18 Feb 2013

‘Money Politics’ – How It Corrupts Society Top Downwards

‘Money Politics’ – How It Corrupts Society Top Downwards

This post is also available in: Iban, Malay

DAP’s Leon Donald comforts Ho Tiong Hwa – The Borneo Post broke the story, but refrained from mentioning the YB concerned.

The pernicious influence of so-called ‘Money Politics’ in Sarawak has been fully exposed by the terrible story this week about how a secretary to the SUPP Minister, Francis Harden ak Holles, ruthlessly stole the small state allowance of a badly disabled constituent.

The cruel and greedy woman had told Ho Tiong Hwa, from Jalan Kapitan, Sri Aman that his payment had been discontinued just a few weeks after it was awarded.

But the evidence then shows that this Mdm Ling, who has worked for Harden for years and is a member of the Womans Section of the SUPP, secretly set up a bank account so that she could receive it herself.

The modest allowance was only RM250 a month, but over the years it amounted to over RM26,000 that the clerk had stolen from a disabled man.

All the world can agree over what a disgusting and disgraceful act this was and the fear remains that Ho may well turn out to have just been one of many victims of this lowliest of thieves, who is known for her lavish lifestyle.

Yet even though the bank involved caught Mrs Ling red-handed through its CTV records, showing her at their ATM withdrawing Ho’s allowance, the police are yet to take action on this worrying case.

Are we again seeing the corruption of the once proud forces of law and order through the impact of BN’s money politics? DAP’s Leon Donald has now demanded that a full investigation is undergone and is seeking legal advice for Ho and his family.

You can have half back!

I am offering half what my secretary stole from you – YB Francis Harden

SUPP’s actions after the story came out tells you all you need to know about greedy BN.

Instead of reporting the matter immediately to the police, a panicking YB Francis Harden spent the whole of yesterday attempting to cut a deal with the family of the disabled Mr Ho and bring the scandal to an end.

So, when he got hold of the family what did he offer to do? It turns out he offered to pay back HALF of the amount that his secretary had stolen!

This, its seems, was his idea of a settlement to bring the matter to a close.

Leon Donald told Radio Free Sarawak that the offer almost made him fall off his chair:

“You don’t take money from a disabled person and offer to pay him back half of that!“, the opposition campaigner told the Radio Station in an interview that will be broadcast tomorrow.

Of course, this is by no means the first example of appalling abuse of disabled people by BN politicians in the area.  It seems these YBs forget that people have a right to their state aid and that is is the job of their political representatives to help them get it.

Another BN YB for the area, PRS’s Mong Dagang has already shown his own cruelty towards the disabled

Mong Dagang, also a YB in Sri Aman, was likewise recently exposed for cutting off the allowance of Frusis Lebi, who suffers deformed hands and feet, for the sole reason that Frusis had exercised his right to support the opposition party!

If the likes of Mong Dagang and Francis Harden hold the poor and disabled in such contempt, how can we expect any better from their employees?

In fact the secretary was following the attitude of her ‘betters’ in more ways than one.  Because Sarawak Report has already revealed how YB Mong Dagang was also criminally exploiting his constituents in Sri Aman over the grabbing of their NCR lands.

We exposed how Mong first forced his constituents into a major joint venture, taking their native customary lands in return for promises of a fair share of the profits.

Then he exploited his political position to demand kickbacks on the ‘Joint Venture’, ordering that anyone bidding for the land should pay over RM1,000 per acre to a company owned by his own wife, the brother of his political PRS boss James Masing and also the wife of the new PRS candidate for Hulu Rajang, Wilson Ugat (Masing’s own secretary at the time)!

Deformed victim, Frusis Lebi, whom Mong Dagang demanded should lose his allowance because he supported PR

That company was laughably called Noble Rewards Sdn Bhd and we calculate that the three BN politicians were hoping to make up to RM70million out of cheating their constituents in this way.

The fish rots from the head down

So when BN bosses are prepared to commit such acts and show such arrogance towards the disabled, it is hardly surprising that clerks and secretaries try their own meaner version of the same behaviour.

After all, despite all our evidence, none of the three PRS/BN politicians caught up in the scandal over Noble Rewards have been arrested, investigated or held to account by their own party or BN itself.

So, little surprise that Mrs Ling set about cheating poor Ho Tiong Hwa, who had come to her YB’s office to ask for advice and welfare support, as if it was quite the normal thing to do and something she would surely get away with.

The ancient proverb about corruption is that, like a fish, it rots society from the head down.

So, in turn consider how YB Dagang’s boss, the PRS leader James Masing, was himself up to his own neck in the corruption of the company Noble Rewards.

If James had been an honest party leader then he would not have abused his position as Minister for Land Development to force the acquisition of native lands, so he and his fellow politicians could demand kickbacks from the joint venture partners.

Likewise, Francis Harden’s former SUPP boss George Chan was also up to his eyes in similar graft at the expense of his people.  As Deputy Chief Minister and Health Minister he passed the whole contract for equipment purchases for Sarawak’s new Heart Hospital to a company owned by his youthful and unqualified girlfriend!

Corruption from above – PRS Chief James Masing stood to gain from Noble Rewards through his brother

At least George Chan was punished by his own constituents who voted him out at the State Election in 2011!

But, we should take this theme of top down corruption one crucial step further.  The head of BN in Sarawak is of course the Chief Minister himself Taib Mahmud.  Taib controls his political supporters by involving them in all this corruption at the expense of his people.

Between them, Taib and his cronies have taken Sarawak’s forests and snatched the lion share of the profits.

After taking the forests Taib has taken the native lands for oil palm. Meanwhile, the people remain poor and the money has disappeared.

So with such a greedy and callous man at the top it is hardly surprising that James Masing set about cheating his own constituents and so the corruption goes on downwards, through YBs and headmen until even the secretary Mrs Ling started seeking her own way to use the system of “Money Politics” to exploit a poor disabled man.

Blight of ‘Money Politics’

A British political commentator, Mathew Paris, was recently invited on BBC radio to explain why people in the UK go into politics.  A former politician himself, Paris was not over complimentary.  He spoke of attention-seeking and risk-taking personalities, but also hinted at a noble calling to do some good.

Significantly however, he started by saying “Nobody goes into politics for the money, because there is no money to be made in politics”.  He was of course talking about Britain and not Malaysia and BN’s famous ‘Money Politics’.

Note the enormous emerald ring – how did he afford it after 30 years on RM12,000 a month?

In the UK and many other similar democratic countries, it is rightly regarded as a disgusting crime for politicians to abuse their position to make money out of the people.

One recent British scandal revealed some MPs had fiddled their expenses to make a few thousand ringgit and they ended up in jail.

This was nothing like the scale of corruption carried out by Taib and other BN politicians. Such graft as occurs in Sarawak would attract long sentences after an immense scandal.

In Sarawak under Taib Mahmud the MAIN reason for going into politics is to make money by cheating the people.

Greedy personalities are attracted into politics for the very reason that they can hope to make millions out of grabbing money that was meant to be used to build roads, bring electricity, help children go to school and provide  medical attention for the sick and take it for themselves.

Flimsy barriers – but graft not safety was at the top of Taib’s list of priorities when he awarded this project to his sister.

Look at the current scandal of Kuching’s new sewerage works.  A man died just last week driving into the flimsy barriers protecting an immense hole – the third such accident.

The inadequate safety measures are hardly surprising when you consider that the Chief Minister originally awarded the contract to none other than his own greedy sister, Raziah, who then took a huge RM78 million of the money for herself before passing the project on to sub-contractors.

In Malaysia this is what is known as “money politics”.  The rest of the world calls it corruption and everybody suffers from it except the grasping and criminal politicians themselves.

The opposition parties have pledged to get rid of ‘money politics’ and voters would do well to punish BN’s callous cheats by voting for change and getting rid of YBs who offer to pay back to a disabled person just half what his secretary stole.