The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak yesterday proposed a national consultative committee of political parties, NGOS, civil societies and youths to formulate guidelines on political funding with the aim of ensuring that funds are sourced with integrity.
The Prime Minister could not have made such a proposal in worse circumstances, for though the concept that funds for political parties are sourced with integrity and in a transparent manner is right, proper and deserves support, Najib’s timing of such a proposal could only ensure its rejection or reception with great skepticism.
I fully support the idea that funding for political parties and elections should be transparent with regard to its source and expenditure, but this is clearly secondary for Najib as the largest concern about him is his continued stonewalling from giving a full and satisfactory accounting of the RM2.6 billion deposited into his personal accounts in AmBank in March 2013 before the 13th General Election remains – and the main question for Malaysians and the world remains: where the RM2.6 billion came from and where they have gone to.
It is a blot on Najib’s record of transparency and integrity that for over a month he could not say a simple “yes” or “no” as to whether RM2.6 billion was deposited into his personal bank accounts, and where the money came from and where they have gone to. The question uppermost in everybody’s mind is what had Najib got to hide?
His statement yesterday that there are currently no laws regulating political funding or donations and thus the public can’t pass judgment yet is a monumental example of Najib’s warped perceptions of what is right and what is wrong – a Prime Minister who has ceased to distinguish between right from wrong!
Even if there are no laws regulating political funding, is Najib seriously suggesting that Malaysians cannot pass judgement whether the deposit of RM2.6 billion into the Prime Minister’s personal accounts from mysterious foreign sources just before the dissolution of Parliament for the purpose of the 13th General Election campaign is right or wrong?
Are there no religious scruples and moral considerations to prick Najib’s conscience about such an astronomical funding, and from a foreign source, into the Prime Minister’s personal bank accounts?
DAP has never received a single sen of foreign funding in our five decades of political battle for democracy and justice in Malaysia. If DAP had received just a ringgit of foreign funding, we would be accused of being agents and tools of foreign powers and DAP leaders may find themselves under incarceration.
But here we have the Prime Minister receiving RM2.6 billion of foreign funding and he has the impertinence to say there is no law to say whether it is right or wrong!
Najib has lost the moral leadership and compass to talk about transparent and accountable political funding so long as he is not prepared to make a clean breast of the RM2.6 billion in his personal bank accounts, where the RM2.6 billion came from and to whom they went to.
I can give at least three reasons why Najib is not sincere in wanting to have transparent and accountable political funding to ensure integrity and transparency about the funding:
Firstly Najib was not truthful when he said that six years ago, he had suggested a law for political funding but was opposed by DAP. This is utter bunkum for the DAP was never approached from anyone in the UMNO/BN government with regard to a law to regulate political party funding.
As DAP Parliamentary Leader in the past six years since Najib became Prime Minister, I was never contacted by anyone in Najib’s administration on a law to regulate political party funding.
Najib may have been misled by his Ministers or officials on this matter, but this cannot be a justification for a Prime Minister to tell lies or untruths.
I challenge Najib to prove that the DAP had opposed any proposal for political party funding law.
Secondly, his belated proposal for political party funding is clearly a smokescreen to avoid and evade accountability and transparency on the RM2.6 billion deposited in his personal bank accounts in March 2013 just before the 13th General Elections.
As long as Najib refuses to come clean on the RM2.6 billion in his personal bank accounts, and in particular where the monies came from and to whom the monies have gone to, Najib has lost all moral authority to talk about accountability and transparency, and even to be a credible and legitimate Prime Minister.
The third reason why Najib’s proposal lack credibility, legitimacy or morality is the naming of Paul Low as Chairman and Idris Jala as the as Deputy Chairman of the National Consultative Committee on Political Funding.
Although Paul Low was drafted into the Cabinet directly as President of Transparency International, his three years in office as the Minister in charge of integrity and governance have not seen these two issues taken seriously by the Najib government.
This is best illustrated by the “Nine days of madness in Putrajaya” where the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) was even forced to organise a prayer session (solat hajat) to seek divine intervention when MACC officers were harassed and hounded by police by dutifully carrying out their anti-corruption duties.
The MACC were saved by strong public condemnation of the police’s abuse of powers and not by Paul Low or Idris Jala.
Have Paul Low and Idris Jala done anything about the sacking of Tan Sri Gani Patail as Attorney-General, the disbanding of the Special Task Force to investigate 1MDB scandal and the RM2.6 billion in Najib’s personal accounts, or the harassment and persecution of top officers from Bank Negara, the Attorney-General’s Chambers and MACC for involvement in a purported international plot to topple the elected government of Malaysia?
Idris’ term as Minister in the Prime Minister’s Depaertment expires on Sept. 1 following the expiry of the maximum of his two-term six-year tenure as Senator.
Najib has given the National Consultative Committee on Political Funding a year to come up with guidelines on the matter.
It is a total charade to give Malaysians the impression that Jala will be both Minister and Deputy Chairman of this National Consultative Council for the next 12 months when Jala will cease to be a Minister in two weeks’ time.
Yesterday, former Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin asked what is the balance of Najib’s personal accounts after Najib had disbursed monies from this accounts with the RM2.6 billion from foreign donation.
Today the Sarawak Report website reported that the anonymous Middle East donation to Najib’s accounts have been closed in August 2013 and a vast sum of monies transferred to a Singapore account.
The Prime Minister cannot keep quiet but must explain the true position.
The Sarawak Report also revealed that handsome hand-outs from Najib’s personal accounts with the RM2.6 billion “donation” were also paid out to UMNO leaders, and two leaders were named, one receiving RM1 million and another receiving RM2 million from Najib.
Both these leaders must speak up either to admit or clear themselves.
I am giving Najib 72 hours to prove that he is sincere in his political funding proposal by coming clean on the RM2.6 billion in his personal accounts, where the monies came from and to whom they went to.
This 72 hours will end on Wednesday morning, which is also to allow every Cabinet Minister on Wednesday to declare whether they have not received handouts from Najib’s personal accounts, or if they had been beneficiaries to declare what sums they received.
If in these 72 hours, Najib is not able to come clean on the RM2.6 billion and every Cabinet Ministers fails to declare his or her position whether in receipt of handouts from Najib’s personal accounts or otherwise, then Malaysians have very powerful reasons not to take seriously the Prime Minister’s proposals on political funding and the National Consultative Council on Political Funding.
(Speech at the DAP kopitiam dialogue in Muar on Saturday, 15th August 2015 at 10 am)