All their actions spoke of unrestrained and unbridled greed, observes Dominic Damian.
Our history is not one of despair anymore. The aftermath and change, which requires recovery and healing, is our real concern now.
It is a futile exercise and a waste of time to accord certain of our ex-leaders the respect of an inquiry. Articulating well-framed questions in an inquiry – on the premise that decency, honour or dignity is to be expected – is a lost cause. Do we really expect to hear truthful answers?
Not only that, the ex-leader was incomparably most incompetent, even lacking the ability to respond to a well-planned, well-managed and effectively executed heist that bore the hallmark of the highest levels of deception. His responses to even simple questions were timid and cowardly at best, despite the severe implications.
The thievery is not incredibly challenging to understand. It does not have an intricate web of complexities. No finesse, originality, creativity or ingenuity about it. The plunder was visible.
There wasn’t the protective cocoon of privacy. Instead, there was this compulsive need for exhibitionism: a constant catwalk of shameless personalities strutted around like peacocks with their loot. Arrogant or stupid – or both? One really can’t tell.
We may ask why this theft was constructed with such outrageous, incredible stupidity – a hands-in-the-cookie-jar kind of scenario, right out of a scene from Sesame Street, with a blue-blood politician of a cookie monster!
- The ex-leader was manipulating and manoeuvring, perhaps hoping to be in a position of power for life, an entitlement fanatic. The plunder was apparently outsourced.
- This self-serving person was always pandered to here, there and everywhere. Grovelling individuals served his whims and fancies. Money was the motivation for these mercenaries.
- He acquired this arrogant style of leadership from a party which already had a philosophy of obsessive entitlement.
- The mentality of separating citizens under the camouflage of race and religion failed. This dream ended in the rubble and ruin of rejection.
- Then, there was tacit support, naked compliance and brazen complicity from all quarters within the Barisan Nasional leadership and structure. For them to play the victim and say they were powerless is a spineless reaction.
- The institutional structure of the judiciary was ripped wide open.
- The attorney general, sniffing on snippets, was neither here nor there. The impression we got from his expression was one of seasickness as he threw up pronouncements of innocence. The obvious wrongdoing was nauseating.
- The ex-Malaysian Anti-Corruption chief was already suspect with his Bali fiasco.
- Each was provided all manner of dispensations to wage a war against decency.
- The civil service was compromised through the rank and file. Among them, fortunately, there where the quiet heroes who siphoned and leaked important information about the corruption.
The big question of the ‘why’ may never be answered by a medical, spiritual or emotional dissection. All we know is that each one of them was already wealthy and could live with comfort beyond the means of ordinary citizens. This perhaps reflect the death of the soul.
The party was laden with dark temptations. The huge transactions in a separate financial system within the national financial system created an uncontrollable hungry monster with a voracious desire.
Feeding this monster’s ever-growing needs would ensure it collapsed like a stack of cards, its tentacles spread into the national treasury. The money train grew from the hundreds of millions to the billions. There does not need to be a colloquium to certify and establish that the culprits were bonded in a band, a college, of thieves.
If one removes all factors, there was no compulsion, no extenuating circumstances, no desperate situation of dire want that forced this corrupt path on them.
Instead, there was this crushing contamination of their conscience. They embraced insatiable greed at a time when many impoverished citizens were struggling in this nation.
It is not the toxic corruption that brought out the worst in them. Neither were they enticed. These individuals were sickeningly in positions of trust and responsibility. They were, in their originally state, already flawed and corrosive in every sense of the word when they acquired positions.
The leader and his cohorts with these fault lines needed others with the same DNA to spread the cancer of corruption. It was a forgone conclusion who would be the ‘best’ criminals who merited selection. The ones who could effectively protect the master criminals and do their bidding would be the obvious choice. The other criteria was that the individuals who qualified had to have a vacuous thought process.
The core of this scandal is not just about one person and his family. We have a live telecast unfolding before us, the scandalous blockbuster cast of directors, main actors, clowns, murderers, kidnappings, pirates, plunderers, robbers, gamblers, liars, losers, looters, mullahs and the cosmetic make-up artist.
The last vestige of hope for their redemption would lie in their humility to attempt a truthful disclosure and tender an apology, to show a sense of repentance, regret or remorse.
Instead, it is an ice-cold blanket of fog that surrounds the flailing master on his ramparts of rejection. His spouse is drawing the rickety worn out drawbridge within her frail cosmetic fortress to fend off the inevitable demonisation of their ill-gotten fame, fortune and wealth.
Maybe some might have this pompous belief that being caught with exorbitant cookies in their hands is something that has a chance of an acquittal on an insanity plea. Or some might believe they are victims whose survival was based on following a flawed leader. But such beliefs are simply untenable.
Ultimately, they will be brazenly defending the indefensible. In an ironic twist, they might even be using their loot to mount their legal defence.
Whatever loot that has been seized may seem huge to us. But it is actually insignificant loose change, a pittance. There must be a humongous sum of hoarded treasures stashed away in safe havens, seemingly lost forever.
The gladiatorial spectacle in the arena of justice, where everyone from citizen to opponent will be screaming, some baying for a pound of flesh, is not something to be relished. The turbulence is not over for the nation.
These traitors are not going to spare the country the shame. They are hell bent, despite overwhelming evidence, to traumatise this nation instead of submitting a confession and saving the nation time money and embarrassment. They want the world to be riveted to their drama and theatrics, when we should be moving forward.
My simple and fervent hope is that everything they and their cohorts have absconded with must be accounted for. Feeling the slow wheels of justice churning, I have this bristling annoyance. My conscience in conflict, I feel:
- all their items, properties, and companies must be confiscated and sold to raise money for the nation’s coffers.
- they should be placed under restricted residence, having enough for a dignified existence, no more or no less.
- they should be put under surveillance and be required to report to the nearest police station weekly.
- special legislation should be passed in Parliament to imprison them if they cannot substantiate their wealth.
- they should be declared as persona non grata, the final nail in their coffin of shame.
This kind of shame and disgrace, though harsh and hard, would be a lesson that would most certainly drive fear through any criminal who thinks that political office is a passport to loot the treasury.
The woman who stole Milo for her family and the person in Malacca who stole lighters valued at less than RM20 were subject to a prison term of two years. They are Malaysians with their flaws – and there was a social motive for their crime that should receive understanding, empathy and support.
Contrast that with the political, gluttonous individuals – who seem far removed from thinking about restitution, from the idea of confessing all and sparing us all from a hell of a spectacle.
Inadvertently, all their actions spoke of unrestrained and unbridled greed. We should never ever allow their evil to depreciate our humanity – otherwise they would still win.