Friday, 20 May 2016

RM 2.6 billion issue and Arab generosity

The big give away sounds like a crazy idea…
                                                                                            Jim Krane, Dubai

In 1966, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan became the ruler of Abu Dhabi. One of his first acts after he took office was to throw open the palace strongbox. He then made an announcement that anyone from the Trucial states, the predecessor to United Arab Emirates, who needed cash can see him. People lined up outside the palace until Zayed emptied the coffers. It sounds crazy but to the Arabs, they considered generosity is what makes a leader. 

I do not have much encounter with Arabs but the few of my acquaintances from work are the generous lot. In I Stand Corrected, Eden Collinsworth, the media executive and consultant wrote: If you are eating in the home of an Arab, do not volunteer your admiration of any possession of his, for it will become yours. We also read of the generosity of Arab princes, especially Prince Alwaleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia who in 2015 pledged his entire 32 billion dollar worth to Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. On top of that, it is also reported that wealthy Arab nations and sheikhs gave away millions to various causes including political donation to political parties in United States.

The rest is history.

Since the eruption of the 2.6 billion donation from the Saudi prince and his family to Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak, many quarters have disputed the generosity of the Arabs. Former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Najib’s main nemesis claimed that the Arabs are not generous. He cited the experience that when asked for donation from the Arabs, he was given books. He had deliberately forgotten that the International Islamic University in Malaysia was built with funding and support from OIC, with Saudi Arabia as its main sponsor.

Just like the Chinese who prefer to be anonymous when they do a good deed, the Arabs are the same. They do not go around to beat the gong to brag about their charity. I am not good at Islamic study but learned scholars in Islamic study attribute humbleness and charity to Prophet Muhamad’s teaching.

Joining the chorus with Dr Mahathir are the leaders from Pakatan Whatever who claimed that the RM 2.6 billion donation is not from Saudi Arabia but from 1MDB. Investigations have thus far found no linkage with 1MDB’s problems with the 2.6 billion but they are still not letting go.

Imagine this, if it is not true that the money is from Saudi Arabia, from the prince, wouldn’t Saudi Arabia have issued the diplomatic demarche long ago for abusing its good name to steal state fund? Why I have not read that our ambassador to Saudi Arabia will be called in to hear Saudi’s protest? Besides that, why would Saudi Foreign Minister and Transport Minister clear the air if the whole donation thing is a make up by Prime Minister Najib?

No matter what the Arab do to clear the air about the donation, no matter what fact was presented, the anti Najib group will just twist and turn the facts to suit their political benefit. The letter from the donor, the interview done with Saudi Foreign Minister, the statement by the Transport Minister......all were taken out of context and twist. Real become fake, fictionalized. For goodness sake, we are tired of the twist by Dr Mahathir, by DAP and by the Pakatan Whatever.

Perhaps, these group of people that are so good at twisting statements and fictionalized all true facts to be fiction book writers. With their talent, I am sure the sale of the books can make it to the international best seller list and who knows, the writers can make more than RM 2.6 billion.

You may ask why it took me so long to write this. First, I do not write something unless I am convinced. After so much facts presented, I am convinced.  Second, I write because, I am tired of the never ending cooking up of stories related to this donation by the opposition party, by the pro-opposition NGOs and by Tun Dr Mahathir’s gang.

Malaysians need to move forward instead of continuing dancing to the venomous tune set out to destabilize the  country. It's better late than never.

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