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Monetisation of politics in Malaysia must stop

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Politicians and civil servants must act as the vanguards of the nation’s wealth instead of dabbling in business, writes JD Lovernciear.

For decades, we have witnessed how political power in Malaysia has been closely intertwined with money.

From the dishing out of contracts to rent-seeking schemes to opaque configurations of business workhorses in the form of government-linked companies and government-linked investment companies to the oiling of government-linked entities – the political architecture of Malaysia has been glued to monetisation.

We have gone beyond the mantra of “it’s who you know that counts and not what you know”.

Few things move in Malaysia without political connections, patronage and political funding. Political agendas dictate to many businesses.

Political allocations, multi-billion ringgit projects to certain quarters and special appointments to lucrative business positions are becoming the currency of political trading.

All this must stop. The architecture of monetisation must be rightfully returned to the business community, ranging from sole entrepreneurs to small and medium-sized enterprises to large and transnational business entities.

The role of the government is to create policies that facilitate businesses to grow ethically. Politicians cannot be dabbling in businesses. Politicians are public servants. So too are all the civil servants.

Their job is to see to the rightful implementation of policies, to serve as vanguards of the nation’s wealth. They have to regulate and watch over the business landscape of the nation to ensure that nation’s wealth grows to benefit all its people, including investors, within globally accepted ethical standards.

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Perhaps the time is right to have debates and public discourse on the dangerous trend of the monetisation of political power in Malaysia.

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