Edited speech by DAP Member of Parliament for Iskandar Puteri Lim Kit Siang to supporters from Kampar at a dialogue at Theatre Impian, Kuala Lumpur on Sunday (July 17):
In my six decades of political life, I have always been guided by the view that the human personality must not be seen in pure black and white, but in different shades of grey.
There are no angels among men and women, and it is wrong to see anyone as the very embodiment of evil.
Every person has good and bad impulses, and the judgement of a human character is whether the good impulses overwhelm the bad impulses.
Every person is capable of change for the better.
I am, for instance, prepared to work with [former prime minister Datuk Seri] Najib [Razak] for the good of the country, not for a portion of the 1MDB riches. But first of all, he must condemn the 1MDB scandal and declare his stand against Malaysia becoming a kleptocracy. Is Najib prepared to do so?
The Attorney General's Chambers’ confirmation that fugitive business person Low Taek Jho (Jho Low) had attempted to reach a settlement with the government over the 1MDB charges with a RM1.5 billion offer is [the] final evidence that the 1MDB scandal exists and is not a fairy tale.
Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz told Parliament in March that the 1MDB debts of the government were RM32.3 billion in principal and RM6.5 billion in interest, while [Tan Sri] Azam Baki, the chief commissioner of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, said recently that the total assets forfeited and returned to the Malaysian government last year were about RM5.1 billion, with 99.57% linked to 1MDB.
In such circumstances, Jho Low’s RM1.5 billion offer to settle his 1MDB charges is laughable, as the RM1.5 billion offer is less than 4% of the 1MDB principal and interest that must be borne by Malaysians.
Will Najib be responsible for [the remaining] 96% of the RM38.8 billion of 1MDB principal and interest?
There are also two other public interest questions: the propriety of the former attorney-general acting for Jho Low when he [was previously in the position to prosecute] Jho Low for the 1MDB offences when he was the attorney-general; and, the propriety of the present attorney-general in dealing with Jho Low for the measly RM1.5 billion offer.
After 65 years of nation-building, we have failed in our Malaysian dream to become a world-class great nation, losing out to Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Vietnam. [And we are] in danger of losing out to Indonesia and China in the coming decades.
Where did we go wrong?
I am reminded of what I said in the first week of Pakatan Harapan's general election victory on May 14, 2018:
“The 14th general election on Wednesday, May 9, 2018, provide[s] a second chance to Malaysia to reset nation-building policies and directions.
“Sixty-one years ago, when the country attained Merdeka in 1957, and 55 years ago when Malaysia was formed in 1963, we set out as a young nation, brimming with hope and confidence, dedicated, in the words of the Merdeka Proclamation 1957 and reaffirmed in the Malaysia Proclamation six years later, that the nation ‘shall be for ever a sovereign democratic and independent state founded upon the principles of liberty and justice, and ever seeking the welfare and happiness of its people and the maintenance of a just peace among all nations’.
“We promised to ourselves that the nation will be ‘a beacon of light for a disturbed and distracted world’.
“But, we lost our way and became instead a blackhole of kleptocracy and kakistocracy.
“Malaysians must go back to the basics. [And] what better way to begin than to return to the basic constitutional and nation-building documents, like the Merdeka Constitution 1957, the Malaysian Agreement, the Malaysian Constitution 1963, and the Rukunegara 1970, to fulfil the Malaysian dream [of being] a model to the world as to how a nation of diverse race, religion, language, and culture, could be united, harmonious, democratic, progressive, and prosperous, with a government of integrity, guided by the principles of good governance and accountability.”
But, national efforts to reset the nation-building policies, and the direction and return to the Malaysian Constitution and Rukunegara, were sabotaged and negated after 22 months by the Sheraton Move.
The people are rightly disappointed by the inability of the 22-month Pakatan government to reset nation-building policies and directions, as it had [the] mandate to [do so] for five years.
The challenge [for] Malaysians is whether they can unite for another chance to reset nation-building policies and directions in the 15th general election, whether held this year or next.