Public Burdened as Malaysian Government Gripped by the Epidemic of “1MDB Denial Syndrome” 

The world must now be really wondering which is more astounding: the latest U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) revelations on the billions misappropriated through Najib Razak’s 1MDB, or the Malaysian Attorney General’s inexplicable continuing denial of glaring corruption rotting our government inside out.

In their most recently released statement, the DOJ estimated 1MDB misappropriated funds presently total over RM 19 billion, with over RM 7 billion worth of assets frozen pending forfeiture by the DOJ. This recent update should ring alarms of total meltdown for anyone previously only “deeply concerned” about Prime Minister Najib Razak’s devastating irresponsibility regarding the economic situation within our country.

Commendably, in 2010 the Parliamentary Opposition, led by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, warned that the utter lack of transparency and accountability of the 1MDB scheme foretold its very purpose as being none other than the enrichment of this Prime Minister and his Barisan Nasional (BN) and UMNO cronies. One year before that, the Opposition led by DSAI rejected the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in 2009, identifying that the BN government would use these funds to cover up the government’s wasteful spending and rampant corruption.

Fast forward now to 2015, and we see Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim thrown in prison while his warnings of 2009 and 2010 were just coming to reality. In 2015, just as the extent of 1MDB-related theft from the Malaysian people were starting to be revealed, the government introduced GST in April, to address increasing national debts of almost RM 600 billion.

The government debt crisis spurred by the mismanagement of our nation’s resources also forced Prime Minister Najib Razak to make cuts to important programmes, such as restrictions on MARA PSD scholarships. This only highlights concerns that misappropriation of resources were behind the sudden unjustified restrictions.

The greed of “MalaysianOfficial1” and his honchos have led to an abrupt economic downturn in Malaysia, creating unnecessary pressure on millions of middle and lower-income Malaysians who now struggle just to survive. I am deeply worried about the future regression of Malaysia if the current national leadership is maintained.

Clearly, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s words turned out to be true, and his reminders regarding the declining integrity of the government is being displayed before the public eyes.

Members of Parliament from the ruling coalition must now choose nation over party, and they must put their accountability to the rakyat above their loyalty to a failed government.

Now is the time to cure this epidemic of denial and collusion in the largest corruption scandal in the history of our nation. The issue of 1MDB is tarnishing the country’s image both in the eyes of Malaysians and the world, yet more and more each day BN MPs succumb to the disease of stubborn denial. The same Parliamentarians responsible for the creation of this government and the administration of 1MDB must be courageous enough to address these serious allegations in order to remove this persistent stain on our governance, to stabilise Malaysia’s economy and to prioritize the lack of job opportunities and increased cost of living of our citizens. Malaysia’s government and ruling party must stop pretending they can further dodge their fate by hiding their heads in the sand, which further damages the inheritance of our future generations.

For BN and UMNO to prove to the rakyat that they are not part and parcel of the guilt of 1MDB I urgently call for the following immediate steps to be taken to begin to restore the confidence of our nation:

First, I call on the Speaker to initiate an emergency Parliamentary session to create a truly independent and bipartisan parliamentary committee to fully and honestly resolve the issue of the 1MDB scandal.

Second, I call on Parliament through this committee to fully disclose the previous Auditor General’s report on 1MDB, wrongfully classified under the Official Secrets Act, and to expose and recover all stolen assets and misappropriated resources of the Malaysian people.

Parliament is the last bastion of accountability to expose the full extent of this gargantuan scandal and any hope of salvaging our funds as the Prime Minister already wields supreme authority and absolute control over the Attorney General, the Head of the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission and the Inspector General of Police.

As such, the failure of Parliament to thoroughly investigate this clear breach and betrayal of public trust can only be interpreted as an acceptance by the ruling party and their partners of whatever crimes that have taken place under this government. Malaysians must be clear about their complicity in this scandal.

Parliament must ensure that all those who have stolen from our public investment funds are brought to justice and removed from any leadership role to prevent commission of more crimes in the future. The committee’s investigation must clarify beyond all reasonable doubt the role of the Prime Minister, the Attorney General, the Inspector General of Police, and the Head of the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission if the government and its institutions are to retain any shred of confidence of the citizens of Malaysia.