World

Ex-minister says: It's a national shame

Questions raised about M'sia at global anti-corruption conference in KL

Kuala Lumpur played host to the International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) from Wednesday to yesterday and questions were asked of Malaysia, amid the allegations of financial misappropriation involving Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Yesterday, The Star reported former Malaysian cabinet minister Rafidah Aziz as saying that the Malaysian government should not dismiss the issues raised at the IACC.

There had been questions about the US$700 million (S$993m) donation received by Mr Najib, which allegedly flowed from the state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) into his personal accounts.

The Prime Minister in turn had quietly cancelled his appearance and keynote speech at the IACC after Transparency International told the premier's office that "if he came, he would face hard questions", reported The Guardian.

Ms Rafidah described it as a "national shame and embarrassment" and said that the observations and comments made at the conference were the "culmination of what the majority of the people have been saying".

QUESTIONED

She wrote in a Facebook post: "Now, in a global conference focusing on corruption, our own leaders are being questioned… on the very issues that we, the majority of Malaysians, are seeking answers for.

"Malaysia is now witnessing the unthinkable happening, that is causing the erosion of the very confidence of others in us."

Having foreigners highlighting Malaysian problems is akin to "adding salt and vinegar to the wound", noted Ms Rafidah, who was an International Trade and Industry Minister during former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's tenure.

"We cannot dismiss those observations and comments. They are valid."

"Instead of wasting time and effort questioning those who attended the recent anti-Najib Bersih 4 rally, authorities should focus on understanding why the people demonstrated…like the reasons that moved them to go to the streets.

"Focus on getting to the root of each issue…and resolve them as provided for by the laws of the land," she added.

It would not do for Malaysia to bungle when people the world over are scrutinising how things unfold, said Ms Rafidah.

"Get a grip on the issues, nothing is too hot to handle if the objective is to get the answers, and to do what's necessary.

"We must make every effort to redeem the good name of our country, Malaysia," she said.