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Religious Affairs minister allows himself to be open to corruption of the worst sort (Wasabism) by accepting a free trip to Saudi. There is no such thing as a free lunch!

What does the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs), Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri, think he’s doing?

He and his entourage enjoyed a fully sponsored trip to Saudi Arabia on a private jet. He was invited by an NGO which is funded by the Saudi government. This is how corruption begins – the small favour.

With Malaysian politicians and cronies, corruption starts with the lunch in fancy settings. This then leads to other abuses – power, contracts, tenders, material goods, cheating, theft, and in time, national security perhaps.

In reponse to a tweet, about the cost of his charter flight to Madinah, Zukifli said, “Everything is sponsored because of the good relationship between both countries.”

A press release on 9 April 9 stated that the working visit would cover bilateral talks on the haj and umrah pilgrimages, regional and international issues regarding Islamic affairs.

  1. Is Zulkifli so naive and does not know that there is no such thing as a free lunch? The Saudis will entice him with proposals which are advantageous to them. After this trip, Zulkifli will feel obliged and cannot decline their requests.
  2. If the trip is to discuss about Haj matters, what is wrong with Zoom?
  3. The Saudi Government murdered one of their most vocal critics, the journalist, Jamal Khashoggi. Why is Zulkifli not minimising contact with this evil government?
  4. What happens if the Saudis want to open more Wasabi indoctrination schools in Malaysia to spread their warped islamic teachings which preach hatred, intolerance and extremism. They claim to fund the building of mosques, but in reality these hate schools are part of the unspoken equation. Will Zulkifli refuse?
  5. Zulkifli has given a very poor impression of Malaysian Muslims, especially those who are in power. Malaysians, including Muslims, are suffering during these difficult times. We are told to tighten our belts, but Zulkilfli did not have the presence of mind to refuse the visit and show empathy with his fellow Malaysians. The response of his fellow air passengers, gawping at the expense and luxury of the corporate jet is most embarassing.
  6. Malaysia has its own Special Envoy to the Middle East. His name is Hadi Awang. What is he doing? Does the Malaysian government have so much money to pay someone who does no work?
  7. Ditto for regional and international Islamic affairs. Sack Hadi for not performing and receiving wages which are better used to feed and house the people who are suffering in this pandemic.
  8. Does Zukifili not know that as a politician and minister, his acceptance of this “donation”, in this case, in the form of the paid trip and free holidah, is wrong?  It opens himself to abuse and more corruption.
  9. Who are his advisors? Did they go on the trip too? Is this their chance to make hay while the sun shines?
  10. Despite his Islamic credentials, Zulkifli has shown that he is as bad as his Umno-Baru, PAS and PN counterparts. All are open to abuse. What will Malaysia have to give in return for this sponsorship?

The ulama class have tasted luxury and enjoyed great power. They will not be easily kicked-out in GE-15.

NB: Photo credit – Malaysiakini. Comments are mine. The video of gawping members of the entourage is not mine.

Wasabi = a hot and fiery condiment.

Wahhabism = extreme and intolerant form of Islam

Wasabism = amalgam of the two.

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