Sunday, May 6, 2012

What is with the Malays and Money?


Ada yang panggil ringgit
Ada yang panggil dollar
Ada yang panggil baht
Ada yang panggil rupiah
Semua ini duit
Bikin orang belit

Duit! Duit!
Di mana kau duit
Duit! Duit!
Hutangku membukit

Ada yang benci duit
Ada yang cinta duit
(bikin perut buncit)
Skandal sana sini
Punca juga duit
Cari duit halal
Agar jangan kesal

Duit beli duit
Buat beli cinta

Ramai orang yang berkata
Duit punca banyak dosa
Jangan sampai makan rasuah
Nanti bangsa jadi musnah

Zaman ini zaman duit
Tak ada duit diri tercepit
Tapi jangan jadi hamba duit
Nanti musnah diri sendiri'

I am always very careful with my money, especially since I don't have that much.

I am careful with my own personal budget; I would alway ensure that I would spent much less that my earning, especially since I don't earn that much. You would not find luxury items in my home, irrespective if I can afford them or not; and in most case, I can't afford them, anyway.

You can even call my stingy if you must, and I would not punch you, but merely will smile back at you.

My 29" TV is from 12 years ago, so you can be assured that it is no flat screen LCD. We don't have ASTRO; one of the few houses in Klang Valley that doesn't have one. I have a car dated from 1994, and it is still running. Obviously it is now not a first (or only) car for us, since I do need to drive safely, long distance and that my son is now an income earner.

But it is car we still drive nonetheless.

When it comes to investing, I am perhaps too careful, and hence I am not not multi-millionaire. I am comfortable - perhaps too comfortable, but I am not there, if you know what I mean. Perhaps it is because I am too cautious (that I am not a multi-millionaire), but then again, I never had to mortgage (or lose) my assets through out the years.

Fortunately, or unfortunately - when it comes to giving too, I am a bit too conservative. People have told me that we should just give and not bothered to ask (too many questions) when thinking of giving. If they were con-people, well, they were answerable to Him on the day of Judgment. We have done our part.

My sister said we pass through this life but once; hence take the opportunity to do good deeds.

I don't disagree with those reasonings, but I will continue to be conservative irrespective.

May be it is because I did not come from a well-to-do family. We were not poor, but we were far from having enough. May be 'barely' is adjective to describe our lives then.

It is within this context that I asked a friend about the many tabungs (funds) he was proposing to us for our small way of giving back to our alma mater. It is no doubt in my mind that without our alma mater, I would not be what I am enjoying in life (in my own little way), and there is no doubt in my mind too that he was doing the right thing.

However, I have this strong feeling - negatively - about the Malays and funds. Somehow irrespective of our upbringing - socially and religiously, I would always be wary of the Malays when it comes to handling money.

Sorry. To qualify that statement, let me say I am Malay too (though technically I am a Minang), so those who dislike my statement could call me a traitor.

I don't care. I am entitled to call my own race anything, since I know I can't be called racist.

There had been too many cases, even in religious organization such as the state Islamic departments, or even the tithe departments (?), or even in the haj pilgrimage fund, that those in charge had use the funds to enrich themselves, to beautify their offices, or homes, or defend themselves in a court of law.

They are Malays, typically a haj, and typically would be wearing the skull cap when in court. Looked very religious, and would probably shed croocodile tears.

When it comes to money-grabbing (or criminal breach of trust - read: pecah amanah), the Malays are the no. 1 culprits. (Who says Malays are good for nothing? We can be the best without even trying!)

A minister nonetheless was accused of just that recently. A tithe collector, appointed by the Johor MAI was recently convicted of stealing about RM19,510 and was sentenced to four years in jail. In another case involving MAIWP, two Malays were sentenced to four years in jail for breach of trust case of RM2 million.

That was in 2011.

Two cases, one a paltry (if I may say so) sum of RM19,000 and the other one a substantial amount of RM2 million, but in both cases they were all sentenced to the same four years in jail. Unfortunately I can also report that if I were to continue working for the next four years, I would not be able to gather RM2 million.

Yes, I am a poorly paid person, I am sad to report, and it seems to me crime pays. [sigh]

Earlier in 2009, two general managers of tabung haji, were sentenced to 10 years in jail for a CBT involving a whopping RM200 millions! They were later released by the court.

It goes without saying that the cuprits were Malays and muslims, not Chinese or Jews. 

There was another case involving RM700,000 of tabung haji's money in 2001. I am not sure of the finality of the case.

As such, I told my dear schoolmates, I am a bit wary of 'us' wanting to raise RM400,000 for our school, and another fund to be set-up involving RM1 billion, supposedly to help the Malays.


My mind stopped working when I hear such astronomical number.

Upon returning back to Earth, my mind was working out wildly wondering whose bank accounts in Switzerland are going to be stacked with this princely sum.

Our alumni (ANSARA) has Tabung HIP. It was launched awhile ago with much fanfare and if I am not mistaken by none other than the then PM (Tun Mahathir). But since then, I have heard many stories floating around about the funds, and many are not too pleasing to the ears of proud former students like me.

I know, I know, beyond my questioning of our ability to hold trust properly especially if it involved money, I had many years ago question the Malays as being the worst 'pen-dengki' in the world, so we should take these stories with a pinch of salt.

(Somehow even the google translation of dengki (jealousy) somehow pales in comparison of the actual meaning of the Malay word. Only the Malays have such fanciful description of their own  bad traits. But I digress.)

So this friend of mine explained that under the charter of Tabung HIP, we can open our own fund and administer it and hence can dictate how we want our money to be spent. It sounds like a plan to be honest, but at the same time it requires commitment on my side too.

Hahaha, not that I have a million dollar to donate and I do hope that friend of mine knew of my inability to donate such princely sum since I don't have it.

But as I have mentioned, I have little to give and I want to ensure that that little money would go to the needy or a cause close to my heart.

And not to some undeserving soul to purchase a bungalow in Mont Kiara or get the latest BMW toys.


Thank you my friend for the chat yesterday. I am not totally turned over yet, but I think there is a way forward for us. I still need to talk to my accountants (just to make me sounds so important, and that I am doing my due diligence.

It is my weakness that I am this way.

On another front, I told my cab driver, while he was driving us from my hotel to SukarnoHatta, that we can never be sure how we ourselves would not react the same way, should we find in such situation in cases above. Would we be tempted ourselves, or would we walk away with our principle intact?

I don't know to be honest. It is easy enough to be an armchair's critique. I am glad that I have not been tested in such a way, and I do pray that I will never be tested or tempted. It is easy to say that I would not be tempted by a few hundred ringgits, or a few thousands, but when  it goes to the millions, I myself may be having second thought, God forbids.

1 comment:

  1. "I am Malay too (while technically I am Minang)..."
    myself malay + chinese + yaman + japanese ...

    anyhow as you already know; semua start dgn niat / intentian; to please Him, then the rest iA Dia buka jalan