Global protests a threat to BN?


By Clare Rewcastle Brown, FMT

No country is an island in this global era and 2011 has not been a comfortable year for a regime like Barisan Nasional, which is seeking to perpetuate half a century of uninterrupted power in Malaysia.

At the outset, Malaysia’s establishment was just one example of many across the world’s oil rich states, where family-based elites basked in absolute power, having pretty much grabbed the wealth of their countries for themselves.

Then, one by one, the dominos have started to fall.

Even Messrs Muammar Gaddafi (Libya) and Bashar Assad (Syria), who have resorted to extreme measures, shooting at their own citizens and acting with the full force of tyrants, have failed to stem the tide of popular outrage that has started to change the face of the world political landscape.

Most particularly unnerving for the Malaysian jetsetter class must have been the readiness with which international institutions has been willing to freeze the foreign assets of these toppled dynasties, the moment official requests came in from subsequent governments.

Such people have always been happy to consider themselves part of an international community and would have readily re-located somewhere like Australia or Canada, having left the source of their wealth, in this case Malaysia, far behind.

However, such exit plans were always based on an assumption that once these pampered families had managed to siphon out their corruptly acquired loot, they would be able to squirrel it safely away in Western Banks and property assets and no one would be able to get it back off them.

Money-laundering legislations has started to change all that and the more unscrupulous advisors in the ‘avoidance’ business are doubtlessly already receiving plenty of phone calls from members of the establishment in Malaysia!

Saturation point for corruption

Such forms of reflection are allowable, because of the acknowledged level of corruption that everyone knows exists in Malaysia.

It is so endemic that no one attempts to conceal it.

It is written into the country’s indexes and there is a separate anecdote for every person forced to suffer it.