Musa Hitam not telling the whole story
Musa Hitam talks about the rot in Umno that started in the 1980s and about ‘the good old days’ before the time of Mahathir. In short, Musa is telling us that Mahathir destroyed Umno and in the same process is destroying Malaysia. And it was the Tunku who said that the day Mahathir takes over will be the day Umno and Malaysia would be destroyed.
THE CORRIDORS OF POWER
Raja Petra Kamarudin
I am not saying that Tun Musa Hitam is lying. It is just that he left certain gaps in his version of history. Whether acts of omission can be regarded as lying is a matter of opinion but for sure it would be an act of deception. And deception is as negative as lying.
Anyway, for the ‘young ones’ whose ‘political life’ started in 2008 — or during the 2007 Bersih rally (before Anwar Ibrahim hijacked Bersih and embedded Ambiga Sreenevasan as his proxy to head the movement) — let me correct Musa’s version of history.
When Musa said what he said regarding ‘the good old days’ he was talking about the time of Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak Hussein, Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman, and Tun Hussein Onn (you can read that news report below). So basically we are talking about a period of 23 years from 1957 to 1980 when royalty and courtiers (orang istana) were heading Umno.
Then, in 1981, someone from the proletariat took over. And that was when Umno began its slow slide downhill. In fact, the Tunku had already openly and publicly warned us about this. The Tunku said the day that Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad takes over will be the day Umno and Malaysia are going to be destroyed.
Before Mahathir took over, as what Musa correctly related in that news item below, donations to the party were paid to Umno. And they were very strict about it plus there was full transparency and accountability. And then, after Mahathir took over in 1981, they decided to form companies and started businesses so that Umno did not need to depend on the mainly Chinese towkay donors.
Umno’s first big business was the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) that started almost as soon as Mahathir took over as Prime Minister. Then the North-South Highway (Plus Highway) followed not long after that. This was also when Renong, Hatibudi, United Engineers (M), Fleet Group, and many more, were added to Umno’s stable of companies. If you want to know more, this is all explained in the book ‘The Riddle of Malaysian Capitalism: Rent-Seekers Or Real Capitalists?’ by Peter Searle.
If you read that extract from that book (above) you can see that I have written about this many times in the past so what it says is not new and nothing that I have not also written about myself.
As you can see, the rot in Umno that Musa is talking about started in the 1980s after Mahathir took over. Before that, said Musa, Umno was honest, transparent and accountable.
But then Musa stopped there. He did not continue his story to 1988. If he did then he would have said that the rot got worse when Mahathir decided in 1988 to no longer hold the party’s assets, businesses and investments in the name of the party but to use proxies and nominees as fronts.
And that is when Umno became a moneymaking machine. And what Musa also failed to mention is that Umno’s assets, businesses and investments are estimated to be in the region of RM100-200 billion but no one can tell us where it all is.
And what Musa also did not tell us is that Mahathir refused to hand back some of that money to finance the 2013 general election so Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak was forced to seek the money elsewhere, such as obtain donations from the Middle East.
And this is why Mahathir is so angry about that donation from the Middle East. Mahathir thought that he had Najib’s balls in his hands. But Najib just ignored Mahathir (which Mahathir admitted when he grumbled that Najib ignored him for six months) and went elsewhere for funding.
Musa recalls time when Umno was strict with donations
Musa Hitam recalls the integrity of former deputy prime minister Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman, and former PM Hussein Onn, in managing contributions to Umno.
Free Malaysia Today
Former deputy prime minister Musa Hitam says there was a time when Umno was very careful in accepting political donations.
Writing in his newly released book ‘Frankly Speaking’, Musa details his experience in dealing with then deputy prime minister Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman who was well known for his strict management of funds.
Musa, who at the time was an Umno Supreme Council member, says once an election date was announced, Umno would make it known that the party was ready to receive contributions to fund its campaigns.
Acknowledging his own shortcomings in securing funds for the party despite holding the post of deputy trade and industry minister under the administration of prime minister Abdul Razak Hussein, Musa writes:
“Of course there would be many who approached us, but Dr Ismail’s rule of thumb was always to announce that contributions, which included those from the private sector, could not be made privately.
“Instead, they had to be witnessed and acknowledged among witnesses.”
He notes how Dr Ismail’s method continued to be practised during the administration of Hussein Onn, the country’s third prime minister.
“In fact, Hussein Onn was probably more meticulous,” Musa recalls, saying Hussein would take a much longer time to explain procedures to potential party contributors.
“Those were days when leakages and abuse were able to be prevented. Sadly, the procedure does not seem to be the common practice today,” Musa adds.
Musa notes how every contribution received by Umno must have a witness to confirm the amount, as required by Ismail who was very strict with every cent that came into the party’s coffers.
The Johor-born politician said he would usually be the witness and would sometimes rope in others, including his then political secretary Shahrir Abdul Samad.
Musa says some donors would even feel uncomfortable with Ismail’s method.
“He would ask them why they had come, which would make the potential donor feel slightly uncomfortable.
“Sometimes, he would get an answer that suggested the person had come ‘wanting to do something for the party’. Dr Ismail would be very officious,” Musa writes, adding that Ismail would then ask why they were making the donation.
“Dr Ismail would tell donors to their face that they were not there to make contributions with the expectation of getting favours from the government, or getting his assistance to do so.”
Ismail would tell the donors not to expect any favours, licenses or contracts, according to Musa, adding that Ismail would inform the donors that they were contributing because they believed in a stable government which Umno could provide.
This would in turn be good for the donors’ businesses and the country’s economic development, reasoned Ismail, as Musa recalls in ‘Frankly Speaking’.
Money that flowed into the party’s coffers would be recorded, Musa says, explaining that receipts would be issued clearly.
‘Frankly Speaking’ was launched two days ago by the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah and is now available in bookstores.