By Multatuli Murtadi

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia--In fifty years, our leaders have scammed from Malaysians trillions of ringgits. That’s just a rough guess. The money has gone to their children and relatives and cronies.

The Petronas money for which no account is given. The terms of the highway concessions which must remain secret, the military hardware which don’t work – jet engines go missing, submarines which don’t work and of course the 1MBD scandal. Lately there is the vaccine scam where we buy at prices which even rich countries don’t pay.

Now Najib wants a RM100 million house.

Imagine, you have been convicted of serious theft of the country’s wealth and you have the gall to ask taxpayers to give you a RM100 million house. Even if he has been a good boy (which he hasn’t) he does not deserve it. Can I ask for even a low cost flat for doing a lousy job and have been caught stealing? Yeah, I will get a 8 x 8 room with iron bars and inedible food three (3) times a day.

The convicted felon, Najib Abdul Razak, alleged that Dr Mahathir Mohamad was given 34 acres in Langkawi. So why can’t I get a miserable RM100m pondok?

The logic is this: If another baddie can get rewarded why not me? This is exactly the logic that has got our country into this mess. If a minister or Chief of Police or the Director General is on the take why not those lower down ranks?

I bet you that is just the tip of the iceberg.

What else have been given to other politicians lower down the pecking order, only Allah knows.

It’s the unwritten code among thieves that “You don’t tell on me and I won’t tell on you”. So we are not likely to know what’s in the can of worms called government?

How many people knew that Mahathir  allegedly got 34 acres of land in Langkawi?

None of the public I bet, until Najib squealed. He squealed because Mahathir squealed about his RM100 million istana.

But are they the only ones who have scammed us?

Our Members Parliament have also taken us for a ride. The only difference is they do it openly. Let’s look at what is on public record. I am talking about the remunerations our members of parliament pay themselves.

The following is just a glimpse of how generous the members of parliament have been with OUR money.

Pay RM16,000/mth

Attendance in parliament RM400/day

Attending briefings, meetings seminars, workshops RM300/day.

Entertainment allowance RM2,500/mth.

Special payment (?) RM1,500/mth.

Daily subsistence allowance outside Malaysia RM170/day.

Food allowance outside Malaysia RM340/day.

Hotel room charges outside Malaysia RM340/night.

(Imagine if you work for someone and the boss wants you to attend a meeting, would you dare ask for extra money, plus food etc?)

Miscellaneous Expenses:

Fares for public transport, telephone and telegram charges, laundry charges, airport service charge, parking and toll charges. 3% of the total traveling claims abroad as compensation for loss in respect of foreign exchange. Conveyance allowance – when using own car.

Fixed monthly travel allowance RM1,500.

Fuel allowance RM1,500.

Toll allowance RM300/mth.

Driver’s allowance RM1,500/mth (no need of proof of employing a driver – so I can get my wife to drive occasionally and pocket the money).

Warm clothing allowance (amount not stated).

Ceremonial attire allowance RM1,500.

Subsidised payment for black tie attire RM1,000 every 3 years.

Free motor vehicle licence.

Free firearm licence.

Correspondence free of charge in Malaysia (I think this means free postal service).

Telephone free direct line to house. Telephone free direct line to office.

Free installation cost and rental for above.

Free cell phone.

Telephone allowance RM900/mth.

Free First Class medical (this covers the whole family plus the parents of the MP).

Free medical in private hospital in emergency.

Free medical overseas.

Free computer.

Claim for purchasing personal computer up to RM6,000.

These are just some of the perks members of parliament get.

On top of that members of parliament get a pension. (We have to work 30 years to get a pension)

The above does not include entitlements in their other jobs.

If they serve as Adun and MP they get two salaries plus the perks. (Is it fair that you split your hours between two jobs – hence working only part of the time on each – and expect to be paid two salaries plus perks?)

The rakyat have been stung big time.

