Friday, February 6, 2009

Malaysia Is Really Something Else

I have always known that in Malaysia, corruption is not that much of a deal. With our northern neighbor, its kind accepted that politicians will be ‘a little corrupt’.

However even by Malaysian standard, the recent stand-off in the state of Perak is something else. The Malaysian opposition alliance, the Pakatan Rakyat, took over Perak after last year’s national elections. It was a razor-thin margin but they did won the state fair and square through the ballot box.

However the ruling coalition, the National Front, now claimed that they had seize control of the state after three lawmakers quit the opposition and became "independents" friendly to the National Front.

On the surface, this seems to be old-style dirty politics at its finest. If you can’t take power through the ballot box, you do it through the backdoor. Personally I don’t really have a problem with this; it’s distasteful but hardly uncommon. The problem I have is that 2 of the 3 lawmakers that left the opposition are under investigations for, you guess it, corruption!

Even for a country that has a ‘fluid’ attitude to corruption, this is something else. Usually when a politician is under investigation for corruption, other politicians suffer amnesia and distance themselves as much as possible.

Not in Malaysia! In Malaysia, you get offers to join the government. I wonder how long it will take for the Malaysian police to ‘drop’ their investigations.

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