Sunday, December 30, 2012

‘Allah’ a journey, not controversy

By Azly Rahman
Dec 28, 2012
Only in Malaysia is the world perhaps witnessing a raging debate on who has the patent to the word ‘Allah’; simply translated as ‘the/that god.’ It seems to be a seasonal debate to get the political parties to wrestle over the linguistic or semiotic of the word; one that connotes and denotes ‘the Force of Divinity’ that Man has attempted to understand, revere, love, and fear yet can never comprehend.
This is simply because we are in a matrix of truth and representation, and in a prison-house of language unable to see what the Ultimate Reality looks like.
What’s in a name? Maybe nothing. Maybe everything. And even more so this Shakespearean “a rose is a rose” type of problematique seems relevant in a world of political manipulations such as in Malaysia when race and religion are the twin determinants of political evolution.
The debate on the origin of the word ‘Allah’ is obviously interesting as a topic of dissertation or as an inquiry theme in fields such as bio-semantics, bio-semiotics, linguistic philosophy, philology, or the study of the transcultural flow of language as yours truly embarked upon on the origin of the words ‘Cyberjaya’ and ‘Putrajaya’ in a dissertation submitted to Columbia University, a few years back.
To ascertain the origin of the word ‘Allah’ might also yield those studying it to also explore the origin of the concept of ‘god’, ‘religion’, ‘scriptures’, and even the notion of soteriology in the study of religion; a human enterprise that began with the agriculture society and what the sociologist Karl Wittfogel would term as the ‘hydraulic societies’.
The attempt to name ‘god’ and to call it by ‘special nouns’ have been a human cognitive exercise since Man has been trying to figure our what causes his crop to do well or to be damaged or destroyed, the night to go dark and the sun to illuminate, or the fate of his or her clan as the tribe moves from one planting area to another after slashing and burning crops.
The search for ‘god’, perhaps noted as early as the discovery of cave paintings in Southern France moving on to the conceptualisation of the Divine and Ultimate Reality, to the birth of Zorastrianism, to Judaism, to Christianity, and to Islam (in the Fertile Crescent) and in the non-monotheistic conception of it in cultural philosophies such as Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism (in the Indus valley).
These are ways that Man has tried to name the un-namable, explain the unexplainable, and conceive the unconceivable.
I am not sure if there have been controversies or people killing each other over who has the right to the name of this or that god. The Romans and the Greeks have gods in common playing different roles, but I have not come across crisis and conflict in such naming of gods in these two civilisations.
No need for controversy
At this point in human evolution, in this age of reconciliation of the post-Mayan calendar, Malaysians (especially Christians and Muslims) need to be less childish in the fight over patenting and branding ‘god’. It is a name conceived differently anyway, as different as how each soul conceives the Divine.
Whether one calls god Allah, The Lord, Brahma-Shiva-Vishnu, Bhagwan, Waheguru, Yahweh, or Hashem or not call it anything at all but refer to it in mere silence and reverie, the ultimate aim is to ‘connect’, and hence the Latin term ‘religio’ which loosely means ‘to connect’. Herein lies the limits of language insofar as the naming of ‘god’ is concerned.
There is no reason to be locked into controversy but all the reason should be to engage in exploring human creativity in trying to understand Absolute or Ultimate Reality.
Because we are social beings plunged into a world of materialism and our existence always in dialectical opposition with world of Appearance and Reality, if we take the Platonic Theory of Forms as a framework of analysis, and because we are always engaging in a world of realism first and foremost, our focus needs to be on how to live a life examined as societies of human beings always empathic to the lives of others less fortunate and to dwell on similarities rather than differences.
We ought to focus on making sure fellow men and women are accorded the basics of life – food, shelter, clothing – and how these will contribute to the cultivation of dignity, rights, and responsibility.
In Malaysia, this means people of all religious faith ensuring that caste and class in society is gradually, but surely abolished and that the rich will not become richer by any means manipulative and necessary.
A wide-awake society that includes the ideological warring factions called the Muslims and Christians fighting over the word ‘Allah’ ought to be aware of what will continue to divide and conquer them, so that their praxis or the act of translating theory/perspective to practice for the common good is not clouded or even debilitated.
It would be necessary to allow any religion to use the word ‘Allah’ I would venture to say, if the word means everything good and brings them to do ultimate good. Muslims and Christians alike may perhaps need to do a philological and linguistic-genealogical research of the word ‘Allah’ or even the history of the word ‘god’ itself in order to be more enlightened of the issues and attendant claims or ownership.
Surprised they may be in discovering that we were once inhabitants of the Tower of Babel trying to figure out what word to use to name the nameless, and what shape to create to represent the Formless.
Until we Muslims and Christians come to this dialogical crossroad, the road to political manipulation in Malaysia is always paved with linguistic distortion in service of crypto-crony-capitalistic intentions!
DR AZLY RAHMAN, who was born in Singapore and grew up in Johor Baru, holds a Columbia University (New York) doctorate in International Education Development and Master’s degrees in the fields of Education, International Affairs, Peace Studies and Communication. He has taught more than 40 courses in six different departments and has written more than 300 analyses on Malaysia. His teaching experience spans Malaysia and the United States, over a wide range of subjects from elementary to graduate education. He currently resides in the United States.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Bishop demurs over PM Najib’s Christmas Day remarks

