Najib should not set a negative tone for the 16th IACC on “Ending Impunity: People. Integrity. Action” by last-minute pull-out which is tantamount to defiant declaration that Impunity is Order of the Day in Malaysia

Just checked the official website of the three-day 16th International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) on “Ending Impunity: People. Integrity. Action” in Putrajaya from tomorrow till Friday.

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak is still in the distinguished guest-list for the Opening Ceremony, which includes Datuk Paul Low, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Tan Sri Kassim Mohamed, MACC Chief Commissioner, Akere Muna, IACC Chair, Datuk Akbar Satar and President of Transparency International Malaysia, Jose Ugaz Chair of Transparency International.

Despite Najib’s last-minute pull-out from the opening ceremony and delivery of a key-note address for the 16th IACC, will Najib have a last-minute change of plan to honour his earlier promise to open the 16th IACC together with a key-note address?

Ironically, Najib’s absence because of the last-minute pull-out will be the most momentous event at the 16th IACC, overshadowing all the speeches to be delivered, for it would in fact set the negative tone for the international anti-corruption conference on “Ending Impunity: People. Integrity. Action” – as his pull-out and absence will be tantamount to a defiant declaration to IACC and the international community that Impunity is the Order of the Day in Malaysia!

Najib’s absence will be as good as throwing down the gauntlet to the IACC and the international community that they could congregate for impotent global conferences of ending impunity among top leaders in the battle against corruption, but what could they do when a head of government like him defies them and act with utter impunity despite the swirling rumours and allegations about “grand corruption”, or specifically in his case, the RM50 billion 1MDB (according to Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin his last speech as Deputy Prime Minister to the Cheras UMNO Division on July 26) and the RM2.6 billion “donation” twin finance scandals.

This would be most unfortunate unintended consequence of the hosting of the 16th IACC in Malaysia, for all that the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Paul Low, could say in place of Najib’s Opening Programme is meaningless apologia to distract attention to the gauntlet thrown at the IAAC by the Malaysian Prime Minister.

There are still more than 22 hours to the Opening Programme of the 16th IAAC in Putrajaya tomorrow, and I still hope that Najib can reconsider his last-minute pull-out to honour his earlier commitment to open the IAAC with the theme this year on “Ending Impunity: People. Integrity. Action” – telling the world what the Najib premiership can contribute to this IACC theme.

Even if Najib is not ready to deliver a keynote address on the IAAC theme, he should be a gracious host and have a dialogue with the IAAC participants from all over the globe where he could answer questions about the two mega financial scandals hounding him particularly in the past two months, the 1MDB and RM2.6 billion donation scandals.

Najib should be prepared to make a clean breast not only about the RM2.6 billion “donation” – where they came from and where and to whom they have gone go, and what remained of the “donation” and where they are now – but also the spate of suspicious and deplorable events surrounding efforts to get to the bottom of the RM50 billion 1MDB scandal, such as the mysterious sackings and arrests of officers from various agencies investigating 1MDB as well as the disbanding of the 1MDB Special Task Force.

If Najib is not prepared to honour his commitment to appear before the IACC as a global warrior against corruption, is the IACC prepared to institute an international commission of inquiry into both the 1MDB and RM2.6 billion “donation” scandals especially in view of the international dimensions of both scandals?

The ball is in the feet of both Najib and the IACC.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah