Malaysia-The New Attorney-General


July 29, 2015

COMMENT: The appearance can be misleading. Malaysia’s newly minted Attorney-General, Mohamad Apandi Ali, 65, looks like someone belonging in the same class as  Chief Secretary Hamsa Ali and Treasury Secretary Siregar–men of mixed parentage.

Malays of mixed parentage  seem to be Najib’s favorite people forDin Merican and wife, kam senior posts in his government. Another  Malay who bears my family name, Reezal Merican, is now Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.  I suspect that this is because Malays of mixed parentage going back to Nor Mohamed Yackop and the late Governor Ali Abul Hassan of Bank Negara Malaysia during the days of the Mahathir Administration are apparently boss pleasers, and can be trusted to do their duty to the Prime Minister, our King and country (in that order) without fear or favour.

Of course, one’s parentage or ethnicity should have no bearing on any appointment be it in public service or in the business world. But in practice public service appointments are political decisions made by the Prime Minister, not strictly on merit.

Mohamad Apandi Ali, 65,In appointing a former UMNO man as Malaysia’s top legal man with powers under Article 145 of our Constitution, our Prime Minister is creating a dangerous precedent  and so is he in the case of the sacking of Gani Patail.

For all my criticisms of the former Attorney-General, I think Gani Patail’s unceremonious sacking violates the Article 145 (6). This hurried decision makes me suspect  that he may be on to “something big” with regard to the 1MDB scandal that could affect Prime Minister Najib’s political future.

Even the recent Cabinet changes reflect Najib’s quest for political survival and as such, it is a strategic move to have all his 1MDB bases covered. Loyalty is the criterion. So, there is nothing to be excited about the latest Cabinet reshuffle . “Nothing is more important than the needs of Malaysia and the people – I will always put their interests above all others,”says Prime Minister Najib Razak. Trust him? Given his track record since taking over from Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in 2009, that statement is trite and hollow. Even the Marines (with due respects to the USMC) will not buy it.

It may be worthwhile to remind ourselves of Article 145 of the Federal Constitution which makes the Attorney-General  a powerful principal legal adviser to the Government.

Article 145 of the Federal Constitution provides:

(1) The Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall, on the advice of the Prime Minister, appoint a person who is qualified to be a judge of the Federal Court to be the Attorney-General for the Federation.

(2) It shall be the duty of the Attorney-General to advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or the Cabinet or any Minister upon such legal matters, and to perform such other duties of a legal character, as may from time to time be referred or assigned to him by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or the Cabinet, and to discharge the functions conferred on him by or under this Constitution or any other written law.

3) The Attorney-General shall have power, exercisable at his discretion, to institute, conduct or discontinue any proceedings for an offence, other than proceedings before a Syariah court, a native court or a court-martial.

3A) Federal law may confer on the Attorney-General power to determine the courts in which or the venue at which any proceedings which he has power under Clause (3) to institute shall be instituted or to which such proceedings shall be transferred.

(4) In the performance of his duties the Attorney-General shall have the right of audience in , and shall take precedence over any other person appearing before, any court or tribunal in the Federation.

(5) Subject to Clause (6), the Attorney-General shall hold office during the pleasure of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and may at any time resign his office and, unless he is a member of the Cabinet, shall receive such remuneration as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong may determine.

6) The person holding the office of Attorney-General immediately prior to the coming into operation of this Article shall continue to hold the office on terms and conditions not less favourable than those applicable to him immediately before such coming into operation and shall not be removed from office except on the like grounds and in the like manner as a judge of the Federal Court.

The new Attorney-General has awesome power and and with it, the heavy responsibility to uphold the Rule of Law, not Rule by a desperate Prime Minister whose only desire is to remain office by all and any means. As for his predecessor, we should ensure that the Najib administration observes the letter and spirit of Article 145(6) of our Constitution. –Din Merican

Malaysia: Najib’s Nixon Moment–Resign?


July 27, 2015

Malaysia: Najib’s Nixon Moment

by Dr. M.Bakri Musa, Morgan-Hill, California

1MDB-Najib-Bank-Special-Task-ForceTask Force for Cover-Up

The Special Task Force and Parliamentary Committee investigating 1MDB (Najib Administration’s business entity) are missing the crux of the matter. They are distracted by and consumed with extraneous and irrelevant issues, either through incompetence or on purpose, as being directed to do so.

