Friday, April 12, 2013

Apathy and change ― The Malaysian Insider

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Apathy and change ― The Malaysian Insider

April 12, 2013
APRIL 12 ― There’s an old wives’ tale about the boiled frog. That a frog would get used to water that is slowly boiled and die without trying to escape. It isn’t true but it illustrates how people can slowly get used to changes without realising it.

This holds true in some parts of Malaysia, especially politicians who tell us to stick to the status quo and warn us of chaos if there is change, just like what caretaker Sabah chief minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman cautioned Malaysians last night against voting for the opposition in Election 2013.

“Don’t try to experiment,” Musa told a thousand-strong cheering crowd at the launch of the Barisan Nasional (BN) machinery in Penampang, Sabah.

“What can you hope for in the opposition? They talk about bad things, create trouble, chaos, Bersih 1, Bersih 2, for what?” he added.

It is no surprise that Musa would say all that, especially since the opposition and activists have been after him over several corruption cases.

He was linked to businessman Michael Chia, who was arrested at Hong Kong International Airport and charged with money laundering after attempting to smuggle S$16 million (RM40 million) back to Malaysia in 2008.

It was reported that Chia had at the time allegedly told Hong Kong authorities that the money belonged to Musa.

The Sarawak Report news portal also revealed documents allegedly from Hong Kong’s anti-graft agency, the ICAC, showing a Sabah lawyer was holding some US$30 million (RM93 million) in a Swiss bank account for Musa.

Earlier this month, the Reuters news agency reported that a Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) document showed Musa consistently signed off on concessions that exceeded, or even doubled, the allowable timber cut. While not illegal, it shows the state was exceeding its own guidelines on deforestation.

Some of the companies on that list made payments into a UBS corporate account belonging to a former Musa associate, bank statements on the account obtained by Reuters shows. From the same account, withdrawals were made by the associate to fund Musa’s sons who were studying in Australia, according to the statements.

Then there is the case of Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud who has thumbed his nose to the MACC, calling them “naughty” and “dishonest” for investigating him over a Global Witness video clip that alleged graft in the state’s timber industry.

Have we gotten so used to these cases that they do not even raise eyebrows anymore? Are we inured to such excesses that we listen still to these same politicians when they predict chaos if there are changes?

Fact is, what is more dangerous than Malaysians not exercising their right to vote is Malaysians not reacting to endemic and wanton corruption as well as excesses in system. Remember that, the next time a politician talks about keeping the status quo rather than moving towards a better Malaysia.

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