Religion and politics are a toxic cocktail of the passion that the spiritual world impresses upon the gullible against the practicalities that politics requires to survive it. Both have to be judiciously balanced against the other to maintain some sense of order against the excesses that too often, fail us all.
Under a just and honorable leader like Aruah TGNA, PAS was able to work together with other political entities and remained relevant to everyone. Not so under Hadi. When religion, politics, and money collides, more often than not, the worst of human frailties come to the fore. This is what is now happening in Terengganu.
Terengganu under PAS rule is now a state ruled by kleptocrats who use their public office to exploit the people and natural resources of Terengganu for their own personal financial gains, amassing insane wealth for themselves and consolidating Pas political and financial coffers at the expense of the people of Terengganu. Sounds familiar does it not?
Najib and Rosmah all over again? 1MDB all over again?
“Cash is King” is alive and well in Terengganu. Religion is not!
Terengganu Inc. Sdn. Bhd., was set up by the State Government to be their strategic investment arm in all the state’s business, commercial, and investment activities, but PAS vehicle of choice for their kleptocratic deeds is Menteri Besar Inc. because MBI accounts are confidential, not audited and the MB is a “friend”. “Birds of a feather” kind of friend.
PAS “business activities” companies are parked under MBI. The Board of Directors of these companies and their subsidiaries are all politicians who pay themselves hideously exorbitant salaries and use the cash flow from these businesses as their personal ATM. The appointment of these directors is no longer the purview of SUK (Setiausaha Kerajaan).
The complicity and the connivance of the MB and inability of the SUK to monitor the goings-on in the state, ensure there is no check and balances to keep watch over the freewheeling money-grabbing antics of these Pas politicians. The chief culprits among them are, of course, a complicit Menteri Besar and PAS politicians in Terengganu of which, these three, are the first among equals :
(i) Haji Mazli Zakuan Bin Mohd Noor (Kelantan born) holds thirteen posts in Terengganu Inc. and its subsidiaries. Monthly salary RM$67K. Yearly stipend RM$800K.
(ii) YM Raja Dato’ Idris Bin Raja Kamaruddin (England born – bother of Malaysia Today Raja Petra) holds twelve posts in Terengganu Inc and its subsidiaries. Monthly salary RM$54K. Yearly stipend RM$650 K.
(iii) Haji Burhanuddin Bin Harun (Terengganu born) holds fourteen posts in Terengganu Inc and its subsidiaries. Monthly salary of RM58K Yearly stipend of RM$700K.
The holding of Directorship in many GLC companies is common and is done with a purpose. It allows these Directors to control, structure, and set up “business opportunities for themselves, for Party PAS and other individuals and entities that they favour, from time to time, between the GLC companies that they are directors of with ease. This incestuous relationship among the director will doom any business undertakings under MBI.
How do they go about their Kleptocratic ways.
The following three companies are examples of PAS SOP (Standard operating procedure).
- Terengganu Dredging Sdn Bhd.
- Terengganu Telecommunications Sdn Bhd.
- MBI Modal Sdn Bhd.
The lucrative concession for the mining and exporting of sand at Muara Sungai Merang, Setiu Terengganu was awarded to Terengganu Dredging which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of MBI.
A contractor from Kelantan was appointed to mine for the sand even though Terengganu Inc had proposed that they be tasked as the umbrella authority to share the mining of the sand in Terengganu among local small-time Bumiputra contractors in Terengganu.
This suggestion was agreed to by Terengganu Inc board of directors but eventually, the appointment of the contractor was done by MBI without a tender process. So Terengganu Dredging was in competition with local bumiputra contractors in the mining of sand in Terengganu.
However, the contract between Terengganu Dredging Sdn Bhd and the Kelantan contractor was terminated after the previous MB, Dato Seri Ahmad Said, exposed the shenanigans in the Dewan Undangan Negri.
The construction of the Menara Telekomunikasi in Terengganu was awarded to an UMNO company Syarikat Desa Bakti Sdn Bhd. under the administration of Terengganu Inc. PAS incorporated Terengganu Telecommunication Sdn. Bhd. under MBI and took the project from Syarikat Desa Bakti Sdn Bhd for the account of MBI – easier for them to channel the profits to benefit the politicians rather than the rakyat of Terengganu.
Case Three :
Unit Perancang Ekonomi Negri Terengganu (UPENT), on the instructions of their PAS political master, is putting together a proposal for approval by MMKN (Majlis Mesyuarat Kerajaan Negri) that would give MBI the exclusive rights over water resources in Terengganu. These exclusive rights will certainly be a long term source of income for PAS.
What is now happening in a Terengganu under PAS is a perfect storm where unscrupulous PAS politicians hold sway over the State and its people because of their religious credentials, and these unscrupulous PAS politicians then, in the name of government and religion, proceed to plunder and pillage the state coffers bare for their own personal gain.
There is more to be said on these matters and time will reveal all. Suffice to say that Terengganu under PAS, a member of Muafakat Nasional, is now bereft of a responsible and accountable state government.
At the very least, UMNO as a responsible member of Muafakat Nasional, should ensure that there are checks and balances within the state administration so that the interest of its rakyat is at all times, protected.