'Material Girl' Umno knows corruption but how well does it know Islam

'Material Girl' Umno knows corruption but how well does it know Islam

If truth be told, UMNO is not earnestly defending or promoting Islam as the footing to build a strong Malay race and a just multi-racial Malaysia. The Malays today perceive UMNO synonymous to a corrupt political party. And the nonchalant attitude of UMNO-led government thus far on all forms of bribery and corruption in the country has eroded Malay support for UMNO.
The Malays today are well-informed and they are mindful that bribery and unbridled corruption at all levels – within UMNO, the administration and the social and economic sectors – has been going on for too long and the momentum started to worsen from the early eighties onwards.
This awful culture has now become a way of politics and governance by UMNO despite owning to the Malays all along the fact that they are the “defenders” of Islam. And some bigots among them even go to the extent of preaching to the rural Malays that the non-Muslims are a “threat” to Islam.
But the Malays in general are aware that this scheme is only imaginary in nature – intentionally created by UMNO to deceive the rural Malays for votes.
Many references to corruption
The Malays are more apprehensive that bribery and corruption contradict the precepts of the very religion UMNO claim to defend. In fact, the Scriptures of major religions overtly denounce the act of bribery and corruption.
The Quran says: "And O my people! Give full measure and weight in justice and reduce not the things that are due to the people, and do not commit mischief in the land, causing corruption. (11:85)
It is not only the Quran which deals with corruption amongst many other social, political, economic and religious aspects of human behaviour and conduct. The Bible too has many references to corruption, and among them it says:
“Being slaves of corruption they will not even call their corrupt ideas, habits and actions as evil and will finally perish in their own corruption, depravity and bondage (2.Peter 2-19)
Rig-Veda (1-104-3) refers to corruption as “misappropriation of public funds, taking bribe for money belonging to the state and trusts and when the individual’s action results in the reduction of state revenue or the revenue of the institution where he or she is a trustee.”
Indubitably, Islam – the religion Malays profess – promotes high morality and denounces bribery and corruption for the benefit of humankind. Furthermore, Islamic teachings oblige all Muslims to enjoin justice and good deeds, and to oppose bribery, corruption and abuse of power. Islam in essence advocates social justice to all and sundry and abhor individuals that when given the role to govern abuse their rights at the expense of the wellbeing of the masses.
Using Islam merely to achieve their political goals
UMNO would not stop chanting to the poor Malays that they are the only “shield” that could defend Islam in this country when in reality they are embroiled in corruption – a debauchery that is evidently espoused in the Quran. The Malays seldom hear religious figures under UMNO’s payroll talk on bribery and corruption or give constructive counselling to UMNO leaders and cronies who are involved in this scourge. They are more programmed to sing praises for UMNO even when their conscience tells them that it is irreligious to remain silent in the face of immorality.
UMNO and its supporters cannot claim to be the defender of Islam if bribery and corruption is overlooked but becomes an integral part its political system. UMNO is perceptibly using Islam to achieve their political goals. They have failed to rein in corruption and mere rhetoric on Islam is only to lull the less educated and poor Malays and make them loyal to them. This is feudalism working at its best.
However, the majority educated and truly religious Malays are cognisant of the fact that in the absence of awareness of the Creator and moral values, it will be a liability to the nation and its people in the long run. They are concerned that bribery and corruption if not cramped will destroy a nation and make it go insolvent.
A mere lip service
As Malaysia has already been declared as an “Islamic state” by UMNO, rightfully they should be seen as the advocate of Islamic ideals by becoming an exemplary model to the society. Unfortunately, it has not. PAS or Opposition bashing for UMNO’s own weaknesses and shortcomings is not the approach to prove that they are more Islamic than the other Malay-dominated political parties in the country. The Malays can always be represented by PAS or PKR in the absence of UMNO.
When UMNO has all the political clout to be more Islamic by virtue of them having power in governance of the country, they are not seriously into it for some self-serving reasons. UMNO has been known for its rhetoric on Islam – a mere a lip service to dupe and win over Malay votes. The truth is UMNO has been indifferent to venality causing corruption to creep into all levels of the society for the past 55 years.
Malaysia under UMNO has been perceived as corrupt to a serious level. UMNO has been perceived as a political entity that is not seriously engaged in fighting against corruption. Rampant bribery and corruption under UMNO has resulted in the country’s lower economic growth and increase in government borrowing internally and externally. This scary phenomenon has deterred investment in the country as businessmen consider corruption in the form of bribes as an additional tax – an extra burden on them.
The country’s fiscal debt
Malaysia's ranking on Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index (CPI) recently dashed to the 60th position, with a poor score of 4.3 in 2011. Besides fiscal debts of RM456.1 billion, the country has been lumbered with RM116.76 billion in contingent liability, spread between loans guaranteed as public debt at RM109.14 billion and off-shore loans at RM7.62 billion.
The country’s fiscal debt was RM146 billion in 2002, RM242 billion in 2006 and now RM456.1 billion at the end of 2011. This is an increase of almost 100 percent within the last five years. The loans taken by statutory bodies and corporatised entities rose to RM116.76 billion in 2011 from RM84.3 billion in 2009. These loans will have to be repaid with public funds should the borrowers default. In the event the RM116.76 billion could not be paid by statutory and corporatised bodies, the Federal government will be further saddled with debt.
The RM976.7 million public fund given to concessionaire Maju Holdings in the controversial sale of Kuala Lumpur-Putrajaya Highway (MEX) to EP Manufacturing Berhad has not been recovered. The write-off of RM589 million owed by former MAS chairman Tajudin Ramli to Danaharta despite being ordered to pay by the High Court in 2009 is another case in point. All these have incurred the wrath of the people.
Petronas had allocated RM431 billion to the government since its inception in 1974 – RM236 billion from the amount was given to the government between 2006 and 2009, during the premiership of Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. The government has failed to use the funds to generate new sources of income. No one knows, except for a few UMNO leaders, where all the money has gone to.
A RM12 billion dent
UMNO gave the nation a RM12 billion dent thanks to the corrupt and conspiratorial ways of its politicians who ran the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ). The National Feedlot Corporation (NFC) is hit by scandals and another RM250million will be put to waste. Lack of integrity among UMNO politicians have caused the country billions of ringgit – from bribery, dishonesty, cronyism, incompetence, lack of transparency, corruption, bailouts, non-performing loans, over spending of taxpayer’s hard-earned money and to the raping and tearing of the forests for timber by those politically connected.
In the past 10 years, Malaysia has lost a shocking RM1.08 trillion (US$338 billion) in illicit outflows - the fourth highest in the developing world. If this illicit outflow of money were an indication of the scale of corruption then Malaysia must have the most corrupt set of leaders in Southeast Asia, who are also the 4th most corrupt in the world – “stockpiling” what they have pillaged overseas.
The Global Financial Integrity (GFI) reported in January that RM930 billion flowed out of Malaysia from 2000 to 2008, growing to RM218 billion per year from an initial RM71 billion in that period. Malaysia lost RM150 billion in illicit outflows in 2009.
UMNO prefers to remain silent on all these issues for fear that they will lose power if all those scoundrels and miscreants involved are hunted down and hauled to court. With UMNO’s indifference in attitude, corruption has hit every sphere of Malaysian life and in the equation here corruption is affecting the poor Malaysians most.
Majority suffer in poverty
When many efficient governments in developed and developing countries are seriously engaged in wars against corruption UMNO is dragging its feet to do the same. Corruption has caused illegal gains of wealth at the expense of the nation and its people. It has made a few become rich and the silent majority suffer in poverty.
Widespread corruption under UMNO has adversely affected the Malaysian economy in many ways. It has reduced government revenues that can be used for better use for infrastructure development. It has also increased poverty in the country and left the poor with less government expenditure on public goods and higher tax burden.
Thus, Islam to UMNO has only become a convenient vehicle to delude the poor Malays into supporting them in elections. The gist of Islam has never been part of UMNO’s psyche, only the form of Islam is exploited for political gains. In other words, UMNO has not adopted Islam as the way of governance to check on bribery and corruption that is affecting the poor.
With bribery and corruption rearing its hideous head, UMNO has been unmindful of the need to emphasise on accountability to ensure fairness, honesty, equity, justice and efficiency in governance. Accountability is another fundamental value in Islamic teachings. And this value is so universal in nature that the menace of bribery and corruption can be accordingly cramped if it is sincerely subscribed to by Muslims and non-Muslims in the country.
UMNO has failed to make the poor Malays understand this point: In Islam, there is no immunity against evil deeds, that all forms of injustice are against the religion and there must be complete accountability in governance. Unfortunately, UMNO’s approach to politics is stale and fossilised. For this reason, the party that takes over UMNO would have to promote a much more congenial environment to discard cronyism and monopoly, promote a healthy competition, simplify policymaking and the delivery system and increase the people’s awareness on the needs for competence, accountability and transparency (CAT) in governance in order to stamp out bribery and corruption.
UMNO is spreading a materialistic spirit
UMNO is actually spreading a materialistic spirit that keeps on breeding corruption and this has damaged the ingenious and healthy entrepreneurial spirit of the Malays. More's the pity, under UMNO the economies are oftentimes tainted by political manipulation.
It is true that Islam encourages private enterprise, but Islam at the same time emphasises a leading and effective public sector that is free of bribery and corrupt practices. Islam is for good and effective governance, which protects the weak and controls the strong. Without a trustworthy public sector and dependable politicians the weak are left prey to the whims of the profit-oriented entrepreneurs.
Islam seeks social justice for all – Muslims and non-Muslims. Why must UMNO make the Malays fear PAS then? PAS brand of Islam is not alike those practised in the wild terrains of some backward Muslim countries. Unfortunately, Islamic values are not even appreciated by UMNO. For instance, the country has a surplus of zakat money but the money is kept within the wealthy organisations and not carried to the underprivileged and the needy. As a consequence, the majority of Malays have remained poor at the expense of the rich for the past almost six decades.
Rational religious leaders in UMNO are supposed to address social problems and raise their voices against injustice, the corrupt government and red-tape practices but, regrettably, they prefer to remain silent and not to engage in these “sensitive” elements for fear that they will be reproached.
Divergent to Islamic edicts and precepts, UMNO just cannot accept plurality in politics; agree to take a two-party system, practice free and honest elections, build an independent judiciary system, anti-corruption body and the Police. UMNO has failed to open the door for free press, fair media coverage and dissemination of information and transparency in their delivery system.
UMNO has failed the poor Malays
Bribery and corruption in the country has led to lower economic growth. A few corrupt leaders and their cronies in the present generation are going to enjoy more than needed, while future generations will be left with nothing.
Islam to UMNO, for that matter, is only a gizmo to lull the poor Malays that all is honky dory with the government. UMNO does not seem to subscribe to the basis of Islamic value in assuring accountability of those cronies given huge government projects, fighting corruption and financial leakages. UMNO does not seem to have the moral courage to make use of their political power to rein in all the corrupt individuals. UMNO has also failed to inculcate in its governance the elements of honesty and integrity. UMNO seems not to know that Islam is totally repugnant to bribery and corruption. UMNO has thus failed to take a spiritual approach to stop the blight that is destroying the country.
What more, UMNO has speciously, or to all appearances, claimed to the poor Malays that they are the saviour of Islam. If truth be told, UMNO has failed the poor Malays.
Malaysia Chronicle

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dr.Jeffry Kitingan is a Christian Kadazan from Sabah. But is he in favor of Bersih 3.0 or not? He is either pro-Bersih 3.0 or anti-Bersih 3.0. If you are pro-Bersih 3.0, then you are not anti-Bersih 3.0. If you are anti-Bersih 3.0, then you are not pro-Bersih 3.0. I do have a lot of respect for Dr.Jeffry Kitingan, but on this important moment in history, he and other Sabahans and Sarawakians must make a clear unambiguous public stand. I think the Malaysian citizens need to know.

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The UMNO government agreed to set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on the large presence of illegal foreigners in Sabah and the widespread issuance of Malaysian Mykads and identification documents. But UMNO has yet to do something concrete. UMNO has to do something concrete before the General Elections(GE13). Starting the RCI work after the GE13 is a joke.

The Hindu Malaysians have the same problem. There is a UMNO minister who asked the Hindu Malaysians to have "nambikei" in UMNO. The word "nambikei" means "faith" in Tamil language. The reality is that due cronyism and favoritism, most Hindu Malaysians were sidelined. Now an UMNO Minister is asking Hindu Malaysians to put faith in him. It means that if the Hindu Malaysians vote for UMNO in GE13, then UMNO will respond by helping to uplift the Hindu Malaysians out of poverty. But faith can be given to the Almighty, not human beings because human beings do err all the time. It is dangerous to put faith in human beings because they may betray you too. What Hindu Malaysians need is equal rights and meritocracy.

At some point in time Sabahans must draw the line somewhere. Waiting for GE13 to be over before the RCI can do what they should do may not be a good idea. Any way, its up to Sabahans to decide. Should the RCI do its work before GE13 or after GE13 is the burning question. If the Sabahans continue to tolerate and have faith in UMNO, then it is their own problem. It is for Sabahans to wise up. It is for Sabahans to realize that they have been shortchanged. It is for Sabahans to decide their own future. Sabahans cannot and should not wait and wait for the RCI to do its work. I say that the RCI should do its work before GE13; and this should be the ultimatum. I say that RCI should complete its work before GE13; and this should be the ultimatum. I say that RCI starting its work before GE13 is insufficient. Starting its work and completing its work are not the same. Starting is only starting. Starting and completing are different. Sabahans have waited too long for RCI. There should be no more delays. The RCI must complete and finish its work before GE13. RCI must complete and finish its work to the satisfaction of the Sabahans before the GE13. It is important that the Sabahans be satisfied with findings of the RCI before the GE13 is held. This should be the ultimatum.

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The political history of Malaysia can be divided into two chapters: that is, chapter one and chapter two. Chapter One is about UMNO rule with a 2/3 majority in Parliament. Chapter Two is about UMNO rule without a 2/3 majority in Parliament. We are now in Chapter Two. The beginning of Chapter Two is the end of Chapter One. Similarly, the end of Chapter One is the beginning of Chapter Two.

Chapter One had its social, political, and economic implications for the nation. Chapter Two has just begun and its social, political, and economic changes are something we have to wait and see.

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