History will not look kindly at 13th Parliament as it pretends that the 1MDB financial scandal and infamy of Malaysia as “global kleptocracy” are no issues at all!
We must thank young creative architect Tey Tat Sing for sharing with us his vision of transforming our present living surroundings into a more humane, connected, integrated and holistic living spaces with a “soul”.
I particularly appreciate Tat Sing’s reimagination as I find the very unconventional décor of the Library for Social Democracy very soothing to the nerves and the soul, especially after a very stressful, disconnected and dehumanizing day – attending the first day of the 2017 Budget Parliament and at the end of it, being caught in more than an hour of a totally no-reason traffic jam in Kuala Lumpur, where traffic lights at intersections changed from red to green for close to ten times, but no traffic moved!
I thank REFSA (Research for Social Advancement) Chairman Liew Chin Tong for inviting to launch this Library for Social Democracy.
I am reminded of the great libraries during the golden age of Islamic civilization in the ninth through thirteenth centuries which mark an era of scientific, religious, philosophical and cultural development the scale and depth of which had never been in world history before or since.
There was Abbasids’ House of Wisdom in Baghdad which was at once a university, library, translation institute and research lab, all on one campus.
Baghdad had reached its highest reputation and glorious status during the reigns of the Caliphs Al-Rasheed, Al-Ma’moun, Al-Mu’tadhid and Al-Muktafi.
It was the centre for Islamic (if not the world) culture and civilisation, as well as the headquarters for the Arts, Sciences and Letters. It was crowded with Scientists, Physicians, philosophers, Mathematicians, Astronomers, Men of Letters, Poets, Writers, Translators, Scribes, and Professionals in the various arts and crafts.
Baghdad’s House of Wisdom met its sad, tragic and brutal end in 1,258 with the Mongol invasion of Baghdad and the killing of the last Abbasid Caliph, the slaughter of the Caliph’s entire family and relatives, as well as those in the Caliphate Court – marking the end of the Abbasid Caliphate.
The magnificent collection of books and manuscripts of the House of Wisdom was thrown into the muddy waters of the River Tigris whose brown colour turned black for days as a result of the washing away of the ink used in the writing of these books and manuscripts.
There is also the Great Library of Cordoba of the Umayyad Dynasty in Andalusia with its thousands of magnificent books and manuscripts. One can only imagine its invaluable collection when one reads that after 1492 and during the Spanish Inquisition when about half-a-million of its priceless books and manuscripts were deliberately and callously burnt!
Over the ages, there have been a lot of darkness and light metaphors about libraries, with libraries often described as a yardstick of success of a civilization and about a candle going out when a library closes.
Dark ages, however do not begin with the closing of a library but because of breakdown of government and the principles of good governance. My thoughts today are particularly in this direction after the first day of the budget meeting of Parliament.
History will not look kindly at the 13th Parliament as it pretends that the 1MDB financial scandal and infamy of Malaysia as “global kleptocracy” are no issues at all.
Today, we have the Speaker’s ruling barring all questions on the US Department of Justice (DOJ) lawsuit filed on July 20 seeking forfeiture of US$1billion 1MDB-linked assets in the United States, United Kingdom and Switzerland from over US$3 billion international embezzlement, misappropriation and money-laundering of 1MDB funds on the ground that it is “sub judice”.
DAP MP for Puchong Gobind Singh Deo and I immediately objected to the Speaker’s ruling. I asked how the “sub judice” rule in Malaysian Parliament could apply in connection with litigation proceedings in foreign lands while Gobind asked whether the Speaker had read the 136-page DOJ lawsuit.
However, the Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia said his ruling was “final” and would not be reviewed unless there is a substantive motion under Standing Order 43 to review it.
I then intimated that there would be a motion under Standing Order 43 to review the Speaker’s ruling and asked for an assurance from the Speaker that time would be allocated to debate the substantive motion – but such an assurance was not forthcoming.
All patriotic Malaysians who love the country deeply and passionately must feel ashamed and outraged that since the May meeting of Parliament some five months ago, Malaysia has acquired the international infamy being a “global kleptocracy”, especially after the July 20 lawsuit initiated by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) to forfeit over US$1 billion of 1MDB-linked assets in the United States, United Kingdom and Switzerland from over US$3 billion international embezzlement, misappropriation and money-laundering of 1MDB funds and the recent actions by the Swiss and Singapore financial regulatory authorities to either close down banks or institute criminal proceedings in connection with 1MDB money-laundering crimes.
The 1MDB global scandal and the infamy of Malaysia becoming a “global kleptocracy” should be the first item of parliamentary business when Parliament reconvened today, but Speaker’s shocking ruling has given the official excuse for Government and Parliament to pretend that they not relevant and pertinent concerns and to perform the Malaysian magic of making a global problem disappear into thin air in Malaysia!
The 1MDB and Malaysia’s infamy as “global kleptocracy” are in fact yardsticks to judge whether a Minister or a Member of Parliament is a Malaysian patriot and nationalist, as no Malaysian can claim to be a patriot, nationalist or love Malaysia if he or she is not ashamed and outraged by the disgraceful appellation of Malaysia as a “global kleptocracy”, as if Malaysians are happy to be ruled by PPP – Pencuri, Perompak dan Penyamun.
Tomorrow is supposed to be a historic day for the Malaysian Parliament with the debut of the half-hour Minister’s Question Time (MQT), touted as the most significant of parliamentary reforms.
I have submitted a question for the MQT to ask the Prime Minister what action the government is taking to cleanse and purge the infamy of being regarded world-wide as a “global kleptocracy”.
If this question is rejected in the MQT tomorrow, then it will be the best proof that the MQT is nothing but a façade to hide Parliament’s subservient and ignominous role to carry out the government’s charade to pretend that the 1MDB financial scandal and infamy of Malaysia as “global kleptocracy” are not issues at all!
(Speech at the launching of the REFSA Library for Social Democracy in Kuala Lumpur and Library Festival of Workshops, Forums, Art, etc on Monday, 17th October 2016 at 7.30 pm)