Najib The Man With The Tainted Touch
Any hostile nation that is keen on invading Malaysia will not bother wasting millions of ringgits raining bombs and artillery on us. They’ll simply breeze in, isolate and surround strategic installations, before forcing our leaders to surrender, because they already know that we are extremely ill-prepared to defend ourselves.
If truth be told, both “Ketuanan Melayu” and the convicted felon, Najib Abdul Razak, are the main causes of the littoral combat ship (LCS) scandal.
It’s because of Ketuanan Melayu that the same senior political characters crop up each time there is a major scandal. Names like Najib, the world’s worst kleptocrat as labelled by the US Department of Justice; Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who befriends Malay triads like “Tiga Line”; and Hishammuddin Hussein, the kris wielder. They are power hungry, arrogant, and greedy.
These men indulge in a game of musical chairs and take turns to head select ministries, like the Defence Ministry. In this heavyweight ministry, the amount of money made from commissions is eye-watering. Why share it with others who do not form part of the Ketuanan inner circle?
So, are we surprised that the other common element in every fiscal scandal in Malaysia involves Najib, the man with the “tainted touch”?
Defence ‘shopping spree’
Anything which involves Najib always ends up tainted. 1MDB, Scorpene, the Mongolian model (Altantuya Shaariibuu), Lynas, Employees Provident Fund (EPF), Armed Forces Fund Board (LTAT), Tabung Haji, Felda, and Retirement Fund Inc (KWAP).
Jet engines have gone missing from air force bases, only to be discovered for sale in South America.
Auditors have found that out of several fighter jets, only a handful are airworthy. The others have been grounded, allegedly because available spare parts are for different models of combat aircraft.
A BAE Hawk 208 fighter jet of the Royal Malaysian Air ForceOur leaders cut deals with their cronies, who are mostly retired armed forces officers turned defence contractors. For the politicians, arms spending is like a Raya shopping spree.
Billions of ringgit of taxpayers’ money pay for military hardware, not because our armed forces need the equipment, but more probably because the items can be easily marked-up and hefty commissions earned.
Our submarines allegedly cannot dive and are just useless bits of floating metal. We may have the most sophisticated radar equipment, but what is the point of having them if the operators doze off, whilst observing the blips on the screen?
Relatives in the army complain of being given goods of inferior quality, and many were forced to buy good boots with their own money. It is also an open secret that contracts for uniforms are reserved for select cronies.
Familiar names, familiar methods
On August 7, Najib made a cheap attempt to deflect the attention of the RM9 billion LCS scandal from himself by blaming the Pakatan Harapan administration of May 2018, having earlier denied his role in the LCS fiasco.
Najib was the defence minister (1999-2008) during the Scorpene and Altantuya scandals. When he became prime minister (April 2009 to May 2018), Zahid stepped into his shoes and became the defence minister (April 2009 to May 2013). Zahid was replaced by Hishammuddin at the cabinet reshuffle of May 2013.
The letter of award from the government to the main contractor, Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd (BNS) was issued in December 2011, although the contract was only signed in July 2014.
Zahid endorsed the change from the Sigma design approved by the navy to the Gowind design when BNS suggested the swap.
Umno president Ahmad Zahid HamidiThis is how top tribal leaders act. They do not honour what has been agreed upon. They chop and change according to their whims and fancies. They ignore the people who really matter, which in this particular case, is the navy.
A worried Abdul Aziz Jaafar, the former chief of the Royal Malaysian Navy, had written ten letters to the prime minister, the deputy prime minister, the defence minister, the chief secretaries to both the government and the defence ministry, but no one bothered to reply. He had detailed his deep concerns about the risks and changes involved.
The Gowind design was said to be more of an offshore patrol vessel and not an LCS. With an RM9 billion price tag, there is no way that Zahid could have acted alone and would have consulted Najib, but both men dismissed the concerns of the admiral.
The Sigma system is a Dutch design, whilst Gowind is French. Najib is very familiar with French navy shipbuilders, with whom he cultivated ties via the Scorpene negotiations.
We also know that the Malaysian company that dealt with the Scorpene purchase, Perimekar, earned commissions worth hundreds of millions of ringgits. History appears to be repeating itself with the LSC scandal.
When disaster strikes, bailout
Top leaders in the Ketuanan Melayu tribe earn billions of ringgits stolen from the taxpayer, and it is the profligacy of the tribal leaders with our money (taxpayers' money) that keeps the followers happy.
The tribal leaders’ solution to their fellow members getting into financial difficulties is to bail them out with taxpayers’ money. This is what happened to BNS and its subsidiaries.
Moreover, there was no open tender and the weak financial structure and management of BNS meant that the cost of LCS then ballooned. The navy should have acquired 12 ships, but this was reduced to six. In reality, there are no ships.
If the rakyat were to complain, the tribal leaders will cry out that the sub-contractors are all bumiputera-owned companies and if they are not helped, then they will go bankrupt, and the bumiputera and his family will suffer.
There will be no mention of accountability, good work ethics or sound management practices.
This is another fine mess that Najib has got us into. The nation does not need external enemies with Najib around, and for those who think Ketuanan Melayu works, think again. - Mkini
MARIAM MOKHTAR is a defender of the truth, the admiral-general of the Green Bean Army, and president of the Perak Liberation Organisation (PLO). Blog, Twitter.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of MMKtT.
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