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Monday, December 12, 2016

What else are you waiting for, Najib?



Now that the cat is finally let out of the bag, what else does Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak have to say about China’s involvement in bailing out 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) from the US$6.5 billion sought for by the International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC)?
Most Malaysians were already half-expecting this piece of news to emerge, despite the assurances that the government would not bail out 1MDB.
One can only cross one’s fingers to hear what cabinet ministers would say in another alleged big cover-up the way we have seen with the 1MDB scam and the RM2.6 billion donation into Najib’s private accounts?
At least Finance Minister II Johari Abdul Ghani has come forward to claim that he knew nothing about the arrangement with China, as alleged by the United Kingdom’s Financial Times (FT), but is he doing anything about it? Johari was the one who promised that 1MDB would not be bailed out by the government.
If Johari did not know, and 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy is unable to articulate anything intelligent about the arrangement with China, who else would know about it? Arul was not with the contingent that visited China recently.
I also wonder if Paul Low would continue to blow the trumpet about integrity of the man himself, now that more truths have been told about the infamous Malaysian Official No 1 (MO1).
Malaysia’s international reserves are now at an eight-month low in November, and investors are fleeing the equity market.
If it is not a serious thing, why does Jho Low’s family now try to battle the US Department of Justice’s (DOJ) civil suit in court? Why, instead of the family, doesn’t Low and Najib’s own stepson, Riza Aziz, pick up the case themselves to claim the money back?
They should be bold enough to appear before the American court; after all, Najib is a golfing buddy of the president-elect, Donald Trump, and both Low and Riza should be safe.
I believe that even when Trump takes over, he will not interfere with the civil suit; and if he did, against the world’s expectations, he may face impeachment. The suit would have to proceed and the money recovered back on behalf of the Malaysian people. The DOJ can certainly not be wrong when it made a strong remark about the kleptocrats and within the context of the suit, pinpointed the role played by MO1.
Ask Rahman Dahlan who MO1 is.
Digging a bigger hole
Just like the loan from IPIC, which was used as a bailout deal, now the money from China is not going to come for free. In fact, it has already made Malaysia, and Najib for the matter, to become a beggar of sorts, going around looking for money to cover one loan after another.
This cannot keep going on the way it appears to be going without the greater consequences of Malaysia becoming another rogue nation.
I want to know if Bank Negara, Finance Ministry or the cabinet are even aware of the arrangement that was made with China. More information has to be released to the public, since it will further impact the country’s economy and investors’ confidence.
The arrangement with China, which I believe to be yet another loan which has to be paid back, will surely attract a higher interest. If the allegations by FT are not true, Najib should take the news agency to task, but till today, Najib has shunned any idea of suing either Sarawak Report or the Wall Street Journal.
If we continue going on a merry-go-round to borrow money from one source to cover the loan from another, we will end up being an impoverished nation in no time. Eventually, we will have a much bigger hole to deal with.
By then, Najib may be gone, but the problem will continue to plague the nation. No amount of lies can cover up all the lies already told. Just look at the way how the lies have been concocted - and published in the Malaysian media, yet the truth eventually surfaces.
God is great! It is time for Najib to come forward to tell the whole story, now or never! Malaysians are not stupid people, although some of us may appear reticent or inhibited, but I think enough is enough. How long can Malaysians be lied to?
Straighten up
In Malaysia, we have the tendency to glorify illegal moneylenders and gangsters as ‘businessmen’, with some being given the Datukship or as Malaysiakini’s commentator, Mariam Mokhtar, put it, ‘Latukship’.
Although short of a Tan Sri title, Paul Phua may be an illegal gambling kingpin to the rest of the world, arrested and charged by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, but in Malaysia, he is being glorified by the home minister for his contribution towards national security which even the police knew nothing about.
Recently, we saw how red-shirts leader and Umno Sungai Besar division chief Jamal Md Yunos allegedly behaved like a gangster, yet he is allowed to go scot-free despite the numerous threats that he allegedly made against Bersih chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah.
Another man on the police’s wanted list for murder cases in the past, Ong Teik Kwong, was shot dead by his own bodyguard; he, too, was a celebrity when his funeral was held recently.
Both are said to have received datukships, although their behavour and allegedly dubious backgrounds may have been raised in the media.
Instead of arresting the people who created a ruckus at Zunar’s exhibition, I wonder why the political cartoonist was being arrested, when the exhibition was a peaceful one and held within an enclosed premises for people who want to view his artwork.
And while the police are now looking for Bersih activists, I wonder if they are also looking for the people behind the controversial solidarity gathering with the Rohingyas, especially when the speech by Najib has not only soured the relationship between Myanmar and Malaysia, but the criticism of a Nobel peace prize winner, Aung San Suu Kyi is anything but diplomatic.
And certainly not befitting the head of a government. If he cared enough for the Rohingyas, he should be brave enough to confront Au San Suu Kyi herself instead of sending the chief of the Malaysian Armed Forces, General Zulkifeli Mohd Zin. After all, Aung San Suu Kyi is only a woman, but a woman of substance.
If we do not straighten up, things can only get worse and everyone will suffer as a result. Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has said this in an interview recently with the international media: “He (Najib) is destroying this country... he is bringing in racism... very, very serious crime has been committed.”

My humble plea to Najib at this stage is, for the sake of the nation, he should resign, and allow someone else to take over. If he cannot trust his current deputy, he can always lift up his own cousin, Hishammuddin Hussein, as the next deputy prime minister.
Whatever it is, Malaysians are saying, “Enough is enough!” We want punishment to be meted out against those who were responsible for the 1MDB scandal.
Who knows, with Hishammuddin, the people may return to Barisan Nasional?

STEPHEN NG is an ordinary citizen with an avid interest in following political developments in the country since 2008.- Mkini

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