November 14, 2016 is a black day for democracy in Malaysia. It is however a great day for kleptocracy in Malaysia.
Today, one of the most outspoken leaders in Malaysia against corruption and abuses of power, Rafizi Ramli, MP for Pandan and Secretary-General of PKR, was convicted on two charges under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) 1972 for trying to unravel the multi-billion dollar 1MDB kleptocracy scandal, sentenced to 18 months’ jail each and will be disqualified from standing for election as a Member of Parliament in the next 14th General Elections unless his appeal against conviction and sentence could succeed in the higher courts.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak called for the rejection of hypocrisy in public policy and politics.
Is the Malaysian government led by the Prime Minister guilty of hypocrisy in public policy and politics, especially with regard to the greatest question confronting Malaysians today – whether Malaysia should be a democracy or a kleptocracy?
Singapore over the weekend saw the first criminal conviction linked to the multi-billion dollar 1MDB kleptocratic scandal when former managing director of BSI in Singapore, Yak Yew Chew, 57, pleaded guilty to four charges relating to forgery and failure to disclose information.
Yak was sentenced to 18 weeks in jail and a S$24,000 fine after he agreed to disgorge S$7.5 million and to co-operate with Singapore investigations into the multi-billion dollar international 1MDB kleptocratic, embezzlement and money-laundering scandal.
In Malaysia, our first criminal conviction is not to uncover and penalize culprits and criminals responsible for the multi-billion dollar 1MDB kleptocratic scandal, which has caused the nation to suffer the international infamy and ignominy of being regarded worldwide as a “global kleptocracy”, but against a person who had patriotically and valiantly stood up for full accountability and transparency for the 1MDB kleptocratic scandal!
Or compare how the Najib government had treated Rafizi and Jho Low, who had been described in the Singapore’s 1MDB-linked trial as “gate-keeper and adviser to 1MDB”, and elsewhere as “mastermind” of 1MDB.
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 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.
But Rafizi, who wants to defend national interests by demanding full accountability for the 1MDB kleptocratic scandal, is heading for jail and disqualification as Member of Parliament, while Jho Low is still to be arrested by the local authorities or international police, and allegedly continuing to receive “red carpet” treatment as confidante of the Prime Minister.
Is this what justice and the rule of law have degenerated to, reflecting the deep hypocrisy of Malaysian public policy and politics?
Rafizi’s conviction for trying to unravel the multi-billion dollar 1MDB kleptocratic scandal should be a priority agenda in Parliament, but no one expects this to be the case when the Speaker could make the unprecedented ruling invoking and mis-applying the sub judice rule 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 the most senior UMNO/BN parliamentarian, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, had spoken up against it, saying that MPs should not be barred from discussing active cases in other countries as the sub judice rule only applied locally.
Is the remedy to the injustice of the conviction, sentence and disqualification of Rafizi for performing the patriot’s duty to unravel the multi-billion dollar 1MDB kleptocratic scandal only to be in the ballot boxes in the 14th GE, where voters have to decide whether Malaysia is to become a democracy or a kleptocracy?