Is the Oct. 6 Statement of the Malay Rulers so complex and complicated that it has spawned a thousand and one interpretations as to what it meant?
It has not escaped public notice that it has taken the UMNO/Barisan Nasional government more than 48 hours to craft its first official response, which was in the name of the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi, which tried to dilute the meaning and impact of the Oct. 6 Statement by both welcoming it but at the same time dismissing it as redundant on the ground that the government had already taken pro-active measures to address the problems highlighted by the Oct. 6 Statement.
There was a flurry of varied and even conflicting Ministerial statements, with the Defence Minister and UMNO Vice President, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein decrying the interpretation that the Oct. 6 Malay Rulers’ Statement was tantamount to the Rulers’ no confidence in the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, when the focus was on 1MDB and not on Najib; the Communications and Multimedia Minister, Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak suggesting that the Malay Rulers should not be placed in the “political crossfire” as if the Oct. 6 Malay Rulers Statement was a single-issue statement on the 1MDB when it also dealt with other issues like national unity, proposing an end to race politics; and the Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister, Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan who said that the Oct. 6 Malay Rulers’ Statement reflected the governent viewpoint all along!
Why are Ministers making a public fool of themselves coming out with varied and even conflicting interpretations of what the Oct. 6 Malay Rulers’ Statement meant?
Former Prime Minister Tun Mahathir, former Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, former Rural and Regional Development Minister, Datuk Sdri Shafie Apdal, and further back, former Cabinet Ministers like Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz and Tan Sri Sanusi Junid are more in line with public opinion that the Oct. 6 Malay Rulers’ Statement represented three things:
Firstly, the Malay Rulers’ dismay at the magnitude of the 1MDB scandal which is a major cause of the prolonged crisis of confidence in Malaysia and the prime reason for the recent plunge in the value of the Malaysian ringgit, the drop in the country’s international reserves, the flight of foreign capital and the loss of investor confidence in Malaysia.
Although the drop in the price of oil and commodities, the salubrious state of the world economy in particular the slowdown of China economy and the expected increase of interest rates in the United States had caused a gloomy picture for most economies, the prolonged leadership crisis of confidence in Malaysia said to be building up towards a “perfect storm” for the country are all of Malaysia’s own making.
Secondly, the inability to resolve the 1MDB scandal efficiently, swiftly and even surgically but instead a “runaway” situation with the 1MDB becoming more and more intractable and even more scandalous over time with the revelation of one scandalous episode after another, leading to a multiplicity of political, economic, good governance and nation-building crisis and the building of a “perfect storm” for Malaysia.
Thirdly, the Oct. 6 Malay Rulers’ Statement was meant to be a “wake up” call to the Prime Minister and the Cabinet as procrastination is fuelling the crisis of confidence confronting Malaysia and the Prime Minister and the Cabinet must bestir themselves from their stupor and slumber to resolve the 1MDB scandal in the shortest possible time.
I fully agree with former Rural and Regional Development Minister and UMNO Vice President, Datuk Shafie Apdal that to continue to assume, especially after the Malay Rulers’ Oct. 6 Statement, that “all is well” in 1MDB is an “insult” to the Malaysian people and the Malay Rulers.
As Apdal has rightly pointed out, all is not well with 1MDB as the state investment firm is unable to pay its debts.
Even though 1MDB is going through a debt rationalisation process, the nation is already paying the price through poor economic sentiments.
His call for legal action against those responsible for the 1MDB fallout is what Malaysians have been demanding in the past seven months and is now being taken up by the Malay Rulers’ in their Oct. 6 Statement.
As Shafie said, those responsible should be brought to book and must apologise to the rakyat and both these actions cannot wait until 1MDB has undergone a successful “debt rationalisation” programme.
There is an urgent need for an Oct. 6 Movement to ensure that the 30 million Malaysians fully understand the true content and import of the Malay Rulers’ Statement of that date.
One important step of the Oct. 6 Movement is for the government to print a million copies of the Malay Rulers Statement for mass dissemination to Malaysians, whether in urban or rural areas, so that the people can understand what the Malay Rulers actually said and meant in their Oct. 6 Statement.
If the government is not prepared to support this Oct. 6 Movement so that Malaysians can understand the content and import of the Malay Rulers’ Statement, then the civil socidety should step in to play this role.
The leadership of Pakatan Harapan Johor, represented by DAP Johor Chairman and Kluang MP Liew Ching Tong, PKR Johor State Chairman, Hassan Karim and the Parti AMANAH negara Johor Deputy Chairman Haji Dzulkifli, agreed to support an Oct. 6 Movement and to print and distribute the Malay Rulers’ Oct. 6 Statement all over the Johor State.
I still hope that Putrajaya will provide the lead in the Oct. 6 Movement and that the Cabinet on Wednesday will decide to print at least one million copies of the Malay Rulers’ Oct. 6 Statement on 1MDB for mass dissemination to the public to end the confusion caused by conflicting statements by Ministers themselves and Malaysian leaders.