The international multi-billion dollar 1MDB money-laundering scandal has literally been “raining cats and dogs” worldwide for the Malaysian Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and the Malaysian government since the seizure of the Bombadier jet in Singapore early February culminating in the seizure of Equanimity luxury super-yacht in Indonesia and in a CNBC special programme on “What happened to Malaysia’s 1MDB money” in the United States on March 1.
Najib must be very disappointed that he could not dictate international developments and world media coverage of the 1MDB scandal that he seemed able to do within the four corners of Malaysia, like the blacking out of news about the seizure of the billion-ringgit luxury superyacht in Bali by the Indonesian authorities.
The 1MDB scandal has not only gained for Malaysia the supreme international opprobrium of a global kleptocracy, it provides a classic case of how Malaysia had fallen short of the Malaysian Dream and how the independence, impartiality and professionalism of the various national institutions had been undermined and subverted, e.g.
· Parliament’s failure to conduct a grand inquest into the 1MDB scandal; in fact, the Parliament Speaker has refused to allow a full debate and comprehensive accounting of the 1MDB scandal although it had made Malaysia into a “global kleptocracy”;
· The judgment of the Court of Appeal taking judicial notice of the Attorney-General Tan Sri Apandi Ali’s stand that Najib did not commit any wrongdoing with regard to 1MDB despite the United State Department of Justice (DoJ)’s largest kleptocratic litigation against 1MDB – a decision which shocked the local and international community;
· Bank Negara’s failure to lay claim to some US$400 million 1MDB-linked funds seized by the Swiss monetary authorities from several Swiss banks;
· Refusal of the Attorney-General to initiate proceedings to lay claim to the Equanimity luxury superyacht seized by the Indonesian authorities, or for that matter the seized Bombardier from the Singapore authorities or the impounded US$400 million 1MDB-linked funds from the Swiss authorities.
· Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2017 where Malaysia plunged to the lowest ranking of 62 out of 180 countries, while other countries which had been far behind Malaysia in earlier TI CPIs poised to overtake Malaysia, eg. China likely to overtake Malaysia in eight years and Indonesia likely to overtake Malaysia in 14 years;
· Declaration by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Chief Commissioner Tan Sri Dzulkifli Ahmad of plans to create its own corruption index to downplay the TI CPI and which does not recognise the existence of the 1MDB scandal – a shocking admission of anti-corruption failure and abdication by the MACC;
· The Azalina Committee on Fake News, with Communications and Multimedia Corporation (MCMC) proposing a ten-fold increase in penalties for fake news – 10 years’ jail and RM500,000 fine – clearly designed to give “immunity” and “impunity” to UMNO/BN leaders and their “quinoa cybertroopers” to carry out their dirty work while harassing Pakatan Harapan and civil society with charges of fake news.
The Minister for Communications and Multimedia Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak committed a major faux pax when he inadvertently made a premature admission that the whole Najib Internet strategy was to paint the 1MDB scandal as “fake news” with his statement that there is no proof that the billion-ringgit Equanimity luxury yacht seized by the Indonesian authorities in Bali belonged to Jho Low, when Jho Low himself had as good as admitted to the ownership of Equanimity yacht in his reaction to the yacht’s seizure by the Indonesian authorities.
The 14th General Election will be a test as to whether the Najib administration of UMNO/BN can get away with the biggest electoral fraud in Malaysian history, viz to paint the 1MDB scandal as just “fake news”!