The next General Elections will be a battle of democracy versus kleptocracy.
There is speculation that the next general elections would be held early next year. It could also be held in the second half of next year, especially after the 60th National Day celebrations centred on August 31, 2017.
Be that as it may, the voters of Malaysia should be asked to vote for democrats or kleptocrats, as to whether they want Malaysia to become a democracy or a kleptocracy.
What recently happened highlights the stark choice of the people between democracy and kleptocracy in the next general elections.
In the last two days, the international media have been screaming with headlines about the first criminal conviction linked to the 1MDB global financial scandal which took place in Singapore on Friday, viz:
• “Former BSI boss gets jail, fine in 1MDB-linked case” (Straits Times, Singapore);
• “Singapore Court Convicts Ex-BSI Banker in 1MDB Probe” (Wall Street Journal);
• “Former banker convicted in Singapore over 1MDB scandal” (Financial Times, London);
• “Singaporean banker jailed for role in 1MDB scandal” (Taipei Times);
• “Ex-BSI Banker Yak Found Guilty in Singapore 1MDB-Linked Case” (Bloomberg);
• “1MDB probe: Singapore banker Yak Yew Chee gets 18 weeks’ jail, S$24,000 fine” (Channel News Asia).
The common theme if these negative headlines is “1MDB”, a Malaysian state-owned investment fund supposed to attract foreign investment but instead spurred criminal and regulatory investigations around the world – and with Najib as the head of its advisory board exercising veto and final executive powers.
But the Malaysian government authorities and institutions pretend that these foreign criminal and regulatory investigations and actions linked to 1MDB’s international money-laundering forays do not exist.
Singapore is the first country to convict someone in the 1MDB multi-billion dollar financial scandal which was gained for Malaysia the infamy and ignominy of being regarded world-wide as a “global kleptocracy” – ruled by PPP, Pencuril Perompak and Penyamun!
It is reported that Yak Yew Chee, 57, the banker in charge of managing the relationship with 1MDB at the Singapore branch of Swiss bank BSI SA, was sentenced to 18 weeks imprisonment and a fine of S$24,000 and agreed to surrender S$7.5 million in salary and bonuses previously frozen by investigators, after pleading guilty to two charges of forgery and two charges of failing to report suspicious transactions related to dealings with 1MDB.
The conviction has been described as a milestone in the global investigations into the 1MDB scandal, which had been making headlines in Malaysia and around the world in the past year for the wrong reasons.
There are probes reported in at least ten countries related to 1MDB, or on companies and individuals linked to it. These countries include the United States, the United Kingdom, Luxembourg, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand and Australia.
Many questions are raised about the first criminal conviction secured over the 1MDB scandal.
Firstly, why are the Malaysian authorities and institutions, in particular the Prime Minister, Attorney-General, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, the Inspector-General of Police and Parliament, blissfully indifferent and unconcerned about Yak’s conviction related to the international 1MDB kleptocracy?
Secondly, the S$7.5 million bonus which Yak was paid for his dealings with Jho Low, is being forfeited to the state in Singapore. Shouldn’t Malaysia submit a claim for this S$7.5 million which comes from 1MBD funds and should belong to the people of Malaysia?
Thirdly, Singapore’s Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) have said that Jho Low is a person of interest in their continuing probe into the multi-billion dollar money-laundering scheme.
Jho Low has been variously described as “gate-keeper” and even “mastermind” of the 1MDB global scandal.
The two charges which Yak had been convicted related to forging reference letters vouching for Jho Low and the Low family and two more for turning a blind eye to the hefty sums – proceeds allegedly from criminal conduct – coursing through BSI Bank in Singapore.
Jho Low has also been named by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) as a partial beneficiary of around US$3.5 billion it believed was misappropriated from 1MDB and laundered through the US financial system.
Why then is Jho Low still to be arrested by the local authorities or international police. Why are there no efforts by the Malaysian police to arrest him or to seek the help of Interpol for the purpose?
Fourthly, we are immediately reminded of Malaysia’s rejection of Singapore and Switzerland’s request for mutual legal assistance (MLA) in the 1MDB international kleptocratic embezzlement and money-laundering scandal despite Najib’s “surprising” statement in Germany in September that Malaysia would co-operate with US and other international authorities investigating the embezzlement, misappropriation and money-laundering of 1MDB funds.
The past four weeks of the parliamentary proceedings give no light at the end of the kleptocratic tunnel.
Parliament started on Oct. 17 with the ruling by the Speaker of Parliament making the unprecedented ruling anywhere in the world applying the sub judice rule arising from lawsuits in foreign countries to censor and outlaw question, debate and discussion not only about the US Department of Justice (DOJ) largest kleptocratic action for the forfeiture of US$1 billion 1MDB-linked assets in the United States, United Kingdom and Switzerland, but anything concerning the 1MDB scandal.
Even three former Cabinet Ministers who spoke in Parliament on 1MDB in the 2017 Budget debate are being hauled up by the police for investigation (at the instigation of the Speaker) – contrary to Constitutional guarantees on parliamentary privileges and immunities except in clear-cut cases of violation of the four constitutionally-entrenched sensitive issues under the Sedition Act which do not apply in the present cases.
All over the world, the reverberations from Malaysia being regarded world-wide as a global kleptocracy as a result of the 1MDB global financial scandal continued unabated in the past four weeks, but in the Malaysian Parliament there is the great pretence that Malaysia’s infamy being regarded world-wide as a global kleptocracy as a result of the 1MDB global financial scandal does not exist and had even become a “sensitive” subject which could not be raised in Parliament.
I have so far boycotted the half-hour Minister’s Question Time (MQT) touted as the most significant of the Speaker’s parliamentary reforms, as the Speaker in his various media conferences have so far failed to convince Malaysians that he is not the only one Speaker in the world who is “mis-applying” the sub judice rule with regard in litigation in foreign countries to save the Prime Minister from full accountability for the kleptocratic 1MDB scandal in Parliament.
Malaysian Parliament does not become a first-world Parliament just because of MQT or power-point budget presentation by Najib, if MPs are not allowed to raise grave and burning issues in the country in Parliament.
Prime Minister-cum-Finance Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 2017 budget speech on Oct. 22 was another parliamentary blasphemy, a classic case of denial syndrome when there was no mention whatsoever of the 1MDB global scandal or a single word about fighting corruption.
The MACC Chief Commissioner Dzulkifli Ahmad in his “Open Warkah” told politicians, including Ministers and Members of Parliament, when he specifically mentioned YBs, to “stop fooling the people” with fairy tales while at the same time engaging in corruption.
Such a warkah was most presumptious when the MACC dare not take any action whether in connection with the 1MDB global scandal, “MO1” or the issue of Malaysia becoming a global kleptocracy.
Parliament will meet for another two weeks before adjournment.
We will give Najib a last chance as to whether he and the Barisan Nasional government are prepared to ask Parliament to rebut and refute Malaysia’s infamy and ignominy of being regarded worldwide as a “global kleptocracy” or if there is basis for Malaysia to be regarded as a “global kleptocracy”, to purge and cleanse the national system of such a blot so that Malaysia will cease to be a “global kleptocracy”.
Are the UMNO and the other Barisan Nasional parties, whether MCA, MIC, Gerakan and the Sarawak and Sabah component parties of BN, prepared to ask Parliament to take such a stand before parliamentary adjournment in a fortnight’s time?
The prognosis is not good, for neither UMNO, MCA, Gerakan, MIC, or the Sabah and Sarawak Barisan Nasional component parties had dared to take any stand or ask any questions on the 1MDB financial scandal or Malaysia’s infamy and ignominy of being regarded worldwide as a “global kleptocracy” in the past few years.
Will MCA, Gerakan, MIC and the other BN component parties be any different now?
(Speech at the opening of the DAP Selangor Convention in Petaling Jaya on Sunday, 13th November 2016 at 10 am)