August 10, 2015
Comment: It started with G25, followed by G33 (and God knows what else that joined the herd) and now G87. My wife, Dr. Kamsiah and I were signatories to the G33 statement. On this, I was approached a few days ago via email by my respected young academic-civil society activist and friend at the University of Malaya . Having read it, I informed him that the statement was a weak one. So, I politely declined.
I wanted a very strong message to the Prime Minister. For example, I expected the statement to ask for his resignation, and not repeat the political opposition’s suggestion that Najib Razak should go on leave to enable investigators to work without interference from the Prime Minister’s Office or be intimidated by his presence in the country. In his reply, the academic told me that if the statement was tough, nobody would sign it.
In my view, the 4-member Task Force has almost completed its work. The PAC is also getting close to getting at the truth behind the 1MDB scandal based on the Auditor-General’s Interim Report and other documents at its disposal. When it became too uncomfortable as the noose was tightening, the Prime Minister reacted swiftly with the Cabinet reshuffle which saw the removal of Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin for daring to speak up, the illegal sacking of the Attorney-General, the harassment of the Governor, Bank Negara Malaysia and her staff, and the dismemberment of the MACC team which was investigating the SRI-1MBD link and the rm2.6 billion “donation” that went into the Prime Minister’s personal bank account.
Calling the Prime Minister to “come clean” is utter waste time and effort. We know he will not. If so, why call him to account for all the shenanigans in 1MDB and his administration. It will be asking him to commit political suicide.
The G87 statement cannot be taken seriously. It will not change the Prime Minister’s DNA. In stead they should reflect on what an intellectual is. He is somene who has the courage to speak the truth, no matter how inconvenient, to power. And I quote Edward W Said as follows to let you decide if G87 fits the bill:
“The intellectual is an individual endowed with a faculty for representing, embodying, articulating a message, a view, an attitude, philosophy or opinion to, as well as for, a public. And this role has an edge to it, and cannot be played without a sense of being someone whose place it is publicly to raise embarrassing questions, to confront orthodoxy and dogma (rather than to produce them), to be someone who cannot easily be co-opted by governments or corporations, and whose raison d’etre is to represent all those people and issues that are routinely forgotten or swept under the rug.”― Edward W. Said,
In stead, these academics and intellectuals should get off their high horses and join the forthcoming BERSIH 2015 Merdeka rally. Please get out of your comfort zone and do something more substantial and meaningful. –Din Merican
Malaysia: Grave concerns among academicians, intellectuals (G-87)
We, the undersigned, note with grave concern the allegations of financial abuse and corruption against 1MDB. We note that these allegations are directed at various forms of wrongdoing and have been raised by multiple sources, some of which have made public numerous documents to substantiate their claims.
We also note with increasing alarm that various individuals entrusted with the responsibility to investigate these allegations of wrongdoing, in particular the officials at the MACC, have now become the targets of harassment and a probable witch hunt.
Other incidents of significant concern include the sudden replacement of the Attorney-General, barely a few months before he was supposed to retire, and the abrupt dismissal of the Deputy Prime Minister.
The ensuing reshuffling of the cabinet has led to the paralysis of the Public Accounts Committee that was investigating 1MDB, further damaging the credibility of the multi-pronged investigation authorised by the Prime Minister himself.
Apart from these criminal allegations, we also note with alarm how 1MDB is currently burdened with a huge debt. Finance Minister II Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah has estimated the amount of annual loan interests serviced by 1MDB as between RM2.4 billion and RM2.7 billion.
Millions of ringgit in daily interest repayment!
This means that its daily interest repayment amounts to millions of ringgit! The government owes the people a clear explanation as to how a state-owned company using public funds has come to incur such an astronomical debt, which continues to drain the wealth of our nation. The government must investigate and reveal those responsible for such gross mismanagement.
The issuance of a mere statement thus far, based on the Auditor-General’s Report that there has been no wrongdoing, is clearly unsatisfactory from the point of view of transparency and accountability. It is equally a matter of public concern that, even though a denial of any wrongdoing has been issued by the Prime Minister, it has been officially revealed that there was a deposit of nearly US$700 million into his personal bank account and he, somehow, does not see the need to justify or provide further details about this massive amount.
We wish to state that, short of coming clean about the problems 1MDB is saddled with, no amount of counter-allegations of conspiracy to oust the prime minister from his office will be able to clear the air and the names of those involved.
We therefore urge:
1 The Prime Minister to go on leave, temporarily, pending the investigation by the various agencies to ensure the credibility and integrity of these investigations;
2 The government and law enforcement agencies to exercise restraint and discernment and desist from carrying out repressive actions that could be construed as attempts at obstructing investigations and muzzling freedom of the press;
3 The government to make public all interim or preliminary reports produced by various agencies investigating 1MDB; and
4 For all persons exercising functions of public office and involved in the investigation to do so with impartiality and integrity.
We strongly urge the relevant authorities not to ignore the wide-ranging international and domestic implications and consequences – both in the short and long term – of a failure to address the serious allegations of corruption that arise from this series of events.
We believe the aggressive police interference with the work of the MACC, ostensibly to investigate an alleged conspiracy to overthrow the government, will have a huge negative impact on Malaysia’s international anti-corruption reputation, and affect bilateral and multilateral foreign relationships in transborder anti-crime cooperation efforts.
The total disregard towards openness and transparency may deter and dissuade further foreign direct investment into Malaysia, and any resultant capital flight will seriously jeopardise the international financial rating and reputation of Malaysia. The government must be advised, and act, accordingly.
This note is signed by 87 people, ranging from students to academicians, researchers, people in various professions, social activists and retirees. It was coordinated Professor of Media and Communication Studies Rom Nain and Associate Professor Dr Helen Ting.