Beban Politik Harus Disingkirkan

darth madey

Satu minggu yang cukup menarik. Pembubaran parlimen yang begitu dinantikan telahpun berlaku. Pengumuman oleh SPR mengenai hari pengundian yang jatuh pada hari Rabu telah menyebabkan orang ramai tidak berpuas hati. Ini adalah kali ke-6 sejak kemerdekaan, yang menyaksikan pembuangan undi dibuat pada hari bekerja. 6 dari keseluruhan 14 pilihanraya umum Malaysia. Dan separuh darinya terjadi ketika Mahathir mentadbir Malaysia.

Ramai yang melenting kerana mereka hampir mustahil dapat pulang ke kawasan pengundian dan kembali ke tempat bermastautin selepas mengundi. Mereka kononnya dinafikan keadilan tanpa menyedari mereka sendiri berlaku tidak adil kepada penduduk kampung halaman mereka yang perlu mengadap wakil rakyat yang diundi mereka selama 5 tahun yang mungkin lebih teruk dari wakil rakyat sebelumnya.

Jika tidak mahu pulang mengundi, tukarlah alamat mengundi ke alamat bermastautin.

Lebih menarik, baru-baru di dalam satu penulisan di laman Facebook, DYAM Tunku Mahkota Johor telah menyeru kepada rakyat Johor untuk menolak parti atau pakatan yang akan memberikan kemenangan kepada Mahathir. Rakyat yang membaca terus menghamburkan kemarahan. Sebelum ini, apabila Tunku Mahkota Johor atau lebih dikenali sebagai TMJ mengkritik kerajaan, rakyat, termasuk mereka yang tidak mempercayai institusi beraja dengan akan pantas menulis ‘Daulat Tuanku’. Kini khalayak yang sama menyerang TMJ.

Saya kurang gemar  sekiranya seorang ahli kerabat diraja mengeluarkan kenyataan sedemikian kerana saya percaya, sungguhpun mereka mempunyai pandangan tersendiri, mereka perlu kekal tidak berpihak. Namun, ungkapan terkenal dari Walter Bagehot bermain di fikiran saya:

Raja mempunyai 3 hak: Hak untuk berbincang, hak untuk memberi galakan dan hak untuk memberi amaran

Ini diakui oleh Mark R Gillen dari Fakulti Undang-Undang, University of Victoria (Gillen 1994:7) Almarhum Sultan Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah yang juga mantan Ketua Hakim Negara pernah bertitah:

Adalah menjadi satu kesilapan jika peranan seorang Sultan, seperti seorang Presiden, adalah terhad sepertimana yang telah diperuntukan oleh Perlembagaan. Peranan seorang Sultan jauh melangkaui peruntukan Perlembagaan” (Azlan Shah 1986:89).

Maka, adalah hak TMJ untuk memberikan amaran kepada rakyat Johor mengenai apa yang baginda fikirkan sebagai berbahaya untuk rakyat baginda, dan demi perpaduan negeri baginda.

Jika Barisan ingin mengambil kesempatan untuk isu ini, saya fikir waktunya tidak kena kerana ia dilakukan terlalu awal, ketika negara baru hendak ‘memanaskan badan’ untuk menghadapi pilihanraya. Anda kini dapat melihat mesej-mesej yang disebarkan di dalam WhatsApp yang bukan sahaja menyerang Sultan Johor sekarang, tetapi juga menyerang Sultan sebelum ini, iaitu nenda kepada TMJ. Mahathir juga cepat mengeluarkan kenyataan, dengan berkata tulisan Pakatan itu hanya memberikan keuntungan kepada Pakatan.

Mungkin itu yang beliau fikirkan.

Perseteruan Mahathir dan Istana Johor berlaku dari sebelum Syed Saddiq dilahirkan lagi. Dua tahun selepas menjadi Perdana Menteri, Mahathir cuba mendapatkan persetujuan Almarhum Sultan Perak, Sultan Idris Shah untuk naik takhta sebagai Yang Dipertuan Agong ke-8 kerana Sultan Pahang bakal menamatkan tempoh perkhidmatan pada tahun 1984. Ianya berjalan serentak dengan kempen memburukan Sultan Johor, dalam cubaan untuk mendapatkan sokongan ramai.

Hubungan Mahathir dan Sultan Johor begitu teruk sehingga beberapa pegawai kanan tentera merancang satu rampasan kuasa pada tahun 1983. Panglima Tentera Darat ketika itu, Jeneral Tan Sri Dato’ Zain Hashim, seorang pegawai tentera yang amat cemerlang, terpaksa bersara pada usia yang masih muda, iaitu 52 tahun, pada Januari 1984 dan digantikan oleh Jeneral Tan Sri Dato’ Mohd Ghazali Bin Haji Che Mat. Jeneral Ghazali hanya berkhidmat sebagai PTD selama setahun sebelum dilantik sebagai Panglima Angkatan Tentera. Jeneral Ghazali telah diganti oleh Jeneral Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Mohamed Hashim Mohd Ali sebagai Panglima Tentera Darat, adik ipar Mahathir. Tentera Darat kini diperintah oleh seseorang yang setia dengan Mahathir. Jeneral Hashim kemudian menjawat jawatan Panglima Angkatan Tentera. Maka, berakhirlah segala ketidak-setiaan Angkatan Tentera Malaysia terhadap Mahathir.

Saya mengetahui butiran rancangan rampasan kuasa tersebut tetapi diminta untuk merahsiakannya.

Tidak, ini tidak menunjukkan Tentera hanya perlu setia kepada Raja-Raja Melayu, sebaliknya tentera juga perlu setia kepada kerajaan Yang Dipertuan Agong kerana menurut Artikel 39 Perlembagaan Persekutuan menteri kabinet adalah mewakili Yang Dipertuan Agong dan diberikan kuasa eksekutif untuk mentadbir negara bagi pihak Yang Dipertuan Agong. Maka, kesetian perlu diberikan oleh Angkatan Tentera Malaysia untuk Perdana Menteri dan kabinet beliau.

Segala perbuatan dan cubaan Mahathir keatas keluarga diraja Johor telah ditulis TMJ. Bukan rahsia lagi yang Mahathir begitu bencikan keluarga diraja kerana sejak zaman Perang Dunia Kedua lagi beliau telah bertelagah dengan Tunku Abdul Rahman, Perdana Menteri Pertama Malaysia dan kerabat diraja Kedah. Baru-baru ini, Mahathir telah menyerang projek Forest City dengan cuba menakutkan penduduk tempatan dengan kebanjiran warga China dan menyerang etnik Bugis, iaitu keturunan Najib dan dua orang Sultan, iaitu Johor dan Selangor dengan berkata ‘Lanun Bugis patut balik ke tanah asal mereka’.

Sultan Johor mengecam Mahathir kerana memainkan sentimen perkauman manakala Sultan Selangor mengecam komen Bugis Mahathir.

Mahathir masih tidak memohon kemaafan atas kedua-dua insiden itu.

Beliau adalah seorang yang pemarah dan akan membakar seluruh negara ini dengan kemarahan beliau” titah Sultan Selangor di dalam satu kenyataan yang dikatakan turut dipersetujui oleh Majlis Raja-Raja.

Apabila ditanya oleh media mengenai titah Sultan Selangor itu, Mahathir menjawab “Ya, saya memang pemarah dan anda sendiri boleh lihat betapa marahnya saya. Saya akan bakar anda dan akan terus membakar apa sahaja.”

Ya, Mahathir akan membakar apa sahaja asalkan beliau mendapat apa yang beliau hajati. Beliau tidak peduli sekiranya negara ini hancur. Ini adalah kerana beliau kian kesuntukan masa.

Sebelum bersara 15 tahun lepas, beliau mahukan seorang Perdana Menteri yang mendengar cakap dan yang akan melindungi beliau dan keluarga beliau dari sebarang siasatan, walaupun selepas beliau tiada lagi. Apabila Pak Lah enggan, beliau gulingkan Pak Lah. Kemudian datang Najib Razak yang mempunyai idea sendiri bagaimana negara ini perlu ditadbir dan dijadikan lebih baik. Mahathir, yang tidak biasa dengan orang-orang yang tidak mengikut kemahuan beliau, cuba menggulingkan Najib. Ianya merupakan serangan dari pelbagai arah, yang menguatkan lagi serangan sedia ada dari pembangkang.

Beliau berpakat dengan Muhyiddin dan Shafie. Beliau tahu bahawa beliau tidak boleh bergantung harap dengan Zahid Hamidi kerana beliau pernah memenjarakan Zahid di bawah ISA. Kesetiaan Hishammuddin terhadap sepupunya pula tidak boleh dipersoalkan. Beliau menekan kepimpinan UMNO dengan harapan Najib akan disingkirkan dan Muhyiddin akan dilantik sebagai Perdana Menteri lalu menjamin keselamatan keluarga beliau.

Malangnya rancangan itu gagal. Najib kembali teguh dan kini aktif membalas serangan. Muhyiddin dan Shafie dipecat dari kerajaan dan parti. Mahathir dan keluarganya kini berdepan dengan kemungkinan terpaksa menghadapi siasatan ke atas salahguna kuasa untuk mendapatkan kekayaan dan projek-projek tanpa tender terbuka.

Sebab inilah beliau nekad untuk kembali berkuasa sebagai Perdana Menteri – supaya beliau boleh jamin akan dapat melindungi keluarga beliau dari disiasat oleh pihak berkuasa.

Jika difikirkan, kenapa perlunya seorang ‘ yang berprinsip’ melanggar kesemua prinsip  dan bekerjasama dengan musuh ketatnya, yang diketahui ingin memusnahkan budaya dan adat istiadat orang melayu dan mungkin juga, institusi beraja?

Mantan-mantan pegawai tinggi polis dan tentera pasti ingat di dalam satu sesi golf di mana Almarhum Sultan Iskandar berkata Malaysia tidak memerlukan sistem Presiden dan mesti menyingkirkan ‘beban politik’.

Kita mungkin tertanya apa yang dimaksudkan oleh Almarhum tteapi saya rasa saya tidak mempunyai sebarang masalah mengenalpasti siapa yang dimaksudkan oleh Almarhum.

Namun, satu perkara yang pasti, Mahathir lebih rela untuk memohon maaf kepada Ambiga dan DAP kerana menggunakan perkatan ‘keling‘ daripada memohon ampun kepada Raja-Raja Melayu.

Lihatlah sendiri di mana kedudukan Raja-Raja Melayu berbanding Ambiga dan DAP di mata Mahathir.

Inikah sifat seseorang yang boleh memelihara kedudukan agama Islam dan keistimewaan Bumiputera dan orang Melayu di Malaysia?

Berhati-hatilah bila membuang undi kelak.

To Do Away With The Political Baggage

Sultan Yem & Ayah & Anak

It has been an interesting week indeed.  The long awaited dissolution of the Parliament has happened.  The announcement by the Elections Commission that the polling day will fall on a Wednesday has gotten people excited over nothing.  This would be the sixth general elections that is held on a work day since Independence.  That is six out of 14.  And half of that were done during Mahathir’s time.

Many cry foul saying that it would be almost impossible for them to make the trip back to wherever they came from just to vote, and then go back to where they actually reside. Justice, they say, without even thinking about the injustice they do to their kampung folks who have to endure five excruciating years of having a representative who may be worse than the last guy.

If you don’t want the hassle of having to travel back to vote, register as a voter where you actually live.

Having said that, what was more interesting was the recent Facebook post by His Royal Highness The Tengku Mahkota of Johor that called upon the people of Johor NOT to vote for a party or coalition that would allow Mahathir to win.  That got people riled up.  Prior to this, when the Tengku Mahkota Johor, or TMJ as he is fondly known as, speak out against the ruling government, even those who do not believe in the Rulers Institution would comment “Daulat Tuanku” in a reply.  The very same people now attack HRH.

I am not fond of the royalty speaking out in such manner because I believe that even though their Highnesses may be opinionated, they should remain to be seen neutral.  However, the famously-written lines by Walter Bagehot comes to mind:

…that the monarch has three rights: the right to be consulted, to encourage, and to warn”.

This is noted by Mark R Gillen of the Faculty of Law, University of Victoria (Gillen 1994:7). In the words of the late Sultan of Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah, former Lord President, it is:

“a mistake to think that the role of a King, like that of a President, is confined to what is laid down by the Constitution, His role far exceeds those constitutional provisions” (Azlan Shah 1986:89)

Therefore, it is within the rights of the TMJ to warn the people of Johor on what he thinks could be dangerous to them, and to the unity of the people of the state.

If Barisan wishes to capitalise on this matter, I would say that the timing is a bit off as it was done far too early in the game.  You now see posts being shared on WhatsApp attacking not just the present Sultan, but also his late father, grandfather of the TMJ.  Mahathir, too, was quick to comment saying that the posting by the TMJ would only work in Pakatan’s favour.

Or so he thinks.

Mahathir’s tiff with the Johor Istana predates even Syed Saddiq’s existence.  Two years after becoming the Prime Minister, Mahathir sought the agreement of the late Sultan of Perak for the latter to become the Yang DiPertuan Agong, replacing the Sultan of Pahang whose tenure was ending the following year.  Running simultaneously was a campaign to put the late Sultan of Johor in a bad light, in order to gain the support of the masses for the Prime Minister’s effort.

The relationship between Mahathir and the late Sultan of Johor was so bad that it prompted some ranks within the military to plan a coup in August 1983.  The Chief of Army, General Tan Sri Dato’ Zain Hashim, an illustrious officer, retired at the young age of 52 in January 1984, and was replaced for just over a year by General Tan Sri Dato’ Mohd Ghazali bin Haji Che Mat, who was in turn replaced when he was made the Chief of the Armed Forces, by Mahathir’s brother-in-law, General Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Mohamed Hashim bin Mohd Ali.  By then, the army was firmly under someone loyal to Mahathir.  Hashim later became the Chief of Armed Forces.

I know of some details of the planned coup, but was asked to keep them confidential.

No, this does not show that the Armed Forces should only be loyal to the Rulers; on the contrary it shows that the Armed Forces should also be loyal to the government of the Yang DiPertuan Agong simply because Cabinet Ministers, according to Article 39 of the Federal Constitution, represent the Yang DiPertuan Agong and are given executive powers to administer the country on His Majesty’s behalf.  Therefore, loyalty shall be given by the Armed Forces to the Prime Minister and his Cabinet.

The rest of what Mahathir did or tried to do to the Johor Royal Family are as posted by the TMJ.  His glaring lack of love for any royal family goes back to as early as the Second World War period where he began his fight against Tunku Abdul Rahman, Malaysia’s first premier and a member of the Kedah royal family.  In recent episodes,  Mahathir attacked Johor’s Forest City project by creating fear amongst the masses saying that there will be an influx of Chinese immigrants once the project is completed, and then attacked people of Bugis descendants that include not only Najib Razak, but also the Sultans of Johor and Selangor saying that “Bugis pirates should go back to their land“.

The Sultan of Johor criticised Mahathir for playing the race card, while the Sultan of Selangor rebuked Mahathir for the comments made about the Bugis people.

Mahathir remained unapologetic on both occasions.

He is an angry man and will burn the whole country with his anger,” said the Sultan of Selangor in a statement and said his sentiment was shared by all members of the Rulers institution.

When asked about the Sultan’s statement by members of the press, Mahathir replied, “Yes, I am a very angry man, you can see how angry I am. I will burn you, I am always burning things.”

Yes, Mahathir would burn anything down, as long as he gets his way.  He does not care if the country is razed to the ground.  All this is because Mahathir is a man who is running out of time.

Before stepping down 15 years ago, he wanted a Prime Minister who would do his bidding, and protect him  and his family from any probe or investigation, even after he is gone.  When Abdullah Ahmad Badawi refused, he dislodged the latter from the premiership.  In came Najib Razak who has his own ideas on how this country should be run, and made better.  Mahathir, not accustomed with partnering with dissenters, tried to remove Najib.  It was a multi-pronged attack, reinforcing the attacks that were already being done by the Opposition.

He then made a pact with Muhyiddin and Shafie.  He knew that he could not rely on Zahid Hamidi as he was the one who arrested Zahid under the ISA.  Hishammuddin’s loyalty to his cousin is unquestionable.  He undermined the UMNO leadership hoping that Najib would be ousted, and he would plant Muhyiddin on the throne, and his family would be safe again.

Unfortunately, that plan failed miserably.  Najib regained his footing and charged back.  Both Muhyiddin and Shafie lost their jobs and subsequently left UMNO.  Mahathir and his family were now vulnerable to probes and investigations.

And that is why he is adamant on becoming the next Prime Minister – so that he could guarantee a successor who would continue to protect his family.

Why else would a “principled man” break all his principles and work hand-in-hand with his enemies whom, in his knowledge, are bent on destroying the culture and tradition of the Malay people, perhaps the Rulers institution too?

Certain former top brass would remember a particular golf game where the late Sultan Iskandar said to them that we should not have a Presidential system (in Malaysia) and (must) do away with the “political baggage”.

We wonder what the late Sultan meant, but I don’t think I have problems identifying whom he meant by that.

But one thing for sure, Mahathir would rather apologise to Ambiga for using the K-word than to apologise to their Majesties.

See where he puts the Malay Rulers compared to Ambiga.

The Israeli In KL

When Israeli diplomat David Roet attended a United Nations conference in Kuala Lumpur recently, the Opposition went into full swing trying to discredit the government saying that it wants to establish diplomatic relations with Israel.

In a statement, the Malaysian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) explicitly states that the invitations to the Israeli delegates was issued by the UN as per Article III of the Host Country Agreement signed by the organisation and Malaysia so that the UN is able to conduct its conferences away from any of its established headquarters.

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The Article states, in part, that the Forum shall be opened to all UN member states and its Specialised Agencies. This was confirmed by Israel’s Hadashot TV which reported that Malaysia was compelled to host the Israelis, since it was required to grant visas to all delegations in order to hold the international conference.  Therefore, it is immaterial whether or not Malaysia has diplomatic relations with Israel.  It is for the same reason that Fidel Castro was able to attend the UN summit in New York in 1976, 1995 and 2000.

Malaysia-Israeli Relations

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If you walk along Jalan Zainal Abidin in Pulau Pinang which is just off Burmah Road near the Tune Hotel, you will come across an old cemetery.  That is a Jewish Cemetery.  Jalan Zainal Abidin was once called Jalan Yahudi or Jew Street, the only evidence that a Jewish enclave once existed on the island.

Israel first established contact with our pre-independence government in 1956 when Israeli Prime Minister Moshe Sharett visited Malaya to propose the appointment of an Israeli consul in Malaya.  Israel also voted in favour of the Malayan bid to become a UN member in 1957.  Trade between the two countries was in place.  This was banned in 1974, after the Yom Kippur war, but indirect trade (through third countries) was in place.

An Opposition supporter was quick to point out that according to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, between 2008 and 2011 trade between the two countries fluctuated considerably.  Israel’s exports to Malaysia peaked at USD798 million in 2010 while imports from Malaysia peaked in 2011 at USD93.6 million.

Although the preriod shown above shows the statistics was for the period between the end of Abdullah Badawi’s administration and the commencement of the Najib Razak administration, the flourish in trade could be traced back to the Mahathir administration.  In December 1993, as a consequence of the Oslo I Accord, Mahathir wrote a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

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Mahathir’s letter to Yitzhak Rabin in December 1993

The photo of the letter may be a bit difficult to read but I shall provide the transcript here:

PRIME MINISTER, MALAYSIA

21 December 1993

His Excellency Mr Yitzhak Rabin Prime Minister of Israel, JERUSALEM

I would like to thank you for your letter of 17 October informing me about the Agreement of Principles and Mutual Recognition between Israel and the PLO.

My government supports this positive development and views it as a first step towards the realization of a comprehensive solution to the Middle East problem. As a demonstration of Malaysia’s support to this development my country was represented at the Donor’s Conference to support The Middle East Peace held in Washington and subsequently pledged a modest financial contribution to the Palestinians to assist in their new tasks. My government has also offered the Palestinians technical assistance under the Malaysian Technical Cooperation Programme.

Malaysia as a matter of general principle is prepared to develop relations with Israel at the appropriate time. In the meantime, we would like to see tangible progress in the implementation of the peace agreement.

The Middle East problem particularly the Palestinian issue has been a cause of instability to the region and I hope the recent agreement between Israel and PLO would contribute to lasting peace to the area.

I look forward to normal relations with Israel.

DR. MAHATHIR BIN MOHAMAD

I intentionally made bold the last line because, while the rest of the content which, obviously was drafted by someone else, Mahathir wrote that bold part saying he looked forward to normal relations with Israel himself.  Yes, it was handwritten.

In the most recent diplomatic history, Obama wished to have normal relations with Cuba.  Diplomatic relations between the US and Cuba was subsequently restored.  The following year, PKR’s Chua Jui Meng, who was the then-Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry, suggested that Israel could eventually become a destination for Malaysia’s investments (Shanti Nair, Routledge, 1997 p.252).

As a result, in 1999 Israeli exports to Malaysia totalled USD107 million.  In 2000, it was USD732 million, and USD615.5 million the following year.  In 2002, the Israel Ministry of Industry report on trade relations with Indonesia and Malaysia advised Israelis interested in conducting business with Malaysian companies that “there is no opposition to trade and commerce relations as long as a low profile is kept“.

Discretion is essential for these companies, not just in Malaysia but also in Indonesia.  Reputation and financial damage are the risks for companies in these two countries if they are known to be doing trade with Israel.  According to Emanuel Shahaf, the vice chairman of the Israel-Indonesia Chamber of Commerce, “There are two contradictory trends. The pro trend is that Indonesia demands more high-tech things… The negative trend is the political situation is not getting better (when it comes to Israel), in fact it’s getting worse.”

Mahathir’s son Mukhriz, who was the Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry in 2011 confirmed that Malaysia has had bilateral trade relations with Israel since 1996.

Mukhriz tweeted “Upon request from large foreign investors here, in 1996 the Cabinet instructed MITI to approve import from and export to Israel.” The relevation came as a surprise, especially as the trade ties were established during the Mahathir administration.  Mahathir has been a vocal opponent of Israel and continues to project this false stand via his Perdana Leadership Foundation which openly opposes Israeli occupation of Palestinian land.  Najib took over from Abdullah only in 2009.

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So, thank you Mahathir for his eagerness to start a diplomatic relationship with Israel in 1993.

Congratulations also to the Opposition states as they received a lot of FDI from Israeli companies.  Don’t forget to thank Mukhriz for that information and confirmation.

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Shalom Alekhem!

Reformasi Untuk Mahathir

Mahathir’s return to politics in 1973 was watched closely by other races, in particular the Chinese and Indians.  His meteoric rise to the Deputy Prime Minister’s post in 1976 was of grave concern by many.  His imminent Premiership caused a large number of migration by Malaysian Chinese.  Despite the economic growth in the late 1980s through 1997, some 42,000 Malaysian Chinese opted to work elsewhere.  This number includes some 14,000 Malaysian Chinese who were working illegally in Japan in 1993 (Shimada, 1994).

If citizenship is conferred on races other than the Malays, it is because the Malays consent to this,” wrote Mahathir in his book ‘The Malay Dilemma‘.

“The Chinese and Indians coming from countries with vast populations are less concerned about good behavior and manners. In their lives, nobility, which is always associated with breeding, was totally absent. Age and riches are the only things they defer to,” he added.

Calling for reforms such as the mandatory use of tamper-proof scales, Mahathir wrote of scales that can be used to shortchange customers and said, ”The small-time Chinese retailer is adept at this practice and unscrupulous enough to use it as a weapon in competition.”

Mahathir was the ultra-Malay to many including the Malays themselves.  Fears of race clashes haunted the voters during the run-up to the 1982 General Elections.  I remember being sent to Mimaland in Gombak with Datuk Latt Shariman (President, E-Sports Malaysia) on polling day in case something bad happens.  It was the first General Elections under Mahathir and it was called more than a year before the then-mandate ended.  Public rallies were banned citing ‘security’ reasons and only indoor gatherings and house-to-house canvassing were allowed (Lim Kit Siang, 22 March 1982).

Even though Malaysia’s economic growth peaked at 8 percent in the mid 1990s, it was mired in scandals involving the practice of cronyism and nepotism.  Lim Kit Siang wrote that Mirzan, Mokhzani and Mukhriz Mahathir – acted as companies’ directors, and that according to searches the DAP had made at the Registry of Companies at the end of 1994, Mirzan had interests in 98 companies, Mokhzani in 48 companies and Mukhriz in 67 companies (Lim Kit Siang, 16 June 1998).  Compared to the 213 companies his sons were directors in back in 1994, 488 is the number of companies Mahathir, daughter and sons are directors in as at end of 2016 (Wakeup Malaya, 6 January 2017).

The calls for Mahathir to resign in 1998 for practising nepotism and cronyism culminated in the sacking of Anwar Ibrahim as his deputy in September of the same year, accusing the latter not only of being a tool for George Soros’s attacks on the country’s financial system but also for leading a morally-corrupted life.  Lim Kit Siang and other Opposition leaders were quick to embrace Anwar, acccepting him into their fold when it was just a year earlier that the late Karpal Singh had made mention of allegations of sexual misconducts against Anwar in a Parliamentary sitting – a scene not much different to Lim Kit Siang’s immediate acceptance of Mahathir after decades of mudslinging the latter.

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Anti-Mahathir demonstrations were held almost daily and then held every Friday afternoon at the National Mosque.  These demonstrations were quelled using brute force.  The ‘Reformasi’ movement was born, and the likes of theatre-practitioners such as Jo Kukathas were seen on the streets and interviewed by Maria Ressa saying “Enough is Enough” to Mahathir.  Anwar and several other pro-Reformasi and UMNO leaders critical of Mahathir were arrested without trial under the ISA including current DPM Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

Parti Keadilan Rakyat, then known by its acronym ADIL, was born out of hatred towards Mahathir, with the aim of toppling him and installing Anwar Ibrahim.  The 1999 General Elections saw how Mahathir suffered a pyrrhic victory, losing grounds in Kelantan and his homestate of Kedah, while losing Terengganu to PAS.  Mahathir-loyalists such as Ramli Ngah Talib, Megat Junid Megat Ayub and Sanusi Junid lost their seats.  That was the beginning of the sounding of the death knell for Mahathir’s virtually unchallenged reign.  During the UMNO General Assembly of 2002, he announced his resignation from party posts as well as Malaysia’s Prime Minister.

Ever since then, with the more open administrations of Pak Lah and Najib Razak, Mahathir became one of the targets of the Opposition in their blog posts, press statements as well as ceramahs.

In June 2012, Mahathir’s newly-made best friend even suggested that Mahathir is tried for his part in the BNM Forex scandal, hinting Egyptian Hosni Mubarak’s imprisonment as a comparison (Lim Kit Siang, 3 June 2012).

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But all is forgotten and forgiven now, even when Mahathir admitted that his apology was only customary and not sincere.  Despite veiled objections from Anwar and Azmin Ali’s camp, Mahathir was named at a Pakatan convention as their Prime Minister of choice albeit interim.   This underscores the fact that the leadership of Pakatans parties do not trust the younger generation to lead the coalition as the position of the elders and powers that come with the position, may be undermined by the younger ones.

The signal of dissent is clear.  Azmin only attended the convention for a while, not waiting for the announcement to be made while Karpal Singh’s daughter, Sangeet Kaur Deo,  has hit out at Pakatan which probably is suffering from a dearth of capable young leaders.  Even Mahathir once quipped that Anwar, who is 22 years his junior, may be too old to become a Prime Minister.

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On Facebook, we are seeing people in their 40s and 50s voicing out their concern over Pakatan’s choice of Prime Minister, alarmed that the monster they have put behind them, could very well jump out from underneath the bed and into their lives again.

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But it does not stop Mahathir from wanting to become the Prime Minister.  He once hinted that he may have to consider becoming the PM again, underscoring the fact that he does not trust anyone else.

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“I may be 93 but at 71 Anwar is much older!”

Wan Azizah may be blind to the fact that Mahathir had once denied the Premiership to her husband and went as far as making sure Anwar went to jail to keep him out of the way, while Lim Kit Siang is only friends with Mahathir because he needs the Malay votes to ensure Pakatan’s seats are sustained after the departure of PAS from the now-defunct Pakatan Rakyat.

Will Mahathir be willing to step aside for Anwar Ibrahim or whoever else younger who would be more acceptable to the younger and middle-aged generation aware of his antics?  I doubt.  But as Sangeet mentioned above, it will be a return to Mahathirism, an era of abuse of power, cronyism and nepotism that the Reformasi movement was totally against.

Somehow, it seems that the Reformasi movement has become a tool for what it was totally against – ushering Mahathir into the premiership and welcoming again abuse of pwer, nepotism and cronyism.

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Anwar is NOT going to be MY PM

 

BNM Forex Scandal: A Crime Against Malaysians Exposed By Lim Kit Siang

I simply do not comprehend the fuss that is being kicked up by Mahathir’s fanatics.  On one hand they want the transparency that none of us got when Mahathir was the Prime Minister; on the other they are fuming because Mahathir, Nor Mohamed Yackop and Anwar have been implicated in the findings of the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) for the Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) foreign exchange scandal of the 1990s.

Mahathir’s long-time crony Daim Zainuddin, who served as finance minister from 14 July 1984 to 15 March 1991, for having aided and abetted Nor Mohamed by leaving BNM “to its own devices”.

Let us ask the very man whose perseverance has finally paid off:

This ought to be the reaction to the RCI findings if we are to ask Lim Kit Siang

Yes. The loss of RM31.5 billion through forex gambling was and still is a crime against the Malaysian people.  And if it weren’t for Lim Kit Siang’s persistence and perseverance, we would not have gotten where we are now.

Three people have been found principally liable for the criminal breach of trust and should be probed further over their involvement and liability.  They are the former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, his then-Finance Minister Anwar Ibrahim, and ex-BNM advisor Nor Mohamed Yackop.

The commission found in its 524-paged report that the Cabinet in the 1990s was not given the full picture by Anwar on the forex losses, adding that he had “deliberately concealed facts and information and made misleading statements“. It is also of the opinion that the then Prime Minister (Mahathir) had condoned the actions of the Finance Minister.

The RM31.5 billion losses, the report said, were hidden using “unconventional accounting treatments”, such as booking losses to reserves in the balance sheet and the absorption of the remaining losses by the transfer of shares from the Government to BNM as well as the creation of a “Deferred Expenditure” to be repaid in instalments over a decade.

The RCI noted that Anwar Ibrahim, the then Finance Minister, had been informed about the actual forex losses suffered by BNM. It also said that Mahathir was informed by Anwar together with then Treasury deputy secretary-general Tan Sri Clifford Francis Herbert in late 1993 that BNM had suffered estimated losses of RM30 billion on the forex dealings for 1992 and 1993.

However, in the extract of minutes from three Cabinet meetings on March 30, April 6 and 13 in 1994, Anwar had made “no mention of the actual losses of RM12.3 billion for 1992 and RM15.3 billion for 1993.”

Anwar had chaired the March 30 meeting as the deputy prime minister. The losses for 1993 were reported as RM 5.7 billion.

The RCI also noted that the prime minister, who chaired the meeting on April 6, did not correct or offer more information when the forex losses for 1993 were recorded as only RM5.7 billion.

The RCI report said as pointed out by Herbert, he had expected Mahathir to be outraged but his reaction was quite normal with him uttering “sometimes we make profit, sometimes we make losses”.

His reaction to and acceptance of the huge forex losses suggest that he could have been aware of the forex dealings and its magnitude,” said the report.

Why Did It Take So Long?

Of course supporters of Mahathir got their knickers in a knot over the RCI findings, mostly harp on the duration it took to have a RCI formed, whether it was formed to time itself with the looming general elections so that the Pakatan Harapan would be epitome of broken hopes?

Lim Kit Siang may have harped on the matter, trying to get an RCI formed since 1994, if not earlier.  Mahathir was the Prime Minister then until the end of 2003.  No one during Pak Lah’s time took up the issue as Mahathir was then breathing down Pak Lah’s neck watching the latter’s every move.  In the end, Mahathir got Pak Lah ousted for not playing his game his way.

When Najib Razak took over at the beginning of the second quarter of 2009, Malaysia’s economy had shrunk even though oil price was high.  The GDP growth rate for Malaysia in 2009 was -2.5 percent because of the global financial crisis then, hence Najib Razak’s priority then was to safeguard the economy and take measures to improve on the GDP growth.

Malaysia’s GDP growth rate for 2009 was -2.5%

And ever since then Najib had been fighting on all fronts to make sure that Malaysia goes through a sustainable growth, and that there would be enough government money to still help the people, especially those from the B40 income group.  Hence, we see various initiatives like the 1Malaysia Clinic, Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia (which is now being revamped), BR1M, PR1MA and various other 1Malaysia initiatives.

And while all that was happening, Lim Kit Siang was still going around asking for an RCI to be formed for the BNM forex scandal.  In the run up to the 13th General Elections, Lim Kit Siang wrote this on the BNM forex scandal:

“I had estimated in Parliament two decades ago that Bank Negara lost a colossal RM30 billion from the Bank Negara foreign exchange scandal under Mahathir’s premiership. But Bank Negara claimed RM10.1 billion loss in 1992 and RM5.7 billion in 1993 while former Bank Negara Deputy Governor Dr. Rosli Yaakop estimated last year at a public forum that Bank Negara lost between USD27 to USD33 billion, which was five times more than its foreign reserves and its entire assets of USD20.7 billion in 1992.”

You can read more on what Dr Rosli Yaakop had said on the BNM forex scandal  HERE.

Lim Kit Siang also said that Malaysian voters should not only pass a verdict on Najib’s non-transformation in the past four years, but also pass judgment on Mahathir’s 22 years of authoritarian and corrupt policies when he was Prime Minister from 1981 – 2003.  He said:

“I am on public record as saying that if Pakatan Rakyat is to capture Putrajaya in the 13GE, we should re-open investigation not only on the RM30 billion Bank Negara forex scandal of 1992, there should be a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the RM100 billion losses suffered by the country in the financial scandals of the 22-year Mahathir era.”

Kit Siang added that the voters should decide whether they endorse the proposal to have a wide-ranging public inquiry into Mahathir’s financial scandals in 22 years which have cost the country RM100 billion of losses and for which the present generation of Malaysians are still paying the price – although there is totally no accountability and transparency about these glaring instances of corruption, cronyism and abuses of power for more than three decades.

He said all that HERE.  And we should not forget that Lim Kit Siang also wrote a book on the BNM forex scandal.

And finally, and only when the economic outlook had improved, did Najib Razak announced that an RCI would be formed to investigate the BNM forex scandal.

In June 2017, Lim Kit Siang even wanted the report recommending the RCI to be made public.  Finally, on 8 August 2017, the RCI commenced, and Kit Siang’s 25 years of wait ended.

Kit Siang’s hard work finally paid off

And one other Pakatan leader who had been lying very low beneath the BNM forex scandal radar is Anwar Ibrahim.  If anyone was to ask why did the government not do anything between 2004 and 2017, the answer would be why hadn’t Anwar, since 2 September 1998, asked for an RCI on the matter? Was he afraid that he might get implicated?

You and I know the answer to that now.

And what about the 1MDB scandal? Well, unlike the BNM forex scandal, the 1MDB case was investigated by the Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee, the Royal Malaysian Police, Bank Negara Malaysia and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.  Police reports were also made against 1MDB. But not a single sen had gone missing!

For the BNM forex scandal, this is the first time that it has been investigated – by the RCI, and soon by the Royal Malaysian Police.  And the first police report was made by a member of the RCI itself after the RCI findings report was published – 25 years after the whole thing happened.

So, we should all say our thank you to Lim Kit Siang for exposing this crime against ALL Malaysians. Thank you, Lim Kit Siang – for persistently asking for your good friends to be investigated.

The Best Time To Sue On The RM2.6 Billion Donation

King Salman Abdulaziz Al-Saud salutes the colours
King Salman Abdulaziz Al-Saud salutes the colours

King Salman Abdulaziz Al-Saud of Saudi Arabia arived in Kuala Lumpur for a four-day state visit yesterday, making Malaysia his first choice of nation to visit since taking over the throne from King Abdullah Abdulaziz Al-Saud who died two years ago.  His visit is the third to Malaysia by any Saudi King.

The first visit by a Saudi King was in 1970 by the late King Faisal Abdulaziz Al-Saud, followed by the late King Abdullah Abdulaziz Al-Saud in 2006.  No Saudi King visited Malaysia for 36 years between 1970 to 2006.

Unbeknownst to many, Malaysia especially under the current administration is looked upon with high respect in the global scene, thanks to the tireless diplomacy conducted by both Prime Minister Najib Razak and Foreign Minister Anifah Aman.  Saudi would contact Malaysia at least every fortnightly to consult on many things including on matters involving the Middle East.  Malaysia’s stance on the Middle East countries, for example,  plays a huge role on how Saudi shapes its foreign policy.

It is of no surprise then when King Salman announced at the state banquet in his honour at the Istana Negara that Saudi is prepared to render Malaysia assistance to the latter’s initiatives to help Muslims.

We are ready to extend assistance and all resources that we have to help Malaysia realise its efforts to help other Muslims,” he said.

A day prior to King Salman’s arrival, U-Turn Mahathir made a veiled reference to the Saudi King, accusing him of lying and giving Malaysia money in want for something in return.

The no-balls comment made by U-Turn Mahathir
The no-balls comment made by U-Turn Mahathir

In 2015, Saudi Arabia donated a total of USD 115 billion to help 90 nations around the world.  The USD700 million given to Malaysia back in 2013 is not even one percent of the amount.

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Furthermore, even ABC Australia’s investigative documentary ‘Four Corners‘ confirmed in 2016 that the USD700 million had nothing to do with 1MDB-linked companies.  The only allegation made which the US Department of Justice had based its investigation on was by U-Turn Mahathir’s errand-boy Khairuddin.

The Four Corners report confirms what the Prime Minister has maintained all along, and what multiple lawful authorities concluded after exhaustive investigations: the funds were a donation from the Royal Family of Saudi Arabia.”

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I am surprised that none of those who accused Najib of soliciting the RM2.6 billion (USD700 million) donation for himself has held a placard at the Parliament building to ask where has the donated money gone to.  Mahathir was not at the state banquet – it was the best opportunity for him to ask in person about the donation.

Pak Lah, U-Turn Mahathir's successor however can be seen on the far right in this picture of King Salman being conferred the highest award by the Yang DiPertuan Agong. This underscores the notion that U-Turn Mahathir is a persona non grata at the Istana
Pak Lah, U-Turn Mahathir’s successor however can be seen on the far right in this picture of King Salman being conferred the highest award by the Yang DiPertuan Agong. This underscores the notion that U-Turn Mahathir is a persona non grata at the Istana – pic by BERNAMA

Even blabber-mouth Tony Pua is evidently and conveniently missing, choosing to be away from Malaysia when the Saudi King is here.

Lari! So that no one could ask "Why didn't you ask about the RM2.6 billion?"
Lari! So that no one could ask “Why didn’t you ask about the RM2.6 billion?”

Every detractor has gone missing or in hiding or crying beneath the shower as the best opportunity to hand over a suit over the “missing” RM2.6 billion slowly disappears.

This IS the best time to sue, people.  Not only did the Saudi Royal Family give RM2.6 billion, it has now brought RM62.26 billion on this trip!  Show some balls! This is the time!

Then again, if even Pakatan’s de facto leader U-Turn Mahathir dared not reveal the identity of the person he accused, what chance do you think his coward minions would dare to show the top of their head?

Kelepetokrasi

KELEPET.

The word means hem or a fold on a piece of cloth or paper.  A Malay synonym would be ‘lipatan.’  To Lipat or to Kelepet would colloquially mean ‘to pillage.’

Malaysia Airlines Boeing 737-800

Malaysia Airlines has always been a favourite airline of mine.  The national flag carrier is THE symbol of Malaysia’s global reach.  However, the airline which roots can be traced back to 71 years ago has been suffering badly from an especially bad episode of mismanagement dating back from 1994.

Disguised under the New Economic Policy that was supposed to assist the Bumiputeras to be economically stronger, U-Turn Mahathir and financial henchman Daim Zainuddin selected several cronies to helm public-listed companies.  They include Amin Shah Omar Shah (who screwed up the Kedah-class NGPV programme) and Tajuddin Ramli (TR) who stripped Malaysia Airlines of its edge and finances.

TR took over Malaysia Airlines in 1994 through his company Naluri as instructed by U-Turn Mahathir and Daim, the year Jaffar Hussein resigned as the Governor of Bank Negara Malaysia after making a loss in the region of RM30 billion in US Dollars through foreign exchange gambling.

Malaysia Airlines was okay for about two years before crashing in 1997 with a net loss of RM259.85 million (RM426.15 million in today’s terms) from a net profit the year before of RM333.01 million (RM546.14 million in today’s terms).

Like the collosal losses of real money the nation had to absorb through the BMF as well as the BNM Forex scandals, U-Turn Mahathir and Daim saw it fit for Malaysia Airlines, or rather their crony Tajuddin Ramli, be bailed-out using, again, the rakyat’s money.

An infuriated Lim Kit Siang (thank you again, Uncle) released a press statement on the 20th February 2002 saying among others:

The Malaysian Airlines System (MAS) police report on January 9 and the police investigations into alleged million-ringgit  management irregularities at  the MAS  cargo division during   the tenure of  former MAS executive chairman and key shareholder Tan Sri Tajudin Ramli is  a most welcome  departure from the invariable past practice of government and  corporate cover-ups, especially  in government-owned or controlled companies, making Malaysia notorious as a country teeming with “heinous crimes without criminals” – starting with the infamous Bumiputra Malaysia Finance (BMF) scandal in the eighties. 

It has been reported that the alleged management irregularities centred on business arrangements between MAS and a Germany-based cargo handler controlled by Tajudin Ramli and focussed on contracts between MAS and ACL Advanced Cargo Logistic GmbH, a 60%-owned unit of Naluri Bhd., a listed Malaysian company in which Tajudin is the largest shareholder.  ACL operates a cargo facility in Hahn, Germany, that MAS in 1999 contracted to use as its global cargo hub.  

The management irregularities being investigated by the police can only be  the tip of an  iceberg as MAS has chalked up colossal debts of RM9.2 billion and accumulated losses of R2.5 billion, requiring repeated billion-ringgit bailouts at the public taxpayers’ expense – and the Malaysian public are entitled to demand a  full accountability as to how the national airline could end up as such a sick company, a national embarrassment and a burden on public coffers.  

It was reported that the management irregularities in the cargo division  were discovered in   an audit ordered by the government after taking control of MAS early last year  following  the scandalous RM1.79 billion buyback  bailout of Tajudin’s 29.09 per cent stake at RM8 a share when the market price was only RM3.68.

This raises the question as to why an audit was not conducted before the government’s  buyback  bailout of Tajudin’s MAS stake – which would have a very important bearing on the proper price of the government buyout. 

I am sure Uncle Ah Siang has not forgotten this episode too when he became pally with U-Turn Mahathir recently.  Surely the interest of the rakyat is paramount to the God of DAP.

Or is it still?

He continued:

On March 21 last year,  the then Finance Minister, Tun Daim Zainuddin, gave a long and most unsatisfactory reply in Parliament during question time to justify the buy-back bailout of  Tajudin’s MAS stake which took place under his watch, but he  failed to address or  answer the  two most important questions, viz:

  • Why no independent professional valuation was ever done when the government agreed to  pay Tajudin’s Naluri Bhd for the MAS stake at RM8  per share representing  a premium of  RM4.32 or 117 per cent over the closing market price at RM3.68 per share when the deal  was signed on 20th December 2000; and 
  • Why rules for the bail-out of companies established by the National Economic Action Council  in the “National Economic Recovery Plan” was violated and  Tajudin was not only spared from having to “take his appropriate hair-cuts” but was given a bonanza at taxpayers’ expense to reward for his mismanagement of MAS by  being given  117% premium for the  MAS shares over the  market price, transforming it into a personal rescue for Tajudin instead of a public rescue for MAS.  

The  current police investigations into management irregularities in MASkargo Sdn. Bhd. have again brought to the fore  the  questions concerning  prudence, propriety, responsibility,  integrity, accountability and transparency of the decision to use RM1.79 billion public funds for the buy-back bailout of Tajudin’s MAS stake.  

Last month, the government announced a RM6.1 billion MAS restructuring exercise involving assets sale to enable the national carrier to retire some of its debts and provide RM820 million as working capital, which is just a creative way for a second round of government bailout for the national airline.

Malaysia Airlines, Perwaja, Renong as well as other companies steered towards oblivion by their cronies had to be bailed out using the rakyat’s coffers, and not one person has ever been charged in a court of law for the breach of trust they committed.  This included Amin Shah Omar Shah who, prior to being given the contract to build our Navy’s vessels, had never built a single fishing boat!

Kit Siang the self-proclaimed rakyat’s champion as recent as 2012 stated in the DAP’s mouthpiece Roketkini that Mahathir cannot pretend to be ignorant of the MAS scandal.

In fact it as also reported that “Mahathir had his hand in getting Petronas to bail out his son Mirzan Mahathir’s shipping company, then Konsortium Perkapalan, which had trouble servicing US$490 million debt!”

(courtesy of Finance Twitter)
(courtesy of Finance Twitter)

Lim Kit Siang was so furious about the bailout of Konsortium Perkapalan using the rakyat’s money that on the 16th June 1998 he wrote:

But Mahathir should similarly give full co-operation to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Nepotism, particularly as to whether there is any nepotism in the government, through Petronas, using hundreds of millions of ringgit of public funds to bail out Mirzan Mahathir’s Konsortium Perkapalan Bhd.

Just recently, a copy of a directive from the Ministry of Finance to Telekom Malaysia regarding a direct negotiation contract award totalling RM214.2 million to Mukhriz Mahathir’s OPCOM made its rounds on the Internet:

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A blog post by a Sup Torpedo wrote about this back in 2006:

Mahathir’s criticism of Scomi is justified. It has proved that Scomi does not garner very much government work and now that’s all open to scrutiny. Unlike a company called Opcom Sdn. Bhd. who had a direct nego approved by the Finance Ministry way back in 2003 when Mahathir was both Prime Minister and Finance Minister. The amount of the tender by Telekom Malaysia Berhad was two hundred and fourteen MILLION ringgit. The Ministry of Finance approved it, no doubt with the blessing of the then Finance Minister and Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad.

Hey! What’s new?  If you look at the above letter, it was dated on the 7th October 2003.  The old fart stepped down as the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister on the 31st October 2003.

It was an eleventh-hour effort to enrich his kin – a true nepotistic egoist dictator who was afraid that money made during his 22-year dictatorship would not be enough to cover his grave.

Even in 2006, during the peak of the old fart’s attacks on his successor Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, observers such as Sup Torpedo could see that it was little about putting the interest of the rakyat ahead as compared to securing money for the Thousand-year Reich of his:

Don’t miss the wood for the trees. This fight that Mahathir got going on with Pak Lah is not about doing the right thing. It is at best about putting his old crony’s rice bowl firmly where the padi fields grow. At the very worst of motives might be the will to further advance Mukhriz’s political career and provide continuity to the old ways.

Again, what is new now? Virtually nothing, except for one little glaring fact: WHY IS UNCLE KIT SIANG SELLING HIS SOUL AND PUTTING HIS PERSONAL POLITICAL INTERESTS AHEAD OF THE RAKYAT’S BY MAKING A U-TURN ON HIS ATTACKS ON MAHATHIR?

A simple answer would be that he is nothing but the stinking, arrogant cow-dung for brain hypocrite he has always been.  Power is what he seeks for power ensures riches, just like his charged-for-corruption son.

And what of the rakyat then?

As the saying goes: “The meek shall inherit shit.”