Malaysia is in turmoil

It doesn’t take deep reflection to see why Malaysia has come to this stage.


Malaysia is in turmoil, and there appears to be no way out of it.

Once one of the more highly regarded countries in the Commonwealth, not least for the independence of her judiciary and the competence of her civil service, Malaysia has deteriorated to the point of becoming the laughing stock of the world.

Yesterday, two of the top stories in the Wall Street Journal were unflattering accounts of what has become the biggest political scandal the country has ever seen.

We are no longer talking about a lack of accountability among the leadership. We are now seeing a failure and, worse, a refusal to account.

Many Malaysians have asked what has brought us to this stage. Opposition politicians and civil society leaders will tell us that we are on the brink of becoming a failed state.

It doesn’t take deep reflection to see why. We have watched over the years how our institutions, intended as checks and balances against each other, have one by one been compromised.

The three branches of government – the executive, the legislature and the judiciary – each of whose independence is enshrined in the Federal Constitution, no longer operate as such. In fact, the executive and legislature never have, with Umno/BN so dominant in Parliament over six decades to the extent that it controlled two thirds of the chamber for so long, enabling it to wreak what we now see, with the benefit of hindsight, as havoc on the institutions of government.

The opposition has, at the expense of public interest, recently chosen to self-destruct, largely through self-service and egotism developed as a by-product of substantial electoral gains made in recent years.

Prior to that, BN itself had self-destructed, with component parties not prepared to stand up for minority rights in the face of an increasingly dominant and bullying Umno. Only their leaders can tell us what motivated their silence. Security? Comfort? Fear? Patronage? Inability?

Most of all, within Umno itself, we now see a failure to come to grips with the situation, its leaders’ silence showing how out of touch they are with the realities on the ground. Again, this is possibly born of security, comfort, fear, patronage and inability.

Umno has as its president the country’s prime minister, a man who has belatedly admitted to receiving a massive donation of almost US$700 million (RM2.6 billion), most of which is now said to have come from an unnamed foreign donor. That explanation itself is inherently unbelievable to many who have in the recent past also been suspicious about the debt-laden 1Malaysia Development Berhad’s activities.

The prime minister claims he did not use the funds for “personal gain” but to date has refused to disclose to the public the source of those funds and what they were used for. Previous attempts by him and 1MDB to account for its funds have been shown to be disastrous.

Implicit in the statements now being released are admissions that the so-called donation was used for political gain, namely to buy victory in the 2013 general elections.

Blatant lies

All the machineries of government, supposed to act as checks and balances against such abuses, have now been shown to have failed. Worse, segments of the administration have been found to be blatantly lying, seemingly unchecked and without repercussions.

Malaysia is in turmoil
Mark Clements
August 7, 2015 – FMT


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All that is necessary
for the triumph of evil
is for good men
to do nothing.

- Edmund Burke
When the people
fears their government,
there is TYRANNY;
when the government
fears the people,
there is LIBERTY.

- Thomas Jefferson
Do you hear the people sing?



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