Najib leaves Taib video expose to MACC probe

by Clara Chooi
The Malaysian Insider
March 27, 2013

The Financial Times reported that the prime minister declined to address the expose by Global Witness directly during the interview. — Reuters picKUALA LUMPUR, March 27 — Barisan Nasional (BN) is “equally as concerned about corruption” as its critics but the problem cannot go away overnight, Datuk Seri Najib Razak said in a Financial Times (FT) interview carried today, in the wake of a damning expose on Sarawak’s timber scandals.

The international financial daily reported that the prime minister declined to address the expose by Global Witness (GW) directly during the interview, pointing out that Malaysian graftbusters were already investigating the allegations against Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud.

“Prostitution and corruption are two things that mankind has had to live with for so long. But we are determined to tackle it. It is a scourge. But it is something that will not go away overnight,” he was quoted saying.

In the article describing the likely heated contest that Najib will face in Election 2013, FT noted that Umno is vulnerable on the topic of corruption, which the federal opposition will use as its key weapon on the campaign trail.

The business paper pointed to the numerous allegations of bribes allegedly used to secure government contracts, and Malaysia’s ranking of 54 out of 176 countries in Transparency International Malaysia’s (TI-M) 2012 corruption perception index.

Taib has denied all involvement in the timber scandal. — file picNajib’s pledge to transform and reform the country includes promises to stamp out corruption and be more transparent, but the series of graft exposes involving administrators in his team has continued to hamper progress.

In the latest revelation by London-based environmental group Global Witness, Taib found himself at the centre of corruption allegations again in a video of a covert investigation on Sarawak’s timber scandals.

The video, titled “Inside Malaysia’s Shadow State”, showed dealings by GW’s undercover investigators with Taib’s cousins and several other intermediaries to acquire thousands of hectares of forest land, which the group said would displace thousands of indigenous people living there.

Taib has since played innocent and denied his involvement, and his government has even initiated its own probe to determine if the video was an attempt by the opposition to discredit him ahead of Election 2013, a contest deemed the most critical yet for the ruling BN coalition.

FT said Najib’s team could well be upstaged by Pakatan Rakyat (PR), the loose coalition of opposition parties PKR, DAP and PAS that has grown significantly in strength and in numbers since its harried formation five years ago.

PR had a taste of victory in the last March 2008 general election when it robbed BN of its two-thirds parliamentary majority and won in five states and a federal territory.

Should Najib lead BN to only a narrow win in the next election, the country’s sixth prime minister could face a leadership challenge within Umno.

But Najib appeared to acknowledge this during the interview, pointing out that he had allowed himself the risk when he changed Umno’s constitution to make it easier to challenge the party’s leadership.

“I’ve made Umno more democratic, more inclusive. Of course, by doing that I’m putting myself at risk. But I believe that what were doing is good for the country and good for the party,” he was quoted saying.

Economy-wise, FT wrote that Najib has the advantage of incumbency as he led Malaysia through an economic performance last year that, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), had “surpassed expectations”.

The paper pointed out that the Malaysian economy grew 5.6 per cent, driven by a robust domestic demand and exports of commodities like gas and palm oil.

Citing HSBC, FT noted that foreign confidence in Najib’s reforms has also seen foreign holdings of Malaysian government bonds soar by 550 per cent to RM215 billion since 2009.

But the paper pointed to concerns all around over the government’s debt to GDP ratio of 51 per cent, and noted that government revenues were weak.

Responding to this, Najib said his government will look at widening the tax base, appearing to hint that once polls are done, the highly-awaited goods and services tax may be introduced, after it was shelved following public uproar.

“I will look at the tax structure, definitely, because we need to enhance the revenue base. The government revenue base has to be predicated on a much stronger footing,” he was quoted saying.

  1. #1 by bajumuslimmodern on Thursday, 28 March 2013 - 7:30 am

  2. #2 by yhsiew on Thursday, 28 March 2013 - 7:37 am

    Najib failed to realized that if the MACC refuses to probe Taib, the rakyat will put the blame on him (Najib) and not the MACC. This will further erode his popularity.

  3. #3 by bruno on Thursday, 28 March 2013 - 7:44 am

    There is nothing Jibby can do.What can Jibby do to Taib,considering that he is one of the main players in this game.

  4. #4 by bruno on Thursday, 28 March 2013 - 7:51 am

    Jibby cannot ask the MACC to probe Taib.What if Taib will only let the MACC to probe him if they probe Jibby first.Afterall there is nothing the MACC can do to Taib as long as he is in Sarawak.He will ask his immigration guys to sent the MACC guys back on the next flight.Unless Jbby has the guts to send in the army for a hostile takeover.

  5. #5 by Bigjoe on Thursday, 28 March 2013 - 8:02 am

    Najib does anything to Taib and Taib will do Sodomy III to him..

  6. #6 by yhsiew on Thursday, 28 March 2013 - 8:05 am

    Yeah Najib’s famous motto: You don’t probe me, I don’t probe you.

  7. #7 by Bigjoe on Thursday, 28 March 2013 - 8:47 am

    IT DOES NOT TAKE LONG TO TACKLE MOST OF THE CORRUPTION IN MALAYSIA. The truth is most of those who are corrupted ARE NOT SMART – its just that its SO EASY to do it. Taib’s video proof it and all the evidence that has ever come out, and its really flimsy evidence shows how CRUDE they are..

    All it takes to wipe out majority of the corruption is to put a team of calibre people such as Rafizi and Tony Pua and large part of it would be wiped out within a term..The rest of it can be tackle over time. The truth is its the small potatos that Najib has gone after that is hard to wipe out because its almost cultural such as in the police and municipalities and small agencies. The big ones, it won’t take long because THEY ARE SIMPLY NOT VERY BRIGHT…

  8. #8 by lee tai king (previously dagen) on Thursday, 28 March 2013 - 8:54 am

    Jib leaves it to macc.
    Macc leaves it to police.
    Police says, no report made.

    … tu dia slow mahjong umno-style.

    Anyway, I as a citizen of this country demand that investigation be commenced immediately against Taib and pending investigation, Taib be suspended.

  9. #9 by Jeffrey on Thursday, 28 March 2013 - 9:03 am

    An interesting comparison – that “Prostitution and corruption are two things that mankind has had to live with for so long”. It is true that both, condemned (often hypocritically as a public scourge, will not go away overnight but that’s about where the comparison ends. I recall that a prostitute (as in sex) is the victim in sense that though providing a service to patrons who won’t go away or diminish in numbers is however denigrated and condemned in social ignominy. The politician though elected to high office based on trust and showered public respect and praises however abuses by corruption that trust and makes the public the victim. By this criteria of “who really is the victim” criteria, is a corrupt politician on same moral plane as a prostitute? A corrupt politician peddling hopes, making promises and stealing the public purse, harms the public very much more and is worse. It is the corrupt politician that is really the prostitute in betraying public trust for personal financial gain.

  10. #10 by boh-liao on Thursday, 28 March 2013 - 9:40 am

    NR smiled n said: Looks like pek moh, sounds like pek moh, but hey, WHAT’s d PROBLEM? We all sama2 1 lah, 1UmnoB/BN, same boat 1 mah
    Pek moh also smiled n said: Ya lor, let MACC probe lor; he, he, NO PROBLEMO! NR no press activation button, MACC dare 2 probe meh? Aiya, waste time only, SAPU some more lah

  11. #11 by evangelion on Thursday, 28 March 2013 - 11:01 am

    Inaction by Jib as well as MACC over the Taib scandal could be a good makes public blood boil to greater degrees. Just hope the people in the far & deep regions of Sarawak get to see the bizarre dramas that are unfolding before our eyes. For how many decades have their land and rightful wealth been robbed by the fat cats who seem so merciful as they hand out grains..

  12. #12 by Dap man on Thursday, 28 March 2013 - 11:05 am

    Najib is only quick to ask the police or MACC to investigate Anwar, Tian Chua or the Opposition leaders.
    When it comes to his own kind, he chickens out.
    This man has no qualities of a leader. He cannot even decide on the election date. What is he good for?

  13. #13 by evangelion on Thursday, 28 March 2013 - 11:13 am

    What are the chances GW has more miracles up their sleeves? The prolonged waiting period for GE13 is a good opportunity for a few more long as the brave martyrs behind all these revelations don’t get put down..C4 style. When Putrajaya has been taken over, when the RAHMAN prophecy has proven true, our country should build a monument in remembrance & gratitude towards all the fallen heroes who perished silently in the hands of the real enemy…

  14. #14 by Winston on Thursday, 28 March 2013 - 11:37 am

    How to do anything about it?
    They are all steeped in it!
    Right up to the tops of their heads!
    That’s the reason why only birds of the same feather can flog together!
    Therefore, no one who is anything near honest or have any integrity can survive in UMNO/BN!
    It doesn’t do to have such people around to spoil their spoils, isn’t it!!!

  15. #15 by cinaindiamelayubersatu on Thursday, 28 March 2013 - 1:28 pm

    kalau taib kena siasat macam macc siasat teoh beng hock berapa kali dia kena terjun tingkat ?
    ahh, biarlah dia jawab denganNya dengan yang memberinya nyawa…

  16. #16 by TheWrathOfGrapes on Thursday, 28 March 2013 - 2:23 pm

    Why bother asking the MACC to probe? They only know how to probe using the proctoscope.

  17. #17 by good coolie on Thursday, 28 March 2013 - 8:30 pm

    Jeffrey, it is the corrupt politician’s hand that we wait in line to kiss. A photo with him is the most prized possession, to be framed and kept in the front-room of our houses. Maybe, he will sit beside us as we eat thosai in the shop. Our hands and lips would tremble in awful respect.

  18. #18 by cseng on Friday, 29 March 2013 - 12:29 am

    Question, is Taib needed Najib badly, or Najib needed Taib badly… which is which?

    MACC, soon they going to revamp and transform their name again.

  19. #19 by chengho on Friday, 29 March 2013 - 5:40 am

    no hard fact evidence , only gossiping by the western media, look at Euro zone , the next century , China century

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