As the longest-serving Member of Parliament in the present House, having served as a MP for more than 43 years covering 10 of 13 terms from 1969 to the present – except for the ninth Parliament from November 1999 to February 2004 – it gives me no pleasure but great pain and anguish to declare that in my 43 years as a MP of Malaysian Parliament, I have never felt so ashamed and outraged that the country which is the sole object of my love and patriotism, and for which I am prepared to sacrifice my liberties and even my life, have fallen so low that Ministers and MPs are not perturbed at all that the world regards Malaysia as a global kleptocracy.
What has happened to Malaysia? Have the Ministers and MPs in Parliament and the leaders in the country totally lost the moral compass, although MPs start with the following prayer before each parliamentary sitting:
“Almighty God, who in Thy Wisdom and Goodness hast appointed the Office of Rulers and Parliaments for the welfare of society and the just government of men: We beseech Thee to behold with Thy abundant favour us Thy servants whom Thou hast been pleased to call to the performance of important trusts in these lands: Let Thy blessing descend upon us here assembled, and grant that we may treat and consider all matters that shall come under our deliberation in so just and faithful a manner as to promote Thy Honour and Glory and to advance the place, prosperity and welfare of Malaysia and its inhabitants: Amen. “
Has this Prayer lost all meaning?
Have we all become hypocrites that we have totally forgotten our prayer at the start of every Parliament sitting that we can be unmoved, not to be ashamed and/or outraged for the nation to be regarded world-wide as “a global kleptocracy” – a country ruled by PPP, Pencuri, Perompak and Penyamun.
What is a kleptocracy? It has been defined as a rule by a thief or thieves.
Is this what we have become, what the Fathers of Independence and Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman. Tun Razak, Tun Tan Siew Sin, Tun V. Sambanthan, Tun Fuad, Tun Mustapha, OKK G.S. Sundang, Temenggong Jugah, Datuk Haji Openg, Ong Kee Hui, Ling Beng Siew and James Wong envisaged and dreamt when Malayan Independence was achieved in 1957 and the Malaysian Federation formed in 1963?
Should we be proud that Malaysia is now known world-wide not only as a kleptocracy, but a global kleptocracy, a country ruled by PPP – Pencuri, Perompak and Penyamun?
If Malaysia does not deserve to be regarded world-wide as a “global kleptocracy”, then Malaysian leaders and institutions, beginning with the Cabinet and Parliament, must refute, rebut and protest loud and clear for the whole world to hear that such aspersion, stain and defamation of the country’s good name and reputation is wrong, unfounded and groundless.
If there is basis for the world-wide infamy of Malaysia as a “global kleptocracy”, then Parliament and all patriotic Malaysians must partake in the process to cleanse and purge the country of such infamy and ignominy by rooting out from office and the system the persons and officials, regardless of how high or low their positions, responsible for such national infamy and ignominy!
It is no option for Parliament and the nation to just keep quiet and do nothing at such world-wide infamy and ignominy of Malaysia as a “global kleptocracy”, for silence, inaction and even worse, tacit acceptance of such an epithet of Malaysia as the latest global kleptocracy condemns all Malaysians in the international community to the jibe of being citizens of a country ruled by PPP – Pencuri, Perompak and Penyamun!
This is why I am shocked that the Prime Minister-cum-Finance Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 2017 Budget speech which lasted some two hours made no attempt to rebut and refute the world-wide infamy and ignominy of Malaysia as a “global kleptocracy”, but even more shocking, Najib could say and refer to all things under the sun and even turning a serious budget speech into a very provocative Trumpish speech but there is not a word about Malaysia’s fight or commitment to battle corruption!
I am utterly shocked that from the first day of the 25-day Budget Parliament, MPs were not allowed to ask questions about the US Department of Justice (DOJ) lawsuit under the US Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative (KARI) to forfeit over US$1 billion of 1MDB-linked assets in the United States, United Kingdom and Switzerland because of over US$3 billion embezzlement, misappropriation and money-laundering of 1MDB funds.
This is why I have staged a protest to boycott the Ministers’ Question Time (MQT), introduced in this parliamentary meeting as the first parliamentary reforms to make the Malaysian Parliament relevant and topical – for how can the Malaysian Parliament ever claim to be able to upgrade from Third-World to First-World Parliament when for three consecutive MQTs in the first two weeks Parliament, my question to the Prime Minister as to what the government was doing to refute and purge Malaysia’s infamy as a “global kleptocracy” was rejected by the Speaker.
