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Doing the math, Jamaluddin's RM2.1b doesn't quite add up

COMMENT | Growing up, children are always inculcated with values and taught not to offend anyone's feelings. "Don't speak ill of the dead" would be one of them. Even with someone you despise for his or her deceit, hypocrisy and less complementary qualities, the expressions and feelings are exposed in soft murmurs upon his death. Often, praises are sung of the dead and the departed irrespective of his or her not-so-savoury character.

Sometimes, even death is politicised. This week John McCain took his fight with Donald Trump to the grave. He didn't want him anywhere near his funeral. He argued that the US president's demeanour, populist style and global outlook as antithetical to America's founding values and global.

Today, I don't intend to break that often-drilled value, but have chosen to do some calculations and justifications in the interest of the public. I am not passing any judgement; I am not casting any aspersions on the dead or his family members; and I don't intend to touch on the on-going dispute between family members.

The social media has gone on overdrive immediately after news that the estate of former cabinet minister Jamaluddin Jarjis was worth RM2.1 billion. I have no intention of joining the ranks of a few who have been rude and crude. Instead, I will put the facts and figures that are available, for the purposes of discussion.

The late minister was born in 1951 and was 64 at the time of a helicopter crash in 2015 in which he died. We are told he qualified as an engineer from the University of Manchester. Thereafter, he went for postgraduate courses in a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering and a PhD in Electrical Engineering (Power Systems) at University of Manitoba and McGill University in Canada respectively.

Assuming he started work in the private sector in 1976 (at the tender age of 25), he would have (as a young graduate at that time) earned RM40,000 annually....

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