Will the Cabinet continue the traditional three monkeys role of “eyes that see not, ears that hear not and mouths that speak not” or will they take the bull by the horn to address the three issues which dominate public opinion in past week?
Just before midnight, a Cabinet Minister tweeted that he had just left his constituency which is about three hours’ drive from Kuala Lumpur: “Need to read cabinet papers after I reach home. Tmr morning cabinet meeting as usual.”
My first thought was whether the Cabinet papers would include the thousands of 1MDB transactions and email which 1MDB had tried to “wipe” clean from their computers and servers at the end of last year.
Will the Cabinet papers for all Ministers for the Cabinet meeting later this morning cover at least the three issues which had dominated public opinion in Malaysia in the past week, or will it be another Cabinet meeting to avoid and skirt important national issues like the infamous past Cabinet meetings?
First Issue. Leading the three important issues which should dominate a meaningful Cabinet meeting today is undoubtedly the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal, which has been blown wide open by the joint London Sunday Times/Sarawak Report investigations and access to thousands of transactions and email of 1MDB despite abrupt attempts by 1MDB at the end of last year to call in all of its computers, employee laptops and servers to wipe them clean of all emails.
Will the Cabinet end its traditional three monkey stance of “eyes that see not, ears that hear not and mouths that speak not” on the 1MDB scandal for the past six years, take the bull by the horn and decide either to set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry headed by former Law Minister Datuk Mohd Zaid Ibrahim or other independent credible Malaysians or give support for a full-scale Public Accounts Committee (PAC) public inquiry into the 1MDB scandal?
Cabinet Ministers whether from UMNO, MCA, Gerakan, MIC or the Sabah and Sarawak component parties of Barisan Nasional, must realise that they are collectively responsible for the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal and that they cannot just pass the buck, responsibility and guilt to the Prime Minister alone as 1MDB is “Najib’s baby”.
The MCA Deputy Secretary-General Datuk Wee Jeck Seng (Tanjung Piai) and the Gerakan Secretary-General, Datuk Liang Teck Meng (Simpang Renggam) are on the Public Accounts Committee but they have not exerted themselves to demand PAC audit and accountability of 1MDB – raising the question whether their role in PAC is to insist on parliamentary scrutiny of all public accounts or the very opposite!
The same can be asked about the role of all the Ministers in the Najib Cabinet – whether it is to ensure full audit and accountability of the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal or to help Najib to stonewall and fob off all demands for public audit and accountability of the 1MDB scandal.
Second Issue. The outsized wealth of the Najib family, as revealed by the New York Times report of February 9, 2015 and the statement by the Prime Minister’s Office: “Neither any money spent on travel, nor any jewellery purchases, nor the alleged contents of any safes are unusual for a person of the prime minister’s position, responsibilities and legacy family assets.”
Will any Minister in the Cabinet meeting today dare to ask the Prime Minister to come clean with the Cabinet about his family’s wealth as well as what the PMO statement meant when it referred to “…the alleged contents of any safes…” - how many such “safes”, in which country and what were in these “safes”.
The former New Straits Times group editor-in-chief, Kadir Jasin, had questioned Najib’s media advisers and strategists whether they have lost the plot in bringing up the Prime Minister’s grandfather’s role in financing his education in the raging controversy over his family inheritance.
The Cabinet meeting today will also show whether it’s not just the Prime Minister’s media advisers but all the Cabinet Ministers who have lost their plot in managing the nation’s affairs and future directions, and that the only way to save the country from such incompetent mess is for a change of government in Putrajaya.
Third Issue. New national and international crisis of confidence on whether there is truly independent judiciary and just rule of law, brought about by a conjuncture of four events:
- the Federal Court’s 5-0 unanimous decision to dismiss Anwar Ibrahim’s appeal and five-year jail sentence in Sodomy II trial;
- the Federal Court’s decision to convict and sentence to death former police commando Azila Hadri and Sirul Azhar Umar for the 2006 murder of Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu, while leaving completely open the question of motive for the murder and who had ordered Azila and Sirul to murder Altantuya;
- the expose by retired Court of Appeal judge Justice K.C. Vohrah that former Chief Justice Eusoff Chin had caused a miscarriage of justice in the infamous Ayer Molek Rubber Company vs Insas Bhd case two decades ago – the case where Court of Appeal judge Justice N.H. Chan made the celebrated quote from Shakespear’s “Hamlet” in saying that “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark”;
- the black-listing, discrimination and continued by-passing of Court of Appeal judge Justice Mohamad Hishamudin Mohd Yunus from elevation to the Federal Court, although he is the most respected serving judge on the bench, and whether this is a case of former Chief Justice Eusoffee Chin exacting his final vengeance as Justice Hishammuddin had subsequently and courageously struck out Eusoff Chin’s judgment in the Ayer Molek case.
Can Malaysians expect the Prime Minister or some Minister to inform them later in the day of what the Cabinet has decided on these three dominant issues of the day –or whether the Cabinet had cowardly and irresponsibly steered completely clear of all these three issues in their Cabinet meeting?