Former Bangi MP Ong Kian Ming has called on the DAP leadership to make its position clear on the 1MDB scandal, the investigation into another former MP Tony Pua, and the party’s overall commitment to institutional reform.
Last night on social media platform X, Ong said that Malaysians must remember what Pua did to reveal the magnitude of the 1MDB scandal when he was an MP and said that the people of Malaysia are still paying billions of ringgit on the debts incurred as a result of this scandal.
This morning, Ong further prodded his party leaders to speak up, saying that public comment on this issue cannot come from DAP secretary-general Anthony Loke alone.
“We need to call a spade a spade. The recommendation by the Pardons Board to reduce former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak’s prison sentence from 12 years to six years and the reduction of the fine from RM210 million to RM50 million is likely a compromise that Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim and the Pakatan Harapan leadership had to make to placate the supporters of ‘Bossku’ within Umno.
“But this does not mean that the DAP leadership must stay silent on its position on several related and important issues.
“The DAP leadership must reiterate its position on the 1MDB scandal, the biggest corruption case in Malaysian history, which the party campaigned on in the 2018 and the 2022 general elections,” said Ong.
He said that this must include taking a firm position that the ongoing 1MDB cases against Najib should continue and there must be no discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA) like in Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s Yayasan Akalbudi corruption case.
He also demanded that the DAP leadership take a firm position on the investigation announced by the police against Pua under Section 4(1) of the Sedition Act 1948 and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.
“While some of Pua’s Facebook posts in reaction to Najib’s reduced sentence may not have been done in good taste, the DAP leadership must not forget his relentless pursuit of the details of the 1MDB scandal in and out of parliament when he was an MP.
“Without Pua’s contributions, we may not have experienced the change in government in the 2018 general election and Najib would not have been charged, tried, and convicted over his role in the 1MDB scandal, starting with the SRC International charges for which he is currently serving his sentence,” Ong added.
He said that in the bigger picture, the DAP leadership must reiterate its commitment to battling corruption and promoting institutional reform in line with what it has championed since the party was formed in 1965.
“It must commit to pushing for institutional reforms that were spelt out in the Harapan manifesto for the 2022 general election including:
1) The appointment of the chief of the MACC must be approved by a bipartisan parliamentary special select committee.
2) The declaration of assets by all ministers, MPs, high-ranking civil servants, and chairpersons of GLCs and their direct family members aged 18 and above.
3) The introduction of a Government Procurement Act (GPA) which limits the frequency and scope of direct negotiations.
4) A two-term or 10-year limit to the positions of prime minister, menteri besar, and chief minister.
5) The separation of the Attorney-General’s Chambers into the roles of attorney-general and public prosecutor.
6) A Fixed-Term Parliament Act.
7) The introduction of a Political Funding Act.
8) Equal allocation for all MPs regardless of whether they are in government or the opposition.
“Many of these institutional reforms would also be supported by other component parties of the federal coalition government, especially if there is the likelihood that some of the parties currently in government may find themselves back in the opposition after the next general election.
“Indeed, I would argue that passing some of these institutional reforms would be helpful to Umno to show the larger electorate, including the Malay voters, that it can align itself to principles of good governance and stronger institutions,” said Ong.
He argued that passing some of these institutional laws and regulations would help DAP and Harapan convince its supporters that the reform agenda could still be delivered even if Najib were to receive a full pardon in the future.
“If these commitments cannot be delivered, DAP and Harapan face the real possibility that the turnout rate among its supporters will experience a significant fall in the next general election and that some of its supporters may even switch their support to Perikatan Nasional out of disgust for the lack of moral leadership on the part of DAP and Harapan leaders.
“It is important for the DAP leadership to remind itself that it cannot only rely on the fear of PAS getting into power to maintain its support among the non-Malay community.
“If this is the strategy moving forward, then DAP would not be very different from MCA in the past which relied on scaring the Chinese voters into supporting BN for fear that the Chinese community would not get any representation in government,” said Ong.
He said that Loke must be supported by the DAP central executive committee so that the collective responsibility and commitment are seen to be coming from the top leaders of the party.
“Many DAP supporters have been very patient with many of the political developments that have taken place since the formation of the coalition government in November 2022 for the sake of political stability.
“But their patience is running thin. Political expediency for the sake of political stability can only go so far. It is time for the DAP leadership to speak up,” he said. – Malaysiakini