Friday, 24 August 2012

In memory of Jalil

Jalil was my form 5T class teacher's husband at Tunku Kurshiah College (TKC) in 1975. I must have met Jalil while in Form 4T in 1974. I remember we brought our chairs to the padang at the end of the school block (my class was the last class in that block). We sat in a circle and I could clearly see Jalil from where I sat. He was a tall and fair gentleman, much like a Chinese, with sideburn and black framed glasses. I thought he came from a far away place - like from China or Heaven! He didn't say much, maybe he was shy. The next I heard of him, he was murdered in Hong Kong. The details I can't remember but banana plantation was all I can remember. That's it.

There is nothing mentioned of the late Jalil nor his wife (my former teacher) or his family. I remember his wife gave birth to her first child and the whole class went to visit her at home. I still have the photo of all of us walking towards her home - it was a hot day and I wore a baju kurung. I have to search for that photo.

The Bank Bumiputra scandal involved a lot of people. The late Lorrain is the only son of Dr Mustapha bin Osman, an early Malay doctor (the other is a daughter). By the time I could figure out who's who and understand the scandal, probably last year or so, Lorrain had died. Else I could ask him about his father. So, it is a bit sad that many have died before I could interview them for my book - Biography of the Early Malay Doctors 1900-1957 Malaya and Singapore.

I don't know if there is a book written about the scandal. There are only bits and pieces that I see here and there and everywhere. It would be nice to see the scandal nicely written for the public to read, rather than try and fix a jig-saw puzzle with many missing pieces and much imaginery. I cannot write such a book as I am not in the banking or finance industry, nor do I understand the scale of such a scandal. I'm not a globe trotter so writing about it will be impossible. It would involve a lot of secret interviews of the people involved who are still surviving, most in their 80s. A scandal is just a scandal. Scandals are commonplace nowadays, especially when it comes to $$$. What we make out of a scandal is totally different. I guess it takes a lot of skills and courage to write about the scandal such that we can have it as a non-fiction book. Scandals happen everywhere and all the time, and this one is no exception. If RM2.5 billion is such a messy big number, but that is just about a billion in AUD and less in USD. So why the scare about such a scandal? I still think someone should take a brave step to write about it and honestly lay it down properly. If we don't write it now, and then try to write about it 20 years from now, it won't be authentic. Maybe we should all come together, divide the workload for writing all the small parts, and then put those small parts together to make a book. Will the book make us proud? No, but it should be a lesson to all that money is a dangerous weapon - it kills innocent lives! There is no point keeping quiet and letting things fade so nothing exists of it. I think it is better to write and have a copy now.

Here's the story from The Malaysian Bar:

YouTube video of Jalil's murder in Hong Kong:

Jalil Ibrahim, a banker with Malaysia's Bank of Bumiputra was found murdered. He had been silenced before he could blow the whistle to financial irregularities and dangerous liaisons which if revealed could destroy his bank and compromise his country. The banker knew too much. But what did he know?