Thursday, August 13, 2020

BN, PH, PN - semua sama saje


Dr M, Lim Guan Eng and Takiyuddin's circular firing squad

by S Thayaparan


"That is using one's position. Positions are given to help make things easier for you. It is not for me alone. But to help you, help me too. Firstly, vote for me."

- Political hopeful Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal

De facto Law Minister Takiyuddin Hassan's claim that tycoon Lim Soon Peng had used (Pakatan Harapan) political connections to unfreeze his bank accounts, if true, is an effective strategy when it comes to the issue of political corruption in this country.

Effective in the sense that it gives the average Joe Rakyat front row seats the kind of swamp Putrajaya is. I have no idea how effective it is for political parties, either for the establishment or the opposition, beyond giving one or the other a momentary talking point, which amounts to a hill of beans in this partisan terrain.

This is the same law minister who claimed that there may have been political interference in the case of Musa Aman: “Takiyuddin had given an analogy of Musa’s case, as he hinted that the former Sabah chief minister’s case might have been reopened by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) due to 'political interference' after Pakatan Harapan won GE14.”

Of course, it is funny that he thinks that dropping all charges was an impartial endeavour, stating that: "Tan Sri Musa Aman was freed from all charges of corruption and money laundering out of justice upheld by the Perikatan Nasional government." But he seems to be oblivious to the fact that Perikatan Nasional's charges against former Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng could be construed as politically-motivated.

Using the de facto law minister's thinking, it could be suggested that the acquittal may have been about political interference, but this does not seem to be in the mind of the PN state. And of course, anyone implying that the charges against Lim are also part of political interference is dismissed because everyone knows that the PN government is all about "upholding justice".

All this, of course, is part of the swamp that Harapan claimed it was going to drain but never did. When Harapan assumed power in Putrajaya, it became fairly obvious very quickly that the agenda of draining the swamp was shelved.

Instead, we had the bureaucracy breathing a sigh of relief that the very old guard was back in power. The trials of Najib and the ensuing media attention kept the eyes of the rakyat focused away from the agenda of change that Harapan campaigned on.

When this political interference issue first cropped up, I was offended by the response of former finance minister Lim Guan Eng to the claim that he had facilitated the freezing of the plutocrat’s account. I wrote:

“The fact that Guan Eng even chose to contact the AG about this case is highly suspect. Why didn’t he, in his capacity as the finance minister, ask the tycoon or the tycoon's minions to make representation through the proper channels and the tycoon's high-priced mouthpieces? Why didn't the finance minister simply say that it was inappropriate and suspect for representations to be made to him?”

Of course, now with the old maverick Dr Mahathir Mohamad in the mix, things get messy. When the then prime minister says that he opined that the embezzlement of the former prime minister cannot be blamed on the tycoon, that is just bizarre. You cannot blame Lim for the embezzlement, but you can blame him for profiting from the embezzlement.

After the election, Mahathir proudly proclaimed that “corruption” had been eradicated and this was one of Harapan’s achievements. The Sarawak Report in 2017, under the attention-grabbing title “We Name More Of The Recipients Of Najib's Stolen Public Money...” listed Lim as one of the numerous beneficiaries of Najib's largesse.

Malaysiakini reported that the monies were used for propaganda purposes, but this is really a small sordid point in the larger sordid history of Najib’s scandal. I have no idea how Mahathir arrived at the conclusion that Lim should not be blamed for Najib’s crimes when this was not the point of recovering the money stolen from the rakyat.

Does everyone who has benefited from Najib’s crime get to keep “stolen” money or is this just for a select few? Furthermore, the fact that Lim gave such shoddy answers to questions that an Umno minister would have been nailed to the wall for, is demonstrative of the kind of attitude that was swirling around Harapan at the time.

Referring to the opening quote that begins this piece, this is exactly the kind of backroom deals that this young man is hoping would advance him to higher levels of political power. When he says something like this to prospective voters: “How (can I help?), I can issue support letters as a deputy minister, as the youth chief and I can make a copy to Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to strengthen (the support letters).”

Refer to this quote from the reportage: “Takiyuddin added that it had the official stamp of the prime minister, and it was signed on Dec 5, 2018. The same letter was later minuted again by Guan Eng, who Takiyuddin alleged had written to Thomas to lift the freeze on the tycoon’s account as requested by the prime minister.”

Furthermore, we have no idea of the kind of backroom deals that the PN government is making, or intends to make, with the plutocrats who sustain their political coffers and the numerous warlords who hold sway over party machinery. The idea that these kinds of malfeasance are only applicable to Harapan is as ludicrous as believing that only PN and Umno engage in this sort of behaviour.

If only these types of circular firing squads had some political consequences, instead of the binary outcomes of partisan politics. This way, at least the swamp would drain itself.

S THAYAPARAN is Commander (Rtd) of the Royal Malaysian Navy. A retired barrister-at-law, he hopes young people will assume the mantle of leadership if there is to be any hope for this country


  1. KT play both sides, just a few days ago he blog what Anthony Loke said, now he blogs the opposite....what Capt Thaya-Pandai says....

    So were Harapan ministers powerful or unpowerful to issue support letters?

    But Guanee very crever, he follow MACC Shukri instructions not to issue support letter, he simply passed tycoons request to Toonsie who gave the support. So it was Toonsie who issue the support.

    After Fayhsal's support letter offer, Loke recalls 'unpowerful' Harapan ministers

    A former Pakatan Harapan minister has questioned Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Ahmad Kamal’s offer of support letters in exchange for votes in the Bersatu Youth polls.

    In a Facebook post, former transport minister Anthony Loke recalled how Harapan MPs were specifically advised against issuing such letters.

    The advice, he said, had come from former MACC chief Mohd Shukri Abdul in a lecture on good practices in governance back in 2018.

    “Among the things Shukri told all Harapan ministers and deputy ministers was to never issue support letters to anyone, especially members of their own party,” Loke wrote.

    He recalled cabinet members were further advised to make mere “neutral” comments on documents to prevent swaying administrative decisions.

    The DAP national organising secretary sarcastically remarked that this had caused Harapan ministers to lack "power", unlike their Perikatan Nasional successors.

    “That was during Harapan’s administration. Yeah, Harapan ministers were not powerful. It was no use in coming to lobby ministers. Everything would be a no.

    “But it is different now. Even deputy ministers are powerful.

    "Support letters can become fodder for a party election. Army planes can be used to attend party activities. Anything is possible. Memang power! (Very powerful),” he said.

  2. I call him Thaya-Pandai in a nice way. His writings are hard to understand, multi-faceted and go round in circles, I have to read three times but still not sure....

  3. does dap hv something like a mission, moral code or do n dont?

  4. Normal people know it as check and balance but Captain must call it circular firing squad to confuse.