Malaysiakini Letter

Are our law-enforcing institutions paralysed?

Kim Quek  |  Published:  |  Modified:

The total impotency of law-enforcing institutions across the full spectrum of the Malaysian polity to deal with high corruption and criminal activities of the ruling elite is mercilessly exposed through the serial unfolding of scandals by Deepak Jaikishan - one-time close associate of the prime minister's wife.

First, it was the police, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), and the attorney-generals who have remained steadfastly silent, despite a series of swirling exposes for more than one month of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak family's alleged acts to cover up the PM's alleged link to the murder of Mongolian beauty, Altantuya Shaariibuu.

In addition to accusing the family for committing bribery and criminal coercion in order to come up with a false statutory declaration to protect the PM, Deepak also accused the family for having accepted bribes from him for facilitating his participation in a scandalous Defence Ministry (Mindef) project - the construction of the RM100 million National Centre for Defence Studies (Puspahanas).

The PM and his family have also remained strangely and inexplicably silent.

Now even the Securities Commission, watchdog of the securities market, is also found wanting in protecting the integrity of the Malaysian Stock Exchange when it fails to haul up a Defence Ministry-linked company embarking on a dubious deal, which was apparently designed to quell the politically explosive Deepak-Najib scandal.

Listed company Boustead Holdings Bhd, an investment arm of the Armed Forces Fund Board (LTAT) under Mindef, is playing ‘Santa Claus' to dish out millions of ringgit in cash to silence whistle-blower Deepak and the Mindef project recipient, Selangor Umno Wanita chief Raja Ropiaah Raja Abdullah, who was sued by Deepak over an alleged breach of trust in their ill-fated partnership in said project.

Mindef to the PM's rescue

Boustead is buying up Deepak's company Astacanggih Sdn Bhd for RM30 million, and at the same time, also buying the disputed 200 acres of land from Ropiaah's company, Awan Megah (M) Sdn Bhd, for RM130 million. Upon this announcement by Boustead, Deepak instantly withdrew his lawsuit against the Umno leader, presumably appeased, and refrained from further blowing his trumpet.

However, behind the Boustead manoeuver that resulted in this lightning-development are facts that are perhaps stranger than fiction - the goods that Boustead are chasing after are in truth, illusionary to its shareholders.

For Astacanggih is but an asset-less shell company that has never filed its accounts with the Companies Commission, and the 200 acre land, which was intended as Mindef's part payment to Awan Megah for undertaking in 2005 to complete the Mindef project, is still vested with the government, as the project was never constructed.

Furthermore, the 200 acre land is designated for building a military camp, and Awan Megah is prohibited from conveying it to any third party. In addition, the Selangor state government, which is the administrator of all lands in the state, has also declared that it will not approve any transfer of said land unless it is used to build the military camp. Hence, Boustead is effectively barred by law to acquire the land.

With this land transaction being a castle in the air, Boustead is, in truth, paying out RM160 million, from which it gains nothing.

So, shouldn't the Securities Commission as well as the MACC have stepped in to probe the directors of Boustead and LTAT respectively, over this outrageous fraud and betrayal of the welfare of military personnel and veterans who have obviously become sacrificial lambs at the altar of political expediency of the political masters?

And shouldn't the defence minister, who has apparently initiated such a political move to save Najib's skin, be also investigated by MACC over such abuse of power, corruption and bribery on his part?

PM abused power to grant project

As a further blow to the image of PM Najib, he happened to be the defence minister who approved in 2005, the award of the project to Awan Megah, which is now found to be a company that has remained dormant since 2003. Certainly, without the wherewithal to design and construct the RM100 million Mindef facilities. This is clearly an act of abuse of power and corruption.

In any democratic country where the government is popularly elected, the prime minister would have stood up to face these serious and unyielding allegations by either denying or acting to reclaim his dignity; and the law-enforcing institutions would have also swung into action, one after another, to uphold the law.

But in Malaysia, we have only eerie silence, save the noises made by the opposition, mainly through the Internet, as the relative news are blacked out in the mainstream media.

Obviously, our institutions, including the mainstream media (all newspapers and TV channels), have either been neutered or reduced to serving as lapdogs of the political masters; and unless these institutions are thoroughly reformed, the plundering and breach of law by the ruling elite with impunity will only get worse - a path that will eventually lead to state bankruptcy and national catastrophe.

For peace-loving Malaysians who yearn for the restoration of the rule of law, what alternatives do they have other than to seek a change of government by granting a new mandate - through the coming election - to the opposition alliance, whose corruption-free leadership has demonstrated the ability to administer the state governments under its control with integrity and prudent financial management?

KIM QUEK is a retired accountant and author of the banned book, The March to Putrajaya .

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