The message seems to be very clear – there can only be talk of reforms and transformations so long as the core issues of kleptocracy and undemocratic governance are not dealt with i.e. façade of parliamentary reforms so long as the substance of undemocratic governance and kleptocracy do not become the subject of debate.
I submit the Malaysian Parliament has become a national disgrace when after meeting for two weeks, it is not prepared to do anything to purge and cleanse the national infamy and ignominy of being regarded world-wide as a global kleptocracy.
Is there any light at the end of the tunnel to cleanse and purge Malaysia’s infamy and ignominy as a global kleptocracy as a result of the 1MDB global mega-financial scandal, the US Department of Justice (DOJ)’s largest single action against US$1 billion 1MDB-linked assets under the US Kleptocracy Assets Recovery Initiative and the investigations and actions by regulatory authorities in Switzerland, Singapore, Abu Dhabi, Australia, Luxembourg, Hong Kong and United Kingdom on the 1MDB scandal?
Or is there no way the issues of integrity, accountability and transparency in the 1MDB global mega-financial scandal could be pinned down and dissected in the Malaysian Parliament for answers and full accountability to be provided by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his Ministers and that such answers and reforms are only possible if there is a change of Federal Government in the next 14th General Election?
The official reactions to the speeches by the former Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, the former Rural and Regional Development Minister, Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal and the former Second Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah during the budget debate in Parliament asking questions about the 1MDB global mega-financial scandal are no cause for anyone to believe that the UMNO/BN Government is prepared to “bite the bullet” to allow for the full glare of parliamentary scrutiny and accountability over the 1MDB scandal.
UMNO Information chief, Tan Sri Annuar Musa summarily dismissed Husni’s speech and said the former second finance minister had said nothing new in his torrent of questions regarding the 1MDB scandal.
I am very surprised by Annuar’s comments as I have been following very closely the sad and sorry saga of the 1MDB scandal in the past seven years, and as far as I know, this is the first time that Husni has aired his reservations and concerns about the 1MDB global mega-financial scandal in a public arena.
Husni’s warning that Malaysia might continue to be haunted by the 1MDB scandal and his incisive questions about 1MDB problems arising from the missing US$4 billion in Aabar (BVI), the US$6.5 billion arbitration suit with Abu Dhabi-based International Petroleum Investment Co (IPIC) and the RM4 billion loan from Kumpulan Wang Amanah Pencen (KWAP) to SRC are no secrets at all although they were raised by Husni for the first time in a public forum.
Is Annuar suggesting that Husni had made such a warning and asked these grave questions about the 1MDB scandal within the four walls of the government or UMNO before he resigned as Second Finance Minister?
What is even more shocking was Husni’s revelation in his speech in Parliament that although he had been a loyal and professional Minister, with a KPI “among the best among Ministers”, he had been defamed and demonized by UMNO cybertroopers in the social media after he had left the Cabinet.
The same fate has fallen on the former Deputy Prime Minister and the former Rural and Regional Development Minister.
I was utterly shocked when the Speaker, Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia said last Thursday that former cabinet ministers Muhyiddin, Shafie and Husni may have broken their oath of Cabinet secrecy when debating the 2017 Budget in Parliament.
I do not know what to make of Pandikar’s comments because they undermined public perception and image of the Speaker’s integrity and independence from the Executive when he publicly suggested that the three former Cabinet Ministers had broken their oath of Cabinet secrecy in their speeches in Parliament; and furthermore, he seemed to be suggesting to the Executive and in particular the Attorney-General and the Inspector-General of Police to initiate actions against the three under the Official Secrets Act or other laws of the land for their alleged breach of their oath of Cabinet secrecy in their speeches in Parliament.
Pandikar as Speaker should be aware of the important doctrine of the separation of powers of the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary, and his special responsibility as the Speaker of Parliament to jealously safeguard the independence and integrity of Parliament from any usurpation or encroachment by the Executive.
Where in the world do we have a Parliament Speaker as good as suggesting to the Executive to charge MPs who are former Cabinet Ministers for their speeches in Parliament for breach of Cabinet secrecy?
Muhyiddin, Shafie and Husni are all protected by parliamentary privilege for what they say in Parliament, except in the specific case of violating the Sedition Act in questioning one of the four “sensitive” issues entrenched in the Constitution – which neither one of the trio had done.
In fact, the Speaker should come to the defence of the three former Cabinet Ministers for what they speak in Parliament if the Executive wanted to initiate criminal proceedings against them, which Speakers by parliamentary tradition and in other Parliaments would have done.
