WE, the members of G25, a group of concerned Malaysians, would like to express our whole-hearted support for the statement issued by the Council of Rulers regarding the 1MDB, in which their Royal Highnesses call for the investigations into the management of its funds to be expedited and carried out in a manner that is transparent and fair to all concerned and that the findings be made available to the public as soon as possible.
Their Royal Highnesses have correctly emphasised on the urgency for early completion of the investigations as the delay is causing unhealthy levels of uncertainty in the country and creating opportunities for various groups using race and religion to create fear and anxiety among the races.
All these tensions are having an adverse impact on political stability in the country and causing the ringgit to decline beyond the country’s economic fundamentals, thereby dampening the investment climate and the growth prospects in the economy.
We therefore agree with the Council of Rulers that the investigations on 1MDB must be completed without further delay in order to remove the sources of political instability arising from the allegations of mismanagement of funds in the government-owned corporation.
We further agree that those found guilty of fraud and other criminal acts in 1MDB must face the consequences of their actions under the law.
2 ) G25 shares the same concern with other groups, that while external factors are the main cause for the weakening of our currency and investor sentiments, it is unwise to blame all our problems on what happens outside the country. Our leaders must pro-actively meet the challenges of the global uncertainty by strengthening the country’s domestic resilience against external instability and volatility. The only way to do this is for our leaders to introduce the political, economic and social reforms as suggested by Datuk Sri Nazir Razak in his luncheon address at the Khazanah Megatrends Forum recently, and echoed as a recurrent theme among other speakers at the forum, as only through wide ranging reforms can confidence be restored in the economy to put it on a stronger footing to make us become not only a high income country by 2020, but also a fully developed nation with all races living in peace and harmony, as a model for other Muslim countries.
3 ) G25 has issued its own statements on the changes and reforms that are essential for strengthening our democracy and improving the standard of governance in the country to world standard.
In the last three months, we have made public our proposals for legalising political funding and regulating it through legislation as this is crucial for reducing corruption and ensuring free and fair elections. We have also called for sustaining the independence and integrity of our public institutions such as the Public Accounts Committee, the Attorney-General’s Chambers, the MACC, Bank Negara Malaysia and the police so that their investigations into IMDB will be seen as credible in the eyes of Malaysians as well as the international community. The integrity of all our public institutions, including the civil service, must be raised as they play a crucial role in the administration of law and order in the country.
4 ) As stated in the G25 open letter to the people of Malaysia on Dec 7, 2014 entitled “Champion Open Debate and Discourse on Islamic Law”, good governance in the administration of Islam is equally important for ensuring peace and stability in the country.
Good governance requires that any syariah law introduced by the religious authorities at Federal and state level must comply with the limits of authority stipulated under the Federal Constitution, the supreme law of the country.
Failure to do so will not only result in injustice to the Muslims regarding their fundamental rights under the Constitution, but will also have wider implications on the rule of law in the country.
Such implications which indicate Malaysia moving away from the democratic principles enshrined in the Constitution will be as damaging to the country’s reputation internationally as the poor governance in financial management in the public sector.
In view of this, G25 has called for a consultative process in the administration of Islam so that it can be seen as transparent and publicly accountable, whereby every decision on Islamic law has taken into account the views of the relevant experts and civil society groups representing all the stakeholders..
5 ) We have, therefore proposed the establishment of a consultative committee to deliberate and advise on the administration of Islam so that it can be part of the governance structure in the Government.
6 ) We would like to humbly submit to the Council of Rulers that their Royal Highnesses give urgent attention to the reform of the judiciary and the other institutions of law and order, as well as to the reform of the administration of Islam as proposed above and to make the respective institutions to be independent of ministerial control so that there is a better system of checks and balance in the governance structure, in line with the practice in the developed world.
As Malaysia aspires to be a developed country by 2020, our system of governance in the secular and religious administration of the country must also be a highly respected one, which Malaysians themselves can be proud of.
7 ) We appeal to our Rulers as the custodian of the Constitution, to call for urgent efforts to be made by the Government to uphold the constitutional principles of checks and balance among the monarchy, parliament, the executive, the judiciary and the administrative institutions, in order to strengthen the functioning of our democracy and prevent a crisis like 1MDB developing into an issue which has caused much damage to the country’s reputation as a well managed country.
8 ) G25 believes that with good governance, we can prevent our country from getting into one crisis after another, the most serious being the crisis of confidence that we are currently facing.
ZAILAH TUN DR ISMAIL
on behalf of G25