When it comes to cover-ups Prime Minister Najib Razak holds world acrobatic status.
Of course, as all Malaysians know, he has had plenty of practice during a long political career packed with scandals, which would have (rightfully) destroyed most politicians.
But, Najib also possesses an ‘it’ factor, a hereditary sense of entitlement in a deferential society that has let him get away with ‘blue murder’ all his political life, along with an inherited sports car equivalent, in terms of the powers accumulated by his leadership portfolio.
What other ‘democratic’ politician walks into the top leadership job, which is combined with the finance portfolio and chairmanship of a political party that has inserted its tentacles around every lever of power in the country? On top of that this political party has asserted a race-bias advantage that must be almost unique in the modern world – economic advantages established for Malays only, which have rapidly been hijacked by a self-selecting group of elite Malays, who run BN and the government.
As his by now largely aghast fellow elite have observed, Najib jumped into that political sports car like a wayward prince and immediately careered off into trouble, full throttle without a glance in the rear vision and barely looking ahead.
His move to grab his first billion dollars of public money came within just a few weeks of being handed the premiership (no election), when he schemed a heist with an equally feckless Saudi Prince, Turki bin Abdullah, on the grand yacht Tatoosh off Monaco in July 2009.
That PetroSaudi deal was a hoax from beginning to end and it is hard to decide which party conned the other more.
Was it the boys from PetroSaudi, who had hired the yacht and pretended they owned it and who then further lied that their worthless company was valued at US$3 billion? Or was it Najib and his agent Jho Low, who lured the young Saudi/UK adventurers into imagining they could make a fast mega-buck by ‘acting as a front’ for a Malaysian government led theft from its own people and then move on with their lives?
What is certain is that neither of these irresponsible parties ought to have been entrusted with running a country or doing any form of public business. They are now locked in the horror of discovery from all sides (their ill-deeds having escalated from bad to far far worse in the intervening period) and in reaction Najib has revved that sports car up through the gears, like a mad drugged-out teenager in a police chase, crashing through safety barriers, tearing through reservations and now heading full throttle down the wrong side of the freeway!
Compare this madman to Britain’s David Cameron, who last week announced his resignation following a major political blunder. Cameron was already embarrassed having had to admit to benefitting from an off-shore family trust to the tune of a few thousand pounds. But he can get on with the rest of his life with dignity now, having plainly attempted to do the right thing in the light of his country’s interests, which he has placed first.
Meanwhile, what of the billionaire Najib? This man dare not take his foot off the accelerator, by contrast, because the cops will catch up.
He just drives faster and like James Bond he is hurling from his now tattered vehicle every last cunning advantage that an over-accumulation of powers and wealth have given him: an IGP who does his bidding; an anti-corruption agency that resides in his personal private office; an Attorney General appointed by him; judges who owe their positions to him; politicians and party office holders who all seem happy to acknowledge they have received regular cheques from him… but still the car must, eventually, according to the laws of nature run out of petrol or crash!
Just look at what he has done to stay in power. Just this last week he came after the respected Chief Minister of Penang, one of the few havens of remaining good governance in Malaysia, like a goon.
Accusing the man of having cheated over the purchase of his relatively modest home, in return for a non-existent favour to the previous owner, Najib made sure that his police agencies slammed Mr Guan Eng in a lock up over night, as a taster of what he plans in store for him, once this latest act of judicial persecution is through. After all, Malaysia’s other opposition leader has been banged up over a year for the similar offence of being a threat to Najib.
Malaysia is left asking, surely if Guan Eng was corrupt he would have done more to feather his nest than worry about getting a slice off the price of a house purchase, given his pivotal position over Penang’s successful economy? So, presumably Najib could find nothing else, which merely re-confirms the perception of clean government compared to the federal mess run by the Prime Minister cum Finance Minister himself.
But, of course, Guan Eng is just part of the Najib road kill riot. Prior to him the PM lashed out at another apparently successful Chief Minister, this time from his own BN party in Kedah, Mukriz Mahathir. Mukriz’s offence? To be Mahathir’s son and by association a critic of the Prime Minister’s single handed destruction of the economy via 1MDB and other corrupted, self-interested decisions.
Next in his sights, we are informed the by now blood-lusting PM himself, is Selangor, another relatively orderly and well-run state of the federation, again ruled by the opposition.
Having bought a slender majority in two recent by-elections, in which the narrow margin of victory was disguised by his ‘achievement’ in dividing the opposition through his encouragement of Islamic extremism in his own country, Najib has told himself that he can also career to political victory in the heartlands of the urban opposition to BN’s 60 years of uninterrupted rule.
Added to his box of tricks provided by ‘Q’ (for whom read the above mentioned Mahathir, who plainly now feels somewhat like the original Dr Frankenstein) is a total control over the Election Commission, therefore Najib clearly reckons he has a chance of ramming such a triumph through. It just involves smashing through a few more of the remaining rules, checks and balances after all – and if you control and appoint all the ballot counters and election monitors as well, you can always say you won, even if you lost… ask the guys in Sarawak, they do it all the time.
So, expect a strike against Selangor’s Azmin soon. Perhaps there will be a judicial move to begin with also, to soften him up? After all, most of Azmin’s top political colleagues are already battling the apparatus of the state on trumped up charges against them, for speaking out, joining peaceful protests, uttering ‘official secrets’ and the like. Maybe it will be another ‘corruption charge’ that Najib has in mind? Since it is always nice to persecute others for the sin that you yourself are most notoriously culpable of.
Following that, might we even see a daring further move against that pesky class of sultans in Malaysia, who still appear to hold some constitutional weight and popular support?
Najib (to his own mind) is by now the real royal, surely the country realises and recognises that? Those chaps down south in Johor would seem to make a good starting point for such a move, being they tend to be so frequently cheeky.
Since no one so far seems to have managed to rip Najib’s tyres and the lead chasers appear to have been successfully thrown off by his various deployments of Q’s weaponry, it looks as though Najib may now seriously be contemplating such ultimate moves, in order to secure his total, final grasp over Malaysia.
After all, it is only once he has established a complete and unequivocal dictatorship that a fugitive from the law, like Najib Razak, could ever possibly feel safe from justice.