Are Malaysians striving after the pinnacle of success or staring at the abyss of a failed state?

In his Christmas Message, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak called on Malaysians to celebrate the festive season and welcome the New Hear with a brand new resolution and personal mission to bring Malaysia to the “pinnacle of success”.

It is indeed deserving food for thought for Malaysians in the last week of the year to ponder whether Malaysians are striving after the pinnacle of success or staring at the abyss of a failed state if present national trajectories are not corrected!

I don’t think there are many Malaysians who would regard 2015 as a successful year for the country, bowed and beaten in the past 12 months by a host of political, economic, good governance and nation-building crisis to the extent that astute observers of the national scene are even warning about the coming of the “perfect storm”.

The first step for Malaysia to shake out of this impending “perfect storm” is to end the denial syndrome paralysing the nation’s leaders, making them dream about “pinnacle of success” when we should staring at the the “abyss of a failed state” – as just a year ago, it would have been unthinkable that the Malaysian ringgit would have fallen by a fifth of its value to struggle between RM4 to RM5 to a US dollar, but which has now sadly come to pass.

There were at least five major national crisis this year alone, a few of which even assumed international dimensions, viz:

(i) The scandal of the RM2.6 billion “donation” in Najib’s personal banking accounts.

(ii) The RM55 billion 1MDB scandal.

It is sad commentary on the poor state of good governance and government accountability in Malaysia that the year is ending with more questions than answers to Najib’s twin mega scandals.

Najib’s twin mega scandals have poisoned the system of governance, rocking the government and nation with the first government purge in the nation’s history, resulting in the sacking the Deputy Prime Minister, a senior Minister for Rural and Regional Development and the Attorney-General; the dissolution of the most high-powered multi-agency task force ever formed in the nation’s history to investigate the twin mega scandals; the derailing of the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee investigations into the twin mega scandals and my six-month suspension from Parliament.

(iii) The implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) adding to the hardships of low-income Malaysians, already sandwiched between rising costs of living and falling incomes.

(iv) the racist and provocative Sept. 16 “Red Shirts” rally in Kuala Lumpur to counter the patriotic Bersih 4 Rally, totally against the spirit and concept of Malaysia Day, Najib’s signature nation-building policies of 1Malaysia and Global Movement of Moderates.

(v) The National Security Council (NSC) Bill which usurps the constitutional powers of the Yang di Pertuan Agong, the Cabinet, the Sarawak and Sabah State Government on state autonomy agreed in the 1963 Malaysia Agreement, the 11 State Governments in Peninsular Malaysia; the Rukunegara principles of the Supremacy of the Constitution and the Rule of Law; and the host of constitutional guarantees on democracy and human rights.

Yesterday, a sixth item has been added these five major national woes of the country for this year when it was reported that Malaysia has once again attained the unenviable “honour” of being in the top five countries which registered the highest average illicit financial flows over the decade.

According to the latest annual report by Washington-based Global Financial Integrity (GFI), Malaysia had lost an accumulated amount of US$418.542 billion (RM1.8 trillion) since 2004.

In 2013 alone, Malaysia lost a total of US$48.25 billion, according to the global financial watchdog.

The illegal capital outflows, said the report, stem from tax evasion, crime, corruption, and other illicit activities.
Malaysia has also remained stagnant in its position as among the top five countries for illegal capital flight. After being ranked second worst in 2010, it “improved” to fourth place in 2011 and remains in fifth place since 2012.

For 2013, Malaysia is once again ranked behind China, Russia, Mexico and India.

Statistics from 2013 alone found that US$1.1 trillion had flowed illicitly out of developing and emerging economies.

If a seventh item is needed to add to such a toxic list which are the marks of a nation heading towards the direction of failed state, rather than striving after the “pinnacle of success”, it would be Malaysia’s replacement of Myanmar as the “bad boy in ASEAN” in democracy and human rights as Myanmar painfully negotiates its way out of the dark age of military repression and rampant human rights violations.

This dangerous drift of Malaysia, away from any “pinnacle of success”, but towards the abyss of a failed state if the present national political and economic trajectories are not corrected, warrant a full debate by the Special Parliament to be convened at the end of January to consider approval for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).

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