When banks play dirty, a nation regresses

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How can a government impose all kinds of punishments on ordinary people when well- connected banks are making tidy profits from such suspicious transactions, JD Lovrenciear wonders.

It is not just certain US banks that are guilty of unethical practices, a string of Malaysian banks have now been flagged for facilitating suspicious transactions.

It is bad enough being tarnished with the now infamous 1MDB saga, but the media exposes of how suspicious money gets channelled with the help of these Malaysian banks has kept the spotlight on the nation.

How can a government preach rule of law and impose all kinds of punishments on ordinary people when well-connected banks are making tidy profits from such suspicious transactions? 

Who are the well-connected, well-heeled people in these banks?

It seems that Malaysia is listed as a “high risk jurisdiction for money laundering and financial crime”. We are now reportedly on par with countries like Angola, Togo, Cambodia, Nigeria and the British Virgin Islands.

While concerned citizens voluntarily join civil society and not-for-profit organisations to help nudge the business community to higher levels of ethical conduct, here we have a government that is so busy politicking that it leaves banking institutions free hand to allow such dubious transactions.

Is it any wonder that even the former highest office-bearer in government, who was convicted recently, remains free to behave as a ‘celebrity’ on the election campaign trail?

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Ranjan Paramalingam
Ranjan Paramalingam
27 Sep 2020 11.31am

Banks are often described as lenders. They are in law also borrowers when their customers have credit balances in their bank accounts. When the banks lend money, they usually do so using money borrowed from their customers. Often enough, the banks do something wrong when they borrow and lend money. There are enough shady people who can borrow from banks while other, more deserving, people find it difficult to do so.