Malaysiakini Letter

Accountability – prior and after the fact

K Haridas  |  Published:  |  Modified:

LETTER | Many leaders both politicians, administrators and corporate heads are today left stained by their own acts of omission and commission during the BN era. It was unashamedly an administration based on loyalty to the leader. Loyalty to an extent that ends often justified the means leading to serious irregularities which were just overlooked intentionally or otherwise manipulated.

We have in our midst today people who are honoured both with positions, privileges and titles who are downright crooks. We let it be and the nett result is that our politicians got bolder and we now boast a kleptocracy. Those in senior leadership who were involved and those who remained silent both need to be held to account.

Had we brought to account the corruption and irregularities that was happening in Sarawak, we would have set a different benchmark? The land was raped, the jungles destroyed and people in power and their cronies become millionaires. Our leaders at the centre needed their political fixed deposits to remain in power. Even to this day, this man continues to helm that state. This must be addressed urgently.

Well, after six decades of wanton corruption, the people have made a decision and change is the order of the day. All those who are stained will have to be held to account. It is all very good to say that the former Bank Negara governor should be appreciated. Yes, we must but the reality is that when the chips were down she did not stand up. The same applies now to Tony Fernandez.

Gani Patail the former AG also failed us by his silence as did a whole lot of glamorous leaders. By their omission and commission, they let our democratic leader soon became an autocrat and then in a natural progression a kleptocrat. They created this demagogue.

We now have Daim Zainuddin whose own legacy and that of his cronies leave much to be desired. When such former leaders enter the public space they will have to defend their own blemished credentials. Being holier than others now will not gain Daim any respect.

Again Mahathir is selecting the wrong people. Consider how MAS was exploited, Perwaja, Fleet Group and the numerous other scandals that Mahathir and his team got away with when they were in power. This is the time to train others and not take away for potential leaders within Pakatan Harapan who need to be given responsibility.

We are all responsible for the creation of the demagogue but the story has a great ending in that eventually the people disrobed him and his team. Today we are in a position to witness as more lurid stories emerge in the coming days. Yet if we are to learn and move forward a price has to be paid by many who let this happen, especially those in leadership by their silence and acquiescence.

To make a difference and one that is sustainable will require that those in power are held accountable. A personality like Nazir Razak has to cleanse himself and step down from CIMB. He allowed his account to be used and a charade was held where the bank set up a committee to inquire into this account and the role of the chairperson. Amazing, they cleared him! The anti-money laundering act was not even considered.

Accountability is the word and let us not be sentimental in this regard irrespective of the personalities and their contribution. The nation has not only lost financially but its image has received a thrashing that will take time to erase.

Accountability, prior and after the fact, is both needed and this has to be considered in the context of what it means to be a patriot. It is said that the right thing to do and the hard thing to do are usually the same.

Creating a culture of ethics and accountability is not based on pledges and integrity plans. This requires leadership from the top and compliance under-girding all efforts. Whistleblowing is critical and empowering integrity officers to do their job is fundamental.

Pakatan Harapan must lead by conscience and courage and as everyone is equal before the law they must exhibit this by their actions. We welcome Anwar Ibrahim’s release. Let him take the helm as soon as possible as promised. He and his family have paid a huge price while the Daim’s of life have enjoyed their life.

There are people today who are in a position to handle the challenges before us. Let those with credibility take the helm or otherwise we will continue to rationalise, excuse ourselves and not make this a turning point for our nation.

I pray that Mahathir and Anwar can address this and not have the uncalled for the wisdom of Daim. The people’s commitment is to ensure that items in the manifesto are implemented to a time frame and we hope in the first hundred days major promises are delivered. Otherwise, Pakatan Harapan will begin to build up a trust deficit.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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