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Sakmongkol ak 47

Sunday, 30 November 2008

Sub-Prime Politicians

A primer on Sub-prime politicians.( thanks to analyst at large).

I remember a polemic between two intellectuals in the late 1970’s. One was the artist( Redza Piyadesa-he has passed on I think) and the other the literary critic and gadfly, Salleh ben Joned.( don’t know where he is). Cant remember what the actual quarrel was, but can remember, the metaphor used. Can the act of urinating be considered good art when captured on canvass? Some call it urinating, Malaysians call it just passing water. Passing water and urinating is the same. The same thing is viewed differently when different terms are used. Urinating is regarded as urbane, sophisticated, while passing water is regarded as crude and plebeian.

Now take the term sub-prime. Prime is tops, number one, the best. Sub means below. So when the term is used on say, mortgages, you have sub-prime mortgages, which simply mean the mortgagees are below standard. But you lend them money anyway.

How did we allow sub-prime borrowers get loans in the first place? Greedy and easily grease-palmed bank officers can be kau-teemed by borrowers. Borrowers inflate their incomes. They can do this in so many ways and the falsification scams are countenanced by bank officers. Maybe over karaoke sessions, dangdut, expensive cigars, Dom Perignom, who knows?

Lending institutions lend credibility to subprime borrowers by having the government create special purpose vehicles. Something like Dana Modal or Dana Harta. Or maybe even Khazanah Holdings. These buy up the subprime mortgages from front line banks. Banks get more money as they become more liquid. and lend some more. The institutions who mop up the sub-prime mortgages perhaps are backed by insurance/government and so they think, they have security.

Next enter the credit ratings bodies- that pool of super intelligent financial analysts, accountants, economists and so forth, who give their sage-like assessments on the mortgages bought by SPVs. They say these are AAA rated, others are EEE rated( not sure they do this or not).

The whole thing is an unsupervised scam. Borrowers bluff their way to getting loans with collusion from officers who sell loans to SPVs who take out insurance and sell to investors because their portfolio holdings are rated best in their class. Until, they run out of borrowers or until there are no more crooks around to lend money too.

Imagine the whole scam on UMNO politics.

That’s the same process on how you end up with sub-prime politicians. Call them by these terms, you have a more dignified, refined and sophisticated terminology. In reality, they are really- half past six politicians, nitwits, braggarts and so on.

How did they get past the branches? Because those active in kampong levels are basically layabouts, nothing better to do or are just people looking for easy rides. They make up the majority of the delegates at branch levels and crooks elect the best among them.

They move on to bahagian or division levels. Operators at branch levels move around the bahagian singing praises of this and that person. Giving endorsements and certification or accreditation. These newly anointed ketua cawangans enjoy some inflated reputation and earn some prominence. But the number of crooks receiving similar accreditation from professional apple polishers is large. So they compete to get approvals from divisional office bearers. Division office bearers too want continued support from these sub-prime ketua cawangans and so repeat the same process. Fearful for their own positions, they give high ratings to subprime ketua cawangans, giving overestimation on the worth of these goons.

The process is repeated and the inept among the subprime ketua cawangans and divisional officers get booted out. The fittest, i.e. the trickiest and worst lowlifes among them get elected to become the anointed office bearers at division levels.

Next enter, the credit rating agencies. These are the master spy catchers of the ketua bahagian and if the ketua bahagian is a minister, he has political secretaries, special officers, private secretaries, security officers giving ratings on office bearers. Like rating agencies, some are rated AAA and some DDD or EEE.

In the end, the inbuilt sub-priming process, gives birth to sub-prime politicians at national levels. Hence you are saddled with the Tajuddins and Bung Mokhtars of the world.


satd 30 November 2008 at 13:19  

Salam dato' sak

Perhaps we need to "engineer" a crisis so that these subprime politician defaults on their "obligation" and let's see who will bail them out.......

Zawi 30 November 2008 at 13:23  

Datuk Sak,
How true. The Ketua Cawangan of where I now reside recruit simpletons to be the members of his branch so that his position will be forever secure. He doesn't want to go any higher either as being a Ketua Cawangan is enough to secure him class F contracts.

de minimis 30 November 2008 at 20:33  


You may just have outdone yourself with this post. Using financial terms as a metaphor for grubby politcs. Good device and good points.

Dhahran Sea,  30 November 2008 at 22:33  

Salam Tok S-AK47,
A CLASSIC write-up & anaysis! Love it! So, what's the end of the story? I suspect quite like the case of the sub-prime & financial meltdowns in the US, Uncle Sam will bail them all out by printing the green backs (like Citi Corp.'s too big to go under?) So WHO's gonna bail out the sub-prime UMNO/BN politicians? The PM? The Rakyat? Hahaha! Nasiblah kita!

Apocryphalist 30 November 2008 at 22:45  

Dato' Sak,

By the Peyadesa-Ben Joned polemic (it really wasn't so; they were good friends), you must have meant the infamous urinating incident. It was in 1974 and the late great artist was opening for his Mystical Reality exhibition in Kuala Lumpur when suddenly, in strutted the nefariously confused, Zen-quoting Salleh Ben Joned and exclaimed, amidst the audience and visitors, "Reality? Reality? Search for Reality in the rainbows of my piss", whereupon he unzipped his fly, took out his sorry pecker, and proceeded to spray Peyadesa's canvas artworks with his previous day's liquid consumption.

No, I don't think you want to even know where this guy is, except perhaps someday where we can put him in the same cell as Howard Stern and see if his Zen-inspired brain can save him.


sakmongkol AK47 aka Mat Tomoi 30 November 2008 at 22:58  

apocryphalist- haha, you are giving some clues as to who your are. am glad you knew both of them. remembered bumping into salleh ben joned once or twice. he was also notorious for his polemics with comrade kassim. from the way you write of them, you would probably be a lecturer in UM.
thank you for yr insight on peyadesa -ben joned thing. cant remember details except that urinating incident.

de minimis- thank you 4 yr comments.
pak zawi- memang we are going to be saddled with these kind of people all over the country.

dhahran sea- i share your pressimism bro. so when Ds najib says UMNO will re brand itself, i am thinking, adult words, baby steps.

satd- yes re engineering is a much more preferred cleansing method than re-branding.

thank you all for your comments.

Anonymous,  1 December 2008 at 03:12  

Salam Dato',
Your blog is joy to read. This article especially. Your dissection of the inner workings of the Malaysian politics and psyche is spot on.


mekyam 1 December 2008 at 08:00  

satd said... Perhaps we need to "engineer" a crisis so that these subprime politician defaults on their "obligation" and let's see who will bail them out...


sakmongkol said... satd- yes re engineering is a much more preferred cleansing method than re-branding.

dear tok sak and satd,

i'm not sure whether satd was calling for engineering (as in masterminding or creating) a crisis in order to separate the grains from the chaffs and see who would still want to save those sub-prime politician or for a reengineering (as in retooling) as a "preferred cleansing method" of the system, as sak intimated.

regardless of which was intended, i doubt if either is feasible.

if a major crisis as a catalyst is what we think we need to effect real change, i think it is already here. the current rudderless malaysia in a time when reliable and steady leadership is needed to steer the country through unprecedented global economic challenges and the dearth of decent material to pick from the line-up available -– if that isn't a major national crisis, then what is?

most countries in the same situation would be sweating blood. there would be sufficient adrenalin pumped to force some kind of major restructuring or reengineering to the statusquo. not malaysia, evidently.

ge12 which everyone thought a tsunami didn't have enough storm power to dislodge any real scum. in fact previously swept scums seemed to find their way back into the channel.

by the same token, if the above is our best reaction to a leadership crisis, forget any notion of reengineering. for any existing structure to be redesigned and/or improved, weak portions have to be removed/replaced and weak links strengthened. does that look possible? from the current scenario, not bleeping likely.

those subprime politicians are too deeply lodged and the will to dislodge them just doesn't seem to be there. those upstarts have always been defaulting on their obligations because they never really know or cared to know about what those obligations really are. they want to be leaders but their motivations have never been true leadership and all its ramifications. since the leadership selection process of the ruling party(ies) makes it almost impossible for fresh and perhaps better leadership materials to come to the light, the stubborness of the scums will continue to be sustained by their common worthlessness and mediocrity.

looks like malaysia may be stuck with grungy sub-prime politicians for the long haul, people.

walla,  1 December 2008 at 09:41  

To mekyam's solid prognosis, allow me to add a point or two.

The effect on future voters from the behavior and actions of subprime politicians must not be underestimated. Otherwise, from the recent emergence of a new verb, one can be 'subprimed', as in 'the voters have decided to subprime us in that constituency'.

People can connect the dots. In Parliament, the rule is "support or stay silent". In other words, if someone from your party says something, you stand up to support if you like what was said, or sit down and keep mum if you don't.

But standing next to this rule is another less apparent thing which says cross-over is frowned upon because the voters voted for a person inasmuch for his party.

So, if you are respecting the constituents' vote for a person which is the reason cross-overs are discouraged, why then can't you respect enough the constituents' dismay against him if he says something to their dislike, enough to discipline him?

So far, we have seen subprime politicians make a mess of most things in the country. They may say they have friends in their constituents but when they open their mouths in general public, they bring down their party at national levels.

They are not just the bungs and tajuddins. Even young educated MPs can cheapen the culture they want to champion from the way they react to statements made. Such as 'sit down, you dinosaur, sit down.' Why not just say what is wrong and what can be better? Once you have tit-for-tat, the subprime disease in one party will spread to another party and in the end the whole country will get infected.

The only way to stop an epidemic is to make sure everyone sees the big picture. Subprime politicians have only one perspective. Theirs. And while one may excuse them for having only one perspective - because that was how they had managed to claw their way up - one cannot excuse those in power who can do something to mitigate the harm they will do to the whole nation.

It's a three-entity thing. The rakyat, the subprime politicians, and those who have the power to do the right thing.

Take for example one of many aspects of subprime politics; the interracial bit. So far, only Najib and Hishamuddin had made apologies. It only shows the extent of sub-primification of politics in this country that their apologies didn't go down well at all in some quarters.

But people will also say if we corral the subprime politicians, won't that impede free speech and growth of the democratic process?

Well and fine. Then use a mechanism that will make them auto-govern themselves. In other words, indirect inducement to self-discipline.

How? Use a censor board. We know the Censor Board for films shown in cinemas are a thankless lot who work behind the scenes to make sure smut and gore don't get too much into the minds of the impressionables. There is some trust and faith that they will be able to use their powers wisely enough to discharge their responsibilities in a mature way that will block bad while allowing good to flow. They must themselves have self-renewing and balanced compensating mechanisms not to exceed their own proclivities.

So too the third entities of this nation. Those who have within their means to do something about subprime politics must stand out and do it before the thing gets out of hand. So far, the rakyat have only seen tepid actions taken as if as afterthoughts. Why, if one already has rules for x, that you don't have equally ready rules for y, especially when y is already greater than x in import?

Use the Censor Board method. Bung says leak? He's rated PG30. Tajuddin says keling? He's rated PG31. You only need to do it once, and make sure the rating gets publicised well enough, and it will stick.

Do a spectral analysis of the subprime politicians and all the readings will come out the same. Opportunism 20%, greed 40%, hot air 35%, real inclusiveness 5%. In exceptional subprime politicians, borrow another 10% from elsewhere for destructiveness.

There are 2,500 voting delegates. They will not understand what is written in this blog. By their not understanding what is written and not seeing the big picture, they will make the future of this country a function of their own gratification that will last only a few months. How many elections can there be in the lifetime of a nation before the mess kills everyone?

One can only hope that the third entity, those who can do the right things, will be able to see that some things have to be done soon, if only so that those who are the first entities, the rakyat, wll not have to suffer more in the future.

As for the second entities, the subprime politicians, they better learn faster that public life is more than what is in their heads only.

After all, as someone once wrote, we only live twice.

ketam 1 December 2008 at 13:35  

Cadangan kepada bakal PM kita..Anwar IBrahim

1. Nanti hapuskan semua biasaiswa kepada orang-orang MELAYU kena bagi samarata dan berdasarkan merit.

2. Hapuskan MARA kerana hanya beri keutamaan kepada org MELAYU.

3. Hapuskan konsep UNIVERSITI BUMIPUTERA di UITM..

4. Minta semua masjid dan surau jangan pasang speaker diluar nanti org bukan melayu terganggu..

5. Benarkan semua TOKONG,GEREJA dan KUIL dibina di tanah kerajaan dan jgn lupa beri peruntukan.

6. Oleh kerana mendapat 2/3 majoriti nanti di PRU13,tolong hapuskan Artikel 153 dan Artikel yg mana YDP Agong ada kuasa beri permit,biasiswa dan apa-apa yg menunjukkan ketidaksamarataan.

7. Hapuskan Artikel BAHASA MELAYU sebagai bahasa rasmi dan AGAMA ISLAM sebagai agama rasmi kerana semua kaum dan menuntut hak samarata..

8. HApuskan semua sekolah kecuali sekolah kebangsaaan.

9. Hapuskan semua kouta yg melibatkan MELAYU supaya lebih adil,ISLAM itu adil.

10. HApuskan AKTA HASUTAN,ISA,KERAHSIAAN (ISO) kerana kerajaan perlu adil dan telus,malah ISLAM itu adil dan umat ISLAM tak perlu perlindungan daripada AKTA-AKTA tersebut.

11. And lastly dont forget to abolish MAJLIS FATWA KEBANGSAAN dan Mahkamah Syariah as it have no function to non Muslim..

sakmongkol AK47 aka Mat Tomoi 1 December 2008 at 15:10  

i am not going to erase your comments. i must state that the opinions therein are yours.
i am using yr comments to stress my own conviction that permission to give comments in my blog is a privilege and not a right.
racial slurs, abusive language, expletives and comments not at all related to my post, will be deleted.
i think, as the blog owner, i deserve that respect. comments which do no agree with my posts are even tolerated if they are done in a civil manner. lets disagree civilly.

A.John 1 December 2008 at 17:14  

Superb analysis ! How do we change this "apple polishing " culture that attracts scums!

Malaysian Tigress 1 December 2008 at 20:59  

("Reality? Reality? Search for Reality in the rainbows of my piss", whereupon he unzipped his fly, took out his sorry pecker, and proceeded to spray Peyadesa's canvas artworks with his previous day's liquid consumption.)

Previous day's consumption?? Man! He must have batu karang by now. I think he is a frazzled househusband now, last I heard.

Mekyam, I thought we were wayyy beyond a crisis already, I am surprised (or should I be bersyukur?) that Malaysia is STILL holding on.

Funny though how 'em terrorists always have something (or so we are told) to do with Malaysia one way or the other...first was Yazid Sufaat (supposedly),'em Bali Bombers ie Nordin Mat Top (nama pun serupa "spinning") then these Mumbai gunmen....hope we don't get carpet bombed to route out em so-called terrorists while politicians are busy "priming" themselves or urinating excess Dom Perignon.

The sub prime crisis reminds me of the good old days of Ivan Boesky and Michael Milkin and Junk Bonds...sigh...the good old American dream (or scams?) They never learn...or do they? Clever actually at repackaging 'em junk investments.

satd 2 December 2008 at 00:17  

Salam n Greetings to all..


The key is liquidity...if u can take that out..then the game changes..Similar to the Subprime events..everything crumbles once liquidity evaporates.....

Same approach can be applied to shock these much value does one put on them....if they can no longer offer the post election monetary rewards in return for the votes.....

This sick system is already operating with a "real time" pricing mechanism..whereby delegates may demand according to the latest quoted "prices"......

sad be reduced to these levels....

A Tabib 2 December 2008 at 00:41  


Reading this cogent piece and the equally cogent comments - most of which I agree with - has left me slightly despondent about the quality of our politicians (blog-master excepted, of course) especially the ones ensconced in the Club up jalan Parlimen.

All the more galling because these eminent occupiers, the Tajuddins and the Bungs, of the Club on the Hill have lost it, the Art.

Here is a snippet from a man who knew all about the Art:

Observe, I do not mean to suggest that the custom of lying has suffered any decay or interruption,-- no, for the Lie, as a Virtue, a Principle, is eternal; the Lie, as a recreation, a solace, a refuge in time of need, the fourth Grace, the tenth Muse, man's best and surest friend, is immortal, and cannot perish from the earth while this Club remains. My complaint simply concerns the decay of the art of lying. No high-minded man, no man of right feeling, can contemplate the lumbering and slovenly lying of the present day without grieving to see a noble art so prostituted...

I can do no better than to quote Twain's brilliant satirical piece "On the Decay of the Art of Lying" here to illustrate the point about boorish, clodhopping MPs of all stripes. I don't mind being lied to, but please lie with class.

Godisuno 2 December 2008 at 01:08  

Yep. UMNO needs to be reformed. The cancerous elements within it should be removed. The cancer can only be eliminated if we take out its roots... the dirty politicians. Then, UMNO will be healthy again.

etheorist 3 December 2008 at 23:24  

I had had the pleasure of meeting Salleh Ben Jonah a few times in recent years in Bangsar where he was filling up his bladder with great care. He used the word "apostate" a few times, the full significance of which I did not quite understand at the time but which I was sure must had meant a lot to him. Viva Salleh!

Anonymous,  17 January 2012 at 22:57  


What a well said article, could not agree with you more! Cheers for the great article! You speak the truth, glad that you are one of the few that are happy to lay the facts on the table. Cheers!

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