Bribery(n) Bribery is the practice by which a person who can take decision or action on behalf of others by virtue of his authority or position is influenced by paying or offering monetary benefits for influencing him to take an action or decision which he would not have done otherwise. Eg. Offering money to the police officer to record a wrong verification report
With updates at the end of the story!
Duit raya, Tuanku, atau tumbuk rusuk Raja? On the eve of Hari Raya, the Sultan of Johor granted an audience inside the Istana Tanjung in Muar to a Malay Dato' who came as emissary of a gentleman widely known for his great philanthropic ways.
This emissary, a 54-year man from Taman Melawati, KL, carried with him a briefcase. Officials from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) summoned to the Istana later discovered RM1 million in cash inside the bag. The unfortunate and bewildered gentleman spent his Hari Raya in detention.
A statement was later taken from the philanthropic tycoon, who could be facing a charge of trying to bribe the Sultan.
A story involving the Royalty such as this one, however, can never be so straight forward: there is always a story within a story, a sub-plot, or a history of bad blood, perhaps.This blog has reported several incidents involving the Palace - all with great caution, of course, and all without fear or favor - and has never failed to be amazed with the players, and the outcome of each one.
I've learnt, for example, that the emissary told investigators that the Istana had prior knowledge that he was coming with the "duit raya" for the Sultan to disburse to his Rakyat. (Duit raya has become customary for Aidil Fitri celebrations: Prime Minister Najib Razak, for example, is said to have attended to 100,000 well-wishers during the first day of Hari Raya and gave angpows to children and the elderly among them and a Yang di Pertuan Negeri said he gave out ang-pows to some 10,000 people who came to wish him Selamat Hari Raya. So you can imagine how busy a Sultan would be on Hari Raya, especially if the Sultan is as people-friendly as the Sultan of Johor).
The philanthropic tycoon has also told investigators of his "good intentions". In fact, his emissary had on his person a letter from him to the DYMM Tuanku Sultan stating the tycoon's intention to donate a certain amount of money for a number of years to a Fund in the name and memory of the Sultan's late father.
So was it really an attempt to bribe the Sultan? If so, what was the purpose of the bribe? To help the businessman get a project, a piece of land, a valuable license in return? To get him a title bigger than his Tan Sri-ship?
The Sultan's official powers and duties are confined to the business of Islam and matters pertaining to adat-istiadat Melayu. The Sultan does not have powers to grant business projects or licenses or land. He cannot influence the Police, the MACC, the courts of law, etc. (Note: The Sultan of Johor does have its own army, though, and this is provided for under the Johor constitution).
So what kind of favors could anyone possibly hope to get from a DYMM Sultan?
This is the question the MACC is asking. This case will set the precedence as to whether one ought to be charged with bribery if one meets the Sultan bearing gifts. See the definition of bribery above.
Either way, unfortunately, this case will also train the limelight once again on the conduct of the Palace vis-a-vis the business world, the administration of the State, etc. God knows there have been quite a few controversies lately already. But at least, what's clear (to me) in this case is that the new Sultan of Johor is establishing himself as an absolute no-nonsense when it comes to situations which may raise suspicions about his and the palace's integrity. That is awesome.
It also means that if any businessman is approached by anyone claiming to represent the Istana and demanding favors on behalf of the DYMM Sultan, call in the MACC. Because Sultan Ibrahim is not that kind of Sultan.
Adakah angkara "Tuan Penasihat"? oleh Zakhir Mohamad, blogger anak jati Johor ...