Educated crooks and the MO1 elephant in the room

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Source: theedgemarkets.com

The MO1 controversy raises many fundamental questions relating to power and responsibility. Everything seems to have broken down in this nation, laments K Haridas.

It would be good for Malaysians to know who this “Malaysian Official No 1” is.

From all the accounts we have read, the person surely is an oily human being. It seems as if Malaysians are also so stupid not to know who this person is! The fact that this official can deny that no name was mentioned – though there are enough representations to link the facts to someone – should enable us to come to some conclusions.

Why are we in such a positon and why do we allow such a person to continue to be in a responsible position?

This raises many fundamental questions relating to power and responsibility. Everything seems to have broken down in this nation. Our judiciary can be fixed; out attorney general can represent the prime minister and clear him; the Umno Supreme Council seems to be made of  certain individuals without a sense of conscience; and the ‘cari makan’ chairman of the Parliamentary Accounts Committee appears unable to recognise reason and reopen investigations despite significant new questions having arisen.

The suspect also has no sense of dignity and self-worth to clear his own name – something any individual would do if he was innocent.

Impotent institutions

Then there is all this talk of governance and ethics which all highlight the fact that this individual suffers from a serious bout of cognitive dissonance – an incapacity to link his words to his acts. When you consider the acts of commission and omission of MO1 and consider how Anwar Ibrahim was sentenced, this only reflects on the state of our institutions.

Anwar was found guilty beyond reasonable doubt, which means that the evidence must have been so compelling that the defendant committed the crime. Many of us saw how unreliable the witness was. But despite all the issues raised, the conviction was made.

Anwar had posed a threat to the government of the day. It is sad that there are people who would want him put in jail. Here is an individual who has convictions and a vision for the nation and its people.

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The power of an unaccountable executive poisons all checks and balances. Institutions are now headed by individuals who appear more interested in securing their positions than standing up for transparency and accountability.

Our executive and the legislature are equally impotent. The new Bank Negara governor is an example of a man in a positon of respect has disappointed many by simply acknowledging that the investigations into 1MDB have closed.

He may be right in the context of the letter of the law and the ambit of investigations. Nevertheless, many of us expect more from a man like him considering the position he holds.

Closing their eyes

Mere belief and statements regarding faith are inadequate. How far are you ready to stand up to be counted for your own convictions with regard to governance, accountability and transparency? The situation that the country faces cries out for leadership, and we see very little in this regard.

Even former leaders within Umno like Musa Hitam and Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah skirt around the facts and are not clear and candid. These leaders could be voices of conscience and speak candidly. What makes them tolerant of the wrong that is now so obvious?

The thick-skinned MO1, whoever he is, seems happy not to have obliged by putting in his request for leave of absence. He is even so boastful that no such thing was done.

I cannot but agree with Lim Kit Siang that we have certain people in the cabinet who would sell their souls rather than save the nation and its sense of integrity. The world is laughing at us with clear actions in Singapore, Switzerland, Abu Dhabi and the United States.

MO1, who is ultimately responsible, still remains untouched and the longer this continues the worse it is for the nation. Where is the ‘maruah’ and self-respect?

Meanwhile, our minister for governance and integrity stresses that action would be taken if the US Department of Justice’s case is proven. This only highlights the poor standards of our own inquiry. 

Minister Low, you do not even stand for this principle. The amounts are huge and the scandal has already hit banks and individuals internationally, but in Malaysia it is all fair go. Where is your own self-respect and credibility? At least, call for a fresh inquiry and insist that the auditor general’s report be declassified.

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For too long, our leaders have closed an eye to the scandals after scandal that has rocked this nation. Had we dealt with these issues and set up independent institutions of governance that set standards and ensure regulations are upheld, we would have reached fully developed nation status by now.

Our civil service is also culpable in that they are now so closely enveloped with politicians that they also appear to have also lost the capacity to serve in the interest of the nation.

Let us call a spade a spade and take necessary measures to ensure that we regain the ground that has been lost. In this context, Zaid’s legal case, Bersih 5 and other initiatives seek the support of all Malaysians.

We have tolerated Taib and his excesses in Sarawak and the same with politicians in Sabah merely because they provide the ‘fixed deposit’ that ensured the continuity of the much maligned Barisan Nasional government.

Self-interest and greed remain the key drivers and this can be seen in the way the component parties just remain silent with no expression about serious moral and ethical lapses in leadership that are so evident. What does this say about the component parties and their leaders? They are all bred within the same culture marked by money, power, patronage, self-interest and greed.

The elephant in the room

When will we wake up as Malaysians and realise that racism and race-based parties will not get us far? Many Malaysians do realise this, but the manner in which the existing ruling coalition has entrenched itself with constituency delineation and fixed deposits through the use of money power is disgusting.

These are the very persons who will extoll their faith and convictions and call others ‘kafirs’. The hypocrisy exhibited by the leadership, both in Pas and BN, only confirms the perception that their politics is based on money and self-interest.

We have a minister who says that the 1MDB audited reports need not be considered. Audited reports are signed off by directors prior to clearance by external auditors. Why is the Companies Commission of Malaysia not taking any action? They are the first to fine and take action in the case of other companies.

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Accountability is zero and the failure of our regulatory bodies has also to be noted. This only highlights the power in the hands of the executive. The same can be said about the auditor general, who has now placed his report under the Official Secrets Act. In doing so, he has now scarred his credibility.

It is not only the failure of institutions, but this scandal also reveals the serious failure of men and women in positions of power and responsibility. People are not ready to pay the price and stick their necks out. This only defines the culture of our workplace.

The way the MACC has been challenged, Bank Negara has been threatened, the attorney general dismissed and a new whitewash put in his place has perhaps sent a message that has frightened others and given rise to fear.

In the era of the 1950s and 60s, amidst trade unionism and strikes, the indication was that many of the problems and challenges arose as a result of poverty, violence and the lack of education. Education was extolled as the panacea for all our problems.

What have today are educated crooks. People who have connections, who have got education from top universities and then return to beat their wives, exploit their positions, indulge in corruption and then believe that they can get away with their exploits.

The revelations about the recent arrest of three individuals for corruption and the staggering amounts involved is shocking enough. But MACC has not got the courage to deal with the elephant in the room.

An individual who has also been a party to the clearance of the prime minister’s name is now heading the MACC. Yes, he can boast about what he is doing but none of this will gain traction with the public until he and the MACC have the courage to deal with the obvious MO1 elephant.

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