Opinion: The Music has Stopped in Malaysia
Send in the clowns
Officials dither while Putrajaya burns
As Malaysian markets, bonds and the ringgit plunge, futile Bank Negara interventions fail and the last remaining cash reserves melt down day in day out, all we observe from far afield is a multilayered music chair dance going on among the Barisan Nasional and its leading component party, the United Malays National Organization.
All of those politicians have still not understood that the international community has lost total respect and confidence in the Malaysian government. It is a government that shines through by its absence and is confirmed defunct in my opinion.
With the ringgit, the national currency in free fall, we have the central bank governor, Zeti Akhtar Aziz, absent for weeks, then making a very weak, brief appearance with no resolution in front of the public, a no-go by any standard except to express her determination to stay on. Her press conference on Aug. 14 represented a total failure to address and face deep concerns on the part of the international markets and partners in a time of crisis as federal reserves diminish sharply in the effort to stop the ringgit’s plunge.
There has also been no word from Prime Minister Najib Razak about the state of affairs regarding the nation, its people and businesses or to address the 1Malaysia Development Bhd. scandal, which is threatening the country’s financial system with its huge debt overhang.
It appears to all observers in the international investing community, both inside and outside of Malaysia, that what the top government officials and their trails of corruption are worried about is their own political survival, their own offshore accounts and their hoarded piles of cash unaccounted by the tax office, “omitted in error,” or shall we call it “tea money?”
This situation is at any rate not sustainable for any government, for any sovereign nation. The complete lack of leadership in such a form is a novelty, arguably. For weeks we have been observing the live the slow-motion crash of a nation – quite unique especially in the case of Malaysia.
This epic political and economic meltdown will make perfect case studies for Universities to ponder on all over the world for decades to come. Malaysia has set a perfect example how not to build and run a nation, an example of absolute proof that a corruption-built and led sovereign society will ultimately fail. This also goes for a two tier class citizen structure imposed by the government. Apartheid as a political and social system has terribly failed and was banned by its last official practitioner, in South Africa back in 1994.
Now the time has come to clean up and rebuild an ill-designed house and to let law and justice through the front door so that all citizens and foreigners can benefit from security all as equals and below the law. No one can be above the law. Those who broke and break the law will have to face justice, no VIP jets, no safe passage except for a protected escort into the courtroom, Yes please.
And for all those that are still playing music chairs; the music has stopped weeks ago and the silence is deafening to all those who are still able to listen. As Sigmund Freud said: “Being entirely honest with oneself is a good exercise.”
Pascal Najadi’s father Hussain Ahmad Najadi founded the Arab Malaysian Development Bank, which later became AmBank in Kuala Lumpur. He was murdered in 2013. Pascal Najadi, an investment counselor in Moscow, is seeking his killers.