Let me be clear about the intention of this blog. It is not just meant to espouse my musings as a Malay Muslim Professional, but intends to take a Tangent on things, with the hope it will engender thinking. With this in mind, let me begin this posting, which is all about how Pak Lah can afford a RM30 Million dollar Turkish built Yatch (~US$8.5 Mill at current exchange rate).
Much has been said about this boat, or yatch, but the key issue here is not whether or not Pak Lah as the PM of Malaysia should or should not buy a yatch, but whether or not he can afford to buy one on his salary. (Side-step: for the life of me, I have no idea what nuances separate a yatch from a sailboat, i.e. boat, so my apologies if in my haste, I trivialise the description)
Someone has bandied about a figure of RM30k per month as the salary of the PM, saying this is too low a salary to support a purchase of a RM30 Million boat. Actually, this is irrelevant. Pak Lah is at the time of writing ~67 years of age. I know of no bank that will give a loan for a period of more than say 5 years to someone of Pak Lah's age, if at all, especially with rumours of his medical procedure recently, even if it was for a nasal condition. No offence, but he's just too old to be bankable.
So, the salary is actually out as a method of payment for him, but for more reasons than one. However, he may well have other means.
Means 1: Civil Service Perks = Past Investments
Let's consider a few things here. The first is that Pak Lah has been a civil servant since 1964, for >40 years; man, he's been a civil servant for longer than most Malaysians have been alive! What does this mean?
No, it does not just mean that he has suffered too poor a salary for >40 years to afford a RM30 Million boat, but it does mean that he has had access to civil service perks for that long! Haaa... no, it doesn't mean he has been able to get corruption and kickbacks for that long... haiya!
What I am getting at is that he has had the opportunity to buy real estate under the government's schemes under SPPK, UDA, etc, when they were still worth something. Lets consider these facts:
- A bungalow in Damansara Heights bought for ~RM80k in the 1970's is now worth ~RM3.5 Million
- A bungalow in Bangsar bought for ~RM200k in the late 70's is now worth ~RM3 Million
- For context, a terrace house bought for ~RM45k in TTDI in the late 70's is now worth ~RM500k
The above is typically how honest Malay civil servants of modest means invested in the 70's and 80's to be able to send their children privately for overseas education in the 90's and this century. Even a low to mid-level civil servant's family, especially if both adults are working, could secure a couple of terrace houses in the 70's and be sitting on ~RM1 Million of real-estate today!
So Pak Lah could well have made money from such investments to buy his boat. One expects with his stature as Finance Minister and his numerous expositions against corruption, he must have had some inkling of the oppotunities to invest and grow his assets in the above honest way.
Means 2: The Traditional Way Of Making Money = Inheritance!
Pak Lah comes from a line of noble UMNO leaders. His grandfather was a leading ulama and I understand both his grandfather and father were founders of UMNO. I can imagine these men would have left him some decent inheritance in the form of land at the very least when they passed on.
And land has appreciated rather dramatically everywhere in Malaysia. And where is Pak Lah from? Penang! Hurrah! Imagine the land prices there now, especially around the new 2nd link!
One must also not discount the fact that Pak Lah has recently lost his wife. It is believed that Pak Lah's late wife's family is quite well to do, being a prestigious civil servant family with links to successful business clans too! Pak Lah's marriage to the late Datin Seri Endon was seen to have set him up for a successful civil service career. It is hence also likely that Pak Lah inherited some from his wife's passing.
Small compensation though I am sure from the loss of such a pillar of strength by his side.
Means 3: The Filial Way Of Making Money - His Rich Kid(s?)!
Pak Lah had admitted in the Bangkok Post that his son Kamaluddin is rich! Surely here is a way for Pak Lah to get a decent loan to buy a boat, not by getting Kamaludding to buy it, but by having his son guarantee the loan for the boat for him, so that it is within his limits to pay with his salary.
Besides, Pak Lah is PM, so his housing, transport, medical bills, food and drink, even his holidays are at public expense! So with a guarantor, all RM30K or whatever pay could go to paying for the boat for an extended loan period of say 50 years?
I say kids as I understand Nori is doing some business as well. However, we should probably exclude Khairy here as his rice bowl has been broken by some old man.
I suppose Pak Lah also has siblings and siblings-in-laws that can afford to help him with collateral for the boat, if not secure all of the loan as his far richer son can.
Conclusion - enuff said on the matter!
So, to conclude, lets not waste any more of our time talking about this boat, yatch or whatever. A physicist is said to be able to prove an elephant can be balanced off the side of a cliff with a daisy. In Malaysia, our politicians and their cohorts have been seen to prove even more amazing feats, like how selling a valuable world-renown motorcycle company for a dollar is 'good business'...
... whilst recording the resultant few hundred Million RM loss as 'acceptable', endorsed by the Securities Commission no less!
Lets focus on more important things than the rumoured opaque private financial dealings of a man who just happens to be the PM... like his running(?) of the country for instance... now that's an issue!