In February the Saudi Foreign Minister, Adel al-Jubeir, had declared that the money received by Najib Razak into his accounts was not a political donation, but he understood there had been an “investment” by private entities in Saudi Arabia.
“”It was a private Saudi citizen, I believe, and the funds went to an investment in Malaysia,” he said in an interview with The New York Times
This added to Prime Minister Najib Razak’s considerable problems over a story that didn’t add up about royal sheikhs providing him a billion dollars as a gift.
What was the investment for, people asked? Indeed, arch critic, Dr Mahathir referred to the official denial as late as yesterday.
So then, surprise surprise, Malaysia has today been treated to yet another of those orchestrated videos, where a third party is dragooned into supposedly ‘exonerating’ Najib.
On this occasion the same Saudi minister was terse and vague as he entered into a ‘chance encounter’ with a Bernama reporter, who just happened to be accompanied by a New Straits Times camera crew. Malaysia’s Foreign Minister, Anifah Aman, just happened to be hovering at his shoulder.
Asked once more about the ‘donation’ by these UMNO mouthpieces he said he was ‘aware of it’.
“”We are aware of the donation and it is a genuine donation with nothing expected in return. We are also fully aware that the Attorney General of Malaysia has thoroughly investigated the matter and found no wrongdoing. “So, as far as we are concerned, the matter is closed” [New Straits Times]
As such, he had made a classic diplomatic announcement, presumably designed to make up for the embarrassment of his earlier incredulity that the sum of a billion dollars could have been merely donated.
A friendly foreign government had told him otherwise, he explained, thereby implying that his previous information must have been incorrect.
Malaysian authorities had now made him aware that Najib had indeed received this donation and that the entire affair had been thoroughly investigated by this new Attorney General, who had found no wrongdoing (!).
So, he was happy to set the record straight, nothing to do with him.
That was the extent of his diplomatic intervention, we are given to understand. This Saudi minister wasn’t saying any more, not least because there is little reason for him to know any more.
His ‘awareness’ and understanding had come through his diplomatic channels with Malaysia, after all, so further details were up to them.
Therefore, he provided no mention of who had provided the ‘donation’, Saudi or otherwise.
For all Adel al-Jubeir had to say, the donor might have been 1MDB or Donald Trump – one billion dollars, no strings attached. He clearly doesn’t know and beyond him having been “made aware” he clearly reckons it is none of his business.
So, it seems, this was just another in a long line of staged productions, presumably orchestrated by the usual suspects (with Rosmah Mansor as Chief Producer).
However, it is one thing to drag in the likes of Sirul, Lester and Selvi into such capers. The Saudi Foreign Minister is unlikely to be grateful when the full money trail is finally revealed and his diplomatic intervention is proven to have been misled.