OPINION: Najib Razak has said it many times. There is nothing wrong with political donations and there is nothing wrong in receiving donations for political purposes.
That is true.
Legally, the prime minister has also managed to wriggle his way out safely. That leaves only the issues of morality, transparency and accountability.
In the ongoing US presidential campaign, Donald Trump has ‘trumpeted’ that he is a very rich man and would not need any donation from anyone – he would finance his campaign himself. Now, that’s a welcome change indeed!
But what is more interesting is the revelation by Trump that he has been a donor for many political campaigns and that American politicians are being controlled by donors, lobbyists and special interest groups. We all know what he is talking about.
It’s the same everywhere. In Malaysia, tycoons are known to play the “insurance game” too. They will support both the BN and Opposition parties by contributing to their political funds. Even Najib mentioned that too. In that sense, the PM has really done nothing wrong by receiving the overly generous RM2.6 billion donation from a few Middle Eastern groups.
When people want to donate, you take lah!
Now, this is what Najib should have done from Day One after the Wall Street Journal published the donation story.
He should have admitted right away that the money had indeed been deposited into his personal accounts as was the request of the donors. He should have come clean on that matter instead of keeping mum until a few weeks later when he was forced to come up with the admission.
That was too little too late. The damage has been done.
Upon admitting that the money had been deposited into his personal accounts, the next thing Najib should have done was to come up with a transparent statement of account detailing the figures of expenses that was used by the BN in GE13. After that, he should have transferred the balance either into Umno’s account or to the various BN parties. After all, the donation, in Najib’s own words, was for Umno and its allies.
If only this was done, many would have been satisfied. Certainly, Umno’s grassroots in the kampungs would be happy too. And the prime minister would have been spared of the many months of agony and misery of being under suspicion for selling the interests of the party and country to some Arab donors. His credibility would not have been dragged deep into the gutters too.
Najib’s detractors have good reasons to cast aspersions on him because the PM had been very secretive about the RM2.6 billion donation which is a lot of money indeed!
When Dr Mahathir Mohamad remarked that some Arabs must be “gila” to give Najib so much money without expecting anything in return, people did not take that as a joke.
Even a simpleton would be able to rationalise that a man would not be that generous to give you so much money without any personal interests involved. This is why Najib has been paraded as the nation’s “No 1 suspect”.
It’s unfortunate for the PM that he did not respond and react quick enough to an issue of such great magnitude.
That’s his folly and an inaction on a matter that will probably haunt him for the rest of his life. – The Ant Daily