1MDB has become 1Malaysia Disaster Bhd, consuming UMNO/Barisan Nasional Federal Government but it must not be allowed to destroy Malaysia!

When the Home Minister, Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi issued a statement on Saturday night that he was mulling action against Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown, including calling for her extradition from United Kingdom for the “crime” of foreign interference in the internal affairs of Malaysia, he was rightly mocked for his presumption in expecting the British government to “play ball” with such a silly notion merely because Clare had exposed a multi-billion dollar financial scandal in Malaysia.

As DAP MP for Segambut Lim Li Eng has pointed out, this is a “big bluff” when those involved in least four high profile cases were now abroad – sex blogger Alvin Tan, Facebook activist Ali Abdul Jalil, Malaysia Today operator Raja Petra Kamaruddin and former policeman Sirul Azhar Umar, who was convicted for murdering Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu.

But apart from the ludicrousness of Zahid’s extradition suggestion, I see a more sinister aspect – the thoughts behind such a ridiculous idea, as the Home Minister cannot be so dumb as to believe that his extradition proposal would have any traction with the UK Government.

The question all discerning Malaysian should be asking is whether a plot is being hatched to launch as wide a dragnet as possible to implicate the maximum number of critics of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and the biggest financial scandal in the country, the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal, to rope them in and even charge them for participating in an international plot to topple the elected Prime Minister of Malaysia?

Talk of seeking extradition of Clare is just an icing for the cake of the allegation of an international conspiracy to topple the elected Prime Minister of Malaysia, as for advocates of this extreme option, it is not important whether the extradition request succeeds or not, but suffice for it to provide the “international character” to justify the wild allegation of an international plot to criminalise Najib Razak and topple the elected Prime Minister of Malaysia.

And into such a “plot on a plot”, all the critics of the Prime Minister and 1MDB scandal could be lumped together for allegedly committing “activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy”, sabotage or treason for consorting with foreign elements in criminalising Najib and seeking to topple the elected Prime Minister – such as the Edge Media Group owner Tong Kooi Ong, Edge publisher and Group CEO, Ho Kay Tat, MPs Tony Pua and Rafizi Ramli, even the former Prime Minister, Tun Mahathir, the Opposition leader in Sungai Buloh prison Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Najib’s brother Nazir Razak?

Far-fetched? We are living in dangerous times.

Whether such a dragnet and ridiculous allegation of an international plot to topple the elected Prime Minister of Malaysia can stick or not may not be important, as the whole purpose of the exercise would be to buy time for the Najib administration, which appeared to be on its last legs, and to avoid an implosion in UMNO over the 1MDB scandal, in particular Najib’s inability to say Yes or No to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report on July 2 that RM2.6 billion had been deposited into his personal bank accounts in AmBank in March 2013, just before the 13th General Election.

Let Zahid and Najib state whether such a plot alleging that there is an international conspiracy to criminalise Najib and topple the elected Prime Minister is being hatched by some elements in his administration to justify a dragnet against all critics against Najib and 1MDB, and whether they could state categorically and unequivocally that there is no such plot.

1MDB has become 1Malaysia Disaster Bhd, consuming UMNO/Barisan Nasional Federal Government but it must not be allowed to destroy Malaysia!

For more than a month, since the WSJ report of June 19 that billions of ringgit of 1MDB funds were used to bank-roll Najib’s 13th General Election campaign, and increasingly after the July 2 WSJ report that RM2.6 billion funds had been deposited into Najib’s personal accounts in AmBank in March 2013 just before the 13th General Election (which Najib could not deny but could only plaintively state that he had never taken funds for personal gain), the Federal Government top policy-making machinery has virtually grounded to a halt.

Not just the Federal Government top policy-making machinery, even the private sector, all political parties and the country seem to have been consumed by one and only one issue – the 1MDB scandal, which dominated all conversations and discussions, whether in public or private sector, in Ramadan Break Fast functions or Hari Raya Open Houses, public functions or private dinners and gatherings.

The magnitude of the 1MDB crisis has crippled and paralysed the nation, all the way up to the Cabinet level as admitted by the Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin at the Cheras UMNO annual general meeting last night.

Muhyiddin had admitted that apart from Najib, no one in Cabinet really undertstood the 1MDB scandal.

Seven weeks ago, I had drafted “10 Questions on 1MDB for dummies for Cabinet Ministers” so that the Cabinet Ministers can grasp the issues of propriety, accountability, transparency and good governance raised by the 1MDB scandal, but from Muhyiddin’s admission last night that there was no one who could truly explain the 1MDB issue, even in Cabinet, my “10 Questions on 1MDB for dummies for Cabinet Ministers” in early June was a wasted effort!

Muhyiddin’s admission that he had to get information from the media including the suspended business weekly The Edge Financial Daily, on the 1MDB scandal is most shocking – although even more shocking was that he was rebuked by fellow Cabinet Ministers for relying on The Edge.

What has our Cabinet degenerated into – a Cabinet of the Ignoramus?

Muhyiddin’s further admission that “even those who talk about 1MDB did not even understand what is the problem faced by the debt ridden company” with the second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah and the newly-minted Barisan Nasional Strategic Communications Director Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan as examples, is no surprise.

These are not Official Secrets as Malaysians have always known that Husni and Abdul Rahman were out of their depths and were “talking cock” when they made misleading statements about various aspects of the developing 1MDB scandal.

I applaud Muhyiddin’s support for the Auditor-General’s interim report on the 1MDB to be made public.

Of course Najib’s sycophants like Abdul Rahman would oppose it, or he would not have been made the BN’s Strategic Communications Director, although no BN leader had made so many “strategic errors” in so short a time as Rahman.

Will the Cabinet on Wednesday support Muhyiddin’s proposal for the immediate publication of the Auditor-General’s Interim Report on 1MDB, or will the Husnis and Abdul Rahmans have their way to block the publication of the Auditor-General’s Interim Report?

But the Cabinet Ministers belabour under a more serious problem than their inability to understand the 1MDB scandal – whether they are tainted and disqualified from participating in any Cabinet discussion or decision on the WSJ report or risks committing corruption because of conflict of interest as the Cabinet or the majority of the Cabinet Ministers had received improper funding from the personal accounts of the Prime Minister in the 13th General Election.

Let Abdul Rahman continues as BN Strategic Communications Director, start by declaring publicly whether he and Sabah UMNO had received any funding from Najib’s personal accounts for 13th general election campaign, the amounts received – and the same questions should be answered by all the other Cabinet Ministers.

Are all the Cabinet Ministers prepared to make such a public statement of their relationship with the RM2.6 billion in Najib’s personal bank accounts after the Cabinet meeting on Wesneday?

1MDB has become 1Malaysia Disaster Bhd and is consuming UMNO, Barisan Nasional and the Federal Government but it must not be allowed to destroy Malaysia!

The country is under grave peril, not because of any fictitious international plot to criminalise Najib and topple the elected Prime Minister, but because of the failure of the Prime Minister for more than three weeks to live up to the principles of accountability, transparency, integrity and good governance by giving an explanation of the WSJ report about RM2.6 billion deposited into his personal accounts, where the monies came from and where they have gone to, and the procrastination tactics refusing to give an immediate accounting for the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal.

This is the time for all political leaders, regardless of political party, race, religion, age or gender to put aside their differences and come together to draw up and implement a “Save Malaysia” Roadmap from the deleterious fallouts of the 1MDB scandal – whether Ministers, Members of Parliament, political leaders, former political leaders, civil society and community leaders, NGOs and NGIs.

DAP and all progressive political forces are prepared to respond to such a “Save Malaysia” clarion call.

Can such a “Save Malaysia” Grand coalition be convened, and who will convene it?

Between progressive forces on both sides of the political divide, by the three Tuns in Malaysia who had been Prime Minister or Deputy Prime Minister namely Mahathir, Abdullah and Musa Hitam or by the Opposition Leader from behind the prison walls in Sungai Buloh, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim?

It is time for all patriotic Malaysians to focus on this single issue of how to Save Malaysia from the 1MDB scandal, instead of allowing the 1Malaysia Disaster Bhd to destroy Malaysia after consuming Najib, UMNO/BN and the Federal Government.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah