A reflection about what the theft of the Malaysian Royal Military Air Force (RMAF) symbolizes of our present political establishment.
A lot of us expressed disbelief that a RMAF jet fighter engines worth RM 50 million each were stolen along with other parts from the aircraft. The total cost is well over RM 100 million in terms of loss. Our government has not explained to us the opportunity cost of those aircrafts.
But our disbelief is not that there is crime in our country. It is not even that the theft is very likely an inside job. We know that most thefts in Malaysia on a grand national project scale are inside jobs. Our disbelief is that the present government is so completely corrupt and incompetent as to cause a breach of national security and endanger all of us.
How am I supposed to believe that we are secure as a nation when the security of our army, our camps, our military equipment are vulnerable to common theft? (The security of our military camps are not renowned: see PP v Mohd Amin Mohd Ramli & Ors  5 CLJ 281) If our armies are porous, corrupt and incompetent, what about our other security agencies like the Royal Malaysian Police Force and the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission, which has its fair share of completely deserving bad press? If the theft happened in 2007 but the news only broke in 2009, what does that say of our government’s attitude of accountability and transparency? After all, the Armed Forces chief Gen Tan Sri Azizan Ariffin was reported to have flippantly remarked, “The missing jet engine does not affect RMAF operations because we have more than 16 F-5E jets and only seven are used for tactical missions.” If it was not important, why not report it earlier? And if only 7 are used for tactical missions, what are the other 9 for? Making the hangar look good?
So when our Prime Minister promised there will be no cover up, without any reasonable explanation why this was not reported to the public, I do not believe him. I even think his comments were shallow bordering on stupid. In explaining his initiative, he was reported by Malaysiakini to have said, “In fact we went forward to the police. At that time I was the minister in charge. I decided we should report it to the police.” What was there to decide? Reporting to the police should be a standard operating procedure and not subject to ministerial discretion. Then in explaining what measures could be taken against the perpetrators he says quite lamely without a hint of outrage, “It depends on what the personnel had done wrong, It is up to the air force and armed force’s council to decide on that.” Of course it does. What did they do wrong again?
But if so then why were a brigadier-general and 20 officers reportedly sacked over the loss instead of being summarily detained without trial under the Internal Security Act? If this was a case that demanded draconian measures this was it. How can the theft which amounts to a breach of national security be punished with a mere sacking?
Those jet fighter engines are symbolic of our dynamism, growth and discipline. It is therefore fitting that this Barisan National led government watched over its theft, if not virtually participated in it as a result of its policies and morality. They weakened our national dynamism with their mind numbing, fool elevating constant flip-flopping of our educational and national policies. They drive out our best and brightest or make them suffer under the weight of fools. They killed our national growth with their wanton greed which the theft symbolizes. Those in the power elite have taken what is not theirs. They have twisted policies to serve them and their insatiable greed. And we have no sense of governmental and national discipline, in terms of far-reaching policies for the betterment of our country and the good of our people. The government we have enthroned now are completely and utterly self-serving, more so when they claim they are serving our interests.
The void where those engines are supposed to be reflects the void of political will, courage and honesty in our nation. There is little almost to be untraceable.
There is still much work to be done from the current speculative reports. Though Tan Sri Musa Hassan, the Inspector General of Police, is reported to have said that the engines were traced to Argentina, I am inclined to think we should not waste our efforts looking for it. Recovering the engines will not solve anything because the thieves are still at large. Those are the ones that must be caught. All their possessions, property and assets must be forfeited to pay for their crime. What was really stolen was not the engine but our security, our peace of mind and our pride. Our vitality.
It is good to see though that the IGP’s encouraging and surprisingly accurate taken on the likely culprits when he said, “We need to question all of them as it is not easy to just cart away the engines without authorisation and proper documents.”
But oh Tan Sri, they have shown us all just how easy it is.
And we know how things are really done around here – without authorisation and proper documents.