At the Special 40th anniversary commemorative seminar on the death of the second Prime Minister, Tun Razak, on Thursday, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak vowed to live up to the legacy of his father.
There are at least five things Najib must do if he is to uphold Tun Razak’s legacy, as there is no doubt that the second Prime Minister would have done completely differently from what the sixth Prime Minister had done on these issues.
These five things are:
Firstly, stop prevaricating and procrastinating as he had done for the past six months since the Wall Street Journal expose of the RM2.6 billion “donation” in Najib’s personal banking accounts, and to give a full and satisfactory accounting for his RM2.6 billion “donation” and RM55 billion 1MDB twin mega-scandals at the Special Parliament on Jan. 26 and 27 convened for the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).
As Nazir, the younger brother of the Prime Minister, said at the special commemorative seminar, their father was selfless in his dedication to nation-building and feared the corruption of absolute power, and would be disappointed that our version of parliamentary democracy has evolved into one where power is too concentrated and the system of checks and balances have broken down.
One example is the RM55 billion 1MDB scandal. It would have horrified Tun Razak that the whole system of checks and balances have become so decrepit that Najib is the only person in the government and the country who knows the ins and outs of the 1MDB scandal in the past seven years – which qualifies as the “most heinous crime without criminals” – as Najib, as Prime Minister, must approve all the major transactions, deals and decisions of 1MDB.
Razak’s frugality and integrity are legendary, particularly the “swimming pool” episode, as recounted by Nazir about the failed attempt of the Razak children to ask their father for a swimming pool to be built at Seri Taman, the Prime Minister’s residence, and the “lecture” they received from Razak about the important distinction between public office and private use.
Razak told his children that anything spent on the proposed swimming pool in the Prime Minister’s residence would have to come from public funds, and there was no way he was going to allow the state coffers to be depleted on something as frivolous as a swimming pool.
What would be Razak’s thoughts about Najib’s RM2.6 billion “donation” and RM55 billion 1MDB scandals?
Najib should also end his pretension that his twin mega scandals have been resolved and are no more issues to the people in the new year.
The very fact that the Barisan Nasional director of strategic communications and Housing and Local Government Minister, Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan, had to come out with a biased and misleading statement asking DAP MP Tony Pua and PKR MP Rafizi Ramli to stop their “song and dance show” on the 1MDB issue is in fact a back-handed but open admission that the 1MDB and RM2.6 billion donation twin mega scandals remain very alive in 2016 and have in fact become even bigger and more monstrous not only among Malaysians but also the world – even ranking Malaysia in the third place as the world’s “worst corruption scandals in 2015”.
Secondly, convene a round-table conference of political parties, civil society representatives of NGOs and NGIs, for a national consensus whether the National Security Council (NSC) Bill should be presented to the Yang di Pertuan Agong for Royal Assent in view of widespread opposition and nation-wide reservations about the Bill which, when it becomes law, will usurp the constitutional powers of the Yang di Pertuan Agong, the Cabinet, the Sarawak and State Governments with regard to autonomy guarantees in the 1963 Malaysia Agreement, as well as of the 11 State Governments in Peninsular Malaysia.
Former Prime Minister, Tun Abdullah, said Razak wanted to rule through democracy and not by emergency powers, which was why he returned power to Parliament and decided to do away with Mageran – the National Operations Council.
However, Najib is going against everything that his father stood for as the NSC will in effect vest in the Prime Minister the powers to declare a de facto emergency in zones declared as “security areas” without seeking any emergency proclamation from the Yang di Pertuan Agong.
Earlier this week, senior lawyer Philip Khor told a seminar in Penang that former Prime Minister Tun Mahathir had wanted to pass a similar legislation arrogating to himself the powers to declare a de facto emergency without an emergency proclamation by the Yang di Pertuan Agong but the Attorney-General at the time, Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman, was objective enough to tell Mahathir that it was not constitutional.
Abu Talib told Mahathir that he cannot have such a law without amending the Federal Constitution (Articles 149 and 150), which deal with seeking consent of the Yang di Pertuan Agong to declare emergency.
Thirdly, restore the importance and centrality of Rukunegara in nation-building policies, as the five principles have been largely forgotten not only by Malaysians but also by the Federal and state governments.
For instance, the principles on the Supremacy of the Constitution and the Rule of Law have never been under greater assault than today.
During Razak’s time, there was no serious doubt about the independence, impartiality and professionalism of the Judiciary but today under Najib’s premiership, there is very little public confidence in the independence, impartiality and professionalism of the judiciary.
Fourthly, the flagrant and manifest injustice of the case of Indira Gandhi, a mother who had been forcibly separated for seven years from her daughter when she was only 11-month old, unable to know about her condition or whereabouts, let alone touch or hold her.
This case must make all Malaysians ask what is wrong with our Constitution, Laws and Government that Malaysia is capable of such inhumanity and cruelty.
Our inability to uphold and protect the most elementary of human rights and dignity in the relationship between a mother and her child must be a source of shame for every Malaysian!
I am sure Razak would have been horrified at such injustice and inhumanity and would have long intervened to allow the mother to reunite with her daughter instead of allowing such inhumanity and injustice to drag on for seven long years, and still without any light at the end of the tunnel, as the inhumanity and injustice suffered by Indira is likely to continue for an indefinite period.
Fifthly, extend the Special Parliament by two days for the presentation of the recalibrated 2016 Budget.
Najib is to present a recalibrated Budget 2016 because of falling crude oil prices and the weakening ringgit on Jan 28, but outside Parliament.
This would have been completely unthinkable to Razak, who would have presented any recalibrated Budget to Parliament.
Najib has convened a two-day Special Parliament to debate and approve the TPPA. This Special Parliament should be extended by another two days for Najib to present the calibrated Budget 2016.
If Najib is not prepared to do the above five things, then all his talk about upholding Razak’s legacy are empty and meaningless.