A cartel is bigger than a syndicate. This type of crime organisation’s power and influence can even be equal to that of a government. This is because in many instances even the police are helpless in their fight against crimes perpetuated by a cartel. In Malaysia, we also have a crime cartel called the 1Cartel and their crimes are too many to be listed. But here are 10 that top their notorious list.
1. Highway robberies: This is 1Cartel’s main source of wealth and continuous income with tolled roads being granted long periods of concessionaires. For the record, currently there are 27 tolled highways in operation. The overall construction costs of these highways amounted to RM25 billion and the toll collection until Dec 21, 2010 amounted to RM37.7 billion. Does this not show that the construction costs have been recouped? A breakdown list of the 27 tolled highways is available with this columnist and also with Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng who has already brought up this issue in Parliament last year when requesting for the abolishment of toll collection.
Currently, there are many ongoing road-building projects in the rural villages. That is why highway robberies is 1Cartel’s treasure chest. One of the roads is a 5km road in Kuala Klawang, Negri Sembilan, which costs RM40 million. Compare this to the road linking the junction of Kampung Gelam to the junction of Kampung Titi also in Negri Sembilan, which is 11km and costs RM12 million. Of course, there is also the Jabor Highway in Terengganu which has a cost overrun from RM174 million to RM210 million. However, the tolled highway with the longest concessionaire period of 60 years is Lebuhraya Banting-Taiping, which costs RM7.07 billion for 224km.
2. Awarding of contracts by Rural and Regional Development Ministry: Through irregularities in the awarding of 67 contracts, the Barisan Nasional federal government has wasted RM404 million which will surely end up in the pockets of 1Cartel. A list of these contracts is available with this columnist and also with the DAP MP for Beruas, Ngeh Koo Ham, who brought up this matter in Parliament last year and the details released in a press conference held in the Parliament lobby on Nov 10, 2011.
3. Land grabs: BN’s Perak power-grab is the largest theft of land so far – the whole state of Perak is lost to BN. The Perak BN state government has also allocated large parcels of industrial land to cronies. The evidence and details are also with DAP’s Ngeh who has raised this issue in Parliament but to no avail. BN ministers remain stone-deaf. Jalan Sultan in KL Chinatown may also be the target of land grab via MRT Corp in the near future.
4. The Great Train Robbery: An amount of RM500 million of taxpayers’ money has been squandered in a re-negotiated contract for the purchase of 38 sets of Electric Multiple Units (EMU) from Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive Company Ltd (ZELC). The increase in purchase price from RM1.4 billion to RM1.9 billion does not include the MRO (Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul) package which was separately negotiated. More details of this issue can be obtained from the blog of PAS MP Dzulkefly Ahmad who has been raising this issue in Parliament since 2010.
5. Human trafficking: This is divided into two categories – (a) vice activities: numerous raids have been conducted where many GROs (guests relations officers) from neighbouring Asian countries have been nabbed. Some of them have been going in and out of Malaysia on a continuous basis. What is going on? (b) Citizenship: there are reports that migrant workers have been easily obtaining MyKad. PAS Youth has solid evidence that there are 170,818 names on the electoral rolls with the country code listed as “71”, which means the person’s country of origin is unknown. This is a very large number on the electoral rolls. Therefore, the future of the nation can be affected by these dubious voters.
6. Weak judiciary: This will benefit 1Cartel. Here is a very good example. A timber company called Seruan Gemilang Makmur Sdn Bhd had won a case against the Pahang state government for the judgment sum of RM37,127,471.60 with interest thereon at 8% per annum to be paid from Dec 31, 2000, till full settlement. The certificate of order instructing the state government to pay has been served on the state government on April 7, 2008 which it has refused to accept and till now the payment has not been made even though it has exhausted all avenues of appeal.
By refusing to pay up, it shows that the state government does not practise accountability. This will not only fail to attract foreign investment but will also scare away local investors. Is this not impudence on the part of the state government? This is indeed a big issue.
As Pahang is the home state of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, he should instruct the state government to pay up. This clearly indicates that the Government Transformation Programme (GTP) can be thrown into the garbage bin. Clearly, Najib himself does not walk the talk.
7. Cronies: This mammoth group of cronies support 1Cartel as it is 1Cartel who gives them megabucks contracts and projects. Cronies and 1Cartel practise the philosophy of “you help me and I help you”.
8. Defence Ministry: Much money has been spent by 1Cartel in the purchase of Littoral Combat Ships, Scorpene Submarines, Eurocopters etc.
9. National institutions: The police, Malaysan Anti-Corruption Commission, Election Commission, etc, these are all in the grip of 1Cartel and have been rendered powerless to act in the interest of the common citizens.
10. Low wages: Bus drivers in Malacca whose workplace has folded up have been absorbed by the state government under an organisation called Panorama Melaka Cultural and Tourism (PMCT) and paid a salary of RM500 per month. These drivers are required to work a 12-hour shift with overtime being calculated only after 12 hours. When they protested about the low salary, Chief Minister Ali Rustam’s office increased it by RM10 from RM500 to RM510! This whole issue is an absolute insult as the salary of these Malaysians is even lower than that of the unskilled foreign workers.
In addition, what has happened to the talk on the implementation of minimum wage? These 1Cartel crime lords must have been hoping that the rakyat will forget about this matter.
With such a wide range of crimes going on, it is clear that it is extremely difficult to weed out the 1Cartel as its power permeates all spheres of life – reminds us of that Doctor Octopus character in the Spiderman movie. 1Cartel is therefore Malaysia’s very own homegrown “success story” and is a great tribute to the all-encompassing slogan of “Malaysia Boleh” -FMT