Malaysia Dateline

Infamy of Infamies – the 1MDB “kleptocracy at its worst” scandal

Thanks goodness, it was not all news of infamy for Malaysia every day for the last week for the year 2021 – as there were also some good news and one came yesterday when the High Court in Kuala Lumpur ruled that the existence and establishment of vernacular schools and the use of Chinese and Tamil languages in schools are constitutional.

Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali ruled that vernacular schools are not a public authority and the use of a non-Malay medium of instruction for teaching in Chinese and Tamil vernacular schools is not for an official purpose and thus, did not infringe Article 152 (1) of the Federal Constitution.

He said there are currently more than 1,800 vernacular schools throughout the country, with about half a million students of different racial compositions.

“Such use of the languages is therefore not unconstitutional and is protected under the Constitution by virtue of both provisos (a) and (b) to Article 152 (1).

The judge made the ruling when dismissing a lawsuit brought by the Federation of Peninsular Malay Students (GPMS), the Islamic Education Development Council (Mappim) and the Confederation of Malaysian Writers Association (Gapena) for a declaration that the existence of vernacular schools is against provisions in the Federal Constitution as Article 152(1) defines Malay as the national language.

It is unfortunate that there are still people who do not accept Malaysia is a multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-cultural nation.

Malaysia lost out in the international race in the last half a century, overtaken by one country after another, not because Malaysia is a plural society but because of the refusal to accept that Malaysia is a plural society.

As embraced by the Malaysian Constitution and Rukun Negara, Malaysia cannot succeed as a Malay, Chinese, Indian, Kadazan or Dayak country – it can only succeed as a Malaysian nation.

This judgement reminded Malaysians of the earlier judgement of Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali on July 28 last year on the SRC International Case where he found the former Prime Minister, Najib Razak, guilty and sentenced him to 12 years in jail and fined RM210 million for abuses of power linked to the multi-billion financial scandal at 1MDB.

Nazlan regarded the case as the worst kind of abuse of position and criminal breach of trust (CBT) involving the prime minister at that time, Najib Abdul Razak, the highest-ranking authority in the government.

He said he would not hesitate to find that the case could be characterised as one that fell within the range of the worst kind of abuse of position, CBT and of money laundering, because not only of how the crimes were committed but more importantly also it involved a huge sum of RM42 million.

In his 801-page grounds of the judgment dated Aug 21, Nazlan said there was little merit in the court pontificating and lamenting on why the accused had done what he did, despite (or because of) his undisputed standing at the apex of the vast wealth of power and unparalleled authority.

He described Najib as “a person with a keen intellect and must surely have a firm sense of right and wrong” who did not express any remorse and even maintained his defence of no knowledge of the RM42 million from SRC in his mitigation speech.

The judge said that no one, not even one who was the most powerful political figure and the leader of the country, enjoyed a cloak of invincibility from the force of the law.

He further said the ascension of the accused to the pinnacle of the leadership of the nation and his grip on political power reposed in him by the citizens of the country, the position of trust in its system of constitutional democracy.

“His conviction of all seven charges concerning abuse of position, criminal breach of trust and money laundering constitutes nothing less than an absolute betrayal of that trust”, the judge said.

The three-man Court of Appeal, in a 317-page judgement on Dec. 8, 2021, unanimously upheld the conviction and sentence of Datuk Seri Najib Razak in the SRC International Sdn Bhd case.

The Court of Appeal chaired by Justice Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil said that the appellate court had found no errors in the decision by the learned trial judge, Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.

The court also invoked the immortal words of the late former Lord President Raja Azlan Shah, as he was known then before his ascension to the throne as the Sultan of Perak, in the corruption case of former Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Harun Idris.

Raja Azlan, the trial judge in Harun’s case, had found the latter guilty on three counts of corruption and sentenced him to imprisonment.

In his judgment, Raja Azlan had said: “I repeat what I had said before — the law is no respecter of persons. Nevertheless it will be impossible to ignore the fact that you are in a different category from any person that I have ever tried. It would be impossible to ignore the fact that, in the eyes of millions of our countrymen and women, you are a patriot and a leader.

“Even those who differ from you in politics look upon you as a man of high ideals. You had every chance to reach the greatest height of human achievement. But halfway along the road, you allowed avarice to corrupt you.

“It is incomprehensible how a man in your position could not in your own conscience recognise corruption for what it is.

“In so doing, you have not only betrayed your party cause, for which you have spoken so eloquently, but also the oath of office which you have taken and subscribed before your Sovereign Ruler, and above all the law of which you are its servant.”

The appellate court said some 45 years later, the words from Raja Azlan still bear relevance to the appellant.

“The ‘frightening decay in the integrity of some of our leaders’ that Raja Azlan warned us of 45 years ago is still a scourge that plagues this beautiful nation.

“The courts in upholding the rule of law would have to do what is necessary to ensure that this modern day plague is eradicated for the good of the nation. The law is indeed ‘no respecter of person’.

“All men are equal before the law, and the courts apply the law equally to all,” said the court.

The Court of Appeal said the SRC International Sdn Bhd project started off as a national interest venture in the end had become a national embarrassment.

But Najib is not embarrassed and has not given up his hopes to return as the Prime Minister of Malaysia.

The 1MDB “kleptocracy at its worst” scandal is undoubtedly the “infamy of infamies”, and why when as a convicted criminal, Najib opened an international conference on Dec. 27, 2021, it brought shame and infamy to Malaysia.

Will Najib renounce his hope to return as the Prime Minister of Malaysia?
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Media Statement by DAP MP for Iskandar Puteri Lim Kit Siang in Gelang Patah on Thursday, 30th December 2021.