The events which are unfolding in Malaysia are nothing short of Kafkaesque in nature.
In Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, the chief protagonist, a salesman by the name of Gregor woke up one day only to find out that he had transformed into a giant insect. Lying down, he could see his many legs moving about in the air above him. Strangely, rather than wallowing in self pity and descending into a state of utter depression, Gregor’s first reaction was “how am I going to get to work?”
He then thought “what would happen to my family, as I am the only one who worked to bring in the money?” While Gregor was thinking of the family, the latter was however far from being sympathetic to Gregor’s plight. They were filled with repulsion and they regarded Gregor’s position as a burden on them.
The rest of the story tells us how the familial relationship between Gregor and the members of his family slowly deteriorated due to his condition.
In my frequent Kafkaesque moments nowadays, I have this vision of me having a bowl of soup in one of those fancy restaurants in KL Hilton. Suddenly everything became big. My body grew up so big. The table, the chair and of course the bowl of soup, the spoon and whatever else.
I continued scooping the thick creamed mushroom soup with the spoon. Suddenly the spoon touched on something hard, buried somewhere under the thick mushroom soup. My curiosity took over. I scooped and scooped and scooped. And OMG…
I screamed, “WAITER, THERE IS A JET ENGINE IN MY SOUP!!!”
Everybody around me stopped doing whatever they were doing before I screamed. They rushed to my table. The waiters and waitresses too. The manager hurriedly hovered around my table. And there, right in front of me and everybody else, bedded in my soup bowl, with thick creamed mushroom soup dripping from its impellers, and some black peppers sticking to its aluminum body, was one whole jet engine!
I think Kafka would have been proud of me.
On a more serious note, I have a report from a friend of mine in Johore. This guy is an engineer. So, I presume he knows his stuffs. But then again, he is a Liverpool supporter. So, I stand corrected on my last statement about him.
Anyway, he text me the other day. He said he knows exactly where the jet engine is. According to his inside information, Rafa Benitez bought the engine last summer thinking that it was a midfield engine. The engine is now in Anfield awaiting fitness. LOL!! Living La Vida Jet Engine!
Okay, sorry, that wasn’t serious. That was a joke. I have to make that clear lest some of you dear readers might be confused. Maklumlah kita orang-orang Malaysia ni, terutamanya orang-orang Islam Malaysia, senang sangat jadi “confuse”. So, let me make it clear, that was a joke, okay. The jet engine was not bought by Rafa Benitez. No. That was a joke.
The really serious thing is this. The Attorney General had yesterday announced that 2 guys will be charged in Court today for stealing the engines. The 2 guys are apparently an Air Force Sergeant and a company director. Good job, mate.
Why are you all laughing? That was not a joke. That is true. Really. No, it was not a joke, I can assure you. Oh God, why are you laughing? Confused? Oh well…
When the news about the theft of the decade was first leaked to the public some weeks ago, I remember Minister Zahid Hamidi appearing in national news, with sweat of patriotism and national pride bristling over his forehead, totally angry and absolutely incensed, promising to charge everyone who was responsible for what he termed as an act of treason.
The Star newspaper reported as follows:
“Describing the thieves as traitors to the nation, Dr Ahmad Zahid vowed that those found guilty would have to pay a heavy price for the crime.
The ministry has already conducted a domestic inquiry into the missing engine and its findings will be disclosed to the public via court proceedings,” he told reporters after receiving a courtesy call from Maldives’ Defence Minister Ameen Faisel at the ministry office here Tuesday.
He added that those who were involved in the theft have been identified through the inquiry and that they would not escape the law.
“The matter has been handed over completely to the police and the Attorney-General has released a statement that the investigations would be complemented with legal proceedings,” Dr Ahmad Zahid added.”
The Prime Minister, who was the Defence Minister when the engines were stolen right in front of our nose, chipped in and said:
“The ministry has no intention to cover up at all,” he said after chairing the Malaysian Aerospace Council meeting in Putrajaya.
“In fact we went forward to the police. At that time I was the minister in charge. I decided we should report it to the police,” he said.
He added that the ministry will wait for the relevant authorities to wrap up their investigations before any action is taken against the wrongdoers.
