Of bad blood and septicaemia


IF AUTOBIOGRAPHIES written by some personalities earlier this year were considered by some as being full of themselves, racist and flippant, then Datuk Seri Nazir Razak’s, on the other hand, is as damning as it gets on the subjects of the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal and his brother Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak.

Previously, despite revelations in courts, news reports, articles and opinion pieces of how Malaysia was plundered vis-à-vis the 1MDB scam, Najib and his loyalists continue to insist that he was slandered and that it was a political conspiracy hatched to oust him as prime minister (PM).

To a certain degree, Najib, despite losing his post following the defeat of Barisan Nasional in the 2018 polls, has managed to rally his supporters and rebranded himself as a people’s leader.

While a segment of the Malaysian society found Najib being heralded by his supporters, as much as his unashamed preening when in such circle, nauseating, the fact that he moves freely despite a conviction by the High Court has compounded the conundrum.

His supporters lapped on Najib’s contention that he is a victim of character assassination; a political conspiracy and the chief perpetrator is no less the statesman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Given Dr Mahathir’s past of never shirking away from a “fight” with sitting PMs, it was used by Najib and his supporters that his issue with the former is similar to other earlier hostilities and nothing to do with the nation’s plunder.

With that, his supporters built the narrative of how Dr Mahathir had conspired to bring down Najib because he had refused to bow to the former’s demands.

Another insertion to the narrative was that Dr Mahathir could not allow Najib to remain as PM because he had initiated the investigation over forex losses during the former’s premiership.

Of course, to the informed, neither of the narratives made sense as they were afterthoughts.

While it was true that Najib did set up a royal commission of inquiry (RCI) on the forex losses, it was done so after Dr Mahathir had mounted a serious offensive over Najib’s involvement in the 1MDB.

In other words, if Dr Mahathir had chosen to be silent, the RCI would not have been formed and his wishes entertained. Instead, Dr Mahathir chose otherwise, and cliched as it may be, the rest should be history.

However, Najib wants to change history and now, along came Nazir’s book “What’s In A Name”.

There are numerous takeaways but for the purpose of this article, suffice that the focus is on his revelations over the 1MDB infamy.

One of the most important is Nazir’s narrative on how he and owner of The Edge Datuk Tong Kooi Ong had both gone to London to meet up with Dr Mahathir to inform him of the billions that were missing from 1MDB.

An hour into the meeting, Dr Mahathir asked Nazir: “Why is it me that has to do something about it? I’m retired.”

To this Nazir replied: “Well, sir, you have to do something because you made him PM.”

By all intents and purposes, it was obvious that Nazir was convinced that 1MDB is a scam and that billions of public funds had been siphoned and that Dr Mahathir needed to step in and put a stop to it.

And since Najib, as narrated in the book, despite appeals from Nazir and his siblings to put a stop to the scandal chose otherwise, Dr Mahathir’s decision to act on it and later on brought the downfall of Najib was in part at the behest of Nazir.

The 1MDB scandal is indeed as complex as the layers of transactions and fronts created to cover the tracks. But the documents from the US Department of Justice, domestic investigations and revealing details from foreign investigations leave no doubt that money had been plundered from public coffers.

And the personalities abroad that had been fined, prosecuted and incarcerated for roles in the 1MDB scandal is further proof of the scandal. And with 1MDB-linked monies, by the billions, returned by the US authorities, further affirms that a crime had been committed as surely, these monies were not given from the generosity of the heart.

But coming from Nazir, who is Najib’s own sibling, and that he is a leading banker and well-versed in such matters, how could anyone doubt the veracity of the 1MDB scam.

If there were any doubts earlier from the supporters of Najib who still refused to see what is staring at them straight in the eyes, Nazir’s book should make them realise that the man that they had helped re-invent himself is still as guilty of the crimes as written by his own brother.

In that context, before Najib and his loyalists point fingers at anyone else of conspiracy and slander over his role in the 1MDB, he should first denounce his brother. For that matter, Najib should also denounce his other siblings, as Nazir had revealed they too were discomfited over their eldest sibling’s role in the infamy.

By Najib’s contention and defence, he should accuse Nazir of being the chief slanderer and master conspirator if the former wants to still use slander and conspiracy as his narrative.

But for anyone with a bit of sense, after reading Nazir’s autobiography, it is not a case of bad blood or sibling rivalry. It is about blood that had turned dirty and needed to be sucked out.

Otherwise, there would be sepsis.

Shamsul Akmar is the editor of The Malaysian Reserve.