COMMENT | Finance Minister Lim Guang Eng is doing the right thing by
exposing the past misdeeds of the former BN government leaders. He has uncovered that the debt of the country could have reached more than a trillion ringgit.
The moment the Pakatan Harapan government assumed political office, there could have been a flight of capital, something that happens if there are elements of uncertainty, nothing peculiar to Malaysia or any other country.
But the point is that investor confidence has returned and we expect more investors to come into the country in the near foreseeable future.
Guan Eng has been advised by friends and foes not to focus too much on exposing the past misdeeds of the former government but to instead focus on luring investments into the country as it is in a bad financial situation.
In fact, it was none other than the de facto PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim who suggested that Guan Eng should focus his attention on luring investments in and leaving the exposés to other ministries and government departments.
In other words, Anwar advised Guan Eng that the time has come for him to move away from financial scandals to matters that might be economically or financially good for the country.
Even before the suggestion made by Anwar, some media reports went to the extent of criticising Guan Eng for not to fight towards exposing scandals but rather to focus his attention on repairing the damaged economy brought about by the former BN government.
These reports argued that Guan Eng by concentrating his attention too much on the scandals might have inadvertently frightened off investors and traders. However, this is yet to be proven.
Guan Eng exposés of the financial scandals associated with the former BN government is not so much a personal battle. As the finance minister and elected leader, he has a duty to perform this for those who have put him in office.
Harapan obtained the popular mandate in the last general election and its victory could not have been gained without the promise by Harapan leaders to expose the scandals of the former BN government.
Given this, Guan Eng or any other who has been given a responsible position cannot remain on the sidelines and not expose the corruption, scandals and other misdeeds of the former government.
All the talk of a transparent and clean government cannot emerge from sidestepping the matter of financial scandals. Before anything, they must be exposed just not by Guan Eng but by other ministers as well and those holding responsible positions.
It would make no sense for Guan Eng or other ministers in the Harapan government to delegate their duties to government agencies who might have no clue as to what they should be doing.
Leadership in fighting corruption means ministers or leaders taking the lead. We don't want a situation where our ministers and leaders become puppeteers.
Scandals are not merely confined to the Ministry of Finance for there are scandals in other ministries and departments that are yet to be exposed. On this matter, it is expected that the responsible ministers will take the lead and not just leave it to the civil servants.
For instance, it has been brought to light that that corruption was rampant in the Ministry of Human Resources. Millions of ringgit were syphoned off during the BN through the Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF).
Crony companies were set up by certain individuals to syphon off funds meant for skills and technical training. I hope that the Minister of Human Resources will take a serious look at the situation.
At the end of the day, we need to build the country on the basis of trust, honesty and transparency. Such noble values cannot be instilled if the misdeeds, massive corruption and shady deals of the former government are not exposed to public knowledge.
Let us not forget that without a clean slate it would be difficult to build a strong financial and economic foundation.
Foreign investors are looking at Malaysia very closely. If the new government takes its responsibilities seriously, then we should not worry too much about investments not coming into the country.
Guan Eng was advised to adopt a fine balancing act in performing his duty but my advice to him is first and foremost expose all BN's misdeeds whether big or small to the satisfaction of those who voted you into the new government.
Guan Eng and many other Harapan leaders have been given a powerful political mandate not just to please and humour foreign investors but to expose those criminals who brought ruin and misery to this country of ours, Malaysia.
P RAMASAMY is Penang deputy chief minister (II) and Perai assemblyperson.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.