Allegations against Guan Eng – echoes from the past - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Thursday, June 04, 2020
Malaysiakini: “You are now seeing a new Malaysia that is passionate about
transparency, accountability, competency. This is a different Malaysia
from the global kleptocracy at its worst. This is a new Malaysia that wants to free itself from the past of corruption and abuse of power.” – Lim Guan Eng.
| Maybe some readers are too young to remember this but the rhetoric of
the “opposition” in the all or nothing days of the BN regime,
specifically when the old maverick was the grand poobah, was on the
issues of cronyism, abuse of power and conflicts of interest between the
plutocrat class and political operatives.
operatives had a field day pointing out numerous dubious relationships
between business tycoons and the political class, and people were first
shocked, but later became apathetic, by the bare-faced denials from the
Umno/MCA combo that dominated business and politics at the time.
get a feel of the kind of rhetoric and how the opposition viewed
corruption and conflict of interests read Kua Kia Soong’s piece "I would prefer Lim Kit Siang as attorney-general", a broadside against (then) oppositional politics which had embraced the old maverick.
allegation that Lim Guan Eng when he was finance minister during
Pakatan Harapan’s brief stint at the helm about facilitating with the
attorney-general (AG) on some sort of deal for a tycoon to unfreeze his
accounts points to the dysfunctional system that Harapan claimed it
wanted to correct.
Now, I can say that I have no trust in the
Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC). As it is, the MACC is
currently embroiled in a brawl with the former AG concerning a
sweetheart deal with Riza Aziz. And now, we have another kind of
sweetheart deal with someone from the plutocrat class.
responses of Guan Eng has been troubling. Equally troubling is the fact
that many so-called anti-corruption activists have been as quiet as
church mice. Once you strip off all the legalese and conspiracy theories
surrounding the MACC and the media organisations that broke the story,
questions remain as to what exactly was going on in “New Malaysia”.
about the nonsensical outrage of the MACC about leaked documents and
about how politicians or government officials are petitioning on behalf
of tycoons. Just read the responses of Guan Eng to this issue, and you
should be very concerned about the way Harapan not only abandoned its
manifesto but was merely playing games that Malaysians were used to
said: "Cases which are not within my jurisdiction are referred to the
relevant authorities." First of all, what is a tycoon or his
representatives discussing with the finance minister about unfreezing
assets in an ongoing corruption case? It is not a question of
“jurisdiction” but a question of propriety.If an Umno minister
was sought by a tycoon and the minister referred the case to the
relevant authority, what would you think the response would have been
from that section of the rakyat shouting about accountability and
The fact that Guan Eng even chose to contact the AG
about this case is highly suspect. Why didn’t he, in his capacity as the
finance minister, ask the tycoon or the tycoon's minions to make
representation through the proper channels and the tycoon's high-priced
mouthpieces? Why didn't the finance minister simply say that it was
inappropriate and suspect for representations to be made to him?
AG Tommy Thomas had said that lawyers making representations for their
clients is a normal practice in the system when he was refuting MACC's
narrative in the Riza plea bargain case.
Guan Eng said that it
would be “wrong” if he did not refer such cases to the relevant
authorities, but this is bizarre. What is “wrong” is that a tycoon has
access to the finance minister to discuss his case about unfreezing bank
accounts and the minister then refers the case to the AG. And there is
allegedly correspondence between the two and some sort of resolution
based on political connections. This is what this case was about, a
politically-connected tycoon securing the unfreezing of his assets.
Eng said he does not have access to the documents that the media
organisation possessed but left it in the hands of the MACC to
investigate. Really? The FMT reports claimed that it had exchanges between Thomas and Guan Eng. Did Guan Eng verify or refute these exchanges?
someone accused me of brokering a deal between a tycoon and the
Attorney-General's Chambers and claimed to have exchanges which point to
some sort of malfeasance, I would certainly like to verify the
authenticity of those exchanges. Doesn't anyone else find this strange
Remember Thomas (photo)
said he would not want to let down Harapan by giving a deal to Riza.
Now we have allegations of exchanges between a former finance minister
and him about unfreezing bank accounts even though recovery of monies
was low. This issue is something that Guan Eng has been publicly
It does seem strange unfreezing the assets of someone who has not paid back full amount considering Guan Eng's statement
in the press about retrieving 1MDB funds where he said: “If you asked
me, I would want the whole hog, but I think the AG should be allowed to
make a decision what is the best solution.
“You may want
everything, but whether that is achievable, whether that’s practical or
not… Lawyers will know better, how far, how much. You must do the
necessary cost-benefit on the time taken.”
Isn’t the cosy
connections between tycoons and politicians exactly the kind of
relationships that were supposed to be anathema to the Harapan base? The
fact that Guan Eng is sketchy about the nature of the case - who
contacted him, why did they contact him - and apparently does not see
anything inappropriate about allegations of a finance minister lobbying
for a tycoon should tell us something about New Malaysia, however brief
Instead, Guan Eng casually brushes aside the allegations
leaving questions unanswered but more importantly, staining the
credibility of the Harapan government. Just look at the response when
the Riza deal first broke out and the righteous statements by Harapan
officials on the matter.
I have no doubt the reason why this is happening now is that the MACC and the Malay uber alles
government are making moves against political adversaries. This, after
all, is part of the political game. Remember when Guan Eng was going on
about all those “red files” and how the previous regime had “stolen” GST
But this should not detract from the reality that Harapan
campaigned based on a platform of changing the system. Does the opening
quote reflect the Harapan base? Nobody would have been surprised if
these kinds of allegations cropped up during the BN regime. Seeing as
how I always claimed that Harapan was morphing into BN redux, I am not