THE CORRIDORS OF POWER
Raja Petra Kamarudin
A play of Shakespearean proportions
One Episode, many Scenes
Tun Daim Zainuddin was sitting impatiently waiting for Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to make his appearance. What is keeping the man? He should have been here ages ago, Daim mumbled and grumbled under his breath to no one in particular. Daim should have anticipated this. After all, is not the Malaysian Prime Minister infamous for one who is never on time for his meetings and appointments? He is even late for official functions like dinner events and by the time he arrives the dinner guests are all almost doubled up with hunger. One sometimes wonders whether he will even be late for his own funeral.
Daim was in Putrajaya at the behest of Abdullah who phoned him earlier in London and requested that he come back to Malaysia for a powwow. “What can Abdullah want?” thought Daim as he twiddled his thumbs waiting for Abdullah to wake up from sleep. Abdullah is never to be awoken even though someone important is waiting to see him. That is the golden rule everyone who walks through the corridors of power or who squats on the fourth floor of the Prime Minister’s office in Putrajaya are well familiar with. This is of course not uncommon of Abdullah. What would surprise most would be when one day he actually does turn up on time.
Anyway, we will allow Daim to wait awhile longer while we cut to another scene in this episode. One day, Najib Tun Razak’s aides, who met him at the airport on his arrival home from an overseas trip, told the Deputy Prime Minister that Abdullah had called for a Cabinet meeting. It was a Friday and Cabinet meetings since the time of Merdeka were always held on Wednesdays, never on Fridays. But they had missed the Wednesday Cabinet meeting that week because both the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister were out of the country.
This is something else that never used to happen in the old days. The Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister never both leave the country at the same time. But nowadays this appears to be a regular feature. What happens if there is a crisis or emergency at that time? Who will make that most important decision that may result in the future of this country or the security of the nation?
Najib did not even bother to go home to change but went straight to the Cabinet meeting. When he arrived he found all the Cabinet Ministers assembled waiting for the meeting to start. But Abdullah was not to be seen. After an hour, and still no appearance of the Prime Minister, Najib asked what happened to Abdullah and he was told that the old man is still in bed.
Well, wake him up, replied Najib. That is not possible, came back the reply. The Prime Minister is not to be disturbed when he is sleeping. That is the golden rule. Not being one to break the golden rule, and not knowing what else they could do about the situation, Najib and the rest of the Cabinet members just sat there looking at each other while waiting for Abdullah.
Okay, and while Najib and Malaysia’s entire Cabinet are ‘locked up’ in the Cabinet meeting that was not actually meeting when they should instead be running this country, let us cut to yet another scene. Khairy Jamaluddin, the Prime Minister’s son-in-law, had a meeting with the man who has the ultimate authority and power to decide which judge gets promoted and which judge gets posted to which court. The top dog of all judges showed Khairy a list of three names. Khairy wanted to know which of the three can be ‘controlled’ and could be told what to do. The power-that-be of Malaysia’s judicial system pointed to one name on the list and said that this particular man is ambitious and can be told what to do since he wants to make a lucrative career for himself.
So it was decided. This man who is not even a judge but only a judicial commissioner would be given Abdul Razak Baginda’s case to hear. And he would be told how the case is to be decided. And it could be decided either way. Najib can be implicated in the case or he can be spared. The outcome will not be the court’s decision. It will not even be Khairy’s decision. It will be Najib’s decision. His future will be in his own hands. He decides his own fate. And how he plays ball will be that deciding factor.
And, with that in place, Khairy had successfully laid the groundwork for Najib’s downfall. One of Najib’s supporters who had smelled a rat went to meet him to inform him about this very troubling turn of events. Najib was also told that Razak’s lawyers had negotiated a ‘settlement’ with the Attorney-General. They will amend the charges against Razak if he turns crown witness. He will be spared the gallows but he will have to sing like a canary.
Najib did not demonstrate shock at this piece of information. He had already read the writing on the wall and had seen this coming. He did not even dispute the prognosis that his goose may finally be cooked. He only replied that if this is his fate then this is his fate. He will leave it to God. He offered no resistance whatsoever. He has resigned himself to the fact that his days may be numbered and that his future may no longer be his to decide.
Meanwhile, back in scene one, Daim could not imagine what in heaven’s name Abdullah wanted to see him for. But since he had flown all the way back from London at the behest of the Prime Minister he might as well wait. After all, he was curious as to what Abdullah wanted and though curiosity does sometimes kill the cat one can never resist satisfying curiosity. Finally Abdullah appeared, and quite surprised to see Daim sitting there, asked what he could do for the one-time top money man of Malaysia. There is nothing you can do for me, replied Daim. It is you who asked me to come see you, Daim reminded the Prime Minister.
Abdullah could not quite remember what it was that he wanted to meet Daim about. So they both sat there chatting about mundane stuff while Abdullah tried very hard to recollect what it was that he wanted to talk to Daim about. Finally he remembered. He wanted to talk to Daim about Najib.
Najib has been implicated in the Mongolian girl’s murder, Abdullah told Daim. According to what transpired, Razak was being hounded by the Mongolian girl for her share of the commission on the purchase of the submarines. It seems her share is RM50 million but the money does not belong to her. It belongs to the other party involved in the deal and this party is pressing her for the money. But Razak no longer had the money.
This girl was worried that the other party may do something to her if she does not hand them the RM50 million so she was chasing Razak for it. She went to Razak’s office but was not allowed in. She then went to Razak’s house and squatted outside waiting for him to come home.
Razak panicked. His wife was on the way back from Kota Bharu and he did not want her to find out what was going on. So he rushed to Najib’s house and asked for help. Razak’s ‘boss’ said she is prepared to pay the Mongolian girl only RM10 million. But the Mongolian girl was not prepared to accept RM10 million because the other party wanted RM50 million and that is the exact amount she has to deliver to them.
Razak’s boss then summoned a man named Musa and asked this Musa to help Razak out of his predicament. Musa in turn summoned two police SWAT team officers. Razak was a bit worried that other parties were now getting involved in the whole matter. “Can they be trusted?” he asked. He was given an assurance that they are very trustworthy. In fact, he has already killed six people, one of the police officers boasted. “And what do you want me to do about the girl?” the SWAT team officer asked. Get rid of her, came the reply from Razak’s boss.
And they did just that. And Razak’s wife has this testimony on a signed Affidavit which she showed Abdullah. But they have not filed this Affidavit yet. This is the second Affidavit, which Razak’s wife is keeping as a bargaining tool. The first Affidavit was filed during the bail application in front of Justice Segera which revealed only part of what is in the second Affidavit.
Abdullah is not sure though whether he can use this piece of evidence to get rid of Najib because this whole episode involves the police. Will the police swing to the side of the current Prime Minister or do their loyally lie with the previous Prime Minister? Officially, the police serve the government of the day. This is how it has always been and how it should be. But things are not normal anymore. Malaysia is not what it used to be. So there is no way of knowing which way the police will swing. After all, was it not the IGP who was behind the Anwar Ibrahim case and did not his loyalty then lie with Mahathir? How can Abdullah know whether this has now changed or whether the IGP is still with Mahathir?
Maybe the best thing would be to push the IGP into retirement. With him out of the way the nagging question of with who the IGP is no longer needs to be addressed. So the Deputy Minister of Internal Security, the same man who fixed Mahathir up in his Kubang Pasu division election, was tasked with the job of raising all sorts of issues like the high crime rate in Kuala Lumpur and how it has increased multi-fold. They also raised the issue of gangsters in Sarawak and how the police are partners-in-crime with these gangsters. This resulted in the Sarawak police chief being immediately summoned back to Bukit Aman and which sent the IGP rushing to Sarawak to look into the matter.
Now, over to the next scene, in another turn of events, a website mysteriously appears alleging that this same Deputy Minister received RM5.5 million in bribes as an inducement to release three Chinese underworld bosses from detention in Sungai Renggam. Who created this website? No one knows. It was certainly not one of the normal webmasters who created it. In fact, most did not even know about the existence of this website. No one even noticed it or was aware of its address. But somehow the police noticed it. They were aware of it. They knew the website address. They were in fact the only one who did.
The police now have to investigate the Deputy Minister since it has been revealed on this website that he took RM5.5 million in bribes to release three underworld bosses under detention. In the past, as is the normal tradition in Malaysia, the police do not launch an investigation unless a police report has been lodged. This is the procedure and the police have said so many times. The Prime Minister too has repeated this time and again. And they never investigate what is on the internet unless it is to investigate those running the website with intent to take action against the webmaster or writer. And an anonymous website, like the one that revealed the Deputy Minister’s corrupt act, is never given the time of day, let alone taken seriously.
But in this particular case they are taking it seriously, notwithstanding the fact it is an anonymous website and no police report has been lodged. The Deputy Minister suspects that the website was set up by the police themselves and he is boiling mad. But no one really knows who set it up so one can only suspect. The Anti-Corruption Agency then called the Deputy Minister in for interrogation. But he is not scared. In fact he is very angry, especially because the Prime Minister did not protect him and allowed this to happen. No doubt the ACA can always announce that they have not found any evidence that the Deputy Minister had committed a crime. But the fact that he is being investigated and interrogated is bad enough to cast doubt on his innocence.
The Deputy Minister then turned the tables on the ACA interrogators. If they pursue the corruption case against him then he is going to reveal that Kalimullah and Khairy gave him RM1 million to fix up Mahathir in the Kubang Pasu division election. If he goes down he is not going to go down alone. He will take Abdullah with him. He will reveal that Abdullah was behind the effort to sabotage Mahathir. This is a breach of the party Constitution and the party Code of Ethics. Abdullah can be suspended or sacked from the party. And Abdullah will then have to resign or would automatically lose his job as Prime Minister of Malaysia.
But the worst is not over. There is still more. Cold sweat broke out on the foreheads of those who initially thought the Deputy Minister was headed for doom when he revealed that the amount was actually not RM5.5 million but more than that. The RM5.5 million was only for the three Chinese underworld bosses in Sungai Renggam. There was another amount of RM7 million which was the bribe to release an even bigger underworld boss, the boss of bosses. This underworld boss, Datuk K, is well known in Kuala Lumpur and is the owner of ‘S’. He controls all the prostitution, illegal gambling, loan sharking, and much, much more.
The trouble with Datuk K is he likes to boast to all and sundry, especially when he has had a bit too much to drink. In the 2004 General Election he personally met the Prime Minister to hand over a RM20 million cash donation to help fund the election. So he now has immunity. He bought his immunity for RM20 million cash. And the man who brought him to meet the Prime Minister was the one-time MCA Youth leader, another Datuk K. And we all know that the MCA has links with the underworld, as do Umno and the MIC. So he is not scared of the police. He has the Prime Minister and the MCA in his pocket.
Soon enough the IGP got to hear about Datuk K boasting to all and sundry that he is untouchable and that the police cannot do a thing about him. So the IGP showed him who is the boss and arrested him. And this made Datuk K mad as hell. He had bought protection. How come they now arrest him? No sooner was he behind bars and even before they could lock the cell door his underworld empire breaks out into a power struggle. One of his young lieutenants gets assassinated in the fashion of Al Capone’s Chicago. Datuk K cannot remain behind bars. Every day off the streets is costing him millions. And if his empire breaks up beyond repair he will never be able to put it back together again. He needs to get out, and get out fast.
Datuk K sends an emissary to meet the Prime Minister’s son, Kamal. A price is negotiated. The figure of RM7 million is agreed upon. Kamal gets his brother-in-law, Khairy, to get the job done. The Deputy Minister is summoned. It is a three-way deal. The money will be shared equally three ways. Datuk K is allowed back on the street. And the Deputy Minister informs his executioners that this is the story that will emerge. Do they still want to hang him out to dry? He will not go down alone. The Prime Minister will go down with him. They will now have to declare that there is no case. Case closed.
Abdullah now has a knife at Najib’s throat. Mahathir in turn has a knife at Abdullah’s throat. It is a Mexican stand-off. Najib’s throat can get slit any time. But Abdullah too will have his throat slit in the process.
Whatever it may be, while we wait to see who makes the first move, Najib may have to go as early as July if he wants to stay a free man. For sure he cannot stay on as Deputy Prime Minister. But Abdullah too may not be able to stay on as Prime Minister in light of the crimes he committed. Thus far the only evidence against Abdullah is that he chaired the Umno Supreme Council meeting that made the decision to sabotage Mahathir and that the Minutes of the meeting was doctored with three pages expunged to erase the evidence. But if the Deputy Minister of Internal Security testifies that Kalimullah and Khairy paid him RM1 million to fix Mahathir up then Abdullah is dead meat. Then there is the matter of the bribes to release the underworld bosses and the RM20 million Abdullah received from the underworld boss of bosses in 2004.
All the ACA and police need to do now is pressure the Deputy Minister on the corruption case involving the Chinese underworld bosses. If he can’t take the heat he will turn on Abdullah and reveal the episode of the RM1 million, the RM5.5 million, the RM7 million and the RM20 million. That will end Abdullah’s career and Malaysia will see a new Prime Minister. And who will this new Prime Minister be? Will it be Najib? Well, maybe not Najib. Malaysia Today knows who this new Prime Minister might be. But then why should we tell. We may, I repeat, may reveal this in time. But then again we may not. Anyway, stay tuned. You might get lucky.