Why is Pandikar breaking with such a parliamentary tradition by being in the forefront to publicly suggest that the Attorney-General and the Inspector-General of Police should act against the trio.
In fact, if one of the trio had violated parliamentary privileges, it would be the duty of the Speaker or Deputy Speaker to stop the MP from doing so, or the Chair would be guilty of gross dereliction of duty in not stopping an MP from abusing his parliamentary privilege.
In none of the three cases did the Chair ever stop any of the former Ministers from speaking as being at risk of violating parliamentary privileges, and it is shocking that the Speaker should be shouting from the rooftops that the three Cabinet Ministers might have broken the law in their speeches in Parliament.
This is most improper and un-Speakerlike conduct for the Malaysian Speaker!
It has been reported that Husni has been summoned by the Police later today over his Parliament speech on the 1MDB scandal, which was the subject of the Speaker’s comment that Husni may have broken the law, which in turn inspired UMNO hired-guns to lodge police reports against Husni.
Husni should draw the attention of the police officer assigned to deal with him the Houses of Parliament (Privileges and Powers) Act 1952, and warn the police officer that he is liable for committing parliamentary contempt and the ensuing penalties, if he infringes Clause 9 (e) of the Houses of Parliament (Privileges and Powers) Act 1952 which protects MPs from obstruction on account of his conduct in the House, which would include his speech during the budget debate, unless he had lost parliamentary immunity under Article 10 of the Constitution with regard to Sedition Act for questioning one of the four entrenched “sensitive” issues – which does not apply here.
The Police had once want to launch investigations against me for what I said in Parliament which had nothing to do with anyone of the four entrenched sensitive issues where MPs have lost parliamentary immunity, but when I informed the police officer who came to meet me that he was committing parliamentary contrempt to obstructing an MP from carrying out his parliamentary duties, drawing his attention to Houses of Parliament (Privileges and Powers) Act 1952, asking him to go back to consult superiors and the Attorney-General’s Chambers, the police officer backed off and never came back.
If the Police investigates Husni for his speech in Parliament because of the police report on his alleged breach of Official Secrets Act, Parliament must sit as a court against a clear act of parliamentary contempt by the police so as to uphold and protect the parliamentary privileges of Members of Parliament.
In such a clash between Parliament and the Police over parliamentary privileges and parliamentary contempt, the Speaker would have forfeited the right to sit on the Chair in any parliamentary proceeding arising from it as the Speaker would be a biased and interested party because of his press conference statement last Thursday.
The police should be investigating the 1MDB global financial scandal which had made Malaysia a global kleptocracy, and not Husni or any MP who had the courage and patriotism to speak up on the 1MDB scandal.
Are there enough patriotic BN MPs to come forward to join hands with patriotic Opposition MPs to save Malaysia from the infamy and ignominy of being regarded worldwide as a “global kleptocracy”?
I was in Keningau in Sabah over the weekend, where I officiated at the “earth-breaking” ceremony for the Impian Sabah Keningau Water Project in Bunga Raya district of Keningau.
It was a double shock.
Firstly, that 20 km from Keningau, the fifth largest township in Sabah which for some four decades had been the state or parliamentary constituency of the leader of PBS, who had at various times been Sabah Chief Minister or Deputy Chief Minister, there are villages without clean piped water in the year 2016!
Secondly, the thought of what could have been achieved for rural Sabah in the past half a century, if the state had good governance instead of “political locusts” for the past five decades.
The Impian Sabah’s Keningau Water Project is the most expensive Sabah Impian project so far, costing RM250,000 to build gravity-fed water system to bring clean piped water to five villages, which will benefit some 300 households or 1,500 people.
If 60 per cent of the RM3.3 billion – or some RM2 billion – meant for rural water infrastructure projects had not been stolen by corruption and kleptocracy, it would be able to fund 8,000 projects like Impian Sabah Keningau project to provide gravity-fed water system to bring clean piped water to rural homes for the benefit of 12 million people, i.e. 8,000 x 1500 people (which is some four times of Sabah’s present population).
There is no reason whatsoever why almost every household even in the rural areas in Sabah could not be provided with clean piped water, not just in 2016 but some two decades ago by the nineties, if there is no corruption and kleptocracy in the State.
Sabah’s RM3.3 billion Water Department corruption scandal, where 60 per cent of the RM3.3 billion earmarked in the Tenth Malaysia Plan to improve the supply of clean and treated water in the state, was siphoned off into private pockets of a corrupt few, is the latest mind-boggling example explaining why in half a century, Sabah has become one of the poorest states in Malaysia despite its vast rich natural resources.
