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The audacity of Malaysia’s ‘national embarrassment’

A look at two different reactions by former prime ministers to allegations of receiving funds.

Mohd Amsyar Jamal
2 minute read

Just when you think that Malaysian politics could not get any more ludicrous, ex-prime minister Najib Razak has proven everyone wrong.

On Saturday, the man who was described as a “national embarrassment” by a top judge after being sentenced to 12 years’ jail and a RM210 million fine for corruption had the gall to insinuate that others are corrupt.

I can’t believe this. Has this man no shame? In a social media post, he questioned his successor Muhyiddin Yassin’s denial of having received RM1.3 million in alleged kickbacks from Ultra Kirana Sdn Bhd.

Muhyiddin, an ex-home minister, had said he was getting treatment for cancer at the time that he was said to have received the payments, and that there was no way this could have happened.

Let’s compare Muhyiddin’s reaction with the corruption allegation thrown at Najib when he was prime minister. In Muhyiddin’s case, he denied wrongdoing just hours after the allegation was made by a witness in the corruption trial of Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. Muhyiddin even furnished proof that he was overseas getting treatment at the time that the money was allegedly passed to him.

And what did Najib, as the prime minister, do when the media reported that some US$681 million of 1MDB’s money went into his private account? He kept silent!

Yes, a sitting PM, for the longest time did not respond to the damning allegations, which in no time had gone halfway around the world, tarnishing not just his image but that of the nation. The US attorney-general even described Malaysia as a “kleptocracy” and gave Najib the “Malaysian Official 1” moniker.

And subsequent to that, what did Najib do? He unceremoniously got rid of the Malaysian attorney-general who was said to be preferring charges against Najib for wrongdoings related to 1MDB. He also installed a compliant person to head the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission. And he shamelessly pulled all the levers of power to consolidate his position as PM.

And now, Najib, the first ex-PM in Malaysia to be sentenced to jail for corruption, has the audacity to question Muhyiddin’s denial over alleged kickbacks amounting to RM1.3 million? I just cannot wrap my head around this shame-retardant idea.

This is the same man behind grand larceny which dozens of countries around the world launched probes to get to the bottom of. In the US, where the trial of ex-Goldman Sachs banker Roger Ng took place, reams of damning information surfaced about how Najib and those he was in cahoots with, were paid millions to to pull off this heinous heist.

And this ex-PM6 and “PM10 wannabe” has the cheek to insinuate that others guilty of corruption. God save Malaysia if he ever makes a comeback as PM!

The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the position of MalaysiaNow.