For years now, the political class flouted every rule in the book, and some out of it as well. Busy as they were making laws for us to follow, they were equally busy ensuring that there were enough loopholes in those very laws for them and their crony businessmen friends to break the law with impunity. They did not pay their taxes. They purloined public land. They mined illegally. They violated environmental regulations. They dipped their hands into the exchequer. They institutionalised bribery and wanton loot. And, what was worse, when anyone was brave enough to stand up and protest, they went after him with a sledge hammer and, more often than not, killed him or put him behind bars on trumped charges. It was a mockery of democracy: An unequal battle between the powerful political class, who grabbed the front page of newspapers every day, and the rest of us. With the odds heavily stacked against us.
.Is Islam of UMNO taught us how to corrupt? Where are all the so called religious leaders, why don’t the imam rim Perak, Selangor, Johor, Perlis comment on the corrupt practices by UMNO. PAS Islam teaches not to corrupt and just fair to other religion but UMNO did otherwise? Donk-y MACC must be sleeping and hide its taill between their leggs when it comes to UMNO..finally, the secret of the game of umno’s musical bed has came out……threesome, foursome…you name it, as long as ripping off the rakyat’s money is achieved….
noh omar and najib shared sharizat, then in came khairy trying to defend sharizat…which makes him a bendover boy…for sharizat…..really interesting…wonder if rafidah want’s to get in there too….just to make sure that sharizat is really f…..ked, this time round!
PKR leaders flayed Prime Minister Najib Razak and Agriculture minister Noh Omar for lying to Parliament over a soft loan made to National Feedlot Corporation (NFC), a food project that has been accused of being awarded without competitive tenders to Umno minister, Shahrizat Jalil.
“A PM lying to the Parliament is a serious matter, and RM250 million is a large amount,” PKR strategy director Rafizi Ramli told a press conference on Tuesday. “If the say our claim is a lie, then they should go open the books.”
He also accused the NFC management of financial incompetence, taking on the RM250 million loan and leaving the funds in bank deposits instead of investing in the project to harvest beef. Malaysia wants NFC to supply as much 40 per cent of the nation’s need for beef.
The PKR leader demanded that Najib and Noh come clean on the issue, and explain the discrepancies in their replies versus the details released in the NFC’s audited accounts filed with and affirmed by the CCM.
To prove his point, Rafizi waved written replies from Najib and Noh in answer to questions raised by PKR, whereby both men had stated that only RM181 million of funds have been disbursed so far, when in actual fact, a substaintially bigger amount had been drawndown.
“Najib and the agriculture minister lied.The PM’s written answer stated only RM181 million has been disbursed, while Noh Omar said (the same, and) that there was no conflict of interest,” said Rafizi.
“In the balance sheet and profit and loss statement filed with the Companies Commission of Malaysia, the non-current liabilities of NFC are listed as just above RM256 million, comprising the RM250 soft loan and the over RM6 million infrastructure grant.”
Amid growing disquiet over the deal, Noh had rushed to tell Parliament last week that only a portion of the loan has been paid out. Noh also insisted the project was not a failure, and the awarding ot the project to a firm controlled by Shahrizat’s family was a “coincidence” and not corruption.
Najib’s own written answer was that only RM181 million of the total amount has been paid out, with the remainder still outstanding.
No mistake, deception was deliberate
To make clear that the deception was deliberate and not due to any mistake, Rafizi pointed out that transaction details showed that entire RM250million loan limit had been disbursed as far back as two years ago.
“RM130 million was disbursed upon signing of the agreement (between the government and NFC) in 2008. While another RM120 million was paid out on March 31, 2009. NFC garnered nearly RM670,000 interest from the fixed deposit, an amount which is one-fourth of the company’s earnings,” said Rafizi.
So far, Shahrizat who is the Women’s minister has kept her head down, allowing Najib and Noh to take on the queries on her behalf.
Umno Women’s chief Shahrizat Jalil defended her family over the RM250 million National Feedlot Centre debacle, reserving her venom for her counterpart in Parti Keadilan Rakyat, Zuraida Kamaruddin who is also the Ampang MP.
