Malaysia Dateline

Najib tied himself in knots rebutting Tong’s revelations

Former Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak is capable of swift reaction.

After a thunderous silence for five days, he swung into action and came out with a response within five hours of my statement yesterday asking why the most prolific Malaysian FaceBook user with up to seven postings a day had not responded to Tong Kooi Ong’s revelation five days ago about his meeting with Najib in March 2015 to tell him about the 1MDB scandal and fugitive financier Jho Low, and that such silence condemned him on the 1MDB kleptocracy scandal.

Najib tied himself in knots in his rebuttal to Tong’s revelation that he (Tong) had personally informed Najib about the 1MDB scandal and the role of financial fugitive Jho Low when he met Najib at the latter’s Jalan Duta house dining room at the request of the UMNO MP for Baling, Datuk Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim on March 6, 2015 at 10.45 pm.

Tong said and this is not contradicted by Najib yesterday:

“He (Najib) started by telling me The Edge was wrong, and that the problems of 1MDB were its business model of carrying too much debt. There was no theft of money.

“I told him otherwise. I shared with him information that I believed was proof that it was all a scam, with Low at the centre of it. I explained how the accounts were made up to report a profit, and why I believed the cash was all gone.

“After about half an hour, he relented and told me he would shut down 1MDB. He didn’t say what he was going to do about the debts.

“I then proceeded to tell Najib that Jho Low must be held accountable and be prosecuted. This upset him. He immediately stood up, walked to the door and asked me to leave.

“I was taken aback that he was so sensitive about Low.”

What Najib rebutted in his Facebook posting was:

“All the documents shown by Tong as ‘proof’ at the time was based on emails from (Saudi Arabia-based oil and gas company) PetroSaudi that had been stolen by a disgruntled employee, who later blackmailed his friend and employers for years.

“They had also been claims the documents had been amended. The employee was later convicted for blackmail in Thailand.”

Najib was clearly referring to documents leaked by former PetroSaudi International executive Xavier Justo relating to the company’s joint venture with 1MDB.

Justo, who was sentenced in 2015 to three years’ imprisonment for attempting to blackmail and extort PetroSaudi but was released after 18 months after being granted by Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn, is still fighting after his 2016 release as he wanted those who had put him in prison and threatened his wife to cover their crimes to face justice.

In any event, there was no evidence that Justo’s information were not true or accurate.

Najib could not give a weaker or more lame excuse when he conceded that “Yes, today Tong may be right, but but in March 2015, it was his words and (it was) based on the claims by a disgruntled staff”, as he forgets that he was the Prime Minister whose duty was to verify Tong’s proofs that the 1MDB scandal was a scam and that action should be taken against Jho Low as a matermind of 1MDB.

But in retrospect, it was clearly impossible for Najib to take any action against Jho Low, as although the whole 1MDB scam was conceived by Jho Low, Najib was the other mastermind of the global scam or the 1MDB global kleptocracy would not be possible, and therefore it was asking for the impossible for any remedial action by Najib, a global kleptocrat, resulting in Malaysia degenerating into a global kleptocracy.

When Tong met Najib on March 6, it was a week after London’s Sunday Times and Sarawak Report completed an in-depth investigation into the 1MDB scandal, with London’s Sunday Times giving its exclusive report the headline “Harrow playboy linked to troubled Malaysian fund” while Sarawak Report carried the unforgettable headline “Heist of the Century – How Jho Loh used PetroSaudi as a ‘front’ to siphon Billions outt of 1MDB!”.

Will Najib’s next FaceBook posting be: “Yes, today London’s Sunday Times and Sarawak Report may be right, but….”?

In fact, three weeks earlier, on Feb. 8, 2015, New York Times carried a long expose of Jho Low by its two correspondents, Louise Story and Stephanie Saul, entitled “ Jho Low, Well Connected in Malaysia, Has an Appetite for New York” which among other thing, said:

“That point was underscored in the State Department’s 2010 human rights report, which said, ‘Officials (Malaysia) often engaged in corrupt practices with impunity’ and noted ‘a broadly held perception of widespread corruption and cronyism within the governing coalition and in government institutions.’

“There have been no proven corruption allegations against Mr. Najib. However, he has been dogged by questions, seized upon by his political opponents, stemming from a long-running bribery inquiry in France involving submarines he commissioned from a French company while he was defense minister….

“Mr. Najib, who earns an annual salary of about $100,000 as prime minister, has been battered by news media reports of his wife’s lavish spending. A notable episode involved the Birkin bags: A series of photos that went viral on social media in Malaysia showed Ms. Rosmah holding at least nine of the purses. They typically cost between $9,000 and $150,000 apiece.”

Will Najib now pen in his FaceBook that the New York Times report of Feb. 8, 2015 and the Feb. 28 reports of London Sunday Times and Sarawak Report were “Yes, today they may be right”?

I was in Labis for a Chinese New Year kopitiam ceramah in the evening of March 1, 2015 when the London Sunday Times and Sarawak Report published their shocking exposes, and I immediately shot off the following media response at 5 pm the same day:

“I have just seen the Sarawak Report website claiming that together with London’s Sunday Times newspaper, it has completed an in-depth investigation into the trail of the missing billions at the heart of Malaysia’s 1MDB (One Malaysia Development Berhad) financial scandal.

“It claimed to have obtained access to thousands of documents and emails relating to transactions by 1MDB, including its initial joint venture with the little known oil company PetroSaudi International from 2009.

“It alleged that the documents establish that, in spite of copious official denials, the entire joint venture project was conceived, managed and driven through by the Prime Minister’s associate and family friend the party-loving billionaire tycoon, Jho Low and that the documents also prove that the USD$700 million so-called ‘loan’ that was supposedly repaid to PetroSaudi as part of the joint venture agreement, was actually a ‘front’ to channel the money to a company controlled by Jho Low.

“It had previously been reported that all computers and servers at 1MDB had been called in and wiped clean just before the end of last year, and if it it is true that the combined investigation team of Sarawak Report and London Sunday Times have obtained access to ‘thousands of documents and emails’ relating to transactions by 1MDB, then we have the makings of the biggest financial scandal in the nation’s history.

“The RM42 billion 1MDB scandal is setting a record as the greatest of all the financial scandals in the country, eclipsing even the worst and biggest of Mahathir’s financial scandals.

“Irony of ironies, even former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad has publicly taken a stand against Najib’s RM42 billion 1MDB scandal, declaring that he could not accept the explanations that have been offered so far about the 1MDB scandal.

“Najib cannot continue to evade the issue and I call on him to set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal, and in particular at the Sarawak Report that it has obtained access to thousands of documents and email relating to the transactions of 1MDB.
“If the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal is not handled in a responsible and satisfactory manner, we may have the the first resignation or removal of a Prime Minister in Malaysia because of a financial scandal.

“The Cabinet, at its meeting of Wednesday, should have the 1MDB scandal as its sole agenda and a full and proper accounting should be made by the Cabinet as all Ministers cannot also continue to feign ignorance or irresponsibility for the 1MDB scandal.”

If Najib or the Cabinet had heeded my advice on March 1, 2015, Malaysia would not have suffered the infamy, ignominy and iniquity of a global kleptocracy.