Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The 'Bisa Diatur' Factor

Well-known UMNO blogger Sakmongkol AK47 or Datuk Mohd Ariff Sabri Hj Abdul Aziz (Pulau Manis assemblyman 2004-2008) wrote a good article in The Malaysian Insider titled Further notes on the 700MHz spectrum issue.

He lamented that MCMC* shouldn’t have given YTL the 700 MHz band for free when that facility could have been auctioned for a large sum. I agree with him.

* MCMC subsequently claimed YTL was only permitted hybrid communications (whatever that means)

However, where I disagree with him or, to be precise, where I need to call a spade a spade lies in his unhappiness with Lim Kit Siang for stating that if the Chinese dominated the economy it was the Malay leadership who allowed that to happened.

Datuk Ariff stated: This state of affairs is the result of those in power mostly Malays giving Chinese hongs the opportunities. But there’s the added twist. In the hands of these people, so claimed the triumphalist, they can become more competitive etc. The Chinese triumphalist is so oversensitive when criticized.

Datuk, while I’m not a smart person like you who knows lots about politics, economics and modern communication issues, I am aware of two pieces of locally-known knowledge, social-political-business folklore if you wish, that may be related to the 700 MHz spectrum controversy you raised as well as many other lucrative businesses that have gone to Chinese. For this discussion, let's leave aside those Chinese truimphalists. We can discuss that another time.

Yes, I still do recall one Chinese developer, Datuk or Tan Sri Liew (at that level, those Chinese towkays are usually Datuks or Tan Sris) who trumpeted openly, presumably to support PM Najib’s 1Malaysia and new economic policies, that the Chinese have benefitted humongously from the NEP or whatever.

Much as I want to inform Datuk or Tan Sri Liew (hope I have his name correct) I am not one of his Chinese who have benefitted humongously and he had no right to claim so on the behalf of Chinese Malaysians, I have to put my angry temptation aside and just say here, that therein in this Liew’s grandstanding broadcast lies the real story of the relationship between UMNO leadership (including Tun Dr Mahathir when he was PM) and Chinese towkays. The nasty word, I believe, is called cronyism. That’s the first known local folklore that I mentioned.

The second, still a popular, prevalent and pervasive folklore, though like most laypeople I can’t or don’t have the means and time to prove and thus must leave this to (no, not the MACC wakakaka) Raja Petra Kamarudin to expose for our knowledge, is the ‘Bisa Diatur’ factor.

‘Bisa Diatur’ is a beautiful Indonesian term that is even more powerful than our Malaysian 'Boleh', as it is endowed with characteristics that may be described as cheeky (or sinister, depending on our individual perception), and mysterious (or shady, again depending on our individual take). I suppose our local Chinese (Cantonese) would call it 'can kowtim one'.

What is it then? Think Vincent Tan and his recent failed (maybe only temporarily) attempt to secure a monopoly on sports gambling, and in the face of strong public opposition especially from the Penang (Pakatan) State government, his readiness to donate RM500 million to set up some kind of scholarship foundation. RM500 million is certainly no small lolly, but indirectly providing us a glimpse of the staggering and lucrative potential to be harvested from sports gambling.

Anyway, the point is he was provided the no-tender okay from the federal government (how? why?), before Najib found it politically too hot to handle and (temporarily?) withdrew or denied the licence was even promised to Vincent Tan.

We know that the lotteries and 4-Ekor business, apart from other monopolies or near monopolies with goldmine-like profits, have gone to Chinese cronies of UMNO leadership.

What I want to say is I support Lim Kit Siang’s erudite summarization of the unhealthy relationship between UMNO leaders and their Chinese cronies. It's not that UMNO leaders love the yellow skin a$$ of those Chinese towkays. In this world, nothing is free. There is a price or a ‘bisa diatur’ factor to consider. I’ll leave it at that.

Incidentally I heard there is a Chinese towkay nicknamed Datuk Roast Lamb who has been waiting patiently in the corner for Anwar Ibrahim to become PM wakakaka.

At the end of the day, it’s UMNO top leaders who want the relationship.

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