Malaysians must have a Parliament which they can feel proud – a Parliament which understands the Malaysian Dream of all Malaysians and not one which is like the traditional three moneys, eyes that see not, ears that hear not and mouth that speaks not
Last night was the launch of the book by the DAP Selangor State Assemblywoman for Damansara Utama Yeo Bee Yin, the youngest member of the Selangor State Assembly, “Reimagining Malaysia”.
A small-town girl from Batu Anam, Segamat who have become an engineer after being recipient of the Gates Cambridge University Scholarship, Bee Yin tells in the book the story of her personal journey, her hopes and dreams for the country.
As I said in the foreword to the book, I believe most Malaysians have a dream to want to make Malaysia a better country for the people and themselves, which is shunted aside or snuffed out altogether by the exigencies of life, including parental expectations and pressures.
We must find ways to respond to these inner voices and give them room for expression.
Recently, it was reported that low wages and a lack of jobs have forced about 5,000 Malaysians to work and live illegally in South Korea, suffering human rights abuses and even denial of wages, many left to fend for themselves after suffering workplace accidents and getting fired.
Apart from the question as to what the Malaysian Embassy in Seoul is doing to look after the interests of these 5,000 illegal Malaysians in South Korea, the question we must ask is why these 5,000 Malaysians have gone to South Korea?
Just like the some two million Malaysians who have emigrated to foreign lands in the past half a century to help develop and modernize foreign countries, whether Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, United States and closer home, Singapore, they went in search of a Malaysian Dream – for a better life for themselves.
The 5,000 illegal Malaysians in South Korea and the two million Malaysians who have emigrated to other countries in the past half a century have created, not a Malaysian Chinese Diaspora or a Malaysian Indian Diaspora, but a Malaysian Diaspora comprising Malaysians of all races and religions.
They belong to the best and brightest in the country and should seek the Malaysian Dream inside Malaysia, but they were forced to leave our shores to seek the Malaysian Dream overseas.
Malaysia has failed them.
We have lost our way in the past six decades with countries more economically, educationally and politically backward than Malaysia having overtaken us on all these fronts, becoming not only richer and more developed and prosperous, but more democratic and more respectful of the principles of good governance and the rule of law.
We have fallen down the ladder of nations in human excellence, achievements and accomplishments in the past half century.
This is best illustrated by the Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2017, where Malaysia plunged to the lowest ranking in 23 years.
The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Paul Low, came out with the ridiculous statement that the string of high-profile arrests over the past year was the likely cause for Malaysia’s drop in rankings on Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI).
This was totally contradictory to the assessment by the Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) President, Datuk Akhbar Satar that Malaysia’s TI CPI ranking would have gone lower below No. 62 out of 180 countries “if not because of the MACC aggressiveness in conducting investigation and making arrests to deter corruption in the country”.
The Malaysian Government and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) seemed to think that both the Malaysian and international community were so gullible that they could be misled by the MACC campaign of “shock and awe” of arrests and charges, which obediently avoided the “sharks” of corruption but tasked with a special agenda to tar and stain Pakatan Harapan leaders, to believe that the MACC is empowered to combat corruption regardless of rank or station.
Akhbar Satar is right. If not for the MACC’s “shock and awe” tactics of arrests and charges, Malaysia’s TI CPI 2017 would have sunk lower, and be in the company of countries like Bulgaria, South Africa, Vanuatu, Burkina Fako, Lesotho and Tunisia with CPI scores of 42-43/100.
To restore public confidence and MACC credibility in the fight against corruption, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Paul Low, MACC Chief Commissioner Tan Sri Dzulkifli Ahmad and the 20-odd members of the five bodies which monitor the MACC should collectively resign over their dismal failure highlighted by TI CPI 2017 which saw Malaysia plunge to lowest TI CPI ranking in 23 years – 62 out of 180 countries with TIP score of 47/100.
These five bodies are the Anti-Corruption Advisory Board, the Special Committee on Corruption, the Complaints Committee, the Operations Review Panel, and the Corruption Consultation and Prevention Panel.
It is great shame that the Transparency International Malaysia should suffer the shame, dishonour and indignity of two of its Presidents ending up as political mercenaries of the-powers-that-be, serving as apologists and defenders of MO1, the international multi-billion dollar 1MDB money-laundering scandal and Malaysia as a global kleptocracy.
What has happened to all the boast of Malaysia being ranked among the 30 top least corrupt nations by 2020, when the shoreline of this target is getting further and further away?
It would appear that the MACC Chief Commissioner had not expected Malaysia’s TI CPI to improve in the next three years, but did he expect a plunge to the lowest point of 62 out of 180 countries?
He has even now come up with the idea of MACC creating its own corruption index, which would have no credibility except in UMNO and Barisan Nasional.
China and Indonesia are poised to overtake Malaysia in the TI CPI series if these two countries improve their TI CPI ranking and score at their pace in the past 23 years, while Malaysia stagnates, with China overtaking Malaysia in eight years’ time in 2015 and Indonesia in 14 years’ time in 2031.
China and Indonesia would overtake Malaysia in an even shorter period if Malaysia continues to regress, as happened during the nine-year premiership of Najib.
What is the Parliament and MACC doing with regard to this shocking possibility?
Before the establishment of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission in 2009, Malaysia scored the best TI CPI ranking of 23 under premiership of Tun Dr. Mahathir and No. 39 under Tun Abdullah Badawi, as compared to the best TI CPI ranking of No. 50 under Najib; with the worst TI CPI ranking of No. 37 under Mahathir and No. 47 under Abdullah as compared to No. 62 under Najib.
I commend to Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Members of Parliament as well as the top public officials, whether the Chief Secretary, the Attorney-General, Inspector-General of Police, the Chief Justice, the Auditor-General, the MACC Chief Commissioner to read the memoir of Malaysian tycoon, Robert Kuok, who was recently demonized and subject to a four-day gratuitous, baseless, malicious and savage UMNO attack over the false accusation that Robert Kuok had funded the DAP against the Barisan Nasional.
Robert Kuok cannily pinpointed in his memoir the reasons why Malaysia had lost its way in the last six decades degenerating from a country respected and admired by the world into one which is scorned and held in increasing contempt because we have become a shameless global kleptocracy.
Read Robert Kuok’s Memoir, in particular Chapter 22 on “Strength of Culture” in final Part VII on “In Closing”, where he pinpointed two factors deciding the rise and fall of nations:
– A nation with moral compass; and
– Rule of Law.
Robert Kuok said:
“The leaders must be politician-statesmen willing to put the good of their nations and the people above their individual self-interest. I recoil from politicians who are there for fame and glory, or to line their pockets. True leaders are those who come out of the community and govern to raise the people to greater heights.”
Robert Kuok’s memoir also said:
“A moral society cannot be attained through policing. You must begin at the beginning, and infuse the young with a strong sense of morality from a young age, both at home and at school.”
“It is a basic principle of the rule of law that everyone is equal before the law. In China today we have rule by man. Under the rule of law, even the General Secretary of the Communist Party is not above the law.”
If Malaysia has not lost its moral compass and the rule of law had not deteriorated because of the creeping loss of the independence, impartiality and professionalism of the key national institutions, the Malaysian Dream which had motivated all Malaysians six decades ago would not have been dimmed or Malaysians have to leave our shores to seek greener pastures overseas – including Robert Kuok.
On the gratuitous, baseless, malicious and savage UMNO attack on Robert Kuok over the false accusation that he had funded the DAP against the Barisan Nasional, the Prime Minister and the UMNO/BN Government owe Robert Kuok a public apology, and I ask the Prime Minister to officially and publicly tender this public apology to Robert Kuok in Parliament next week during the Ministerial winding up of the debate.
This is my tenth term as a Malaysian Member of Parliament since 1969 with a break in the 10th Parliament from 1999 – 2004.
Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, MP for Gua Musang, is the only other MP who had served in Parliament for ten terms from 1974, although in total I have served longer in Parliament than Tengku Razaleigh.
Malaysians must have a Parliament which they can feel proud – a Parliament which understands the Malaysian Dream of all Malaysians and not one which is like the traditional three moneys, eyes that see not, ears that hear not and mouth that speaks not.
I am not proud to be a MP of the 13th Parliament, which has become quite a laughing stock of world Parliaments.
Motions on 1MDB are introduced or debated in Parliaments of other countries, but not in Malaysia.
For instance, in the House of Commons in United Kingdom, where British Labour MP for Cynon Valley, Ann Clwyd had introduced an early day motion (EDM) in July last year, which read:
“That this House is alarmed about allegations of the misappropriation of billions of dollars from 1Malaysia Development Berhad, a state-owned investment firm intended to promote economic development in Malaysia, including by the current Malaysian Prime Minister, Najib Razak.
“The EDM notes the ongoing investigations in a number of countries, including the US and Switzerland and further notes the statement by the FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, in connection with the largest single action so far by the US Department of Justice’s Kleptocracy Asset Initiative, that the Malaysian people were defrauded on an enormous scale.
