Do we have to wait until 1MDB scandal become the norm in Malaysia which will see the country competing with Somali, North Korea, Afghanistan and Sudan for the last four spots on the TI CPI?
Those who still believe in the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and suffer from the illusion spread by Najib in his 2016 New Year Message that the Prime Minister’s twin world-class RM2.6 “political donation” and the RM55 billion 1MDB mega scandals have been resolved and are no more issues need only to refer today’s news portals, both locally and internationally, to realise how wrong they are.
It is supreme irony that Najib’s very own Ministers are among those in the forefront debunking the Prime Minister’s delusion that his twin mega scandals are no more issues as they had been resolved.
The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Abdul Wahid Omar said that 1MDB was the exception in the anti-graft movement among Malaysian companies, claiming that most other Malaysian companies have made good progress in improving transparency.
Goodness me, do we have to wait until 1MDB scandal become the norm for all GLCs in Malaysia which will see the country competing with Somali, North Korea, Afghanistan and Sudan for the last four spots on Transparency International’s annual Corruption Perception Index?
The second Minister to debunk Najib’s delusion that the Prime Minister’s twin mega scandals are no more issues in the country is none other than the Second Minister for International Trade and Industry and MCA Secretary-General, Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan, who grudgingly admitted that the Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamad Apandi Ali’s exoneration of Najib of any crime in both the RM2.6 billion donation and RM42 million SRC International scandals, was a “boost to the nation’s trade this year”.
However, he disarmingly conceded that the Attorney-General’s move “will help to a certain extent, but I hope this thing should improve further” to bring back confidence in the country.
What other evidence are needed that Najib’s twin mega scandals are profoundly affecting Malaysia’s political and economic health as compared to last year when even his Cabinet Ministers responsible for portfolios about Malaysia’s economy and international trade have either ceased to defend the 1MDB scandal by admitting that it is “an exception” or tacitly admitted their impotence in promoting Malaysia’s international trade and industry when the twin mega scandals continue to hound and haunt Malaysia’s economic future?
Can Najib continue to pretend that he can just wish his twin mega scandals away with the wave of his hand, when reports are coming in from different parts of the world about ongoing probes, whether in Switzerland, Singapore, Hong Kong, United Kingdom and United States, into the 1MDB scandal, with foreign analysis predicting the continued erosion of investor confidence in Malaysia.
For instance, Mixo Das, a Singapore-based strategist at Nomura Holdings Inc., forecast “a potentially long-term investment climate deterioration” while Sydney’s AMP Capital Investors investment strategy head Shane Oliver said he will not be allocating any more funds to Malaysia.
Although Malaysian politics seems to be confronted by a great paradox where Najib seems to be getting stronger and stronger despite “scandal after scandal”, the question is whether this great paradox is sustainable or whether a tipping point is being reached where Najib’s “house of cards” will suddenly collapse and come tumbling down?
Every day, enormous pressures continue to be relentlessly mounted, as seen by the latest three developments:
Firstly, an unprecedented challenge to the authority of the Attorney-General with former Malaysian Bar president Ragunath Kesavan declaring that in any investigation conducted against the attorney-general as chief prosecutor, the solicitor-general, Azailiza Mohd Ahad who is second in command in the Attorney-General's Chambers, can decide whether to prosecute or not. If the decision to prosecute the AG is made, any deputy public prosecutor (DPP) is competent to handle the task.
Yesterday, former Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) director Mohamad Ramli Manan, said that attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali can be investigated under Section 212 of the Penal Code, which relates to the crime of harbouring an offender.
Alternatively, investigations can also be carried out under Sections 217 or 218 of the Penal Code, related to a public servant disobeying a direction of law with the intent to save a person from punishment or property forfeiture.
This was in relation to Apandi’s recent decision to close cases based on the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission's (MACC) investigations into the RM42 million from SRC International and RM2.6 billion donation that was deposited into Najib’s personal account.
Secondly, the reiteration by former Prime Minister, Tun Mahathir that Najib should resign in order for Malaysia to regain its reputation.
Mahathir said: "To clear Malaysia’s good name and his own, Najib must prove beyond a shadow of doubt that he is innocent of all the accusations against him.
“The A-G saying he is innocent means nothing.
"He, the A-G, has no credibility.
"Failing this Najib should resign."
Thirdly, the launch of a formal investigation in France into whether Najib was paid bribes over a US$1.2 billion Scorpene submarine deal in 2002 when he was Defence Minister. Immediately brought to mind is the 2006 murder of Mongolian woman Altantuya Shaariibuu.
Four months ago, in a historic statement on Oct. 6, the Malay Rulers directed Putrajaya to complete the 1MDB investigations “as soon as possible” and to take “appropriate stern action” against all found to be implicated.
There can be no outcome to investigations into Najib’s twin mega scandals so long as Najib continues as Prime Minister.
Najib should take leave to allow the investigations to proceed unhindered or Malaysia will suffer irreparable damage to our national and international confidence.