The Sarawak State Assembly will be dissolved on April 11 and the 12th Sarawak state general elections to elect 82 State Assemblymen and women should be held by May Day or thereabouts.
For the first time in Sarawak’s 53-year history in Malaysia, what happens on Sarawak polling day is not just about Sarawak, for example, how big will be Chief Minister Datuk Adenan Satem’s majority in the new State Assembly, but even more important, how it will affect Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s tenure as sixth Prime Minister of Malaysia and his ability to deflect or to continue to disregard the national and international furore over his RM55 billion 1MDB and RM4.2 billion “donation” twin mega scandals.
In fact, the forthcoming Sarawak State General Elections is even more important to Najib than to Adenan in determining the fate of the sixth Prime Minister of Malaysia.
Today also marks the fortnight of unprecedented high-powered UMNO/BN assaults on DAP Secretary-General and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng alleging corruption in his purchase of RM2.8 million bungalow.
One of the objectives of such an onslaught on Guan Eng is to eliminate him as an effective campaigner for the DAP and Pakatan Harapan in the Sarawak state general elections.
There are other objectives in the scurrilous and incendiary attacks on Guan Eng, many constructed from half-truths, lies and downright falsehoods, and these include the design to:
• Deflect attention from national and international focus on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s RM55 billion 1MDB and RM4.2 billion “donation” twin mega scandals;
• Undermine the “Save Malaysia” campaign launched by the Citizens’ Declaration in Kuala Lumpur on March 4, 2016;
• Discredit the Penang Chief Minister and the Pakatan Harapan Penang State Government so that Barisan Nasional can win back the Penang State Government in the 14GE.
• Disrupt, disintegrate and destroy the DAP, which UMNO/BN regards as the most united and cohesive Opposition political force against Umno/BN.
Although Najib and his strategists have been trying their level best to sweep Najib’s twin mega scandals under the carpet, with the Prime Minister using his 2016 New Year Eve Message to declare that his twin mega scandals were no more issues in the country as they had been resolved, the twin mega scandals have refused to disappear from the public domain.
The Najib government had been fairly successful in putting the lid on the twin mega scandals inside the country, and the latest example is the note which the Parliament Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia sent to all Members of Parliament today imposing a blanket ban in Parliament on all reference to Najib’s RM2.6 billion “donation” scandal on the ground of sub judice despite his earlier ruling that he will not impose a “blanket ban” but would decide on a case-by-case basis whether the sub judice rule applies.
At the rate things are going, one day, any reference to Najib’s RM2.6 billion donation scandal in Malaysia may even be considered as an offence of sedition and liable to prosecution under the catch-all Sedition Act.
Unfortunately for Najib and his minders, the twin mega scandals cannot be confined within the borders of Malaysia, as it is a classic example of “global corruption”, with independent investigations launched by over a dozen countries, frequent reports in international media rocking the country and the world with new exposes about the twin mega scandals – precisely why Najib’s twin mega scandals have catapulted Malaysia to the top 10 countries with the worst corruption scandals in the world.
Malaysiakini has just reported that Luxembourg’s state prosecutor has launched a judicial inquiry into allegations of money-laundering, covering payments totaling hundreds of millions of US dollars, against 1MDB.
The Reuters report quoted the Luxembourg prosecutor that the inquiry followed evidence that funds held by the Malaysian government in offshore accounts in Singapore, Switzerland and Luxembourg had been misused.
The investigation aims to trace the origin of four transfers in 2012 and one at the start of 2013 for a total of several hundred millions of dollars, connected with the issue of t6wo bonds in May and October 2012.
There are also foreign news reports that the first arrest in connection with the world-wide investigations into 1MDB had been initiated.
With such an international backdrop, in an Internet era and global society where information travels at the speed of light, it is impossible to impose a “cordon sanitaire” on the borders of Malaysia to stop the spread of information about Najib’s twin mega scandals.
The most effective, professional and responsible response is for Najib to come full and clean to give satisfactory accounting on the two mega scandals, and not to try the impossible of a modern-day version of Canute to stop the tides from rising.
Deflection of national and international attention from Najib’s twin mega scandals is only one of the many objectives of the two-week assault and hounding of Guan Eng.
The hour-long appearance of the Barisan Nasional Strategic Media Communications Director and Housing Minister, Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan on TV3 on Wednesday night is not about the Housing Minister throwing more light (which he did not) on BN allegations of corruption over Guan Eng’s RM2.8 million bungalow purchase, but to pave the way for UMNO/BN to recapture the Penang State Government in the 14th General Election.
The objective is tied to the overall UMNO/BN objective to cause disruption and disintegration, if not to destroy, the DAP which UMNO/BN leaders and strategists regard as the most united and cohesive Opposition political force against them.
This is why for the past two years, some 20 DAP national leaders and elected representatives, whether Member of Parliament or State Assemblymen, had been in the cross-hair of UMNO/BN political attacks and offensives.
Guan Eng is now under siege by scurrilous and incendiary attacks in the UMNO/BN allegations of corruption for his RM2.8 million bungalow, calculated to reduce his effectiveness as DAP Secretary-General and Penang Chief Minister.
I had been questioned by the police and expect to me charged in court under the Sedition Act.
Even Gobind Singh Deo, head of DAP legal bureau, is himself under police investigations for variety of offences, including criminal defamation.
Others DAP leaders who have been in the cross-hair of UMNO/BN attacks and offensives – charged in court or likely to be prosecuted and persecuted – include DAP National Vice Chairman Teresa Kok, DAP National Vice Chairman and Sarawak State Chairman, Chong Chien Jen, DAP National Organising Secretary Anthony Loke, DAP Publicity Secretary Tony Pua, DAP Asst National Publicity Secretary Teo Nie Ching, DAP Members of Parliament Ng Wei Aik, Nga Kor Ming, Ngeh Koo Ham, Dr. Ko Chung Seng, Thomas Su, Teoh Kok Seong, Oscar Ling, Julian Tan, Penang Exco Members Chong Eng and Phee Boon Poh, DAP Penang State Assemblyman R.S. Rayer, Johore Assembly persons Liow Cai Tung and Cheo Yee How, among others.
DAP leaders, members and supporters must foil the multi-prong objectives of the UMNO/BN offensive centred currently on the attack on Guan Eng to eliminate him as an effective campaigner for DAP and Pakatan Harapan in the Sarawak state general elections, and to prove UMNO/BN wrong in all their nefarious political designs and conspiracies.
(Speech to joint meeting of Federal Territory/Selangor DAP state and branch leaders in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday, 31st March 2016 at 9 pm)