The case of the Sabah businessman Michael Chia caught red-handed at the Hong Kong International Airport on August 14, 2008 with RM40 million cash in his luggage before he could board a flight to Kuala Lumpur is bizarre enough but even more weird is the utter indifference and unconcern shown by the authorities to the case purportedly because the RM40 million which Chia was trying to smuggle into Malaysia from Hong Kong were political contributions to the state Umno and not for Chief Minister Musa Aman’s personal use and that “no element of corruption was proven”.
Malaysians could imagine the prolonged nation-wide furore that would have ensued if the RM40 million cash Chia had been caught red-handed at the Hong Kong International Airport trying to smuggle into Malaysia had been meant for Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim or anyone of the three Pakatan Rakyat parties!
The leaders at various levels of Barisan Nasional component parties and their mainstream mass media would have competed, day-in-day out for weeks, demanding full accounting and action by the authorities, including throwing the books on corruption or money laundering.
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak would have trotted out his exhortation at the recent International Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities (IAACA) conference in Kuala Lumpur on the critical and crucial importance to instil “a natural abhorrence to corruption” among people in positions of power and authority.
UMNO/BN Ministers and leaders would have issued one warning after another about treachery, traitors and the betrayal of the nation from the dangers and evils of foreign funding, particularly dirty money while dubious organisations and individuals would have crawled all over the country with demonstrations, butt-dances and denunciations.
But now, there is pin-drop silence from all these sectors and no “natural abhorrence to corruption” whatsoever!
The question Sabahans and Malaysians are entitled to ask the Prime Minister is whether the case of the RM40 million dirty cash – whether for Sabah Chief Minister or Sabah UMNO (of which Musa is Chairman) – is now fully closed as far as the Malaysian government is concerned, for this will also signal the end of all credibility of the independence, integrity and professionalism of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and Najib’s Government Transformation Programme (GTP) which prioritised “fighting corruption”, including “grand corruption”, as one of the key NKRA programmes.
It is really tragic. Just a week ago, Najib was waxing lyrical, taking the moral high ground at the opening of the IAACA Conference in Kuala Lumpur about the critical role for people and positions of power and authority to exemplify the “right values” to fight corruption, and today, all credibility and reputation of Najib’s anti-corruption campaign and the MACC completely in tatters.