Mariam Mokhtar | October 4, 2013
The auditor-general’s report simply confirms that the Prime Minister is not interested in stemming all the embezzlement from the treasury
When someone steals from you, it becomes a personal matter. It is of little consequence if the theft involves a small sum of money or larger amounts because your reaction is the same; you feel cheated, you want retribution, you seek justice and you demand the return of your money.
A few days ago, many people were alarmed by the 2012 Auditor-General’s report. Contrary to public opinion, the report is not about wastage. It is about theft which has been perpetuated by corrupt politicians and civil servants.
True, some of the money was probably wasted; but the bulk of the money went into the back-pockets of these men and women, who acted in tandem with unscrupulous traders. That money belongs to you.
Malaysia has charlatans and clowns, masquerading as politicians and civil servants. Putrajaya is notorious for its centralised control, and Umno Baru keeps many key civil servants under their yoke.
The 47% of the rakyat who voted BN at GE13, are devoted disciples of the party. They are in denial or are too dopey to accept that BN means a ‘Bankrupt Nation’ or ‘Barang Naik’. They keep springing to the defence of BN politicians and irresponsible civil servants, who steal from them, and who lack any accountability for their actions.
If the stolen money could be recovered, our youth might be able to receive free higher education, our senior citizens could benefit from free and improved health care, we might enjoy an efficient public transport system, or go about our business without fear of being victims of crime.
When BN politicians and civil servants stole from the public to enrich themselves, they left a huge dent in the nation’s finances. When Najib Tun Razak spent his way into GE13, he effectively emptied the treasury.
Let us consider some of the issues in the audit that BN loyalists have ignored. IGP Khalid Abu Bakar shot himself in the foot with his flippant response that the missing weapons had “fallen into the sea”.
Perhaps, the loss of 156 pairs of handcuffs and 29 vehicles by the police, costing taxpayers a staggering RM1.33 million had fallen off the back of a lorry?
The Department of Broadcasting had purchased 20 wall clocks for several RTM branches. Each clock cost RM3,810, although each one had an estimated value of RM100. Despite the expensive clocks, many civil servants are still working to Malaysian Rubber Time.
The audit created a side-show when a public spat erupted between Youth Minister Khairy Jamaluddin and Communications minister Shabery Cheek, over the funding for a K-Pop concert, held last year.
Shabery said the money had come from sponsors, but Khairy contradicted him and said that his ministry picked up the tab when the sponsors withdrew from the deal. Who is lying – the Auditor–General, Khairy or Shabery?
Naturally, for a concert of this magnitude, contracts would have been signed, with severe penalties for breaching the terms of the agreement. It is highly likely that if a crony company had been involved, only a loose, non-binding verbal arrangement would suffice between friends. Could this explain why there were no consequences, when the sponsors withdrew?
Najib’s split personality
We would lose our homes, or cars, if we defaulted on our mortgage or hire-purchase payments. You don’t need to go to Oxford University to know about contracts and binding agreements. You only need common sense and good moral values to know that you have to be responsible with taxpayer’s money.
In the last few days, President Obama cancelled his trip to Asia because his government had limited funds from the US shutdown.
If there was no money, why wasn’t the vulgar K-pop concert, which we know was only a crowd-puller to make people vote BN in GE13, cancelled?
Last week, Najib told an audience in San Francisco that his aim was to consign corruption to Malaysia’s past. Najib often makes this type of announcement whilst overseas, but he knows that no one at home believes him when he talks about moderation, corruption and transformation.
Three years ago, he told the UN that he practised moderation and that extremists had no place in Malaysia. Najib is someone who has a split personality. He delivers two messages; one for the international community and another for the hardliners at home.
On Malaysian soil, he panders to the nationalists and has another storyline for the non-Malays.
Prior to GE13, Najib announced that he was going to repeal the ISA in a move that he knew would appeal to younger Malaysians and activists. Ealier this week, he reversed that decision when the Prevention of Crime Act (PCA) was bulldozed through parliament.
Critics claim that he is preparing for GE14 and that activists and opposition politicians will be detained to prevent them from scuppering Umno Baru’s chances.
Najib tried to impress the crowd by saying that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) would “…serve as an example for other countries looking to build the institutional capacity to combat corruption.”
Malaysians know better. Corrupt politicians and civil servants are safe in the knowledge that the MACC is a toothless tiger, which will purr when they tickle its neck.
Najib’s speech was littered with phrases like “…we deliver what we have promised to the people…”, “…a concerted fight against corruption…”, “…deliver consistently over time…”, ”…an open and transparent business environment…” or “…the ability of governments to change things for the better…”. His speech writers have made him a figure of mockery and derision.
Be wary of Umno Baru
Najib had the audacity to say that corruption “crushed individual endeavour and harmed social cohesion”. His crowning glory was to say, “If we do not give all of our citizens a stake in our region’s future, we risk encouraging ethnic tensions, religious extremism and political instability.”
Even Najib must have sensed the irony in his words because Umno Baru seems to do little other than stir-up racial tension to try to divide the rakyat.
The auditor-general’s report confirms that Najib is not interested in stemming the theft from the treasury.
He got us into the mess in the first place, but he and his co-conspirators are laughing all the way to the bank while you dig deeper into your pockets.
In GE13, 53% of the rakyat voted for change and dreamt of a harmonious, tolerant and crime-free society, but they were thwarted. Tragedy will surely befall the nation if the 47% of the electorate who voted for BN in GE13, repeat their folly in GE14.
Mariam Mokhtar is a FMT columnist.