Cabinet must grapple with many issues tomorrow but the most important issue of all is for Najib to table a motion of confidence in Parliament on Monday to re-establish moral and political authority and legitimacy for him to continue as Prime Minister

The Cabinet must grapple with many issues tomorrow including:

  • The Malay Rulers' Statement of Oct. 6 expressing the Rulers' concern about the state of the nation, with a multitude of national crises, whether politics, economics, good governance or nation-building as the Cabinet had failed to address Malay Rulers' Oct. 6 Statement at its meeting last Wednesday;
  • The twin mega scandals of the RM50 billion 1MDB and the RM2.6 billion “donation” in Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak's personal banking accounts with the almost daily developments and revelations of these two mega scandals conspiring to put Malaysia continuously in the national and international spotlight as the classic example of a nation with great promise to be the showcase to the world of a multi-racial, multi-religious, multi-lingual and multi-cultural nation which is also a great economic and political success but is now stumbling and on the verge of becoming a rogue and failed state.
  • How to avert Malaysia from falling victim to a “Perfect Storm” with a conjunction of political, economic, good governance and nation-building crises, as evidenced on the economic front by the quadruple sharp fall in the value of the ringgit , the stock market, the international reserves and the exit of foreign capital; on the political front, the spectacle of the government and UMNO in serious fracture, fragmentation and disarray; on the good governance front with the Prime Minister backing out of officiating the 16th International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) hosted by the government in Putrajaya for fear of “hard questions” by the 1,000 delegates from 130 countries on Najib's anti-corruption record; and on the nation-building front, the rearing of the ugly heads of the extremist and provocative politics of race and religion like the racist Sept. 16 Red Shirts rally in Kuala Lumpur.
  • The New York Times report on Sept. 22 that the US Department of Justice is probing Najib under its Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative 2010 and the failure of the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Zahid Hamidi who was in Washington to meet with FBI and other US officials to get a categorical denail that the US Government is investigating Najib as a “kleptocrat”.
  • The shocking tragedy of the seven Orang Asli students of Sk Tohoi, Gua Musang ranging from seven to eleven years old, missing for seven weeks with only two survived in “skin and bones” , although the missing Orang Asli kids were all the time within 1km of their school hostel – without the Education Minister Datuk Mahdzir Khalid showing any concern or saying a single word during the whole period.
  • The tragedy unveils a scandalous state of affairs in the Najib government, particularly the Education Ministry, the Ministry of Rural and Regional Development in charge of Orang Asli affairs and the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development to the challenge of genuine upliftment of the socio-economic position of Orang Asli in Malaysia. Will the Cabinet tomorrow commission a full-scale study of what the government had done since Merdeka to bring Orang Asli to the mainstream of national development – a study headed by Orang Asli about the future of Orang Asli in Malaysia?

  • Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA); and
  • Approval of toll rate hikes for 15 highways across the country.

While these issues are important, pressing and the Cabinet cannot continue to procrastinate in dealing with them, the most important issue for the Ministers tomorrow is none other than for Najib to table a motion of confidence in Parliament on Monday to re- establish moral and political authority and legitimacy for him to continue as Prime Minister of Malaysia.

Never before in the six-decade history of the nation with six Prime Ministers, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak, Tun Hussein Onn, Tun Mahathir, Tun Abdullah and Najib, has the Malaysian Prime Minister suffered such a devastating and prolonged loss of moral and political authority, confidence and legitimacy as Prime Minister as happened to Najib in the past few months.

The Wall Street Report on July 2 on the RM2.6 billion “donation” in Najib's personal banking accounts; the New York Times Report of Sept. 22 on Najib being probed by US Department of Justice under its Kleptocrat Asset Recovery Initiative 2010; the Malay Rulers' Statement of Oct. 6 and the gathering of the former UMNO/BN Government “big guns” like former Prime Minister, Tun Mahathir, his arch rival Tengku Raleigh Hamzah, former Deputy Prime Minister and current UMNO Deputy President Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, former Rural and Regional Development Minister and current UMNO National Vice President Datuk Shafie Apdal, former Cabinet Minister and former UMNO Secretary-General Tan Sri Sanusi Junid and two ex-MCA Presidents Tun Ling Liong Sik and Datuk Seri Ong Tee Kiat ganging up against Najib for the misuse of Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma) against Khairuddin Abu Hassan and his lawyer Matthias Chang, are body blows to the moral and political authority and legitimacy of Najib as Prime Minister.

Of course, Najib can pretend that “all is well” and that his premiership had never been so admired in the national and international arena.

But if he is to be true to his claim as a “Bugis warrior”, he should not run away from a battle in the way he had backed off from the Nothing2hide Forum on 1MDB in early June or the 16th IACC Opening Ceremony early last month.

Najib should take the bull by the horn and take the battle of his premiership to Parliament on the very first day on Monday (Oct 19) by moving a motion of confidence in him as Prime Minister of Malaysia.

This is what Hussein Onn did when he became Prime Minister in early 1976 and what Najib should do to continue as Prime Minister after the cavalcade of disasters befalling him as Prime Minister as well as the nation in the past few months.

Of course, Najib could bide his time and see whether there would be any motion of no confidence against him in the forthcoming Parliament, convinced that any motion of no confidence would be blocked and sabotaged by a Speaker who would do his bidding, but this would not be keeping with his boast of being a “true Bugis warrior”!

Najib moving a motion of confidence on Monday when Parliament reconvenes would be a smart political move, as at this moment of time, it appears unlikely that a majority could be organised to defeat Najib's confidence motion.

If Najib misses this chance, the possibility of a “no confidence motion” being moved and to get majority support during the course of the 25-day budget parliamentary meeting until Dec. 3 would appear to better.

IDEAS executive director Wan Saiful Wan Jan has said that Muhyiddin or Tengku Razaleigh must openly challenge Prime Minister Najib to bring about change, as otherwise nothing will ever happen in the country.

Wan Saiful said that unless Muhyiddin or Ku Li step up to say that they want to challenge Najib, even yesterday's gathering of “big guns” would be a no starter.

Parti Amanah Negara Youth national chief Sany Hamzam has suggested that Pakatan Harapan extend conditional support to Tun Mahathir and his team to save the nation from current political and economic turmoil.

May be Harapan Pakatan Youth should be formed immediately with its first item of business to discuss Sany's proposal and present it to the Harapan Pakatan Leadership Council.

In principle, there should be no problem with Pakatan Harapan parties and Members of Parliament co-operating with UMNO/BN elements, led to Mahathir, Tengku Razaleigh Hazah and Muhyiddin to “save the country” from the “perfect storm” of a multitude of economic, political, good governance and nation-building crises which would hurtle the country down the slippery slope of a rogue and failed state.

This is why I had ventured to say that if Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, Muhyiddin and Shafie are to sponsor a motion in Parliament at the end of the month to condemn the misuse of Sosma to persecute Khairuddin Abu Hassan and his lawyer Matthias Chang for his patriotic act in connection with the 1MDB scandal, the support of the 72 Members of Parliament of the Pakatan Harapan parties of DAP, PKR and AMANAH should not be a problem.

However, Pakatan Harapan are not just interested in the removal of Najib as Prime Minister, but we want to ensure that the breakdown of the rule of law, good governance and proper nation-building policies as happened under Najib could not be repeated in future, whoever becomes the Prime Minister.

This would mean changes in the system, the laws and the national institutions in the country. These issues are even more important than the individual one of whether Najib should continue as Prime Minister.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah