Wednesday, January 25, 2017

CIA report prompts revisit of BMF scandal

Sometimes we wonder which job in Malaysia in peacetime could be the most dangerous?

We aren't taking about the 3D jobs (dirty, difficult and dangerous) that young Malaysians shun because of the social stigma associated with those jobs, but about jobs that could get one killed.

In most countries the fireman is probably one of the most dangerous professions, if not the most dangerous, but our Malaysian firemen seem to be lately preoccupied with penises stuck in bottles or rings, wakakaka.

More than 30 years ago I would dare say the most dangerous profession in Malaysia during peacetime was the financial auditor.

That profession could not just get the financial auditor killed but murdered. No doubt the result was the same but the process of being murdered must be far more dreadful (physically and for the family left behind, psychologically and emotionally) than getting killed in, say, a burning building or being shot (like a cop).

Maybe 40 years or so ago, my uncle recalled such a case in Penang where an Indian auditor was murdered with his body left in a drain somewhere in the Greenlane area, near Batu Lanchang Road.

He was not an Indian Malaysian but an expert financial auditor who was recruited from Mother India as a special consultant to examine some alleged untowards accounting in Penang. My uncle cannot remember what the issue was about, whether it was governmental or commercial business stuff. Maybe some of you can help.

But the naughty business in said accounting was such that he was murdered, presumably to stop his exposure of what did occur.

Another far more notorious case was the murder of Jalil Ibrahim, a young banker working with Bank Bumiputra in its Hong Kong branch of BMF (Bank Bumiputra Finance).

Jalil Ibrahim 

And don't we Malaysians know of the notoriety and wretched failure of BMF in the Carrian Group scandal?

When the BMF started to smell like stinking fish, Jalil was sent to Hong Kong posing as an assistant banker to quietly probe into the bank's reckless dodgy loans. He was murdered, and his body with a towelling cord around his neck was discovered in some rural estates in the New Territories of Hong Kong.

Asia Crimes & Investigation TV said the following of the murder case of Jalil Ibrahim:

The Police don’t know have much to go on, until they stumble upon the banker’s personal diaries and letters.

They reveal a troubled state of mind and suggest that the banker may have been onto something big.

As the Police study his correspondence, they begin to suspect that Jalil may have discovered fatal secrets - financial irregularities and dangerous liaisons which if revealed could not only threaten his life but also destroy his bank and compromise his country.

And in all probability, Jalil’s fears had come true – the banker had been silenced before he could blow the whistle.

The banker knew too much. But what did he know and why was he murdered for it? What was he investigating? Who did he meet in Hong Kong? When and where was he last seen alive? Why did he fear for his life? Was he being blackmailed? What were his last words? How high were the stakes? Will the mystery ever really be truly solved? 

What the late Jalil knew was dangerous enough to murder him. But what did he find out?

On the subject of BMF (Bank Bumiputra Finance), the Star Online has just reported CIA report: BMF scandal damaged Dr M's administration which tells us:

PETALING JAYA: The scandal involving Bank Bumiputra and its subsidiary Bumiputra Malaysia Finance (BMF) in the 1980s damaged the reputation of the Government under former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (pic), according to documents declassified last week by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

The documents claimed that although "no direct links have been established between Mahathir and the corruption at BMF", the "hint of association" had damaged the administration of Dr Mahathir, who was elected in 1981 under a "clean government" mandate.

The CIA claimed that the most damaging aspect of the scandal was the "alleged connection of (now defunct Carrian group and former chief executive officer) George Tan to Umno officials".

Equally damaging was the Government's half-hearted response when news of the scandal broke, said the documents contained in a March 5, 1985 report entitled "The Bank Bumiputra Scandal: More Trouble Ahead for Malaysia's Mahathir?".

Let's read a bit more on the half-heartedness of the Malaysian government in its so-called inquiry into the scandal.

Barry Wain narrated in his book Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times (on How Mahathir squandered RM100 Billion) that the Malaysian (Mahathir) government appointed a committee of inquiry (and NOT a Royal Commission of Inquiry with the powers of a court to secure evidence, call for witnesses and cite for contempt those who do not turn up) which was seen as operating within the framework of Bank Bumiputra, to wit, a Bank Bumiputra in-house inquiry rather than a public independent inquiry.

The inquiry was headed by Ahmad Noordin Zakaria, the very credible Malaysian Auditor General, which submitted voluminous reports of gross irregularities and who should be prosecuted, but alas, the then Attorney General totally ignored the inquiry's report and started police inquiries afresh. Hmmm.

Before the inquiry published its report, Mahathir had an unpleasant squabble with the inquiry members who had to apply political and media pressure to publish the reports as originally promised by Mahathir, though its conclusion were not revealed.

Wain narrated that Mahathir accused the committee of inquiry of 'acting beyond its authority' in seeking publication of its report.

Citing so-called legal concerns Mahathir said to Ahmad Noordin Zakaria, the Auditor General: "You don't care what happens to others as long as you satisfy your righteousness."

Wasn't it flabbergastingly amazing that the committee of inquiry ended up in a bitter quarrel with the then-PM?

To reach such an unpleasant stage, and that it had to apply political pressure as well as use the media by way of press conferences to embarrass the government into publishing its findings, the committee might have sensed or could have been told (directly or indirectly) its finding could/might be buried deeply. 

In the end, Petronas was made to bail out Bank Bumiputra, and ended up owning 90% of the bank, which was illegal because the Petroleum Development Act prohibited Petronas from entering the banking business.

Wain said that Mahathir didn't care about the illegality. In the end, analysts said Bank Bumiputra lost (at that time) RM 2.26 Billions in bad loans, not counting millions from foregone earnings lost from government funds which were diverted to Bank Bumiputra. 

The DAP filed a case against Petronas involvement in the banking business but Mahathir passed a RETROSPECTIVE or backdated amendment to the Petroleum Development Act authorising Petronas to own Bank Bumiputra.

The High Court must have been so cheesed off with Mahathir's lack of respect of the rule of law via his retrospective amendment of the Petroleum Development Act that it imposed the legal cost of the case on the Malaysian government and Petronas.

Of course we are talking about our famed and independent judiciary in those halcyon days before Salleh Abas, the Lord President of the Malaysian Federal (later Supreme) Court, was sacked by the Malaysian government.

No one connected with the BMF fiasco was ever brought to trial in Malaysia.

Asia Sentinel reported (11 August 2011):

The Carrian disaster also resulted in the near collapse of BMF’s parent, Bank Bumi, which required nearly US$1 billion in recapitalization by the Malaysian government. It was the biggest bank failure in the world at the time.

It is unique for another reason. Despite considerable suspicion of fraud and corrupt payments to officials, the Malaysian government, then headed by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, declined to attempt to prosecute any of the bank’s officers or government officials.

It was the first major milestone in a culture of impunity that has handicapped Malaysia’s ruling Barisan Nasional ever since.

Mahathir also made what Anwar Ibrahim called 'subtle racist innuendoes' against Singapore's Pan-Electric Industries fiasco at an UMNO assembly as a comparison of its failure as equal to BMF, but Wain pointed out that was Mahathir's nonsense as the difference between the BMF collapse and Singapore's Pan-Electric Industries fiasco was that in the latter (the Singapore case), no public funds was involved, unlike in the Bank Bumiputra bad loan loss.

Bu that's Mahathir's style, blaming foreigners for BMF scandalous loss and Singapore's Pan Electric Industries as an implicit "'Ni orang Cina buat sama juga" in a racist attempt to ameliorate the Bank Bumiputra abject failure under his watch.


  1. The Penang case you are talking about concerns Arumugam Pillai, the Bukit Mertajam millionaire who evaded tax involving millions. The Income Tax Department brought in this auditor from India, who was murdered. Pillai's huge rubber estate holdings in BM were eventually auctioned off by the government.

  2. On the Jalil Ibrahim murder case, the man charged and convicted for his murder was Mak Foon Than a.k.a. Dax Mak from Kuala Terengganu. I knew him very well and was shocked because he is a very nice chap. So we could not believe he did it and thought maybe he was the fall guy,

    1. fortunately for Mak the HK government has never carried out any death sentences. Heard he is now free and living quietly in Penang

      Asia Sentinel reported 6 years ago: He [meaning Mak[]had no obvious motive for being involved other than as one who performed errands for more important Malaysians. So which important Malaysian was desperate to see Jalil dead? Or was Jalil killed by mistake, the cord around his neck being intended to frighten, not kill?

    2. So, Ktemoc conveniently with this case (correctly , actually) takes the lack of obvious motive for the direct perpetrator as high likelihood that he was acting on behalf of powerful people in the shadows. Yes, Which Important person wanted Jalis Dead ?

      So, why are such suspicions unacceptable in the case of Altantuya's murder ?

      To paraphrase parallel circumstances...

      They [meaning Sirul/ Azilah[]had no obvious motive for being involved other than as one who performed errands for more important Malaysians.

      So which important Malaysian was desperate to see Altantuya dead? Or was Altantuya killed by mistake ?

    3. or, was Altantuyaa RAPED and then killed?

  3. By the way, there is a gigantic RM 40 Billion , stinking elephant in the room. Its called 1MDB, and many refuse to acknowledge it because of their ties to Najis.

    No one connected with the 1MDB fiasco has any prospect of ever being brought to trial in Malaysia, while Najis is in power.

    Singapore, quite removed from the epicentre has already convicted 3 intermediaries who facilitated the criminal 1MDB transactions, and will be trying another one.

    1. Aabar BVI is legitimately owned by IPIC, thus legitimately we can conclude that none of 1MDB's money was missing or stolen.  You will eat your words when 1MDB wins its arbitration case with IPIC in London.

      Today, 1MDB is still a strong and viable going concern and can repay ALL its scheduled debts/loans.

      So, what is your problem? Aaah.. let me tell you.. let me borrow TDM's words, "You don't care what happens to others (and the country) as long as you satisfy your (perceived) righteousness".

      No pun intended, how malodorous indeed!

  4. Lefties like Ktemoc hate the CIA..and believe all kinds of negative reports on the CIA...some actually true , some fake news....

    Isn't it ironic that Ktemoc now jumps clutching at straws of a CIA report on Mahathir ? the CIA suddenly looking credible ?

    Its like the bevy of lefties who have been sympathetic and soft towards Russia for Decades.
    Now suddenly demanding sanctions against Russia because of the claims Russia helped defeat their favoured candidate for the US Presidential elections.

    Eh...BTW...the CIA didn't think there was any real links between Mahathir and the BMF scandal.

    What is true is Mahathir indulged in the usual Malaysian government process of denying any wrongdoing and sweeping any scandal under the carpet - including bailing out the ailing Bank Bumiputra.

    1. Oh, cina 'ni mudah lupa. Just what did I say about the CIA? Pray tell me


      You have written plenty of negative stuff on the CIA.
      Go read it yourself.
      Some of it is True, some of it is Fake News.

    3. and how would those posts on CIA be related to this post?