Tony Pua has won 2-0 in the first round of “Open Letter War” with Johari Abdul Ghani – would the second Finance Minister dare to try to gain the upper hand in new rounds of “Open Letter War”?

I would adjudge DAP PJ MP for PJ Utara Tony Pua as having won 2-0 in the first round of “Open Letter War” with second Finance Minister, Datuk Johari Abdul Ghani.

Would the second Finance Minister dare to try to gain the upper hand in new rounds of “Open Letter War” with Pua?

Johari made three critical mistakes in his opening salvo of the “Open Letter War” with Tony.

No patriotic Malaysian would endorse Johari’s call to Pua to give the 1MDB scandal “a rest”, allegedly on the ground that “the folks of Petaling Jaya Utara elected you (Pua) as their MP to do better things than just being obsessed with 1MDB”.

I believe the voters of PJ Utara, as well as patriotic Malaysians all over the country, want Pua and DAP leaders not to fly the white flag but to continue to demand accountability and good governance over the international multi-billion dollar 1MDB money-laundering scandal – or Malaysians must be resigned to the mockery, ridicule and odium of the world in living in a global kleptocracy.

I am prepared to organize a series of walkabouts in PJ Utara and accompany Johari and Pua to visit the people of PJ Utara to ascertain whether they want the 1MDB issue to given “a rest” on the ground that their MP should not be “obsessed” with 1MDB.

All that Johari needs to do is to give the signal that he is prepared to take part in such a 1MDB walkabout of PJ Utara, and I will arrange the rest.

My complaint is that Malaysians are not obsessed enough with the 1MDB scandal as without such an obsession, Malaysia will never get out of the trap of a global kleptocracy.

Apart from the 1MDB kleptocratic scandal, we already have FELDA and MARA as examples of the curse of a kleptocratic culture, which have crept into the higher echelons of government in recent years.

In fact, Johari can be cited as the fourth example of the curse of the culture of kleptocracy, which is his second critical mistake.

As Johari has confessed in his inaugural Open Letter, he was “very critical of 1MDB when I was a backbencher” but after being “privy to detailed information on 1MDB”, he became a defender and apologist of 1MDB scandal.

May be we should congratulate Johari for his adaptability and malleability, and being a better second Finance Minister to Najib as compared to his predecessor, Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah, who fell ill trying to “defend the indefensible” over the 1MDB scandal.

As Husni had publicly recounted, he had been under heavy stress for months, suffering prolonged high blood pressure, dealing with the 1MDB scandal.

He said he was finally prompted to resign as Second Finance Minister by a senior official of Bank Negara who told him: “Everyone knows that you are not involved in 1MDB. Why are you feeling stressed over the 1MDB issue?”

When will such a day of reckoning come for Johari?

Johari’s third critical mistake was to answer on behalf of the government on the 1MDB scandal in Parliament during the Ministerial winding-up of the debate on the Royal Address.

Johari has admitted not having the full picture of the 1MDB scandal – but nobody doubts that the Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak has the full picture of the 1MDB scandal, bearing in mind Article 117 of the 1MDB Memorandum and Articles of Association which provided that Najib’s written consent was required for any major 1MDB decision or transaction!

It is an utter contempt of Parliament for the second Finance Minister to answer debate on the 1MDB when he does not have the “full picture” on the 1MDB, while the Finance Minister who has the “full picture” abdicates from his parliamentary duties and responsibilities.

These are among the reasons I adjudged Johari has having scored his own goal in his inaugural Open Letter War with Pua, and why I gave a winning point to Pua.

I also gave a winning point to Pua for his “Open Letter” reply to Johari for the following reasons:

Firstly, Pua categorically debunked Johari’s ridiculous claim that the government had “nothing to hide and nothing to cover up”. In fact, every government action following public expose of the 1MDB scandal is prompted by the sole objective of the government to hide and cover-up the 1MDB scandal.

Secondly, Pua also gave a powerful answer to the false question advanced by Johari – “Do we wait for the country to collapse and lose all of its credibility in the eyes of the world through incessant condemnations and criticisms from within and without?”

Malaysian patriots, regardless of race, religion or even politics, do not want the country to collapse and lose all credibility, but this is achieved not by pretending that Malaysia’s appellation of a global kleptocracy does not exist, but by bravely cleansing Malaysia of such infamy and ignominy.

In current times, an acid test of Malaysian patriotism is whether we want to Save Malaysia from global kleptocracy and eradicating the culture of kleptocracy, or we put up a façade to pretend that such infamy and ignominy do not exist, and that there is no culture of kleptocracy in Malaysia.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah