English

Like many other Malaysians, I am deeply concerned about allegations in the media hurled at the Malaysian Prime Minister and his family which have cast serious aspersions on their integrity.

Some of these allegations have been circulating for a while but they have now re-surfaced in a more trenchant form. The New York Times has played a big role in this.

Why have they re-appeared at this time? The NYT article entitled “Jho Low, Well Connected in Malaysia, Has an Appetite for New York” by Louise Story and Stephanie Saul was dated February 8, 2015 — two days before the Federal Court announced its verdict in the Anwar Ibrahim case. Is this a coincidence? Or was it a mischievous attempt to pile pressure upon the powers-that-be in Kuala Lumpur so that the Court would be compelled to make a decision in favour of Anwar? The five member Federal Court panel, needless to say, guided by the principles of law and the canons of justice, upheld the earlier decision of the Court of Appeal and found Anwar guilty of sodomy.
It is valid to ask whether pressures were brought to bear upon the Judiciary in view of what transpired in 2012. It would be recalled that on January 8 2012, an editorial in the Washington Post warned bluntly that, “If the verdict fails that test (Malaysia’s commitment to democracy and the rule of law) there should be consequences for Mr. Najib’s relations with Washington.” This was a day before the Kuala Lumpur High Court was scheduled to pronounce its verdict in Anwar’s sodomy trial. On January 9, Anwar was acquitted by the High Court. It could of course have been a mere coincidence.

Nonetheless, it is a fact that sections of the American and British media, leading US and British based human rights NGOs, and even some British and US leaders had made vociferous demands in the months preceding the 2012 verdict for Anwar’s release. I had argued in a couple of newspaper articles at that time that this was part of their push for regime change in Malaysia. Even before 1998, when Anwar was sacked from the government and UMNO, there were already moves in some circles in the West to fast-track Anwar as a replacement for Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad who they regarded as a ‘thorn in their flesh.’ In contrast, Anwar was then described as “the darling of the West.”

But why is there still a desire for regime change when the present Prime Minister, Dato Sri Najib, has gone out of his way to strengthen ties with Washington and London and even with their allies in West Asia? Part of the explanation lies in Najib’s unwavering support for the Palestinian cause, demonstrated through actual deeds, which has always incensed the Israeli regime and its Zionist and Christian Zionist backers in the US. Perhaps another equally important reason for Washington’s uneasiness with Kuala Lumpur is Najib’s warm relationship with Beijing which has gone beyond trade, investments, education and culture to embrace issues of security and military cooperation. This may be why regime change is still on the agenda of those who see themselves as the rulers of the world.
Those of us who are vehemently opposed to regime change instigated and orchestrated by outsiders are very much aware of how the vulnerabilities and shortcomings of the wielders of power in a particular country can be so easily exploited by both external and internal forces to bring down a leader. Allegations about the unexplained wealth of individuals linked to the Prime Minister, their opulent lifestyles, a controversial naval procurement and the questionable operations of a sovereign wealth fund, are bound to create distrust and to erode the confidence of the people in the ruling elite. It is quite conceivable that some of these allegations are utterly baseless but unless there is an honest endeavour to explain the whole situation, public perceptions will be formed quickly to the detriment of the Prime Minister and his family.

The coming parliamentary session starting March 9 affords an opportunity to the Prime Minister to provide a comprehensive response to the issues raised through various media outlets. At the same time, he should of his own volition invite the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to conduct a thorough investigation into the allegations made against him, his family and his friends. The MACC should leave no stone unturned. The Prime Minister should also seize the opportunity to expedite the introduction of long awaited reforms in the fight against corruption such as a law requiring all elected legislators to declare their assets and liabilities and those of their close family members to the public and another prohibiting relatives of federal and state officials exercising executive powers from bidding for government contracts and projects. Most of all, there should be a sincere attempt to jettison the lavishness and extravagance that has become synonymous with a section of the elite.
A tangible demonstration of such a change in attitudes and values is what the people expect at this time — not the targeting of individuals and groups who are trying to point out elite misdemeanours that may have a devastating impact upon the nation’s future.

Image source: therakyatpost.com

Bahasa Malaysia

Seperti rakyat Malaysia yang lain, saya juga begitu prihatin tentang dakwaan dalam media terhadap Perdana Menteri dan keluarganya yang menimbulkan keraguan serius berhubung integriti mereka.

Sesetengah dakwaan itu yang pernah disebarkan sebelum ini kini timbul semula dalam bentuk yang lebih dahsyat. Akhbar The New York Times memainkan peranan besar dalam perkara ini.

Kenapa ia muncul semula kali ini? Rencana NYT bertajuk ‘Jho Low, yang Begitu Berpengaruh di Malaysia, Mempunyai Cita-Cita Besar di New York’, ditulis oleh Louise Story dan Stephanie Saul bertarikh 8 Februari, 2015 —   dua hari sebelum Mahkamah Persekutuan mengumumkan keputusan kes Anwar Ibrahim. Apakah ia satu kebetulan? Atau apakah ia cubaan jahat untuk mengenakan tekanan ke atas pihak berkuasa di Kuala Lumpur sehingga Mahkamah terpaksa membuat keputusan menyebelahi Anwar? Namun apa yang berlaku ialah panel Mahkamah Persekutuan yang dianggotai lima anggota, yang berpandukan prinsip perundangan dan keadilan, mengekalkan keputusan awal Mahkamah Rayuan dan mendapati Anwar bersalah atas tuduhan meliwat.

Lalu timbul persoalan apakah pihak kehakiman dikenakan tekanan berikutan apa yang berlaku pada tahun 2012. Mengimbas balik apa yang berlaku pada 8 Januari, 2012, satu rencana pengarang dalam akhbar Washington Post menyatakan, “Jika keputusan itu gagal (berhubung komitmen Malaysia terhadap demokrasi dan kedaulatan undang-undang) maka kesannya akan menimpa perhubungan di antara Najib dengan Washington.” Rencana pengarang ini disiarkan sehari sebelum Mahkamah Tinggi Kuala Lumpur dijadualkan untuk memutuskan keputusan dalam perbicaraan liwat Anwar. Pada 9 Januari, Anwar dibebaskan oleh Mahkamah Tinggi. Namun hakikatnya ialah ia juga mungkin satu kebetulan.

Hakikatnya ialah terdapat beberapa media Amerika Syarikat dan Britain, badan bukan kerajaan (NGO) utama yang berpangkalan di AS dan Britain, bahkan sesetengah pemimpin Britain dan AS yang menuntut pembebasan Anwar beberapa bulan menjelang keputusan mahkamah pada 2012. Dalam beberapa tulisan saya di akhbar-akhbar tempatan, saya menyatakan pandangan bahawa tindakan mereka itu adalah sebahagian daripada usaha untuk mendesak perubahan kepimpinan di Malaysia. Malah sebelum 1998 pun, tahun di mana Anwar dipecat daripada kerajaan dan UMNO, sudah terdapat langkah pihak tertentu di Barat yang mahukankan peralihan cepat jawatan Perdana Menteri yang dipegang oleh Mahathir Mohamad, yang mereka anggap sebagai ‘musuh’. Sebaliknya, Anwar dilihat sebagai “orang kesayangan Barat”.

Tetapi kenapakah kini masih ada keinginan bagi perubahan kepimpinan sedangkan Perdana Menteri sekarang, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, telah berusaha bersungguh-sungguh untuk mengukuhkan perhubungan dengan Washington dan London dan dengan sekutu mereka di Asia Barat? Kita tahu bahawa sebahagian daripada perkara yang tidak disenangi Barat ialah sokongan tidak berbelah bahagi Najib terhadap usaha perdamaian di Palestin, yang ditunjukkan menerusi bantuan, yang menimbulkan kemarahan rejim Israel dan penyokong Zionis Kristian da Zionis di AS. Mungkin juga satu lagi perkara yang tidak disenangi Washington terhadap Kuala Lumpur adalah hubungan baik di antara Najib dengan Beijing yang melelebihi perdagangan, pelaburan, pendidikan dan budaya sehinggalah isu-isu berkaitan kerjasama keselamatan dan ketenteraan. Ia adalah antara perkara mengapa perubahan rejim masih menjadi agenda mereka yang melihat diri mereka sebagai pentadbir dunia.

Rakyat yang menentang sekeras-kerasnya perubahan kepimpinan yang dirancang dan cuba dibawa oleh pihak luar, menyedari betapa kelemahan dan kekurangan pada pihak yang memegang kuasa di sesebuah negara, boleh dengan mudah dieksploitasi oleh kuasa dalam dan luar bagi menjatuhkan pemimpin. Dakwaan yang tidak diberi penjelasan berhubung kekayaan individu tertentu yang dikaitkan dengan Perdana Menteri, gaya hidup mereka yang mewah, pemerolehan projek tentera laut yang kontroversial dan operasi dana yang diragui, sudah tentunya akan menimbulkan ketidakpercayaan dan menghakiskan keyakinan terhadap golongan memerintah. Sesetengah dakwaan tersebut ternyata tidak berasas tetapi sekiranya tidak ada usaha jujur untuk membuat penjelasan mengenai situasi sebenar, persepsi orang awam yang terbentuk akan menjejaskan nama baik Perdana Menteri dan keluarganya.

Sesi Parlimen akan datang yang akan bermula pada 9 Mac hadapan memberi peluang kepada Perdana Menteri untuk memberi jawapan secara menyeluruh berhubung isu-isu yang dibangkitkan menerusi pelbagai saluran media. Pada masa yang sama, beliau sepatutnya dengan kerelaan hatinya mempelawa Suruhanjaya Pencegahan Rasuah Malaysia (SPRM) supaya melakukan penyiasatan penuh terhadap dakwaan ke atas dirinya, keluarga dan rakan-rakannya. SPRM juga tidak harus meninggalkan apa-apa perkara pun dalam penyiasatan itu. Perdana Menteri juga seharusnya mengambil peluang berkenaan untuk menyegerakan pelaksanaan reformasi yang sudah lama dinanti-nantikan dalam usaha mencegah rasuah seperti mewajibkan semua ahli Parlimen supaya mengisytiharkan aset dan liabliti dan anggota keluarga terdekat dan satu lagi undang-undang bagi melarang pegawai Persekutuan dan Negeri daripada menggunakan kuasa eksekutif mereka bagi mendapatkan projek dan kontrak kerajaan. Selain itu langkah hendaklah diambil bagi membendung gaya hidup mewah yang sudah menjadi sinonim dengan sesetengah golongan elit.

Perubahan sikap inilah yang dituntut oleh rakyat pada masa ini – bukannya mensasarkan individu atau pihak yang menimbulkan salah laku golongan elit, yang akhirnya boleh memberi kesan terhadap masa hadapan negara.

 

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