Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is badly served by the world’s worst but probably most expensive media communications strategists as witnessed by the “dud” of the National Consultative Committee on Political Funding.
Those responsible for mooting the idea of National Consultative Committee on Political Funding at this stage deserve to be sacked immediately, as only the naïve and the dim-witted could believe that this is the best timing for the Prime Minister to surface such a proposal.
Those who convinced Najib to go public on this idea at this stage must have sold the Prime Minister with the argument that this was a panacea for Najib’s recent woes, pushing to the backstage the twin scandals of 1MDB and RM2.6 billion deposit into Najib’s personal bank accounts, which had haunted the Prime Minister for months, but even more tempting, allow Najib to go from the defensive to the offensive against opposition parties – by taking a moral ground vis-à-vis his critics and dissenters.
But only the naïve and the nincompoop could fail to see that this is the worst possible timing to surface the proposal of a National Consultative Council on Political Funding, and in fact, may even be inviting a death certificate for the idea.
This is because with Najib’s failure to uphold accountability and transparency in the two biggest scandals in the nation’s history, the RM42 billion 1MDB and the RM2.6 billion deposited in Najib’s personal accounts in AmBank in March 2013 just before dissolution of Parliament and holding of 13th General Election, the Prime Minister has lost all moral authority to talk about transparency and integrity in political funding.
I don’t think there would be another head of government in the world who would on the one hand shout from the rooftops about integrity and transparency in political funding and on the other hand, refuse to say a simple “yes” or “no” for over five weeks whether an astronomical sum of RM2.6 billion had been deposited into his personal bank accounts just before the 13th general election.
As a result, it is not only a serving member of MACC’s oversight Operations Review Panel, Lim Chee Wee who said that although ordinarily such an announcement would be applauded, but given the “extraordinary circumstances”, Najib’s announcement is seen by a large majority as “an insincere move to distract in a disingenuous manner the perceived wrong of the alleged donation (of RM2.6 billion)”.
Even those outside the system, like Cynthia Gabriel, executive director of Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4) have declared that Malaysians will only be convinced of Najib’s plan to regulate political funding after he answered questions surrounding the RM2.6 billion deposit into his personal bank accounts.
In fact, Najib’s “world’s worst but highly-paid media communications strategists” deserve even more censure and sanction, for they failed to anticipate that they have exposed Najib to an entirely new charge – for accepting RM2.6 billion donation from a foreign donor, whether for 13th General Elections campaign or other unspecified purpose, causing the first Prime Minister of Malaysia to risk being charged of not being fully loyal to Malaysia but serving the agenda of some foreign power.
One of Najib’s new Ministers said former premier Tun Dr. Mahathir had received over RM1 billion when he was Prime Minister for the purpose of settiting up the International Islamic University in Gombak.
It is a pathetic yardstick of the low intellectual standards in the Cabinet had sunk that Ministers cannot see the difference between receiving RM 1 billion from foreign sources for a specific purpose of building the International Islamic University and the mysterious and secretive deposit of RM2.6 billion into the Prime Minister’s personal banking accounts just before the dissolution of Parliament for an “unknown” agenda, and after more than two years, the Prime Minister cannot say a simple “yes” or “no” whether such a RM2.6 billion had been deposited, where the money came from and where they went to, and what was the purpose of the “donation”!
May be Najib’s stocks will begin to rise if he gets rid of these “world’s worst but highly-paid” media communications strategists, who are making one strategic error after another.
Najib’s proposal of a National Consultative Council on Political Funding may however still be salvageable, but the Prime Minister must re-establish his moral authority to talk about transparency and integrity on political funding – and he can only do so if he immediately gives a full and satisfactory explanation about the twin scandals of the RM2.6 billion deposit into his personal bank accounts and about the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal.
Yesterday, I gave Najib and all the Cabinet Ministers 72 hours to prove they are sincere in the political funding proposal by coming clean on the twin scandals on 1MDB and RM2.6 billion.
Two days ago, former Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had asked what was the balance in Najib’s personal accounts after Najib had disbursed monies to UMNO/BN people.
Yesterday the Sarawak Report website revealed that handsome hand-outs had been made by Najib to various people, with two persons named, who received RM1 million and RM2 million respectively.
These two persons named should state whether they had received, one a million ringgit and the other two million ringgit, from Najib as they cannot keep silent as they are bound to be questioned on the matter when Parliament reconvenes on Oct. 19, as both are MPs.
All Ministers should declare whether they have received handouts from Najib’s personal accounts, and how much, or to state so and clearly if they had not been beneficiaries at all.
For this reason, I am extending the 72-hour notice to 96 hours so that the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday has the opportunity to focus and discuss this issue.
(Speech at the DAP Penang State Leadership Retreat held at Hotel St Giles Wembley, Penang on Sunday, on Sunday 16th August 2015 at 9 am: