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A million ringgit tale

January 8, 2017

A politician’s account of himself refusing to accept a bagful of money as a bribe from a vice boss raises intriguing questions.

COMMENT

politician-bribe-1

By CY Ming

I am intrigued by a report that a politician threw a bag containing RM1million back at an illegal gambling den boss.

This was after he had received many phone calls from other illegal gambling den bosses trying to bribe him, including with offers of monthly payments of “a very shocking figure”.

I have no idea how illegal gambling den bosses operate, but I would be quite surprised if this is their modus-operandi.

I had always thought they operated behind the scenes and relied on trusted lieutenants to carry out the tasks, with a chain of command in place.

Should I receive a call from a stranger, I would not be able to verify straightaway whether the person is who he claims to be.

However, I would be able to know for sure who the caller was if I was familiar with his voice and recognised an illegal gambling den boss if I had known of his identity earlier.

Should I bump into him and be offered a bag of money, I will not touch the bag if I am not interested in the money.

I will certainly not spend time counting the money. If I had counted the money and found that it was indeed RM1mil, throwing the bag back at the illegal gambling den boss would imply that the bribe was too little.

If an illegal gambling den boss can offer a politician RM1 million for not doing anything, then many people who can cause trouble for his illegal business would also asked to be paid.

If illegal gambling dens can rake in such huge sums of money, then many others would have gone into the business as it is too lucrative to ignore, even if illegal.

This is unlikely to be the case as Malaysians have easy access to gambling. Apart from the safety and comfort of a licensed casino, the three major lottery companies accept bets in every city and town across the country.

Overseas online gambling sites can also be accessed from the privacy of one’s own home, with payments and winnings through direct bank transfers.

As such, I find the report strange. But it may well be true as fact is often stranger than fiction.

CY Ming is an FMT reader.

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