Malaysiakini : COMMENT | Is Hishammuddin Hussein
suffering delusions of grandeur? Does his role as a former defence
minister warrant special protection to be extended to his life as an
ordinary 'Mat Malaysia' after the 14th general election?
One dreads to think what will happen to pampered pooches like
Hishammuddin, his cousin Najib Abdul Razak, the self-styled former
'First Lady of Malaysia' Rosmah Mansor, and a host of other infamous
former Umno-Baru bigwigs, who will face the music when investigations
into their allegations of abuse of power are completed. As I travelled up and down the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia,
speaking to various people about life under the new Pakatan Harapan
administration, Malaysians mentioned three things, which they claim they
could not live without. These are smartphones, cars and cheap makan.
These three comprise some of life’s small luxuries, but what will
happen to the people who have become so used to having power and wealth
that they cannot live without the trappings of power?
The answer is simple. Unlike you and I, who try and make do as best
as we can, these people cannot do without, and they will just continue
as before. Hishamuddin simply carried on as normal, with three serving military
officers acting as personal bodyguards. Two are attached to the navy’s
special operation forces (Paskal) and one is a commando.
Why does he need protection? Are people who are linked to Umno-Baru
fearful of the Malaysian public? Najib’s former confidante, Abdul Razak
Baginda (photo), of Altantuya Shaariibuu and Scorpene infamy, is alleged to be protected by two bodyguards, wherever he goes.
When caught with his pants down, Hishammuddin claimed that the arrangement was only temporary. He tried to justify their service, with the claim that the men had become “close to him and his family.”
Wouldn’t it be nice for some of us, who struck up a friendship with
our former employers, to resign, and then earn some money on the side
from our former bosses? Does personal and professional integrity mean
nothing in Malaysia? Do the three men realise that they are in breach of contract, and
creating a conflict of interest, as they are serving members of the
Hishammuddin claims to be “close” to the three men. If they are privy
to information in the Defence Ministry, what is to stop them from
divulging sensitive secrets to him? We are aware that many of Najib’s former allies would like to see a
return to Umno-Baru rule, and one way would be to sabotage Defence
Minister Mohamad Sabu’s performance.
Remember the Profumo scandal?
Does anyone recall the Profumo scandal, which took place in England
in the 1960s? A government minister was bedding the same
model-cum-cabaret dancer whose lover was the military attaché in the
Nuclear secrets were allegedly leaked from John Profumo to the
mistress, who then shared pillow-talk with the Russian attaché. This
scandal, at the height of the Cold War, sparked off national security
concerns in Britain.
No-one is suggesting that there is any sexual impropriety in
Hishammuddin’s current arrangement, or that he has ties with a foreign
country. However, someone in his position could have been easily
compromised. Remember Najib’s “cash is king” statement? What about the three military men? Do their loyalties lie with Hishammuddin or with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong?
Hishammuddin’s escort service compromises national security. Will he
be able to source inside information from his three bodyguards who can
move freely within the Defence Ministry? What level of security
clearance do they have? What information can they access?
The escorts were paid by both Hishammuddin and the armed forces. If
they are serving armed forces personnel, why would Hishammuddin pay them
for working full-time with him? Did the men lie, and claim they were
jobless after GE14, or are all four involved in a deliberate scam, for
reasons known only to themselves?
Hishammuddin claimed that the arrangement was temporary. Is he
engineering a face-saving gesture on behalf of the three men? Perhaps, a
court-martial will reveal the sordid details. The three men should be
stripped off their pension and given a dishonourable discharge to deter
other would be scoundrels from tricking the Malaysian taxpayers.
The former minister should have known better. Perhaps, he should be
severely penalised, so that others who wish to plant moles in government
departments will be deterred. Why did it take many weeks for this exposé to come to light? Was the
photograph of the commando with Hishammuddin the cause of the
revelation, or did other tongues wag within the military? Some heads in
the ministry should roll.
It appears that thorough investigations may have to be made in other
ministries as well, to find the members of the fifth columns who will
use every trick in the book to destabilise the Harapan government.