The Harapan New Deal–Mahathir


May 9, 2017

The Harapan New Deal–Mahathir : The Hobson’s Choice for the Opposition?

Cmdr (rtd) S. Thayaparan@www.malaysiakini.com

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Strange Brew in the Politics of Convenience

“I see Datuk Seri Najib is bending backwards to appease the Chinese, in the process of course he has antagonised quite a lot of Malays.”

— Former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad

“Gua Tolong Lu, Lu Tolong Gua.”

–Prime Minister Najib Razak

Everything columnist P Gunasegaram wrote in both his articles about the former Prime Minister and does ‘Harapan need Mahathir’ is correct and if you believe that saving Malaysia means getting rid of the current grand UMNO Grand Poobah then yes, the Opposition does need Mahathir.

“Correct” in everything, other than bringing PAS back in the fold. Then again, it is somewhat correct. I know what Guna means about bringing PAS back in the fold. There is a dialectic going on within PAS that scares the hell out of the Abdul Hadi Awang-UMNO wing of PAS and it is probably this element that Guna thinks is worth working with.

Hopefully the strategists in the Opposition are working on this because the Opposition has only ever been successful when they present a unified front against the hegemon. While Abdul Hadi Awang attempts to work his magic for his patrons in Putrajaya, he is mindful of manoeuvres from within to undermine the post-Tok Guru Nik Aziz Nik Mat reality he is attempting to forge. But this is not what this article is about.

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The Return of an Old Warrior–Can he make a Difference?

As I have argued, needing Mahathir is a Hobson’s choice of the Opposition’s making and while racial politics has always been a feature of opposition politics, the rhetoric coming from the de facto Opposition leader is furthering the fear-mongering racial narratives that used to be only the province of UMNO only.

Those dark paths to retaining power is always fraught with danger and it is naïve to think that the Opposition is “using” Mahathir. Nobody has ever used Mahathir and as one dejected DAP political strategist told me, referencing a line from a forgettable Nicholas Cage film ‘8MM’, “When you dance with devil, the devil doesn’t change, the devil changes you.”

You have to give it to former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Even when he is peddling his ‘Malay’nationalistic narrative, he manages to include the ‘domestic’ Chinese under his protection by claiming that “local businesses, largely Malaysian Chinese owned, will definitely lose out to those of the Mainland Chinese.”

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Najib Razak’s Secret Weapon for GE-14 to subjugate the Malays

The operative word here is “Chinese” and even though Mahathir said, “It is this massive immigration that we object to. If the project is by Indians and a few million Indians are to come and live in Malaysia, we would also strongly object” – this probably does not include a certain Indian national (preacher Zakir Naik)who has been granted PR status and will no doubt be the loudspeaker du jour from the UMNOo regime to shore up ‘Malay’ support.

While Perkasa’s Ibrahim Ali is grateful that the Bandar Malaysia, or whatever is called, is flushed down the toilet at the moment, I do wonder though that if those “local largely owned Malaysian Chinese” concerns are as relieved as Perkasa? This considering the fact that business in Malaysia is an unholy brew of ‘ketuanan’ politics and Chinese plutocrat enablers.

Same strategy

Foreign interlopers are a legitimate concern; that is why the strategy is used the world over and extremely effectively by far-right political parties. Here in Malaysia, where the distinction between local and foreign Chinese is unappreciated in the crowd that Bersatu and Pakatan are attempting to win over, this idea that appealing to the baser fearful instincts of the Malay electorate spells nothing but trouble for Malaysia.

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Yes, it is putarbelitism ala Najib’s UMNO

Anti-Chinese narratives fuel ‘ketuanan’ politics and while it may seem like a good political strategy to further the narratives that the Malay community is under threat from foreign Chinese intervention, the reality is thanks to Biro Tatanegara (BTN) courses, the social contract, the racist rhetoric of UMNO, the ‘putarbelit’ narratives of the Opposition, this meme that the Malay community will always be under siege, is what is going to destroy this country in the near future.

When the former Prime Minister writes – “Pimpinan tertinggi DAP mengaku bahawa oleh kerana penduduk Cina adalah minoriti di Malaysia, tidak mungkin DAP mendirikan kerajaan di peringkat pusat di Malaysia, jauh sekali menjadi perdana menteri walaupun jika DAP menang semuakerusi yang ditandingi,” in attempts to reassure the Malay polity that all is well in the state of Denmark, the only thing the DAP can do assume the role that MCA played while the UMNO regime made its carpetbagger deals with the Malay community.

Just four years ago, DAP’s Tony Pua was warning Malaysians of the former prime minister’s attempt to redefine racism. He wrote – “When Malays vote overwhelmingly for UMNO in the past, it is never ‘racism’. When a 100 percent Malay crowd hold weekly protests against the Pakatan Rakyat government in Penang, it is not ‘racism’. When Chinese voted for MCA in the past, that can’t be ‘racism’. When Chinese also voted strongly for PAS and PKR in the current elections, PAS and PKR are not accused of ‘racism’.

“When Malays increased their support for the DAP candidates in the same election, Dr Mahathir accused DAP of spreading “propaganda” that influenced educated Malays into perceiving the Barisan Nasional (BN) government as corrupt.

“However, when the Chinese also voted strongly for DAP, that is proof of DAP ‘racism’. When many Chinese turns up at Pakatan Rakyat events, that is beyond shadow of a doubt, Chinese ‘racism’. What type of senile perverted logic is that?”

Some would argue that it is the same “perverted logic” that sustained the hegemon and still does all these years. Does anyone really think that there would be no blowback from this kind of rhetoric? Racism and racial politics do not exist in a vacuum. There is a reason why the former Prime Minister is relying heavily on the DAP to provide him with his anti-racist credentials.

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PKR and DAP’s Ketuanan Melayus

What the DAP has become is the fig leaf for the type of ‘ketuanan’ dogma that the Najib refuseniks hope will cause enough rifts within the Malay community that would cause Umno to implode from within and enable them to pick up the pieces when the dust clears. In other words, the DAP has become those best friends in the “I am not racist as some of my best friends are black people” defence.

Like I said, in another piece, Mahathir could be the Trump vote – “Trump used every bigoted trick in the book, from demonising Muslims to scaremongering about a ‘Mexican’ menace to warning about the yellow peril all because of a weak entrenched political establishment. The de facto opposition leader is doing the same thing now – pointing out compromised trade deals made by a weak potentate and the threat of ‘foreign’ migration. As with Trump, he camouflages these with legitimate economic and social anxieties. And like Trump, he has a diverse coalition of ideologically disparate power groups working with him to destroy the establishment.”

What has Trump been doing since he won and promised to drain the swamp? Simple, he has been placating the far-right elements of the GOP (Grand Old Party, or the Republicans) while attempting to maintain the status quo and re-energise a divided GOP.

Hopefully this will not sound familiar.

S THAYAPARAN is Commander (Rtd) of the Royal Malaysian Navy.

Indonesia’s Foreign Policy: Relations with China


May 30, 2016

Indonesia’s Foreign Policy: Relations with China

by Evan A Laksmana

In mid-March, a Chinese Coast Guard rammed one of its own fishing boats to pry it free from Indonesian authorities who had seized it for illegal fishing off the Natuna Islands – the northernmost undisputed Indonesian island group.

The incident has put a spotlight on Indonesia’s foreign policy under President Joko Widodo or Jokowi. Analysts have carefully examined the incident in great detail (seehere and here).

In the incident’s wake, the Foreign Minister, Defense Minister, and Fisheries Minister responded in different, and somewhat overlapping, ways. The Fisheries Minister has become the public face for Indonesia’s visibly angry response, while the military, according to press reports, continues preparations to upgrade its facilities in the Natunas.

Several diplomats wrote op-eds slamming Beijing for its disregard of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the rules-based order Jakarta has always pushed for in the management of the South China Sea. Jokowi’s Chief Foreign Policy Adviser, Dr. Rizal Sukma who is currently Ambassador to London, noted the importance of illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing as the common challenge for Indonesia and China; rather than sovereignty as the Natunas are undisputedly Indonesian in the first place.

Yet, after delivering an official diplomatic protest to the Chinese Embassy, the Foreign Minister insisted that the incident had nothing to do with the South China Sea dispute. Jokowi also instructed Luhut Pandjaitan, the Coordinating Minister for political, legal, and security affairs, to take necessary steps but reminded him that China “remains Indonesia’s friend.”

Jakarta has taken a hard stance with those caught illegally fishing in its waters.

Indonesia destroyed 23 foreign fishing boats, as worsening relations over the disputed South China Sea drive countries to take tougher action to defend their maritime sovereignty.

This seemingly incoherent response reveals some of the broader trends in Indonesia’s foreign policy in recent years. First, despite the growing literature on how the post-1998 democratic transition and consolidation has overhauled foreign policy-making, foreign policy remains strongly, perhaps even idiosyncratically, a presidential affair.

This is partially a legacy of the centralised system entrenched under Suharto’s New Order, and partially because successive post-Suharto Presidents never paid serious and sustained attention to developing a professional, well-funded foreign ministry and a well-oiled foreign policy-making system – particularly one that can spans different parts of the government to harness the country’s different tools of regional and global engagement.

For almost two decades after 1998, only the organisational reforms instituted under Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda are noteworthy. But even those reforms were not well-funded, nor were they sustainable given some of the entrenched bureaucratic challenges and the ebbs and flow of presidential support. It is not surprising therefore that the personal characteristics of different post-Suharto presidents shaped and shoved Indonesia’s foreign policy.

What this means is that Jokowi’s personal aloofness on foreign affairs, his seemingly narrow domestic economic agenda, and his concerns with domestic politics, have prevented the Office of the President to marshal the nation’s strategic community to forcefully, coherently, and consistently respond to day-to-day challenges, including in the South China Sea.

Furthermore, the absence of a dedicated foreign affairs staff inside the Presidential Palace (or an executive National Security Council, for that matter), the departure of key foreign policy advisers, and the increasingly lack of chemistry and trust between the President and Foreign Minister, Retno Marsudi, have further exacerbated this problem.

Second, Jakarta’s over-reliance on the “non-claimant honest broker” position on the South China Sea suggests the `path dependence’ of institutionalist thinking within the Foreign Ministry. Two strands of institutionalist thought are particularly salient: the belief in the virtues of international law along with a rules-based order underpinned by UNCLOS 1982, and the utility of multilateralism and ASEAN.

The first strand goes back to the 1956 Djuanda Declaration and has been sustained and strengthened by a series of influential diplomats and foreign ministers trained in international law for the past several decades. In the early 2000s, there were reports of a growing network of influential diplomats under the tutelage of Foreign Minister Wirajuda that came through the Indonesian representative office in Geneva (all steeped in international law).

The second strand goes back to the founding of ASEAN (1967) and the New Order’s efforts to ensure domestic stability and regime maintenance by pushing for regional stability in Southeast Asia. Indonesia’s leadership of the grouping and its position as the country’s foreign policy “cornerstone”– and the fact that many of Jakarta’s achievements were done within a multilateral framework — has sustained this institutionalist thinking.

According to a former member of Jokowi’s transition team, these institutionalist strands of thought often crowd out other “scenario-based realist” thinking on foreign policy, which is often critical in dealing with developments in the South China Sea. The institutionalist thinking has also led to push backs from the broader  strategic community (including defense and fisheries ministries) in Jakarta concerned with China’s militarisation of the region and its constant encroachment of Indonesia’s maritime territories.

The logic of institutions is powerful but it is also glacial-paced. Meanwhile, as we can see, given the current escalations and rapidly changing “facts on the ground”, so to speak, in the South China Sea, Jakarta may need to realise it is being strategically blinded by its own lens and hindered by maritime governance inter-bureaucratic infighting

Third, given the previous two trends, Indonesia’s foreign policy-making requires better and improved inter-agency coordination and collaboration and larger funding and resources.

When it comes to the South China Sea, the Coordinating Ministry for Political, Legal, and Political Affairs should get the Foreign Ministry to talk more regularly to other agencies, particularly the Navy, Maritime Security Agency, and the IUU fishing task force of the Fisheries Ministry. The Foreign Ministry should also invest more in sending senior officials to attend regular inter-agency meetings and expand the number of senior diplomats sent to inter-agency courses, such as those run by the National Resilience Institute.

Given the prevalent view that Indonesia’s best and brightest tend to join the Foreign Ministry, policymakers should not let it become an isolated actor within the broader national security system and establishment. Additionally, House of Representatives’ Commission for Defence, Foreign Affairs and Information – charged with discussing issues related to its portfolio and formulating plenary bills for consideration by parliament –needs to be more involved in foreign policy-making and increase the budgetary resources for the Foreign Ministry.

The current budget only stands at roughly $549 million, with roughly 80-85 per cent devoted to routine expenditures and personnel salaries. This lack of budgetary support is not unique to Jokowi of course. According to budgetary documents compiled by CSIS Jakarta, the Foreign Ministry’s annual budget from 1999 to 2014 leveled at around $305 million on average, or roughly 0.69 per cent of the national budget.

We should bear in mind these broader trends and limitations in Indonesia’s foreign policy-making when expecting Jakarta to play a more proactive role in balancing the ongoing US-China strategic rivalry, and the peaceful management of the South China Sea disputes.

Evan A Laksmana is a researcher at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Jakarta, and a political science doctoral candidate at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. 

http://asiapacific.anu.edu.au/newmandala/2016/04/05/jakarta-left-all-at-sea-by-island-clash-with-china/

 

It’s Payback Time for Muhyiddin, Shafie Apdal and Others


December 1, 2015

It’s Payback Time for Muhyiddin, Shafie Apdal and Others

PERHIMPUNAN AGUNG UMNO 2012

Former DPM Muhyiddin Yassin is concerned about the “strange things happening in UMNO” which he says reveals an erosion of “responsibility, justice, and trust among certain leaders.”

We would like to tell him, former PM Mahathir Mohamad and other UMNO dissenters, “Now, you know what the rakyat have suffered over these past four decades.”

While we support the efforts within UMNO to make Najib Abdul Razak accountable for his actions, we must not forget that the Internal Security Act was used to persecute people who had legitimate grouses against the government. Many lecturers, politicians and artists were silenced in their prime (1987 Ops Lalang). Many more critics fled overseas to escape imprisonment. And today we are shackled by the Prevention of Terrorism Act, the Sedition Act, Sosma and other laws.

For decades, the lack of a credible opposition and the use of indoctrination crippled democracy and created a nation ruled by fear. Many of us are still afraid to speak out, especially when we see people who were once powerful, like Mahathir and Muhyiddin, ignored or sacked and their characters assassinated.

Mahathir the Mamak

The rakyat need the help of the UMNO rebels, the G25, human rights activists, and NGOs like Bersih to help restore democracy and true governance to Malaysia. Will those in power understand that power cannot last forever? Will they think of the welfare of the nation instead of their party’s interests or their individual interests?

Mahathir and Muhyiddin have acted out of loyalty only to UMNO Baru. They may have mistakenly imagined that they were acting for the good of the nation. Mahathir still maintains that Najib must be removed, but that BN should remain in power. He refuses to accept that UMNO Baru (of his own making) is a major part of the problem.

People in UMNO Baru are blind to many of the problems created by the party. If Najib were to be removed, these same people would continue to call the shots. They are unable to distinguish between what’s right and wrong and what’s just and unjust.

During Mahathir’s rule, UMNO Baru used race, religion and the royal houses to divide the people. We have seen the rise of cronyism and nepotism. We have observed that accountability and taking responsibility do not feature in UMNO Baru’s processes. We have seen the breakdown of independent public institutions like the judiciary, the civil service and the police. We are alarmed by the increase in moral policing, the unstoppable rise of religious bodies and the attack on individual liberties.

In East Malaysia, Sabah is practically overrun by immigrants. The demographics of the nation were destroyed by Project IC, and despite their natural wealth, both Sabah and Sarawak are treated like pariah states when they should be on par with peninsular Malaysia.

Hamidah Osman was unfairly sacked by the UMNO Supreme Council, and it was right for Muhyiddin to come to her defence when he said, “I would like to remind them (the leaders) that UMNO is not a party belonging to any individual. It is a party for all Malays. Do not hurt the Malays with actions that are untrustworthy and irresponsible.”

But then, unfair dismissals, lack of understanding and compassion, injustice and treachery have been endured by the rakyat for many years. Unfortunately, UMNO Baru politicians treat Malaysia as a country belonging to their party.

Finally, isn’t it time for Muhyiddin to realise that race-based politics have been the undoing of Malaysia?

 

A Muhyiddin-led UMNO-Abad-21 in the works?


October 29, 2015

A Muhyiddin-led UMNO-Abad-21 in the works?

by Malaysia Chronicle

UMNO TrioThe UMNO Trio

Amid red-hot talk embattled Prime Minister Najib Razak was about to sack 7 top leaders including UMNO Deputy President and former Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, political sources believe veteran power broker Mahathir Mohamad was preparing to lead a high-powered team out from the bitterly-divided ruling party.

If true, the move will shatter UMNO, shake its members out from their complacency and punish Najib for bringing the once-mighty party to its lowest point since it took control of the federal government in 1957.

“There is now a lot of cross talk and spin flying around. But who is really sacking whom – that is the question. There is a lot of power-play behind the scenes but for sure, something major is up. It is not an exaggeration to say UMNO is on the point of implosion,” a political source told Malaysia Chronicle.

An aide to Dr Mahathir’s had denied rumors that began swirling last week that the 90-year-old former premier, who ruled Malaysia from 1981 to 2003, would resign on Tuesday.

Despite the resignation denial, bets are on that Dr M may spring a shock next week. “The fate of Dr M and the other 6 will be decided next week. I would brace for an earth-shaking announcement. Otherwise, you won’t have the Najib camp in such a panic today, they are clucking around like headless chickens,” the political source said.

“The joke now in the inner circles is that UMNO wants to get rid of Najib and they are secretly cheering Dr M on. It’s DAP with its own political agenda for the next general election that wants Najib to stay on and Najib’s only staying by the grace of his cash-is-king ways with the UMNO division heads.”

UMNO 7 and the ‘ultimate’ game

Indeed, Tengku (Teiku Ku Nan?) Adnan, the UMNO Secretary-General and a staunch Najib loyalist, had today followed hot on the heels on the comments from a junior-level leader Jamal Mohd Yunos, who had called for Muhyiddin’s sacking.

Ku Nan said 7 members could face suspension, and some from party positions, for going against party president Najib. However, Ku Nan refused to name the 7.

The group is being investigated for reportedly making public statements badmouthing UMNO and Najib’s handling of debt-ridden state investment firm 1MDB.

“We have a disciplinary committee, we have our own ethics code which they should adhere to. We can’t take all of this nonsense anymore. To us, if you don’t believe in the party struggle, you leave the party, it’s okay,” Ku Nan told reporters outside Parliament on Wednesday.

“We are tired and sick of some of our members who come up with statements that are not supposed to be meant for the public. The investigation is taking place, the findings will be tabled to the presidential council and then the disciplinary board … Once this process begins we will suspend their membership and their positions.”

“After this committee has completed the findings, we will table it to the presidential council. Once the presidential council says okay, we will bring the matter to the disciplinary committee. But once that process goes, we will suspend their membership and suspend whatever positions they have,” added Ku Nan.

It is still unclear if Mahathir, Muhyiddin and the other 5 who may include former Sabah minister Shafie Apdal and even Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh, will wait for Najib to sack them or resign in protest on their own accord.

“Dr M won’t leave like that, he’s waiting to be sacked. He is playing the ultimate game,” the political source said.

Umno will be rocked to the core

Some political analysts believe Dr M’s departure, as well as the other 6, would have no impact on UMNO.

“The effect of him (Mahathir) quitting would be rather minimal (this time), if not followed up with some other action. He’d probably start a new group though they may not call themselves a party, or they might, we don’t know,” political analyst Wong Chin Huat was reported as saying.

But this may be too sanguine a view. Muhyiddin is the incumbent UMNO No. 2 and Dr M has a special place in the hearts of the Malay community.

Najib-Razak-and-Rosmah-Mansor-Thumb-DownUMNO badly needs a Leadership change to stay relevant

According to political observer Prof Dr Samsu Adabi Mamat, Muhyiddin’s sway in the party was still strong despite losing the DPM’s post. His sacking from UMNO would split the party down the line.

“UMNO division heads must face up to this if they wish to get rid of Muhyiddin. This is because Muhyiddin not only has strong influence in UMNO but also carries with him the sentiment Johor of voters. It will cause severe internal divisions within UMNO and make Umno appear to be even weaker,” Prof Dr Samsu told Malay daily Sinar Harian.

“Muhyiddin’s removal should be avoided. Preferably this matter resolved amicably. Perhaps as party president Najib could reach out to Muhyiddin.”

Sinar Harian had in an earlier report quoted Jamal as saying that more than 100 party division leaders had held closed door talks to discuss ousting Muhyiddin and a group of of “wolves in sheep’s clothing”.

Muhyiddin was sacked as deputy PM after publicly critiquing Najib’s handling of a controversy surrounding 1MDB and allegations the Prime Minister had channelled USD$700 millionin to his personal bank accounts through 1MDB-linked entities.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission has since said the funds were “donations” and not connected to 1MDB while Najib has dismissed these allegations as part of a plot to discredit him. – Malaysia Chronicle

Malaysia: What is Happening?


August 18, 2015

You have to be living away from Malaysia to feel the embarrassment I experience living in Phnom Penh and teaching at the University of Cambodia on politics. international relations, governance, corruption and other issues. Our country under Najib is no model to mention to my students.

I can only feel sorry for our diplomats at our mission in Phnom Penh who have to “defend” the conduct and policies of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak. I was at the Embassy in Camcarmon (the Embassy Row) last Friday to meet with the Deputy Head of Mission on matters relating the Techo Sen School of Government and International Relations. I could see from his body language that he was not comfortable with what is happening back home. But like the good diplomat talking to an old Wisma Putra hand, he maintained his composure and we discussed embassy’s plans for Merdeka Day celebrations and relations with Cambodia. Our Embassy will be having at Flag raising ceremony and a function on August 31, 2015 to commemorate our day of Independence.

Later that the afternoon, I met our Ambassador at  the doorsteps of the famous Le Royal Hotel and we chatted briefly and promised to meet again. My colleague, the Dean of Techo Sen School, and I were at the hotel to attend a forum organised by The Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace at which the former ASEAN Secretary-General Dr. Surin Pitsuwan delivered a keynote address on Cambodia and Responsibility to Protect (R2P) in contemporary geo-politics. Dr. Pitsuwan was articulate and brilliant.

Sapuman2

The article below by Che Det sums up very well how we all feel about current developments in Malaysia. There is nothing we can do at this time, but if we keep up the pressure, I beleve the Prime Minister will eventually have to give up and resign from office out of guilt, frustration and sheer exhaustion from loss of sleep. He is not a superman but, as Zunar depicts in his later satirical cartoon, a Sapuman. A Sapuman cannot survive politically because people will throw him out.  He is like an over-inflated balloon waiting to bust.–Din Merican

Malaysia: What is Happening?

Who in the world would donate USD700 million to the Malaysian Prime Minister? Even Obama could not raise this amount for his Presidential bid. It was suggested it was an Arab.

Arabs are generous, but not that generous. I could not raise even a single dollar from them for the Malaysian International Islamic University or for the Oxford Islamic Centre. This claim that Arabs donated billions is what people describe as hogwash or bullshit. Certainly I don’t believe it and neither can the majority of Malaysians if we go by the comments on the social media. The world had a good laugh.–Che Det

by Tun Dr. Mahathir -Che Det

Dr Mahathir again

1. I used to enjoy being asked about Malaysia when I am abroad. But not now.

2. The foreigners and Malaysians living abroad ask, “What is happening
to Malaysia?”

3. “It seems to be like one of those African or Arab countries.”

4. “It is totally corrupt. The currency has depreciated”.

5. I cannot answer truthfully. I cannot lie either. It is embarrassing. And all this is because of the 1MDB and Najib.

6. I began to feel there was something wrong with the 1MDB when The Edge published that it had bought power plants above market price and borrowed money paying commissions of 10% and interest rate of 5.9%.

7. I waited for the Government to deny that what was published by The Edge was correct. The Government did not. Then I know there was something very wrong.

8. Subsequently came the stories about a JV with Petrosaudi. It was too quick. Obviously no due diligence was done. Yet 1MDB paid 1 billion U.S. (3.8billion Ringgit) for its 40% share.

9. Then 1MDB paid another US 700 million to settle debts incurred by Petro-Saudi to Petro Saudi International. Why should 1MDB pay. The JV should pay.

10. But within 6 months of setting up the JV, it was dissolved. Had a good due diligence been done, this JV would not have been set up. Clearly it was not a viable proposition!

11. The 1.7 billion US should now be returned to 1MDB. But No! It was converted into a loan (Murabahah) to Petrosaudi. This is extremely unusual. If you could not work with Petrosaudi as a JV partner how could you give it such a huge loan.

12. Then the money seems to have disappeared. It was previously reported to be deposited in banks in Hong Kong and Seychelles, invested in something or other and was supposed to end up in the Cayman Islands.

13. Concerned Malaysians demanded that the money be returned to Malaysia. An announcement was made that a portion had been returned to Malaysia but was used to pay debts and other expenses. Malaysia wanted more information especially as a 2 billion Ringgit interest on loans could not be paid. 1MDB just had no money. So where is the money from the Caymans. Why should Ananda Krishnan offer 2 billion Ringgit to help pay the interest. Government had to provide a stand-by loan of RM900 million.

14. Things did not look right. Then 1MDB announced that the rest of the money from Cayman Islands had been received in cash. Arul, the CEO, claimed he saw the money. The PM said the money was deposited in a Singapore Bank. It was not brought back to Malaysia because Bank Negara would ask too many questions.

15. That seems to be an admission that something was not right with the money.

16. But Singapore is a financial centre. As such it must be even more careful that money brought in and deposited in its banks should be investigated, especially if the sum is large, running into billions.

17. And sure enough the Monetary Authority of Singapore stated publicly that no 1MDB Malaysian money came into the country. The Swiss Bank which was named as the bank where the money was deposited denied 1MDB had deposited money with it.

18. So where were the billions of Ringgits or Dollars that 1MDB claimed it had brought back from the Caymans. Arul Kandasamy had openly claimed he saw the money.

19. Now the PM declared that it was not money. It was units. The bank where it was deposited was not named.

20. What units were these. Not units in Unit Trust Funds certainly. No explanation is forth coming. The billions of dollars have again disappeared.

21. Then the Wall Street Journal reported that Dato Seri Najib has USD700 million in his account in the Arab Malaysian Bank in Kuala Lumpur. That is about 2.6 billion Ringgit. How did this huge sum of money get into Najib’s Private Account. Where did the money come from!! How can the PM of Malaysia whose pay is only RM20,000 per month have so much money in his private account?

22. Unable to deny the Wall Street Journal report which included the account number and other details, Najib claimed that it was a donation.

23. Who in the world would donate USD700 million to the Malaysian Prime Minister? Even Obama could not raise this amount for his Presidential bid. It was suggested it was an Arab.

24. Arabs are generous, but not that generous. I could not raise even a single dollar from them for the Malaysian International Islamic University or for the Oxford Islamic Centre. This claim that Arabs donated billions is what people describe as hogwash or bullshit. Certainly I don’t believe it and neither can the majority of Malaysians if we go by the comments on the social media. The world had a good laugh.

25. When asked, the PM said wait for the report on 1MDB by the Auditor–General and the Public Accounts Committee.

26. To the UMNO divisional leaders and assorted bedfellows the PM in close-door meetings, claimed the billions were for the elections.

27. The 2 billion Ringgit plus for elections is absurd. I needed less than 10 million for each of the five elections I presided over and I won them all with more than 2/3 majority. Why do you need 2.6 billion plus or 2600 million Ringgit. Is it to bribe politicians and civil servants, or to rig the elections. That would not be right , much less legal.

28. Whatever, to me 2 billion plus for elections in Malaysia by any party is wrong even if no limit is put on election expenses.

29. Then there is this lavish life-style which no Malaysian Prime Minister would be able to afford on the RM20,000 per month he receives. Engagement and weddings lavishness far surpassed those of the Rulers even. Several ceremonies were held in Malaysia and also in Kazakhstan. Guests were loaded with gifts from the host. Clearly millions, tens of millions were spent, far beyond what a Malaysian PM can afford.

30. Then there is the son’s investment of hundreds of millions in producing the film The Wolf of Wall Street. It is so pornographic that it cannot be shown in Malaysia. Where did the money come from!

31. The shopping in London, Paris and elsewhere is known to be enormous.

32. Clearly the PM and his wife have more money than the salaries and allowances paid to the PM.

33. After the Wall Street Journal reported on Najib’s 2.6 billion Ringgit in his private account, it was closed. You cannot take all that money to keep with you. It had to be transferred. Apparently it was transferred to a Singapore bank. Then the Singapore authorities froze it.

34. Public clamour about the origin of the money in Najib’s account was so loud that a task force comprising the head of four government institutions was set up. The Attorney General headed this task force and the members were the IGP, the Head of Bank Negara and the Head of MACC, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.

35. Najib was clearly uncomfortable with the investigations carried out by the task force. The members seemed to be too independent. Najib could not control them. The task force was apparently determined to seek the truth about the 1MDB and the 2.6 billion Ringgit in Najib’s account. Najib’s claim that it was a donation was not convincing.

36. Then Najib decided to take action to stop all the investigations on 1MDB and his private account.

37. First he announced that people should stop talking about 1MDB. It was not just a hint but an open statement that such talk would be regarded as undermining democracy and an attempt to overthrow an elected leader. This would attract police attention and investigation.

38. Immediately following that the A-G. was sacked. In Malaysia’s legal system the A.G. determines whether a case would be heard in a court or not. The A-G. who seemed to be heading the task force would be in a position to take to the courts if there was evidence of criminality in Najib’s possession of the billions in his account.

39. The A-G’s removal means that he could no longer make any decision over the unprecedented wealth of Najib. A judge was made A-G. and clearly he is not interested in the task force and its investigations. He seemed determined to clear Najib.

40. Then the DPM was dismissed and replaced by the Minister of Home Affairs who unlike Muhyiddin, had never questioned Najib about 1MDB.

41. In the cabinet reshuffle four members of the Public Accounts Committee including its chairman were made deputy ministers. Effectively, the PAC was paralysed and the work of investigating 1MDB stopped.

42. Then the chief and deputy chief of MACC, a member of the task force of four were asked to go on leave. When some members of the staff of MACC continued their investigations and wanted to query Najib on the source of the money in his account, they were harassed by the police who accused them of leaking information. Then they were transferred to the PM’s department. That shut them up.

43. The Governor of the Central Bank, a member of the four-strong Task Force is now rumoured to be investigated for corruption.

44. With the PAC, and the Task Force paralysed and the A-G. sacked, investigation work on the 1MDB and the 2.6 billion in Najib’s private account grounds to a complete halt.

45. Najib is now safe from being charged with illegally amassing funds. His claim that it is to be used for the coming elections is half-true. He had always said that cash is king. With the huge funds at his disposal he would be in a position to bribe his way to victory. He may also use the money to rig the election.

46. What Najib is doing is unprecedented in Malaysia. The people are at a loss as to what to do. The prospect of Najib continuing to rule this country is utterly depressing. The Malaysia where elections can even see opposition parties winning whole states will be no more.

47. Democracy is dead. It is dead because an elected leader chooses to subvert the institutions of Government and make them his instruments for sustaining himself. There is no more democracy for anyone to undermine. Certainly talking about 1MDB will not undermine something that no longer exist. If anyone should be questioned by the Police, it is Najib.

VERSI BM: MALAYSIA-APA SUDAH BERLAKU?

1. Saya selalu berasa gembira apabila ditanya mengenai Malaysia semasa saya berada di luar negera. Tetapi bukan lagi sekarang.

2. Warga asing dan rakyat Malaysia yang tinggal di luar negara bertanya, “Apa yang berlaku kepada Malaysia? ”

3. “Ia seolah-olah telah menjadi seperti salah satu daripada negara-negara Afrika atau Arab.”

4. “Ia benar-benar korup. Nilai wangnya telah susut”, dan lain-lain lagi.

5. Saya tidak dapat menjawab dengan sebenarnya. Saya juga tidak boleh berbohong. Ini adalah memalukan. Dan semua ini adalah kerana 1MDB dan Najib.

6. Saya mula merasai ada sesuatu yang tidak betul dengan 1MDB ketika The Edge terbitkan bahawa ia telah membeli loji-loji jana kuasa dengan harta atas paras harga pasaran dan meminjam wang dengan membayar komisen sebanyak 10% dan kadar faedah sebanyak 5.9%.

7. Saya menunggu Kerajaan untuk menafikan bahawa apa yang disiarkan oleh The Edge itu betul. Kerajaan tidak. Ketika itu saya tahu bahawa ada sesuatu yang tidak betul.

8. Kemudiannya timbul pula cerita tentang JV dengan PetroSaudi. Ianya terlalu pantas. Jelas ketelitian sewajarnya (due diligence) tidak dilakukan. Namun 1MDB membayar 1 billion Dollar Amerika Syarikat (3.8 billion Ringgit) bagi saham 40% itu.

9. Kemudiannya 1MDB membayar sejumlah AS 700 juta lagi untuk menyelesaikan hutang yang ditanggung oleh Petro-Arab kepada Petro Saudi International. Mengapa harus 1MDB membayarnya. JV yang patut membayarnya.

10. Tetapi dalam jangka masa 6 bulan ditubuhkan usaha sama itu, ia telah dibubarkan. Jika sekiranya suatu ketelitian sewajar yang baik telah dilakukan, JV ini tidak akan diwujudkan. Jelas sekali ia bukan suatu cadangan yang berdaya maju!

11. 1.7 bilion AS kini patut dikembalikan kepada 1MDB. Tetapi Tidak! Ianya telah ditukar kepada pinjaman (Murabahah) kepada PetroSaudi. Ini adalah amat luar biasa. Jika anda tidak boleh bekerja dengan PetroSaudi sebagai rakan JV bagaimana pula anda boleh memberinya satu pinjaman yang begitu besar.

12. Selepas itu wang ini nampaknya telah lesap. Sebelum ini dilaporkan ianya disimpan di bank-bank di Hong Kong dan Seychelles, dilabur dalam sesuatu atau lain-lainnya dan sepatut kesudahannya di Kepulauan Cayman.

13. Rakyat Malaysia yang prihatin menuntut supaya wang itu dikembalikan ke Malaysia. Satu pengumuman telah dibuat bahawa sebahagiannya telah dikembalikan ke Malaysia tetapi telah digunakan untuk membayar hutang dan perbelanjaan lain. Malaysia mahu maklumat lanjut terutama sekali apabila faedah RM2 billion atas pinjaman tidak dapat dibayar. 1MDB memang tidak mempunyai wang. Jadi dimanakah wang dari Caymans itu. Mengapa Ananda Krishnan harus menawarkan RM2 billion untuk membantu bayar faedah. Kerajaan terpaksa mengadakan pinjaman stand-by sebanyak RM900 juta.

14. Hal tidak kelihatan betul. Kemudian 1MDB mengumumkan bahawa keseluruhan baki daripada wang dari Kepulauan Cayman telah diterima dalam bentuk wang tunai. Arul, Ketua Pegawai Eksekutif, mendakwa dia melihat wang itu. PM berkata wang itu yang disimpan di suatu bank Singapura. Ia tidak dibawa balik ke Malaysia kerana Bank Negara akan bertanya terlalu banyak soalan.

15. Itu semacam satu pengakuan bahawa ada sesuatu yang tidak kena dengan wang itu.

16. Tetapi Singapura ialah pusat kewangan. Oleh itu pasti ia lebih berhati-hati agar wang yang dibawa dan disimpan di bank-banknya disiasat, terutamanya jika melibatkan jumlah wang yang besar, berjumlah berbilion-bilion.

17. Dan sebagai dijangka Pihak Berkuasa Kewangan Singapura dengan terbuka menyatakan bahawa tidak ada 1MDB wang Malaysia masuk ke negara itu. Swiss Bank yang dinamakan sebagai bank di mana wang itu didepositkan menafikan 1MDB telah mendepositkan wang dengannya.

18. Jadi di mana adanya berbilion-bilion Ringgit atau Dolar yang 1MDB mendakwa ia telah membawa kembali dari Caymans. Arul Kandasamy dengan secara terbuka mendakwa dia melihat wang itu.

19. Kini PM mengisytiharkan bahawa ia bukan wang. Ia adalah unit. Bank di mana unit ini disimpan tidak dinamakan.

20. Unit apakah ini? Sudah pasti bukan unit dalam Unit Dana Amanah. Tiada penjelasan dikemukakan. Sekali lagi berbillion-bilion dolar lesap.

21. Kemudian Wall Street Journal melaporkan bahawa Dato Seri Najib mempunyai USD700 juta di dalam akaunnya di Arab Bank Malaysia di Kuala Lumpur. Itu kira-kira 2.6 bilion Ringgit. Bagaimanakah wang sejumlah besar ini masuk ke dalam Akaun Peribadi Najib. Dari mana wang ini datang !! Bagaimana boleh PM Malaysia yang gajinya hanya RM20,000 sebulan mempunyai begitu banyak wang di dalam akaun peribadinya?

22. Tidak dapat menafikan laporan Wall Street Journal yang mengandungi juga nombor akaun dan butiran-butiran lain, Najib mendakwa ia adalah sumbangan.

23. Siapa di dunia akan mendermakan USD700 juta kepada Perdana Menteri Malaysia? Obama sendiri pun tidak dapat mengumpul wang sejumlah ini untuk kempen menjadi presidennya. Telah dinyatakan bahawa penderma itu adalah seorang Arab.

24. Arab adalah murah hati, tetapi tidak semurah hati sebegini. Saya tidak dapat mengutip sedolar pun daripada mereka untuk Universiti Islam Antarabangsa Malaysia atau untuk Pusat Islam Oxford. Dakwaan bahawa orang-orang Arab menderma berbilion boleh disifat sebagai sangat mengarut (hogwash and bullshit). Sudah semestinya saya tidak mempercayainya dan juga majoriti rakyat Malaysia, jika dilihat dari komen-komen dalam media sosial. Dunia ketawa kuat.

25. Apabila ditanya, PM berkata tunggulah laporan mengenai 1MDB oleh Ketua Audit Negara dan Jawatankuasa Kira-Kira Awam.

26. Kepada pemimpin bahagian UMNO dan pelbagai kuncu-kuncu, PM, dalam mesyuarat tertutup, mendakwa berbilion-bilion ini adalah untuk pilihan raya.

27. RM2 bilion untuk pilihan raya adalah tidak munasabah. Saya memerlukan kurang daripada 10 juta untuk setiap satu daripada lima pilihan raya yang saya mempengerusikan dan saya memenangi semua dengan lebih daripada 2/3 majoriti. Mengapa anda perlu 2.6 bilion lebih atau 2600 juta Ringgit. Adakah ia untuk merasuah ahli-ahli politik dan kakitangan awam, atau untuk memanupulasi pilihan raya. Ini tidak betul, apatah lagi dari segi undang-undang.

28. Apa pun, bagi saya 2 bilion lebih untuk pilihan raya di Malaysia oleh mana-mana pihak adalah salah walaupun tiada had diletakkan ke atas perbelanjaan pilihan raya.

29. Kemudiannya, terdapat gaya hidup mewah yang tidak ada Perdana Menteri Malaysia mampu dengan RM20,000 yang diterima setiap bulan. Kemewahan pertunangan dan perkahwinan jauh melebihi Raja-Raja. Beberapa majlis telah diadakan di Malaysia dan juga di Kazakhstan. Para tetamu dimuatkan dengan hadiah dari tuan rumah. Jelas berjuta-juta, berpuluh juta telah dibelanjakan, lebih daripada apa yang PM Malaysia mampu.

30. Kemudiannya, terdapat pelaburan anak yang beratus-ratus juta dalam menghasilkan filem The Wolf of Wall Street. Ianya begitu lucah sehingga tidak boleh ditayangkan di Malaysia. Dari mana wang itu datang !

31. Membeli-belah di London, Paris dan di tempat-tempat lain diketahui sebagai sangat besar.

32. Sangat jelas PM dan isteri mempunyai lebih banyak wang daripada gaji dan elaun yang dibayar kepada PM.

33. Selepas Wall Street Journal melaporkan 2.6 bilion Ringgit kepunyaan Najib di dalam akaun peribadinya, ia ditutup. Anda tidak boleh mengambil semua wang itu untuk disimpan dengan anda. Ia perlu dipindahkan. Rupa-rupanya ia telah dipindahkan ke bank di Singapura. Kemudian pihak berkuasa Singapura membekunya.

34. Suara desakan ramai tentang asal-usul wang dalam akaun Najib adalah begitu kuat sehingga satu pasukan petugas yang terdiri daripada ketua empat institusi Kerajaan telah ditubuhkan. Peguam Negara mengetuai pasukan petugas ini dan ahli-ahlinya ialah Ketua Polis Negara, Ketua Bank Negara dan Ketua SPRM, Suruhanjaya Pencegahan Rasuah Malaysia.

35. Najib jelas tidak selesa dengan siasatan yang dijalankan oleh pasukan petugas. Ahli-ahli nampaknya terlalu bebas. Najib tidak boleh mengawal mereka. Pasukan petugas nampaknya bertekad untuk mencari kebenaran tentang 1MDB dan 2.6 bilion ringgit dalam akaun Najib. Dakwaan Najib bahawa ia adalah derma tidak meyakinkan.

36. Najib kemudian memutus untuk mengambil tindakan menghentikan semua siasatan ke atas 1MDB dan akaun peribadinya.

37. Pertama, beliau mengumumkan bahawa rakyat harus berhenti bercakap mengenai 1MDB. Ia bukan hanya satu bayangan tetapi kenyataan terbuka bahawa percakapan mengenainya akan dianggap sebagai usaha melemahkan demokrasi dan satu percubaan untuk menggulingkan seorang pemimpin yang dipilih. Ini akan menarik perhatian polis dan penyiasatan.

38. Selepas ini sahaja Peguam Negara dipecat. Dalam sistem undang-undang Malaysia Peguam Negara menentukan sama ada sesuatu kes itu akan didengar di mahkamah atau tidak. Peguam Negara, yang kelihatan menarajui pasukan petugas itu, berada dalam kedudukan untuk membawa ke mahkamah jika terdapat bukti jenayah dalam Najib memiliki berbilion-bilion dalam akaunnya.

39. Penyingkiran Peguam Negara bermakna bahawa dia tidak lagi boleh membuat apa-apa keputusan atas kekayaan Najib yang luar kebiasaan ini. Seorang hakim telah lantik Peguam Negara dan jelas dia tidak berminat dengan pasukan petugas dan siasatannya. Beliau nampaknya lebih berazam untuk membersihkan Najib.

40. Kemudian TPM telah disingkir dan digantikan oleh Menteri Dalam Negeri yang, tidak seperti Muhyiddin, tidak pernah mempersoalkan Najib mengenai 1MDB.

41. Dalam rombakan kabinet empat anggota Jawatankuasa Kira-Kira Awam termasuk pengerusinya dilantik timbalan menteri. Pada hakikatnya, Jawatankuasa Kira-Kira Awam telah lumpuh dan kerja-kerja menyiasat 1MDB dihentikan.

42. Kemudian ketua dan timbalan ketua SPRM, seorang ahli pasukan daripada empat ahli pasukan petugas diminta pergi bercuti. Apabila beberapa anggota kakitangan SPRM meneruskan siasatan mereka dan mahu menyoal Najib mengenai sumber wang dalam akaunnya mereka telah diganggu oleh pihak polis yang menuduh mereka bocor maklumat. Kemudian mereka telah dipindahkan kepada Jabatan Perdana Menteri. Itu menutup mulut mereka.