“The EDM wants to highlight the continuing restrictions on freedom of expression and of association in Malaysia, as well as the misuse of the Sedition Act, targeted particularly at government critics, including opposition politicians and MPs, such as Anwar Ibrahim, jailed following legal proceedings which fell far short of international standards, and Rafizi Ramli MP.
“It further encourages the government of Malaysia to allow international observers, including from a range of Commonwealth countries, at its upcoming general elections, to demonstrate its commitment to free and fair elections, particularly given that Malaysia will be taking up the Chair-in-Office of the Commonwealth in 2020.”
Or in the Swiss Parliament today, where the Swiss Members of Parliament will debate and vote on a motion to repatriate RM430 million 1MDB-related funds confiscated from Swiss banks because of money-laundering and other corrupt practices to Malaysia so as to benefit Malaysians harmed by the international mega 1MDB financial scandal.
The repatriation of corruption money hidden or stashed away overseas from their country of origin and their use to benefit the nationals harmed by such corrupt practices is a principle which has been accepted internationally as a result of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption 2003, which Malaysia signed in Mexico on 9th December 2003 and officially ratified on 24th Sept. 2008.
The motion before the Swiss Parliament in the name of Carlos Sommaruga of the Social Democratic Party (SP) of Switzerland, reads:
“The Federal Council (cabinet) is instructed to repatriate to its country of origin, at least in part, profits unlawfully obtained in third party countries by the Federal Prosecutor's Office and the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) in accordance to the procedures of the Illegally Acquired Assets Act (SR 196.1) in the countries concerned.”
The Government and 1MDB have sought to pull the wool over the people’s eye by claiming that the Swiss motion is not specific to 1MDB, and that “any allegations of its assets being embezzled or misappropriated, either domestically or overseas, were simply not true and politically motivated”
In the United States, the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs held a hearing on “Combating Money-laundering and other forms of illicit finance” in January this year where the US Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney-General, Criminal Division, M. Kendall Day testified and made the following statement with regard to the 1MDB scandal:
“Between 2009 and 2015, those corrupt officials and their associates took more than $4.5 billion from the development fund in four phases.
“These funds were laundered through a complex web of opaque transactions and fraudulent shell companies with bank accounts in countries around the world, including Switzerland, Singapore, Luxembourg, and the United States.”
But in the Parliament of Malaysia, MPs cannot ask questions or even move motions about the 1MDB scandal, which has given Malaysia the 3Is – Infamy, ignominy and iniquity of being regarded world-wide a global kleptocracy.
For UMNO/BN leaders, propagandists and the army of quinoa cybertroopers who believe that 1MDB could be dismissed as an major election issue in the imminent 14GE, I commend business journalist P. Gunasegaram’s recent article in Malaysiakini, 1MDB very much a major election issue” where he said that he refused to believe that any Malaysian, rural or urban, is unconcerned that effectively as much as over RM40 billion was stolen from 1MDB and of this, over RM30 billion was borrowed money.
But horror of horrors, Malaysia seems heading towards not just towards to 3Is of a global kleptocracy, but reaching greater heights or depths to be a global double kleptocracy.
On Tuesday,, the DAP MP for Taiping, Nga Kor Ming, offered Najib free legal services to sue international news weekly, the Economist, for its 8th March, 2018 article: “Stop, thief! Malaysia’s PM is about to steal an election”.
I fully endorse this offer of free legal services from DAP, and Najib can choose anyone of the DAP lawyers to defend his reputation and that of the nation.
But it is a full week, and there has been thunderous silence from Najib, with no response whatsoever from Najib on the Economist’s article calling him a thief who is to steal the 14th General Election – or the MSNBC television host Rachel Maddow who called Najib a thief in the Rachel Maddow Show programme on March 9 because of the international multi-billion 1MDB money-laundering scandal.
I want to ask Najib a direct question – why speak on a multitude of issues in the past week but keep silent on the allegations of global double kleptocracy?
I had said ten days ago that the 1MDB money-laundering scandal had literally been “raining cats and dogs” worldwide with bad news for Najib, the Malaysian government and people since the seizure of the Bombadier jet in Singapore early February, followed by the following events::
- the seizure of Equanimity luxury super-yacht in Bali at the end of February;
- the CNBC special programme on “What happened to Malaysia’s 1MDB money” on March 1;
- report that the “Wolf Of Wall Street” producers agreed to pay US$60 million to US Department of Justice (DoJ) in kleptocratic lawsuit settlement;
- report that the son of the Australian Prime Minister, Alex Turnbull, was a victim of 1MDB scandal as he was sidelined from his executive position at Goldman Sachs after acting as a whistle-blower on allegedly shady deals involving billions between the global investment bank and 1MDB;
- report that a top Republican fundraiser close to President Donald Trump had asked as much as US$75 million (RM295 million) from Jho Low to get the United States Department of Justice (DoJ) to stop investigating the 1MDB scandal;
- Malaysian officials including Ministers, Deputy Minister and even the Inspector-General Police rushing to defend Jho Low and the 1MDB scandal like the IGP claiming that there is “nothing to link Jho Low with 1MDB” and the Communications and Multimedia Minister, Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak claiming that there was no evidence the luxury superyacht seized by Indonesian authorities and FBI is owned by Jho Low;
- and the two international media organizations, the Economist and MSNBC publicly calling Najib a “thief” transforming Malaysia into a global double kleptocracy;
- the Swiss Parliament debate on the motion today on the repatriation of funds to the people of Malaysia of some RM400 million 1MDB-linked funds confiscated from Swiss banks in the 1MDB money-laundering scandal.
But the “rain cats and dogs” have not stopped.
Two days ago on Monday, the international human rights and anti-corruption NGO, Global Witness, released a 26-page report, entitled “The Real Thieves of Wall Street” in its campaign to get the UK financial regulator, Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), to investigate Royal Bank of Scotland and Standard Chartered for handling more than US$2 billion of allegedly embezzled funds from 1MDB.
Global Witness said in its 26-page report that the 1MDB affair was “a clear failure” by the banks because they “ignored the rules, turned a blind eye, kept profitable clients and continued handling billions of dollars of dirty money despite clear warning signs”.
The Global Witness report quoted the United Nations estimates that law enforcement seize and freeze less than 1% of criminal funds laundered through the international financial system.
It said: “Behind every flow of laundered funds lies a crime, and those crimes have victims”
“It now appears likely that 1MDB will fail to repay its debts, given the scale of embezzlement alleged to have taken place. If that happens the Malaysian government will face a bill greater than the country’s annual healthcare budget. In the end, the people of Malaysia will pay the price.”
The government however is in the centre of a conspiracy to make Malaysians believe that the 1MDB scandal is a victim-less crime, in fact, that it is all fake news and simply did exist.
I am ashamed to be a MP for a Parliament which is in the thick of this conspiracy where the 1MDB scandal has been elevated into a taboo subject, where questions cannot be asked and motions moved.
This is probably the last fortnight for the present Parliament.
Malaysians must have a Parliament which they can feel proud of – a Parliament which understands the Malaysian Dream of all Malaysians and not one which is like the traditional three monkeys, eyes that see not, ears that hear not and mouth that speaks not.
I do not know whether I will be back in the 14th Parliament, but I hope to see a Parliament elected that can give space to the Malaysian Dream of all Malaysians – one where the Damansara Utama Assemblywoman who will leave Klang Valley to the frontline battle front of the 14GE in Johore can take her rightful place.
Let me outline my three basic principles in my 52 years of political commitment:
Firstly, I am in politics because of the Malaysian Dream, which I believe is shared by many Malaysians down the decades who have undivided love and loyalty to Malaysia – to build a nation where all Malaysians, regardless of their different racial, religious or regional backgrounds, are united and feel as one because they are Malaysians and proud to be a Malaysian, and where Malaysia can leverage on the best of the diverse races, cultures, religions and civilizations which meet in confluence in Malaysia, to be a top world nation in different fields of human endeavour.
Secondly, DAP has always been a party for all Malaysians and never a party for any one race. DAP leaders, who come from diverse ethnic and religious groups, never aspire to be leaders of only one ethinic or religious group, as we always see ourselves as representing all Malaysians regardless of race, religion or region.
No person can be a Malaysian leader if he or she is against any one race or religion or concerned only about the rights and interests of only one community – as Malaysian leaders, we must set an example of rising above the racial, religious and regional differences in the country to serve the common national weal.
Thirdly, Malaysian who had supported DAP loyally and consistently in the past half a century did so not because they want a Chinese Malaysian or an Indian Malaysia, as they know that DAP never advocated a Chinese Malaysia, Indian Malaysia or Malay Malaysia, but because of the Malaysian Dream to build a Malaysia where all citizens, regardless of race, religion or region, have a rightful place under the Malaysian sun.
Let all Malaysians, whether in Malaysia and the Diaspora, heed the call to Save Malaysia in the 14th General Election by resetting nation-building directions and policies to achieve the Malaysian Dream of excellence, justice, integrity, freedom and harmony so that the country can be “a beacon of light in a disturbed and distracted world”.