Hornbill Unleashed

June 24, 2017

1MDB – the jewel of Malaysia’s crown

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:01 AM

‘Diamonds are intrinsically worthless, except for the deep psychological need they fill’ – Nicky Oppenheimer

It was Tiffany’s that made diamonds the in thing for women in the 50s.

Captions like “Diamonds are Forever,” and “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friends,” made Tiffany’s sale go through the roof, literally becoming a household name in the age of conspicuous consumption in the US.

Fortunately for some, the carbon-clad reality hit home, and all that glitters, shine less when bathed in bloody conflict – as clearly exposed by Leonardo DiCaprio in the movie, Blood Diamond. The abundance of blood diamonds all over Sierra Leone was one of the reasons that had triggered the Sierra Leone Civil War which took place from 1991 to 2002.

Also, the government crackdown on large-scale free-for-all blood diamond mining in Zimbabwe in the early 2000’s resulted in the deaths of more than 200 people who were shot with automatic rifles, while scores of people were beaten, tortured and raped by the soldiers.

All in all, a staggering three to four million people are estimated to have perished due to diamond mining, associated with multiple factors including unsafe working conditions and continuous civil conflicts.

In Malaysia, it would seem that the fetish with diamonds has lasted until today – for some, at least.

James Bond movie flicks like “Diamonds Are Forever” was all the rage in the mid-1970s.

Malaysians took to 007 like it was one of their own, with Jins Shamsuddin donning the role of Malaysian James Bond, often in collaboration with HK movie stars loaned by Shaw Brothers. It was the golden age of Malay movies, as working with non-Malay and international business groups became the norm.

Of course, there was the infamous Mat Bond too, with his slapstick gimmicks and wildly creative ventures into the world of organised crime.

But instead of confining ourselves to the making of better movies in Malaysia, funds pilfered from 1Malaysia Development Fund (1MDB) were channelled to Red Granite, a Hollywood-based production house. The movies the company made mimicked the hedonistic and immoral world of Wall Street and seemed like a page from certain characters in Putrajaya.

While the Malaysian national film agency, Finas publicly mentioned that RM500 million worth of funding is required to seriously pursue quality filmmaking and developmental activities, only RM80 million was approved by the Malaysian government in Budget 2017, in order to facilitate the growth of creative industries and film production.

Whereas, more than US$100 million was poured in by Red Granite to produce ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’, a Martin Scorsese-directed movie which made a grand total of US$392 million. Personal gains seem to take centre stage over public interest, a recurring theme in Najib Abdul Razak’s administration.

Diamonds, akin to a lesser version of blood diamonds, were bought with the debt leveraged on the Malaysian government’s good name, were bought and given away to the likes of Hollywood starlets like Miranda Kerr and even the “spouse of MO1”

While we await Miranda Kerr’s good sense to surrender the diamonds to the US Department of Justice, those that ended up in the hands of the wife of the “MO1” remains shrouded in mystery.

When diamonds are bought with the money pillaged from Malaysia, it goes without saying that “diamonds are not forever.”

Handing them over to the US Department of Justice remains the only right thing to do. Strangely, the US Department of Justice is not seizing the 1MDB money and diamonds to be returned to the Malaysian people.

Since this is the move of the US Department of Justice, it is high time that a bipartisan committee is formed to find out how these funds, including diamonds and all, can be returned to the shores of Malaysia. Or, perhaps they never left Malaysia at all, and are now in the private security box of a certain AmBank account?

As demanded by the Parliamentary opposition leader Dr Wan Azizah yesterday – this 28th of June must be a day of reckoning for those responsible for the gargantuan 1MDB scandal. It begins through deliberation between opposition lawmakers in parliament, as our incumbent BN counterparts continue to be dazzled by glittery carbon.

We have to chart a clear path for stolen assets, goods, and jewels to be returned to this country.

We owe it to 744 top SPM students who were deprived of their desires to further their tertiary studies in prestigious universities despite being promised to by the Malaysian government.

We owe it to the disabled community whose resources and infrastructures are lacking, poorly maintained and misused by certain parties.

We owe it to the sickly and needy who are experiencing physical, emotional and financial burdens attributed to the progressively unaffordable medical costs.

Just as Jho Low said “size matters,” when he asked for the bigger and best pink diamond, seizure matters even more, now that the civil forfeiture has proceeded apace, and thousands of Malaysians are left stranded with less higher-educational opportunities and reduced healthcare benefits under the BN.

All that glitters surely fade away if left unfettered.


NURUL IZZAH ANWAR is Lembah Pantai MP.


 

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2 Comments »

  1. I always wonder how the discussions happened behind closed doors among MO1, AG, IGP, and those makan dedak ministers like Rahman Dahlan, Salleh Keruak and co. How did MO1 tell them what story to tell in front of media, did he tell them the truth or did he tell them the same thing we hear thus far and expect them believe and back him, or be sacked. My voice would have trembled telling lies, I would keep pausing between words and my eyes would keep blinking in front of so many reporters but how did they do it without a hint of shame?

    Comment by K — June 26, 2017 @ 1:22 PM | Reply

  2. MO1 is the reverse of the legendary Robin Hood as he stole from the coffers of the Rakyat through the state owned 1MDB, then channelled monies to his personal bank accounts and also then distributed some to enrich leaders of his various supportive BN component parties. This is surely a crime that has to investigated and findings of which needs to be exposed to the Malaysian Rakyat.

    Comment by Kipidap — June 24, 2017 @ 1:16 PM | Reply


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