OPEN LETTER to IACC Delegates and Mr. Paul Low

September 3, 2015

OPEN LETTER to IACC Delegates and Mr. Paul Low

by Stephen Ng

COMMENT To the delegates who attended the 16th International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC), my question to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Paul Low is why bother to defend the indefensible?

Low said that he spoke up every week regarding the scandal involving 1MDB, but is Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak himself responding positively to this with plausible answers?

Giving answers that even a smart young lad would not accept is an insult to one’s intelligence. No wonder why a photograph has also been circulated where Old Boys from Najib’s own alma mater, St John’s Institution, are ashamed of their alumnus.

Why do you think the Interpol had refused Najib’s request for a ‘red notice’ on Clare Rewcastle-Brown, a journalist based in the United Kingdom, whose portal Sarawak Report was among the first to expose this scandal?

Low (photo) should tell us what the answers are that Najib has provided in the cabinet to which we are not privy. Of course, to Low these days, ‘transparency’ is akin to pornography and a taboo subject, but not revealing the truth in the name of ‘official secrets’ is doing injustice to both the people and those he represents.

Without access to the information, how would we be satisfied with the explanations? By merely listening to Low? Answers such as the RM2.6 billion came from an individual donor from the Middle East, is Low accepting that as logical? Does Low have the answers as to where the money borrowed by 1MDB has disappeared?

Just speaking up during the cabinet meetings is not sufficient, but Low should at least be able to obtain some credible answers from Najib that can be offered to hundreds of thousands of my fellow Malaysians who were at the recently concluded Bersih 4 street demonstration in the city of Kuala Lumpur.

Low’s answers appear to be very shallow for someone who always claim that he is divinely appointed to the cabinet. He has always said that he is pleased with the answers given by Najib on a number of other important issues affecting the people of this country.

Low should have answered a number of questions that have been posed to him before. If he said that Najib is sincere with what he is doing, why was the investigation into the 1MDB scandal suddenly called off by none other than Najib himself?

In the first place, can Low tell us whether the draft charge sheet existed, as alleged by Brown? If it did not, why did the present attorney-general say he would investigate into the criminal leak of the charge sheet against Najib?

If Najib were innocent, what is there for him to be afraid of giving the keynote address at the International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC?) It is hard even for the ordinary man in the street to believe that Najib was innocent in the entire scandal, being the chairperson of the 1MDB advisory board, the finance minister as well as the prime minister, how does Low expect an international community comprising anti-corruption stalwarts to believe him?

How much lower can Low get? Did he think that the delegates at the IACC are all a bunch of activists with no grey matter left?

I want to give Najib the benefit of the doubt. He can decide to turn up at the IACC meeting to address the international community on the scandal, but please, use some more credible stories.

Where is the Bugis Warrior?

With disappointment, I have to say that Low’s answer given during the IACC was nothing but another true embarrassment to our country’s image as the host of the international conference on anti-corruption.

In addressing corruption, it has to begin from the top down. There is no way that Low can be effectively fighting corruption on the ground alone, when the Prime Minister himself is already in the thick of a possible scandal involving billions of ringgit.

If anything, Low is just another highly-paid apologist for Najib using taxpayers’ money, which is why I have asked him this question several times, “Why bother to defend the indefensible?”

Covering for Najib, Low has turned out to be a laughing-stock himself by saying that it was him who advised Najib not to give the keynote address due to security reasons; but, when he himself saw how civilised the anti-corruption activists were, he was lost for words.

We have heard such excuses given one time too many in this country that we no longer give it any credence at all, especially coming from someone whose integrity is now being questioned in the public domain based on his own performance as a cabinet minister in charge of integrity.

Previously, when Najib also failed to turn up for another event organised by his party member, titled ‘Nothing2Hide’, it was also at the advice of the Inspector-General of Police, Khalid Abu Bakar.

