Cambodia: Resolving Internal Political Differences over Maps and Borders


August 15, 2015

Cambodia: Resolving Internal Political Differences over Maps and Borders

by Dr. Y. Ratana*

Cambodia borders with three ASEAN neighbors, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. The three countries had long history of joy and bitterness, peace and non peace with Cambodia. Among three neighbors, Thailand and Vietnam are more serious than Laos; territorial conflicts particularly sea and land are the major impediment to better relations.

Politicians and their political activities and associated non-governmental organizations resort to all means to further their political interests and power by streaming nationalism, racial discrimination, democracy, human rights, and freedom to thwart Cambodia’s relations with its three Indochinese neighbours.

Recently, political parties, political activists, civil society groups drew public attention on the use of wrong border maps between Cambodia and Vietnam; local and international newspapers and social media published news on the activities of these people, such as the confrontation between Cambodian people, opposition law makers with Vietnamese people and the army in some locations in Svay Rieng Province and Kandal Province. The media continue to cover news on the use of wrong map to demarcate the borders  and build the border posts. Of late,the use of map is in the front line and hotline news in recent Cambodian politics.

Hun Sen with Sam Rainsy

To explain the border issue, the government led by Prime Minister  Samdech Hun Sen has been taking several approaches including  explaining the public by national border committees and reaction units and writing letters to the United Nations, the United States, France and the United Kingdom for cooperation to provide Cambodia’s border maps and technical assistance on border demarcation in order to check and verify about the truth of maps, and using Royal Academy of Cambodia to study and explain the frustration of using the maps… according to The Cambodia Daily newspaper published on August 13, 2015:

The Constitution says that only the border maps drawn by the French between 1933 and 1953 at a 1:100,000 scale and deposited at the U.N. by then Prince Norodom Sihanouk in the 1960s can be used for border demarcation. Prime Minister Hun Sen last month wrote to the U.N. requesting the maps, but the U.N. responded last week saying it could not find them. Instead, it offered maps of the border sent by Prince Sihanouk as part of a complaint over U.S. bombing during the Second Indochina War.

The Royal Academy of Cambodia team led by Dr. Sok Touch has been studying on the issue and gathering sources of information, maps from different stakeholders as his first step. His team had  given a press conference on the information and maps in their possession. His team is under strong criticism from politicians, political activists, Cambodian associations, both local and overseas and some groups of people. They have accused him and his team of being biased and working for the Cambodian Peoples’ Party (CPP) of Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Border conflicts with Vietnam and illegal migrant Vietnamese have become the focus of political discourse in Cambodia  since 1990s. In 2005, political conflicts on the border with Vietnam became so tense that some politicians and political activists were arrested, tried and sentenced, and exiled. More recently, some political activists and opposition law makers  used the border issue to agitate the public which led  to confrontation with Vietnamese soldiers and people in some areas along the border. It has becoming a hot issue which  angered the CPP government.

The public is concerned about the way Cambodian politicians  treat each other on the border and map issue. There is common concern about the different  interpretations of maps and agreements reflecting the prevailing political disunity and solidarity among Cambodians. They call for unity and peace resolution for all conflict interests. The government side wants to explain that all they had done and have been doing  for the country; they always protect the constitution and Cambodia”s national interest. Prime Minster Hun Sen said that he was not responsible for the loss of Cambodia territory like Kampucheakrom (lower parts of Cambodia) located in Vietnam and some parts of land to Thailand because it was the result of colonial and post colonial but he was the one who came to lead the country and solving the problems he inherited from past leaders left. He always stood firm and promised that he and his CPP party is the protector of monarchy and the country, but he always received unfair treatment and injustice from the opposition and other rival groups.

Political resolution of the territorial conflicts with neighbors will continue into unknown period of times because of the lack of unity and harmony, political will from different parties and general ignorance of  history, about demarcation  and on geopolitics on the part of Cambodians. On the other hand, our  neighboring countries  are not prepared to seek win-win solutions to their border disputes. Their nationalism makes conflict resolution complex and painstakingly slow. This is further hampered by the lack of trust between these governments.

It seems in Cambodia there is no one person who can unite the Cambodian politicians except the King  Norodom Sihamoni. Cambodia may not find political unity and harmonization in the short-term. There is no  respect for a leader who had sacrificed and done so much for the nation. In stead, the opposition in Cambodia can only see some of negative parts of his policies and actions for short-term political gains.

There is a need for good education on history, national identity, religion, culture, and politics to enable Cambodia to be a modern and progressive nation founded Buddhist values of compassion, tolerance, harmony, reciprocity, and  peace.

*Dr. Y. Ratana is Vice President (Academic Affairs), University of Cambodia and Development Economist. The views expressed in this article are his own and do not reflect those of the University of Cambodia.

Malaysia: Forgive Najib and Fawning Ali Hamsa for they know not what they are doing


August 11, 2015

COMMENT: Both Prime Minister Najib Razak and Chief Secretary  Ali Hamsa are exponents of INSEAD’s Blue Ocean Strategy for our civil service since the day they assumed office. What is Blue Ocean Strategy?

Najib's Blue Ocean StrategyHe cannot even navigate the Pahang River

I did not know what they were talking about. So I googled and found out that:

“Blue Ocean Strategy is a book published in 2005 and written by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne, Professors at INSEAD and co-directors of the INSEAD Blue Ocean Strategy Institute.

The book is divided into three parts:

1. The first part presents key concepts of blue ocean strategy, including Value Innovation – the simultaneous pursuit of differentiation and low-cost – and key analytical tools and frameworks such as the strategy canvas, the four actions framework and the eliminate-reduce-raise-create grid.

2. The second part describes the four principles of blue ocean strategy formulation. These four formulation principles address how an organization can create blue oceans by looking across the six conventional boundaries of competition (Six Paths Framework), reduce their planning risk by following the four steps of visualizing strategy, create new demand by unlocking the three tiers of non-customers and launch a commercially-viable blue ocean idea by aligning unprecedented utility of an offering with strategic pricing and target costing and by overcoming adoption hurdles. The book uses many examples across industries to demonstrate how to break out of traditional competitive (structuralist) strategic thinking and to grow demand and profits for the company and the industry by using blue ocean (reconstructionist) strategic thinking. The four principles are:

  1. how to create uncontested market space by reconstructing market boundaries,
  2. focusing on the big picture,
  3. reaching beyond existing demand and
  4. getting the strategic sequence right.

3. The third and final part describes the two key implementation principles of blue ocean strategy including tipping point leadership and fair process. These implementation principles are essential for leaders to overcome the four key organizational hurdles that can prevent even the best strategies from being executed. The four key hurdles comprise the cognitive, resource, motivational and political hurdles that prevent people involved in strategy execution from understanding the need to break from status quo, finding the resources to implement the new strategic shift, keeping your people committed to implementing the new strategy, and from overcoming the powerful vested interests that may block the change.

In the book the authors draw the attention of their readers towards the correlation of success stories across industries and the formulation of strategies that provide a solid base to create unconventional success – a strategy termed as “blue ocean strategy”. Unlike the “red ocean strategy”, the conventional approach to business of beating competition derived from the military organization, the “blue ocean strategy” tries to align innovation with utility, price and cost positions. The book mocks at the phenomena of conventional choice between product-service differentiation and lower cost, but rather suggests that both differentiation and lower costs are achievable simultaneously.

The authors ask readers “What is the best unit of analysis of profitable growth? Company? Industry?” – a fundamental question without which any strategy for profitable growth is not worthwhile. The authors justify with original and practical ideas that neither the company nor the industry is the best unit of analysis of profitable growth; rather it is the strategic move that creates “blue ocean” and sustained high performance.

The book examines the experience of companies in areas as diverse as watches, wine, cement, computers, automobiles, textiles, coffee makers, airlines, retailers, and even the circus, to answer this fundamental question and builds upon the argument about “value innovation” being the cornerstone of a blue ocean strategy. Value innovation is necessarily the alignment of innovation with utility, price and cost positions. This creates uncontested market space and makes competition irrelevant.”‘-wikipedia

So Blue Ocean Strategy is about corporate governance and making your competition irrelevant. Of course, it can be adapted for civil service management.But it cannot be mere sound bytes. Civil service reform is a serious business of making the civil service rakyat driven.

But look at the state of Malaysian civil service. From being one of the best in our region decades ago with English as the language of public administration, the PTD, as it is referred to, is now a laggard. Senior civil servants have become lapdogs of politicians in power.

KOTA KINABALU 03 Disember 2014. Ketua Setiausaha Negara, Tan Sri Dr. Ali Hamsa (dua dari kiri) menunjukkan buku laporan pada sesi pembentangan Laporan Suruhanjaya Siasatan Pendatang Asing di Sabah di Kota Kinabalu. NSTP/Malai Rosmah TuahWhy? The reason is simple enough: bad leadership by Najib Razak as Prime Minister and by Hamsa Ali as Civil Service chief. In fact, Ali Hamsa  is not an innovator, but just another run of the mill civil servant who got lucky.

Given the legendary excellence, professionalism and integrity of the Singapore Civil Service, what our Prime Minister said in Singapore about Malaysia sharing  common aspirations on good governance sounds  hollow.  A bad joke, if you like. Latching on to Singapore’s success is a bad idea.

1MBD and related matters show that we have become a regional model what governance is not. It may be too damning for me to say that our country is a basket case of corruption and blatant abuse of power, but the truth is that we are under the leadership of Prime Minister. –Din Merican

Malaysia: Forgive Najib and Fawning Ali Hamsa for they know  not what they are doing

by Jahabar Sadiq@www.themalaysianinsder.com

Over the weekend, Singapore celebrated its 50th year as an independent nation and both the Malaysian and Singaporean Prime Ministers toasted each other, writing warm messages in the main English dailies in both countries.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak wrote in Singapore’s Straits Times, and ended with the following paragraph.

“The reality is that we share your aspirations for good governance; for a strong, inclusive and sustainable economy based on sound fundamentals; and for stability, harmony and diversity.”

Great.

Perhaps Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa, the Chief Secretary to the Government, can then explain what good governance is when two senior officers from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) are treated as ping-pong balls for their “behaviour“.

The officers who were transferred on Friday to the Prime Minister’s Department – MACC Special Operations Division Director Datuk Bahri Mohamad Zin and Strategic Communications Director Datuk Rohaizad Yaakob – have since been reinstated following outcry that the move was a form of harassment amid the agency’s ongoing probe in a former subsidiary of government strategic investor 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

They were to have started new postings at the Prime Minister’s Department yesterday but had instead met with Ali, as well as the Director-General of the Public Services Department, where they were given the opportunity to explain their positions.

“It’s just how public officers should behave,” Ali told reporters yesterday at the civil servant’s Hari Raya gathering in Kuching, Sarawak.

Ali, however, would not elaborate on what sort of behaviour he meant and how it was wrong. The Head of the Civil Service also said that the transfers had “nothing to do with the investigation”, referring to the police’s probe into the MACC for alleged leaks of official information on 1MDB.

The shock transfer has further damaged the Najib administration, a week after the Prime Minister reshuffled his Cabinet, sacking UMNO Deputy President Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as the Deputy Prime Minister and party Vice-President Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal as a minister.

Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail was also removed from his post while the Special Branch chief had his contract ended.

In many ways, the MACC transfers and the July 28 sackings came as suddenly as 1MDB found itself with a new boss, banker Arul Kanda, last January 5.No matter how it is explained, it reeks of a government throwing tantrums and re-arranging the furniture of a sinking ship.

Yes, everything that Najib wrote is something that we all can agree on. But his government’s actions are taking us far and away from that, and confidence has evaporated.

Ali and the rest of the civil service have to do better than arbitrary transfers if they want Malaysians to retain whatever little confidence they have in the government. We have a trust deficit that keeps getting higher every day.

It is time the government walked the talk, be it on good governance or the already discarded catchphrase of People First, Performance Now. Mere words cannot match the deeds done.

