Malaysia has scaled a new global height in the past four days.
Thanks to Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Malaysia has achieved a new status, becoming overnight a kleptocracy and one of the most globally corrupt nations when the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) filed proceedings under the US Kleptocracy Assets Recovery Initiative 2010 (KARI) to seize and confiscate over US$1 billion of assets in the United States which had been stolen, embezzled or defrauded from the people of Malaysia through the national sovereign wealth fund, 1MDB.
“Kleptocracy” has been defined as rule by a thief or thieves.
When did Malaysians ever aspire the nation to become a “kleptocracy”?
To add insult to injury, the Minister for Agriculture and Agro-based Industries, Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek, shocked all Malaysians when he complacently said that the US DOJ legal suits under KARI to seize over US$1 billion of 1MDB-linked assets in the United States was a “normal matter” and nothing out of the ordinary when it comes to the Malaysian government.
This is indeed mind-boggling coming from a Minister who was formerly an university lecturer.
Shabery may only be forgiven for making such an outrageous statement if he had not read the DOJ’s 136-page legal suits for civil forfeiture against 1MDB-linked assets in the United States – the unprecedented tales of infamy and hosts of horrors about massive and monstrous global theft, embezzlement, money-laundering and corruption of the 1MDB funds which belonged to the people of Malaysia.
Although the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak himself had not been mentioned, the reference of “Malaysian Official 1” which appeared 34 times in the DOJ legal suit can only refer to him.
Never before in the 59-year history of the nation has the country suffered greater international infamy, shame and humiliation to be internationally pronounced as a “kleptocracy” and it is outrageous that a Malaysian Cabinet Minister could describe it as a “normal matter” and “nothing out of the ordinary”.
Shabery cannot be more wrong.
The US DOJ action to confiscate and recover more than US$1 billion 1MDB-linked assets on behalf of the people of Malaysia derived from “kleptocracy” is definitely not a “normal matter” for any state in the world, but a most unusual, extraordinary and humiliating event for three reasons:
Firstly, the US DOJ action to recover more than US$1 billion 1MDB-linked assets in the United States stolen, embezzled or defrauded from the people of Malaysia is not a “normal matter” but the largest single action ever brought under the KARI.
Secondly, such recovery action should be instituted by the government of Malaysia and not by another country;
Thirdly, the Malaysian government and people cannot allow Malaysia’s image and reputation to be besmirched unchallenged by being equated as a kleptocracy.
All Cabinet Ministers must read and digest the DOJ’s 136-page legal suit, put it as top item of the Cabinet agenda on Wednesday and announce to Malaysians what action it proposes to take to purge Malaysia of the shame and humiliation of being categorized as a kleptocracy.
(Speech at the Selangor DAP SSS (Support, Sympathy, Solidarity) LGE (Lim Guan Eng) Dinner in Shah Alam on Sunday, 24th July 2016 at 9 pm)