It was, as if the Police were unable to protect the prime minister, when the people who attended the seminar were none other than members of Najib’s own political party UMNO. In their midst was also the 90-year-old party member, who is none other than former Prime Minister (and I call him the Terminator), Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

When the ‘Terminator’ turned up, the Bugis warrior was missing in action. How then can we, ordinary people in this country, trust Najib, whom even the Crown Prince of the Southern state of Johor said apparently had “everything to hide”.

Hearing Low’s speeches in the IACC from the way it is reported in the news yesterday, it appears to me that Low was essentially saying that Najib faces security threats everywhere he went, and a hostile reception would be expected everywhere he went. A warrior should face all kinds of challenges.

Low is apparently very confused between hostility and security, and between civility and public demand for good answers to the corruption issues revolving around Najib. With or without Najib’s presence, even Transparency International’s chair Jose Ugaz has demanded an explanation to the 1MDB scandal. He echoes the voices of many Malaysians.

If Low’s concerns about Najib’s security were real, then Najib should remain in his Forbidden City of Putrajaya, and live like the emperor of China, who knew nothing about the people who were suffering outside as a result of corruption at the highest level.

Personally, I am very disappointed with the quality of explanations given by both Low and the other cabinet ministers, and someone like Low should at least have more integrity to stand up, tell us the truth and leave behind the legacy of a statesman.

If Najib could not even face the snubs in the midst of a highly-charged atmosphere at the IACC, where the delegates were, in fact, civilised, how do you expect the people of this country not snub his leadership whenever he appears in public, locally or elsewhere?

Last weekend’s Bersih 4 rally was a clear statement made by some 500,000 people of this country but Najib has chosen not to listen; therefore, there is simply no excuse for him not to have turned up at the IACC and explain himself to the international community.

With all due respect to Najib as Prime Minister and to give him the benefits of the doubt, we all wait for him to avail himself to address the questions raised at the IACC or the next parliamentary session. If he passes the test with flying colours, I am prepared to trust him.

However, contrary to the excuses given by Low, it appears to me that Najib lacks the confidence to meet the people after the expose by Sarawak Report and the Wall Street Journal. He is afraid of the colour yellow and words that we all take it for granted that will help to further strengthen our country’s democracy.

Recently, when the daughter of a famous architect in the country, Bilqis Hijjas, distributed yellow balloons with words like ‘Justice’, ‘Democracy’ and ‘Free Media’ at a shopping mall where Najib was attending another open function, she, too, was being probed by the police under Section 504 of the Penal Code for intentional insult with intent to provoke a breach of the peace.

This simply does not make sense any more. It is a crime to distribute yellow balloons with words that uphold parliamentary democracy but it is not wrong or right to allow political funds to be funneled into one’s personal accounts.

Did Najib not say in 2012 that all political funds must be channeled into the party’s accounts instead of private accounts in an attempt to fight corruption? See for yourself what was reported in the mainstream media, The Star). After the WSJ expose, Najib said that the money was a donation from an Arab family and it was meant to help the ruling coalition to win the last general election.

This is what shocks most of us! In other words, the last general election was probably influenced by a foreigner who had such big sum of money to splash. This is the rationale behind the Bersih 4 rally last weekend which saw ordinary Malaysians going to the streets.

Going back six months ago, Najib had said that he is like the courageous Bugis warrior and I hope he is truly one, so that he will have the courage as a great Bugis leader who will take the bull by the horns.

Bersih 4’s demands

Last weekend’s Bersih 4 rally was a thumping success.Low should have been there himself to see for himself the ‘atmosphere’ on the ground. Despite being a mammoth rally, the crowd was very peaceful. Even Dr Mahathir was there without all his escorts, and he was not being mobbed by the people.

Low and other cabinet ministers could have gone down to the ground to explain to the people, but they did not, except to comment from the side that it was a mini-Arab Spring.

Najib could have easily appeared on a public screen to speak to the people, if he wanted to, but he never did. He knew Bersih’s demands were reasonable, given the current state of the country, but instead of listening to the people, Bersih 4 has been demonised in so many ways.

