OPINION: The favourite response from Najib Razak’s hired hands about the 1MDB scandal is that Dr Mahathir Mohamad lost more than RM42 billion through financial mismanagement while he was prime minister and therefore has no business criticising Najib.
They also accuse Dr Mahathir of unfairly helping his friends and sons to secure contracts and concessions, as if Najib has not. It’s quite easy to reply to such accusations because Dr Mahathir and Najib are miles apart.
Dr Mahathir never stole government money, whether through companies registered in the British Virgin Islands or other devious means. Not one sen. He has in fact challenged Najib to “open the books” on him.
Najib, on the other hand, has been involved in all sorts of financial scandals, whether the submarine purchase, 1MDB and “donations” he has received as prime minister.
Najib and his wife are supremely wealthy and their lifestyles are equal to those of kings and queens. On the other hand, Dr Mahathir and Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali live simple and almost austere lives. While Dr Mahathir has asked Najib and the police to open the books on him, Najib has been busy closing his books. Do you see the difference?
So I say this again: let’s rally behind Dr Mahathir. For too long have we been paralysed by the fear that Najib has imposed on the public.
He has dismantled public institutions by appointing only yes-men to bodies such as the Public Accounts Committee. His ministers and top civil servants are closing their eyes to his misdeeds because they think he will not last long. Little do they realise that this is doing great damage to the country.
We must not allow the situation to continue one minute longer. The cover-up of the grand theft that has taken place under Najib must be exposed, and we must collectively show Najib that we are not afraid of him.
His sidekick the Attorney-General, Mohamed Apandi Ali, may want to impose more serious sentences under the Official Secrets Act and even whip whistle-blowers. We need to tell them that we are not afraid of them. We must show them that we are prepared to make our sacrifices to keep this country clean and honourable.
If you are with me on this, let’s meet on March 27 (Sunday), at a venue to be decided, so we can put our hearts and minds together and declare in unison that Najib must immediately resign, and that the Inspector-General of Police and the Attorney-General must also resign .
We must declare our wish and desire to rid the country of leaders who are corrupt, including those civil servants who have helped cover up any misdeeds.
Let this gathering be our message to Najib and his friends that we will not abandon the country, and that we will not let corruption and those who abuse their power to rule any longer. – The Ant Daily
ZAID IBRAHIM is a former Law Minister. He blogs at The ZAIDGEIST.