The video on 50 years of DAP we saw at the beginning of the Convention reminds us of the DAP leaders and activists who had slogged and sacrificed for the party, not for any personal gain or benefit, but for the DAP ideals and principle which inspired and motivated them.
As a DAP member and leader for 50 years, I can speak with knowledge and authority that this is the great difference between DAP leaders and members from those who joined the parties in the ruling coalition – that unlike their counterparts in the ruling parties, members and leaders in the DAP joined and are in politics not because of money, business opportunities, position or titles, or even to be Members of Parliament or State Assembly representatives, but because of their patriotism, ideals and commitment to the DAP cause of justice, freedom, equality and a better Malaysia for all Malaysians.
We are reminded by the video of the past DAP leaders who have contributed through their sacrifices and struggles which formed the basis for the DAP’s present success in Penang, but who have now left us, in particular Karpal Singh, P. Patto, Chian Heng Kai, Peter Dason, Tan Loo Jit and N. Shanmugam.
DAP thanks the Penang State Government for naming roads after Karpal, Patto and Heng Kai in appreciation and commemoration of their patriotism, service and sacrifices to the welfare of the people, state and nation. I understand that a road has been earmarked to be named after Peter Dason, and I urge the Penang State Government to also commemorate the patriotism, services and sacrifices of Loo Jit and Shanmugam so that they could all be role models for the new generation of Malaysians in Penang.
The video brought back memories of the five decades of the DAP political struggle, the first time I brought Guan Eng to Penang in the course of my political travels before the 1969 general election, and nobody expected that some 40 years later, he would become the Penang Chief Minister with the challenging tasks to lead the Penang State to a new breakthrough.
I remember my first visit to Penang after release from my first Internal Security Act (ISA) detention on Nov. 22, 1970 where Penang DAP organized a historic dinner on the occasion of my ISA release.
In my speech at the Penang Dinner, which was held at the Sun Hoe Penang Restaurant, I referred to four issues in my call to all political parties and forces to
dedicate themselves to promoting the cause of democracy in Malaysia:
1. Renounce force and violence and commit acceptance of the verdict of the people in any general election.
2. Refrain from undermining or demeaning the role, function or powers of Parliament – including upholding and protecting of parliamentary privileges and immunities.
3. Abolish the Internal Security Act.
4. Take firm and strong action against all authoritarian and violent forces to impose their will on the people.
Apart from the item on the abolition of Internal Security Act, which has been achieved, the other three items are as pressing today as 46 years ago in 1970.
In fact, on Tuesday in Parliament, there will be an important meeting of MPs and ex-MPs (which include Ministers and ex-Ministers) to discuss the country’s latest constitutional crisis on the doctrine of separation of powers and how to defend Parliament and MPs’ parliamentary privileges and immunities against insidious police encroachments.
The police action to investigate three former Cabinet Ministers for their speeches in Parliament on the 1MDB financial scandal is an unconstitutional, intolerable and unacceptable infringement of the traditional and constitutionally-entrenched parliamentary privileges spelt out in Article 63 (2) of the Malaysian Constitution and the Houses of Parliament (Privileges and Powers) Act 1952, and must be opposed and resisted by all Malaysians who cherish parliamentary democracy as the country’s choice of the system of government.
Former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, and former Minister Tan Sri Sanusi Junid have indicated their concern at the latest threat to parliamentary democracy where traditional parliamentary privileges and immunities are infringed with impunity and will attend Tuesday’s meeting in Parliament of MPs and ex-MPs who are disturbed by these latest political and parliamentary developments.
I want to reiterate publicly the standing invitation to the Speaker, Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, all current and former Ministers, as well as the Barisan Nasional MPs, to Tuesday’s meeting in Parliament on the latest threat to Parliament and MP’s parliamentary privileges and immunities.
Recently, the Speaker had been making a number of shocking statements.
In defending the Prime Minister’s frequent absences from Parliament, Pandikar asked which should one prefer, whether it was more important for investment of RM144 billion to come to Malaysia, or for Najib to “to sit here (Parliament) and see the same face and then they (MPs) ask irrelevant questions?”.
By RM144 billion, Pandikar was referring to the reported amount involved in Najib’s trade talks with China during his recent visit to China.
