(function() { (function(){function b(g){this.t={};this.tick=function(h,m,f){var n=void 0!=f?f:(new Date).getTime();this.t[h]=[n,m];if(void 0==f)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=0=c&&(window.jstiming.srt=e-c)}if(a){var d=window.jstiming.load; 0=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&&0=b&&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.

Wednesday, June 07, 2023

Support Anwar's Relentless Anti-Corruption Crusade

 Support Anwar’s Relentless Anti-Corruption Crusade

M. Bakri Musa

June 8, 2023


Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s frontal challenge to Mahathir and his cronies to explain how they had acquired their massive wealth now resonates with Malays. That is a welcomed sign, reflecting a sea-change in attitude. That would also pre-empt a possible second so-called Sheraton Move by these third-rate corrupt Malay leaders to grab power so they could once again plunder the nation. Now they resort to dangerous chauvinism.


            It was not too long ago that Malays glowed in the reflected glory of having these billionaires amongst us. That is now long gone, greased by the obscene ostentations of our nouveau riche. Today when we see the likes of the Mahathir clan luxuriating on their yachts and in their mansions, that elicits only revulsion. The leaked Pandora Papers, together with the unsavory details exposed during Najib Razak’s criminal trials, only cemented that ugly image.


            Unlike American billionaires where one could with ease discern where their wealth comes from (Gates, software; Musk, electric cars; and Bezos, Amazon.com), not so with Mahathir and his cronies. On the contrary, they are known more for destroying hitherto flourishing enterprises. Remember that flamboyant Tajuddin Ramli and once-premium Malaysia Airlines?


            Then there was Bank Bumiputra, once ASEAN’s largest as well as the pride and hope of Malays, again destroyed by Mahathir’s cronies. That also took the life of a young banker, Jalil Ibrahim. Lim Kit Siang paid tribute to Jalil by quoting his unfinished letter to his young wife just before he was strangled to death in Hong Kong on July 18, 1983, as related in Chooi Mun Sou’s memoir, Malaysia My Home – Quo Vadis.


     “The problems in Hong Kong are not [of] my making and from today onwards I am going to think of myself and my family first and put the interests of the Bank, the race and the country behind me. If those directors had thought of the interests of the Bank, the race and the country first, they wouldn’t have made all those blunders in the first place. I have sacrificed enough and suffered enough for their blunders….”


            Alas Jalil’s insight came too late. He paid the ultimate price, a cautionary note to those eager to go back and “serve my country and people.” If only Jalil had been wiser earlier (he was the rare Malay with an MBA from other than a third-rate institution), his talents would have been recognized and amply rewarded. More to the point, his life would not have been wasted.


            Jalil was posthumously awarded Malaysia’s highest honor, and with that an honorarium of a few devalued ringgit. I wonder whether Bank Bumiputra ever compensated his family. Jalil was not the only victim of corruption. Remember Altantuya Shaaribuu, Kevin Morais, and Hussain Najadi, as well as the thousands of preventable deaths from Covid-19 because Malaysian healthcare is underfunded, with the money looted by these scoundrels.


            In one of his many books, eminent economist K S Jomo listed Mahathir’s many financial blunders, from the London Tin debacle to the massive Forex losses. Fast forward to 2018 with Mahathir’s second coming, Jomo too was suckered in to be one of Mahathir’s “counsel of the eminent five.” I do not know whether Jomo is any wiser today than those Langkawi voters. They saw through the old man’s fraud and humiliated him in the November 2022 elections. You can fool the natives only for so long. They tidak mudah lupa (do not forget easily.)


            Then there is Terengganu’s Chief Minister Ahmad Samsuri. He “sold” state land to an entity led by his wife at less than 2 percent of its value. He dismissed the subsequent brouhaha. To him that was not corruption. Such a moral lapse! No surprise there as his party’s leader Hadi Awang considers corruption as halal as it involves willing participants. To his kitab, prostitution would also be halal.


            Malaysian Anti-Corruption Chief (MACC) Azam Baki has done much but I am not ready with the accolades. Arresting is one thing; conviction, another. He has yet to investigate Hadi Awang, not for his racist rantings but how he had obtained the money to pay off his civil suit against Sarawak Report. MACC has also not investigated former Home Minister Hamzah Zainuddin. It has snagged only his son. Anwar’s short-term renewal of Azam Baki’s contract is the best guarantee of his performance; likewise with the current Attorney-General Idrus Harun. 


            Corruption is crippling Malaysia. Anwar Ibrahim asserted many times that it disproportionately impacts Malays. Denting it would be Anwar’s greatest legacy, worthy of the appellation “Islamic Leader” as well as “Wira Negara” (National Hero).



Post a Comment

<< Home