43. Gabenor Bank Negara, seorang ahli Empat-Petugas kini dikhabarkan akan disiasat kerana rasuah.

44. Dengan Jawatankuasa Kira-Kira Awam dan Pasukan Petugas lumpuh dan Peguam Negara dipecat, kerja siasatan ke atas 1MDB dan 2.6 bilion dalam akaun peribadi Najib terhenti sama sekali.

45. Najib kini selamat daripada tuduhan mengumpul dana secara haram. Dakwaannya bahawa ia adalah untuk digunakan untuk pilihan raya akan datang adalah separuh benar. Dia selalu berkata bahawa wang tunai adalah raja. Dengan dana yang besar dalam kawalannya, dia berada dalam kedudukan untuk memberi rasuah untuk mencapai kemenangan. Beliau juga boleh menggunakan wang itu untuk manipulasi pilihan raya.

46. ​​Apa yang Najib lakukan adalah belum pernah terjadi sebelum ini (unprecedented) di Malaysia. Orang ramai buntu tentang apa yang perlu dilakukan. Prospek Najib terus memerintah negara ini adalah benar-benar menyedihkan. Malaysia, di mana pilihan raya boleh juga melihat parti-parti pembangkang memenangi negeri-negeri seluruhnya itu tidak ada lagi.

47. Demokrasi sudah mati. Ia mati kerana seorang pemimpin yang dipilih memilih untuk subvert institusi-institusi Kerajaan dan menjadikan mereka alat bagi mengekalkan dirinya. Tidak ada lagi demokrasi untuk sesiapa melemahkan. Sudah tentu bercakap tentang 1MDB tidak akan menjejaskan sesuatu yang tidak lagi wujud. Jika sesiapa perlu dipersoalkan oleh pihak polis, ia adalah Najib.

Malaysia: Becoming a Police State


August 9, 2015

Malaysia: Becoming a Police State

COMMENT by John R. Malott:  How ironic it is that many ambassador-john-malottMalaysians are now being threatened for taking actions that are “detrimental to parliamentary democracy.” Actually, they are the very people who are struggling for democracy and political freedom.

As someone who follows developments in Malaysia closely, I believe that the greatest threat to parliamentary democracy in Malaysia today is Prime Minister Najib Razak, and the head of the national police force that he controls, Khalid Abu Bakar. It is Najib and Khalid who actually should be investigated for violating Section 124B of the Penal Code.

Najib wants to stay in power, no matter what. For any politician, that is understandable. For whatever reason, Khalid has chosen to be Najib’s lackey. He is ready to do Najib’s bidding and deploy his police force in wilful violation of the law and the fundamental guarantees of Malaysia’s constitution.

Najib as Macbeth

A good friend who also follows developments in Malaysia closely recently compared the situation in Malaysia to Shakespeare’s famous tragedy, “Macbeth.”

Macbeth, pushed by his evil wife’s ambition, would stop at nothing – even murder – to gain power. And to accomplish his ends, Macbeth would depict evil as good, and good as evil. So it is in Malaysia today. Those who seek democracy are called the enemies of democracy.

Rosmah2Malaysia’s Lady Macbeth-Grace Mugabe

Meanwhile, those who really are the enemies of democracy – the people who close newspapers, charge opposition politicians with sedition, round-up the leaders of peaceful protests, and arrest government officials who are investigating corruption at the highest levels – call themselves the “patriots” of the nation and the defenders of parliamentary democracy.

How perverse it all has become under Najib. Reluctantly, I have come to the conclusion that Malaysia has now become a police state. One should not use words like “police state” carelessly. So I consulted the definitions that political scientists and academics use.
 
A police state is when police power is used to suppress any action that opposes the government, and to suppress any person who dares to criticise the government.
 
That sounds like Malaysia today. Najib is turning Malaysia into an authoritarian government and a police state. And Khalid is his willing accomplice, a law unto himself, a man who renders justice through Twitter.
 
Who will save Malaysia? Because of Najib’s actions, Malaysia can no longer claim to be a democracy. Democracy means freedom of speech, freedom of press, and freedom of assembly. It means that there are checks and balances – that the judiciary, the press, the parliament, and so on, can comment and criticise what the government is doing.
 

But today in Malaysia, none of that exists. There is no check on Najib’s power. There is no institution that can balance his power, especially when the police are so ready to arrest anyone who dares to criticise Najib, including government officials who are investigating the many allegations of corruption against him and his wife.

mahathirbadawicombi.ashx
Dr Mahathir Mohamad already destroyed most of Malaysia’s checks and balances against the abuse of power, and Najib has now finished it off for good. Will Najib get away with this? It seems that no one stands in Najib’s way. Malaysia’s elder statesmen – Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, Musa Hitam, and so on are curiously silent. They claim that they care about Malaysia and its people, yet they do nothing about Najib’s abuses.
                                                                                   
Only Mahathir has spoken out. But Mahathir is the man who corrupted the entire system that Najib has used to his advantage. And now even Mahathir has become silent.
 
Where are the sultans? They also are supposed to be the defenders of the nation. Yet we only know, indirectly, the views of the Sultan of Johor and his son. The others are silent as Najib destroys Malaysia’s future, the great country that the Sultans have pledged to defend.
 
We know what Najib wants
 
Najib has decided that his personal survival is more important than the fate of his country. He and his wife care only about themselves, not Malaysia.
 
So the stock market tumbles, and the ringgit falls to its lowest point in almost 20 years. Malaysia’s bank reserves have dropped by over US$40 billion in just one year. Foreign investors are shunning Malaysia, and Malaysians themselves are sending their money overseas. It is the worst situation for Malaysia’s economy in 20 years.
 
But Najib doesn’t care. His personal survival is more important than his country’s economic fate. He is now a desperate man. He will continue his relentless quest to stay in power, utilising every means possible, both within and outside his party.
 
The leaders of Bersih 4.0 and others who think that street demonstrations will force him to resign are naVve. He already has shown that he has no hesitation to turn tear gas and billy clubs on his own people. That is what they will face on August 29.
 
As things now stand, I cannot think of a good outcome. It is only going to get worse. Cry, the beloved country. I can only lament when I think of Malaysia’s future, when one man is able to subvert the institutions of government and thwart the will of the people. And when the great majority of the Malaysian people, from former leaders to the man in the street, stand by silently, and let him do it.


 JOHN R MALOTT is former United States ambassador to Malaysia.