The Murad Khalid  allegations and political slush funds?
 From: "M.G.G. Pillai" <>

Bolehland's best ill-kept secret these days is the  still-denied rift  between the Prime Minister and his finance minister,  Tun Daim Zainuddin.  That it exists is certain:  the finance minister  busily builds bridges  with those he would not waste time only six months  ago, telling them in  private meetings that he stays on to protect the  "Old Man from Himself".  Unkind sould suggest that Tun Daim takes advantage  of the Prime  Minister's more than occasional forgetfulness to  make policy, insisting  when the Old Man protests that he had approved it.   What brought this  out into the open is the Prime Minister's horror at  the medium-ranking  Chinese-owned banks disappearing in the forced  mergers Bank Negara  Malaysia ordered; more than the political fallout  was the disappearance  of the most vibrant of the banking system, the  medium-ranking Chinese  owned banks. Tun Daim had threatened to resign if  his six megabanks  proposal was rejected.  It was.  He has not.  Nor  would he.  The two  men, at the centre of Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim's  allegations of a  political conspiracy to remove him from the  political scene, must stick  together if only to prove the conspiracy wrong.  But  the two men annoy  each other by making life difficult for the other's  minions.  This is  complicated by the unpalatable evidence that the  former deputy prime  minister gives in court.

Dato' Murad Khalid is a pawn in this.  He backs  Tun Daim, is now  seen as his proxy in the Anwar camp, however close  Dato' Seri Anwar was  to him.  His partner, Mr Tong Kooi Ong, was with  Dato' Seri Anwar, but  switched camps, with the usual backbone Bolehland  business men with  political connexions are noted for, when the Prime  Minister's son, Mr  Mirzan Mahathir, took control of Phileo Allied Land.

 Should any  revelations Dato' Murad in his statutory declaration  not stick or is  otherwise ignored, the flak falls on Tun Daim.  The  Prime Minister's  brave front in demanding an anti-corruption agency  investigation would  make Tun Daim squirm.  It would be a short step then  to demand the Anwar  allegations in court be investigated too. What gave  this game away is  the speed with which the ACA is pressed into  service, when no action is  ordered to investigate the litany of allegations  Dato' Seri Anwar spills  in court these days.  Somehow, the Anwar allegations  -- all of which has  been floating around for months and years -- has a  ring of truth to it  to the degree the Murad's does not.  It does not  mean that Dato' Seri  Anwar tells the whole truth;  but the government  cannot risk having the  ACA investigate them.

Nothing would come out of the ACA  investigation, unless the  Attorney-General, Tan Sri Mohtar Abdullah, presses  further charges   against Dato' Seri Anwar.  As he did not when the  ACA presented evidence  of corrupt practices of at least three cabinet  ministers -- Dato' Ling  Liong Sik, Dato' S. Samy Vellu, Datin Rafidah Aziz  -- and the chief  justice, Tun Eusoff Chin.  Nor does the ACA  investigate the allegation,  in a sworn affidavit, of the plaintiff's lawyer, who  goes on holidays  with the chief justice and the Attorney-General,  writing the judgement  which the High Court judge read.  Whether the Anwar  allegations are true  is irrelevant now.  Those he targets run for cover.  They would not want  to discuss it.  The Prime Minister cannot now act or  his case against  Dato' Seri Anwar would dissemble.  What keeps the  Prime Minister and Tun  Daim together in an uneasy partnership is Dato' Seri  Anwar's careful  revealing of corruption that scrupulously apportions  blame on both,  while bringing in their supporters.  To paint Dato'  Seri Anwar as an  unprincipled politician, Dato' Murad Khalid is  brought out to put the  knife in.  It is no more facts but perception that  matters.  The Murad  Khalid affair has blown up in the Prime Minister's  face, as the Anwar  allegations in court inexhorably does.

So, theatrics like the Murad Khalid statutory  declaration raises  more questions than answers.  The Prime Minister is  shocked at the  RM3,000 million allegedly controlled b y Dato' Seri  Anwar.  How is it  possible that he could have such a slush fund (for  that is what it is)  if this was not part of UMNO culture for leading  politicians to have  their own slush fund?  The former Selangor mentri  besar, Dato' Harun  Idris, was jailed for money paid into his slush fund  by the Hong Kong  and Shanghai Banking Corporation.  That led, when  Tun Hussein Onn became  prime minister, to an investigation of slush funds  of mentris besars and  cabinet ministers.  He made them fork them out, the  sums so huge that he  deposited them in London;  it was these funds the  then as now UMNO  Treasurer, one Daim Zainuddin, with the connivance  of one Dr Mahathir  bin Mohamed, attempted to corner the tin market with  -- the Maminco Affair -- and lost all of it.  The Carrian Affair in  Hong Kong which  caused Bank Bumiputra to lose US$1,000 million (then  M$2,500 million)  was to recover the funds UMNO lost in the tin  fiasco.  Since no  self-respecting UMNO politician would be without his  slush fund, to make  the insinuation that only one man was corrupt in an  otherwise pristine  political party is disingenious indeed.  If, as  Dato' Murad Khalid  insists, Dato' Seri Anwar had a slush fund, it is  safe to assume that  every leading figure in UMNO also has.  Or is the  Prime Minister and Tun  Daim now saying Dato' Seri Anwar took them for a  ride all the years he  was in UMNO, and corrupted UMNO to boot?
 M.G.G. Pillai