Malaysians find it sad and tragic that at a time when the world increasingly regards Malaysia under the Najib premiership is topping the world in corruption scandals, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak is not taking pro-active action to initiate full, thorough and independent investigations into Najib’s twin mega scandals but could only make the weak lamentation: “Please don’t think I’m a crook”.
I have just seen the online news report of what the Prime Minister said in Kuantan this morning at a gathering of UMNO and Barisan Nasional members and leaders from 14 divisions in Pahang to express support for Najib, where Najib said: “Don’t think I am a crook, don’t think I steal the people’s property, I am the prime minister for the people.”
It is sad and tragic because this is the first time in the 59-year history of the nation that the Prime Minister of Malaysia (Najib is the sixth PM in the country) had to make such a pathetic protestation.
Secondly, Najib’s lament will do nothing to dispel the growing global perception that Malaysia under the Najib premiership is topping the world in corruption scandals – with the international TIME magazine just citing Malaysia as the second worst example of current global corruption, reinforcing recent adverse developments like Malaysia falling four places in Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2015 which was released in late January and being ranked No. 3 in the world’s “worst corruption scandals in 2015” by the international website, foreignpolicy.com at the end of last year.
One common thread in all these adverse international perceptions, opinions and image for Malaysia is Najib’s RM55 billion 1MDB and RM2.6 billion “political donation” twin mega scandals, which have caused political and economic convulsions in Malaysia – not only the sacking of the Deputy Prime Minister and the Attorney-General, the further undermining of the independence and professionalism of key national institutions and the plunging to the lowest ebb since Merdeka of the important doctrine of the separation of powers among the Executive, Legislature and the Judiciary.
If Najib is fully conscious of his national responsibility and patriotic duty as Prime Minister of Malaysia, he should be taking very pro-active positions to initiate full, thorough and independent investigations into his twin mega scandals to dispel and disprove any notion that the integrity and credibility of the Prime Minister and his government are in anyway compromised or undermined by the RM55 billion 1MDB and RM2.6 billion “donation” twin mega scandals.
I am very surprised and disappointed that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has declined to comment on the parliamentary reply by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said that MACC probe proved Najib was not involved in corruption in the case of the RM2.6 billion donation scandal, as well as funds from state-owned SRC International entering his personal bank accounts.
The MACC investigations director Azam Baki curtly told a press conference this morning that he did not want to comment on Azalina’s answer.
If the MACC dare not even comment on whether Azalina’s parliamentary reply was correct or incorrect, that MACC probe had proved Najib was not involved in corruption in the case of RM2.6 billion as well as funds from state-owned SRC International entering his personal bank accounts, what credibility could the MACC command that it would dare to carry out its anti-corruption functions “without fear or favour”, regardless of whether it is “ikan bilis” or “ikan yu”?
All eyes are now on who will replace Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz as the new Bank Negara governor, whether the new Bank Negara governor will be subservient to the Prime Minister and the Attorney-General or a professional and a patriot who will put the national interests and those of Bank Negara above everything else.
Last October, Bank Negara had requested a criminal investigation into the affairs of the scandal-plagued 1MDB despite the finding by the new Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamad Apandi Ali that there was no reason for any prosecution and who turned down the request.
This led to Bank Negara responding with a statement contradicting the attorney general’s office and saying 1MDB had secured permits for investment abroad based on inaccurate or incomplete disclosure of information, breaching banking regulations, adding that it had revoked three permits granted to 1MDB for investments abroad totaling US$1.83 billion (RM7.53 billion) and ordered the state fund to repatriate the funds to Malaysia.
Does the Prime Minister want to have a new Bank Negara Governor who is prepared to stand up for the integrity of his office or one who will be subservient to him?
Najib’s actions on these issues to dispel national and international perceptions that mega scandals involving the Prime Minister and the government are getting of out of hand are more pertinent and relevant than his going around the country to address rent-a-crowd UMNO/BN gatherings with lamentations and protestations that he is not a crook, and I call on Najib to start on a new page of full accountability of the twin mega scandals during the Ministerial winding up in Parliament next week.
(Speech at the political briefing for Penang DAP State and branch leaders at Wisma DAP Penang on Saturday, 19th March 2016 at 2.30 pm)