From candidate as a Tiger Economy in the early nineties to a candidate for junk bonds – this is an indication of how far Malaysia has fallen under the premiership of Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
In two decades, Malaysia has transformed from a “darling” to a “villain” of the international media in our “transformation” from a model nation into a rogue state.
What has happened?
We seem to have the most useless and incompetent Cabinet in the nation’s history, unable to deal with the grave issues of the state at its meeting yesterday, especially the Sept. 16 Red Shirts Rally organized by UMNO which in fell swoop desecrated the concept and vision of Malaysia on the 52nd Malaysia Day anniversary and Najib’s own signature policy of 1Malaysia on the importance of racial peace, social harmony and national unity.
Nor was the Cabinet brave enough (with Najib absent, as the Prime Minister had left secretly for his UN, US and UK trip) to deal with two current issues which occurred after the last Cabinet meeting on 9th Sept, viz: (i) the Al Jazeera 101 East current affairs programme on “Murder in Malaysia” on new evidence on the brutal murder of Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu; and (ii) the New York Times report that a US federal grand jury is examining allegations of corruption and money laundering involving Najib and people close to him under the Department of Justice’s Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative.
This morning, Malaysian ringgit fell to the lowest point of 4.4045 to the greenback since a dollar peg was imposed in 1998, and what is worse, without strengthening exports or improved the trade balance.
Market analysts have warned that although the current currency crisis may not be a repeat of history and 1997, it “sure rhymes and is probably far from being over”, with CNBC reporting forecast that the greenback will be trading at 4.50 to the dollar by the end of the year.
With the insistence of the Prime Minister, his Ministers and economic advisers that Malaysia’s economic fundamentals are sound, the unchecked drop in the value of the Malaysian ringgit can only be attributed to the crisis of confidence in the Prime Minister and government, and as rightly pointed out by the Bank Negara Governor, Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz, an important factor is the “lack of clarity” over the RM50 billion 1MDB scandal.
Zeti did not mention the scandal of the RM2.6 billion “donation” in Najib’s personal banking accounts in March 2013 – but this is undoubtedly the second major factor for the crisis of confidence in Najib’s premiership.
The Prime Minister and the Cabinet cannot take lightly Moody Corp’s comparison of official ratings of countries against grades implied by its credit-default swaps, which showed Malaysia among the six countries in the “junk grade” rating.
The “junk grade” is where the disparity between the official ratings and what credit activity implies is the largest, and shows Malaysia fifth lowest after Kazakhstan, Turkey, Bahrain and South Africa.
Najib’s current overseas trips to the United Nations, United States and United Kingdom are pointless unless they could contribute to the restoration of confidence in the government of Malaysia.
Najib should listen to his brother’s advice, as the CIMB group chairperson Nazir Razak has said that the government has to provide answers to the controversies plaguing it to restore international market confidence and in particular, the Prime minister should “change the current narrative about Malaysia with answers or legal suits”.
For a start, is the Prime Minister prepared to announce from United Nations his decision to sue the three international media which had published adverse reports about him, Wall Street Journal for its July 2 report on the RM2.6 billion “donation” in his personal banking accounts; Al Jazeera for its 102 East current affairs programme “Murder in Malaysia” on Sept. 11, 2015 and the New York Times for its “Malaysia’s Leader, Najib Razak, Faces US Corruption Inquiry” report of Sept. 21, 2015 to substantiate his allegation that he is victim of an international media conspiracy to defame him.