The Speaker’s retort to a reporter’s question at a media conference was uncalled for and unworthy for three reasons:
1. It is not the role or task of the Speaker of Parliament to justify the Prime Minister’s frequent absences from Parliament.
2. Secondly, the Speaker was betraying his contempt for MPs in dismissing their queries as “irrelevant questions”. Did he mean that all questions about the 1MDB scandal and Malaysia’s infamy and ignominy for being regarded world-wide as a “global kleptocracy” are “irrelevant questions”?
3. the Speaker was wrong in presently the issue as a “either-or” scenario, when it should be one where the Prime Minister can diligently and dutifully attend Parliament as the case with Prime Ministers of parliamentary systems of “developed nations” as well as leading important investment missions abroad. Why Prime Ministers of developed nations can ensure their important overseas missions do not clash with their parliamentary calenders, but not Najib? Did Najib deliberately schedule his trip to China to have a good excuse to avoid parliamentary attendance?
Najib claims to have made a very successful visit to China.
He should appear in Parliament tomorrow to give a full report during the last day of the Ministerial winding up of the debate on the 2017 Budget on his visit to China, and until his report to Parliament, I will withhold comment on his visit to China.
However, I am curious about one aspect of Najib’s China trip and relations – why he is not learning from China in the battle against corruption.
Najib cannot be unaware that China, under President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption drive, had punished more than one million officials for corruption over the past three years.
Top officials, including Ministers and other “tiger” personalities, have been punished for corruption.
In contrast, what has Najib’s anti-corruption campaign got to show, as everybody is still waiting for a “shark” in Malaysia to be charged in court.
Instead of making headway in the war against corruption, Najib has achieved the opposite – acquiring for Malaysia the infamy and ignominy of being regarded world-wide as a “global kleptocracy”.
I defined in Parliament on Monday that “kleptocracy” is rule by thieves and robbers, and I stood uncontradicted and unchallenged in Parliament when I said in Parliament that as a result of Malaysia’s disgraceful epithet of a “global kleptocracy”, Malaysia is ruled by PPP – Pencuri, Perompak dan Penyamun!
In the past year, Malaysia had topped the global charts as among the most corrupt nations in the world like the third place in international website, foreignpolicy.com’s ranking of the world’s “worst corruption scandal in 2015” at the end of last year, TIME magazine’s second ranking of “global corruption” in March and the Economist’s second placing in its second index of crony capitalism in May.
Malaysia was ranked 50th among 175 countries in 2014 Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI) but dropped to 54th among 168 countries in 2015 with a CPI score of 50/100.
The Najib government had been boasting about its target for Malaysia to be in the top 30 countries in the TI CPI by 2020, but this is nothing but a pipe-dream.
Studying the TI CPI ranking and score for the 177 countries and the 21-year series of TI CPI from 1995-2015, there is no reason or ground for anyone to believe that the target of Malaysia being ranked in the top 30 of TI CPI in 2020 is a realistic or achievable one.
In fact, within a decade, Malaysia faces the risk of being overtaken by China and even Indonesia in both TI CPI ranking and score, when in the first TI CPI in 1995, Malaysia was ranked No. 23 out of 41 countries with a score of 5.28 out of 10, while China and Indonesia were ranked as the last two bottom countries with CPI score of 2.16 and 1.94 out of 10 respectively.
However, in the last 21 years, Malaysia achieved the dubious distinction as one of the few countries which had been downgraded both in TI CPI ranking and score, but had lost out to countries which had lower CPI ranking and score in 1995 and is also now at risk of being overtaken by countries including China and Indonesia which had been at the bottom of TI CPI in 1995.
What should concern all Malaysians and the MACC is that from these trends, Malaysia runs the risk of being overtaken by both Indonesia and China within a decade in the annual TI CPI both in ranking and score unless Malaysia quickly bucks up and show its seriousness on the anti-corruption front.
Najib should learn from the anti-corruption campaign in China where some one million officials, from Ministers and other “tigers” downwards, were punished in the last three years to ensure that Malaysia is famed as one of the top countries for anti-corruption and not the reverse, allowing China to overtake Malaysia in the annual TI CPI in having a better record than Malaysia in fighting corruption!
Is this the reason why Najib is abandoning Vision 2020 in favour of his Vision 2050?
(Speech at the DAP 2016 State Convention held at Vistana Hotel, Penang on Sunday, 6th August 2016 at 11.30 am)