Answer critics, not accuse them of trying to topple you, Musa Hitam tells Najib

by V. Anbalagan
The Malaysian Insider
11 July 2015

Datuk Seri Najib Razak must respond decisively to serious allegations made against him and his administration over various issues, including the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) fiasco, instead of accusing detractors of seeking to topple his government, Tun Musa Hitam said.

The former deputy prime minister said toppling leaders and bringing down governments were part and parcel of politics.

“Instead of answering questions and doubts by his political opponents and well-wishers, Naib cannot make the accusation that this was done to topple his administration,” Musa told The Malaysian Insider in an exclusive interview.

Musa, who was deputy to former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad between 1981 and 1986, said this in apparent reference to Najib’s oft-repeated statements against his critics in response to issues related to troubled 1MDB.

Last week, Najib refuted what he termed “unsubstantiated and outrageous allegations” by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) that US$700 million (RM2.67 billion) was transferred into his personal bank accounts, and said he had never taken funds for personal gain from 1MDB or any other entities.

Najib said the false allegations were part of a political ploy to topple him engineered by his opponents, including Dr Mahathir.

Two nights ago, Najib vowed to ensure that the truth about himself and 1MDB would emerge, as a special government task force began probing into the WSJ allegations.

“Don’t listen to nonsense. There is too much nonsense on social media. Don’t listen to it all. Not all of it is true. We will ensure that the truth will emerge in the end,” the prime minister said after breaking fast at a mosque in Kuala Lumpur.

Musa, who gained prominence during the tenure of second prime minister Tun Abdul Razak, said Najib, who is Razak’s son, must reply point by point to major issues raised.

He said previous prime ministers could have or were accused of doing the same thing as Najib was facing but they were lucky as they were not running governments in a digital democracy.

“They managed to survive but I am sorry to tell Najib that this cannot work as times have changed.”

The 81-year-old Musa said Najib started well after he assumed office in 2009 by further strengthening political and economic reforms but the prime minister was now under siege.

He said as time went by reports of misdeeds, alleged corruption and cronyism surfaced.

“An unprecedented thing is happening as a sitting prime minister is being investigated by a task force. This also shows that this government is operating in the manner it should be,” he said.

Musa said digital democracy with the emergence of social media has opened the government system and by implication, any wrongdoing by a leader could be exposed.

Blaming those handling Najib’s public relations, Musa said there was no positive reaction to correcting stories that appeared in the alternative media.

“This is almost nil from the leadership for putting things in the right respective by denying or affirming each accusation hurled.”

He said although Najib has been active in the social media in the last few years, the issues piled against him were not dealt with in a proper manner.

“I don’t want to list out the issues but 1MDB was a new thing that raised more questions that remained unanswered.”

He said Najib’s government was lacking in direction because the leadership was not providing what the people demanded.

Musa believed many people were no longer supportive of the government and only an open election would reveal that.

“They can redeem themselves by getting their act together. There are so many issues which have been left hanging and so much doubt.” – July 11, 2015.

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