“I am ashamed that there is a Malaysian woman like the Wanita PKR chief. This is a political agenda by the Opposition to weaken Wanita Umno. But we are not that easily destroyed,” Shahrizat told reporters on Wednesday.
Her sarcasm did not go down well with PKR leaders, who shot right back.
“Why must she be so sexist and go for Zuraida’s throat? Is Zuraida the only PKR leader who spoke up about NFC? What about Rafizi (Ramli, the startegy direcor). “Don’t tell she is afraid to criticize men,” PKR vice president Tian Chua told Malaysia Chronicle.
Where are the details?
Pundits also pointed out that Shahrizat had failed to give a proper and full accounting of the allegations raised against her, merely denying wrong-doing which they said was insufficient.
On Tuesday, PKR had revealed documentary evidence showing that the government had fully disbursed a RM250 million soft loan to NFC, a national project to raise beef production in the country.
Pointing to their evidence of mismanagement, they accused Prime Minister Najib Razak and Agriculture Minister Noh Omar of trying to cover up Umno’s well-known practice of awarding contract to families and friends.
The NFC was given to a firm controlled by Shahrizat’s husband, Mohamad Salleh Ismail, and children, Izran and Izmir. PKR leaders accused them of having siphoned out more than RM84 million to family-controlled firms.
“For the financial year ended December 31, 2009… NLMC owed NFC as much as RM81,222,448.93 even though NLMC’s job is only to market meat,” Rafizi had told reporters at the Parliament lobby on Tuesday.
“This raises questions as to whether the RM250 million loan meant specifically for the development of the feedlot centre was siphoned off to other companies owned by Datuk Seri Shahrizat Jalil’s family.”
The NLMC and RFC are firms that are majority owned by Shahrizat’s family.
The Auditor-General’s Report released last month had also criticized the NFC project, pointing out that it was now “in a mess”. The report also said production in 2010 was only 3,289 head of cattle or 41.1 per cent of the target set.
But Shahrizat denied all the various accusations, saying her family “don’t deserve the things said by the Opposition because they work very hard.”
“The minister has answered at length and clearly. I am happy that the ministry will continue to monitor the success of this project,” said Shahrizat.
She was referring to Agriculture mnister Noh Omar, who had declared the NFC project a success and had met its targets “as the total number of cattle brought into the farm was 8,016 between 2008 and 2010.” This despite his comments directly contradicting the Auditor-General’s.
Noh also refuted allegations of favoritism and cronysim, saying that it was merely a “coincidence” that Shahrizat’s family landed the project, which did not go through an open public tender process.
Malaysia has been and continues to be, many things to many people. It has been and continues to be the meeting point of cultures so diverse, each with its own subcultures, vernacular, traditions and values, that the only real thing we can truly claim to have in common is the home we share-Malaysia, and our love for her.
Then,how do you define Malaysia? Terms like cultural melting pot, harmonious blend, microcosm of Asia, model moderate nation, progressive Muslim country are often used in describing Malaysia, thrown liberally in text books, magazines and travel documentaries. But what is Malaysia, really?
If you speak to a young twenty something Chinese educated, Taiwan graduated Malaysian who speaks Mandarin as his first language how was his weekend, he will tell you of his favourite ku luk yok haunt, how he and his buddies sang the latest SHE songs in Neway last weekend after a gambling spree in Genting where he won an Angry Bird doll as a consolation prize in a mini I Want to be Model contest.
If you ask an Indian lad the same question, he will tell you how he and his friends hung out at KLCC to watch Enthiran for the seventeeth time, had the best curry chicken at PJ State, a night out at Chakravati’s before attending his cousin’s wedding at 3.31am with his folks in a temple somewhere in Sungai Petani.
Ask the same question to a Malay girl the same thing, she would probably have been hung out with her friends at KLCC, where SLAM did a special reunion meet the fans session, then watched Bini-Biniku Gangster in the cinema next to where Enthiran was screening and headed to Neway to sing some Korean numbers, next to the room where the Chinese dude from earlier was trying his best to sound like Jay Chou, followed by dinner at Chinoz.
