Saturday, February 6, 2016

Monkey business to the max ~ by Dean Johns

Reproduced from Malaysiakini as a community service

It’s impossible to wish my Chinese Malaysian friends and relatives a happy and prosperous New Year of the Monkey, as I heartily do, without making the all-too-obvious observation that they and their fellow citizens of all races and creeds are treated like monkeys by the money-mad monyets (monkeys) of Umno-BN every day of every year, and have been for decades.

In fact the members, cronies and supporters of this simian regime not only make monkeys out of the Malaysian people with their incessant indulgence in monkey business, but - to add insult to injury - they demand that the populace pose, like the three proverbial allegedly wise monkeys, as if they are deaf, dumb and blind to the depravations of the ‘Umnoputra-primates’.

And now these humanoids have upped the ante on their antics by engaging in such a vicious gorilla gang war over factional control of Malaysia’s monyet/monkey/money business that it looks for all the world like a billions-of-ringgit remake of the classic primate movie, Planet of the Apes.

Or rather, considering how laughable a spectacle this struggle is proving, replete as it is with such jokes as Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s clownish claim that a sum of RM2.6 billion that he was caught with in his personal bank account was a ‘donation’, let’s call it Planet of the Japes.

Complete with guest appearances by such notorious exponents of monkey business as former ‘Approved Permit (AP) Queen’, Rafidah Aziz - who even the very King Kong of monyet and money politics, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, once conceded was “probably corrupt” - in support of Mahathir himself in his utterly unconvincing performance as a born-again good guy.

But as entertaining as this Planet of the Apes/Japes spectacle is proving to an increasingly global audience, let us not for a moment lose sight of the fact that behind the scenes of this blockbuster, all is Umno-BN ‘monkey-business’ as usual.

Ripping off foreign workers

Same old, same old system of leakages, embezzlement and blatant theft of public money from every possible source and by every conceivable means.

A situation currently most vividly exemplified by the scandal surrounding the recruitment and ripping-off of foreign workers.

Home Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Ahmed Zahid Hamidi recently took a - no doubt sorely needed - break from denying his boss Najib Abdul Razak’s misdeeds to announce a doubling of the already outrageous levy that the Umno-BN regime demands from foreign manufacturing and construction workers.

A move that is not, apparently - or at least as he proceeded to explain in a typically ‘chimpanzahid’ attempt to take the rest of us for chumps - for the obvious goal of further enriching the monyet Umno-BN regime and its members, ‘agents’ and other cronies by exploiting millions of poor and powerless foreigners even more shamelessly than ever, but “a positive move to reduce dependence on foreign workers.”

This was a strange claim indeed, in fact a blatant lie, in light of the fact that Zahid has long been not only spearheading a scheme to import 1.5 million extra foreign workers from Bangladesh, but also strongly suspected of striving to get his brother Abdul Hakim Hamidi, a slice of the action.

An accusation that he has of course strongly denied, stating in a letter responding to a question in Parliament as recently as last November that his brother’s company, Real Time Networking Sdn Bhd, had not been awarded the contract for the scheme.

Or, as it appears now, scam, as it turns out that Real Time Networking - despite not having been granted the overall contract - has managed to get a cut of the action after all.

As Abdul Hakim himself ‘clarified’ just the other day, his company is “not providing the management system in Malaysia, but is assisting agents in Bangladesh.”

‘Just small commissions’

Though not even this statement turned out to be altogether true, as he then went on to explain that assistance rendered in Bangladesh also earned his company a contract for providing services to the workers following their arrival in Malaysia.

These ‘services’, as Abdul Hakim reportedly informed Malaysiakini, include “providing (the workers) with mobile phone SI cards and cash cards to help them better manage their wages.”

Services so minimal and widely available, as many observers have since commented, that it seems miraculous that his company can get away with charging for them at all.

And sure enough it does turn out to be something of a miracle courtesy of the Almighty, as after attempting to minimise his nepotistic involvement in this typical exercise in Umno-BN monkey-business with the claim that “I’m not making a huge profit, just small commissions,” Abdul Hakim added that “even Allah rewards you for good deeds, so why begrudge me a few sen?”

Then, in case divine beneficence wasn’t sufficient explanation to be going on with, he further added that “we make up our expenses through the volume, so we can make some money for our children and grandchildren.”

Such hypocritical evocations of heaven, home and hearth might be heartwarming to some, but as far as I’m concerned nothing but nothing but nothing justifies Umno-BN-style monkey-business. Especially during Chinese New Year, which is supposed to be a time of cleansing and renewal, whichever of the 12 animals it happens to be symbolised by.

DEAN JOHNS, after many years in Asia, currently lives with his Malaysian-born wife and daughter in Sydney, where he coaches and mentors writers and authors and practises as a writing therapist. Published books of his columns for Malaysiakini include ‘Mad about Malaysia', ‘Even Madder about Malaysia', ‘Missing Malaysia', ‘1Malaysia.con’ and ‘Malaysia Mania’.