Perak Sultan Nazrin Shah’s warning about rampant grand corruption should be reminder to Cabinet, Parliament and the ruling political parties of their failure to address this critical issue in Malaysia
The Sultan of Perak, Sultan Nazrin Shah’s warning yesterday about rampant grand corruption in the country should be reminder to the Cabinet, Parliament and the ruling political parties of their failure to address this critical issue in Malaysia.
Sultan Nazrin’s concern over corruption and criminal breach of trust committed openly by highly-educated and high-ranking individuals should serve as a salutary end-of-the-year reminder to both the Federal and State Governments that Malaysia must break away from the trajectory of a failed and rogue state where corruption and abuses of power become the prevailing order of the day.
The Perak Sultan’s warning is most timely as a serious denial syndrome has afflicted the political leadership in the country, refusing to acknowledge that Malaysia has broken an infamous barrier when it is regarded world-wide as a “global kleptocracy”.
This is not the first time that the Rulers have expressed concern about the importance of upholding public integrity in Malaysia.
In a historic statement of the pre-council meeting of the 239th Conference of Rulers on Oct. 7, 2015 , the Rulers expressed concern about the 1MDB financial scandal and asked the government to complete the 1MDB investigations as soon as possible and to take “the appropriate stern action” against all found to be implicated.
Fourteen months have passed since the Conference of Rulers’ statement, but not a single person implicated in the global 1MDB kleptocratic scandal had been brought to book, despite the very attenuated recommendations for action by the Barisan Nasional-dominated Public Accounts Committee in April this year.
The intervening 14 months have fully vindicated the Conference of Rulers in their concerns about the 1MDB scandal, as the Conference of Rulers statement 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.”
These words of warning of the Conference of Rulers 14 months ago have proven to be very prescient and right with the passing months, with Malaysia undergoing the worst economic and political crisis of confidence in the nation’s 60-year history.
The 1MDB kleptocratic scandal had not only not been resolved in the past 14 months, but have become ever monstrous in scope and magnitude – the subject of US Department of Justice (DOJ) largest kleptocratic lawsuits to forfeit over US$1 billion of 1MDB-linked assets in the United States, United Kingdom and Switzerland as a result of international embezzlement and money-laundering of US$3.5 billion 1MDB funds as well as the subject of investigations and criminal prosecution in over half a dozen countries including Singapore, Switzerland, Abu Dhabi, United States and Switzerland.
In Malaysia, anti-corruption leaders like Pakatan Harapan MPs Tony Pua and Rafizi Ramli, Bersih officials Ambiga Sreenivasan and Maria Chin, and student leaders like Anis Syafiqah Md Yusuf are being persecuted and penalized, causing Anis, the spokesperson of the #TangkapMO1 campaign to raise the valid cry: “Whole world knows we’ve been robbed, why are we still relaxed?”
I call on the Najib Cabinet to heed Sultan Nazrin’s warning, halt all persecution of anti-corruption leaders like Tony Pua, Rafizi Ramjli, Ambiga Sreenivan, Maria Chin and Anis Syafiqah Md Yusuf and take immediate action to end the unprecedented crisis of confidence caused by the 1MDB scandal which had been warned by the Conference of Ruler in its Statement on Oct. 7, 2015.