Ask a Malaysian businessman where to get your agreements notarized and he will point you to a commercial three story building, where on another floor above it, a Christian prayer group meets every Sunday and one floor below it, lonely salarymen come in to get their weekly ‘happy ending’ massages.The shop next door manages to squeeze in a barber, CD rentals and a small cofeeshop all in one, all patronized by different groups of Malaysians. At the end of the block you’ll see a surau, and under a tree outside the surau, a Chinese prayer tablet with Indian incense burning. Ask a different Malaysian, you get a different set of shops, hobbies, hangouts, activities. These shops, hobbies, hangouts and activities sometimes intersect and we often cheer at these points of meeting, shouting ‘1Malaysia!’ before going back to eating our mundane meals and back to loving or hating Ambiga Sreenivasan.
But therein lies the beauty of this country. For a country of 26 million, you can have so many ways to experience the same thing. You can wake up one morning and decide to have nasi lemak for breakfast, tose for lunch and koay teow for dinner all within walking distance of your house. You can have your car washed by an Indian car wash, polished in a Chinese wax service and serviced in a Malay abang’s workshop.We’ve come a long way in understanding each other. We’ve come beyond learning each other’s languages and customs,to accepting each other’s way of life, to be able to laugh at our peculiarities and even make movies and songs about it. Malaysia went quite well, without any real ‘definition’ till someone decided to make Malaysia ‘more Malaysia’.
When you try to define the quite undefinable- that’s where things go wrong.Especially when you do so vaguely, leaving much to the abstract imagination. Once upon a time, Malaysia was enamoured with the Boleh spirit. We built our own cars (some say ill advisedly), built the tallest towers in the world,tallest flagpole in the world, the longest roti canai, popiah,teh tarik (we were actually the only country in the running for the last three). Not content with breaking some previously un-thought of Guiness World Records, we went on to create our own book, the Malaysia Book of Records and went on to fill it with even more Boleh achievements.The Boleh spirit did wonders to the imagination and soon we had a new capital city, new duty free towns, new super corridors and even a Boleh Computer Operating System used widely by about 15 people.
But hey, Malaysia was defined, and that’s all that mattered right? Not quite. The next PM decided that the earlier definition was a bit too abstract, so he decided on Islamizing the whole thing and declared a little while after saying he was PM for every Malaysian, a civilizational form of Islam called Hadhari, which in one swoop ,managed to imply both that earlier forms of Islam was not really civilized, and had every major local dictionary manufacturer rushing to get the proper academic definition of Hadhari, which is of course only obtainable in the Ivory Tower of Academia, the Jabatan Perdana Menteri.
Overnight, we had everything from Hadhari handphones to Hadhari watches to even a Hadhari car.To match this new definition,all government departments started Arabicizing their logos much to the annoyance of old people who had to turn their heads sideways to figure out first if it was Arabic (which mostly it wasn’t), then if it was English or BM,then finally, what the heck the words were actually saying. We had TV programs and radio programs explaining what Hadhari was, and PAS had a field day breaking it up to make their new war cry – ‘Islam Hadhari, ada had, ada hari..’
Just as we were all trying to find our way under the Hadhari sun, a new PM emerges and styled the new Malaysian definition- 1Malaysia. This one caught on even faster,as there was no need to Arabicize anything! You could have everything from 1Bank, 1Aircond, 1Chicken Rice Stall, 1Mamak Shop. Soon people started adding ‘1’ to everything it’s a m1racle Malays1a 1s st1ll called Malays1a. Oh wait..
All was fine and dandy until people realized that they were all claiming to own 1Malaysia (read:the whole Malaysia) So the Malays has 1Melayu, the Chinese had 1Cina, the Indians had 1India and the others had 1Lain-lain.Then there’s the slightly different school of thought of 1Islam versus 1BukanIslam.More recently we saw 1Kuning versus 1Merah and 1Gay versus 1NoWayGay. The problem started when someone realized this and soon a tussle for ownership of Malaysia occurred, with everyone laying claim on the same cake. But there is only 1Cake. So who has it and who eats it? Not so easy to define,no?
