On the eve of the UMNO General Assembly, the President of that party, Najib Razak (who also holds the position of Prime Minister, Finance Minister and a controlling influence over half the Malaysian economy, through his appointment of the heads of public funds and government linked companies) has announced that “Malaysia will be safer and secure if Umno continues to lead the country”.
Financially hard-pressed Malaysians ought to ask how this can be? After all, who feels safe when they know that an identified thief is already lurking in their house or down at the bank clutching the details of their accounts?
This is the position that Najib presently occupies in Malaysia, with the gang from UMNO backing up his grasp of the keys to the safe, just as the 40 thieves from Ali Baba supported their chieftan, so long as there was gold in the brigands’ cave.
As the FBI court submissions plainly show in the United States, Najib is a clearly identified thief, who has refused to step aside to allow a Malaysian investigation into his crimes and who is intimidating his critics, just like any criminal gang boss would.
To impede the forces of Malaysian justice Najib has unconsitutionally sacked his Attorney General and booted out senior UMNO leaders, who urged him to do the proper thing and allow the independent judicial process. Others who got in Najib’s way have been less lucky.
However, all this coming week party delegates and the country at large will be hearing the sanitised version of events from Najib’s PR and propaganda machine, well-oiled with cash.
Najib has thrown money at covering up 1MDB; at currying favour with foreign powers and at buying the loyalty of his party followers, a clique of corrupted cronies who have milked Malaysia’s public finances for 60 years.
Now he is also getting ready to throw some money at ordinary folk as well – their tip to trick them into thinking Malaysia’s finances are healthy after all, just before the election is called.
Where do people think that all this unprecedented expenditure under Najib is coming from, given that the dispenser of all this cash is a man, who without blushes raised RM42 billion in public borrowing in the name of 1MDB and then splurged most of it on buying the last election, paying off his cronies and going on a family bender with party boy Jho Low?
Plans are now heavily afoot to flush Malaysia with more pre-election cash, which is scheduled to start emanating from public coffers and party officials in all directions over the next few months. Just like the previous GE13, except given the added pressures of mistrust, Najib is expected to flash even more cash this time round.
People should anticipate quite a party. However, ought they really celebrate and feel ‘safe and secure’ or ought this make them worry? Where do people think the thief will be getting all this money from?
Last week a long-standing and respected official, the Deputy of the Bank of Malaysia Dr Sukhdave Singh, resigned and people ought to take that move as a heavy hint as to what is going on behind the scenes.
Najib has steadily packed all the many key positions under his control with loyal lightweights, replacing solid professionals who had fought to uphold standards. In a letter to friends Dr Singh explained why he had finally had enough:
“All I can say is that my life in the Bank has been based on certain professional expectations, and when I find myself put in circumstances where those expectations can no longer be met, there could have been no other decision for me”, he said.
If ‘certain professional expectations’ are not being met in Malaysia’s Central Bank (BNM) then people ought probably to feel worried, rather than ‘safe and secure’. Notably, the UMNO organ New Straits Times ran the story about this remarkable letter, but within hours it had been removed from their website.
The significance is clear. Goings-on that a senior professional at BNM would be concerned about would surely include the untoward export of large sums of public money into unsecured ventures abroad; the untoward imports of large amounts of unexplained cash back into private bank accounts and the wasting of huge sums from the Central Bank’s precious reserves on trying to prop up the ringgit, which has plummeted in the wake of Najib’s astonishing profligacy with the country’s finances.
All of the above activities have been recorded going on under the nose of the Central Bank, whose officials are plainly under enormous pressure to let things pass. Yet, this is the nation’s wealth and future well-being that is at stake. Najib may want the ringgit pumping up, so he can open the pre-election UMNO conference with a boast that the ringgit has tipped back from being over 4 to the dollar – but at what cost this PR stunt purely for his own benefit? He caused the decline in the first place!
Foreign investment is declining and the once wealthy FELDA has been declared to have empty coffers by its own boss. Yet, Sarawak Report has heard that BNM has been throwing its reserves to defy the financial consequences and prop up the ringgit. What honourable person would not resign, under such circumstances?
Najib, on the other hand, will tell Malaysia that the ‘ringgit bounce’ it is all a result of his magnificent handling of the economy. Its value is only a quater less than when he took over instead of half!
Najib will also tell Malaysia that the money he is presently trying to scrape together to fund the second $620 million owed by 1MDB to Abu Dhabi’s IPIC, due 31st December, was provided from 1MDB’s fictitious savings. In fact, a desperate race is currently on to circle back into Malaysia various tranches of stolen public cash, in order to cover this enormous bill run up by Najib’s own feckless spending on movies, mansions, super-yachts and so much more. So, how can the prospect of another five years with him in charge make anyone, apart from his fellow thieves from UMNO, feel ‘safe and secure’?
Likewise regarding the pre-election cash-in-your-pocket spending bonanza, planned by Najib and his UMNO teamsters: where do Malaysians think the money is suddenly going to be coming from? Najib will announce on platforms and TV that is has come from his ‘skilful management of the Malaysian economy’ – thanks to that disputed economics degree from Nottingham University.
Yet, who can believe a thief, who did the same thing last time round at GE13 and was then unmasked as having stolen the money from the public?
Najib is like a husband who treats his wife to a year of luxury living, boasting that the money came from his ‘success in business’…. only for her to realise that he in fact spent half their family savings on these extravagances, whilst sending the other half abroad, where he plans to make off with a second wife.
The money that Najib is spending is public money: other people’s old age savings, to which he has unhealthy access, owing to the excessive concentration and centralisation of powers under his office in Malaysia.
Najib not only assigns a huge chunk of the government’s annual budget to his own PM’s office, but he controls the appointment of officials to all Malaysia’s key savings and retirement funds like Tabung Haji. On top the government owns huge chunks of the country’s major private enterprises, giving the Minister of Finance (him also) the power to squeeze these also.
If you are going to give one man that much power, then he had better not be a thief. However, this is what everyone in Malaysia knows that Najib is. They know what he is capable of and that he is perfectly willing to lie outrageously to deny it. So, why ‘safe and secure’ with him in government?
UMNO top brass don’t care, because party members all stand to get their slice of the spoils. However, ordinary voters ought not to feel ‘safe and secure’ with this man in charge. He is stealing from them and then asking them to once more trust him with the keys to their safe and the pin number on their debit cards.
That pre-election party which Najib is planning is going to leave each and every one of those Malaysian voters with a massive financial hangover, because it is their savings which will take the hit, whoever wins.
See last week’s email from Dr Sukhdave Singh explaining his departure to his colleagues:
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
As you all know by now, I am leaving the Bank soon. Some of you have asked me why I am leaving and I must confess that I have evaded the question. All I can say is that my life in the Bank has been based on certain professional expectations, and when I find myself put in circumstances where those expectations can no longer be met, there could have been no other decision for me.
This past week has been an emotional roller-coaster. The days have flown by so fast and saying goodbye has been harder than I had anticipated. Meeting many of you has brought back a flood of memories and emotions. But, I am grateful for the opportunity to personally wish you goodbye, and I thank you for the kind wishes you have expressed to me.
In parting, I want to express my gratitude to those of you who have worked with me and helped me succeed in my job. No one gets to my position without the help of others. I am unable to thank each of you individually but I hope you know that I am referring to you and please accept my heartfelt thanks.
If I have contributed to your own professional success, I am glad; but you do not need to thank me. Pay it forward – be a part of someone else’s success.
If you are in a position of leadership, remind yourself, and remind yourself often, that leadership is a responsibility and not a privilege. Remember that nothing shines a brighter light into the depths of your character than your behaviour when you believe that you have power over others. It is never leadership to try to make yourself look good by depriving your subordinates of opportunities to be their best. It is also never acceptable to use bullying as a means to exert your leadership. Respect yourself; respect those who work for you.
Well, my journey with BNM has come to an end, but yours will continue. I wish you fair weather and good sailing.
Goodbye and God bless.