In yesterday's The Star, Anwar challenged his political detractors to name his crony.
Anwar has no crony? Pleaseee ... la. Anwar without a "crony" will be like a fish without gills.
The term cronyism is used to describe the close relationship and collusion of business people with the Head of Governments. It became currency particularly during the era of Phillipines President, Ferdinand Marcos. Come the Asian financial crisis of 1997/98, the western media used it rampantly against Indonesian President Suharto.
Subseqently, the western media directed its attack on Dr Mahathir. It was conveniently associated with NEP as a subtle pressure from the West to abolish the NEP totally. And, that is now Anwar's so-called political calling.
Anwar introduced the term "cronyism" to the vocabulary of the Malaysian public in the 1998 UMNO General Assembly. Through his assigned hitman, the then Youth Chief Dato Zahid Hamidi, he directed criticism towards then UMNO President Dr Mahathir Mohamad for practicing what was widely termed in Indonesia as "Korupsi, Kronisma and Nepotisma" or KKN.
In his recent blog posting, Cronyism and NEP, Dr Mahathir clarified that he does not know initially most of the businessmen he helped to get Government contracts and privatisation projects. He said the irony in the "cronyism" accusation is that it is levelled at the successful ones but not those he helped that failed.
Expectedly as Prime Minister, he met a lot of Malaysian businessman and gave many the chance and opportunity. His attitude then was that those that failed were not get a second chance. While those that delivered well were given continued support to grow bigger and developed further in their business.
Sometimes opportunities come with "national service" that later proof to be a costly endeavour for the entrepurneur.
One could agree or disagree, but those are the basis for Dr Mahathir's decisions. What would be Anwar's? Definitely he cannot claim he did not help his family, classmates, friends and anyone.
In reaction to the criticism levelled at him at that memorable UMNO General Assembly, Dr Mahathir instructed to release the names of all recipients of Government major contracts and privatisation. That list of "crony" include those widely known as Anwar's "cronies". (The list is available on this Asiaweek magazine link here.)
Zahid Hamidi was one of the recipeints. The list revealed an embarassing fact that shares of Kretam Malaysia Berhad belonging to one foundation, Yayasan Gerak Bakti was strangely registered under his name.
Over the years, Anwar have been repeated accusation and criticism along the KKN line of argument against Dr Mahathir and the Government. But Anwar is the last person that can claim innocence from the practise of "cronyism".
Off hand, I could enlist some 18 groups of Anwar's "cronies", some already mentioned in Rocky Bru's commentary:
1. Realmild Group comprising Dato Khalid Ahmad, Nazri Abdullah dan Mohd Noor Abdullah (Dato Abdul Kadir Jasin was part of the group but not seen as Anwar man);
2. PNB's Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim that was offered 15% stake in Guthrie and now PKR Menteri Besar for Selangor;
3. DRB-Hicom-Gadek Group comprising of late MCKK classmate Tan Sri Yahya Ahmad, Tan Sri Dato’ Mohd Salleh Sulong and Dato’ Maznah Jalil;
4. Anwar's deal maker extraordinaire and fellow ABIM, the late Dato Nasaruddin Jalil of MBF, Gadek and Asia Pacific Airline;
5. Former Institiut Kajian Dasar, his key political man, MCKK classmate and now PAS Secretary General, Dato Kamaruddin Jaafar with equity in Dialog Group, Suremax, Gigaworld, etc.;
6. Faiz Abdullah of Aras Murni Berhad/Timuran Berhad and proposal to take over Nova Scotia Malaysia Berhad;
7. Tong Koi Ong of Phileo Allied bank, and EDGE Magazine;
8. Abrar Group namely Wan Hasni, Rahim Ghouse, and Hj Kamaruddin of K&N Kenanga fame, inclusive notwithstanding Tan Sri Nor Mahamad Yakcop;
9. Dato Ghazi Ramli, more remembered as Board of Director of Mobikom and Telekom Malaysia but is a recepient of many privatisation projects;
10. Ex CEO of Maybank and MCKK collegemate, Tan Sri Ahmad Mohd Don that was placed as Bank Negara Malaysia Governor;
11. Dato Murad Ahmad, Bank Negara Malaysia Adviser that admitted in a Statutory Declaration as keeper of one of Anwar's "war chest";
12. Dato Ishak Ismail of Iras Murni, Idris Hydraulis and Aokam Perdana fame;
13. Sarawakian Dato Sng that was his "bagman" to pay off UMNO Division Head to secure nomination against Ghaffar Baba;
14. Dato Nallakaruppan of Magnum that was his accomplice in many alleged "sex scandals" and now turning against him;
15. His father, Dato Ibrahim was a member of the Board of IOI that acquired a tract of land for the present hotel at the peripherel of Putrajaya based on tip of Putrajaya plans;
16. Brother, Rani Ibrahim was involved in many companies' listing excercise and was recently appointed by Khaid Ibrahima s Adviser for Selangor's KDEB Group;
17. Tan Sri Quek Leng Chan and his Hong Leong group, which was on Lee Kuan Yew's blacklist to be perpetually denied banking license in Singapore but managed to acquire a MUI Bank and saved from forced merger with Anwar's help; and
18. Dato Salehuddin Hashim, son of PAS man Hashim Gera, fellow MCKK collegemate, current Secretary General of PKR, Turnaround Management and dealmaker extraordinaire.
I haven't even begin to open my own "6 boxes" yet. Definitely, readers out there then already involved in the corporate world have other names.
Ezam mentioned Anwar's Modus Operandi to use the Skim Kontraktor Wibawa to dish out RM1 billion contracts to 15 "cronies". Off hand, I can name one Lankhorst Group and personalities like Aziz Fakri, Dr Umi, etc.
What will Anwar try to say now? How will he "twist" his statement? Whatever it is, I call it hypocrisy? Is it really "cronyism" or Anwar's twisted rhetorics?
May God save Malaysia from this man.
The Star, Tuesday August 19, 2008
Anwar: Name my ‘cronies’
BUTTERWORTH: Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has challenged his detractors to name the people who allegedly benefited from his position when he was deputy prime minister and finance minister.
“There was no such thing. If you know of the people who benefited, you should identify them. Do not just make claims,” he said.
The PKR leader, who is contesting the Permatang Pauh by-election, was asked to comment on his involvement in bumiputra policies when he was in the Federal Government and the award of projects without tenders.
Speaking to reporters during a break from his morning campaign yesterday, Anwar said bumiputra youths did not have any problem embracing a multiracial philosophy.
He said the recent issue with Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim’s proposal to allocate a 10% quota for non-bumiputras in UiTM was a ploy by Umno leaders to make PKR look bad and anti-Malay.
“(Tun) Dr Mahathir Mohamad gave the same proposal in 2002. What Umno is doing is manipulating Khalid’s statement,” he said, adding that he did not think Umno could sustain the racial line.
“It is time for the Malays to take the step (towards a multiracial philosophy), but it will not be easy initially,” he said, adding that he himself was amazed how well Malay youths had responded to him championing for the interests of other races.
Declaring he is a leader of all races, Anwar said his main objective was to bring prosperity to all Malaysians.
“Yes, I am an agent for the Malays as well as the Indians and Chinese,” he said yesterday, while hitting out at Barisan leaders for allegedly portraying him as anti-Malay.
He stressed that he would never betray the Malays or sacrifice Islam to achieve his plan of leading Pakatan Rakyat to take over the Federal Government.
He claimed that Barisan Nasional leaders had been using the racial line in their campaign rounds to sway Malay voters away from him in the by-election.
“Playing on the racial line is a very dangerous game. The people are not that stupid now compared to years ago. Umno is a sinking ship and its leaders are holding on to it to stay in power,” he said.
On contesting against his former protege Datuk Arif Shah Omar Shah, Anwar said he had nothing personal against the man and that he was a good friend.
The Star Wednesday August 20, 2008
Ezam: Anwar handed out RM1b jobs to 15 bumi firms
PETALING JAYA: Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim handed out projects worth RM1bil each to 15 bumiputra companies when he was deputy prime minister and finance minister, says former PKR Youth chief Ezam Mohd Noor.
“These projects were given out through direct instructions from him to the contracts division in the finance ministry,” he said yesterday.
Ezam said the projects were awarded under the skim kontraktor wibawa (capable contractors scheme), which exempted the firms from having to go through open tender.
“What he did when he was in power contradicts his claims that he wants to bring prosperity to all Malaysians. But Anwar is trying to divert the issue by asking his detractors to name his cronies. I categorically state that there is such a scheme and I challenge him to sue if the allegations are wrong,” he said.
Ezam said he was in the midst of trying to identify the 15 firms.
He said Anwar was good at talking in two different “languages” – when he was in power and now when he is not in power.
* Updated and edited Aug 21st, 2008 8:30 am