UMNO has never fully trusted their non-Malay cronies who have been supporting their top leaders financially for the past decades.
When they failed to get enough Chinese support in the 13th General Election or GE-13, UMNO leaders put the blame on these tycoons for not doing enough to persuade the Chinese to vote for BN despite the fact that these people were not politicians and thus not responsible, unlike those in the MCA and Gerakan.
UMNO had also hoped that super-rich Malays, such as Halim Saad, Tajuddin Ramli, Shahril and Shahriman Shamsuddin, Azman Hashim, Ahmayuddin Ahmad, Abdul Hamed Sapawi, Aleena Azlan Shah, and the richest of them all, Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary, all of whom they had helped ‘create’ and have been propping up would also be helpful in funding election campaigns or whenever funds are needed.
But unfortunately these ‘richos’ have not contributed as expected. You can’t really blame them for the UMNO middle and higher levels can never have enough. They would wear out even Bill Gates’ wallet. Moreover the UMNO ‘clan’ have their factions to support. It is no wonder that once having made their pile, the UMNO tycoons are usually safely out of the country where they cannot be accessed with ease.
So having learned this lesson through the decades, the top UMNO leaders have come to rely on their own family members. They have to enrich their own close family members and relatives; trust their own.
Not only is blood thicker than water, but when you can have all of it, why should you give up even a small portion to others?
Despite denying any role in making it possible for their close family members to get rich quickly, the fact is that that many UMNO leaders and their close family members are filthy rich. With a capital F. And this trend has long been entrenched. Now, how can this be if there is no ‘extra’ help from those family members in political power?
Daim Zainudin the ex-finance minister during the Mahathir Mohamad era owns several banks both locally and overseas especially in the African countries. Of course there are also lots of properties and other investments that he owns but then he was specially placed, so to speak. He was the UMNO treasurer and was entrusted to take care of UMNO funds, which have since been mysteriously depleted.
Till today, this ‘mystery’ of the suddenly vaporizing UMNO funds has never been officially uncovered. Rumors and whispers of course abound. Daim still lies low with his huge and perhaps even un-quantifiable wealth.
Musa Hitam, one of the more outstanding deputy prime ministers until he was outshone by Anwar Ibrahim, has been contented with what he has. Some say he had the opportunity to ‘scoop’ more when he was the chairman of Sime Darby.True or not, Musa still retains a reputation that on the balance is positive.
Another Umno stalwart Isa Samad is continuing to enrich himself and some say on behalf of his benefactor – Prime Minister Najib Razak. After all, Najib was the one who appointed Isa the chairman of Felda and gave him a key role in overseeing the plantation giant’s record-breaking IPO.
Kelantan prince Tengku Razaleigh also had his share and has been able to develop his constituency in Gua Musang almost single-handedly.
No wonder, Umno women’s chief Shahrizat Jalil ‘complained and momplained’ when her family was hauled up over a measly RM250 million in the NFC scandal.
In the 1990s, Shahrizat’s mentor Rafidah Aziz denied and protested until her face probably turned red that there was anything improper about her son-in-law Fazrin Azwar getting 1.5 million special ‘bumiputra’ shares from pubic-listed company Leader Universal Holdings Berhad.
But then again, Rafidah also denied being involved in giving out APs or authorized permits for motor vehicles unscrupulously when she was the International Trade minister.
Mahathir towers above them all
Now, it is apparent for all to see that Mahathir’s sons are also making it big. Really BIG.
His son, Mokhzani is Malaysia’s 15th richest man with a US$980 million (RM3.2 billion) fortune, according to Forbes magazine. Mokhzani has so much cash he may take over PetOne through his private firm Kencana Capital Sdn Bhd.
Another son, Mirzan is a board member of Petron Corporation, which is controlled by San Miguel Corporation, a huge conglomerate from the Philippines.
Mahathir himself is wealthy enough not to be envious of Daim’s fortune. Last year, Mahathir was exposed on Wikipedia to be worth an estimated US$44 billion. That works out to be a staggering RM132 billion!
No wonder, the economists say our national debt is so eerily high.
Pak Lah the so-called ‘Mr Clean’
As for Mahathir’s immediate successor, Abdullah Badawi, well Pak Lah started out his premiership known as Mr Clean. Now no one would ever call him that again.
Pak Lah’s son and son-in-law were accused of helping themselves and the overly eager-beaver speed at which they excavated the national fault was said to be one of the reasons why Mahathir – perhaps alarmed that there might nothing left for his sons – decided to topple Pak Lah.
Pak Lah’s brother Ibrahim, who is the executive chairman and majority shareholder of Brahim’s Holding Bhd, also had substantial interest in LSG Skychef Brahim’s Sdn Bhd, formerly known as MAS Catering Sdn Bhd. MAS Catering is of course the firm at the center of a notorious corruption scandal involving former MAS chief Tajudin Ramli.
Pak Lah’s own son Kamaluddin has a controlling share in oil-and-gas services group Scomi, which gets contracts from GLCs including Petronas to beef up its revenue.
Son-in-law Khairy Jamaluddin also managed to ‘scoop’ when Pak Lah was in power. Although Khairy denies it, he has never been able to satisfactorily explain why he was called Malaysia’s richest unemployed 30-something by Opposition politician Lim Kit Siang.
Now, that was when Khairy had been left out of the Cabinet on Mahathir’s insistence. But the power equation has changed and is still in a flux. Khairy is now the Youth & Sports minister and was among the first to denounce the fraud uncovered by the 2012 Auditor-General’s report. No wonder, his call was immediately met with reciprocal challenges on whether he would be able to keep his ministry and his own hands clean!
Najib enjoying the view from the driver’s seat
Definitely, Prime Minister Najib Razak is not to be left behind in the race for a seat on the UMNO gravy train. As PM, he gets to sit in the driver’s seat as did Mahathir and Pak Lah during their time.
Najib’s sons too have made headlines in acquiring shares and business deals. Mohd Nazifudin, his son with his first wife, is on the board of directors at Harvest Court Industries Bhd.
Only 20-something, Nazifudin is also the chairman of Sagajuta (Sabah) Sdn Bhd, the company that developed 1 Borneo Mall in Kota Kinabalu. He was also recently reported to have bought a controlling stake of 20.76 per cent in paint manufacturer, Sersol Bhd.
Najib’s step son Riz Aziz (First Lady Rosmah Mansor’s son from her first marriage) too has been in the news for his connection to flamboyant boy-billionaire Jho Low. The pair have been accused of conceptualizing controversial investment fund 1MDB, which Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim has described as a political ‘slush fund’.
Then there is Najib’s own brother Nazir, who is the boss of Malaysia’s top investment bank CIMB! The list never ends. No wonder, international jewelers are only too happy to send over multi-million ringgit diamond rings for Rosmah and her own set of women cronies to admire and consider for purchase.
Front-men no longer needed, open free-for-all corruption
Yet all that is not enough.
Because UMNO is plagued with “stupid” people, as Mahathir – the founder of UMNO Baru himself - claimed a week ago, its leaders have no other alternative but to stay in power. Otherwise their vicious circle might come to a sudden halt and everyone shaken off their beloved gravy train.
The only way to ensure that is to have more and more money to throw out to their supporters. Only this way can the UMNO ‘wheel of life’ continue to churn with their unscrupulous activities, greed, lust, corruption, crimes, scandals, backstabbing and betrayal. It is a real life drama.
Now that UMNO leaders are riding high on the claim they had got the ‘majority’ support from the Malays in the GE-13, they no longer even bother to hide their robbery.
Even if the statistics may show that it is not true they had obtained more Malay support than the Opposition, UMNO leaders are still rushing to claim this. In fact, they are only too happy to ride on that justification, whether true or false, so as to be able to plunder and pillage some more.
In the past, they tried to hide behind front-men or keep a low profile. That spawned the likes of the Daim Boys, the Syed Mokhtars, Ananda Krishnans and Vincent Tans.
But nowadays, UMNO leaders have no qualms exposing to the whole world which of them owns what, where and how much too! If you disagree, well there is the newly hammered-in Prevention of Crime Act, and with that legislation in hand, they can imprison anyone forever.
Shallow, short-sighted and centered on handouts
While the country is nearing bankruptcy and more Malaysians especially the Malays are getting poorer, there is no real and sustainable effort to eradicate poverty. Najib’s only solution, the cash aid BR1M, is like his entire policy-making – shallow and centered on handouts.
BR1M is like giving the poor a fish to eat for the day but not the fishing rod that would allow them to catch their own fish to eat for a lifetime.
As for the recently announced scheme, BEE, that gives only the Malays and indigenous people special economic aide but not the other citizens, this apartheid policy was welcomed by almost every UMNO leader as it will guarantee more wealth-making opportunities for themselves.
You can bet after the UMNO election is over, once the dust has settled down, the money-making scandals will start all over again and with a vengeance.
Gravy train may turn turtle
UMNO leaders know time’s up.
Even though Mahathir said the Malays are “stupid” and while it is true they may be fooled by UMNO’s race-championing politics, sooner or later change will still come to Malaysia.
Already many are saying the 14th general election will belong to Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim and the Pakatan Rakyat coalition.
However, much more perilous than the Opposition is the economic disaster that faces an UMNO-led Malaysia. All it takes is just a small disruption in the global system and Malaysia will go through a major breakdown.
The country’s resources have been stretched too taut and thin by the massive snatch-and-grab corruption of the UMNO gravy train. Malaysia is now highly susceptible to economic disaster. Just like how a common cold can turn into fatal pneumonia on a weakened body.
When that happens, the UMNO gravy train will finally screech to a halt. It might even turn turtle! Guess who will be hurt the most when that happens?
Yes, it will be the man on the street, the poor folk of all races but especially the Malays, because they form the largest proportion of the population. You see, the wealth salted away by the UMNO ‘elite’ is already overseas. The robbers are safe but not their victims – and that’s you and me!
Still want to vote for UMNO? No wonder Mahathir says the Malays in UMNO are stupid!