Most of us want a comfortable home – a house in our favourite (architectural) style and (interior) decor!

We want a peaceful abode to return to after a gruelling day at work, a conducive environment where we can spend time with family and friends or simply a place to stay where we can perform our day to day activities – cooking, eating, watching TV, doing recreational activities, studying, praying, sleeping etc etc.

Whatever our lifestyle, what we look for in a home is a house, an apartment or a condominium which is comfortable and nurtures the needs, mutual love, well-being and happiness of its occupants.  

Most of us can afford only developers’ units of residence be they bungalows, semi Ds, link houses; upmarket condominiums, apartments and town houses or low cost housing. These are not unique or exclusive in design but are identical albeit built with the buyers’ specs in mind. More and more are being equipped with community playgrounds and recreational facilities to provide the balance in lifestyle. We take our pick depending on the price, area, living features, accessibility etc etc

For the higher income groups and those with loads to spend i.e. the millionaires and billionaires among us, the choice of luxury homes is theirs. They have their pick of the best residential areas and choice locations, the size of land and house to fit their pockets and the architectural style and interior design to make their physical abode a haven and a dream come true.

I suppose everyone has dreams! And there’s no harm dreaming within the limits of your status in life, morally and ethically; professionally and financially! 

SO the question is – does an officer of the state or a government agency, a civil servant, a minister, MPs, ADUNs and people whose positions of authority give them plenty of opportunities to live well,  have the right to dream of living luxuriously? Can they live in luxury while in service or in retirement? Can their lifestyle be excessive or exclusive?

My simple mind tells me they can’t and they shouldn’t! It’s professionally unethical, financially impossible and morally unacceptable! For a servant of the state to jump to being a hedonist of excesses is hard for me to understand!

SO the revelation that the former Menteri Besar of Selangor Khir Toyo purchased a sprawling luxury home in an elite housing area is astounding – to me at least! Several questions come to mind (i) where would he get the money? (ii) why would he want to live in luxury? (iii) wasn’t he guided by a code of public and private ethics?

Whether the property cost him RM3.5 million as he claims or RM 24 million as alleged, why was ex MB stupid enough to think he could get away with it? Or did he think he was being awfully smart?

I can think of one former Menteri Besar of the post Merdeka era who retired into oblivion in the small wooden Malay house he built on an abandoned tin mine! The land was derelict and cheap which was all he could afford! The house TERATAK JASA was tiny even in those days, but it served his simple needs and lifestyle. He did not have the means nor inclination to build up grandiose ideas about himself!


The former Menteri Besar of Selangor of the 21st century was a dentist! The former Menteri Besar of Negeri Sembilan of the 20th century was a doctor! 

Only fifty years separate them but a chasm separates their values! Which says a lot for the new Malaysian values and Melayu Baru



8 Responses to “”

  1. 1 dannalli
    July 17, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    And just now … I saw the wife of a former Menteri Besar of Negri Sembilan in a new black S 300 or maybe S 350 Merc. Eerrr… this one was a lawyer.

  2. 2 JA
    July 18, 2009 at 6:49 am

    Can anyone recall of any former MBNS whose wife is (currently) a lawyer? A bini baru probably?

  3. July 18, 2009 at 9:57 am

    I always admire graceful houses that combine style and simplicity, and not palaces of sin that scream takniness and vulgarity. Your ancestral home in Linggi looks remarkable too.

  4. 4 ninitalk
    July 18, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    It’s actually TERATAK JASA in Gedong Lalang 50, Ampangan, Seremban now turned into TASKA PENYAYANG JASA in the lower level and GALERI JASA in the upper level!

    It was a real “gedong lalang” when the house was built but now boasts of a school and a few sundry shops. Mainly retired or deceased homeowners!

  5. July 18, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    This post has made me searched for Memoirs of a Menteri Besar, and inside there’s a picture of that lovely timber house (rumah tengah and kitchen). Isn’t that house in Linggi?

  6. 6 ninitalk
    July 18, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    The Linggi house is no more but TERATAK JASA (on the next page)was inspired by it. Not a “luxury home” by any standards but a wonderful home because of the people who lived in it – people who led a simple life but had solid values and a sound education. That’s a luxury we all should aspire to!

    Thank you GUiKP for remembering!

  7. 7 dannalli
    July 18, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    JA … member of the Bar was the former MB not the wife.

    The kids in the neighbourhood used to play football on the small field now acquired by the former MB to extend their residence boundry. That is luxury too.

  8. July 18, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    Oops, the above should be tackiness.

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