Only a change of Federal Government in Putrajaya can Malaysia stop the tide of corruption in Malaysia

In South Africa, 56 million people in the world’s 24th most populous nation are waiting for a new dawn after the forced resignation of Jacob Zuma as South African President after a tenure marked by corruption scandals.

The new President, Cyril Ramaphosa in his first state of the nation address on Friday, said it’s time for South Africans to put discord behind them and that the country will “turn the tide” on corruption in state institutions.

Time will tell whether Ramaphosa can fulfil his promise to end systematic corruption, the alarming economic decline and a steady descent into deep state dysfunction and demonstrate South Africa’s legendary capacity to pull off a comeback at five minutes to midnight.

When will we in Malaysia have a new dawn to Save Malaysia from the abyss of a global kleptocracy?

This is only possible if there a change of Federal Government in Putrajaya in the forthcoming 14th General Elections which must be held in the 75-day window from March to mid-May, with Pakatan Harapan replacing the UMNO/Barisan Nasional coalition and transforming Malaysia into a normal democracy like Western countries and Asian democracies like Japan, Taiwan, India, Indonesia and the Philippines where voters can peacefully and democratically change the government through the ballot box.

Let Malaysians join the international trend to fight corruption, uphold the rule of law and good governance.

The latest anti-corruption news is the arrest of the vice chancellor of the University of Zimbabwe, Levi Nyagura, for corruption and abuse of office in connection with the award of a doctorate to former first lady of Zimbabwe, Grace Mugabe.

Early this month, the former Bangladesh Prime Minister Khaleda Zia was convicted of corruption and sentenced to five year’s 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), former Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian, and the string of Chinese and Indonesian Ministers and high public officials jailed on corruption charges are proofs of the “dragons”, “tigers”, “crocodiles” of corruption under assault in Asian countries in the fight against corruption.

They should be 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 humiliation that Malaysia is going against this international trend against corruption, for we have acquired the infamy and ignominy of being regarded world-wide as a global kleptocracy as a result of the international 1MDB money-laundering scandal.

The 1MDB scandal had been described as the world’s “worst kleptocracy” by the United States Attorney-General Jeff Sesssions at a recent international conference but the Malaysian Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak continues to claim it is only fake news but dare not form a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the 1MDB scandal.

Apart from the charade of the government denial of 1MDB scandal, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has become the latest international laughing-stock of having compromised its independence and professionalism, firstly, because of the appointment of its Chief Commissioner; secondly, for being hand-in-glove in the charade denying that there is a 1MDB scandal to give immunity and impunity to “MO1” and 1MDB criminals; and thirdly, weaponized by the UMNO/BN government to defame and harass Pakatan Harapan leaders.

Early this month, the country’s most famous whistle-blower, PKR Vice President and MP for Pandan, Rafizi Ramli and former Public Bank clerk Johari Mohamad were convicted and sentenced to a 30-month jail sentence but they succeeded in bringing back to national limelight the RM250 million National Feedlot Corporation (NFC) cow-and-condo scandal.

As if fresh reminders are needed, last Sunday the Indonesia Finance Minister, Sri Mulyani Indrawati was awarded the Best Minister Award in the World Government Summit in Dubai, for her achievements to reduce poverty, improve standards of living, reducing public debts and her fight against corruption and to increase of transparency in government.

Let anti-corruption be one of the important issues in the forthcoming 14th general election in Malaysia – 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