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Why are the reactions of Najib crowd jitterier and more hysterical than during the initial US DOJ kleptocratic forfeiture suit some eleven months ago?

I have been wondering why the reactions of the Najib crowd have been jitterier and more hysterical than during the initial United States Department of Justice (DOJ) kleptocratic forfeiture suit of 1MDB-linked assets in the United States, United Kingdom and Switzerland some eleven months ago!

There have already been two rounds of counter-offensives in defence of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his government in the past three days in response to the updated and expanded DOJ kleptocratic suit in California on Thursday.

There was firstly the initial response within hours by the Attorney-General, Tan Sri Mohamad Apandi Ali misleading the Malaysian public that there was nothing new while expressing regret at the “insinuations” against the Prime Minister in the DOJ’s latest 1MDB forfeiture suit, followed by four inane statements, viz:

  • the first by the Minister for Communications and Multimedia Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak muttering about “treason”;
  • the second by Najib’s press secretary, Tengku Sariffuddin Tengku Ahmad suggesting “domestic political manipulation and interference” as well as a “motivation that goes beyond the objective of seizing assets”;
  • the third one by the Defence Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein playing the diversion game by claiming that the latest US DOJ filing “would divert attention from a bigger agenda”; and
  • the fourth one from 1MDB itself that there is no proof to back the DOJ allegations on misappropriation of 1MDB-linked funds.

But this first round of counter-offensive was felt by the Najib crowd to be inadequate, resulting in a second round of counter-offensives, involving three Cabinet Ministers with two them issuing two statements in a row in counter-attacking DOJ on its updated and expanded kleptocratic action on 1MDB-linked assets.

Hishammddin, who was unusually silent in the initial DOJ kleptocratic suit 11 months ago, issued a second statement challenging the US DOJ to press criminal charges if they have proof of wrongdoing in the 1MDB affair; Salleh also issued a second statement making another inane claim of interference with Malaysia’s sovereignty as a large part of the DOJ kleptocratic action is about “what is happening internally in Malaysia and an even larger part has no relevance” to international money-laundering in the US; while a third Minister who is also BN strategic communications director, Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan joined in the Ministerial chorus demanding the DOJ to reveal who were the complainants to the DOJ in the first place.

These three Ministers impress no one by their intelligence quotient as they only confirmed that the Malaysian Cabinet has probably the highest percentage of half-past six and deadwood Ministers.

It would appear that the UMNO chieftains were competing with each other to show who is more “loyal” to Najib, and the question is when the other UMNO Minister/chieftains are going to join in the chorus of loyalty to Najib.

Will the leaders from the other Barisan Nasional parties apart from UMNO be joining in the chorus of loyalty to Najib?

MCA has recently claimed that it is a party of principles and conviction. Will anyone of the three MCA Ministers take a principled stand against the 1MDB scandal and Malaysia becoming a “global kleptocracy” or will all the three MCA Ministers prefer keeping their Ministerial positions to taking a principled stand on public integrity and good governance?

Hishammuddin provides an interesting example.

In trying to cover up Abdul Rahman Dahlan’s “bloopers” when he admitted at the world-wide BBC interview last September that “MO1” in the DOJ kleptocratic action was none other than the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak himself, and that “only an idiot doesn’t know who that person was”, Hishammuddin cast doubts when asked about assertions that that “MO1” was Najib.

Hishammuddin said: “For all we know it could be anyone. ‘MO1’ could be (Second Finance Minister) Johari (Abdul) Ghani.

“But until we know for a fact… until they are charged officially how are we going to know?”

Is Hishammuddin a confirmed “idiot” in Abdul Rahman’s definition, or is Abdul Rahman himself the “idiot”.

Be that as it may, only an idiot would hazard the view that Johari could be “MO1”, as Johari is definitely not “MO1”, with DOJ’s elaboration of “MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1” as “a high ranking official in the Malaysian government who also held a position of authority with 1MDD” and during all times relevant to the complaint, was a “public servant” as that term is used in Section 21 of the Malaysian Penal Code”.

Johari, who became a Deputy Minister of Finance in July 2015 and the Second Finance Minister in June 2016 does not fit this definition and cannot be “MO1”.

There are a number of reasons why the Najib crowd is jitterier and more hysterical in the reaction to the expanded and updated DOJ kleptocratic action, like the increase in the value of the targeted forfeit of 1MDB-linked assets from over US$1 billion to US$1.7 billion; increase in the total amount of money-laundering activities implicated in the DOJ action from US$3.5 billion to US$4.5 billion; a longer list of “relevant individuals and entitles” in the DOJ action; increase in the countries affected to include Australia with the broadening of DOJ efforts to seize assets alleged to be bought with 1MDB stolen funds such as jewellery given to Australian model Miranda Kerr by Jho Low; but also in the fact that after eleven months of protests from the Malaysian government, the DOJ stuck to its guns and maintained that the controversial RM2.6 billion in Najib’s personal Ambank accounts were not donations from some Saudi Arab royalty, but stolen 1MDB funds by giving more details of the money trail of the RM2.6 billion from the beginning to the end.

The real reason, however, why the Najib crowd are jitterier and more hysterical to the updated and expanded DOJ action than the initial DOJ suit eleven months ago was the realisation that the latest DOJ action could unravel Najib’s general election plans and undermine Najib’s electoral prospects and chances in the forthcoming 14th General Election.

DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah
Media statement by Lim Kit Siang in Kuala Lumpur on Monday, 19th June 2017