The consequence is that what was initially a problem of corporate cash-flow squeeze has now degenerated into a full-blown scandal engulfing not only Najib’s leadership but also the national governance. The only redeeming feature is that for once a national crisis does not parallel the country’s volatile racial divide, despite attempts by many to make it so.

Torrent of ink has been expended on that tattooed Swiss national now in a Thai jail (Xavier Justo), the suspension of The Edge Magazine and The Edge Financial Daily, the threatened lawsuit against the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), and the blocking of the Sarawak Report website. These are but distracting sideshows. Even veteran and hard-nosed observers and commentators are taken in by these distractions.

WSJ Najib

The central and very simple issue is this: Did Prime Minister Najib divert funds from 1MDB to his private account as alleged by WSJ and others? The issue is simple because it requires only a brief “Yes” or “No” response. If the answer is “Yes,” then all else pales in comparison.

If the answer is “No,” then we could proceed to such secondary issues as how much debt 1MDB has incurred, the extent of the government’s exposure, and whether the company could service its loans or even generate any revenue, as well as the related question of who leaked confidential bank and other sensitive financial information.

Woodward on NixonWhat will Najib’s Legacy be?

Thus all, whether pro or anti-Najib, should be asking him to answer that simple central question whether public funds were diverted to Najib’s account. That is the Malaysian Nixonian equivalent of “What did the Pesident know and when did he know it?” of the infamous Watergate scandal of the 1970s.

Queries that do not confront this central issue serve only to distract matters. Likewise the commentaries; they succeed only in exposing the biases and political leanings of their writers. We all can be spared of that, as well as the obvious sucking-up gestures by Najib’s flatterers.

If Najib chooses to remain silent, then the parliamentary committee and special task force must focus their investigations to answering that basic question. They do not need the cooperation of the Monetary Authority of Singapore to do that. Nor do they have to travel to Thailand and interview that tattooed character, or subpoena that moon-faced chubby fellow who is so taken in with Paris Hilton.

Arresting low-level employees like the company dispatcher would only divert resources and distract the staff. Instead there should be laser-like focus on ascertaining the central truth. All other matters as who leaked the incriminating information are secondary.

This allegation of illegal diversion of public funds is made not by some kucing kurap anti-government blogger or a disgruntled UMNO operative deprived of his lucrative government contracts but by WSJ, a world renown tabliod. The only way to rebut the damning allegation is to show that the documents laid out were false by producing your own evidence to the contrary.

Tengku Li

Alternatively, sue the publication. When the Financial Times alleged impropriety on the part of Tengku Razaleigh regarding the Bank Bumiputra fiasco of yore, he sued. And won; the rare occasion when that influential publication was humbled!

If Najib were to sue WSJ, the ensuing depositions would uncover the truth. Lawsuits, however, are expensive and protracted. All these hullabaloos would go away and confidence restored fast if Najib were to answer with a simple “No” to the central question, and if his answer were indeed the truth and could be substantiated as such. Then he can sue WSJ and everyone else.

Tengku Razaleigh called upon those Malaysians who know the truth on this matter to come forward. There are only a few who are so privileged. They owe it to their fellow citizens to do so. As he so wisely put it, “Not telling the truth is not an option.”

Malaysia however should not be held hostage to their honesty and integrity, or lack of either. We all must do our part to make sure that the truth be exposed.

Nazir Razak2

I am heartened by the reactions of our corporate leaders. Nazir Razak and Tony Fernandes, both widely admired and highly accomplished, have condemned the suspension of The Edge. They have done more; they praised the paper!

I applaud Nazir for another reason. What he did was another not-so-subtle rebuke to his oldest brother. He did it earlier as when he and his other brothers (minus Najib of course) reminded everyone that their father died leaving only a modest estate. In our culture, Nazir’s action took great courage. He did it in the finest Jebat tradition of fidelity to principle and country, over kin and leaders.

TM Tunku Ismail of Johor

We need others to do likewise. The Bar Council has taken an exemplary lead; likewise the Tengku Mahkota (Crown Prince) of Johor and a former Mufti of Perlis. When exposing a crime is treated as a crime, the former Mufti reminded us, then we are ruled by criminals. The young prince upbraided politicians who are more loyal to their party than their fellow citizens.

This 1MDB scandal threatens to not only bring down Najib but also damage Malaysia’s credibility, much like Nixon’s Watergate was to him and to America. It took the courage of Nixon’s closest allies in his own Republican Party to convince him to do the honorable thing. As a result, America was spared an unnecessary crisis, and a generous nation later forgave Nixon. With that, his monumental legacies, as with his engagement with China, remain intact.

