Friday, February 3, 2012

Afriani Susanti, sang algojo Tugu Tani

(Nearly) Twenty years ago, when I started frequenting Indonesia (as part of my job), I though we were both at least decades apart.

Both physical and mental progress.

My Indonesian clients (and later on friends) would lament on how we had progressed so far, when in the 60s and 70s,  it was Indonesia who were helping Malaysia by sending their teachers in order to upgrade  our education systems. It didn't take us that long to surpass them, and in the 90s, so many of our consultants were providing services to our counterparts in the oil and gas industries in various capacities.

When my Canadian counterpart Vince and I visited Dumai for training in 1994, we had problem returning home since we didn't register our departure at the transport office - instead we headed to the port, and hence we were prevented from leaving.

But then, there is nothing that some hard, cold cash cannot grease the palms, and hence instead of having to stay there for another day, we were accorded VIP status and hence were able to leave.

We had no choice as otherwise we would incur another night's at the hotel and wasted our time instead of being back in the office (in Singapore). I was telling Vince of the history between the two nations, and how close we were to become one nation. His response?

"You are so lucky that you didn't. They would have drained you dry," I remember very well Vince's statements then. That's Vince; he is not someone who would mince his words.

Since the last decade or so, since the age of "reformasi", they had made tremendous progress, far beyond our shores to be honest. Things are very transparent there; they would dare calling a spade a spade. Things would be debated over on the telly, irrespective of the deeds or wrongdoings were done by the government or the 'oppositions'.

Very unlike us.

In the report in Jakarta Globe on Monday, it was reported that last year alone, Indonesia lost USD283 million due to graft. Mind you, we are talking about 2011 alone; it is nearly a billion ringgit, mind you. This was reported by Indonesia Corruption Watch, and they break it down to the following:

1. Embezzlement Rp123 trillion
2. Bogus project Rp 446 billion
3. Misappropriation Rp Rp181 billion
4. Mark-ups Rp 171 billion
5. Mark-downs Rp Rp66 billion
6. Illegal levies, abuse of power, bribery, gratification etc

I am not sure what's the markdowns are for, and how one profited from such venture.

I know things are still bad, but Indonesia are improving and they are improving fast. Years ago, I would have to frequent the small room at many port of entry in Indonesia; now I would not have too.

On the other hands, I would like to know the figures for Malaysia. Kapal selam, shopping, cincin, lembu - you name it, we got it all. But unlike the Indonesians, everything was hush-hushed up in Malaysia. After 50 years of ruling the country, all the Malays are good at is how to mess up everything that was given to us.

You name it - MAS, NFC, the navy ships, Proton, Bank Bumi, Perwaja; too many and too numerous to mention here. A former primary schoolteacher of mine told me recently why could not the Malays manage the country well enough, so much so the others like the Chinese, and Indians would not have anything bad to say about us. She has a point, and she quoted MAS as an example.

Even though she was not an accountant, and taught primary school children in the 60s-80s, she knew very well that by selling the MAS building, it did not constitute profit by MAS. She definitely has a point and I could not answer her to be honest.

We call ourselves Muslims with a strict Halal code and yet...[sigh]

But the biggest news in Jakarta happened on Sunday. Nine people died when Afriani Susanti rammed her car on kids and people waiting at a bus halt right in the middle of Jakarta.

Apparently she was on ecstasy!

She was calmed when she came out of her car, and I am not sure how did she do it. Many in Indonesia are clamouring for very heavy sentence for her.

Here is the scene at Tugu Tani in Jakarta. I asked my cab driver if she was bashed up by the crowd; apparently she was not and he said may be because it was a she and hence she was spared. I don't know; I probably would have bashed her up to be honest.

No comments:

Post a Comment