READING Robert Kuok’s account of Malaysian leaders of a bygone era, one anecdote stood out.
The anecdote shows how far our current leaders have fallen in integrity, accountability, honesty and sense of responsibility for the country.
In his memoir, Kuok recalls an incident of former Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman writing to then Finance Minister (Tun) Tan Siew Sin to tell the tax department to go easy on a poker buddy.
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Tun Tan Siew Sin with Malaysia’s Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman. Both were men of integrity who served Malaysia with distinction.
Tan was so upset at being asked to intervene and bend the rules that he marched into the office of Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman.
Dr Ismail’s advice was brilliant. He told his cabinet colleague that Tunku Abdul Rahman had done his friend a favour by writing the letter. Now Siew Sin had to do the country a favour by doing his job.
And yes, Dr Ismail also crumpled up the letter and threw it into the waste bin.
These men were the nation’s true trustees.
There wouldn’t have been the BMF and Perwaja Steel scandals, and most certainly, the biggest act of kleptocracy in the world would never have been allowed to happen.
If the PM or UMNO chieftains of the day had tried to propose a shady deal, they would have spoken up against it. What a contrast to the crop of today.
Cronyism. Nepotism. Every “ism” that the leaders of the bygone era fought against has infected the leadership of the country, from top to bottom. But even sadder is that unlike the towering giants of the past, we now are surrounded by champions of mediocrity.
Not for them the integrity and honesty of their predecessors. They prefer to attend to the more immediate need of short-term electoral gains to stay in power at any cost.
Cronies and acolytes are a must, in the interests of development and to ensure the race and religion remain supreme.
That it is lip service is of no concern to those who preach that the end justifies the means. People may remain poor decades after Merdeka but they are fed hope while cronies scoop up the contracts and concessions.
Why is the Penang-born Arab still at large? Because he is a Najib crony who knows too much about his patron, MO1
Will anyone in government stand up to such blatant abuse of their mandate? Will any blow the whistle on those who abuse their power?
The long answer is, no way for sure. The short answer, d’uh. It will never happen and the few who dared to say yes have been sacked and punished.
The simple fact is, Kuok is talking of a time in Malaysia that is long gone. And will never return again.