Friday Jottings: The crooks of the matter…


THE reaction from Umno or at least from the group that gathered at party headquarters after Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak’s incarceration is nothing less than menacing, ominous and to a certain degree foreboding.

Menacing because to them the three levels of courts, including the apex Federal Court, involving a total of nine judges, including the Chief Justice, had erred and that Najib was a victim of selective and political persecution.

Ominous because to them, if power were in their hands, the decision would have been the reverse and some even blamed Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, Umno’s VP no less, for refusing to intervene and hence, Najib’s incarceration.

Foreboding because they believe if the general election was to be held soon, they will win the poll and they will then put into effect all the things that they want to happen, and not to happen, to Najib and Umno, will be achieved.

Police reports against Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi for contempt of court had been filed following the gathering but that is only one aspect of the whole issue.

Despite repeated denials from Umno regarding the demand for an early poll, many are of the opinion that the party is looking to the poll as a way to protect their other leaders from suffering the same fate as Najib.

Regardless of whether such opinions are of essence or otherwise, the crux of the matter is that the gathering’s posturing following Najib’s incarceration seems to spell out the party’s agenda and direction.

There is no remorse or guilt despite the courts’ rulings that a crime was committed and public funds were siphoned.

Instead, the main itinerary of the whole episode was to make Najib a victim and efforts were not spared to seek sympathy from all and sundry.

Conveniently ignored are the many people victimised during Najib’s administration to stop criticisms and expose of the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) shenanigans.

His daughter’s attempts to solicit further sympathy for her father of how he would be missing out on his favourite caramel macchiato coffee only affirmed how far detached the family is from the ordinary people.

As pointed out by one of Najib’s detractors, the irony of it all is that among his die-hard supporters are those who probably had never heard of such crafted coffee nor would they spend the amount for a drink.

And sarcasm over such irony is in abundance. Not missed were the luxurious bangles worn by a member of Najib’s family which made his critics wonder whether the elderly lady who donated her gold bangle towards Najib’s legal fund would want it back.

It can be attributed to the feudal mind that still shackles a large segment of the Malay populace in particular when the rest of the world have moved on, given it a pass, if not the finger.

While such trivia helps in putting some things into perspective, it does not necessarily give the whole populace a grasp of what the future holds.

But surely, for the more discerning, they can catch a glimpse if not hazard a guess.

After all, the jailing of Najib and now, potentially his spouse, is a result of the change of government in the 2018 poll.

If Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had not led the Pakatan Harapan (PH) to victory, it is doubtful the 1MDB, Najib and his ilk would see the inside of the courts, let alone the prison cells.

And all these are achieved when Dr Mahathir and PH are no more the government.

Further to that, from the very beginning of the downfall of Najib, one of the common defences by Najib’s backers is that political leaders are prone to such travesties, Dr Mahathir included.

It is the classic two wrongs making one right strategy.

However, lest they forget, Najib, or at least those attempting to please him, tried to pin some controversies on Dr Mahathir which occurred when he helmed the nation between 1981 through 2003 but to no avail.

All they managed to do was to use brute force of the law to silence critics of the 1MDB and having failed to get him incarcerated, Dr Mahathir too was not spared from these intimidations.

But the people rallied around Dr Mahathir and critics of 1MDB, and when the poll was held, they cast their votes against the kleptocrats and those who stood alongside them.

Despite that, the kleptocrats managed a substantial share of the votes, at least slightly over 30% did.

Now, the kleptocrats are banking on these 30% and a divided Opposition for them to scrape through and return to power.

Amid all these, those who voted out the kleptocrats are now expressing their disinterest in the next poll as the Sheraton Move had betrayed their votes for PH and saw the premature end of their rule.

But the incarceration of Najib and the reaction from Umno should help them rekindle their interest.

For one, the process of redeeming the nation from the kleptocrats and their ilk is not a one-off task and neither is it a smooth path to the next station.

It is a road littered with venom, thorns and deceit. Only those who are truly strong in mind and committed to the cause will stay the course.

Ultimately, it is a work in progress.

Shamsul Akmar is the editor of The Malaysian Reserve.