Home Web Specials 2016 Web Specials 1MDB: Paul Low, sycophants silent over Najib’s ‘governance’

1MDB: Paul Low, sycophants silent over Najib’s ‘governance’

Minister Paul Low

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Our distinguished minister in charge of integrity and governance (former head of Transparency International Malaysia) has to stand up and speak out, says K Haridas.

“Malaysia is serious about good governance” says the prime minister. This raises serious questions as to whether he even understands what ‘good governance’ is all about.

The nature of his conduct and actions seems contrary and shows that these words are mere lip service. Anyone who is committed to good governance would be open, honest, transparent and ready to be held accountable.

This is the very antithesis of all he is doing. Here is the man who set up an independent task force to investigate 1MDB. He then responded to the creation of the public accounts committee of Parliament. Thereafter, he appears to have done everything to undercut the work and progress of this committee. He dismantled the PAC at a crucial time in its work.

He then appointed four from the PAC to join the executive including the chairman. He then got his party to appoint a “cari makan” chairman. It has now been reported that the chair has even manipulated the PAC report to hide significant facts relating to Jho Low and the ownership of Goodstar Ltd.

Is this in the tradition of good governance? The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency (MACC), Bank Negara and the attorney general’s department have all had to face immense pressure.

The sudden appointment of a new attorney general even before the incumbent’s term had expired is another example of Najib’s idea of good governance. The new appointee, a former party member, has since predictably cleared the PM of all wrongs with regard to 1MDB.

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It is a slap in the face of the prime minister and the attorney general that the 136-page report of the Department of Justice (DOJ) speaks of serious misuse of money within 1MDB.

The MACC head has now resigned from his position even before his tenure of office has ended. He signals an important message about how difficult it is to work independently. There had been earlier attempts to transfer critical MACC staff who were investigating 1MDB to other departments – all this showing suggesting interference and manipulation. Is this in the tradition of good governance?

The prime minister must think very little of fellow Malaysians. These are insults to our intelligence. This, however, highlights the culture in which Umno and the BN operates.

Consider the deception and manipulation during elections involving the use of money to buy votes using terms like refunding transport costs. An Election Commission that lacks independence closes its eye to the misdemeanours of Umno.

Right and wrong, good governance and honesty are all values that are above race. These signal what is good for society as a whole. When individuals just parrot these ideas without substance they reveal serious credibility issues.

This is all the more critical for the BN and its coalition partners. Their commitment is to race and under this so much can be justified.

We have now come to know that some of this money has since been used for gambling and other shady deals involving the production of movies, purchase of apartments, a Bombardier jet plane and other luxuries running into millions and billions with the involvement of Jho Low and Najib’s step son Reza Aziz.

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The critical issue from all the revelations so far is that countless Malaysians are both alarmed and shocked. Yet, there is silence from the BN parties. Does this not indicate the nature and culture of the operations within the BN?

Everything can be rationalised away in the interests of race as this remains the singular reason for the existence of these parties. Even Pas does not see the element of transgression!

They do not seem to subscribe to any transcendent goals; hence their inability to see the gross violations of ethics and governance. The way they conduct their party affairs and the lack of democracy in decision-making is also evident and this extends to their behaviour. Loyalty to the president is the singular motive.

What do you stand for is a question relevant to all BN members of Parliament? If you stand only for race than you will fall for everything else. There is also the myth that winning elections is seen as a vote of confidence. An untruth does not become truth just because an election is won.

Why are all the intelligent MPs within the BN just silent? We only hear from the sycophants who continue to fool themselves.

Why do others remain silent is a critical question. Do they not stand by their oath of office to uphold the Constitution? Is justice, fairness and standing up for truth not part of their cause in representing the interests of the people?

Democracy like all systems can be manipulated in the hands of uncouth individuals. Autocracy and kleptocracy are situations where democracy can be hijacked.

As Prof Edmund Terence Gomez highlights, there is economic and political control being exercised by a well integrated executive under the aegis of the ministry of finance.

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This gives the minister immense powers over GLCs. Seven GLCs have an interest in investments estimated at over RM1 trillion. It is already an issue when the prime minister is also the minister of finance, and it is this nexus that breeds all forms of compromises.

How can we continue to trust an individual who headed Malaysia’s sovereign investment fund 1MDB, which has seen more than US$3.5bn (about RM14bn) transferred through a web of shell companies using off shore havens. Where then are the notions of governance and accountability?

Our distinguished minister in charge of integrity and governance (former head of Transparency International Malaysia) has to stand up and speak out. Have you also sold your soul and conscience? As an independent professional appointed to this specific task, it is time you showed that there is some spine in you.

There seems to be an absence of moral scruples and compass to guide behaviour and conduct.

The US Department of Justice, by stroking Alladin’s lamp, has puts to rest the lie about a donation from a Saudi king or royal family and the many tales that were told. It has now been confirmed that this was money from 1MDB. How amazing that the deputy prime minister met the Arab donor! So many sycophants sang this tune.

Many seem to be sacrificing the nation for their own self-interest. The day will come when they will have to hide their face in shame for not doing what they ought to be doing.

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