Since 14GE, there was hardly a day when the 1MDB scandal did not dominate news headlines, very often with multiple items a day

What a far cry from what the then Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib said in his 2016 New Year Message on Dec. 31, 2015 that his RM50 billion 1MDB and RM2.6 billion donation twin mega scandals had been resolved and were no more issues.

Since the 14th General Election on May 9,. 2018,, there was hardly a day when the 1MDB scandal did not dominate news headlines, very often with multiple items a day!

Today, for instance, there were four news stories connected to the 1MDB scandal in Malaysiakini, viz: “New Zealand gov't: Jho Low not given passport”; “Jho Low drops claims to New York's Park Lane Hotel to facilitate sale”;“1MDB probe to be completed in 'another month or two'”; and “Najib upset over muted gov't bench when he talks about 1MDB”.

Najib’s refusal to enter the dock meant for the accused at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court during the case management yesterday for his 25 criminal charges related to the 1MDB scandal is a salutary three-point reminder to Malaysians.

Firstly, that Najib’s is still cacooned in his hallucinatory denial complex that he had not committed any crime or wrong in the 1MDB “kleptocracy at its worst” scandal and that all the 1MDB scandal stories are all fake news and false information. While this Najibian complex is most astounding, what is even more deplorable and contemptible is that Najib’s erstwhile comrade-in-arms whether in UMNO or in the Barisan Nasional or previous Barisan Nasional parties, whether as Najib’s Ministers, MPs and BN leaders, could continue to defend Najib and the 1MDB scandal today, whether by commission or omission.

If Najib had succeeded in the 14th General Election to win victory for UMNO/BN and to continue as Prime Minister, he would have succeeded in cutting off Malaysia from the world and continue the façade and charade that the 1MDB scandal never existed, although Malaysia is regarded worldwide as a global kleptocracy with one foreign country after another initiating action against 1MDB crimes and corruption.

Secondly, there Malaysia has a long way to go to restore the rule of law and the principle of equality before the law, as eloquently explained in the Opinion piece by veteran journalist R. Nadeswaran in the Malaysiakini article “’No sitting in the dock for Najib’ raises double standards”.

Thirdly, it is testimony that Malaysia has an even longer way to go if we are to show the world that we can transform a global kleptocracy into a leading nation of integrity.

Recently, the Chief Commissioner of Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Mohd Shukri Abdull recounted that he felt so embarrassed about Malaysia's corruption levels when on a trip abroad in 2016 that he pretended to be an Indonesian national.

The chief commissioner also noted how the country's Corruption Perception Index (CPI) fell from 52 percent in 2014 to 47 percent in 2017.

"In 2014, Malaysia recorded 52 percent in CPI. It is a barely passable score, like a C-grade.

"In 2015, our score reduced to 50. It went down to 49 percent in 2016 and in 2017, we obtained 47 percent," he said.

Even the conclusion from the findings of KPMG’s Fraud, Bribery and Corruption Survey, as well as surveys conducted by Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and Transparency International's Global Corruption Barometer show that corruption is getting worse.

Najib’s defiance and contempt of court yesterday refusing to enter the accused’s dock despite 25 charges of corruption in connection with the 1MDB scandal illustrates the resistance the Pakatan Harapan Government is facing in its challenge to transform Malaysia from a global kleptocarcy to a leading nation in integrity.

The 38 charges that had been levelled against Najib is just scratching the surface of the gargantuan international 1MDB corruption and embezzlement scandal.

Najib’s defiance and contempt of court must be a salutary reminder to Malaysians who voted for change on May 8, 2018, that they must have the stamina, perseverance and tenacity as the kleptocrats to see through the transformation of Malaysia from a global kleptocracy to a leading nation of integrity.

Najib has expressed unhappiness over the absolute lack of response from government MPs when he spoke about 1MDB at the Dewan Rakyat on Wednesday.

Najib does not realise that he is the only former Prime Minister, in fact, the only politician in Malaysia who has sunk so low as to lose all credibility and forfeit public trust to the extent that nothing from him warrants or deserves belief or even attention.

If Najib wants to make a political comeback and regain public trust and credibility, he should first explain about his own lack of response spanning over three years, about the ballooning 1MDB scandal, particularly after the US Department of Justice (DOJ) filed its largest kleptocratic litigation to forfeit US$1.7 billion of 1MDB-linked assets from US$4.5 billion embezzled from 1MDB funds, and where he was personally cited as “Malaysian Official 1” (MO1), as well as about the jewelleries from the embezzled 1MDB funds for his wife.

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri