In Malaysia ‘semua boleh’ – everything is possible

It seems we have a freshly-baked scandal in Malaysia. This time, it is about the littoral combat ship project (LCS), which was ordered for the defence of our nation.

News broke a week ago that apparently the defence ministry and Boustead Naval Shipyard (BNS), a private contractor appointed for this order, had ignored the Royal Malaysian Navy’s assessments on the appropriate class of ships for this LCS project. The deal has now morphed into the LCS scandal.

The agreement was inked in 2011, and the government paid out over RM6 billion for the project then, which was given to BNS through direct negotiations. Yet, 11 years on, there is not one ship in sight.-

So once again, Malaysians are confronted with baffling question marks as to the integrity and transparency of this project, because there are allegations that intermediary “dummy companies” could have been used to unlawfully “take a hefty chunk” from this deal.

Our blessed Malaysia is now infamous worldwide for its atrocious governance which has resulted in many more billions of public funds vanishing.

Although numerous checks, balances and audit processes are there within the structure of our national public spending, which have been put in place to prevent corruption and abuse, in Malaysia obviously “semua boleh” – everything is possible.

Ironically, Malaysia seems to be the land of infinite possibilities. It is possible to make RM6 billion vanish into thin air with nothing to show for, while our current and former ministers blow hot air about the chronology of events.

Machiavellian leaders dominate our nation

These fellows manipulate everything, and focus all their efforts on achieving their own personal goals, using any means necessary. Cheating, bending or breaking the rules seem to have no ethical consequences to them.

They hurt others, if they think it would be beneficial to themselves and their agenda. They easily switch between working with people, to then betraying the very same persons to achieve their own objectives.

Sounds familiar? This is our blessed Malaysia.

Many Malaysian politicians have taken Niccolò Machiavelli’s words to heart. According to Machiavelli, principles and ethics are for the weak. He says that if you want power, you must lie, cheat and deceive others. Morality, goodness and compassion are all nice ideas, but one has to do what it takes to survive, and succeed.

Politicians and leaders from the Machiavelli school of thought now dominate Malaysia. They are emotionless, self-centred and calculative in their approach to everything.

Typifying this is our erstwhile prime minister, who incidentally was helming the nation at the genesis of the LCS scandal.

Today, even though convicted, sentenced and awaiting final appeal, he is a massive superstar on social media. His Facebook page has garnered 4.6 million followers, the highest of any politician in “boleh-land”.

This man has an opinion about all and sundry, including Manchester United football club’s fortunes for the season. He opines on a staggeringly regular basis, and his sycophants cheer him on gleefully.

But, isn’t integrity non-negotiable? So why do we keep getting seduced by leaders without integrity? Why do we fall for the same players with the same narratives again and again?

Why don’t we change as a nation, bite the bullet and really be done with all these Machiavellian types who create scandal after scandal? Really, what have we got to lose that we haven’t lost already?

In the eyes of the world, we are already the epicentre of corruption.

Is it not appropriate at this point in our history that we dump the politicians who have messed us up? Why can’t we focus on looking for Malaysians who have a track record of being exemplary at their work or professions, and who are now solely interested in serving the people?

If we don’t clean up the political landscape, who will?

Malaysians cannot wait for a knight in shining armour to rescue us. In my five decades of being Malaysian, there were many politicians that the citizens thought would “clean-up”, but instead they swiftly “cleaned-out” our coffers.

To be frank, we have to be open to new faces and new ideas. Our nation will not get anywhere if we continue to be fearful, and cling on to these old players. They have time and again shown their true colours when the chips are down.

If we don’t act soon and decisively as a citizenry, the LCS scandal will simply be repeated over and over again until our nation has to stand with a begging bowl in front of global moneylenders, when we could have and should have saved ourselves.

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