In half a century, Sabah has been reduced into a land of sharp and shocking contrasts – the poorest state, with socio-economic conditions of the poor even worse than Kelantan but yet the most kleptocratic state with among the wealthiest politicians in the country!
I was intrigued by the statement of the prospective President of PBS, Datuk Seri Maximus Ongkili that PBS would fight for lost provisions in Malaysia Agreement 1963, and that the PBS would co-sponsor a motion with Sarawak to restore lost provisions in the Malaysia Agreement 1963.
What is intriguing is that the PBS leader, who is a Federal Cabinet Minister, has not been able to enumerate what are these “lost provisions” in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 or to debate the issue in Parliament.
For over four decades, the Members of Parliament in Sabah and Sarawak had been taken for granted by the UMNO/Barisan Nasional Federal Government, regarded as useful “cannon fodder” to make up the numbers to ensure UMNO’s increasing hegemony in the Federal Government but not critically important, as the ruling coalition had always won with two-thirds majority in Parliament.
The political landscape and electoral equation began to change in the 12th General Election in 2008, when the UMNO/Barisan Nasional Federal coalition government lost its two-thirds parliamentary majority for the first time in Malaysian history.
But the 57 Parliamentary seats from Sabah and Sarawak became critically important only in the 13thGeneral Election in 2013, when the 47 Barisan Nasional MPs saved the UMNO/BN coalition from going to the opposition ranks.
This was because the UMNO/BN coalition only won 86 parliamentary seats in Peninsular Malaysia, which was not enough on its own to constitute the simple majority out of a Parliament of 222 seats to form the Federal Government in Putrajaya.
It was only with the 47 Parliamentary seats won by the UMNO/BN coalition in Sabah and Sarawak that Datuk Seri Najib Razak could continue as Prime Minister with 133 parliamentary seats, though as the first minority Prime Minister of Malaysia as UMNO/BN coalition only won minority popular support of 47% of the national voter turnout.
The 47 Barisan Nasional MPs from Sabah and Sarawak were therefore the kingmakers of the UMNO/Barisan Nasional Federal Government after the 13th General Election in 2013, but unfortunately, they have so far failed to exercise their proper influence, role and input on national policy direction and developments.
Without the support of the 47 Barisan Nasional MPs from Sabah and Sarawak, Najib’s Federal Government in Putrajaya will fail and fall.
I call on the 47 Barisan Nasional MPs to effectively play their historic role as the “king-makers” of the Najib Government by discharging three important tasks to defend the secular basis of Malaysian nation-building process and Malaysia Agreement 1963 as well as to save Malaysia from the fate of a “global kleptocracy”.
Firstly, the 47 BN MPs from Sabah and Sarawak should make it very clear to Najib that they will withdraw their support to the Najib Federal Government, leading to its collapse and downfall, if Najib is not prepared to give an iron-clad guarantee that the BN consensus that an Islamic State and hudud laws are inimical to the Malaysian Constitution and inappropriate for a plural nation like Malaysia will be maintained. This would mean a clear-cut commitment that the Barisan Nasional Federal Government would not support the PAS President, Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s hudud-enabling private member’s bill motion in Parliament.
Secondly, the 47 BN MPs from Sabah and Sarawak should demand that the Najib Federal Government undertake all necessary actions and measures to restore full autonomy for Sabah and Sarawak in accordance with the word and spirit of the Cobbold Commission Report, the Inter-Government Committee Report and the Malaysian Agreement 1963.
Thirdly, the 47 BN MPs must send a clear and unmistakable message to Najib that the infamy and ignominy of Malaysia from being regarded world-wide as a global kleptocracy – a country ruled by thieves and robbers – must be rebutted and refuted, or cleansed and purged, so that Malaysians can hold their heads high and proud to own up as Malaysians when they travel to other countries overseas and not looked askance as people coming from a country ruled by crooks and knaves.
The 47 Barisan Nasional MPs from Sabah and Sarawak should make it clear to Najib that these three demands cannot be compromised, as they concern the very basis, integrity and good name of Malaysia and Malaysian nation-building, and unless the Prime Minister and his Cabinet are committed to these three national goals, they have to withdraw their support for the Najib Government in the national and patriotic interests.
Are the 47 Barisan Nasional MPs from Sabah and Sarawak, who are placed in the historic “kingmaker” role at this important juncture of the nation’s history, up to these three great tasks of the nation with far-reaching consequences for future generations of Malaysians?
(Speech for delivery in Parliament on the 2017 Budget on Monday, 31st October 2016)