Low did not mention one provocateur who was a man well-connected with Umno leaders, and he was caught by the rally goers for throwing firecrackers during Bersih 4. This could have caused a stampede, and as a lawmaker had charged, this could have been an attempted murder of its worse kind.

Had there been any casualties or death, I am sure people like Maria Chin Abdullah and her team of volunteers who organised the rally would have been immediately hauled up and blamed for the stampede, but to date, has any firm actions taken against the man caught with the firecrackers?

Low made no mention of such incidents and why there were attempts to demonise Bersih 4 rally from the moment it ended. People like Low should remind Najib that the demands of Bersih 4 rally goers were simple and straightforward, and has nothing to do with dismantling parliamentary democracy.

I quote from Transparency International’s chair, Jose Ugaz who concurs with me that dealing with corruption requires a holistic approach:

“Let us recall those two words – honesty and integrity. What does that mean for Malaysia? The government has taken measures and initiatives to tackle corruption. We will surely hear that from the minister.

“We want to see more progress but that cannot happen while there are unanswered questions about the US$700 million that made its way into the Prime Minister’s personal bank account.”

STEPHEN NG is an ordinary citizen with an avid interest in following political developments in the country since 2008.

17 thoughts on “OPEN LETTER to IACC Delegates and Mr. Paul Low

  1. A redflag should now be raised on Malaysian TI’s record that its 2 previous Heads have now become apologists for a corrupt regime, including the 90 yr man who is now a racist!

  2. Mr Paul Low should take a principled stand and RESIGN
    from the Cabinet of the 1PM.
    Unfortunately, he has no principles.–Din Merican

  3. (Since everyone has open letter, here is mine to Najib)

    Mr. PM,
    First I would like to congratulate you for keeping up with your Bugis warrior spirit. A lesser fighting spirit person, such as either that of your predecessor or our first beloved PM, would have succumbed and claimed the “moral high ground” under the repeated assaults from the doctor in the house.

    Sacking your deputy and reshuffling your cabinet are what a forceful executive head could constitutionally do to firm up his executive team. I was a little uneasy with sacking of AG under your advice to Agong – but if that was done for preventing you from criminally prosecuted by your own executive team, then I am fine with it. Preventing a coup d’etat is a solemn responsibility of a PM, and is critically important for our parliamentary democracy.

    I am not your fan, but neither am I someone wanting you be forced out or voluntarily resign at this moment. It is hard to maintain my position, so I have to make my position simple to understand: You have the right and responsibility to strengthen your executive branch and keep it cohesive; however, you shall never topple or make further subservient the two other branches (Parliament and judiciary) of government.

    You should think about your legacy. When history settles, there is good chance Dr. M be assigned the blame of dismantling the check-and-balance between the three branches of government, and the inevitable corruption resulting from the lack of the check-and-balance. History would not be too harsh on you for just inheriting the mushy system, if you still can call it a system.

    With 1MDB scandal around your neck, you need to think extra hard on your legacy. I think this 1MDB is not just a crisis, but an opportunity for you to mould a legacy no one can at this point. Why don’t you spill the beans telling Malaysians truthfully that we have inherited a corrupt political system and you did what you need to do to survive. Then repent, and then take a vow to clean up the system the best you can. Ask for forgiveness and patience from Malaysians. Stand on the ground on the supremacy of the constitution, including the three independent and equal branches of government. You may have a chance to be called “Bapa Kesucian Perlembagaan” when the history settles. You in turn need to thank Dr.M for messing up the constitutional institutions so much that your minor repairing them is earth-shaking to Malaysia future. How about start with making supreme court judge a live-long appointment with no requirement to retire and cannot be sacked even by Agong? Reinstate names of all sacked supreme judges in 1989 with some symbolic gesture – even if the similar things have been done before.

    For Dr. M who wants to dig his heel on attacking you on 1MDB scandal, I would like to say this to him and ask Malaysians to do a mental experiment: “If there were time machine allowing us to go back to 1989, Malaysians would have better off in the next 57 years if Malaysians could offer you (Dr. M) US$700 millions for not advising Agong to sack supreme court judges and subvert the judicial independence. It was obvious many times of US$700 million would have been saved without the corrupt political system unchecked by the subverted court system.” Bribing Dr. M to go away is bad, but system that cannot check-and-balance itself because its components cannot exist as equal and independent is much worse.

    A few of your acts in repairing our institutions could save us many time of US$700 million, but your resign will save us nothing in the future except replacing you with someone probably worse. Making supreme court judges live-long appointment will almost certainly save us many times of US$700 million in the future because of the check-and-balance created from independent supreme court judges.

    As said, I am not your fan. Can we take a photo of you heading to Parliament to answer questions about 1MDB behind closed-door? You can ax as many times your deputy and cabinet members in order to get some ones including UMNO members off your back, but Malaysia needs to know you still give deference to the Parliament.

    Shiou, a Malaysian

  4. “OPEN LETTER to IACC Delegates and Mr. Paul Low”

    How to RESIGN when Taiko appointed him to the post…!

    Both Mr Paul Low & Jibby are a disgrace & an insult to “Johanians”

    Just to share this…

    If Iceland can do it, all countries can

    You be the judge.

  5. A leopard will never change its spots, “Shiou” !

    The only silver lining in the very dark 1MDB cloud is that it clearly exposes, to all right-thinking Malaysians, the many politicians who can be “turned over” via “donations” or “promotions” and the top civil servants who lack courage and keep deathly quiet as grand theft and blatant law-breaking occurs under their watch.

  6. If Paul Low has any integrity and moral left, please resign immediately and don’t talk cock and bull stories about your boss Najib at IAAC.

    Plain and simple article expressing great disappointment of our nation and the leaders of the government. Low, you don’t have any logical sense in your defense of Najib. Do you want the IAAC to believe your reason as ‘security’ threat for Najib to attend the conference?

    What a man you are to come out with damn excuse to defend Najib. We are getting sick of your nonsense talking rubbish as a minister. Are you employed to defend your master? Come on!, Be a MAN of masculine hormones. Disgrace to our nation at an international conference for you to speak in defense of mother of all corruptions of the nation by giving lame excuse.

    What happened to the ‘big mouths’ of other ministers like Dahalan, Azlina, Nazri & others who defended Najib relentlessly?

  7. You probably won’t believe this – much like readers of Penthouse forum – but I got an email from the Prime Minister in response to Shiou’s open letter.

    Dear Shiou, First Lady and I thank you for your kind words. Between firing members of my cabinet, members of my political party, members of the civil administration, members of the security apparatus but thankfully (not yet) members of my family, your open letter was a welcome respite from all the hate mail I receive everyday.

    You are absolutely correct, correct and correct in your assumption that these firings are an attempt to postpone a coup d’état. My solemn duty is to protect my position from interference from bodies such as the MACC, AG’s office , Special Branch and most certainly from my own political party.

    Although you are not my fan, I hope you understand that I have already made Parliament subservient but I am having problems with the judiciary. I hope you understand that I need to control the situation because any legal proceedings against me either through Parliament or the judiciary , would in effect be a coup d’état.

    Now someone people call this separation of powers or the natural consequence of parliamentary democracy, but I see that you like me, understand that the position of the Executive is sacrosanct.

    Actually I don’t know the meaning of the word sacrosanct but I have seen it used often by people against me.

    With regards to the whole 1MDB scandal, please don’t be fooled by the Chinese led Opposition. There is no scandal. Everyone is lying except people from my administration. I mean people from my administration who I have not fired. Ok I mean people from my administration who have accepted money from the donation of my rich Arab associates.

    You are right when you say that this whole mess started with Dr. M. You know I used to like him but now he wants to fire me. I mean I am doing the same things he did but when he did it, he didn’t have to contend with someone like Clare Rewcastle Brown. And I hate Malaysiakini, too. And what’s up with that Din Merican ?

    Why can’t these people see that it’s all Dr. M’s fault ? Why can’t they see that everything wrong with this country is his fault ? Why can’t they see that I am not responsible for my actions. Actually why cant they see that I should not be held responsible for my actions.

    But Mr. Shiou, it is not only Dr. M’s fault. It is also the Chinese, the Jews, the Chinese again, Ambiga Sreenevasan, Maria Chin, Sarawak Report, The Wall Street Journal, the Chinese, Anwar Ibrahim, Lim Kit Siang, Lim Guan Eng, the Chinese, Muhyiddin Yassin, Mukhriz Mahathir, Mat Sabu, Kassim Ahmad, people wearing yellow t-shirts, the Chinese, DAP, PKR, people who vote DAP and PKR, some people who will vote GHB, the Chinese, Malaysiankini, Malaysian Insider, Steven Gan, people who read Malaysiakini and Malaysian Insider, people who read the Star because of the car ads, the Chinese, Mariam Mohtktar, the Chinese….the list goes on.

    Do not worry Mr. Shiou, I have no intention of stepping down. As you said the position of the Executive is paramount and even though my Parliament, could remove me, I will do everything in my power to stay at the head of this ship by using the powers of my office to curtail any signs of dissent.

    We are sailing into good times.

    Your friend from the PMO

  8. Forget Paul Low, Tunku Aziz and everyone else. Any open letter should go to HADI AND PAS ULAMAS – where are they on this issue? The truth is Najib would be gone if NOT for Hadi and the PAS Ulama who hope to drive him into their Hudud arm..

    I ask of the Malay heartland in Kedah and Kelantan, where is your Hadi and PAS Ulama to save you from this? These are the people you hope to save you??

  9. He’s a person with no dignity & integrity left too. He deserved to be called a low life. A real disgraced to us Malaysians & to our Catholic people.

  10. This Low guy is the lowest of the low of any human being, for a cabinet post he is willing to kiss the stinking ar.. of his boss, disgracing his own ancestors and family members.

    He can just go jump from the Petronas tower and no one will care.

    Just wonder how his family members think of him.

    Sorry Dato, for my rude language.

  11. /// Shiou September 4, 2015 at 4:28 am
    With 1MDB scandal around your neck, you need to think extra hard on your legacy. ///

    You mean Najib need to think extra hard on his inheritance?

  12. /// But Mr. Shiou, it is not only Dr. M’s fault. It is also the Chinese, the Jews, the Chinese again, Ambiga Sreenevasan, Maria Chin, Sarawak Report, The Wall Street Journal, the Chinese, Anwar Ibrahim, Lim Kit Siang, Lim Guan Eng, the Chinese, Muhyiddin Yassin, Mukhriz Mahathir, Mat Sabu, Kassim Ahmad, people wearing yellow t-shirts, the Chinese, DAP, PKR, people who vote DAP and PKR, some people who will vote GHB, the Chinese, Malaysiankini, Malaysian Insider, Steven Gan, people who read Malaysiakini and Malaysian Insider, people who read the Star because of the car ads, the Chinese, Mariam Mohtktar, the Chinese….the list goes on. ///

    You left out the jealous Singaporeans……

  13. Obama’s speech is very interesting……

    “So there’s a lot that I’d like to do to keep America moving, but the law is the law. (Applause.) And no one person is above the law. Not even the President. (Applause.) And I’ll be honest with you — I’m looking forward to life after being President. (Laughter.) I won’t have such a big security detail all the time. (Laughter.) It means I can go take a walk. I can spend time with my family. I can find other ways to serve. I can visit Africa more often. (Applause.) The point is, I don’t understand why people want to stay so long. (Laughter.) Especially when they’ve got a lot of money. (Laughter and applause.)”

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