BY MARIAM MOKHTAR
The tragedy of the 1MDB scandal is that people at the top react only after ordinary lives have long been severely affected. The influential in society try to show concern only when it has become obvious that the stakes are high.
Money had started haemorrhaging from the system long ago, reducing funding for government agencies. So the GST, among other things, was used to prop up the system, bleeding the ordinary citizen dry. Meanwhile, people at the top remained in power.
The CIMB Chairman, Nazir Razak, said in a fairly recent interview with Euromoney that he was upset to be dragged into the 1MDB scandal. He also said that with Malaysia’s reputation tarnished, it was difficult to represent Malaysia on the world stage.
Last March, in a written statement to the Wall Street Journal, he confirmed receiving nearly US$7 million, which he said was afterwards disbursed to Barisan Nasional politicians as campaign funds for the 13th general election. He said he thought the money was from donations from companies and individuals.
Corruption is not the only issue making it difficult to promote foreign investment in Malaysia. There are many others: poor governance, disrespect for the rule of law and for human rights, confrontations between pro-people and pro-government NGOS, racial and religious intolerance, and the declining standard of education. Read more