In a week’s time, it will be the first anniversary of the historic May 9, 2018 decision of the Malaysian electorate in the 14th General Election to bring about a peaceful and democratic change of Federal Government for the first time in six decades.
There are those who want to see the great Malaysian hopes of the May 9, 2018 decision to bring about a New Malaysia of unity, freedom, justice and prosperity to fail like the Arab Spring at the beginning of this decade, which descended into chaos and disorder with countries like Syria, Libya and Yemen even worse-off than before Arab Spring.
Although the majority of Malaysians had not expected the 14th General Election of May 9, 2018 to produce a change of the Federal Government for the first time in six decades, the euphoria of the historic occasion had unleashed new hopes and expectations that the corruption, abuses of power, injustices and depredations of the past six decades could be immediately undone overnight.
Pakatan Harapan must remain true and committed to the principal objectives of the PH general election manifesto to reduce the costs of living, achieve institutional reforms, engineer economic growth, restore power to Sabah and Sarawak and to build an inclusive and moderate Malaysia.
This is the work not of one hundred days or months but of years and decades. It calls for steadfast commitment to bring about unity, freedom, justice and prosperity to Malaysia and to all Malaysians.
The greatest achievement of the Pakatan Harapan in its first year in office is undoubtedly to restore pride to Malaysians in their own country, as Malaysians had previously been ashamed to identify themselves as Malaysians when abroad because of the 1MDB scandal, the ignominy of Malaysia becoming a global kleptocracy and having a Prime Minister regarded worldwide for the 4Ps – as a pencuri, perompak, penyamun and penyangak.
I myself was disappointed when the Transparency International Corruption Perceptionn Index 2018 was announced at the end of January this year that Malaysia had gone up by only one place to 61 out of 180 countries, maintaining the score of 47 points in the corruption index just like in the previous year, although the former Prime Minister and several prominent personalities including former Cabinet Ministers had been charged for corruption last year.
It is salutary reminder that “one swallow does not make a summer” and that the prosecution of the former Prime Minister and former Cabinet Ministers, however prominent the event, does not itself transform Malaysia from a global kleptocracy into a shining example of a nation of integrity.
As illustrated by the RM6.3 billion FELDA and RM17.8 billion Lembaga Tabung Haji bailouts respectively, the mission to transform Malaysia from a global kleptocracy into a nation of integrity is a work-in-progress, although I expect the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index for next year to show a great improvement in both ranking and score.
But Malaysians must not regard the war against corruption as a “Mission Accomplished”.
When I asked during a ceramah at Kampong Sim Sim in Sandakan two days ago whether Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBD) President, Maximus Ongkili had ever raised or objected to the 1MDB scandal when he was Minister in the Cabinet of former Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak – let alone following the sterling examples of Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal who were sacked from the Cabinet for their princidples – voices were raised that one should not be concerned about the 1MDB issue any more as it is in the courts.
How could this be when the war against corruption at all levels of government is a work-in-progress – and there is no better reminder of this than the arrest of a Barisan Nasional MP to be charged in court for corruption tomorrow.
It is significant and pertinent that until today, PBS like Najib, had never condemned the 1MDB scandal or expressed regret for bringing Malaysian the odium of a global kleptocracy.
If Ongkili is not prepared to risk his Cabinet position to speak out against the 1MDB scandal, which brought ignominy and infamy to Malaysia by being condemned worldwide as a global kleptocracy, what can Sabahans and Malaysians expect if PBS is able to stage a political comeback through the Sandakan by-election?
Would PBS denounce a 2MDB, 3MDB or 4MDB scandal if it is in any future government?