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Monday, 17 August 2015
Latest article by Tun Dr Mahathir ~ MALAYSIA 2
1. What is happening in Malaysia today is unprecedented. The rule of law has been turned upside down and the people seem powerless to do anything to put it upright again.
2. This is because the very leader entrusted with upholding the law has become the subject of the due process of the law. It is alleged that he has broken the law. As no one is above the law, it follows that he must be investigated to determine if indeed he had broken the law.
3. Although this is unprecedented in Malaysia, this had happened in many other countries, including in the developed West.
4. Recall the case of President Nixon of the United States of America. He had used Government officials to spy on his political rival. This was considered as abuse of power in the U.S.
5. Eventually he was impeached and was forced to resign as President of the U.S. The Vice President took over and in due course elections were held. The Vice-President won. End of problem.
6. In other countries more violent methods are used to remove an unpopular president, whether elected or imposed by the military or other politically powerful groups.
7. Now Malaysia would not want to see violence used. So the instruments or the institutions of Governments were expected to investigate and determine whether the allegations against the P.M. are true or not.
8. The institution that is normally expected to do this is mainly the police. Other institutions with the capacity to investigate are also expected to do this. In cases involving money, the Central Bank are expected to investigate and report.
9. Then there are special bodies created to oversee how Government money is managed. These are the Auditor-General and the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament. Additionally there is the Anti-Corruption Commission.
10. They are however limited to investigations and preparation of reports. They themselves have no power to prosecute. For this, the Attorney-General must decide and initiate legal proceedings. If the A.G. decides there is no case to answer, even the most blatant crime will not be tried in the court.
11. The only other process for the removal of a PM is a vote of no-confidence in Parliament. It needs a simple majority. With the fall of the PM, the whole Government would fall. But by majority decision in Parliament, a new Government may be set up. It may be the same party or a different party. Alternatively an election can be held.
12. These are the avenues of legal redress provided in the Malaysian Constitution and laws.
13. Due to the serious nature of the allegations against the highest leader of the Government, a task force of four, consisting of the Attorney General, the Inspector General of Police, the Governor of the Central Bank and the head of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission was formed to collect all relevant evidence for the Attorney General to decide on the action to be taken.
14. All these agencies and institutions were in the midst of their investigations when the PM struck. He first sacked the A.G. and appointed his man to the post. Then he literally disbanded the Public Accounts Committee by appointing the Chairman and three other members as Deputy Ministers and to other posts. Members of the MACC who were continuing to investigate the case were harassed by the police who accused them of leaking secrets. Two were transferred to the PMO.
15. Rumors were rife that the Governor of the Central Bank was being investigated for corruption. Although she remains as Governor, the staff of the Central Bank were harassed and accused of leaking information to the press.
16. The Edge, the paper that had exposed the 1MDB scandal was closed. The owner of The Malaysian Reserve paper was told to sell it back to the previous owner.
17. Najib also sacked the Deputy Prime Minister and one of the ministers who had been vocal in questioning the financial records of 1MDB and the RM2.6 billion found in Najib’s personal bank account.
18. With these actions, Najib has effectively stopped investigations on the disappearance of billions of Ringgit invested by 1MDB and the appearance of 2.6 billion in Najib’s account. Now no legal action can be taken against Najib as the allegations cannot be proven. But his very actions prove that there is substance in the allegations made against him.
19. Public opinion therefore remains strong in wanting Najib to resign as PM. Consequently there is talk about moving a vote of no-confidence against him in Parliament.
20. This is very difficult as almost all the UMNO members seem beholden to him. And the opposition does not have enough members to pass the motion.
21. So there is a stalemate. But the economy is reacting in its own way. The Ringgit has depreciated to below its old fixed rate of RM3.80 to the USD. It is now at 4 Ringgit plus and is likely to drop further. The effect is to make the country poor. Paying debts by 1MDB in USD would cost more. Already 1MDB is unable even to service its debts.
22. The stock market has all but collapsed. Investors, especially foreign investors are taking out their money to safer places abroad.
23. The Government is short of funds. It has to cut budget allocations to all ministries. The introduction of the GST has only resulted in increasing the cost of living making the depreciation of the Ringgit more acute.
24. Najib may be able to buy his way through in the next election but he will not be able to acquire funds to sustain his purchase of popularity. The Government he leads will not be able to borrow. The country’s economy will collapse. And the people will suffer. This is the grim picture that lies in store for Malaysians because Najib has basically stolen the Government.