* Jahabar Sadiq runs The Malaysian Insider.

David Cameron talks to Najib on Democracy, Civil Rights and Corruption


July 31, 2015

Bilateral Relations

David Cameron challenges Malaysian PM Najib Razak on Corruption

The Prime Minister urged Mr Razak to clean up his government and challenged the treatment of Anwar Ibrahim, the country’s opposition leader in jail

Najib-Razak-david-_3392712bDavid Cameron and Najib

Allegations that $700 million (£450 million) in state development funds ended up in Mr Najib’s personal bank accounts overshadowed a visit by the Prime Minister designed to build trade ties.

During a long, one-to-one meeting, Mr Cameron on Thursday urged Mr Najib to clean up his government.

In a pointed move, he then met with civil society leaders, including journalists, the G25 group of campaigners and lawyers, who are campaigning for greater democracy and a free press.Mr Cameron also challenged Mr Najib over the treatment of Anwar Ibrahim, the opposition leader in jail on sodomy charges.

Sir Kim Darroch, Mr Cameron’s national security adviser, met with Mr Anwar’s daughter who is playing a leading role in the opposition movement.They discussed building a free press and her father’s treatment.

The encounters followed demands from some opposition figures that Mr Cameron cancel the visit, during which he courted investors to fund the so-called Northern Powerhouse infrastructure projects in Britain.

The Prime Minister said: “It is right to go ahead with the visit, but nothing should be off the table. We should talk about these issues including the specific ones now,” he said.

“We always have discussions with civil society figures, anti-corruption campaigners, opposition leaders and all the rest and that will happen on this visit too.

“I don’t think it helps not traveling to a country and turning away. It is better to go and talk about these things.”

UK officials stressed the visit was to build relationships between “peoples”, not leaders.

After the one-to-one meeting, Mr Cameron is understood to have repeated the message to a wider gathering of Malaysian government figures in front of Mr Najib.

In an address in Singapore on Tuesday, Mr Cameron denounced corruption as the “enemy of progress” that held back growth and fuelled al-Qaeda and migration.

“We have a strong relationship and that enables us to talk difficult issues. I want to raise some of the issues I raised in my speech earlier in the week, such as ethics in business and fighting corruption,” he is understood to have said.

“We should be working together for an open society and open economy.”

Mr Najib is facing growing calls to resign over the allegations, which he denies. He this week fired attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail, who was investigating the scandal, and Muhyiddin Yassin, who had criticised him over the affair.

Time to welcome Timor Leste into ASEAN


July 31, 2015

Foreign Affairs

Bendera-Timor-Leste-2

COMMENT: Friends of Timor Leste welcome this initiative by the Jokowi administration to push for the country’s admission into ASEAN. There are no grounds to postpone this decision and one hopes that come November 2015 ASEAN summit in Kuala Lumpur ASEAN leaders will welcome Timor Leste as a full and equal partner.

It is commendable that Indonesia, a former occupier of this little island nation, should take the initiative to raise the matter at the forthcoming August 2015 ASEAN Foreign Ministers meeting in Kuala Lumpur. This will be seen as a final reconciliation move and as formal endorsement of Timor Leste as a sovereign and independent nation state by Indonesia.

I remember  being in Dili several years ago when the question of Timor Leste’s admission into the ASEAN community was the sole agenda for the forum organised by the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research Institute. At the time, Timor Leste was protected by a UN Peacekeeping Force which included a contingent from our Royal Malaysian Police.

There was consensus among forum delegates that Timor Leste’s membership in ASEAN should be a non-issue. We, however, agreed at the time that their officials should use the interim period to learn more about ASEAN processes and work on a campaign to convince their own citizens that ASEAN would be good for their country. I was impressed with these officials for their commitment to and understanding of ASEAN.

I am now glad that the opportunity has come to admit Timor Leste. I am sure that we can look forward to welcoming the people of this beautiful island nation into our community in Kuala Lumpur at the  November 2015 ASEAN Summit. I thank President Jokowi Widodo, Foreign Minister Retno Lestari Priansari Marsudi and officials of the Indonesian Foreign Ministry for this important initiative. Timor Leste deserves our support and encouragement. –Din Merican

ASEAN: Time Leste as 11th Member –A Welcome and Timely Move

ASEAN Community 2015

The Indonesian delegates would raise the issue of membership of Timor Leste in ASEAN during the 48th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Kuala Lumpur early next month, an Indonesian official said in Jakarta today.

The Indonesian government would persistently attempt to include the new nation into the ASEAN membership, China’s Xinhua news agency reported MI Derry Aman, Director at the Indonesian foreign ministry, as saying.

“Indonesia will raise the issue of Timor Leste membership in ASEAN (at the meeting). It is time for the ASEAN member countries to consider the membership of Timor Leste,” he said at his office.

Indonesia is the first country giving support to the membership as the new nation is located in the Southeast Asia region, according to Aman.

“Indonesia’s commitment is clear that Timor Leste will be an ASEAN member country in the future,” he revealed.

A study on the readiness of Timor Leste on the membership has been carrying out which will determine whether the new nation will be accepted into the Asean membership, according to him.

– Bernama

ASEAN Economic Community?


July 30, 2015

Foreign Affairs:  ASEAN Economic Community? 

By Pattharapong Rattanasevee

http://www.asiasentinel.com/econ-business/is-asean-ready-to-integrate-not-likely/

ASEAN EconC

…without a strong central authority and mandate, ASEAN integration will remain in a mess and the AEC remain an illusion. A single market across ASEAN nations requires a strong central authority that can harmonize and standardize regional regulations, and it must be recognized by all member countries.– Rattanasevee

With just six months left before the end of 2015 and the scheduled implementation of the ASEAN Economic Community, it is clear that the member nations of ASEAN are far behind in planning what is supposed to be the integration of the region into a close-knit community featuring free movement of goods, services, skilled labor and freer flow of capital.

It is a significant step forward and could be a crucial turning point for ASEAN. But without a strong central authority and mandate, ASEAN integration will remain in a mess and the AEC remain an illusion. A single market across ASEAN nations requires a strong central authority that can harmonize and standardize regional regulations, and it must be recognized by all member countries.

ASEAN will need a guardian of competition. It will need to significantly improve the current trade competition policy and arbitration. The scheme itself requires a consensual agreement among members that should be implemented as a bundle. That is, governments should not be allowed to pick and choose among components or sectors.

ASEAN is dealing with a colossal and ambitious task but with limited resources and capacity.But how limited are these resources? ASEAN has no intention to become a supranational organization like the European Union, where members coordinate within the context of inter-governmentalism. The internal dynamics of ASEAN institutions have been designed to uphold the roles of national governments and the norms of the association — known as the ASEAN Way.

The ASEAN Secretariat — the current central authority and only real institutional organ — remains at the margins of ASEAN policy making. It does not possess the mandate or power to command individual member states, or the power to devise common policies on its own. It is a glorified secretary, responsible for only administrative support, sorting out the daily paper work and arranging meetings for the organization.

There is no guarantee that the central authority will implement policy effectively and ASEAN will be unlikely to enforce compliance from obstinate members. Interestingly, Barry Desker pointed out that during the preceding 40 years of ASEAN, only 30 percent of agreements were actually implemented.

ASEAN will need to increase funding if it is to strengthen the Secretariat. The current operational budget relies on equal contributions by the member states, reflecting the norms of equality and stemming from the belief that different contributions might lead to a hierarchy of powers. The payment has never been increased substantially and has been kept low enough to ensure the poorest members can pay. ASEAN also receives substantial funding from dialogue partners and external donors — mostly through specific projects or operations — but this is not sustainable in the long run if ASEAN wishes to present itself to the world as a non-aligned power.

The Secretariat lacks professional staff, making it difficult for it to become a powerful central administration and the backbone of the association. It employs roughly 300 staff: 65 managers and experts, 180 local staff and 55 people from donor organizations. These figures are miniscule compared to other organizations with similar size and missions. They do not fairly represent a community of 625 million people and a nominal GDP over US$2.5 trillion.

The secretariat has also been facing difficulties attracting talented and capable people. Working for ASEAN is not seen as prestigious or well-paid, unlike other regional organisations that could offer up to US$74,000 for bright talent.

These problems raise the question about how prepared ASEAN is to implement the single market scheme, and how feasible that scheme will be. The region contains countries that are prone to financial shortfalls, domestic weakness, poor governance, corruption and coordination problems.

he member states lack an ‘ASEAN mindset’ to facilitate cross-national and cross-sectoral interactions. The AEC will not thrive unless there is a significant improvement to how ASEAN policy is implemented. ASEAN does not need to — and will not — depart from the ASEAN way to become a supranational or fully-consultative organization like the EU.

But its central administration is a basis of continuity. It needs to be given mandate and resources in order to acquire the capacity to encourage compliance and support its administrative functions. This could narrow the gap between ASEAN’s rhetoric of cooperation and its actual commitments. It could improve the poor implementation record.

Additionally, the contribution system should be substantially revised. It is not realistic nor applicable to the growing activities of the association and the excessive tasks of the ASEAN Secretariat. It should consider a GDP-based contribution system or seek other sources of revenue such as a share of taxes, import duties and licensing.

Finally, ASEAN awareness must be promoted among private sectors and ordinary citizens. The AEC could bring tremendous benefits to their daily lives. Improved ASEAN awareness would encourage public scrutiny and would put massive pressure on governments to focus on accomplishing the AEC in time.

ASEAN is not quite ready for the AEC. But with some significant improvements to how the ASEAN Secretariat is run, it may just be possible.

Dr Pattharapong Rattanasevee is a lecturer at Burapha University, Chonburi, Thailand. This was adopted from an article that appeared on the website of the East Asia Forum, This was written for the East Asia Forum, a platform for analysis and research on politics, economics, business, law, security, international relations and society centered on the Asia-Pacific region. It is based out of the Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University 

Open Letter to Prime Minister David Cameron of the UK


July 30, 2015

READ THIS:

This is a government whose officials have frequently publically sneered at the concept and at the need to uphold human rights (despite being a former member of the United Nations Human Rights, a sitting non-permanent member of the UN Security Council and having a National Human Rights Commission).

In the first half of 2015, the Malaysian government has liberally utilised the Sedition Act of 1948 to detain and charge critics, journalists, academics, activists, and opposition politicians who fell afoul of what the authorities vaguely consider as “seditious.” Whatever that means.

This is the same government that has time and again relented and failed to address rising conservatism and intolerant religious dogma within the country and prefers to maintain an “elegant silence” whenever controversies or debates are related to religion.

It brags setting up and showcasing platforms promoting the concept of “moderation” and tolerance at the international and global levels, yet barely practises them with its own citizens instead preferring to allow racism, religious intolerance and discrimination to begin to mushroom and solidify institutionally to gain communal populist support. This has also led to the radicalisation of individuals and allegedly added on recruits for ISIL as well as other militant groups in the region.

This is a government that has also violated its own promises and charter to “ensure no Internet censorship” (refer to 1996 Multimedia Super Corridor Malaysia 10 Point Bill of Guarantees) and has curtailed freedom of the press numerous times.

The recent suspension of The Edge Weekly and The Edge Financial Daily and the blocking of access to the Sarawak Report website in relation to the 1MDB scandal, are themselves in contradiction with the words of the Malaysian prime minister who back in 2009 promised a new way forward in policy and politics with a “vibrant, free and informed media” which “allows people to hold public officials accountable” and that it would not be fearful of doing so. So much for that.

Those promising sunny Canaan days are now gone. Through its actions inflicted upon the media over recent years and especially within the context of the 1MDB affair, this government appears intent on continuing in not honouring those promises. It also appears that it wants to ensure its survival to remain in power at all costs. Especially now.

It is especially telling that despite the perceived loss of billions of taxpayers’ money, nobody of responsibility and consequence has resigned.

The Malaysian people are increasingly disillusioned, frustrated and angry with this administration, especially when the media are being threatened and suppressed in a perceived effort to control access to information regarding this scandal.– Azrul Mohd Khalib

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/opinion/azrul-mohd-khalib/article/why-pm-cameron-may-want-to-reconsider-his-visit-to-malaysia#sthash.knStpVEv.dpuf

Malaysia: Open Letter to Prime Minister David Cameron

From MP Tony Pua

Dear Mr Prime Minister,

David CameronWelcome to Malaysia

Welcome back to Malaysia. It is an honour that you have decided to return to my country so soon after your last trip in April 2012.

Let me first take this opportunity to congratulate you on the recent successful re-election of your government.

For all its oft-cited shortcomings, the British democratic system remains among the most free and fair in the world, with the Westminster an institution most countries like ours look up to.

I am also extremely encouraged by the increasing assertiveness of UK’s foreign policy which seeks not only to serve the British national interest but equally to establish a minimum moral and ethical standards in a world increasingly dominated by greed and self-interest.

At a forum entitled “Building the world we want by 2030 through transparency and accountability” during the 69th UN General Assembly on September 24th 2014, you highlighted the fact that “the more corruption in your society, the poorer your people are.”

You admonished those who refused to deal with corruption. “Some people don’t want to include these issues in the goals. I say: don’t let them get away with it,” you said.

​Just last month, you wrote in the Huffington Post to implore the G7 to place priority on fighting corruption, using the FIFA scandal to provide the impetus. You argued eloquently that:

…at the heart of FIFA is a lesson about tackling corruption that goes far deeper. Corruption at FIFA was not a surprise. For years it lined the pockets of those on the inside and was met with little more than a reluctant sigh.

The same is true of corruption the world over. Just as with FIFA, we know the problem is there, but there is something of an international taboo over pointing the finger and stirring up concerns… But we just don’t talk enough about corruption. This has got to change.

You have since 2013 led a mission to ensure Britain’s network of overseas territories and Crown dependencies, like Cayman and British Virgin Islands, signed up to a new clampdown on tax evasion, aimed at promoting transparency and exchange of information between tax jurisdictions.

As you said, “we need to know more about who owns which company – beneficial ownership – because that is how a lot of people and a lot of companies avoid tax, using secretive companies in secretive locations.”

Yesterday, your speech in Singapore was pointed and direct. You told the listening Singapore students that “London is not a place to stash your dodgy cash”.

“I want Britain to be the most open country in the world for investment. But I want to ensure that all this money is clean money. There is no place for dirty money in Britain. Indeed, there should be no place for dirty money anywhere.”

You rightly pointed out that “by lifting the shroud of secrecy”, we can “stop corrupt officials or organised criminals using anonymous shell companies to invest their ill-gotten gains in London property, without being tracked down.”

We, Malaysians need you to make the very same points in our country. Making the above points in Singapore is good, but it is like preaching to the converted as our neighbour is ranked 7th in the 2014 Transparency International Corruption Perception Index.

The leaders of the Malaysian government on the other hand, are embroiled in a financial scandal of epic proportions.In particular, our Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, whom you are to meet has been recently accused by The Wall Street Journal that he has received in his personal account cash deposits amounting to nearly US$700 million (RM2.6 billion) in 2013.

It was a damning but substantiated allegation which he has steadfastly refused to deny.

Some, if not all of the money could be linked to state-owned 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) which is crippled by US$11 billion of debt, requiring billions of ringgit of emergency bailout funds by the Malaysian tax-payers.

I am certain that you have been briefed on leaked documents clearly points to an incriminating trail of plunder and international money-laundering across Singapore, the Middle East, the United States, Switzerland and yes, the United Kingdom.

The New York Times and other media outfits have also raised questions about how his family owns properties, in New York, Beverly Hills and London worth tens of millions of dollars.

These properties were purchased with the same opaque “shell companies” which you have rightly censured.

The sheer scale of the sums involved makes the FIFA bribery scandal look like child’s play. This is the very reason for the drastic iron-fisted actions Najib has taken over the past two weeks.

As you would have found out by now, he has sacked the Attorney-General who was leading the investigating task force on the above scandals.

He has also sacked the Deputy Prime minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin for questioning the 1MDB shenanigans in a Cabinet reshuffle designed to stifle inquiries into the subject matter.

The newly promoted Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi who is also the Home Minister, acted to suspend the country’s leading business papers, The Edge Weekly and The Financial Daily last week because they played a leading role in uncovering the multi-billion dollar scam to defraud Malaysians.

Can you ever imagine the UK Financial Times being suspended? I have on the other hand, been in a relentless pursuit to uncover the conspiracy to defraud the country at the very highest levels since 2010. Earlier in March this year, I became the first Member of Parliament to be sued for defamation by a prime minister in the country in a blatant attempt to muzzle my strident criticisms.

When that failed, I have found out last week that I’ve also become the first MP ever to be barred from travelling overseas, without any reasons, valid or otherwise, being provided.

The only plausible reason for such a drastic action against my right to travel is that I will soon be arrested for my troubles to expose the truth and highlight the staggering size of embezzlement, misappropriation and criminal breach of trust.

If the local media’s Police sources were to be believed, I am most ironically being investigated under the recently amended Criminal Penal Code for “activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy”. It is a ‘heinous’ crime which carries up to a 20-year jail sentence.

Mr Prime Minister,

You have written that you “need to find ways of giving more support and encouragement to those in business, civil society and the media who are working to fight corruption”.

Malaysians need your “support and encouragement” today. While we do not need your interference over our sovereign affairs, we also do not need any pretentious praise embedded into polite diplomatic speak which will lend any legitimacy desperately sought by Najib’s administration.

We also hope that the worthy mission to increase trade relations between our two countries with great historical links will not relegate your goals to “make the global business environment more hostile to corruption and to support the investigators and prosecutors who can help bring the perpetrators to justice.”

We pray for your wisdom to speak resolutely on Britain’s zero tolerance against corruption and money laundering. For Malaysia, the façade of a moderate Westminster-like democracy masks many ugly truths of social injustice, political oppression and extensive corruption.

Like you, I’ve had the immeasurable privilege of completing my degree in the best university in the UK, which ranks among the best in the world (if not the best). We completed the same course in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) but I was 6 years your junior.

While you received a first class honours and I missed the cut, I hope that our alma mater has embedded in us the moral fortitude to play our little roles in building a better world.

I will end my letter with a quote from our fellow alumnus and PPEtony-pua2 graduate, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi who most pertinently said, “sometimes I think that a parody of democracy could be more dangerous than a blatant dictatorship, because that gives people an opportunity to avoid doing anything about it”.

Thank you for listening, Mr Prime Minister. – July 29, 2015.

* Tony Pua is DAP Selangor Chairman and Member of Parliament for Petaling Jaya Utara

–www.themalaysianinsider.com

Note: I congratulate my MP Tony Pua for penning this Open Letter to you, Mr.  Cameron. Your visit is poorly timed. One would have thought you would have postponed it to a much better time, not now because Malaysia is in a political crisis. The desperate Malaysian Prime Minister will use your visit to boost his image. However, now that you have come to our country those of us who were  educated in Malaysia in 1950s  and abroad have enough “British” manners to receive you and your delegation with respect. We warmly congratulate you on your recent electoral success. 

During your brief stay in Kuala Lumpur, we hope you will convey a message to your idiotic and insecure Malaysian counterpart that he must listen to the voices of the Malaysian people and serve them well.  Right now he cannot be trusted to do the right thing. When no one is watching, he puts his hand in the till to the tune of USD 700 million and maybe more. When he is caught, he fails to respond  with dignity.  He is not attempting to solve our country’s political, economic and social problems. In stead, your Malaysian counterpart is compounding them with his divisive politics.

Mr. Najib should be reminded that we put him there because we voted for his coalition in 2013, although his coalition lost the popular vote,  and we intend to throw his coalition out should he decide to hold our next general elections, barring massive rigging and cheating at the polls. In a democracy, power belongs to the people, that is Democracy 101. –Din Merican

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