May 28, 2015 by Suara Kebenaran
You are shivering and you feel cold and you go to see a doctor. The doctor suggests you wear thick clothes to keep your body warm. Or you are sweating and your body is hot and the doctor suggests you put some ice on your body to bring your temperature down.
But why are you shivering and feeling cold or why are you sweating and feeling hot? The doctor is not too concerned about that. The doctor just wants to cure the symptoms of the disease, not the cause of the disease. Of course, you may feel a bit better at first, but eventually you die.
That happened to my neighbour. Every day she would be in the garden watering the lawn and every day she would complain that her arm aches. She must be doing too much work, she said. She thenurut (massaged) her body to try to reduce the aches and it did help somewhat but the aches became worse as time went on.
She was actually suffering from cancer and by the time the urut no longer helped and the doctor diagnosed her with cancer it was too late. She died a very painful death and I could hear her screaming and moaning with pain from next door.
That is the problem when you try to cure the symptoms rather than the cause. It only feels like you are getting better but all you are doing is you are masking the pain until such a time you can mask it no longer and you die.
And this is what happened to Malaysia’s national airlines, MAS. Today, The Malaysian Insiderreported The 21 years of mismanagement that brought MAS to its knees. This is what The Malaysian Insider said:
It all began in 1994 when businessman Tan Sri Tajudin Ramli took loans from several government-linked companies totalling RM1.79 billion and then used the money to buy a controlling stake in MAS, a move that cost the government dearly some seven years later.
Then the CEO of MAS, Tajudin was badly affected by the 1997 Asian financial crisis, and the government eventually bought MAS back from Tajudin for RM8 a share – the exact price Tajudin had paid seven years before. The only difference was, this time, MAS was lingering near bankruptcy.
It had bled RM256 million in the fiscal year ending 1998 and by the fiscal year ending 2000, it bled a further RM255.7 million after tax losses. When the government bought back the controlling stake from Tajudin, the share price on the market was only RM3.68 per share.
Government linked company Danaharta eventually opted for an out of court settlement with Tajudin despite winning a legal case over the RM589 million in loans owed by Tajudin to the company.
The Malaysian Insider talks about the government buying back the MAS shares for RM8.00 when it was worth only RM3.68. We are also told of the out-of-court settlement and the hundreds of millions that the government had to wipe off.
However, you are probably not aware of the reason why in the first place MAS was sold to Tajudin Ramli. According to the Affidavit filed in court (which anyone can get a copy of) Tajudin said he was ordered (he called it ‘national service’) to buy MAS at RM8.00 a share because the government needed to show a profit (on paper, that is).
And whom do you think ordered Tajudin to buy MAS?
And why did the government need to show a profit by selling MAS to Tajudin? Well, according to Tajudin, the government had lost RM30 billion from 1992-1994 by playing the money market so it needed to show a profit by selling MAS to cover the RM30 billion Forex losses.
In other words, the government needed to urut or massage the books. Since we lost RM30 billion playing the money market we needed to make money by selling MAS at an exorbitant price so that we can show a huge profit. So the profit from selling MAS can cover the loss playing the market.
When Tajudin ‘bought’ MAS it had hundreds of millions in cash reserves (I think it was close to RM600 million or RM800 million). When the government bought back MAS just a few years later it was practically bankrupt. And it continued going downhill thereafter until now.
Now, when I wrote about this some years back (in relation to the Ramli Yusuff and Rosli Dahlan cases), the Umno Bloggers were outraged. They called me a pathological liar and accused me of spinning. They said I am an opposition spin-doctor whose job is to embarrass the government. They denied that MAS had lost billions and that it was going bankrupt.
Well, maybe I did lie. I confess to that. I said that MAS had cost the taxpayers RM8 billion. So, as the Umno Bloggers said, I lied. Today, The Malaysian Insider said: Overall, it is estimated that MAS lost upwards of RM20 billion of taxpayers’ money since 1994.
So I lied when I said MAS cost the taxpayers RM8 billion because the figure is actually RM20 billion. My figure of RM8 billion was based on what was filed in court. I do not know where The Malaysian Insider got its figure of RM20 billion from but I doubt they would lie because they always tell the truth.
Anyway, the issue is not whether it is RM8 billion or RM20 billion of the taxpayers’ money that MAS blew. The issue is when I raised this matter it was denied and I was called a liar. And these Umno Bloggers who denied it and called me a liar are the same people who, today, are whacking Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and are demanding his resignation regarding 1MDB.
The Umno Bloggers are unhappy with me: they said so in their Blogs. They are unhappy with me because I refuse to join their group in whacking the Prime Minister and in demanding his resignation: they said so in their Blogs. They want me to play up the 1MBD issue and to whack the Prime Ministerkau kau.
But why are they being selective? Is 1MDB the only problem facing the country? We are not even sure yet whether 1MDB is a problem and if so how big a problem. Even if 1MDB is proven a problem in the end it is just one of 100 problems.
Whether we are talking about the RM20 billion MAS problem, the RM30 billion Forex problem, or the RM42 billion 1MDB problem, the issue is these are all merely symptoms of the disease. We need to tackle the cause and not the symptoms of the disease.
My neighbour tried to urut the pain in her arm but that did not stop the cancer from spreading. Cancer cannot be cured by mere massaging, especially massaging of the accounts. My wife, too, had cancer five years ago and she had to undergo surgery and radiotherapy treatment. If she had also urut her arm she would be dead by now.
So stop massaging the accounts. Cancer cannot be cured just by urut. You need another form of treatment. And stop trying to cure the symptoms of the disease. You have to tackle the cause of this disease.
When you try to cure the symptoms instead of the cause you will end up selling a profitable airline company like MAS with hundreds of millions in cash reserves to cover a RM30 billion Forex loss and then end up losing an additional RM20 billion and bankrupting that airlines.
The bottom line is we have a serious structural problem that needs addressing. And we can change one Prime Minister after another like we changed one CEO of MAS after another. In the end MAS still went bankrupt.
The country needs reforms. It needs a structural change. But the government has no time to look into that because it is too busy trying to pacify the critics who are trying to cure the symptoms of the disease, such as 1MDB, instead of getting to the bottom of the cause of all these diseases.
So that is why I do not bother to talk about 1MDB. The 1MDB issue is only the symptom. When I raised the issue of MAS and pointed out that the so-called MAS ‘sale’ to Tajudin Ramli was merely a way to massage the books to show a profit so that the RM30 billion Forex losses can be camouflaged, the Umno Bloggers screamed at me.
So, to those Umno Bloggers who are now up in arms about 1MDB and want Najib Razak’s head on a silver platter, my response to them is go fook yourself. First apologise for what you said regarding MAS and admit that the airline is now bankrupt because it was ‘sold’ to cover the RM30 billion Forex losses and then let us talk about 1MDB. If not then shut the fook up.