Malaysia’s opposition is concerned that former PM Najib Razak will run for re-election as a PM candidate for Umno. Umno is leading a coalition ruling Malaysia with PM Ismail Sabri Yaakob as Prime Minister.
Lim Kit Siang, veteran of the Democratic Action Party leader, wants to know who is Umno’s PM candidate for the next election.
There is widespread speculation that Najib is attempting a political comeback. The latter is convicted of money laundering, criminal breach of trust, and abuse of power,
The ‘remaking’ of Najib Razak came after his defeat by the Pakatan Harapan led by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in 2018.
Since then, Najib’s popularity has skyrocketed. He contributed largely to his party, Umno, wining the majority of by-elections held in Malaysia since 2018.
Nonetheless, Kit Siang claims that Umno’s BN partner MIC pushed Umno last year to name the coalition’s prime ministerial candidate.
“So who will be Umno’s prime minister after the 15th general election?
“Will he be Ismail Sabri, or will MCA and MIC support Najib as Malaysia’s 10th or 11th prime minister?” Lim says in a statement published yesterday.
Trump or Najib?
In a twist, the opposition MP compared Najib to former US President Donald Trump.
“Over the weekend, Trump publicly toyed with another bid for the White House, with his political organisation announcing it had amassed US$122 million in cash reserves – an unprecedented sum for a former president – conjuring a vision of a second term that would function as a tool of personal vengeance and become even more authoritarian than his first when he vowed to pardon US Capitol insurrectionists if he runs for the White House again and wins.
“Najib, who had already prepared for his political comeback by opening an international conference known as the World Chinese Economic Forum organised by China.
“He also appears on a front-page interview in a leading national daily though he is a convicted criminal. Najib is undoubtedly the most-heeled financially. He commands the largest fleet of cyber troopers to mould and shape public opinion with lies and disinformation.”
Najib was the sixth prime minister from 2009 to 2018 and was described by Trump as his “favourite prime minister”.
1MDB and Jan 6
But Lim says Trump did not exonerate Najib from the 1MDB scandal. Then US attorney-general Jeff Sessions had described it as “kleptocracy at its worst”.
“Just as Trump is not averse to whitewashing the Capitol Hill insurrection on Jan 6, 2021, Najib has no qualms to whitewash the 1MDB scandal…,” he says.
Najib is currently fighting a 12-year prison sentence in the High Court. He is condemened for criminal breach of trust, abuse of power, and money laundering charges related to SRC International Sdn Bhd, a former 1MDB subsidiary. In addition, he was fined RM210 million.
The Court of Appeal in Malaysia upheld the decision on Dec 8 last year.