This is the only job I know where the employees write their own pay checque and conditions.

This is as much a scam as Najib and Mahathir rewarding themselves big time, don’t you think?

Can those holier than thou politicians in PH who cry foul about Najib and Mahathir raise their hands and say that they have not taken the rakyat for a ride (vis a vis their pay and conditions) too? Nurul, Bee Yin, Tony, Ramkarpal, Rafizi? Anyone?

They have their snouts in the trough like the others. I did not include BN and the others because they are out and out crooks.

But PH is supposed to be the White Knight. They are supposed to be looking after our interests. How is giving yourself a fat pay and per looking after our interests? Your constituents have to sweat at two or even three jobs just to make ends meet and you tell them you are their servant when you want their votes.

Hand to heart, can you say you deserve the pay and perks?

Compare yourself to the members of parliament in Sweden (just to take one example). Do they get a fraction of what you get? They work just as hard I am sure and their honesty is a given.

The difference is the MPs in Sweden do it as a public service – it’s a sacrifice. They can get better pay outside of politics but they choose to serve the public.

Sweden is a rich country and they can remunerate their MPs more generously if they want to but they don’t.

We are a poor country and we allow those who ask us to employ them (basically that is what it is when they ask for our votes) to write their own checques. Are we stupid or what?

In Malaysia our politicians serve their own interests, not the public’s. Where can you find half educated morons being paid the money and perks someone in the private sector who is highly educated cannot even get?

Our MPs moan about our contract doctors’ demands for better pay and conditions – yet these doctors do an honest day’s work. They save lives. Our politicians tell lies, steal and make our lives miserable and they demand we pay them well. Are we living in Lala Land?

When the rakyat is reeling from the pandemic, with thousands losing their livelihood, our MPs sit pretty in parliament – they live well on our money.

If the MPs put themselves on the job market with the qualifications most of them have, they will be getting around RM3,000/mth (and I am being generous). Frankly many are just unemployable – that’s why they get into politics.

Malaysians are mugs. How else do we put people who have the IQ of a carrot (to borrow a phrase from someone who is not too smart himself) to run our lives? We must have the IQ of a pea.

We have no one to blame but ourselves.

I would encourage any young person who is not too bright and cannot find a decent job in the private sector and yet wants to get rich quickly, to go into politics.

They don’t ask if you have a degree, and if you have one they don’t check if it is from a back lane university, they don’t ask for your job experience, there is no IQ test. If you have the gift of the gab that is enough. If you have low moral values that is even better.

I am not cynical – of course there are many good and honest people (including the young politicians I named) who go into politics to try to make a difference. But the casualties are high.

Idealistic young men and women soon become contaminated in the cesspool of Malaysian politics. You get tempted. You see your boss on the take and you soon say “Why not?”

If your boss tells you to accept a known racist because your party wants to win power, you keep quiet or else you will be kicked out. You sacrifice your principles. You start to rationalise away your idealism. The whole edifice is rotten to the core – our PMs, Cabinet, MPs, the civil service, police, the lot.

It is hard for good people to survive in the political sewer in Malaysia. Yet, our only hope is for good people to get in and pray they retain their idealism.

While blaming the politicians, we should also blame ourselves. We put the thieves in.

Melaka shows we have not learned anything. Maybe it is because we ourselves are corrupt and stupid. They bribe us with our own money and we gladly vote them in.

Two thousand years ago, Pontius Pilate asked the crowd who he should free, the mob chose the thief Barabbas. We have done it again in Melaka.

I digress.

Back to my original point, I don’t think any politician from any party can claim that they have been honest and fair to the rakyat. Paying themselves the indecent wages and perks for doing a lousy job is a scam and they know it. They don’t even deliver the promises they advertise when they want our votes.

There have been petitions going viral on the above matter of MPs pay and perks but our MPs just won’t listen. The servant has become the boss and the boss the servant.

May God save us all because we are too stupid to know we have been scammed.