MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Friday, December 29, 2023

Towergate: Payback time or political witch-hunt?


 Is Daim Zainuddin’s ‘Towergate’ investigation the beginning of the end for the amoral, unprincipled political Malay elite and their greedy cronies? We certainly hope so.

The net is closing in on former Umno-Baru politicians, their former coalition MPs, and their cronies who became filthy rich; but first, how did they manage to amass their obscene wealth?

We allowed it to happen!

The nation’s corruption problem is well known. The revolving door between the private and public sector involves former failed politicians being rewarded for their loyalty with GLC posts, when multi-million government contracts are awarded, and when politicians freely abuse their power without fear of censure.

Missing are the howls of protest from the public about closed tenders or government contracts distributed among spouses or children of former ministers.

How did the 20-something-year-old son of a former minister obtain the lucrative RM128 million air-traffic control system contract in a closed tender?

The practice may have stopped but former heads of the armed forces are made MDs of private companies supplying weapons to the government when they retire.

Presumably, no one, especially the public, bothers about conflict of interest or insider trading.

Instead of demanding high standards for those in public life, we fail to insist that the politicians whom we elect, and the civil servants who serve us, are principled and have integrity. We lower our expectations and say, “Never mind lah. Like that also can.”

Then, when things go wrong, we blame them, or blame our former colonial masters, or former PMs, or a minority race. No! We share the blame.

Most of us have waited a lifetime for an investigation of a former senior government member to happen. Others were not so lucky. Brave men, like the political activist Haris Ibrahim, the founder of the “Asalkan Bukan Umno” (ABU) movement, died before he could realise his dream of a unified Malaysia.

Haris Ibrahim

Don’t worry. The non-Malay political elites will not be spared.

In Malaysia, we acknowledge that the Malays are both the problem and the solution to the nation’s many issues, so it would be judicious to start an investigation with them before the non-Malays are taken to task.

Probe politicians and their families

The proper way to get rid of, and punish, corrupt politicians is for the MACC to conduct detailed investigations into the alleged corruption and wrongdoing in their activities and the procurement of their assets.

Corrupt politicians should not be prevented from exposing themselves through political coups like the Sheraton Move, or be ‘saved’ by acquittals, or by any discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA). Nor should corrupt politicians be protected by being made ambassadors in faraway lands.

Those who are too old to start a new life in exile should be doubly punished when they are found guilty of corruption for persuading their accomplices to leave the country and go into hiding.

In addition, the families of corrupt politicians must not think that they are free from investigation, just because their corrupt relative’s unexplained wealth cannot be investigated, simply because the said person suffered an early and untimely death.

On Dec 31, 2022, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim set out his New Year’s Day message after a special session at the Putrajaya mosque to pray for the wellbeing of the nation and to usher in 2023.

Citing the people’s welfare as his top priority, Anwar said all Malaysians would be treated equally and justly, irrespective of race and religion.

He warned that he would not give in to those who embezzled riches during their time in high office and he vowed to return the stolen money to the people.

He said, “This is a country with laws. Do not waste. We will monitor the government-linked companies and watch their expenditure.

“To those who used to be finance ministers and prime ministers, this government will ensure what has been taken in billions will be returned to the people.”

Najib’s jailing not one-off event

One year after the Unity Government’s disappointing initial slow pace of reform, is the rakyat finally witnessing Anwar making good on some of his New Year pledges?

On Dec 21, Channel News Asia reported the seizure of the Ilham Tower, a high-commercial-value building located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, which Daim and his family own.

When MACC’s request to disclose financial information was ignored, Ilham Towers was seized in the anti-money laundering probe which began last May involving a corporate transaction in 1997.

Both publicly listed Renong Bhd and United Engineers Malaysia Bhd (UEM) were mentioned. The MACC claimed it would also investigate Daim’s businesses and how he obtained all his assets.

Denying the allegations of corruption, Daim criticised the political witch-hunt against him and his family.

Towergate will help convince the rakyat that the incarceration of the convicted Umno-Baru felon, Najib Abdul Razak, was not a one-off event.

More investigations should follow. Corrupt cronies and high-ranking civil servants will not sleep easy. Those who sucked the public coffers dry and who benefitted from their ill-gotten gains will be constantly looking over their shoulders.

Most of us have ample supplies of murukku and popcorn while we are entertained by the battle waged against the Tuns. Soon, it’ll be the Tan Sris, Datuks, cronies, their lawyers, and accountants who’ll have their lives turned upside down.

Happy New Year. - Mkini

MARIAM MOKHTAR is a defender of the truth, the admiral-general of the Green Bean Army, and the president of the Perak Liberation Organisation (PLO). BlogTwitter.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of MMKtT.

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