The ousting of South Korean President by Parliament and an unanimous decision by eight judges is sober reminder to Malaysians of the need to restore rule of law and separation of powers where we can also impeach the Prime Minister if he runs afoul of the law and the Constitution
The biggest news today is not North Korea but South Korea, the unanimous decision by eight judges of South Korea’s Constitutional Court endorsing the decision of the South Korean Parliament to impeach and remove President Park Geun-hye from office over a graft scandal involving the country’s conglomerates.
Park becomes South Korea's first democratically elected leader to be forced from office, capping months of paralysis and turmoil over the corruption scandal that also landed the head of the Samsung conglomerate in detention and on trial.
As Lee Tae-ho, who leads a movement to oust Park that has held mostly peaceful rallies in downtown involving millions, told a large gathering in Seoul earlier today: "We did it. We the citizens, the sovereign of this country, opened a new chapter in history."
Park was stripped of her powers after parliament voted to impeach her but has remained in the president's official compound.
The court's acting chief judge, Lee Jung-mi, said Park had violated the constitution and law "throughout her term", and despite the objections of parliament and the media, she had concealed the truth and cracked down on critics.
South Korea’s Constitutional Court ruling to uphold parliament's Dec. 9 vote to impeach her marks a dramatic fall from grace of South Korea's first woman president.
She no longer has immunity and could now face criminal charges over bribery, extortion and abuse of power in connection with allegations of conspiring with her friend, Choi Soon-sil.
What is significant and remarkable is that the Seoul market's benchmark KOSPI index .KS11 and the South Korean won currency rose after the ruling by the Constitutional Court.
As a senior economist and analyst explained it, “the hope is that this will allow the country to have a new leader that can address long-standing challenges such as labor market reforms and escalated geopolitical tensions."
What happened in South Korea – the ousting of South Korean President by Parliament and an unanimous decision by eight judges - is a sober reminder to Malaysians of the need to restore rule of law and separation of powers in Malaysia where we can also impeach the Prime Minister if he runs afoul of the law and the Constitution.
For the past few years, the country has been haunted and hounded by the nation’s largest corruption scandal – the international multi-billion dollar 1MDB kleptocratic money-laundering scandal.
Although the Prime Minister and the government has put up a great façade pretending that the 1MDB scandal does not exist, not a day passes without the 1MDB scandal making news and headlines in another country in some parts of the world – testifying to the global nature of the 1MDB money-laundering scandal.
As a result, the word “kleptocracy” has entered into ordinary Malaysian vocabulary. Even in English-speaking nations, most people would not understand the meaning of “kleptocracy”, as it is a difficult and rarely-used word, but for Malaysia, even the non-English speaking people have come to know the meaning of the word “kleptocracy”!
As I said in Parliament in November, “kleptocracy” is a government of 3Ps – Pencuri, Perompak and Penyamun.
I do not believe that there are any people in the world who have no sense of self-respect and self-pride that they want to suffer the infamy and ignominy of being ridiculed world-wide as a global kleptocracy and doing nothing about it to purge the country of such notoriety and odium and to restore the good name and reputation of their nation.
At present, even in Parliament, MPs cannot ask questions about the 1MDB scandal.
Can we expect our courts to do what Parliament would not do, to clear the ignominy, infamy and notoriety of being ridiculed world-wide as a global kleptocracy?
This is one reason why Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, region or politics, must unite in the forthcoming 14th General Election to Save Malaysia from a global kleptocracy, because it is only with a change of government in Putrajaya that the country can take the first step to eradicate Malaysia’s infamy, ignominy and notoriety of being regarded and ridiculed worldwide as a global kleptocracy.