Call on 32 million Malaysians to have a mindset change for the rise of a culture of integrity with zero tolerance for corruption to achieve the New Malaysia objective of transforming a global kleptocracy into a leading nation of integrity
The historic 14th General Election decision of May 9, 2018, when Malaysian voters shocked themselves and the world in effecting a peaceful and democratic transition of power in a Putrajaya is akin to a miracle.
This is why the 14th Malaysian Election result is quoted by global political observers major publications in the world as one of the great global events for the year 2018 which has just ended.
The Economist, for instance, in its edition dated Dec. 18, 2018, named Malaysia together with Ethiopia and Armenia in the three-nation finals list in its “ovation country of the year 2018” - for Malaysian voters who “fired a Prime Minister who could not adequately explain why there was US$700 million in his bank account”.
The Economist said:
“Despite Najib Razak’s glaring imperfections, his sacking was a surprise. Malaysia’s ruling party had dominated politics since the 1950s and gerrymandered furiously to keep it that way. Yet the opposition triumphed at an election, and Malaysians enjoyed the delicious spectacle of police removing big boxes of cash, jewellery and designer handbags from their former leader’s home.”
I remember speaking to Malaysians at the University of Hong Kong in November last year, where one of them admitted that for a few years before the historic decision of May 9, 2018, he had not dared to admit that he was a Malaysian!
This was not an isolated case. For many years, Malaysians who travelled overseas hid their Malaysian origin by claiming that they were from Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore or some vague reference to Borneo, because of the monstrous 1MDB scandal and Malaysia’s new reputation as a global kleptocracy under the Najib premiership.
Malaysians have good reasons to be proud of their historic decision of May 9, 2018, but there is a danger that Malaysians may begin to take it for granted, forgetting that the overwhelming majority of Malaysians including Tun Dr. Mahathir and myself had not expected Datuk Seri Najib Razak to be toppled as Prime Minister and the UMNO/Barisan Nasional political coalition to be drummed out of office in Putrajaya.
Malaysians must never forget the meaning of May 9, 2018 – it was to re-set nation-building policies to Save Malaysia from hurtling towards the trajectory of a sham democracy, a kakistocracy, a failed state and a global kleptocracy.
We want to rebuild a New Malaysia where we can become a top world-class nation in every field of human endeavour; compete with the rest of the world instead of dissipating our energies and resources fighting among ourselves; restore the rule of law and good governance, and transform a global kleptocracy into a leading nation in integrity.
The past eight months were really historic in the annals of anti-corruption in Malaysia, for never in the last six decades of Malaysian history had there been so many “sharks”, both in size and numbers, arrested and charged in court for corruption – a former Prime Minister, former FLOM, former Deputy Prime Minister, former Cabinet Ministers and grandees of the previous government.
But charging, prosecuting, convicting and even jailing kleptocrats do not make a leading nation in integrity.
What is urgently needed is a mindset change among the 32 million Malaysians for a culture of integrity and zero tolerance to be firmly and irrevocably implanted in Malaysia, for it is only then that we can achieve the New Malaysia objective of transforming a global kleptocracy into a leading nation of integrity.
Recently events have shown that this is no easy task.
Firstly, there was the Muar incident over the allegation of 30 per cent commission demanded by local politicians over educational development allocations to schools, which reminded me of the 90% “leakage” scandal in 2006, when Ong Tee Kiat, then MCA National Vice President and Deputy Higher Education Minister exposed the shocking 90% misuse of funds in the RM30,000 allocation for repair of SJKC Kung Yu in Johore, where only RM3,000 worth of work was done for a RM30,000 project!
There was next the controversy created by Bersatu vice president Abdul Rahman Abdul Rahman calling on the party to use government resources and to hold on to power “by hook or by crook” which is totally against a culture of integrity and zero tolerance for corruption.
I have said that Malaysians do not want to change one team of UMNO/Barisan Nasional kleptocrats with another team of Pakatan Harapan kleptocrats, and that the DAP is prepared and prefer to lose power than to hang on to power by corrupt, undemocratic or other devilish means.
The third and latest incident is the allegation of wrongdoings with forged documents being used to claim public funds which emanated from one the state chapters of one of the four parties in Pakatan Harapan.
It is salutary reminder that there must a change of mindset among the 32 million Malaysians and among all the levels of leadership and membership of the four component parties in Pakatan Harapan so that we can have a culture of integrity and zero tolerance for corruption among the populace.
The “drama” of big sharks being hauled to court on multiple counts on corruption and abuses of power by itself is inadequate to instil among Malaysians a culture of integrity and zero tolerance for corruption.