Lawyers for Zaid Ibrahim, PR’s disappointed candidate for Selangor, must be rubbing their hands with glee.
They complained that the ruling BN party had rigged that by-election back in April and now the Prime Minister himself, Najib Razak, has got up on stage and fully admitted it! On camera! In front of hundreds and hundreds of people! and now tens of thousands of others have seen it too on You Tube!
The scandal-prone PM bragged to his audience that he personally had bribed electors with a cheque for 3 million ringgit of government money. He boasted that, because he is a ‘man of his word’, the moment he knew BN’s candidate had won he signed and delivered the promised cheque for that amount of tax-payers money to the electors he had bought. He claimed that this recommeded him as a man of honour, who can be trusted on a deal. But this is only honour amongst thieves - thieves who had stolen an election using other people’s money.
In any other country Najib’s admissions would have made headline news and been followed by live TV pictures of him being bundled into a police van and banged up in jail. These are very serious criminal offences that he has openly admitted to. Zaid’s lawyers will be able to draw up a charge list as long as their arms based on his own words alone, leaving aside all the other evidence of corruption during this and the Sibu election. Here are some starting points: electoral corruption, illegal misuse of taxpayers money, abuse of due process and bribery.
Najib was stupidly boasting in this way, because he wanted to repeat his crimes against the people of Sibu in May. In front of a bemused audience at Rajang Park (with the BN emblem of the scales of justice emblazoned behind him) the Prime Minister of Malaysia initiated a bidding process for their votes! How much would it cost him (by which he meant the tax-payer), he asked, to ensure that they would turn out for his candidate Robert Lau? Robert Lau is the son of the previous BN incumbent and from a family of logging tycoons who for years have been destroying one of the world’s most valuable tropical jungles of Sarawak. Would it cost BN (sorry the taxpayer) 3 million ringgit like in Selangor? or was he going to have to stump up 5 million? Oh go on then, he was desperate he admitted, they had him over a barrel, he offered to pay 5 million ringgit. It was a deal, he claimed, as long as they delivered the election the following Sunday.
In the event Najib did not have to ‘honour’ the deal, because Sibu, despite the BN party’s attempts to corrupt the election in every possible way, rejected Mr Lau in favour of the DAP opposition candidate. After half a century of BN corruption these voters knew that corruption is very expensive. 5 million ringgit is nothing compared to the devastating costs that unsustainable logging has laid on Sibu. The flooding caused by the deforestation carried out by Mr Lau’s wealthy family will cost hundreds of millions to repair, but the money for that has gone into the Mahmud family bank accounts and those of their cronies as everyone knows.
These people should be prosecuted and the money returned to the taxpayer, so that environmental disasters like Sibu can be addressed. The people of Sibu knew perfectly well that a mere 5 million ringgit could never solve the problem, nor can continued BN rule.