Former Cabinet Minister Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz could not have put it better to describe the grave crisis of confidence the country is facing today – that the “mess” Malaysia is facing today had nothing to do with race but with governance, transparency and integrity.
I call on the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and the Cabinet at its meeting tomorrow to initiate a virtuous circle of development to restore confidence by focussing on the issues of governance, transparency and integrity and to end the drift aggravated by attempts by some irresponsible quarters to create racial diversions like the Red Shirts movement and the Sept. 16 Malay rally to counter a non-existing Chinese threat in Bersih 4 overnight rally.
Malaysia has lost two precious months in failing to address the confidence crisis, especially since the Wall Street Journal publication on July 3, 2015 about the RM2.6 billion “donation” in Najib’s personal bank accounts for the 13th General Election.
Najib has not lived up to his promise of accountability, transparency, integrity and good governance which he had promised Malaysians on becoming Prime Minister, as in the past two months, despite growing national and international pressure including the three-day 16th International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) which virtually focussed on Najib’s RM2.6 billion “donation” scandal, Najib has not explained much except to say that he had not used any money for his personal purpose and the tacit admission that the RM2.6 billion deposited into his bank accounts was “donation” from foreign sources.
I am bewildered as to how Najib, who had been in public life for nearly four decades, serving at different times as Mentri Besar, Cabinet Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Prime Minister for six years, had not realised the gravity of his receiving foreign funds for general elections campaigning in the country.
DAP had never received a single sen from any foreigners in the past five decades, but if we had receiving such foreign funding, however puny the amount, DAP would have been accused of being anti-national and even guilty of treason.
In such circumstances, how could Najib receive any foreign funding for the 13th General Election, and not a small sum, but RM2.6 billion, which is an astronomical figure.
RM2.6 billion was in fact 26 times more than what was permissible to be spent by all the 222 Parliamentary candidates and 505 State Assembly candidates of the Barisan Nasional in the 13th General Elections.
The maximum expenditure which is legally permissible for a parliamentary candidate is RM200,000 while the maximum legal expenditure for a State Assembly candidate is RM100,000.
With 222 Parliamentary candidates and 505 State Assembly candidates, the maximum legal electoral expenditures for all the 222 Parliamentary and 505 State Assembly candidates of UMNO/Barisan Nasional in the 13th General Election will come to RM44.4 million for all parliamentary candidates and RM50.5 million for all state assembly candidates or a grand total of RM94.9 million – not even reaching RM100 million!
The RM2.6 billion in Najib’s personal accounts for the 13th General Election is therefore more than 26 times the legally permissible limit to be spent by all the BN parliamentary and state assembly candidates in the 13th General Elections.
How many of the Ministers, Deputy Ministers and UMNO/BN MPs are tainted by this foreign funding of RM2.6 billion in Najib’s personal accounts for the 13th general elections?
Former Minister and Barisan Nasional Backbenchers’ Club (BNBBC) Chairman Tan Sri Shahrir Samad had admitted that he was one of the beneficiaries and receipients from this foreign funding via personal accounts for the 13th General Election campaigning.
When are the other Ministers, Deputy Minister and MPs who had been beneficiaries from this foreign funding in the last general elections going to admit and excuse themselves from participating in anyl decision-making process connected with Najib’s RM2.6 billion ‘donation’ scandal?
I welcome two recent developments, the decisions by Malaysia’s expert in political funding, University of Malaya political economy professor Dr. Terence Gomez and the Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4) not to participate in the National Consultative Committee on Political Funding, which is chaired by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of governance and integrity, Datuk Seri Paul Low.
The National Consultative Council on Political Funding is just a charade if it is not allowed to deal with “the elephant in the room” – Najib’s RM2.6 billion “donation” scandal.
There is no doubt that the whole idea of the National Consultative Council on Political Funding had only one purpose – to shut up inquiries and investigations into Najib’s RM2.6 billion “donation” scandal.
It was the scandal of Najib’s RM2.6 billion “donation” in his personal bank accounts which was responsible for the 16th IACC being a global Public Relations disaster for Malaysia for three consecutive days – starting with the Prime Minister pulling out in the last minute from officiating at the IACC for fear of “hard questions, followed by the Malaysia’s daily crucifixion over the issue by IACC delegates during the three-day conference.
In fact, after Malaysia’s unprecedented humiliation at a three-day international conference, and held at the home ground in the country, Paul Low should have tendered his resignation as Minister instead of chairing the National Consultative Council on Political Funding, which lacks both credibility and legitimacy.
If Malaysia is to move ahead to end the grave crisis of confidence afflicting the country, either Najib should step down as Prime Minister immediately or he must prove that he and his reshuffled Cabinet can end the drift afflicting the country in the past two months and capable of formulating and implementing a new blueprint which will initiate a virtuous cycle of development to restore confidence by focussing on the issues of transparency, integrity and good governance.
This is the greatest challenge before Najib and his Cabinet tomorrow.
(Media Conference Statement at DAP Hqrs in KL on Tuesday, 8th September 2015 at 12 noon)