Dedicated to The Memory of Dato Thasleem Mohamed Ibrahim
Several months ago I was asked by my dear friend & brother, the late Dato Thasleem to do an analysis of the impact the giving of concessions, contracts and 1st rights of refusal to the Peoples’ Republic of China had/or its state owned/linked companies had on Malaysia.
We had during our short association of 1.5 years spoken many times and had the pleasure of meting thrice and travelling together too. Knowing his shrewdness in matters of commerce and economics I had no doubt he had no need for anyone’s opinion on the huge external debt the country would owe due to the above phenomena – and that is what it is – a phenomena, for it is unprecedented in the entire history of independent Malaysia for the Government to direct so much commerce, land and rights to just one nation is a short span of time. I believe it is only 3 years since this phenomena began.
Knowing that he was a ferocious & fearless outspoken critique of any corrupt/immoral regime/government/person, I had no doubts too that he didn’t want me to opine on the grand scale of corruption, abuse of power and impropriety this had on Malaysia. That narrowed down my scope to just one aspect and I now dedicate this analysis in the loving memory of this dearly missed friend, social worker, philanthropist and blessed soul.
I had myself long heard (as far back as 17 years ago) of the massive capital & economic resources that PRC companies possessed and wondered why they were not interested in investing their monies in Malaysia. I figured perhaps we were too small a dot on the map and possessed little or no large scale projects that would attract their attention. However it turns out that PRC was still booming and they had no need to venture out. Come the crash of 2008 and it far felt effects and the decrease in demand for PRC made products in the West, PRC was faced with a dilemma – massive capital reserves held by state owned/private corporations that could not generate as much profit within PRC as they used to previously if they were reinvested within PRC again. The PRC economic pundits then came up with a brilliant formula to export not only this capital but also it human resources and machinery to benefit the PRC economy on several fronts.
Thus the 1st time I heard of a PRC company involved in a sizeable project here was the construction of the Four Seasons Hotel next to KLCC where the main contractor was CRCC (blacklisted by the American Government for Fraud & Bribery) and sizeable sub-contractor was Yuanda (the largest Curtain Wall manufacturer in the world and largest lift manufacturer in PRC). Little did I know that several other companies had penetrated Malaysia’s commercial screen and forged commercial partnerships or direct ownership of large scale projects in Stulang Laut in Johor Baru and other parts of the coast from Johor, Malacca and right up to Klang, Selangor.
The Malaysian public had no time or warning to digest the social, political and economic implications this phenomenon would have on them for it occurred with the swiftness of quick silver spurned on by anxious greedy politicians, government officials and private enterprise.
In 1948 the Federation of Malaya with the aid of the ever so helpful former colonial masters, the British Government, declared a State of Emergency in Malaysia against the CPM (communist Party of Malaysia) headed by Chin Peng and his loyal Lieutenants namely Abdullah CD & Rashid Mydin. It was in fact a civil WAR but if it was declared as such the many Tin Mining Companies would not have been able to profit from claims maid against their insurers for losses, for the insurance companies would have disclaimed liability in instances of War. The Tin Miners put pressure successfully on the government to thus have it declare a State of Emergency that lasted until 1989. Chin Peng was never allowed to re-enter Malaysia although before he passed on in 2013 he pleaded several times to be allowed to return to pay respects at the graves of his ancestors which was a very important Chinese custom that he had not performed for decades.
Some of the Commanders of the Emergency were Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah, Sultan Iskandar, Mahatir Mohammed, Tunku Addul Rahman, King Bhumiphol Aadulyadej as it was a joint effort of the governments of Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and England, Australia, New Zealand & United States of America.
During this civil war (let’s get this fact right – it was nothing short of a civil war/revolution to overthrow a corrupt regime instituted by the British) thousands of people on both sides of the divide died. Some were members of the CPM who comprised of Malaysians being Malays, Chinese, Indians, Orang Asli, sympathisers of the CPM, soldiers of the Royal Malaysian Army, Soldiers and officials of the British Army-Government and Thailand. Some members/sympathisers of the CPM who were captured were tortured and mercilessly shot in cold blood – one such incident took place in Ulu Yam, Selangor and the descendants of those victims are suing the British Government. As long as you were a suspected of being a Member/Sympathiser of the CPM you were rounded up and tortured and jailed/shot by firing squad. Such was the harsh punishment against the CPM. Many innocent Chinese in towns and cities all over Malaysia were rounded up and made to reside in new atap dewllings constructed in close quarters within each other and fenced up like concentration camps conveniently called “Chinese New Villages”. The Chinese were unfairly targeted and punished and this manner on the basis that the majority of CPM members and their sympathisers were Chinese. Once you were placed in a Chinese New Village you could cold only come out of its main gate at 7am by obtaining a pass form police/army Guards stationed at the gate for limited purposes of employment/trade, hospital etc and had to return by 7pm failing which one faced stiff penalties including being jailed.
The Communist Insurgency aided by the CPC (Communist Party of China), Communist Party of Vietnam, USSRR & North Kalimantan Communist Party was branded as unpatriotic & anti democracy, out to destroy Malaya/Malaysian culture and its institution of the Malay Monarchy and its Sultans. It was also touted as a movement to have the Chinese in Malaysia Dominate politics, government and trade (had the CPM been successful in taking over Malaysia) and thus turning the Malays into sub subservient to their new Chinese masters.
PRC and the CPC Politburo have been wise to study history and come to the realization that the old form of colonization through force and war is passe’ and a waste of resources and time and embarked on a policy of modern colonization through economics some years ago beginning with the African Continent. In less than 5 years PRC had become the biggest trading partner and investor in Africa, building and funding the construction of their infrastructure, hotels, commercials buildings etc in return for concessions in mining of minerals and other natural resources. Today Many African Governments remain heavily in debt to PRC that they would never be able to repay in the near future. Likewise Sri land which has since 2 years ago officially stopped/blocked PRC companies from carrying out/funding projects in their island.
Make no mistake – for it is easy to be blinded with images of the large modern cities in PRC and the flood of western style consumer goods like cars, clothes etc. that tout a western market economy. The PRC is a COMMUNIST STATE. Today Malaysia has in effect allowed itself to be indebted to the COMMUNIST PRC by the billions and allowed the COMMUNIST PRC and its companies to buy & own land on Malaysian soil – what was feared of and prevented by the government during the Emergency (for it was known the CPM would eventually rely on and bring in finances and trade with the CPC of PRC). Politicians from components of the ruling coalition meet with officials of the PRC on Malaysian soil to further trade and political alliances. This has in effect laid waste to the lives of the thousands of Chinese, Malays, Indians, Orang Asli, Thais, British etc who were murdered during the Emergency – The UNSULLIED, for they died in allegiance to their Cause – be it fighting to make Malaya a Communist State or fighting to defeat the CPM. In effect the Unsullied who lost their lives (and whose families were destroyed) lay in their graves betrayed having been killed in vain.
The irony is that some 40 years later the CPC has by default been successful to colonise Malaysia without firing a bullet or shedding blood and thus made Malaysia an economic vassal – a situation that once prevailed some 600 years ago when the Malacca Sultanate was a vassal state of China. Whether or not Malaysia is a vassal state of PRC politically remains to be seen as the effects are too far reaching and have not yet begun to unfold in its entirety. To say that the current state of affairs is a betrayal of the Monarchy, Constitution and therefore Treason, is to say the least.
Chin Peng’s struggles and that of his loyal Lieutenants have not after all been in vain. They must be having the last laugh and toasting a victory drink above the clouds in the heavens to resounding shouts of “Long live the Chairman”.