The first fortnight of the new year, 2016, provided fodder for the prophets of doom and gloom for Malaysia, as Malaysia is very sick, afflicted with a multitude of political, economic, good governance and nation-building ailments.
One indication of the seriousness of the Malaysian malady is my six-month suspension from Parliament, not because I had committed any heinous crime or guilty of grave misdemeanour causing Malaysia to be placed in the third ranking of world’s “worst corruption scandals in 2015”, but because of my persistence in the pursuit of the question to the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak: “Mana RM2.6 billion?”
This is further proof that those who want answers to the “Mana RM2.6 billion?” are punished while those responsible for these scandals continue to enjoy immunity and impunity under our system of democratic governance!
It is sad is that Parliament has again proven its utter irrelevance and impotence when the Najib government could blatantly break its promise to “answer all” about Najib’s twin mega scandals – the RM2.6 billion “donation” and RM55 billion 1MDB – on the last day of the 25-day Dewan Rakyat budget meeting on Dec. 3 and there was nothing anyone could do to demand full and satisfactory accountability from Najib and the Ministers for the twin mega scandals.
This is why I am using my six-month suspension from Parliament to tour the country – I have so far visited 66 of the 222 parliamentary constituencies – to feel the pulse of the people about Najib’s twin mega scandals.
What I had found and learnt is that Najib cannot be more wrong when he claimed that his twin mega scandals are “dead and buried” and no more burning issues of the country, for all over the country, in every nook and corner, Malaysians regardless of race, religion, region or even politics, age or gender, are demanding answers to the teeming questions about Najib’s twin mega scandals.
The UMNO and Barisan Nasional Ministers, MPs and leaders – and even the top PAS leadership – may not want to pursue accountability for these scandals, but the people and ordinary members of the various political parties, whether in government or in opposition, including the three million UMNO members and one million PAS members, want answers from Najib about the twin mega scandals.
On the 58th Year of the nation’s Merdeka in 1957 and 52nd Year of the formation of Malaysia in 1963, Malaysia is very frail and seriously sick.
Signs of the advanced frailty and sickness of Malaysia are many and serious, viz:
Economic decline – Malaysia was the second most developed country after Japan in Asia some five decades ago, ahead of Taiwan and South Korea which were poor nations compared to Malaysia. Today, Taiwan and South Korea have surged ahead to become richer, more advanced and developed nations while Malaysia has been left far behind struggling to get out of the rut of middle income countries and at risk of being overtaken by other countries. The value of the Malaysian ringgit is one eloquent indicator of our plight, losing 25% of its value in 12 months as to hit RM4.4 to the US dollar. Fifty years ago, the Malaysian ringgit was equivalent one-to-one to the Singapore dollar but today it is in the pathetic position of over RM3 to one Singapore dollar. The situation has got so bad that the Malaysian ringgit is not accepted in Hat Yai in neighbouring Thailand.
Educational decline – Half a century ago, Malaysia educational institutions at all levels of study are among the best in the world, with University of Malaya recognised as among the world’s top universities. Today, Malaysia’s public educational system has become a joke, to the extent that Malacca could be “moved” to the East Coast in a school history text book, and Malaysia’s universities have long dropped out of the world’s ranking of top universities.
Sports decline – Even in sports, the nation’s decline is prevalent. Half a century ago, Malaysia was a top football nation in Asia but today we are ranked No. 171 in the FIFA rankings – 38 places away from the rock bottom in the Fifa rankings of 208 members. The same sorry tale apply to other sporting events for Malaysia.
Nation-building decline – the outrageous injustice of Indira Gandi from Ipoh who had been forcibly separated from her daughter for seven long years since when she was only 11 months old baby highlights the gross decline in human rights and dignity in our country in the past six decades. The constitution, the laws and government of Malaysia, as well as the Prime Minister, the Cabinet, Parliament, Judiciary and whole system of governance, have failed Indira that she could be denied the basic human right and dignity of being with her own daughter, just to touch and hold her. This is a a manifest injustice for which the Prime Minister, all Ministers, all legislators, judges and civil servants should feel greatly ashamed at their failure to uphold the most fundamental and elementary of human rights and dignity in Malaysia – where the country cannot uphold the right of a mother to see, touch and hold her daughter for seven long years.
Corruption – rife and rampant. But not everything had suffered a decline in the past six decades. Corruption is rife and rampant until the nation suffered the international shame of being placed third for the world’s “worst corruption scandals in 2015”, the Prime Minister himself being investigated by the US Federal Bureau of Investigations whether he is involved in corruption in the RM2.6 billion and 1MDB twin mega scandals and Malaysia the subject of investigations by at least seven foreign countries.
Malaysia has become the Sick Man of ASEAN. The only way for the country to be healthy, vibrant and vigorous again is the cure of a change of government in the 14th general election.
(Speech at the Ipoh Old Town “Solidarity with Lim Kit Siang & Mana RM2.6 billion?” kopitiam ceramah on Thursday, January 14, 2016 at 1 pm)