Kit Siang: Never forget lesson of 1MDB in order to become ‘nation of integrity’

A man walks past a 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) billboard in Kuala Lumpur, March 30, 2015. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
A man walks past a 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) billboard in Kuala Lumpur, March 30, 2015. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, May 14 — Malaysians must never forget the lesson of the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal even as the country tries to claw its way out of its kleptocratic image and earn itself a new reputation, said DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang.

Lim said that Malaysia has been working hard to shed its image as a nation of corrupt leaders by hauling many leaders of the past administration to court to present a clear message to the world that it is serious about wiping out corruption.

“The expose of the 1MDB scandal and the hauling of Najib, his wife Rosmah Mansor, his ministers like Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, Umno bigwigs like former Sabah chief minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman and Tan Sri Isa Samad  and Najib’s right-hand men like Arul Kanda Kandasamy, Tan Sri Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah and Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah represent a clear notice to the world that Malaysia is serious about wiping out the infamy, ignominy and iniquity of a global kleptocracy.

“But it is inadequate to establish Malaysia as a model nation of integrity that can be included in the Top 20 list of countries in the annual Transparency International Corruption Perception Indices,” he said.

Malaysia has gone from 23rd place in 1995 to 61st place out of 180 countries in the annual Transparency International Corruption Perception Index.

Lim said that former prime minister Najib and his team had been trying to shake off his association with the 1MDB scandal by rebranding him with the “Malu Apa Bossku” campaign for a new persona, and a narrative to stop talking about 1MDB and the Najib kleptocracy, which has seen some success as evident from Barisan Nasional’s (BN) victories in the Cameron Highlands, Semenyih and Rantau by elections.

“But the shameless “Malu Apa Bossku” campaign could only rampage for five months before it met its Waterloo in Sandakan.

“One important lesson for all Malaysians from the Sandakan by-election is never to forget the 1MDB scandal or Najib’s kleptocracy if Malaysia is ever to become a nation of integrity and excellence respected by the world,” he said.

“Dare we dream to be listed in the Top Twenty of the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index in the next decade?

To do that, he said Malaysians must reject the shameless “Malu Apa Bossku” campaign and realise that the trial of Najib and other personalities from the previous administrations does not mean Malaysia is on the mend yet.

He said a lot of work still needs to be done to fight corruption and establish Malaysia among the top 20 of the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index.

“We now know about some of the rampant corruption, excesses and abuses of power which were committed under the Najib government, not just 1MDB, but Felda, Tabung Haji and in the Defence Ministry.

“If there had been no change of government a year ago, Malaysia will be hurtling towards the trajectory of a failed, rogue and kleptocratic state, pawning the rights and interests of our children and children’s children,” he said.

As a result, Lim said that Malaysians must never forget or stop talking about 1MDB or Najib’s kleptocracy, while believing in a vision of unity, freedom, justice and prosperity for a better Malaysia in the future.