Parliament should set aside the first two days on Oct. 19 and 20 to debate the historic statement by the Conference of Rulers on 1MDB, rule of law and national unity

Parliament should set aside the first two days of its Budget session on Oct. 19 and 20 to debate the historic statement of the pre-council meeting of the 239th Conference of Rulers as it encapsulated the three major concerns of all thinking and patriotic Malaysians – the RM50 billion 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal, the parlous state of the rule of law and the frayed and fragile state of national unity in the country.

The Cabinet at its meeting today should agree to set aside the first two days when Parliament reconvenes on Oct. 19 for such a national debate on a motion which could be moved by the Prime Minister himself, another Minister or by the Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Datuk Seri Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.

The whole nation applauds the Conference of Malay Rulers’ statement asking the government to complete the 1MDB investigations as soon as possible and to take “the appropriate stern action” against all found to be implicated.

The Malay Rulers stressed that all concerned should extend “real and sincere” cooperation so the investigation achieves its objectives.

They said: “The findings of the investigation must be reported comprehensively and in a transparent manner so that the people will be convinced of the sincerity of the Government which shall not at all conceal facts and the truth.

“The failure to give convincing clarification and answers is feared to have resulted in a crisis of confidence.

“As a consequence, the people believe, whether basing on reality or perception, that this is among the causes for the plunge in the value of the Malaysian Ringgit, impacting the country’s financial market and economic climate negatively and at the same time adversely affecting the world’s view of Malaysia.”

Do the Prime Minister and the Cabinet endorse this statement and share the worry of the Malay Rulers and thinking and patriotic Malaysians that if the issue is not wisely handled and allowed to drag on, it could jeopardise the country’s economy and the livelihood of the people as well as threaten public order and national security.

Can Malaysians expect a statement from the Cabinet on the Malay Ruler’s statement after the regular Wednesday meeting of the Ministers today?

Although the 1MDB scandal has mushroomed from a national into an international scandal, local investigations seemed to have run aground and reached a dead end.

Nobody can now answer for sure who in the country is investigating the 1MDB scandal.

It will be Malaysia’s sovereign shame if we now have to depend on international investigations launched in various countries like United Kingdom, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Singapore and now United States (even more shameful, allegedly under the US Department of Justice’s Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative 2010) to throw more light on the 1MDB scandal.

At one time, there were four separate investigations in the country into 1MDB – Bank Negara, Public Accounts Committee (PAC), the Auditor-General and the Police.

Then there was the multi-agency Special Task Force comprising Bank Negara, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency, the Royal Malaysian Police and the Attorney-General’s Chambers, headed by then Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail investigating the 1MDB – which completely fizzled out when Gani was sacked as Attorney-General some two months before his compulsory retirement on Oct. 6.

After Gani’s sacking, the multi-agency Special Task Force on the 1MDB was dissolved by the new Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali, the MACC announced that it was not investigating the 1MDB while the PAC investigation into the 1MDB was stopped even before it could begin by the simple stratagem of elevating four members of the PAC to the Executive, one as Minister and three as deputy Ministers, and leaving their vacancies open until the next parliamentary meeting.

It is the height of irresponsibility to stop PAC on its tracks in investigating the 1MDB by at least three months, when time is of the essence – a heinous act which would not be committed by anyone who wants a full, transparent and timely investigation of the 1MDB scandal.

New developments have added to national and international concerns about the 1MDB scandal especially the latest revelation by the former Special Branch deputy director, Abdul Hamid Bador relating his last meeting with Gani before he was sacked as Attorney-General, when Gani said the 1MDB scandal was “crystal clear”.

In view of the Malay Rulers’ concern with 1MDB, which chimes in with the concern of thinking and patriotic Malaysian citizens, will the Prime Minister and the Cabinet announce a new action plan today to dispel all public doubts about government sincerity and answer questions whether the government is merely playing a game to “conceal facts and the truth” about 1MDB.

The Malay Rulers are also fully justified in their concerns about the rule of law in Malaysia. The recent spate of malicious and selective prosecutions and investigations against government critics do not give cause for confidence – whether case of law professor Dr. Azmi Sharom under the Sedition Act 1948; the Selangor Exco, Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad who is confronted with “triple jeopardy” in being charged a third time under the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 or the former Penang UMNO leader Datuk Seri Khairuddin Abu Hassan who is being detained under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) for his global tour asking for investigations by foreign governments into 1MDB.

National unity has also never been so frayed and fragile in the nation’s history, especially after Najib and UMNO leaders openly supported the Sept. 16 Red Shirt Rally which desecrated Malaysia Day and undermined racial peace, social harmony and national unity.

As a result, Najib’s credibility as a leader who initiated at the United Nations five years ago the Global Movement of Moderates for all religions and all countries to marginalize extremists, reclaim the centre, and shape the agenda towards peace and pragmatism has come under national question and international doubt.

Malaysians will know soon enough whether the Prime Minister and the Cabinet are capable of addressing these three key national issues highlighted in the Malay Rulers’ statement yesterday.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah