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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Bees to honey, like prime ministers to money

The latest scandal, involving the supply of the RM5 polymer banknotes implicates the usual suspects – prime ministers, senior ministers and relatives of these ministers.
COMMENT
corruption_300Any Malaysian who thinks that the West is free of corruption, and could “assist” Malaysia in ridding the country of corrupt leaders, injustice and other human rights abuses, is both naïve and stupid. Only Malaysians can be blamed for the state of the nation. That is why the reaction of the Umno-Baru and BN supporters, to the WikiLeaks revelation that the current and former Malaysian prime ministers are embroiled in yet another multi-million ringgit scandal, should prove interesting.
The latest scandal, involving the supply of the RM5 polymer banknotes implicates the usual suspects – prime ministers, senior ministers and relatives of these ministers.
You and I know that we would face suspension, disciplinary action and possible sacking, if we were to take home a pencil or a ream of paper from the stationery cupboard in our office. Our leaders get away scot-free from their multi-million ringgit scandals. It is not the first time, nor will it be the last time, that we see the familiar ministerial names in the list of the “corrupt”. The important thing is how we, as a nation, deal with this problem. Or do we shrug our shoulders, and do nothing?
The country is being bled dry by these leaders, who should be putting the nation’s interests before their own. Will the Umno-Baru and BN supporters demand a full disclosure and accountability of their leaders’ actions, or will they, like the Australian government want to protect their leaders’ already tarnished image?
Have we become immune to news of multi-million ringgit corruption scandals which are linked to our leaders? This is dangerous. It is our apathy which enables these irresponsible leaders to continue damaging the nation.
In the latest damning WikiLeaks exposé, Julian Assange alleged that the Australian government had imposed a gag order and super injunction, in an attempt to cover up a multi-million dollar international banknote scandal. It is alleged that bribes had been offered to Malaysian prime ministers, by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) and its subsidiaries, to facilitate the supply of the RM5 polymer banknotes.
In everyday life, we are shocked if a junior employee is jailed and fined for his role in stealing milk to feed his baby. We get angry when the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) claims that there is “no further action” to be taken when senior politicians are investigated, in major corruption scandals.
We are disappointed when corruption cases of high profile individuals linked to the government are terminated for “lack of evidence” or some minor technicality. The small fry is caught, but the big fish swim away. The MACC and the judiciary may lack independence and appear tainted, but concerned Malaysians will always wonder, how they can bring about change. Who has the answers to this perennial dilemma?
Only ignorant Malaysians will think that the West can help. Western leaders have their own interests and image to protect. They have too much money invested in the industrial and educational sectors, in the supply of armaments and in public relations companies, like APCO.
Why should the West help Malaysia? A weak (Malaysian) leader is all the more corruptible and easily manipulated. A strong leader is less easily malleable because he will think of his nation first.
Australia imposed the gag order on the banknotes scandal, ostensibly on the grounds of “national security”, to protect Australia’s international relations. Australian image has already been tainted by the behind-the-scenes deal between former PM Julia Gillard and Najib Tun Razak, for human trafficking and asylum seekers, and the Australian owned Lynas plant, in Gebeng.
Australia is not the only country with its own interests to protect. David Cameron, of Britain, has no desire to ruffle Najib’s feathers. Cameron has arms to sell to Malaysia and large amounts of derelict property in London for Malaysian investors to develop. He has the British economy to consider and the general election is approaching. Cameron would not want to jeopardise the millions of ringgit of investment, in the British universities twinning projects.
America has unfinished business in Malaysia; the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) is still to be signed. The Americans need an outlet for their manufactured goods. The Americans are also wary of the increasing influence of the People’s Republic of China and Russia in the region. America would do anything, even overlook extremism and religious intolerance in Malaysia, to have a foothold in the country, so it can spy on the other two superpowers.
It was alleged that the New Zealand Foreign Minister did not read the email about the Malaysian military attaché Muhammad Rizalman Ismail, the alleged rapist, who invoked diplomatic immunity and returned to Malaysia to escape charges for burglary and attempted rape. Why is New Zealand afraid of opening this particular can of worms?
Corruption trials do take a long time. So, what is the progress of the Scorpene submarine corruption investigation? Why should France speed up the process especially when Malaysia may be interested in purchasing more submarines and other weaponry?
Singapore is a global financial centre, but many allege that it is also a convenient place for corrupt dictators and drug barons to launder their ill-gotten gains. Why should Singapore work against the corrupt leaders of Malaysia? A strong and less corrupt Malaysia will work against Singaporean interests.
What about the allegation that Israel is Malaysia’s 15th largest trading partner? After all the protests against Israeli and their persecution of the Palestinian people, isn’t that hypocrisy in the extreme?
In the West, the public reacts strongly to a leader who has a whiff of corruption about him. There will be a demand for him to resign, or clear his name, so as not to disgrace his office. Their politicians, even if corrupt, have a modicum of principle.
So, if you are disappointed with your corrupt Malaysian politicians and the collusion of the West, in hiding these scandals, you cannot sit on the sidelines and hope that change will happen, as if by magic. Only you have the power to bring about change!

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