It was these things that kept him awake at night. It was the unspeakable thought that he’d never have any real money to talk about until, just when they were digging his grave, they’d strike oil.
The answer seemed simple enough: crime. It would pay because he took his cue from the very top in the land. After all, the poor and ignorant would always lie and steal so long as the rich and educated showed them how.
In that sense, you might describe our former premier, Fearless Leader, as a trail blazer. His former less-than-trusty sidekick, the flabby Felonious certainly thought so. Indeed, it was indelibly associated with his work ethic: rise early, work hard and become close to the Prime Minister.
But back to our story. In his unflagging quest for fortune, our hero joined a secret society. Along the way, he also signed up with the civil service in the shape of the Immigration Department.
How on earth he slipped through the cracks is anyone’s guess. But, hey, it happens to the best of us.
The trick to criminality, as Felonious himself might concede, is this: it’s always better to be rich than stupid.
In short, one had to keep as low a profile as was humanly possible. “That’s easy for you to say,” grumbled Fearless who was getting heartily sick and tired of gratuitous advice from Felonious, all of which was dumpily dispensed from his safe house in Macao.
But, alas, our hero would rather be rich and stupid. As a junior immigration official earning between RM1,500 and, at his peak, RM5,000, said rocket scientist thought nothing of splurging out on a Rolls-Royce.
What do you think his bewildered neighbours thought?
In fact, he might be considered as stupid as Rush Limbaugh, a right-wing US radio talk-show host who once famously defended development thus: “There are more acres of forest land in the United States today than when Columbus discovered the continent in 1492.”
But our hero was less interested in history than he was in cars. When anti-corruption officials raided his residence on suspicion of human trafficking, they found a garage worthy of a Lewis Hamilton: a Rolls-Royce Phantom, a Ford Mustang, a Range Rover and an Audi.
Felonious whistled admiringly but more over our hero’s taste and less at his track-covering ability. Even so, it was taking conspicuous consumption to a whole new level, and Felonious approved –strictly on a point of principle.
Last Friday, it was reported that the MACC had detained 50 individuals, including 28 Immigration personnel, 17 foreign worker agents and five civilians, for being involved in the fraudulent use of immigration stamps to enter and exit the country,
The sheer number of immigration officials involved has dented the department’s reputation. It consoled itself with the thought that outside of the corruption, the department was still one of the cleanest agencies in government.
Felonious wasn’t at all worried about his reputation. Time would inevitably soften judgments and impair memory. It was not for nothing that the writer Balzac had once penned the notion that “behind every great fortune lies a crime.”