MARA under Annuar Musa’s chairmanship is the third example of the kleptocratic culture after the international multibillion dollar 1MDB money-laundering scandal and Felda

Yesterday, at the Pakatan Harapan FELDA Convention in Shah Alam, I spoke of the curse of the “kleptocratic culture” which has resulted in Malaysia becoming the object of world-wide scorn and ridicule as a “global kleptocracy” because of the international multi-billion dollar 1MDB money-laundering scandal.

This “kleptocratic culture”, for which the sixth Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak must bear full responsibility as it was non-existent under the first five Prime Ministers – Tunku Abdul Rahman, Razak, Hussein Onn, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and Abdullah Ahmad Badawi – is not just about the country’s largest global kleptocratic money-laundering scandal, but the cause of FELDA succumbing to the curse of kleptocracy.

When a person removed as a Minister for money politics and corruption could be appointed as FELDA Chairman for five years, it is no surprise that FELDA succumbed to the culture of kleptocracy, resulting in a slew of FELDA problems not only about corruption among FELDA bureaucrats, but increasing woes of 1.5 million FELDA settlers and their dependants, whether concerning Felda Global Ventures (FGV), Perumahan Generasi Kedua, GSA, education, etc.

But the 1MDB scandal and FELDA are not the only examples of the curse of the culture of kleptocracy which has permeated into all aspects of national life, which is why Malaysia’s 2016 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) of Transparency International (TI), both in ranking and score, are even worse than 22 years ago, when TI CPI first made its annual appearance in 1995.

Other countries like China, India and Indonesia have been impressive strides in the anti-corruption campaign in the past two decades, but Malaysia’s ranking and score of the annual TI CPI are even worse than two decades agol

MARA under Annuar Musa’s chairmanship is the third example of the kleptocratic culture after the international multibillion dollar 1MDB money-laundering scandal and FELDA.

For two weeks in the middle of 2015, Malaysian national attention was transfixed by the roiling MARA property corruption scandal in Australia which was blown open by the Australian daily, The Age, on June 23, 2015 with its report “Corrupt Malaysia money distorts Melbourne market”, on the outcome of an eight-month Fairfax Media investigation tracing suspicious money flows, court files and corporate records across three continents as part of a global money laundering and bribery scheme turning Australia into an “investment hot spot for the crooked and corrupt”.

The Fairfax Media investigation had zeroed in on MARA Inc’s purchase of the Dudley House property, and found that “greedy local developers and powerful officials overseas” pocketted A$4.75 million (RM13.8 million) in bribes on this single deal.

But this only opened a Pandora’s Box of MARA kleptocracy in Australia, as there was not only the MARA property corruption scandal of Dudley House apartment block in Australia, there were more than RM100 million corruption scandal involving four Melbourne properties with multi-layered and incestuous structure of offshore companies used to buy the Melbourne properties.

Annuar Musa may have been temporarily removed as MARA Chairman but has he or MARA accounted for the kleptocratic wrongs of MARA under his chairmanship?

I had in fact in June 2015 called on Annuar to resign or be sacked as MARA Chairman to take responsibility for MARA’s international corruption scandal and to pioneer a culture of responsibility for government leaders and captains of statutory boards and corporations in Malaysia.

I can understand Annuar’s animus towards me, but this is utterly irrelevant and immaterial in what should be a national campaign for a “reset” of the nation-building directions and national policies 60 years after Merdeka in 1957, in particular the eradication of the culture of kleptocracy and the kleptocratic examples of 1MDB scandal, FELDA and MARA.

The next 14th General Election, which is likely to be held in September this year, will be an opportunity for Malaysians to Save Malaysia by eradicating the culture of kleptocracy in Malaysia and end Malaysia’s ignominy and infamy as a global kleptocracy.

Clearly, the PAS President Datuk Seri Hadi Awang has a different agenda. He is not concerned that Malaysia becoming a global kleptocracy, or the curse of the culture of kleptocracy which has caused government institutions, like FELDA and MARA, to become kleptocratic institutions betraying the founding FELDA and MARA objectives.

From Hadi’s own speeches, all that the PAS President wants is at most five state government to be run by PAS – namely Kelantan, Terengganu, Kedah, Perak and Selangor – and to win 40 parliamentary seats in the 14GE so that PAS can be the “kingmaker” as to who would form the Federal Government after the 14GE.

There are those who think that far from winning five state governments in the 14GE, the issue confronting PAS in the 14GE is whether they could retain the Kelantan State Government, now that the popular PAS Mursidul Am, Datuk Seri Nik Aziz Nik Mat is no more.

In Malaysian electoral history since the 1959 general election, the most number of parliamentary seats PAS could win when it fought on its own and not a member of a coalition were 13 seats.

PAS won the most number of parliamentary seats in the 1999, 2008 and 2013 general elections, when PAS was part of Barisan Alternative in 1999, avoided multi-cornered contests with DAP and PKR in 2008 and was a member of Pakatan Rakyat in 2013.

The following is the record of number of parliamentary seats won by PAS since the 1959 general election:

1959 – 13/104
1964 - 9/104
1969 - 12/144
1974 - 13/154
1978 - 5/154
1982 - 5/154
1986 - 1/177
1990 - 7/180
1995 - 7/192
1999 - 27/193
2004 - 7/219
2008 - 23/222
2013 - 21/222

Electoral analysts have told me that the best-scenario for PAS fighting on its own is to win some 30 seats while its worst scenario is to be reduced to single-digit representation in Parliament – neither of which would give PAS a “kingmaker” role to determine who is to form the next Federal Government.

There will be different permutations and combinations about the electoral possibilities in the 14GE if UMNO is prepared to concede a substantial number of parliamentary seats to PAS. But is UMNO prepared to do so, even if Najib is so minded.

What will be the final electoral shape of things in the 14GE, only time will tell.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah