By SHAMSUL AKMAR
Now that Khairy Jamaluddin, who once enjoyed a meteoric rise in Umno, had on several occasions denounced 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) and accepted that it is an infamy, it is probably time that supporters, within and outside the party, take the opportunity to relieve themselves of the albatross around their neck.
If Khairy, with his more than above average credentials, had taken some time to wake up and smell the coffee, other Umno members should be forgiven for taking a bit longer to realise how scandalous 1MDB is.
They can of course now blame it on their former president Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak for hoodwinking them, but he too now seems to want to be part of the deluded crowd, blaming it on the illustrious Wharton Business School alumnus Low Taek Jho or simply Jho Low.
In an interview with Sinar Harian, former Prime Minister (PM) Najib admitted that Jho Low had cheated Malaysia, but accused US investment bank Goldman Sachs Group Inc, lawyers and auditors for failing to protect Malaysia’s interest in the 1MDB debacle.
Najib, the former finance minister and 1MDB chairman, was quoted as saying: “If they fail to protect Malaysia’s interests, how would I know.”
And so Najib “threw Jho Low under the bus” and pleaded ignorance.
Najib, like Khairy, is giving Umno members a lifeline. If the PM, who is the finance minister, who is the 1MDB chairman, did not know about the billions of public funds stolen via 1MDB, surely then, the other party leaders and members who are lesser positioned or not as worldly as them would not be able to see the felony of 1MDB.
For those in the position of power, blue blood or otherwise, opinion makers, renowned writers, columnists and journalists who chose to dismiss the scandal and in fact sided with Najib when the then Opposition were exposing it; Najib’s ignorance and Khairy’s sedated awareness should be good justifications for their apathy.
And for those in Umno, there is another excuse they could use to justify their inaction — they have an IQ of a carrot — something that seems to be inherent in Umno Supreme Council member Lokman Adam and something which had irked Khairy recently.
Of course, it can be argued that it is unacceptable for Najib to plead ignorance and for Khairy to take so long to become aware of the misappropriations in 1MDB as Jho Low’s transgressions were not a scandal in the backyard, but rather of global proportion.
That aside, now that Najib has said it, Khairy has taken it to another level, how will Najib’s cheerleaders in Umno and Barisan Nasional react to these revelations and admittance?
Are they not going to eat humble pie, acknowledge that they have an IQ of a carrot, delusional, in denial and so forth, and now sit back and try to catch up on what they had missed relating to the 1MDB scandal?
In fact, they are much better off than those who had opposed the 1MDB earlier on as they had struggled to piece the puzzle together, relying on shared information through the social media as many sites were blocked, audited reports placed under the Official Secrets Act and the collective denial and misinformation on the scandal put up by the mainstream media.
Today, the information on 1MDB crimes and deceptions are easily available, and there are even books providing clear and concise details of the money trail and the players involved.
Will the admissions of Najib and Khairy end the protests put up by the former’s cheerleaders at the court house whenever the former PM is brought to answer for the scandal.
Will it also bring an end to accusations of politically-motivated persecution and that they accept that the course of justice must be pursued as someone have to answer for the billions of ringgit siphoned under the 1MDB scam?
Or will it bring an end to claims that the trials are targeted at Malay and Muslim leadership, invoking all the racial defensive slurs which have neither meaning nor relevance to the whole issue.
If the admissions of Najib and Khairy are still unable to put a stop to all these, then Umno members and their supporters definitely epitomise denial.
The interesting thing about being in denial is the speed that those suffering from it can switch to another issue and wipe out the subject of denial almost completely. It doesn’t matter to most even if they are described to have the IQ of a carrot, or is it a turnip.
For ignorance is definitely bliss; though they should realise, it can never be a defence.
- Shamsul Akmar is the editor at The Malaysian Reserve.