“It depends on what the personnel had done wrong, It is up to the air force and armed force’s council to decide on that,” he said.
Most notably, Minister Zahid, in the same Star report said:
“Action will be taken against high-ranking officers overseeing the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) fighter jet at the time when its RM50mil engines were stolen, said Defence Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.”
Then there were talks that a Brigadier General and some 40 army personnel have been told to leave because of the debacle. On this, Minister Zahid was quoted as saying, “Defence Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the engines were discovered missing from the Sungai Besi RMAF airbase during routine maintenance service. Also missing were its maintenance and service records.
He said a brigadier-general and 40 other armed forces personnel had been sacked over the incident.”
(as reported by Charles Lourdes in a report appearing here).
But later, the MoD denied that the Brigadier General’s resignation had anything to do with the thefts. So, what is what? Who resigned for what? We asked. Malaysians, at this point of time, had a grave and present feeling that nobody seemed to know what they are talking about.
I also remember that Minister Zahid said outside agents were also involved and that ation at the “international level” will be taken. The Malaysian Insider reported:
“The Royal Malaysia Air Force (RMAF) F-5E fighter jet engine missing since 2007 was sold to an international company based in South America, said Defence Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
He said the company was believed to have hired an agent to bring the RM50 million engine out of the country.
“The ministry will take legal action at the international level to charge the company involved.”
Regardless, we are assured that the national defence has not been compromised.
Later, the one jet engine became two jet engines. Than apparently, they were shipped to Argentina. Some said it was Iran. The IGP confidently announced that,
“The stolen engines have been taken to Argentina,” the police chief said. “We have to check if the engines are still in that country.”
Musa told the Star newspaper that several top Royal Malaysian Air Force officers, including generals, are expected to be questioned in connection with the theft.”
He was also reported as saying:
“We need to question all of them as it is not easy to just cart away the engines without authorization and proper documents.”
Yes, it surely wasn’t easy to just cart away jet engines from an air base, which presumably, is a heavily guarded area, unless of course, everybody had transformed themselves into big insects with multiple legs which sleep all the time.
The Attorney General then confirmed that it was not an easy job. He was reported by the Star as saying, “Gani said the case was complicated as it involved various agencies including transportation and courier, ministries, security network and the company entrusted with overhauling the engines.”
And now, events have taken the Kafka route. Apparently, only a Sergeant and a company director were involved. They are going to be charged todar for stealing the engines, reported the Malaysian Insider.
And so, it appears that it wasn’t that difficult to breach our national defence system after all. Let’s see. Any Sergeant would be able to authorise the removal of two jet engines from the jet. He then would personally remove the jet engines from the jet. Then he would drive a fork lift and lifted the engines onto a truck or whatever.
Then he would drive the truck out of the base. He would show all the documentation for the transportation of the engines out of that base, which he had obviously forged.
Then he drove to the port. In the meantime, he would have prepared and forged all shipping documents and arranged the freight. He then cleared the customs. He also arranged the sale and purchase transaction.
This SPM/STPM qualified Sergeant apparently had the all the connections with international illegal arm dealers and underground arm smugglers allowing him to arrange the sale. All the while, he also managed to communicate with those people undetected. His calls were never intercepted by our army intelligent nor the police. Our police, who had successfully traced RPK from a worm hole in Great Britain did not manage to trace all these things. No Sir, no.
After various correspondence and due diligence, the sale was concluded. He then shipped the engines. Oh wait, they were shipped to Argentina but the ship stopped at Uruguay along the way. May be the Captain of the ship had to pee in Uruguayan port. Now, apparently, the engines are in Uruguay. The Attorney General is now reported to have said, “Police managed to trace the containers carrying the engines to Argentina where it was off-loaded onto another vessel and shipped to Uruguay.”
The sale was completed. Engines delivered. Money paid to the Sergeant’s account. He managed to get the Bank Negara clearance. Yes. The Sergeant knows how to do that too. Oh wait, did he used the money changer?
So, folks, that’s the story for now.
Over the past few weeks I have been seeing that Astro b-yond advert on Astro. You know, that advert with the submarine surfacing in a housing estate in front of a little girl on a tricycle with a pacifier in her mouth.
Hmmm… I wonder where Astro got the submarine.
And we all shall continue to wonder.
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