Open Letter to Cabinet by DAP Parliamentary Leader and MP for Gelang Patah Lim Kit Siang on Wednesday, August 12, 2015:
To the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers.
I will not beat about the bush and get to the point straightaway for this Open Letter for your Cabinet meeting today.
Never before has Malaysia been faced with such a grave national crisis as today, with a minority Prime Minister helming the most fractured government ever – as evident from the ‘Nine Days of Madness in Putrajaya” when there was a confrontation between the Police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), compelling the latter to hold a solat hajat to seek divine intervention to match the force and might of the police – and a full-blown economic crisis illustrated by foreign-exchange reserves dropping below US$100 billion for the first time since 2010, the rapid and unchecked deterioration of the Malaysian ringgit, the plunge in the stock exchange index and the exit of foreign capital.
Malaysia’s ringgit has fallen the most in the past seven weeks, retreating for a fifth day of losses to 3.9605 dollar , the lowest level since August 1998, and is down almost 20 percent in the past 12 months.
The Malaysian ringgit first fell below the level of 3.2 to a US dollar on 20th June 2013, maintaining this level for two months before breaching 3.3 to a US dollar on 22th August 2013.
It was not until 15 months later that the ringgit deteriorated to 3.4 to a US dollar on 1st December 2014.
After that, the ringgit devalued at a rapid rate, breaching the level of 3.5 to a US dollar on 8th December 2014, 3.6 to a US dollar level on 21st January 2015 and 3.7 to a US dollar level on 11th March 2015.
The 3.8 to a US dollar level was first breached on 6th July 2015 and it took just another month to breach the next level of 3.9 to a US dollar on 7th August.
When I was in Kangar on Monday night (August 7) speaking to the Perlis DAP state and branch leaders, I had warned that at the rate of only one month for the Malaysian ringgit to devalue from 3.8 to 3.9 to the US dollar, we might see the Malaysian ringgit falling below 4 to a US dollar next month before Malaysia Day on Sept. 16.
But I have been proved wrong, as the Malaysian ringgit had been plunging precipitately in value, falling to 3.92 on Monday and as low as 3.9605 yesterday.
At this rate of ringgit devaluation, Malaysians will be marking the 58th Merdeka celebrations on August 31 with the Malaysian ringgit at more than 4 to a US dollar!
The double rout of the Malaysian ringgit and the and local stocks with the FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI dropping to more than two-year low to 1,652.76 at the close yesterday, together with the exit of foreign capital amounting to RM11.7 billion in foreign funds leaving the Malaysian bourse for the year to date compared to RM6.9 billion for the entirety of last year, are clear signs of a crisis of confidence which cannot be ignored by the new Cabinet.
The root causes of the crisis of confidence are not just economic, but also political and about good governance, in particular the two scandals of the 1MDB and the RM2.6 billion deposited in Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s personal bank accounts before the 13th general election.
The reshuffled Cabinet on July 28, which saw not only the sacking of the Deputy Prime Minister but also the Attorney-General who had served three Prime Ministers and just two months short of mandatory retirement on reaching 60 years, have deepened the national crisis, as the new Cabinet is not to seek new directions to steer the government and country out of the crisis, but to find new ways to defend the Prime Minister on 1MDB and RM2.6 billion scandals – which is why it has been described as the 1MDB Cabinet.
Professor Danny Quah, the Penang-born Professor of Economics and International Development at the London School of Economics and Political Science, wrote in The Diplomat recently that Malaysia has “gone rogue” – deviating from the ideals of democracy, rule of law, free speech and egalitarianism.
I call on the Cabinet today to take the bold step to face up to the national crisis plaguing Malaysia and to convene a National “Save Malaysia” Summit involving all political parties and NGOs before or on Merdeka Day on 31st August to form a national consensus on a blueprint to save Malaysia from becoming a rogue and failed state.
A rogue state because of violations of democracy, rule of law, free speech and egalitarianism.
A failed state because of rampant corruption, socio-economic injustices, collapse of governance, unbridled racial extremism and religious intolerance and bigotry.
All political parties and NGOs should be invited to send representatives to form the protem committee to convene the National “Save Malaysia” Summit to decide on the agenda, which should invite personalities like former Prime Ministers, Tun Mahathir and Tun Abdullah, former Deputy Prime Ministers, Tun Musa Hitam, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, and political and NGO veterans like Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, Datuk Ambiga Sreenivsam and Tan Sri Simon Sipaun to present keynote address on how to “Save Malaysia”.