I have given the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and the expanded Cabinet of 37 Ministers 96 hours to prove that they are sincere in political funding – and this 96-hour challenge expires at the Cabinet meeting later in the morning.
Will there be any surprises from Najib and the Ministers in announcing steps and measures to demonstrate that they are sincere in political funding as a follow-up to the Prime Minister’s recent proposal for a national consultative committee of political parties, NGOS, civil societies and youths to formulate guidelines on political funding with the aim of ensuring that funds are sourced with integrity?
Malaysians do not expect any surprises, and will in fact be shocked if the Cabinet could produce a rabbit from the hat and come up with initiatives to demonstrate that it is sincere about regulating the baneful effects of money politics in Malaysia.
Najib suffers from a grave case of trust-deficit in the country, but he is making a grave error if he thinks Malaysians suffer from an equally serious case of judgment-deficit.
All Malaysians can see through what Najib is up to when he proposed a National Consultative Council on Political Funding which will be given a year to come up with proposals and guidelines in place in time for the next general election.
Najib wants to buy time for up to one whole year to be able to continue stonewall from giving a full and satisfactory account of the RM2.6 billion deposited into his personal accounts in AmBank in March 2013 before the 13th General Election – where the money had come from, who had received handouts from Najib’s accounts, what is the remainder in the accounts after the 13th General Election, and whether there is any truth in last Saturday posting on Sarawak Report website that over US$650 million (RM2 billion) was transferred from Najib’s AmPrivate Bank account in Kuala Lumpur to an account in Singapore after the 13th general election.
The whistle-blower site alleged that the money was deposited into an account in the name of Tanore Finance Corporation (BVI) at Falcon Bank in Singapore on the day Najib’s AmPrivate Bank account was closed, August 30, 2013 – and that this was the same company account which had originally transferred US$681 million (RM2.6 billion) into Najib’s AmPrivate Bank account, earlier in March of the same year.
And at the end of the a year of “consultations” on political funding, the whole initiative could be run to ground producing no results, in the same way that the multi-agency Special Task Force comprising Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), Royal Malaysian Police and Attorney-General’s Chambers to investigate the 1MDB scandal and Najib’s RM2.6 billion personal accounts had run aground and disbanded – resulting even in the sacking of Tan Sri Gani Patail as Attorney-General and arrests or harassments of top officers in MACC and BNM.
Najib could not have made the proposal for a National Consultative Council on Political Funding in worse circumstances, for though the concept that funds for political parties are sourced with integrity and in a transparent manner is right, proper and deserves support, Najib’s timing of such a proposal could only ensure its rejection or reception with great skepticism.
This is why the Bar Council has announced that it would not be part of the National Consultative Council on Political Funding as it wants investigations into the RM2.6 billion found in Najib’s private accounts be completed first.
Malaysian Bar president Steven Thiru said: “The discourse on these new laws should await the completion of the ongoing investigation into the transfer of the funds. This is, in particular, because a donation is still within the definition of ‘gratification’ under the MACC Act 2009.
“This is not the time to indulge in side issues that could be perceived as a smokescreen to cover up wrongdoing in this matter.”
I fully support the idea that funding for political parties and elections should be transparent with regard to its source and expenditure, which had been my stand in Parliament all these decades, but Najib’s proposal is nothing but a cynical ploy to buy time for a whole year to continue to avoid and evade the principles of accountability, transparency, integrity and good governance on the twin scandals of 1MDB and RM2.6 billion in Najib’s personal accounts.
Najib has said that there are currently no laws regulating political funding or donations and thus the public can’t pass judgment yet.
This is a shocking example of Najib’s warped perceptions of what is right and what is wrong – a Prime Minister who has completely lost his moral authority and compass and ceased to distinguish between right from wrong!
The question is whether Malaysia has also a whole Cabinet of 37 Ministers who have also lost the moral authority and compass in being unable to distinguish between right from wrong, with no single Minister who dare to speak up in Cabinet to tell Najib that he is wrong and has to make amends and that the government and cabinet must set an example of what is morally right and proper in the country?
DAP has never received a single sen of foreign funding in our five decades of political battle for democracy and justice in Malaysia. If DAP had received just a ringgit of foreign funding, we would be accused of being agents and tools of foreign powers and DAP leaders may find themselves under incarceration.
But here we have the Prime Minister receiving RM2.6 billion of foreign funding for the 13th General Election and he has the impertinence to say there is no law to say whether it is right or wrong!
