One important lesson for all Malaysians from the Sandakan by-election – Never forget the 1MDB scandal or Najib’s kleptocracy if Malaysia is ever to become a nation of integrity and excellence respected by the world

For the past several months before the Sandakan by-election, former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s highly-funded cybertroopers had been hammering hard on one theme with the siren song – enough had been said about the 1MDB scandal and Najib’s kleptocracy, the 14th General Election is over and let the courts decide whether Najib was guilty of corruption or not, but for now, the ball is in Pakatan Harapan’s court and let’s hear what the PH government had achieved to lower the cost of living and bring about institutional reforms.

From January this year, this Siren Song together with the invention of the shameless “Malu Apa Bossku” campaign to create a new persona and new lease of life for Najib, had a upper hand in the social media as evidenced from the three by-election defeats of Pakatan Harapan in Cameron Highlands, Semenyih and Rantau.

But the shameless “Malu Apa Bossku” campaign could only rampage for five months before it met its Waterloo in Sandakan.

One important lesson for all Malaysians from the Sandakan by-election is never to forget the 1MDB scandal or Najib’s kleptocracy if Malaysia is ever to become a nation of integrity and excellence respected by the world.

The expose of the 1MDB scandal and the hauling of Najib, his wife Rosmah Mansor, his Ministers like Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, UMNO bigwigs like former Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman and Tan Sri Isa Samad and Najib’s right-hand men like Arul Kanda Kandasamy, Tan Sri Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah and Tan Sri Muhammad Shafie Abdullah represent a clear notice to the world that Malaysia is serious about wiping out the infamy, ignominy and iniquity of a global kleptocracy but inadequate to establish Malaysia as a model nation of integrity – to be included in the Top 20 List of countries in the annual Transparency International Corruption Perception Indices.

Malaysia had ranked from 23 to 62 in 23-year series of annual Transparency International Corruption Perception Indices from 1995 to 2018 (Malaysia’s ranking was No. 61 with a score of 49 out of 100 for 2018).

Dare we dream to be listed in the Top Twenty of the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index in the next decade?

Malaysians must reject the Siren Song and the shameless “Malu Apa Bossku” campaign and agree that it is a great mistake to think that Najib’s corruption trials and those of a few bigwigs of Najib’s administration signify that Malaysia is firmly on the road to becoming a top nation of integrity.

Much work to fight corruption and to establish Malaysia as a nation of integrity to be among the Top Twenty of the annual Transparency International Corruption Perception Index need to be done.

Malaysians must never forget what would have happened to Malaysia if Najib and the UMNO/BN Government had not been voted out of office on that historic day of May 9, 2018 a year ago.

We now know about some of the rampant corruption, excesses and abuses of power which were committed under the Najib government, not just 1MDB, but Felda, Tabung Haji and in the Defence Ministry.

If there had been no change of government a year ago, Malaysia will be hurtling towards the trajectory of a failed, rogue and kleptocratic state, pawning the rights and interests of our children and children’s children.

In the 1970s, there was one country which was not only the richest country in Latin America and one of the twenty richest countries in the world, with a per capita GDP higher than Spain and Greece, and 13 per cent lower than that of the United Kingdom. It had free education and free health care.

Per capita GDP-wise, this nation was two-and-half times richer than Malaysia.

Today, some four decades later, it has become a poor and bankrupt nation – with a per capita GDP which is about five times less than that of Malaysia.

It suffered from sky-high inflation which left many of its people unable to afford basic necessities from food to medicine; with one out of every three patients admitted to a public hospital dying there; chronic water and electricity shortages; some of the slowest Internet connection speeds in the world; runaway corruption and total breakdown of democratic checks and balances.

The historic decision of May 9, 2018 spared Malaysia the fate of making another dubious history – beating this nation in the collapse from a progressive and prosperous country in a matter decades to become a failed and rogue nation after achieving the infamy of a kleptocratic state under Najib.

A year ago, Malaysians achieved a great feat in saving the nation from the fate of a failed, rogue and kleptocratic state, which would have enslaved our children and children’s children.

We must never forget or stop talking about the 1MDB scandal or Najib’s kleptocracy, but we must also keep faith to remain strong and steadfast in our vision of unity, freedom, justice and prosperous to build a Golden Age for Malaysia which is in the future and not in the past.

MP FOR ISKANDAR PUTERI
Media statement by Lim Kit Siang in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday, 14th May 2019