Terence Netto
26 Dec 2012

Catholic Bishop Dr Paul Tan Chee Ing described Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s remarks at a hi-tea hosted by the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) yesterday as “pious platitudes we are used to hearing on these occasions”.
Speaking to Malaysiakini after reading reports on web news portals on Najib’s remarks at the CFM function which the prelate did not attend, bishop Tan said:
“I don’t want to sound churlish, particularly in this Christmas season of goodwill, but if you shake down the PM’s rhetoric, what have you left – syrupy sentiment and clichés that have little or no connection with realities on the ground.”
In remarks made at the Christmas Day hi-tea attended by the PM and his wife Rosmah Mansor, Najib assured the Christian community that they have not been marginalised.
“I don’t want to be prime minister for only a particular section of the community,” asserted Najib. “I’m prime minister for all Malaysians, and I’ve said that repeatedly.”
Bishop Tan said that no one with experience of how prime ministers have run the Malaysian nation would think to remark that there could be an ethnocentric and exclusivist dimension to the PM’s role.
“It’s odd that Najib has seen fit to remark that he has to be PM of all of our diverse nation and not just one or another part of it,” commented the head of the Catholic Church of the Melaka-Johor diocese whose two-year tenure as president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei ends on Dec 31.
“That he has to say a thing like that shows how far his office has tended to depart from a broad-gauged conception of its responsibilities that now there is the suspicion that it is enthralled to exclusivist notions of its actual import,” commented the Jesuit-trained prelate.
“If he had a broad view of his office, how come when Christians were accused over the last two years of not just being ‘pendatang’ but sinister fifth-columnists, there was not a word from official quarters to stem that patently false accusation which was aimed at creating suspicion and hatred for Christians on the part of the Muslim majority of this country?” queried the bishop.
Promises not kept
The prelate said that as a founding member of the Malaysian Consultative Congress of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism – founded in 1984 – and as one-time leader of the CFM, he had met, in MCCBCHST and CFM’s roles, three Malaysian prime ministers (Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Najib Razak) and “all three had not kept the promises they made at the dialogues we have had with them.”
“All three were benign and reassuring in personal interaction with MCCBCHST and CFM councils but were something else when faced with testing circumstances involving religious matters as and when issues fizzled in the public arena,” recalled the bishop.
“So it’s deja vu as far as I’m concerned with respect to the latest assurance from the present prime minister.”
The bishop said Christians have grown leery of periodic assurances from the government that their contributions to education, welfare and heath care were not forgotten when the realities on the ground suggest that “their role must be muted or diminished for reason that others should not feel inferior by comparison.”
“For the good of our society, this is not a predicament that Christians can abide anymore for reason that their light cannot be hidden under a bushel and their truth frees and holds no one in bondage,” said the bishop.
“I feel this determination will register soon on our polity to the benefit of those political leaders who elect to tack with it in a creative manner and to the disadvantage of those who mean to tackle it in a merely politically expedient and vote-catching way.”

Anwar is Pakatan’s right choice for PM

Ali Cordoba
 | December 29, 2012
To stop concerted attempts to break up the opposition coalition, Pakatan leaders must decide once and for all who should lead, and it's obvious who the candidate is.
Amidst the display of greed among some opposition members on the issue of the next Prime Minister of Malaysia, it is certain that the man to lead Pakatan Rakyat (PR) in the elections should be its most popular figure.
There is little doubt who the man is who can lead the country towards the path for change. The thorns in the flanks of Pakatan, however, are not its political enemies but the leader’s nemesis who are acting as ‘resident evils’.
Several Pakatan members launched a controversial debate on who should lead PR after the 13th general election, ignoring the wishes of the people on the ground. In the past weeks, PR has generated the expected large crowds in its recent rallies.
Will PAS or DAP leaders come forward and tell the public that it is them and not Anwar Ibrahim who is behind this surge in support? If people are flocking to the rallies to listen to Pakatan, it due to the maestro of PKR who is the major crowd puller.
If shamelessness has no borders and limits, then we will surely see some of trouble makers coming forward to claim they are the ones behind the massive support PR is generating!
However, the rise in tempo against Anwar’s leadership in PR is a not a simple ploy by some greedy people to do a ‘coup d’etat’ in the coalition. The whole episode has to do with a lack of certainty on the position of Anwar within PR itself.
While the PKR sees Anwar as the sole candidate to lead PR and bring change – and they have excellent reasons to stick to this plan – the other coalition partners have been tip-toeing into a morass.
The absence of a declaration of leadership roles within the loose coalition is the number one reason for the claims by other partners to snatch the PM post after the polls. The fact that BN is wooing PAS to join a so called ‘Islamic’ coalition is a major factor in this crisis.
PR needs to lay down its leadership strategy in its pursuit of Putrajaya. In the minds of a large majority of the people, it is Anwar’s name which comes first as the potential PM.
He is expected to lead the coalition during the polls campaign and also declared as the PM in waiting. In the event PR decides to push forward such an agenda, which will be a popular one, the impact will be tremendous and the chances for PR taking power will be greater.
At least, this is what a majority of the public is thinking and it will be incredible if such a popular wish is not granted.
Pakatan must decide
At this juncture in Malaysian politics, it is clear that Anwar is the leader in PR. It is also evident that he is leading the pack of leaders from the PKR, PAS and the DAP.
What is not clear though is why some PR leaders are showing their greed and lack of tact and respect in publicising their ‘dreams’. Not that they are not entitled to such dreams but they are far from being the next ‘Martin Luther King’ in history!
With some of the PAS leaders kowtowing to the tune of the anti-Anwar lobby, they are allowing their opponents in power to drive a dangerous wedge between the coalition partners within PR.
It is not possible that the campaign to decide whether the PAS should have its leader as PM or not was not well crafted from above within PAS itself.
It is also impossible to believe that the PAS leadership was not aware that the gambit to seize the PM post within PR before elections are even called, was done with a specific goal in mind. And that goal is probably an attempt to ‘hijack’ the next electoral tsunami.
In the meantime, the DAP too was foraging into the controversy by raising the divisive issue of a non Muslim PM. Now that it has died down, it is hoped the DAP rallies itself behind Anwar. It is also hoped that the PAS buries its flimsy hopes of leading the nation with biggest wins in the polls and follow the leadership of Anwar.
In order to destroy the opponent’s drive to divide PR, its leaders must sit and decide once and for all on who should lead the grouping during the poll campaigns. To the masses who are following PR campaigns closely, it obvious that Anwar remains the ultimate candidate. Do any of the other Pakatan leaders have the courage to deny this publicly?
It is also a fact that not many among the leaders of PR are either capable or have the creed and charisma to be the next PM. Some have argued that Anwar, due to the numerous accusations against him can be labeled as ‘tainted’ while other leaders in PR are seen as ‘clean’.
Such talks are purely selfish. It is who the people want to lead their country and who the masses want as the leader of the Pakatan coalition who should be the PM in making.
It is not the dream talk or the dreamed ‘purity’ factors of some leaders that will affect the poll results. It is Anwar, voted by PR as the one to lead the electoral battle, who should hold the job as the top shot of the country after a PR victory in the next GE.

Astacanggih buyout to silence Deepak, claims Rafizi

UPDATED @ 03:47:43 PM 29-12-2012
December 29, 2012
Rafizi said PKR will now attempt to derail Boustead’s acquisition of Astacanggih. — File pic
PETALING JAYA, Dec 29 ― Boustead Holdings Bhd’s acquisition of an 80 per cent stake in Astacanggih Sdn Bhd is an attempt to silence controversial carpet dealer Deepak Jaikishan, PKR’s Rafizi Ramli alleged today.
The PKR strategy director also accused Defence Minister Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi of abusing his power by spending public money through government investment fund Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera (LTAT), which owns Boustead, to acquire the loss-making property development company.
“This is worse than a bailout ... this is outright bribery to practically pay off and silence (Deepak),” Rafizi told a press conference here.
The politician added that if the recent allegations made by Deepak over the murder of Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu had not been considered serious, it was unlikely that LTAT would have proceeded with the buyout.
Deepak recently also exposed an alleged deal between Awan Megah Sdn Bhd, the company owned by Selangor Wanita Umno chief  Senator Datuk Raja Ropiaah Abdullah, and the federal government for the a parcel of land involved in the acquisition by Boustead.
He said that Deepak’s allegation had likely “frightened” the Barisan Nasional (BN) government so much that it had instructed Zahid to proceed with the move.
Rafizi claimed that acquiring Astacanggih was not a sound investment, and Zahid was being irresponsible by jeopardising the contributions of armed forces members through Boustead and its subsidiary, Bakti Wira Development Sdn Bhd, which financed the deal.
“As the minister responsible for this deed, Zahid must be careful in making sure that the investment made by Bakti Wira will be in the best interest of members of the army,” Rafizi said.
He argued that Astacanggih is a company with poor track record and had failed to file any of its financial statements. It was also burdened with RM98 million of outstanding debt with banking institution Kuwait Finance House.
He also disputed the RM30 million valuation for the stake in Astacanggih,  explaining that the price was achieved through a “willing buyer, willing seller” agreement.
The same type of agreement was used in valuing the price of land going to acquired by Bakti Wira from Awan Megah, which Rafizi claimed was double the price of the land plots adjacent to it.
He referred to report by Utusan Malaysia in December 2005 that said another subsidiary of Boustead, Jendela Hikmat Sdn Bhd, had acquired a 236ha land for RM230 million, or RM390,000 per acre, compared to RM650,000 per acre for the land Bakti Wira is acquiring.
Rafizi further claimed that the government will be paying Awan Megah RM130 million for a piece of land that is yet to be transferred to the company.
“I echo Deepak’s claim ... that it is akin to the federal government paying RM130 million to Awan Megah for land that does not exist,” he added.
Rafizi also stressed that PKR will be concentrating on this issue in coming days, and will use any means possible to stop the deal from going through.
Yesterday, Deepak had said that he was forced to sell his company to cover the losses incurred in a deal with the Selangor Wanita Umno chief that went sour.
On Thursday, the controversial businessman withdrew his lawsuit  against Putrajaya for an alleged breach of agreement over land in Bukit Raja, Selangor on the same day Boustead reported it bought an 80 per cent stake in Astacanggih for RM30 million.
Deepak has made various allegations about the deal that involved Raja Ropiaah, but has disappeared from public view since December 13.
But he resurfaced yesterday to explain the sale of his firm to Boustead.
“My shareholders and me have sold our shares in Asta Canggih for RM30 million which is our actual cost price. RM13 million (for) Raja Ropiah, RM8 million political contribution, RM7 million financial cost, RM2 million legal and miscellaneous cost, as this ultimatum was forced upon us,” Deepak said in a text message.
State news agency Bernama reported that in a filing with Bursa Malaysia, Boustead said its wholly-owned unit, Bakti Wira Development Sdn Bhd, acquired the shares from Prestige Dimension Sdn Bhd and other minority shareholders of Astacanggih on December 20.
Bakti Wira Development and Astacanggih also signed an agreement with Awan Megah to acquire 80.94ha of freehold land in Klang, Selangor, for RM130 million.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Church leaders happy with Najib’s pledge, but wary it won’t trickle down

December 26, 2012

Najib had reassured the Christian community in Malaysia on Christmas Day yesterday that the government recognised them as an essential part of the nation. – Picture by Saw Siow Feng
PETALING JAYA, Dec 26 – Church leaders are happy with Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s pledge to the Christian community, but expressed concern that the prime minister’s message will not filter down to conservatives and extremist elements in his party and government.
Najib had reassured the Christian community in Malaysia on Christmas Day yesterday that the government recognised them the as an essential part of the nation. Christians form about nine per cent of the country’s 28 million population.
“I hope that was not only from him alone, but it (also) has to be from the other part of the government,” Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) chairman Datuk Ng Moon Hing told The Malaysian Insider yesterday.
CFM, the umbrella body of all Christian denominations in the country, organised its annual Christmas Day party attended by all political leaders.
Ng’s view was mirrored by the Tan Sri Murphy Pakiam, Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur, who said the prime minister needs courage, determination and consistent effort to accomplish his promises.
“Hopefully he can get his whole team to (work at it),” Pakiam said.
The church leaders agreed that Najib’s attendance in the Christmas event was a nice gesture towards the Christian community, but would be for naught if he failed to confront extremists elements in his party and the government.
“What’s troubling to Christians is that the government has not spoken up to the extremists what its views are,” said Hermen Shastri, the general secretary from the Council of Churches of Malaysia (CCM).
The CCM is an ecumenical fellowship of churches and Christian organisations that are part of the larger Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) representing 90 per cent of the country’s 2.8 million Christians.
Last year, Umno-owned daily Utusan Malaysia published a report entitled Kristian Agama Rasmi? (“Christianity the official religion?”), where it was alleged that DAP leaders and Christian clergymen were conspiring to take over Putrajaya, abolish Islam as the religion of the federation and install a Christian prime minister.
In the aftermath of the report, Malay supremacist group Perkasa and its president Datuk Ibrahim Ali threatened Christians nationwide with a holy war against any move to usurp Islam with a Christian state.
Najib then meet church leaders to clear the air but the Home Ministry had only slapped the daily with a warning letter for publishing the unsubstantiated report.
Shastri warned that by not taking any action on extremists, it will undo and make difficult the plans that the PM wants to accomplish.
“(This will happen) as long as some groups keep on saying that Christians are a threat,” Shastri said.
The church leaders have listed several issues affecting the Christian community that has yet to be addressed by the government, with the issue of insufficient land for religious sites chief among them.
“What we felt previously is that there are certain issues that the government could be more upfront (with) when dealing with them,” confessed Philip Kok, a bishop with the Lutheran Church of Malaysia.
“I think a lot of time, (we are facing) a struggle against bureaucracy. Some difficulties looked like it was (a problem with policy), but then the policy is interpreted in a different light,” Ng explained.
According to Ng, churches receive no land allocation from the government, which makes it hard for them to build more cemetery sites and buildings to cater to a growing number of Christian population.
The Anglican bishop also revealed that the lease for some sites of missionary schools have expired, yet their application for lease extension had not been entertained.
“The government is not paying for the schools actually, the mission schools belong to the mission board,” he said, adding that the government refused to consult the board when appointing headmasters and principals for the schools.
“It reflects bad on the government,” Ng said.
Pakiam claimed that infringements against Christians’ right are happening with alarming regularity.
“The Allah issue of course we have some sort of agreement and hopefully it will not flare up again in the future,” spoke Kok.
DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng had urged the federal government on Monday to allow the use of the word “Allah” in the Bible, to prove that the authority are really putting the people first.
“It looks small, it looks petty but it affects people on the ground,” Ng stressed.
Kok however, was more upbeat on what the Christian community should expect from the prime minister.
“The speech was very comforting ... his presence shows that the government is sincere in building up relationship with the Christian community.
“As long as we’re open to dialogues, open for conversations, we can come up with solutions to these challenges. It is normal in a country as diverse as Malaysia,” Kok said.
“It takes time, we can understand, but he has to determinedly go at it,” encouraged Pakiam.
In recent years, the Christian and Muslim religious communities have been engaged in a tug-of-war over the word “Allah”, with the latter group arguing that its use should be exclusive to them on the grounds that Islam is monotheistic and the word “Allah” denotes the Muslim god.
Christians, however, have argued that “Allah” is an Arabic word that has been used by those of other religious beliefs, including the Jews, in reference to God in many other parts of the world, notably in Arab nations and Indonesia.
Conservative Muslim groups have also accused Christians of attempting to convert Malays, resulting in heightened tension between followers of the two religions.

Monday, December 24, 2012

The World Did Not End On 21st Dec, And Neither Did My Life Too! 世界没有在12月21日结束,我的性命也一样无恙!

Well, the world did not end on 21st December, and neither did my life too!

2012 has come to an end. As a Christian, I would always count the blessings of God at year-end. I had a close shave with death. But God’s time for me was not up yet! If not because of His grace, some of you would have had sung “Amazing Grace” for me!

On 22nd November morning, we have our monthly Subang-Sunway Chinese Pastors’ Fellowship at USJ 1. After the meeting at about 1.00 pm, Pastor Henry Yap who came back for holidays from New Zealand requested me to send him to the Commuter Train Station at Subang Jaya. That day I exchanged my new car with my wife’s old one.

After dropping him off, I drove from Carrefour Hypermarket using Jalan Kemajuan going towards SS19. While driving smoothly at green light along the crossroad junction at Jalan Jengka, I was appalled to see a car dashing straight at me from the right at high speed! My first thought was perhaps the traffic light had gone haywire that both of us were at green light!

Oh, either he would hit me or I would hit him! My reflex action was to accelerate, hoping to clear him. “Bang!” It was disaster! My car spun one and a half rounds. When I came out of shock, I saw the other car was fuming with smokes. His air-bags were activated! It was a 6-month old Toyota Vios.

I drove him to the USJ 8 Police Station to make a report. In the car he told me that he recognized me. After exchanging conversation, I was amazed to find out that he was actually the eldest son of Cecilia and I’s friend! The world is very small indeed!

That young man was at fault. He came out from SS16/1 at the arrow junction (please refer to photo) with Empire Gallery at his back and Subang Parade on his left. There was no traffic light for him. He could only “stop, look and go” to make a left-turn and no other way. But, he went straight ahead and hit me where I came from his left in front of him.

There were several things I wanted to thank my God for:

1. When my car spun, one of the wheels had lifted up. But my car did not overturn.
2. My car did not hit on any other vehicles or objects.
3. When my car spun, I felt that I was being held steadily. Thus my neck did not break.
4. It was not me who rammed at his car. Since my car has no air-bags, otherwise I could be injured.
5. The other party was fine.



1122日上午,我们在 USJ 1 有常月的梳邦市-双威镇牧者联谊会。散会后将近下午1点,从纽西兰回来度假的叶挺隆牧师要求我送他去梳邦市的电动火车站。那天我把我的新车跟妻子调换她的旧车。

放下他后,我经过家乐福超市沿着可玛朱安路往 SS19 方向走去。当很顺畅地在绿灯经过正卡路十字路口时,我很震惊看到一辆车以高速度向我右边驰骋而来!我第一个思想是交通灯痴线了!我俩的交通灯都正是绿灯吧!


我载他去 USJ 8 的警察局报案。在车里他说他认得我。在交谈之下,我很惊讶发觉到他竟然是我和淑芳的朋友之长子!世界真的是太小呀!

是那年轻人犯了错。他从SS16/1 出来在箭头路口处(请看照片),Empire Galley 在他后面,梳邦百利在他左手边。他只能停,看,走地转左而没其他选择。然而他却直行,在他前面我从他左边前进时直撞上我。



The young man on the left was the other party

This was the junction where he came out. He was only 
allowed to turn left, but he went straight!

The car after repaired

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Anwar drops BOMBSHELL: It is possible for Dr M to have US$ 44 BILLION FORTUNE!

Friday, 21 December 2012 00:41Written by  Wong Choon Mei, Malaysia Chronicle

Anwar drops BOMBSHELL: It is possible for Dr M to have US$ 44 BILLION FORTUNE!
UPDATE 2 Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim dropped a bombshell on Thursday, saying it was not impossible for his former boss Mahathir Mohamad to possess a fortune of as large as US$ 44billion, which would make the latter the world's second wealthiest ex-leader.
"Yes, it is possible. Why not? Look at his family, his cronies. This is why Dr Mahathir should explain," Anwar told a press conference at his party headquarters in Tropicana, Petaling Jaya.
He was responding to a recent Malaysia Chronicle news report highlighting a Wikipedia page of the world's richest leaders and ex-leaders and how much wealth they possessed. CASE OF THE MISSING NAME: So is Dr M the world's 2nd richest ex-leader with $ 44 BILLION?
The Wiki page, updated on December 14, had put Mahathir as the second richest ex-leader after Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, who it estimated was worth some US$70 billion. However, minutes after the article was published, Mahathir's name mysteriously disappeared from the Wiki list and Indonesia's late president Suharto, in third place with an estimated US$35 billion, was pushed up to replace the former Malaysia premier.
Mr 10%?
Now 87, Mahathir ruled Malaysia for 22 years from 1981 to 2003. His ham-fisted style and use of racial favoritism to gain the political upper hand have been much criticized and he is reviled rather than cherished by large pockets of the Malaysian populace.
Critics, who describe Mahathir as 'Dr Devil', have through the years speculated on how much money he and his family have made through leveraging on his influence and absolute control of the various government machinery. Some even call him "Mr 10%", in a reference to his alleged abuse of power and corrupt practices such as seeking a cut from every deal he gave the green light to.
Indeed, Mahathir's coterie of cronies include the country's richest and most powerful businessmen. They include lottery king Vincent Tan and Ananda Krishnan, the notorious Maxis boss who is now being probed by the Indian government for purportedly bribing his way into a controlling stake at Aircel.
From 2001 to 2010, US$285 BILLION siphoned out
The speculation on Mahathir's wealth comes hot on the heels of a shocking report from the Washington-based Global Financial Integrity, which tracks capital flight and is run by top financial executives including former senior IMF researchers.
GFI said in its latest report that US$RM 197 billion of 'dirty money' had been siphoned out of Malaysia in 2010 compared to RM 93 billion in 2009, an increase of 112 %. Malaysia also has the rather shameful record of being the No. 2 country in the world after China with the highest illicit outflow of dirty money in 2010.
For the 10 years from 2001 to 2010, Malaysia is ranked No. 3 globally after China and Mexico. The total 10-year estimate for Malaysia is US$285 billion (RM871.4 billion), while China is US$2,740 billion, and Mexico, US$476 billion.
In its latest report, GFI minced no words, warning that capital flight in Malaysia is "at a scale seen in few Asian countries".
Great Robbery
Anwar also expressed "no confidence" in Prime Minister Najib Razak's political will or ability to probe the GFI report or come up with an action plan to stop the outflow.
He has mooted a roundtable in January 2013 where his Pakatan Rakyat coalition plans to bring together GFI officials, central Bank Negara representatives and government officials to stem the rot.
"He (Najib) is complicit in this. We raised the matter two years ago but not only has nothing been done, the amount of illicit outflows has more than doubled in 2010 compared to 2009. He has not been transparent to the people and has blocked investigations," said Anwar. 
"We are talking about mind-boggling crime... This is the same situation as in the Great Indian Robbery where US$500 billion was spirited out of the country over a period of 6 decades."