Sunday, July 21

The known unknown

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There are known unknowns, things we do not know. They are also unknown unknowns, the ones we don’t know we don’t know. There are known knows, things that we know that we know. (Pix from corporate compliance insights)

I LIKE the doctor in the house because he quoted Shakespeare quite often.

Recently, he quoted Marcellus in Shakespeare’s Hamlet remarking that “something is rotten in the state of Denmark.”

If that’s so, should I not like the man who is now second time behind the dark woods a little more because he quoted Shakespeare even more often?

The man who said “midway upon the journey of my life I found myself in a dark wood where the right way was lost” but he added “freedom is simply the day my lawyer placed on my table my own copy of the Riverside Edition of The Complete Works of Shakespeare.”

He added that while behind bars, Shakespeare remained his most intimate companion and chief source of comfort.

“In the silence of the night, when you have no one to talk to, Shakespeare’s characters become more than mere dramatis personae. They speak to you and allow you to speak to them.”

On the home front, love him or loathe him, the needling by the former PM who led Malaysia for 22 years, quoted Shakespeare and smelled “something rotten” not in Denmark but in Putrajaya, could lead to the unraveling of the country’s indebted and controversy-ridden state investor 1MDB, the pet project of present PM.

As more and more stories unfolded, mounting questions had been raised on whether public funds were being abused in 1MDB’s financial dealings since 2009 when the sitting PM launched it – and chairs its advisory board.

Someone has commented that the IMDB debacle has become a rotten potato for the government and is too hot to handle.

“On 1MBD, it really boils down to the lack of transparency which cements it as a known unknown,” Weiwen Ng, an ANZ analyst based in Singapore told Reuters last week.

Let’s trust the authorities which have started to independently verify all the allegations to get to the bottom of 1MDB’s accounts. The latest from the doctor in the house is to “a forensic investigation by police on allegations against several people involved with the management of 1MDB”.

I asked a few friends and was not surprised by what they knew about 1MDB – that it was holding some entrepreneurship workshops in Sarawak to show the rural communities how to generate income through businesses. Some of the participants shared that their income had increased by some 200 per cent after attending the course – from RM2,000 to RM6,000.

Another recalled an additional canteen project in 48 selected schools with the promise of better facilities and the introduction of healthy meals.

One Iban friend remembered attending a one-day workshop a year ago on the use of Iban alphabets.

Is the state in anyway involved in 1MDB? Regional Corridor Development Authority (Recoda) CEO Wilson Baya has dismissed any claims of 1MDB investments in Sarawak and insisted that those who invested in SCORE are all well-established companies.

But we still have to know the implications to the state and the people if 1MDB  is left with a skeletal structure and dissolved under a debt repayment plan.

The DPM has assured the country will not bail out 1MDB, but is it possible when funds actually have been set aside to pay the astronomical debts?

With Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem fighting corruption and illegal logging, and championing greater transparency, accountability and efficiency on the part of the state government, all parties should stand with him to ensure his far-reaching initiatives are not only carried out but carried through as well.

This is certainly not the time for political parties to try to apply pressure via the peninsula to disturb the peace and stability in the state and bring in “something rotten” to the state. Yet, due to either ignorance or arrogance, some political parties, as we have seen, have been seeking the intervention of the federal authorities, bring in “something rotten” to the state.

One obvious example is the appointment of BN parliamentary liaison chiefs by Najib himself. With congratulatory messages flagging over the Chinese media, the move is seen as a huge federal force lording over state politics.

The controversial columnist Ridhuan Tee – in defending the prime minister recently – went as far as to credit the prime minister for the allocation of funds to private Chinese secondary schools in the state when it was actually our Chief Minister who announced and approved the grants and the money come from the State.

Tee wrote in his column in Sinar Harian: “What about the RM14 million allocated by the Sarawak government for 11 private Chinese schools in the state? Why the silence?”

I am not too sure where his “RM14 million” came from but it will surely be good news to have a RM14 million funding for Chinese education in the state from the federal government on top of our beloved Chief Minister’s RM4 million allocation this year and last year’s RM3 million.

In the meantime, let us not be misled that this (allocation for Chinese education in Sarawak) is a federal funding. Let us also not be misled that the Chinese community’s increasing support as seen for the government is due to the appointment of the liaison parliamentary chiefs by the federal side. Rather, the surge of support from the Chinese community is due to the efforts of our Chief Minister.

The political parties will be doing a great service to Sarawak, as a peaceful and stable state, if they stand behind the grand vision of the Chief Minister for the betterment of the state. Don’t bring the rotten smell to the state even if you have gotten used to it.

I also like to quote Shakespeare. Our Chief Minister, who was once a journalist, is very well-read. I wonder if he has gained his popularity in a manner akin to the famous scene in Shakespeare’s Henry V.

Excerpts from Henry’s wooing of Katharine show just how astute a suitor he is. As a teen studying Shakespeare in school, I loved this play by the Bard.

“Fair Katharine, and most fair,

Will you vouchsafe to teach a soldier terms

Such as will enter at a lady’s ear

And plead his love-suit to her gentle heart?

So, it is actually Shakespeare I love most – and, of course, the English teacher who taught me how to listen Shakespeare speaking to me in different situations.

At one point, Katharine asks if it is possible for her to love an enemy of France.Henry replies:

“No, it is not possible you should love the enemy of

France, Kate, but, in loving me, you should love the friend of France;

for I love France so well that I will not part with a village of it;

I will have it all mine, and, Kate, when France is mine and I am

yours, then yours is France and you are mine.”

Now, if there is any gain of Chinese support by the state government, it does not take Shakespearean perspicuity to know that the person who deserves the most credit for it is the Chief Minister, not the appointment of federal agents here.