RM2.6 billion doggie in Najib’s window

August 6, 2015

Malaysia: RM2.6 billion doggie in Najib’s window

by Azrul Mohd Khalib


Penderma UtamaPrime Minister Najib Razak’s Generous Donor

If, like me, you are frustrated and furious with the recent revelation by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission that the RM2.6 billion that was deposited into Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak personal bank account was found to be from donor contributions and not from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), let me assure you that you are not alone.

Thousands of people across the country are clustered around tables at kedai kopi, mamak shops, dining rooms and even hipster cafes wondering what the hell is going on.

The whole thing feels like it was stage-managed to help take the heat off this particular issue in the wake of the reportage from The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), The Edge Financial Daily, The Edge Weekly and the Sarawak Report.

Earlier tweets from the honourable Member of Parliament for Kota Belud disparaged and mocked WSJ’s report last month, describing it as “gutter journalism” and a “wanton allegation.”  There was also his earlier vocal support for the continuation of the work of the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee into the 1MDB issue to “end it” and provide closure.

Then came the recent Cabinet reshuffle, the raids on the MACC, the agency’s revelation regarding the RM2.6 billion, and the suspension of the PAC hearings.

azalinaMinister of Sycophancy

Newly-minted Minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman wasted no time in distinguishing herself from the pack by actually saying that the amount in the Prime Minister’s personal bank account was not a big issue.

Congratulations Datuk Seri, on starting your ministerial stint by polishing the apple with a touch of sycophancy. But to be fair to that lot in the Cabinet, it sounds like precious little is shared on this issue during those weekly meetings. As was confirmed by a former member, you find out more from reading a copy of The Edge Financial Daily or The Wall Street Journal.

After all, collective responsibility only goes so far. It must also be great being a minister.

By stating that the amount in question originated from donor contributions rather than the 1MDB, the MACC announcement inadvertently confirms the following points which were earlier reported by the abovementioned publications:

That the funds existed and were a total of US$700 million or RM2.6 billion (would be worth more in today’s depressing value of the ringgit). That the amount was deposited into a personal bank account.

That the account holder was Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, the current Prime Minister of Malaysia. RM2.6 billion is a heady sum. It would be strange if you felt that there is nothing wrong with this picture and that the PM is entitled to have that amount in his personal bank account.

To put the US$700 million into context, consider that this amount is equivalent to 1 per cent of the 2014 Federal Government Budget of RM262.1 billion.

If I were to take the MACC announcement at face value, I would have at least three questions to ask:

1. Who were the donors of such largesse? 

2. What were they expecting as a result of their generosity?

3. Why was the prime minister the recipient/ beneficiary/ trustee of these donations?

Let me say right now that to explain away RM2.6 billion as coming from contributions of UMNO members and various supporters, would be an insult to the Malaysian people’s intelligence. Don’t even try it.

If it didn’t come from 1MDB funds, from whom and where did this funding come from? I must surmise that with all this sudden talk about how it is alright for politicians to receive foreign funding, that this amount allegedly came from sources abroad.

If this funding which the ministers are now suddenly acknowledging exists and are claiming is above board, why then the need for secrecy and the reticence? Sure, it’s not a crime to receive all that money but whose money is this? Are the donors governments, organisations, companies or special interest groups? It is extremely important to highlight not only how much but where the money came from.

Is this why we have been bowing and scraping to various entities in the Middle East? What kind of influence do these unknown donors and benefactors have over our country?

Which leads me to the second question, what were or are they expecting in return? What is the quid pro quo? Nobody gives this kind of money dengan penuh tulus ikhlas, without expecting something in return. Let’s not be naïve.

This is a sobering reality as money is endemic in a democracy. There is a famous quote attributed to American politician Jesse Unruh who said that “money is the mother’s milk of politics.” Or in our case, this is probably susu kambing of some kind.

Private financing is a legitimate and necessary tool for political parties and their candidates. Campaign war chests are growing ever bigger with each election. In many countries, record amounts are being spent on elections.

Consider the following:

In the last US election according to the New York Times, Barack Obama’s re-election campaign in 2012 raised around US$770 million (not including the Democratic Party and political action committee funding). His opponent Mitt Romney raised US$467 million through his own campaign fundraising. In total, each had more than a billion dollars on hand to spend.

On the lower end of the scale, the cost of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (SPD) campaign in the last German federal election, was around 30 million euros or RM127 million. That was for everyone. From her all the way down to the junior parliamentarians. Not individually but everyone combined.

If RM2.6 billion was divided by the 726 seats (221 parliamentary and 505 state assembly) contested by the Barisan Nasional in the last general election, it would come up to RM3.6 million per seat. That’s assuming that the disputed funds were shared with all the Barisan Nasional partners and not for Umno alone.

