The Save Malaysia Roundtable of political and civil society leaders to save Malaysia from global kleptocracy and a failed and rogue state on Tunku’s 114th birthday anniversary in Kuala Lumpur next week is the best forum for the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his Cabinet to start the process to free Malaysia from the millstone of global kleptocracy.
This will make the Save Malaysia Roundtable doubly significant, not only on the occasion of the114th birthday anniversary of Bapa Malaysia, but to send out the clear message that the 2017 Chinese New Year of the Fire Rooster will be the only kleptocratic Chinese New Year in the history of Malaysia and that in the next year, the Chinese New Year and other national festivities would not be celebrated under a cloud of global kleptocracy!
Almost everybody is saying that it is impossible that Najib will attend the Save Malaysia Roundtable.
I agree that it appears to be quite inconceivable that Najib would attend the Save Malaysia Roundtable to save Malaysia from global kleptocracy and a failed and rogue state, as it would involve Najib’s preparedness – not seen up to now – to open up the international multi-billion dollar 1MDB kleptocratic money-laundering scandal to national and international scrutiny to prove that it is not a scandal at all, although the 1MDB scandal is making international waves and world headlines almost every other day.
The issue is whether Najib and his Cabinet are prepared to start the process to free Malaysia from the millstone of global kleptocracy, or whether they will go down in history as being responsible for Malaysia’s millstone of global kleptocracy and not prepared to do anything to remove such a millstone.
Just in the 31 days of January 2017, a news portal carried more than 200 stories or report linked to the 1MDB scandal.
There was a multitude of news developments related to 1MDB scandal in the past month, but the trio that stand out were:
Firstly, former US stockbroker, Jordan Belfort, the man whose biography the film ‘Wolf of Wall Street film’ is based on has come out with a stinging criticism of the movie’s producers, calling them “criminals”.
Belfont, who served 22 months of a four-year sentence in exchange for a plea deal with the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) for a US$200 million stock-broking scam, made the disparaging remarks about Red Granite, the production firm, in an interview with Swiss financial news site finews.com last Thursday.
Belfort said: “The movie’s a huge success, and then it turns out the guys who financed it were criminals.”
As US Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell said in July last year at the media conference following the filing of the US Department of Justice (DOJ) lawsuit to forfeit US$1.34 billion assets derived from US$3 billion 1MDB money-laundering, “this is a case where life imitated art”!
The Red Granite chief executive is Riza Aziz – the stepson of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak. He and Low are central figures in the US DOJ civil forfeiture suits involving 1MDB, claiming that the Red Granite received US$64 million (RM283.5 million at current rates) that was traced back to 1MDB.
Recalled Belfort: “They flew me to Cannes four or five months after they bought the movie and they wanted to announce it in Cannes. It hadn’t even gone into production yet, and they threw a launch party. They must have spent $3 million on a launch party. They flew in Kanye West, and I said to Anne, ‘this is a fucking scam. Anybody who does this has stolen money.’ You wouldn’t spend money you worked for like that.”
He added that once the film went into production, the producers had offered to give him US$500,000 to go to Las Vegas to spend time with Leonard DiCaprio, the star in the film.
However he said he refused and was thus sidelined from media coverage of the film.
The DOJ civil forfeiture suit claims that Low had used US$1.15 million of 1MDB funds to gamble with Riza and DiCaprio.
Secondly, the jailing of the fourth former banker (fifth person to be prosecuted) in Singapore for crimes related to 1MDB money-laundering – Jens Fred Sturzenegger, a Swiss national and branch manager of Falcon Private Bank in Singapore.
Sturzenegger was sentenced to 28 weeks jail and fined S$128,000 after pleading guilty to six charges related to Singapore’s probe on 1MDB.
What is of particular relevance to Malaysia is that the charges Sturzenegger pleaded guilty substantiated the US DOJ case that the RM2.6 billion donation in Najib’s personal banking accounts before the 13th General Election in March 2013 came from 1MDB and not from any Arab prince as claimed by Najib and UMNO leaders.
Will the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali re-open investigations into Najib’s RM2.6 billion and 1MDB twin mega scandals?
Thirdly, for the first time in Malaysian history, the 1MDB scandal has been cited by Transparency International (TI) as the reason for Malaysia’s continued fall in both ranking and score in the TI Corruption Perception Index 2016, released a week ago.
For eight consecutive years, the Najib premiership (2009 – 2016) had registered a lower TI CPI ranking than under the two previous Prime Ministers, Tun Mahathir and Tun Abdullah as illustrated by the following chart of TI CPI 1995 – 2016:
Prime Minister Best ranking Best score Worst ranking Worst score
Mahathir 23(1995) 5.32/10 (1996) 37 (2003) 4.8/10 (2000)
Abdullah 39(2004) 5.1/10 (2005/7/8) 47 (2008) 5/10 (2004/6)
Najib 50 (2014) 52/100 (2014) 60 (2011) 4.3/10 (2011)
The TI CPI 2016, where Malaysia is ranked No. 55 with a score of 4.9, below the midpoint, is proof that corruption is worse now than during Mahathir’s 22 years as Prime Minister and Abdullah’s five years as Prime Minister.
These three new developments are potent reasons why Najib and the Cabinet cannot behave like ostriches by digging their heads in the sand and pretend the 1MDB scandal is “fake news” and “false story” which do not exist in reality.
There is one other issue. With Cabinet Minister Abdul Rahman Dahlan saying that only an idiot does not know who is “MO1” referred to in the US DOJ kleptocratic lawsuit and admitting to the world that “MOI” is none other than Najib, why is the Prime Minister shying from admitting it and take action to clear himself of all kleptocratic associations?
What better forum for Najib and his Cabinet to make a new start to cleanse and purge Malaysia of the infamy and ignominy of being regarded worldwide as a global kleptocracy than the Roundtable to Save Malaysia from global kleptocracy, by proposing his strategy to liberate Malaysia from the millstone of the international appellation of a “global kleptocracy” as well as to listen to political and civil society leaders as to what is the best way to get out of the trajectory of a global kleptocracy and a failed and rogue state.
I hope Najib and the Cabinet Ministers who are invited to the Save Malaysia Roundtable will have the courage and patriotism to turn up to fully participate in a “Save Malaysia from global kleptocracy” movement.