Parliament reconvened on Oct. 17 for a 25-day budget meeting, and Malaysia has gone through probably the worst four weeks of the nation’s six decades of history which strengthened world perceptions that Malaysia has become a global kleptocracy.
There were no efforts whatsoever to rebut and refute Malaysia’s infamy and ignominy of being regarded world-wide as a “global kleptocracy”, or to zero in on the international multi-billion ringgit kleptocratic 1MDB embezzlement and money-laundering scandal which caused Malaysia to be regarded worldwide as a “global kleptocracy” with (as I said in Parliament) Malaysia ruled by PPP – Pencuri, Perompak dan Penyamun.
These four weeks horribilis started with the ruling by the Speaker of Parliament making the unprecedented ruling anywhere in the world applying the sub judice rule arising from lawsuits in foreign countries to censor and outlaw question, debate and discussion not only about the US Department of Justice (DOJ) largest kleptocratic action for the forfeiture of US$1 billion 1MDB-linked assets in the United States, United Kingdom and Switzerland, but anything concerning the 1MDB scandal.
Even three former Cabinet Ministers who spoke in Parliament on 1MDB in the 2017 Budget debate are being hauled up by the police for investigation (at the instigation of the Speaker) – contrary to Constitutional guarantees on parliamentary privileges and immunities except in clear-cut cases of violation of the four constitutionally-entrenched sensitive issues under the Sedition Act which do not apply in the present cases.
All over the world, the reverberations from Malaysia being regarded world-wide as a global kleptocracy as a result of the 1MDB global financial scandal continues unabated in the past four weeks, but in the Malaysian Parliament there is the great pretence that Malaysia’s infamy being regarded world-wide as a global kleptocracy as a result of the 1MDB global financial scandal does not exist and had become a “sensitive” subject which could not be raised in Parliament.
I have so far boycotted the half-hour Minister’s Question Time (MQT) touted as the most significant of the Speaker’s parliamentary reforms, as the Speaker in his various media conferences have so far failed to convince Malaysians that he is not the only one Speaker in the world who is “mis-applying” the sub judice rule with regard in litigation in foreign countries to save the Prime Minister from full accountability for the kleptocratic 1MDB scandal in Parliament.
Malaysian Parliament does not become a first-world Parliament just because of MQT or power-point budget presentation by Najib, if MPs are not allowed to raise grave and burning issues in the country in Parliament.
I fully agree with jurists and legal authorities like the former Court of Appeal judge Datuk Hishammuddin Mohd Yunus who asked what “sub judice” was the Speaker talking about, as Ministers should not be “barred” from answering questions in Parliament on the US DOJ civil suit involving the alleged misappropriation of 1MDB funds for the reason of sub judice.
Hishamudin Mohd Yunus is right when he said the question of sub judice does not arise at all.
He said: “This is because it is a foreign hearing. The sub judice rule applies in relation to hearing in Malaysian courts.”
Four days ago, the veteran UMNO/BN MP, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah who had been an MP for over four decades, said that parliamentarians should not be barred from discussing active cases in other countries as the sub judice rule only applied locally.
As he said:
“If the matter is before our courts, yeah then of course (it is sub judice).
“(But) if it is somewhere in Timbuktu, I don’t think you can stop (MPs) from raising (it) because it doesn’t interfere.”
But how to get the Speaker to see reason, common sense and the imperative national necessity to rebut and refute the epithet of a global kleptocracy or to cleanse and purge the epithet by removing the root cause of such national infamy and ignominy?
DAP MP for Puchong Gobind Singh Deo had filed a substantive motion under Standing Order 43 to review the Speaker’s ruling barring all questions on US DOJ forfeiture action on the ground of “sub judice”, but although “First-World Parliaments” would have debated and voted on such substantive motions within 48 hours, Gobind’s motion is likely to perish without debate despite appearing on the Order Paper daily for the rest of the parliamentary meeting until Nov. 24.
Would the Speaker have the humility and love of the nation to voluntarily admit that he was wrong to make the sub judice ruling barring questions and debate on the US DOJ kleptocratic action and make the necessary amends?
That would be the day for all patriotic Malaysians who love the country deeply and passionately to cherish and remember – all Malaysians who feel ashamed and outraged that since the May meeting of Parliament, Malaysia had acquired the international infamy of being a “global kleptocracy”, with no effort by Parliament or any other institution to rebut and refute or cleanse and purge the country of such infamy and ignominy.
Another notable “highlight” of these past four weeks horribilis was the presentation of the 2017 Budget by the Prime Minister-cum-Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, which was more an exhibition of political showmanship instead of a proper and frank budget presentation highlighting the woes and challenges confronting Malaysia in the coming year.
Najib demonstrated a classic case of denial syndrome when he failed to acknowledge the “elephant in the room” in his budget speech – Malaysia regarded world-wide as a “global kleptocarcy” as a result of the kleptocratic 1MDB scandal – and there was not even a word about fighting corruption in Najib’s 2017 Budget Speech!
Another “highlight” in the past four weeks horribilis was the 100-day “Open Warkah” by the MACC Chief Commissioner Dzulkifli Ahmad who asked politicians, including Ministers and Members of Parliament, when he told YBs, to “stop fooling the people” with fairy tales while at the same time engaging in corruption.
Dzulkifli’s warkah exposed not only the hypocrisy of political leaders who denounce while being engaged in corruption, but the hypocrisy of the MACC of staying clear of the 1MDB kleptocratic scandal when some 10 other countries are investigating not only the single largest case of kleptocracy in Malaysia, but probably of the world.
What has Dzulkifli got to say about “MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1” (“MO1”) in the US DOJ case, and why China is catching “tigers” and Indonesia “crocodiles”, but Malaysia is not able to catch a single “shark” in the war against grand corruption?
The 2016 Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI) will be made public in a month’s time.
What is Dzulkifi’s expectation: Will Malaysia’s ranking improve or deteriorate?
The four weeks “horribilis” ended dismally with a triple 1MDB disaster which can only reinforce world-wide perception of Malaysia as a global kleptocracy, viz:
1. Malaysia’s rejection of Switzerland’s request for mutual legal assistance (MLA) in the 1MDB international kleptocratic embezzlement and money-laundering despite Najib’s “surprising” statement in Germany in September that Malaysia would co-operate with US and other international authorities investigating the embezzlement, misappropriation and money-laundering of 1MDB funds.
2. Jho Low’s former banker, former BSI Singapore managing director Yak Yew Chee sentenced to an 18-week jail term and a fine of S$24,000 after pleading guilty to four criminal charges in Singapore, committed at the behest of Low – not just Yak’s biggest customer but in fact BSI’s “biggest customer”. Low was confirmed as a “person of interest” in the Singapore police probe into the multi-billion dollar 1MDB money-laundering scheme.
Yak, who became the first banker to be convicted in the global corruption and money laundering probes surrounding 1MDB, agreed to voluntarily disgorge S$7.5 million and to co-operate with the Singapore prosecutors.
3. The ongoing trial in Singapore of another former BSI banker.Yeo Jiawei, in connection with four counts of witness tampering in Singapore probe into the 1MDB kleptocracy case. He will face another seven charges of money-laundering in April.
The whole world is agog, not only at the magnitude of the 1MDB kleptocratic scandal, but at the parliamentary and national charade that the 1MDB kleptocratic scandal does not exist at all!
Is there any light for Malaysia at the end of the 1MDB kleptocratic tunnel?