By H.G. Rahman

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia--Malaysia has seen over U.S.1.2 billion (RM5.06 billion) repatriated to Malaysia to date with the latest tranche of U.S. 452 million (RM1.9 billion) being returned last week.

While money being returned from the U.S. has been fairly transparent, what is happening to this money once it is returned to Malaysia is another matter.

What should be done is for these funds to be used to service the massive !MDB debt that Malaysia owes, probably the most crippling legacy of the administration of Najib Razak who led UMNO and the Barisan Nasional (BN) administration which held sway over the country from 2009 to 2018.

Malaysia, unfortunately has this burden to bear but if the events of recent days are anything to go by, one would seem to think that it is being used to secure political support.

It is no secret that the current Perikatan Nasional (PN) led by Muhyiddin Yassin no longer has the support of the majority of members of parliament (MPs). even the causal can see  that especially with UMNO MPs leaving the government in droves.

Higher Education Minister Noraini Ahmad was the second cabinet member to have resigned citing the party decision, after Shamsul Anuar Nasarah resigned as energy and natural resources minister.

Shamsul Anuar, who is third-term Lenggong MP, resigned minutes before Zahid held a press conference on Aug 3 to declare the party’s withdrawal.

This was rapidly followed by reports that several opposition MPs had allegedly been offered inducements amounting to millions of ringgit to support Muhyiddin, whose majority is in doubt following the withdrawal of support by several UMNO MPs, his biggest bloc of supporters.

Those receiving such offers include Ipoh Barat MP M Kulasegaran, Kota Melaka MP Khoo Poay Tiong and Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii who are all from DAP.

Last year, following the takeover of federal power by Muhyiddin, an audio recording purportedly of the Prime Minister was circulated, allegedly offering enticements to UMNO MPs to support him.

The recording was purportedly made at the PPBM Supreme Council meeting on Feb 23, a day before Dr Mahathir Mohamad resigned as prime minister and as chairman of PPBM, causing the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan government.

According to the recording, Muhyiddin had encouraged PPBM leaders to try to convince Umno MPs to switch sides. PPBM would have been the largest Malay party in the government if they succeeded, he purportedly said.

Let's hope that the returned money will be at least used for something useful, even if it is not used to service debts, especially considering the dire economic, social and health crisis facing Malaysia.

Tens of thousands of new COVID-19 cases are reported daily, while hundreds have died, a large number of whom are brought in dead. Hospitals are simply out of resources, including medication and oxygen and frontliners are demoralised and exhausted.

But what it certainly should not be used for is to prop up a regime that has clearly failed the people, failed to contain COVID-19 and if allowed to stay in power will see Malaysia finally wash down the gutter as a failed state.