Where Did The Real Saudi Money Go? Commentary

The billions stolen from 1MDB have tended to over-shadow other very substantial sums of money that DID go into Najib’s personal account from Saudi Arabia.

These secret payments undoubtedly formed the basis for Najib’s decision to label all his incomings as a ‘Saudi Royal donation’, trading off the discomfort and likely silence of a country, which has been accused of funnelling large tranches of its oil wealth into developing client nations and promoting its particular brand of extremist ideology across the Muslim world.

Secret US$80,000,000 was paid to Najib

It was the ABC Four Corners programme which gained access to a full insight of Najib’s so-called ‘Mr’ Account at AmBank, back in March last year.  What they found were not only the payments from Jho Low companies like Tanore Finance (BVI) and Blackstone Asia (BVI) amounting to a billion dollars, but also substantial receipts from the Saudi Arabian Finance Ministry.

Two whopping payments in 2011 came to US$80 million:

Four Corner's findings on Najib's account
ABC Four Corner’s findings on Najib’s account

Given this enormous and undisclosed bung by the Government of Saudi Arabia into the private account of Malaysia’s Prime Minister, it is perhaps not surprising that when confronted by Malaysian cameras (with Anifa Aman, Malaysia’s Foreign Minister, at his shoulder) the embarrassed Saudi Foreign Minister mumbled a willingness to accept Najib’s stories about a ‘Saudi Royal donor’, something he had earlier denied, before declaring the “matter closed”.

So, leaving the billion dollars from 1MDB aside, what did the PM spend this particular US$80 million from Saudi Arabia on?  Surely, no one believes that Saudi Arabia’s Finance Ministry was handing Najib so much undisclosed cash without a specific purpose?

Spreading Saudi’s Sectarian Agenda?

It is widely acknowledged that Saudi has been building up its influence throughout the Muslim world by dispensing secretive sums to develop supportive infrastructures within client states – using oil money to expand their specific brand of religious authoritarianism.

What used to be regarded as an isolated and extremst fringe of the Muslim world, the Wahabist sect, is now spreading its tentacles far and wide thanks to these millions poured into religious training, teaching jobs and tarfiz schools, where the converted promote the ideas taught at Saudi universities and places of learning.

This Saudi agenda and the support of rigorous rote learning (considered brain-washing by most non-participants) has been frequently identified as a key source of the growing intolerance and extremism seen to be causing instability throughout the Muslim world.  Malaysia’s own firebrand PAS Islamic Party President, Hadi Awang, who is known for his desire to establish an Islamic State and Hudud law in Malaysia, was himself trained and educated over in Saudi Arabia.

Hadi is now recognised as having come far closer to Najib and UMNO, as Malaysian government support for religious schools has increased in recent years. So, was the further promotion of Saudi style Islamic teaching, the expansion of ‘independent’ religious schools and jobs for religious teachers the purpose of this secret budget provided for Najib Razak by the Saudi Finance Ministry?

If not, how was that whopping sum of money (the equivalent of RM335 million) spent?

Certainly, quite apart from any other possible fuding, Najib has started making large and unprecedented government donations to private religious institutions in recent years, despite growing concerns that they are poorly monitored. The Prime Minister, who loves to posture as a ‘moderate’ abroad, has also proved willing and enthusiastic towards welcoming the Islamic extremist agenda of a retreat from civil governance in favour of Hudud religious law – Saudi-style.

So, again, it is time to hear how did the secret US$80 million provided by this foreign power straight into Najib’s bank account get spent?  If the Prime Minister has been using the money to curry domestic politial favour with a segment of the population he wishes to bring over from the opposition to bolster BN, whilst at the same time permitting insiduous and secret influence mongering by a foreign power, Malaysians have a right to know.

If, to the contrary, the money went towards non-political causes, public education, care for the elderly, hospitals, orphanages, refugees or some such cause then this is the time to bring out the distribution details.

Najib’s own party, which has since Independence held its own policies and ideals, supposedly free from foreign agendas, also have a right to know how he spent this money, since party officials have long made clear they had no idea that Najib had been receiving all this undisclosed cash, until ABC Australia’s Four Corners programme told them so.

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