Malaysia is deeply mired in a “kleptocratic culture” when a person removed as a Minister for money politics and corruption could be appointed FELDA Chairman for five years. And he is still today the top man of a key FELDA conglomerate!
It is this kleptocratic culture, unknown in Malaysia under the first five Prime Ministers of the country, which has plunged the country into the infamy and ignominy of being regarded and ridiculed worldwide as a “global kleptocracy”.
There had been problems of good governance and democracy in the relationship between the Felda settlers and the Felda bureaucracy in the early years of Felda, and I had spoken on these Felda ssues in Parliament in the very first year that I entered Parliament 45 years ago in 1972, but Felda problems and grievances never reached the kleptocratic level as in the past several years.
This is clear and evident when we see Felda brought low by a sea of problems, not only with many important Felda officials arrested and charged for corruption by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (which is probably only the tip of the iceberg of the problem of kleptocracy in Felda) but the slew of FELDA problems besetting Felda settlers, whether concerning Felda Global Ventures (FGV), Perumahan Generasi Kedua, GSA, education, etc.
Sixty years after Merdeka in 1957, the time is ripe and opportune for a “Malaysia Reset” of nation-building direction and national policies, as the country has been overtaken both politically and economically by other countries.
South Korea, we see eight judges of the South Korean Constitutional Court the previous Friday unanimously endorsing the impeachment of the South Korean President by South Korean Parliament for corruption and cronyism last December.
Sixty years ago when we achieved Independence, South Korea was a poor and backward country, whose per capita GDP was less than half of ours, where human talents and democracy were non-existent.
Today, South Korea has not only economically left us far behind, becoming one of the richest and most developed countries in the world, human rights and democracy are regarded seriously to the extent that the South Korean Parliament could impeach the South Korean President for corruption and cronyism and eight judges of its Constitutional Court could unanimously endorse the impeachment of the President by the South Korean Parliament!
Can Malaysians envisage such events taking place in Malaysia with the Malaysian Parliament impeaching the Prime Minister for the biggest international money-laundering scandal in the world and Malaysia’s top judges unanimously endorsing such an impeachment?
Such a question should be asked and answered by every Malaysian, for its shows how lowly we have fallen in the progress of nations in the past six decades.
This year, we are celebrating the 60th anniversary of National Day and the 57th anniversary of Malaysia Day.
There is no better way to mark these two important national milestones than to conduct a “Malaysia Reset” of nation-building direction and national policies which have seen the country being overtaken both politically and economically by other countries.
We should keep nation-building direction and national policies which are good for the country, but dare to correct and even abandon polices which are detrimental to the development of an united, successful, just, democratic, progressive and prosperous plural society.
One deleterious nation-building mindset which must be the subject of “Malaysia Reset” is the bane of the culture of kleptocracy which has crept into the higher levels of leadership in our country.
A “Malaysia Reset” after 60 years must involve the eradication of kleptocracy and and the kleptocratic culture, not only in Felda but at all levels of government and society, whether MARA, Tabung Haji and all GLCs (Governmen-linked companies) but even the highest echelons of government, including full accountability for the 1MDB scandal.
Last Friday, Finance Minister II Johari Abdul Ghani asked how the government could press charges on the 1MDB scandal without a full picture.
I am shocked that the second Finance Minister is so naïve or capable of telling such falsehoods, which don’t even qualify to be “white lies”.
The 1MDB is fully-owned by the Finance Ministry, which means everything known by the 1MDB must be known by the Finance Ministry.
Malaysians do not have the full story of the international multi-billion dollar 1MDB money-laundering scandal, but a fairly full story is available to the whole world since July last year through the US Department of Justice (DOJ) 126-page largest kleptocratic lawsuits to confiscate US$1 billion 1MDB-linked assets in the United States, United Kingdom and Switzerland arising from the US$3 billion 1MDB interntional money-laundering scandal.
I concede that as second finance minister, Johari may not have the full story of the 1MDB scandal. However, the Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak has the full story of the 1MDB scandal. Or is Najib prepared to deny this?
Is Johari prepared to confront Najib that as second finance minister he should be told the full story of the 1MDB scandal, or he would submit his instant resignation from the Cabinet?
Let Johari answer!
It is impossible to expect the incumbent UMNO/BN coalition to conduct any reset of nation-building directions and national polices, as they are responsible for the grave perversion of nation-building directions and national policies.
A new Federal Government in Putrajaya, formed by Pakatan Harapan parties PKR, Amanah and DAP together with Pribumi Bumiputra is the only coalition capable of undertaking a “reset” of nation-building directions and national policies after six decades – keeping what is good for the country but correcting and abandoning what is deleterious and detrimental to our plural nation.
If there is a new Federal Government and new Parliament, there will be Royal Commissions of Inquiry into the 1MDB scandal and the Felda woes – and there will be Parliamentary Select Committee on Good Governance with powers to call up government departments and entities which violate the principles democratic accountability, transparency and good governance.
The country must start anew, to fulfill the Malaysian dream when we achieved Merdeka in 1957 and established Malaysia in 1963 – including the eradication of the kleptocratic culture in Malaysia and Malaysia’s infamy and ignominy as a global kleptocracy so as to make Malaysia one of the top corruption-free countries in the world.
(Speech at the Pakatan Rakyat Konvensyen Warga Felda held at Dewan Jubli Perak, Shah Alam on Sunday, 19th March 2017 at 4 pm)