’s many outrageous follies. Today the old man is strutting around pontificating on Najib’s sins while remaining blissfully ignorant of his own massive ones. Voters must disabuse him of his delusion. There is no statute of limitation to the crime of plundering the nation. Mahathir should be investigated with the same vigor as Najib for only then would justice be done.


            Regardless whether such investigations be undertaken, one fact remains glaring and indisputable. In being directly responsible for Najib becoming Prime Minister, Mahathir had inflicted the greatest damage on the nation. You cannot put a price tag on that colossal blunder.


Post a Comment

<< Home