Five factors why Najib cannot shift responsibility for the country’s woes to external causes – twin mega scandals and prolonged crisis of confidence in Najib premiership
Yesterday, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak told the Malay Contractors Association that blame should not be placed entirely on the government for what is happening in the country right now, especially with the weakening ringgit, as the main factors causing this are external and out of the government's control.
I do not think Najib would find much sympathy or support for his attempt to “pass the buck” and blame external factors for the country's woes.
Najib is guilty of serious denial syndrome in refusing to accept that while the falling oil prices have a huge impact on the depreciation of the Malaysian ringgit, the prolonged crisis of confidence and the political turmoils in the country have been major factors undermining the economy.
Let me outline five factors why Najib cannot shirk or shake responsibility for the country's present prolonged woes:
1. The RM2.6 billion “donation” scandal.
It is now over four months since the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) first reported the shocking revelation of RM2.6 billion deposited into Najib's personal banking accounts for the last general elections in 2013, and although Najib had not been able to deny the WSJ report, he has not been able to answer two simple questions being asked all over the country: Where the RM2.6 billion donation came from and where the RM2.6 billion had gone to.
2. The RM50 billion 1MDB scandal.
Although Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said in his last speech as Deputy Prime Minister when addressing the Cheras UMNO Division on July 26, 2015 that the 1MDB debts had ballooned from RM42 billlion to more than RM50 billion, no one in government including Najib had dared to contradict or deny Muhiddin's estimate that 1MDB has become a RM50 billion scandal.
Although many agencies purportedly investigating the 1MDB scandal, whether willingly or unwillingly, are dragging their feet on the 1MDB investigations, over half a dozen countries are independently conducting a probe into various aspects of impropriety and illegality of the 1MDB transactions.
This has brought unprecedented shame to the reputation of Malaysia as well as giving an international dimension to the prolonged crisis of confidence afflicting Malaysia.
3. Najib investigated by FBI whether he is a kleptocrat.
It is the height of national shame that New York Times reported on Sept 11 that Najib was being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) in the US Department of Justice probe under the DOJ's Kleptocracy Assets Recovery Initiative 2010 but neither Najib nor anyone in Putrajaya had been able to deny or clarify the report after a passage of close to seven weeks.
Never before in Malaysia's 58-year nation-building history under five previous Prime Ministers from 1957 to 2009 had the country's Prime Minister had to suffer the dishonour and humiliation of being investigated by a foreign country as to whether he is a kleptocrat or not.
4. Malaysian Governent never so fractured as now.
The recent public stand-off between the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and the fully-owned Finance Ministry company SRC International is the latest example that the Malaysian government had never been been so fractured or chaotic since Merdeka as now.
On Thursday, SRC International issued an ultimatum that unless “leakages or possible sale of classified information” about MACC investigations into SRC International are completed, it would not co-operate with MACC.
This led to a warning to SRC International by MACC that the state-owned company, which is being investigated by MACC in connection with the reported RM42 million channelled into Najib's bank accounts, would have face action for obstructing MACC investigations.
This is a most extraordinary state of affairs and has never happened before. SRC International in under the Finance Minister who is Najib while MACC is under the Prime Minister who is also Najib.
How could relations between two agencies both of which are under Najib, although in different Ministries, deteriorated to such a stage as to be warring publicly?
What is the status now of the MACC's ongoing investigations into the SRC International?
In fact, this raises the question as to whether Najib is in full charge and control of Putrajaya or whether there is somebody else who is running the Federal Government - a question reinforced by various strange goings-on in Putrajaya, including the suspicious sacking of Tan Sri Gani Patail as Attorney-General and the various strange and still unexplained arrests or immediate transfers meted out to top officers from key enforcement agencies in the past three months.
5. Najib's popularity rating, including among Malay voters, at an all-time low.
Whether Najib can last until the next general election in 2018 as Prime Minister, a new political reality is intruding into the political equation – Najib's popularity rating, including among Malay voters, plumbing to an all-time low.
Recent polls in August 2015 show that for the first time in the nation's history, approval for the government among Malays have fallen below 50 per cent since Merdeka Centre began recording the data in February 2012.
Malay support for the government fell from 52% in January this year to 31 per cent in August, and this could have fallen even lower now in November after the many economic and political scandals in the past two months.
The government's overall approval rating had also plummetted from 38% in January this year to mere 23 per cent in August.
These five factors have combined to make Najib personally responsible for the depth of the multitude of crisis afflicting Malaysia – economic, political, good governance and nation-building – to the exent that analysts are talking about the approach of a “perfect storm” to hit the country.
Instead of wasting time denying that he has any responsibility for the woes of the country and the approaching “perfect storm”, Najib should tell Malaysians what he is doing about the prolonged crisis of confidence bedevilling his premiership and government, and in particular the RM2.6 billion “donation” and RM50 billion 1MDB twin mega scandals.