However, under Section 19 of the Malaysian Elections Offences Act of 1954, each candidate is not allowed to spend more than RM200,000 (parliamentary seat) or RM100,000 (state seat) for campaigning.

The ability to raise private funds to finance political activities, especially from abroad, makes politicians and political parties vulnerable to a wide range of threats to democracy, especially those which affect government policies and actions.

Finally, the Prime Minister was the recipient and trustee of these funds. If we are to hold ourselves to a higher standard of transparency and accountability like that of developed countries, it would be very clear that nobody gives campaign donations direct to the personal bank account of a politician. Certainly not in these huge amounts.

For the sake of the dignity, honour and credibility of the position of the Prime Minister, this issue must be further clarified and explained.

PARLIMEN / ANIFAH AMAN / KIMANISNot too long ago back in 2012, Foreign Minister Anifah Aman stated that foreign funding of NGOs in Malaysia, could be “seen as interference in the domestic affairs of a sovereign state.” A whole buffet of pro-establishment Malay rights NGOs attacked their counterparts who received funding from abroad and accused them of helping to “destabilise the peace of the country.” Despite the fact that these civil society organisations were working to strengthen democracy and human rights in Malaysia, they got hell for this and were even accused of being foreign agents.

Suddenly, some are barking that “politicians are free to accept financial aid or contribution from abroad.” What are we to think?

There is an obvious and urgent need for political campaign finance reform in Malaysia as big money politics is threatening and compromising the integrity of this government and the country.

We need reform urgently because when you look at history and precedence, the pattern where there are huge amounts being spent which are extremely disproportionate to the number of registered voters and population, can be found in banana republics, authoritarian regimes and tin-pot regimes where corruption runs rampant and unchecked.

KUALA LUMPUR 29 NOVEMBER 2012 - PRESIDEN UMNO, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak tersenyum melihat Timbalan Presiden UMNO, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin yang mempamerkan sepanduk `Saya Sayangkan PM' semasa Majlis Perasmian Perhimpunan Agung UMNO 2012 di Dewan Merdeka PWTC di sini hari ini. Gambar: MOHD NAIM AZIZ Pemberita: TEAM UMNO UTUSAN/KOSMO!

The Price of Loyalty–Out of The Cabinet and Public Office–Stab in the Back Politics in Malaysia

The emergence of such “black money” in elections often leads to erosion of public confidence in the political process. We cannot let that happen.

I am willing to bet that there are many, many questions that the Malaysian people are asking about this RM2.6 billion which is probably just a part of a very large iceberg in our democracy.

But I have just one more before I end my piece: Unless it was all spent during the 2013 elections and its aftermath, where is the rest of the RM2.6 billion?

* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.

15 thoughts on “RM2.6 billion doggie in Najib’s window

  1. As an oldie, I no longer know what is right or wrong. I leave to to the young people to find out and let me know. In other words, I am just confused!
    CT Lim,

    You mean you lost your moral compass? How come? There should be no confusion between right and wrong. Young people need our shoulders to stand on so that they can see a better world beyond the horizon. Issac Newton admitted that he stood on the shoulders of scientists before him to discover the law of gravity.

    One generation builds on the sacrifices and hard work of another and that is in my view how the world works. So septuagenarians and octogenerians like us must soldier on and then fade into the sunset with grace and honour.–Din Merican

  2. All those suspected of being aware of the going-ons in MACC-PAC-Police-AG have either been ‘promoted’ or removed. The Speaker who was willing to resign from the post has now said that revealing the findings is not allowed and the newly appointed AG has also agreed this.

    There have been many suspected cases for over three decades as reported in the reports of the Auditor General have mostly been allowed to ‘die’ and with time have been officially forgotten by all including the media.

    Who will go back three decades and see what action if any was taken on the reported possible cases of MISMANAGEMENT-FRAUD-CORRUPTION-BRIBERY as reported by the Auditor General. Substantial transfer of funds in the name of establishing many GLC-Sovereign funds and their subsidiaries [now may be in thousands] which are generally subjected only to financial audit and thus of little effectiveness.

  3. I call this a “grand evil subterfuge” by linking this episode with the Arabs and donations. Surprising everybody?? Don’t be fooled. Remember not long ago what an elder statement said on behalf of the ruling elites? “Better the devil you know than the Angel you don’t know”. Guys, better rest your case!

  4. We are in #Tangkap 22 Keadaan. If live in the desert you will eat sand indirectly everyday. If you live in the ocean you will have to take in salt water on a daily basis. In the end we are all products of our environment. That is why now even the US and China, in the past they were opposed, have joined in the fight over climate change. WE as citizens must make it known that we do not wish to either live in a desert or the ocean.

  5. DM: I guess you’d know my feelings about this and where the country is by now.

    I’m afraid the country does not have enough ‘good men’ who can make a difference.

    To expect the bulk of the ignorant electorate who fuel the parasitic regime to suddenly awaken and act is not realistic. They are safely ensconced in their own world of bangsa & agama to bother about matters as convoluted as this theft.

    We really do not have any longer a system of checks and balances. That went out of the window as soon as Mahathir stepped into the scene.

    We do not have rulers who will intuitively rise to act even when wrongs as grievous as this one start eating the nation’s vitals.

    We do not have influential men and women of learning who will speak up in the face of such injustice and breach of several laws.

    We do not have religious leaders in the Muslim community who have the moral authority to speak out decisively and with clarity even when the sordid details of such a crime becomes the principal topic of the day. (Religious leaders like that Bishop from Malacca really have no say in Islamic Malaysia)

    We do not have business leaders who’ll say anything even mildly reprimanding since all of them without exception have lined up outside the doors of the criminals asking for favors. (I’m talking about the Ananda Krishnans and the Syed Mohktars and the Vincent Tans)

    Those with the power to effect change are also those flush with US dollars. With each passing day they can only get increasingly ecstatic. They have everything to gain as everyone else loses.

    The criminals and their parasitic supporters are aware of all this and are therefore emboldened. The pillaging will continue unabated. It will only get worse.

  6. If there is any dignity left in the souls of our cabinet members, they should resign en bloc and pave the way for a caretaker government consisting of all those lawmakers who stand for good governance, transparency and accountability, regardless of their political party affiliations. How could they continue their positions as ministers without any feeling of shame that they have been degraded by their own boss that they are not smart, which by the way have been proved beyond any reasonable doubt by their incoherent, conflicting and stupid statements every time they open their mouths. And the big Boss laughing quietly at the antics of his dumb appointees.

  7. Din,
    Seriously with all this crazy thing going on, time to sing this song

    When things going crazy
    Everything is uptight
    Try to sing a song that goes Ding-Ding-A-Dong.
    There will be no sorrow
    When you sing tomorrow
    And you walk along with your Ding-Dang-Dong.

    Every hour
    When you pick a flower
    Even when your money is gone, gone, gone.
    Listen to it
    Maybe it’s a big hit.
    Even when you got to pay GST
    Sing Ding-Ding-Dong.


  8. Serves you right!!!

    Have you ever received emails or facebook messengers from a stranger? Who claimed that he was a African/Middle Eastern descendant? Then he told you that he had problems withdrawing the large amount of money in his late father or late mother’s bank account? That he needed your bank account to channel the money out? That he would give you a handsome share of the money if it was successfully withdrawn? But then you blocked him, right? Serve you right! That was the man. He had sent out thousands of emails to Malaysians but only ONE person responded. So don’t ask how that person got his RM2.6 billion while you didn’t. It serves you right!!!


  10. Did mahathir silence royalty so resoundedly and absolutely?
    Perhaps ex minister Zaid Ibrahim’s call for 100,000 to set aside political differences for a common cause should focus on a peaceful walk to the gates of the new palace?

  11. At one time , sheichs with bags filled with Dollars came to Afghanistan and later to Pakistan to destabilise and introduce Talibanism. See whats happening to these countries? Malaysia will share the same fate if nothing is done now. The pseudo religious chantings of mullahs coupled with Money politics and supremists ideology leads to ruination.
    Our Country is called Malaysia, we are different as a Nation from Turkmenistan or Kazachstan or Tanjong Rambutan!
    The malays have become conscious of the Malaysian predicament and lets hope more of them are awakened in time to pull up Malaysia from the sink flight it is in now.
    Ibrahim Ali won’t be able to defend his Tanah Ayer, it will be then Tanah Little Arab with our malays as Kaki tangans to keep their latrines clean.

  12. MACC announced that the RM2.6 B is a donation which means to say that the money actually goes into Jibro’s account. UMNO Supreme Council members up to the rank of the No. 2 man do not know the existence of the donation. Now the Ambank account is closed. How come none of their goons asked where is the balance of the RM2.6 B? The whole sum couldnt have been used and emptied.

  13. There are only two possibilities.

    One, it was a donation.

    Two, it was not a donation.

    Both possibilities are NOT good for Malaysia.

  14. ccho, the fact the none of the goons know how to ask about the balance just goes to show how “smart” they are, doesn’t it?

Leave a Reply to GOHTF Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.