Najib does not have any positive legacy despite his over six years as Prime Minister, longer than Nixon was as President. Nonetheless Najib could still save his skin if he were to do the honorable thing – tell the truth.

If he does not, then it is up to those closest to him to do the honorable thing – tell him the truth. The chance of that happening however, is remote as UMNO is bereft of courageous individuals who could see beyond their party (and its lucrative patronage) and tell it straight to Najib’s face.

DPM

Deputy Prime Minister Muhyyiddin’s belated protest is too little, too late. It is also self-serving. Now if he were to resign in protest, that would mean something. Meanwhile as a member of Najib’s cabinet, he and the other ministers are collectively responsible and should be held jointly accountable.

The only person who could force Najib would be Barisan’s Sarawak leaders, in particular Chief Minister Adenan Satem. His support is critical to Najib. Thus far Adenan is satisfied with squeezing the maximum out of Najib in his hour of crisis to benefit Sarawak. In the long term however, Adenan should remember that Sarawak, like the rest of the country, would progress only if the central government is competent and honest. An inept, corrupt and distracted central government would be detrimental to all, Sarawak included.

It is time for Najib to do or made to do a Nixon. If Najib were to do it voluntarily then he could control the timing and to some extent, subsequent developments. Specifically he could choose his successor. Nothing in the constitution mandates that his current Deputy be the one.

If he were to pick Tengku Razaleigh, a man of proven leadership and impeccable integrity, not only would that meet widespread approval including within Parliament, he would have secured for himself a significant legacy. He would also better his nemesis, Tun Mahathir, in one respect. The Tun chose two duds as his successors and in the process wasted a precious decade for Malaysia.

Najib’s personal fate does not interest me. He could suffer a Marcos for all I care, but if Malaysia were to degenerate into another Philippines because of Najib, then those who remain silent or don’t take a stand now must bear some responsibility. How would they answer their grandchildren’s lament?

May God bless those many brave and righteous Malaysians who have done and continue to do their part, and at great risks. I salute them! We must remain focused on the central issue: Did Najib embezzle those funds?

Malaysia: Questions to ponder


July 26, 2015

COMMENT: I cannot disagree with Zainah Anwar on the issues she raised in her article.  Spot on, but we have reached beyond theKamsiah and Din 2015 CNY pondering stage since the rot started long before Najib became the 6th Prime Minister in 2009.

Who was the Prime Minister who brazenly stated that our country is an Islamic state and who played the race card? Let us not forget that he came to power on the back of ultra-Malay nationalism and Islamism. Who destroyed our system of governance to leave as his legacy a powerful office of Prime Minister and a UMNO President who cannot be challenged.

He now is the man who is leading the charge to overthrow Najib from high office. He cannot conveniently say that he is not good at picking his successors (Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Najib Razak). He eliminated some outstanding UMNO leaders like Tun Musa Hitam, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah and Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim and created UMNO  Baru so that he could govern without opposition from his party and Parliament with the help of a compliant Judiciary and a civil service which  he could manipulate to achieve his political goals and perpetuate his rule (he did it for 22+ years).

Mahathir Lawan Najib

Today we have become a failed nation led by a kleptocracy under the leadership of a weak and corrupt Prime Minister Najib Razak.  UMNO is beyond redemption. In stead, we have to ponder whether UMNO of pagar makan padi types should continue to govern our country.

For me the answer is clear: No, UMNO which is trapped in a culture of patronage, cronyism, and corruption cannot be expected to revamp itself and govern differently. But what is the alternative?

Right now, given the fact the political opposition is in total disarray and UMNO is without a replacement, we have no choice but to endure the pain and agony of Najib’s transformational leadership for a few more years. The Economist could be right in coming to this conclusion. May God save Malaysia.–Din Merican

Malaysia: Questions to ponder

As issue and more issues made the headlines, will there be an implosion of all the things that Malaysia had built over the years?

I AM beginning to feel as if this country and its rakyat are being crushed and pummelled by wrecking balls.

JELAJAH JANJI DETEPATI / KULIMThe wrecking ball of race and religion, of insatiable greed, of never-­ending sense of entitlements, of unpunished crimes and abuses, of ideology over rational thinking, justice, and fair play.

These concerns are nothing new. What’s new is the breathtaking scale, the endlessness of it all, and the shamelessness with which the perpetrators display their unscrupulous, destructive and criminal behaviour, in words and deeds.

 The seeds of this rot were sown a long time ago. Any dominant party in power breeds its own seeds of destruction. For too long, too many of its leaders and party apparatchiks get away with all manner of transgressions. They tend to believe they are immune from any form of retribution.
LOW_YAT_HOOLIGANS_120715_TMISETH_0

I was in Geneva two weeks ago and UN officials and activists I met were asking what was happening to Malaysia.How did things get this bad? We were once a model country that others looked up to as a prosperous, progressive, politically stable, multi-ethnic society. We are a high middle-income developing country, not a basket case.

Now we are looking more and more like another banana republic, with scandals galore making global headlines. The deep concern many feel that these wrecking balls could lead to an implosion of everything that we have built over the ­decades is real. And what is scary is that there are people who are priming for trouble to break.

The Low Yat plaza riot will not be the last in their scheme of things. Thank God, the IGP and his forces acted fast in nipping the problem in the bud and stating the facts clearly and unambiguously. It was a crime; not about one race trying to cheat another.

Najib and 1MDBAll those who exploited the situation by making hate speech to manufacture racial conflict must be charged for their role in inciting violence.

Lessons must be learnt fast if we want to stop those determined to destroy the country in order to remain in power and preserve what they believe are their lifetime entitlements – on nothing but the basis of birth.

As desperation over the inevitable closing chapter sets in, there will be more attempts to ignite fires of racial conflict.

The truth is the ruling elite is becoming more and more beleaguered – under the weight and scope of allegations of misappropriation of public funds, plummeting popularity and finding itself devoid of new blood and new ideas, and certainly bereft of courage and will to bring the transformation needed to win back public support.

Let’s manufacture more threats to add to the standard “Malays under threat”, “Islam under threat”. Now it’s “national security under threat” as more and more damning evidence of mind-blowing brazen sleaze and corruption is revealed.

Who is really threatening whose survival? And what has happened to the warnings given at the UMNO General Assembly last year that UMNO must “change or be dead”? It looks like the choice UMNO has made is very clear.

Unless a new breed of young far-sighted leaders come forward with the will and courage to change the system – political and economic – to become more inclusive, more just, more honest, more transparent, we are really seeing the end of a long era in Malaysian politics. Time has run out for this old form of authoritarian politics and rule by a privileged elite.

Trust Us GangIn their book Why Nations Fail, Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson argue with evidence across history and geography that authoritarian “extractive” political and economic institutions designed by elites in order to and perpetuate their power at the expense of the majority of the people are bound to run out of steam.

The pride we have in our beloved country is that was NOT our history. That was not how Malaysia began. But today this is where we are heading.

Just look at the alleged Mara scandal. An agency set up to redress a historical econo­mic injustice against the Malays ends up led by people cheating the very group they are supposed to help, pocketing millions in barefaced shenanigans.

A policy vehicle pumped with hundreds of millions of taxpayers money to eradicate poverty on the basis of race gets abused by the privileged elite of that race.

This is yet another case of pagar makan padi. Those entrusted to protect you, instead betray you. And there are many more such scandals, just waiting to be surfaced.

Let’s ask some hard questions here. Why after decades of rigorous development planning, 40% of Malaysian households earn only about RM1,847 a month?Why after more than four decades of the NEP, 75.5% of those at the bottom are bumiputras?

Why in spite of the billions poured into education and boarding schools, 64.3% of the bumiputra workforce have only SPM qualifications? Why some 90% of the unemployable university graduates are bumiputras?

Why of the RM54bil worth of shares pumped to bumiputra individuals and institutions between 1984 and 2005, only RM2bil remained in bumiputra hands today?

And why oh why should the bumiputras continue to raise a begging bowl and ask for more of the same kind of handouts from the same ruling elite? The bottom 40% get crumbs. Let’s focus our attention on these priorities.

Malaysia: More Young Malays rejecting Malay-centric UMNO


July 26, 2015

Malaysia: More Young Malays joining DAP and rejecting Malay-centric UMNO

by Jennifer Gomez@www.themalaysiakini.com

YOUNG_MALAYS_SYEFURA_OTHMAN

Far from being mere yes-men as alleged by Utusan Malaysia columnist recently, the Malays who join DAP do not believe in self-entitlement but instead accept its culture built on merit, a Malay DAP federal lawmaker said.

These Malays are also academically accomplished and thick-skinned enough to endure and share the ideals of the party’s politics and “don’t expect a 30% discount on anything”, Raub MP Dato’ Mohd Ariff Sabri Abdul Aziz told The Malaysian Insider.

“They understand that elections to the CEC (central executive committee) are not a matter of being given a seat on the basis that a Malay is entitled to many things.

“You have to prove and earn it. Take the sons of Karpal Singh, for example. They are there because they are good, and they are not Chinese.”

Citing another example, that of Batu Kawan MP Kasthuri Patto, AriffAriff Sabri said she was not in the party because she was the daughter of former DAP leader P. Patto, but because she was talented and genuine.

However, becoming a member of the democratic socialist party was a bold step for any Malay as he was opening himself to the vilest of condemnation, including being labelled the running dogs of the Chinese, betrayer of the Malay race, apostate and abandoning Islam, said Ariff, a former UMNO assemblyman.

This would ring true given the claims by Utusan Malaysia columnist Ku Seman Ku Hussain on July 4 that Malay DAP members were mere “yes-men” and needed to be in higher positions to really change the perception that the opposition party was Chinese-centric.

Ku Seman also labelled the DAP Malays as an “unfortunate” generation, saying they were playing cheerleaders for a party which attacked Malay interests.

“If DAP’s pull factor is that it transcends race and religion, then there is only one race that stands out in the party.The race is still a main factor in DAP. Only the Malays in the party are too stupid to understand that fact.”

But Ariff countered that their numbers and positions did not matter, instead it was more important that the issues articulated and fought by the party were getting the support of the people.

He said that all one needed to do was to look at the quality of the current DAP leadership, adding that its MPs were among the best. He added that the Malays who joined DAP were the kind who would feel a sense of shame if they were lagging behind.

“The Malay who joins DAP must feel left behind and slacking when they see people like Tony Pua, Ong Kian Ming, Anthony Loke, (Liew) Chin Tong and othDyana Sofya2ers, articulating issues of importance.

“Seeing these people in action ought to produce a feeling of wanting to compete on those terms.Raub MP Datuk Mohd Ariff Sabri Abdul Aziz defends his choice of joining DAP, saying the Malays in the party are not mere yes-men. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, July 26, 2015.Raub MP Datuk Mohd Ariff Sabri Abdul Aziz defends his choice of joining DAP, saying the Malays in the party are not mere yes-men.

Malaysia: Rafidah defends Free Media with gusto


July 26, 2015

COMMENT: Since her retirement as Wanita UMNO Chief andDin Merican2 Ministry of Trade and Industry (MITI) Minister, Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz seldom speaks to the media.  But when she does, the only man in Mahathir’s Cabinet, puts the present members of the Najib’s Cabinet to shame.

These ministers are not interested in speaking up on an issue of  utmost importance to democratic politics in our country, that is a free press which acts as the Fourth Estate giving voice to the concerns of Malaysians. They are scared of losing their jobs and perks that go with that. Taking a principled stand on what is right is too risky. They also fail to understand the concept of cabinet collective responsibility which states:

The Cabinet is responsible for the performance of the government. Each Minister acts jointly with and on behalf of Cabinet colleagues in their capacity as Ministers. Not only does this ensure collective responsibility, but it also enhances collective adherence to all decisions made in Cabinet. Cabinet decisions reflect collective conclusions and are binding on all Ministers as government policy. If a Minister is unable to publicly support a Cabinet decision, the proper course is to resign from Cabinet. All Ministers are required to give their support in public debate to collective decisions of the Cabinet and the government. (ww.premiers.qld.gov.au)

Because our Ministers ape the Prime Minister, our system has become a 1 man rule in practice.  So Prime Minister Najib can do as he pleases and does not have to be accountable for his actions. The civil service and government agencies like the Police, MACC, Bank Negara  Malaysia, Attorney-General and the Auditor-General protect him. This is the sorry state of Malaysia today–a failed state when institutions of governance are dysfunctional and kleptocracy takes over.

The 1MDB scandal is a case in point. Any attempt to get at the facts on the 1MDB RM42 billion debt by the Malaysian media will suffer the same fate as The Edge Magazine and The Edge Financial Daily.–Din Merican

Malaysia :Rafidah defends Free Media with gusto

by Malaysiakini

http://www.malaysiakini.com

Former MITI Minister Rafidah Aziz, often described as Malaysia’s own ‘Iron Lady’, has criticised Putrajaya’s move to ban the media saying it merely gives people more reason to be upset with the government.
Rafidah

Her remarks came after the government suspended The Edge Weekly and The Edge Financial Daily over reports about alleged misappropriation of funds in the Finance Ministry-owned 1MDB.”We can ban some publications, it does not solve anything, really. If at all, it’s making many more people upset and worse still, there is now another grouse against the government, for nothing.

“And social media communication will still continue and now there’s a new topic to discuss and condemn. Don’t tell me we now must shut down the Internet?” she said in a Facebook posting.Rafidah, known for her outspokenness, described the ban as a “knee-jerk reaction” and a diversion from resolving the problems at hand.

“Maybe we should delete the word ‘ban’ from our political vocabulary and adopt approaches that reflect clear-mindedness and rational thinking,” she said.

Rafidah said while there were limits to freedom of speech, the media should not be unduly penalised for reporting matters that were deemed unsavoury by the government.

Gov’t fails to explain

She added that the authorities should instead explain issues, including 1MDB, in a coherent manner. “Those responsible must begin to give to the public the facts and communicate coherently and clearly, and to say things as they are, regarding 1MDB or other issues of public concern,” she said.

The Edge, which had obtained leaked information belonging to PetroSaudi International, alleged that US$1.83 billion in funds was siphoned away from 1MDB.

The information included email communication between PetroSaudi and 1MDB about their joint venture activities. This is amid a special task force investigation into allegations that RM2.6 billion was deposited into the private bank accounts of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.

While refusing to comment on his banks accounts, Najib has denied taking any government funds for personal gain.

Anwar Ibrahim: A Lone Voice from Prison delivers a Message of Hope


July 25, 2015

MALAYSIA: A Lone Voice from Prison delivers a Message of Hope

Anwar --The Prisoner

Anwar Ibrahim

by http://www.themalaymailonline.com

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/malaysia-ready-for-change-imprisoned-anwar-writes-in-wsj-amid-1mdb-scandal

With the Najib Administration facing even more pressure now to explain the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal, Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim has seized the opportunity to rally his supporters, saying although tough times are expected ahead for Malaysians, the country’s growing opposition cannot be silenced.

Anwar, who was given the opportunity to pen an Op-Ed for the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), the international daily now facing the possibility of lawsuit by Malaysia’s Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, said Malaysia is ready for the change long-trumpeted by the federal opposition, one that he claimed would see a return to the underpinnings of the Federal Constitution.

The PKR de facto leader, now five months into his five-year jail sentence for sodomy, also said a “brighter future” is possible with good governance and the rule of law.

“We believe in the dismantling of Malaysia’s system of race-based privileges that has devolved into nothing more than rent-seeking for the privileged few. We believe that corruption is a slow bleed that robs future generations of the education and business opportunities that will make them prosper,” he wrote in the piece.

Anwar, who was the Deputy Prime Minister from 1993 to 1998, said his decision to stay in the country to face prosecution had not been easy and had put a “tremendous burden” on his family but insisted that he had done so because he believes the country is ready for change.

“Malaysia is ready for change.This is why, rather than flee my country, I chose to stay and continue the fight for peaceful, democratic reform from my prison cell,” he said.

He also said in four decades in public service, this was the first time racial and religious sensitivities have become so inflamed, and at the same time so poorly managed by the country’s political leadership.

He said the “real danger ahead” is that Malaysia could devolve into a failed state after several decades of economic mismanagement, opaque governance and overspending.

“The irresponsible manner in which the current leadership is handling religious issues to curry favor from the extreme right is fueling sectarianism.Increased political repression may drive some to give up on the political system altogether and consider extralegal means to cause change, thus creating a tragic, vicious cycle,” Anwar added.

The only way out of this “mess”, he said, was to uphold the Malaysian Constitution, to ensure better checks and balance in the administration, keep the elections free and fair; and a media that is not afraid to challenge authority.

The Najib government is currently under pressure to explain the 1MDB scandal, following the series of exposes by media outfits claiming to be in possession of documents that show impropriety in the state investor’s allegedly opaque deals.

In its July 2 exposé, WSJ, citing documents from Malaysian investigators currently probing 1MDB’s financials, said a money trail showed that US$700 million (RM2.6 billion) had been funnelled into what is believed to be Najib’s accounts.

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