The greatest liars are the ones who set out to deceive themselves. Najib has mocked his mentor and the former icon of UMNO, Dr Mahathir, for belatedly admitting to strong arm tactics that damaged democracy and gifted his criminal successor with far too much personal power.
On the other hand, Najib is admitting no such thing relating to himself. In an authored statement thathas had the world in stitches on the eve of his great ‘journey of exoneration’ (or so he would have it) to the United States, he paints himself as a great promoter of individual rights and the rule of law in Malaysia
Every single thing he says in this article is demonstrably untrue and it comes from the mouth of a man who has orchestrated the theft of more money from his own people than recorded in any other global investigation. Take the United States’ revered NGO Human Rights Watch on the subject:
U.S.-based Human Rights Watch said Trump’s invitation was “particularly inappropriate”, given Najib’s use of repressive laws to stifle critics.
“There’s little doubt that Najib will use this White House visit to burnish his credentials going into next year’s election in Malaysia, and redouble his repression of critics using the stamp of approval from this visit,” HRW’s deputy Asia director Phil Robertson told Reuters.
Najib begs to differ. He plainly seeks to convince himself that since he is not presently putting people up against walls and shooting them publicly he runs a consensual and democratic government.
Instead, in Malaysia people live under a more subtle fear that they may disappear or end up like the opposition leader in jail on cooked up crimes. People in government jobs bemoan they and all their family must vote for Najib’s UMNO party or they will be found out and lose their posts (their bosses warn UMNO monitor their votes). This is not democracy, it is dictatorship through fear.
Far from tolerating dissent, Najib’s brave critics in Malaysia are routinely hounded in innumerable ways, under a raft of flexible laws that give him immense power to accuse and lock them up on grounds of ‘subverting the state’, ‘acting against harmony’, ‘acting against parliamentary democracy’ and so on.
If the courts eventually release these people, given the accusations are so fickle and outrageous, he then exercises the sort of arbitrary and ‘informal’ powers that people in genuine democracies can only gasp at. Passports are removed, bank accounts are frozen – Najib’s victims are rendered peniless prisoners within his borders.
When Najib claims that ‘freedom of speech is alive and well in Malaysia’ he appears to forget that this site has, for example, been itself arbitrarily banned in the grounds of ‘reporting falsehoods’.
Notably, he has not dared to legally challenge a single one of those supposed falsehoods, which now stand vindicated on every point by the evidence brought forward in the United States Justice Department’s own criminal investigation into 1MDB.
Despite that vindication Sarawak Report remains banned and the editor “wanted” under a warrant issued in Malaysia for her arrest for supposed “activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy”. A false terrorism alert was even made to INTERPOL by Malaysia against Sarawak Report on Najib’s orders. Journalists inside the country face daily threats over ‘subversive reporting’, which they cannot ignore when instruments such as these are readily employed.
Suppression of Criticism Protects Rule by Criminals
There is a point to this partially legalised reppression. Najib reckons the people’s pockets and their pensions are his to raid. And, as this site and others have reported, he has done so without restraint, by placing often unqualified henchmen into the top positions at all the cash rich government-related funds and licencing them to raid the coffers through all manner of corrupt and self-interested investments (despite trechant warnings by the Bank of Malaysia).
And, of course, there is 1MDB, just one fully unmasked scandal amongst the many more yet to be revealed.
This rampant kleptocracy of recent years has destroyed Malaysia’s underlying economic security and wrecked hopes of advancement for the many, but it has all been terrifically good for a certain class of foreign businessman, whose lack of moral quibbles has enabled them to make a pile of money facilitating the investment of all that loot in ventures overseas. Such folk are ever ready to whisper in the ears of the stooping and cynical denizons of the corridors of Whitehall and the White House: “best deal with this Najib. He is a crook but he says he wants to buy our weapons and invest in our ludicrous projects when others won’t”.
‘Journey of Exoneration’?
By such means Najib has achieved his promoted ‘journey of exoneration’ to the United States. He will have Hurricane Irma to thank if the Washington press diverts its interest from this dirty little tryst. However, the disapproval of the democratic media has already been made loud and clear.
It has been noted that whilst Trump’s State Department personnel have been lined up for the welcoming party in this supposed strategic reach-out, designed to prize Malaysia back from China, representatives from the Department of Justice will markedly be absent. Najib has to hope that this independent arm of state will not take advantage of her presence to interview Malaysia’s ‘First Lady’ about the $200 million of diamonds and jewellery, which she personally commissioned in the presence of Jho Low, her husband and bespoke boutique owner Lorraine Schwarz, at the Bel-Air Hotel in California over New Year in 2014.
They were bought with money stolen from 1MDB and the Department of Justice will doubtless be intrigued to know how she thought her husband would be paying for them.
Perhaps from the proceeds of GST? As money has poured out of Malaysia into Najib’s private projects he has sought to replace it with this tax on household goods. He has also sought to counter the stench of high level corruption emmanating from his own activities by setting the MACC onto everybody beneath him instead. Over 600 arrests just this year against people who plainly reckoned that since their boss regards his job a licence to plunder it is only right they should have a piece of the action.
Meanwhile, as we all know, the mounds of evidence of corruption by Najib himself, which resulted in charges and a planned arrest by the former Attorney General, have been shelved in Malaysia, thanks to Najib’s abuse of the constitution and sacking of that AG.
All of the above qualifies Najib not as a democrat, but as a full blown dictator, as everyone who knows anything about Malaysia knows and understands – with the possible exception of himself, since self-delusion is a characteristic of all dictators.
Not Shooting People Yet, But Najib Has Made Ready To Do So
Najib buys his followers (with stolen cash) and pays others to bend the law. He cheats and rigs elections. He persecutes critics who point out such failings.
However, in case such measures cease to work (which he plainly fears they may in the face of his flagrant sins and gross unpopularity) he has already enacted a series of unprecedented and totalitarian measures that will give him powers to shoot, burn and kill whoever and whatever he likes simply by declaring a State of Emergency in the presence of his cousin the Defence Minister and a couple of other chosen flunkeys. The Council of Rulers protested this shocking law – Najib ignored them.
The United States should note that Najib has achieved something very remarkable in Malaysia: he has united a raft of former sworn enemies into a unprecedented coalition against him. It is a coalition that unites religions and races into a platform calling for reform and its de facto head is the opposition leader currently in jail. Najib has even propelled his draconian predecessor, Dr Mahathir into joining this coalition and into calling for the re-strenghtening of Malaysia’s independent institutions against the strong-man at the centre.
On his own side, meanwhile, Najib has reduced his following within UMNO to a tight core of paid-up interest groups, which has mischievously joined forces with the extremist rump of its own former political foe the PAS party, which has been campaigning for an Islamic State in Malaysia.
It is a sad thing for the United States to be seemingly allying with a criminal ethnic nationalist in bed with Islamic extremists against a reformist coalition based on broad democratic values. Yet this is what appears to be shown by this latest invitation extended on behalf of President Trump and Najib is using it to his full advantage.
After all, like all true dictators of a totalitarian mould Najib has full control of Malaysia’s mainstream media – a control he is seeking to extend into the online world as soon as possible with plans to monitor Facebook and blogs for ‘seditious’ criticism. This media is promoting dutifully via the papers, radio and TV that Najib’s presence in the Oval Office represents ‘proof’ that the devastating and detailed proceedings of the United States Justice Department are nothing but manufactured lies.
The creeps lining the corridors of Whitehall and the White House know that isn’t so. They also know how a continuing criminal regime will damage Malaysia and the stability of the region. They must take responsibility for their superficial cynicism in allowing this charade to have taken place.