Malaysia – A real case of “A Fool and Her Money”


According to the old idiom – “a fool and his money are soon parted“. But what is never asked of the fool is how did the money got to him/her in the first place? Regardless of by whatever means, what all the fools don’t know is the where, from and how the money derived.

Well…if you’re one of the fools like Rosmah, when “your” money (wealth) is questioned and threatened, you’d be jumping mad and barking the wrong tree. And that’s damned dangerous…soon you and your money are parted.

“Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain – and most fools do.”Benjamin Franklin

Malaysian PM’s Wife Seeks Central Bank Governor’s Ouster

Rosmah/Zeti

Two powerful women take center stage in spreading scandal as government clings to power

Prime Minister Najib Razak’s controversial wife, Rosmah Mansor, is trying to drive another powerful woman, internationally respected Bank Negara Governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz, out of the central bank,  according to knowledgeable sources in Kuala Lumpur.

Rosmah is said to be enraged over leaks of her personal financial details. She also fears that Zeti has detailed information on the 1Malaysia Development Bhd. scandal that could bring down the government and the prime minister. Insiders say Rosmah, a lightning rod for criticism over her lavish spending, is the field marshal directing the defense of her beleaguered husband’s government.

“My own view is that Najib will fight to the political death because of the wife,” a longtime academician and political analyst told Asia Sentinel. “She is much stronger than Najib and will not accept any retirement package. She is powerful in her own right.”

The year-long scandal has paralyzed Malaysian politics and played a major role in weakening the economy as Najib twists and turns to keep his enemies at bay. Earlier this week, Najib sacked several members of his cabinet for apparent disloyalty; he has also moved against critical news outlets.

Independent authority

Driving Zeti out won’t be easy. The Central Bank Act of 2009 – ironically passed that year at Zeti’s request after Najib became prime minister – insulates the central bank from political influence. The governor can only be appointed or fired by the Malaysian King, a rotating monarchy that passes among nine sultans. The current king is from Kedah, the home state of Mahathir Mohamad, Najib’s most implacable enemy.  The king reportedly has told Mahathir he is staying out of the matter so that the law can take its course.

Rosmah is said to have targeted Zeti after the Sarawak Report published details on July 9 about the deposit of RM2 million [US$523,400] into her account in Affin Bank, after which Rosmah demanded that Zeti find out who leaked the information within 72 hours or resign.

When Zeti apparently declined, she came under attack from blogs said to be linked to Rosmah.

Blogs in the fray 

One of the blogs, “Fromtheeleventh,” alleged that the police Special Branch intelligence unit is investigating Zeti and three other Bank Negara officials for sedition and carrying out a parallel investigation into Selangor state water contracts involving Zeti’s husband, Tawfiq Ayman, and their son Alif.  The blog also alleged that Tawfiq is being investigated for allegedly illegal commissions paid in a bank deal in which third parties benefited from insider information, supposedly which could have been provided by the central bank.

“By virtue of the close relationship between husband and wife, Ayman has access to confidential information that has been used for his benefit in his business dealings,” the blog said, indicating that “new information” had been supplied to investigators.

“The husband is a little shaky,” said a Malaysian businessman, “but Zeti has always acted quite properly.”

Another extremely well-informed source told Asia Sentinel, “I would totally believe that Rosmah would try to push Zeti out if she felt threatened. Bank Negara does have lots of smoking guns on all the dodgy bank transfer documentation, both involving Rosmah and also Najib, 1MDB etc. Zeti isn’t an angel and there could be dirt on her somewhere that could be used, though she’s not been associated with any major personal scandals that I can recall.  It’s more that she’s gone along with wonky stuff as required by politics and maybe got rewarded for her compliance.”

But, he said, “I do believe she still thinks of herself as a professional central banker, so she might actually draw the line here. My impression is that Bank Negara is the most likely of all the investigative entities to really be able to pin something on Najib and Co.”   

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