‘Curi-Curi Malaysia’ shows only the tip of the iceberg
-MARIAM MOKHTAR is a defender of the truth, the admiral-general of the Green Bean Army and president of the Perak Liberation Organisation (PLO).
When R Nadeswaran, the former editor of Special and Investigative Reporting at theSun, retired last December, it was not because he had called it a day, or wanted to potter around in the garden, tending to his prized orchids.
He had a bigger mission at hand, and that was to focus on, and publish his second book, called ‘Curi-Curi Malaysia’.
Launched in January 2017, ‘Curi-Curi Malaysia’ is self-published, and as Nades points out, is not an autobiography, which he claims he has no desire to write. Nor is it a compilation of his articles, which after a distinguished career spanning over 45 years, would probably fill several volumes, like the Encyclopædia Britannica.
No! ‘Curi-Curi Malaysia’ describes the hours of hard work done by him and his team of investigative journalists. More often than not, the work would have been shared with his former partner of many years, Terence Fernandez.
People may recognise Citizen Nades as the man who broke the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) story, or the reporter with the dogged determination to prevent the culprits in the PKFZ scandal from escaping scot-free (they did, as the recent court case in March showed!).
It will come as no surprise to many Malaysians, that there are other scandals, some we know about, and many of which we are unaware.
‘Curi-Curi Malaysia’ represents the tip of this iceberg. Nades covers only the stories for which he has expert knowledge. For that reason, he avoids sensitive topics, such as religious issues, in which, he readily admits, that he is not an expert, and religious interpretations are needed.
Many people who read about an exposé in a newspaper do not realise the months of work, the money spent and dedication needed to produce a one-page-long article.
They do not know about the threats to the reporters, the unanswered calls, the emails which are ignored, the sleepless nights or the frustration of trying to get a straight response from a corrupt politician who is avoiding a straight answer.
Nor would the reader know about the angst of having to deal with a civil servant who is petrified of telling the truth, for fear of losing his job.
Work of journalists more challenging and frustrating
Equally important, says Nades, is having an editor, or a newspaper owner, who allows free rein over the piece, so that he, as a responsible journalist, need not look over his shoulder all the time.
(Photo – Mariam) In today’s climate, with newspaper ownership in the hands of the powerful, who have strong links to the ruling politicians, Nades knows that the work of many journalists is more challenging and frustrating than ever.
Nades, once referred to as “the scariest man in Malaysia”, is also a reporter of whom the politicians are wary. If an email from Nades were to land on the desk of a junior member of a government department, it would soon find its way to the minister. An example of a minister who is micro-managing, perhaps?
Ministers and civil servants treat Nades with kid gloves. One wrong slip and he may have a major story on his hands.
In the northern hemisphere, spring is in the air, and in England, the Chelsea Flower Show (CFS) will be open to the public and the Queen. In 2011, Tourism Malaysia tried to pull the wool over the eyes of the horticultural world.
As Nades pointed out, Tourism Malaysia opened a tender exercise, in which people were invited to pay for tender documents, despite having already awarded the contract to represent Malaysia at the prestigious show.
Nades was most interested in transparency and accountability, but it is doubtful if the respective Malaysian departments were willing to help him.
He managed to expose the cheating, and exorbitant expenses claimed by Malaysian officials, who stayed in London, to attend the CFS. More importantly, he discovered the Malaysian CFS garden exhibit did not have any Malaysian plant species, because quarantine laws had to be respected.
In fact, the award-winning Malaysian garden contained plants which, although native to Malaysia, were sourced and cultivated in Holland. Another wayang!
The behind-the-scenes exchanges, of many other eye-watering cases of abuse of the Malaysian taxpayers’ money are highlighted in ‘Curi-Curi Malaysia’, the book that has taken Nades on a personal quest, throughout peninsular Malaysia, Australia, England and Europe.
These scandals include the Awana Chelsea restaurant, the Brickendonbury sports centre, jet-setting VIP wives, the Paya Indah Wetlands, the palatial mansion in Port Klang, ministers Ng Yen Yen and Azalina Othman Said.
At his book launch, Nades reminded his audience to make others aware of the controversies, the corruption and the injustice. He told us to do the right thing in GE-14. So, grab a copy, before ‘Curi-Curi Malaysia’ is banned.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.
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