Next week will be an important week for Malaysia in determining whether Malaysia is to make a complete break from the past of global kleptocracy and to become a top world-class nation of integrity.
On November 11, the Kuala Lumpur High Court will decide whether the former Prime Minister, Datuk Najib Razak walks free or will be ordered to enter his defence on seven charges of abuse of power, corruption and money-laundering involving RM42 million of funds from SRC International.
On November 16, the voters of Tanjong Piai will cast their votes in the parliamentary by-election to demonstrate whether Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or region, will continue to support the Pakatan Harapan government’s New Malaysia objective to become a top world-class nation of integrity although this mission will take more than one general election cycle of at least one decade or more to accomplish.
Recently, the global anti-corruption movement, Transparency International (TI), which releases the prestigious annual Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI) ranking and score for the nations in the world since 1995, celebrated its 25th anniversary.
It came out with a list of 25 corruption scandals that “shook the world” in the past 25 years, and Malaysia made it to this infamous list because of the 1MDB scandal.
In a statement, TI said:
”Twenty-five years ago, when Transparency International was founded, corruption was seen as the necessary price of doing business and something so deeply ingrained that exposing and fighting it was regarded as futile and even harmful.
“We live in a different world now: citizens, media and politicians across all regions actively condemn abuses of power. Such attitude change is partly due to exposure to past scandals and their consequences.
“We compiled a list of some of the biggest corruption scandals over the last 25 years that inspired widespread public condemnation, toppled governments and sent people to prison. These scandals involve politicians across political parties and from the highest reaches of government, staggering amounts of bribes and money laundering of epic proportions.
“In the wake of many of these scandals, many governments and international bodies committed to or implemented anti-corruption reforms, counted and, in some cases, recovered losses.
“While much progress has been made to improve accountability, raise awareness about how corruption happens and change norms and perceptions, we still have a long way to go to learn from these scandals and fight corruption effectively.”
Undoubtedly, we in Malaysia “still have a long way to go” to establish the fundamentals of a nation of integrity to ensure that Malaysia can become a top world-class nation of integrity, regarded and admired by the world as among the top 30 countries for integrity, anti-corruption and good governance.
Next week will go a long way to decide whether Malaysia takes the turn towards a nation of integrity or we backtrack to again allow a global kleptocracy to make a come-back..
The kleptocrats and the corrupt in many of the 25 corruption scandals that shook the world in the past 25 years have been sent to prison for their corruption and abuses of power, but the 1MDB scandal in Malaysia is one great exception.
In several foreign countries, bankers and finance officers had been convicted and even jailed for corruption, criminal breach of trust and money-laundering in connection with the 1MDB scandal, except in Malaysia.
The most recent outstanding 1MDB development in a foreign country is the US$1 billion settlement by a 1MDB scandal mastermind, Jho Low, with the US Department of Justice with regard to its litigation to forfeit 1MDB0-linked assets in the United States and the United Kingdom.
But in Malaysia, nobody had yet been sent to jail for corruption and money-laundering for the 1MDB scandal, although Malaysia is home to this epic corruption scandal with films had made and booksabout the 1MDB scandal.
The historic decision of the 14th General Election on May 9, 2018 will be meaningless if Malaysia does not turn its back to its humiliating past as a global kleptocracy and set inexorably in the trajectory of a nation of integrity in the coming years.
This is why the Tanjong Piai by-election on Nov. 16 is very important for one of the issues the by-election will decide is whether the long-term effort of the Pakatan Harapan government to root out the 1MDB scandal and other corruption scandals as in FELDA, FELCRA, TABUNG HAJI, MARA and other institutions still have the support of the people of Malaysia, sending the corrupt to jail to pay for their crimes, or whether a global kleptocracy will be able to make a come-back in Malaysia.