Zaid: Political corruption the mother of all our problems

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Former law minister Zaid Ibrahim considers political corruption to be the “mother of all our problems” and suggests that the emergency be used to enact a new law to address the scourge.

“That is not to say there is no corruption amongst civil servants and enforcement officers. But we have to start at the top,” he told Malaysiakini this afternoon.

He also noted the prevalent perception that former premier Najib Abdul Razak and Umno are to be blamed for political corruption.

“Looks to me like everyone thinks it started with Najib and will end with the demise of Umno. It will not.

“If we are serious about curbing corruption, moralising about it is not enough. Pass a new law as suggested,” he added.

Conceding that it would be an uphill task, Zaid said the elites and politicians are too well-entrenched.

“It takes a Caesar to undo them,” he added.

Earlier, Zaid tweeted that the new legislation should make it mandatory that all donations are declared to the public, donors are identified and accounts fully audited.

Yesterday, the Kuala Lumpur High Court heard that Najib had instructed his cabinet during a meeting in 2010 to keep mum about the alleged donation from Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Prince Saud Abdulaziz Al-Saud to 1MDB’s charity arm Yayasan 1MDB.

Prosecution witness Mazidah Abdul Majid, who is the former cabinet deputy secretary-general, testified that the ex-premier said the prince requested that the matter be kept confidential.

She was giving evidence during Najib’s RM2.28 billion 1MDB corruption trial.

Previously during the trial on Sept 27, 2019, the prosecution produced four cheques, allegedly issued by members of the Arab royal family to Yayasan 1MDB, dated 2010 and for US$25 million each but never cashed.

The prosecution had contended that the cheques, allegedly issued by Prince Saud Abdulaziz and Prince Faisal Turki, which were purportedly handed to fugitive financier Jho Low, could have been utilised to hide the source of the over RM2 billion funds allegedly discovered in the former prime minister’s account.

The ninth prosecution witness, former 1MDB CEO Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi, had testified then that he received the cheques from Low for safekeeping.

Najib is on trial for four counts of abuse of power and 21 counts of money laundering involving RM2.28 billion of 1MDB’s funds.

Besides being the former prime minister, Najib was also the finance minister and chairperson of 1MDB’s board of advisors.

1MDB is a fully-owned subsidiary of the Minister of Finance Incorporated. – Malaysiakini