Citing climbing corruption, Ambiga says Malaysia ‘going to the dogs’

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan ― MMO File pic
Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan ― MMO File pic

KUALA LUMPUR, June 17 ― Malaysia is becoming a failed state, Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan said, claiming the country’s institutions are failing amid widespread corruption and a lack of transparency from the government.

The prominent lawyer and activists said Malaysia can only become a developed country if there is a change of government through democratic means because this will show that the democratic process is working, as the country has only been governed by the same Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition since independence.

“The country is going to the dogs,” the former Malaysian Bar president told Malay Mail Online in an interview yesterday.

“Our institutions are failing, there’s rampant corruption, no real political will to arrest the extent of the corruption, the latest example is the trafficking situation, the mass graves — all that is about corruption. It can’t happen unless there’s corruption.

“And the political scenario is anything but stable. We have all the ingredients for becoming a failed state,” added Ambiga, who now heads the National Human Rights Society (Hakam).

The police recently claimed that no foul play was found in the post-mortem conducted on 26 bodies found at the Wang Kelian camps in Perlis, near the Thai border, that were believed to have been used by traffickers to hold their victims until they paid their ransoms.

Both BN lynchpin Umno and Pakatan Rakyat (PR) are wracked with turmoil, with former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad openly attacking the incumbent Datuk Seri Najib Razak, while the opposition pact is split following an acrimonious fight between PAS and the DAP.

Ambiga urged for parliamentary reforms and the strengthening of the judiciary, criticising too the Sedition Act 1948 and the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2015 as “anathema” to democracy.

“When I say change of government, what I mean is, I want to see the democratic process work. If it doesn’t, we will not achieve Vision 2020, and certainly not with the level of corruption that we have,” she said, referring to Dr Mahathir’s ambition for Malaysia to join the ranks of developed nations by 2020.

The human rights activist also stressed that even if PR were to take power, “there must be continuous changes for democracy to work”.


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