New height of infamy for Malaysia that apart from 1MDB scandal which was “kleptocracy at its worst”, among worst performing nations in two-year Covid-19 pandemic, catastrophic government mismanagement of massive floods in Selangor and Pahang, absence of Prime Minister at annual Christmas high tea, a convicted criminal was invited to open an international conference

There have been many “national embarrassments” for Malaysia of late.

With the global 1MDB scandal which had been described by the former US Attorney-General as “kleptocracy at its worst”; Malaysia among the worst performing nations in the two-year Covid-19 pandemic accumulating nearly 2.75 million Covid-19 cases and over 31,000 deaths; a former Prime Minister declared by the Court of Appeal as a “national embarrassment” during his premiership; catastrophic government mismanagement of last week’s massive floods in Selangor and Pahang causing loss of at least 48 lives and the absence of the Prime Minister at the annual Christmas high tea which totally demolished his “Keluarga Malaysia” slogan, one would have thought Malaysia had enough infamies for any nation.

Attempts to ameliorate the public image problem caused by these infamies have only worsened the situation, with an ambulance having to wait for the Prime Minister’s convoy to pass (which is more urgent, to save lives in the case of ambulance or the Prime Minister’s visit) and the inability to pass the test of transparency and accountability with regard to the Prime Minister’s cancellation of his Cabinet Ministers’ year-end leave and directive to all Ministers holidaying abroad to return home to be with the people.

But worse infamy is yet to come – when a convicted criminal, although appealing to the Federal Court, was invited to open an international conference this morning.

I may agree with some of the things that this convicted criminal said when he opened the international conference this morning, in particular that former Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad was dead wrong when he made his “chopstick” remarks – stressing that It is not important what kind of cutleries are used by the Malaysian Chinese as what is more important is that the local Chinese are Malaysians at heart.

But that is a different question.

Inviting a convicted criminal to open an international conference is the new height of infamy for Malaysia.

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri