The situation faced by the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his government today is best described by the Chinese expression “草木皆兵” – which literally means “every bush and tree looks like an enemy soldier” where the Najib Government is so nervous, suspicious, insecure and panicky about its position that it is virtually “jumping at shadows”.
This is the reason for the Najib government’s foolish and myopic decision to sabotage and frustrate the holding of a meeting of progressive MPs and NGO representatives on the grave Wall Street Journal (WSJ) allegation against Najib for Prime Ministerial misconduct and the criminal offence of embezzlement, by refusing MPs the use of Bilik Taklimat and reneging on the Parliamentary administration’s earlier agreement for the use of the meeting room for the occasion.
As a result, progressive MPs and NGO representatives have to hold their meeting at the Parliament square, sitting on the ground – unheard of for the Malaysian Parliament as well as commonwealth and global Parliaments.
Why is the Najib administration so jumpy and panicky about the meeting of progressive MPs and NGO representatives on the WSJ allegation and Najib’s future that MPs have been locked out of Parliament Bilik Taklimat and forced to meet in the open at the Parliament square? What has the Najib government got to hide and to be so panicky about!
This is the fifth day of the grave WSJ allegation of Prime Ministerial misconduct in committing the criminal offence of embezzlement in its report last Friday that Malaysian investigators have found almost US$700 million (RM2.6 billion) of 1MDB’s funds deposited into Najib’s personal bank accounts, and Najib’s failure to categorically deny the WSJ allegation.
Malaysians are all asking why Najib finds it so coy or difficult to put to rest once and for all the WSJ allegation of Prime Ministerial misconduct and the grave offence of embezzlement, when all he needs to do is to categorically deny that he ever had personal accounts in his name in AmBank or that some US$700 million (RM2.6 billion) had been deposited into his bank accounts in 2013.
Najib went round the whole world, declaring that he would never “betray the trust of the people” and that he had never “taken” public funds for personal gain, but he had scrupulously and studiously avoided the question for the fifth day whether he has or ever had personal accounts in AmBank which received deposits of some US$700 million (RM2.6 billion) in 2013!
Najib is still considering whether to sue WSJ and had referred to his lawyers who will advise him on the next course of action in the next few days.
This is also most extraordinary. If Najib had been defamed by the WSJ report, he would immediately instruct his lawyers to institute legal proceedings instead of seeking legal advice. What legal advice does Najib want, unless there is room for dispute whether the WSJ report had actually defamed him or not!
Many proposals had been made to get to the bottom of the WSJ report and allegation, including calls for Royal Commission of Inquiry.
I am agreeable with the proposal for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the WSJ allegation, and it would be a great idea if such a RCI is chaired by former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir – for it would be one great demonstration by Najib that he has nothing to hide in the long drawn-out 1MDB scandal and that he has done no wrong.
We should give the RCI under Mahathir three months to complete its report and during this three-month period, Najib should go on leave as Prime Minister.
I am mystified by Ministerial calls for action to be taken against WSJ on the ground that it had made a most heinous and baseless allegation against the Prime Minister, when it is very clear that the WSJ report had been based on the government probe by the quartet of investigating authorities, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), the Royal Malaysian Police (RMP) and the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) on the 1MDB.
No less a person than the Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail had publicly admitted that the government probe had produced documents about the deposit of US$700 million into the Prime Minister’s personal banking accounts, as reported by WSJ.
As a result, any questioning of the WSJ report would be a questioning of the government’s own probe into the 1MDB by the special task force comprising BNM, MACC, RMP and AGC. How could this be?
If the WSJ allegation is based on the government’s probe by the four investigative agencies, then the next step is for the Attorney-General to charge and prosecute the Prime Minister for committing an offence in Malaysia.
But can the AG charge the PM in Malaysia or the PM will sack the AG first?
Despite incessant and increasingly ferocious attacks by Ministers and Umno/BN political leaders, WSJ has insisted that its Friday report on Najib’s personal bank accounts were based on “solid” and “reliable” documents known to top government officials, including the Prime Minister himself and the Attorney-General.
A WSJ spokesman said it does not know “where the money went” as “Basically, the trail we have ends at the bank account that has the Prime Minister’s name on it.
In this connection, I call on the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar to re-open investigations into the murder of founder of AmBank, Hussein Ahmad Najadi who was shot dead in broad daylight in the centre of Kuala Lumpur in Lorong Ceylon in Bukit Bintang on July 29, 2013 to ascertain whether the murder had any links with the 1MDB scandal.
The Police should investigate whether it is true that in March 2013, Hussein had reported to Bank Negara about significant amounts of money deposited into Najib’s personal accounts and subsequently about withdrawal of significant amounts of money from these bank accounts; and that Hussein lodged a police report on the above matters on 28th July 2013 when no actions were taken by Bank Negara.
The 75-year-old Hussain was shot dead in a car park in Kuala Lumpur on 29th July 23, 2013.
Today, we see a gathering of MPs from different opposition parties, but this is not a Pakatan Rakyat meeting as Pakatan Rakyat has already died, but a meeting of progressive MPs, together with NGO representatives, to put our heads together to consider the road ahead for the country in the wake of explosive corruption allegations in WSJ and from the government’s own probe into 1MDB.
I had hoped that there would also be progressive UMNO MPs at this meeting, as I do not believe that there are no progressive UMNO MPs who are not equally disgusted with the rampant corruption, abuses of power and injustices blighting the country.
The time has come for Malaysians to look into the future and conceive of a nation where the top priority agenda must be good governance in the country, where corruption and abuses of power are eradicated and all Malaysians assured of good jobs, a prosperous economy, good schools, hospitals, infrastructure as well as safe and secure environment and a fair and just government.
(Speech at the meeting of progressive MPs and NGO representatives at Parliament Square on Wall Street Journal’s embezzlement allegation against Prime Minister Najib Razak on Tuesday, 7th July 2015 at 12.30 pm)