While Mahathir was busy chiding Malaysian Malays for being feudalistic, lazy and backward,  best evident in his book The Malay Dilemma, yet since he became prime minister in 1981, he busied himself building a clandestine business empire, first through cronies and proxies such as Daim Zainuddin and later, directly through his children. Interestingly, Daim became Mahathir’s business partner when Mahathir was the then deputy prime minister and this relationship remain glued to this day. Presently, Mahathir is believed to be sitting on a financial honeypot worth billions of dollars with businesses in Malaysia and overseas, mostly established by Mahathir’s cronies, proxies and children.

Mahathir’s Billions

Since Mahathir became prime minister, in the name of sharing and distributing national wealth with Malay bumiputras, the process of plundering Malaysia began. Through UMNO and Barisan Nasional, controlled by Mahathir and his cronies, they launched complex financial and business schemes that would siphon off hundreds of millions of ringgit from government companies to be invested into accounts linked to Mahathir and his associates, with money parked in Malaysia and abroad.

Mahathir’s partners in crime were leading ‘UMNOputras’, individuals closely linked with Malaysia’s leading political party that was controlled by Mahathir. These were led by the ‘lead crony’, Mahathir’s Kedahan ‘point man’, Daim Zainudin, assisted by the likes of Halim Saad, Tajudin Ramli, Ahmad Nazri Abdullah, Abdul Kadir Jasin, Mohd Noor Mutalib, Syed Mokhtar al Bukhary and Yahaya Ahmad.

All these ‘UMNOputras’ are believed to have minted cash on behalf of Mahathir and his family, with much of the gains parked overseas. In this connection, various ‘cash-cows’ were created in the name of helping Malaysian bumiputras through the New Economic Policy. Some of these companies that enriched Mahathir and his family included Realmild, Mitrajaya Holdings Bhd, Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd, UEM Builders Bhd, UEM World Bhd, PLUS, Pharmaniaga, Celcom, among others. This also led to the Mahathir’s financial disasters in the 1990s, evident from the RM1.6 billion Maminco-Makuwasa scandal, the RM2.5 billion Bank Bumiputra Malaysia Finance (BMF) scandal, the RM30 billion forex that Anwar, then finance minister, had assured Parliament was only a “paper loss”, and the RM9.9 billion losses by Perwaja Steel.

In 2017, Raja Petra Kamarudin claimed that Mahathir’s and Daim’s combined-wealth of RM160 billion was used to acquire more than 50 banks all over the world and it has grown to RM200 billion. Leaving Daim aside, four of Mahathir’s children are believed to have assets worth billions of dollars: Marina, 9 billion, Mirzan, 17 billion, Mokhzani, 21 billion and Mukhriz, 13 billion. Mahathir’s personal assets are estimated to worth some US$44 billion. The big question then is – how did Mahathir and his family enrich themselves, becoming among the richest of the rich in Malaysia? This is something that deserves investigation, especially at a time when Mahathir was busy presenting himself as ‘Mr. Clean’, especially in his campaign against his former compatriots in UMNO.

Hiding one’s crimes by accusing others

With so many allegations of abuse of power and corruption levelled against Mahathir and his cronies, especially Daim, Mahathir and his family members have busied themselves of accusing others of corruption and enriching themselves at the expense of others. While Mahathir is often the main ‘loud speaker’, often he uses proxies in this endeavor, in line with the Malay idiom:’Lempar batu sembunyi tangan’.

On 8 August 2020, Adam Mukhriz, Mahathir’s aide, accused the Johor Crown Prince, Tunku Ismail of talking much about the people’s suffering and yet was driving around in luxury cars. To which Tunku Ismail responded by saying that whatever he was doing, was by using his own hard-earned money. Upping the ante, Mukhriz’s youngest daughter, Melia Serena, who has been romantically linked with Malaysia’s former youth minister, Syed Saddiq, cynically asked, “where did you get ur money boss?”

Interestingly, this is the same Serena, who in November 2017, was exposed by the social media, who with her sister, Meera Alyanna, were photographed on a luxurious yacht and lambasted for living a lifestyle that was unbecoming of both Mukhriz’s daughter and Mahathir’s grand-daughter. Mukhriz’s response to the criticisms of his daughters was to claim that his daughters were splashing around wealth but this was not funded by illicit and ill-gotten wealth. Mukhriz expressed his anger as he claimed that his family was alleged to have amassed wealth “by robbing from the country and the people”. Hence, in retort, a good question to ask Serena would be, since everyone knows how and where the Johor Royals have got their wealth from, a more relevant query would be, “where did Serena and her family get their wealth?”.

Putting the Record Straight

The Johor Royal family’s wealth has never been questioned as they have inherited much wealth and even more important, has been adept in manifold business undertakings. So much so, since 1899 the Sultanate of Johor has donated their salaries to benefit the needy. As in the past, the royal allowances have been channeled to various foundations, the most important being the Sultan Iskandar Foundation which has served the needs of the poor, especially during the present COVID-19 crisis. Serena Mukhriz’s question about the wealth of the Johor Sultanate is best summed up by present monarch of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim who said that “All revenue and income of the Johor Sultanate come from plantation management from the time of Sultan Sir Ibrahim until now, as well as other businesses including real estate”. Hence, unlike Mahathir and his family, there is no need for the Johor Royalty to plunder the national coffers.

The Irony and Hypocrisy of Mahathir, yet again

Since Mahathir’s took leadership of Malaysia in 1981, he has been associated with a level of business failures and kleptocracy that was never seen before and after in Malaysian history. Mahathir’s mega failures, costing the public and state of billions of Ringgits are evident from the financial disasters associated with Perwaja Steel, DRB-Hicom, Renong, MAS, Bakun Dam and Proton. What is tragic is that these enterprises failed mainly due to the corruption that was associated with these companies that were set up in the name of industrializing and modernizing Malaysia.

Hence, when Mahathir argued that he joined BERSATU to rid the country of corruption, it sounds ironical, with the situation getting worse once he became the prime minister again, best evident in the manner his son, Mukhriz, then Menteri Besar of Kedah was involved in the sale of state land to Chinese businessmen, with much money changing hand, a deal that Mahathir personally approved. Before the 2018 general elections, Mahathir accused the Najib government of ‘selling the country to China’, yet since the PH government was formed, Mahathir and especially Mukhriz were involved in many similar deals such as the sale of 320 hectares of land to a China company. Ironically, when Mahathir announced the setting up of a new political party, Pejuang, on 12 August 2020, he rationalized it as being driven by the goal of fighting corruption and kleptocracy; ironically, this is the very man who deserves being called ‘Malaysia’s father of corruption and kleptocracy’. To cover up his tracks, he, his cronies and now, even his family members are busy trying to smear others, including the Johor Royal family.

Source : Suara Harimau

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