At one point, there was speculation that the Universiti
Malaya history graduate, with first-class honours, might make a political
comeback. That seems remote now. His image has been dented, made worse by his bad English.
Another politician, Datuk
Musa Aman, was placed on good behaviour
bond by the magistrate's court for
breach of Australian currency laws in
April. Musa, the Sabah Foundation director, is also Sabah Umno treasurer.
week, another Malaysian politician got
into trouble. The Member of Parliament
was threatened with a suit by a Perth casino
over a gambling debt of A$2mil. The debt was incurred over a five-day period in December 1994 and January 1995 while the politician was a
licensed junket operator.
The amount was small, of course, going
by Malaysian standards at a time when it
was thought the good times would roll on
But from documents made available, it seems that the MP found himself caught in this financial predicament because his cash flow has been seriously affected by the economic downturn.
The press has been trying to reach him,
even hounding his party boss for
comments when they failed to contact
Australian newspapers, usually sparing a
single column in their dailies for minor
Malaysian politicians, have gleefully played up
Barely 24 hours after the news broke,
the casino said the MP had agreed to
settle the debt, and that a
“significant down payment'' had
been made. The man has agreed to
pay the balance in one lump sum
within a stipulated time.
This case is a civil matter between the casino and the politician.
Being a non-Muslim, there's nothing to
stop him from throwing a wager, big or
small. The casino's debt collector,
impressively calling itself the Asean
Protection Services, has cleverly used the press to recover the money.
There is no criminal element involved here. But there is, of course, the question of morality and
And politicians are the most susceptible, being the loudest preacher of the two
For the press, there's certainly a
story what more a member of parliament and a senior leader of a party, too.
And like all political scandals, minor
or otherwise, there's always a yarn and
a joke these days.
There is this one about how a jury
reached a verdict in a trial involving a politician who contravened currency
As the jury deliberated over the case,
an elderly woman asked: “What's the
case really about? After a week's hearing, I am still lost and confused.''
A young man offered his assistance, saying it was a simple case about a “big shot'' who brought into Australia a lot of money but just didn't tell the authorities.
The woman, whose families were among the
early British settlers to Australia,
replied: “Is that all? Why are we
wasting our time, we should just free
him, ain't we all convicts before,
Then there is the one about another politician who was travelling in a group to Canberra from Kuala Lumpur.
He was given a disembarkation form to
fill when the flight took off. The
politician, known for his poor grasp of
English, started filling the form when
the plane touched down in the Australian
He struggled with the details, and his
colleagues who were leaving the plane asked in great annoyance why he had not
filled the form earlier.
“But the form says clearly fill in
capital,'' the exasperated politician
Bad English got the same politician all tangled up another time. He wanted to place a call to Australia but didn't know the time difference.
So he dialled 108 for the international operator. The busy operator told him: “Just a minute, sir.''
The politician then directed the
operator: “In that case, I will call
All the reported inconveniences which
our Malaysian politicians have to put up
with are unlikely to deter them from
visiting the place.
By the admission of one politician, Australia is a great place. The weather is nice, the people are easy-going and it's certainly a good place to invest.
Still, they ought to realise that it is
not the politically-correct thing to do
at this time.
Malaysians, who have been told to do
everything local, are unlikely to be
forgiving nor amused when they read
about high-flying politicians getting into all kinds of trouble.
The word now, of course, is when
politicians travel Down Under,
there is the fear of going down and
under politically after that.