Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak has achieved world-class notice for Malaysia which none of the five previous Prime Ministers, including his father Tun Razak, had ever done in five decades – international notoriety as one of world’s top countries infamous for global corruption.
Wherever one goes in the world, Malaysia is now equated with the notorious and infamous RM55 billion 1MDB scandal – which has been described last week by the international financial news agency, Bloomberg, as one of the “world’s biggest financial scandals”.
Everybody knows that the RM55 billion 1MDB scandal is huge, but how huge is it?
I myself cannot fully envisage how astronomical is RM55 billion and I believe that 99% of Malaysians cannot imagine how huge is RM55 billion!
How many zeroes do we have in our bank accounts? RM100 is two zeroes, RM1,000 is three zeroes, RM10,000 is four zeroes and RM100,000 is five zeroes.
The overwhelming majority of Malaysians will not even have five zeroes in their bank accounts, even if they have property or assets worth five zeroes.
Having bank accounts of more than six zeroes (millionaires) will be beyond the reach of ordinary Malaysians, but RM55 billion or RM55,000,000,000 is to have 10 zeroes – a completely unthinkable sum of money.
Hidden in the RM55 billion 1MDB scandal is Najib’s RM4.2 billion “donation” scandal, and I don’t think there is a single leader in the democratic world that believes in democracy, good governance, accountability and transparency who has huge sums of money involving nine zeroes deposited into his private banking accounts and refusing to account for them!
The RM55 billion 1MDB scandal is so humongous that if divided among 42,837 voters in Sungai Besar, every voter would get RM1.3 million!
Najib knows that the 1MDB scandal is his Achilles’ heel, which is why he is abusing and misusing his powers to sweep the issue under the carpet in the country, including sacking the Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Senior UMNO Minister for Rural and Regional Development, Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal, the Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail in his crackdown against critics and opponents, which include immediate transfers for government servants, shutdown of independent media, arrests and prosecution of critics under a variety of repressive laws, whether Sedition Act, Penal Code, Printing Presses and Publications Act or Multimedia Communications Act.
This is also why Najib had hijacked the Sarawak general election so that he could hail the landslide victory of Barisan Nasional in Sarawak on May 7 as his personal victory – although everybody knows that it was more the “Adenan Satem effect” than the “Najib effect” which resulted in Sarawak Barisan Nasional winning 72 out of the 82 State Assembly seats in Sarawak.
But Najib’s boast and euphoria about getting a powerful vote of confidence from the voters of Sarawak was very short-lived, as it could only last 17 days – as on May 24, he was brought back to the reality of the 1MDB scandal when two foreign countries, Switzerland and Singapore, closed down banks and initiated criminal proceedings against bankers implicated in the embezzlement, money-laundering and corruption offences connected with the 1MDB scandal.
Singapore and Switzerland are only among at least half a dozen countries which have launched investigations into embezzlement, money-laundering and corruption involving the Malaysian national sovereign fund, 1MDB, in their respective jurisdictions as more financial institutions and individuals are ensnared in the 1MDB international web of labyrinthine ownership structure of “shell-companies” to hide the real identity of the beneficial owners – all of which will be exposed to the glare of publicity when prosecutions and punitive actions are taken by the respective regulatory agencies in the weeks and months to come.
With the impending Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar parliamentary by-elections next month, Najib’s strategists are working overtime to ensure that the 1MDB global corruption scandal would not feature prominently in the two by-elections, which explains for the unprecedented action by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said in Parliament on Thursday to move a Ministerial motion to give priority to PAS President, Datuk Seri Hadi Awang’s hudud private member’s bill motion.
We must not fall into this Najib-Hadi political trap, as 1MDB global scandal must be one of the foremost issues in the two by-elections, as Malaysians have a right to expect the Prime Minister to use the two by-elections to give full and satisfactory explanation about the RM55 billion 1MDB global scandal and not be distracted by the the Najib-Hadi gambit.
(Speech at the Amanah ceramah in Sungai Nibong, Sekinchan on Sunday, 29th May 2016 at 10 pm)