Money madness mauls Malaysia

The raging storms surrounding the 1MDB debacle point to a crucial moral factor, i.e. how the country is chasing after money.

May 22, 2015

Dear Editor,
The raging storms surrounding the 1MDB debacle point to a crucial moral factor, i.e. how the country is chasing after money. When ethics are sacrificed for making, not just money, but more and more money, then Malaysia has succumbed to this money madness.

Before you make a draw with double-barrelled foreign public relations spin, do consider that when a square foot of land is secured at RM64.00 and within five years is being re-sold at RM2,773.00 per square foot, what does it tell you? That you are brilliant?

That you are a business wizard and should be joining the class in the likes of the Warrens and the Gates?

Come on Malaysians. Let us be prepared to swallow the bitter pill.

Our leaders and followers are madly obsessed with making more money and making it with a mindset of who-the-hell-cares. Success is not about making the life of others beautiful but what’s in there for me, i.e. fame, fortune, power and control.

Finding our pot of gold at all costs; making it in the quickest time ever dreamt of; taking all the shortcuts; and being blind to the casualties along that path – these are our national pursuits.

And such pursuits are always discussed with the argument that Malaysia needs to transform; that we are in a hurry to bring development; we know what we are doing, trust us; and, if you are against it, you are anti-government.

Unholy profit making, irrespective of whatever the cost, is the blindness that we suffer from.

Yet at the same time, we are obsessed with making sure that everyone keeps the teachings of his or her religion. The holier-than-thou showing-up has become sacred and sanctified in public.

We even go the distance to make the laws; put the guards on the circuit; and nab those who are, in our view, not keeping the religious (pious) codes of conduct designed by our leaders.

The one benchmark that perhaps captures, in essence, how ridiculous we have downgraded our societal values to, is the comparison between 1MDB’s rushed profiteering versus how we award damages through our Courts for lost lives, as in the recent Teoh Beng Hock case.

We also have laws to ensure that retailers do not make sinfully outrageous profits by taking the consumers for a walk. But when 1MDB breaks every moral and ethical code to make a killing by selling land that belongs to all Malaysians living now and in the distant future, what do we say?

And everyone within the BN corridor seems to be silent about how this money madness is ripping the country to shreds.

We argue that without money, there is no progress; no money means no development; making money is the yardstick of a progressive government and able leadership.

Please. Who is saying that we do not need money? The question all Malaysians should be asking is: at what cost do we make the money?

Are we in danger of emulating the pirates (or lanuns) of bygone eras? Perhaps, a better analogy could also be that we are just like the colonial masters who raided every inch of our glorious Malaya but felt absolved as they claimed that they gave us jobs, roads, education and administered us.

These salient thoughts were sadly missing when the UMNO Supreme Council backed the prime minister all the way in the wake of the clarion call by Tun Dr. Mahathir, the protesting concerns by opposition MPs and civil society that cared enough to keep abreast of issues and developments.

We cannot be preaching and hard-driving the tenets of our respective religions into the population’s souls when governments remain obsessed with the mantra of equating making more and more money at any cost to that of progress, development and success.

All the money in the world cannot even ensure that you remain in perpetual power. Closest to home are the Imelda Marcos and Taksin stories. Even the Roman Empire collapsed, remember history?

When a nation has sacrificed the soul and equates money as the sole value that makes distinctions, we are sunk. Money alone can ultimately maul this country. Put aside our temptation to run for cover under the Sedition Act for a moment and, like mature elders, discuss. If the government of the day and its ‘inspired leaders’ and ‘loyal followers’ are determined to let the mantra of making- more-money-at-all-cost be the standard, then let us at the least separate religion from politics and government-meddling. Keep religion as a personal matter free of State responsibilities.

At least then, the soul is spared of political hacking.

Otherwise, all morally anchored and ethically inspired Malaysians must rise to demand a stop to this money-madness that is mauling Malaysia.

It is a fallacy to believe that money makes money, and more money makes even more money. The truth is, as captured in the pages of human civilizations, it is how you have used what you have that makes money a significant contribution to human endeavour.

Money, without a strict moral and ethical code, destroys nations and peoples ultimately.

Hence, do we need the so-called UMNO/BN marvels in the likes of 1MDB to transform Malaysia and bring a ‘million promises’ and ‘endless possibilities’ for Malaysians in the quickest time possible or imagined?

Or, do we urgently need a government that will hunt down corruption, plug the wastages these past thirty years and ensure that Malaysians aspire with a world class sense of productivity, right mindset to perform to the best of one’s abilities and put values before merely wanting to make quick money?

Hopefully, thinkers, religious leaders, civil society champions and students in institutions of higher learning should convene to produce a national referendum in the best interest of Malaysia-Tomorrow.

J. D. Lovrenciear
Kuala Lumpur

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