Malaysia was doing well before anyone started to state out certain characteristics drawn out in their narrow minds of what Malaysia should and shouldn’t be and then forced everyone else into this mould. Everyone is different and this rule is further amplified in the cultural crosspoint like ours. Trying to define what Malaysia should and shouldn’t be, what it is and isn’t is not only ridiculous, its futile. We’re fine, don’t define.Just let Malaysia be Malaysia. Alphanumeric or otherwise.
Scams, scams, scams. Wherever you look, there are scams. So many in fact that people are losing faith in everything. Unless you are a cynic and say, as many do, that corruption rules India with a firmer hand than any Government, you must be disgusted to see how everyone in power has been looting India. A Report on Global Financial Integrity last week says $462 billion has been siphoned out since Independence, most of it derived from corruption and kickbacks.Now I am the kind of person who can’t even figure how many zeroes there are in $462 billion but it certainly looks like an astonishingly large figure. In my time, we went after Rajiv for the Rs 64 crore Bofors scam and, even though we knew the actual amount purloined was much more, it was never in the league of today’s scams. The CWG scam is Rs 70,000 crore and growing. The 2G scam is Rs 170,000 crore. Yes, I am learning how to count the zeroes but maths is not the issue here. It’s probity. Has it finally deserted us? Is everyone a chor, as an unknown Indian tweeted me the other day? His exact words were: Sab saala chor.
Now that’s something I find hard to believe. Even after three decades of tough, no-nonsense journalism where I have seen and met every kind of rogue and rascal, I still believe this is not true. India is not a corrupt nation. We are not a corrupt people. No, this is not wishful thinking. It’s based on the kind of people I meet every day in the course of my work. Most Indians are honest, hard working. They try very hard to live out their lives in difficult circumstances, whatever our GDP growth may be and the stock market indices may show. Life is not easy for most of them. Yet they demonstrate exemplary courage, dignity, faith.
But what lets them down is the ruling elite, the 10% India which grabs all the loot. They are the ones in control everywhere and they are so supremely networked that it’s almost impossible for the rest to break into that club of bandits and robber barons. Look around you and you will see it everywhere. It’s this 10% India that manipulates politics and policy, and protects each other when the chips are down. They are all connected to each other as in a feudal protectorate. And even in rare cases where they are not, there are enough pimps around, to help them schmooze. That’s why parties change, leaders change, voting patterns change but no one can break the nexus of the corrupt. They are all partners in crime even as they throw muck at each other in Parliament. Occasionally, when they are caught with their hand in the till, they are allowed to melt away. They are never punished.
Supporting this exclusive club in politics is a bunch of venal bureaucrats. They have no political affiliations. They switch sides in a blink. They sense where power lies and they inveigle their way there, to make their own fortunes as well as the fortunes of their Teflon-clad political bosses. Sure, there are many bureaucrats I have known who are honest, upright, impossible to corrupt. But most of them live a difficult life. Some suffer silently, waiting for retirement or better postings. Others quit the service. A few have risked standing up to their political bosses and paid heavily for it.
The same is true for businessmen. A large number of Indian businessmen may not exactly be models of great rectitude but the exact opposite is also true. There are many hardworking entrepreneurs, many amazing professionals who have created world class companies that do us proud. But the tragedy is that The System, the netas and babus, compel them to make compromises they could otherwise avoid. Some are brave enough to refuse and bear the consequences. Others succumb. Scared, many squirrel away their money overseas because they don’t know when the next bolt from the blue will strike. As a result, illicit outflows from India today account for 72% of the underground economy.
Everyone knows that if we bring this money back, every Indian will have a job, no one will starve, no one will have to pay taxes, and not just MPs, we would all get free medical facilities and pension. But the tragedy is: This will never happen because the entire money secretly banked overseas belongs to the 10% India that rules over us and they see no risk in keeping it there.
While we, the 90%, may keep protesting, there’s no clear road map as yet emerging on how to take on this 10% India and seize back what is rightfully ours. After all, Gandhi fought and died for us. So did Subhash Bose and many others. Why must we allow a tiny bunch of fellow Indians to take away this nation from us? Why should we live with the disgusting moniker, Sab saala chor?