Let Najib declare how much UMNO/BN had received in foreign funding for previous general election campaigns!
Tun Abdullah had led UMNO/BN in two general elections and Tun Mahathir had led the governing coalition in five general elections.
Let Tun Mahathir and Tun Abdullah declare how much foreign funding they had received on behalf of UMNO/BN in each of these seven general elections from 1982 – 2008.
Najib has lost the moral leadership and compass to talk about transparent and accountable political funding so long as he is not prepared to make a clean breast of the RM2.6 billion in his personal bank accounts, where the RM2.6 billion came from; to whom they went to; and whether US$650 million (RM2 billion) from his personal accounts are now sitting in a Singapore bank.
There are at least three reasons why Najib is not sincere in wanting to have transparent and accountable political funding to ensure integrity and transparency about the funding:
Firstly Najib was not truthful when he said that six years ago, he had suggested a law for political funding but was opposed by DAP. DAP was never approached from anyone in the UMNO/BN government with regard to a law to regulate political party funding.
As DAP Parliamentary Leader in the past six years since Najib became Prime Minister, I was never contacted by anyone in Najib’s administration on a law to regulate political party funding.
Secondly, his belated proposal for political party funding is nothing but a smokescreen to avoid and evade accountability and transparency on the RM2.6 billion deposited in his personal bank accounts in March 2013 just before the 13th General Elections.
Thirdly, Najib’s proposal lack credibility, legitimacy or morality in naming Paul Low as Chairman and Idris Jala as the as Deputy Chairman of the National Consultative Committee on Political Funding.
Although Paul Low was drafted into the Cabinet directly as President of Transparency International, his three years in office as the Minister in charge of integrity and governance have not seen these two issues taken seriously by the Najib government. Things in these two areas have actually got worse rather than better.
Idris’ term as Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department expires on Sept. 1 following the expiry of the maximum of his two-term six-year tenure as Senator.
Why did Najib want to mislead the public in giving the baseless perception that Jala will be both Minister and Deputy Chairman of this National Consultative Council for the next 12 months when Jala may not even be a Minister when the National Consultative Council is formally established?
Former Minister and Barisan Nasional Backbenchers’ Club (BNBBC) Chairman Tan Sri Shahrir Samad has confirmed the posting on the Sarawak Report website last Saturday which named him as one of those who had received funds from Najib’s infamous RM2.6 billion personal accounts for the 13th General Election campaigning.
He received RM1 million. The other person named, Deputy Minister for International Trade and Industry, Datuk Ahmad Maslan who is listed as receiving RM2 million, is keeping very quiet.
At the DAP forum “Ke Mana Halatuju Malaysia” at Tropical Inn, Johor Baru on Monday night, I named eight Ministers and two deputy ministers and asked them to declare the funds they had received from Najib’s RM2.6 billion personal accounts for the 13th General Election campaigning, viz:
1. Hishammuddin Hussein – Defence Minister.
2. Azalina Othman – Minister in Prime Minister’s Department.
3. Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah – Second Finance Minister.
4. Liow Tiong Lai – Transport Minister.
5. Anifah Aman – Foreign Minister.
6. Ismail Sabry – Rural and Regional Development Minister.
7. Ahmad Shabery Cheek – Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Minister
8. Madzir Khalid – Education Minister
9. Tajuddin Abdul Rahman – Deputy Agriculture Minister
10. Razali Ibrahim – Deputy Minister, Prime Minister’s Department
So far there is only silence from these 10.
Let me name another 10 Ministers who should declare whether and what amounts of funds they received from Najib’s RM2.6 billion accounts:
1. Zahid Hamidi – Deputy Prime Minister/Home Minister.
2. Jamil Khir Baharom – Minister in PMO in charge of Islamic affairs.
3. Shahidan Kassim – Minister in PMO.
4. Wee Ka Siong – Minister in PMO.
5. Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz – Tourism and Culture
6. Mustapha Mohamad – International Trade and Industry
7. Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor – Federal Territories
8. Khairy Jamaluddin – Youth and Sports
9. Idris Jusoh – Higher Education
10. Abdul Rahman Dahlan – Urban Wellbeing, Housing, Local Government
Or will the Cabinet this morning pass a resolution or reach a consensus that Ministers and Deputy Ministers should seal their lips as to the amount of funds they received from Najib’s RM2.6 billion personal accounts for purposes of 13th General Election campaigning?