Malaysiakini : COMMENT | Growing up, children
are always inculcated with values and taught not to offend anyone's
feelings. "Don't speak ill of the dead" would be one of them. Even with
someone you despise for his or her deceit, hypocrisy and less
complementary qualities, the expressions and feelings are exposed in
soft murmurs upon his death. Often, praises are sung of the dead and the
departed irrespective of his or her not-so-savoury character.
Sometimes, even death is politicised. This week John McCain took his
fight with Donald Trump to the grave. He didn't want him anywhere near
his funeral. He argued that the US president's demeanour, populist style
and global outlook as antithetical to America's founding values and
Today, I don't intend to break that often-drilled value, but have
chosen to do some calculations and justifications in the interest of the
public. I am not passing any judgement; I am not casting any aspersions
on the dead or his family members; and I don't intend to touch on the
on-going dispute between family members.
The social media has gone on overdrive immediately after news that the estate
of former cabinet minister Jamaluddin Jarjis was worth RM2.1 billion. I
have no intention of joining the ranks of a few who have been rude and
crude. Instead, I will put the facts and figures that are available, for
the purposes of discussion.
The late minister was born in 1951 and was 64 at the time of a
helicopter crash in 2015 in which he died. We are told he qualified as
an engineer from the University of Manchester. Thereafter, he went for
postgraduate courses in a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering
and a PhD in Electrical Engineering (Power Systems) at University of
Manitoba and McGill University in Canada respectively.
Assuming he started work in the private sector in 1976 (at the tender
age of 25), he would have (as a young graduate at that time) earned
RM40,000 annually. But he joined Universiti Teknoloji Malaysia as an
academic, and for argument's sake, he was promoted and earned RM200,000 a
year. That was for a good 14 years before his venture into politics.
This meant he would have earned RM2.8 million.
He was first elected as MP for Rompin in 1990 and continued to serve
until his untimely death. Using RM16,000 (the latest salary for Mps) as a
base, he would have earned RM1.92 million. (The new salary for MPs was
effective 2015). He was also chairperson of Tenaga Nasional Berhad
(TNB). The company's annual reports show that for the years 2000 and
2001, the directors' emoluments and allowances totalled about RM1.5
million. With an average of 10 directors, and giving that Jamaluddin was
chairperson, a figure of RM300,000 per annum for his portion of the
emoluments and allowances would be fair.
He joined the cabinet in November 2004 and retired in March 2008,
making it 41 months as a minister. A generous salary and allowance of
RM60,000 per month would be over-generous with figures, but that makes
it RM2.46 million in total. (In contrast, I.Money.com, puts a minister's salary as
RM13,416 per month, and the MP's allowance at RM16,000 - making it a
grand total of RM352,992 per year.)
As an MP, he would also have been paid a monthly allowance of RM1,500
for entertainment; RM1,200 for a driver; RM1,500 for travel and RM900
for telephone expenses. This means MPs get a fixed monthly allowance of
RM5,100 each. Besides, the attendance allowance at Parliament sittings
is RM200 a day, and RM150 a day for government meetings.
Jamaluddin was the ambassador to the United States for three years
between 2009 and 2011.With all the perks, overseas allowance etc, he
would have earned RM2 million a month, making it a total of RM72
Let's assume that he saved three-quarters of his earning, and his
return on investment on his money (at 10%) would be about RM8 million.
I must declare that all these have been culled from various sources
and calculated, making generous provisions for errors. Putting all these
figures together, assuming even if he did not spend a sen from his
remunerations, his lifetime savings can be put at a ballpark figure of
Please don't accuse me of not being able to do simple arithmetic by
using a calculator. It is not necessary to work to the last decimal
Unless something is wrong
with the calculator on the PC, the figure of RM2.1 billion will
certainly miss the mark by a few zeros. You may find this mind-boggling
and you, the discerning reader, can come to your own conclusions.
R NADESWARAN says it is a family feud and Joe Public is only entitled
to watch it from the sidelines. Comments: firstname.lastname@example.org The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.