Never before has Malaysia been in such a mess.
What is devastating is that there is no light at the end of the tunnel.
Malaysia’s spirit cannot soar and reach for the skies, to seek and attain an ever-higher level of national achievement and human excellence.
Instead, we are daily bogged down by the mundane and sordid details of one scandal after another, as if we need constant reminders as to how far Malaysia has fallen from grace from the era of Tunku Abdul Rahman, Razak and Hussein Onn.
Dominating the landscape of scandals is the 1MDB “mother and mother of all financial scandals”, a hydra-headed monster capable of unending combinations and permutations to unveil the gravity of the collapse of an ethical government and the principles of accountability, transparency and good governance in the country.
The enormity of the 1MDB scandal so dwarf other scandals that it is capable providing relief and even an escape route to lesser scandals – and MARA is one such beneficiary as the MARA Inc property corruption scandal broke open by the Australian Age in its report “Corrupt Malaysia money distorts Melbourne market” on June 23, 2015 was completely overshadowed by the latest expose in the 1MDB scandal wallowing in billions and even tens of billions of ringgit compared to the comparatively puny sum of RM100 – 200 million in the MARA Inc property corruption scandal in Melbourne.
In these troubled times, Malaysians are desperately looking for leadership.
Is it to be found in the Cabinet?
It is obvious that Malaysia has a Cabinet and Cabinet Ministers who do not lead, but are prepared to be led blindly even towards a national dead end!
For at least five times, the Cabinet had given blank-cheque approval for the latest twist-and-turn of the 1MDB mega-scandal, viz:
• the first time in early March when as Auditor-General was called in to verify the 1MDB accounts;
• the second time in end-May when the Cabinet approved the Save 1MDB Roadmap;
• the third time when Wall Street Journal (WSJ) on June 19 published a report that 1MDB funds were used to bankroll Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 13th General Election campaign;
• the fourth time over the WSJ report on July 3 that RM2.6 billion had been deposited into Najib’s personal banking accounts in AmBank in March 2013 before the 13th General Election; and
• fifthly, when the Cabinet finally learnt in early June that Najib was in law and fact, as Prime Minister, Finance Minister as well as by virtue of Clause 117 of the 1MDB Memorandum and Articles of Association (M&A) the final approving authority for 1MDB deals.
Today’s Cabinet meeting is the final one before the Hari Raya Aidilfitri festivities.
Is the Cabinet finally going to provide leadership or are there at least some Cabinet Ministers who are prepared to put their heads on the chopping block to provide leadership for the country in great distress?
The Cabinet’s decision or non-decision on the following four issues will be a barometer whether Malaysians have a Cabinet or Cabinet Ministers to be proud of:
1 1MDB scandal – Will the Cabinet today
(i) repudiate and reprimand the Second Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah for his baseless statement yesterday that the preliminary report by the Auditor-General on 1MDB had cleared the Prime Minister and 1MDB of any wrongdoing,
(ii) set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry into 1MDB and WSJ reports led by the three Tuns – Mahathir, Abdullah and Musa Hitam – to replace the “special task force” of four Tan Sris – Gani Patail (AGC), Zeti Akhtar Aziz (BNM), Khalid Abu Bakar (RMP) and Abu Kassim Mohamad (MACC) as the latter lack national and international credibility and legitimacy; and
(iii) resolve that the Prime Minister should publicly confirm or deny (a) whether Najib had three personal bank accounts in AmBank; (b) whether some US$700 million (RM2.6 billion) of funds were deposited into his personal accounts in 2013 just before the dissolution of Parliament on April 3, 2013 in the run-up to the 13th General Election; (c) Where the RM2.6 billion came from; and (d) Where and to whom these RM2.6 billion have gone to.
2. MARA Property Corruption Scandal in Melbourne
Will the Cabinet sack Datuk Annuar Musa as MARA Chairman, the MARA Board of Directors and MARA executives as the MARA Inc property corruption scandal is in the region of over RM100 million or more than ten times the magnitude of the scandal as initially exposed by The Age.
3. Low Yat Mob Incident
What action the Cabinet is taking to ensure that there will be no recurrence of the Low Yat Mob Incident?
I fully agree with former prime minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad that the rioting at Low Yat Plaza on Sunday should not have happened more so during Ramadan when Muslims must refrain from hunger, thirst, anger and hatred.
Is the Cabinet capable of formulating and implementing an action plan to ensure that there will be no recurrence of the Low Yat Incident, whether in Kuala Lumpur or elsewhere in Malaysia?
4. Standard Chartered KL Marathon 2015 (SCKLM)
Will the Cabinet overrule the decision of the Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin to change the date of Standard Chartered KL Marathon 2015 (SCKLM) from Oct. 4 to Oct. 10 to bolster the National Sports Day, and to maintain the original date so as not to spoil the plans of some 35,000 participants locally and overseas who have registered for the marathon?
I am reminded of the opening of Charles Dickens’ historical novel “The Tale of Two Cities”, which was one of the prescribed texts for literature when I was in Form IV:
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way.”
Malaysia is going through the “worst of times”. Are there enough Malaysians to also make it “the best of times”.
Can we start with the Cabinet? We will know in a few hours.