Would Najib regard it as “betrayal of principle” if UMNO MPs condemn him and 1MDB scandal as among the greatest catastrophes in the nation’s history

The statement by the former Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak that UMNO MPs must not abandon UMNO because they must hold on to their principle raise an interesting question whether Najib would regard it as a “betrayal of principle” if UMNO MPs condemn him and 1MDB scandal as among the greatest catastrophes in the nation’s history!

This question becomes pertinent and relevant with the latest 1MDB salvo from investment bank Goldman Sachs who accused the former Najib government of having lied about its 1MDB dealings.

A Goldman Sachs spokesman said:

“Certain members of the former Malaysian government and 1MDB lied to Goldman Sachs, outside counsel and others about the use of proceeds from these transactions.

“1MDB, whose CEO and board reported directly to the prime minister at the time, also provided written assurances to Goldman Sachs for each transaction that no intermediaries were involved.”

The US Justice Department had estimated US$4.5 billion of 1MDB funds was misappropriated by Najib and high-level fund officials and their associates between 2009 and 2014.

The latest developments in the 1MDB scandal has come at a critical time when UMNO is undergoing an implosion, losing 18 of its 54 MPs elected seven months ago and set to lose even more MPs with continuing upheavals and convulsions in UMNO.

UMNO President, Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi, who has refused to resign despite mounting pressures, has warned that a continuous split within Umno will lead to its collapse.

The Umno president urged party leaders to accept their current situation and not think about saving their own skins.

"In times of defeat, when the party is down, there are those who do not think about what is good for the party, but how to save themselves from being investigated (and) being prosecuted.

"That means we are not steadfast, because we think it is us who need saving, and not the party."

What a pathetic statement by Zahid, which shows that UMNO MPs were totally unrepentant about aiding and abetting Najib in one of the greatest kleptocracies in the world!

If there is any thought about saving UMNO, then UMNO leaders and grassroots must dissociate and repudiate the kleptocratic government of Najib, the 1MDB scandal and the many 1MDB-like scandals in Felda, Felcra, Tabung Hajib, MARA, etc.

But the UMNO MPs and leadership are not interested in saving Malaysia from kleptocracy or saving and redeeming UMNO from its kleptocratic past and history, but only in saving their “own skins”, whether in remaining or leaving UMNO!

They are not bothered that Malaysia lost RM47 billion in GDP value to corruption last year alone, as revealed by the Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, or that a similar amount, of about four percent of GDP, was lost to corruption annually since 2013.

RM47 billion is more than the country spends on education and is almost double the amount spent on healthcare in 2017.

This is why whether UMNO MPs leave or stay in UMNO, it makes not much a difference as long as the present UMNO MPs and leadership dare not muster up the courage and patriotism to condemn Najib, the 1MDB scandal and the many other 1MDB-like scandals under their rule.

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri