Will Malaysia join the ranks of South Korea, Taiwan, Bangladesh and Pakistan whose leaders are jailed for corruption after they have fallen from power?

Last Wednesday’s conviction and 30-month jail sentence passed on PKR Vice President and MP for Pandan, Rafizi Ramli and former Public Bank clerk Johari Mohamad have brought back to the national limelight one of the host of financial scandals in Malaysia which the authorities had hoped had been successfully been swept under the carpet – the RM250 million National Feedlot Corporation (NFC) cow-and-condo scandal.

As a result, the RM250 million NFC cow-and-condo scandal, together with Rafizi’s conviction and jail sentence, will take their rightful place together with other financial scandals, like the world-trotting 1MDB financial scandal, the MARA, FELDA, Tabung Haji and other financial scandals, in the forefront of issues in the forthcoming 14th General Election to be held within the next 90 days.

One question uppermost in the minds of many ordinary Malaysians as well as political leaders is whether Malaysia will join the ranks of South Korea, Taiwan, Bangladesh and Pakistan whose leaders are jailed for corruption after they have fallen from power.

A few days ago, the former Bangladesh Prime Minister Khaleda Zia was convicted of corruption and sentenced to five year’s in jail.

In Pakistan last year, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was indicted on corruption charges and an anti-corruption court in Islamabad issued a warrant of arrest in relation to the wealth owned by him and his family.

The cases of South Korean President, Park Geun-hye, two former South Korean Presidents, Chun Doo-hwan and Roh Tae-woo (the corruption investigation of another former South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun was closed after Roo leaped to his death) and the former Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian, who were all jailed, and the campaign against “dragons”, “tigers”, “crocodiles” in China and Indonesia are further salutary lessons for political leaders in Asian countries that they will have to pay dearly for “grand corruption” during their years of power whether as President or Prime Minister.

It is tragic and a national humiliation that Malaysia had achieved world notoriety as a global kleptocracy because of the 1MDB scandal, which had been described as the world’s “worst kleptocracy” by the United States Attorney-General Jeff Sesssions at a recent international conference.

Indonesia’s Suharto and Philippines’ Ferdinand Marcos had previously been known as among the top 10 corrupt world leaders.

Is Malaysia trying to make up by becoming known as one of the top global kleptocracies, beating Indonesia, the Philippines and China?

Already Malaysia has been named as among the five “worst corruption scandals of 2015” by the Foreign Policy website because of the international multi-bililon dollar 1MDB money-laundering scandal.

Is Malaysia heading to top the world in terms of kleptocracy and corruption?

This is one of the important issues to be decided in the forthcoming general election – whether we are to Save Malaysia to re-set nation-building policies and direction to achieve our Malaysian Dream to be an international show-case of unity, harmony, integrity, good governance, development, progress and prosperity in a plural nation or to be trapped in the trajectory of a failed, rogue and kleptocratic state!

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah