Najib as BNBBC Chairman in Parliament has presented all Malaysians with a moral crisis

Najib as BNBBC Chairman in Parliament has presented all Malaysians with a moral crisis

The appointment of former Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, as Chairman of Barisan Nasional Backbenchers’ Club (BNBBC) has confronted all Malaysians with a moral crisis, bringing to the fore the issue of the 1MDB financial scandal and Malaysia becoming a kleptocracy.

This is the time for all patriotic politicians to take a stand against the 1MDB financial scandal and Malaysia becoming a kleptocracy.

It is really amazing that after a decade at the end of 2020, there are still political leaders especially in UMNO, MCA and MIC who are so enamoured with the 1MDB financial scandal that they are not prepared to condemn it straightaway, taking a very ambiguous position that it has still to be proven that 1MDB was a scandal, and to avoid altogether the subject of Malaysia becoming a kleptocracy.

This despite the fact that the 1MDB scandal had been known worldwide for at least five years as an infamous financial scandal and was the subject of investigation by law enforcement agencies of at least 10 foreign countries!

One wonders whether these politicians are hankering for the days when the 1MDB financial scandal was a new norm and the issue of Malaysia becoming a kleptocracy could be banned from Parliament and public discourses through draconian and repressive measures.

Are we waiting for a day when Malaysia’s most notorious fugitive from justice, Jho Low, could return to the country with a hero’s welcome?

Malaysia is at the crossroads as less than two years after the 14th General Election on May 9, 2018, where the seemingly invincible kleptocratic government was voted out of office, political leaders are taking a very ambivalent attitude to the two issues of the 1MDB financial scandal and Malaysia becoming a kleptocracy.

It was just three months ago that Najib was convicted of corruption, money-laundering and abuse of power in the first of many 1MDB trials in Malaysian courts and sentenced to 12 years’ jail and fine of RM210 million and just one week ago that Goldman Sachs pleaded guilty in the United States to violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which bars U.S. companies from paying bribes to government officials abroad – in the case of “a massive global scheme to loot billions of dollars” from 1MDB and the subsequent use of those funds by senior Goldman bankers and their co-conspirators to pay billions of dollars in bribes to senior government officials and others around the world, particularly to “MO1”, who is none other than Najib himself.

Why have Malaysian political leaders such short memory?

There are those who think I should not be raising this moral crisis as Najib has presented the Opposition with a great campaign issue in the 15th General Election.

But I do not concur.

I agree that the moral crisis from such faux pax is politically expedient for exploitation in the 15th General Election campaign, but I believe that as patriotic Malaysians, we must try to spare Malaysia of this moral crisis by raising it now.

Malaysia had the best Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI) report in January this year, when the 2019 TI CPI was released.

It was the best antidote to the atmosphere of gloom and doom which had descended on the country, and which hopefully would spark the start of a virtuous circle of delivery of Pakatan Harapan general election promises and achievements in 2020.

But it was not to be, as the Pakatan Harapan government was toppled by the Sheraton Move conspiracy which brought in a backdoor, illegitimate and kakistocratic government.

When Transparency International started its annual CPI report in 1995, Malaysia was ranked No. 23 out of 41 countries with a score of 5.28 points out of ten and in 1996, Malaysia was ranked No. 26 out of 54 countries with a score of 5.32 points out of ten.

In the past quarter of a century, we have lost out on the public integrity front to many countries, while other countries like China and Indonesia have made great strides on the anti-corruption front.

In the first TI CPI 1995 report, China and Indonesia were the last two countries in the list, with a miserable score of 2.16 for China and 1.94 for Indonesia out of ten points.

In the TI CPI 2019 report, China is placed No. 80 with a score of 41 out of 100 points and Indonesia placed No. 85 with a score of 40 out of 100 points – while Malaysia had an improved ranking of No. 51 and score of 53 out of 100.

With anti-corruption efforts in retreat in Malaysia as illustrated by the appointment of Najib as BNBBC Chairman in Parliament, will Indonesia and China be overtaking Malaysia as a nation of public integrity in the coming decade before 2030?

This is a question all patriotic Malaysians should be asking now.

Lim Kit Siang is the DAP MP for Iskandar Puteri

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of The Leaders Online